There’s been some dismay expressed about the terms used in a number of Demon Hunter skills and rune effects. Dismay over the mentions of “rockets” and sometimes “missiles,” which seem anachronistic and inappropriate in the no-guns world of Sanctuary. A fan brought up that concern in the forums, and gave Bashiok some finger exercise.
We’re being careful to maintain the gothic/renaissance theme, but we are attempting to push the visual and conceptual boundaries of what that means. If we want to go with technical accuracy on an Earthly basis, rockets have been around since (at least) the 13th century. This is in the prime of the European Middle Ages, including The Renaissance, as well as the Gothic architecture from which it came, and Diablo is so heavily based. So if we’re using our own human history as a backdrop, rockets aren’t anything out of the realm of possibility. And if you want to get crazy we use the term missiles all over the place, but in modern military terms a missile is a more advanced form of rocket, with built in homing/guidance systems.
So back to what we are doing – in Diablo III, which is influenced by but decidedly not Earth, rockets are simply defined as ‘alchemical fireworks’, such as grenades, and yes, rockets. The world of Sanctuary doesn’t have gunpowder, but what it does have is magic and use of chemical elements or reagents in vague amalgamations. Haphazard creations of clever and desperate men and women, working each day to craft and create anything they can to fight off the coming invasion.
To clarify, there are no “rocket launchers” in the game. What we’re referring to are skills that simply use the word “rocket”. Upon seeing the spell effects of these so called ‘rockets’ you will likely immediately say “that’s not a rocket!” Because it isn’t, not in the sense of what you’d associate with the modern projectile. When you see the effect you’d be more inclined to understand that these aren’t rockets in any Earthly definition, but are using the term as an alternate to ‘missile’ more for clarity of description than anything, in that they are using a explosive reagent to fuel their destructive power.
This came up on the recent runestone discussion podcast, and we concluded it was just inexact wording, and would probably get some editing and improvements before the final game. And after all, it’s magic.
Helpfully, we’ve had a pic that compiles the various Demon Hunter “rocket” tool tips in our gallery for a while. Here’s a SFW version that I just edited from the original, which expressed some editorial dismay at this apparent intrusion of inappropriate technology.