The basic premise behind Blizzard’s new Diablo III Monk class was to create a character that felt like a fighting game character. On a conceptual level, he combines the look and feel of an Eastern Orthodox monk with an Asian monk of the staff-fighting and martial arts variety. He’s a religious, spiritual warrior that takes the fight to Sanctuary’s demons on the side of good. They take their dedication to the cause very seriously, spending an entire lifetime tattooing their 1,001 gods on their backs. Diablo III’s Monks are part of a highly structured, theocratic society, a Lawful Good sort of people if you’ll pardon the Dungeons & Dragons reference.
The next move we were shown was Crippling Wave. It’s a way for the Monk to counteract his core weakness and archetype: He’s a fragile character, but makes up for this by being fast. The first stage of the attack slows enemies down, snaring them and making them easier to hit. The second stage is a debuff that lowers the amount of damage dealt. The final stage refreshes the previous buffs, allowing them to be maintained over the course of a protracted battle.
From a gameplay perspective, the Monks are built around abilities that make heavy use of fighting game-style combo attacks. This combo system is intended to add depth to melee moves. Attacks will chain into different abilities in stages, and each stage will be visually distinct. One of the moves that was unveiled is named Way of the Hundred Fists. The stage one attack dashes towards enemies, engaging them from range. Stage two unleashes multiple strikes in rapid succession. The final third stage is an area effect attack, perfect for attacking grouped enemies.
What makes this staged-attack combo chain system unique, when compared to previous Diablo abilities, is that the different attacks are all tied to a single attack power, or a single mouse button click. Diablo is a heavily mouse-driven game, but the designers run up against the challenge of providing a wide variety of attacks with only a left- or right- mouse-click available (outside of hot-key switching).
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The hero recovers the sword pieces from the Khazra Den and the Drowned Temple, opposed by the witch Maghda, leader of the local cult known as the Dark Coven. Maghda, however, recovers the third piece before the protagonist does and attempts to force Cain to repair the sword. Leah, however, kills the cultists with a surge of magical power, forcing Maghda to kill Cain and flee with the stranger. Cain, before dying, repairs the sword and tasks the protagonist with returning it to the stranger, revealing that the sword is angelic in nature. The protagonist pursues Maghda into the bowels of King Leoric’s dilapidated torture chambers underneath his manor, rescuing the stranger and returning to him his sword after a violent fight with the Butcher, a powerful demon. The stranger’s memories are recovered, and it is revealed that he is the Archangel Tyrael, the Aspect of Justice. Disgusted with his fellow angels’ unwillingness to protect humanity from the forces of Hell, Tyrael cast aside his divinity to become a mortal and warn Sanctuary about the arrival of the demon lords Belial (Lord of Lies) and Azmodan (Lord of Sin).