I recently had the pleasure of speaking to Diablo Immortal‘s lead UX designer Chris Liao and senior narrative designer Ryan Quinn about the RPG game‘s new class, the Blood Knight. About five minutes into our PCGN exclusive, I started mixing up Blood Knight with Death Knight with Blood Death Knight, courtesy of my time playing too much WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic. So, I asked the duo whether or not the demon-slaying bruiser had been influenced by Arthas’ corruption, or whether the Diablo Immortal Blood Knight is an entirely different entity.
We first saw the Blood Knight in the original Diablo, where they cemented themselves as one of the toughest melee enemies you face. This is the first time they’ve appeared as a playable class, so I asked Quinn why the team chose to go in a totally new direction, versus bringing back a class like the Amazon or Witch Doctor.
“There’s always this balance between what is familiar to folks, what people definitely know they want, and what adds newness and freshness to the game,” Quinn tells PCGamesN. “When we rolled out [Diablo Immortal] we rolled out with these six Diablo stalwarts that people who have played a lot of Diablo before have already experienced. We love them, we’ve been playing them for ages; I’ve been playing a Barbarian since high school!
“But you know the opportunity to make something really, really new and really unique for Immortal’s identity, and also to do a different sort of darkness for our dark classes than we’ve done previously with the Necromancer the Demon Hunter etc. was just something we couldn’t pass up.”
The Blood Knight is a mid-range melee fighter, which automatically made me think of its WoW counterpart. As someone who ran a Blood Death Knight Draenei in WoW WotLK Classic (using a build from our WoW WotLK Death Knight guide, of course), I immediately drew parallels with the focus on life leeching and skirmish combat.
I ask Quinn whether or not the team drew any inspiration from Arthas’ undead legions, and he responds “that is a super good question. I think from a class identity perspective – like blood manipulation – the visual and somatic analogues are there, but from an ability design perspective we were going in a fairly different direction.
“Death Knights in WoW really tend to hew to this kind of tanky, more defensive archetype, and while we wanted some of that deliberate movement and tactical thought, with the Blood Knight we were looking for something that is more about pure aggression. I think you’ll find that, when you use some of their close-in polearm attacks they’re actually quite quick. They’re not agile to get there, but once they start swinging the windup is quite fast.”
As a monk player who loves a bruiser-style character, the Blood Knight sounds absolutely awesome. I can’t wait to get hands-on and make use of one of the best Diablo Immortal Blood Knight builds when they officially release, but in the meantime I suggest checking out our list of the best Diablo Immortal builds across all classes – there’s still some time to level up your Monks and Demon Hunters, after all.