To Pillar or Not to Pillar

Although BlizzCon 2011's Diablo III: Gameplay and Auction House panel was met with bold applause, not everyone that left the main stage in Hall D with a smile on their lips. Technical artist - Chris Haga Chris Haga led the show for the "Making Skills Awesome" portion of the gameplay panel, but, while many of the skills are obviously quite amazing, some others, particularly one for the - Monk Monk, are noticeably less awesome, or perhaps--more correctly--just plain silly.

A revisioned skill for the Monk that didn't quite make it into the character's earlier skill list has been stirring up controversy, both here and abroad. The skill originally summoned four ancient stone pillars and a crumbled floor meant to collectively represent a temple. The player would then draw monsters around the pillars and destroy them, each one acting like destructible environment elements as seen in the - Royal Crypts Royal Crypts and other areas that cause falling debris to damage opponents caught in the junkslide.

While the idea of the "temple aesthetic"-stylized skill was a hit with the Diablo III team--or at least Chris Haga)--they felt that the skill needed a simpler approach. It required a class stylized for quick combat to summon the four pillars, lead monsters into the trap, and then independently attack and destroy each pillar; this didn't really seem to flow with the Monk's gameplay style, and was more than a bit clunky.

Now, the Monk summons one big, stone pillar that magically explodes in a dazzling display of holy light.

Just days after the two-day event concluded, the skill now has its own memes associated with it, along with a growing crowd of not-so-happy fans. Some even liked the original implementation--the one that summoned the four pillars--more than the current, "awesome"-ified one.

With all the negative feedback about the skill so far, it would be more than a bit odd if it remained exactly as it is for release. But does the current iteration of the masonry-stylized skill speak better for the Monk's lore and gameplay than the original? Is it a step forward from a quirky skill, or a step backwards to something less "Diablo"?


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