Diablo 3’s Heroes: On the Side of Heaven or Hell?

Amidst all of the interviews and content coverage that stemmed from the Blizzard media event in late July, we missed this Gamespot video interview of DiabloWikiLeonard Boyarsky, and thanks to reader Soumya for using our new Submit News button to send us a reminder of why it’s worth watching. The interview is only five minutes long and the first three are taken up by Leonard doing a nice concise job of recapping the whole story of D1 and D2. The last question redeems the feature, as the interviewer gets Leonard to reveal a bit of the overall story of Diablo III that we’ve never before heard so explicitly stated.

Here’s my transcription of the key bit, and you might consider this something of a spoiler if you’re trying to avoid anything and everything that might rank as story material.

Is there a chance humanity will have to make the choice whether to side with heaven or hell?
LeBo: There’s a good chance that that might happen in Diablo III. *smiling*

I don’t want to give too much away, but one very interesting thing about the DiabloWikiWorldstone is that it kind of clamps down on mankind’s power. Since they are the offspring of DiabloWikiAngels and DiabloWikiDemons, they have the potential to become more powerful than Angels or Demons. But the Worldstone has been destroyed; it was destroyed at the end of Lord of Destruction. So what does that mean for mankind?

Well, you as the hero are starting to show these powers, that’s why you have all these great abilities you can use throughout the game. So as you grow in power, Heaven and Hell definitely take an interest in you.

The question seems crazy on the surface, since thus far in the games the Demons have been all bad and the Angels have been all good. The overall lore makes it a more debatable issue, though.

Just in the games though, we’ve only see the forces of the Burning Hells portrayed as entirely evil. And not in a seductive, corrupting way, but just as destroying monsters. A few humans have chosen to serve them, but usually out of fear, desperation, or mental corruption — there haven’t been any scenes of Faustian bargains or interludes in which Diablo or his bros are cleverly conniving to win humans to their cause. They just want to eat people.

On the other hand, DiabloWikiTyrael is about the only Angel seen in the game, and he’s always (tried and usually failed) to be helpful. However, if you read more of the world lore, the Angels as a whole have actually been quite hostile towards humanity, and have often suggested wiping out Sanctuary entirely, since they consider humans a dangerous nuisance, and possibly tools that might be used by the Burning Hells in their ongoing war with the High Heavens.

In light of all that, it seems like humanity on Sanctuary should be more concerned with fighting/defeating both the Angels and Demons, simply out of self-preservation.

You can watch the whole interview below.


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  1. I would surely be interested in “having a choice” at some point. How about teaming up with a flock of Thousand Pounders, a few Siegebreakers and assault Caldeum later on? Being a goody two shoes gets old quickly, and it’s so clichey being always a hero.

    Frankly because I’d rather team up with the devil I know, than the one I don’t know. We know all demons wanna do is eat our brains (they’re not unreasonable, noone’s gonna eat our eyes). They’re evil, they know it and flaunt it. There’s hardly a transparent ulterior motive in place. BUT I certainly can’t and don’t trust a bunch of people who preach about being good and holier than DOH!

    I say, screw the angels, kill them all, give the Blizzard North D3 build to BrotherLaz and let him recreate MedianXL and all its uberlevels :D, what was the name of that “heaven” level where you attack the angel avatars and those other pesky buggers? Oh, Khalimgrad……ye that place had some eerie similarities to those D3 Heaven screenies.

    Oh, and put offline single player back into the game…….you monkeys!

  2. This is crap. It comes from those horrible The Sin War novels.

    It’s just the magic… and mana. Here’s a quote from Original Diablo manual.

    The Nature of Magic
    Magic is an extremely powerful force, the manipulation of
    which is carefully studied, frequently learned, but it is never
    fully mastered. Enchantments exude an aura that can be
    sensed by many, but years of training are required to properly
    exploit the Mana that pervades our world.

    Some scholars use natural manifestations to explain the
    workings of the universe. In a common archetype, the physical
    world is likened to the sky while the ethereal realm of magic
    is set as the ocean. If we follow this line of thought, spells are
    much like the turbulence that occurs where the two interact
    with each other. During the Sin War, Demon and Angel alike
    wrought powerful magicks that threatened to tear the fabric
    of reality apart. The physical and magical realms began to
    blur and merge, which, in our archetype, would be the
    equivalent of a fierce hurricane.

    The Forces of Order sought to preserve our reality by limiting
    the power of mortal man. As a consequence, only the strongest
    wills can harness more than the most basic of magical effects.
    Even then, much energy is lost in the transition of power
    between the two Realms. As a practitioner of the arcane arts
    grows more knowledgeable he is able to create these effects
    with greater efficiency, resulting in spells that are more potent,
    have more endurance and drain less Mana in their casting.

  3. So… we know that Belial, Asmodan and Diablo are in, presumably they are the act bosses. We know that Act 2 boss is Belial (Jay said that) and that Diablo is the last boss. Since Leonard states that the Asmodan and Belial are the last two that haven’t been defeated yet and Decard Cain is working on some prophecy that has the connection to both these two demons and the invasion (which we know will happen in act 3 – siege of the bastion’s keep), it’d be rather logical that this is where we meet Azmodan.
    Any guesses as to who is the act I boss?
    I’m really hoping to see some angels and hopefully kick their holy butts:) I’d be really cool if there were to expansions where we got to battle Imperius and some other angels. Perhaps they story would go along these lines: “well, the angels have helped you against hell in the vanilla D3, so that humanity does all the dirty work for them and defeat hell, allowing the heaven to invade sanctuary to pacify the humans before they become a threat”:) It’d work for me.

    • But if they blow through all the prime and lesser evils in D3… what’s for acts 5 and 6 in the 2 planned expansions? They know they’re doing them, and they’ve said this story wraps up with d3. We won’t have anohter D2X “what about the worldstone” cliffhanger at the end. There will be some kind of final conclusion. So they must have written the plot accordingly…

      In that light, it’s been suggested that we won’t have a final battle with Diablo in act 4. He’ll be there, but only defeated, not slain. or in some other way saved for the final battle at the end of act 6 in the 2nd/final d3 expansion.

      • Or they may be through with demons in the vanilla D3 and explore Heaven in the expansions. Or combine the two – make angels help humans while Diablo plans his attack on Angiris council.
        It’d actually be quite nice if they let us think we’ve defeated the demons in D3, then let us defeat Imperius and Heaven in Expansion 1 and then wrap up the story with Diablo taking advantage of this by invading heaven and forcing us to slay him for good:)
        Those are only my ideas though:)

      • Killing the “good guys”(angels) would be pretty hard to pull off unless Diablo somehow corrupted part of Heaven. Perhaps he will flee to Heaven after being defeated in Act 4?

        • Where did you get an idea that the angels are the good guys?:)
          As far as lore goes, angels though about obliterating the sanctuary. Their leader, sort of, called Imperius, wanted to destroy the humans seeing them as a threat and abominations.
          Just look for Imperius in DiabloWiki:)

          • Well since they are angels they kind of have to be the good guys don’t they.

          • it’s all subjective really. we may consider them both evil because the demons want to kill us and the angels thought about killing us. but why? demons do it out of pure hatred or zealous rage or whatever, and the angels are conscious of how unstable and easily corruptable humans are, and see that weakness as a possible threat to the balance of.. existence? i mean who knows =p.

          • Be careful not to confuse the treatment of angels in most earthly mythologies with the one in the game Diablo.

            The Angels in the Diablo world are not the good guys. In fact, as I tried to say in the post, most of them want to ignore humans, or destroy them entirely lest the Demons use humans as a weapon against the Heavens. Pretty much only Tyrael has helped humanity, (or tried to, though you’ll note that almost everything he does actually turns situations worse, which many people have speculated is part of a larger plot)  and he’s done so against the express commands of his fellow Angels.

            Basically humans are besieged by both Angels and Demons in this world, since both sides rightly fear that Humans might become more powerful than them.

  4. There is a bad angel in the games; Izual, the fallen angel who told the demons about the soulstones.  There aren’t any good demons that I can think of though.

    • That cowardly goatman in Diablo1 is probably the closest.

    • we regard tyrael as good but maybe he is just acting on the behalf of angels in general, not on the behalf of human kind. i mean in the sinwar trilogy (novels) demons would try on several occasions to persuade / seduce / control nephalem to team up with demons in order to destroy heaven.
      maybe the tainted worldstone would have granted Baal control over the humans beginning from the weakest- minded.
      so, even so destroying the worldstone was a fault , it was still better than the alternative ?
      now that the nephalem`s power is no longer repressed by the worldstone , maybe even heaven will fear the power potential of humans / nephalem. maybe they too want to wipe human kind out. out of fear they have no longer control?
      maybe hell and heaven even team up for that purpose ? (ofc they would want to backstab each other if humans are no longer a threat)
      however i would like the flavour of such a scenario – i mean after all good and evil is more a question of perspective….

  5. Uhm, Flux – where’s the info about Bashiok confirming beta in september?:)

    • Why vote down this? It’s not on this site and clearly – Bashiok said in the forums that beta in august is “unlikely”. Some people don’t read the forum and would appreciate that being info finding it place on the front page of this site:)

  6. I want Diablo 3’s world to become something like the Witcher’s. See, the demons and Diablo are just pure, chaotic, evil. The angels, well, they basically want to attack us out of self-preservation, as Flux rightly puts it. And we…basically we humans just want to save our own race, somehow, anyhow…and all this makes good and evil very relative terms now. Quite unlike D1, where ‘evil’ was so scary because it was the ultimate evil, and we were all goody-goody warriors etc.

    I just hope the D3 team has realized the ambiguous nature of the lore and the world they have created and use it, SOMEHOW. I want them to move away from the standard good-vs-evil and make it order-vs-chaos, where we’re not quite sure whos with us and who isn’t. That alone would make Diablo 3 a much “deeper and more resonant” game.The Witcher games do it brilliantly, they make you feel for this person who is incredibly powerful but a loner and an outcast, who is basically trying to save his own skin by balancing so many conflicting powers. Diablo 3 should make us feel for humanity in the same way.

    Yes, loot-hunters and click-freaks, I know many of you don’t get this 😛 But as a fan of the entire Diablo universe, not just the games alone, I so want this to happen.

    • “Yes, loot-hunters and click-freaks, I know many of you don’t get this 😛 But as a fan of the entire Diablo universe, not just the games alone, I so want this to happen.”

      You’re not alone. I think we might get something like you’ve described with D3.

    • Order vs Chaos? They hired Leonard Boyarsky from Fallout, so he’s probably your best chance.

  7. I hope someone got some good shots of the seemingly Act IV/V hellstage screenshots and they get posted here.

  8. I’ll have my character side with Hell to get more powerful items when the time comes.  Siding with heaven probably gives your character silly Tyreal wings or something

  9. Well, three of the seven archangels in the ruling Angiris Council voted for destruction of Sanctuary and Neplalem/Humans, three voted for the preservment of us, and Tyriel´s vote decided ourt fate. That means that there probably are mutliple factions withing High Heavans themselves (much like there are multiple factions within Hell) and we can pretty accuratly assume that, while Angiris Council is fine with the existance of Humans, there probably are some angelic factions who aren´t okay with that. Who think that Humans/Nephalem are too much of a threat and possibility of them joining Hells is too high, especially now, that the Worldstone is destroyed, and humans are getting their Nephalem powers back. One of the possibilities for the plot is that significant number of angels decide to end the Nephalem threat once and for all, so they invade Sanctuary that was already weakened by the demonic invasion. And, we may even have to side with the demons to survive. Or, what if there is some “super” worldstone, that has power over heaven, hell and sanctuary, and without it, all three realms would crumble. Imagine some crazed (possibly currupted) angel seeing its destruction as only hope for angels. Then we would have to join up with demons and possibly some angels to stop him/her.

    So, yeah, just couple of random theories. The Wait (notice the capital letter, this era shall hanceforth be known as “The Great Wait” (for Diablo III)) is getting to me.

  10. I’m glad this interview happened just for the first 2:15 – I can show this to my wife who never played D1 and D2 and she has a good idea of why D3 exists.

  11. i think we will fight azmodan, belial, tyrael, diablo (baal, mephisto included because i see no sense in how they can be dead and him alive), the other angel guy who i cant remember the name of, i hope to fight lilith as i refuse to believe that she is the UBER Andariel haha, and whoever else they dont have to be act bosses. if you remember they said they liked the boss structure of LOD

  12. looks like we will definitely be seeing Belial and Azmodan 😀 good times. Also the interviewer in this one is a total fucking dink.

  13. I love tyrael. Everyone does.

    But the dude is pretty fail. He isn’t very effective and tends to make pretty bad decisions.

    “You! Strung out junkie! I am entrusting you with the fate of this world! Take this shiny thing and smash it in the forge, that lies in the center of hell! Let me return to getting beat up by this guy who’s been tied to a rock for 500 years!”

  14. Really enjoyed that interview. Some background and wrapup on the story and nothing about game mechanics whatsoever. Really puts a picture to the story progression.

  15. Pure speculation, but I wonder if you will have to fight Tyrael as a boss?

    He directly went against the wishes of Heaven and has frequently made poor decisions… maybe he is that falling meteor thing in the cinematic. That would be cool..

  16. The demons invaded Sanctuary hundreds of times, probably. The angels invaded but once, and various angels, such as Tyrael, Auriel, Hadriel, and Yaerius, have been aiding humanity one way or another. 

    And the first comment here is some freak saying he wants to kill all of them? What I’m saying is that humanity has BOTH qualities of angels and demons in their blood. You can’t hate angels without hating everything noble and honorable mankind itself embodies on Sanctuary. Besides, most humans follow Zakarum, the religion based on the Eternal Light, and there’s even a Paladin class. Most humans on Sanctuary do favor Heaven far more than they do Hell.

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