Diablo III and the Death of God

Avi Woolf

Avi Woolf

3rd class Elder of Zion. Wilderness conservative/traditionalist. Buckley Club alum. Chief editor of @conpathways.

Related Post Roulette

22 Responses

  1. Avatar pillsy says:

    Huh, I didn’t even know Diablo III had a story beyond the basic, “Find and kill the chief gribbly,” but I’m glad I braved through the spoiler warning to find out.

    Maybe I will pick it up after all.Report

    • Avatar Caldor says:

      Yeah, it’s a surprisingly well-thought-out world and story with some great set pieces and absolutely heartbreaking moments in its story. One of my favorite parts of the game was when you’d find various journals scattered throughout the maps or dropped by enemies that would tell you about some piece of History concerning the location or characters you’re dealing with at that point. That’s it. Really good attention to detail here.Report

      • Avatar pillsy says:

        The dropped journal is such a staple, but done properly they can hit like a brick. One of the Fallout: New Vegas DLCs (the one with the Mormons) had dropped journals that added up to just a really good, and heartbreaking, short story.Report

  2. I’ve never played any of these, but really enjoyed your analysis!! I really enjoy plots that imagine the complexities of angel politics. Thanks for writing!!Report

    • Avatar Zac Black says:

      Have you ever read the Mike Carey comic series Lucifer? It’s a spinoff of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, and if you enjoy angel politics, it certainly has that in spades; I think you might dig ’em.Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          +2? (giant lucifer stan, and K, if you’re familiar with the show, the books are quite different and more angel-politics-focused) (i say this although i love the show. but it’s a Different Thing than the books, which are possibly my favorite comic series of all time.)Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Yeah, Diablo three really turns the mythos of the Diablo world; not upside down but 90 degrees from its orientation in one and two.
    I’d hazard to say the the Diablo III world is one not necessarily with two supernatural sides of good and evil but rather of order (the angels) and chaos (the demons). The demons and their hells basically simply exist. The angels and their singular heaven similarly exist (and angels just pop out of a mcguffin). Also interestingly the demons are shown as being significantly more powerful than the angels: their collective chaotic power, when focused against the High Heaven through a judicious application of tyranny (order imposed on chaos) takes the heavenly hosts down rather easily. Up until that point it was only the innate cooperative discipline of the angelic hosts and the infighting anarchist nature of the demons that had kept the balance of power between the two sides. Humanity, as a merging of their respective natures, is ultimately presented as a potentially superior creation.

    While the angels are somewhat more sympathetic initially in the expansion they really double down on how order is entirely capable of profound evil. The entire Diablo III series, really, is about the application of order for evil purposes. Order (tyranny) imposed on the demonic hordes turns them from a dangerous force to a nigh unstoppable one. Order (fanaticism) applied via an angelic leader, turns a power that was either benevolent or indifferent into a level of atrocity that even the demons would struggle to match (Genocide).

    And that’s an oddly large amount for me to have written considering I haven’t played so much as a minute of any of the Diablo games.Report

  4. Avatar Justin says:

    You do not understand the term, “atheist.”Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      It depends on where you put the parentheses.

      If it’s (a)(theism), it could work. God exists but it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t merit worship. Not from us, anyway. Any gratitude we feel for existence is better off generalized and non-directed.

      If it’s (athe) (ism), you’re absolutely right. These are the people who will proselytize to strangers on the bus. Their favorite hobby is telling people that they don’t collect stamps and that people who collect stamps are dumb and that stamps are dumb.

      The parentheses show where the emphasis is.

      Is it a lack of belief? Or is it another ism?Report

  5. Avatar Damon Baker says:

    You’re not entirely correct about the story from the first 2 games. The Prime Evils did not want to enslave mankind, they want to use us. They see us as the key to swaying the war in their favor against Heaven. The four Lesser Evils didn’t see this part of their plan, so banished them from Hell. The second game is all about the Prime Evils trying to get back to Hell and regain control.Report

  6. Avatar Wiyth says:

    This article is very wrong about the game! You don’t focus on angels, there’s only one big one you really fight, and one little! The first Act is finding out who a guy is and fighting Demons and the Coven (humans working with evil). Then, Act 2 is destroying the Coven, getting the super-soulstone, and taking out Belial. Act 3 is Azmodan. Act 4 is the Prime Evil, all 7 demon leader manifestations as one, with an angel yelling at you to stay out of heaven because you weren’t invited in. Only Act 5 is fighting angels (and more evil) who have this great power they want to use to remove all evil, not necessarily a bad thing, except for it would kill all humans.

    There is no “death of god”. The heroes have their own varying religions, and evil or evil deeds are bad. That’s it!Report

  7. Avatar Troy says:

    The author has clearly never bothered to play nor read any of the relevant lore regarding any of the Diablo games, let alone the universe as a whole.

    It’s far to involved to adequately recap here, but none of this article is accurate in it’s depiction.Report

  8. Avatar Augustrad says:

    Your two differences are incorrect. You say that D3 is where your characters are fleshed out, but in D2 they’re just as fleshed out. Granted you have to do a lot of reading outside the game, but you have to do some of that in D3 also.

    Your second point about the Angels. Yes, they’ve introduced a more detailed hierarchy of heaven and more NPCs, but the Angel hasn’t changed from D2. Outside of Tyriel, they dont interfere with the mortal world. That’s why there was that one cinematic where Imperius accused Tyriel.

    So in summary, D3 did not add anything new to the franchise that wasn’t already there unless you wanted to count a poorly written story/dialogue. Then yes, it did contribute to the Diablo universe. I.e. do some research on prior games in a franchise.Report

  9. Avatar Atheist Astrologer says:

    Based on just the article’s conclusion alone, the author seems to suggest that the idea that there is no “overarching order” should necessarily be a frightening concept. The idea that anyone could struggle to function normally *without* such a belief is what really makes people like myself uncomfortable. The natural world is chaotic and unconcerned with human interests. Those who are scared by that fact tend to build up fanciful fictions upon which to become emotionally stable, yet you cannot find stability, only temporary comfort, in something that doesn’t exist. Ascribing moral intention to natural disasters, for example, to suggest that they are punishments from an all-powerful being, only serves to suggest that murder (or even just attempted murder) on a massive scale is perfectly acceptable so long as the murderer feels justified in his or her actions. Belief in imaginary beings with unlimited moral superiority is effectively the cause of groups like ANTIFA, Al Queda, and third-wave feminism. They are born of the conviction that any one human collective can possess the moral authority to judge their peers are inflict pain and suffering as punishment. Atheism is about more than not believing in imaginary creatures, it’s an understanding that belief in imaginary authorities, moral or spiritual, makes people co-dependant, emotionally frail and prone to delusions of moral authority that they simply haven’t earned by reason that the authority they follow extends to themselves. In short, religion feels like a steroid to those who partake of it, but anyone else can see it for the dangerous narcotic that it is. And THAT is what atheists seek to help people understand. Some of them get a bit preachy, it’s true, but how many other ways have humans designed to disseminate important information to each other? What is a lecture but secular preaching, after all?Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’m assuming we got linked to.Report

  1. December 27, 2019

    […] Brood War, and Starcraft II, I am happy to report that I was wrong. Like the worlds of Warcraft and Diablo, this is a series that probes deeper questions about humanity through the world of semi-realistic […]Report