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Blizzplanet Review: Diablo III: Book of Cain

diablo-3-book-of-cain-review-1

Materials | Review | Press Letter | Content List | Credits | Content List | Gallery

Review

Reading through the Diablo III: Book of Cain, fans can find an extensive chronological history of Sanctuary starting with the origin of the universe (The Dawn: Anu and the Dragon), and the Eternal Conflict. The stories are written from the point of view of Deckard Cain, and each story begins with the source of the story.

For example, the Eternal Conflict is from one of the scrolls of the Church of Zakarum. However, Deckard Cain says the validity of the story is questionable because the event happened milennia prior to the Church of Zakarum’s foundation.

Other stories are known by fans of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction: The Sin War, The Dark Exile, The Hunting for the Three and others. However, if this is what might make you not wish to buy the book, I have to inform these have been remastered to fit in the new lore from Diablo: The Sin War and Diablo III stories and NPCs (i.e. Zoltun Kulle).

For example, the Eternal Conflict mentions the Worldstone, better known as the Eye of Anu, was controlled by the High Heavens and by the Burning Hells on and off over eons. Certain amount of years, one side controlled it. Another length of time, the other side controlled it.

This is how one of the more current lore enigmas in Diablo: The Sin War by Richard A. Knaak is finally revealed in the remastered version of The Eternal Conflict: In Diablo: The Sin War trilogy, Trang’Oul was about to teleport into Sanctuary to stop the carnage between Inarius, Uldyssian, the Angiris Council and the Demonic legions when suddenly he was halted by a group of guardians who identified themselves as the guardians of other worlds, same as Trang’Oul guards Sanctuary. These guardians told Trang’Oul the fate of Sanctuary would seal the fate of those other worlds, and it rested upon the edyrem’s hands. The enigma ever since that book came out in 2007 is … what are these other worlds from? The answer is finally resolved. These other worlds were created during the Eternal Conflict, before Sanctuary was created. A sign of what Blizzard Entertainment’s plans are for Diablo III expansions? Maybe. There are more evil to deal with after the Prime Evils and the Lesser Evils are forever vanquished — it seems.

When the High Heavens controlled the Worldstone in the Pandemonium Fortress, they used it to create worlds based on their beliefs. When the Burning Hells controlled the Worldstone, they also created worlds that spawned destruction, hatred and terror.

The book offers details about each of the Prime Evils, Lesser Evils and each Archangel of the Angiris Council as well as locations within the High Heavens and the Burning Hells that will most likely appear in Diablo III and/or its future expansions.

Another section tells new lore about the Rise of the Nephalem mentioning Bul-Kathos, Vasily, Enu, Rathma and which groups are descendants — such as the Barbarians descending from Bul-Kathos, the druids, the mages of Kehjistan and the necromancers. Deckard Cain even hints about thousands of other Nephalem with unknown powers no one might know of.

Inarius and Lilith (from Diablo: The Sin War) are mentioned very often throughout Diablo III: Book of Cain. Diablo III: Book of Cain is partially Diablo: The Sin War 2.0 summarizing some of the events from that trilogy, and merging and updating previous lore with the new lore in a more coherent story.

The original lore of the Mage Clan Wars was to our taste very vague. Diablo III: Book of Cain explores more that era. Blizzard Entertainment also mentions briefly Zoltun Kulle and the true nature of the Black Soulstone.

The Rise of Zakarum section talks about Akarat, whose name you hear often in Diablo III Act 1 from NPC dialogues. It is hinted Uldyssian might be contacted under a certain level of meditation, and that Akarat — who inspired men to found the Church of Zakarum — talked with Uldyssian during his trip to Xiansai. Interesting.

A truth about Archbishop Lazarus is revealed (where he came from). Those who play Diablo III Beta might remember some of the lore books found throughout the game mention how Archbishop Lazarus was who convinced Leoric to travel west to found his kingdom there — which puts Lazarus on the spotlight as a pivotal figure for the events that transpired during the Darkening of Tristram. There is more than meet the eye here.

The Dark Wanderer is always referred to as Aidan throughout the book. Another enigma that always bugged me was why Andariel and Duriel were in Diablo II if the Lesser Evils were who exiled the Prime Evils in the first place. Apparently, Andariel and Duriel were fed up of Belial and Azmodan and sided with the Prime Evils.

I found something peculiar in the retelling of the events of Diablo II from the point of view of Deckard Cain. When players kill Mephisto, what the canon lore says happened is that the five heroes were who defeated Mephisto and imprisoned him once more within the sapphire soulstone and set to destroy it at the Hellforge. The heroes are also referenced to have defeated Diablo. When Diablo’s essence was captured back into the ruby soulstone, the husk of his corpse reverted back to that of … Prince Aidan.

It might be my memory, but I don’t remember going back to the Hellforge to destroy Diablo’s soulstone after defeating him in Diablo II. The new canon lore says the heroes went back to the Hellforge to destroy it.

One of the many things I like in this book is that Marius continues to be part of canon lore. Deckard Cain was able to document Marius story through writings he found on the sanitarium. It is here that Blizzard reveals how the Worldstone was corrupted by Baal. The answer lies within the Amber soulstone shard that served as Baal’s prison for milennia.

The events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction are also documented by Deckard Cain, explaining what exactly happened with bits of theories of his own. The sword of Tyrael is finally named: El’druin. Book of Cain also mentions Jacob and the Sword of Justice (from DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice # 1-5 by Aaron Williams & Joseph Lacroix).

The Sanctuary: Lands and Cultures section talks about the lands of Diablo III classes, and some known locations from Diablo II, giving the reader a background lore on the new classes. Quite interesting. The new lore says the Valley of the Ancient Kings is originally the burial ground for the patriarchs of the Monk class, the civilization of Ivgorod.

Conclusions

As the owner and editor of a Blizzard Entertainment registered fansite, it’s my job to post breaking news, previews and to review Blizzard licensed products since 2002 to inform fans of the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo video games.

I think I was the first site to report Diablo III: Book of Cain was in development — I check nigh everyday for any new products and new info, and have kept in contact countless of times with the Insight Editions marketing manager and publicist. I can tell you Insight Editions is always helpful providing the latest updates and responding via email within a few minutes. That passion is difficult to find nowadays. I just emailed the publicist the link to this review and within a few minutes she sent me new images approved by Blizzard Entertainment, just hot off the oven. Ain’t Insight Edition’s staff the best?

I got a copy of Diablo III: Book of Cain to review. It was everything I was expecting, and more. I have witnessed online the Diablo III: Book of Cain panel held during the 2011 San Diego Comic Con, and the Diablo III Lore Panel held at BlizzCon 2011 discussing the contents of this book. Note: Those two links ain’t for show. Those are the actual transcripts I wrote of both panels along with photos.

I have read the Diablo: The Sin War back in 2007. With all this cornucopia of information, I engaged into reading Diablo III: Book of Cain. The experience was mind-blowing even for someone who obsessively already knew enough info. For those who haven’t experienced the Diablo: The Sin War trilogy, the BlizzCon 2011 panel, and the SDCC panel — this Book of Cain will be all-new to you.

This is the official Diablo universe lore source book. All the old lore, and the new lore, and the retcons are all merged together to create a single cohesive history of Sanctuary since its genesis up to the destruction of the Worldstone at the end of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction (2002, videogame expansion). There’s even a brief mention of Jacob, the main character of the DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice 5-issue mini-series.

You won’t see Diablo 3 spoilers, but the information will help you assimilate and understand all the elements spinning around the Diablo III in-game story.

After reading Diablo III: Book of Cain, I realize it’s very important for our readers to check out our BlizzCon 2011 Diablo III Panel Transcript.

In that panel, Chris Metzen, Leonard Boyarski (Senior Game Designer) and Kevin Martens (Lead Content Designer) summarized the key topics of Diablo III: Book of Cain. I added their slideshow images. On next pages you will see the content list of Diablo III: Book of Cain, the press letter that came with the review copy, and the credits page.

Don’t forget to read our recent Diablo III: Book of Cain interview with Micky Neilson (Blizzard Publishing Lead).

If you are among the thousands of fortunate Diablo fans to own a copy of Diablo III: Book of Cain, and you wish to shout and reach out Insight Editions for this awesome product visit their website, sign in, and post a review comment of your own.

Buy these Diablo books to expand your lore and prepare for what you will find in Diablo III:

Materials | Review | Press Letter | Content List | Credits | Content List | Gallery

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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