The Diablo 3 Podcast #119: Story and Lore, The Book of Tyrael

The Story and Lore of the Diablo world, traced from the origins in Diablo I, through Diablo 2 and the novels, evolved and codified in Book of Cain, then advanced into Diablo 3 and beyond. Featuring Flux, Neinball, and HolyKnight.

Flux is joined by lore aficionados Neinball and HolyKnight for a discussion of the Diablo world’s lore and how it’s been presented in the various games and axillary materials, with special focus on the recent DiabloWikiBook of Cain and DiabloWikiBook of Tyrael. Events, characters, and story twists up to DiabloWikiReaper of Souls are included, plus some speculation about what we might see in D3 expansion, but there are no RoS spoilers, so listen without fear of ruining anything in the Expansion’s story (assuming you’ve seen the opening cinematic and already know the general Malthael-centered plot as the devs have revealed it already.)

Click through for more specifics about show content and times for each topic.

  • 0:20 — Intro to the show and conversation about how and why the guests began to enjoy the Diablo story and lore.
  • 4:00 — Origins of the Diablo story. Most of it came from Blizzard Irvine and Chris Metzen, since the Schaefers and David Brevik concentrated entirely on the gameplay and programming. Even the D1 cinematics were almost entirely created by Blizzard Irvine.
  • 8:00 — The Diablo world (Sanctuary) is an original creation and a new world, not anything evolved or modified from Earth. The detailed and bizarre origin myths, most of which stem from Chris Metzen.
  • 13:40 — DiabloWikiMetcons! If Metzen made it up in the first place, does he have the right to change it afterwards? Is Prince Aiden really a metcon? How about Adria?
  • 21:00: Crosses and pentagrams. They were metconned out of Diablo III…. mostly. This was perfectly logical to match the new deeper world lore, but was it a good idea? Practically or in terms of PR?
  • 26:00 — Deckard Cain was originally designed by Kelly Johnson as a black man. Dark skinned, African style, and that’s how he was meant to look in D1 and D2. Clearly Metconned in D3… for any reason, or just unknowingly?
  • 28:00 — The Book of Cain describes the High Heavens and Burning Hells in great detail. We saw Heaven in D3’s A4… will we see Hell in D3? D3Y?
  • 35:00 — DiabloWikiThe Black Soulstone. Why Tyrael removed it from Heaven after D3’s events. Why his sword didn’t touch Malthael and why Malthael didn’t kill him. All are explained in the Book of Tyrael.
  • 44:00 — The DiabloWikiPandemonium Fortress. Very important location in the world lore, and the version of it in Diablo II was very misleading when compared to the full story. Players should be very surprised to see it in RoS, since Blizzard hasn’t revealed any screens or even concept art of their new design.
  • 48:00 — The Book of Cain. The public release that organized and codified the Diablo Lore. Presented like a journal written and compiled by Cain during the years before D3V and up to the time of his death during Act One.
  • 54:00 — The Book of Tyrael. Same style as BoC, with much source material by Cain and Leah and some additions by Tyrael, written between the end of D3V and the start of RoS.
  • 1:05:00 — How important is story to the game? If Diablo III came out and it was just the original Diablo I idea of a Moria-style game with graphics, just a pure dungeon crawl with out any lore or story or characters… would players appreciate that?
  • 1:08:00 — Final thoughts and Halloween candy flashbacks.
  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    7 thoughts on “The Diablo 3 Podcast #119: Story and Lore, The Book of Tyrael

    1. I’m pretty sure the Pandemonium Fortress appears in the short video released before D3 called Wrath. I have a feeling that will be the kind of style we’ll see in ROS.

      Great podcast by the way. Love me some lore! Be interested to see where they take it in a second expansion. I’m sure Josh said that the end of the prophecy about fate being shattered forever has yet to come to pass…

    2. I know where Flux is coming from with his Discworld-esque idea. When I played Diablo 2, I just assumed it was a world like ours. I didn’t know anything about the world other than there was a strange man being followed by an eternally monologuing tramp, and they refused to use transport of any kind. I guess that gave the world a fairly small feel, given that they cover all these locations on foot, but that was about it.

      When I found out much more about the lore and backstory, I did get this visual impression of Sanctuary being like a world in a bubble, kind of like what I vaguely remember the end of Men in Black to be. It sounded like it was a little pocket dimension rather than a planet hanging in endless space with a whole cosmology around it.

      Anyway, love the podcast as always.

    3. I had to laugh when it got to Tyrael learning how to sleep. Is Book of Tyrael worth picking up? After that little nugget I’m skeptical.

      Tyrael’s whole “becoming human” thing has never worked for me. It makes sense he can still do superhuman stuff, because he technically isn’t human, because he isn’t half-demon. Rather, he’s an angel that became flesh. I’ll admit it… in the cinematic when Malthael and Tyrael meet, I was kind of hoping Tyrael would be killed, so the character would be put out of its misery.

      Story definitely matters in these games, even if we all ignore it 99% of the time we’re playing and just blasting through the content for loot. The lack of story was one of the reasons I never got into Torchlight. There are NES games with better story than that. Story is the reason people still play Final Fantasy titles that are 20 years old.

      The story in D3 had serious issues, but it wasn’t all bad. I liked the Leah-Adria stuff, and the Zoltun Kulle subplot. I suspect if Maghda had been done differently, and Cain’s death were handled better or not at all, it would have solved most of everyone’s problems with it.

      • In Book of Tyrael, there’s a whole lot of stuff on Adria, and the fact that she ruled the Coven w/ Magdha before having a falling out right at the start of Diablo 1. They could and should have used that a lot more.

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