Check out a new preview of Diablo 3 over at IGN detailing the use of followers. Followers are to Diablo 3 as Mercenaries are to Diablo 2, they not only accompany you down to dungeons but they also comment on the environment and chat up with the townspeople while giving the player hints as well. Diablo 3’s followers also have a special item slot for follower specific equipment.
The world of Diablo is a hostile one. You can’t seem to take more than ten steps outside of a town without being mobbed by spiny imps, fanged horrors and singed by spheres of hellfire. It’s a tough life trying to cut through all these beasts alone, so Blizzard’s implementing Followers to help out.
There will be three Followers in Diablo III: the Templar, the Enchantress and the Scoundrel. They essentially take the place of the mercenaries you could hire in Diablo II. Only one Follower can be brought out with you into battle in Diablo III, and each will have different motivations for joining with you, hundreds of lines of dialogue and unique abilities that can be switched around depending on how you want them to play. You won’t be able to directly control the Followers, but they’ll at least provide some extra buffs and damage as you slaughter untold numbers of fiendish demons.
Blizzard lead content designer Kevin Martens says the Followers will be active participants during your journey, often commenting on quests and environments, conversing with townsfolk and offering up hints. You can bring one Follower with you outside of towns, and each will have access to 12 skills, four of which can be active at a time. Their armor will upgrade over time and change in appearance when it does, and you can slot in rings, amulets and weapons. Each Follower will also get a distinct special item slot that lets then equip gear nobody else, including you, can.
“[The Followers] are not just a sack of somewhat expensive hit points,” says Martens. “If you’re not actually playing with a friend, you’ve got the next best thing with these people because they’re very active story-wise. Beyond what the mercenaries did [in Diablo II], you can spec [the Followers] to match how you play your class. I think that any three of them can work with any class depending on how you spec them, and they’re also free to take with you. There’s no cost to taking them. So we do expect and kind of want people to switch them out whenever they feel it’s necessary. They might take the Enchantress because she’s got useful debuffs when they know they’re going to fight a certain boss. Or maybe they’ll take the Templar as a Wizard and spec him so he’s got more resistances and hit points and a heal ability and turn him into their tank. That I think is a huge advantage. I also hope that people will just take them because they like the personalities as well, whether it’s perfect for their build or not.”