A DiabloFans editorial: Stairway to Heaven?

This is a bit shorter editorial speculating about a possible Diablo III expansion. By doing that I'm certainly being slightly ahead of my time. After all, the game itself will come out in 2011 at the earliest. However, these few points and the evidence leading towards them are something I wanted to share with all of you.

Some of the sources I used are relatively old, albeit official, especially the information I took from the DiabloWiki.com - Diablo II Diablo II game manual ― published with the game in 2000. This editorial is merely meant as food for thought and as a seed for discussion. It's also purely speculative in nature.

That all being said, I'm, myself, fairly hyped about some things I came up with. Most of all about how they at least seemingly add up to make something fairly convincing. I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you're convinced or not.

As a brief glimpse for those not yet convinced to finish reading, I'll present to you this short summary. If my speculations and the sources I based them on were correct, we'll be visiting the High Heavens and Ureh, seeing the possible return of the DiabloWiki.com - Necromancer Necromancer and more than likely visiting the underground Necromancer city, where the DiabloWiki.com - Priests of Rathma Priests of Rathma are trained in their faith and ways.

The first core point about things likely to be included in the expansion is the fascinating city of Ureh. One of the key locations in the Kingdom of Shadows novel by Richard A. Knaak, which is considered by Blizzard to be an official piece of the lore of DiabloWiki.com - Sanctuary Sanctuary.

In our own DiabloFans exclusive interview posted on November 24th, 2009, Jay Wilson announced that sadly Ureh has been cut out from the game:

Official Blizzard Quote:

DiabloFans: [...] Will different places like Ureh be visited throughout the game?

Jay Wilson: We removed Ureh from the game as a setting to try and get the game out sooner. [...]

However, a lot of concept work for Ureh has been done. It was modeled for the cinematics (it was shown in the cinematic trailer), which makes me to do the speculative assumption that Jay Wilson is explicitly referring to it being cut from the core game. This is not however an idea I can take credit for myself. As quite a central place in the novel and something featured in both the map in the Diablo II manual and the new Map of Sanctuary, the consensus among fans after the initial announcement appeared to be that surely it would be featured in an expansion. This is something I'm ready to assume myself as well.

The next point revolves around the Necromancer. He is perhaps one of the most loved character class of Diablo II. And I, among others, lamented when they confirmed it won't make return at least in the initial release of Diablo III. However, as Jay Wilson says in this below quotation from MTV Multiplayer's blogging on August 5th, 2008, reoccurence in expansions isn't ruled out yet:

Official Blizzard Quote:

"There's a lot of people on our team who aren't happy with our class choices,” he admitted. "But after we've established 'Diablo III' as its own game with its own type of gameplay and experiences, I wouldn't be opposed to looking at old classes. We are trying to design [the Witch Doctor] class so that if we did bring back the Necromancer, there's room for him. We're looking out ahead of time at what our expansions are going to be, so we've got to keep room open for some of those other classes down the road."

As the quotation itself implicitly points out, even the Diablo III development team themselves might've wanted to include the Necromancer. Ignoring the perhaps slight contradiction in the wording between these two quotations, the notion of recurrence was further enhanced by Blizzard's community manager Bashiok on January 6th, 2010, when he cleared a misconception regarding the Necromancer as actually confirmed for the expansion:

Official Blizzard Quote:

We're not specifically designing the witch doctor to leave room for a necromancer class. We're focusing on this game and making the classes fun. It's more of a case of, the witch doctor just isn't similar enough that it would prohibit us from adding a necromancer. Were one to be added in an expansion. Were an expansion to be made.

These two comments by Blizzard representatives prove that the return of the Necromancer is possible. This brings me to the next interesting point.

From the Diablo II manual (the text is also on The Arreat Summit), page 41 of the English manual describing the Necromancers, we can read the following:

Official Blizzard Quote:

As with most users of magic, the priests of the cult of Rathma hail from the far Eastern jungles. They
reside in a vast underground city located deep within those jungles. [...]

This city, the training ground for Necromancers, is also referenced in the Diablo novels, which are considered official lore, such as Richard Knaak's the Legacy of Blood. Is it just me, or would a city of the Necromancers be too cool a thing to miss? This above quote has led to the general consensus that the vast underground city of the East mentioned in the manual, is indeed located in the Swamp Land of the East.

Now let's put our interest towards this particular area of the map on the right. Notice how swamp lands is conveniently located just next to Ureh. Is it a coincidence? Or a reason to specifically talk about the possibility of the Necromancer returning?

Now, the last point returns us to Ureh. From the back of the Diablo Archive, the version of the Kingdom of Shadow I own, we get the following:

Official Blizzard Quote:

Legend speaks of a long-dead city known as Ureh, thought by many to have been a gateway to the High Heavens. [...]

The Brain might ask at this point: "Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

We've been to the DiabloWiki.com - Burning Hells Burning Hells, but the DiabloWiki.com - High Heavens High Heavens is a location unvisited in the series so far. And what would be a more convenient and canon way to enter it, than something already fabled to be a gateway into there?

This was something discussed in this topic started by ScyberDragon. My own guess is that somehow the forces of Burning Hells will invade the High Heavens through Ureh, and the player will go there to save the Burning hells from winning. Your guess is as good as mine, though.

Now that I've presented to you what I think, and what points there, what does the community think?

I at least got hyped.

Disclaimer: DiabloFans' Rumors are not the officially recognized positions of the staff, management, and/or administration of DiabloFans.


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