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The people pray for strength and guidance. They should pray for the mercy of a swift death, for I have seen what the darkness hides.—Leah
It has been twenty years since the Demonic Invasion was thwarted and the Worldstone destroyed, and Sanctuary has enjoyed relative peace and stability. However, Hellish forces are stirring again. All over the world are reports of horrors and atrocities. And a Fallen Star landing in Tristram marks the beginning of the prophesised End Times.
Diablo III is the latest in the beloved Diablo series, released on May 15, 2012. The gameplay is essentially the same as previous entries, but with more Anti-Frustration Features (such as gold being picked up on touch rather than having to be clicked), and with new trading aspects, including an auction house that operates both in in-game gold and in real world money.
The game features examples of:
- A Child Shall Lead Them: The Emperor of Caldeum, Hakan II, is only a boy. He is also Belial in disguise.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers beneath Caldeum are sprawling labyrinths filled with hellish beasts.
- Action Bomb: Fallen Lunatics are pretty much suicide bombers. Grotesques will explode and release more enemies on death.
- Action Girl: The female members of each class, although the most clear examples of the trope will be the female Barbarian, Monk and Demon Hunter.
- Adipose Rex: Azmodan, the highest ranking demon alive, is extremely fat due to being the lord of Gluttony and Sloth, among other things.
- Agent Scully: Leah. Despite everything she has personally witnessed, she still remains skeptical of Cain's warnings until his death. This has been parodied by Penny Arcade. The novel justifies this, where much is made of Leah's ability to almost completely block out traumatic memories.
- Abd al-Hazir is an accomplished explorer, historian, and naturalist. In a world with powerful magic, the dead rising from their graves, and demon hordes pouring from the bowels of Hell to eat cities, Abd finds demonology and related subjects to be ridiculous superstition.
- Airborne Mook: Several. Many of which have no problem moving over rough terrain, and some of them use flight to their advantage by dive-bombing you from out of range.
- Invoked with the Demonic Hellflyer. Azmodan's ground forces were nearly defeated before due to the angels' flight capability, so he decided to breed flying demons to counter them.
- All There in the Manual: The Book of Cain seems to contain a lot of stuff that never made it into the games...
- All Webbed Up: Karyna the mystic is found in the den of the Spider Queen suspended in webbing and you arrive just to time to prevent the spider from drinking her innards.
- Ambiguous Gender: Diablo's true form in this game is much more effeminate than his previous incarnations, possibly due to the influence of his host, Leah. It makes for a very squicky moment when s/he sexy walks past the camera in a cinematic.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: The most powerful demons and angels are masters of some aspect, such as Hate, Destruction, and Terror or Justice, Hope, and Valor.
- However, the finale shows it's possible for angels to change what they personify.
- Apocalyptic Log: Several lore books in the game are in this style, including a record of Lachdanaan's final moments.
- An Axe to Grind: Every class can wield one, and so do many of the enemies. Skeletal Executioners carry axes so large they have to drag them.
- Ancient Artifact: The Black Soulstone was constructed by Zoltun Kulle and has the power to absorb the spirits of both angels and demons.
- Angel Unaware: Tyrael, after briefly losing his memory in Act I. The Non Player Characters have a much harder time guessing his identity than a genre savvy player, even Deckard Cain who met him before.
- Anyone Can Die: Not only does Deckard freaking Cain die at the end of the very first act, but Leah, arguably the main heroine of the game, not only dies, but has the most gut wrenching death in the entire series.
- Arrows on Fire: Besides the various Demon Hunter skills, the soldiers at New Tristram and Bastion's Keep shoot these en masse.
- Artificial Brilliance: Certain flying enemies will circle overhead, out of reach, and will ambush you once you start fighting something else.
- Enemies with ranged attacks try to retreat (even behind obstacles) so you have a hard time attacking them while they spam projectiles at you. It gets worse with flying ranged attackers who have an easy time doing said retreating...
- Pack hunting enemies like Scavengers and Leapers will actually apply pack hunting tactics against you, by splitting up and attacking from the side or the back.
- If facing a group of teleporting enemies, one of them will almost always teleport behind you in a narrow passage, blocking you off and trapping you so his buddies can munch on you. Hope your leap or teleport skills aren't on cooldown...
- Mook Makers like Fallen Prophets will actively run away if you try to approach them. On the other hand, allied NPCs will usually target them first.
- Wallers will box ranged players in such a way where the only way to get around the walls is to head straight for the enemy itself.
- Artificial Stupidity: ...However, despite the above trope. Demons will insist on attacking you, ignoring the followers usually. If the enemy is a melee opponent without Teleportation or Vortex and a follower bars their way... they will sit their idly as you rain hell on them, they won't even try to move the follower in front of them.
- Also, occasionally the AI might bug up and cause enemies to stand completely still and not even attack... while not noticeable on minions because you slaughter them rather quickly. It's more noticeable when a boss such as Azmodan or Diablo freezes up, allowing you to score Terrible, Terrible Damage on them.
- At one of the Blizzcons, the developers stated that they deliberately invoked this trope, as perfectly intelligent enemies were not fun to fight and tended to kill the player extremely quickl.
- Also, occasionally the AI might bug up and cause enemies to stand completely still and not even attack... while not noticeable on minions because you slaughter them rather quickly. It's more noticeable when a boss such as Azmodan or Diablo freezes up, allowing you to score Terrible, Terrible Damage on them.
- The Atoner: Working your way through all conversations with Lyndon, the Scoundrel, eventually reveals that he sends the gold he steals back to Kingsport both to support his brother's wife and children, and to pay off the Merchant's Guild in an effort to get his brother released from prison. Some of his dialogue suggests that this is also why he follows the Player Character despite the escalating levels of danger; in one bit of conversation, he wonders if continuing to help the PC kill demons would make him a good person.
- Auction: The game offers a player to player auction house for selling items you find during your adventures. One version uses ingame gold, the other uses cold hard cash and requires a Pay Pal account. Blizzard gets a cut, of course, and the cash version is not available in Hardcore Mode.
- Awesome but Impractical: Destructible objects in the environment which may be used against enemies, such as chandeliers that can drop on their heads and cauldrons of boiling tar you can spill. Lining up monsters to be killed by these objects is more of a hassle than it's worth.
- Back From the Dead: Unsurprisingly, Diablo as usual... until it is revealed it isn't exactly the Diablo we know but rather more or less a reincarnation of the original Prime Evil, Tathamet. At least Diablo appears to be the dominant personality, even if he has a "We Are Legion" thing going what with the other 6 Evils swimming around in there also.
- Badass Adorable: Eirena the Enchantress is an attractive young blonde with a naive, innocent personality and an exotic accent, and she's also quite good at killing demons (especially if she's equipped with a good staff).
- She killed her first demon when she was only thirteen!
- Badass Beard: The Barbarian and the Monk sport these.
- Badass Boast:
Tyrael: You can not judge me! I am Justice itself! We were meant for more than this, to protect the innocent! But if our precious laws bind you all to inaction... then I will no longer stand as your brother!
- The Demon Hunter gets a couple in her introductory trailer:
As long as I'm here, they are the prey... And I... am the Hunter.
I stand alone. And if they keep coming, I'll never stop killing.
- Badass Grandpa: The male barbarian looks to be a few decades older than the other heroes. But his age has apparently not diminished his asskicking ability.
Enchantress: Tell me, are you considered handsome in your homeland?
Barbarian: Heh. I am old now, but I am strong. And that's all that matters.
Enchantress: Oh... I was merely curious.
- Badass Longcoat: The Scoundrel gets one of these once he hits a certain level.
- Bad Powers, Good People: Leah, despite being a nice person, has some rather destructive powers she can't quite control. She has them because she is Diablo's daughter.
- Bag of Sharing: Your personal stash allows you to transfer the gear between your characters easily. Gold and artisan experience are also bound to your account.
- Bait and Switch Boss: One of the "boss preview/warning" of sorts near the end of Act IV shows what seems to be Imperius as the next boss, with earlier scenes highlighting a conflict between him and the Nephalem. Unfortunately, Diablo pops in and dispels the upcoming fight, neutralizing Imperius and becoming the next target for the hero.
- Bald of Awesome: Human!Tyrael, and also the male Monk and Witch Doctor.
- Bald of Evil / Beard of Evil: Zoltun Kulle looks almost exactly like the version of Rasputin from the Hellboy comics and film. And he's voiced by Steve Blum.
- Barbarian Hero: One of the playable classes.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: The Monk in Diablo III uses punches and kicks for his special attacks, even when carrying weapons.
- Batman Gambit: Let's face it, Diablo was pulling a gigas-level one throughout all three games. While some events could be of the Gambit Roulette sort, the fact that Diablo was willing to wait millennia for everything to come together arguably excuses that.
- Bee-Bee Gun: The wasp enemies fire out a stream of small homing wasps at you.
- BFS: Some of the mighty 2-handed swords that the barbarian can equip are absurdly huge.
- Bittersweet Ending: In contrast to the previous 2 games, III actually has a unambiguously good ending, with Diablo and the other Lords of Hell being vanquished forever. However, this comes at the cost of many good peoples' lives, such as Deckard Cain and Leah.
- Sequel Hook: But there's still room for expansions, and Blizzard has stated the game will have a few expansions, and Metzen saying that Leah's revival would be a major plot point in an expansion. Therefore the ending is still open ended, as Adria is still out there and we never see the Black Soulstone being destroyed, meaning that, through dead, the legacy of the Prime Evils could still have an influence on Sanctuary.
- Bi the Way: The Enchantress will innocently flirt with your hero regardless of which gender you choose. She also seems to harbor a similar affection for Leah.
- Black and Grey Morality: The Angels of the High Heavens are not always the kind and benevolent beings you would expect; many of them are Knight Templars who see humanity as an abomination and believe it should be eradicated and do nothing when Sanctuary is attacked by Belial and Azmodan (which led to Tyrael going down directly into Sanctuary to help humanity after seeing the inaction of his brothers). But the forces of Hell are much, much worse.
- Black Mage: The Wizard.
- Blown Across the Room: Anything killed by Barbarian's special attacks in Diablo III is flung away, inversely proportionally to its size, if it doesn't explode into Ludicrous Gibs, that is.
- Elite Mooks sometimes can do this, if they have the knockback ability.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: Azmodan announces the location of his assault to Leah in a dream, for no real reason other than to gloat. The result? The assault is stopped cold by a garrison of 1000 men, and then turned back in record speed by the forewarned Hero. The invasion literally doesn't even make it out of sight of Arreat Crater.
- Justified since as Lord of Sin, he's full of pride.
- Further justified in that he likely wasn't trying to speak to Leah, but rather the facet of Diablo within her.
- Justified since as Lord of Sin, he's full of pride.
- Boss Subtitles: Unique enemies have a subtitle under their health bar in place of the list of randomized attributes other special enemies have. For those of them that appear randomly rather than at predetermined points in the plot, these are more often hilarious than not. For example, you can run into:
- "Haxxor, Wielder of Giant Axes"
- "Dreadclaw the Leaper, Rodent of Unusual Size"
- "Growlfang, Bite Much Worse Than Bark"
- "Vicious Gray Turkey, Delicious Armored Beast"
- "Larson the Strange, Eater of Vegetables"
- "The Crusher, Just Passin' By"
- "Chupa Khazra", with Khazra being a race of goatmen.
- The Blacksmith: Haedrig. Even speaks in a thick accent like his predecessor, Griswold.
- Break the Haughty: Kormac, the Templar. Follow his dialogue every single chance a new one appears. He finds proof of his previous memories, and due to him remembering the extremely abusive ways that his order treated him, he has both a minor Heroic BSOD and a mild case of Faith Heel Turn. He doesn't become evil, but he does realise he's being too high and mighty, and mellows out and becomes a nicer, more human person in general by act 4, and vows to have a very stern word with his order, to put it mildly.
- Brought Down to Badass: Tyrael loses his angelic powers. While his sword does grant him some residual power, even as a mortal, he remains a skilled commander and fighter on the battlefield.
- The Bus Came Back: Adria, the Witch in Tristram from the original, makes her reappearance in III after not even being mentioned in II.
- The Butcher: He's back, as the final boss of Act I.
- And with new powers to boot, including a harpoons, a ramming move, and the ability to set the floor ablaze.
- Camp Straight: Surprisingly, Covetous Shen. He even has a lisp! He Really Gets Around too; one of his dialogue options talk about the many, many wives he's had. But never more than two at once!
- Cast From Hit Points: Succubi invoke this with a debuff that makes any resource-costing ability take off health as well.
- Carry a Big Stick: Leoric has a flanged mace that's broader than his shoulders. Considering that he's already ten feet tall, that's saying something.
- The Casanova: Lyndon.
Hero: Do you miss that girl?
Lyndon: What girl?
Hero: The farmer's daughter.
Lyndon: I miss all farmers' daughters.
- Cassandra Truth: Despite the events of the past two games, nobody seems to believe Deckard Cain's accounts. Even Leah admits that she's skeptical of some of his writings.
- Catchphrase Interruptus: Shown in the initial Diablo III Demo, where the Barbarian cuts Cain off in the middle of his catchphrase, who then complains that no one listens to him.
- Cave Behind the Falls: well, a door behind the falls in this case.
- Celibate Heroine: Presumably both monks, though we only ever get the dialogue to confirm it with the female.
Lyndon: Do you ever think a girl like you could ever become more than friends with a guy like me?
Female Monk: No.
Lyndon: You're missing out...
Female Monk: No, I'm not.
- Chaos Architecture: Tristram Cathedral. Previously a dark catacomb, it has become a sprawling underground complex complete with things like balconies. One wonders how the enormous open cavern doesn't collapse.
- Old Tristram, the Cathedral, and Adria's hut are also much farther from each other, and in different spots.
- Climbing Climax: Act IV takes place in the High Heavens, and the Very Definitely Final Dungeon is the Crystal Arch which is a double set of towers rising high above the rest of the celestial landscape. The area for the final boss fight is fittingly called the Pinnacle of Heaven.
- Clipped-Wing Angel: Dark Vessels. Though they can transform into Dark Thralls, they have low health that a character with strong enough attack can kill them before they transform.
- Clown Car Grave: Zombies and an Iron Maiden.
- Wretched Mothers can also produce multiple zombies that are their own size. The lore states the sludge they vomit is liquid remains, which forms new zombies.
- Combat Stilettos: The female Demon Hunter is wearing these in her announcement trailer.
- Comet of Doom: The Fallen Star, which kicks off the game's plot.
- Which turns out to be a now mortal Tyrael falling from the High Heavens.
- Continuity Nod:
- The game brings many items from previous games back; some of them are in-game callbacks and some lampshade how they were treated in previous games (Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac, Stone of Jordan). The player character even has a chance of finding the Anvil of Fury (acquired during a sidequest in the first game) at the remnants of Griswold's forge in the ruins of old Tristram, and picking up the sword "Griswold's Worn Edge" from it.
- There is a barbarian skill named Call of the Ancients which summons three ancestral spirits to fight alongside the barbarian. Veteran Diablo II players will recognize these ancients as the same ones that had to be fought before gaining entrance to the Worldstone Chamber that housed Baal in Act V. This particular act revolved around the barbarians and their homeland.
- A random event in Act 2 involves meeting a necromancer who turns out to be a student of Diablo II's necromancer.
- In Act 1 you can also find the corpse of Warriv, an NPC from Diablo II who transported you between acts.
- In Act 2 it's possible to come across and disrupt a ritual being performed by fallen at the Shrine of Rakanishu, another early Diablo II boss, and to receive Rakanishu's Blade from it.
- Loot a bookshelf in the Cathedral levels in Act 1, and Identify/Town Portal scrolls pour out. Would have been useful 20 years back...
- It's possible to find the corpse of Bishibosh, an early boss from Diablo II, inside the Den of the Fallen, which appears to be a Fallen Burial Ground.
- Upon entering one of the random micro-dungeons in Act IV, Kormac exclaims "The Sanctity of this place has been fouled!".
- During Act IV, it's possible to find the ghost of Marius, who will rebuke Tyrael for not protecting him.
- Gharbad the Weak is back...as Gharbad the Strong.
- Cool Big Sis / Brother: Eirena the Enchantress quickly comes to think of the female Player Character as her elder sister. Same applies for male characters as well.
Enchantress: I feel as if you are my elder brother. Is that wrong?
Barbarian: No. But I will not speak to you regarding matters of love.
Enchantress: *flustered* About...! I was not... That is... Well, I do not know what to say!
- Cooldown: You can spam most direct damage spells but everything else usually has a cooldown, e.g. crowd control, movement, defensive, or the uber nuke spell. Potions and skill swapping also have cooldowns.
- Cool Old Guy: The Barbarian, definitely. He can still twirl Whirlwinds and he's probably pushing sixty!
- Copy and Paste Environments: Of course, given dungeons are assembled from tiles. Some tilesets decidedly show less variation than others. This is actually lampshaded.
Covetous Shen: What a fascinating place this is. Look at all this wonderful architecture! You could walk all the way around the world and never find its like! Except for this part. I've seen this somewhere else before.
- Cosmetic Award: By earning achievements, you will unlock new sigils, accents, and shapes for your personalized banner.
- Council of Angels: The Angiris Council, composed of the five Arch Angels: Imperius, Tyrael, Auriel, Malthael, and Itherael.
- Crapsack World: The life of the average citizen in Sanctuary is pretty bad. Even without demons destroying your town, there is an abundance of bandits, dangerous wildlife, and crazy/incompetent rulers waiting to kill or eat you.
- Through judging by the ending, it seems that it becomes a World Half Full following Diablo's defeat.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Leah seems to be following in the footsteps of Starcraft's Kerrigan, Warcraft III's Arthas, Kael'thas, Illidan and Sylvanas. Seems to be a Blizzard tradition.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: The High Heavens, in contrast to the classic Fire and Brimstone Hell.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Imperius vs. Diablo. Imperius is very much on the receiving end.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
- Veterans of the first two games will take a while to stop keeping a finger on ALT all the time since loot is clearly labelled on screen all the time now without requiring a button press.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Studying these is why the Wizard of III got into trouble. It's also why they can use Arcane and Time magic while none of the other playable mage-classes of the other two games could.
- Dare to Be Badass: The Demon Hunter trailer ends with one of these.
You have a choice. Hunted... or hunter.
- Dark Fantasy
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Witch Doctor is both a creepy Nightmare Fetishist and one of the more friendly and kind characters.
- Darker and Edgier: While previous games refrained from killing off characters with any semblance of plot importance, here we see how Cain dies in the very first act, Adria turns out to be a traitor, then promptly sacrifices Leah to cause Diablo to rise again. On the other hand, it's also the first game in the series in which the heroes are depicted as being literally superhuman, as opposed to just being extraordinary individuals. Oh yeah, and you actually win this time.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Many of your camp followers are carrying their own rather heavy baggage.
- Kormac the Templar Serves the Templar Order to atone for a sin so great he had to be given amnesia. Later we find out there was no sin, and the Templars abducted and brainwashed him so he would serve them.
- Lyndon the Scoundrel lost the only woman he truly loved to his brother. Then he accidentally gets his brother arrested and thrown into jail and is trying to get enough gold to buy his freedom.
- Eirena the Enchantress was tasked along with her sisters by a Prophet to hibernate until it was their time to awaken and help the player on their quest. She wakes up as a Fish Out of Temporal Water, and finds out that none of her fellow sisters made it.
- Haedrig the Blacksmith saw his own father get murdered in front of his eyes, and lives with the stigma of being the descendant of the man who allegedly betrayed and murdered King Leoric. Oh, and his beloved wife becomes a Zombie Infectee and he's forced to put her down.
- Demon Hunters are drawn from the ranks of the survivors of horrific demon attacks that claimed their homes and families.
- Deader Than Dead: Diablo, and quite possibly all of the other Evils that have been fused with him. Until the next sequel, anyway.
- Or rather, the next expansion, As Adria's still out there and Diablo claimed that he will call on her aid in the future, furthermore, the Black Soulstone doesn't dissolve when Diablo dies, just falls back into Sanctuary.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Wizard, in spades.
- The Witch Doctor can get in on this, too. Particularly in conversations with the Scoundrel. Even the Monk has his moments.
The Monk: "A real 'boy meets witch' story." after hearing Haedrig talk about how he met his wife Mira.
- And, of course, Lyndon the Scoundrel usually has something snarky or sarcastic to say, no matter the situation.
- Even Tyrael can bust out the snark on occasion. If he happens to be one of your NPC followers and you stand still for too long, he'll say "I will just stand here, watching the world crumble around us, while you decide on a course of action."
- Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: "YOU HAVE DIED. YOUR ITEMS HAVE LOST 10% DURABILITY". Compared to II, where you left your equipment and corpse behind as well as losing money, this is pretty much nothing.
- Death Seeker: The barbarian.
Scoundrel: What will you do when this is all over?
Barbarian: Death awaits me. There is nothing else.
Scoundrel: That's quite a... dark... outlook.
- Demonic Possession: Leah is possessed by Diablo when Adria smashes the Black Soulstone into her chest.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Can happen with the random item generator - you'll run into weapons such as the Cruel Sledgehammer of Cruelty or the Reptilian Viper.
- Demon Slaying: As with every other Diablo game, you're going to be doing this a lot. The primary ranged class in the game, the Demon Hunter, is especially dedicated to doing this.
- Determinator: Your character never shows any sign of wavering in any NPC dialogue and expresses no doubt that he/she can perform supposedly impossible campaigns such as almost single-handedly taking on Azmodan's entire army. Even Tyrael loses faith and has to be told to man up after Heaven is invaded and their angelic hosts are broken and corrupted. Fallen angels, demons -- your character doesn't really care. They will all be your loot pinatas.
- Development Hell: You can visit it. Seriously though, it was in development for 11 years, including multiple reboots and the closing of Blizzard North in 2005.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
- It is possible during replays to temporarily have two of the same companion at once. They can speak with each other - the Templar, for example, addresses his alter ego as a fellow member of his order.
- If you have Leah in your party and go into the back room of the Inn in New Tristram, she will ask, "What are we doing in my room?". She will also complain about you reading her diary.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In past games this was already true because the Demon Lords were Physical Gods and the personification of primal aspects (can you truly kill Terror?). Now it's even more applicable as Diablo's master plan to manifest as the physical incarnation of all Evil succeeds. As the Prime Evil he is able to turn back the angelic host and breach Heaven's walls for the first time in history. But he's still vulnerable to a good right hook.
- You even get an achievement for physically punching him!
- Justified since the Worldstone's destruction triggered the return of humanity's original power, which is supposed to be greater than the power of the angels and demons. The heroes are the first of the new Nephalem.
- Die, Chair, Die!: The game is jam-packed with destructible terrain. Ruined walls will crumble and furniture will splinter from your spells going off near them.
- There's even an achievement the barbarian can earn for destroying 2000 objects using the Whirlwind attack.
- Disability Superpower: Tyrael in act IV. He may be less powerful as a human, but he's not affected by the corruption Diablo causes to the Crystal Arch
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Sword of the Stranger in Act 1, and Zoltun Kulle's body in Act 2.
- Distressed Damsel: Inverted. It's the young and female Leah who wants you to rescue the elderly and male Deckard Cain. Played straight by her many times later.
- The Ditz: Covetous Shen. Though it's heavily implied he's Obfuscating Stupidity, and just refuses to give straight answers. And might in fact be a god.
- Also applies to Eirena the Enchantress, who has lived a rather sheltered life and is also a Fish Out of Temporal Water. As a result she is almost childlike in her innocence about many things.
- Doomed Hometown: Demon Hunters are survivors of towns or caravans destroyed by demons.
- Dual-Wielding: The Barbarian, naturally, and the Monk. The Demon Hunter can dual wield Crossbows.
- Door to Before: Dead end dungeons and caves have a magic stone on the last floor that teleports you to the entrance so you don't have to run back or portal to town.
- Dummied Out: The Mystic, who was going to be a player Artisan. Her model, voice work, and recruitment mission still exist in the form of the NPC Karyna you rescue from the Spider Queen, but she no longer follows you after.
- Dying Town: New Tristram.
- Dynamic Difficulty: The more players there are in a game, the stronger the monsters are to compensate.
- Dynamic Entry: The Armored Destroyer enemies enter battle by attempting to smash down on top of you.
- Also, the Unholy Thrall and Corrupted Angel's charge attacks, frequently coming from off-screen.
- Easter Egg: When the player enters one of the Defiled Crypts in the Act I graveyard, it's possible for them to end up in Development Hell instead.
- Easy Exp: One can earn bonus experience by destroying furniture, reading tomes, or stringing together kill streaks or killing many enemies in a single attack.
- Easy Levels Hard Bosses: Hell and Inferno difficulties are very guilty of it.
- An interesting twist in that the levels are only easy until the randomized mini-boss generator pumps out something that puts the real bosses to shame.
- Enemy Civil War: The Dark Exile and Azmodan vs. Belial in the interim between Diablo II and III. Tyrael points out that the disunity between the Great Evils is their greatest weakness and if they ever get their act together everyone is screwed. Which is why Diablo as the Prime Evil can walk all over Heaven in Act 4.
- Escape Rope: The Town Portal returns, with changes. It's no longer useable by other party members, it has a five-second casting time which is canceled if interrupted, and it transports the caster immediately to town as soon as casting is complete. This is to prevent instantly teleporting back to town as soon as anything mildly threatening appears on screen, or pre-emptively opening a portal as an escape route before tackling a difficult boss, as many players did in previous Diablo titles.
- Essence Drop: Monsters periodically drop crimson Health Globes upon death. The developers wanted to move away from Diablo's traditional potion spam gameplay.
- Evil All Along: It turns out Adria was Diablo's high priestess all along. Or at least, she became a Diablo worshipper after he knocked her up shortly after the first game, and was really a seeker of darkness even before that. Anyone who's played Throne of Bhaal could probably have guessed that, though.
- Evil Laugh: Every time Zoltun Kulle vanishes at the end of a conversation, he lets out an evil laugh just to remind you that he's in no danger of becoming a good guy.
- Evil Plan: Diablo's multi-century plan to become the Prime Evil involved turning Izual the angel to his side so he can learn how to corrupt soulstones, employing Adria the witch as a servant and mother of his child so he will keep a physical anchor in Sanctuary while his brothers just die and go to the abyss, getting Baal to destroy the World Stone, and making Adria help the Diablo III heroes contain the spirits of Belial and Azmodan in the Black Soulstone before using Leah, the aforementioned child, as his vessel to be reborn as the Prime Evil.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Virtually every NPC who's even remotely evil is guilty of this. Of course the actual lords of hell take the cake.
- Experience Booster: Experience Shrines, again, as well as weapons that give experience per kill, and rubies adorned on helmets which grant a % experience boost.
- Exponential Potential: You are limited to six skill slots and 3 passive slots. However, each class has between 20-30 active skills and every skill has 5 rune variants that change its properties, in some cases dramatically altering your entire strategy. And then there's the 10-15 passives as well. And all the different types of gear you can find that enhances what skills you choose.
- The Extremist Was Right: Zoltun Kulle, while initially grateful to the player for his resurrection, refuses to give them the Black Soulstone once he finds out it has been tampered with in his absence. He warns the player character that someone is using him or her for their own plans and they're better off finding out what exactly is going on before using it. At this point the player character considers this a sign of betrayal and is forced to kill him and seize the Soulstone by force. Two acts later, it turns out this was all a gambit by Adria to resurrect Diablo.
- Technically, the sign of betrayal was Kulle pulling a We Can Rule Together on the hero, who essentially responded with "not interested, now hand over the soulstone or else." Kulle chose "else." He had made it plain long before then that he intended to conquer the world, and his refusal to hand over the stone coupled with that offer made it pretty clear that he was betraying the heroes, he just happened to be correct in saying that he wasn't the only person doing so.
- Fake King: Hakan II, the child king of Caldeum turns out to be Belial in disguise.
- Fake Longevity: There are four difficulties that must be played in order and each requires playing through every act again. A Diablo tradition.
- Fallen Angel: Tyrael willingly becomes this shortly after the Angiris Council (specifically Imperius) refuses to help Sanctuary.
- Unlike many real world religions, Diablo's demons are explicitly not fallen angels. However, angels can be corrupted and fall to darkness, which is what happened to Izual and many of the enemies you face in Act 4.
- Fantastic Romance: Humanity was birthed by renegade demons and angels falling in love. This did not turn out well.
- Fat Bastard: Azmodan and Ghom.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Leah, just Leah. Her mother not only suddenly betrays her and her friends, her mother forces the Black Soulstone into her chest turning her into a vessel for Diablo (or a reborn Tathamet with Diablo in control) pretty much following her father's footsteps.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three available followers; Templar, Enchantress, and Scoundrel
- Fight in The Nude: You can prevent equipment from showing up on your characters by coloring it with "Vanishing Dye".
- Final Death: Hardcore mode gives you one life before facing permanent character death. Not for the faint of heart.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Eirene was a part of an enchanter sisterhood which was put in a magic-induced sleep 1500 years ago due to a prophecy claiming that their aid will be needed in present times. All other members, however, were hunted down and slaughtered.
- Flash Step: The Monk has several skills that utilize this. Especially the aptly named Seven-Sided Strike, that dishes out seven hits to up to seven enemies with blurring speed.
- Flat Earth Atheist: One of the Wizard's side conversations with the Templar indicates that he doesn't think any such thing as an afterlife is very likely. They have this conversation knee deep in ghosts... Not to mention the fact that the world has historically been invaded from Hell at least three times.
- Flunky Boss: Iskatu from Act IV, who constantly summons shadow vermin at a rapid rate.
- Forever War: Heaven and Hell and the Eternal Conflict. Diablo-Tathamet nearly puts an end to it in a single day.
Diablo: Our long war...ends today!
- From Bad to Worse: The dead are rising, the animals have been corrupted into foul beasts, political leaders are being possessed, and the end of times has started. Not a good day, but not too unusual for the Diablo universe either. Sure, Cain dies, but he was pretty old anyway. But then Adria betrays you and uses Leah as a vessel for the Prime Evil which leads to Diablo invading Heaven itself and amassing an army of corrupted angels.
- General Failure: Your character is informed several times that Azmodan is an amazingly cunning commander. Literally nothing goes right for his invasion, however, especially when the hero shows up and rips through his forces like wet toilet paper.
- Genre Savvy: In a break from tradition, your hero rather gratifyingly twigs to the boy Emperor's real identity as Belial before handing over the world-destroying MacGuffin. Not that it helps in the end.
- Not to mention all the times you come upon a chest at a choke point, and your hero comments, "This looks suspicious." Most players will grab it anyway and just fight their way through the horrors to come.
- Giant Spider: Of course, most games can't resist them. In particular is the Spider Queen Araneae, bred by Archbishop Lazarus and released into a cave decades before. Also, the witch doctor has weaponized cat-sized spiders and can toss pots full of them as a basic ability.
- Glass Cannon: To hammer home the point about the Wizard class being one, said Wizard even has a passive skill that increases all damage by 10% but reduces all of his/her defenses by 15%, explicitly named after the trope.
- Subverted with a skill build that was present for a short time after release before being silently nerfed. Energy Armor with the Force Armor rune reduces all damage you take to only 35% of your maximum health. Combine this with low max health and health regen that instantly restores that small amount of lost health and you create a wizard that doubles as the best tank in the game.
- God Is Dead: Anu was a God of Order, Tathamet was the Prime Evil and God of Chaos. Their fight to the death created the universe and their corpses became Heaven and Hell.
- God of Evil: Tathamet, the original Prime Evil. Whose body is now the foundation of the Burning Hells and whose heads became the seven Great Evils. Adria manages to revive Tathamet, or rather a Diablo-dominant reincarnation of Tathamet, by inserting the Black Soulstone into Leah.
- God Was My Co-Pilot: Maybe. Covetous Shen sure drops a lot of hints that he may be a trickster god in disguise. Then again, he may just be messing with your head. Then again again, isn't that just what a trickster god would do? Then again again again...
- Gold and White Are Divine: With a touch of light blue.
- Grand Finale: Diablo III has been stated to end the current storyline, and thus it is expected that the expansions to this game would tie up remaining loose ends.
- Gratuitous German: The Diablo III logo, but you need a very high resolution to read it.
- Grim Up North: Act III.
- Guide Dang It: In the game's default settings, each active skill slot can only be used for a single category of spells. What the game doesn't make clear to you, however, is that there is an option to allow you to put whatever skill you want into your skill slots.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Tyrael VS Imperius.
- Harder Than Hard: Inferno mode is meant to be a challenge only the most skilled and dedicated can hope to defeat, available only upon beating Hell mode and reaching max level.
- Not to mention Hardcore Mode, which implements permanent character death.
- Hard Mode Perks: The best items and monster affixes can only be found here.
- Healing Potion: Overhauled from previous games; they now have a cooldown and are meant to be used as a last resort. Healing Globes take their place as in-combat healing.
- The Heart: Auriel, the Archangel of Hope, for the angels, quite literally as they give in to despair and cannot fight while she is captured.
- The humans of Bastion's Keep also lose hope while Auriel is imprisoned. With Malthael (Archangel of Wisdom) disappearing before the game begins, it's possible characters who make poor decisions or miss the obvious do so because wisdom is gone from the world.
- The Hedonist: Azmodan's gimmick, according to Book of Cain. His turf of Hell is about excessive pleasure to the point of revulsion.
- Hell on Earth: Naturally, but it gets worse when Azmodan arrives with most of the armies of Hell from Mount Arreat.
- The Hero: No matter which class you play as, your character is an altruistic good guy who protects the innocent, fights against evil, and struggles to make the world a better place. Even the Demon Hunter, who is driven by their hatred and desire to kill demons, won't hesitate to help a person in need.
- Heroic BSOD: Tyrael has one when he sees the destruction that Diablo is visiting upon the High Heavens.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Tyrael sacrifices his own divinity so that he can help the mortals of Sanctuary without interference from his fellow angels.
- Holy Halo: Imperius, the Archangel of Valor sports one. Though it's made of metal, as if part of his armor.
- Horny Devil: The Succubus demons return to tempt mortals with their exposed assets. Also introduces their new matriarch Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust, who sounds very excited when describing her anticipation of killing you.
- Hot Amazon: The female barbarian, who looks like a more buffed version of Red Sonja.
- Humans Are Special: The original humans, the Nephalem, were born of both angel and demon blood which caused them to control unfathomable power that surpasses both sides' strength. They were never meant to exist in the first place, which lets them defy fate. Both the Angels and Demons realized this once they discovered the existence of Sanctuary and wanted sway them over to their side so they can finally win the Eternal War. Inarius, however, fearful of that the Nephalem would overthrow him tuned the Worldstone to strip them of their limitless power, with the Worldstone being destroyed by Tyrael at the end of Diablo 2's expansion, Lord of Destruction, the humans are slowly regaining their former Nephalem power.
- Tyrael even admits that he is surprised by and admires humans' abilities to carry on living, even in the face of almost certain annihilation. He decides that he would rather stay a mortal than become an angel again.
- Humanity on Trial: The Angiris Council once did this. Some feared humanity would be used by Hell against them, others thought they were a blasphemy of creation due to their demonic taint and should be wiped out on general principle. Tyrael was originally in the kill them all camp but cast the deciding vote for humanity after witnessing a human sacrifice himself for the greater good.
- Husky Russkie: The Male Monk in Diablo III. The female is a little less husky, but still has the accent.
- I Am Legion: Diablo becomes this, and even says it.
- Further invoked by his abilities which reference to the other Evils, such as if you read the various curses he casts on you, they have names like 'Curse of Destruction' or 'Curse of Hatred'.
- Infallible Babble: Leah, early in Act I: "I'm told he was a great Warrior who was lost when Tristram fell to the demons." Later it is revealed Leah's father is Diablo.
- When It All Began: Leoric's eldest son, Aidan is the Warrior in Diablo I, who eventually became Diablo's new host and the Dark Wanderer in Diablo II.
- Insistent Terminology: When the hero first meets the jewelcrafter, and he introduces himself as Covetous Shen.
Hero: Your name is Covetous?
Covetous Shen: Covetous Shen.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: You'll visit such lovely tourist destinations as the Fields of Slaughter, the Halls of Agony, the Sanctum of the Betrayer, the Edge of the Abyss, and the Tower of the Damned.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Imperius. He lives though, and you can see the hole in his armor in-game afterwards.
- Impersonation Gambit: Belial successfully impersonates the son of the original king of Caldeum after he dies so he can slowly but surely corrupt the Jewel of the East, however his gambit fails when the heroes manage to catch on and slay him.
- Impossible Item Drop: Don't think too hard about how or why a swarm of insects is carrying plate armor. Or where a demoness wearing only a thong hides a broad sword before you kill her.
- Informed Ability: Azmodan is played up by several characters as a tactical genius. His tactics include Zerg rush, occasional anti-hero public service announcements, threatening the heroes while telling them exactly where his forces are coming from and threatening his subordinates with You Have Failed Me. In other words, exactly like every other boss in the game.
- This is Lampshaded in a dialog with the templar
Templar: "They say that Azmodan is the greatest tactician of the Lords of Hell."
Barbarian: "And yet his followers fall like twigs in the wind."
- Not to mention, Belial is supposed to be a master of lies. While posing as the emperor, he claims to have found Belial's identity...but won't tell you without even giving you an explanation as to why he won't tell you. Now how many players were legitimately fooled by this?
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: The Enchantress. The Stripperiffic mage who wants to steal away Leah.
Enchantress: "I fear my dress is not appropriate here."
Wizard: "Is your dress appropriate anywhere?"
Enchantress: "I don't know what you mean."
- Another exchange goes along the lines of "I need new clothing. These old ones are getting too small." She also has some rather Les Yay laden changes with a female monk and other female classes.
- Interface Spoiler: Search through the achievements for NPC conversations. One of Tyrael's Act IV conversations is entitled "Adria's Betrayal".
- Intergenerational Friendship: The male Barbarian and any of the followers.
- In the Blood: Leah is the daughter of Diablo and can, under extreme stress, explode in a lightshow of red and black magic which kills everyone around her. Despite this, Leah has a pure and noble heart -- she only turns into the Prime Evil when Adria uses the Black Soulstone to flood her body with the souls of the seven Great Evils.
- In the End You Are on Your Own: See It's Up to You. Averted if you're in multiplayer, though.
- Item Crafting: Plays a big role, allowing you to turn any useless magic items you find into crafting materials which you can then use to craft your own equipment, although often with random attributes. You can also spend gold to train the blacksmith, which allows you to craft more varied and higher level equipment.
- It Has Been an Honor: In Act IV, given the players odds at succeeding protecting the High Heavens and repelling the Prime Evil's assault, both Lyndon and Kormac sincerely believe they won't live to see Diablo vanquished. Before the final battle, they'll confess in party banter how it's been a good ride, and Kormac even confesses how he's been wrong about you and thinks you a great leader and a friend.
- It's Up to You: Initially averted. You enroll several characters to help you and they often follow you around and fight with you -- Cain, Leah, Tyrael, Adria, the Artisans, the Followers, and Zoltun Kulle. But when Heaven is invaded the angels are powerless to stop Diablo. The Angel of Fate points out that only a Nephalem can save them because their destiny is not written in the scroll of fate whereas it says angels are doomed. When Diablo begins to corrupt the Crystal Arch, every angel is depowered and can't help. When you rush to confront him your follower is imprisoned in a bone cage and implores you to go on without him.
- Jerkass: Kormac the Templar can come off as this if you play a Barbarian or Witchdoctor, in which cause he will bluntly call them "uncultured savages."
- It varies, sometimes the barbarian and Kormac get along rather well. In particular, Kormac praises the barbarian for being honorable and incorruptable.
- Just Friends: Through NPC dialogue it is obvious that Kormac the Templar is infatuated with Eirena the Enchantress. But Eirena seems to be oblivious to it and Kormac is too shy to just tell her how he feels.
- Kaizo Trap: Elite Mooks with the "Molten" ability will leave behind a fireball when they die, which explodes in a radius for massive damage. Better not pick up that loot yet...
- Karma Houdini: Adria, who betrays you and resurrects Diablo by sacrificing Leah, manages to escape. This raises the possibility of this being resolved in an expansion pack.
- Killed Off for Real: Deckard Cain, the old Horadrim mage whom has helped you throughout the entire series, is killed towards the end of Act One. Also: Belial, Azmodan, Leah, and finally Diablo himself if Tyrael's words are anything to go by.
- Knight Templar: The Demon Hunters are just as dark and brutal as the demons they are sworn to destroy. Ditto for the Templar. Angels as a whole can be considered this as well, especially Imperius.
- Land Mine Goes Click: Throughout Arreat Crater and it's associated subzones. While not strictly land mines, the desert also has venomous plants that explode once you get near, after giving a warning.
- Large Ham: An ensemble cast of some of the largest hams in the series. Even the player characters can get pretty hammy at times.
- "BY ALL THAT IS HOLY! Do you see that enemy over there?"
- Layered World: Heaven, Hell, Sanctuary, the Unformed Land, pocket dimensions, and wherever Trag'Oul hangs out.
- Lawful Stupid: This is how Tyrael sees the Archangel council; because of an ancient pact, they will not interfere and thus putting humanity in danger. And that is why he became a mortal, willingly.
- Lighter and Softer: The somewhat more saturated palette of this game compared to its predecessors elicited accusations of this from the fans. Blizzard decided to mock the accusers back by releasing a shirt looking like this, and then going even further and creating a level in the actual game with the same theme - see the Sugar Apocalypse entry.
- Light Is Not Good: Imperius embodies this trope, not caring about mortals in the slightest.
- Limited Wardrobe: The Blacksmith and the Jeweller, Covetous Shen. Especially noticable with the latter, as he still wears his desert-faring clothes in the cold Bastion's Keep. The player can question him on this after Shen advises him to wrap up warm, and he instantly lampshades and justifies it.
Player: Then why are you still wearing the same clothes you wore in Caldeum?
Shen: "Oh, well, it's quite simple. I just put a few fire opals in my pockets and under my shirts, and I never get cold! As good as a pair of long underwear.
- Love At First Sight: If Kormac the Templar is your follower the first time you encounter Eirena the Enchantress, he will remark that she is "beautiful." In subsequent conversations between the two characters it's evident that Kormac is interested in her romantically.
- Loveable Rogue: Lyndon, the Scoundrel.
- Luck Stat: Magic Find, Gold Find, and Critical Hit Chance.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Every enemy in the game can be exploded or dismembered in some way.
- Malevolent Architecture: The Scoundrel, Lyndon, comments on this when traversing the Keep depths to reach the larder in Bastion's Keep.
Lyndon: "Why do they even have these cellars. It would take a soldier several hours just to get down here and back again if he needed something. He'd need a damn compass!"
- Mana: The game has permutations based on the class.
- Barbarians build Rage with several of their basic and combat-initiating abilities, and also by taking damage. Rage can be expended in much more powerful skills, though a passive ability can be chosen to grant highly increased damage with a maxed-out Rage orb.
- The Demon Hunter is unique in using two resources for their skills; Hatred fuels offensive abilities and quickly replenishes, but a more limited and slowly regenerating pool of Discipline is required to use vital defensive and tactical skills.
- Monks gain holy Spirit through their combo attacks. Spirit does not decay over time, and the Monk may choose when and how to expend it with his myriad of offensive and supportive abilities.
- Witch Doctors continue to use the Mana Meter, though its regeneration rate is relatively higher than most other games. Mana-siphoning abilities and "investing" mana into Summon Magic help to keep the Witch Doctor casting.
- A Wizard channels a constant flow of Arcane Power into their spells. Their most powerful abilities can consume nearly the entire pool at once, though Wizards also have costless "Signature" abilities to deal moderate damage in the meantime.
- Master of Disguise: Belial and his minions are these.
- Metal Slime: Treasure goblins drop a lot of gold and items but flee from the player and if not killed in short order will disappear through a portal. Although they don't attack, following them can be dangerous if they lead you to a giant pack of hungry monsters.
- The Minion Master: Witch Doctors are capable of summoning various creatures alongside them.
- Mistaken for Subculture: When the secret level turned out to be full of purple uncorns, many assumed it was inspired by the Brony subculture. It was actually the result of an early controversy regarding "too bright" color design in screenshots, mocked in this Penny Arcade strip.
- The Mole: It turns out that Adria has been serving Diablo since she first met Aidan, who had attempted to contain him within his own body, and had conceived Leah with him for the sole purpose of using the poor girl as a vessel for Diablo's return as the Prime Evil, in accordance with Diablo's grand plan.
- Money Spider: You'll discover riches from spider eggs, cow corpses, angelic vases, ghosts, and bees.
- Mook Maker: Carrion Nests return from Diablo 3, and will produce all the Carrion Bats you could ask for.
- There are Iron Maidens that will endlessly spit out zombies until destroyed.
- In Act 3 there are 100 foot tall Hell Bearer demons which will grab onto the side of the ramparts and vomit out a river of demons until slain.
- More Dakka: The Demon Hunter's Rapid Fire ability does this.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: Belial's human disguise is more or less just a shrunken version of him with human features, he doesn't even bother to try and change his wardrobe much.
- Multi Mook Melee: Several events, such as what happens when you decide to touch the Jar Of Souls.
- Mummies At the Dinner Table: A random event in the Fields of Misery involves a farm besieged by Leapers. Once all the leapers have been killed, a man comes out of the farm cellar, telling you that him and his wife have been trapped down there by the leapers for hours, and that his wife would love to thank you for rescuing them. He leads you into the cellar, and introduces you to his wife...a skeleton sitting in a rocking chair. He says that she's been unwell of late, but his love will see her through! Then her head falls off. "Oh, she's nodded off."
- Mythology Gag: The Gibbering Gemstone, one of the items necessary to open Whimseyshire, is a clear reference to the Chat Gem in Diablo 2's chat lobby. It's flavor text is as follows:
- Chatty Gem
- You feel like talking to someone.
- It seems to be active, but it is difficult to tell.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Adria is being held prisoner by Goz'turr the Torturer.
- Certain combinations of monster pack Affixes, especially in Inferno, require a lot of effort to take down depending on your character. (for example, Vampiric+Molten+Plagued+Extra Health for melees or Arcane Enchanted+Vortex+Mortar+Frozen for the ranged) It's either you kill it or skip it.
- New Game+: Just like in the other Diablo titles, after finishing the game on one difficulty, you can access the other difficulties with your upgraded character.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The hero accidentally brings about Diablo's resurrection after getting duped by Adria.
- No Arc in Archery: Most projectiles just travel in a straight line with no concern for gravity, and are limited only by an Arbitrary Maximum Range.
- Noodle Incident: The Scoundrel seems to have a lot of these.
Scoundrel: Angry naked women are attacking me? This is my summer in Westmarch all over again!
- Not So Different: Some characters, such as Zoltan Kulle, argue that the angels are no better than the demons, and both sides would destroy humanity if they felt like it. Even Deckard Cain fears that this may be the case.
Angels. Demons. I fear their conflict will soon engulf the world of men. And when it does, what hope do men have when even the wrath of angels cannot be quenched?
- Numerical Hard: First 3 difficulties. Inferno throw in a bit more, but still save tendencies.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Shen, possibly.
- Oblivious to Love: Eirena the Enchantress seems to have no idea how Kormac the Templar feels about her. The player character has to make it clear for her.
Eirena: The Templar's so strange around me at times.
Barbarian: He's in love with you.
Barbarian: You never noticed?
- Obviously Evil: Zoltun Kulle. Intentionally non-spoilered due to how hideously obvious it is and how often Tyrael and the Templar point it out. It's not a case of if he'll betray you, it's when. Too bad the claims that suggest he's betraying you prove to have been sound advice.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Female Demon Hunter attire.
- Off With Her Head: You encounter the ghost of Leoric's queen carrying around her own severed head by the hair. Later in the level, you get to watch a spectral reenactment of her execution by guillotine while Leoric and the Archbishop watch on.
- One-Man Army: No matter which hero you choose, you will singlehandedly kill thousands of enemies over the course of the campaign.
- One Stat to Rule Them All: Every offensive skill scales from damage determinating your main needs. Vitality comes close to second to balance survivability.
- One-Winged Angel: Belial does this in the final Act 2 fight, transforming into a giant version of himself that takes up half of the screen.
- Wizards can also pull this off with their Archon ability. It turns them into a being of pure power, with extremely powerful melee attacks, powerful AOE abilities and a devestating, upgraded version of Disintegrate.
- Our Angels Are Different: Diablo angels wear heavy armor, hoods, and have permanently shadowed faces. The only halo around is Imperius's, and it's made of steel. Their most striking feature are enormous flowing tentacle wings made out of glowing energy which can be used to manipulate objects as well as fly. Angels themselves are said to be made out of harmonic vibrations and light.
- Many angels don't have a rosy view of humanity. Mankind itself was created by the union of a demon and an angel; one of them saw humans as slaves and worshippers and the other was the demon.
- Pity the Kidnapper: A Bastion's Keep soldier and his wife reminisce about the time barbarians kidnapped her. He was frantic until they returned her with an apology. She simply reasoned with them... and the leader still sends her a bundle of hides sometimes.
- Physical God: You. Yes, your character is one of the first new nephalems, beings who are said to surpass Angels or Demons in power, in addition to being Immune to Fate.
- Plot Armor: Your NPC followers can not die. If they take too much damage in combat they will fall to their knees for a few seconds before getting back up at full health. This also applies to quest-specific followers like Leah and Akana.
- Poor Communication Kills: Zoltun Kulle If he actually explained things to you for once instead of him being totally mysterious and Obviously Evil then the game might have ended a lot differently.
- Power Limiter: Turns out that the Worldstone served this purpose. Now that it's gone, humans can look after themselves against both angels and demons. Thanks, Tyrael!
- Pride: the Wizard, even the name alone is associated with great power in-universe.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The barbarian.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Gameplay-wise, it doesn't matter if your character is male or female. The only real difference between male and female characters is appearance, voice, and how certain NPCs behave towards you.
- Ragdoll Physics: Diablo III. Enemies (and their chunks) go flying when the killing blow is strong enough.
- Rain of Arrows: Dual-wielding Demon Hunter. Awesome but Impractical thanks to stupidly low chance of Random Drops for hand crossbows with decent damage rates.
- Random Drop: Every item. It's possible to get an extremely powerful weapon from a Mook or even a Barrel.
- Random Event: Much more so than the previous games. Such events include sudden ambushes, short sidequests, NPCs needing rescue, or even an enemy's ghost complaining that you killed him.
- Random Number God: Every item is randomly generated, including legendaries and quality of dropped items is not based on killed monster, meaning you will hardly get item with stats you actually need. On top yellow bosses are also randomly generated and mostly dangerous only if they get skills unpleasant for your class.
- Reconstruction: Whereas the first 2 games in the entry irrefutably ripped apart the conventions of Heroic Fantasy with a bloody meat cleaver, Diablo 3 is a surprisingly warm-hearted reminder of why we love stories about heroes fighting demons: for these tales appeal to the inner desire to make the world a kinder and gentler place.
- Red Herring: Mysterious but useless Black Mushrooms can spawn in the Cathedral, even referring to the trope in the item description.
- Said description is in fact a quote from the original Diablo, spoken by Deckard Cain when asked about the Black Mushroom quest.
- They're not completely useless though; you'll need them to get to Whimsyshire.
- Redshirt Army: The defenders of Bastion's Keep. By the time Azmodan's invasion is over, less than three hundred of them remain out of an original one thousand. It doesn't help that their uniforms are red as well.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Not only do you get items from Random Drops, but you get Exp bonuses for breaking lots of objects in quick succession.
- Religion of Evil: The Triune cultists worship their dark masters and perform unholy summoning incantations to aid them. In Diablo 3 they are led by Maghda, in the past by Adria and Mephisto's son, Lucion.
- Riddle for the Ages: Who or what exactly is Covetous Shen? Is he just a simple traveling jeweler with a lot of stories to tell, or is he secretly a god in disguise? Shen himself drops some hints, but ultimately just dances around the question.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Your hero goes on one at the beginning of Act II to avenge Cain's death at the hands of Maghda.
- Role Reprisal: Michael Gough reprises his role as Deckard Cain for the 3rd time. Also Lani Minella returns as Adria the Witch.
- Rousseau Was Right: Yes, even in this universe, love, courage and hope are still the greatest powers of all.
- Saved for the Sequel: All the Lords of Hell are mentioned in Diablo 1 but only Diablo is fought in the game. Andariel, Duriel, Mephisto, and Baal show up in Diablo 2. Finally, 15 years after first being mentioned, Azmodan and Belial make their appearance in Diablo 3.
- Scary Black Man: This is what human!Tyrael looks like.
- Scary Scorpions: The Tormented Stingers may look like scorpions and sting like them, but they are actually made from human sacrifices whose chests have been sliced open and their legs mutilated, while maddened by pain.
- Scenery Gorn:
- The Desolate Sands area, with parched, cracked ground, tar pits, and multiple Ribcage Ridges.
- Azmodan's realm, which looks like hell. In particular, the towers of the Sin Hearts and their massive chained-and-tortured demon inhabitants.
- Also, Heaven after Diablo and his demons invade it.
- Scenery Porn:
- You finally get to see the Silver City and High Heavens, and they are amazing. Turns into Scenery Gorn after Diablo attacks, though after his death it is slowly restored by the sun as it breaks through Diablo's cloud cover.
- Also, the Hidden Camp area gives you a rather breathtaking view of Caldeum, the Jewel of the East, in the background.
- Schmuck Bait:
- There's a golden chest in the middle of a room filled with corpses/a somewhat creepy grove lined with "trees"/several other situations. Is it safe?
- There's also the "Jar Of Souls" on an altar surrounded by a massive load of skeletons on the floor. In absolute fairness, most of the player characters comment on how the Jar of Souls is obviously a trap, and the Witch Doctor even goes so far as to say that it's a trap she's more than willing to spring in order to put the souls to rest.
- An NPC says "don't disturb the (spider) eggs." Naturally, every player immediately disturbs the spider eggs.
- Screw Destiny: Nephalem are stated as being the only beings capable of this, since they are not mentioned in the Scroll of Fate. Proved true when the hero averts the destruction of the angels at the hands of Diablo, which was prophesied in the Scroll of Fate.
- Seen It All: There are a few examples, but one particular standout is Marta, the old soldier's wife at Bastion's Keep in Act III. She's completely unfazed by anything up to and including demons bursting through the wall in ambush not twenty feet from her.
- Sequel Hook: Several. After betraying you, Adria manages to escape to fight another day. Imperius is clearly up to no good. Malthael is missing. And the developers have explicitly hinted how Leah isn't gone forever.
- There are also more potential hooks such as Kormac's desire to reform his Order, Lyndon's brother still being in jail, Eirena still not knowing what happened to the Prophet, and Covetous Shen's search for the Jewel of Dirgest.
- And the Black Soulstone is seen plummeting back to Sanctuary in the final cinematic, implying Diablo may be Not Quite Dead...
- Seven Deadly Sins: Azmodan's lieutenants include Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust, Ghom, the Lord of Gluttony, and Rakanoth, the Lord of Anguish. Others may appear in expansions.
- Shoot the Medic First: Kill the Fallen Conjurer/Prophet/Firemage first unless you want them to keep reviving the grunts.
- Shout-Out: Very, very many.
- An early quest is called "The Legacy of Cain."
- Another one is called Sword of the Stranger, where you help a nameless swordsman.
- Act 2 has a powerful gold monster named Nine Toads - Terror of the Borderlands. He even drops The Clipper!
- Abd al-Hazir sounds suspiciously like Abdul Alhazred, doesn't it? In particular, they have Shown Their Work, "Abdul Alhazred" is bad Arabic and a common "correct" form of the name is Abd Al-Azrad.
- A legendary bow's name is "Etrayu". Now, exchange the letters "a" and "e": you get "Atreyu", one of the heroes of the Never Ending Story, who's weapon of choice was a bow. And if you had any doubts about it, the item's description leaves no ambiguity:
The warrior surveyed the dead and dying arrayed about him. There would be more—many more. He felt as if he were trapped in a tale that would never end.
- The Flavor Text for the Barbarian passive Berserker Rage reads:
- As usual, the achievement list yields a whole bunch of references. A crowning example of which is for purchasing all the stash upgrades: "Space, I love space!"
- The Achievement "A Question of Lust" is a reference to a Depeche Mode-song of the same name. Its Hardcore version "Lust, Caution" is yet another, this time to an Ang Lee movie.
- The Treasure Goblins - pesky diminutive midgets with sacks of loot which you literally beat said loot out of - are doubtlessly inspired by a famous hack-and-slash fantasy brawler.
- There's a walking tree called The Old Man.
- A legendary one-handed sword is named Monster Hunter.
- The Witch Doctor has a skill called FireBats.
- There's a unique Ghastly Gravedigger with the name Digger O'Dell and subtitle "must be shoveling off." This is a reference to a 1940s radio sitcom called The Life Of Riley. Apparently nothing is too obscure for Blizzard!
- The Monk has a skill called Exploding Palm. The key feature of this attack is that the victim explodes if the DOT kills them (later edited to apply to any damage while the debuff still applies). Four words only: You are already dead.
- There is a three-bladed legendary fist weapon called Logan's Claw that regenerates the user's health.
- There is a legendary spear called The 300th Spear.
- A Legendary mace is called The Overfiend. Oh dear...
- There was a shield to go with it called the Phalanx Lock, but it seems to have been removed.
- The ring Justice Lantern. In brightest day, in blackest night...
- Exploring Whimsyshire might have you meet Annie's teddy bear.
- Also in Whimsyshire you'll find Midnight Sparkle
- The Three Brothers at the Drowned Temple and the "Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk" achievement.
- One of the random monsters you can fight is a Rodent of Unusual Size
- The female Demon Hunter bears a strong resemblance to Selene from the Underworld films, and a number of achievements and runes (such as "Death Dealer" and "Equilibrium") reference those and other movies with an emphasis on badass coats and Guns Akimbo.
- The dye remover. It's got what plants crave!
- In the deserts of Caldeum, there's a shipwreck called the Black Rock.
- There is an event in Act 1 that is titled The Last Stand of the Ancients.
- There's a giant sandworm in the Desolate Sands in Act II called Shaitan The Broodmother - Great Maker. Yeah, most sandworms are Dune references in some way, shape or form now, but Shaitan and Maker are very specific names for the Shai Hulud. You even can find a corpse called Stilgar wich spawns a lovely bunch of sandworms when searched.
- One set is called Chantodo's Legacy. One piece of this set is called Chantodo's Elemental Seal. Elemental Seal is a black mage ability in Final Fantasy XI, and Shantotto is one of the most fearsome black mage of this universe.
- As usual, the achievement list yields a whole bunch of references. A crowning example of which is for purchasing all the stash upgrades: "Space, I love space!"
- The Siege: First half of Act III.
- Sidetrack Bonus: Exploring off the beaten path can lead to optional quests or new dungeons full of loot.
- Skill Point Reset: Skills and their runes can be freely swapped around. The skills of the followers can also be reset, if you want to try different ones.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Quite surprisingly for the Grand Finale of a Gothic Horror/Dark Fantasy game series, Diablo 3 is quite possibly the most uplifting and idealistic installment in the franchise yet. With heartfelt sincerity, it reminds the player that no matter how ugly and sad the world may become, there is always hope and it is worth believing and fighting for.
- Perhaps demonstrated in the game's art style which is slightly more saturated with color and light/dark contrasts than previous games which were muted and dark on semi-dark contrast.
- Smug Super: If his/her quotes are any indication, the Wizard is this.
Wizard: I'm so good I astound myself!
- Smurfette Principle: Auriel, the Archangel of Hope, is the only female member on the Angiris Council.
- Socketed Equipment: Socketed weapons and helms return, allowing the player to improve their stats with gems.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: You start by killing zombies and mutated wildlife. Soon enough you're battling skeletons, hellspawn, undead mages with a lust for immortality, living demonic siege engines the size of a house, fallen angels, and finally the manifestation of all evil.
- Soul Jar: The Black Soulstone, like the other Soulstones in the series, is this.
- Spread Shot: There are skills and runes that allow the Demon Hunter and the Wizard to fire out a spread of multiple projectiles.
- Multishot: One of the Demon Hunter skills is even named Multishot. It fires a large spread of arrows in front of them.
- Stripped to the Bone: The Oppressor demons have this as their normal death animation.
- Stuff Blowing Up: There is a very high number of explosions in the game. Besides various player skills and spell causing explosions, monsters tend to blow up when killed as well. Sometimes this does damage to other monsters nearby, or to the player.
- Stripperiffic: Low level female characters, the Enchantress, the Succubi demons.
- The Stoic: The Diablo III Barbarian, or so the authors claim.
- Sturgeon's Law: Being Diablo, this game has loads of randomly generated loot. As is tradition, you can expect oh... maybe five to ten percent of that to be of any use to you.
- Sugar Apocalypse / Take That / Tastes Like Diabetes: What you bring to Whimseyshire in the hidden level.
- Some has hypothesized that this was a developer reaction to people complaining that the new art style of D3 was too cartoony and bright.
- Super Mode: The Wrath of the Berserker ability temporarily transforms the barbarian into a 10 foot tall juggernaut that boasts improved damage, health, and speed. Also, the Wizard's Archon spell temporarily turns them into a creature of pure magical energy that moves fast and has powerful melee attacks.
- Stylish Protection Gear: The Demon Hunter has been shown in her Blizz Con promo video to have some very stylish armor with the rather out-of-place addition of Combat Stilettos.
- Take Your Time: Don't worry that there's a siege happening at this very moment. Take all the time you need messing with your stash.
- No matter how much you idle, Diablo won't be able to corrupt the Crystal Arch until you reach him.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: What you get when you team up a female monk and the enchantress follower.
- Thigh-High Boots: Part of the female demon hunter's default outfit.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: No one does it better than the Barbarian.
- Two-Faced Aside: The Scoundrel has a personality that can easily apply these.
Lyndon: Fair price indeed! [aside] You're getting swindled!
- The Undead: Standard for the Diablo series.
- The Unfought: You never get to fight Adria or Imperius.
- Vendor Trash: Poor-quality (gray and white) items are
almostnot even worth picking up.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Silver Spire, complete with blood falls, lightning, and the corpses of angels staked to walls.
- Video Game 3D Leap: The first fully 3D entry in the series. Ironically, both cinematic and gameplay graphics are stylized in an attempt to look like painted 2D visuals.
- Wake Up Call Boss:
- Leoric, the Skeleton King. The buckets of hitpoints, lethal cleave attack, and ability to summon Mooks meant the player needs to utilize dodging, defense, and mitigation to succeed.
- Players who roll through the first two acts on Normal while stacking offensive spells will die at Belial, since the nature of his attacks demand damage mitigation and movement skills to avoid being melted.
- Warmup Boss: The Wretched Queen, basically just a stronger version of the Wretched Mother enemies and requires little effort to destroy.
- Wham! Episode: Deckard Cain's death. Adria's betrayal.
- Warp Whistle: Waypoints allow instant travel to any other unlocked waypoint. Unlike Diablo 2 they are not permanent from game to game and depend on what quest you select.
- What Could Have Been:
- The Male Barbarian was supposed to be the same guy from 2, but this idea was scrapped by Blizzard.
- Also, a number of features that were mentioned in demo videos never materialized in the game, such as: obstacles that required certain class abilities to navigate, in-game cinematics, additional NPC allies, as well as entire dungeons.
- What Did You Expect When You Named It?: The barkeep remarks that naming the town New Tristram was probably a bad idea since the old one was burned to the ground by demons.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happened to the heroes from Diablo 2 after they were sent away to safety by Tyrael.
- A Necromancer turns up in Act II and mentioned how his mentor who trained him helped stopped Diablo twenty years ago.
- In the Wizard's short story on the Diablo III website, it is revealed that the Assassin killed the Sorceress.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Lampshaded by a journal entry by a cultist talking about hearing of a hero coming who cut down his allies like they were children and that now he can't sleep at night out of fear.
- When Trees Attack: The Gnarled Walkers are explicitly not trees, but monsters who took the form of trees to better ambush prey. The fact that they bleed growing green blood supports this claim.
- Whip It Good: While not necessarily a whip, Auriel uses a giant cord-like ribbon wrapped around her body in this fashion.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: The female Diablo III Monk.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. The zombies. Yes, seriously. At least, the ones who rose in the wake of the fallen star. They are explicitly those who were murdered or slaughtered by the demons from the first two games, awoken by Tyrael's uncontrolled power, which promised them justice.
- Xanatos Gambit: Adria had one running for the past twenty years, with the sole aim of resurrecting Diablo as the Prime Evil.
- Technically, the whole thing was part of Diablo's plan from the start, he spent several centuries working on it so that he can be sure that he'd become the Prime Evil without question. Adria was simply a vital pawn to his plan.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: Of course. Otherwise it would all be over by as early as Act II.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: Belial's One-Winged Angel phase has got to be this, as the moment he's defeated, all damages to the surroundings were undone. It helps that his epithet was 'The Lord of Lies'.
- Diablo's Realm of Terror is another debatable place.
- You Will Not Evade Me: Elite Mooks with the Teleporting, Waller and Jailer abilities can do this to you. Vortex enemies can also pull you over to them from a distance, and The Butcher also has a move where he pulls you into close range with his meat hook.
- Zombie Apocalypse: You know things are bad when this isn't the most pressing problem.
You do believe me, don't you?