As Blizzard did with the male Demon Hunter earlier this year, they seem to be farming out the new Followers information via interviews. There are four interviews (so far) and a massive amount of new info contained in them. Here are bullet points of the core, key new stuff that I culled from all of the interviews.
Scroll down or click through for direct links to all of the interviews with Leonard Boyarsky and Jay Wilson.
All of the Followers have their own unique personalities and stories. Players will learn more about them over the course of the game and find sub-quests to help their followers and learn more about them.
- Lyndon, the Scoundrel. From Kingsport, a “thief in mind and heart” who has some of the best comic lines. He uses ranged attacks with bows and crossbows. Jay Wilson compared him to the Rogue from D1.
- Kormac the Templar is is powerful melee brawler. He’s a tank and is on a mission to recover holy scrolls that were stolen by Archbishop Lazarus.
- Eirena the Enchantress has a past shrouded in mystery. She follows a figure called The Prophet and has excellent crowd control spells, plus a variety of character buffs.
Followers are only available when you’re playing alone, either SP or by yourself MP. If another player joins the game, your Followers will return to town for the duration. You (and the other players) will get your Followers back when you next play solo.
- Followers have all their own unique animations and gear looks. They also have full voice recordings and numerous lines of dialogue to go along with their stories.
- They are available all throughout the game. You can switch between them at will. A new follower will be appropriate to your level when you first hire them; you don’t have to go back to normal to level up a new one if you hire them in Hell.
- Followers do not die; if they run out of hit points they just fall down unconscious for a while, and any bonuses they were granting you vanish for the duration of their nap. You can accelerate their recovery by standing beside them for a few seconds.
- Followers can not be manually healed with potions, but they will share in your health globe consumption, just like other players or pets.
- They are smarter than the Mercs were in D2, but they’re not going to be mistaken for a human player.
- Their four tiers of skills unlock at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20, and their behavior will be modified by the skills you choose.
- They can be respeced at any time, for a gold price.
- You can not assign the Followers commands or “ready” stances, though Leonard and Jay both say that the skills you choose affect their behavior.
- They can not use skill runes.
- Followers equip left and right weapons (can use shields), along with 2 rings and an amulet. No other equipment can be equipped, however they each have a special item type; Leonard said the
PaladinTemplar gets a special tome of some kind. These special items will add buffs or bonuses to the followers and possibly to you as well.
- All of the followers have skills that grant them Gold Find or Magic Find, and they can presumably benefit from MF or GF on their equipment as well.
- Followers travel with the Caravan, along with the Artisans and various other NPC quest-givers, some of whom occasionally go out into the world as well.
- Leonard was not sure if their equipment would lose durability from use, but I’d guess not, ala D2’s convenience on that front.
Interviews so far: Leonard Boyarsky with FZ.se, AusGamers and GamePlanetNZ. Jay Wilson with NowGamer.com and Gamestar.de. Click through for links and quotes to all of them.
The The first interview to go live was on FZ.se, and it featured Leonard Boyarsky talking up the lore and story aspects of the Followers. A quote:
The Scoundrel is from Kingsport. He?s kind of disgraced and has been kicked out of the thieves? guild. He?s a real thief in both mind and heart. His name is Lyndon and he acts kind of like the classical DPS character, he?s a guy that does damage from a distance.
The Templar is called Kormac and he?s a bit like the game’s Navy SEAL guy. He?s a member of the Templar order and they?re on this quest ? they?re looking for some holy scrolls that were stolen by Archbishop Lazarus in Diablo I. He is good at absorbing damage, so he?s the kind of guy you?d wanna put up front.
Then we have the Enchantress – Eirena ? whose past is shrouded in mystery. She follows a mysterious figure called The Prophet and is good at controlling groups of enemies. The player will learn more about her dark past as they progress through the main story.
GamePlanetNZ has done posted some excellent D3 interviews in the past; they did the best of the 4 about the male Demon Hunter a few months ago, and this one is nice work as well. Most of the quick facts at the top of this post came from this interview, so click it for a lot more info on everything.
Gameplanet: So at what stage of the game do you adopt these followers?
Boyarsky: As you?re running through the main story arc, you?ll encounter them doing similar things to you. They?re adventurers fighting the good fight. You?ll interact with them in their story and then they have reason to follow you and to help you in your quest. These happen in the first third of the game, they?re spread out a little bit. Once you?ve unlocked them you can keep them with you or send them back to town and choose which one you want.
Gameplanet: Gameplanet: Do they each have their own inventory, can you assign them weapons and so on?
Boyarsky: They don?t each have their own inventory as such [but] they have two weapon slots that you can use for a two-handed weapon, dual weapons, or a shield and a weapon. They have two ranged slots, an amulet slot, and they also have a special inventory slot for a special inventory item that is unique to them.
A third interview can be seen on AusGamers, also with Leonard Boyarsky. It’s got good info about the follower’s personalities and background, plus how they’ll interact with the player during the course of the game.
AusGamers: What was the decision behind only having three followers, because it seems like a small number. Given that you?re utilising them to flesh out the lore more, a higher number might have been helpful. Did you guys have a higher number to begin with?
Leonard: No we were always planning on three. The reason we went with three—at least from a story standpoint—is because we put so much into them. Each one has so much to bring to the game in terms of their personality and story. They?re fully voiced, we put a lot of work into casting, recording and developing them and making sure that they were really polished. So having three in there that not only have different stories but also focus on different aspects of gameplay, felt like a really good number to us.
One of the things with Diablo that you always have to try and balance is that you want to have a good selection of things to choose from but you don?t want to overwhelm the player. You can only use one follower at a time, so if you had too many followers to choose from, it could become overwhelming and you might not want to deal with it.
AusGamers: How do each of their skill-sets compliment the various character classes that you?ve already revealed for the game? And in terms of the AI, do they dynamically react to the way that you?re playing? Obviously it?s not an overtly deep game in terms of combat tactics or recourse, but how have you differentiated their play-styles to work with the different player character classes?
Leonard: Well that?s somewhat up to you by the way you spec them out. If you give the Enchantress a thing called energy bomb—which is one of my favourite things that she does—she?ll cease that when the player gets down to a certain percent of health because it?s this big bomb that goes off. She automatically does that when you get down to a certain amount of health.
If you?ve specced out the Templar to be somebody that does more healing type things—backing you up more than up-front fighting—that?s just how he reacts to the world.
Jay Wilson got into the act as well, speaking with NowGamer.com on Followers.
Does each character have their own upgrade tree?
The way it works is at specific levels, five, ten, 15 and 20, three skills will unlock and you can choose one of those three skills. They focus a lot on allowing you to make a Follower that suits you. Some players want to really maximise the amount of damage that they do so they can focus on abilities that increase the damage their followers do. Some really prefer the Follower to take more of a support role, they don?t like the notion of the Follower stealing kills from them or stealing some of their glory ? in those cases you can make a follower who tends to be more in the background and provides you with buffs or heals or possibly debuff enemies with things like slows and other kinds of debilitating attacks. So based on your own personal play-style you can customise each Follower how you want.
A second Jay Wilson interview can be seen on Gamestar.de, but if there’s an English version of it I can’t find it. The German version is here, and the Google translation into English is fairly readable.
Ordinarily I’d post an enhanced version of the translation, and we’d get some of our German readers to help fix it up, but with 4 other interviews already in English, that seems a lower priority right now. That said, if you can read German, please look it over and let us know if there’s anything new/different than the other interviews offer.