It’s not quite the return of a long lost NPC, but another cool set piece in the new Ruins of Sescheron area is a Goatman-themed version of the classic Diablo 2 battle against the Ancients.
The Ancients event was one of the best (and hardest) events in the Diablo 2 expansion, in which players had to defeat three Ancient Barbarian heroes. Korlic, Madawc, and Talic were initially seen in statue form, until they came to life for a difficult battle that claimed the lives of many Hardcore players. These three Ancients have been integrated into the Diablo 3 lore via quests and item names, and apparently they were famous cross-species, since the Kharza goatmen who occupy much of the Ruins of Sescheron have their own version of the Ancients, staring: Mawdol, Korbal, and Talos.
Goatmen have a flair for the dramatic and ceremonial, as you see in their altar-filled compounds in the wilds of Act One, but their culture is clearly most flourishing in the arctic north, where they can inhabit and adapt the ruins of failed human settlements like Sescheron.
To avoid visual spoilers, you need to click through to view the screenshots of this event.
The event begins when you click the Goat drum, set below the three golden statues. Unlike the Diablo 2 ancients battle, you fight the Goatmen one at a time, though each of them spawns with a bunch of minions. I’ve only seen this event once in about a dozen visits to Sescheron, so either it’s fairly rare or I’ve just had unlucky RNG.
One similarity is the wooden gate that springs up to lock you into the Arena with the goats, turning it into a real petting zoo of terror, just like the no-retreat, mountain summit where you battled the Ancients in Diablo 2. And you have to enjoy the goat-version of the Ancient’s names: Korlic, Madawc, and Talic are goatified into Korbal, Mawdol, and Talos.
What made the Ancients so dangerous and memorable in Diablo 2 was that they were not monsters but Barbarians, and they had deadly special abilities identical to Barbarian skills. Mawdac’s Shout warcry, Talic’s Whirlwind, and Korlic’s Leap Attack was the biggest terror, easily capable of one-shotting glass cannon characters.
This isn’t such a rare thing in Diablo 3 as we’ve seen lots of evil humans, and even our own shadow clones. You also have to occasionally battle an evil or mad Barbarian you encounter in the Ruins of Sescheron, and of course they use Barbarian skills, but none are set up as special Ancient-style events. (At least none that I’ve seen.)
Screenshots from the event:
If you’re wondering why Goats have turned on Humans in the land of Sanctuary, here are some suggestions:
Diablo 2 ancients battle. No goats.