The male Demon Hunter has as last been revealed, in artwork and screenshots, and we’ve even got a pair of new interviews to chew through. First up, the male Demon Hunter, who you can see to the right, in the only piece of artwork thus far revealed.
He’s um… exactly the same as the female Demon Hunter? Honestly. What to say? Nice hood? It’s like the developers wanted to avoid another male Wizard/female Monk style debate, so they made this guy all but identical in costume to the female, then stuck a big hood over his face, leaving us nothing but a stubbly jaw and gleaming eyes. I’d been waiting on this reveal for months, ready to debate his look and post a vote to determine the community’s opinion of him. And now that he’s here… what’s to vote on? If you liked the female DH you’ll like him, and if not you won’t. Meh.
There are ten new screenshots as well, but as has become standard for new D3 screenshots… we’ve already seen them. Not these exact shots, but they’re all from the green-tinted Jail level that we saw in the Blizzcon 2010 demo. Hence it’s more of the same skeletons and ghouls, and all the Demon Hunter skills are the same ones we’ve known about since last October.
There are four new interviews with Christian Lichtner and Jason Bender. There’s not a lot of new info in them, since most of the questions and answers rehash basic Demon Hunter info from Blizzcon, but there were a few new nuggets to be had:
- The Demon Hunter’s recently-announced Sentry skill works like a mechanical version of the Wizard’s Hydra, firing arrows at nearby enemies.
- Demon Hunters may get quivers, items which would work much like the Wizard’s Orbs; off-hand items that could be paired with one-handed weapons to gain additional magical offensive bonuses.
- Though the DH is a ranged attacker, she has some skills that will work better at mid-range than from further away.
- Some D1/D2 Uniques (Windforce!) will almost certainly return in D3, with some changes to update them for the new game systems.
- The DH’s resource isn’t ready to reveal yet, but it sounds like she has two mana-like types, “aggression and hatred versus discipline and self-mastery.” The hatred regens very quickly and skills that use it will almost always be available, while the discipline is slower but the skills that use it are more powerful.
- No specifics were given on the DH’s runestone bonuses, but comparisons were made to the Wizard, with changes in damage type, as well as much bigger modifications.
Click through for a few quotes from the interviews, as well as thumbs for all of the new screens.
The Gamestar interview is fantastic. Not that there’s a ton of new info in it, but the interviewer is totally aggressive and abrupt and actually asks follow up questions and doesn’t accept the soothing PR pablum that the fansite fanboys usually slurp up. It kicks off with the the greatest opening question in the history of Diablo III interviews, catching the Bliz guys completely flat-footed with a question about the recently-leaked Blizzard North’s D3 screenshots. I would kill for video of this, from the Blizzard Irvine end, just to see the PR guy in the room turning purple and making frantic hand gestures as the silence stretched out.
GameStar: Recently, screenshots from an early version of Diablo 3 appeared on the web. Are those real?
Jason & Christian: …
Christian Lichtner: I?m not familiar with the shots yet, so I can?t really comment on them.
There are half a dozen fantastic questions in this interview. I’m just going to quote some of them, without including the answers, to encourage you guys to go read the whole thing.
GameStar: The model for the wizard looks distinctly Asian, but we?ve never seen Asian people in Diablo. Where do they come from?
GameStar: Alright, but there has to be an in-universe explanation for the wizard?s origin.
GameStar: But weren?t the artists bored when they saw the return of the barbarian, as his design was already finished?
I loved this one. I have never laughed so much at a game developer interview. Up vote! Would buy again!
GamePlanetNZ.com has done some nice work on Diablo III thus far, with excellent reports from Blizzcon. They do well with this interview too, asking intelligent questions and following up to get more info. Here’s a quote.
Gameplanet: You mentioned that the Demon Hunters are the only ones who are really aware of the conflict between heaven and hell, could you elaborate on the lore behind the Demon Hunter for us? Do they have a relationship with Tyrael, for example?
Lichtner: We can certainly iterate on the things we have said in the past: The Demon Hunter is the one class that really Gets It. They?ve been studying this conflict for a long time, they?ve been studying demons, hunting them, looking at their writings, trying to decipher the meaning behind it ? so in a lot of ways they?re the class that really understands what?s going on. Outside of that I?m not sure I really want to say any more!
Gameplanet: We spoke to you about four months ago at BlizzCon and you said you had a few ideas for the Demon Hunter?s resource system but you hadn?t settled on anything: Has any progress been made there?
Bender: We?ve definitely made progress but I?m not yet ready to talk about specifics because we want to make sure it?s great before we get into details. But I will say that the inspiration for what we?ve done since then has been based on this idea of aggression and hatred versus discipline and self-mastery. So, the skill set definitely reflects those two schools of thought and the resource system reinforces the skill set accordingly. But we?re still testing it and making sure it really plays as smoothly as we want it to.
The Gamespot interview starts off with fairly generic questions, but their very brevity and simplicity seems to draw out straight-forward replies with minimal PR BS. The info about skill runes was good, and this interview got by far the best/most detailed reply about the Demon Hunter’s dualistic resource.
Gamespot: What sort of rune skill combinations are there for the demon hunter?
Jason Bender: Oh yeah, there’s a bunch we’ve been playing with lately. With the runes, we always like to think about where the energy comes from. With the wizard, for example, you may have some runes that tend toward lighting or tend toward ice, and we try to do it that way in an elemental energy sense. But with the demon hunter, it has been interesting because we get to play off the backstory of him being obsessed with learning everything there is to know about demons and finding ways to use their own strengths against them.
So we have some [runes] that focus on shadow and play with how the demon hunter adds shadow magic into certain [attacks], making them hone in, split into two when they hit a target, or bounce from one target to the next. Traps are also really fun. When you lay out a spike trap, there are a lot of different things you can do with runes, such as have shadow creatures or tendrils come out of them. You’ll see a lot of really nasty and painful-looking attacks coming out of this character; he’s pretty wicked.
Gamespot: How does the demon hunter’s energy differ from traditional mana?
Jason Bender: [This system is] still in development?we’re still tuning it. But in theory, we want the demon hunter to have some highly regenerative, more accessible hatred abilities that he always has up and can use to zip around and keep the pace [of combat] up. But then the discipline side tends to be a more precious resource that you have to manage a lot more carefully. You really pick and choose when you want to use your discipline abilities because they make a big difference in how you escape, how you set up an attack?things like that.
Some abilities use hatred; some use discipline. That’s where we’re at in development. But we want to make sure you’re bouncing back and forth between the two without having to switch a stance or anything cumbersome like that. So you’ll have abilities from both camps accessible at all times, depending on how you build your character. Some demon hunters may focus on hatred, with lots of shooting and moving around, and try to amp up that ability as much as possible, while some may focus on discipline instead. [Either way], the default path is going to be a little of both.
The Diablofans interview covers the same territory as the rest, but seemed to get the most filibuster-length PR happy talk replies. Here’s a quote of the best question and follow-up in the interview.
Diablofans: Earlier you were talking about how the Demon Hunter needs to look bad ass wielding dual-crossbows, will they be able to wield anything else? Like maybe a one-handed crossbow with a shield or just two crossbows?
Jason Bender: They can use a two-handed crossbow, a two-handed bow, and we are looking into maybe the idea of them having a one-handed crossbow in one hand, and a quiver in the other for special ammo, or things like that. But they are definitely going to focus on ranged weapon based attack. They are not going to be necessarily shooting energy-type things like the Wizard and they are not going to be focusing on melee weapons either. There are some close-ranged style attacks built into their skills that invoke things like knives, but their focus is certainly on shooting arrows of every possible variety and turning demons into pin cushions.
Diablofans: I thought that ammo was not going to make a comeback. There is going to be some sort of special quiver/ammo thing going on?
Jason Bender: Certainly, there will not be hundreds of useless bolts lying around the floor you have to pick up. It is definitely not going to work like ammo back in D2. The Wizards have their orbs for example that give them attributes that are going to tend to be favorable toward the Wizard, you know not every time but there are class based items and we want to make sure that these class based items highlight what is cool about the class. It makes sense to us that if you are using a bow and you are a Demon Hunter and you spend all this time obsessing over how to kill demons, that you would have some sort of special ammunition. We want to give them ammunition that is going to give affixes that tend toward benefiting and synergizing with ranged weapon-based attacks.
There are ten new ones; here are the six I didn’t post above. Thanks to Diablo-3.de for posting them all, and not slapping huge watermarks on them. All 10 show scenes from Act One, inside of the King Leoric’s Torture Chamber level that made up the second half of the Blizzcon 2010 PvM demo.