Diablo II - Getting Ladder-Only Runewords Working In Single-Player Mode, Without Any Addons [Updated for Patch 1.14d]

[This post is currently being uploaded as Text Only for now - I may add images and some screenshots to it Soon™]

[Update 2016-06: As of Patch 1.14, where the save game information is kept has changed. I have tested this process and all changes are noted within**, including relocation of Runes.txt placement. This process still works as of this Patch.]

[Update 2016-07-03: As of Patch 1.14d, the save game information has been reverted by Blizzard 'back' to the 'older' instructions. The section at the bottom, talking about creating the Subfolders and Runes.txt in the 'Windows User' location is not needed in 1.14D - the steps talking about creating Subfolders and the Runes.txt are still required overall though, but work once again for the 'Game Installation' location itself - tested this as of this Update ...date.] 

[Personal note at end †  certain Runewords are not working?]

I recently re-installed Diablo2, ready to once again enjoy days gone by of Monsters, Magic and Loot... I wrote an article last year, about getting the scroll-wheel to work for switching spells/skills (the 'Right Mouse' Secondary Skill functions) in D2, in Windows. That post is located here:

After setting up the mouse-wheel once again, I started up a Single-Player game and made a character for it [a Necromancer, as I love Summoners]. I had collected some Runes for Runewords in the past, archiving them for SinglePlayer with The Hero Editor, a small utility that can save items found in Single Player Mode, by Exporting them to files on a local system/disk (as Diablo 2 Item [.d2i] files), which can then be Imported at a later time, into a future Character in Single Player Mode [only] through the same utility [which was "written mainly by Shokaku and ZonFire99" according to the ReadMe file for it].

Using the Hero Editor, I imported past runes and gems into my new character, using the Horadric Cube to create higher Runes I needed, for creating some Runewords. After trying to create an Enigma armor, I found that it was a Runeword that was not craftable in Single Player Mode (when trying to create it, the item simply fills up with the Runes used and utilizes the bonuses from the single Runes themselves, not creating the 'Special Item' that the Runeword would normally create, in an online, BattleNet game).

Searching online for some clues as to what could be done, I found in a few forums, mention of Addons that could possibly be used to create Ladder-Only Runewords in Single Player games. For now, I went looking for ways to craft Runewords in D2 without Addons. What I found, were various instructions to create a Text file in a created Subdirectory of Diablo2, where the Single Player game would use it as a source for Runewords... great! The only issue was that there seemed to be some variance for how the Subfolders should be created/named, to make the Text file work (there were multiple versions of information on what the subfolders should be).

Experimenting on my own then, I found the path of folders that would need to be created within the Diablo2 directory, in order to get this Text file to work. Just to summarize again, what this will do is:

» Allow Diablo II to use Ladder-Only Runewords in Single Player games, by reading Runeword information from a Text file (with no outside Addons or Mods needed to do so)

To do this, here is the working folder structure to create in the Diablo II directory:

<D2 installation folder>/Data/Global/Excel/Runes.txt

The steps to create the above folder structure are:

  • in the Diablo II directory, create a New Folder called Data
  • in the newly-created Data folder, create a New Folder called Global
  • in the newly-created Global folder, create a New Folder called Excel
  • in the newly-created folder called Excel, place the Text file from my PasteBin here:
    http://pastebin.com/xGLWhmZ1(If you do not feel comfortable Downloading anything at all for this procedure, simply copy and paste the text from that website and paste it into a text file, one that you create in the Excel folder, within the Diablo II directory structure you just created via the above - be sure to name the text file Runes.txt)
  • lastly, add "-direct" and "-txt" to the Shortcut Properties for the "Diablo II.exe" file that starts up the game. The quotation marks aren't added, only the commands, such that the Target line in the Shortcut should then look like this:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo II\Diablo II.exe" -direct -txt
    (the above line assumes that it is installed into the C: drive of the system. If you installed Diablo2 into a different drive/partition, the first letter would be whatever your drive letter is of where D2 is installed - the main part to match is the end portions, the "-direct -txt" added to the end, which allows usage of the Text file used in this process)

That's it!

What should occur in theory is, Diablo2 will use the Runeword information from that text file, allowing Runewords to now function within the Single Player game mode (even ones that are "Ladder Only")!

After "cubing-up" some new Runes that I did not have [using a Hero Editor to save/import the ones I had], I created an Enigma Runeword armor. Then, to specifically test the procedure above with a "Ladder-Only Runeword", I attempted to create an Insight for my Merc - and it worked! Hopefully, this will help you utilize Runewords in Single Player, too.

Note: Although I talked about a utility called Hero Editor within this post, it is not a required aspect of the steps above [ie. I use it for Item saving, not Runeword creation]. Also, although an "Excel" folder is created, neither Microsoft Office nor Excel or any other Spreadsheet-type of application need be present on the system - only a simple Text file and a few New Folders created are all that is needed.

** Update for Patch 1.14:

The file structure has changed, for where the game saves your character files, as of this Patch.

While I am not a developer for Blizzard, looking at the effects this Patch will have with Windows, I assume this was done to create a maintainable save game system for people upgrading from Windows 7/8/8.1 to Windows 10, as upgrading Windows [or reinstalling the game itself, if needed] will then not affect your save games in any way and they can then still be found by Diablo 2 (Single Player, etc) [by using this new directory setup implemented in 1.14].

As of Patch 1.14, your save game information is now located at:

C:/Users/<YOUR USER NAME>/Saved Games/Diablo II/

Your saved games, maps and characters are all now within that folder above [assuming C: as your Windows Installation Drive/Location, or where Windows and Saved Games can be found].

To continue using Runewords in Single Player with Patch 1.14, simply create new folders within (the Data folder may already be present), so that your file structure looks like this:

C:/Users/<YOUR USER NAME>/Saved Games/Diablo II/Data/Global/Excel/Runes.txt

Placing the Runes.txt folder within the Excel folder, as shown above, will then allow you to continue using Runewords in Single Player with the new file structure utilized in Patch 1.14 [personally tested as of 2016-06-06].

Tip: Don't forget to add "-direct" and "-txt" to the Shortcut Properties for the "Diablo II.exe", if needed, so that the end of the Shortcut Target line looks like this:
... \Diablo II\Diablo II.exe" -direct -txt

Enjoy - and See You In The Game sometime on BattleNet!

[Personal Log, Regarding Addons, Mods and Utilities: Just a quick mention of my remark regarding 'without any addons' above - I have used Addons, Mods and Utilities in the past, with games, and will likely do so in the future - however, mostly for security reasons, I normally do not and usually advise others against them at first. I realize that most of them are safe, hence my own usage of addons, mods and utilities at times; but because of the chance to encounter security risks, I usually advise against them initially, if people ask me for input. In the end though, most Addons, Mods and Utilities for most games are Safe and offer great functionality, the result of many hours of hard work that their creators have poured into them (if you use Addons or Mods or Utilities for games and you liked them, let their creators know, if you can)]

[Because this post is over a year old now, I have made a newer one (here at the blog, in June/July 2016) talking about this process again, with a bit more detailed instructions (a few screenshots showing the process) - along with my experiences of installing/playing D2 in Windows 10 - if it's not on 'the front page' anymore, that article can be located by going direct to the blog posting here.]

† [It seems that certain Runewords were not working for some people, according to various forum posts, using Add-Ons and other methods. For example, the Runeword EDGE, did not work for some. I have personally created INSIGHT and other Runewords, so this was puzzling. I investigated this potential limitation and found that it may be due to either limitations in the Add-On/Program being used, or the Runes.txt file itself containing Commas, which can occur if the file is opened in a Spreadsheet application (which may turn the file into a Comma-delimited format (using Commas to separate sections)) - be sure to utilize my methods above and the text direct from my Pastebin source (copying it into a Text file or downloading it as a Text file), or use the text I re-pasted into a 'Code' area at my newer article on this, here, copying it in to a Text file and placing it into the Data/Global/Excel subfolder. As of 2016-07-06 I personally tested the Runeword EDGE and it worked using these methods. I hope it works for you as well!] 

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