What makes a class work in a game?
Would the Diablo Barbarian work in World of Warcraft? Does the fact that the Druid in Diablo 2 and Diablo 4 is so different from the WoW Druid make them effectively different classes with the same name? What makes a class work, and how interconnected is a class to the game you find it in?
I’d argue that the World of Warcraft Paladin started off being more like the Diablo 2 Paladin than unlike, with the talent tree that launched in 2004 being very similar to Diablo‘s talents. But the Barbarian, whether we’re talking Diablo 2 or Diablo 3, is not really mirrored by the Warrior — and while I’ve often argued that the Barbarian would have been a better choice for WoW, the fact remains that after 16 years we’ve really got to dance with the one that brought us when it comes to our melee combatants in the game.
The Warrior has developed in its own way. There’s absolutely been some influence, but it’s not a one for one pastiche. Now, if I could go back in time, I’d split the class into a Juggernaut with a shield and weapon and a Barbarian — yes, it would be a bit like Crusaders and Barbarians in Diablo 3, but I like that idea, so why not steal it? Similarly, the Diablo Demon Hunter is not really anything like the WoW Demon Hunter. Aside from both hunting Demons, there’s really not a ton of connective tissue between the ranged DPS class from the one game and the melee/tank hybrid from the other.
We don’t have to limit this to these two games, either — Hunters in WoW aren’t Rangers from D&D, and they aren’t Machinists from FFXIV either. Each game has classes that fill similar roles in different ways, and it’s always interesting to me to consider how those classes inform and structure the worlds they exist in. Hunters being a playable class in WoW informs the setting and makes it distinctive and unique, and it’s good that they don’t play like Diablo 2’s Amazons or Diablo 3‘s Demon Hunters.
So let me turn it over to you — what classes can you think of that you feel really serve as exemplars for the games they’re found in? What class do you not just like, but also feel fit the games they’re part of?
Please consider supporting our Patreon!
Join the Discussion
Blizzard Watch is a safe space for all readers. By leaving comments on this site you agree to follow our commenting and community guidelines.