Will the Amazon class be in Diablo 4?
Amazons pose a very interesting challenge when it comes to Diablo — or heck, any sort of mythos, really. Whether you’re talking about mythology or fable, whether they come from islands by the sea or tribes in the jungles, the word “Amazon” invariably denotes a powerful (and usually tall) female warrior. This was not a problem in Diablo 2. But with Diablo 3, classes stopped being gender-locked. Which makes us wonder — could a “male Amazon” exist in Diablo 4?
There is a case for it: One of the first threes classes announced for Diablo 4 is another favorite from Diablo 2 that was originally gender-locked in name — the Sorceress. There has been no indication so far that players won’t be able to roll a male character of that class — in which case, male variants will probably just be called Sorcerers. So, if they also want to bring back the Amazon, they could simply come up with a term for the male variation of that class.
Since the idea of Amazons is usually rooted in classical mythology, we could look there for further options. Personally, I’m a fan of “Myrmidon,” a term that has already been used for a male warrior in several other games, from Fire Emblem to Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. We could, instead, take a look at real-life warriors who excelled with the spear — one of the most iconic of the Amazon’s weapons of choice. In that case, we could borrow terms like Phalanx or Hoplite.
But would their society — the “Askari” — even accept men taking up arms and fulfilling the same roles as women in war?
The matriarchal Askari socety
The Amazons of Diablo 2 come from a matriarchal society called the Askari. Within that community, women are forged as warriors, while men are usually mystics or oracles — they may take up other positions in their society as well, but those are often positions of lower prestige, that never quite allow them to rise up to the upper echelons. How, then, could it be explained that they have now been accepted as fighters alongside the women?
The story of Diablo 4 will take place decades after the events of Diablo 3 — which, in turn, happened decades after the events of Diablo 2. Much could have changed in that time. Calamity might have stricken. War, famine, plague — any number of disasters, natural or otherwise, might have happened to breed radical change within the ranks of the Askari, forcing them to accept any help whatsoever. And the return of Lilith might have been the final straw, calling for truly desperate measures.
The bottom line is: the lore is an open book for Blizzard to write. If they want to bring back the Amazon, and if they want to come up with a reason for a male counterpart to exist in Diablo 4, they will. In the end, it might not be too different from how, in Warcraft lore, Night Elf society, also matriarchal and originally filled with women warriors and male druids, later “opened up” to allow male Night Elf warriors (and priests), as well as female druids — for gameplay reasons.
But what about the Demon Hunter?
So far, every Diablo game has been released with a single option for a physical ranged class — and we may reasonably assume that will also be the case for Diablo 4. Beyond the Amazon in the second game, the first game had the Rogue, and the third one had the Demon Hunter. Of those two, I can see a strong case being made for the Demon Hunter to return to Diablo 4 as well: it was, arguably, the most iconic class from Diablo 3, and certainly a fan-favorite.
But would Blizzard decide not to add the Amazon do Diablo 4, in order to not, potentially, step on the Demon Hunter’s toes? In other words: do they have to choose between the Amazon and the Demon Hunter, and add only one (at least at first)?
I’m going to say no, and point out two arguments for it.
Javelins are very versatile weapons — they can also be used from up close
The Amazon in Diablo 2 could use several types of weapons. Many of the Archery skills that were later inherited by the Demon Hunter, such as Strafe or Multishot, were first introduced by the bow-wielding Amazons. But while the DH was exclusively a ranged fighter, the Amazon could also equip javelins — and one could argue that “Javazons” were the most iconic kind of Amazons in Diablo 2. An entire talent tree dedicated to Javelin & Spear skills shows that Amazons did a lot that Demon Hunters do not. And the opposite is also true: the Amazon had no use for hand crossbows, or gadgets like grenades, rockets, and turrets.
This could be the core distinction between the two. Demon Hunters could be more like “glass cannons”, always attempting to stay out of range of their enemies, and using their gadgets to keep them away. While Amazons could embrace the idea of using their javelins to seamlessly alternate between melee attacks and mid-range attacks — somewhat similarly to how Survival Hunters operate in World of Warcraft.
Finally, Amazons also had a talent tree filled with magic skills, including their very iconic Valkyrie ability. They harness mystical power, which the Demon Hunters don’t, preferring to stick to technology. That distinction could also be explored, and have plenty of gameplay-related ramifications.
The “Witch Doctor & Necromancer” precedent
Both the Witch Doctor and the Necromancer were present in Diablo 3, and both exerted the same role: that of a caster who summons pets and afflicts their enemies with spells of torment and decay. It could be argued that the Witch Doctor was meant to replace the Necromancer at first, but the popularity of the latter forced the designers to come up with a second class that fulfilled the same role but still operated very differently in practice.
If the Witch Doctor and the Necromancer could coexist, I feel like the Amazon and Demon Hunter could do so as well — especially considering how popular those two classes were in their respective games.
Should the Amazon return to the Diablo franchise?
The Amazon would inject a very healthy dose of nostalgia back into the Diablo franchise — more specifically, nostalgia for Diablo 2. And this is something that I feel like Blizzard is purposefully trying to do. In the end, Diablo 3 was a huge success; but that game’s journey was filled with its fair share of controversy. Many players who were very invested into the style of Diablo 2 did not appreciate the change in tone that Diablo 3 had, becoming less gloomy and more colorful; less about horror and despair, and more about “cosmological heroism.”
Diablo 4 seems to want to dial things back a little, as the developers have already explicitly stated, and as the initial impressions can surely attest to. Bringing back a class that absolutely screams Diablo 2, like the Amazon, would be a major step in that direction — and one that would have a very high chance of pleasing the community.
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