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Diablo 2 - what improved over the original Diablo game

Diablo 2So after writing about the first Diablo game and before dwelling deeper in the characteristics of items, enemies, quests and so on, let me drop a few notes about how Diablo II improved over the original Diablo game and a quick overview of the story.
First the story - It is settled a bit after the events of Diablo, may be a month-two or so. The Warrior hero has become the Dark Wanderer after he nicks Diablo’s soulstone right in his forehead. He becomes more and more obsessed and at some point Diablo seizes the control over the warrior’s body. Diablo’s objective is to reunite with his brothers - the other two Prime Evils - Mephisto - the Lord of Hatred and Baal - the Lord of Destruction (after whom the Expansion pack is named, but I will get into that in a moment). The wanderer travels through Tristram and to Lut Gholein in order to rescue his youngest brother Baal, who has been imprisoned in the tomb of Tal Rasha. So now you may wonder who is Tal Rasha? He is one of the Horadrim mages (order of mages, set to free the world of the Prime Evils). When the Horadrim captures Baal, he appears to be far too strong to be kept in the soulstone, so Tal Rasha accepts the burden and Baal’s soulstone is sticked into Tal Rasha. In order to prevent Baal from escaping, his body is sealed in one of the many tombs of Tal Rasha. While on his journey there, the Wanderer meets Marius, a common man, who follows the disguised Diablo on his journey.
When arriving at the Tomb of Tal Rasha, Tyriel the Archangel of Justice appears to fight Diablo, but during the fight, Marius manages to take out the soulstone out of Tal Rasha’s body and finally Baal manages to fully take over Tal Rasha’s body and mind, possessing all the knowledge he already had. Then the Wanderer continues to Kurast, where he reunites with Mephisto, the eldest of the Prime Evils (also father to Duriel and Andariel, who are twins, by the way). There Mephisto performs a ritual and opens the portal to the Pandemonium world (which surround the Worldstone, before it is hidden from the Heaven and Hell). The hero travels through the portal in order to destroy the soulstones of Mephisto and Diablo.
On the fourth Act, we fight Diablo himself. The original story of Diablo II ends here. The next year, Blizzard released another expansion pack, called the Lord of Destruction, named after Baal himself, and the story continues after the death of Diablo and we have the hero on his way to stop Baal from corrupting the Worldstone. As we learn during the progress, Baal already is few steps before the hero and the hero barely catches up to him in the final epic battle of the Diablo II storyline! In the end the Worldstone is corrupted and Tyriel is forced to destroy it.
So that’s for the story. You may wonder how the game improved over the original? Well in a few key ways!
First, the world was divided in Acts and not just an almost endless dungeon with a brief visit to Hell.
Second, now you can run! :)
Third, we have five classes in the original Diablo II (amazon, necromancer, barbarian, paladin, sorceress)  and 7 in (the previous, with added assassin and druid). All of them have very unique play style.
The items were revamped and now they are spawning in a more random way, with different stats every time for magic and rare items. You now have Set items (where you must collect two or more items of a specific set, in order to get a set bonus). Also now you are able to use the magic Horadric cube to combine several ingredients and create a so called Crafted item, which varies in stats greatly.
Also the graphics are updated quite a lot from what we have seen in Diablo. Now you can use even your graphic card to apply some special effects that make the graphics quite a lot smoother than what they are usually on low-end machines.
So this was a short review of Diablo II. The specifics should come in later posts.