Class-Specific Weapons

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Numerous types of weapons (but not armor) are restricted to certain classes in Diablo III. The developers have given two main reasons for this limitation: they want weapons to be appropriate for the classes that can use them, and it would be a huge amount of more work to make animations for every item on every character, and as seldom as some classes would use some item types, the development time is better spent working on other aspects of the game.

The limitations on class weapons have changed repeatedly during the game's development, and will likely continue to evolve right up until release. (With new weapon types and other changes appearing in the expansions.)

Who Can't Use What?[edit | edit source]

This list is incomplete and subject to change as the game's development continues and more information is released. It was compiled from various developer comments and from what fans have observed in the playable demos, in addition to playtime in the beta. See the weapons page for a full list of weapon types in Diablo III. This list assumes the obvious that each class cannot wield another class's specific weapon types.

  • Barbs can't use wands, caster staves, or ranged weapons: bows and crossbows.
  • Demon Hunters can't use: 2h weapons of any type (including Polearms, or wands.
  • Monks can't use ranged weapons: bows and crossbows. (The class was limited to far fewer weapons earlier in development. See below.)
    • Monk class-specific: Fists, and also Daibos.
    • Monks can dual wield all available one-handed weapons.
  • Wizards can’t use Polearms, or 2H maces.
    • Wiz class-specific: Orbs and wands.
  • Witch Doctors can't use Polearms, or 2H maces.

Armor Limitations?[edit | edit source]

Armor is not limited the way weapons are. All characters can equip all of the different types of armor.[1]

Each type of armor will look different and appropriate on each class, as well.[2]

The Witchdoctor’s thematic palette is proving to be very broad. He can wear a lot of cool armor and still look like a Witchdoctor.

It's not known if special types of class-specific armor will be added in the expansions, as was done in D2X, but many fans expect it.

Monk Weapon Choices[edit | edit source]

While all of the classes in Diablo III are somewhat limited in their weapon choices, the Monk was greatly restricted during early development, though that's changed over time.[3]

Bashiok: Currently our list of weapons the monk class can use is one handed swords, polearms, combat staves, and fist weapons. That could potentially change, but its probably pretty likely those will be the weapons the monk can equip. The flavor of the monk we’re working on now is a very strong connection between a small and focused group of weapon types, and the skills that use them.

At the time that ruled out axes, two-handed swords, spears, wands, daggers, orbs, maces, and possibly bows and crossbows. Monks couldn't even use shields, at that point: [4]

Bashiok: Bruce Lee would not use a shield, and neither would the monk.

Apparently Mr. Lee came to his senses, since just a few months later the Monk was seen using a shield in the Artisan Video, in August 2010.

The changes kept coming, and in early October 2010 we got word that the Monk's weapon restrictions had been further eased.[5]

Bashiok: He can’t use 2handed axes and maces, uh, wands, orbs, I think that’s about it.

By the next month the Monk had come full circle, and could not only wield everything, he could dual wield![6]

Bashiok: Monk and barbarian can dual wield all 1-handed weapons.

No official explanations have been offered for these changes, but presumably it's all based on play testing and fun factor, and the Monk must have been boring or no fun with just a few weapons to choose from.

Explanations[edit | edit source]

The developers and their proxies have spoken about this issue at length. The most detailed explanations came from Diablo III Community Manager Bashiok in a pair of posts in July 2009 [7][8], and another long one in March 2010[9].

July 2009:[10]

Bashiok: we do now have some restrictions on weapon types usable by each class. It’s been part of the game for a while now. Allowing every class to use every weapon type was actually going to require a huge amount of time and effort and it would have meant cutting out or cutting into other features. We evaluated really how often people would want to have their class holding a weapon type that (traditionally) contradicted their class-style versus that work going in to other features - specifically having a lot more skills and a lot more skill-rune effects.

July 2009: [11]

Bashiok: The list of what weapon types are or aren’t allowed for each class aren’t final and could change. They’re fairly logical choices and what is most commonly seen as closely tied to the hero archetypes. In our current game the wizard can’t wield a two-handed sword for instance, but can still use a one handed sword and shield if so desired.

March 2010:[12]

Bashiok: It’s important to note that we aren’t going to just slap on animations. We’ll do it right or we won’t do it. There is some overlap in weapon animations, but generally every weapon needs a full range of adaptation to the character. We can’t animate a 1h sword and then equip a 1h axe and be happy with it being wielded in the same manner. In addition we don’t want weapons disappearing whenever the hero does anything but a basic attack, so they have to be animated into emotes, idles, and a lot of skills and abilities. Every weapon. Some people noticed weapons disappear during some of the monk abilities. We don’t like that. Most of that was due to time constraints to get that demo finished. Again there is some overlap - staves share a lot of the same animation with the other 2h weapons, but to dismiss it as “just animate it and slap it on and it works!” is seriously oversimplifying our processes. Maybe some other games do it that way.

Fan Reactions[edit | edit source]

Fans aren't real supportive of the class specific weapon restrictions in Diablo III. ran a vote in October 2010, which found that 52% of fans did not like all of the restrictions.[13]

This fan opposition isn't likely to sway Blizzard one way or the other, and it probably shouldn't since the fan reactions are entirely hypothetical, based on limited info rather than any actual first hand experience with how weapon restrictions actually impact the play experience.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers August, 2010
  2. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers February, 2010
  3. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers February, 2010
  4. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers March 2010
  5. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers June 2010
  6. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers November 25, 2010
  7. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers July 2009
  8. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers July 2009
  9. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers March 2009
  10. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers July 2009
  11. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers July 2009
  12. Bashiok forum post - IncGamers March 2010
  13. community vote -, July 2009