Stillman’s Slab returns, to lay out another character for analysis. Another NPC, and following Cain, just like he seems to do in every game… it’s Tyrael! Here’s the intro to the column; click through to read the rest.
Everyone likes Tyrael. Fans look up to the archangel; he’s a a key figure in Diablo lore and he holds a crucial role in the storyline. For an armor fan like myself, Tyrael wins first place for best armor seen so far on a Diablo 3 character. He even flaunts what no one else has: a metal shako! Why is Tyrael so eager to cooperate with us mere mortals? He is even sprawled out, ready to be strapped in. How nice. Today we will discover what makes Tyrael tick and why he is so likable.
We can start be asking ourselves what is there not to like about Tyrael? He gives us no reason to hate him. Classes in Diablo 2 are loaded with broken skills and imbalances, and other NPCs are annoying sometimes. But Tyrael is elusive, and the rare times we interact with him are good times. He cuts through the nonsense and only steps into the storyline for essential parts. He only interacts with us in Act 4 where we do not have to run far to reach him, and he even gives you 2 skill points as a quest reward. And have you read his new book?
In fact, the only time Tyrael is bad is when you first rescue his holy backside and he gives you this: ?I thank you for my freedom, though I did expect you earlier.? You’re welcome, Tyrael. Jerk. Dude, how about some loot after Andariel dropped half her stuff into cracks in the floor and Duriel gives me bolts and potions? Maybe in patch 1.13 Blizzard will change his attitude to: ?Praise the Lord, mother truckers! Hallelujah! [drops loot] Hallelujah! [drops more loot] Hallelujah! [drops one more pile] Keep on truckin’!!?
Other than our first encounter with him, we find ourselves hard pressed to find chinks in Tyrael’s armor and character. Can anyone even think of a name to make fun of him with after all these years? For Charsi, there’s Arsi, Jerhyn is Jerkin, Ormus is Orifice, and so on. So Tyrael can be, I don’t know…Beerael? Heck, even his joke name sounds helpful to us.
People probably like Tyrael mostly because of three things. Players are power hungry, and Tyrael is the most high up powerful entity they can affiliate with. Another thing players appreciate is how Tyrael risks getting himself into big trouble to help us out. To not spoil the story Blizzard is saying very little about Tyrael in Diablo 3 other than, ?…the high heavens aren’t very pleased with his actions.? That probably has something to do with him accidentally blowing up Mount Arreat:
And the number one thing people like about Tyrael? Surely it could not be his dark, faceless head which inspires mystery and endless debate about whether Tyrael is evil or not? We all know that anyone without a face cannot have much of a fan base.
Ok, maybe I am wrong since The Blank from Dick Tracy (1990) is really Madonna. But maybe people really like Tyrael because they get to wear his armor, Tyrael’s Might, and become part of the lore and heavenly power. This is not likely, however, because there are far more powerful items,runewords, which are manifestations of a drunken orgy Blizzard had, possibly with Madonna.
No, Tyrael’s real might comes from his originality. Blizzard went all out when designing angel characters with a new twist. Most angels have graceful faces and hands, but Tyrael’s are all blackness. His wings are a completely different design than the usual wings of down feathers we are used to seeing in the decorative Catholic churches that Diablo fans dedicatedly go to every Sunday. People are fond of Tyrael mostly because there is no one else like him from mainstream culture, and he challenges our senses by being different than the angelic norm. You will not find bits and pieces of Tyrael in recycled Hollywood scripts as you would with the Barbarian (which I will complain about endlessly in a future column). It is as though Tyrael is a special treat made exclusively for us Diablo fans. Tyrael is even a bit of a sly dog rebel with his shady and questionable loyalties which give him even more deviation from what we would expect from an angel.
As for the great debate on whether he is evilly playing us all for fools, all I will say here is that Tyrael does have some similarities with a former angel know as Satan, but I cannot be pulled into the debate right now. It could all be described as foolishness anyway, and we could ask how many times can the heroes be played for fools? Tyrael tried to help us, but he is just like Steve Urkel and cannot do anything right, I guess. Both of these theories are rather disturbing. Players either have their hero turn traitor and have their characters painted as suckers once again, or Tyrael fails epically as one of the good guys.
But my take is even more disastrous: Since Tyrael is so original and likable, it would not surprise me at all if Blizzard has the archangel punished, torn out of the Diablo 3 story right away, and transformed into set items. Perhaps they will want to show off a new cast of angels, and it all starts with getting rid of Tyrael in the first Diablo 3 cinematic. And to the flabbergasted fans Blizzard could say, ?Duh, didn’t you want Cainback? Be happy! You got Cain…and his library echoes!?
Any of those three scenarios are pretty bad for Angel Face. Prepare to shed a tear for Tyrael. Ah, there is that name I was after: Teary Tyrael.
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You may be wondering why I wrote about Tyrael when last time I said Abd al-Hazir would be next. Given this fragile man’s sensitivities and timid nature I decided to be very considerate and put off strapping him to a scary slab until a more appropriate time.
Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.
Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.