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Hands-on with Diablo Immortal's new Tempest class

Diablo Immortal is set to get its eighth class, a battle mage called the Tempest, in less than 24 hours. If you’re still playing this game or coming back from a long break, or if you’re new to it and just diving in, Tempest is a class you’ll want to take notice of. Tempest feels fast, freeing, and at times, a little frantic. But it’s this balance of chaos and control that makes the Tempest such a strong class to play. Not to mention fun.

Earlier this month, Blizzard gave me the opportunity to test out the Tempest class first-hand at Blizzard HQ prior to its launch in the game on May 23. And I have to say, I’m hyped. After taking a long break, this is the first time in a while I’ve been excited to dive back in. I’m a big Diablo fan. I once took five days of paid time off at the launch of Diablo III at my then job. Just so that I could play the game with friends for a week straight. Naturally, I was excited for the launch of Diablo Immortal. After testing the game across the alpha and several betas, I was hooked.

I wanted more. Finally, there was a true Diablo game for mobile devices that wasn’t an “inspired by” title or simply a complete ripoff. It was Diablo, for mobile, from Blizzard. While I’ve taken some time away from the game due to some lost interest and other games that demand more of my time, Tempest has me eager to jump back in. And I think it’s going to excite other players as well. Even those that may have stepped away.

The Tempest brings something unique to Diablo Immortal

The biggest part about Tempest that stuck out is its unique approach to gameplay. It’s the only class in the game that lets the player juggle two very distinct types of combat in one class. And to top things off, you can mix and match these abilities to find your perfect balance. The Tempest is a master of wind and water. As a Tempest, your attacks are like swells during a severe storm crashing up against your enemies. There’s power behind these attacks and you get just a little bit of range. With your main basic attacks being these water whip-like strikes as you slash enemies with your dagger.

The other side of Tempest’s combat is wind-based. While strong, the wind-based attacks lend themselves well to a more agile playstyle that makes it easier to jump around the map. Both of these combat styles blend together to create a unique combat experience for the player that really doesn’t feel like anything else Blizzard has offered so far in Diablo Immortal.

This is a class you’re going to want to play

From a purely creative perspective, the Tempest draws you in with its unique ability makeup and flashy visuals. It’s also a complex class that will definitely take some getting used to. Having two different element-based attack sets definitely makes the Tempest a powerful option when choosing how you’ll go about your time in Sanctuary.

Both the water and wind aspects have their downsides too though. For example, using mostly or completely wind-based attacks means you have to be more up close and personal. That opens you up to taking more damage. But you can easily supplement this with the speed of all the movement abilities. Or by splicing in some of the water abilities to create something both powerful and quick. In short, whether you’ve played all of Diablo Immortal’s classes so far, or none of them, I’d urge you to give Tempest a try. I think it’s the game’s most fun class yet, and definitely worthy of your time. Give it the old college try as they say.

You can check out some of my admittedly amateur Tempest gameplay here. That is if you’re curious to see how it plays before launch.

Creating the Tempest for Diablo Immortal- origins of the class and how it came to be

Diablo Immortal Tempest Class Concept Art SisterDiablo Immortal Tempest Class Concept Art Sister

Whatever you might think is involved in the process of creating a new class for a game like Diablo Immortal, I can almost certainly promise you it’s either different or much more complex than you’d imagine. As part of the hands-on test preview of Tempest, I got to sit down with Lead Systems Designer John Yoo and Lead Artist Emil Salim, two of the developers on the Diablo Immortal team, to ask some questions about the Tempest class. It was a pretty interesting look at what went into the creation of the game’s latest hero.

Building the Tempest from the art perspective

Interestingly, things began with the idea that the class should be themed around water and wind. Emil Salim says the art team started with this detail to craft the art side of the character’s origins. So this water and wind theme has deep roots throughout the character’s entire backstory. Down to the location where the Tempest comes from, the Cold Isles, a frigid and desolate zone surrounded by constant storms that “is not exactly the kind of place you want to vacation in,” Salim says.

From there, the art team moved on to the visuals, with the color palette being one of the first things they sought to finalize. This is how they settled on teal and white as the two-tone color set for the class. Salim also says that both teal and white as a color combination are very different from the colors you generally see in a Diablo game. Further cementing the Tempest as a class that offers not just unique gameplay, but a unique theme overall.

Beyond the colors, the art team also looked at a lot of patterns throughout history such as Keltic patterns and art nouveau to get an idea of how to start designing the Tempest’s look. “We looked at a lot of patterns that have fluid movements and a lot of curvature in their visual design, to further play into the fluidity of these class movements, they’re very movement-based,” Salim says. Because of this idea of quick movement and combat, the team wanted the Tempest to have armor that was very lightweight because it helped promote the agility the team was going for.

These visuals served as a backbone that allowed the team to start crafting the backstory for the Tempest. Salim says that after “designing the look of the class up to a certain point, the look itself kind of dictated to us what we wanted to do for the Tempest’s backstory.” That’s how the team came up with the idea that the Tempest stems from a very ancient region. It was previously ruled by two empresses, who eventually ended up warring with each other and causing the destruction that led to how the Cold Isles appear in the present day.

You’ll of course get the entirety of the backstory for Tempest in the origin questline for it. Once the class goes live in the game on May 23. We don’t want to spoil any of that here. So we’ll leave that as a surprise.

Mapping out the niches that aren’t being met: Crafting the concept of Tempest on the gameplay side

Art plays a big role in the creation of a new class, as it does any character for any game. As interesting as the art side of this creation process is, it’s just as interesting to hear about the gameplay side of things. Speaking to John Yoo, he says that the process sort of begins by thinking about what the players are going to be looking for. In this case, it was more of something new. Yoo says they thought players would really want to see another new class that they’ve never seen before in Diablo. The first was the Blood Knight that was launched in July of last year.

From there, Yoo says that on the gameplay side, they try to think about what niches aren’t being met. Specific areas where it feels like there’s a hole. “For this, we kind of felt like, the concept of a fast-moving assassin-type character, is something that we really don’t explore in our game. Especially one that can specialize in melee range,” Yoo said. This is how the concept of the “battle mage” Tempest class came to be. Yoo also states that there was a lot of brainstorming and ideation. Revolving around every little detail like what builds would work with this style of class.

Yoo says that they eventually came up with the concept of using summons. But then they had to think outside the box. Trying to think about how summons would work with a class that moves very fast. Otherwise, the summons might fall behind. These step-by-step problem-solving scenarios led to what the Tempest is now. And allowed the team to develop Tempest into a cohesive unit. Overall, it seems like there’s a ton that went into the creation of this class. And if you’re looking for something new to freshen the same up, this is it. You can read more about the Tempest here.

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