The Diablo III Lore panel starts at 10am, PDT, on the panels stage at Blizzcon. I will be live blogging it in this post, as I did with the panel yesterday evening. Refresh this post for updates over the hour, and expect a full write up shortly after the panel ends.
Click through to follow the action and watch the full video of the panel….
The whole panel is written up now, and I’m fixing up the transcript. Warning, there are A LOT OF SPOILERS in this one. Act bosses for Acts 2 and 3 are revealed, along with the main plot of those acts. Nothing about 4 was revealed, but they built up to where it begins and the surprises it will clearly hold, so if you’re trying to keep your mind virginal on big D3 events, you may want to skip this one.
Diablo III Lore Panel
He says in 15 years of Diablo and 7 years of BlizzCon they’ve never had just a straight Lore panel. Not even for WoW, apparently. They’ll talk about the history of the games, some of Diablo 3 specifics, and then open up for public questions.
We put together this thing called the Book of Cain. They needed to streamline all the stories, it was developed across numerous writers and different games and books, etc. As they got deep into Diablo 3 they had new ideas and new concepts and needed to get everything organized. Tighten up and trim old concepts. Wanted a tight, smartly built game continuity in D3. All that started coming together and they thought Book of Cain would be a cool product.
This happens to them in Starcraft and World of Warcraft all the time. As they have to do some Retcons and such. People get emotional or don’t like it. No real major world changes in Book of Cain. But Metzen wants to say up front that they’ve been making some changes and they hope it’s not too upsetting.
They want to début the internal conflict. Ideas they’ve been building into Diablo III but aren’t really visible yet. So they’re going to talk about the Angels in the world. Not just Demons. The only one we see is Tyrael.
The idea is the Diablo universe is an eternal conflict between High Heavens and Burning Hells. What are they actually fighting about? Why? What are they doing? They came up with a mythic cycle of the creation of the universe. (See the sample pages 1 and 2 from the Book of Cain.) The Eye of Anu, which became the Worldstone. The 7 evils came from the heads of a dragon. The Worldstone can create worlds without end. Ultimately the High Heavens and Burning Hells are evidence of the first creation of the universe. As they become aware of each other, they start fighting over the Worldstone, since whoever creates it can shape reality to their whim. So the forces are fighting each other around the Worldstone, in the center of the universe. They call that area the Pandemonium. Angels controlled it in Diablo 2, where we saw it.
Different sides held the area over different times, as the Angels and Demons power waxes and wanes. Kind of a Jerusalem thing, where the different forces build on it over time. It’s vastly larger than the little bit we saw in Diablo 2.
As you move over time, the character of Inarius began to dislike the eternal conflict. He conscripts like-minded angels and demons (Lilith) to steal the worldstone from the heart of creation. It’s still there to the others visibly, but it’s been moved and hidden in another dimension. Into Sanctuary. With that power of creation the angels and demons make a paradise for themselves. They began to breed, angels and demons, and gave birth to the Nephalem. Who are very strong and mighty, but their powers diminish over time. And they become humans. The angels and demons were frightened that the Nephalem have the potential to become stronger than their parents. See the Sin War Trilogy for this in much more detail.
So, Angels. The Angiris Council. What are the angels up to? They’ve gotten much less coverage in the games to this point. These guys are analogous to the seven prime evils. They have specific roles.
Tyrael, the Angel of Justice. He’s about order, justice, the system of how things work. Very rigid personality and morality. When Tyrael found out about the Nephalem and Sanctuary… Uldyssian was a powerful Nehphalem, nearly becomes all powerful. Sacrificed himself to fix problems in Sanctuary. Tyrael sees this, is impressed by the honor and heroism. This causes Tyrael to become less prickly and legalistic in his thinking, and he becomes a helper to mankind.
Auriel, Angel of Hope and female. The most upbeat of the Angiris Council. Serious, wise, hopeful. She’s the cleric type personality. Powerful item Cord of Hope, can bestow blessings. She’s the heart of the group and she holds them together. The Council doesn’t often get along, very strong personalities.
Malthael, Angel of Wisdom. Still being developed. He’s served as the conciliary to the Angiris Council. The voice of reason. Everyone listens when he talks. At the point when Anarius and his buddies hijack the Worldstone, this caused Malthael to flip out. As the heart of reality vanished to Sanctuary, Maltheal flipped out, and it causes him to become a darker figure. He’s more grim now, carries twin scythes for weapons.
Imperius, Angel of Valor. The biggest ass-kicker to Diablo history. Fun new character. He’s very commanding and a bad ass in combat. Lives to fight demons and has been fighting since the dawn of time, killed billions of demons. He’s a very loud voice on the council, almost a bully to get his way. The danger for Imperius is that valor can often turn to pride, and that leads Imperius and Tyrael to much interpersonal conflict. Their views on mankind’s right to exist differ.
Itherael, Angel of Fate. Can’t literally read the future, but sees the possibilities. Vast knowledge, doesn’t speak often, but very valuable guidance. Since the Worldstone was stolen and Sanctuary was created, he can not see mortals. In his foreseeing he can only see Angels and Demons. Mortals are the Gordian Knot that these angels can not understand or predict, and it vexed them greatly.
Sanctuary was a new place, formed by both angels and demons. There was a non-interference pact between the angels and demons. They wouldn’t mess with mankind.
The demons thought that mankind would drift over to darkness by themselves, with a few pushes here and there provided by the Prime Evils themselves. This didn’t sit well with Lesser Evils, especially Belial and Azmodan and they started a civl war in hell over it. Eventually the Prime Evils lost this war, and were exiled to Sanctuary in what is known as The Dark Exile and this in turn led to the Sin War and the events setting up Diablo 1 and Diablo 2. They were imprisoned by the Horadrim. They were then hunted down and destroyed by the players, along with Andariel and Duriel.
Belial is the Lord of Lies. Belial is about corruption from within. Manipulates. Plays on your fears and mistrusts. He uses these skills to take over Caldeum, the most important trade city in the world. He’s sent his cultists and snake demons out into the borderlands. This is driving refugees towards Caldeum, but the city is closed and there is starvation and disease. You must figure out how Belial is doing it. He doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, he uses his underlings for that purpose.
Magda, a witch who leads the coven filled with dark cultists. They are the antagonists you meet for the first good portion of Diablo 3 before you even meet Belial. Also on his payroll are snake demons and in keeping with Belial’s theme of deception they can disguise themselves as humans, so you never know when you’re dealing with them or when they’ll turn into monsters and attack you.
Azmodan is the Lord of Sin. Has as his lieutenants the 7 deadly sins. The first one will not be known until the game is released but the second is Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust. Who was called the Mistress of Pain at the point. She was cut from the game, they’d tossed her aside. But when the Blizzcon 2009 costume winner was the Mistress of pain they decided to put her back into the game. *applause*
She’s like Belial, she likes to taunt and torment the player.
Azmodan is all about power and destruction. Raw power. Royalty, wears a crown. He ruled hell for300 years after the Dark Exile. He’s greedy and avaricious and ostentatious. Wears gold and trappings of wealth. Gilding.
As a personality, he’s not into deceit or hiding. From the very beginning of the act you know exactly where he is, you just can’t get to him. He’s behind the demon invasion that