The Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls is a digital-only eBook -- a rare format Blizzard Entertainment is currently pushing for the first time since year 2000. The first ever eBook from Blizzard was Diablo: Demonsbane by Robert B. Marks (Garwulf's Corner). It was a time when the eBook format had just been born recently, and there wasn't a big audience as nowadays with the boom of Kindle devices, iPad, Marvel Digital, and Comixology.
It reminds me a lot to how Chris Metzen and Flint Dille introduced Transformers: Autocracy to the fans of that universe. I was swayed into the 12-issue digital-only comic book not only because it was written by Chris who I am a loyal fanboy of, but through him I was able to re-experience one of my favorite childhood characters and sci-fi universes of the 80s when I was a teen.
A year after Transformers: Autocracy went live in the digital waves, IDW announced the Transformers: Autocracy (Hardcover).
It's unknown if Blizzard Entertainment will go that route a year from now with Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls.
In the meantime, even if you don't own a Kindle device you can still read this digital book straight from your internet browser via the Kindle Cloud. All you need is the Adobe Acrobat plug-in installed. Chances are you already have it installed. However, it's a good idea to update it.
After you order the digital book, go to this URL: https://read.amazon.com to read it from your Firefox or Internet Explorer browser. You will see the eBook there. Or follow this instructions (view images).
Hatred and Discipline (by Micky Neilson - Blizzard Publishing Lead)
Wayfarer (Cameron Dayton - Transmedia Consultant, Story Developer & Writer)
Unyielding (by Matt Burns - Blizzard Associate Publishing Developer)
Doubtwalker (by Matt Burns - Blizzard Associate Publishing Developer)
Firefly (by Michael Chu - Diablo III Quest Designer)
In the digital book, there are Black & White illustrations by John Polidora (Senior Illustrator/Concept Artist/Visual Development Artist at Blizzard Entertainment) placed at the first page of each story. The class sigil illustration is placed at the end of each story, too.
You will ask yourself: "Well, why would I pay $7.99 for something I can read straight from the Diablo III Website?"
You can set the Kindle Cloud to download what you purchased and to set an offline mode. In addition, there are two stories in this digital book never seen before, which expand the Diablo universe.
These two stories are:
Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile
Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile
Theatre Macabre: The Dark Exile is written by James Waugh (New York Times Best Selling Co-Author of World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen). The story hasn't been read before in the official Diablo III website.
After reading this story, I was amazed at the lengthy dialogues between the characters. So much dialogue.
At first, I couldn't wrap my mind around a theater theme and playwrights within the World of Sanctuary. Reminded me of Shakespeare and Dante's Inferno for a sec. I was skeptic. Mea Culpa.
That didn't last long though. The more I read, the more I wanted to keep going forward.
Behind all the theater stuff lies a story of the Dark Exile from a perspective we haven't seen before. It was a mechanism to tell a grand story which reveals things not completely answered in Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
Duriel and Andariel's reasons to be in Sanctuary for example.
The story might also reveal who the Priests of Zakarum served, and what led to their corruption. Should be a must-read.
The Hunger is written by Erik Sabol (2009 Blizzard Global Writing Contest runner-up). It's a new story we haven't read in the official Diablo III website.
I have a mix of thoughts after reading this story. It's about a woman who pays a wagon rider pretty well to take her cargo through the desert of Aranoch. I have to criticize we don't know who the woman is nor her background or affiliation.
Each dialogue is short, and focuses more on fast-paced action. The story intrigued me. Out of the blue, the story ends - and I was left with this hunger to read more and figure out what really really happened in the story or what the point or goal was.
It's a scary story, and definitely Rated M with gore and creepiness. For some reason, I was left with the feeling that we might see more about Rigley in the Diablo III expansion or elsewhere. Felt like a cliffhanger. Time will tell.
I'm game for more Diablo III themed stories. I got into reading Blizzard stories outside their video games after my very first IRC Chat interview with Richard A. Knaak back in 2003. It was a funny interview because I was asking him questions about Warcraft: Day of the Dragon (2001) without having read the book. Shortly after the interview I read the book. I couldn't but start collecting all the books based on each Blizzard video game available at the time, and to religiously purchase every new publication from the pen of Blizzard Creative Team writers or the mainstream freelance writers whether they were books, manga, comic books or digital versions. Be it Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo themed.
Reading the stories expands so much your knowledge of the video game, and gives a special depth to your gameplay experience. Ever since the Burning Crusade expansion, Blizzard Entertainment added another edge to storytelling with the help of Christie Golden.
Blizzard synchronizes these books and the in-game quests in ways that compliment and enhance your overall experience. In World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde you would read about the Ata'mai Crystals, Velen and the Draenei, Oshu'gun in Nagrand -- and you'd play the video game and go like -- "Wow, I'm playing a quest about what I read in Christie's novel!" -- "Holy! I know this place, or that character!"
Every single novel and game expansion have been woven to tie-in, thereafter. I love that.
Now we have the first digital book ever since Diablo: Demonsbane, in an era where digital books are so mainstream. The question is ... will Blizzard Creative Team be bold enough to bring these story elements into Diablo III or its upcoming expansion?
How do you translate these short anthology stories into in-game content? Especially, when Diablo III has been around a long time now.
I think Blizzard should consider adding new quests to Diablo III via patches. The venue is there. Every time I roam the lands of Sanctuary is a different experience. You'll find random optional quests. For example, The Matriarch's Bones or the Jar of Souls Event. These are random.
New Journals dropping from monsters or libraries hinting at events happened in Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls. Something reminiscent of the Ashbringer stories found throughout the world long before there was an actual Ashbringer in-game, serving as a hint of things to come in the Diablo III expansion.
That's what I'd like to see in this new wave of digital book tie-ins.