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Looking for "Why the Diablo 3 Story Fails!!"

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by Schnarklicks, Jun 20, 2012. | Replies: 9 | Views: 16073

  1. Schnarklicks

    Schnarklicks IncGamers Member

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    Yesterday someone made an extensive (I mean EXTENSIVE) post on the official forums explaining in great detail the shortcomings of the Diablo 3 story.

    It was titled "Why the Diablo 3 story Fails" and it had this line in it : "Heaven is a neoclassical arrangement of bridges built for the sole purpose of supporting large quantities of vases containing blue water."

    Blizzard deleted the post. It wasn't flaming, defamatory, or anything else they just deleted it just for the heck of it because it explained too clearly the failings of their story.

    I am hoping someone has archived this, much like other good posts get archived.

    Has anyone seen this post around? Google returns no results except the link to the official forum thread which is now deleted.

    Thanks in advance

    -Schnark
     
  2. Schnarklicks

    Schnarklicks IncGamers Member

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    Nevermind, I found it!

    http://atimelyspace.********.com/2012_06_01_archive.html

    Thanks for anyone who looked!


    EDIT: Well apparently I can't post the link to the official site because it has a lot of asterisks, but let me just put it this way: It's a spot where you might go to read some blogs!!!

    EDIT #2:
    I'll just post the whole thing here, in case anybody wants to read it. Here you go!!

    WhoaFoogles: The story of Diablo 3 has received a lot of criticism for both its actual content and writing and for its presentation (e.g. intrusive cutscenes and linear "on rails" progression). I love the game, but must admit some heavy disappointment when it came to furthering and enriching the lore of the Diablo universe.

    What lessons have you learned from the backlash that you plan to apply to D3's expansions or further games in the franchise (or even other Blizzard titles)?

    Jay Wilson: We answered this question in other threads, but the recap is: we disagree and have gotten mostly great feedback on the story.
    Unquote.


    I submit the following not as an angry tirade; but as an attempt to breach the smug, self-satisfied attitude of Blizzard that Diablo 3 is perfection realized.

    If they're going to assert that legitimate critics of the game do not exist or are a chronically plaintive minority, I would like to counter.

    An open letter to: Jay Wilson, Chris Metzen, D3 writers, et al.

    Mr. Wilson, I have to seriously disagree with your conveniently self-aggrandizing public position. If, perhaps, you were actually disappointed with the poor quality of your work, would you have the presence of mind to defy your marketing dept. for the sake of honesty? Personally, I doubt that.

    Most writers of any measurable caliber have significant personal insecurities about their work -- as such they are their own most vicious critic. Diametrically, I've found that the worst/most poorly written/unimaginative/cliché works are often submitted by individuals with a flawlessly hyper-inflated self opinion of their efforts. This is best described by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    [Excerpt from Wikipedia]
    Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

    1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
    2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
    3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
    4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to
    substantially improve.

    [/copypaste]

    The irony here is that, should such a cognitive bias actually be affecting your judgement, by its very nature you would be nearly incapable of being galvanized into self-realization.

    While I could certainly spend some many, many pages caustically dissecting the dozens of individual failures in the story, I will attempt to be somewhat terse and laconic. Behold my endless diatribe.

    Tone:
    The tone implied by previous installations of the series (which, might I add, are
    also mechanically superior) has always been characteristically Gothic. This is easily
    evidenced by the art direction. The musical composition is heavily influenced by
    Gothic era northern European orchestration. The chronological setting and obvious
    derivations from roman-catholic mythology -- specifically that of John Milton and
    [an obtusely literal misinterpretation of] Dante Alighieri -- point to a narrow band of
    human history.

    The failure here begins with the fact that it's a linear story that has, until now, maintained
    an overall commitment to a dark and serious aesthetic that is both Gothic in theme and
    tonality. Diablo 3 breaks this form. It seems to be ambivalent or confused as to whether
    it should maintain its own mythological ambiance or make hundreds of cheap, stupid
    puns, anachronistic pop-culture references, obnoxious swagger, and exploitation of
    trite contemporary action movie clichés -- and that barely even scratches the surface.
    At the very least breaks canon in tone and theme. Never break canon.

    Parenthetically, I am aware of the couple tongue-in-cheek jokes in the previous Diablo
    titles, but where those work and these do not, lay in subtlety and the nature of tongue-
    in-cheek -- the ability to parody ones own seriousness. The "levity" in D3 has all the
    refinement, subtlety and wit necessary to entertain an illiterate, homophobic,
    pre-pubescent, mic spamming, XBOX fan-boy. A demographic who's brow is
    as low as your bar. The very same demographic which has provided approx. 70% of
    positive-bias feedback on D3 via mutilated grammar and flaming -- that is if your own
    forums are any kind of yardstick in this matter.

    The undercurrents of the story feel sloppy and inconsistent, as if a bunch of first draft
    ideas were thrown in for filler material without the polish and attention to integral
    consistency you would expect from a talented author. This turbulence has the effect of
    disconnecting the reader. There is literally no suspension of disbelief at all.

    Characters:
    The player is here under somewhat ambiguous reasons, but that can be good since it
    leaves it open to the player to create their own backstory. One of the fundamental
    requirements is that the character does not behave in a way that breaks this image.
    It's quickly revealed, however, that all the player characters are conceited, unlikable
    cliché caricatures. What if my character was supposed to be guile incarnate, not an
    arrogant child?

    An important thing to note here is that the story that plays out is a journey of events,
    not of the player, characters or heroes. The half-attempt to 'flesh-out' the heroes against
    this backdrop only succeeds in juxtapositioning them against it.

    It's not much to venture a guess at what kind of mind wrote this dialogue, as one writes
    only that which one knows. The NPC dialogue/monologue is the worst aspect of the story,
    hands-down. It's expositional, hackneyed, trite, cliché, obvious, adolescent, inarticulate,
    naïve... even poorly voiced. It's like a terrible actor who cant stop staring at the camera.
    The characters that the player interacts with are so single-dimensional and transparent
    it feels almost like you are talking to a tape deck or a chatbot.

    The more "epic" the dialogue theme becomes, the more it sounds like pseudo-intellectual
    trailer-trash pretentiousness. The plain reality is that the story is only as epic as your
    typical Saturday morning installment of He-Man vs. Skeletor et al. Epic Fail, in the
    parlance of our time.

    ***READER ALERT: SPOILERS***

    Derivations and Mythology:
    It's beyond obvious that the game's universe is primarily based on Judeo-Christian
    mythology. But it's extremely unevenly applied. Abstract concepts are taken from this
    mythology and used in an implicitly identical context, but are missing integral and defining
    components from the universe that need to exist to give the concept any meaning at all.
    Whether directly or indirectly, you've based the game's lore largely off of Milton, but you
    seem to have a great deal of confusion about the nature of hell, domains, devils and
    demons.

    We already know Belial is probably the worst liar in the universe, but how is his domain
    made manifest for his encounter? Are all the poison and snakes a judeo-christian
    mythological allegory based on the Edenian legend? If so, was it not Diablo [Read: Satan]
    that took the form of a snake and lied to Eve. Would it not be then, Diablo who is
    Lord of Lies?

    According to Judeo-Christian mythology, Satan/Diablo and all his bretheren were angels
    that sought freedom from god's tyranny. Being that angels had consciousness, but lacked
    free will, they became envious of mankind's ability to choose their own destiny. The
    angels postulated their own free will by merely conceiving of it. It is at this moment, for
    the first time ever the concept of 'sin' is created and defined. Sin is essentially a defiance
    of god's will by desiring personal freedom over immortal slavery. It is in the Miltonian
    legend that sin becomes a living personification of this aspect of consciousness in the
    heavenly idiom, thus [she] is an angel as well.

    Diablo/Satan plot to overthrow god, only because they know that god will not allow their
    freedom. Of course, against the omnipotence of a monotheistic god, they fail to achieve
    victory. Thus god creates hell as a domain of eternal torture and banishes
    Satan/Diablo, Sin and all their co-conspirators to that place. The angels banished by god
    have 'fallen out of the grace of god', hence the term 'fallen angel' a.k.a. devil.

    The exiled angels/devils are spread out over hell and tied to various forms of sadistic
    torture for eternity. After many aeons, some of them manage to free themselves from
    their bonds and quickly discover that they are not alone. Terrible creatures exist in this
    domain that are living (unliving?) embodiments of pain, fear, malice, etc. -- creatures
    created by god for the sole and dedicated purpose of terrorizing and harming the fallen
    angels/devils. These creatures are known as demons.

    As you can probably see right away that devils and demons are pretty antithetical
    concepts. One can't help but notice there is some massive confusion in the game about
    this, esp. of Act IV. Many of the elements of the story fail on this basis alone. For
    example, we see enemies in Act IV named "Fallen Angel" which are categorically listed
    as "Demon" by presence of Diablo's influence. How does one influence a being
    [read: angel] that lacks the freedom of choice into becoming an abomination created by
    an angry god, who's sole purpose is to terrorize the very creature they are acting in
    accord with? According to the mythology that you've inaccurately plaigarized, this is
    impossible. The only thing that defines divinity in this matter is that the angels that do
    exist, exist because they are extentions of god's will, physically incapable of any kind of
    defiance of nature.

    The diminutive structure of power in hell is primarilty an ancient Roman amalgamation of
    Greek polytheistic mythology and Judeo-Christian monotheistic mythology. The reasons
    for this subdivision of power are endemically human and almost entirely cryptopolitical,
    esp. as evidenced by Virgil, Dante and Milton -- thus we see obvious historical derivation
    taking place.

    Mythologically speaking, Diablo's purpose for helping in part to create organization in hell
    was for the purposes of formulating and executing an escape plan from the realm of
    eternal torture and to return to heaven, where they could once again experience
    happiness and serenity forever. The motivations of the story's antagonists are
    contradictory, unfaceted, shallow and completely unbelievable. Nothing in the
    history of the known universe operates on the principal of evil-for-the-sake-of-evil.
    Nothing. No writer worth his salt exploits this.

    It is perhaps one of the worst things a writer can possibly do to create a character that
    lacks purpose other than to serve as a plot device. Why would he destroy his own
    paradise and fill it with devices of his own torment? The fact that you've plagiarised this
    story, but managed to entirely miss the integral motivations that set all events in motion
    is unforgivable as a writer. Honestly, Mr. Metzen, you should be fired for this.

    [I could really write a book here, but I'll move on...]

    Act I:
    This is perhaps the most auspicious point of the story if you manage to disregard all the
    kitsch elements within it. It almost seems to have potential before it starts building too
    much downhill speed. We're introduced to familiar territory and begin the segue from D2
    to D3 without too much painful exposition yet.

    Where Act I starts to backslide is when you meet "The Stranger" and the challenge of
    immediately figuring out that it's actually Tyrael is insultingly obvious to anyone with an
    I.Q. over 90. The narrative hook you needed to create at this point fails critically.
    Readers/players need to be drawn in by genuine intrigue created through intimation and
    negative information, not common media tropes. This is simply too obvious. Obvious and
    lazy. I really shouldn't need to explain further than that.

    Clearly it was intended to be a triumphant and evocative moment as Tyrael's identity is
    revealed, but since he's about as well disguised as Superman.... well it's only expected.
    I'm sure you thought you were giving people what you think they want to see, but
    in that regard you end up being another Michael Bay working in the video game idiom.

    Worse is the persistent reaction to Cain's death by Leah. I think a Honey Badger would
    have given more #@&%s. Leah watches her only known surviving family get tortured
    and murdered, leaving her an orphan -- and she barely notices for the rest of the story.
    It's like Cain's murder was thrown in as an afterthought halfway through. The characters
    feel about as emotionally connected as an ant farm. A good writer understands the
    complexity and nature of the human condition by drawing upon and understanding their
    own psychology -- this exhibits none of that. Here the plot is driven by topological need
    for establishment of progressive penultimate confrontation. Callow.

    As the player progresses through the act, the linearizing effect the *!@#ty expositional
    cutscenes starts to take its toll and starts to make it feel like your on rails, jumping
    through hoops just to receive a condescending pat on the head. Who came up with
    this horrible idea anyway? It's like you guys have never read a book in your adult lives
    that wasn't a Harry Potter novel or your own self-aggrandized authoring.

    I'll skip a bit since it's the same trope/motif/cliché played out ad nauseam. So... Butcher?
    Honestly, Butcher is one of the more interesting bossfights, despite not actually being
    difficult on any setting. I'm not predisposed to hate him, but isn't this a little too
    convenient? Surely this counts as being a bit too crass-wards of a wink and nod. Is this
    a reboot of Diablo, or are you just wheeling out the presumed croud-pleasing cameos like
    a dying variety show? Leoric and Izual are cases of this. Has your collective imagination
    become so inept? Maybe Cher will do a walk-on in the expansion. One of the problems
    with the impermanence of death of these characters, is that it creates conflict as to
    whether you've done anything at all story-wise. If you're going to do this at all, it had
    better be part of an interesting arc, not just lazily justified. Are we to believe that all
    'butcher demons' are called 'The Butcher' and, at the moment of their creation they are
    all given a post-hypnotic suggestion to say "Ah, fresh meat!" at the first sight of someone
    auspicious enough to possibly qualify as a protagonist?

    "Vegetable bad! Meat good!"

    I submit the above quote as evidence towards the Dunning-Kruger effect theory.
    Seriously? Are you actually five years old or just developmentally disabled?

    Act I punches out on a cutscene that must embarrass your animators for having so many
    inconsistencies and proportion problems. Like how Leah can't wrap her hand around
    even one of Tyrael's mammoth tree-trunk fingers. The content itself is a fairly common
    trope and not unexpected, but compared to the rest of the animated expositions and
    crap dialogue, I felt a surge of optimism pressing forward into Act II.

    Act II:
    Much of what I have to say about Act II has been articulated well in this post that
    is well worth the read:

    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5150111877

    So, here Maghda is surprised to have been lied to by the Lord of Lies. You do realize
    that the goal is to provide literary substance for the sake of the reader, not the sake
    of the fictional antagonists? Meaning you have to surprise the reader, not the characters.
    This just feels amateur, and if it was intended to be 'poetic justice' that's just so boringly
    cliché that it should be criminal.

    From the moment the 'Emperor' approaches you -- everybody -- you, your character,
    Leah, Adria, Tyrael, your companions.... everybody... sees through this. It is thoroughly
    foreshadowed. Even the tone of the emperor's voice inflects a child lying. You may as
    well have had a popup window at that point that says: "Oh, BTW, that kid is lying and is
    actually Belial, the Lord of Lies. Click OK to continue."

    Could you have foreshadowed Zoltun Kulle a little less as well? We're warned over and
    over about being betrayed by his megalomania, such that one goes in with little interest
    in the story since we already know the outcome that will play out in less than 30-40
    minutes.

    Another point to be made here is that the whole Black Soulstone being filled with the souls
    of the primary Lords of Hell. This basically constitutes pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It's
    bad magic and it's bad storytelling. You should never get halfway through a story and
    then say "oh, yeah, a whole bunch of stuff happened at some point that doesn't make a
    whole lot of sense, but it turns out that it's now a major plot device. Just thought I'd tell
    you."

    So Adria supposedly gained access to the Black Soulstone in Kulle's lair at some point in
    the last 20 years, after meeting Aiden/Diablo and presumably after giving birth to Leah.
    She then proceeds to search the earth, casting Soul Trap on the other Lords of Hell. Since
    Adria has pledged her loyalty to the Lord of Tear-roar[sic], and since it was Diablo's wish
    to free his brothers why wouldn't she have freed Baal then and there as per Diablo's
    wishes?

    Should we instead believe that Adria pwnd her way through Travincal, entered the
    Durance of Hate, snuck up on Mephisto and cast a lv99 Soul Trap on him? She then found
    and entered the true Tomb of Tal Rasha with a fully assembled Horadric Staff (which she
    presumably constructed with an Horodric Cube), broke down the wall and sprinkled pixie
    dust on the soulstone in Tal Rasha's chest, walked away, repaired the wall and broke the
    Horadric Staff back into two pieces and hid them.

    One has to ask how Adria could have accomplished this incredible feat before
    Aiden/Diablo, who, left to seek out his brothers (Baal and Mephisto) before Adria did.
    Esp. since Adria has recently become pregnant, giving Aiden/Diablo a 9 month start.
    When Aiden/Diablo finally liberates Tal Rasha/Baal (thanks to the help of Marius) Baal
    flees with Diablo. Adria is not in their company, meaning she had to have found him prior.

    Chronologically speaking, Adria's plan involves the allegience to Diablo formed though her
    contact with Aiden, after Diablo was destroyed. Adria would have to had fully conceived
    her plot before Aiden leaves Tristram. About this time Adria became pregnant by Aiden
    as part of the plan to use her child as a vessel for Diablo's eventual reincarnation. Adria,
    having foreknowledge of the coming 'demonic' invasion leaves for Caldeum. Meanwhile,
    Aiden becomes the Dark Wanderer and the 'demonic hordes' begin to follow in his wake.

    It is at this point that Diablo 2 begins with the hero chasing Aiden as he leaves Tristram,
    immediately bound for Lut Gholein, seeking to free Baal from Tal Rasha's tomb.

    Now here's the tricky part: Nine months after moving to Caldeum -- BUT, before
    Aiden/Wanderer finds either of his brothers, Adria casts Lv.99 Soul Trap on Baal and
    Mephisto. Adria's whereabouts are accounted for while pregnant, but somehow, while
    pregnant, without leaving Caldeum -- Adria manages to beat Aiden, Marius and the hero
    to the punch, while leaving no evidence of her presence.

    We know that this cannot occur after the events of D2 since the hero takes the soul/spirit
    of Mephisto and Diablo with him after their defeat and Baal takes his own soulstone with
    him to Arreat. In D2, both Diablo's and Mephisto's soulstones are destroyed at the
    Hellforge. In LoD, Baal can be seen wearing his on his ascent of Mt. Arreat cinematic, and
    it is visibly worn by Baal during the final battle.

    Once Tyreal destroys the worldstone, it no longer matters, as the soulstones were tied to
    the power of the worldstone anyway. Additionally, the black soulstone was created during
    a time when the worldstone existed, it's not unreasonable to expect that it, too, should
    suffer a loss of functionality.

    What the author has done here is assert highly implausible changes to the story simply
    on the basis that there's no way to disprove it empirically. In effect, this is considered
    cheating your way out of a corner. It's a sign of poor planning -- forcing an idea into a
    story for lack of organic progression.

    In no respect is Belial a proficient liar. Not as evidenced by the story or encounter. After
    the Belial boss-fight encounter, we're left with no destruction or body. It could be inferred
    that the fight was an illusion and Belial escaped into an over-used comicbook cliché. This
    does not constitute lying by the way. If Belial's power is to be defined by creating a
    single dangerous illusion, we could posit that the Wizard's capacity for creating
    near-infinite illusionary selves puts her in line to usurp the title of Lord of Lies.

    Act III:
    Azmodan, the Lord of Sin, and supposed 'Master Tactician', completely fails as a
    tactician. Sun Tzu, he is not. He fails not against superior tactics, cunning or strategem,
    but against a single person (canon) who casually facerolls his/her way down the train
    tracks in plain sight. Azmodan is aware of the hero's location at all times, yet is
    completely helpless against the mindless, linear, brute force approach of a single person.

    I found a book/note/journal that was from Azzy addressed to his minions, informing them
    of the secret plan to secretly invade the keep while you are distracted. Azmodan, in his
    infinite tactical wisdom, immediately tells the hero about it. Pride is a fool's fortress, no?
    I'd like ponder for a moment the notion of the Lord of Sin taking the time to type out
    orders and courier them off to the clearly highly regimented army of randomly generated
    monsters. Does Azzy have his own personal secretary for this kind of work, or is he the
    hands-on kind of boss who prefers to do this sort of thing himself? I have been yet unable
    to find a typewriter in Azmodan's executive suite. Given that he can astral project his
    ugly face seemingly anywhere, you might assume he'd have moved beyond paper
    memos. He's also more literate and linguistically proficient than you'd expect, putting
    most... err... all Facebook users to shame.

    Here we again have the old saturday morning cartoon/comicbook tropes exploited by an
    antagonist with no apparent depth or plausible motivations. He keeps directly announcing
    his plans to the hero every step of the way. Plans which are easily thwarted by a
    completely linear approach outlined by the array of tedious "HAHAHA! you will never
    defeat my <blank>!" speeches.

    This the Act where it all falls apart, badly. The antagonists spend 95% of their screen
    time following the character around posturing dramatically -- not to mention dramatically
    overstating their abilities. It's like the dialogue for Azmodan and Cydaea was written by
    an immature,egocentric highschool student. The entire story at this point is only on par or
    below the typical 'young adult fantasy novel' genre. One could speculate that you (and the
    writing staff) are untalented, inexperienced and unimaginative -- or that you think
    extremely little of your audience; and, ascribed within the subtext of your work, your
    contempt is given form.

    Grom is more crass than The Butcher. Seriously? The Lord of Gluttony is a farty sock
    puppet with less cunning and physical threat than a dog. You keep using words like 'Lord',
    'Devil', Demon', 'Angel' and 'Nephalem' -- and I don't think you actually understand the
    implicit meaning.

    Cydaea is just another bland cliché antagonist, full of pomp and swagger. Worse, she's
    just a crass attempt to mix in a little sex in the worst, most stale and hackneyed way
    possible. Who actually wrote her script? Certainly the marketing dept. told you the
    archetype was necessary to appeal to the pre-pubescent hordes of potential customers
    who's minds are easily clouded by a little sexual suggestion. I'm sure fewer words were
    used, but did they hold a gun to your heads on this? Did nobody denounce is as
    transparent, inartistic sexual pandering?

    Lolth is also a female spider-queen from a different series, but the her legend is not
    propagated via sexualization, but rather by being cruel, discompassionate, selfish and
    sociopathic. She's also iconically powerful -- quite unlike the chatty blood-balloon in D3.

    Azmodan's encounter is difficult to fathom, because one must ask: 'How does one make
    manifest the dominion of going against the will of a tyrannical god [read: sin]?' Being that
    'sin' is clearly a concept taken endemically from Judeo-Christian mythology that defies
    all other definition, how is this supposed to have a meaningful impact on a story that only
    implies the existance of the eponymous mythological god? Is it to be inferred that Azzy's
    super secret wonder-twin power is to defy the will of a figure not even present in the
    game?

    I think I need a while to let that sink in...

    Act IV:
    Lets be extra terse on this chapter. The hackneyed dialogue, cliché plot points, needless
    boss-fight exposition, gratuitous action-movie screenplay effects, cutscenes, cutscenes
    and more cutscenes swirl into a quickening tornado that beckons players to to just close
    their eyes, rip off the bandage and have done with it as quickly as possible. Taking your
    time with something this bad only hurts more.

    Notable points this chapter:
    - Everything you expect to happen going into this chapter, does.
    - Minibosses = "HARHARHAHR! I am an evil monstaarr! You will never..." <splat>
    <shrug> <proceed>
    - Books/journals about that are 100% about flavour text and nothing about developing a
    richer universe or story.
    - Diablo has $%^-.
    - Diablo has wide, child-bearing hips.
    - Diablo has firm, round, peachy buttocks (a.k.a. Dat *!@)
    - Intrusive cutscenes.
    - ^
    - All the immortal creatures of heaven seem to enjoy following you around instructing you
    on how best to save their collective #$%^-*!@#s.
    - Diablo is telepathic.
    - Heaven is a neoclassical arrangement of bridges built for the sole purpose of supporting
    large quantities of vases containing blue water.
    - Diablo has $%^-?
    - TEAR-ROR!
    - Angels are helpless wimps.

    We again need to emphasize the fatuous notion that Diablo has been wringing his hands
    to destroy the paradise he was banished from, and has sought to return to. What is there
    to gain? I think Gargamel had deeper character motivations for antagonism.
    Satan/Diablo's only real animosity stretches to the god figure, in that god would never
    allow anyone/anything into heaven that was not stripped of free will. The very idea that
    Diablo would finally realize his aeon old plan to exist in a state of euphoric bliss, but
    promptly go nuts and set it all on fire is without literary merit. This is, as previously
    stated, evil-for-the-sake-of-evil. If you cannot understand exactly why that is terrible
    writing, allow me to refer you once again to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    What, precisely was his motivation all along? This strikes me as an allegory of King Kong;
    where Diablo instead climbs to the top of the highest tower. Trapped with the looming
    inevitability of mortal confrontation, he behaves like a frightened animal trapped in a
    corner -- that is to say choosing to fight only now that he cannot run further and has no
    other options. The Lord of Terror, terrorized by the hero? Thanks, I'll just usurp that
    throne as well.

    Also, what is going on in heaven anyway? There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of room,
    there's no sign of culture or civilization. Aren't the so-called "arch-angels"
    HEAVILY personified? They appear to be emotionally human in every way,
    shouldn't they have established some kind of self-evident culture and civilization here?
    Instead it looks like a tacky neoclassical vatican-themed mall for American mid-western
    tourists. It's not esoteric, it lacks purpose. Yet all these books and journals lying around
    seem to indicate an effort to bring it to life. Well, Dr. Frankenstein, your experiment has
    failed. Insert quarter. It's like polishing ones own feces. No matter how shiny you get it,
    it's still compositionally fecal.

    Blablabla, TEAR-ROR! Blablabla, TEAR-ROR! Blablabla, TEAR-ROR! Etc...

    Epilogue:
    So, earlier on, Tyrael explains to the player that he finds mortality invigorating and
    meaningful. Apparently a ticking clock counting out maybe, what? Five, Ten more years
    before becoming too feeble to wipe himself and eventually dies of prostate cancer? What
    does he hope to achieve in that time that he could not better achieve in as long or longer
    as an immortal?

    In the end, though, Tyrael decides to return to The Holy Pantheon of Water Buckets to....
    Get this... Live as a mortal? What? He's going to return to heaven as a mortal? Are you
    stoned? How does that even work? Isn't heaven an immortal realm? If someone dies in
    heaven, where do they go? You have already established in previous diablo games that
    souls are divided amongst heaven and hell after they depart The Great Incoming basket
    that is the earth. We've been in hell plenty of times and have seen the damned sould
    chained and tortured there. It's in your canon. It's been established that heaven and hell
    are the two diametrically opposed afterlife options, with the possibility of purgatory.

    So for a champion arch-angel of god, what are the chances of going to heaven when he
    dies? Isn't the soul (even by canon) intrinsically immortal? Which is to say that once the
    mortal Tyrael 2.0 dies in heaven, he will immediately reappear again as an immortal?
    probably in the same spot, as we've seen demonstrated by freeing impaled angel-corpses
    in Act IV. In this regard, Tyrael's choice is obviously a logical contradiction.

    What. Was. The. Point?

    If Tyrael had felt the ticking clock of being mortal was the ONLY possible way to
    motivate himself out of bed in the morning, he has some major psychological issues. Esp.
    as he is faced with the exact same possibilities and has the time to realize more of them
    than any creature on earth. Doesn't he impose himself as a dutiful protector of mankind,
    and woudln't suffering a mortal death to nonexistance constitute a breach of duty?

    You realize nobody, let me reiterate, nobody wakes up in the morning and says to
    themselves:

    "Oh boy, I'm going to die in a few years, better get crackin'! Isn't the impending threat of
    death an exciting and invigorating reason to be productive?"

    I posit as a fact that most people who live day to day, motivated in all things by their
    imminent death do NOT live happy, fulfilling lives. They live difficult and depressing lives,
    where each year represents a greater amount of soul-crushing mortal fear than the last.
    Not too uncommonly, thanatophobic people -- ironically -- self-terminate to avoid the
    suffering of fear and depression only to come to similar end. If you're going to write
    people, you have to know people. You either know nothing, or you're forced to write
    *!@#ty pop-culture kitsch.

    We're expected to see Tyrael's choice as heroic and self-sacrificial, but it's logically self
    defeating and contradictory. It serves no purpose other than to cheaply evoke emotion
    in the reader. It's flawed, illogical, pandering garbage. Please stop writing, you're bloody
    terrible at it.

    [If anyone read to this point, congratulate yourself on having an above average attention span!]

    [Edit: A seemingly benign word I used got caught by the profanity filter for some reason. Removed to fix apparent tone.]

    [Additional:]
    Based on the excellent feedback I have to assume I did a poor job of explaining my reasons for defining mythical relevance and extrapolation.

    My intent was to establish that the lore in the series does not set out to create a completely unique or original universe. This is neither a good nor bad thing in any way, whatsoever. It simply is.

    The criticism stems, instead from relying on the reader's foreknowledge of story, events, terminology and characters without explicitly redefining every single element. When you rely on the pre-existing knowledge of an entity/location/object/concept/etc. in the mind of the reader, you're expecting the reader to draw on that implicit information to help you flesh out your story [read: give it shape and meaning].

    Now, if you rely on that external knowledge to support your own story structure, then something happens in your story that contradicts the implicit purpose, that element becomes ambiguous, abstract and confusing. Thus, it loses all meaning and purpose. Your universe begins to collapse in on itself.

    If you do this without realizing it you're a sloppy author. If you do this and try to retroactively change everything from implicit to explicit, you're a sloppy, terrible writer.

    To satirically illustrate, this would be like reading a book about life in a city -- cars, crime, apartments, pollution, the plight of the human condition, etc.. At this point you're expected to know what a car is, lest the story make little-to-no sense. Having this pre-existing knowledge allows you to ken the meaning of the author. The Author relies on it. Suddenly though, hundreds of pages in, the author tells you "oh yeah, btw, cars are giant purple phallic monsters, with teeth made of lasers. Oh, and they love Invader Zim reruns -- that's important to the story."

    If I'm still failing credibility here, you might read "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" by Philip K. Dick. I'm not half the author he is; and he has street cred in this matter. Word.
     
  3. Brokenstorm

    Brokenstorm IncGamers Member

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    Interesting read but the author doesn't seem to have a deep knowledge of the lore (ie, he tries to connect judeo/cristianity to diablo).

    Still I agree with most of his points.
    For me the story started to suck when Tyrael went full emo and ripped off his wings instead of doing what Inarius did and just leave. After that it just went downhill.
     
  4. Saint Anger

    Saint Anger IncGamers Member

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    He raises some interesting points. Some of the most important dots weren't connected though (i.e. he mentions several times how the story has a cliché comic-book feel, when Metzen is known as an avid comic-book fan. Put these two together and suddenly some things start to make sense).

    He also doesn't really seem to have an intricate knowledge of the lore, as Brokenstorm said; which makes his excurse on judeo-christian mythology somewhat embarrassing as it's hit-and-miss. Some parallels are interesting, but on other points he completely misses the ball.

    I detest the patronizing tone of this piece, though. For example, he accuses the author(s) of 'butchering a plagiarized story' (the word 'incompetence' was mentioned more than once) when in fact he doesn't really seem to know what he's talking about himself (the lore), instead drawing inspiration from elsewhere (mythology) and (baselessly) assuming where the authors wanted to go with it, berating them for their approach. Grasping at straws like this is a funny way of demonstrating someone's (perceived) incompetence, and in fact goes some way towards establishing your own.

    The 'best' part, however, must be where he goes to some lengths to describe the author(s) of the story as self-aggrandizing, incompetent, patronizing towards their audience and taking themselves way too seriously, only to fall into the very same pitfall himself.

    I seriously doubt it's tongue-in-cheek - the quality of this opinion piece is too amateuristic for that, the tone not nearly subtle enough. This piece was written by someone who takes himself way too seriously - ironic that he should accuse others of doing the same thing.

    If you want to convince anyone of your point of view (or expect them to even be open towards it to begin with), it's not going to be by calling them names or by patronizing them, nor by berating them out of your own (misguided) sense of superiority, no matter how right you are.

    I mean, seriously? The entire piece comes across as a device to showcase how the author considers himself to be 'above average', and how he shall now enlighten everyone (us as the players/readers, and the author(s) of the story) with his infinite knowledge and wisdom. And he wanted to talk to them about a self-satisfied attitude?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
  5. Risingred

    Risingred IncGamers Member

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    Almost everything he said is common sense, English-101 material, man. It's not like it's super deep, intellectual, and profound. In fact his Platonian analysis is critically flawed in certain areas, but there's no denying that Diablo III's "plot" is terribly crafted.


     
  6. yojin

    yojin IncGamers Member

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    It's just a game. There are more important things in life, such as slushies.
     
  7. viljarast

    viljarast IncGamers Member

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    Judeo-Christian mythological tradition is quite all over Diablo and concepts of the Diablo Universe: Angels, demons, sins etc. That background gives meaning to concepts like 'angel' and 'demon' and aligns the fictional story with the reality and cultural context many of us (and most of the game devs?) live in - in a way it is an obvious road-map for interpretation. Judeo-Christian tradition is strong in Diablo like in many other things in (Western) pop-culture. We can not escape the J-C definitions of things like angels even if we try as that is the context where the whole concept has been developed.

    Keeping that in mind, I don't think the writer means that the Diablo universe is about J-C mythology. But, to say it was not inspired by it and does not draw from it is incorrect. His/Her critique is about how the borrowed concepts (that are very canonized in Western culture in general) like angel and demon or Diablo/Satan (Spanish...) are used in a contradictory or "false" way. The writer maybe goes a bit too far in this direction, but still makes some valid points; If J-C-mythology is what defines the cultural meaning of the said concepts, using them in a "wrong" or unfamiliar way probably requires more background and 'flesh' to the story. Otherwise there could be contradictions with what we read and know from earlier knowledge about the concepts that make the story feel unfinished or just shallow.

    I think the writer makes many valid points about the structural and cultural or contextual problems with the plot. I have not read the lore books, but I do not think it really matters in this case, as the core of the argument relates to the use of culturally defined concepts.

    The story is just bad and not well written. D2 did not have an amazing story either, but it was still better than this.

    (Apologies for maybe using the wrong words somewhere as English is a foreign language to me and the point I tried to make was quite theoretical)


     
  8. The Rockman

    The Rockman IncGamers Member

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    Well lets see there is a reason for Christianity to be in there D1 was very much Christian inspired. In fact the devs said it was. Also D1 has fair amount of Christian imagery in it.


     
  9. droppin

    droppin IncGamers Member

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    Yes D1 was LOOSELY based on Judeo-Christian concepts. I am a Christian and I connected pretty well with the story/overall environment. The essay was very entertaining to read and brought up some great points. The one liners are hilarious.
    Here's some good zingers :D
    1. demographic who's brow is as low as your bar.
    2. The characters feel about as emotionally connected as an ant farm.
    3. Maybe Cher will do a walk-on in the expansion.
    4. Given that he can astral project his ugly face seemingly anywhere, you might assume he'd have moved beyond paper
    memos.
    5. Heaven is a neoclassical arrangement of bridges built for the sole purpose of supporting large quantities of vases containing blue water.



     
  10. Xuhao

    Xuhao IncGamers Member

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    [​IMG]
    The plot of Diablo III is a mess. The story isn’t necessarily the most important part of the game, of course, but it helps to give a more negative first impression than the game deserves, looking like it’s merely a rehash of Diablo II. It’s also notably worse than previous Blizzard games as well as other action RPGs.
    There’s More Than There Should Be

    [​IMG]
    A general rule for storytelling in games: if you have a good plot, you can spend a lot of time on it. If you have a bad plot, don’t spend time on it. A bad plot that the game invests a lot of time and energy in, however, is the worst combination. That’s what Diablo III does, and while talented voice actors help prevent it from being a total disaster, there’s just too much talking. The plot of Diablo III may only be a little bit more complex than its predecessor Diablo II, or a competitor like Torchlight, but it has exponentially more dialogue.
    In Diablo II, Deckard Cain was essentially the narrator. Most everything about the world and the story came from him. Other characters had lines, but other than the occasional quest, Cain was the only character you really needed to talk to. In Diablo III, there are four different major characters, each of whom talk to you, and each other. Over the course of an act, you’ll have to talk with multiple people per quest, as a general rule. Instead of six quests per act with an introduction dialogue followed by a conclusion, there are now a dozen quests, with multiple parts, and with various parts requiring talking to various people.
    And that’s just the quest dialogue necessary for the plot. There’s also a huge amount of non-quest dialogue. There are optional discussions, 10-20 of them, for the four major characters plus the five supplemental characters. Three of those are hirelings who, when you take them out into the world, will talk to you regardless.
    Even if you don’t take the hirelings, the plot requires a few characters follow you, and they tell their stories as you go. Leah joins you several times, constantly recycling dialogue about how she liked to explore with uncle Deckard, or how she wants to open an inn. You can hear this—have to at least start to hear this—two or three times in an hour-long sitting. This doesn’t even mention the books and lore scattered around the world., or the pop-up dialogue from many of the villains throughout the game.
    Simply put, there’s a hell of a lot more time, energy, and writing attached to Diablo III’s plot compared to comparable action RPGs, especially Diablo II. This wouldn’t be a problem if the story were an improvement, but if anything, it’s worse.
    The Writing Isn’t Good

    [​IMG]
    The first major antagonist you discover is the Skeleton King, a holdover from the original Diablo. The mythology behind his creation—he’s the corrupted body of King Leoric—is present in many of the supplemental materials. But that history doesn’t manifest in his appearances. Instead, the Skeleton King is as generic a villain as you can find, up to and including ending his speeches with “AHAHAHAHA!â€
    He’s not alone in that tic, either, which makes it worse. Zoltan Kulle, a character initially introduced as someone willing to work outside the angels-versus-demons premise, which might be a compelling twist. Yet once he starts talking, he ends every single appearance with an insane cackle, which makes his turn into evil utterly unsurprising.
    One of the most frustrating aspects of Diablo III’s writing is that the supplemental character discussions and information isn’t that bad. Covetous Shen, initially introduced as something of a stereotype, ends up being one of the most entertaining characters, while the hirelings have strong voice and can create some humor.
    Yet the writing on the main quests rarely rises above competent, and occasionally eye-rolling. Early on, the player talks to Leah and Cain about the Fallen Star that triggers the events of the game. When asked what he knows about it, Cain replies “ Not much, I'm afraid, though the Prophecy of the End Days surely points to it as a sign that the end has begun....†This is just a horribly awkward line: repetition of the word “end,†the lack of creativity in the title for the Prophecy, and the awareness that there’s probably going to be a sequel, so this really isn’t the end. Nothing about lines like that, delivered early in the game, inspires any confidence for the rest of Diablo III.
    The Structure Isn’t Good

    [​IMG]We’ve all dealt with games that have mediocre-to-terrible writing, and tolerated or even liked their storylines. Why? Because the story works in the service of the game’s overall feeling and narrative (in the wider sense). That’s not the case here. Diablo III’s story constrains its creativity, while working against the player accessing its most important information.
    At the simplest level, the story exists as a vehicle to push the player into new areas. But the different areas of Diablo III aren’t new. The first two acts have similar settings as the first two acts in Diablo II: gothic European forest, and wealthy city in the desert. The third act takes place in the same setting as Diablo II’s expansion pack, snowy, battle-torn Mount Arreat. And the final one takes place in Heaven, but it’s a Heaven that’s quickly corrupted into Hell, which ends up looking very much like Act IV in Diablo II. Many of the new Diablo’s refinements are good—I’m particularly fond of the oasis at night in Act II—but the opportunity to use the story to go new places was utterly wasted.
    Likewise, the story doesn’t offer anything new in its structure. In Diablo II, you killed four of the seven Lords Of Hell, plus Diablo himself. That leaves two, and, lo and behold, they’re the two villains of the second and third act, leaving a predictably resurrected Diablo for the fourth. By the third and fourth act, Diablo III stops trying to do anything but parade monster after monster in front of you, with the demons Azmodan or Diablo describing their power. You kill them, the next shows up. And them, they keep talking as if there’s a story here. Bizarrely, the game even flirts with what would have been a fascinating twist—that you’ll have to fight too-proud angels as well as demons—before copping out.
    Beyond that, Diablo III doesn’t even explain why you’re doing what you’re doing much of the time, or the key components of its world. All the time that Azmodan and Diablo spend taunting you, they’re calling you “nephalem.†But the main story doesn’t explain what a nephalem is directly, or why it’s important, until deep into the fourth act. The best and most straightforward explanation is given by Cain in Act I, as an entirely optional dialogue, and one that’s easily missed because he only gives it during the quest that results in his death. You have a very limited window to see this—otherwise the game bombards you with a phrase that’s meaningful to it, but meaningless to you.
    That’s not the only time that occurs in Diablo III. The big twist is that Leah, your ally throughout the game, is betrayed by her mother and forced to become the new incarnation of Diablo. Is she gone forever, even including her soul? That’s the implication in Diablo III, which makes the story a bit of a downer, but if you talk to the angel Tyrael for several dialogue options, only available immediately before the final confrontation, it becomes clear that it would have been possible for Leah to survive. This is crucial information for interpreting the plot, and Diablo III buries it.
    The Plot Doesn’t Fit The Game

    [​IMG]
    The single biggest conceptual issue with the story of Diablo III is that it behaves like it’s a dynamic story, when it’s actually static. Diablo II was a proudly static story. Virtually everything that happened in it was a response to the past, sometimes the distant past. The cinematics existed as the a retelling of the game’s events from a witness’ perspective, while the bulk of in-game discussion was Cain’s narration of history. This made sense, because the only role for a plot where all you can do is kill things is to tell you where to go and why you’re killing what you’re killing.
    Diablo III introduces a potentially dynamic plot to the same core idea of fighting monsters. Its characters have more to say. They talk to each other, as well as talking to you. When betrayals and murders happen, they appear to happen right in front of you.
    But here’s the thing—they don’t. Diablo III is every bit as static as its predecessors. Tossing more dialogue, more characters, more plot in a game where the major characters literally stand still for 99% of the game makes it impossible for the story to be anything but “kill kill kill.†There’s no need for Diablo to turn into Mass Effect or the like, but there’s even less reason to try to match a more in-depth RPG like that with Diablo’s system.
    Of course, the storyline of Diablo III isn’t supposed to be the most important component. By the second and third playthroughs—which the game is made for, either at higher difficulties or with different classes—skipping cutscenes and dialogue allows you to focus on what Diablo III is best at. The feeling of freedom of not having to pay attention to the middling storyline is one of the clearest examples of how much of a failure Diablo III’s story is. It’s a waste of time, a set of missed opportunities, and it doesn’t fit its game.

    from : http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/7432/article/how-diablo-3-s-story-fails-its-game/
     

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