Lords of the Burning Hells

Leonard Boyarski: Let’s talk about the Lords of the Burning Hells.

Originally the Burning Hells were ruled by the three Prime Evils: Diablo, Mephisto and Baal — and subordinate to them were the Lesser Evils: Belial, Azmodan, Duriel and Andariel. As Chris had mentioned before, since the beginning of time they were involved with the High Heavens and the Eternal Conflict — basically a war to see who would have sway over all of creation, and this went on until the discovery of the existence of Sanctuary.

As Chris said earlier, Sanctuary was created by renegade angels and demons. So this was something new in all of the history of time, something that both angels and demons had a stake in. That they were responsible for. And this led to a surprising development. They called the truce in the Eternal Conflict, but even more than the truce, they agreed to a non-interference pact. They said that neither side would interfere with the development of mankind on Sanctuary.

Now, of course, the Prime Evils being the Prime Evils had no intention to living up to the end of this bargain. They theorized that mankind left to their own devices would drift over to the side of darkness easily enough, of course, with a little bit of push here, a shove there provided by the Prime Evils themselves.

This didn’t sit well with the Lesser Evils. Especially with Belial and Azmodan. They made their displeasure known by starting a civil war in Hell.

Now the civil war went on for quite a while until even the minions and armies of the Prime Evils turned on them. The Prime Evils were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and they lost the civil war.

This led to they being exiled to Sanctuary in what’s known as The Dark Exile, and this in turn lead to the events in Diablo 1 and 2 — where they were hunted down, and captured by the Horadrim. If you all recall, in Diablo 1 and 2 they escaped their imprisonment, and it’s your job to hunt them down and destroy them — but you don’t only destroy the Prime Evils in those games. You also destroyed Andariel and Duriel.

For those of you keeping track at home, that means that there are two Lords of Hell unaccounted for.

Belial, Lord of Lies

Leonard Boyarski: The first Lord of Hell that you meet in Diablo III is Belial. He’s the Lord of Lies. He is the master of subterfuge, and deception. He’s very insidious, but he doesn’t like to get his own hands dirty.

He likes to use underlings for that purpose. This is Magda, she’s a witch. She leads the Coven which is filled with Dark Cultist who have pledge their life to the forces of Belial.

The Cultists are the antagonists for the first good portion of the game before you run into Belial, and they are a lot of fun to deal with.

Also on Belial’s payroll are the Snake demons, and keeping with the theme of deception — that’s what Belial is all about — these guys can disguise themselves as human beings. So you’ll never know when you are dealing with them, or when they are going to turn into demons and attack you.

Now as far as Belial himself, he’s all about corruption from within. He’s not in-your-face kinda guy. He likes to manipulate his opponents. He likes to plan their fears and mistrust to turn them against each other, and he somehow uses these techniques to turn over the most important trade city in the world called Caldeum.

He’s also sent his cultists, the Coven, and the Snake Demons out into the borderlands surrounding Caldeum, and they have driven thousands of refugees into the outskirts of Caldeum.

The city has been closed, so they have these refugee crisis. There’s starvation. There’s disease. You need to figure out how Belial has accomplished this. How he’s taken control of the city, and what his plans are before these people all die.

Azmodan, Lord of Sin

Leonard Boyarski: Moving on, we get to Azmodan, the Lord of Sin. Azmodan, as the lord of Sin, has his lieutenants … the seven deadly sins. In our game, you will only meet two of them, and the first one we are not going to talk about today. You’ll have to play the game to find out who he is.

But the second one is Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust. Now, some of you might recall that two years ago at BlizzCon the costume contest winner was dressed as the Maiden of Lust — who at the time was known as the Mistress of Pain.

It’s a funny story. She was cut from the game actually. She wasn’t even in the game at that point. We had the concept made for and we didn’t really had a place for her, but once we saw the costume contest winner we were just like: “That was so awesome!” We had to make sure to put her back in the game. So we found a nice spot for her as one of Azmodan’s lieutenants.

(Crowd applauds)

So, you guys have an effect on what we do. She’s a little bit like Belial in which she likes to psychologically torment the player, likes to taunt him, likes to get under his skin.

Azmodan is different than this. Azmodan all about raw unbridled power. In these concepts you are going to see over the next minute or so, this is our visual development of Azmodan.

We wanted to show his raw power. We wanted to show his royalty. He’s got his crown that turns into a bony protrusions in his head, and he’s basically ruled the Burning Hells over the past 300 years after the Dark Exile. We wanted to show his power, we wanted to show his royalty, but on top of everything else we wanted to show his greed and avarice, and his basically being ostentatious.

He’s got all this gold on him, he’s got all these of greed and girding.

Let’s talk about Azmodan’s personality. Like I said, he’s not into hiding. As a matter of fact, from the very beginning of the Act, you know exactly where he is. You just can’t get to him. He’s behind the invasion that Deckard Cain has been warning everybody else about for twenty years, and you can’t get much more in the open than spearheading the demon invasion.

As you guys saw in the opening ceremony, we had the cinematic that showed him confronting Leah, and he is about two step ahead of the player. He knows that you are coming for him, and even more than that, he knows about the Black Soulstone.

Now I am sure you all have questions about what the Black Soulstone is, but let’s just suffice it to say that the Black Soulstone is a very powerful artifact that you are going to use to capture and destroy him, but he knows that if he gets his hands on the Black Soulstone he’ll be able to wield more power than any Lord of Hell has ever wielded before.

The fact that he knows this is bad news, and it’s quite a surprise for the player when you find out. So obviously, you need to get your hands on this artifact first and keep it from him. And lastly, and possibly most importantly, Azmodan here is the last Lord of Hell. You have defeated Belial, you have defeated the other Lords of Hell in the other game — so that means, that there are no more Lords of Hell. The Burning Hells are wiped out. There’s no one left to influence or unduly corrupt Sanctuary.

Once Azmodan is defeated, all evil will be gone forever … at least, that’s the theory.

And there there will be happiness and rainbows for everybody.