In D2, we had a class that focused on the effective use of shields in combat – the Paladin. In D3, we are missing such a class. Sure, the Barbarian can use shields, but s/he has no special, unique abilities that deal specifically with shields. The Paladin in D2, on the other hand, had (for example) abilities like “Holy Shield” and “Smite”. So, I am proposing that we bring back the Paladin’s shield abilities in a brand-new class for D3.
Now, the Paladin in D2 was clearly inspired by medieval European knights, such as the Templars or Teutonic Knights. Shields formed an important part of the warrior culture of the medieval European knight, but the Middle Ages were not the only time in (European) history when warriors heavily favored the use of a shield. If we look even further back into history, we can see that the ancient Greeks and Romans also relied heavily on the effective use of shields in warfare. The Greek phalanx of hoplites (think the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae) and the Roman legions both used the shield as a powerful defensive and offensive tool in combat.
My idea is that a new class be created based on and inspired by ancient Greek hoplites and Roman legionnaires. I call this class the “Centurion”. In the Roman Empire, centurions were highly-trained and highly-skilled officers who personally led a “century” (a standard detachment of 100 men – hence the name) into combat. Centurions fought on the front-lines alongside the common legionnaires, inspiring them onwards, keeping the troops in proper battle formation, and coordinating the grander strategic plans of the generals above them. They were the link between the general and his common soldiers that made the Roman legions so effective for hundreds of years.
How can we fit the Centurion into the existing lore of the Diablo universe? Like I said, the Centurion is inspired by the soldiers of ancient Greece and Rome. Well, there is already a nation in the Diablo universe that also takes its inspiration (at least partially) from the ancient classical world – the Amazons of the Skovos Isles in the Twin Seas (http://www.diablowiki.net/Skovos - notice the Greek-style architecture on the buildings). Of course, the Amazon was one of the classes in D2. I propose that the Centurion also hail from the Skovos Isles, just like the Amazon.
There is a problem, however. In D3, each class can be either male or female, but we know from the lore in D2 that the Amazon warriors of the Skovos Isles were only female. So, therefore, it seems that the Centurion would have to be restricted to being only female in any future expansion for D3. There is, luckily, a solution that I would like to propose. It involves a small amount of “retconning”, but just hear me out! I suggest that the following be added to the official lore of the Diablo universe. After the events of D2, the leaders of the Skovos Isles became worried that their military was not well prepared for a full-scale invasion of the Burning Hells. They wondered: what if Baal, the Lord of Destruction, had assaulted the Skovos Isles instead of Mount Arreat (as in the expansion for D2)? They decided that relying only on half of their population (the female Amazon warriors) for military protection was inadequate for resisting the might of Hell. So, they decided to allow men to also join the military, alongside their female counterparts, to bolster the ranks. New “legions” were conscripted, led by officers known as “Centurions”, who could now be either male or female, according to the new laws. Twenty years have passed since the events of D2, and since then the Skovos Isles have prepared themselves round the clock for a new invasion of Sanctuary by the daemons of the Burning Hells. The new Centurion officer units are a key component of the new strategy to defend their homeland from any possible demonic assault.
Our particular Centurion character (either male or female) from the game would have been sent by his military commanders to Tristram to investigate the rumors of a falling star and report back to the Skovos Isles. While there, of course, s/he becomes embroiled in the events of D3. (An alternative option would be to make the Centurion character an outcast from his/her legion – for some reason that Blizzard can further flesh out in detail. Then s/he travels to Tristram to investigate the fallen star in order to redeem his/her honor and regain his/her standing in the legion.)
SAMPLE CLASS ABILITIES:
Like I said, the Centurion would heavily favor the use of a shield in combat, both as a defensive piece of armor and as an offensive weapon. For example, the Centurion could have an ability similar to the Paladin’s “Smite” that I shall call “Shield Bash” – the character lashes out with the shield dealing massive damage to a single opponent. Another possible ability could be “Shield Wall” – the Centurion hunkers down behind the shield, thereby gaining a tremendous boost to armor rating, but reducing DPS and movement or attack speed. The Centurion could also have “aura”-type abilities similar to those of the Paladin in D2 or the Monk in D3 that would enhance the effectiveness of allies around him, which would symbolize the real leadership abilities of the Roman centurions in history.
So, these are my ideas for the new Centurion class for a future expansion for D3. What do you think? Do you like it? Would it work well, both from a story and a gameplay perspective? Any suggestions or criticisms?