Diablo® III

{SPOILER} Sorry, but the Story is BAD

88 Human Death Knight
4460
Bear with me, I'm writing this at 3:43 a.m.

The storyline of Diablo 3 is, to put it bluntly, BAD.

I say this from the perspective of a Grad student in Literature.

Rather than hit you all with a wall of text, or a traditional essay format, I'll break things down, act by act, to show just how bad this story really is.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
ACT 1 (nothing makes any sense, seriously)

THE FALLING STAR!

The game starts with a falling star destroying the New Tristram Cathederal thus drawing our various hero types out of the woodworks to investigate. The isn't a BAD hook (considering who the star eventually is revealed to be). The hero arrives in New Tristram to find it is overrun by ZOMBIES!! Thats right folks, zombies. The Walking Dead. (and skeletons and !@#$ too)

This may seem like a good start, but it isn't. You see, we discover that the Falling star is actually a strange man. The fallen angel, Tyrael, now mortal. Around this point in the game some warning bells started going off in the deep parts of my brain. Why would Tyrael's fall from heaven and turning into a mortal cause the dead to rise and slaughter people? Regardless of what rational reasons you might come up with, Tyrael himself explains it. Basically he says:

"My Angel Juice leaked all out while I became mortal and caused all the pissed off dead to rise up and kill innocent people for no reason. This has nothing to do with any impending doom or demon attack and actually was just a sad byproduct of me throwing a temper tantrum in heaven, voluntarily ripping my wings off, and giving up my angel-hood for no real discernable reason considering that as a normal human I have nothing to contribute in the fight against the demon hordes."

You see, Tyrael had no REASON to become mortal. He could have just left heaven and warned us of Azmodan and Belial's impending attacks. This would have prevented all those people from dying to the risen dead that was, again, in no way tied to any demon attack whatsoever.

BUT THATS NOT ALL!

Because Tyrael's fall from heaven and mortal-ness also leads to the single most dissapointing part of the whole game. Tyrael's sword was broken apart while he fell, for no other reason (it seems) than to give us something to do after we kill the Skeleton King and before we kill the Butcher (THE BUTCHER!??!!? HUH!?!?! more on that later). So we have to go find the sword pieces and in the process of looking for them we meet MAGHDA (the worst character in Diablo 3). Maghda is a magical bug witch that wants the pieces of Tyrael's sword for no real discernable reason other than they are super magical. OKAY. Maghda's art design is VERY POORLY done. She looks silly. She is not menacing in any way. She is a COMPLETE creation for this game and SHE KILLS Deckard Cain?!?! MAGHDA!!?!?!?!?! SOme stupid miniboss that we easily demolish in the next act (why do we wait until the next act? oh yeah, because there is less for us to do in Act 2 than act 1. .. more on that later).

Let me repeat this again so it sinks in.

SOME STUPID SILLY BUG WITCH kills DECKARD CAIN. She kills him to get the sword pieces that your character was too dumb to keep on himself. You see, WE KNEW Maghda wanted the pieces and that she was a powerful witch. Why didnt we keep the sword pieces on OUR PERSON so that she had to come to US to get them (and die by our awesomeness). Instead we let Deckard Cain hold on to them? That makes no sense.

Also, Blizzard missed out on the single best possible way to kill off the Deckard Cain character (since they apparently were going to use his death to make the story seem intense). . . HAVE DIABLO POSSESS LEAH, AND WHILE IN LEAH'S BODY, KILL DECKARD CAIN!!!!!! Think of the Cinematic that would be, a possessed and evil sounding Leah casually murdering Deckard Cain, the Lord of Terror killing the man that has opposed him all these years. How tragic that Deckard raised and loved Leah instead of dashing her little baby head on some rocks like he knew he should have. This seems like a pretty obvious way to instill menace and tragedy to the story and give the character of Deckard Cain a grand death that motivates you to go kick Diablo's %^-, rather than having him die at the hands of a silly bug witch.

So we let Maghda get away and instead kill some big dumb demon named the Butcher that is meaningless and shoehorned in as a boss for no reason.

summary: Tyrael's temper tantrum in heaven results in a bunch of undead rising and killing people. Some bug witch kills Deckard Cain for no reason because your character should have kept the sword pieces on himself and all to ge a warning that actually is later proven to be superfluous.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
ON TO ACT 2 (which game is this, Diablo 3 or Diablo 2?)

Eastern Themed city? Check
Desert? Check
Tombs? Check
Sewer fun? Check
Second Act of a Diablo game? Check

Basically act 2 of Diablo 3 was really similar to act 2 of Diablo 2 in style and content, though the story of act 2 in Diablo 3 is bad.

So we arrive in Caldeum to hunt Maghda out of guilt since our stupidity lead to Cain's death. We learn that Belial is chilling, slowly manipulating the city, and doing nothing too important other than sit around and wait for us to come kill him at the end. We go kill Maghda finally and Adria tells us that we have to ressurect a mad evil wizard to get a black soul stone to trap the spirits of Belial and Azmodan and then destroy the stone that somehow has the essences of the other 5 demon lords already and this will kill all the demons once and for all.

. . .

At this point in the game, I'm thinking to myself that we have a big problem. NOthing feels epic. There is no impending doom that is bulging at the gates of hell ready to destroy this world. Belial is sitting on his fake-little-kid !@# waiting to get killed by us. Thats literally all he is doing. He throws some green bombs that kill some people in the city, but that doesnt really matter since right afterward we kill him. Adria, someone we dont know, is telling us all what to do and we are supposed to just do what she says for no reason. We ressurect the mad wizard only to immediately kill him? To get the black soulstone that we couldnt get without him, that we didnt even know existed until Adria told us about it. Tyrael didnt tell us about it did he? Is that we he came down from heaven, to get the black soulstone to trap all the demons and then presumably destroy it AND them? Where would we destroy it? Did any of that even get mentioned? Did we vote on whether this was a good idea? Why couldnt we just hack the demons into pieces?

So Caldeum is saved even though we didnt really know about it other than hunting Maghda for guilt/revenge.

We have the black soulstone and only Azmodan is left to trap. He knows we have the black soulstone so he is going to come get it to become the Prime Evil himself. He unleashes the demon hordes from Arreat Crater to come steal the blacksoulstone.

wait

BECAUSE we NOW have the blacksoulstone, Azmodan is attacking and coming to steal it.

ugh, on to Act 3.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
ACT 3 (why didnt we just kill Belial and leave the black soulstone in the de. . . ADRIA IS GONNA BETRAY US!!)

So like geniuses we summon the mad wizard dude to bring forth the black soulstone to trap Belial after he basically sits there and lets us come kill him.

But

If we didnt summon the black soulstone, Azmodan would have no reason to invade Bastion keep.

so

uh

A lot of people are going to die because of something we did, sort of like how a lot of people died because Tyrael threw a temper tanrum in heaven and became mortal for no reason.

I mean, we are badass enough to single-handedly fight back Azmodan's forces, and we look like heroes, but we arnt, because Azmodan is only attacking because of us having the black soulstone (Leah has to use her "power" to keep the demons at bay, dumb).

So we come in and fight all of Azmodan's forces while countless normal people die around us, then we go and kill Azmodan and have a fully loaded Black soulstone full of demony demons. DO we insist on destroying it right then and there? Did we have a plan? Were we just trusting this stranger Adria to sort of figure it out for us while we stand around looking tough? Adria betrays us and Leah is revealed to be the spawn of Diablo and Diablo becomes the prime evil and takes over Leah's body and goes to heaven to end the war between demons and angels once and for all. Ok, that is sort of cool, I admit.

The cinematic was cool as well.

This unfortunate turn of events is basically 100% Tyrael and Our fault and at so many junctures, stopping to think for 5 minutes would have stopped it from happening.

on to act 4.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
ACT 4 (angels feel fear, and die because of us)

The pattern repeats itself. Our stupidity causes Angels to die too, but we are so powerful that we manage to defeat the most powerful demon of all time. (Most of Act 4 is actually well written, Ill give them that). When Imperius tells us that humanity has wrought the Prime Evil and will doom the universe to be under the reign of the Lord of Terror, he is right. Luckily we are tough enough to spank diablo and save the universe, but, it all could have been avoided at multiple times before this.

The story just isn't Diablo enough. The bad guys are weak and not menacing. Covetous Shen is stupid. Tyrael goes from being cool to being the biggest chump of all time that basically lead to tons of innocent people dying and Deckard Cain dying for no reason. The whole thing is basically us cleaning up our own stupid mess, and thats hardly heroic.

Compare the ending of Diablo 1, where the hero sacrifices himself to control Diablo himself. Or in Diablo 2 where you basically are chasing Diablo the whole time, saving everyones lives along the way until you crawl into hell itself to kill him.

Act 1 = Bad

Act 2 = Utter Garbage

Act 3 = Mediocre

Act 4 = good with a subpar ending (who cares what Tyrael does, what does our character do in the end?)

If I were grading the story I would give them a D+ overall because of the redemption of the fourth act.

Pretty sad if you ask me.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
well Belial was content with sitting around and waiting for the heroes to come kill him
Tyreal didn't "leak angel juice", he awoke all the souls that were unjustly killed during Diablos first rampage in Diablo I, because he was the Archangel of Justice.

If you have ever played Diablo II at all and payed attention to the story you would know that the Angels only have a limited amount of time to spend in Sanctuary, and after that time has run out they cannot go back for a long time, as said by Tyreal himself at the end of Act II Diablo II when you rescue him from Tal'Rasha's tomb.

Also Tyreal was unaware, as well as most of the other angels, of the consequences of his actions, as well as being unaware that Heaven would just spit him out after ripping his wings off. Tyreal removed himself from angelic status because he couldn't stomach being a part of a society that would stand by and watch innocents burn.

And Tyreals fall didn't awaken everything, it awoke King Leoric, who in turn reinstated his curse, summoning up skeletal fiends.

The sword pieces were handed over to Cain because if you noticed, each piece you collected unlocked more of Tyreals memory.

One thing you got to understand with Blizzard games, whether it be Starcraft, Warcraft, or Diablo is that Blizzard likes the type of story where no matter what you do you either make things worse, or ultimately don't save the day. Don't be fooled the cookie cutter hollywood ending in Diablo III isn't the end, and there will be something bigger and nastier coming in an expansion, and Blizzard will some how make it the players fault, because Blizzard likes stories where the heroes don't win.
good post OP
88 Human Death Knight
4460
In game Tyrael says that the release of Angelic power was something that he could not control and it caused the dead to rise.

Angelic Power, Angel Juice whatever you want to call it, it left his body as he fell and leaked out and caused the dead to rise and kill innocent people.

SO Tyrael's Ignorance leads to innocent people dying rather than his petulence? Thats MUCH better.

(in game Tyrael says that his fall awoke the dead, not ONLY leoric).

As for the sword pieces, your character could have held onto them until he got them all and then everyone could have been together to avoid Magda ambushing them. You know, playing it safe in a crazy world of walking dead and silly bug witches.

p.s. the diablo 3 story is bad
If they went that way then they would of just had Cain kidnapped and some sort or trade or something would of went on before hunting down Magda.

And yes not ONLY Leoric, but if you played the first game or followed the Leoric lore you'd know he's mad crazy about summoning skellies.

And he was the Archangel of Justice, all of the dead that were awakened by his fall was due to them dying unjustly during Diablo's first emergence in Tristram. Tyrael says so himself in the game.

Also, it doesn't seem like you went in to the games story trying to understanding. Based on how you talk it seems like you went through the story with the state of mind of not really caring to dig a little for the information to make everything make sense or link together.

Gotta follow the story from the other games, be willing to dig through possibly endless amounts of character dialog(Not endless I know because blizzard rushed the game) and find the answers.

Everything in Diablo III has a link and solid answer for something, even if it seems convoluted because Blizzard rushed the story because they spent 10 of their 12 years of production focusing on the RMAH and not making a full proper game.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
But a lot of innocent people died because what. . . Tyrael was ignorant of what was going to happen when he pulled his wings off. I mean what do you say to the people in the town. . . "My bad?"

so. very. lame.

p.s. the diablo 3 story is bad
Noone knew what would happen no angel ripped their wings off before.

Is that a sig or are you actually taking the time to type "p.s. the diablo 3 story is bad" after everything you say?

If so, why waste the time? We obviously can tell that you don't like the story.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
Noone knew what would happen no angel ripped their wings off before.


Yeah, but Tyrael did what he did to help warn the humans of Belial and Azmodan. But Belial is just sitting around Caldeum waiting for your hero to arrive, and Azmodan even says that he is only sending out his army to get the black soulstone, something that Tyrael couldnt have known the hero would be successful at retrieving.

THE POINT IS THAT THE WRITING IS BAD, NOT TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE STORY!!

They could have done something totally different. Imperius could have thrown Tyrael out of heaven, thus making all the innocent deaths HIS fault rather than Tyrael's ignorance being at fault.

Ugh, the storyline of diablo 3 is BAD!! (p.s.)
90 Night Elf Rogue
11905
For somebody who takes college literature you shouldn't be bringing up Diablo 2, who's story was far, far less in depth, a lot more sparse and a lot more cliche than Diablo 3's. Diablo 2 had the advantage of atmosphere, which is not entirely a story element, but rather combination of voice acting, in game graphics and tone.

I just watched Diablo 2's cinematics and Diablo 3's cinematics in their entirety, back to back. And the thing is that the dialogue is just as cliche and, frankly, corny as it has always been. The biggest reason D2's cinematics are 'better' is that you had the legendary Frank Gorshin voicing the narrator, Marius.

Diablo 2's story was so sparse, scattered and uncinematic, it is impossible to truly screw up. This is likely why people look so fondly on it, because the story is barely there and atmosphere is used to fill in the vast gaping void where it should be.

You're not upset that the story is predictable because the game makes no attempt to throw twists at you. You're not upset the characters are unrelatable because there are no characters of any real depth, aside from Cain. You're not upset the story sucks because the story is so bare bones, you can't fault it.

I will comment, in detail, about your break down in my next post. But I felt like prefacing it with this. People some people tend to look through rose tinted glasses about this sort of thing.
88 Human Death Knight
4460
I never said anything about Diablo 2.

Don't waste time talking about Diablo 2, this post is about Diablo 3
Edited by Draegore#1112 on 6/3/2012 6:48 AM PDT
Diablo 2's story was so sparse, scattered and uncinematic, it is impossible to truly screw up. This is likely why people look so fondly on it, because the story is barely there and atmosphere is used to fill in the vast gaping void where it should be.


Actually, I was rewatching D2 intro today, and I found myself laughing so hard when the Dark Wanderer started spawning goofy-looking demons to slay ugly midgets inside the Inn where Marius was. The music, the cinematography, the animation... it all felt so wrong, it was hysterical. Hard to believe WarCraft III and its still gorgeous cutscenes came out only two years after.
90 Night Elf Rogue
11905
Within act 1, the entire point of Tyrael losing his wings (something we don't know until the very end, which you fail to mention. You do not comment on events as they appear to you) was that he, as the Archangel of Justice, would not stand to be one of the High Heavens if they would let such injustice go unpunished.

Him falling and raising the dead is not a bad explaination. The fallen star, the stranger, was a good way to start the story off by giving us a reason for the dead rising. So what if his fall had unexpected result. Are you faulting the story for that? That actions have unforseen consequences?

As for the sword pieces, we give them to the Stranger in an attempt to jog his memory. Which works, as this allows us to find the last sword piece in Wortham. It seems like you weren't really paying attention to the story as it was happening.

As for your idea about Leah killing Cain. I'm sorry, but you're a literature student? And you're complaining about this story? Cain being killed by Leah would've first made Cain look stupid for ignoring all the signs he KNEW about Leah (the reason why they killed him so early) and would've been a cliche as hell device.

As for Act 2, you have valid points. The lack of 'epic' drive though, as a literary student should not be a problem for you. There are luls in a story. There are events that take a slower, more relaxed state. Act 2 was Diablo 3's, the small breath before the evenst of Act 3 and 4.

I find it odd that you left out Zoltun Kulle's arc during your review. Because, frankly, the Kulle arc was good. You were given moral ambiguity with the character. You were given some intrigue. You were given some foreshadowing (too much IMO). Are you just going to ignore anything decent just to pan the game?

Your entire breakdown of Act 3, which goes beyond sparse, (again, trying to ignore any good points in the story?) and instead tries to argue that all the events are happening because of us. They aren't. Belial's been in Caldeum for ages, corrupting the entire city. Azmodan had a fully fledged army that was waiting to be unleashed on Sanctuary.

You argue that because we have the Soulstone, we are responsible. You're wrong. Us having the soulstone hastens the events. Tyrael even says that Azmodan and Belial are on the move. It wouldn't have been much longer before that army pushed through Arreat.

As for Leah holding back the demons, why is it dumb? If you talk to her, it gives her a story arc. It gives her some depth. It has her lose faith, give up on her dreams, fail to see an end in sight. Events occuring specifically to flesh out a character happen all the time in literature... and you're questioning this?

06/03/2012 04:49 AMPosted by Draegoe
The cinematic was cool as well.


The Cinematic was pointless and would've been better showing off the actual betrayal, not a fight between Imperius and Diablo.

(cont below)
90 Night Elf Rogue
11905
06/03/2012 04:50 AMPosted by Draegoe
The pattern repeats itself. Our stupidity causes Angels to die too


How? How were we stupid? For trusting the one person who had locked the demons away? Who apparently only knew how to do it? It was stupid IN HINDSIGHT because of what we know.

I never said anything about Diablo 2.

Don't waste time talking about Diablo 2, this post is about Diablo 3


The story just isn't Diablo enough. The bad guys are weak and not menacing. Covetous Shen is stupid. Tyrael goes from being cool to being the biggest chump of all time that basically lead to tons of innocent people dying and Deckard Cain dying for no reason. The whole thing is basically us cleaning up our own stupid mess, and thats hardly heroic.

Compare the ending of Diablo 1, where the hero sacrifices himself to control Diablo himself. Or in Diablo 2 where you basically are chasing Diablo the whole time, saving everyones lives along the way until you crawl into hell itself to kill him.


You were trying to raise the specter of Diablo 1 and 2. As well as trying to draw comparisons between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3's act 2.

If I were grading the story I would give them a D+ overall because of the redemption of the fourth act.

Pretty sad if you ask me.


Here's the thing. I don't think you paid attention to the story. Not only do you miss key points, you seem to misinterpret others.

Another: You're obviously brushing past any good elements in the story to focus ont he bad ones.

Last one: I doubt you're a literature student. But if you are, you're so obviously set on hating this story from the start that you would be grading it unfairly. You fault the game for things that happen in literature regularly.

You're biased, completely and totally, and you wanted to give the story a bad grade from the start. If you were an actual teacher, I'd pity your students.
Melyria hit the nail on the head. Great job.
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