Garrett Fuller, Industry Relations

At BlizzCon
, the Ten Ton Hammer team kicked off the show by
attending the first panel
which featured the much anticipated Diablo III. Lead Designer Jay
Wilson and Technical Game Designer
Wyatt Cheng got up to talk about their new class, the Wizard. For
Diablo players, this new iconic character can be seen as a modern day
take on the Sorceress from Diablo II. However, with an arsenal of href=""
arcane power and a disintegrate ray that just does not stop
monsters, the Wizard quickly showed why she is a welcome addition to
the new Diablo III classes.

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Melted faces

Jay started off by discussing the Wizard as the nuker class. She is the
blaster, the light show cannon of wizardry that drops foes in
smoldering heaps. When building the class’s powers they took
out all elemental magic and simply made the wizard a master of time and
space with some serious arcane fire power. They wanted a caster who
could manipulate the power of the universe. No good, evil, life, fire,
or cold, the wizard works in pure magical extremes which play into the
class’s personality.

The D3 team continues to push the envelop with character design and is
creating these heroes with deep personalities to match. Character back
stories are important to immersing players into the game. The wizard is
described as the student who was too smart for her teachers. Who delved
into powerful magics because she became bored by the normal powers.
They wanted her to have an ambitious, powerful, willful feeling as she
runs through the Diablo world laying waste to enemies.

The first skill we saw from the Wizard was the Magic Missile. This is a
classic game design spell right from the early days of Dungeons
& Dragons. However, with the Diablo III graphics and physics
behind the game, the spell adds a lot more to the on screen effect in
the world. Glowing purple orbs of energy blast forth at foes as they
come from all corners of the screen. The next skill theyshowed was
Electrocute. This spell is similar to Chain Lightning and can be
enhanced by items and skill runes. It was definitely reminiscent of the
old Sorceress in Diablo II. One of the more interesting spells the
Wizard has is Stop Time. Stop Time freezes things in place as a giant
arcane orb covers the ground around the wizard. Stopping your enemies
in their tracks and picking your targets can be a critical tactic
against loads of monsters. The last skill we got a chance to see was
the shocking blast of power known as Disintegrate. This beam of power
grows stronger the longer you hold down your mouse. Needless to say the
Wizard has quite an arsenal. These are just a few of the spells shown
at BlizzCon.

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The Wizard's
Disintegrate skill will vaporize anything in her path!

After getting a full view of the Wizard, Jay and Wyatt began talking
about the overall design of the classes and how players will be able to
build their skills. The team showed several of the skill tree systems
they had been working on. They wanted something new and more
interactive for players with Diablo III. They looked at skills in
Diablo 1 and 2 as well as target="_blank">World of Warcraft’s
calculator as possible guides on how to build a strong skill tree in
Diablo III. After many versions were passed around the team, including
an insanely complex Horadric Cube skill system, the team finally
settled on trying to create a build tree that could support six to
seven active skills for a player. The team continues to work out ideas,
but rest assured the developers certainly have your best interests at

One of the great ways the Diablo team is enhancing skills is by adding
a Rune System to the game that works with character’s skills
rather than weapons and items. In Diablo 1 skills dropped from books
that players found. In Diablo 2 players built up skills on their tree.
What the Runes do is allow players to customize their skills using
drops. So classes build up their skill set and then they can turn
around and tweak out the best effects by adding different runes to each
skill slot. Imagine the possibilities. The effects of these Runes were
shown to us along with some of the Wizard’s nastier area of
effect spells. The Teleport spell was shown with an enhanced Rune of
Striking which allowed the wizard to pop around and blast enemies. Some
of the other Runes shown were the Multi-Strike Rune, and the deadly
life stealing Lethality Rune.

The team finished up the presentation by talking about the visceral
game play that Diablo III hopes to give players. Each class is
carefully examined on how it interacts with the monsters thrown at it.
Class skills impact the environment, the monsters, and even how
monsters die. The engine that runs the game is amazing. Skills shown
were the Witch Doctor’s Firebat Swarm and Plague of Toads,
also the Wizard’s Tornado spell which is just a swirling
light show of arcane doom. The more we see Diablo III the more excited
we are about the potential this game will bring to the game market
overall. Look for Cody Bye’s hands-on game play articles as
well as our video interview with the Diablo team coming up over the
next few days. 

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016