As we all know, at the end of Diablo 2, Diablo's Soulstone had been destroyed on the Hellforge, and in the preceding cutscene, it showed his soul sort of "dissipating" from his body. My question is, what happened to it? He's obviously coming back in some fashion for 3, but just going off of what was said/shown in 2, it's heavily implied that destroying his soulstone at the Hellforge basically rendered his spirit form impotent and powerless, or even just outright destroyed, depending how one looks at it.
So how, then, is he returning in full force for 3? I tend to think of myself as a lore buff when it comes to the Diablo universe, and as far as I'm aware, there's nothing that explicitly states what exactly happens when their soulstones are destroyed.
Is there a piece of information I'm missing here? Or is it just something that we'll have to wait to see explained in 3?
The only answer is, We don't know. All will be revealed in the newest installment!!1
We can speculate all we want, but until then, well...
Much speculation rests on the Black Soulstone. We think it somehow taps into the Abyss, where the souls of Mephisto, Diablo and Baal were sent upon their deaths. The Abyss is the nether realm from which nothing emerges. Supposedly.
Anyways. The Black Soulstone was created by a member of the Horadrim, Zoltun Kulle, and was made to imprison the souls of Demons and Angels alike. Now, Azmodan is searching for this, which would give him the power of all the other Prime Evils, since they've mostly all been killed off and sent to the Abyss. It could be from this demonic amalgamation of souls, coupled with the fact that... something something something (spoiler:
Leah is, through the Dark Wanderer, Diablo's daughter
)... that Diablo manifests as the strongest-willed demon.
So, that's the theory we're running with now. Help any?
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Be it through hallowed grounds or lands of sorrow
All in the Forger's wake is left bereft and fallow
Is the residuum worth the cost of destruction and maiming;
Or is the shaping a culling and exercise in taming?
The road's goal is the dark Origin of Being
But be wary through what thickets it winds.
-Excerpt from the Litany of Residuum;
As Translated by He Who Brings Order