The creators of Diablo III give us the lowdown on the newest character class for the game, the Monk—the street fighter character of the Diablo universe.
According to Diablo III's Jay Wilson, The Monk was inspired by pen-and-paper roleplaying games. They liked the idea of a fast and fragile melee character. He's a contrast to the Barbarian...the slow, tanking character. Another inspiration came from fighting games...as I mentioned in the liveblog of the Blizzcon 09 opening ceremonies, the Monk looks like a cross between Dhalsim and Zangief from Street Fighter.
The Monk uses fighting-game like combos and holy magic, favouring speed over toughness. The class will have complementary skills...skills that work together better than they work apart. He will be a tougher character to master for advanced players.
Leonard Boyarsky explained that they wanted an Eastern European feel with an Asian influence. They are the holy warriors of the game, religious warriors raised in spiritual seclusion from childhood to be living embodiments of their gods. The theological motivation gives them a nice contrast with the Witch Doctor. They are part of a highly structured society, answering to their church.
The Monks are known throughout the world, respected and feared...holy killing machines.
Wyatt Cheng, producer for the game, said that one of the team's goals was to create a fighting game combo system that fits with Diablo III. They want to add depth to the melee moves. They referenced Diablo II's Assassin and World of Warcraft's Rogue.
They went over some Monk skills, like the Way of the Hundred Fists. The power features three clicks of the same power that transitions from a single attack to a massive AOE. Then there's Crippling Wave, which first slows the enemy, then reduces damage to the Monk. Each skill seems to have different stages. In Exploding Palm, the first and second hits do damage, the third adds a damage-over-time effect, and, if the enemy dies by this DOT, it explodes.
The powers can be combined....so stage one of one power can be switched to stage two of the next and stage three of the next. The different combinations should make for many unique strategies.
Julian Love, also from the development team, talked about the Monk's special effects. The goal is to combine martial arts action with holy colours—gold and silver—with a bit of runic knowledge to help highlight the Monk's appreciation of art and form.
With those goals in mind, they showed us the Monk's Seven Sided Strike. It's like Chain Lightning from Diablo II, only YOU are the lightning. They took some basic movements, added in bright and flashy, holy golden colours, tweaked up the explosions—"Explosions make everything better." Amen, brother.
Then they added in some 2D fighter artwork style, and then used runes to frame the area in which the action takes place. The end result?
We'll be getting some hands-on time with the Monk later this weekend. Stay tuned!