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Blizzcon Begins, Diablo 3 Wizard Class Unveiled 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the zap dept.
Blizzcon is officially underway today, starting with a presentation showcasing the Worldwide Invitational tournament held earlier this year. A company spokesman went on to talk about the tournaments being held for World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena, Warcraft 3, and Starcraft 2, followed by word that Starcraft 2 was not yet ready for beta, but that Blizzcon attendees would be included in the first round of testers when the beta program starts. The big news of the presentation, though, was the unveiling of the Wizard class — the third such class to be announced, along with the previously mentioned Barbarian and Witch Doctor. Read on for some more details.

The trailer illustrating the new class showed actual gameplay demonstrating the Wizard's spells and abilities, some of which hearken back to the Sorceress in Diablo 2. Attacks such as Meteor and Chain Lightning seem to be returning, and several new spells were seen, including one invoking a spherical shield that seems to alter the flow of time within it, allowing the Wizard to dodge projectiles and approaching enemies with ease. Another spell sends tornadoes storming through the room. Here's Blizzard description of the class from their press release: "The wizard is a wielder of the elements and a master manipulator of time, who combats the hordes of the Burning Hells by launching environment-shattering lightning bolts, channeling explosive arcane energies, and creating pockets of space outside of the normal flow of time."

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Blizzcon Begins, Diablo 3 Wizard Class Unveiled

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  • by bonch (38532) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:05PM (#25332531)

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  • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:10PM (#25332593)

    The wizard is a wielder of the elements and a master manipulator of time, who combats the hordes of the Burning Hells by launching environment-shattering lightning bolts, channeling explosive arcane energies, and creating pockets of space outside of the normal flow of time.

    Sounds a little like... I don't know... a sorceress? Except for that cute "pockets of space outside the normal flow of time". That sounds like Star Trek.

    I guess you can't really get away from the spell-flinger archtype in a fantasy RPG. I wonder why they're so keen on changing the classes?

    • by internerdj (1319281) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:17PM (#25332671)
      While Blizzard throws some new twists on occasion did you expect something far afield from the fantasy trope? So far we have the barbarian, the necromancer, and now the sorceress. Except the last two are a little different from their d2 counterparts. That said as long as the game is as fun to play and as addictive as D2 the next class could be the gold farmer for all I care.
      • by bar-agent (698856)

        That said as long as the game is as fun to play and as addictive as D2 the next class could be the gold farmer for all I care.

        Hm. That might just work!

        • Buff: +20% loot
        • Skill: Locate mobs
        • Ranged attack: Money magnet
        • "Spawn more mules!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You know, this is a gripe I have with the whole Action/RPG genre as a whole. Why do we even have classes? Give me some skill trees and skill points. Let *me* decide how my character should play. If I want my character to wield a sword *and* cast magic missile, let me! More choices are always a good thing.
      • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:40PM (#25332909) Homepage Journal
        I believe this came up once when someone asked a Blizz person in an interview why they didn't have stat points in WoW. The answer was that the average player apparently has an outrageous tendency to nerf his/her character when allowed such fine control. Perhaps you shall find some quantum of solace in the notion that your suffering might be an extension thereof.
      • by Kandenshi (832555) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:46PM (#25332963)

        Well, you *can* have a sorceress in Diablo 2 using a sword. In fact, there are swords that are made specifically for spellcasters to use. The act 3 mercenaries are sword/shield and magic(though they very very rarely actually HIT anything with their sword).

        The problem with this is that typically wizards/etc need to learn *how* to do all the crazy physics-defying things they do. That apparently takes time effort and money, leaving your character with much less time to devote to lifting very heavy things, running quite a bit and learning the best way to stab someone with an oversized knife.
        So you'd expect they'd be kinda crummy at both.

        Diablo 2 still lets you do that if you want, it just doesn't expect you to be as powerful as a pure frozen orb/meteor sorc or a pure fighter.
        Sorceress' can hit things with their swords like Hexfire [battle.net], having buffed themselves with enchant [battle.net] and with energy shield [battle.net].

        Druids can run around shapeshifted into a werewolf form, clawing and biting things all the while calling down Armageddon [battle.net]. Of course, the number of skill point you need to expend in order to be really good at both is very high, but you *can* do it...

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by justinlee37 (993373)

          Sure, you're right, a Sorceress could use a sword. But that's besides the original poster's point that an open-ended character progression system would be more engaging.

          Get back to me when a Sorceress can put talent points into Barbarian War Cries.

          • by Kandenshi (832555)

            Call to Arms [battle.net] is a runeword'd sword she could be using on switch. In fact, characters of many classes do.

            I know it's not quite what you're asking for, but you can indeed have a sorceress running around casting a low level battle orders and whatnot.

            Call To Arms 5 Socket Weapons Amn + Ral + Mal + Ist + Ohm
            +1 To All Skills
            +40% Increased Attack Speed
            +250-290% Enhanced Damage (varies)
            Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
            7% Life Stolen Per Hit
            +2-6 To Battle Command (varies)*
            +1-6 To Battle Orders (varies)*
            +1-4 To Battle Cry (varies)*

            Prevent Monster Heal
            Replenish Life +12
            30% Better Chance of Getting Magic Items

            • Yeah, the runewords were always awesome. "Leaf" was a must-have for a low-level fire sorc.

              It's still besides the point though.

        • by jlarocco (851450) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:18PM (#25333265) Homepage

          I think you missed the point.

          The OP was complaining that the skills are carved up by classes at all. A necromancer can't put points in a sorceress skill, for example. So instead of 7 character "classes", each with 3 skill trees, just give every character 21 skill trees and let the player do as they please.

          The multitude of options might be a little overwhelming at first, but with as many players as a Blizzard game will have, I think a few stable, decent builds would emerge fairly quickly, while still giving enough variety for people to come up with viable alternative builds. One thing that disappointed me in D2 was the lack of viable character builds, especially for PvP. If you deviated very much from one of the dozen cookie cutter builds, you could almost count on having to leech in experience runs and getting owned in duels.

          The later patches of D2 actually explored it a bit, with runeword items that provided class specific skills, but could be used by any class. The items giving barbarian warcries and paladin auras were particularly popular, but there were a few items that would give necromancer and sorceress skills.

          • by nog_lorp (896553) *

            The Diablo series is about Hack-and-slash. Removing class distinctions makes the game more strategic and raises the barrier of entry for players.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Sparton (1358159)

            The idea of the hardcore community finding the more optimized build with such a large array of options is irrelevant. With so many options, new players would become overwhelmed and have no idea how to make an efficient or useful character, and the chance of an inexperienced player creating a poor build increases dramatically.

            Blizzard wants their games to be appreciated by as many people as possible. Making their game more intimidating by having so many options from the get-go (instead of saying "your this c

            • by rabbit994 (686936)

              Doesn't change the fact they could have classes and still present the option to have one class that could pick from any tree. Gamers are much more choice oriented these days and open ended is always good.

              • by Sparton (1358159)

                [...] and open ended is always good.

                Hell no it isn't. With that many more options, theres that many more ways to break the game with unbalancing skill combos. You'd either release a game with hugely imbalanced combo's or spend a ridiculously longer time balancing.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jlarocco (851450)

              The idea of the hardcore community finding the more optimized build with such a large array of options is irrelevant. With so many options, new players would become overwhelmed and have no idea how to make an efficient or useful character, and the chance of an inexperienced player creating a poor build increases dramatically.

              You're talking about people buying the third game in a best selling series that's been around for a decade. At this point Blizzard doesn't care about the casual, "inexperienced" game

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Sparton (1358159)

                At this point Blizzard doesn't care about the casual, "inexperienced" gamer; they already know they can sell a boatload of games to the hardcore players.

                [...] Also, I suspect they've learned from WoW [...]

                You says Blizzard has learned something from WoW, but ignore the disproportionate ratio of casual to hardcore players who subscribe to it?

                There are a couple of game developers that are dense enough to cater to the hardcore audience at the expense of the more lucrative and larger casual audience, but I don't count Blizzard among them.

          • by bar-agent (698856)

            I think a few stable, decent builds would emerge fairly quickly, while still giving enough variety for people to come up with viable alternative builds.

            Hey, you make a good point. Maybe we could call those builds "classes!"

        • by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

          The problem with this is that typically wizards/etc need to learn *how* to do all the crazy physics-defying things they do.

          We have the same problem in D&D. Why can't you have someone who learns magic for the sole purpose of enhancing their own abilities? Or some kind of hybrid? That class would be hugely popular in whatever game it was in.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Miseph (979059)

            Dude, multi-class, it works. Or you could go for one of the multi-purpose class like monk or paladin that already does that... or even go ranger and have all three branches covered!

            That said, I do agree that the rogue/fighter light infantry build is so unbelievably broken as to make nearly all other possibilities a waste of time, and that this somewhat deadens the ability to make any character one wants.

          • Psionics, man. Psionics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by geekoid (135745)

        Balance is a lot easier with classes.

        "If I want my character to wield a sword *and* cast magic missile,
        Are you willing to be half as good at both?
        That's the problem. People want to do a lot, and then bitch when someone who specializes in something becomes better.

        That said, If I created a game, it would have 1000 skills, and each would top at about 1000 points. At about 750 points, I would make it so you need other skills to compliment skills over 750.

        • by lupis42 (1048492)
          What if I just work twice as hard? If it requires X work to be an awesome caster, and Y work to be an awesome deliverer of stabbity death, why cannot some enterprising sod who's lived longer have expended X+Y work? Oh, right, character balance.

          Here's the thing: people don't want to stop advancing. As a result, the upper limit in all skills are roughly equal, and as a result of that, any work on skillset Y is work lost by skillset X. If games had a greater array of skill options, and a lower cap on i
          • If you've ever played Dungeon Siege you'd see this kind of idea has already been implemented.

            If you want to be a warrior you hack & slash, if you want to be a ranger, you pull your bow out, naturalist use nature spells, wizard use fire spells. Every time you cast one of the trees and get a kill you level that class. This allows you to create a few interesting hybrid classes. DS2 really nailed it giving you more flexibility.

            Diablo for me has always been very linear as far as development of your class goe

          • one could even design an MMO where characters increase in versatility, rather than power level, after hitting the level cap, thus making the game become more complex and interesting over time, but still balanced for relative noobs.

            The game you're looking for is called Planetside. [planetside.com] A newbie with the basic assault rifle can, with care, kill a level 20 character. Leveling past level 6 or so is just a way to add more versatility to your character, but with just doing the tutorial and hitting level 4 you can wear medium armor and have an assault rifle, or wear MAX armor and stomp around the battlefield.

          • by splatter (39844)

            "If it requires X work to be an awesome caster, and Y work to be an awesome deliverer of stabbity death...."

            Try and orchestrate your favorite song with a 50 pound hammer in your hand, when the songs done you will know why you can't cast and wield at the same time.

            • by lupis42 (1048492)
              A fifty pound hammer might be a bit much. I have a thirteen pound greatsword, which is somewhat awkward to wield, however, and your point makes sense, except that it is incredibly easy to simply put the sword up. Hanging it on the backstrap takes about 1 second. Drawing it and striking takes less than half a second. With the sword sheathed, I can do anything I could normally do barehanded, except contort myself into places it could not fit. And for those who fight with swords that are less than six fee
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Are you willing to be half as good at both?

          Yes. I think that makes the choice of my skill progression *mean* something When I choose to make my swordsman/mage, I realize that I'm going to have to make an important decision about how to spend my precious skill points. That makes the choice matter and gives the game more depth.

          As another poster mentioned, the problem with allowing this sort of game play is that people tend to nerf their characters. This is another game design rant of mine, but I'm on a roll so... I don't like the way game diffi

          • that worked like that. It wasn't fun at all, because the game wasn't about being a skilled racer, it was about playing the meta-game. If you drove as hard as you could, the game would make the computer racers so fast they were unbeatable. The only way to win, was to to time it so that you crossed the finish line WHILE the computer was ramping up its difficulty, if you went full throttle too soon, then the computer would reach unbeatable difficulty, retake the lead, and that was it. If you waited too long, y

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Dutch Gun (899105)

              Oblivion also had dynamic dificulty, that could easily be abused.

              Yep. Oblivion's auto-scaling was on a whole different level of crapola. Let me count the ways:

              * When your skills increased, you increased in power. When your level increased, the enemies increased. If you simply avoided sleeping, the game became easier and easier. I normally don't mind obscure "exploits" in single-player games (I tend not to actively seek them out), but this was ridiculous.
              * Certain missions (like the Kvatch mission) had NPCs that didn't scale up with the monsters. When I first played

              • Which is why I favor changing difficulty around the player's performance - not their current level. As you've noted, it's too easy to screw that up. It seems to me, though, that it's really the player's *experience* of difficulty we want to manager, so if the player is currently getting slaughtered - spawn monsters with less hp, increase health drops, etc. If they're currently slaughtering the monsters, increase the strength / number of monsters, decrease the number of drops.

                I never played Oblivion, but
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You know, this is a gripe I have with the whole Action/RPG genre as a whole. Why do we even have classes? Give me some skill trees and skill points. Let *me* decide how my character should play. If I want my character to wield a sword *and* cast magic missile, let me! More choices are always a good thing.

        Basically, it just boils down to game/class balance for a game that's played with multiple people. Single player games tend to offer more flexibility (like Oblivion).

      • by Nasajin (967925)
        The Elder Scrolls series of games have had such character progression since 1994. You can pick up Elder Scrolls 1: Arena for free [elderscrolls.com] from the publishers if you really want.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jabbrwokk (1015725)

        I'll probably get flamed or modded down for this, but oh well.

        I agree with you, I like playing hybrid classes. The Dungeon Siege series tried to make this viable, but it just didn't work. I hated how there was only a finite number of monsters to kill, so every single hit you made with your character to level up your skills was precious. I tried to play a combat magic-fighter hybrid but he was just a gimp compared to the "pure" classes in my party.

        Titan Quest, on the other hand, is one of only two games on

      • by lupis42 (1048492)
        Would you settle for the talent "trees" of Titan Quest? Pick any two trees. Compensates for the tendency of players to choose things that don't complement each other, but still about twice as freeform as 'classes'.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Keill (920526)
      • by ozphx (1061292)

        You are thinking of Dungeon Siege.

        Best part about that is being high level in say Combat Magic and then pulling out a bow and plugging an arrow into a high level enemy. The result on your stats is like:

        *whock*... "Oh thats how you use this thing".... Brrrrrr.tika.tik.tik.tik (+5 levels to Ranged Combat).

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Vexor (947598)
      The classes are probably being reworked because of the shattering of the world stone at the end of D2's expansion. Crazy stuff is happening.
    • by Daimanta (1140543) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:43PM (#25332935) Journal

      "Sounds a little like... I don't know... a sorceress? Except for that cute "pockets of space outside the normal flow of time". That sounds like Star Trek."

      Yeah, the Wizard has awesome abilities like "enhanced tachyon field", "inverse neutrino pulse" and "transporter accident".

    • ...Except for that cute "pockets of space outside the normal flow of time". That sounds like Star Trek.

      It sounds more like an expanded version of the D2 Amazon's Slow Missile skill.

    • by Pebby (1321397)
      But a Sorceress implies the gender, and they say you can make any class in either gender for Diablo 3. Wizard sure sounds better than "Sorcer????"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Koiu Lpoi (632570)

      "pockets of space outside the normal flow of time".

      See Median XL, a Diablo II mod. It's a sorceress ability.

    • by ozphx (1061292)

      Sounds a little like... I don't know... a sorceress?

      Yeah, apart from the penis, a lot like a sorceress.

      I mean "MOLTAR'S GREAT HARDWOOD STAFF OF THE BEAR" (+3 Bludgeoning).

  • Simple things (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kingrames (858416) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:11PM (#25332595)
    What I found coolest about Blizzcon so far was something very simple: a container of nickelodeon-style slime with a Hydralisk inside.

    Your very own zerg unit, complete with matching creep. I thought it was an excellent example of how Blizzard is very good at taking simple ideas and making them work very well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:11PM (#25332597)

    Blizzcon, no link provided.

    Because if you don't have the bookmark, you must be a noob. Right?

  • Any word on when we'll get answers to some of the questions asked in THIS [slashdot.org] thread?

    People attending Blizzcon got a StarCraft II Beta Key. Lucky bastards. Anyway, a lot of Blizzcon news will reported on MMO-Champion [mmo-champion.com] so check there.
  • by Shinmizu (725298) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#25332725)

    The trailer illustrating the new class showed actual gameplay demonstrating some of the Wizard's abilities -- including the casting of spells

    The hell? Can't Blizzard keep any of their lore consistent? Next thing you know, they'll have a "Fighter" class that uses melee weapons or some crazy shit like that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tenton (181778)

      He's called a barbarian and they already showed him off. :P

      I'm waiting for the long ranged weapon class (maybe a ranger? How about an elf ranger?) and some sort of defensive style class (a knight, perhaps?).

    • by steveo777 (183629)

      Honestly, it is this sort of blundering about that is going to kill a company which is already in its death throws. I think it started back at The Lost Vikings [wikipedia.org]. I was both shocked and appalled to find Vikings sporting beards. Won't these people ever get their act together?!

  • That makes me wonder: Is there any place that actually teaches wizardry. In todays world, I'm sure there some one out there teaching it, but is there an actual reputable university teaching wizardry or something near wizardry (besides teaching EE, Physics or CS - if you call that wizardry).

  • Wha? (Score:3, Funny)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:41PM (#25332927) Homepage Journal

    "Starcraft 2 was not yet ready for beta"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tim5nU3DwIE [youtube.com]

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