One of the featured panels during this year's Blizzcon '08 in Anaheim, California is the Diablo 3 class panel. Lots of spiffy information has come out of that as well as the revelation of the newly announced Wizard class.
The D3 Class Panel was hosted by game director Jay Wilson, technical game designer Wyatt Cheng and lead technical designer Julian Love. Each panel member had his chance to wow (NO pun intended for all you WoW fans) the audience and boy did they deliver.
The first thing right off the bat was the revelation of the Wizard as the next class for D3. She comes hot on the heels of the Barbarian and the Witch Doctor but she can deliver an elemental punch beyond all expectations.
"We have our finger on the pulse of the Diablo community and we know one thing above all others: They want things to blow up."
Cheng and the design team chose to combine the old familiar caster class with something new. In this case, the Wizard uses 'high magic' and can manipulate the universe and channel its power. Blizzard wants players choosing wizards to feel rebellious, brilliant, volatile, brash and self-confident. This clearly comes through in the movie where she literally smirks at Leoric after he tells her she's going to die.
We were treated to a look at four of the Wizard's spells including Magic Missle, Electrocute, Slow Time and Disintegrate.
Magic Missle is old school PnP and in many ways works fundamentally like fireball with a bit more 'zip' to it. The missle shoots out of the Wizard's hands and hits enemies with a satisfying ZAP.
Electrocute is very reminiscent of chain lightning though without the drama of frying your teammates. Man, I miss those days sometimes....
Slowtime casts a 'bubble' over the Wizard and those near her. Projectiles and enemies are slowed if they enter within the bubble. Very cool!
Making sure that we all know how important explosive spells are, Disintegrate is a 'face melter', to quote Cheng and he's right. LOL! This fiery spell allows players to sweep with the mouse and sends out a flaming line that becomes more powerful the longer the mouse button is held down.