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Creating The Diablo MMO: Classes, Dungeons, And Raids All Around Sanctuary
“Diablo clone” is a general term, really. If you loot and pillage dungeons then it doesn’t matter if you do so in 2d or 3d, you’re still a “Diablo clone”. There have been many over the years and while some gain some sort of fame amongst gamers there is still one king that rules above all.
Blizzard’s dark fantasy series has captivated dungeon crawlers for years. While Diablo 3 may have not been the penultimate sequel we always wanted, it still provided another journey into the still mysterious world of Sactuary.
Currently, another “Diablo clone” is marching its way to release. Gazillion is gearing up Marvel Heroes, an MMO, for a June release and is celebrating an open beta weekend due to the release of Iron Man 3. If there is one thing that Marvel Heroes has already done it is prove that the dungeon crawler genre is ready for the massive online aspect. Multiplayer has always been a part of these games as we join lobbies and games to kill hordes of enemies on our way to chests and troves. However, Marvel Heroes takes this to a much bigger degree by adding in MMO aspects such as public areas, gathering hubs and towns, group dungeons, and endgame content. This has fueled my want for the king of loot to do the same. I want a Diablo MMO.
World Of Sanctuary?
Blizzard has their hands full with World of Warcraft, Project Titan, Hearthstone, StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void, and whatever the Diablo 3 expansion will be called. However, for all we know, Project Titan could in fact be an MMO based on their existing franchises. It could be World of Warcraft 2. It could be Worlds of StarCraft. Could it be World of Sanctuary? I doubt that would be the name, however, a Diablo MMO isn’t a far off thought.
Using the Diablo 3 engine and design, Blizzard could take out what they need and input an online system that brings players together outside of a chat window and finally face-to-face as they tackle the evils of the world. Diablo is chock full of lore and places we have never been to. The story could be a bit tricky since we’ve now felled Diablo three times and the rest of the Evils have been taken down. What could possibly be next? How about go to the source? Why not revive Tathamet?
For those who aren’t completely familiar with Diablo lore, Tathamet is the Prime Evil. Embodying all darkness and evil, Tathamet was a seven-headed dragon that fought against Anu long before the story of Diablo even started. From Tathamet’s demise, the seven heads became the seven Evils: Diablo, Mephisto, Baal, Andariel, Durial, Belial, and Azmodan.
With Diablo absorbing all of the other Evils into himself, he effectively became the Prime Evil but did not possess the amazing power of the god-like Tathamet. With the essence of the Prime Evil lost with Diablo’s demise in Diablo 3, it is entirely possible that it sunk deep within the Hells and ressurected the spirit of Tathamet who then began the rituals needed to become whole once again.
While Tathamet is ressurecting, he’ll need an army. He could recreate the Evils and give them dominion over parts of Sanctuary to find items he’ll need for the rituals. However, he could also create new Evils to replace those who have repeatedly failed against the heroes on Sanctuary. The only issue with this is that fans will be looking for the Diablo name and character. Without him the product could fail.
If Tathamet brings the evils back and sets them loose on Sanctuary then that would be the perfect story arc for characters to travel the world in order to stop them. Each region would have several zones inside of them and at the end players would go up against an Evil. The first bout of endgame content would be stopping the rest of the Evils before confronting Tathamet’s spirit or possibly unfinished and half-ressurected body.
That’s just the first arc of a Diablo MMO. There are many other storylines that Blizzard could conjure up, as they always do.
As for a name? World of Sanctuary just doesn’t really work but perhaps Diablo: Sanctuary? I sincerely doubt Blizzard would ever use Diablo Online.
Becoming An Online Nephalem
When it comes to classes in a Diablo MMO, you might think that they already have them. You’d be right. However, in Blizzard fashion, they all need to have unique specializations and role for parties. We aren’t going to go Guild Wars 2 here and throw out the party structure and tell players to “keep themselves alive”.
For classes in a Diablo MMO, it would be smart of Blizzard to get as many as possible in at start in order to get the “usual suspects” out of the way. That means players can look forward to seeing what Blizzard could conjure up next in terms of class experiences and powers. Some classes from the older games conflict with some Diablo 3 additions. That means we’ll have to sacrifice some. Here’s what I believe to be the best line-up for starting classes in a Diablo MMO.
Female only. Roles: DPS. Specs: Archery, Thrown, Elemental.
Amazon’s are the queens of ranged combat. They can spec into Archery which gives them full command over bows and crossbows. Their use of arrows can help deal damage to single-targets or an entire area of enemies. Amazons can choose to specialize in thrown weapons instead of bows. Thrown weapons such as javelins, shurikens, and knives can be used to puncture enemies and bleed them over time. Elemental Amazons tip their weapons in magic-dipped arrowheads that allow them to assault enemies with fire, ice, and lightning.
Roles: DPS. Specs: Stealth, Arms, Traps.
Assassins are masters of damage and control of the battlefield. Aside from providing high burst damage they can also specialize in Traps which makes them invaluable in combat. Trap Master Assassins can take players off the board as the parties engage in combat or ensure pain and suffering if they enter a trap-laden area. Stealth Assassins hide in the shadows to take advantage strikes against weary opponents. Their quick strikes and masterful footwork makes them hard targets to see or defeat. Arms Master Assassins take pride in being unique from the others. They can wield many different weapons and couple speed with impact while sacrificing subtlety for a sure strike.
Roles: DPS, Tank. Specs: Warbred, Gloryhound, Guardian.
Barbarians are towering behemoths that use the high risk, high reward method of living and battling. Warbred Barbarians excel in dual wielding weapons for extra quickness in battle. Warbreds care not for intimidation and are just wanton for the slaughter of their enemies. Gloryhound Barbarians intimidate their foes and empower their allies with fierce shouts as they roam the battlefield with their massive weapons. Guardian Barbarians enjoy pain and through it they become stronger. Guardians use massive weapons and adrenaline to defend their allies through the hardest of battles.
Roles: DPS, Healer, Tank. Specs: Werewolf, Werebear, Elemental.
Druids are nature’s allies before any other. Given their mastery over the wilds, Druids are some of the most versatile warriors in all of Sanctuary. Werewolf Druids transform into bloodthirsty beasts that carve their way through enemies. Werebears are titans of defense that can withstand most attacks that come their way. Elemenal Druids focus on the control that nature has given them as they conjure up wind, fire, lightning, and ice.
Roles: DPS, Healer. Specs: Chi Master, Telekinesis, Martial Artist.
Monks are masters of body, mind, and spirit. Through mastery of the body, Martial Artists string together combos that are lightning quick and slow down enemies. Their prowess can help command the field of battle as well as destroy it. Telekinesis helps the Monk utilize the untapped skills of the mind as they throw about force that pummel and push enemies around them. Chi Masters are one with the spirit as they channel their health and patience into their allies. Chi Masters can also corrupt their health and send it to enemies in order to protect themselves at a risk.
Roles: DPS, Tank. Specs: Bone Conjurer, Undead Master, Corruptor.
Necromancers are fel warriors that rely on the undead and corrupted to fuel their powers. Bone Conjurers create constructs made of bones and have high survivability. Their use of offensive and defense relies on the strength of their bone constructs. Undead Masters flood the field of battle with their risen minions. These death generals have amazing area damage as they demoralize their enemies through constant replenishing of the undead army. Corruptors feed on the death of the things around them. They send forth corruption that travels through the ground, air, enemies, and even allies to reach even the furthest foe. They rely on damage over time so as the battle continues, more foes drop to their knees out of disease and creeping death.
Roles: DPS, Tank, Healer. Specs: Faithful, Paragon, Avatar.
Paladins are the righteous soldiers that feed off of their faith and the rewards granted to them by their deities. Faithful Paladins are masters of support and Auras. They bless themselves and their allies so they can be stronger and live longer. Paragons are the living wills of the gods. Unbreakable, Paragons shield their allies from the evils on the battlefield. Avatars are symbols of the gods that portray their terrible wrath. Through the light Avatars tear through their foes with righteous fury.
Roles: DPS. Specs: Arcane, Frostfire, Timeless.
Wizards are the masters of magic. They reign down destruction and fury unlike any other on the battlefield. Arcane Wizards channel their fury through orbs that empower the unbridled magic to dispel amongst their enemies. Frostfire Wizards take the common schools of Fire and Ice and combine them into a highly potent power that only those of extreme focus can even hope to control. Timeless Wizards are feared among the others as they have taken mastery over time, a forbidden school of magic. These Timeless ones are able to stop enemies in their tracks, excel age, drown foes in the sands of time, and even summon fiends from the timestream to attack their enemies.
Delving Deep Into Sanctuary
Content is extremely important in these games and a Diablo MMO should never be short on it.
As I mentioned above, the world would be divided into regions and each region would have multiple zones for leveling, dungeons, and raids. Each region is controlled by an Evil of Tathamet and they can only be fought in raids. However, I was always a fan of how throughout Wrath of the Lich King Arthas was a constant presence. From level 70 to 80 the hatred for Arthas grew in every player so when Icecrown Citadel came out you really wanted to take him down. The same should happen in a Diablo MMO. Regions and their story arcs should incorporate the Evils as you get closer and closer to raiding their keeps.
One thing I never liked was how raids were only for endgame players. Face it, not every player reached the top level but maybe they would if they experienced some epic content as they leveled. Perhaps the first region would take players from level 1 to 20 and at level 20 they can queue up for a 10-man raid on one of the Evil’s keeps. Then, at top level, players can experience the same raid but powered up to be challenging for endgame with better rewards. This means players will be able to collect armor sets and cool weapons at an early level. Maybe they could even go on long quest chains to improve those weapons to be usable at top level, much like the ilvl 502 weapons in World of Warcraft.
Dungeons are also important and there should be at least 2-3 in every region. In the first region I would think that by level 12 you would have a good grasp on your class. So at level 12 you queue up for the first dungeon which is quick and easy. At level 18 there’s another dungeon tooled to specifically help you get to level 20 quicker and then lead right into the first raid.
No matter what this kind of Diablo MMO would have players stay busy from first level to the last experiencing everything from fetch quests to 10-man raids.
Bringing Terror Online
Project Titan most likely isn’t the Diablo MMO I’m hoping for, however, I hope this has shown you how feasible that idea is. Marvel Heroes took the first shot and for the most part, it worked. Blizzard should take advantage of the players who are playing that game who want to experience an MMO loot fest from the masters. I like Marvel Heroes, I do, however I’d kill for a Diablo MMO. I’d kill thousands of demons.
Sanctuary is filled with mysteries waiting for us to uncover them. Let us do that but how about letting us bring our friends and guildmates along for the ride? Tristram has been in all three Diablo games. How about use it again, but this time as a quest hub in a Diablo MMO?