Some interesting Diablo history comes our way via Shacknews and Stay Awhile and Listen author David Craddock, where two separate posts (here and here) outline some of the ideas Blizzard Entertainment kicked around for Diablo, Diablo II, and even a Diablo prequel that never made it through the cutting process. A snippet from each:
"Diablo's archetypical warrior, rogue, and sorcerer character classes were late additions," Craddock said. "Originally, Condor created a single class, represented by the model used for the warrior. Players could distribute their experience points between strength, dexterity, magic, and vitality to take the amorphous character in any direction they liked."
The class discussion came up again in Diablo 2, this time focusing on sub-classes.
"The sub-class idea would have seen three archetypes that boiled down to fighter, rogue, and spell caster," Craddock said. "The rogue branched into sisters (of the Sightless Eye, the rogue guild) and rangers, or hunters; the fighter into templar, or paladin, and berserkers; and the spell caster into sorceress and necromancer. North decided against the idea because multiple genders would mean building and animating 10 character models. That's a significant undertaking for any game, but Diablo 2's designers had also come up with the component system, a way of displaying individual pieces of gear to give each character a unique appearance--purple skull helm, red leather boots, gold body armor, and so on. Piling on male and female versions of each class would have put too great a strain on the already-bogged-down character art team."
"Immediately after finishing Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, the expansion team considered tucking in on another add-on," Craddock said. "Whereas Lord of Destruction added new character classes and a fifth chapter to the story, the second expansion would have focused more on expanding D2's multiplayer features. Background artist David Glenn built guildhalls for groups of players who wanted to start their own clans. They could meet up in the guildhall, organize experience runs or quests, and head into the field from there.
"One cool guildhall feature was the Stieg Stone, a stone named after designer Stieg Hedlund where guild members could deposit money. At certain increments, they would unlock new guildhall rooms and various accoutrements for their guild's pad. After a few brainstorming sessions, the team decided not to follow through on the expansion. Diablo 2 had run its course; it was time to build Diablo 3.