Before Blizzard can return to Sanctuary, the world of Diablo 2, they will need a plot. However, a careful study of Diablo 2 reveals that there is indeed plenty of room for such a plot. There are loose ends in Act 5. There are things that do not neatly resolve themselves. It almost seems as if Diablo 3 was planned before Diablo 2 was finished. Of course, nothing is more likely than that.
If you have not yet finished Act 5 and do not already know the story, read no further. Spoilers will be climbing out of the woodwork from here on out.
One of the most significant openings for Diablo 3 takes place after Baal has fallen and you know the World Stone has to be destroyed. Anya, a figure who is knowledgeable of her people, her city, and the prophecies concerning both, is rather startled that the World Stone has to be destroyed. It raises questions about the legitimacy of that action. Did our friendly archangel act alone? Does have a degree in World-Stone-ology? Does he know a corrupted World Stone when he sees one? Or… something else? Perhaps our friendly archangel isn?t all that heavenly. Perhaps he has been working for the Three Brothers all along. More on that in a moment. Whatever the reason for the nifty scene with the pretty sword, the world will be irrevocably changed as a result of the shattering of the World Stone. There are two primary possibilities on how that change will manifest itself, but first let us deal with the potential openings the Stone Smasher creates.
We are given a lot of information throughout the game on the power and plans of the Three Brothers, Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal. We are told that if they unite they will be invincible. We are told that no one is certain of their plans, but it probably involves something really bad for Sanctuary. We are told they must be stopped. And many more besides. Even though the archangel does not speak all these dire prophecies, he would have been the source for many through the knowledge of the Three he gave the Horadrim way back when the whole soul stone fiasco began. Tyreal was also the primary drive behind finding and catching the Three before they united. Also, his prot?g?, Deckard Cain, was the main instigator for the smashing of the soul stones. In other words, the actions our heroes took in Diablo 2 were largely along the lines of Tyreal?s own thought process. And, I suspect, also exactly what Diablo and company wanted us do to. Perhaps the archangel has been used like a sock puppet for a really long time. Or, perhaps, he helped Diablo write the script. His actions do have some interesting contradictions.
Look first at the claim that if the three unite, they would be invincible. They united, all right. They opened the gate, and sent Diablo through it. Then Mephisto died. We chased down Diablo. He died too. The only hope was Baal. Who eventually died. Some invincibility. On the other hand, perhaps they intended that we kill them. There is precedent. Diablo (back in Diablo 1) lured a nice, strong, juicy hero down through the caves so he trade in the body of the boy for stronger one. That is, he planned his own ?death.? Why would the three do the same? Mephisto himself answers. ?You are the harbinger of our return? he tells Diablo. As Diablo heads for hell. Return… to hell? Yes. So, the three were not plotting massive mayhem across Sanctuary? Well, I would not go that far. But Diablo needed to go to hell, and I think Mephisto did to. Mephisto, more than the others, needed to die. It seems that the soul stones bound the three to the mortal plane. They could not leave, but nor could they regain their full hellish powers while those stones were in existence (is my guess). They had to get rid of those stones, which they controlled anyway. At the same time, they had to rally the legions of hell for a nice little invasion of mortality. The losing the soul stone thing was most important for Mephisto, and least for Baal. Why? Mephisto?s stone was fragmented. Each council member had a piece, and the largest piece was in the palm of the guy that took the form of Mephisto. He could not reach anything close to his full power, because his soul stone was scattered about. That is why the oldest brother was such a weakling. His power was also divided among the six other unique council members. So, the plan went like this. Diablo goes to hell to get armies ready for Baal. Baal goes to find his soul stone, after which he picks up the armies from Diablo and attacks the World Stone, and Mephisto stays behind to by the other two a bit of time. Which means he is the first to lose his soul stone and thus the first to return to hell in full power. Diablo is second. So by the time the World Stone falls, there are two prime evils at the height of their strength waiting to charge back into the mortal realm. There is no reason to think that breaking the soul stones killed the three. Instead, it may have only made them stronger. Let us assume Tyreal knew all this. Then, by breaking the World Stone, he may have opened up a hole for the massive invasion that Izual warned of.
But then again, he may not have. Two possibilities, I think, for the World Stone shattering. One is that invasion. Without a barrier between hell and the mortal realms, the legions of hell flood in and set up an awesome Diablo 3. The other possibility is that Tyreal is honest and breaking the World Stone keeps the two realms forever separated. But then, was not the World Stone supposed to separate them anyway? And yet, it seems citizens of hell wandered across at their heart?s content. So, does the lack of a World Stone present any larger of a barrier? I doubt it.
There is one other nagging issue with Diablo 2, however. Mephisto, Baal, and Diablo are brothers. So, who is the Daddy?
Diablo 3: Meet the Parents?
Disclaimer: Salem’s Fire was written by Luke Blaize and hosted by diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.