Diablo 4 is the next big hack-and-slash RPG from Blizzard and while we don't yet have a release window for when it'll be available, there's a lot to read into so far. The reveal trailer for the game was designed to set the tone, a tone of darkness, evil and misery. We also know that the main antagonist is Lilith, which by itself provides a fair bit of context for the story of the game.
Who is Lilith in Diablo 4?
A recap of past events is necessary to understand why Lilith's return is such a big deal. Lilith is the Queen of Succubi, the daughter of Mephisto, who is one of the Prime Evils and the Lord of Hatred. During the ancient wars between the Burning Hells and the High Heavens, the conflict dragged on and on and on, and Lilith grew disillusioned of the war of her father and his brothers. One day, she captured an angel called Inarius who, to her complete surprise, wasn't fearful but instead became infatuated with her.
Realizing that she now had a powerful tool that could help her accomplish her goals, she manipulated Inarius and together they stole the Worldstone, using it to create Sanctuary. They then had children, which were the first Nephalem. Heaven and Hell both learned of what had transpired, while Inarius and Lilith disagreed on how to proceed against their former factions.
Over the course of the long resulting Sin War, Inarius ended up banishing Lilith twice, the second time for good, into the void. Inarius then lost the war and has been imprisoned in the Burning Hells, bound in chains by Mephisto. Meanwhile, the Nephalem's descendants weakened over time and became humanity.
Who summoned Lilith back in Diablo 4?
In the setup for Diablo 4, a party of four went down into the deep, looking for a tomb. Through a horrific ritual, two unsuspecting adventurers looking for treasure and a scholar looking for knowledge were sacrificed. The flesh and blood of these three was conducted by the fourth companion into the material necessary for the heinous act. By manipulating the other three, this fourth called Lilith forth from the void. That final adventurer was not what he intitially appeared to be, and is quite likely Rathma, the first child of Inarius and Lilith.
Now, technically it could be another Nephalem, as Lilith is the mother of the entire Nephalem race (and by extension, all of humanity). Rathma also usually chose to take more neutral approach in the war between Heaven and Hell, striving to maintain the balance between the different forces. Still, Rathma went into hiding and his death was never confirmed, so it seems likely the simplest answer is the correct one and Rathma, for whatever reason, has decided to bring his mother home.
What is the plot in Diablo 4?
Lilith's return will have devastating effects, as new cults will spring up in worship, while monsters are confirmed to be roaming the world, including massive packs of ferocious, bestial Goatmen. Lilith is exceptionally powerful, as the daughter of a Prime Evil and has a seductive pull on all she encounters, gathering followers to her side as her simple presence is enough to unearth base desires in stoic hearts.
The story of the game is taking place over at least five different regions: Scosglen, Fractured Peaks, Dry Steppes, Hawezar, and Kejhistan. It seems extremely probable that the early part of the story will deal with the player investigating Lilith's return, trying to understand what she is up to.
It's also unlikely that players can expect Angelic assistance against this returning threat, as what few lore notes have been released so far indicate the High Heavens have cut themselves off from Sanctuary and are not answering mankind's desperate pleas for help. Considering that Tyrael and Imperius have always squabbled over helping humanity, a new power struggle might be underway in Heaven, keeping those sympathetic to humanity from aiding them.
The whereabouts of the Prime Evils are also a big question mark right now, as the death of Malthael and the shattering of the Black Soulstone in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls freed the evils from imprisonment. We know for a fact that Duriel, Lord of Pain, is going to be returning in some capacity but his brothers and sister are currently unaccounted for.
Blizzard is going to be providing updates beginning in February 2020 on the development of the game, so we'll continue to update this with anything new we learn about the story.
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