The second installment of Stillman’s Slab is as timely as you could hope, with a humorous analysis of the Monk’s cinematic introduction, his (non) armor, and the general theme of D3’s characters (and demons) choosing to wear huge shoulder pads, colorful rags, and little else. We’re not yet quite into WoW-style “combat in bikinis,” but we seem to be heading in that direction. The D3 chars just wear more stylized, less sexy, versions of beach garments?

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    Nudist Monks

    Remember Marius? When he was not drinking Farnum under the table, he was starring in amazing Diablo 2 cinematic videos. There you could see his raw emotions, turmoil, nervous habits and fine details such as individual graying hairs. He couldn’t walk through that gate to Hell because it would have meant missing film school. And of course he handed over Baal’s soulstone after mistaking him for Tyreal.  For a complete idiot, he sure made some great videos. It all makes you wonder: how can the old school D2 videos narrated by a cowardly, bumbling drunk end up superior to the brand new D3 monk trailer? The monk’s trailer has none of that Marius richness and detail offered up in the 90’s. 

    What it does have is a 90’s arcade look. The monk’s trailer video was actually done in a trailer park, hence the name trailer. It certainly seems low budget enough.  Much of the music was the same from the first D3 gameplay video as though it was a rushed project. The trailer park sand looks really good. This reflects Blizzard’s habit of putting more love and care into background details than into the stars of the show. But the next thing you notice is the giant polygons that make up the monk’s staff, beads, and extremely thick bracers. It was a relief to see the staff (durability of 1) break in two later on. That was mistake number one (if you count being lured into a whole town of cultists a plot twist). Mistake number two was landing on a cold slab for observation. You can’t just put your hand through someone’s body and black out like that at the end of a video. You will face poetic justice when you wake up.

    The newly announced D3 DiabloWikiMonk class is here, and he looks much better than his 90’s arcade game portrayal in his trailer video. Some wonder if Blizzard should even be taking a bite of the Japan fighter genre with all its visual noise and flaws. But enough about the trailer. Let us delve in and learn the ultimate secret of our own Diablo universe that the monk has been keeping from us!

    Before we get to the meat of the discovery, we may as well start with mysterious subtleties. The monk’s striving for perfection fits in perfectly with us min-maxers who do the same. I find this embodiment of the players’ competitive drive a brilliant move by Blizzard. I like the monk’s wild beard (some do not) because it strays from the stereotypical clean shaved monk and invokes thoughts of ancient warriors. It also adds to the holy class appeal because I often think of knights as having thick beards. With the barbarian and the monk both sporting beards, we feel wrapped in dark, savage times.

    We still do not know for sure whether this holy man is humble or sitting atop a high horse. Blizzard’s Abd al-Hazir describes the monk as laughing while enjoying a good bar fight and later meditating to purify himself of sins. Perhaps a better way is to not sin in the first place. At first glance, his simple garb, few words, and hobo carrying stick, paint him as humble.  Yet closer observation may reveal otherwise. He has not one, but two red dots on his forehead. These are obviously borrowed Indian red bindi, just as the orange sheet is borrowed from Shaolin monks.  But why take two bindi? Is this to imply he has twice as many third eyes (figure that one out) just to outdo us?

    Likewise, the 1001 gods he worships with supportive tattoos seems excessive. His gear may be minimal, but again, the image of humbleness is illusion only. He sports a massive American Gladiators staff, baseball-sized beads, and overly thick goalie pads that make the barbarian’s shoulder pads look like sheets of paper. The rune he flashes for a moment in the trailer is huge as well. His Peacock Plumage tree really shows through without even being announced yet.  Is this class going to be a braggart personality no different than the DiabloWikiWizard we see strutting in her trailer?

    Speaking of the Wizard, note how the Monk’s attacks produce dazzling flashes that are much bigger than his entire body. Humbleness may not be a feature of the monk after all. Similarities and overlapping with other classes are abundant. We can easily picture the DiabloWikiWitch Doctor as being a staff wielder, the Barb having the same AoE melee prowess, and the Wizard having all the flashy light shows.  Abd al-Hazir describes the monk as

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