#1 Posted by Moreau_MD (426 posts) -

So I guess I am in the minority when I say a lot of the reasons for why I enjoy the Diablo series are story related. I don't know why, but I've followed it from its inception and I love the fact that the narrative can become suprsingly robust if you dig deep enough, but isn't something that is actively required to understand/ enjoy the games themselves.

This is why I really disliked the introduction of the Black Soulstone. In short, it's essentially a huge black chunk of deus ex machina that makes all your efforts in the previous games worthless because of...well...'reasons'. However, the problem I have with it isn't so much that it somehow manages to absorb souls that shouldn't actually exist any more or even the notion that a middle aged witch somehow managed to trap all three souls of the prime evils single-handedly in less time than any of the heroes before her. My main problem lies in the fact that none of this is granted so much as a foot note with regard to explanation.

At first, I couldn't believe Blizzard's writers could be this lazy. The idea itself didn't make much sense to begin with so I thought I must have misinterpreted something; but apparently not:

"the destruction of his Soulstone (Diablo) was not enough to put an end to his evil. Upon the completion of theBlack Soulstone by Zoltun Kulle, the souls of all the slain Evils are drawn to the Stone including Diablo (the location of souls after the slaying of the Evils is still unknown). Adria betrayed humanity by helping Diablo possessLeah, the vessel Adria bore 20 years before, the result of conception of Adria and Diablo. Now that all evils are in one body, Diablo is reincarnated as the Prime Evil and has begun his assault in the High Heavens."

For those who are similarly into the lore or just have an interest in the Diablo series itself, where do you think this mysterious location might be? Do you think Blizzard really dropped the ball with Diablo III's storyline?

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

@Moreau_MD said:

For those who are similarly into the lore or just have an interest in the Diablo series itself, where do you think this mysterious location might be? Do you think Blizzard really dropped the ball with Diablo III's storyline?

Yeah, the story is pretty awful but that's part of the charm, I think.

I'm guessing that the "mysterious" location is Pandemonium (we saw a minuscule fraction in D2's Pandemonium Fortress). I wouldn't be surprised if we got to travel there in whatever expansion content is planned.

#3 Edited by Gravier251 (217 posts) -

Yeah I felt the story in 3 was a rather cheesy mess. I actually quite liked the story between Diablo 1 and 2, with the whole dark wanderer messing up being unable to contain Diablo and leading into all the destruction in 2. Then we have the over-arching narrative being recounted by Marius to what appears to be Tyrael, until the end of the core game where it is revealed to be Baal who is the only prime evil to have gotten away. The writing wasn't really at the forefront and was easy to skip (pretty much just a single click per dialogue). But what was there did at least interest me.

For Diablo 3 we had the painful Deus Ex machina of the black soulstone along with the surreal recurring point that people do not believe in the legions of hell. I'd buy that if it was centuries or more later with no events since Diablo 2. But the game takes place 20 years later, well within the lifespans of people who lived to see Diablo/The Wanderer leave a demonic trail of destruction across the world, Baal reducing Arreat Summit to a crater, etc. And all these people who were around in that time somehow think it is just nonsense myth.

We have both Leah and some random king who does not believe in it. In the siege in Act 3 a messenger shows up mid siege to announce no aid is coming to battle imaginary demons. It seems nonsensical. It is a theme that could work, but given the time frame it is a pretty hard notion to swallow.

And then there is Diablo and the villains in the game... In Diablo 2, all we ever hear out of the prime evils/bosses, bar perhaps Baal is a single line. Like Diablo, who only says "Not even death can save you from me". That's it. Instead in Diablo 3, from Maghda to Diablo *every* single boss is in our face constantly, stopping by to say "haha nethalem, you did that/beat them, but what you don't know is that I am already doing something else, over there. So don't you dare come to stop me, and even if you do you'll lose! Because i'll kill you, but I don't have time, so here fight my generic minions. But you will totally lose!".

And we get that over and over again through *every* act. They all feel like cheesy cartoon villains, and even if you replay the game you have to keep clicking through multiple stages of the dialogue. It just seems a lot more in your face with everything.

It all just felt painfully jeuvenile to me. Diablo as a series isn't really widely regarded for it's narrative, though I did enjoy what was present in the second game, along with the ending to the first one. Diablo 3 just felt a mess.

Also, not sure how Tyrael becomes human. The game goes to great lengths explaining that humanity is a unique race, descended from the nephalem who are a crossbreed of demonic and angelic blood. I don't see how Tyrael can opt to become human, outside of dramatic convenience because they figure it'd be a fun theme to throw in there without much forethought.

#4 Edited by Draxyle (1925 posts) -

The story of Diablo III is highly cartoonish, unfortunately. People (like myself) disliked the visual direction of the game, but that same style also ran through into the writing as well. I really don't know if you can truly call D3 a successor in the same universe with how far its changed from its predecessor.

There's just too much story, and it's way too specific. D2 was highly vague and made you piece things together yourself. D3 wouldn't know subtlety if it was hit on the head with it. I say this as an amateur writer myself; the story of D3 feels like it was written by a marketing team.

The game itself is still great, it's just unfortunate that they threw out the great atmosphere of D1 and D2. Makes the game feel shallow in comparison.



Very much agreed on all counts. The writing that went into every last villain was baffling.

These are the demons of hell. They don't need dialogue.

#5 Posted by stinky (1563 posts) -

whats the question, where are the souls at?

i don't see how it matters. "another plane of existence."

saying they are at X, Y or Z won't explain anything.

#6 Posted by Moreau_MD (426 posts) -

@Draxyle said:

The game itself is still great, it's just unfortunate that they threw out the great atmosphere of D1 and D2. Makes the game feel shallow in comparison.

Exactly this. @stinky said:

whats the question, where are the souls at?

i don't see how it matters. "another plane of existence."

saying they are at X, Y or Z won't explain anything.

Normally I would agree, however, the fact that those souls were no longer meant to exist in the first place means Blizzard really should flesh out the reasoning behind it all a bit more.

#7 Posted by Gargantuan (1890 posts) -

Yup, I liked the stories in D1 and 2  but the story in D3 is pretty damn horrible. 
The biggest pile of shit in D3 is definitely Magdha, such a fucking stupid villian. 
"Muahahah! You'll never find this thing, here's some directions!"  
"Haha! While you did that thing  I kidnapped your friends! Never saw that coming did you?  

#8 Posted by ToTheNines (966 posts) -

I agree. I felt the same about Starcraft 2, another blizzard title that had a story so cliche and lazy. I remember broodwar and starcraft vanilla to have excellent stories. The same with Diablo 1-2, at least if you bothered paying attention to it. But I could be looking back on it with some form of nostalgic fondness that might affect my judgement. I don't know. I just know I'm super dissapointed in every way about Diablo 3, and one of the major turns off were the plot holes and cheesy story.

#9 Posted by JackSukeru (6053 posts) -

The expansion will focus heavily on dimensional vagabonds Cobra Commander and Megatron attempting to put the black soulstone back together no doubt.

#10 Posted by jakob187 (22290 posts) -

If the Black Soulstone is the part of Diablo III that you are having problems with so much, then I wish I could be you. I'd rather have some piece of deus ex machina be a problem than the actual problems that game has going for it.

#11 Posted by Wampa1 (809 posts) -

@RockmanBionics: I'd be down with fighting some HISS tanks.

#12 Posted by benjo_t (212 posts) -

@Ravenlight: Pandemonium isn't a location, it's just the name of a fortress - "The last bastion of Heaven's power before the burning gates of hell."

#13 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

@benjo_t said:

@Ravenlight: Pandemonium isn't a location, it's just the name of a fortress - "The last bastion of Heaven's power before the burning gates of hell."

Oh really?

#14 Posted by BrockNRolla (1725 posts) -

I'm with you. I felt like the story was sloppy and the final act in particular was rushed. (Hell, they didn't even create a town for the final act.) They left a lot of plot holes, such as "What happened to Adria?" and "Why was Imperius such a total dick?" Given the lore of the previous two games, I definitely expected more in the storyline department.

As you've said, the game is great, but I was genuinely excited for the story, and it really fell flat.

#15 Posted by enkind (2915 posts) -

I want to start my post out with that I agree that the story isn't that fantastical as I desired. However...

I really don't understand the depth that many are referring to when they speak of Diablo I and II. Diablo I literally revolved around a Torchlight dungeon system in which our final goal was to slay Diablo in the bowels of the (church?). It is a fantastic, one of my favorite, games of all time - but I really don't see the lore. Diablo II is the same kind of monster. The only difference between the two was mechanics and overall spacing of environments. Instead of being stuck in stone & fire dungeons all day, we experienced plains, deserts, swamps, hell, and even an artic coast. Along with all that, we really didn't get more story other than that there was a wanderer (somewhere) that was always a step ahead of us, scheming as Diablo does.

We then move onto Diablo III which seems to hold the 2102 narrative form of speaking instead of acting. In Diablo II, we were more dependant on the actions the demons took and their body language, rather than the words that were spoken. In Diablo III, the antagonists speak a lot of the time to intimidate the audience they are trying to scare. I think it's more of a narrative difference than it is a lack of quality. I will admit that the whole soul-stone make-up is a bit petty, but I still don't understand the comparisons unless I was wearing a couple layers of rose-colored lenses.

Again, I will say that every Diablo entry has been a prize for myself and that I will admit that Diablo III didn't blow my mind. However, I cannot admit that it's anything more than anyone expected - especially if you ignore wiki's and discussions that Blizzards let's out that furthers the depth of the story-line.

#16 Posted by Sammo21 (4040 posts) -

@Gravier251: I figured it was just because you always see, in fiction, angels becoming mortal. I didn't understand it either as angels in the Diablo fiction are literally a different race...no real transcendence there.

#17 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (658 posts) -

I always thought the black soulstone was there just so blizzard had an out to make an expansion or sequel to the game because not only is Adria not dealt with but the stone falls from the heavens after you kill diablo so someone has to find it.

#18 Posted by beepmachine (631 posts) -

@Gravier251: Agreed on all counts. Especially the bit about the villains. In the first two games they don't have any (or almost any) voice acting whatsoever. In this game it's constant and annoying and mostly petty banter. How am I supposed to fear the "lords of hell" when they act like cranky 8 year old bullies who've had their toys stolen?

I also liked the stories in D1 and D2. They kept the important bits vague enough to still be scary. D3 felt like a bad fan fiction more than a real continuation.

And why the fuck was Izual back again? I thought we totally freed him in D2.

#19 Posted by Jay444111 (2640 posts) -

Uh... Blizzard games have story?

#20 Edited by benjo_t (212 posts) -

@Ravenlight: Sorry, thought you were referring to the place shown in-game. I don't know much of the "external" lore. The lore is kind of intentionally pulpy to me, just reason to be killing demons.

#21 Posted by Doctorchimp (4157 posts) -

As someone who marginally gave a shit about Diablo 2, I thought for sure you would kill DIablo like halfway through the game and have to kill the angels at the end...

That would have been cool

#22 Edited by Pr1mus (4088 posts) -

The story in Diablo 3 reads a lot like an Alex Navarro headline. There is a lot of "its a thing" "for some reasons".

This may be overly harsh towards Alex though as i like his headlines most of the time and thought that D3's story was complete abject horseshit.

#23 Posted by Rmack (1105 posts) -

The thing that peeved me a bit was the tone of it all. You can have a shitty story all you want, but I always thought Diablo I and II were creepy. This just seemed like goth Torchlight.

#24 Posted by ThatFrood (3460 posts) -

I agree. 
I also dislike other things about Diablo 3. 
I think I still like parts of the game, but taking it as a whole I don't feel good playing the game. Like, I'll finish a session of playing Diablo III and actually feel bad about myself.

#25 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3053 posts) -

Congratulations! You guys have officially put more thought into the Diablo mythos in this thread than anyone at Blizzard every has.

The fact is Blizzard, like Rockstar, have never been particularly good at story; what they churn out is usually very atmospheric and contains a surprisingly detailed world/setting, and maybe even the occasional decent character, but the actual story is generally hackneyed tripe or lifted whole hog from another source (Warhammer, 40K, every crime movie ever made and every western ever made in the case of Rockstar).

Diablo 3 has pissed a lot of people off (myself included), as Blizzard decided to step back from the world building and atmosphere of the previous games (which was actually reasonably unique as far as fantasy RPGs go, with the greater emphasis on dark fantasy, grey morality, and biblical elements versus elves and orcs) to try their hand at writing a story instead, and all while making the game more cartoonish in presentation.

While I enjoyed some of the character work (the male Wizard was well written and acted), the plot was just woeful. Also, why was Leah American? That was freaking weird, she grew up with a bunch of faux-Brits!

#26 Posted by Levio (1798 posts) -

I never cared much for the story in the Diablo games, since it's blatantly obvious that all efforts to contain the prime evils will fail so we have an excuse to fight them ourselves. not only that, but with the predictable act structure, we also know exactly when we will get to fight those prime evils.

that leaves very little room for surprises regarding the antagonists...