Where in Sanctuary will the Diablo 4 expansions take us?
Diablo 4 ends with a cliffhanger of sorts, leaving the player character wondering where they may have to wander next. While we are currently trying to stop Malignant influence all over Sanctuary in Season 1, we know that at some point there will be at least two more expansions where we’ll likely face off against the Prime Evils. It’s not obvious from the campaign whether our path will take us to the unvisited neighboring zones of Estuar or if we’ll venture across the Twin Seas to our more familiar stomping grounds of Tristram and Westmarch. Fortunately the Book of Lorath takes place after the events of the game and is a useful tool for determining where the expansions will take place in Sanctuary.
This post contains spoilers for Diablo 4, both the main campaign and side quests. Tread carefully, Wanderer!
Looking at the map of Sanctuary one sees that the five regions visited — Fractured Peaks, Scosglen, Dry Steppes, Kehjistan, and Hawezar — seem to occupy a little more than one-third of the known land. However, it’s uncertain (and frankly unlikely) that the scope of the expansions will match that of the base game, so it’s not a simple matter of dividing the remaining areas in two. Instead, we’ll need to trace the journeys of Lorath and Neyrelle after their departures to get a sense of how we may follow.
Note that we’re basing this speculation on the fact that Diablo 4 has only two future expansions announced so far, and that any DLC similar to Rise of the Necromancer will not introduce a new zone (with one exception mentioned below). Any changes to that plan will of course impact what zones our players will explore over the course of the game’s history, and while they’re presented in order to immediately follow the end of Book of Lorath, there’s nothing that states we need pursue Neyrelle first — what is labelled the “first expansion” below may actually be the second expansion.
The first expansion: North, in search of Neyrelle and Mephisto
Most of Neyrelle’s known locations in Book of Lorath are places we’ve visited over the course of the game already and seen in the epilogue cinematic. Outside of those familiar places she ends up departing from Kurast — a former capital of Kehjistan that has not been visited since Diablo 2 — to head west across the Twin Seas. Lorath follows Neyrelle to Kurast, but in searching for her (as well as visiting some of his old haunts) ranges all over the western continent, making stops in Aranoch, Tristram, Westmarch, and in the Sharval Wilds and Dreadlands before finally catching up to her in Ivgorod in the North. There he loses her trail, and rather than attempt to keeping tracking her he departs for Xiansai in order to finish his Book, as he is concerned that the knowledge of Horadrim is in danger of extinction.
The start of the expansion could see us meeting up with Lorath in either Xiansai or Ivgorod to continue pursuit of Neyrelle, or the player may find themselves hunting rumors of growing Hatred left in Neyrelle’s wake. Regardless of how it begins — I strongly suspect Xiansai will not be present as an adventuring zone — the focus will likely be on the northern part of the continent, with Ivgorod, the Dreadlands, Mount Arreat and Sharval Wilds all possible areas we’ll visit in our pursuit of her.
Mount Arreat is a volcanic crater that was last seen in Diablo 3 as we fought the forces of Asmodan and then defeated the Lesser Evil himself. While an area of particular interest for Barbarian players, there isn’t much that recommends a return to this zone — unless Neyrelle decides it’s a good place for Mephisto to be secured.
The Dreadlands are a more likely zone to explore. Reduced to badlands by the destruction of Mount Arreat, this area is teeming with threats for the Wanderer to deal with. If Neyrelle found her way here she will most likely need assistance at some point. If Arreat’s crater makes an appearance, it’ll likely be as part of this zone.
Alternatively she may have headed to the Sharval Wilds and the kingdom of Entsteig. This area of the Western Kingdoms has never been explored in-game, so it would be a ripe area for new lore and encounters. As a settled land there’s plenty of possibilities for a Scosglen-style narrative in the area, and it would definitely make sense to send Neyrelle here if she’s looking for information on how to deal with Mephisto.
Ivgorod is the most likely of the areas for the Wanderer to head to, as that is where Lorath lost track of Neyrelle. If there is an expansion set in the northern part of the continent it’s the logical starting point, functioning both as an introduction to the area as well as a central hub like Kyovashad.
The second expansion: South to stop Baal, or Diablo, or both
Lorath and Neyrelle may be in the North somewhere, but we’ve been led to believe that all three Prime Evils will be a factor over the course of the game. It’s likely that we’ll need to deal with the return of Baal or Diablo at some point, and maybe even before we have a chance to catch up to Mephisto and Neyrelle. Regardless of when we deal with the respective Prime Evils it is most likely that we’ll be visiting some familiar territory from earlier games in order to do so.
The zones likely to be involved with a “southern” expansion are Torajan Jungles, Aranoch, Westmarch and Khanduras. Of these the Torajan Jungles are the most unfamiliar to players as they’ve yet to feature in-game — there is a series of prequel novels that take place there, but as several millenia have passed since those events they’re not likely to impact any narrative choices.
If the Torajan Jungles are included, then Kurast is the likely start point and hub for the expansion. The one aspect of the Jungles that makes it feel unlikely as part of a larger expansion is that it’d be the only section on the eastern continent; however Diablo 3 had zero issue having us cross the Twin Seas mid-story for narrative purposes so I don’t expect that to be a factor.
Across the Twin Seas is the desert of Aranoch, last journeyed through in Diablo 2. While another desert section after Kehjistan seems repetitive, Lut Gholein (also seen in D2) is a natural starting point for a journey from Kurast.
Those who have played previous games in the Diablo franchise will be very familiar with the former kingdom of Khanduras and the town of New Tristram. It feels inevitable that the Wanderer will end up here at some point in Diablo 4 especially if Diablo himself makes a return.
Westmarch was last visited in Act 5 of Diablo 3 and while it took damage during the events of the Reaper of Souls expansion the kingdom and capital city of the same name still stand. While Lorath journeyed here while pursuing Neyrelle there does not seem a reason for the Wanderer to follow unless adventuring in the neighboring zones points us here.
DLC Potential: Skovos Isles
In the Book of Lorath the titular character attempts to journey to Skovos Isles, home of the Amazon class last seen in Diablo 2. However, he is rebuffed in his attempts to land by an armed party and is forced to move on and is thus unable to contact what may remain of the Horadrim that journeyed there in Diablo 3. It is clear that the Amazons have embraced an isolationist mindset, but that just makes it more likely that they’ll need the Wanderer’s help at some point — the Evils are quite fond of putting events in motion behind a veil of secrecy.
At the same time the isolation makes it harder to direct the narrative there as part of a larger expansion. But if the goal is to introduce the Amazon as a playable class to Diablo 4 then it makes perfect sense to encounter them in an attempt to free the Skovos Isles from whatever threat has arisen. We’re categorizing this as more of a DLC possibility (similar to the Rise of the Necromancer in Diablo 3) than an expansion, although that’s based on current expectations of the breadth of the expansions — if it turns out the Diablo 4 team is content to release a yearly expansion adding just one zone each time then it’s more likely to get the expansion treatment.
While the part of Sanctuary journeyed through in Diablo 4 is vast, there are still many places — both familiar and unfamiliar — for our characters to visit over the life of the game. While scope and number of expansions remains unknown, the threat of the Prime Evils is bound to take us all over Sanctuary.
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