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The Archer is a common RPG character archetype, with some sort of non-magical ranged attacker found in most such games and game worlds. The Diablo series is no exception to this rule.
Archer Classes in the Diablo Series
- The was the expert archer in Diablo I, though the character was the most versatile in the game, capable of success at melee combat with a sword and shield, or when properly equipped as a mini-mage.
- In Diablo II the was the archer character, though it was possible to use a bow with some success with a few other character builds. Bow-devoted Amazons were commonly called "bowazons" and they specialized entirely in archery, though hybrid 'zons were also popular, mixing some spear or javelin skills in with the archery.
- Diablo III's archer character is the Demon Hunter, the fifth and final class, which was revealed at BlizzCon 2010. There was little suspense about the reveal, since fans were almost universal in their expectation of an archer, though the specifics of the DH class varied enough from convention to pack some surprises.
Demon Hunter as Ranger
As revealed during BlizzCon 2010 panels, the Demon Hunter's original design was more of a typical ranger class, with a two-handed bow and a flowing, camouflaging cloak. The developers described the design process during BlizzCon 2010:
The design of the Archer / Demon Hunter was detailed in a series of slides during the Blizzcon 2010 Gameplay Panel, compilation images of which can be seen below.
There were archery-specialized NPC mercenaries in Diablo II, and that practice continues in Diablo III. The scoundrel, one of the three types of follower, specializes in archery, and there are other archer NPCs to be found and partnered with during short term quests throughout the game.
There have been monster archers in all of the Diablo games as well, with skeletons, goatmen, and corrupted humans most commonly fitting the arrow-firing role. That system continues in Diablo III, though only skeleton archers have been confirmed as of July 2011.
Skeletal Archer in action.
- Christian Lichtner @ Blizzcon 2010 - The Escapist November 7, 2010