Diablo 3's Story

One of the biggest mysteries that surrounds Diablo III is the story line that we will play out throughout the course of the game. Although next to no information has been given about the story, there have been many hints and clues about different areas of the game and brief explanations of instances. By compiling all of these random tidbits together, we can being to paint the picture of what will happen during Diablo III.

First, we will begin with the overall story line. Starting with the broadest of plots we look towards the official Diablo III site. On the main page it states:

Official Blizzard Quote:

When Deckard Cain returns to the ruins of Tristram Cathedral seeking clues to defeat new stirrings of evil, a fiery harbinger of doom falls from the heavens, striking the very ground where Diablo once entered the world. This fire from the sky reawakens ancient evils and calls the heroes of Sanctuary to defend the mortal world against the rising powers of the Burning Hells once again.

This sets up the basis to the story that we will be going through in DiabloWiki.com - Diablo III Diablo III. Perhaps the most important part of this quote is the fact that it states this "harbinger of doom falls from the heavens". What exactly is this fiery harbinger of doom is still unknown, however. Is it Tyrael kicked out of the Heavens, coming to warn of us of the ultimate results of his actions at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction? Perhaps it is the actions of the lesser Sanctuary loving angels, aimed to destroy all of Sanctuary itself by reawakening the Evil that still lay beneath Tristram Cathedral? It could really be anything that just happens to be falling from the sky and not the High Heavens themselvs. Regardless, this beginning of the game is seen in the first cinematic that was shown announcing the game and will begin the story.

Beyond this mysterious omen, we also know that we will begin the story with Deckard Cain where we find him in DiabloWiki.com - New Tristram New Tristram. He has called upon our aid to help fight against this new resurgence of Evil. Being one of the citizens of Sanctuary and Tristram through all three Diablo games now, Deckard Cain is the last of the DiabloWiki.com - Horadric Mages Horadric Mages. We know, thanks to our interview with Michael Gough (the voice actor for Deckard Cain), that "there is just more on his emotional plate in this one, than there has been before. He now has different things to be concerned about, at different points in the story, and his life, and all that". They have added an additional character, DiabloWiki.com - Leah Leah, who seems to be an important character to not only Deckard Cain this time around but the story of Diablo III as well.

With Deckard Cain being the last of the Horadric Mages, this brings us to an interesting side note for the story that may contribute to the overall plot of the game. In Diablo II, we obtained an item known as the DiabloWiki.com - Horadric Cube Horadric Cube. In Diablo III, a similar item with the exact same graphic will be used to deconstruct items as oppose to creating them in the previous game. While simply a change in mechanic, it is the name change of this item that is intriguing. Renamed the DiabloWiki.com - Nephalem Cube Nephalem Cube, this item now reflects the origins of Sanctuary itself. For those who do not know, the DiabloWiki.com - Nephalem Nephalem was the name given to the offspring of of DiabloWiki.com - Inarius Inarius and DiabloWiki.com - Lilith Lilith, the Angel and Demon who gave birth to man and Sanctuary itself. You can learn more about this story in the video recap created byforce and written by phrozendragon. Long story short, they created the DiabloWiki.com - Worldstone Worldstone to hide these people from Heaven and Hell. Another side effect of the stone was that it slowly drained the Nephalem's power turning them into regular humans that we know them as now. However, with the Worldstone destroyed by Tyrael, we can assume that man will soon be regaining these powers that their ancestors once had, making them more powerful than Angels or Demons. Bashiok commented on just how pivotal this change will be to the story of Diablo III.

Official Blizzard Quote:

It has a name. It is not Salvage Cube. The name does include Cube, though. The name is sort of a spoiler, which is why we haven't revealed it yet.

Now that we know how the game will begin, we need to know where the plot will go. The biggest clue we have of the overall storyline is a quote from Jay Wilson in an interview with IGN during the 2009 Blizzcon.

Official Blizzard Quote:

Well, our story tends to focus a lot more on the two major demons and the impending invasion of Sanctuary.

Supposed images of Belial and Azmodan
While he never directly states who these two major demons are, there is some educated thought that can help us figure out who he is talking about. For those who do not know much about the lore of Sanctuary, there are seven greater evils. These evils are made up of three prime evils: DiabloWiki.com - Diablo Diablo, DiabloWiki.com - Baal Baal, and DiabloWiki.com - Mephisto Mephisto and there are also four lesser evils; DiabloWiki.com - Andariel Andariel, DiabloWiki.com - Duriel Duriel, DiabloWiki.com - Belial Belial, and DiabloWiki.com - Azmodan Azmodan. Now, before the events of Diablo, the three prime evils are exiled from Hell with Andariel and Duriel going with them to Sanctuary. Of course, throughout Diablo II, we ended up destroying all five of these demons. This, however, leaves both Belial and Azmodan who are waring against each other for complete control over Hell. We can assume that these last two Evils are the ones that are now invading Sanctuary. The question is why have they moved their feud from Hell onto this mortal plane? Without going into details, Jay Wilson did say:

Official Blizzard Quote:

We have this conundrum early on of should you have a game called Diablo without Diablo in it. We can debate that, whether we should or shouldn't, but what it comes done to is we've had a storyline in mind that's been going back quite a ways. So, without revealing too much I can say that there's been a plan. If the player thinks they've outsmarted forces of Hell and evil and they basically won, well, they are in for a big shock. Because really what they are going to discover in Diablo III is things pretty much went exactly the way Hell wanted to all along.
It is possible that Azmodan and Belial's plan to kick out the prime evils may have had more to it then it first appears. Perhaps they were testing to see how strong the humans were or knew that they would be the only ones strong enough to actually destroy the prime evils for them. While we do not know what their plan was or still is, we do know that these two are now after Sanctuary and it will be up to us stop them from doing so.

Moving on to the climax of the story, how it all ends is what is the most important part of the story. However, because of this, we know the least amount of information concerning this topic. As cliché as it may be, the game may very well conclude, once again, with us defeating Diablo. Perhaps his exile from Hell was part of his master plan to be reincarnated into the form we see him in now. Many wondered if Diablo would even be returning in this third sequel. However, it has been officially confirmed that the demon seen at the end of the cinematic is Diablo and that he will be returning in Diablo III. Many people will still argue that he will not actual be a demon you fight or that you will not even face him in the original Diablo III but he will not show up until one of the multiple expansions they have planned for the game. Regardless of when and how he appears, it only seems right that the Lord of Terror is, at some point, the climax to the game. After all, we know that Diablo III and its expansions will conclude this story that started fifteen years ago with Diablo I.

Official Blizzard Quote:

We're not saying this is the end of the Diablo universe, but we are trying to bring this storyline to a close. It's not just Diablo III -- we've got plans beyond

Now with the all of the story we know so far explained, we need to know how we will actually play out this epic journey. Blizzard is attempting to expand the universe in Sanctuary and there are 1,000 places we could end up at along this path. While each act will span a larger area than before, there will still be distinct areas in which each take place. We also know we have seen the first three acts that will be in Diablo III.

Official Blizzard Quote:

You've actually seen some of the first three Acts already, and we probably won't be revealing too much more than what we've already shown. We really want to try to keep as much a surprise for you when you play through the game the first time as possible. We will be announcing all of the game systems though before beta, so there are a few things left as far as reveals go. While beta will obviously be a lot of fun, should you get the chance to get in and help test, it'll only be a small part of the whole game. Some people want to know everything, but we're really trying to preserve the surprise and wonderment (that we hope will come with exploring Diablo III) as much as possible.

Act 1:

We have seen quite a bit of act 1. This act will begin in DiabloWiki.com - New Tristram New Tristram with the fiery crash into Tristram Cathedral. Our heroes of Diablo III will be starting off their journey investigating this phenomenon. We will go back into the Cathedral that the brave heroes of Diablo I ventured into. We also know that DiabloWiki.com - King Leoric King Leoric will be playing an important part in this act despite not being the actual act boss. In fact, we don't know who will be the boss of any act for certainty. King Leoric plays a big role in the overall story of Diablo as his son was the first sacrifice to bring Diablo into this realm physically. We have seen plenty of screenshots of Leoric's Torture Chamber as well as a couple pieces of concept art of this demon. We do not know exactly how this act will conclude but however it does, it will bring us to our next destination, act 2.

Act 2:

Act 2 will take our characters to the East venturing in the deserts of DiabloWiki.com - Kehjistan Kehjistan. We were first shown this desolate area when the Monk was announced at the 2009 Blizzcon. Within this desert, we will also be going to the city of DiabloWiki.com - Caldeum Caldeum. An important piece of information to note right now is that Jay Wilson mentioned that we would be visiting the homeland of the Wizard. While she actually originates from Xiansai, her story also takes her to Caldeum where she learned a lot of her skills. While it is possible we will be venturing to this island, it is also possible that Caldeum is the city of origin that we will be visiting. Moving the story from the meteor to the invasion of Belial and Azmodan, we know that act 2 is where will be encountering Belial. How this plays out in the game is still unknown but he definitely is the driving force through this act.

Official Blizzard Quote:

Act two's a little bit more of an intrigue and deception-focused story, because Belial is in there.

Act 3:
This next act has us going back to the West to Bastion's Keep. Bastion's Keep was seen in the 2010 Blizzcon panel "Crafting Sanctuary". This Keep happens to be placed right on the edge of Arreat Crater where the Worldstone once stood until Tyrael destroyed it. All we know about the area is that is the last line of defense against a horde of demons and monsters. We saw a glimpse of this assault in the cinematic as a demonic army marched. It is possible that Azmodan is commanding this army in attempt to take over Sanctuary.

Act 4:

Practically nothing is known about the last act of the game. All we do know is that it will be the shortest of all of the acts leading up to the climax of the game. There is a chance that we will, once again, be venturing to Hell to defeat Diablo much like we have in the previous games. We could be doing this by venturing into Arreat crater.

There are a few missing holes in this act progression compared to the story. There has been a lot of concept art of Jungle-type areas that do not seem to fit into any of these acts as far as we know. This could be explained by the unknown transition of all of the acts and just how we will be going from one area to the next. Even in between acts 2 and 3, we seem to be going from one side of Sanctuary to the other. There has to be some story explanation that has us traversing such a large area of Sanctuary.

Now, with the story spelled out and how it translates to the gameplay, we are left with a few questions about Diablo III. The first is what is the harbinger of doom from Heaven? Why are Belial and Azmodan trying to take Sanctuary now that they have control over Hell? Do the angels care about what is going on in Sanctuary between the humans and demons. Most importantly, how will it all end?

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