Diablo 3 Beta Story Update: Welcome to New Tristram

The first Diablo game centers around a single town, Tristram. Built next to an ancient monastery that had long fallen into disuse, Tristram was founded in ignorance of the monastery’s true purpose: to guard the subterranean prison of Diablo, a deposed Prime Evil from the Burning Hells, imprisoned centuries earlier by the Horadrim, a coalition of forgotten heroes.

Originally a backwater, Tristram is transformed by the arrival of a powerful king, Leoric, and his shadowy advisor, the Archbishop Lazarus. Leoric makes the town the seat of his government and constructs a magnificent cathedral on the ruins of the monastery. Drawn by the evil power of Diablo, which a soulstone — a magical cell devised by the Horadrim — cannot contain, Lazarus enters the labyrinth beneath the town and frees the demon, which promptly possesses King Leoric and begins terrorizing the populace.

Warped by Diablo’s influence, the Archbishop Lazarus then kidnaps Leoric’s only son, Albrecht, driving the king even deeper into madness. Finally, the commander of his army, a man named Lachdanan, takes matters into his own hands, killing Leoric in the hopes of freeing him from possession. The attempt fails, however, and just as his body is being interred, Leoric springs to unholy life as The Skeleton King.

Soon afterwards, a lone hero arrives, battling his way through the catacombs of Tristram and defeating Lazarus, the Skeleton King, and finally Diablo himself. This struggle comprises the action of the first game. Though Diablo players can choose between three classes — the Rogue, the Sorcerer, and the Warrior — the warrior is the canonical champion. Unfortunately, he follows up victory with an unwise decision, and tries to re-imprison Diablo by inserting the demon’s soulstone into his own forehead. That works out about as well as you’d expect, as we’ll see in a second. As for the other heroes, they are never the same after their traumatic experiences in the catacombs. The Rogue returns in Diablo 2 as the malevolent, bow-wielding miniboss Bloodraven, and the Sorceror as the deranged Summoner. Tristram itself is overrun by demons.

The main events of Diablo 2 concern the warrior, who is known as the Dark Wanderer once he decides to squirrel away a Prime Evil inside his brain. Players follow in his footsteps as he traverses the world of Sanctuary, making his way towards Mephisto, another imprisoned Prime Evil. Upon reaching him, the Dark Wanderer liberates his colleague and then succumbs to the possession inside his head, transforming dramatically into Diablo and returning to Hell to assume his rightful throne.

Player characters in Diablo 2 must battle their way through three hostile Acts before they reach Mephisto, then defeat him and retrieve his soulstone. This triumph is compounded by defeat of Diablo, whose soulstone is also retrieved and destroyed. In Lords of Destruction, the game’s wildly popular expansion pack, intrepid player characters put paid to Baal, the last of the Prime Evils, and destroy the third and final soulstone in the process. Before his demise, Baal is feverishly working to corrupt the Worldstone, an object of immense power. As the arc of Diablo 2 draws to a close, the Worldstone is deemed beyond repair and destroyed by the Archangel Tyrael, who acts a benevolent companion for the player through much of the game’s later stages.

Keep reading for the Diablo 3 story details! Obviously, SPOILERS ensue.

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