The lights are on
I know, I know, it's not "Diablo III Beta Started – Get Your Key Now!" We have to make do with what Blizzard gives us. Read on for the nuances of the follower system, but the big surprise is that they're unavailable in multiplayer.
Followers in Diablo III take the place of mercenaries from Diablo II: non-player characters that autonomously support you in combat. The system is unsurprisingly much more developed than the often kludgy mercenaries. Rather than choosing between hilariously imbalanced (life leeching unhittable barbarians) and pointless (mages that die in two hits and have all the firepower of a Super Soaker), you can develop your companions into customized support roles.
Followers aren't intended to contribute a lot to your direct damage, though you can make up for that to some extent with equipment and skill selection. Instead, each of the three followers primarily helps you out in a less face-smashing but still useful way. The templar can perform moderate tanking, the scoundrel can distract and misdirect your foes, and the enchantress can confuse their minds with her spells.
Eirena, the enchantress
Part of a mysterious band of women led by an
enigmatic prophet who she says is training them to prevent the end of
the world, Eirena shares the same goal as the player. However, with the
prophet and her sisters missing, Eirena is on her own until she meets up
with you. In battle, the enchantress focuses on buffing the player
while debuffing opponents with a variety of status effects.
All three followers will join you along the adventure's critical path. Unlike the BioWare approach, they don't hand out sidequests or dramatically alter the path of the story. You can dig into their backstories by chatting with them in camp, but it's all lore fluff – you won't unlock an uber skill or a secret dungeon for doing so.
Though you can have just one follower active at a time, the other two hang out at your camp, conveniently sitting near your waypoint, and can be switched out for no cost. Respeccing them is a nominal gold fee, which goes up as you level but that Blizzard intends to be minor relative to your wealth at any stage of the game. Instead of dying and costing you a hefty resurrection fee, they get KO'ed at zero health and can be revived for free after the battle.
Kormac, the templar
The templar order, like Diablo II's
paladins, is dedicated to the eradication of evil in Sanctuary. Unlike
those noble warriors, the templar also believe in the enrichment and
empowerment of themselves. Once you rescue Kormac from a double-cross by
a corrupted templar, he assists you in melee with his shield and spear.
You can specialize each of the three followers between twelve skills that come in groups of three. Possibly more importantly, you can equip them with weapons, jewelry, and a class-specific item to customize their capabilities. Much of any Diablo character's power is tied to their equipment, and followers will be no different.
Followers cannot be controlled at all, not even with MMO-esque "aggressive/defensive/passive" commands. Blizzard toyed with the idea, but decided that those controls didn't mesh at all with fast-paced Diablo combat. Instead, the developers have focused their efforts on improving follower AI. Your adventure buddies will react to situations, like the enchantress casting a missile shield spell when facing archers or healing you when you're wounded. Follower behavior also changes depending on what skills you've given them, so hopefully a damage-specced templar will naturally be more aggressive than a defensively focused one.
Lyndon, the scoundrel
A disgraced member of the
Kingsport thieves guild, Lyndon will flirt with anything remotely female
and steal anything not bolted down. In exchange for your protection
from his murderous former guild, Lyndon will happily shoot your foes
with his heavy crossbow, use poison and distraction to cripple your
enemies, and increase your chances of finding valuable gems and jewelry.
The follower system, like everything about Diablo III, is subject to change between now and release. If Blizzard is going into this much detail on it, though, you can place a pretty safe bet that the final design will be close if not identical. I'm dismayed that followers are disabled in multiplayer, since an effective, complementary merc in Diablo II could be a big part of your character. At the same time, the rest of the plan sounds great. Even if Blizzard is still dodging the question about secret lightning hoses.
This game looks great!
Understandable they wouldn't be in multiplayer, since, you know, it's multiplayer.
Screenshots look great, video was great. I'm curious as to why the follower's descriptions were just kinda tossed in at random places in the article though.
Wow, followers sound way cooler than mercenaries in my opinion. It's too bad they're only in single player, though :( Who plays single player Diablo when they could do multi?
VERY EXCITED FOR THIS TO ACTUALLY COME OUT. HUGE DIABLO FAN
idk if its cause the hd graphics or what but this game just doesn't look like like diablo :/ doesn't seem dark n doomy at all granted its been many many years since i played diablo 2 so ya know
only real thing thats disappointing besides this gruesome waiting period for the thing to finally go beta is the fact its drm software. still do not like the model blizzard/activision wants to monitor your own personal games.
this is taking way to long and the hype is actually getting boring.. i know longer jump in excited when i read a diablo 3 article. im sure it'll get better but the waiting period has already killed the hype of this game.
/boring wow new npc's to control.. is this new? nope.. is this really a must buy? not yet..
Man... I really do not like the way this game looks. Maybe it's because this is the first Diablo game in 3D and it's hard getting used to, but still... ugh, this does not look good.
I was excited about Diablo 3 like 8 years ago. I've since moved out of state, got married, had a kid, and started a career. Basically I went on with my life and my excitement for D3 is a distant memory. At this point there are just too many other tremendous games to play or look forward to, and I don't even have a gaming PC. There was a time I would have sold one of my kidneys to upgrade my computer to play it, but that is over now.
Still waiting... This game better deliver, cause they've been working on it for over a decade now. I have absolute faith in Blizz, but if this game doesn't come through, it may become shaken.
I will be buying this on the day it comes out. Also, I'm hoping to get my hands on the BETA.
I will be buying this game the day it comes out.
reminds me of the original fable lol. loved that game so well se how it compares to it and the diablo 2