Diablo III “Demon Hunter” Class – Everything You Need to Know


After Diablo III’s Demon Hunter class was announced at BlizzCon, the D3 team sat down for the “Hero Emerges” panel, and unloaded a metric ton of in-depth info on the vicious dual crossbow-wielding lady.

If you’re looking for a bunch of information on the Demon Hunter, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve highlighted some of our key takeaways (along with concept art) from the panel for you below.

If you want more info, check out Blizzard’s official exhaustive panel recap here, the official Demon Hunter class page, and you’ll probably also want to take a look at my hands-on preview of the Demon Hunter.

The Panelists:

  • Game Director Jay Wilson
  • Art Director Christian Lichtner
  • Lead Character Artist Paul Warzecha
  • Lead World Designer Leonard Boyarsky
  • Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng
  • Lead Content Designer Kevin Martens
  • Lead Technical Artist Julian Love

General Overview

From the get-go, the team knew they wanted a convential ranged class in the Demon Hunter, but with a twist: she would sport a bounty-hunter vibe, specializing in gadgets and traps. This would fill out a “natural archetype” in the available classes, and would fit well within the Diablo universe.

But that wasn’t enough. The team wanted her to be able to do “fantastical” moves, so they gave her access to “shadow magic.” This is what powers her (very, very useful) Vault skill–a acrobatic dance-dodge that allows for fast escapes.

She is also more knowledgeable about demons than anyone else in Diablo, and she’ll do anything it takes to hunt them down–even dabble in dark magic.

Artistic Metamorphosis

Art Director Christian Lichtner took over at this point, to discuss the Demon Hunter’s artistic metamorphasis.

Initially, the Demon Hunter looked very, very different. She was initially a “woodland ranger,” almost like Aragorn.

This was nowhere near “deadly enough.” To compensate, they added a strong melee influence to the Demon Hunter, in the form of short swords and daggers. The problem here, was she didn’t really feel like a “ranged” class anymore. She was changing into a full on melee class. It still wasn’t right.

Demonic Demon Hunter?

The next batch of concepts for the Demon Hunter transformed her into an actual demon…that hunts demons. The problem with this concept that emerged right away, was that Diablo characters “need to be human.” You need to be able to identify with the characters, on a human level.

Their next solution? Make her “half-demon.” She then looked like an assassin, but with a big ugly “demon arm,” which she could use in melee situations. They were getting closer.

Next, they focused on her armor, transforming the regular assassin look with the sleek, tight-fitting leather armor she currently has.

Finally, they got rid of the demon arm, gave her dual-crossbows, her cowl, and solidified her image as a dark, predatory, sexy bounty hunter. Below is the final concept they landed on.

Character Design

Paul Warzecha, Lead Character Artist on D3, took over at this point. First, Paul explained why they went with a “sexy” look for the Demon Hunter. They had the disciplined Monk, the creepy Witch Docor, the barbaric Barbarian, the Wizard–basically, they felt they needed someone who was physically attractive.

Paul assured the women the crowd: “Don’t worry. We’re working the male version of the Demon Hunter, and he’ll be equally attractive.”

Gearing Up:
Next, Paul discussed the difficulties in leveling up the Demon Hunter’s gear, since one of her main accouterments is the cowl. How do you upgrade a cowl? The concept art we saw did seem to accomplish this, though. It started out as a simple cowl, and progressively got thicker, more ornate, until the final version which looked like giant cowl-horns, pictured below.

The Demon Hunter’s other main areas of upgradeability are her scarf, her legs, and her arm guards–which help her silouette pop a little more.

Demon Hunter Psychology

Leonard Boyarsky, Lead World Designer, walked us through the Demon Hunter’s psychology, or as he put it, her “lore.”

What drives a Demon Hunter, you ask? Simple: her thirst for revenge, and her unquencheable desire to hunt and kill demons. They can come from any walk of life, but they are all bound by this obssession. Demon Hunters are not born, they are made. When the Demon Hunter was young, her town was destroyed by demons, and she was recruited and trained by other Demon Hunters.

She has no home. She’s nomadic, and spends all her time chasing down demons. She actually wants demons to “feel fear,” the same fear that demons inflict on humans.

Furthermore, the Demon Hunter is the only class that truly understands what is at stake in the spiritual battle occuring within Sanctuary. Ther other classes have their own reasons for fighting the forces of evil, most for personal gain. The Demon Hunter, though, fully understands the gravity of the situation, and will stop at nothing to ensure that Diablo does not gain a foothold in Sanctuary.

Demon Hunter Skills

Wyatt Cheng, Technical Game Designer on D3, took over to discuss the Demon Hunter’s skills. Here’s a brief description of each of the skills he highlighted. You’ll find descriptions of how some of these work in actual gameplay in my full hands-on article as well.

Bola Shot:
It shoots out a bola that wraps itself around the enemy, and then explodes. It’s designed to feel “tactical.”

Vault:
A basic “teleport” skill, but infused with shadow magic. It’s an acrobati escape move, that allows the Demon Hunter to quickly get out of sticky situations.

Spike Trap:
Sells the “gadgets” and “shadow” aspect of the Demon Hunter.
She throws down spike traps (which resemble bear traps), which when enemies walk on them. Spike Traps have a pretty large area of effect.

Grenades:
Sells the “gadgets” and “ranged” aspects of the Demon Hunter. She throws big, ball-shaped grenades, which actually bounce thanks to the 3d engine. It emphasives her ranged, gagetes, and “clever planning” traits.

Multishot:
You might remember this skill from Diablo II, but it’s been ramped up and made better here.
It simply shoots out a bunch of bolts at once, in a spray.

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1 Comment on Diablo III “Demon Hunter” Class – Everything You Need to Know

keklolgloat

On June 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

The blizz guys didn’t say it (to my knowledge) but this feature was inspired by the Sin War Trilogy by Richard A. Knaak.

In the first book there is a high-priest (Malic) of a demonic sect that is speaking to his demon-god master(Primus aka. Lucion, son of Mephisto).

“Still holding Malic’s hand in his own, the Primus nodded. “Yes…you do…and to remind you of that, I give you a lasting gift.

The high priest screamed anew as his trapped appendage flared as if on fire. To his shock and dismay, it then twisted and curled, transforming. Gone was the soft flesh and sinew and in it’s place a thing warped and dripping green. Thick scaled scored the limb well past the wrist. The fingers gnarled and clawed, the last two digits fusing together to become one.”

There you have it, straight from the Diablo lore they took the demon arm concept, even if they won’t admit it. It is there. Your welcome.

I highly recommend the Sin War trilogy as well.