Diablo III’s Story: Success or Snooze?

There is something about Blizzard games. No matter how alike they might produce their games, they become a hit success. This is usually attributed to the universe in which the game is set, mostly because of the amount of detail placed into creating such a universe. Starcraft has the Koprulu Sector, Warcraft has Azeroth, and Diablo has Sanctuary.

However, while Starcraft and Warcraft’s storyline of conflict stems from internal racial struggle, Diablo’s storyline of conflict has been the age old “good versus evil” diddly. This was epitomized in Diablo I, with the prime evil, Diablo, residing under the church in the town of Tristram (the smell of a classically generated roguelike storyline). It wasn’t all that complex. Hero’s parents have been killed by the Big Bad, Hero delves into the Dungeon and kills Boss Obstacles until he gets to the Big Bad.

Silly human, what makes you think you can kill me in my own realm?

Of course, as we all know, when it comes to the “complex” feature of Good vs. Evil, you can’t kill one another. Again, this proves true again in Diablo II, where we learn our Hero from Diablo I is now the vessel of the Lord of Terror. However, this time around he’s much smarter, traveling the lands of Sanctuary to bring in his other brothers. Of course, the real plot doesn’t come to light until the expansion pack, where we learn Diablo was planning on controlling the Worldstone.

The Worldstone is better known as the anchor to the mythical world of Sanctuary; it is supposed to hold back the forces of Heaven and Hell (and what a bang up job its done). This stems from the mythos of the creation of Sanctuary, where an angel and a demon got together and said, “Hey, we want nothing to do with the never-ending war,” and decided to build a world away from the eyes of both parties. As usual, the evil dudes want to corrupt and consume it for their own purposes, and, as usual, the heavenly good guys don’t try to get into a direct confrontation and rely more on the mortals of the realm to do their dirty work.

Anyways, fast forward to the end of Diablo II, where Diablo didn’t have the chance to put his plan to action, as the hero curb-stomped him, but his brother Baal manages to get all the way to the Worldstone Throne before he is also curb-stomped by the same hero. But hark! The damage has been done and the Worldstone had already been corrupted. Rather than let the world fall into eternal darkness, Tyrael, an Archangel whose electricity bill must cost a fortune, tosses his sword at the Worldstone, shattering it, now leaving the entire realm of Sanctuary open to both forces. Then again, I suppose it was better than the alternative, not to mention he was acting against his orders from the “good” guys, who wanted to let the world remain corrupted.

Figure out how to uncorrupt the world stone or send the world to shit. What a tough choice.

Of course, here comes into light Diablo III, in which the setting is supposed to take twenty years after the events of the Worldstone shattering. One can only wonder what the classic storyline of conflict can be. Shall we look to the stars and ponder while stroking our pseudo beards, pretending to be in deep thought, or shall we simply call it like it is?

Hopefully Blizzard can do something better than, “Kill Diablo and save Sanctuary,” because it’s what we’ve been doing for the past two games, and I imagine it will be what we’ll be doing for the rest of eternity, as you can’t kill Diablo, and it’s not like the good guys are going to win, so it’s going to be an eternal struggle (thus shadowing the overtones of the real world, where “evil” triumphs but “good” prevails).

There’s obviously never going to be an eternal peace, as that would counter the idea of what good is (which is the opposite of evil). Of course, in a world that is probably being gang-banged by demons by now, while the good guys still choose the high path of, “Oh, let the mortals figure it out for themselves, they’ll learn an important lesson, now let’s get back into the hot tub,” I get the feeling that we’ll be playing the same old tune. At least with all the previews it doesn’t seem like that formula is going to change in Diablo III. I mean, we are going back to Tristram. Again.

Aren't you glad we're going back to this place AGAIN?

For once it would be nice if Diablo’s storyline could evolve dynamically like how Blizzard’s other titles have. Hopefully Blizzard’s eternal pursuit of perfection as to why it takes them a decade to put out games will prove true with Diablo III. Then again, I have a feeling that if Blizzard targeted dirt they’d still make billions, what with their own country and all. Then again, gamers today are becoming less forgiving in a developer’s pursuit to push out rehashed sequels or unfinished products, but with the massive following Blizzard has, I imagine such critics will be drowned in a sea of vehement anger, as most critics to “AAA” titles are.

Well, except Spore.

Originally written: 12/25/08

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About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as flagshipped.com. Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at gameriot.com and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

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