We’ve been enjoying the Ruins of Sescheron on the PTR for a few weeks, and have profiled the overall area, the Goatmen Ancients, the return of Abd al-Hazir. It’s a nicely-done area, with some new(ish) monsters and very large, maze-like layouts. (Following the idiot arrow to a Bounty objective is never a straight line.)

    Today Blizzard adds to the player experience with a Ruins of Sescheron introduction video. It’s full of dramatic music and machinama style camera views, with some nice gameplay action featuring a Barbarian (of course) battling some of the new and/or reskinned enemies.

    The wind blows frozen wisps off snowdrifts, where they’re caught in the decorated grooves of a cold, iron bridge leading to the broken gates of Sescheron. Where once the sights and sounds of a bustling city could be found, now there are only the distant howls of madmen, glimpses of hungry beasts prowling in shadows, and air thick with the palpable weight of shattered hope.

    Behold, the Ruins of Sescheron:

    That would have been double awesome three weeks ago, before we’d had a chance to play the area on the PTR and use the cube. Imagine if we didn’t even know about the cube yet, and saw this preview as our first hint? Excite! It’s still a nicely-atmospheric demonstration, and for the many players who don’t try out the PTR, this is a spoiler-free teaser you should find enjoyable.

    Click through for the rest of Blizzard’s preview, including flashback info to Sescheron as seen in the Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction cinematic.

    The Glory of Past Sescheron

    Sescheron was once a living symbol of united Barbarian tribes. Its gates guarded the lone path to Sanctuary’s most precious treasure, the Worldstone, and the Children of Bul-Kathos were tasked with defending those gates. They had done so unerringly for countless generations. It was believed that the city would never fall, and the people of the Northern Steppes would always stand vigilant. In its final days, Sescheron was ruled by Chief Elder Kanai, who was not only loved by the people, but being considered to sit upon the Immortal Throne. Such a high honor had only been bestowed upon two others in the past, including Bul-Kathos himself.

    The Day All Hope Was Lost

    To this day, all who dare enter the ruins are met with a gruesome reminder — some deeds are so evil that their stains never wash away…

    When Baal, the Lord of Destruction, marched an army of the Burning Hells upon Sescheron, he was met by a lone emissary who denied him passage. Infuriated, Baal took matters into his own hands, and summoned demonic forces to tear the emissary apart. The first blow of the battle had been struck, but more blood would spill before it was over.

    Chief Elder Kanai and his people stood their ground against the impossible flood of Baal’s army with every fiber of their being. In the end, however, evil prevailed and the warriors of Sescheron fell. All that was left of the city after Baal’s passage was shattered ruins, the hopeless madness of a failed people, and the cold, empty shadows of a once mighty civilization.

    Seek the Ruins and Recover the Cube

    The Ruins of Sescheron can be found by opening the Act III Adventure Mode map, and selecting the newly added waypoint in the upper-right corner. Be sure to talk to Zoltun Kulle before you begin your quest to find Kanai’s Cube. A word of advice: Take great care when exploring these dangerous ruins, brave nephalem, for the only thing darker than the suffocating sorrow surrounding these ruins is the shroud of death that hangs over it.

    You always enter this area at the start of that long bridge, just like the one seen in the D2X cinematic. I wish you could pan the camera around and look up at the icy mountains from the video, but even without that it’s a nice intro to the level, before you run over the bridge and enter the randomized maze layout, infested with demons and the occasional mad or ghostly Barbarian.

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