Out of the darkened studies of Westmarch emerges the archivist, Diablo III’s newest playable class. Proving once and for all that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, the archivist fights not only to save Sanctuary’s future, but its past as well.
To find out more, visit the brand-new archivist information page to read the latest excerpt from the journal of Abd al-Hazir and see some of the archivist’s powers in action. We’ve also expanded the media galleries with one new piece of artwork and two new screenshots.
He holds the power of well.. tomes. His arsenal includes some very useful and deadly spells like:
Shush- Find the silence within you or die by the power of his words.
Lorenado – The deadly swirling force of tomes, scrolls and knowledge.
Quest Bolt – Those without purpose are frozen at the daunting destiny that lies ahead.
Book Vision – One should not ever pass up on an opportunity to learn.
The Archivist’s resource is called knowledge. It is replenished by researching scrolls or tomes and soaking up all the knowledge in them. Book Vision allows him to easily spot sources in his surroundings.
“Out of the darkened studies of Westmarch emerges the archivist. Proving once and for all that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, the archivist fights not only to save Sanctuary’s future, but its past as well.”
The Archivist class was revealed to be the fourth class in 2009. It turned out to be an April Fools joke, a good one. It was very convincing considering all the time they invested in the creation of all the details and graphics. The model was based on the Deckard Cain with some minor tweaks and an eye patch.
"In my writings, I have recounted stories of the barbarians and their endless battles with the demons of the frozen north, and devoted pages to the wizards of Caldeum who harness the primal forces of reality. But the might of these heroes is nothing compared to the power of the archivists of Westmarch. These brave souls wade into battle wielding tome and quill, armored not in ensorcelled plate or links of chain, but in the knowledge of generations past. These archivists fight not only for our future, but for our past as well. I first encountered an archivist in the ruins of the great city of Travincal. While exploring one of the long-abandoned temples, I was drawn by the flickering of faint torchlight through a distant doorway, and then, as I crept nearer, by the sound of a voice. There was a feeling in the air of danger near at hand, an electricity that made the hairs on my neck rise. I inched forward, breath caught in my throat, grateful for the safety of the hallway's long shadows. Then I saw him. He was surrounded, the looming shapes of his foes bearing down upon him. His hair was unkempt and frazzled, his calloused hands cut and stained. But he had an air of supreme confidence, of a submerged violence that threatened to explode into being. He leapt forward, his hands grabbing for the leather bindings of his nearest enemy. The archivist's eyes searched for an opening, a weakness. His hands wrenched suddenly about his adversary and a sickening crack pierced the still air. Its spine broken, the book lay unmoving in the archivist's now gentle grip. As he lifted its lifeless form into the dim light, the pages of the ancient tome fell open, the secrets of the text laid bare. I remember the words he read, the religious fervor of his voice: "Here begins the first chronicle of the life of holy Akarat, prophet of Zakarum...." And on the shelves that stood all around him, tome after tome waited. I have the utmost respect for the archivists, these warriors of myth and legend. We know their names: Alimet Two Quills, master of illumination with both left and right hand; Morienne the Scrivener, a midwife whose poetry stole the hearts of kings and brought tyrants to tears; and Salazar Cid, the Master Transcriber of Gea Kul, whose bombastic penmanship is known in all the lands of the Twin Seas and beyond. But these are only a chosen few. The members of their honored fraternity are many, and their numbers grow every day. In the dark days that I fear are yet to come, much will be decided by sword and axe, with steel and spell, but I believe that in scroll and tome our survival lies" - Adb Al-Hazir
There’s really no set way to go about it. This year though we (me and the D3 guys) wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to put out something that was media-intensive, movies, art, screenshots, etc. That all takes a lot of planning and time to execute when you’re working between a few departments. All I knew is I wanted it to be as cool as the Tauren-marine page was last year, if not cooler.
So we started very early, like back in February. It wasn’t really very formal to start, I was just kicking ideas around with an old buddy of mine some of you may remember from the old Battle.net days, NathanL, who is now a producer on Diablo III. The idea of a class reveal was obvious. It came down to making sure it was media intensive, with a bare minimum of impact on the team’s current work flow. We couldn’t have artists and animators pulled off the game to make unique models and textures for a one-off joke. So he threw out the idea of using Cain, who already had a near-full animation set, and making it some sort of weak class. The ideas just sort of flowed from there. What if a Cain-like character was a class? An old guy that liked to research and identify items, etc.
Originally we called it the Lore Master, then later I threw out Archivist. We had a few official meetings with production schedules and boring stuff and laid out all the ideas we wanted to hit with the media on the site. It all sort of went from there. Julian threw together the effects for Lorenado in, I swear, like 15 minutes. It was amazing. The DVD production guys shot all the video, hitting all the major points for what we wanted in each one. Mike Nicholson did the screenshots. Michael Chu wrote the lore. Phroilan Gardner did the concept piece. Everything goes through approval processes and translations. The web team puts everything together and runs a soft terrycloth towel over it, makes it all sparkly and nice looking. Finally, it’s released, and we all breath a sigh of relief.
It took about three months of dedicated planning and development from the entire team to produce the archivist. We stayed late every night, crunching to make sure the joke was…
Nah, about four or five hours of developer time. It was Deckard Cain with a few edited effects. Most of the actual work for these things is done by our web team and DVD production group, who deserve a lot of the credit. Oh and the sound team for making the videos sound pretty, and Phroi Gardner for making the awesome concept art.
That’s the archivist’s resource system, currently (and lovingly) referred to as Knowledge. It’s used for most actions, same as mana or fury, and is replenished by researching the scrolls and tomes that lay around the world. One way to make this easier on the player is through the use of Book Vision, which highlights all available Knowledge resources in the area.
Obviously it’s an early implementation, but again we wanted to show the general direction and flow of the archivist skills.
The design of the quest bolt skill as it is now, when you cast quest bolt at an enemy the enemy stops and becomes a quest giver (hopefully that was obvious from the video ). You can then talk to them, and based on a few factors like their race, creature type, and gender, they have a pool of randomized quests you can accept from them.
Once a creature becomes a quest giver, it can’t be killed by anyone in your party. As the quests are based around the archivist, he’s the only one that can accept the quests. The quests generally don’t offer material rewards, but instead give the archivist and player what the class is all about, and that’s learning. You’ll get far more insight into the world and past of Sanctuary than anyone else, but of course the trade off is being ill-equipped to fight or defend yourself very well.
The arrow keys on the keyboard can be used to swap through pages quickly, and we’re thinking right now about allowing some type of alt+scroll wheel option to also quickly flip through pages but that hasn’t been implemented yet so don’t quote me on it.
A lot of the radial dialogue menu is about learning. Much like a new language or musical instrument, it takes time to train your brain and motor reflexes to hit the correct pronunciation/note/etc. Once you learn the ‘language’ of the radial dialogue menu, much of spell casting becomes second nature.
For instance, to begin casting a spell you choose page 1 option “Let’s begin…”, this activates the spell casting sequence. Then throughout each page you’ll have multiple spell options. Since we’ve shown off Lorenado let’s go with that one. To select Lorenado as your spell cast you then move to page 4, and select “Fetch me my shawl!” which begins the spell cast. Then you select four additional options that determine the spell length, distance, strength, and effect, from the over three hundred potential options throughout the radial selection screens (potentially expanded through item drops), and finally you finish the spell cast by going back to page 1 and choosing “Let’s go.” So it’s really an intuitive and easy process, not to mention powerful!, once you memorize the options on each page.
Shush has been extremely controversial internally, we weren’t actually going to show it off because it’s still so early in design, but we felt it was an important enough part of the class to give an idea of the direction the skills are heading.
It’s a powerful spell. Bottom line. You can see it in the video, it causes terrible, terrible damage to anyone within view of the archivist. To balance it, after Shush has ended, you explode. You do have a few seconds to continue playing though before exploding, and that can be extended with skill points. Also any creatures killed by shush will only drop health globes. It may seem a bit harsh but I’ve been playing and using it for a while now, and I can say plays out really well and it’s a lot of fun.
We’re really excited to finally announce the Archivist!
His design stems from you guys, the players, so it’s really about “fan service” if you will. At BlizzCon and WWI we were receiving question after question “Can we play as Deckard Cain?” and “Please let me play as Deckard Cain” and “Deckard Cain should be a playable class” and on and on. So we thought, obviously we can’t have you play as Cain, he’s an important part of the story already, but what if we take the essence that is Cain… ‘eau de Deckard’… and make a new type of character class. And we’re really proud to be able to offer a first glimpse to you today, and say thank you for your loyal support.
He has a much stronger focus on lore, learning, research, and knowledge. He’s obviously quite frail but he does carry some interesting spells into battle. All of his spells, as well as discussion with NPCs is carried out through the Radial Dialogue Tree, which is one of the major game systems we’ve been hinting at for a while now. It allows the archivist unprecedented control over his spells, as well as the inflection of his speech, body language, grammar, and cantankerousness which all figure in to a successful conversation. It’s an amazing new system that no one has tried before, and really sets Diablo III apart as the premiere action-RPG of this lifetime.