Diablo 3 Lore & Story Guide
Let’s face it: it’s been a long, long time since Diablo II came out. Not long enough, perhaps, to erase the memories of that one epic Baal run that yielded all those great drops, but enough to make it hard to remember what’s going on in the story.
That’s where Game Front comes in. According to Blizzard, Diablo 3 is the most lore-heavy game in the series, so if you want to hit the ground running on May 15th, it’s best to know what you’re fighting and why. Read on for a crash course in the mythology and madness that surrounds the world of Sanctuary. It’s actually quite complicated, despite the series’ straightforward gameplay.
Telling the entire story of the Diablo universe requires quite a bit of backstory, so if you just want to read a recap of what happened in Diablo I and II, click here.
In the beginning, everything in existence is contained within a single perfect pearl. Within that pearl dreams “Anu,” a godlike being made of diamond (ancient Diablo mythology has a lot of bling) who, according to the official lore compendium Book of Cain, is the “sum of all things,” including all good and all evil.
In a misguided attempt to become more perfect, Anu casts all evil out of himself. This universe-gauge quantity of evil promptly forms itself into “Tathamet,” a hideous, seven-headed dragon. For an unfathomable quantity of time, Anu and Tathamet duke it out in what comparative mythologists call a “Chaoskampf” a timeless struggle between two all-powerful beings that represent good and evil, respectively.
Anu and Tathamet are evenly matched, and they eventually destroy each other. This cataclysmic event creates the universe. Anu’s spine becomes The “Crystal Arch,” which in turn becomes the geographical center of the High Heavens, and begins producing angels. Anu’s eye becomes the Worldstone, an immensely powerful object which has the power to shape reality. Tathamet’s carcass becomes the Burning Hells, and each of his seven heads becomes a demon. Three demons — Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto — are known as the “Prime Evils.” The other four — Belial, Azmodan, Duriel, and Andariel — are known as the “Lesser Evils,” though they immediately resent their secondary status.
As good and evil are wont to do, these two factions immediately go to war with each other for control of the Worldstone and the immense power it provides. This war between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells is known as the “Great Conflict,” and it underscores everything else that happens in Diablo. It is essentially a stalemate.