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Monday, August 24, 2009

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Diablo III: Monk Class Unveiled
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has unveiled another class for the much anticipated return to its action RPG franchise in the upcoming Diablo III. The Monk class, inspired by Asian martial arts and the myths, movies, and arcade games surrounding them, features a combination of rapid fire melee attacks and abilities for dealing with groups of enemies at once.

From Gamasutra:

Speaking on a wide-ranging Diablo III panel during BlizzCon 2009 in Anaheim, California, lead designer Jay Wilson explained, "We love fighting games on the Diablo III team, and we really wanted a character that felt like a fighting game character.

"We wanted to do combo moves, a lot of martial arts," he added.

Also speaking on the panel was technical game designer Wyatt Cheng. "The aesthetic goal was [to] feel like a brawler, like a fighting game," Cheng said.

Also clearly a driving influence on the game is the Shaolin kung-fu monk tradition, or at least how it's portrayed in Asian cinema -- the Monk's three skill stages are called Way of the Hundred Fists, Crippling Pain, and Exploding Pain.

But still, "We'd seen the Asian kung-fu monk before," added lead world designer Leonard Boyarsky (also a veteran of Fallout and Fallout 2). "They're killing machines, but at the same time they're very holy men. It was really fun walking up to our artists and [giving them that description], and watching them go crazy."

On the art side, said "explosion dude" Julian Love, "We talked about the 2D fighter feel -- how could art get that across on screen?" The team went with a style that actually renders the Monk model as a flat black 2D silhouette sharply illuminated by bright, luminescent light.
From GameSpot:
In this demo, the monk already has a couple of skills unlocked, as well as a few others that unlock after you level once. There’s also a nice mixture of active abilities. Of those, the two that seem to be most useful for the monk at this point are the exploding palm and the seven-sided strike. The exploding palm, which can be used in concert with the monk’s default attack (so it doesn’t drain mana), is almost like a touch-of-death skill--whenever the monk lands a third successive strike on a single enemy, a heart icon appears over the enemy’s head. This means that the enemy has only a few seconds (depending on how strong he is) before he explodes in a cloud of blood and takes a few surrounding creatures out with him. The seven-sided strike is more like a ranged attack for the monk. It lets him zip into a gang of enemies and perform several quick strikes before reverting back to his normal state. As you can imagine, this attack is especially useful for engaging groups of enemies, but it's also interesting that you can almost use it in tandem with the exploding palm. Just zip into a group of enemies to get to the strongest one and use the exploding palm. Then zip back out and let that enemy explode.

Another useful active skill for the monk is radiant visage, which blinds enemies in a certain radius, allowing you to move in quickly and take them out before they can attack. But perhaps our most favorite skill is the impenetrable defense. This is the skill that lets the monk reflect projectile attacks back at enemies for a few seconds. It's incredibly useful when you're surrounded by enemies casting any variety of spells in your general direction. And thankfully, it doesn't seem like you always need to be facing in the direction of the projectile to use it. In terms of other skills, there's also inner sanctuary, way of a hundred fists, and force without thought. Inner sanctuary is pretty straightforward. It creates a small ring around the monk that enemies can't cross, so it's especially useful when you're surrounded by a large group of enemies that would otherwise be difficult to fight through. Way of a hundred fists is a fast series of strikes, while force without thought is a counterattack skill.
Visit the sites below to read more about Blizzard's latest Diablo III class.

Diablo III Monk
Gamasutra: D3 Monks Inspired By Console Brawlers
GameSpot: Hands-On Monk Preview D3
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
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Archives  News  Diablo III: Monk Class Unveiled