Today’s section of our Jay Wilson interview focuses entirely on the Monk. These were the first questions I asked of Jay, and the answers were among the most interesting he gave during our interview. Read on to learn more about the Monk’s unrevealed skills, and share my surprise that they are probably going to include Auras. There’s also some info weapon-specific skills, the Monk’s un-monkish ability to wear heavy plate, and even a bit on the Monk’s lore and appearance. Enjoy.
Friday’s interview excerpt will cover items, and next week we’ll dive much deeper into character skill issues, the planned varieties of character builds, and much more. Here’s the first Monk question; click through to read the whole piece.
Diii.net: We saw 8 Monk skills at BlizzCon (all detailed in Diablo Wiki). All were melee offensive or defensive. Can you give us some idea of what other skills the character will have at his disposal?
Jay Wilson: Most of the Monk’s skills will focus on combat skills and attacks, along with his various escape skills. And we talked at Blizzcon that we’re likely to put some defensive and supportive abilities on him. Possibly Auras. We’ve not done the next round of skills on him yet so we’re not exactly sure.
Diii.net: Really? That’s handy, since I was also going to ask if he’d have any co-op or party-boosting skills.
Jay Wilson: We definitely want to do that with one class. Whether or not it’s the Monk hasn’t yet been decided. The Monk does seem to be the logical choice. The only reason we might not do with him is that he’s too logical.
Diii.net: You want to mix it up?
Jay Wilson: Exactly.
Diii.net: There was talk of the Monk’s lore, that the Monks have 1001 gods and they give themselves tattoos to honor their gods and celebrate their glorious achievements in life. Are any of his skills going to be representative of those gods? Say there’s a fire god, and the Monk would have a fire attack in His name?
Jay Wilson: Yes. Leonard Boyarsky is our lead world designer, and he’s definitely talked about some of the mythology of the Monk. And relating them to some of the Monk’s skills.
Diii.net: On that topic, players are wondering if we’ll see those tattoos on the monk in the game.
Jay Wilson: I think some of them are in already. As to whether we see more during the course of the game, that’s undecided. It’s tied to the story arcs we create for the game.
Diii.net: Seems like a lot of work too, for the graphics?
Jay Wilson: Not necessarily. IF we have them over the course of the game it’s fairly problematic. How are they seen through his equipment? If they’re part of his base texture then that’s a little easier.
Diii.net: The Monk has a staff and the fist weapons. Will he have any weapon specific skills? Like dual wielding with just the fist weapons?
Jay Wilson: We’re talking about that. One of the things we’ve talked about with the Monk is that a lot of his skills don’t really use his weapons. So he’s doing melee skills with his weapons almost holstered. For instance, Debilitating ... I think it’s called Crippling Wave now. We change them a lot and I get mixed up on the titles. Anyway, the Crippling Wave skill seems like it should be a staff skill. It’s kind of AoE, he does it and affects a lot of guys around him. So it’s a possibility that we’ll do skills and redefine them based on combat styles and have those styles have a weapon preference.
Diii.net: The monk has a small shield on his arm in the concept art. Is that just decorative or ornamental, or is that an example of an actual equipment option for the character?
Jay Wilson: It’s part of his armor. The artists were trying to visualize the monk. One of the challenges is to do it by remaining faithful to the lore, and he needed armor. What’s armor for a guy like that? They were exploring ideas of bracers and just defensive aspects of things on his arms. That gave him a lot of freedom of movement, but also protected him.
Diii.net: That was a question that I saw in our forums, people were wondering how the monk could use heavy plate mail and still do all of his high motion combo attacks.
Jay Wilson: Well we do different versions of armor for every character. The Diablo II Sorceress could use heavy plate mail without actually looking like she was covered in heavy plate mail. For us, our focus is to make sure that every character has armor that they look cool in. So the Monk’s armor isn’t going to look like heavy plate armor. It’s going to look like a shirt, what our imagination of what the Monk’s armor could be. It’s definitely going to be equipment, but he’s not going to look like he’s covered in metal, like the barb is likely to look.
Diii.net: One other question on the Monk’s armor. Traditionally in RPGs, Monks have bonuses to light armor and penalties to heavy armor. Is that something you guys are looking at?
Jay Wilson: No. We’re an item based game. The idea of a character that doesn’t use items is foreign to our basic game philosophy. So one of the things we decided when we were creating the Monk was that we were not going to explore that aspect of the character. We’re going to make a Diablo Monk, and the Diablo Monk uses items.
- Diablo Wiki Monk Page