I did not read all 11 pages, but I wana get in on this thread. So i say to the OP, interesting post, i would have to agree that all of the classes so far seem to have some type of ranged attack or atleast a way to close the distance swiftly as to get into melee range. I consider the Amazon from Diablo 2 to be a ranged class, i think most people do, b/c she most effectively uses bows/javs. But man was CS ever powerful, anything that got close to a good light queen javazon was ashes, give er take a few immune monsters. but she had melee skills to deal with those as well. Hell, i never had a melee class that could take out Diablo as fast as my Light queen could, and she used melee attacks to do it. But, I still consider her to be a primarily ranged class. Anyway, i just wanted to argue for no apparent reason, for the sake of it as they say i guess.
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When or if I get to Lut Gholein, Im going to find the largest bowl of Narlant weed and smoke til all earthly sense has left my body. -Gheed
First off, to weigh in on the ranged debate, I believe the 5th class will undoubtedly be ranged, with likely a toe-to-toe option. And almost purely physical.
I don't know if this detail got lost or became debunk, but somewhere in this thread I heard someone say that someone in Blizzard told the media that the last class (or future expansion class) would be something familiar to the other Diablo games, but not any of the playable classes from the other games. This is the detail that I wanted to point out that got overlooked.
I racked my brain for NPCs/Mercs that are potentials for inclusion to the last class of D3 (or inevitable expansion) and here are the ones I've come up with:
(NOTE THAT THESE CLASS NAMES ARE EITHER IN EXISTANCE OR MADE UP BY MYSELF, YOU'LL SEE IN DESCRIPTIONS)
- Scoundrel (based loosely on Meshif, who as we know had a medieval-Han Solo allure to him) The scoundrel would be, as some people have theorised already, a combo of ranged (whether it be bow or crossbow or throwing knives/axes) and dagger/dual wielding. As he is a scoundrel by nature (and doesn't play by the rules) poisoned weapons might play a factor, or there might be bonuses (perhaps through passive skills) that allow his attacks to be unavoidable.
- Iron Wolf (based on the Act III Merc) This one popped into my head pretty soon, as it combines the sword/shield want that some players have been crying for, and still has some pretty fun skills. Obviously this would be reworked to some extent, but I always thought it was pretty badass to see an Iron Wolf merc shooting fireballs or icebolts straight out of their shield. Their outfits were reminiscient of Crusaders or Templars too, so that was neat...
- Desert Nomad (loosely based on Act II merc) The desert nomad would still be skilled in spearplay, and capable of close combat, but would put much more weight (in terms of skill emphasis) on ranged. Considering they have an entire setting again based in the desert, it wouldn't be a complete impossibility.
- Warden/Ranger/Hunter (hybrid of Druid/Amazon/Rogue) This one is by far the most interesting to me, and the most likely. If you check the Diablo twitter account (I'm not gonna link it), whichever developer that writes for it mentioned animal-based armour, back in June (around that time anyway) of 2010. So that's pretty cool. My favourite D2 class was the Druid, because of the combo of nature and all-around weapon capabilities. I shied away from the summons, I find them to be pain.
I've done more thinking on the subject. Based on what I've seen on the skill trees of characters (granted, the skill trees that we have seen could drastically change), there doesn't appear to be any branch of skill; or individual skill for that matter; that increases a classes' proficiency with one type of weapon. I may be mistaken however, if there are Two Handed Weaponry skills announced for the Barbarian or something.
Anyways, my point is that contrary to what I previously thought, it's highly doubtful the 5th class will have an entire branch of skills dedicated solely to ranged weaponry. No other class has a skill branch focused on something like that, so it's next to impossible to predict what direction Blizzard will go not only with the final class, but with its skill tiers. I've guessed Hunter before doing much research into the subject, I wanted to analyze from what I thought each of the four classes would bring to the table, but I'm starting to think I'm more and more wrong.
When I thought Hunter, I figured the skill branches would be Ranged Weapons, Traps, and then something like Survivalism, Beast Mastery, or something along those lines. But seeing what direction Blizzard is going with other classes, like the Barbarian's Berserker, Juggernaut, and Battlemaster tiers, who knows what types of skill branches the final class will have. We're sure that the class must be capable of utilizing ranged weaponry in its skills, because if it isn't Blizzard is essentially leaving out an entire category of weaponry, something I find foolish.
I think something like a Bard, Ranger, or re-imagined Hunter are still logical guesses, but it's impossible to predict the direction they're going to put into it. One thing that is interesting is that this final class was the very first class they had planned to be in the game. Since then they've realized it wasn't nearly as exciting as it was before. So perhaps they were thinking along the lines of a Hunter or Rogue before. But now they're trying to spice it up with a lot more creativity, opening up some sort of Druid/Bard/Hunter/Ranger character, Lord knows what they'll call it.
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A belief in no God is a belief in everything. It is a belief in the unfathomable number of events of blind chance required for every living thing to be here.