The third installment of the Diablo series is finally here. I thought I should write a post explaining very briefly about the Diablo Universe/Lore for all the newbies that might pick up this game. I didn’t read the books and novels so correct me if I’m wrong in anything that I post here. All the info I have is from reading articles in the interwebs, so lots of copy/paste stuff.
Prologue to Diablo I
Diablo Universe is made of three worlds: The High Heavens, Burning Hell, and the mortal world known as Sanctuary. In the beginning only the High Heavens and the Burning Hell existed. Since the creation these two worlds battled each other for control in what is known as the Great/Eternal Conflict.
The Burning Hell was lead by the three Prime Evils: Diablo, and his two brothers Baal and Mephisto.
The High Heavens was lead by the Angiris Council, a group of very powerful Archangels. There were 5 in total:
There was one more powerful Archangel that acted as an advisor to the Angiris Council, and his name was Inarius (Male). Inarius was tired of the constant conflict between the two worlds, so he gather other Angels and Demons who felt the same way and created the Sanctuary, the mortal world. Using the powers of the Worldstone(very important) that he stole, Inarius was able to hide the presence of Sanctuary from Heaven and Hell.
Humans were the off springs of Angels and Demons that lived in the Sanctuary and were very powerful at first. The first generations of humans were known as Nephalem, and had the potential to be even more powerful than either Angels or Demons. Fearing that humans would become more powerful than him, Inarius modified the Worldstone to make each generation of human weaker and weaker, draining them of their natural powers. He wanted humans to worship him, and created a relgion/cult called the Cathedral of Light. The Prime Evils were the first to discovered Sanctuary, and attempted to gain influence over the population and recruit them as soldiers in the Great Conflict. Not wanting to alert the High Heavens of Sanctuary’s existence, they formed a religion/cult called the Triune. Both religions recruited followers and used them for their own purpose.
The humans then start using their powers to fight back the Angels and Demons, this was called the Sin Wars. Inarius is eventually defeated by a human named Uldyssian, the strongest human who lead a revolt against Inarius and the Triune (cult of the Prime Evils). In order to defeat Inarius, Uldyssian tapped into the Worldstone and unleashed his tremendous power, so great in fact that it was going to destroy all of Sanctuary. Once he realized this, he sacrificed himself to save the mortal world. This is when the Agiris Council discovered Sanctuary and what Inarius has done. They descended into Sanctuary and were going to destroy it since they viewed it as an abomination tainted with demon blood. Remember, humans were half demon as they were the off spring of Angels and Demons.
Of the 5 in the Agiris Council, 2 voted no and 1 voted yes. Mathael, the Archangel of Wisdom decided not to vote. Tyrael was the tiebreaker who originally wanted to destroy the Sanctuary. But after seeing Uldyssian’s sacrifice he changed his mind and the Sanctuary was safe. Tyrael was impressed by Uldyssian’s sacrifice because Uldyssian had basically become all powerful as much as a god but gave up his life to save the life of many others instead. This made Tyrael see the good in mankind, and he would come to their aid many more times as the prime evil invade their world.
After the Sin Wars, a truce was made between Mephisto and the Argiris Council to leave the Sanctuary and not interfere with human affairs. In return of leaving the mortal world, Mephisto wanted Inarius as his prisoner which the Council agreed. Of course the Prime Evils did not keep their end of the promise and continued to influence and recruit humans to their cult. Against the will of the other council members, Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice would intervene and help the humans fight against the demons of hell as they slowly invaded the mortal world.
Meanwhile, the lesser evils thought the Prime Evils were being distracted from the great conflict against the Heavens. Their hatred for the heavens was huge and their hatred for the Prime Evils grew stronger and stronger until they eventually got together and revolted. The 4 lesser evils are:
Their revolution was successful and the 3 Prime Evils were banished from hell. This was known as the Dark Exile. The Prime Evils were forced to walk the land of the living, spreading their evil and chaos wherever they went. Diablo’s spirit was known as Dialon, Baal’s was Bala, and Mephisto’s was Mefis. They made up the 3 pillars of the Triune Cult, led by the Primus (Grand Priest) who was Mephisto’s son, Lucion, in disguise. The cult’s symbol was a triangle, with each point of the triangle being one of the 3 Prime Evils. The Triune cult had temples throughout the land of Sanctuary where they recruited naive humans and corrupted their souls.
To stop the Prime Evils spread of chaos and destruction, Tyrael created the botherhood of Magi, known as the Horadrim. Known members of the Horadrim are Tal Rasha (very important dude), Jered Cain and Deckard Cain. The Horadrim was made up of 3 major mage clans, and each clan was tasked with defeating one of the 3 Prime Evils. Tyrael gave the Horadrim 3 soulstones, magical artifacts that was capable of imprisoning powerful beings such as the Prime Evils.
The first to be captured and imprisoned was Mephisto, the oldest brother. His soulstone was buried in a vault beneath the Temple of Light in Kurast. The next to be captured was Baal, the middle brother. His capture was much harder, and led the Horadrim to chase him all the way to the Northern Desserts of Lut Gholein. During the fight in the desert, Baal was able to shatter the soulstone when they attempted to imprison him. Eventually Baal was controlled by Tal Rasha, one of the most powerful mages. In an attempt to seal Baal without a soulstone, Tal Rasha impaled the largest shard of the soulstone into his chest, and used his body to imprison Baal within him, so dooming his own fate. He would then wrestle with the demon within him for all eternity as his students sealed him in a secret tomb in the desert (Canyon of the Magi). As the sand shifted and time passed, the location was lost and forgotten, until the events of Diablo II.
The last to be captured was Diablo, the youngest and some argued to be the most powerful of the brothers. Led by Jered Cain, the Horadrim chased Diablo for nine years, fighting the terror that he would unleash on the land. They eventually tracked him all the way west, to Khanduras. After a devastating battle, Diablo was sealed in the soulstone deep within the cave system underneath Khanduras. They built a monastery on top to guard the location and entrance, but as time passed, the last of the Horadrim died and faded away. Eventually, the monastery fell to ruins. Only one Horadrim remains, Deckard Cain. It is here, underneath Khanduras that Diablo remains trapped for two centuries.
King Leoric came to Khanduras centuries later. King Leoric was a powerful and religious Northern Lord who had made Tristram his new home. He renovated the monastery ruins into a marvelous Cathedral and ruled the land with justice. With time, the people grew to respect King Leoric and his rule.
Diablo’s influence grew bigger and bigger and the soulstone became more corrupt over time. Lazarus, arch bishop to King Leoric, became affected by Diablo’s influence and advised the King to start wars with the neighboring states, causing his loyal knights to lose faith in the King.
Diablo needed to possess a physical body, he was unable to influence King Leoric so Diablo lured his son Prince Albrecht into the catacombs underneath the cathedral and possessed him instead. Lazarus (controlled by Diablo) inserted the soulstone into Prince Albrecht’s forehead and made Diablo gain mortal form. The king accused the townspeople’s of his son’s disappearance, and had many executed. Eventually, the king’s knights were forced to slain him as his madness grew daily and more people were being executed.
Many people were bring lured into the catacombs and being killed by “The Butcher”. These sacrifices allowed Diablo to summon countless demons into the catacombs and they spread to the countryside attacking farmers. As rumors of the demons spread throughout the land, countless heroes came to Tristram to subdue the demon spawns. One of these heroes, is you, the player. You eventually un-cover the true cause and go into the catacombs to fight The Butcher, were you eventually kill him. The unnamed hero descends through sixteen levels of the labyrinth before encountering and also killing Diablo.
After defeating Diablo, the unnamed hero (you) removed the soulstone from Diablo’s head and realized that it was Price Albrecht’s body and that Diablo’s spirit can just possess another body if left free. So the unnamed hero took the soulstone into his own forehead and fought to contain Diablo within his own body. This unnamed hero will become the Dark Wanderer which we run into in Diablo 2.
Prologue to Diablo II
The opening cinematic for Diablo II introduces us to Marius, a frail old man with a broken mind and soul. He is hiding inside an asylum when Tyrael (which at the end of Diablo II you find out its actually Baal disguised as Tyrael) finds him and asks him why he did not complete the task he asked him to do. Marius then starts narrating the rest of the cinematic which basically ends with the Dark Wanderer losing the battle to control his body. Diablo’s spirit summons demons from within him and kills everyone in the tavern were Marius was hanging out. Diablo didn’t kill Marius, and curious about him Marius decides to follow the Dark Wanderer as he travels East.
Diablo II - Act I - The Sightless Eye
We start the game and get to pick one of the 5 heroes to play as. The story goes that the heroes traveled as a group and slain the evils that the Dark Wanderer unleashed on the land. We are always a step behind the Dark Wanderer and never catch up with him until Act IV.
The player starts in the Rogue Encampment, a camp made by the survivors of the Rogue Monastery on the outskirts of Khanduras. The heroes are tasked with clearing out the evils in the surrounding area and to save the last Horadrim, Deckard Cain. The passage through the Rogue Monastery must be cleared before we can travel east, as this is the only passage through the mountains. However, it is currently being guarded by lesser evil Andariel, the Maiden of Anguish. She was put here to guard the passage and keep anyone from following Diablo. Andariel is defeated after traversing through the Monastery halls clearing out the countless demons, and we continue onward, to Lut Gholein.
Diablo II - Act II - The Secret of the Vizjerei
Once in Lut Gholein we find out the city is also drenched in evil. After killing all the monsters the heroes consult with Lord of Lut Gholein and his Wizard Drognan to find out that the Dark Wanderer is really Diablo. He is seeking the long lost tomb of Tal Ralsha, to find his brother Baal and free him from imprisonment and then continue his reign on the mortal world.
In order to open Tal Rasha’s Tomb, the Horadric Staff must be reassembled, as this is the key to chamber in which Baal has laid dormant for over two centuries. The heroes search the endless desert to reassemble the staff, and ventures into the Arcane Sanctuary, an ethereal realm, to find the where about of Tal Rasha’s Tomb. After defeating The Summoner and finding Horazon’s Journal, it is revealed that the tomb is concealed in the Canyon of The Magi.
Once the heroes arrived at the tomb with the Horadric Staff, they were too late. They had to defeat one of the lesser evils, Duriel the Lord/Prince of Pain, which was guarding the tomb. The heroes then enter the chamber to find Tyrael tied up by the chains that were supposed to be on Baal.
In this Act III cinematic we see what happened before the heroes arrive. The Dark Wanderer and Marius entered the tomb, Tyrael descended to prevent Diablo from freeing Baal. An epic battle between Dark Wanderer and Tyrael happened and Marius was lured by Baal to remove the soulstone from his chest. Marius freed Baal, then Tyrael grabbed Marius and instructed him to go to the Temple of Light in Kurast, to find the gates of hell which he must enter and destroy the soulstone on the Hell Forge. Tyrael alone now had to face Dark Wanderer and Baal, a battle he lost and was imprisoned until the heroes came to save him.
Diablo II - Act III - The Infernal Gate
The heroes arrive at Kurast Docks, with a mission to stop Diablo and Baal from freeing their eldest brother Mephisto, the lord of Hatred. They find the capital city and surrounding jungle to be controlled by demons. As Diablo did in Tristram, Mephisto too was able to spread his influence while imprisoned within the soulstone. He corrupted the high priests in the Council of the Zakarum and they have been doing his bidding for quite some time now. The priests had freed Mephisto, and those who stood against him in the priest hood were brutally murdered, with their remains scattered throughout the land of Kurast.
The heroes had to fight the High Council, and defeating them revealed the entrance to Mephisto’s lair, the Durance of Hate. They traveled down deeper and deeper until they reached the final level. And once again they were too late.
Act IV’s cinematic shows us that the Prime Evils were reunited and had combined their powers to open a portal to the gates of hell. Marius arrived to the scene, but was not brave enough to enter the portal as Tyrael had asked him. Instead he fled.
Baal and Diablo entered the portal while Mephisto stay back to fight the heroes. It was here that the heroes battle for the first time against one of the great Primes. Although the fight was tough, they eventually defeated Mephisto. All that remained was his soulstone. The heroes then stepped through the red portal with Mephisto’s soulstone, which lead them to the gates of hell and the Pandemonium Fortress.
Diablo II - Act IV - The Harrowing
At the Pandemonium Fortress the heroes meet with Tyrael where he asks the heroes for one last favor before going in to face the Lord of Terror.
One of his most trusted and greatest lieutenant, Izual, was captured centuries ago when he lead a courageous charge into the Hellforge to stop the demon blade, Shadowfang, from being completed. While successful in his endeavor, he was overwhelmed by the legions of hell and captured. To punish Izual for preventing the completion of the demon blade, he was tortured and twisted. Imprisoned within the body of a terrible creature summoned from the deep Abyss, Izual is forced to wander the Plains of Despair as a fallen angel, neither trusted by Heaven or Hell.
The heroes agreed and went off to vanquish the beast. After defeating the abomination, Izual spirit was set free. Instead of gratitude however, Izual was arrogant and looked down upon the heroes. Izual spirit reveals to our heroes that he was the one helping the Prime Evils the whole time. It was him who masterminded the Dark Exile of the Primes, and it was also him who convinced Tyrael to use the soulstone to capture them. Izual had taught the Primes how to corrupt the soulstone and use it powers to amplify their own. This also allowed them to never be truly destroyed, as their spirit is bound to the soulstone. While the physical form might fall, the spirit will linger and live on.
“The plan we set in motion so long ago cannot be stopped by any mortal agency. Hell itself is poised to spill forth into your world like a tidal wave of blood and nightmares.” ~ Izual
This piece of information alarms Tryrael, and he orders the heroes to travel to the hell forge at once to destroy Mephito’s soulstone. Shards of ice, daggers of steel and burning flames clashes over and over again as the heroes ventured deeper and deeper, until they reach the Hellforge. It is here, that they encountered Hephasto the Armored, blacksmith of the Hellforge, and defeated him. His hammer and the Hellforge is the only thing that can destroy a soulstone. On the third thunderous strike, Mephisto’s soulstone was destroyed, and thousands of tormented souls rose from its ashes.
The heroes then moved into the Chaos Sanctuary, home of Diablo himself. In order to summon Diablo, the heroes must release the 5 seals within the Chaos Sanctuary. Each seal unleashes a demon spawn more powerful than the last. The five heroes fought with all their might, breaking one seal after another. Diablo, in all his glory, stood before them, he roared with all his might. The heroes attacked without hesitation until Diablo was defeated. As the Chaos Sanctuary crumpled around them, the heroes back tracked and destroyed Diablo’s soulstone at the Hellforge, concluding the Lord of Terror’s reign of destruction.
In the epilogue cinematic Marius reveals that while Mephisto’s and Diablo’s soulstone were destroyed, he did not do as Tyrael instructed and Baal’s soulstone was still in his possession. Marius hands the soulstone to Tyrael, and like I said earlier it was really Baal disguises as Tyrael. Baal kills Marius and this is where Diablo II ends…but the story continues in the expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
Prologue to Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
At the end of Diablo II, after destroying Diablo’s soulstone the heroes meet up with Tyrael, where he informs them that Baal has assembled a massive army and was making an assault on Mt. Arreat. This place is the home of the Worldstone (remember earlier I told you it was important). The Worldstone was guarded by the barbarian tribes, which were the fiercest warriors the Sanctuary had to offer.
Prologue to Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
Tyrael opens a portal for our heroes to the barbarian city of Harrogath, the Last Bastion of Order on the slopes of Mt. Arreat. Here we learn that Baal has destroyed the Barbarian lands of the north on his way to Mt. Arreat. Destruction and suffering trails in the wake of his army, and what were once great barbarian fortresses, now lies in ruins. Harrogath is the last Barbarian stronghold, and is currently under siege by Baal’s Army. Many brave barbarians have died to defend the fortress, and many more die each day as the siege continues. Shenk the Overseer, Baal’s most decorated general, is leading the siege against Harrogath.
The Council of Elders, which was made of the Barbarian’s wisest elders, received word that Baal’s army was coming and that many of their brothers have died fighting his ungodly army. In order to save Harrogath, they sacrificed their lives in a very courageous act to cast the “Spell of Warding”. This warding spell would par passage to any hell spawn, including Lord of Destruction himself.
Only one person survived the casting of the spell, Nihlathak, who struggles daily with the guilt of being spared and the grief of his lost companions. While the spell has worked so far, it becomes weaker and weaker as the siege continues. Even in these times of despair, the Barbarians fought on without a hint of uncertainty.
Siege of Harrogath
With no choice the Barbarian had to accept the help of our heroes. The heroes fought in the front lines, they pushed on and on, down the slopes of Mount Arreat, pushing Baal’s army until Shenk the Overseer laid before them. The Siege of Harrogath came to an end, and the heroes thought Baal’s plans towards the Worldstone came to a sudden end…
Prison of Ice
While the battle with Baal’s army was going on, Nihlathak committed a foul and treacherous plan. He was unable to handle the grief of his companion’s sacrifice and the failure of his people to defend Mt. Arreat that he thought about what they could have done differently. He decided that there was only one way out, he stuck a deal with Baal. In return for Harrogath’s safety, Nihlathak gave Baal the Relic of the Ancients. This holy totem allowed anyone who possesses it to bypass the Rite of Passage at the summit of Mount Arreat, and be granted access to the chamber of the Worldstone. With the holy totem in hand, Baal and his army proceeded to the inner chambers of Mount Arreat, known as the Worldstone Keep. No one knew that this had happened, until Nihlathak and Anya were found to be missing. Anya, the daughter of one of the Council of Elders, uncovers Nihlathak’s plan. To avoid his secret from being reveal, Nihlathak kidnapped Anya and imprisoned her in the icy caves of the Crystalline Passage. It is not until the heroes rescued Anya that is information is revealed.
Rite of Passage
This is when the heroes raced to Arreat Summit. High above the mountain side, at the peak of Mount Arreat, there stands three crumbling statues with a stone altar in the center with the inscription:
"We are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. We have been chosen to guard the sacred Mt. Arreat, wherein the Worldstone rests. Few are worthy to stand in its presence; fewer still can comprehend its true purpose. Before you enter, you must defeat us."
Unlike Baal, the heroes did not possess the Relic of the Ancients, thus forcing them to undergo The Rite of Passage. This would prove to be the heroes’ toughest challenge yet, because the three guardians of the Worldstone were no ordinary warriors. They were spirits of the Nephalem, part of the first generations of humans. Their powers had not been drained by the Worldstone. What stood before them were some of the mightiest warriors that Sanctuary has ever seen. Only those who can defeat these colossal beings would be deemed worthy enough to enter the Worldstone Chamber, and this is why the Relic of the Ancients was so coveted. Even though the challenge seems impossible to overcome, the heroes pressed on, and activated the altar. The crumbling statues started to shake, and light emitted from within. A blinding light engulfed the summit and the statues came to life. Unmovable stone transformed into flesh and armor, until the three guardians of the Worldstone stood before them.
To keep the story short, the heroes fought for hours until they accomplished what no human has ever done before. The three Ancients were defeated and let them enter the interior of Mt. Arreat:
Eve of Destruction
As the heroes entered the Worldstone Keep, they were met by Baal’s strongest minions. Learning from the mistakes of his fallen brethrens Baal took every precaution. Fortunately, our heroes had come too far in their quest, and when compared to the Ancients, Baal’s finest warriors were just target practice. Soon they would come face to face with Baal himself as they quickly made their way through the multiple levels of Worldstone Keep. Just outside the Worldstone Chamber, Baal sat on his throne waiting for our heroes arrival, and just as he had expected, they arrived at last. Baal summoned waves and waves of minions, some of the most wicked that has ever set foot on the mortal realm, but each wave fell just like the last. Realizing that even the most frightening terrors from the abyss of hell could not deter our heroes from their quest, Baal enters the Worldstone chamber while the heroes dispatched the last of the monsters. They quickly followed Baal into the Chamber and commenced battle with the Lord of Destruction.
They fought for what seem like days, as there was no sun in the chamber to tell how much time has really passed. Baal’s extensive tentacles pierced through the floor lashing at anything within its reach. He let loose fiery breaths hot enough to rival molten lava, and sent from his hand waves of spine chilling novas that could freeze even the mightiest of heroes in their tract. Despite all this power, Baal still fell to the group of heroes. For these warriors were not just veterans of the battlefield, or heroes of the land, they were Legends. But victory did not come without a cost.
After Baal’s defeat, Tyrael appears to the heroes and inform them that Baal had already succeeded in corrupting the Worldstone. The Worldstone now drains the mortal world’s energy, weakening the boundaries between Sanctuary and The Burning Hell. To protect this world from dying, the Worldstone that once stood as a beacon of the mortal realm must now be destroyed. Tyrael imbues his Sword of Justice with the light of the High Heavens and hurls it into the Worldstone. Cracks start to ripple through the massive stone and within seconds, it begins to shatter. The Worldstone is no more.
This is where Diablo III comes in. With the Worldstone now destroyed what will happened to the Sanctuary?
I was planning on posting this before the release of Diablo III, but it took a few days to gather all this info, it got longer than expected.
Hope you enjoyed it and have fun fighting Evil!