The world of Sanctuary is brilliant. Brilliant ideas, backstory, races, everything: it's very interesting and epic.
The story of D3 itself is very generic and predictable. Also, yes, a tad rushed.
It wasn't exactly bad, but it didn't push any boundaries. It was easily predictable and nothing unexpected happened. I enjoyed it, but in the same way I enjoy a hollywood blockbuster movie: turn brain off, enjoy pretty explosions.
It's a shame, because as I said at first the world of Sanctuary is very interesting. I love the Angels: they're very different to the usual stereotype, and their design is beautiful. The demons too, they look fantastic and the hierarchy there is really interesting; it opens a lot of pathways to new stories.
The idea of the Nephalem too, that's great and is a common theme in a lot of stories (two races breeding to create something more powerful than both). It's common because it works, it's interesting.
The plot itself though... Bleh. Ok, but not good. I think one issue I had is that I never felt threatened. There was never a point where I was personally smacked down, hard, and told to run home crying to mummy. There was never a point where I felt weak, powerless, and unable to win.
You need that feeling because if you feel that, then overcome the Big Bad against all the odds, it feels fucking fantastic. I mean sure, there was the end of Act 3... But that was more clean up duty. Diablo didn't personally smack me down: he wrecked everyone else's shit, but never saw me. If there was a point where you fought Diablo and he kicked your ass to hell and back (perhaps literally), then you went away, got stronger, learnt the truth about your Nephalem heritage and embraced it, then came back and defeated Diablo in an epic duel to the death... That is what is missing.
That is another thing. The Nephalem reveal. It's hinted at, then suddenly everyone knows you're a Nephalem? Where'd it come from? The game is really missing some sort of cutscene where something happens to make the character learn about their heritage. As I said above, Diablo kicks your ass, then you go away and do the Rocky montage: Eye of the Tiger, training to become stronger, learning about yourself. That's where you learn about your Nephalem heritage.
If we just had something like that, one extra act to explain the Nephalem thing... I'd be a lot happier.
My proposal then would be something like this:
Act 3 ends, Azmodan defeated. His soul is locked away.
Diablo posesses Leah: he goes to attack Heaven, but YOU stop him. Not Imperius. You fight Diablo in Leah form, and it seems to be going pretty well: then he decides he's done toying with you and transforms, shedding Leah's skin and taking on his true form. And you get royally owned. He mops the floor with you and Tyrael. He kicks you off the side of Bastion's Keep where you're falling to your death. Someone saves you (no idea who, maybe one of the Archangels or something), and they whisk you away to be healed and to do your training. This is Act 4.
You've been taken away to somewhere safe on Sanctuary, where you are told about your true nature. You are a Nephalem, with the potential to be stronger than any Angel or Demon, even one who held the strength of all 7 Evils. The Act revolves around you coming to terms with your Nephalem heritage: you train, fight hordes of Demons, become stronger. Maybe to ensure it doesn't seem silly, it's not just some random training area: it's actually a place where real Demons are invading Sanctuary, and you're helping defeat them. Throw in some random bosses to defeat, an end of Act boss, and you're ready to defeat Diablo.
At this point you're taken to Heaven, and it's Act 5. It's basically exactly what Act 4 is currently, only with some dialogue alterations to accomodate the extra act. Diablo acting surprised that you've survived and returned, taunting you that no matter what, you're too late. Etc. Heaven would be somewhat more damaged because of the extra time taken before you arrive, but that's ok. Just lends a sense of urgency.
I think this would really improve the story of Diablo 3 and alleviate a lot of concerns. The plot would still be predictable, but it wouldn't feel as rushed, and the Nephalem thing would be better explained.
Another short answer, but I completely agree with the overall thesis. I'm sure I'll play the game for a few years, but this is based on gameplay alone. Anytime I have to listen to dialogue or head to town for story progression my finger hovers over the Esc button. Too many disappointing and return antagonists add more questions than answers.
I also found the music quite lacking, especially the hair metal guitar solos during the Skeleton King. Matt Uelmen set the bar pretty high, and he now has a job elsewhere. So do the majority of the original team members.The sad truth is that the Blizzard many of us grew up with no longer exists.
I'm not sure where people get the idea that D1 and D2 had better stories. Same thing with Starcraft. By and large, Blizzard games have never been that great at the STORY. They've been good at the WORLD building. There's a difference. There is very little plot in either D1 or D2, it's mostly just - slaughter monsters in that direction, with some side quests/stories. D2 it's "kill Andariel, she's in your way" then "hopefully we can catch the wander before he breaks into Baal tomb, but oh crap, he's ahead of us" and then "We have to get into Hell, and Mephisto is in our way" and then finally "cornered Diablo." There really isn't any apex to the story itself, the only "failure" to overcome is arriving late to Baal's tomb, and no serious surprises (at least that I remember).
As for grimness, I think people just aren't paying attention. We've had 10 years to find everything in Diablo 2, and more for Diablo 1. Also, most of that "dark horror" was just washed out, dark color scheme with some blurry pictures of mutliated bodies. In D3 we have Lachdanan's horrible tail, we have the nastiness of the Halls of Agony (or w/e Leoric called his torture chambers), a ghostly rendition of Leoric beheading HIS OWN WIFE. Act 2 has the one party had ate it's own members and the torturing the cult does. Do I need to go on?
Like I said before, the horror is there, but instead of being very obvious with dark colors, it is, by and large, something you have to look through instead of just clicking through everything.
As for the music, I thought it wasn't great, just kinda there, until I turned down the voices and sound effects, and up the music. I think it's really good. Especially Whimsyshire.
The story execution is totally different from the earlier games.
Earlier games had the dread oozing from every single thing in the game, in Diablo 3 the dread is brought to you by reading tomes (most of which are actually not scary at all, but downright comical - a thing i don't think actually belongs to the Diablo series, at least not in such a big part)
We have comical sidekicks. Most of the lines the companions say are for "comic relief" Total bullshit. If i want comic relief - i go watch a comedy series. Plenty of them around.
True, the story has very many grim scenes and scenery. I agree totally. None of them rival earlier Diablo's though. Some of the most dreadful things that happened in D3 were brought to you by reading a tome.
The lore i loved is now actually ridiculed by the likes of Abd-Al-Hazir or whateverhisnameis. That character is so transparent. It's built from ground up to be a comical historian of Sanctuary. How many comical lore/history snippets were there in earlier Diablos?
They totally fucking ruined it. Biggest disappointment in years. In earlier Diablos the story was being told to you by the environment, little snippets of information scattered around. And that WORKED! I mean, why did they start fixing something that wasn't broken? They didn't only "fix" the story or "enhance" they story. They totally raped it. There's nothing in D3 story delivery i actually like. It's crap. If Blizzard wants their games to be epic and perfectly executed in every detail, they need to do their homework a lot better. Less is more. We are constantly bombarded in the game with lore (which i find to be, in most cases, totally ridiculous when compared to the lore in earlier games or having a comical undertone which really doesn't suit the game series at all) Where is the horror in Diablo 3? This was supposed to be a horror/fantasy series? Well, excuse me, the "horror" execution seems to be a "bit" lacking. Everything in the game now has a backstory which is smashed in your hands in a form of a tome. To me, the horror is based in something i don't know, not something i know all about. The fear of unknown is the greatest fear we can feel. Isn't Diablo the lord of Terror? Lord of fear? In this part of the series, uncle Diablo removes the unknown from the equation. Now the unknown part of the lore in the series is reduced to "what will happen in the future? why did that character do that?"
Earlier in the series the unknown was more akin to "where am i" "what the hell is happening in here"
My verdict is that instead of enhancing the storytelling in the series, they totally destroyed the way the storytelling was established in the earlier games in the series. the story itself is now nothing i actually look forward to.
Example: i was totally hyped to see this Belial character in the game and what it would bring storywise. He was lord of LIES after all.
Lord of lies my ass... lord of illusions more like. Lord of transparent illusions and childlike greed. "Some magic still lingers in that ancient skull... and IT MUST BE MINE!" - Woohooo... i'm fucking trembling here. More saturday children's animation series villain bad-assery. Belial was THE FAIL of D3. None of the acts tie together very well, but act 2 and act 3 fail in this the most. There is no bridge except that hasty cinematic between act 2 and act 3 and you are actually leaving caldeum before we even get to see the cinematic. Sheesh... if there was some indications of the invasion given in act 2 (even in the tomes... or something) before just giving us the cinematic "yeah. arreat crater is the place... go there and wipe the slate clean... descend to hell and kill that fatass"
There is actually some indications that Belial and Azmodan were working together before.. now they are just two totally separate comicbook villains without any clear direction other than their own which aren't tied to each other in any convincing way.
I sitll can't believe Azmodan attacked Bastions keep. If i would pour my armies forth from a crater and could just go anywhere from there, i really wouldn't try to attack some castle first but just mass my armies out and take control of all the surrounding areas. The most cunning general in hell? Jesus, there is nothing to fear if all of them are such total retards as Azmodan.
I am complaining the story because i truly feel it could have been so much better, so much more epic. They totally lost the things i felt were important to the series. Someone pointed out that the cutscenes made with the games own engine were horrible, and i agree, not only were those cutscenes bad, they did nothing to actually enchance the experience of the story.
In some games like Dark Souls and Demons Souls or Halo the most intriguing parts of the story/lore/world are told with the environment and things not written and told to the player. Same goes for earlier Diablos. In Diablo 1, there was no real explanation for say, Butcher. He was just there and he was damn hard to kill. In Diablo 3 we are told that there are many Butchers in hell and that this one we killed in D1 and D3 is actually one of the many, generic butcher demons found in Hells. So damn exciting to know that he was just one of the many, faceless demons. Who is writing this crap? I mean, one of the principles in storytelling is that you don't just write and let the player/audience read, but you TELL THEM. Tell them in many intriguing ways.
Well, i've had enough of this. I really don't believe they can fix this. If they can, we'll see it later but i wouldn't get my hopes up since this was a second game in a row that did no honor to the earlier greatness of Blizzard games and their stories. Starcraft 2 failed to live to my expectations storywise. So did Diablo 3. There is nothing that can convince me otherwise. I wanted to love the story in this game, i tried hard to love it, but now i realize that i just can't do it. If you ask me, i don't want D3 to be part of the Diablo series story/lorewise because it totally ruins so many facets of the earlier games i found great, intriguing and scary. Sigh.
I think the plot itself is pretty good. Maybe i'm just stupid but i didn't saw Adria's betryal coming (D3's plot twist). The child emperor being Belial was pretty obvious through, but it was matter of DIRECTION, not SCRIPT. Also the preditability of Beliel is what fuel's Adria's. You saw one betreyal coming, i was really not expecting another one ! Belial made me overtrust in my plot forecast abilities hehe
Zoltun Kulle is an great character. I think the whole Nephalçem thing should be more developed in the game. The suken temple and the confrontation with Zoltun should be really impactful, in terms of revealing what you're. Again it's a DIRECTION problem, not an SCRIPT.
What is really, really bad in this game is the cutscenes (D3 doesn't have a proper engine to make a decent cutscene, they should've know that) and the fucking archdemon's taunting you like douchbags. Again thats a DIRECTION issue, not SCRIPT.
The whole D3 plot is cool, the direction is severely lacking. No mystery, dumb characters, "impactless" happenings - thats lack of cynematographic skills, not plot. I think someone could definetly pick D3's plot and make an SICK book/animation w/o chaging much.
From my point of view, that is, the point of view of a person who was a few years divorced from any detailed diablo lore: The story was pretty good. It certainly wasn't going to win an oscar, but at no point did I just sit there Deus Ex style and wonder what just happened to my eyes and ears.
I didn't exactly make a flow chart of the plot, but I think there are plenty of directions they can take the game from here. Lilith and the other ill-fated pairs of angels/demons are clearly on the menu. Tyreal is wide open since he's not just mortal now, but also "wisdom," over justice. The properties of the black soulstone virtually ensure it's going to be unleashing demons and possibly trapping angles at some point in the future.
Very good read. I personally liked the story as well but parts of it were less "OK" than others. As for SC2, the ending is supposed to make you wonder what could possibly happen in Heart of the Swarm. If it's a "happy ending", and you know more is to come, that just beats up more intrigue because there's no way you can know exactly how things will end up. Same with D3.
I find the plot senseless, actors - dull and bleak, and ending - disappointing. What kinda ruins the feeling for me is the overall idiocy of the situations that occur around the game. After I completed the main story, I've read the "Diablo 3. A comedy in 4 acts". I cried. After that, I cannot take the story seriously anymore.
Somehow D1 and D2 story made more sense. Probably because I was 15-18 at that age.
The apogee of stupidity for me is the "dialogues" with the followers. Especially the templar. A grown-up, with philosophical questions and doubts of a 15 year old. Pathetic.
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I'd really like to know wtf happened to the plot of the game cause honestly the book of cain was actually really well done and even the lore books in game were great but none of it seemed to translate well into the actual plot for some reason. Its like parts were cut out or they decided last minute to dumb everything down. The dialogue felt forced, simplified, and as though it didn't take much time to write. Azmodan and Belial were not the brilliant demons they were described as and Diablo didn't stfu once he invaded heaven. It really helps when you tell your enemy every move you're making... And yea, Cain's death was something that had to happen but it was really poorly executed. Such an important moment in the game and it doesn't even get a cinematic (Arthas vs. Illidin all over again). As for the feel of the game, you're right, didn't feel dark at all and the ending was so mushy I almost slit my wrist to save myself T_T Tyrael what happened to you man? You use to be badass and mysterious...now you can't even control your own emotions.
If I only had counted how many times I died in Diablo 2 just trying to get to the next part... just trying to SAVE ANYA, or KILL DIABLO! Goddamnit. You sonsofbitches have to DIE!!! Even after all these years, I still get goosebumps when I go into Chaos Santuary, pop all the seals, kill the Vizier, Infector, and Lord de Sies, then see the room turn red, start shaking, and hear, "NOT EVEN DEATH CAN SAVE YOU FROM ME!!!"
"Oh really? You wanna bet, mofo? Have at thee!" Yes, it gets me pumped still.
This new Diablo? I just want to mute his/her voice because it sounds so annoying. It does not sound evil, or wretched, or terrible, or anything other than annoying. Maybe contrived.
But this game, nah. I admit, normal got me pumped, the first playthrough. After that, it was meh, and I started noticing so many holes. You know how much of a Diablo nerd I am? I fucking cried when Cain died. Yep, I did. And when I killed Magdha, that was such a sweet victory! Let's be honest though... Cain died by the hands of the toothfairy. I mean, come on Blizz! Who wrote this crap?
And the inconsistencies are tremendous. Plenty of threads exist on forums about the inconsistencies with the storyline, not to mention they only brought a few characters over from Diablo 2, and those were either killed (Cain), or changed drastically (Tyrael).
Diablo 3's story is a tad on the generic side (thank God for lore journals), but one must also consider that it has yet to be finished. Two expansions to go. Blizzard still has a chance to be very clever with this, and while I'm not going to hold my breath, considering what was done to WoW and SCII's respective stories, I am going to reserve my judgment until I've cleared the final expansion.
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"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."-Friedrich Nietzsche