Diablo® III

Storytelling in D3

I'm sure this has been brought up before, so if you'd rather not read a complaint about D3's story feel free to skip the post. I do want to actually explain what I don't like and not just whine however.

Took a break from D3 for awhile as I got into an FPS mood over the last few months; came back and started working on my little Wizard. Coming back I realized that I honestly felt the gameplay was pretty satisfying - so why wasn't I able to get really addicted to D3? Eventually I asked myself a question that I then asked all my friends:

When you fought / killed Azmodan, Belial, Mahgda ... what, if anything, did you feel?

Personally, I felt nothing. I was supposed to hate them, and my wizard and the other NPCs had a lot of dialogue to that effect, but I the player sure didn't. It then really struck me that the story-telling, not the gameplay or story itself, was really the part of D3 that let me down the most. This was really driven home when I went through the campaign of SC2:HotS. For background, I only play the campaign and vary rarely custom maps, and I'm not a zerg fan at all. I also never played the original SC. So it was hard for me to get into / enjoy - but yet I always wanted to see what happened next.

And probably most unfortunately, the game was designed to be extremely story-centric; you can't skip between acts at whim, you need to pick story points to start from. All because killing Azmodan and then going back and killing the Butcher doesn't make sense, or phases of town's become out of whack. I can appreciate that, except that it just causes the poor storytelling to be front and center over and over again.

To be clear, I don't write this to say "Blizzard should fix this". That just isn't reasonable or possible; something like that would basically require redoing the game. I wanted to write this so that in the future they please consider not only making their games accessible to new players (to the universe or games in general), but an audience that will be playing the game over and over for months to years, who don't need to have a big floaty head every quest to remind them "I'm a bad guy, rawr, I'm going to get you!"
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i yawned....

that is seriously the atmosphere to me. i still have diablo 1 and played it like 5 mins before this post, and frankly the atmosphere + music is a wonderful combination.

it just doesnt strike that note in this game :( a major flaw.
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I totally agree unfortunately. Lets face it , we are all 30 year old men who are mature enough for something more.

Azmodans constant updates from his lava toilet thoroughly destroyed any mystique or fear we might have of him.

And as you play the game again and again that big fat head giving updates on how he will killl you become more ludicrous.

The cinematically however are absolutely brilliant. Blizzard at their best.

The in game story telling is simply not done right.
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At first glance, D3 storytelling is very shallow. However, its rather amazing just how much biblical and demonic lore the game uses for its plot. The names of some Act Bosses, are in fact demonic names of some of the "9 princes of hell", names and description of which match in amazing detail to a number of secret cabal works, book of Enoch of the dead sea scrolls, and other occult material. Indeed, even you, as player, you character is referred to as a nephilim. Interestingly enough this is the name used in biblical (even more so interesting, also in Babylonian lore) sources and other works on demonology and the occult to refer to the fallen angels who tried to corrupt the seed of mankind (ie, destruction of Gods creation, which in turn would be a form of triumph of pride over humility, since it is pride of Apollo that caused his fall, for he refused to bow to mankind. Such a victory therefore would suggest a victory of Apollo over God, and that is not allowed), thus perpetuating the necessitating of the Noah flood (More specifically nephilim are giants, children of fallen angels and mankind; demonically improved humans, with access to forbidden knowledge and powers). There are many other incredible, if not subtle connections to the occult and demonology in this game. The fascinating part, is that while the game story appears to be shallow, the lore involved in the creation of the game, is immense. It is almost as if, Blizzard hired an entire theological school, or a monastery to provide so much of interconnected demonic lore. Just as fascinating, is how sophisticated all that information is, there in plain sight, and yet without necessary reference to such things, the story seems incredibly plain and unrelated. PS: also worth adding the game is filled with "masonic" symbols and imagery, and some others. In all, all of this is literally on the surface of the game, all over it. You cant miss it, nor would any one would have to search for any of it, its just right there, "in your face".

The 9 princes of hell per their domain in sinful emotion/expression of mankind :

Beelzebub: idolators
Pythius: liars and liar spirits
Belial: vessels of iniquity and inventors of evil things
Asmodeus: vile revenges
Satan: witches and warlocks
Merihem: pestilences and spirits that cause pestilences
Abaddon: powers of war and devastation
Astaroth: inquisitors and accusers
Mammon: tempters and ensnarers

The 7 princes of the 7 deadly sins ( 7 manifestations of Aboddon, ie Apollyon (Ἀπολλύων), ie Apollo (Ἀπέλλων), or Satan/Devil) :

Lucifer: pride
Mammon: greed
Asmodeus: lust
Leviathan: envy
Beelzebub: gluttony
Satan: wrath
Belphegor: sloth

The 72 demons of the "The Lesser Key of Solomon" :

1. King Bael
2. Duke Agares
3. Prince Vassago
4. Marquis Samigina
5. President Marbas
6. Duke Valefor
7. Marquis Amon
8. Duke Barbatos
9. King Paimon
10. President Buer
11. Duke Gusion
12. Prince Sitri
13. King Beleth
14. Marquis Leraje
15. Duke Eligos
16. Duke Zepar
17. Count/President Botis
18. Duke Bathin
19. Duke Sallos
20. King Purson
21. Count/President Marax
22. Count/Prince Ipos
23. Duke Aim
24. Marquis Naberius
25. Count/President Glasya-Labolas
26. Duke Buné
27. Marquis/Count Ronové
28. Duke Berith
29. Duke Astaroth
30. Marquis Forneus
31. President Foras
32. King Asmoday
33. Prince/President Gäap
34. Count Furfur
35. Marquis Marchosias
36. Prince Stolas
37. Marquis Phenex
38. Count Halphas
39. President Malphas
40. Count Räum
41. Duke Focalor
42. Duke Vepar
43. Marquis Sabnock
44. Marquis Shax
45. King/Count Viné
46. Count Bifrons
47. Duke Vual
48. President Haagenti
49. Duke Crocell
50. Knight Furcas
51. King Balam
52. Duke Alloces
53. President Caim
54. Duke/Count Murmur
55. Prince Orobas
56. Duke Gremory
57. President Ose
58. President Amy
59. Marquis Orias
60. Duke Vapula
61. King/President Zagan
62. President Valac
63. Marquis Andras
64. Duke Haures
65. Marquis Andrealphus
66. Marquis Cimeies
67. Duke Amdusias
68. King Belial
69. Marquis Decarabia
70. Prince Seere
71. Duke Dantalion
72. Count Andromalius
Edited by MastahJedi#1511 on 4/23/2013 5:45 AM PDT
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Worth adding, is that from the very beginning of the game, like within first 2 seconds, you are immediately referenced as a player, to the book of revelation, the fallen star.... This game is not at all as simple and straight forward fight of good against evil as it may appear at 1st glance. This game is in fact filled from start to finish with biblical and demonic and the occult reference, most of which is incredibly consistent, if not all of it. Why would developers even bother with so much "under depth" to the game script is rather strange. If they spent at least a fraction of the time on say graphics, as they must have spent in gathering all that massive amount of occult and biblical lore, this game for sure would have been recognised as a visual masterpiece of a year...

Revelations 8:10,11 :
“... And a great burning star, like a torch, fell out of heaven. And it fell onto the third part of the rivers, and onto the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called Wormwood. And the third part of the waters became changed into wormwood. And many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter.”

The star in the game among other things is the cause of the undead rising. There are also more sophisticated references to the nature of the star, in the game, correlating with the biblical nature of Apollo ( in game "tyrael" ? [Hebrew: new god/resembling God], there are some interesting links to such a name, although on this i'm not certain. Diablo in the game is not the dragon, but rather a beast, ie, anti-christ. Real diablo is someone else, and tyrael does fit the bill perfectly) and his expulsion from the heavens onto the earth prior the blow of 7 trumpets.
Edited by MastahJedi#1511 on 4/23/2013 5:47 AM PDT
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Lastly, I'm not suggesting to anyone that this game is somehow evil or something. My knowledge on the occult and demonic lore is not due to religious something. My understanding of such things is derived from great personal interest in literature, classical philosophy and history, I'm not suggesting that anyone should burn the disk, run to their pastor and repent, that is, u could do that, if u like. I'm simply pointing out those connections, and do enjoy this game every once in a while ^^ .

All in all, Diablo 3 is a theological and an occult masterpiece, although unfortunately i cant say its a gaming masterpiece. In the end, i'm sure most, if not all of you, don't at all care about the theological depth and value of this game, suffice to say, while the story appears to be shallow, its anything but. To that end, the theme of theology does not end with diablo franchise, but is evident in star craft franchise as well, even though most would never think it, that game being sci-fi and all.

The post is rather long, but in truth, the sheer depth and volume of information stored within the game, is enough to write a whole collection of books. Also, as interesting as any of it may be, ultimately i think devs took a wrong direction in this game, perhaps something more simplistic, like i donno, Lord of the rings bull, would have made for a better plot... After all, theology is too heavy duty to be inserted into games.
Edited by MastahJedi#1511 on 4/23/2013 6:45 AM PDT
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@Jedi

tl;dr, it doesn't matter how much !@#$ they cram into the story, if they can't bring it out and make it sound convincing and make it connect then it's not going to be interesting.

I can re-write one of Stephen King's best sellers with the exact words he's used in the book but it's not going to be as good because i am unable to bring out the feeling of the book, so the readers won't be able to immerse themselves in the story.

Am I somehow suppose to believe that Azmodan the Greatest tactician of hell somehow didn't know that it's not a good plan to tell your enemies everything your gonna do?

Or that Belial the lord of lies can't even fool me for a second? Or that he has servants just flying around reporting everything to you?

First time i saw Hakan I already had a feeling that he was belial.
Edited by David#1201 on 5/10/2013 8:36 AM PDT
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Jedi, thank you very much for that post. I don't know how I've missed it. I saw it just as I was going to bed, so my reading skills may be a bit slacking right now, but I'll have another read tomorrow. Just wanted to tell you that your efforts are well thanked by me.
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