I think an important thing is time. These villains are effectively immortal when it comes to their life span.
They have been laying the seeds for this for centuries (if not millennia). This just creates a character who's grasp of the here and now is different form our perspective and who doesn't really need to worry about things happening in our lifetimes. This easily causes any of the prime evils to appear less involved because in reality they just operate under understanding of what is urgent.
Look what we did in D1 and D2. 20 years have passed, tons of people who were in the first two games are just gone and they are still pulling the strings.
I agree with you, Creepsville. He's the Silent Antagonist, just like Master Chief or your Diablo character might be the Silent Protagonist.
Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding some nuanced thought here, but I think you're confusing protagonists and antagonists.
He's more of an event than anything else. To date, his most layered depiction was in Diablo II as he struggled with the Warrior's spirit and will for control of the body. A lot of what the Dark Wanderer does are half-Diablo, half-Warrior.
I agree! I think that part of the reason (besides players needing a window to see Diablo through) that he allowed Marius to follow him in Diablo II was because of that Warrior/Diablo duality--his humanity was crushed and sad and fighting one of the most powerful demons in existence, and it was lonesome. But I guess that's obvious, since we know that the story of Diablo II for the Warrior was is slow transformation into Diablo (which lasted the entirety of the whole original game with different stages, culminating in his reclamation of Hell and the battle against the Heroes--for me, he wasn't "Diablo" until this moment).
Part of the reason players become so confused with Diablo as a villain, and really much of the lore, is the dialogue mechanic. Virtually all lore, despite nostalgic holdings, is revealed in rather drab monologues with no interaction. Players skip that. Players just want l00t. All of Diablo's campaign strategies are basically revealed through the NPC's, but we often skip that stuff.
Another part of it is that we don't often make the real connect between visuals and Diablo as a villain. The decay, corruption, and destruction of environments, humans-turned-enemies, animals-turned-savage beasts. Nature turned black against man. A lot of this gets passed off as mere filling and not part of the story, methinks. Thinking of setting in relation to events and Diablo make it much more personable and interesting.
I came to the preceding thought after numerous discussions about the state of Tristram in Diablo II and everyone trying to figure out which building was which from Diablo I and which NPC was lying on the ground dead. Making the connection that they were real people with histories and that these were homes and this was a village made Diablo's terror more . . . terrifying. So, I began to apply the same method to the wasted cities outside Lut Gholein and ta~dah! Much more immersive.
But I think this also is because the real gruesome interesting bits about all of the Prime Evils are often buried in text or bestiary information. For instance, I really though Mephisto was boring until I discovered his soulstone was split into shards, and that each of the council members was corrupted by these shards and was mutated by them, and that Mephisto saved the largest chunk for his own incarnation. Interesting.
So, boring story presentation, visual player disconnect, and information occlusion are all reasons for the disenfranchisement of players from Diablo--and the Prime Evil's--origins, acts, plans, etc.
Of course, I don't think these were issues when this game came out. We have different expectations for story delivery now than we did ten years ago, so newer gamers (and players that are newer to the series) will miss a lot of things because the game was made to appeal to players of the late 1990s and very, very early 2000s. From the many different ways that Diablo III is exposing characters and stories, we can see that this much is true. We have more storied followers that offer more interesting remarks on the present state of things, we have more dynamic scripted moments of dialogue (such as when we discover Cain), we have a lot of the text for skills now right in the game's UI and not hidden in printed manuals, etc.
they way I have always saw it was, his defeats in Diablo 1 and 2 lead up to the final conclusion in 3. At the end of 1 he needed a stronger host to break free of the cathedral. Now with his stronger body he could set in motion his plans to free his brothers. I have always believed that his going into hell was a means of buying time for baal to make it to the world stone because "Not even death can save you from me." where I think that means "you'll kill me but it won't mean anything" cause doesn't seem like he really puts up a fight, dude is twice the size of a barbarian you really think he couldn't just pick you up and rip you in half? he wanted to die. It is there that the world stone would have been destroyed where the powers it contained would be released. The answer on what the whole plot to his plans lie in the Black Soulstone. Since we don't know what it is and what its purpose is all we know is both sides (Heaven and Hell) want it. Only time will tell what Diablo really wants to do and how everything has fallen right into his hands.
I really though Mephisto was boring until I discovered his soulstone was split into shards, and that each of the council members was corrupted by these shards and was mutated by them, and that Mephisto saved the largest chunk for his own incarnation. Interesting.
Well, I'm not so sure of this anymore. Most reference to this event has been erased, and it is never referred to anywhere else, which I find strange.
Mephisto's always been the most interesting character to me, since he single-handedly corrupted the Zakarum faith, driving out the Paladins; and sent Lazarus to Kinh Leoric, thus allowing the Bishop to free and aid Diablo. In this way Mephisto's been the most determined of the three, driving all these various plots and characters even while he was locked away within a Soulstone. I just wonder what he might have done if he had more time outside the Soulstone! What then?
Rollback Post to RevisionRollBack
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
which lasted the entirety of the whole original game with different stages, culminating in his reclamation of Hell and the battle against the Heroes--for me, he wasn't "Diablo" until this moment
Well, the moment Diablo assumed his demonic form, he basically erased the Wanderer. Not really that significant, but I thought I could clear that out.
"Today I have seen what has become of the man who once risked everything to save us from the Lord of Terror. It was here in the jungles outside Kurast that we caught our first fleeting glimpse of the Dark Wanderer. It saddens me to think that even as steadfast and noble a hero as he has proven insignificant beneath the corrupting influence of the Lord of Terror. I weep for what he once was, and yet I curse him for the arrogance that has led him to his path, sowing pain and death across our world.
Mephisto's resurrection in our world was brief; my companions have seen to that. They fought through horrors I can scarcely imagine to defeat him and reclaim his Soulstone. They also brought back the devastating news that the Wanderer was no more. All traces of his humanity had been eradicated; he had been completely overtaken by Diablo in mind, body, and spirit. Fortunately they have succeeded in driving him back to his fiery home, and they tell me they mean to assault the Burning Hells in order to put an end to this existence once and for all. I can only wish them luck."http://eu.blizzard.c...ore/journal.xml
I agree with the rest of your points, we were really used to this model of story presentation and didn't really bother with it. But since D3 is a new game and it's a necessity to address how the story is told, and it already is. The biggest proof being the slight change in the Wanderer character, he now has a name - Aidan and he is the eldest son of Leoric and the brother of Albrecht, which really brings a proper and interesting backstory for the character and not just being a nameless hero. It's a real shame and maybe an oversight on Blizzard's part for not developing the potential of the Wanderer in back D2.
Let me rephrase: He hadn't really done anything worthy of the Lord of Terror until he reclaimed Hell and fought the Heroes (Rambled too much on my end, sorry.) So, while, yes, he was technically completely the Lord of Terror, it's my opinion he *wasn't* really the Lord of Terror until he did things that really made him terrifying.
But now that I think of it, from a character point of view, it would have been more interesting if we saw some kind of internal conflict of the Warrior with Diablo even after that moment. Maybe a kind of redemption moment, where when Diablo is almost dead and readies himself for an insane last-ditch attack that's sure to decimate the heroes, the Warrior's soul restrains him, cripples him, and allows you to land the finishing blow. I do think it's kind of silly that the Warrior was so easily erased. I guess it speaks for Diablo's power, but still . . .
@Mephisto de-lore-ification: I don't think it's so much that those bits on his soulstone are being erased as much as it is that the little bits we have are all we have while lore on everything else builds up in mass quantities. (Unless stuff really *was* erased, which would make Maggie very, very sad :() Mephisto kinda got the short end of the stick. Diablo gets three games, Baal gets an expansion, and Mephisto gets one act.