Sunday, July 26, 2015

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] 

[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: 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!] 


  1. Hi there- I have done this and the runewords.txt works great! However there is a huge flaw... I cant backup my characters!!! I have a level 83 paladin and when I back him up and try play him on another pc (with an identical copy of my current version, with the runewords.txt file and everything) he is only level 39... which is about the time I put the runewords.txt into my diablo... please help I am desperate not to loose my characters!!!

    1. Wow, I'm sorry to hear that... crazy!

      I have not run into this myself, and looking again at the Runes.txt file I do not see anything related to Character Level within it... hmmm

      Off the top of my head, the only thing I can think of, is to back the two things up separately and make the Runes.txt file Read-Only.

      That is, keep the characters from the Save folder copied to a different location than the Runewords.txt file, just in case something happens when you back them up, and after copy-pasting and creating the Runes.txt file in the Data>Global>Excel folder, make it read only by right-clicking the file and choosing Properties, then putting a checkmark in the Read-Only checkbox and clicking OK. Then, when you back up your characters, hopefully nothing from the game 'writes to' the Runes.txt file...

      Also I would say perhaps create a new Runes.txt file by copy-pasting again in the future, after you Restore your backed up characters (by restoring the Save folder).

      To try help you out more, I will reinstall D2 to try this process out again - and see if it affects my imported character's levels...

      [Time Passes]

      Hmmm... something has changed with D2 of late... I found it on another partition (a Program Files from another installation of Windows) so I ran it from there.
      I booted into Windows 10 (I have a dual-boot machine with Windows 8.1) and ran the game without problem.
      I created a Single Player character and played the Den Quest, then saved and exited - and the game did not create a Save folder at all!
      I even looked at the C:\ProgramFiles location to see if it created something there, since I was running the game from a different drive, and it didn't make a Save folder there either...
      I will have to look around at it and see what's up - but at the moment it is saving my Single Player characters without even creating a Save folder in the Diablo II directory!
      (I was able to load my newly-created character up again after exiting the game without issue and without a Save folder even present) LOL

      Hopefully I can find something to help out here - and I will look at it again soon - but for now I am sorry I do not have a full answer for what is going on, perhaps they changed some things in regards to how the game saves data in these later versions of Windows - crazy!

    2. Reply #2:

      Ah, I see... Looking at the Patch Notes ( they changed how the Characters are saved (they call it "migrated").

      Looking around, I found my Save folder finally, which was created at "C:\Users\GameTipsAndMoreBlog\Saved Games\Diablo II" - which I assume they will want to use from now on, so that people Upgrading their Windows won't have to change or move anything, etc.
      The D2S, KEY and MAP files all appear to be there, as well.
      Hopefully, the folder can still be saved and restored (copy-pasted) to allow people to back up their characters and "redo" Windows when needed...

      In the DiabloII folder that I just ran the game from (drive P: how my system is currently set up) the Global and Excel folders, and the Runes.txt file, all appear to still be there. As I level up, I will try to create an Online-Ladder-Only Runeword and test it out.

      Perhaps in your situation, level 39 was when you upgraded to Patch version 1.14c and it "migrated" your characters over to the new location... Check that folder and see if your characters are there at their new levels - and when you Restore (copy-paste) your level 83 Paladin, put his files in this new location that Blizzard is using:

      C:\Users\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\Saved Games\Diablo II

      Once I solidify all of this info, I will post a Quick Tip about it and how the latest Patch is affecting the Character save files - thanks for bringing this up and I hope it works out for you!

  2. I don't know what it is but for some reason none of these tips are helping me in patch 1.14d... I've placed the text file under all the files you mentioned. I tried it under the "saved games" tab, under the old "game directory", under both simultaneously, but still nothing. Sorry for the rant but I'm feeling desperate at the moment. Is there any way you could elaborate some more the steps to acquiring ladder runewords in single player?

    1. Holy crap, I'm retarded... I had two dashes "-" in my launch code so it appeared as "--direct -txt" instead of "-direct -txt". SIGHHHHHHH

      Everything's good now, though.

    2. @Anonymous said:
      "I don't know what is..."
      "Holy crap..."

      Hehe, I hate when that happens...
      I don't even want to admit how many corrections I have to make in these posts sometimes, spotting the mistakes later (because SpellCheck either doesn't think some things are a mistake or thinks whole sections have TONS of mistakes so I have to check EVERYTHING, that is if I don't IGNORE everything cause I'm getting too TIRED, but I want to FINISH it before I go to SLEEP but I can't GO to sleep because my OCD-ness wants me to FINISH it NOW but my ADD-ness is SICK of WORKING on it and...)...and I'll stop here before I get carried away on a rant, heh.
      Glad everything's working for you though, seriously. Have fun again :)

  3. Incredibly done my friend, works perfectly for 1.14d.

    Thank you!

    1. Glad to hear it! Sorry I took a bit to Reply but thanks for stopping by to let me know - have fun!

  4. Replies
    1. I'm sorry, I don't own a Mac at this time (I did use them years ago, but nothing of that could be of use to you for this) - I did find that the Save Game area for Macs should be "C:\Users\myself\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\Diablo II\Save" since 1.14, but the little bit I read on the BattleNet Forum was that it 'doesn't work for everyone', whatever that means (Blizzard answered with a Windows-based answer)...

      You could also try "C:\Program Files (x86)\Diablo II\" and see if there is a Save Game folder in there, just like the above instructions and try them out, to see if they work for you. One person said that they copied the files over to both areas and then they were able to get it working; but I cannot confirm this as I can't test it out myself.

      Sorry that I couldn't be of more help with this on a mac... I hope you can find info on it to get it going for you!

  5. Not working for me as your detailed instructions say :(
    Help plz

    1. Dang that's too bad :(

      Is there any part that doesn't match up? I mean is there a spot where my instructions don't seem to be the same (folders missing, etc)?
      What is the outcome of your attempt, what are you trying to make (I'll try make the same thing)?

      Has there been an Update lately? I haven't played in a while, sorry. I'll dig out the'ol D2 and see what's up... Just ideas to start off helping out, if I can

  6. Hey there. I followed every detail here for 1.14 (i have 1.14d) and none of my runewords work :(
    I have tried the classic ral ort tal 2x and turned out to be a waste of runes. I placed the Data/Global/Excel/Runes scheme at the save directory didnt work. then i tried putting it also on the game directory and didnt work. This is not forgetting to put "(space)-direct(space)-txt" without the quotation marks.

    for some reason other files appeared on the excel folder on the game directory scheme rather than the save directory scheme.

    I dont know if removing the scheme on the game directory will do the trick because im all out of runewords to use and I dont know any way to see if it is working. I shall wait for the reply :(

  7. Anon here. Just a quick update. I restarted my pc and saw the other files appear on the save directory excel folder and tried again. it now worked. thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Anon, thanks for the Update - yeah there is something to how Blizzard has changed things a bit, they used the Save Directory Scheme (good name for it!) and then seemed to move back to the Game Directory usage, and now they seem to have 're-enabled' the Save Directory usage...

      Glad to hear it is working for you again though - you are most welcome for the info - have fun with it!

  8. Does this work for 1.14b?

    1. Hi Anon, I initially tried on "1.14" and then updated it for 1.14d, so hopefully [and in theory] it will work with 1.14b... I'm sorry that I haven't tried that version directly, however.