BlizzCon 2010: Latest Details on Diablo III

The creative team behind the much-anticipated PC game, Diablo III, converged in Anaheim for BlizzCon 2010 to give fans an inside look on how the fifth and final class – the demon hunter – was created during the Hero Emerges panel. Game Director Jay Wilson, Art Director Christian Lichtner, Lead Character Artist Paul Warzecha, Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky, Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng, Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens, and Lead Technical Artist Julian Love unveiled the latest details on the game in front of a packed audience.

In addition to announcing the new demon hunter class, the team explained how the hero archetype evolved during the game’s creation. The demon hunter actually originated as a ranger, but that didn’t hold up as the other classes like the barbarian, the witch doctor, the wizard, and the monk took shape. The team first talked about having a demon as the final class, but that broke the rule of needing human heroes. Then a possessed human with special powers was created, only to be nixed because of the melee feel of the character’s powerful demonic arm. The final demon hunter emerged as a dark, gothic character armed with dual crossbows who can utilize gadgets, acrobatics and shadow magic to rid Sanctuary of the demonic threat.

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<p>Players who choose the demon hunter in Diablo III will be able to utilize new skills like the bola, which will strangle and stun an enemy before exploding. They can also create spike traps, which blend both the demon hunter’s shadow magic and gadget skill sets. Gamers will be able to quickly navigate battlefields by vaulting. And Blizzard has brought back Diablo II’s multi-shot for the demon hunter.</p>
<p>Speaking of Diablo II, the wizard will be able to use the meteor attack in this sequel. Blizzard ran through a few new skills for the other four classes during the panel. The barbarian will have an ancient spear to pull enemies in for melee combat. Witch doctors can turn invisible for short periods of time when they use the spirit walk to navigate the battlefield.  The monk can use the wave of light to inflict damage during martial arts fighting.</p>
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<p>While the big news from the show was this new ranged-weapon class, the development team unveiled additional new details about the game. Blizzard has improved the game’s customization options through a skill rune system, which allows players to combine runes with skills to create unique abilities that look and behave differently. During the panel, the witch doctor’s plague toad skill was modified with a rune to unleash a shower of toads or conjure a monstrous toad to gobble up enemies. Each skill rune comes in one of five themes (crimson, indigo, obsidian, golden, and alabaster) and has seven power levels. For example, the wizard’s level one rune magic missile fires two missiles while the level seven fills the screen with projectiles.</p>
<p>The panel explained that the new game now separates the passive skills from the active skills. Traits are the passive skills, which include things like the barbarian’s inner rage. This allows the barbarian to draw strength from his rage. Each class will have about 30 traits. The wizard will be able to use the prismatic cloak, for example, to permanently improve his armor abilities. Players will be able to create truly original characters that stand out from every other.</p>

<h3>John Gaudiosi</h3>