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Diablo 4: The Case for the Paladin Class at Launch

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  • Posted on 12th Nov, 2022 04:20 AM
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With a few class spots left to fill, Diablo 4 could fill a lot of roles that haven't been covered by reuniting players with the classic Paladin.

p>Diablo 4 was announced last year at BlizzCon 2019 after a slew of leaks put it on fans' radars. Details are still coming in little by little, with a few major components still needing to be explained, like the rest of Diablo 4's classes. The Diablo series has a reputation for offering a small but diverse cast of playable classes, offering plenty of build and strategy choices resulting in unique playstyles. So far, Diablo 4 is no different. Players can be a mighty Barbarian of overwhelming strength, a Druid with shapeshifting powers and animal allies, and a Sorceress with command over the elements.

However, there's one classic role that has yet to be filled: holy magic. In a game like Diablo 4 which is all about destroying demonic creatures, one of the most tried and true ways to do so is with the magic of the heavens. Diablo has often empowered players to do so with classes like the Paladin. Since there isn't such a heaven-themed class in the game yet, introducing a Paladin class would be perfect for rounding out the cast.

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Paladins and Crusaders

Diablo 2 was the first game in the series to offer players the power of a Paladin, a Strength based class that proved a formidable force as a melee fighter. The class operates through the use of powerful auras meant to bolster the Paladin and his allies in the heat of battle, making the Paladin's presence impossible to ignore. On top of being a capable tank and warrior, the Paladin has a large repertoire of holy magic that he can use to smite and incapacitate his enemies. The range from caster to tank means the Paladin has a wealth of customization options and tools to offer to a team.

In Diablo 3, a similar class called the Crusader appears in an expansion to the base game, showing Blizzard's fondness for the blessed warrior archetype. The Crusader is very similar to the Paladin. At their core, Crusaders are melee warriors meant to wade into the heat of battle, but they also possess crowd control abilities and valuable damage-dealing spells, making them just as flexible and effective as Paladins. A new Paladin at launch for Diablo 4 could take inspiration from both the original Paladin and the newer Crusader to ultimately play the same role as those previous iterations.

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Filling in the Niches

Another thing that matters about including the Paladin is that it's unlikely any of the revealed classes will be able to deliver what a Paladin does. The closest comparison is the Barbarian, another mighty Strength-based class with a rich history in the Diablo franchise. However, Barbarians are much more about ravaging the battlefield with melee attacks and skills than controlling enemies with status effects. The Sorceress is known to feature lots of crowd control, but as a spellcaster, must stay on the edges of the battle. The Druid also has some similarities to a Paladin, capable of running into melee to use magic, but generally lacks supportive powers.

All these differences mean there is plenty of room for a Paladin in Diablo 4. It could combine the Barbarian's effectiveness at surviving swarms of enemies, the Sorceress' ability to control enemies, and the Druid's effective melee magic with auras meant to support and protect allies. It seems that no class has healing abilities yet, so perhaps Blizzard could give the Paladin a strong option to lean into a supportive tank role, filling in an open niche.

A second Strength based class would also pair well with the Barbarian and the two Intelligence based classes. With a Paladin in the roster, Blizzard could round out the starting classes with a ranged Dexterity class like the Amazon. On top of all these mechanical considerations, it would fulfill a classic role in the Diablo series -- it only makes sense that a sacred warrior would step forward to join the battle against Lilith. Hopefully, it won't be long before Blizzard reveals the last two starting classes, and for fans of unstoppable tanks and front-line protectors, the Paladin would be a good choice.

Diablo 4 is in development for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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