With this leaked image of Diablo II’s Necromancer class (now in both male and female flavours) the internet is alive once more with the speculation of Diablo announcements at BlizzCon. We’re only a few days out from the big event, and this image is likely the biggest reveal we’re going to get before the keynote on Friday. But what does it mean? Are we getting an expansion for Diablo III? A remake of Diablo II? Or is this evidence of a nigh unlikely impending Diablo IV announcement. My money’s on the first one, but let’s take stock of our options.
That’s the big question, and the hardest to answer right now. The Necromancer and the Amazon have been arguably the two classes which fans of Diablo have clamoured for the most, and we definitely have evidence of the Necromancer existing now, but in what kind of package will Blizzard deliver him/her to us? D3 seems to make the most sense at first thought because the game is ripe for a second expansion. Especially so after how well done Reaper of Souls was, but even with several content patches, the game is feeling a little dry for content at the moment. An expansion is arguably the easiest form to deliver content to current and returning Diablo players in while still providing Blizzard’s Diablo team with the all-necessary injection of fan money. They could go the major content patch route, but that’s not been Blizzard’s style traditionally. Except in the case of Overwatch, which does set its own precedent as to what we might expect in other Blizzard games.
In Diablo III, the role of the Necromancer seems to be mostly filled by the Witch Doctor class. It’s a pretty good argument against having the Necromancer in D3 but there is hope in unlikely places. Back in March, Blizz introduced us to Xul, the Necromancer, in their MOBA Heroes of the Storm. Xul is, specifically, the Diablo II necromancer and the art doesn’t match up. However, Xul in HOTS is a mid-ranged caster of sorts who provides a lot of area control with his spells and fights with a scythe. This could translate to a different kind of class in Diablo III rather than infringing directly on the Witch Doctor’s territory. Escaping the realm of D3, however, there has also been plenty of speculation about a remake of D2, which is unarguably the best place for the Necromancer to fit in.
Earlier this year, several American gaming news sites shared a report from South Korea’s iNews24 which claimed that Starcraft was getting an HD remaster. Blizzard has declined to comment on the story but the site is reputable and Blizzard hasn’t outright denied anything. Of course, the conversation of HD remasters wandered pretty quickly into the territory of other Blizzard games, including Diablo and Diablo II. It’s possible that we might see Diablo II getting a remake built on the same or a similar engine to Diablo III. Why based on the D3 engine? Two genders. When Diablo III came out there was a decent amount of fanfare around the fact that you could play as a male or female avatar regardless of class. An HD remaster would likely not include this feature, but a game built on the D3 engine on the other hand…
Diablo IV has been speculated about since people finished the storyline of Diablo III’s base game. And again when they finished Reaper of Souls. Necromancer art could potentially be suggesting to us that rather than an expansion for D3 or a remake of D2, we could be getting D4 instead. This is the most unlikely option on the list given that D3 isn’t that old and it still enjoys a pretty solid playerbase. Reaper of Souls only came out in 2014. That timing suggests to me one thing:
Tyrael says it all the time in D3 these days. It’s a cryptic phrase that suggests to many, myself included, that the journey of the Nephalem is not yet concluded in Diablo 3. Not to mention that the timing of an expansion announcement set for a 2017 release seems fairly apt given that Reaper of Souls is now a couple of years old. The game still gets regular updates but they’ve been noticeably slimmer since the content patches we received a few seasons back.
Now here’s the kicker though: Skovos is home of the Amazon whereas the Necromancers hail from the eastern reaches of Sanctuary. That isn’t to say, of course, that the game can’t send us to the Skovos Isles (or a place threatened by whatever threatens the Skovos isles) with a character from a different place. But Necromancer aside, it would be a waste to not also include the Amazon class, no?
BlizzCon starts this Friday, November 4th and we’ll definitely know more then. I love Diablo so expect to hear about whatever they announce!