BlizzCon 2013 - Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A Panel Transcript

Presenter: Welcome to the Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A panel. The panelists are: Leonard Boyarski (senior designer), Michael Chu (game designer/writer), Brian Kindreagan (lead writer), Valerie Watrous (game designer/writer) and Justin Parker (historian)

Kindreagan: Hey, BlizzCon! I'm Brian Kindreagan and I'm the lead writer on Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. And I'm gonna ask everyone on our panel to introduce themselves before we get to the questions. So let's start with Leonard.

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Boyarski: I'm Leonard Boyarski, and I'm senior world designer.

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Chu: Hey, I'm Michael Chu and I'm game designer and writer. And you can probably blame me for some characters like the Monk, Witch Doctor Covetous Shen and Zoltun Kulle.

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Watrous: Hi, I'm Valerie Watrous and I'm a writer on Diablo. I work mostly on dialogue and characterization.

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Parker: Hello, I'm Justin Parker. I'm the historian or one of the historians. We mostly work with the world that's gone before and trying to keep continuity as best we can.

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Kindreagan: So, Justin is the surprise last minute addition to our panel. So that he can help with the some of the really deep Diablo history if we get into that. So, OK, let's open it right up for some questions. If you have any questions, call me up.

Fan # 1: One of the things that I kinda wanted to see if you guys were thinking about, specifically with this release is a failure cinematic, you failed to defeat Malthael, he kills you, instead of just respawning, do you see him destroying humanity?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well, I don't think we'd be able to do a failure cinematic as such, because cinematics are enormously expensive and time consuming. So even tough that would be a lot of fun, I don't think ... if we had to do at the expense of, let's say, the opening cinematic, that would not be so good. Like, the only cinematic that you'd see is the failure. So, we wouldn't be able to do anything like that, but we are exploring a couple of interesting things we can do when you die. Unfortunately, I don't think any of them were at the point I could talk about them quite yet.[/bluepost]

Fan #2: Hello. I was actually told to address this question to Leonard Boyarski.

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: You're welcome, Leonard![/bluepost]

Thunderclaww: So, in Sanctuary the main barbarian is called Bul-Kathos. He's the original barbarian. However, the Immortal Kings set which is like the main barbarian set, it mentions Worusk who is king of the barbarians apparently. But, is the immortal king reference to Worusk or is it Bul-Kathos and who is Worusk?

[bluepost]Boyarski: I'm so glad you asked that question. Worusk is, he was a king, he became king by uniting the tribes. Bul-Kathos who's pretty much a semi-deity and he was the first one to unite the tribes, but that was way back in the ancient times, and there's legend of the barbarians, pretty much one of their myths. This Worusk guy came along a lot later when they're all human beings and the tribes were all warring and he put them all together. And then after that, they had the council like it's in Harrogath. So, he was given the honorary title of Immortal King in reference to the fact that he did the same thing that Bul-Kathos had done.[/bluepost]

Fan #2: Thank you.

Fan# 3: Hello, What happened to the dragon? Where's Trang'Oul? Is he gonna come up in the expansion?

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[bluepost]Boyarski: Justin, do you want to take a little bit of this?

Parker: Well there, there just doesn't seem there have been an appropriate place to reintroduce them. I mean, obviously the necromancers are still referencing him and drawing on his power, but he hasn't made an appearance since quite some time ago.

Kindreagan: So he's out there somewhere.[/bluepost]

Fan #4: Hi. I was wondering how the templar and crusader different ideology and will they have any specific dialogue in the expansion?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: They differ in ideology quite a bit. So the templar is a member of an order that sort of rose from the ashes of the Paladin order. They are a newer group. As you learn in Diablo 3 they have some very questionable practices as far as how they indoctrinate people into their order. The crusaders are actually a group that was created at the same time as the Paladin order long ago. They went off in the opposite direction. When the Paladins went West, they went East on sort of a secret mission. And so they disappeared into the Marsh Lands of the East and were not heard from again for a long time. And now they've come rolling out from the East to discover a very different world than the one they knew when they left. So, they actually are sort of... They trace their origins back to the early days of Zakarum faith. They represent an older and perhaps more purer version of the Zakarum faith than it is currently known on Sanctuary.[/bluepost]

Fan # 5: Hello. In Zoltun Kulle's archives there's a bunch of coffins that are floating in the background. What are in them? What are they containing or hiding?

[bluepost]Kindreagan: Michael.

Chu: Well, Zoltun Kulle was really interested in a lot of different things. Pretty much anything that had to do with magic, he was curious, he liked to experiment a lot and so what you sort of find around the archives are sort of what's left over from his experiments. You know, just magical excitement.[/bluepost]

Fan #5: Alright, thank you.

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Thunderclaww: At the end of Diablo II, the worldstone was shattered. Where is it? What is it, what happened to it?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Valerie, would you like to take this?

Watrous: Well, the worldstone as we know it was shattered into pieces. Where these pieces are and what is being done with them is unknown at this point. It would be interesting to explore for the future perhaps. But, as far as we know right now, it's gone.[/bluepost]

Omacron: So, we know that demon plus angel equals human or equals Nephalem and when Tyrael gets rid of his angelicness, whatever qualities made him into a angel, he appears human. Is what Tyrael currently is, would you call it human or is he something else?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I think Leonard wants to answer that one.

Boyarski: Once again, thank you. He is not human, he is mortal. He chose the form of a human. He's always been, ever since the Sin War, he's been on the side of the humans. He has a lot of respect for humanity and he really thinks humanity is the way of the future to a large degree. And even during the cinematic between him and Imperius in Diablo III, he's trying to convince Imperius if they should side with the humans. So he's basically casting his love with the humans, he felt he should look like a human. But he is not a nephalem, he never had any demon in him whatsoever. He was pure angel, now he's just a a mortal who has a really cool sword.[/bluepost]

Omacron: If I could, what's the difference between mortal and human, basically?

[bluepost]Boyarski: Humans in the Diablo universe are half angel and half demon. So, that would be pretty much it. He's not nephalem. He's not descended from nephalem. He's 100% descended from angel DNA, I guess you would call it. But he gave up his powers, gave up a lot of what made him a celestial being, I guess you'd call it, to join with the humans and do what he could from that end. Because he was forbidden by angelic law from interfering.[/bluepost]

Fan # 8: So, the theme of Reaper of Souls is death and Deckard Cain is a pretty big character in the Diablo Universe. Is there gonna be any reference to his death? Or his life?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I guess I would say that yes, there's absolutely a lot of references to Deckard in Reaper of Souls. He was obviously a huge part of the Diablo Universe and certainly a huge part of the events in Diablo III. So, there's no way that this expansion would be able to play out without hearing his voice and feeling his influence.[/bluepost]

Fan #8: Thank you.

Fan #9: Hello. Deckard Cain's death felt really premature and really unannounced. So, was that to make Leah's character develop a little bit more? Develop Leah's character maybe start the corruption or something?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: That's a good question. And at the risk of wearing his throat out, I'm gonna ask Leonard to fill that one as well.

Boyarski: The reason we decided that Deckard Cain was going to pass on was, we really wanted to up the emotional stakes. Not only for Leah, but for Tyrael, and for the players, because he's a beloved character. We loved him as much as everybody else did. I think you pretty much hit it on the head. It was to pass the torch from a storytelling standpoint. He kind of filled the same role as Tyrael ended up filling after him. We meant for it to be a lot of drama and just emotional depth, with the fact that he passed on and this is what was kind of moving it forward. And a lot of the stuff, I think there's kind of an undertone of the fact that he might have figured out a lot of what was going on if he had been around. So, it was doubly tragic that he had passed on.[/bluepost]

Fan # 10: Thank you so much. My question is: we know that Tyrael in humanity's going to do in response to this. But what is Imperius gonna be doing to this?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: In response to Malthael?[/bluepost]

Fan #10: Yeah, absolutely.

[bluepost]Kindreagan: Oh, alright. That's a also an excellent question and I'm gonna ask Michael (Chu) to address that.

Chu: Well, I think it's definitely a big deal in heaven that all this is happening and a lot of the different factions, they're sort of react in different ways to all the events. Obviously Tyrael has a more human centric focus, because he's really, dead on, humanity is being his best hope for the future. Imperius, of course, is not quite as big a fan of the mortals as Tyrael is. So he's very much going to be representative of that other perspective.[/bluepost]

Thunderclaww: Hi. So, a lot of the races or classes in Diablo III have really a long histories in Sanctuary. But the demon hunter seem to be fairly new to Sanctuary. Were they just established after the shattering of the Worldstone? Or what's their history?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I think Valerie can speak very well to the demon hunter.

Watrous: Yes, thank you for asking. So, the events of Diablo I and Diablo II, obviously started this tremendous effect on the world and all of the people living within it and all of the demons attacks were happening when you were playing Diablo I and trying to defeat the forces of Diablo. Other people were noticing and our hero demon hunter, their lives are being effected, their families are being slaughtered and these people want vengeance. So they gather together and they went to the North to the Dreadlands. They started training because they knew these things were out there. These monsters in the night that maybe not everyone believes in. And they were ready to fight and to work and to give whatever it takes it to take them out.[/bluepost]

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Fan #12: Hi! I have a religious studies question. It's pretty clear that you guys have been inspired by a bit of Christianity when creating the story of Diablo. Has there been any other religions that you have been inspired of when creating the story of Diablo at all?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well I think... There's sort of two things. There's the Diablo Universe as a whole and then there's a particular story of Diablo III and Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. I mean, obviously the Diablo Universe relies heavily on Judeo-Christan symbols and icons and iconography and all of that. But I think there's definitely a heavy world religion influence throughout. There's certain themes that are pulled from lots of different religions. For instance, the monks have a very different non Judeo-Christian take on the world. In terms of the particular narrative of the story, I think the universe has kinda taken on enough of a life of its own that the story that happens in that universe is really drawing upon the universe itself. The things that happen in the story are based on the kind of place that the Diablo Universe is. But in the creation of that universe there is definitely a ... you know, I think there's influences from all the major world religions.

Chu: I know, like, for my part, when I'm approaching, looking at a new culture, class or character, I really think of Diablo's. It's very similar to our world, but with some very specific differences. Demons, angels, magic, it's sort of this awesome dark fantasy realization and so what I like to do a lot of times to draw inspiration from the world and stuff, our history and our beliefs, and then sort of change them or find what's really interesting about them and then push them a little farther and see what that would be in a darker setting.[/bluepost]

Fan #13: I wanted to ask you about Leah's soul. Tyrael kind of alluded to the fact he hoped that maybe they could be able to have saved her. Are their plans to give us as players the ability to maybe go back and redeem her soul?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I feel bad when you've got a bunch of writers on the stage and the lot of answers tend to be: "We're not gonna say." We're always trying to figure out how to share really fun story information with you, without actually spoiling things that might happen. So, I would just say that right now we don't have any plans to revisit what happened with Leah. I think one thing I always feel with major characters that have suffered a sad fate in-game is just that for that fate to have any meaning it has to exist for a while. I worked on Starcraft for years and right after Wings of Liberty came out everybody asked us: When is Tychus coming back? And the answer is: if he came back right away, then it wouldn't mean anything. So, Leah is definitely on our radar; but we're not looking into doing anything with her right now.[/bluepost]

Omacron: So, I've read through the Book of Tyrael on the plane here; and I know also in the cinematic you've released there's a lot of talk about nephalem ruins under Westmarch. And that got me thinking. Are the nephalem -- we've talked about them as a race of powerful beings. Did they have a culture that's distinct from the culture we see on Sanctuary now? Was there more than one nephalem culture? Did they have unique architecture, did the have writing or are they pre-literate culture? Is there anything you could tell us about the lives of these incredibly powerful beings and then maybe when they notice their power going away, did that effect their culture in any way?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Absolutely, that's a great question. I mean ... This is one I feel like almost everybody on this panel probably has some good stuff to contribute, and I'm going to kick it to Justin to start, then invite the rest of these crazy folks to jump in.

Parker: Well, for starters at the grand temple when they realized that their powers were fading they were obviously scared enough to make deals, panic, hide out. As far as the multiple cultures go, they were around a long time ago, it's hard to tell I know, and in some things it seem sit was really brief, but that was to angels and demons who were, at very least very long lived, if not completely immortal. As far as the actual details of the cultures, I'm gonna throw that back to ...

Boyarski: I'll jump in here. The ancients were the first nephalem. So if you think of Bul-Kathos versus other nephalem -- they had very different cultures. They were technically brothers, but they developed along different lines. Bul-Kathos, I don't think any of them were preliterate per se, because they were, it was a very strange childhood, but they were raised by angels and demons. And angels and demons are very intelligent creatures in different ways. So they did each have, there were a bunch of different cultures, there is Bul-Kathos and all the other ancients. That did influence different parts of the world that they came from especially, the most direct correlations from Bul-Kathos to the Barbarians. Anybody else has anything to add?

Chu: Valerie, I think you've done some work on how the nephalem felt when they started to become less powerful.

Watrous: Yes, if you can imagine a race of people who begin at their golden age essentially and then everything goes downhill from there. That's pretty much what happened after Inarius changed the worldstone. These people who are used to their power and their knowledge, their children were born weaker and weaker and some didn't survive, so it was just this crushing development for them which led to the splintering of these civilizations and what was essentially a dark age for the people of Sanctuary in which their powers were lost and their tradition was lost and only now in the events of Diablo III is that power coming back to humanity.

Chu: I also think in Reaper of Souls you will see a little bit more of the ancient nephalem culture and I think what's truly interesting the lens in which you see through at this point is, there's this really ancient culture that is sort of related to us. But they have all this architecture and the stuff they've left behind and it seem familiar to us because we share that bond with them. It's also sort of a kind of weird and unknowable, there's that aspect we'd really like to play out, the mystery.

Boyarski: I think that the other interesting aspect that we touched on slightly. But when it was first described in the Diablo Manuals and even in Diablo III... you get a feeling when the worldstone was attuned to reduce their powers, that somehow everybody over the whole of Sanctuary knew about it. That's just not the case in societies that don't have ... There isn't this big gathering where they say: "Hey. We're gonna turn the worldstone down, you guys are all gonna lose your powers." Some other cultures knew what was going on and some of them thought they were being struck by some bizzare plague or they did not understand why their children were sickly to them which would be probably still be superhuman to us.[/bluepost]

Fan #15:: Hello! Who are the gods that the monks pray to and are they influenced by the angels?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: That's a question for Michael.

Chu: Yes, the monks have this belief system that has tons and tons of gods. They see gods in everything. There's the god of the forest, there's the god of the river, there's the god of abstract concepts, they have just basically a god for everything. And the intention is that there is the idea that there are these gods of order and then there are also gods of chaos which if you are observing you'll think there are some sort of similarity to what's going on in the overall story of the universe. That is intended. It's sort of like ... I always like to think of it as the religion of the monks that they have really small glimpse into the greater reality and that's sort of what their foundation, their beliefs are founded on.

Boyarski: I think that goes for a lot of cultures. They kind of have, going back to the religion question from earlier, I think a lot of them either from cultural knowledge that's been past down or just guys meditating in the hills and actually getting visions. I think they interpret, each culture has their own interpretation what happened, how the world was created and what their gods are. For instance, the witch doctor communes with spirits, but he doesn't get a clear message from them. But, he is communing with actual dead spirits and he is getting a partial story of what went on and it's just sort of the different ways, how different cultures interpret what actually happened in history.[/bluepost]

Fan #16: Hi, what's going on with Adria? Is she still backing up Diablo or is she behind Malthael, or she went back to her lair to plan evil plans again? What's going on with her?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Ooh, Adria! Well, ... Let's have ... I didn't want to throw two questions in a row for Michael, but let's have Michael answer that.

Chu: Adria is a very interesting character. She's obviously ticked us off all a little bit with what she's been up to. We've definitely not forgotten about her. And her time will come.

Kindreagan: (echoes: Her time will come.) She ... I think we can safely say that she is definitely still a disciple of Diablo. She is nothing if not tenacious, that one.

Chu: I would go so far to say she has an unhealthy obsession with Diablo.[/bluepost]

Fan #17: Hey guys! Mine is a two part question. Does the Angiris Council have the ability to reinstate Tyrael as angel and if he had been, do you feel he would've wiped the floor with Malthael?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I'll take the second one first, actually. If Tyrael had been an angel during the cinematic, he would've been able to put out a more of a struggle against Malthael, but he would not have been able to wipe the floor with Malthael. In fact, I think the events of the cinematic still would've played out the same way. Malthael was obviously, as a member of Angiris Council in the past, one of the most powerful angels around. Since his transformation he has become far more powerful. I don't know if we've said this publicly yet, but I think we can that he feeds on the souls of the dead. Even during that cinematic when he is taking in the souls of the Horadrim, he's growing more powerful by the second. And so as an immensely powerful being that is able to continue to grow his power, he's is kinda gone to a whole new level. So he is a far above the other angels at this point. That fight still would've ended the same way.[/bluepost]

Fan #17: And then for reinstating him as an angel? Is that possible?

[bluepost]Kindreagan: That depends. Do you mean in terms of actually causing him to transform back into an angel?[/bluepost]

Fan #17: Yeah, like, he would lose his physical form, put the hood back on and just become an ultimate badass again?

[bluepost]Boyarski: No, I don't think the Angiris Council has that ability necessarily. We haven't fully explored that yet. But really I would think that, again as with character deaths, I think that Tyrael's sacrifice to have true meaning has to be something that is either impossible to reverse or at least extremely hard. It would take more than a vote of a couple of angels.

Chu: He's gotta have like a Horadric (###) too?

Kindreagan: Oh, clearly, yeah.[/bluepost]

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Thunderclaww: What happens to the human souls after they're killed? Where did Deckard Cain's soul or essence go?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well, we haven't said where souls go. And I think at the moment we're not gonna explore that too much. I don't think we are ready to reveal the ultimate destination of human souls. But, I will say since the advent of Malthael, unfortunately a whole lot of human souls have not gone where they were supposed to. They've ended up being consumed by Malthael. You'll see that specially throughout the beginning of Reaper of Souls, as Malthael's minions are slaughtering people by the thousands and sending their souls off to Malthael, and he grows even more and more and more powerful. That's part of the horror of what's going on. It's not just that people are dying, but that their souls were actually being consumed.[/bluepost]

Fan #19: In the Diablo series, the hero or the player just doesn't seem to really ever end up getting much love and Diablo won, he takes the soulstone on his head, and ends up being Diablo; and in Diablo II you go into some portal, says Hero's End. And in Diablo III, Tyrael takes all the excitement. I'm wondering what happens to the hero in Diablo II? He goes to Heroes' End, and first of all where is he going? Because I kinda of taught that maybe he should have showed up and whatever character you picked in Diablo III, you would've said: Oh since you've been gone all this has happened, we need you to be our hero again?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: For the ... There was a couple of questions in there. For the answer to what happened to the hero of Diablo II, in terms of ... their ultimate thing with the portal, I'll ask Justin to answer that and then we'll take the other parts of your question.

Parker: We haven't answered any of this specifically. Obviously, we haven't said that the sorceress did this or did that except for the necromancer who apparently had an apprentice -- Mehtan. But generally speaking when you face the Prime Evils (or in this case later on the Lesser Evils), it's very tiring. Most people either die, go insane or get corrupted. So, they probably needed a break from this and needed to pass it on to the next generation.

Boyarski: That was a good answer.

Kindreagan: And then, as to the heroes in Diablo III, about sort of not getting as much love and Tyrael taking a lot of the coolest moments. One of the things that we struggled with, and I mean this is just a technical answer to a story question, is that we can't show your character in the cinematics because they won't look like your character, you know. We could show at the origin, at the beginning of Diablo III we can show of the classes because you're just in the basic underwear that you are gonna be wearing outside of New Tristram. But, once you start equipping your character we wanna make sure that if they appear on screen and you're seeing them do something in a cinematic or whatever that it looks like your character and not just generic female barbarian number 6. So, we're not able to actually show your character and that is a huge storytelling limitation for us. And it's one that I think after Diablo III came out and we all played the game many, many times and of course saw all the feedback from the community and really when you work on something you get a strong sense that as soon as it's out the door of things that you could've done better or all of that. But those are lessons that you can only learn by making the thing in the first place and making mistakes. So I think we really felt like in Reaper of Souls, given accepting that we still have that limitation of showing your character in a cinematic (about not showing them), we wanted to find a lot of ways to make your character more important to the story and not just feel like hired muscle, you know. Like a bunch of smart people get together and say: "Someone should go kill that monster!“ and then you show up and you go kill the monster, right? That's what we wanted to make sure didn't happen. So, we've been looking in a lot of different ways to try to make sure that your character is central to the story and feels like one of the main movers and shakers who's driving this story forward.

Chu: And I actually did want to add back to the fist question about the Diablo II heroes. There is actually at least one Diablo II hero which you can find out the fate of in. We had these expanded short stories for the new hero classes and one of the fates is revealed in there.

Kindreagan: He's not gonna tell you which, so you have to go read them all.

Boyarski: It was the sorceress. At one point in -- and we even announced it, that the Barbarian was supposed to be the Barbarian from Diablo II. And as we were progressing in making the game we just found that we had to explain so much differently for a character that had experienced it versus characters that were new on the scene that it was kind of cluttering things up. And we have tried to find different places to reveal some of these stories and just wanna say it's something we're still working on and thinking about. The best way to do it without interjecting these things from the left field out of the story.

Kindreagan: You didn't wanna constantly have something that the monk didn't know that the male Barbarian does. And then, whoever is playing the male Barbarian doesn't get that explanation because their character should know that already.[/bluepost]

Fan #20: Hi, guys! I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind. The first one is for Michael, so Covetous Shen is a really awesome character. He's really interesting and seems to be mysterious. Do you have any more plans for him or any background to add in the expansion?

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[bluepost]Boyarski: The answer is: absolutely yes! And I think Michael can elaborate on that.

Chu: Covetous Shen is indeed a very mysterious character. I would actually go so far to say his defining characteristics are either his mysteriousness or his hunger. But it's pretty close. We definitely love our side characters, we love the artisans, we love the Followers, and we definitely plan on going into more detail in all of their back stories, because obviously in Diablo III we just sort of started introducing these characters to you. And I think we can actually talk about the fact that there are going to be some adventures that you can actually go on with your follower characters. I'm sure actually, we all like to talk to about them, so I'll mention one of them is, you all get to find out a little bit more about Eirena and the Prophet and the mystery of what happened to her sisters. Possibly Covetous Shen might get a little bit of fun, too. But you'll definitely find out more about him.

Kindreagan: There's that jewel he's been looking for. Something about that may ...

Chu: He's looking for that jewel and he probably wants to try out some restaurants in Westmarch. Tough, he might not have too much luck.

Kindreagan: But the key thing I think is that rather than talking to your followers and artisans and hearing about their backstory, sort of after the fact, I mean, you still talk to them quite a bit. But, their story is actually advanced during the Reaper of Souls, and you're actually able to go on certain adventures with them and sort of help their story advance. I don't know, Leonard or Valerie, if you wanna jump in and mention anything?

Watrous: Has anyone here wondered if the Thieves Guild will actually ever find you? Because, I think they will.

Boyarski: And the Templar, what's a little upset with the order at this point. And he is fixed to do something about it?[/bluepost]

Fan # 20: Sounds very cool! Which leads me to my next question – Kingsport. This Scoundrel is driven me nuts, always bragging about Kingsport. So when are we gonna see it?

[bluepost]Kindreagan: When will we get to see Kingsport? Valerie, what do you think?

Watrous: Well, you get to go to Westmarch which is a very, very close to Kingsport. Unfortunately, you are very busy in Westmarch so you don't quite have time for that side trip, but because you are very close to the Scoundler's little stomping grounds, you run into quite a bit of action concerning his story, and his past and certain barmaids with chicken feathers.

Chu: I really think he might have been exaggerating how nice Kinsport is too ... He's been known to do that.

Boyarski: It does have a lot of style, it's a bit of a dump, honestly.[/bluepost]

Fan #21: Hi! Okay. Originally I wanted to ask about druids; but I came up with something better. The End of Days prophecy. It is entirely dualistic in meaning, isn't it? Dualistic in meaning. Like people assume that the events of Diablo III vanilla was the prophecy kicking off and now Malthael is death expanding its wings. But what if it is not? What if it's tougher than that. After all evils are reunited?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: That's a very interesting insight. I would say prophecy is almost always multilayered in meaning, you know. I think it's the nature of a good prophecy at least that as events happen people go: "Oh, that's what that was!" and then they discover that it actually goes much deeper than that and there's more to it. And I sense Leonard wants to say something.

Boyarski: No, I'm fine.

Kindreagan: I said sensed wrongly.

Chu: That wasn't a good prophecy. (laugh)

Kindreagan: But I would say that death spreading its wings is pretty indicative of Malthael. But there could be a lot more to it, for sure.[/bluepost]

Fan #22: Good evening, my question is very similarly. Are you guys writing the rest of the story based on the Prophecy of the End Days?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well, I think ... The prophecy certainly plays a part in the story. It's kind of almost in way the insiding incident. This is what kicked off these events and this is what is supposed to happen according to this prophecy. But, the thing is the events of the story are influenced by the people who are living that story and who are going through it. What's particularly forceful in all of this is the hero character. It's your character, right? They're not going to just let events unfold as they are supposed to. They're going to kind of change the entire paradigm, if you will.

Boyarski: As we noted in Diablo III, the Nephalem aren't in the Books of Fate. So basically the character represents this giant monkey wrench thrown into the mix here, so who knows what’s gonna, what kind of a direction he’s gonna set it off or she’s gonna set it off into.

Kindreagan: Michael?

Chu: No. That was a good answer.[/bluepost]

Fan# 22: My second question is: Is Inarius still alive? Inarius?

[bluepost]Kindreagan: Inarius? Or that’s how I say it. But I’m terrible at pronunciation. Ahm, Justin?

Parker: Last thing we heard he was being tortured in Hell, while Mephisto has been busy for a good, long time and then later a little bit killed, I’m sure you had someone to look after Inarius for him, he really didn’t like Inarius.

Kindreagan: So unfortunately for Inarius, yes, he is still alive.[/bluepost]

Fan #23: Hi, again. I wanted to get your opinion on, there is some debate that came about on Zoltun Kulle’s moral ambiguity. I wanted to know if you guys did that intentionally or what your opinion on it is, because when I played it, I kind of agreed with him, maybe your plan wouldn't be that bad.

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Right, right, I think that Michael can speak to that.

Chu: Yeah, so Zoltun Kulle, this one does comes up a lot. So, I guess at a basic level, it comes down to whether or not you agree to letting this guy, who is so dangerous -- you know the Horadrim took him apart and couldn't kill him -- and whether or not you think that sort of giving him the keys to ruling the world is a good idea or not. I definitely think that what we were going for with that particular character was to sort of come up with this ambiguous character though. At certain times you really think: "Hey, he kinda has a good point." I think that at his core Zoltun Kulle is all about humans, he’s all about man, he thinks that, you know, angels and demons are all ... They can’t be trusted, they don’t have our best interest at heart. The only problem is that, he may also not necessarily have our best interests at heart.

Kindreagan: He thinks ... Humanity is the best thing ever, but among humans, he thinks he’s the best thing ever. So, part of that equation is maybe not so good for the rest of us.

Boyarski: But I think you’re correct. We were playing with your mind.

Kindreagan: Yeah, I would say, just more broadly, you know a lot of our stories in our games are obviously about a fight for survival and a fight against overwhelming odds and a lot of times that broader struggle doesn’t have room for a whole lot of ambiguity in it, because you want to be fighting against somebody that is, from your point of view at least, evil, right? But any time we can find a place to introduce moral ambiguity or just even more specifically something where there’s, I guess I would say valid arguments all around, and it’s a chance for players to think like I maybe think this guy is not so bad. Or to even argue with each other. We always love that. Anytime we can have people, you know sort of arguing with each other about what was the best thing to do or who was right and who was wrong, then I think that shows a greater level of engagement with the story.

Chu: Also can you imagine if you just let him go, he would just be following you around for the rest of the game Reaper of Souls always piping in, always have some comment about something, you’d have to laugh, you’d have to laugh a lot.[/bluepost]

Fan #23: Hi. So, at the end of the first game, Diablo III that is, you see in the cinematic the Black Soulstone falling out of heaven and fall into something looking like the ocean below. And in the beginning of the Reaper of the souls cinematic you see Tyrael picking it up in heaven. What’s the story there? Where’s the story on how Tyrael got this soulstone?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: So, it actually was, heaven is a tiered place and it was actually falling off one of the tiers and just further into heaven and just landed on another lower tier. I know that is not necessarily as clear as it could be, but really there’s just tiers all the way down. And so the angels retrieved the soulstone, because obviously they couldn’t just leave it laying about anywhere and so as you saw at the beginning of the cinematic, they brought it into the council chamber and kept it there for safekeeping; and then we actually have a novel coming out that will detail Tyrael's journey into realizing that he had to reform the Horadrim and get the Black Soulstone out of heaven. So, there’s an entire story there that happens between the events of Diablo III and Reaper of Souls. Oh, and its’ called Diablo III: Storm of Light.[/bluepost]

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Thunderclaww: Hello again! So, the Diablo III: Book of Tyrael was just recently launched and it is really, really good and I really want to thank you for creating this resource. But at the end or near the end there’s like an encyclopedia that lists a lot of different characters that are important in Sanctuary and some of them that’s the first time there is any mention, such as this Morbed who is super powerful, apparently. Are we gonna encounter him in Reaper of Souls?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I think Justin can speak to The Book of Tyrael.

Parker: Morbed specifically will be appearing in fiction, not in Reaper of Souls. Was there other specific ones you were questioning about or ... ?[/bluepost]

Thunderclaww: Where did Morbed get this amazing power? He has like necromancer, druid and barbarian traits.

[bluepost]Parker: In upcoming fiction.

Kindreagan: So his story will be told.

Chu: He has some like hacked white items from Diablo II, I think. (laugh)

Kindreagan: And I’m glad you enjoyed the book, by the way.[/bluepost]

Fan # 25: So when Tyrael ripped his wings off he became human. Now, is that something that is only the fate of Council members or is that angels in general? And what would be the ramifications in Heaven if the entire Council dewinged?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: I think Leonard can. I hear Leonard laughing, so I’ll ask him to answer that.

Boyarski: We actually had a long discussion about that and I said if all you have to do is take the wings off angels that would be a great strategy for demons. You know you get one in front of them waving their hands, and the other one sneaks up behind and tears off his wings. But, the wings was more of a symbolic gesture. I mean, he needed to lose them to become mortal; but that wasn’t what caused it, that was a symbolic gesture. It was part of him shedding his angelic being. But that wasn’t in any way, shape or form the cause of it.

Kindreagan: And you were asking of the ramifications of ...?[/bluepost]

Fan # 25: Yes, the ramifications if the entire Council dewinged.

[bluepost]Kindreagan: Or even all the angels, I don’t know. It would be chaos.

Watrous: The world would get some really nice people tough. Sorry, mortals.

Kindreagan: And a couple of jerks.[/bluepost]

Fan #26: Hi, so I noticed in the last panel that I saw, that we were taking the fight to Malthael in Pandemonium. So are we revisiting the Pandemonium Fortress that we saw in Diablo II? Is that what that big structure is that we saw?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Yes, we will go to Pandemonium and we will actually visit the Fortress. One of the things that we are revealing about the fortress in the game is that it is a constantly changing structure. For a couple of reasons. One, it’s been owned by both angels and demons at times, so whoever controls the fortress tends to put additions on it and remodel if you will, so it tends to change appearance quite a lot. But also, because it’s a fairly mystical place. It’s not just a giant building, it actually reflects the appearance of its current owner. Whoever is in control of it, actually influences the appearance and feel and even layout of the fortress. So, we will be going back to the fortress but it will not look like the fortress did in Diablo II.[/bluepost]

Fan #27: Hi, I was just wondering that since Tyrael made the soulstones for the Horadrim to seal the three prime evils in, is there a reason that when the amber soulstone gets shattered, Tyrael just can’t make a new one?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: That’s a very good question. Justin?

Parker: The original three soulstones that he gave to the Horadrim were made from the worldstone, so there’s no more worldstone.

Kindreagan: So there’s no way for him to shave more of the worldstone off to make...

Boyarski: Are you asking about the whole thing with Tal Rasha?[/bluepost]

Fan #27: Yes, with Tal Rasha.

[bluepost]Boyarski: There was kind of a time constrain and Tyrael didn’t really have the time to go back and reformulate the soulstone. So Zoltun Kulle kinda stepped in with what he taught was a good answer.

Kindreagan: Yeah, I’m glad Leonard caught that. We were answering a question you weren’t asking. But yeah, I think that time constrain is the most important part of that. They had to act very fast.[/bluepost]

Fan #28: Hello! So when Tyrael shed his wings and dispersed his archangel energy and he’s actually a mortal now, why hasn’t a new archangel of justice formed from the Crystal Arch? From his dispersed energy?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: That is an excellent question! So, we haven’t really explored yet what this means. That he became a mortal, but he was still a member of the Angiris Council. So was he still the archangel of Justice until he declared himself Wisdom, you know? And we haven’t actually explored it. The one thing I’d say though is that an angel and, please Justin, correct me if I’m making this up, but when an angel dies a replacement is not instantly born at the Crystal Arch. I believe that it has to achieve a perfect alignment.

Parker: When the Arch decides it happens, it happens. It’s not an instant.

Kindreagan: And of course, the other part of that is that Tyrael didn’t die. He transformed into a new sort of being and so I think that the big thing is that Tyrael's transformation into being a mortal is really a completely unprecedented thing in the Diablo universe. The ramifications of it are something that I think are gonna come out over time. But it’s definitely not gonna work the way things usually work.

Boyarski: Well. I think also you misspoke slightly, if I may. He’s no longer the archangel of justice but he’s still the Aspect of Justice. There’s a little bit of leeway there. Everything else you were saying, I agree with. I just wanted to point that out.

Kindreagan: Leonard![/bluepost]

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Fan #29: Hey there, guys! It’s me, Leah! (It’s Leo! He’s back!) So, can I ask you a question? Hi, I know, you can’t get rid of me! Haaaa! So, first of, in Act one, I say I don’t really know anything about demons, but in The Order I get that explains it, but not to talk about skeletons. Where’s the logical leap there between me not believing in one and the other? My second question is how do I go to the bathroom in this, cause this is bundled up tight?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well, I will take the first part of that and then try to make someone else takes the part two. For the first part, I think to us because we live in a world -- at least, I live in a world where I don’t run into angels and demons and skeletons all the time. To me they are all one big thing, right? And I think, well sure if I believe in walking skeletons, of course I would believe in demons. But there’s actually no logical leap there. Because if you lived in a world where you did encounter a walking skeleton, say you lived in a town that was being assaulted by the walking dead, you would accept that as a normal part of the world. But if you’d never seen a demon before, then that would be just crazy talk. You can actually believe in the things that you see all the time and still not believe in something you haven’t encountered.

Boyarski: I would actually interpret it slightly differently. I think that the bigger issue is that she didn’t believe in this overarching angels vs. demons thing. She knows that studying with uncle Deckard about the Vizjerei and how they summoned demons or whatever these things are, her and a lot of other people just believe it’s a chaotic universe. They don’t believe there’s any rhyme or reason to it. So it’s more about her not believing what the demons are as opposed to her not believing in their physicality or that they exist, if that makes sense.

Kindreagan: I was really hoping he was gonna jump in to answer part two.

Boyarski: I was leaving that for Michael.

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Chu: I guess I’ll say very carefully, would be my answer as to how you go to the bathroom in that. Probably and preferably not there.

Watrous: The answer is somewhere in the Book of Cain.[/bluepost]

Fan #30: So, I don’t know if I missed it somewhere, but at the end of Diablo II, the player destroys the soulstones in hell and prevent them from ever coming back. And obviously they always come back, for you would’ve run out of games. How do they come back?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Very good! Justin, do you want to or if you want me to toss this the other way let me know?

Parker: I can start with when they destroy the worldstone, it wasn’t that they would never come back. It was that Baal had somehow corrupted the worldstone ...

Kindreagan: Oh no, I think she’s asking about when the player destroys the soulstones on the Hell Forge.

Parker: That all actually goes back to ... I want to call her Magda and that’s really bad of me. Ah, Adria who has spent twenty years setting that up. It’s real evil never dies.

Kindreagan: Leonard, did you want ...?

Boyarski: The belief was ... I mean, no one really knows what the abyss is and the belief was that once you banish something to the abyss it can never come back. So, as I envisioned Adria over the past twenty years, you know she takes care of marking the souls of the demons that the hero killed on Sanctuary and that there were relatively easy. Let’s say she takes a year or two to do that and then she goes on this worldwide hunt for the knowledge and the technics and just basically spends twenty, eighteen, nineteen years figuring out a way how to do this that no one has ever known before or attempted. So, she basically does the research and figures out a way to actually make this occur.

Kindreagan: And, we have time for one more question.[/bluepost]

Fan #31: In the intro to Heroes of the Storm today we see Tyrael paired up with Kerrigan. If Tyrael can’t handle Malthael, could he handle Kerrigan?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Well, Heroes of the Storm is a game that sort of exists in a parallel universe and I think it’s gonna have its own logic and its own set of rules. But the things that happen there are not gonna be canon in their respective universes. So, in the Diablo Universe, Tyrael would never fight against Kerrigan.

Chu: I think Brian is torn with his loyalties right now, so I’ll go ahead and say that I think Tyrael can take Kerrigan.

Kindreagan: I really am torn. (long silence) Ok, that was pretty quick, actually. We have time for one more, if there’s one ... Alright. Run to the microphone if you have a question.

Boyarski: Emergency question, go on. OK.[/bluepost]

Fan #32: So, I saw on a Youtube video that there is maybe a link between Adria and Belial. Is there any kind of truth to that?

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[bluepost]Kindreagan: Adria and Belial? I haven’t heard that one. I think that maybe because there is a link between Adria and Magda. Is that?[/bluepost]

Fan #32: ... Saying that Belial is Adria and that the Lord of Lies cannot be defeated so easily, so he’s waiting for Azmodan to be defeated ...

[bluepost]Kindreagan: Oh, that’s an interesting theory! But, I hate to be too definitive, but no. You defeated Belial for sure at Diablo III. All right. Unfortunately, we are out of time. So, thank you all very much for coming. Those were great questions and enjoy BlizzCon. Thank you.[/bluepost]

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