Stillman’s Slab #12: Paladin Malady

In this week’s column I turn my eye on a Diablo 2 character who will not (as far as we know) be making a return appearance in Diablo 3. The Paladin. Who couldn’t like the Paladin? He’s a good guy, he shares auras, he’s holy, he wears shining armor… Me, that’s who. I’m about as fond of Paladins (as they are found on these days) as I am of Blizzard’s decision not to include a weapon switch hotkey in D3. And I have many more words, images, ideas, and humor to work into my rant. Read on, if you dare. Here’s the introduction; click through for the full column.

Paladin Malady

This week we take a closer look at our blight in shining armor: the Paladin. It all started when the supposed holy warrior showed up in my game. I think the little guy playing him noticed my scholarly penmanship. You know that knobby callus on the side of your finger you get in elementary school from using a pencil? Well this guy didn’t have one of those. He accused me of being an Asian player using some sort of English word synthesizer. Man, I wish I was that competent with these here magic computer boxes. I tried reassuring the extremely racist holy man that I was as pale in real life as he was, with no tan or anything. But I must have rolled three sixes because the hero did the thing where he spits out insults and leaves as though the whisper function doesn’t exist. And that got me thinking: why do all the aspiring pimps keep choosing the holy Paladin over the dark Necromancer or angryBarbarian? Are they going for shock value or is the Paladin actually the most evil class in the game? And who needs a knobby callus on your finger when you have a platoon of Paladin friends who are complete knobs?

As it turns out, the Paladin is more of an antihero than an ultimate good guy even though Blizzard never wanted him to turn out that way. An antihero is a hero whose mean streak shines through more than his heroic traits. With skills like Offensive Auras, Smite, and Vengeance Blizzard created a highly offensive smiting douche with a vengeance. We really have nothing noble to work with here (except some out-of-game lore) despite Blizzard tacking on the word ?holy? to a bunch of damage skills that have nothing to do with holiness. The only thing holy in Diablo 2 is the plot. Blizzard meant for the Paladin to be a helpful, party friendly class. But whenever one joins my game, my stomach turns faster than turntables and the DJ’s baseball cap accidentally put on frontwards instead of backwards.

The Paladin actually has a lot in common with gangster rap artists. This makes them a perfect choice for youngsters who want to spout slang and look cool. The shakos they love so much look like big wool caps that rappers wear. And the crosses that rappers and Paladins wear mean nothing because their actions are more about being aggressive than holy. And then there is the criminal activity which benefits them. Here we have three undefiled graves….?not for long?, our righteous holy man and full time grave robber thinks with a wry grin. The Paladin also hangs out with Necromancers and his skeletons. Ah yes, Paladins and rotting zombies working together as a team. Anything for an extra edge, eh big hero? Paladins throw away every principle faster than that useless runeword called principle. And all that bling rap artists and their fan base of Paladins like to wear is expensive. Don’t let anyone know how rich you are on bnet! When it comes to begging strangers for free stuff and belching slang at you if it’s not 2 soj, arachs and a Hoz, Paladins are the first to come out of the wood jerk.

Perhaps so many mean special needs kids choose the hero on horsecrack because he is overpowered. In the abusive and tension filled homes of adolescent players the Paladin is the easiest to use. This is especially true while parents in adjacent rooms argue and question the illegal substances consumed during Mom’s pregnancy. We have all wondered what Blizzard was thinking when they made hammerdins overpowered:

They were hammered, obviously.

The hammerdin lifestyle goes something like this: teleing, teleing, teleing, teleing, STOP! ?.Hammer Time! I guess gazing at spiraling hammers spinning around like toilet water being flushed in reverse is enough to break players’ souls. It turns their online behavior into what comes out of the deepest recesses of the septic tank. The spiraling toilet hammers are a perfect representation of Blizzard’s grip on Diablo 2 going down the drain. And as nauseating as those twirling hammers can be, Blizzard then goes and makes a spectral Diablo 3 skill called Hammer of the Ancients. Shouldn’t hammers be more like ancient history after the aforementioned embarrassment of Diablo 2 hammers? Here is a bit of a hint to Blizzard:


Of course, Blizzard still has a chance to set things straight in the next patch, 1.13. But even if they nerf blessed hammer, ridding or nerfing down all the biased Paladin gear would take a case and a half of nail polish remover. They really need to go on a holy ‘cruspade’ against hammers. At this point, there is only one thing Blizzard can do to make up for the hammerdin fiasco:

Why not take blessed hammer right out of the game? There couldn’t be a more noble gauze. There are plenty of skills that are completely ignored anyway. Paladins ignore the Defensive Auras like they avoid the beer bottle that has a cigarette butt floating in it.

But by the time 1.13 tumbles into a Blizzard employee’s cortex Torchlight 3: Rainbow Kisses will be out with a Hoola Girl expansion class. What Blizzard really needs to do is create a Rapper Pimp class so players like us without botched lobotomies know who to segregate. There could be class specific shield items like Akarian Tard and Boretext shield. Until that day, you may as well roll your eyes at nearly all Paladins that enter your game. Now I’m not saying all Paladins suck so hard they can peel off wallpaper—just the hammerdins. These hammerdins are breaking out faster than the players’ faces. Is it really because they are overpowered or because mean players love taking something righteous and holy and defiling it?

I think Blizzard has finally caught on and is taking preventative action for Diablo 3. None of the heroes are all out holymen, not even the Monk. The Monk is more of a showoff tough guy with tattoos who yuks it up after a bar brawl according to Abd al-Hazir. The Wizard is a rebellious sort who disrespects her elders so much that she knocked one out cold and stole from him. The Witch Doctor uses evil magic, and the Barbarian is an out of control raging maniac. There ARE no true good guys in Diablo 3. I used to take issue with this, but now I am thinking it is a great idea. If there were a true holy man and ultimate good guy in Diablo 3 you can be certain that players will just make a mockery out of him as they do with the Paladin. The holy class would just look embarrassing in the hands of snotty players who like to pick them so much.

Diablo 3 will be like a pool party with only jerk classes invited. With everyone peeing in the pool we’ll all be so used to toxicity that poison resist won’t even matter like in Diablo 2. It will be a Darwinian struggle to see who has the badder bladder: the monsters in the game or the monsters in real life at their computers. When players walk in to fight Diablo he will say ?ur here to join me, ami right?? It will be up to us to pick any character and be nice enough over bent2 to be considered truly good heroes. Don’t expect there to be an actual holy class for tricking others into thinking you are good and friendly. You will have to earn it through your behavior. And the only sanctuary could very well be the Player Matchup forum.

Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of

Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.

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  1. Out of all the returning monsters, this is easily my favorite re-design. I love how the snake portion is eating the humanoid portion. It

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