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Diablo > Diablo 4 > LoreJun 15, 2023 10:00 am CT

The history of Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, and how he plays into Diablo 4

Though the franchise is named after Diablo, the Lord of Terror is not the only of the Evils to stalk the surface of Sanctuary. Indeed, it could be argued that of the three Greater Evils, Diablo has had the least direct impact on the world as a whole. Baal, the Lord of Destruction, caused the destruction of Mount Arreat and the Worldstone. And Mephisto — the Lord of Hatred — not only corrupted the church of Zakarum and used it as a tool of manipulation, he did so on a world that wouldn’t even exist without him. In a real way, Mephisto can be called the grandfather of Sanctuary, because he’s Lilith‘s father.

That doesn’t mean he’s a particularly nice grandpa, however. No, Mephisto is pretty dedicated to  corrupting and perhaps even consuming the souls of humankind on Sanctuary as the key to winning the Eternal Conflict with the Heavens and conquering all of existence once and for all.

But who exactly is Mephisto? What role has he played in the Diablo games so far? And how is he involved in Diablo 4? Let’s dig into the lore of Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred. Spoilers

So let’s talk about Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred, and the role he’s played in the Diablo series up to this point. Spoilers ahead for all of the Diablo games, including Diablo 4. We’ll start by talking about Mephisto’s history, but the last section of this post will contain story spoilers for Diablo 4, so don’t read beyond the spoiler warning if you don’t want to know.

How Mephisto discovered Sanctuary

Trying to sum up the whole of Mephisto’s creation in a single paragraph is the kind of hubris they pay me for around here. Once there was a being like a god named Anu, and Anu was everything, but Anu disliked being everything and split itself into good and evil. The evil was named Tathemet, a dragon with seven heads which did battle with the good and died. Each of the dragon’s seven heads ripped their way free of its corpse and became on of the seven Demon Lords knows as Evils, first of demonkind. They learned that the good also survived in the form of Angels, and began a war since known as the Eternal Conflict to destroy them.

Mephisto and the other Greater Evils found out about Sanctuary well after its creation. At first, all they knew was what all the Hells and Heavens knew: that after eons, the Pandemonium Fortress had been infiltrated and the Worldstone stolen, and in its place was a void. Since much of the goal of the Eternal Confict was to sustain control of the Worldstone long enough to learn how to use its power to wipe out the opposite faction, this caused the war to skid to a kind of low simmer.

But time means little to eternal beings. Mephisto heard stories of demons who had been summoned into a world unlike Hell, Heaven, or the endless battlefields of Pandaemonium. On this world were beings; puny, unimportant beings called humans. Yet these puny, unimportant beings could somehow wield considerable magical power, and some of them had used it to summon demons, thus letting the Lords of Hell learn about this new place. Together, the Evils investigated and found Sanctuary.

And while humanity by and large was as frail and imbecilic as expected, there were hints of cosmic power trapped within these mortal bodies. Whatever their origins, these creatures and their perplexing souls could be of use to Hell — as a replenishing source of fodder if nothing else, and potentially the key to a power neither Demons nor Angels possessed.

Everything we’ve seen of Hell since was born in that one moment. The Sin War and the conflict between Inarius’ Cathedral of Light and the Triune, who worshipped the three Greater Evils as gods. The Dark Exile when the four Lesser Evils either defeated and sent the Primes to Sanctuary (or were encouraged to think they’d won and done so. The rise of the Horadrim to find and contain the Evils in Soulstones… and basically the events of the entire Diablo series. The Demon Lords saw Sanctuary and knew that the seemingly pathetic, useless beings that infested its surface like lice on a mangy hound had the seeds of greatness within them and sought to corrupt and enslave them to use in the Eternal Conflict.

Mephisto has manipulated most of the Diablo universe

Whether by choice or misfortune, Mephisto was captured by the Horadrim — along with Diablo and Baal — after a few years of doing as he pleased across Sanctuary. He was imprisoned in a Soulstone, but slowly managed to leak enough of his essence out of the stone to corrupt the hearts of the Zakarum priesthood: they soon chopped their Que-Hagan into pieces on Mephisto’s orders. By infesting the body of the new Que-Hagen, Mephisto now had control over the entire Zakarum faith. The corruption at the heart of the Zakarum would eventually break the faith, forever shattering the church’s power and influence

He sent an Archbishop named Lazarus west to find Diablo’s Soulstone. This led to Diablo 1, wherein Diablo eventually possessed the body of Aidan, son of King Leoric of Khanduras (the Warrior character in Diablo 1). Aiden became the Dark Wanderer, but before traveling to the east in Diablo 2, he sired a child with the witch Adria. In Lut Gholein, Diablo found the tomb where the Horadrim imprisoned Baal in Tal Rasha’s body, and another Greater Evil was freed.

Baal and Diablo eventually arrived in Kurast, but only to find that Mephisto had been defeated and his Soulstone was taken the Pandemonium Fortress and shattered in an attempt to kill him. This attempt ultimately failed, as Mephisto was then trapped in Zoltan Kuule’s Black Soulstone when Diablo attempted to absorb the power of the other Evils to become the Prime Evil in Diablo 3. But in Reaper of Souls, the Soulstone was destroyed, sending Mephisto and the rest back to Hell.


Mephisto’s role in Diablo 4

As we might expect, Mephisto plays a major role in Diablo 4. As Lilith’s father, it’s fair to say that the game involves their relationship, and I hope you took that spoiler warning seriously. No, really, this is your last chance to leave without spoilers.

Still here? Okay.

If you’ve played the first act of Diablo 4 you met a mysterious black wolf with half its face missing. A wolf that seems to be following you around, and even helps you out from time to time.

That’s Mephisto.

After the events of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, the Evils’ essences ended up reforming in their sanctums in Hell. And this provides Lilith with the opportune moment to strike and steal Mephisto’s power just as Diablo did to all the Evils in Diablo 3. In fact, this seems to be what her entire plan across the game has been, and it means that Mephisto is feeling a trifle nervous. He’s still too weak to defeat her, and so he takes a chance on a wandering human who seems reliable enough. After all, a human beat every single previous end boss in the series, so why not this one?

And so Mephisto comes to us with favors in hand, but a sinister purpose underneath these gifts. After the end of Diablo 4‘s first campaign arc, we see Lilith defeated — don’t even bother thinking she’s dead for good, y’all — and Mephisto “trapped” inside a Soulstone. The last time Mephisto was trapped in a Soulstone, all it did was let him have a 200 year nap and gain control over the entire Zakarum church.  I fail to see how it could go wrong this time.

That’s Mephisto’s story in Diablo so far, but we know Diablo 4’s first season — due out this July — will have additional story, and the devs are already working on two expansions. This won’t be the last we’ll see of Mephisto… but what the Lord of Hatred has planned is anyone’s guess.

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