All hail to the old lore, new story is awful

Lore and Story
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This thread is a tribute to the original series and an atempt to explain people what the old fans are so mad about. I will try to compare the lore and settings established by Blizzard North to this new retconned atrocity so as you could see the differences. I also believe I can defend that previous titles had, in fact, an unexpectedly thoughtful story, if one was willing to dig for it. All text in italics is taken from original game manuals.

Hero from D1 couldn’t be Leoric’s son
- upon defeating Leoric in the first game, warrior says: ´Rest well, Leoric, I’ll find your son.´ (this is not how one would speak about his father and younger brother, is it)
- when completing Lazarus quest, Cain advises to hero that ´the child you described is not Albrecht´ (Lazarus had altar upon which laid a sacrified child. It makes absolutely no sense one would not recognize his own younger sibling and needed Cain’s help with the body’s identification)
-Diablo 1 manual clearly states: Enjoined by his dark master, Lazarus kidnapped Albrecht - the only son of Leoric - and dragged the terrified youth down into the blackness of the labyrinth.


The original legend of Inarius (how overlord monsters came to be)


Even the Seraphim are not immune to the corruption of the Dark Lords. One such angel, Inarius, was proud of his beauty and boasted loudly of his purity and worth. His thoughts became so clouded that he believed himself to be above both Angel and Demon, and he left the High Heavens to form his own dominion. He constructed a great cathedral of mirrored glass and crystal, and followers flocked to him, drawn by his numinous charm and wealth. Once Inarius had gathered a sizable army, he decided to prove his power.
Inarius first laid siege to an infernal temple devoted to the worship of Mephisto, but made the foolish mistake of overestimating his prowess. The armies of Inarius laid waste to the temple and killed the dark monks that dwelled within. The Three Evils had considered the vain warrior a mere nuisance and amusement until this time, but this was an insult that they could not bear.
Mephisto himself is said to have appeared at the cathedral of Inarius. He laid waste to the church and the surrounding countryside. The Lord of Hatred took the proud archangel and his followers captive. He bound Inarius with tremendous chains and slowly tore the wings from the back of the angel. Great barbed hooks were then used to stretch out the once glowing skin and his features were distorted by vile powers. Many of the followers of Inarius were given as gifts to Baal and Diablo, but the rest were molded to match the bloated image of the now crippled angel. To this day, Inarius is said to be trapped in Hell within a chamber of mirrors, his eyelids torn from his face as he is forced to gaze upon his misshapen form for all eternity. His misguided followers now serve as Hell’s taskmasters, taking the anguish of their lost glory out upon the bodies of others.

- as you can see, Inarius was quite obviously too busy and cocky to bother with creating Nephalem like reworked lore claims

Manifestations of Evils did not depend on the form of a host and their sexes were given
- originally both Angels and Demons had their sexes set from the start
- Prime Evils always shifted the flesh of victim to reflect their demonic forms: The body of Albrecht, fully possessed by Diablo, began to distort and change. The small boy grew and his eyes blazed as tendril-like spines ripped through his flesh. Great, arched horns erupted from Albrecht’s skull as Diablo altered the form of the child to match that of his demonic body
- Mephisto acknowledged the true form of Diablo during the cinematics in D2
- Tal Rasha didn’t have four legs, Sankekur for a change had legs and dark wandered surely hadn’t a tail (at least not one growing from behind as far as I noticed), also note how Baal shifts his apperance multiple times to achieve his goals
- I don’t take the argument that he took some appearance from other Evils he absorbed, as this would just made him even more powerful and therefore more able to reflect his desired form (which was surely Lord of Terror and not Lord of Travesti). Alas, betraying his brothers also doesn’t make sense based on the original lore, because:
The character of Demons wasn’t so blatantly stereotypical
- in fact Prime Evils had quite a nice thousands or more years long relationship:
These are the Prime Evils of Hell that wielded their power as a dark, sovereign triumvirate. The Three Brothers ruled over the Lesser Four by brutal force and malicious cunning. Being the eldest and strongest of the Evils, the Three Brothers were responsible for countless victories against the armies of the Light. Although they never held sway over the High Heavens for long, the Three were justly feared by enemies and subjects alike. With the ascension of Man and the subsequent standstill of the Great Conflict, the Three Brothers began to devote their energies to the perversion of mortal souls. The Three realized that Man was the key to victory in the war against Heaven, and thus altered their rigid agendum that they had propagated since the Beginning.

After an especially violent battle, Baal enjoyed celebrating with his Brothers by holding a disgusting feast of blood, human flesh, and other Hellish delights.
Many of the followers of Inarius were given as gifts to Baal and Diablo


-after having cooperated since the beginning of time and complementing each other in the pursuit of common goal plus even enjoying time spent together, I find myself impossible to believe that Diablo would like to betray them all of a sudden. Though some may find it hard to accept even Demons had some feelings, it gave them much more depth and also some disturbing material for your imagination (for example how their celebration could look like and how they played with their gifts)
Goatmen
- this retcon was especially silly, I cannot see what obstacle posed the original here (note they even made latin names for monsters before):

Goat Men (Aries Vehemens)
The lieutenants of Baal are bred for strength, endurance, and cunning. These demons constantly train themselves in the art of war, for battle is their bread and the blood of innocents, their water. There are several known “clans” of Goat Men, each given a different gift from their Dark Master. It is believed that to earn their powers they once held mock wars in Hell for the entertainment of the Three Brothers. Do not expect them to fight amongst themselves on the mortal realm, however, for they much prefer to slaughter the innocent.


References to real mythology
- as a keen student of religions, I really appreciated these and in my opinion added a lot to the atmosphere, where one was feeling like uncovering ages old mystery and despite of its disturbing nature, hungered to learn more, for example this quotation which accompanied article about Mephisto :

I am Yesterday, Today, and
Tomorrow, and I have the
power to be born a second time.
I am the divine hidden Soul
who created the gods and gives
sepulchral meals to the denizens
of the deep, the place of the
dead, and heaven...Hail, lord
of the shrine that stands in the
center of the earth. He is I, and
I am he!”
-Egyptian Book of the Dead


Strong symbolism
- the original wasn’t afraid to include reversed pentagrams, burning crosses etc. While it’s not necessary to create dark fantasy enviroment, it is surely adding to it by attacking your mind with things one automatically associates with something sinister

Gore
- it is more terrifying to find a heap of intestines in the pool of blood and streaks of blood on the wall (and then being afraid of what and how did that) than body of dead villiger (which was not even mutilated, have demons got somehow touchy?), also in D1 there were impaled naked bodies, dressed people on torture devices in D3 are really dull (c’mon, even in middle-ages the religious puritans removed the victim’s clothes before torturing it). If D1 was released today, given the new graphics possibilities, it would probably receive a rating of 25+.

Music
- try walk alone in the forest at night listening to music from D1, D2 or D3. I guarantee you’ll feel a difference. Especially the themes from D1 contained things like slowed children’s crying or moans and heavy breath on the edge of the hearing and so on.

The execution of the story
- I agree that the story was sometimes hidden so well in the original series, that it might felt like it isn’t there at all. However, when one began to unveil it, it was much more interesting , mysterious, sinister and atmospheric than in D3. The good thing about it also was that person caring only about hack and slash could easily overgo it, while for persons interested in story is completely impossible to overgo the abomination presented in D3 without taking a severe blow to the head. Much well-written criticism already occured here so I don’t think I need to emphasize it again.

Details ignored
- Gharbad’s voice, same shrines everywhere instead of models varying with locations etc. the list could go on forever. While separately it is really hardcore nitpicking, combined they lessen the impression strongly and make the game look sloppy

The Blizzard North had outlined a good plot with D2 ending (Prime Evils no longer needing a host to manifest in the mortal realm, as the worldstone barrier was destroyed), but instead of following the original they chose to create this Aidan/Leah/Black Soulstone nonsense and, what I see as the very worst, made the old official lore not canon in order to match with this rubbish.
I cannot help myself but consider D3 storyline a manifestation of lazyness, an utter disrespect of the settings, quality and genre the series established and a complete lack of affection and vision Blizzard North put into their work.
The only way out if this misery is a quality fanfiction and fanart, therefore I call upon like-minded people... let’s do some! I also welcome anyone to discuss, my Skype name is Silwarel.
Thank you for this! +100
I honestly felt a bit of disappointment in the Diablo 3 story. I really didn't like what they did with Tyrael becoming human--this felt very Hollywood-esque to me.

They basically did NOTHING with Diablo being the "Prime Evil"... it didn't affect the game in one way or another. There was no evidence or manifestation of the other Evils, which I would have liked to see.
I agree 100%.

And do you want to know why all this happened to the story? Look at the credits. Chris. Bloody. Metzen. The king of terrible retcons and laughable storyline. Why do the bosses in D3 monologue at you for half the act? (looking at you Azmodan!), telling you their plans and then when they fail, telling you the next one will REALLY get you. Why do we have these 'in-game' cut scenes that remind me of WCIII and WoW? Chris. Bloody. Metzen. Its just so silly. D2 story = better. And you are so RIGHT about discovering the story yourself, and having lots of blanks to fill in with imagination. Overexplaining something = killing it, in fiction, Looking at you George Lucas.
It'd be rad to see all the lore combined in order to tell the tale, D3 can be an opt, but 1&2 for sure.

I'd sit n smoke to that. lol
I'm ok with them making retcons/changes etc, but I agree that most of the adjustments feel pretty lame. It's bizarre to me that as Blizzard gets more sophisticated with their storytelling techniques, and thus better at telling stories, that they seem to have less interesting tales to tell.
The retcons were, honestly, not that bad and set the stage for a decent story. The issue was the execution.

This seems to be a key feature in Blizzard's storytelling shortcomings. They craft excellent backstories and worlds, yet fail to make the most of them.
Melyria: I hate these retcons in the first place because they weren't needed at all to set the stage for a decent story. They twisted the lore into something the original creators didn't mean it to be. I am really sad they do not possess the rights anymore, but I will hope (maybe one day in China... ;-p )
05/24/2012 01:30 PMPosted by Silwarel
Melyria: I hate these retcons in the first place because they weren't needed at all to set the stage for a decent story.


They were needed to tell the story Blizzard wanted to tell. The Sin War trilogy happened years ago, while Blizzard North was still active. And they would've had to signed off on the whole Inarius/Lilith thing.

05/24/2012 01:30 PMPosted by Silwarel
They twisted the lore into something the original creators didn't mean it to be.


If you want to see what the original creators have done, go play Hellgate London. And realize just how bad that really is.
Melyria: I hate these retcons in the first place because they weren't needed at all to set the stage for a decent story.


They were needed to tell the story Blizzard wanted to tell.


Yes, that seems to be the issue.

If you want to see what the original creators have done, go play Hellgate London. And realize just how bad that really is.


They ran out of money. They were used to the budget Blizzard had, set unreasonable goals, and failed. They weren't the first and they won't be the last. The game itself wasn't a bad idea at all, however; it had a lot of potential.

The retcons were, honestly, not that bad and set the stage for a decent story. The issue was the execution.


No offense, but if you believe they weren't that bad, then you have low standards for continuity and lore integrity.
The retcons were, honestly, not that bad and set the stage for a decent story. The issue was the execution.

This seems to be a key feature in Blizzard's storytelling shortcomings. They craft excellent backstories and worlds, yet fail to make the most of them.


Agree completely. Amazing CGI doesn't make up for some cheesy dialogue establishing the story of a game.

Thinking back through D3 itself the overall story was just absolutely amazing. The portrayal of said story was just so...over the top and bad. I can't describe it as anything but bad. D2 did it far better which is saying a lot.
Melyria: Hellgate London wasn't the sequel of Diablo, therefore it didn't bother me. Though I agree it wasn't very good, I still played it longer than D3. Back in these times you mention, it was also said by Blizzard that the books will never ever be part of canon.
And yes, the retcons were needed to backup the new ,,lore´´; but they weren't needed for the continuing of storyline as outlined by previous games, which is why I don't like it. Honestly, I don't think there is a point in us fighting over it - you just see the same reality positive while I negative.
05/24/2012 01:52 PMPosted by Silwarel
Melyria: Hellgate London wasn't the sequel of Diablo, therefore it didn't bother me. Though I agree it wasn't very good, I still played it longer than D3.


It speaks of the quality of their storytelling and writing when they don't have Blizzard at their back.

05/24/2012 01:52 PMPosted by Silwarel
it was also said by Blizzard that the books will never ever be part of canon.


Except you can't have a story like this and not sign off on it and approve of said story. It isn't some alternate reality. The Sin War trilogy outright changed tons of info about Sanctuary, Inarius, etc. And Blizzard North approved of it. Canon or not, they liked what they saw.

05/24/2012 01:52 PMPosted by Silwarel
And yes, the retcons were needed to backup the new ,,lore´´; but they weren't needed for the continuing of storyline as outlined by previous games, which is why I don't like it.


You're free to have your opinion. I'm just saying, retcons don't honestly mean a bad thing.

Did you maybe think that after Blizzard North left, they refused to give Blizzard the story they were planning, leaving Blizzard with no choice but to make their own?

Or did you consider that Blizzard North DID work on Diablo 3 for a while, before it fell apart, and that D3's story was actually made by Blizzard North and just continued by the Blizzard team after they took up the reigns?
I'm just saying, retcons don't honestly mean a bad thing.


I think you're just going to have to agree to disagree with most folks on this particular forum then...
I'm just saying, retcons don't honestly mean a bad thing.


I think you're just going to have to agree to disagree with most folks on this particular forum then...


Retcons exist all over, in multiple medias. If memory serves, D2 retconned a fair bit of the D1 fluff, streamlining how Hell worked and how heaven worked as well.

And I'm not saying all retcons are good. I'm just saying a retcon does not instantly mean bad. Multiple comic book retcons, for instance, have been horrible and others have saved series from cancellation.
Melyria: All I see is that this new product doesn't reach the quality the series had, for various reasons. I won't argue about why it might have come to pass, because we have no means how to find that out. I prefer to spend my time creatively, when Blizzard didn't give me a beliavable story I could be consumed by, I'll do it myself through funstuff.
I have seen some screenshots from that stopped project of Blizzard North btw and I quite liked it. I am not crazy however to shout here how it was hundred times better when I didn't see it done. I'd just love to see what they originally planned finished and believe it could have been so much better, that's all.
05/24/2012 02:07 PMPosted by Melyria
And I'm not saying all retcons are good. I'm just saying a retcon does not instantly mean bad. Multiple comic book retcons, for instance, have been horrible and others have saved series from cancellation.


And you feel D3's falls into the latter?
05/24/2012 02:16 PMPosted by Redrum
And I'm not saying all retcons are good. I'm just saying a retcon does not instantly mean bad. Multiple comic book retcons, for instance, have been horrible and others have saved series from cancellation.


And you feel D3's falls into the latter?


I think the retcons produced a more cohesive universe that had the opportunity to provide a better story.

The problem was, as I've said before, the execution of said story.

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