Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Case Study No. 0423: The Archivist (Diablo 3)

Diablo 3 Archivist April Fool 2009
New Character Class released: Archivist
April Fool 2009 for D3

have fun :)

(c) Blizzard Entertainment

http://www.blizzard.com/ diablo3/ characters/ archivist.xml
Tags: diablo iii april fool aprils day archivist archivar
Added: 3 years ago
From: xZalex90
Views: 153,009

From diablowiki.net:

The Archivist is the newest class to be introduced to Diablo 3. The Archivist is a ferocious loremaster and librarian, Having unlimited knowledge of books, and all the secrets withing them, Constantly seeking to prove once and for all that the Pen is mightier than the sword. Hailing from the Darkened Studies of Westmarch, this frail man is a force to be reckoned with.

Please note! This class is part of Blizzard's April Fool's event 2009, and is not a "real" class.

Character Introduction

He is meant to expand on the character of Deckard Cain, and will be able to Stay awhile and listen. Abd al-Hazir Has written about archivists in his series as his 41st entry:

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.

Archivist Skills

Four skills were revealed along with the Archivist character. There are screenshots and videos for all of the skills; click to the specific pages for more coverage. Below is a short description of each.

* Book Vision: Makes tome on screen glow a golden color. Just because.
* Lorenado: A Tornado of books ripple out from the Archivist, ripping apart anything it strikes.
* Quest Bolt: Fires a golden exclamation mark projectile. Enemies hit by the Quest Bolt are frozen with the "!" remaining over their heads.
* Shush: The Archivist's most powerful spell, this one silences and destroys every monster on the screen. Sadly, it also causes the Archivist to explode an instant later.

Role in the game

Bashiok has announced the role of the Archivist as well as explain the Archivist's Unique "Radial Dialogue Tree" in the game by posting in the forums:

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.

* Is there a way to prevent dying at the end of Shush? Also, are you going to include new element - paper damage?

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.

* I don't think it gives enough spell control. As you can see on the bottom of the radial diologue screenshot, it's at page 3/7, and having to click through said pages would take too much time.

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.

* Quest Bolt: I wonder if this is how random quests are implemented. If so, then everyone will want an Archivist in their party so that they can quickly look for the best quests to do...

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 :P). 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.

* While gazing upon screenshots of this new class I noticed a brain floating in water where the mana orb is located. Is this an updated version of the mana orb, or is this by chance new system, such as the barbarian's fury system?

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.

Behind the Scenes Information

More than a year after the Archivist was revealed, Blizzard added some additional information about the joke via their Facebook page:

Remember the Archivist? One of our 2009 April Fool's jokes as a new character class in Diablo III. Some things you may not know about this joke ...

It's journal entry "0041" or 4/1, also known as April 1st.
The Archivist was originally called The Lorekeeper.
In the "Shush" skill video a piece of wood falls right as the Archivist explodes, but it wasn't a planned part of the explosion.
The original concept of the joke was to create a Deckard Cain class, a frail old man more concerned with reading books than fighting, and so the existing Deckard Cain model was used for all of the website assets. Including an animated version sporting dyed hair and an eyepatch.

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