Generally agree with all your points (not going to nitpick every sentence), I'll even credit that he intended to lure the stone to the keep. Though the only thing is (as the definition and difference of which have suddenly become important on the fourth page thanks to nitpicking and desperation) that the luring is a strategy, not a tactics. He's a great field commander, is what we're arguing.Again, my view to this argument, and certainly most people that share it, is that Azmodan lost: what would have prevented him from losing? What attempts could he have made to out maneuver the hero? (Don't say anything about the hero being unbeatable; Maghda did it with the third sword piece) The opponent of this viewpoint needs to justify his action in the game, with DIRECT EVIDENCE, not conjectures, ambiguities, or circumstantial evidence. Nobody gives a damn about what the write/Azmodan "might be thinking", if it's not written down.It boils down to "What could have prevent Azmodan from losing?" versus "How Azmodan is a brilliant tactician?". It doesn't get simpler than that.I admit though, it's easy to criticize, as ultimately Azmodan has the result of failure, so even the most outrageous theory could hold some water as long as it MIGHT prevent his failure. While the other side struggles to find hard evidence to support their view.
I agree, what Azmo does is essentally the equivilaint of the allies canceling the D-day landing because "the Russians will get to Berlin eventually". Of course this being a vidio game we can't actualaly have Azmodan win. However, showing him to be a great battle commander, executing almost flawlessly, and then haveing the hero win dispite that would help to improve the narrative on so many levels. The main problem with Azmodan, as with Belial, is that everthing they do well is done off screen, all we the players get to see is Azmodan allowing his plans to implode and Belial blantanly being the kid emporer. The narrative breaks one of the most important tennants of good storytelling. Show don't tell.
Here is an example of how Blizzard could have shown Azmo to be a great battle commander while still keeping the gameplay intact: (as I said before) Instead of doing nothing during his best opportunity to claim the soulstone. Azmo would send his forces into the keep after the stone while the single biggest obstacle to his plans (The hero) is on the ramparts, raising the defenses of a keep that has had its lower levels occupied for days.
And how it could have been implemented in game to improve the storytelling.
this can still work gameplay wise. When the hero arrives back in the keep have it full of demons that the hero has to fight through and then have a boss battle against one of Azmos Lieutenants, greed would work well here, right before he overwhelms the armory and gets his hands on the soulstone. Allowing us to further see Azmodan as a good tactician as well as making the hero even more awesome.