The Archivist Papers (Secret Societies Pt. 4)

[Continued from Part 3]

I opened the manila envelope. I read through the files. The picture they painted  was a panorama of how the Sublime Society tried to influence the development of Diablo 3 so it would include an Archivist mini-class.

At the top of the stack of papers was the start of it all, a hand written memo:

The Archivist should be able to:

1) Read books

A memo dated a few weeks later elaborated:

The Archivist should be able to:

1) Read books

2) Put books on shelves

3) Know things

I nodded my head. This all made sense so far; those are all things an archivist should be able to do.

Underneath those two memos I found a printed sheet that said:

The Archivist should be able to:

1) Read books

2) Put books on shelves

3) Take books off shelves

4) Write things down

5) Know things

On the side someone wrote in blue pen: “This is gonna be so AWESOME!!!” Awesome was underlined twice. Someone else wrote in red pen: “We need to fix some of this redundancy.”

The last paper had this:

The Archivist should be able to:

1) Read books

2) Move books

3) Write things down

4) Know things

On the side in red pen was written: “Good work!!!”

The papers and pages beneath these early memos dealt with the more detailed process of creating this class. The Archivist started out as the Archives, an in-game lore manual, which seemed harmless enough that it flew under the Opponent’s radar and gained its own development team. Players would be able to, at any point in the game, travel to the Archives and read about monsters, classes, and story lore.

I flipped through the design docs and watched as slowly Archivist NPCs were added to the Archives, and then slowly these Archivists were designed into Followers to go along with the Enchantress, Scoundrel, and Templar. These Archivist Followers would be able to identify items in the field, summon town portals, and buff players or debuff opponents. One of the other functions of the Archivist Followers was that they could unlock certain doors and tombs, which gave players access to certain sidequests and dungeon runs normally inaccessible.

The Archivist Follower was scrapped and the design team, lead by a Sublime Society agent, changed the design to include him as a playable mini class.

This guy is ready for some off road learning.

Further design docs showed that throughout the game there would be unique areas and dungeons that players would normally have no access to. Archivist characters, however, would be able to unlock the arcane seals of these doors thanks to their ability to know things. This would give parties access to the unique areas in which there would be item drops only present in those areas. The Archivist could also decipher the magical seals on treasure chambers. He could translate ancient tomes, or analyze ancient paintings to learn whether certain routes were trapped. His single skill tree allowed him to Identify Items, Summon Town Portals, Identify Monsters (which debuffed the monsters), Identify Equipment (which buffed ally players), and the passive skill Lore Expert which let him interact with doors, tomes, and other set pieces. The Archivist was meant as just a mini-class so his buffing skills weren’t strong enough that someone would play him by choice but were strong enough that he had an added purpose beyond unlocking doors. The idea was that this would create an interesting side game where regular classes would have to defend the Archivist class in order to progress through the side levels. One design doc outlined a boss battle where players defended the Archivist player from hordes of monsters as he ran from tome to tome and spent time chanting the words to close each portal individually.

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3 comments

  1. Let's call him "Phil"

    “One design doc outlined a boss battle where players defended the Archivist player from hordes of monsters as he ran from tome to tome and spent time chanting the words to close each portal individually.”

    Yo dawg I played that battle in World of Warcraft, it sucked. Without any sort of interesting gameplay mechanic to the chanting, you’re just watching bars fill. Let’s say that you did try to attach some mechanic to it though– you play a puzzle game, or hell, you plug in a mic and actually sing (Chant Hero?)– the pace of the gameplay in the main game means that you’re going to have to have a super aggressive time limit and there’s a ridiculous amount of pressure put on the one character playing the minigame. That is a recipe for frustration for all parties involved.

    Like

    • Philtron

      I don’t even remember writing that.

      I remember my original concept for the real Archivist Game was a slow paced standalone reading-puzzling game. That might have been better to write about, but then I got caught up trying to tie it in with the SS-Opp narrative and tying to Diablo.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Nigh Invincible Demigods (Secret Societies, Pt. 3) | Electric Cartilage And The Games That Don't Exist

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