Does Mephisto in Heroes mean anything for Diablo?
I haven’t been shy about speculating about Diablo lately, and so far my obsession with the game has been rewarded with a new comic and a Switch port announced recently. So maybe it’s like a magic trick and if I speculate more about the franchise I’ll get a Diablo 4 announcement at BlizzCon this year.
“Matt,” you may be saying, “that’s not how speculation or even how reality works.”
I admit that you’re completely right, but I still remember when I speculated that we’d get Diablo news and then Blizzard announced upcoming Diablo news the same day. So I’m going to speculate some more about Diablo because at this point I might as well. Because first off, I want a new Diablo game, and secondly, we’re as well poised for a new Diablo game as we’ve been in years.
Hatred and its Lord
Recently, Blizzard announced they will be adding Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred and a major antagonist in the Diablo series, to the Heroes of the Storm roster. It’s entirely possible that they did this because it would be cool to add a new hero from the franchise. They’ve added Auriel and Malthael before without any new Diablo announcements, and when speculating it’s always important to remain grounded and recognize that it may just be a coincidence or fortuitous timing. But with BlizzCon two months away, and the idea that we’re getting multiple Diablo announcements by the end of the year fresh in our minds, let’s think about it.
At the end of Reaper of Souls, Malthael sundered the Black Soulstone that had been used to contain the demonic essences of all seven of the Evils. That included the three Primes — Diablo, Mephisto and Baal had all been felled during the events of Diablo 2 and their souls imprisoned in the Soulstone. Diablo used that to become the Prime Evil through trickery and a decades long plan with the aid of his acolyte, Adria. But when Malthael sundered the stone, the essence of the Evils escaped it and presumably returned to the Burning Hells. Whether this was still as the singular Prime Evil or once again the seven Evils is yet to be determined.
A many headed monster
Seeing the Baa’l pet in World of Warcraft be discovered and Mephisto make an appearance in Heroes of the Storm definitely has me thinking about those two, and what it might be saying about the future of the Diablo franchise. Diablo 2 was all about the three Prime Evils, and their huge impact on the world of Sanctuary. Diablo destroyed Tristram and the monarchy of Khanduras, Mephisto utterly corrupted the Zakarum faith over the centuries with most of its higher ups now secretly Mephisto’s pawns, and Baal ultimately marched on Sescheron and corrupted the Worldstone itself, forcing Tyrael to destroy it. In so doing, this allowed the return of the Nephalem.
If, at the end of Reaper of Souls Malthael’s actions allowed all seven of the Evils to be freed, then the two other Primes would probably resent Diablo for almost subsuming them into a singular being. Especially if they believed his scheme to meant that their own plans to corrupt Sanctuary and use the Humans to win the Eternal Conflict failed because Diablo was just using them. Remember, the three Prime Evils only ended up banished to Sanctuary as part of this long, long term plan to corrupt Humanity, going so far as to deliberately lose the Demonic Civil War to Belial and Asmodan to arrange it.
A battle of royals
Both Mephisto and Baal endured centuries of imprisonment in Soulstones just for the chance to pull it off. And so, to discover yourself a helpless part of Diablo as he marched on Heaven single-handedly — only to be defeated by a Nephalem who wouldn’t have existed in the first place if Diablo hadn’t gone off script — has to be somewhat galling. With all seven Evils now free somewhere in the Burning Hells, could the release of Mephisto in Heroes be a clue as to who the major player in a new Diablo game might be? After all, there’s been a ton of speculation about whether it’s a direct sequel or some variation like a Battle Royale type game. Mephisto being the Lord of Hatred would benefit from a scenario where a widespread clash of arms breaks out somewhere on Sanctuary.
The throne of Khanduras has been empty for decades, and the Kingdom of Westmarch is now bereft of its own King. The people of Sanctuary have recently survived the attempt by a former Archangel to assassinate their entire world’s population in one stroke. Let’s face it, the seeds for a cataclysmic world-wide conflict have been sown — it wouldn’t take much for the Lord of Hatred to fan the flames. Perhaps the three Primes are now competing to see who can reap the most mortal souls for their armies in Hell, as part of a battle for control over the Hells themselves.
Please Blizzard end our torment
This is, of course, purely speculation. We have as yet no idea if Blizzard is going to announce any new Diablo games at BlizzCon this year. Their Gamescom announcement didn’t mention it — it did have a Diablo component, but it was light on any details. And putting Mephisto in Heroes proves nothing, as they’ve put other Diablo characters in the game before without it meaning anything. But the fact is, Mephisto as a character hasn’t been seen in a Diablo game since Diablo 2. Considering the potential for diversifying the franchise, he’d serve well as the anchor of a different kind of game.
Personally, though, I just want this all to mean we’re going to get a Diablo 4 announcement this year. Come on, Blizzard. It’s time and you know it. People are hungry for more Diablo gaming, and you’re working on something over there. The Book of Adria is coming out soon, every other franchise you’ve got is either in a “we just launched an expansion” phase or trucking along releasing regular content. This year could be Diablo‘s time to shine.
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