Diablo III: Updated Hands-On -- The Monk

We get our kung-fu grip on the new monk class announced at this year’s BlizzCon.

Shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 BlizzCon opening ceremonies, we had a chance to hop onto a computer and dive right into the monk class for Diablo III that had been announced a few minutes prior. What we immediately noticed about the monk is that its female incarnation is still not available, but there is a silhouette that suggests she exists. We then jumped into the proper game where we saw the monk standing inside of some gates, on a path that leads to the open desert. Here, a non-player character tells you that you must go to the town of Alcarnus and also alerts you to the fact that the desert is now overrun with evil creatures. But before setting out on the quest, we checked out a few of the details, including the monk’s skill tree, which has three columns: a, b, and c.

The monk's kung fu is strong.

In this demo, the monk already has a couple of skills unlocked, as well as a few others that unlock after you level once. There’s also a nice mixture of active abilities. Of those, the two that seem to be most useful for the monk at this point are the exploding palm and the seven-sided strike. The exploding palm, which can be used in concert with the monk’s default attack (so it doesn’t drain mana), is almost like a touch-of-death skill--whenever the monk lands a third successive strike on a single enemy, a heart icon appears over the enemy’s head. This means that the enemy has only a few seconds (depending on how strong he is) before he explodes in a cloud of blood and takes a few surrounding creatures out with him. The seven-sided strike is more like a ranged attack for the monk. It lets him zip into a gang of enemies and perform several quick strikes before reverting back to his normal state. As you can imagine, this attack is especially useful for engaging groups of enemies, but it's also interesting that you can almost use it in tandem with the exploding palm. Just zip into a group of enemies to get to the strongest one and use the exploding palm. Then zip back out and let that enemy explode.

Another useful active skill for the monk is radiant visage, which blinds enemies in a certain radius, allowing you to move in quickly and take them out before they can attack. But perhaps our most favorite skill is the impenetrable defense. This is the skill that lets the monk reflect projectile attacks back at enemies for a few seconds. It's incredibly useful when you're surrounded by enemies casting any variety of spells in your general direction. And thankfully, it doesn't seem like you always need to be facing in the direction of the projectile to use it. In terms of other skills, there's also inner sanctuary, way of a hundred fists, and force without thought. Inner sanctuary is pretty straightforward. It creates a small ring around the monk that enemies can't cross, so it's especially useful when you're surrounded by a large group of enemies that would otherwise be difficult to fight through. Way of a hundred fists is a fast series of strikes, while force without thought is a counterattack skill.

A few of the other details we checked out before heading out to the desert are the character screen, the quest log, and the available skills option. The character screen gives you the basic rundown for your character and features typical stats like strength, dexterity, vitality, and willpower. The quest log shows your main quest as well as any side quests that come about as a result of exploring. Finally, the available skills option lets you quickly and easily drag and drop skills to hotkey areas in the Diablo III interface.

The deadly seven-sided strike.

We then started our monk adventure, heading out onto the Sundered Pass. The first few enemies we encountered were lowly wasps, most of which were easily vanquished in a click or two, but only a few minutes in, we encountered much stronger enemies called fallen, which have appeared in previous games. These are little demonlike creatures that like to crowd, and they come in two flavors, regular and magic-powered. Using the exploding palm on the magic-imbued enemies and then running to let them explode and take out their own cohorts seems to be an effective strategy. But one of the stronger enemies we encountered (at least in terms of the amount of damage it hands out) is the dune dervish--a squidlike creature that spins its extremities while floating in the air, making it impossible to just walk up and hit it. That is, until it stops spinning.

As we continued battling through throngs of enemies, we came across our first wanted poster, which asks you to find an outlaw camp and kill its leader. Sounds pretty straightforward and shouldn't take much time, but since this desert area is absolutely massive, we got a little lost before finally stumbling upon the camp. Once there, we found the leader and executed him, which caused his head to fall to the ground. We were then told to bring his head to the Enclave Khamsin. But before heading there, we did a little more exploring, and it wasn't too long before our monk stumbled on a camp of cultists--whose members were apparently in the middle of worshipping.

But after charging in and slaughtering almost everyone in the camp, we saw that one cultist lived (automatically). He told us about a cache of their equipment and that it's hidden in a certain location. Well, upon exploring even more, we came across another cult camp and, yet again, killed everyone in it, but it appeared that there was a survivor of some kind of attempted sacrifice. We let her go, and she threw up. Yes, this NPC barfs as she tells you that a group of girls were taken to the cultists by someone named Zakarwa and that he drugged them. With that, she led us on the path that eventually took us to the enclave where we collected our bounty for killing the outlaw and spoke to the uncle of the barfing girl to let him know that his niece was dead. A few conversations later, we ventured out of the enclave and discovered what seemed like the last of the cult camps, and Zakarwa happened to be there. Naturally, our monk killed everyone in the camp, including Zakarwa, but it seems that you actually have the option to not kill him, if you're so inclined.

Near a dungeon portal in the desert.

We returned to the enclave and told everyone that Zakarwa was dead, and then we left to do some more exploring. We eventually came upon a series of necromancer totems and a necromancer who said that he needed help to activate some ruins to contain some sort of evil spirits. So, we ventured out and came across a portal to a dungeon. This dungeon was slightly different from another located on the other side of the desert in that this one had a time limit as well as rocks and boulders crumbling because the dungeon itself was crumbling. While trying to find where we needed to go, the time limit ran out and our monk died, forcing him out of the dungeon and back to the surface.

With that our playtime ended. The monk is definitely an interesting class that seems to offer a bit more strategic options than a typical melee-focused character, like the barbarian. And you definitely have to be more careful with the monk because while his attacks may be strong, his defenses are not. Getting caught in a massive group of enemies can often mean death if you're not careful. We'll be interested to see some of the other abilities of the monk class and how they balance things out. Look for more coverage of Diablo III in the future.

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193 comments
vadagar1
vadagar1

starcraft ghost!!!! where is the update blizzard, and that little voice your hearing in you blizzardy mind its not the devil it activision, well no difference there.

Sadat87
Sadat87

this game will be completed in a series of "coverage of Diablo III" in the future..... why are they torturing us this way :|....i think they want us to keep guessing and waiting till we are old enough to tell our grand children the tales of diablo :P

eiadrtr
eiadrtr

when will this game come out

MaSaNa321
MaSaNa321

This game looks too happy... But im still gonna get the Ultra-Super Collectors Edition or whatever it will be :) And Mafia 2 demo in 3 days!

vadagar1
vadagar1

Since SC2 is out I wana hear new stuff about diablo3, I don't care if they are making changes to graphix, they can tell us we won't freak out. BUT DON"T CANCEL DIABLO3, I might be pissed u left us hanging for 3 years but I will go balistic if u cancel it, so don't, or u will wake up one day and see a little red pentagram on the floor of Bliz HQ and then... well bad things happen after that.

haris771
haris771

mi brain says epic MEELTDOWNNNNN !!! i want D3 NOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

keatman
keatman

no problem blizzard, take your time. i'll come to back to check when you got more character class to, monsters, items, armors or skills to preview or even telling us eventually how many acts there is or the gender of class (WTF with taking 6 months+ to create a female class for monk) or might as well the whole bloodly game and why a f*ken decade for you to release a damn game. i'll go kill time to catch some chickens (assuming that i'll be successful) and come back to check if there are actually more 'contents' you'll like to preview.

vadagar1
vadagar1

graphics look so.............old

Fady117
Fady117

Damn, although the wait had been THAT long, I'd say this game does deserve the wait... after all, it's way massive and the devs behind it surely would not want to ruin any of its aspects (like, copying stuff from previous Diablos to speed things up). I won't say "can't wait for this game", but I'll say "can't wait to see what this game will offer" :D

inuyasha-1414
inuyasha-1414

I really wish this game would have come out in 07 or 09 or 10 like they initially said, we've been waiting for this damn game for far too long. Personally i upgraded my PC so i would be able to play this and SC 2, and still nothing... so im done waiting, im going to stick with console and if/when it comes out and it turns out to be good, which we all know it will be. I'll get it. But not before i find out what other gamers think of it.

hwrdstrnsbals
hwrdstrnsbals

"will it be worth the wait?" what the hell does that mean? you waiting for a game is not "worth" anything, it has no intrinsic value. Is this wait holding from doing anything else besides playing the game? No. I agree, we should be playing Diablo 5 right now, or playing Diablo Online- the game which should have existed in place of WoW, but we're not, and if ur not happy with blizzard's timeline for this game, then do yourself a favor, and consumers everywhere, and don't buy or play it. For me, if its good, i'll play it. Lots of other badass game to play these days, we gamers have it so good. Its their perogative to release it when they see fit. Its your perogative whether you play it or not.

Bozomario
Bozomario

Can't wait to get my hands on D3....

vadagar1
vadagar1

Hi people just doing my check on games that should have been made 2 years ago. U know I just learned that bliz are actually REdesiging the game from almost zero, becuase of the "hate" they got for the "wow" graphics, they are making the game more "gothic" as it should. well if they are going to remake even 50% of the game I think they should scrap it and stick to wow expansions and leave game making to companies that give a ***** about the fans, and about respecting at least SOME form of dead line. well its true what goes up... must and WILL come down HARD. Bioware is my new respected company of choice, they have good games and they don't make them every 10 years.

Tanislocke
Tanislocke

Dragon Age was a truly awesome game and a success anyone that says otherwise hasn't played it all the way thru. Anyway comparing Dragon Age to Diablo 3 is like comparing apples to oranges both are good but they are nothing alike in gameplay imho. Known facts on my end: 1. Diablo 3 will be awesome!! 2. Blizzard will take forever to release it. 3. It will be delayed at least one more time after they release the release date..... 4. Man blizzard ticks me off with how long they take but then again maybe thats why Diablo and SC have always been great.

Dawn_oF_Doom
Dawn_oF_Doom

Moreover, to those that compare this game to Dragon Age... in Diablo you DO NOT have the dragon age hero. The Diablo hero is a person that takes it upon himself to protect humanity and the world of Sanctuary from the demonic forces of evil. He has NO TIME for romance and sweet talk. He is the one that must push on and fight until the prime evil(or greater demon) is dead. There are no promise reinforcements from Orleans, no dwarven armies, no elven armies to come and help him. He must go against the forces of hell alone and even fight through Hell to defeat evil. Moreover, 90% of the quests in diablo were aimed and strictly related to the main quest: kill the prime evils, while the ones in Dragon age, well most of them, were not aimed towards the main goal.. but were a lot side quests that consumed the hero's time to complete. In a real crisis, the hero wouldnt say: well ok, i'll go BACK to the forest and kill some mages/I'll go put those stones in those sacred places/ I'll go and give 3 people a note that sais they must join the irregulars... WTF! No time for that in Diablo, HELL IS UPON YOU

Dawn_oF_Doom
Dawn_oF_Doom

Hey, to all of you mistrustful skeptic haters: Blizzard has never failed the gaming industry YET! Even you have to agree that although WoW can take a lot of criticism, it is being played by several million people around the world.. so its a hit! As for Diablo 1 and 2, for f**ks sake, Diablo 1 IS EVEN NOW, after 15 years, no.1 PC game. I mean, really... and there are people that play, even now, diablo 2. I have faith that diablo 3 will be a major success!

vadagar1
vadagar1

2010, man have u seen supreme commander 2 preview the game looks amazing. I'm just gona put a comment here marking every year before we see D3 or SC2, since I might die tomorrow. and I do hope the world ends in 2012 because then I could LOL in blizzard's face when we fall into the planets core.

Chronologo
Chronologo

waiting, waiting waiting, the world will end before we see this game running

maulstik
maulstik

diablo 1 and diablo 2 were horrible, I don't see this being different except with 3d graphics.

Ceraby
Ceraby

Well, whatever it's due date may be...honestly hope it's worth the wait.

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

That's one of the crappest game ever...the same as the prequels.But I guess mankind is so different , so there has to be some to play this abysmal piece of crap.Though their movies , I give them that, are one of the best ever made

Gammet25
Gammet25

Blizzard never failed us before so dont fail us now, especially when you're gonna take till 2011 to make it. YOU BETTER NOT DISSAPOINT ME BLIZZARD

vadagar1
vadagar1

what a shame 2012 then HELL why not make it 3013 I just want to say I'm very very disapointed. picked up dragon age few weeks ago and I just have to say unless bliz boys can top that then they are SCREWED dragon age is an epic game that will make any hardcore rpg fan rot on his chair playing it, amazing story, great characters, spells, combat, armor beasties ....etc hell romance even I have played through it like 11 times already and I can't get enough so ya when bliz finish diablo 3 and SC 2 just send me an email so I can delete it just keep pumping those wow exp. and see where the greed will get them 10 years is NOT a good duration to make a game 2, 3, 4, hell 5 is the max I think the way I see it D3 will have old graphics and shallow characters and a nice 10 quest story and thats it so good job bliz u just killed ur self might as well put a nuke in all ur HQ and push the key, I pity u

Ezmai_RauteZ
Ezmai_RauteZ

waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting waiting... yep WoW is done, D3 and SC2 should be the main priorities.. Doing too many things at once is only losing valuable time which will turn against the game, the graphics and above all THE FANS !!! why announce it and make us wait, RUDE !!!!

Velius9
Velius9

Is it possible to send Blizzard a complaint for advertising a game thats not going to be out for three years? I agree with the other posters, though i loved D2 getting hyped about a big game thats going to be out of date when it actually releases is not only stupid but frustrating. I hope someone from Blizzard is reading these comments.

vadagar1
vadagar1

OMG I traveled for half a year then I get back to civilization, got online and checked diablo 3.... and what do I find a monk class..... tell me,when exactly are they going to MAKE the game 2012??! thats when the aliens arrive, and BTW they will bring new tech. with them and pc games will be ancient history. COME ON BLIZ put some back into it, leave wow aside for a while I want SC2 and D3 at the end of this year or at the start of the next one any longer and the games will become old, remember D2... ya LETS not do that mistake again OKAAAAAAAA. shish GOD I'm really pissed now *breaking some stuff and saying things old people should not hear*

Moirien
Moirien

I agree with Squigibow. I learned this lesson from Diablo II, after spending years following the development of the game and ultimately being disappointed by its outdated graphics and 800x600 resolution. That experience actually killed some of my interest in games, and certainly taught me that it's not worth obsessing over a game before its release.

Squigibow
Squigibow

Well I just heard through the rumour mill(games radar) that we will be lucky to see this title in 2011(source from blizzcon 2009). I don't know about the rest of you but I am going to formally declare my disdain that all the hype is for nothing because time is to precious to fret on Diablo III( i mean 3 years from announcment to release gimme a break). Thank goodness Dragon Age Origins is comming this fall as I am confident that it will be a stellar title worth all the hype and waaaay less waiting. I might still be interested in joining the hype for diablo III if we had a reasonable amount of time to get excited but 3-4 years is just lame. Just my 2 cents.

MurderMode
MurderMode

@gelugon - it's all fiction, a female monk could be a reformed lesbian with leukemia for all it matters. I read at a previous event blizzard had the male wizard faded out, and it's not like they would be struggling to find what a manzard should look like. Besides, plagiarism is direct duplication as far as I'm concerned... because everything in this world is inspired by something else

Vasot
Vasot

Necromancer >>> Monk Please bring back the Necromancer :(

Ced_Quijote
Ced_Quijote

so all those revival-potions and weird "bring-me-back-to-life" skills will get switched off during hardcore play, right? Tell me this is so... otherwise hardcore will be like a VERY ripe avocado. You know what I'm talking about. Squishy on the outside. And not pleasantly so. As for the monk... I loved the monk in Hellfire. But I hated the assassin i D2... and this new Monk seems very much like a mix 'tween the two. One more thing... If I choose to be a female monk, do I get to be a nun?

Kherios
Kherios

No offense but WoW already as enough crap on it to give someone years of entertainment and they keep adding more. They NEED to focus on making newer games such as SC2 and D3. If your gonna ask yeah I played WoW it's fun but I didn't find it addictive as what some people say it is.

kytomasi
kytomasi

@SovietAgent I agree they should stop with the expansions for WoW(hell i dont even play WoW lol) and what focus on D3, but saying anyone that disagree with you is just a stupid fanboy is childish

portymd
portymd

At least they said hardcore mode will probably be back, and the monk seems pretty killer.

graavigala
graavigala

i was suprised when they brought Monk back :D i was expecting some paladin or amazon copy, instead we got good old Monk back :D

netsoj
netsoj

This will be the only game I reserve...

vit12345
vit12345

This looks awesome! If it's Diablo 3 so i can wait no matter how long it will take.

Genexus
Genexus

TAKING SOOOOOO LONG...the thing is with the Starcraft and WOW in the loop now, how long will this take to complete...how long has this been in the making?? 4 - 8 years???

Genexus
Genexus

TOOOO AWSOME!!! Cant wait but....

SovietAgent
SovietAgent

It would be nice if Blizzard stopped making WoW expansions and focused more on Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. Of course anyone who gives me a thumbs down is obviously a stupid fanboy.

shooters125
shooters125

oh man so many cool classes i cant make up my mind oh well i guess ill see once it comes out

notoiloco
notoiloco

..i cant wait to play this' me tooooooo

yinhang
yinhang

big pineapple...don't be tooooo late!!!@%^**$$#@%@

Vasot
Vasot

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

dashawnthl
dashawnthl

lol.... blizzard is funny, i bet they'll release 2 more WoW expansions before you see D3 or SC2

naysay3rs
naysay3rs

damn'...i cant wait to play this'....