Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy - Public Q&A with Richard A. Knaak

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Interviews

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Deathshade|EU: Ok guys, the interview with Richard A. Knaak is about to start. Medievaldragon of BlizzPlanet will be asking a few questions first. You guys will get a chance after that.

Medievaldragon
Hi, Richard. Not long ago, you wrote Diablo: The Moon of the Spider with Zayl the Necromancer. Those who already read or will read Diablo: Moon of the Spider may wish to know if Diablo: The Sin War ties directly with the events of your previous book.

Knaak
Sin War takes place long before, but its events lead to all that is Diablo.

Medievaldragon
Which character from Diablo: Moon of the Spider will make an appearancec in Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright?

Knaak
As there are demons involved, we will see our friend Astrogha, although long before his own ambitions. He is not the threat, but a part of it.

Medievaldragon
Who are the main characters of Diablo: The Sin War, and what could you tell us about each of them?

Knaak
Uldyssian is the central character, a farmer who lost most of his family. He is the pawn chosen to begin a terrible shift in Sanctuary. Mendeln is his brother, with his own path to come, which fans will recognize. There is also Achilios the hunter and Serenthia, both of whom will prove significant.

Medievaldragon
Why did Blizzard, and by saying so, Chris Metzen and/or you decide to release a trilogy based on the Sin War—an event of the far past—at this point? And why not start at the Great Conflict which is a previous event in the Diablo history?

Knaak
This is the pivotal event for humans. It is how they become drawn into the conflict between the two sides. It is a human story, with human actions causing events. It is the basis for all that goes on after.

Medievaldragon
Will Diablo: The Sin War, book One: Birthright show hints of the origin of Sanctuary and men? If so, will we find out more through book two and three?

Knaak
We will see hints of its origins as the story unfolds throughout all three books.

Medievaldragon
According to the book, the existence of Sanctuary was kept hidden from the High Heavens. However, the Worldstone is a physical link between Heaven and Sanctuary. This will trail off some fans point-blank. So, I am forced to ask … Will the creation of the Worldstone appear in any of the three books of the Trilogy? Or is the Worldstone built far after The Sin War event?

Knaak
The creation will not be shown, as that, according to Blizzard’s material, took place at the beginning of Sanctuary, but we will see it. We would have to. We will find out more about it, especially in the second volume.

Medievaldragon
It caught my attention that Birthright seems to reveal the origin of the first classes. Of the first, I am still not sure if to call Uldyssian a Barbarian. Of his brother it is more obvious as the plot progresses. Are there more Diablo Classes emerging through the Trilogy?

Knaak
I would not call Uldyssian a Barbarian, no. He is something far removed from it. Yes, of Mendeln, people will see a more recognizable character. The Diablo classes develop more after this trilogy, but you will see some hints, I believe.

Medievaldragon
What is the mysterious rock that Mendeln and Achilios find? If you can’t say at this point, will it be revealed in more depth at book two?

Knaak
The rock has to do with Mendeln’s path and those secrets will be revealed more in the sequel, yes.

Medievaldragon
Hope I am not spoiling much at this point, however I really have to ask. Blizzard introduced a new Pandemonium Event monster named Lilith (Act V) in Diablo II Patch 1.11. You can read about her at the official Arreat Summit Website.

Is she the same Lilith mentioned in Birthright? What could you tell us about her through the development of the trilogy? It is interesting to see this character become the catalyst of the Sin War.

Knaak
She is, I believe, although she will look a little different by the game’s point. Her part in the trilogy is major. Definitely an interesting character.

Medievaldragon
How much of the book is creation of yours, and how involved is Chris Metzen behind the canon storyline of Diablo: The Sin War Trilogy? Do you think the ramifications of this book impact in the storyline of Diablo 3 the game?

Knaak
This is a pure collaboration between myself and Chris Metzen/Blizzard. All that is written is passed by him and the others there. This will be canon and has adjusted earlier info. The ramifications here will be used for any future project … and I ain’t writing for a dead game. smile

Medievaldragon
This is my last question to give fans an opportunity to ask you questions. However, something I know many will be pleased with. Will we see Rathma, Angel Tyrael or Angel Izual show up later through the Trilogy?

Knaak
Yes, and more.

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
I see one of the questions almost covers what I would like to ask – the storyline of the Sin War Trilogy. It is a well-known story on gaming world. Do you felt the need to add/change things to make the Diablo universe more complete?

Knaak
We altered what needed to be altered for the sake of the game’s growth. We didn’t want to change anything for the sake of just changing it. We felt this story will better serve the fans.

Rumda
Silghtly off topic, but which of the blizzard worlds do you prefer writing for?

Knaak
I like both for different reasons. I like the epic LOTR feel of Warcraft and the shadowy, inner quest and dark aspect of Diablo.

Deathshade|EU
When you write a book that already has a start and a finish like The Sin War books. Do you feel that because the story has already been told just not in great detail you are restricted in your freedom to write the books? That you have to follow a certain path?

Knaak
Not really. There is so much in between and even the beginning and end have countless details to be revealed. Its been fun.

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Were you inspired for new universe while working on the trilogy?

Knaak
The trilogy has inspired ideas. what those become, time will tell. That’s part of the fun.

Deathshade|EU
So … Diablo 3?

Knaak
I am not writing for a dead world … but a world with dead. ‘nuff said!

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Would you like to “see” your books on the big screen? smile Would you write a script?

Knaak
I would like that. Definitely would enjoy working on a script. Wouldn’t we all?

G-WiZ-
I read the 3rd Diablo series book … Diablo: Moon of the Spider (about the City of Ureh) … great stuff … just want to say thanks for writing these. My imagination blooms from this literature. Go, Zayl!

Knaak-
Zayl has been fun and has a big following. Blzzard has some ideas for him already…

AdiTT (Phrozen Keep)
Thank you for your wonderful work smile

Knaak
Thank you for reading!

AcidReign
How do you come up with character names in your books? Most of them are quite unique, and thinking them up must be tough.

Knaak
It involves discussion and a study of ancient names or other names already used in the games. Always a tough part of the story creation, believe me.

Rathi (WCRadio)
Is the book recommended to people that know only what is taught in Diablo ? Or should they start reading another book first?

Knaak
The Sin War is a good place to start for those looking to the future of the world, however, for those wanting to enjoy the feel, starting with any of the earlier books is good (I recommend Legacy of Blood and Kingdom of Shadow, naturally)

Rumda
Who is your favorite character in you books?

Knaak
In Warcraft, Krasus. In Diablo, Zayl … and Humbart.

Rathi (WCRadio)
Any information on Diablo3? Have you been asked to write a further story? Can we expect anything?

Knaak
What happens in the Sin War is significant, as I mentioned, toward the future. I know that Blizzard is very eager to make Diablo fans happy.

Rathi (WCRadio)
I know this isnt really “your section” but can we hope to see more, and cheaper artwork, like posters based on diablo?

Knaak
I’d like that, too. I’ll ask.

Anthares
Good evening Mr. Knaak. I want to personally thank you for writing such great novels about the universe of Warcraft, especially Day of the Dragon. Your unique style is what I particularly like, to the point that I actually devour your novels. Again, I’m sending you one big THANK YOU!

Knaak
Thank you. I appreciate it. The Blizzard worlds are wonderful to be involved with.

Stiverton
When you wrote the Day of the Dragon, how much of the events in it were created by you, as opposed to being already established history?

Knaak
Pretty much all of the events inside were based on my ideas. Not the war, obviously, but the Demon Soul, Deathwing’s disguise, the characters involved, etc. but all were discussed with Blizzard. Chris and I developed the other dragons together, a good time.

Awiin
Another off topic question: What are your thoughts, as a writer in the universes, about the voiced dismay, from some fans, over what they see as mistreatment of the lore (Warcraft)?

Knaak
I understand their concern, but, having worked with other gaming worlds, often the first storylines are shorter and less usable as time goes on. We have had to adjust for the growing worlds. We will not satisfy everyone, but we are trying.

Kae
Do you have any plans, or at least hope, to work with the continuing Warcraft story of the Dragon Aspects, Korialstrasz, and Rhonin in the future?

Knaak
Yes. Coming after the Sin War is a follow up to Warcraft: Day of the Dragon.

Stiverton
Have any advice for any aspiring authors that would like to write for an established world like Dragonlance, Diablo, or Warcraft, as you have?

Knaak
Keep writing, keep honing your skills. To be able to work in Warcraft or such, you need to prove you can write your own worlds first. All writers chosen are established. I encourage you to write and submit your own projects. Its how I made it to this point.

Medievaldragon
Is the title of the next Warcraft book available, or will it be announced at a later time?

Knaak
It has not been decided yet.

Tranqer
I love you smile

Knaak
um … ok

Stiverton
Do you play Diablo, World of Warcraft, or any other Blizzard titles avidly?

Knaak
I’ve played several versions of both worlds I write in, but to play avidly would take away from my writing time. Therefore, my characters generally die a glorious death soon after they set foot on their quests. It is a little annoying…. smile

SOLOMIR
Will more information be revealed about the wars between the mage clans in the next books?

Knaak
We will hear of the first mage clans, but they are not at the stage where their wars will be center.

Cooked_Auto
Are there any more plans for future Warcraft mangas in line with The Sunwell Trilogy? Either translated from Korea or made by writers from other countries?

Knaak
A second manga is being discussed, with the Burning Crusade involved. I will be writing and hopefully the same artist will lend his excellent work.

Medievaldragon
What can you tell us of Warcraft: The Sunwell Trilogy book 2 and 3?

Knaak
Book 2 is a great romp with a Tauren, a Foresaken, and a frostwyrm that leads into book 3, which is called Ghostlands and is in the Plaguelands, of course. There will be an appearance by a well-known character, or two in the third.

Medievaldragon
Blizzard showed a teaser of Anveena and Dar’Khan in the Blood Elves section – chapter 4-6 of World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade. Why should fans read Warcraft Manga: The Sunwell Trilogy book 1 through 3? Chapter 4-6 of the Blood Elves section may be read here.

Knaak
Because, as with all things written, these will tie into the games. The manga has some parts that are already planned and some have been implemented. The fate of the Sunwell is most important and other characters will be appearing in the expansions.

OTHER TOPICS

Stiverton
Who would you say is your favorite author, and who would you say has been your biggest inspiration, if it is someone different?

Knaak
Inspiration. Edgar Allan Poe, Zelazny, ER Burroughs

Stiverton
Belfadin or Shamanei?

Knaak
I’ll never tell… smile

Gimble
Was there any part or chapter you particularly enjoyed/disliked writing from the books? or was it fairly samey for the whole?

Knaak
I enjoy the magic and battles the most, of course, but I enjoy the whole experience.

Deathshade|EU
I’m sure people will appreciate me for asking this question: Pie or Cake?

Knaak
Both.

G-WiZ-
Have you been granted some autonomous power in crafting the novels or does Blizzard need to pour over every detail to make sure they stay in line with lore or level of mature content?

Knaak
While they respect my work, I insisted from the beginning that I work hand in hand. I want these to be the books that Blizzard and its readers want, although we can never satisfy everyone, of course.

Rumda
What in your eyes is better or worse about writing for a already established world than creating you own?

Knaak
Better is that there are things in place that I can draw new ideas from. Obviously, creating your own world is always best because you are ultimate master there… smile

Medievaldragon
What other projects are you working on or are available at stores? I know you have a Conan series fresh from the oven.

Knaak
I am working on background story for a different gaming project, starting up the Ogre Titans Trilogy (2007) for Dragonlance, finishing THE VEILED PROPHET (March 2007) for The Sin War, and have just had my AGE OF CONAN trilogy released. That’s some of it smile

Medievaldragon
Many thanks for spending some time with the Diablo and Warcraft fans Community, Richard. We hope to meet you soon.

Knaak
It’s been a great pleasure. I appreciate the interest of the fans!

You can visit Richard A. Knaak’s website to join his Newsletter listing, or to read his Bios and Bibliography at www.sff.net/people/knaak/

I recommend ordering Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: BIRTHRIGHT right away. After the unmerciful teasing the book will be sold out like hot bread right off the oven! Otherwise you will have to wait until the second print edition.

  • Order Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright.

  • Read an Excerpt of Birthright
  • Read lore of the Sin War from the original Diablo Game Manual.
  • Previous Interviews with Richard A. Knaak

Expect in the upcoming days an interview with Christie Golden covering details of the World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde book and the still unannounced Starcraft: The Dark Templars Trilogy – you can submit your questions for Christie Here. Hopefully, a UDE-World of Warcraft TCG Public Q&A pre-Gen Con SoCal too.

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Special thanks to Blizzard Entertainment and Richard A. Knaak for the interview, and Pocket Star Books / Simon & Schuster for providing a review copy of Diablo: The Sin War, Book One: Birthright.

Extended thanks to Tranqer (Wowirc IRC Network) and TotalBiscuit, Deathshade, Sm0ke0ut and Athalus (WCRadio) for organizing the bot and IRC channel moderation for the Q&A.

To loyal supporters in the media such as Diabloii.net, Gamespot, PlanetDiablo, InsideMacGames, Kotaku, Shacknews, Judgehype (France), SCLegacy, Phrozen Keep, PCGames.de (Germany), Gamestar.de (Germany), Eurogamer, Onlinewelten (German), FZ.se (Sweden), d2.inGame.de, Nordicgamers (Sweden), Pelit.fi (Finland), Pro-g.co.uk, Fragland, Dailyrush, Softpedia, HardGame2 (Spanish), Diablo2Latino (Spanish), 3dnews (Russia), Gamespot.co.kr (Korea).

Copyright ? 2006 by Blizzard Entertainment

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