Diablo® III

Belial and Azmodan Story Fail *SPOILERS*

Okay, first, I think this game is a total blast. I love it playing it, and I don't agree with the haters.

That said: there's some major story fail here. Spoilers abound ahead. Blizzard writers - I know you probably can't change these things at this point, but you REALLY should. And I would love you forever if you do. You don't have to take my solutions. But seriously, anything would be better than what you did.

This is long, but here are my problems with this section of the story. And how I would fix them. I hope some of you will take the time to read this. I think I have some solutions that both greatly improve the story and are more familiar in tone to the previous games.

The portrayal of Belial and Azmodan:
One thing that the previous Diablo games never failed to do was to make our major enemies intimidating as all hell. You run into the Butcher or Andarial for the first time, and you crap your pants. To say nothing of actually meeting Mephisto. And Baal. And DIABLO.

Belial and Azmodan fail to be memorable villains, despite fun boss fight mechanics and design because they don't live up to the character traits the writers gave them. Belial is the Lord of Lies, but he fails utterly at lying. Azmodan is a master strategist who makes every cartoon villain mistake. What? You had awesome character concepts that you just didn't use. These are the Evils that united to defeat the PRIME EVILS. They should be bad dudes.

Belial:
Well Belial is the Lord of Lies. So shouldn't he, you know, actually be remotely good at lying? His identity is so transparent that even your character is just like, "dude, you're not fooling ANYONE." He should be the most devious bastard in the franchise history. How can I take the physical embodiment of lies seriously when he couldn't fool a child? His fundamental problem is that it takes the player almost no effort to deduce that the child using supernatural powers is the greater demon himself. The Lord of Lies biggest lie is that he's a good liar. Wait, that was a pretty good lie...

My Fix:
Everything is the same till you get to face Belial. You approach the Child Emperor, and he morphs into Belial. Just as you suspected. You expected more from a greater demon. You're geared for your climatic boss fight. Belial cackles at you and gloats that the city has been his all along. His minions uncloak all around you and swarm to attack you - you were geared for a boss fight, but now you're fighting a dangerous mob as well. Undeterred, you charge through his minions, and with all your strength bring your axe down on Belial's laughing face.

To your surprise, his body crumples instantly - that was the easiest Lord of Hell you've ever fought. You feel victorious for only a second - even before his body hits the ground, you know there's something wrong. And Belial's form slowly reverts back to that of the child emperor. It was an illusion, and you killed a kid - His guards that you killed - people too. They must have seen you as the same demon you thought they were. An astral projection of Belial appears, laughing with glee. "Sorry, you just missed me. If you'd like to pay a call, please look me up at Mount Ariat. Ask for the Lord of Lies." And laughs and laughs and laughs. Yeah. You're stunned. And ANGRY.

The Iron Wolves burst in and see the carnage you've wrought. The charge you, and you are given the option of slaughtering your fellow humans - ones that helped you just a quest ago - or running from the city in shame and defeat. Act II, done. But you don't feel victorious. No climatic boss battle. You've killed a kid. And innocent humans. You did the job of a demon for him. Vengeance will be yours.

And this game just got more personal than ever before.

Wall of Text Break. Azmodan's problems and fix will appear in the next post. Feedback is appreciated.
Edited by Cthulboohoo#1350 on 5/26/2012 12:51 AM PDT
The Problem with Azmodan:
Well all the lore Blizzard provides builds him up as this master strategist. Sun Tzu in a gluttonous, lecherous, wrathful, jealous, prideful demon form.

But I seem to remember Sun Tzu and all other great strategists generally advising you to ... well not just tell your enemy all your plans. Sure, as the embodiment of all sin, he should be prideful, but his gloating was just stupid: "I'm attacking exactly here, in this way. There's no way at all you could possibly stop me. My victory is assured. Please do not go and stop me from doing exactly what I was telling you I was going to do." Yeah, great strategy there. It's not even like a mistake he makes once. It's a mistake he makes ... like once every two minutes.

Before we get to Azmodan's fix, ee need to address the continuity issues brought on by my alterations to previous act. Just throw in a blurb about how the player arrives at Mt. Ariat expecting to find Belial, but instead finds the forces of Azmodan. Damn it. Lied to by the Lord of Lies again. He got me angry and used me as a pawn in his own demon civil war. The magnificent bastard.

The Fix:

Everything is the same, until you reach the final Sin Heart or whatever it is. And then Belial appears and tells you that Azmodan has played you for a fool, sent you on a wild goose chase; while you were running around in Hell, Azmodan himself stormed the Fortress. And it's fubared. And he's about to kill Leah / your companions / whoever else you care about. Well crap. Turns out he wasn't so bad at this strategy thing afterall. And he's inches away from the Black Soulstone.

You town portal back to find that Azmodan is indeed WRECKING town. And normal boss battle ensues, except in the awesome new setting of the totally ruined Act III town. And just when you're about to kill Azmodan, Belial appears, and lands the finishing blow on Azmodan from behind. Hell, Belial rips off his freaking head. And then you have to kill Belial. Double boss battle.

BAM. EPIC CLIMAX. The Civil War Story now had a purpose. Belial and Azmodan are both competent and totally badass. Monumental improvements all around.

I swear, who writes these things?

Edit: adjusted because upon reflection and advice, I realized my ending got a tad away from me. Anyways, this is something I came up with in twenty minutes and wrote down as a stream of consciousness. It could definitely be improved upon, and I'm open to criticism.

I just wanted to make Belial and Azmodan feel SCARY again.
Edited by Cthulboohoo#1350 on 5/26/2012 12:50 AM PDT
Bump, because this took kind of a lot effort. :/
Not gonna happen. But it would have been better, had it happened that way.
Posts: 67
Kinda sad that someone randomly on to forums can think up a better plot in half an hour than an entire team of devs did for god knows how many months/years.
Cth: I like the general idea of the Belial bit - Asmodan I could care less about, he was being strategic, but much like most generals - once you get around the pawns a general is a trivial affair to deal with.

However I will say, I think it's impossible to adjust it currently - that doesn't mean that they couldn't go with a similar concept for forthcoming DLC/Expansions to Diablo 3 where we find out that Belial fooled us something good.

Hell, could find out in the expansion/DLC that everything after the initial Belial engage was a hallucination he threw you into.
85 Night Elf Druid
2770
Posts: 5
I liked the Belial plot so much in particular, that I actually logged in to post for the first time ever.

Bravo
I enjoyed it up until the last minute or so. The whole invincibility and the Azmo gets back up, etc. That part was meh, but the rest was good.
Would have been better, but like you said, it can't be changed now.
05/25/2012 10:00 AMPosted by Cowboy
I enjoyed it up until the last minute or so. The whole invincibility and the Azmo gets back up, etc. That part was meh, but the rest was good.


Whatever. I put it together in 20 minutes. Probably needs some refinement. I'm open to criticism.

The biggest thing is making them actually like ... Memorable. And scary. And not just totally totally incompetent.
Posts: 145
this deserves its own fanfiction.
Nice writing. If anything, and if you are perhaps in the Irvine, CA area, I would recommend filling out an app, because that indeed is some beastly writing that could use some flushing out, to make it last as long as these acts do.

Great read indeed.

Blizz is always looking for new talent, just like every other company out there. New talent is always a good thing when working in the corporate environment.

Best of luck.

But as for your proposition, yeah, they ain't changin squat. Good luck though!
Nice plot.. Definitely one worth looking into..

And it suits the demons' image too.. Belial deceiving you quite a bit, and Azmodan sending you on a wild goose chase while storming Bastion's keep himself..

I always thought that the boss fight of A3 should have happened in Bastion's Keep, especially since Azmodan was portrayed as a master commander and strategist..

P.S: One other thing that disappointed me in the game was the final Diablo battle. Since he was the combination of the seven evils, I expected to fight an illusion of each of the evils in the shadow realm, before taking on diablo himself.. Instead, we were fighting a strolling shadow of diablo while occasionally fighting our own shadows..
Edited by Delta#1399 on 5/25/2012 10:07 AM PDT
Cth: I like the general idea of the Belial bit - Asmodan I could care less about, he was being strategic, but much like most generals - once you get around the pawns a general is a trivial affair to deal with.

However I will say, I think it's impossible to adjust it currently - that doesn't mean that they couldn't go with a similar concept for forthcoming DLC/Expansions to Diablo 3 where we find out that Belial fooled us something good.

Hell, could find out in the expansion/DLC that everything after the initial Belial engage was a hallucination he threw you into.


Oh that would be so good. Especially since if he fooled you into believing he died, that would mean there was a fake belial in the Black Soulstone - Which also meant the current Diablo wasn't the most powerful yet. He was incomplete..
Posts: 19
bump for greater justice.
Wow! I really like these two, will you also be doing some for Maghda who's still some kind of weird Trekkie cheesefest, or Act 4/Diablo himself?

05/25/2012 09:59 AMPosted by Bonnett
Kinda sad that someone randomly on to forums can think up a better plot in half an hour than an entire team of devs did for god knows how many months/years.

It wasn't just any dev who made the original story of this game, it was Chris Metzen, you know the guy who made Thrall a Marty Stu super uber Shaman god who also happens to be all of the Dragon Aspects at once now.

Yeah, that guy.

If they didn't let him within 500 feet of writing this game would've have a much better story.
I've been sorta bummed about the bosses in general. None are memorable, and the actual mechanics of the fights are super bland/simple strats of just don't stand in crap.
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