Haven't posted in this site for a while, but recently came up with the idea of an alchemist being the shape shifter. I've already looked up alchemist with the search function, but haven't found a thread with a similar idea as mine (besides the fact that the class is called alchemist). Please lock if the ideas below are redundant
For those of you who have played games where alchemy is vital (Like "The Witcher), then you would know alchemy is meant to buff you. How about instead of simply just buffing your character, an alchemist actually mutates for a brief period of time due to consumption of a made potion.
An alchemist can "harvest" from the dead body of monsters for certain ingredients, like blood, which when mixed with other ingredients would create a potion which physically transforms the alchemist into a beast with certain properties associated to the monster where the ingredient was harvested from. This allows a large range of mutations and transformations, yet giving a vast range of different play styles such as healing, tanking etc. If that is a bit far fetch, then simple consumptions of potions which allows a set number of transformations, like the druid.
The alchemist should also have the ability to randomly mix ingredients in order to discover new potions. Potions that allow health regeneration, increased light radius etc. These potions could be given to party members for consumption as well, but only some potions should be alchemists only due to balancing reasons (especially shapeshifting).
The alchemist can also brew special bombs, and temporary upgrades to weapons. For example, they can create bombs which they can attach to arrows and fire long range, or apply oils to the arrows that cause poison or slow effects. Same principle applies to melee weapons.
The only problem here would be the amount of ingredients required (which would take a lot of space) and the "mana" bar for the alchemist. My solution for this is to have special "ingredient stones" which are infinite, and are used for the brewing of potions, and also act as a regular alchemist skill like a barbarian's whirlwind. Basically they act as the base of all ingredients, therefore requiring little additional finite ingredients (such as a herb you collect in the wild) in order to brew potions. Energy (mana) is drained each time the ingredient stones are used to brew potions, and the skill tree for the alchemist would basically have an ingredient stone tree where the skills are basically ingredients stones.
Since the ingredient stones are the skills, the brewing of potions and other things would require the player to use the ingredient stones in a set order to produce a potion or bomb etc. For example, an alchemist has upgraded the skills "ingredient stone fire, ingredient stone water and ingredient stone earth". The alchemist can produce a potion of strength by using these 3 "skills" or "ingredient stones" in a certain order. So if the skillslot buttons are 1,2,3. Then to activate the "skill" or "ingredient stone" the player would have to press 1,2 or 3, and in different order to produce different results.
Of course, some ingredients should not be ingredient stones, such as ingredients from dead monsters. So the class is still required to collect ingredients instead of spamming ingredient stones.
Only problem I think is that Blizz would want a possible shapeshifting class to do it from innate ability rather than as the result of potions. The Druid was seen as in-tune with nature and with his animal instinct to the point where he could shift into a bear/wolf.
If anything they could make this character instead of an Assassin. We got Barb, Wizard and Witch Doctor (they said 5 classes at release?). I'd guess Paladin is making a comeback, along with a ranger-type character and that's our 5 for release. For expansion you can expect probably 1-2 more classes (I could see them stretching it to two expansions with 1 class each) and that's where this class could work.
I thought it would be interesting to note how after all these years this idea came up again: http://www.diablofans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161. That was posted in 2005 I hated how in Diablo II damage potions were essentially useless. If we don't get a full Alchemist class, I'd like lots of damage potions that are more useful, possibly coupled with skills. I like the Witch Doctor's strange fire Molotov so far- I think that counts in this area.