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    Black Soulstone cinematic storyboard.

    Black Soulstone cinematic storyboard.

    A couple of weeks we got news from Blizzard’s story guys about what happened in Reaper of Souls when the Black Soulstone was shattered. That description didn’t match what most fans thought was happening with the souls of the demons, and touched off a surprisingly lengthy debate in the comments here.

    Today there’s more explanation about it, as the newest of Blizzard’s Diablo 3 CMs Waterfiend Tyvalir (who apparently inherited the responsibility for lore posts when he got the plush octopus) stepped up to offer a more detailed description of just which demons were in the Black Soulstone, and how they got there.

    Diablo 3 Story: The Black Soulstone Explained:

    Who all is in there? I never gave it much thought until now… Andariel and Duriel were just slain, correct? These are creatures that would just regenerate in the bowels of hell again… Same with Rakanoth and others…
    Tyvalir: As CrimsonGhost suggested, all of the Prime Evils were trapped in the Black Soulstone at the end of Diablo III, which is still the case at the beginning of Reaper of Souls.

    The actual step-by-step explanation of how the seven Lords of Hell came to be trapped in the Black Soulstone is a bit technical, but it goes like this:

  • The heroes of Diablo II slay Andariel, Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo and Baal.
  • Adria marks the souls of the five defeated Lords of Hell. This creates “hooks” so that when the Black Soulstone is later completed, their souls will be pulled in the soulstone.
  • When Zoltun Kulle activates the Black Soulstone in Diablo III, the souls of the dead Lords of Hell are drawn into it.
  • The party traps the souls of Belial and Azmodan in the Black Soulstone.
  • All seven demon lords are inside the soulstone when Adria forces them into Leah’s body. Diablo now has the power of all seven demon lords within him.
  • Diablo is defeated, placing him (and the demon lords inside of him) back into the Soulstone.
  • Sorry if that was long-winded. I’m hoping this will catch up anyone who missed the critical parts of Diablo lore, so you’ll all be on the same page for Ultimate Evil Edition.

    We all know the Bliz story guys just make it up as they go along, but I guess this (new?) version mostly makes sense. I do think it’s been given a bit of a DiabloWikiMetcon, though. My understanding from the earlier games and lore of the Sin War was that when Greater or Lesser Evils were slain, it was just their current body that died, while their immortal spirits returned to Hell to regenerate into a new form. Wasn’t that what Diablo suggested, when he allowed Imperius to kill him in the Diablo Wrath anime? The danger for the Prime Evils wasn’t in dying, it was if someone had a soulstone (of whatever color) handy when they were killed, since it could vacuum up their soul.

    That’s why Leah was able to snork up Belial and Azmodan in Diablo 3, since they had the Black Soulstone handy at the time of their defeat. So that’s fine, but I don’t really buy that demons killed 20 years earlier during Diablo 2 were available to be Black Soulstone’d also. I guess we’re to believe Adria was somehow sneaking around, soul-tagging the loser after each Act Boss battle in Diablo 2?

    Tyvalir’s summary takes us up to the start of Reaper of Souls, and at the end of the game when Malthael shatters the Black Soulstone, Diablo is freed. While still somehow containing all the essences of the other Prime Evils, which he could only do in D3 since he had them in the Black Soulstone. Death puts a man through many changes.

    For a memory refresher, here’s the quote from Leonard Boyarsky from a couple of weeks ago, which set off this whole neverending debate/lore lesson.

    When diablo was released was it just Diablo or the seven evils?
    Leonard Boyarsky: I think we can answer that. Yes if Diablo was truly released after the destruction of the black soul stone it would be diablo as the combination of the seven evils.

    Brian Kindregan: Yes.. yes. It would be Diablo as the prime evil.

    Leonard Boyarsky: Yeah that’s not the question I thought they were going to ask to clarify at the end. That’s the easy one haha. Let’s end any more talk about the seven evils all escaping. It did not happen. Diablo is the one free. There is no seven evil business. They’re gone.

    This suggests that we’re going to fight Diablo, once again in Prime Evil form, but no longer in Leah’s body, in the next expansion? Whose body do you suppose he’ll take over next? Perhaps he’ll somehow corrupt a Nephalem, since that’s the only body strong enough to be an upgrade over his previous efforts? So perhaps our characters will get to fight corrupted versions of themselves? Like in the Act Four shadow realm, but much, much worse?

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