Contest: Create a D3 Skill Tree Winners Announced

Scroll down to see the original contest rules and concept. They’re posted below the winners and honorable mentions.

We had a lot of excellent entries to this contest, and judging was difficult. In the end, the judges were swayed more by overall concept and character design, rather than individual skills. It’s hard to fully imagine a skill just from a text description, and how good a skill is depends largely on how well it works with its character. That’s not to say that the skills weren’t evaluated, but they weren’t judged in a vacuum.

Since we had two tickets to give away to BlizzCon, we chose two winners, and a top honorable mention, in case one of the winners couldn’t make the show. Sadly, neither winner or the first alternate could make it, and when Bashiok told us that he needed the names of our BlizzCon winners by Wednesday afternoon, we had to scramble to find 2 entrants who could. We emailed everyone who had submitted a viable entry, intending to pick two out of everyone who said they could make it to Anaheim. Replies were slow in coming, and with the deadline pending we ended up picking the first two who replied and said they could make it. Congrats to Johan and Tannen, and we hope to see you guys at the show. If you guys reading this who didn’t enter are now kicking yourselves… good. You should be. You might have been at BlizzCon next weekend, simply by virtue of entering and answering your email quickly on a Wednesday afternoon.

First place:
This entry, by Vizcire, was a no doubter from the first look. Great presentation, graphics, text, cool icons, original skill tree layout, interesting concept, cool skills, great skill tree names, and more. If this image showed(s) up on the forums with “leaked D3 character presentation” tagged on it, you know the nubs would be in a lather. Not that we’re suggesting anything.

The character is one of Vizcire’s own invention; the Flagellant, and he sounds completely believable for a D3 expansion character. Like how lots of RPGs turn a monster into a playable character in a later edition? This could easily be one of the Dark Cultist type monsters, who turns against his defeated masters and fights against Diablo to revenge himself for the wrongs he suffered in misguided service to the Lord of Terror.

The submission is one giant image, 943×2500, and can’t be displayed here without breaking the page. Click here, or on the thumbnail to view the whole submission. The excerpt below is only a tiny portion from the top, with just the skill description.

Second place:
Second place came from regular contest entrant Kaeros. Unlike most of the entries, his did not create a new character. He instead took on the Witch Doctor, and puzzled out a full Summoning tree for the character. We liked this entry for the creative skills and the clever ways they were adapted to the game. Including Fetish as summonable monsters, akin to the Mongrels, was a great touch, but calling an Attract-like curse “Smell of Brains” was the touch that put this entry over the top.

Kaeros’ entry consisted of text descriptions of all the skills, and a large image showing the skill tree, and hover text info for every skill. Click the thumbnail of the image below to view it full size, with the introduction he wrote about the character in the caption.

Honorable Mentions:
The first honorable mention went to Toni, who submitted the full skills (all 3 trees, 10 skills each, in Diablo 2 style) for a character he called the ShadowLord. You can see a screenshot of the about page below. The shadowlord class is basically an evolved Necromancer. A hybrid melee/caster character who can beat you down, or magically blow you away. Toni got extra credit for submitting his entry as a functional exe file. It’s basically a skill planner; you open it and click on the tabs, then hover on the skills to see the descriptions of them. There’s quite a bit to read, with all 30 skills plotted out in detail, and if you want to check it out, grab it here. It’s about 2meg in size and is virus and trojan free.

Other good entries came from:
[*]Michael, for his Necrozon. This character was the literal offspring of Amazons and Necromancers, with a combination of their skills.

[*]James, who created The Forester. A sort of spear and boomerang using Ranger, somewhat influenced by the Javelin Amazon.
[*]Paladin Temple, who entirely reworked the Paladin with all new skills, mostly combat.
[*]Keith, who created a Ranger, an Amazon-oriented character with a wide variety of skills. He also did all 10 skills in 3 skill trees.
[*]Brian, who also created a Ranger. His ranger had an archery tree and a passive tree, with a lot of stealth and ambush skills.
[*]Z.M. worked out a tree of Barbarian combat stances. These were fairly creative since they worked in different ways depending on whether the Barbarian was wearing light or heavy armor.
[*]Johan created the Warden, a rogue/assassin combo that had a lot of assassin-derived skills, modified somewhat to make them more stealthy or rogue-ish.
[*]James created the Coalescent, which got points for being the most inventive character name. This character had a grab bag of skills, with melee attacks, ranged magics, and minons, all in the same skill tree. He looked godly powerful, in a sort of superhero style.
[*]Master Mindless created the Demonologist, which was a Paladin/Druid/Sorceress hybrid with as wide a variety of skills as you’d expect from a mixture of those characters.


Original Contest Announcement

If you’ve wanted a deeper, more detailed and game-centric contest, after the fun we’ve had with screenshot captions, very short stories, LOL Diablos, and Barbarian Skills, then this is the contest for you. We’re asking you guys and girls to create a Diablo 3 skill tree for the DiabloWikiBarbarian, DiabloWikiWitch Doctor, or any other character you think we’ll see in the game.

Two winners will be selected; both will receive 1 ticket to Blizzcon, which they may use themselves or bestow on a forever-grateful LA-area friend.  (You are eligible to win this contest if you have previously won another contest on this site, so long as you didn’t win a BlizzCon ticket.)

You can be as creative and original as you like on this contest. Invent a new character type, form the skill tree however you like, invent the skills, plot out stats, invent synergies, map out the whole skill tree, create icons, mock up screenshots, whatever you can imagine. You can see the leading candidates for the 3-5th characters in this vote, or read more about them in any of the threads in our D3 Character forum.

Or you can make a tree for the Barbarian or Witch Doctor, arranged however you like and incorporating some of their known skills. (Witch Doctor Skills, Contests.) If you do submit a Barb or WD skill tree, be sure you invent a number of new skills to fit into it, along with known ones,  or your entry won’t seem as creative as the ones from players who invent their character and skills from scratch.

It’s not confirmed that Diablo 3 will have skill trees, or how the skills will be arranged, but that just gives you more freedom to group up the skills however you like. Map them into a branching D2-style tree, a WoW style column, or anything else you can think of.

Your entry must include:
[*]The name of your character class.
[*]The name of the skill tree, and some general information about how it will function or be used. (Direct attacks, curses, support skills, minions, hybrid, etc.)
[*]A few example skills, described in detail.
It will help your entry if you also include a chart of the tree’s layout, some info on the dependencies, how many skill points can be spent and how they’ll improve skills, how the synergies (if any) function, level requirements, and anything else relevant you can think of.

Winner selection
The goal is to create an interesting, creative, viable skill tree, that players who use the character you choose would enjoy using. We are more interested in overall function than stats or figures. We’re not going to check your math. You’re sketching out a skill tree that could be used in the game; not finalizing the formulas and damage ratios.

Winners will be selected based on creativity, perceived fun factor, and apparent game viability of their skill tree/character. Bonus materials, such as graphics, concept art, mock screenshots, icons, and so forth are useful, but a brilliant text-only entry will beat a gorgeous visual display without any compelling content behind it.

How to enter
Mail entries to Flux: Entries must be received by midnight (PDT), Sunday, September 28, 2008. Winners will be notified by email. Winning entries and honorable mentions will be posted on the site for all to see and admire.

Each contestant may submit two (2) entries, if they desire. You are only eligible for one of the prizes, but if you have 2 great ideas and you can’t decide between them, or you’re just enjoying the creative process, send them both in. Good luck!

Sample Skill Tree
I threw this together in 5 minutes, from a D2 skill tree, some WoW icons, and a few quickly-invented skill names. You’ll have to do a lot better than this if you want to win, but just to give you the idea:

Theory: This is a skill tree for a Cleric character.  He is Paladin-esque, with one tree of auras and party skills, one of physical combat skills, and one of magical attacks. This is the magical attack tree. These skills are both melee and ranged, and use a variety of elements to deal damage to the target, or to an area.

Two Faced: This duplicates the Cleric for X seconds, allowing him to fight multiple enemies at once, or to double his attack on a single target. The doubles are identical, and both deal and take the usual damage. Most skills can not be used while in two face mode. More points in this skill enables the duplication to last longer, as well as providing a hit point and damage bonus.

Frozen Claw: This skill deals cold damage, and chills/slows targets. It’s a basic elemental attack, not very powerful in the late game. It synergizes with the higher level skills in this column, and provides the bonus passively, stacking it on all other damage for 10 seconds. More points increase the duration and damage.

Vortex: Requires level 3 Two-Faced. Adds a multiple strike when the Cleric is doubled, somewhat like the Paladin’s Zeal attack.

Death Touch: Active when cast for 10 seconds. Gives the Cleric a 1% chance to instantly kill any non-boss monster when active.  More points in the skill increase the duration and % chance of death.

Autumn’s Rage: The highest level doubled attack, this one requires 3 points in Vortex and works sort of like a physical damage Frozen Orb. The Cleric projects an autonomous duplicate of himself that moves at tremendous speed, hitting multiple enemies multiple times. The double can be hit as well, and may take substantial damage during the spell, making this one a double-edged sword for the Cleric to utilize against swarms of dangerous enemies.


You can also see all the old competitions of on the DiabloWiki Contests page.

Tagged As: | Categories: Contests, Fan Stuff


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