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  • Abusive Precursors: Humanity is born from the union of an Angel and a Demon. Unfortunately, Demons only see humans as a tool to use for their war, while many of the Angels are disgusted with Humanity's demon heritage and wanted them eradicated before they can become a threat to the High Heavens.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Although it's not as revealing as her outfit in Diablo II, Asheara's outfit looks like it could've come out of Jennifer Lopez' closet.
  • Abstract Apotheosis: The Archangels of the Angiris Council represent and act as embodiments of Valor, Justice, Wisdom, Fate, and Hope. At the end of the game, Tyrael, formerly the Archangel of Justice, takes on the mantle of Wisdom, as its previous holder, Malthael, is out wandering the void.
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    • Reaper of Souls reveals that Malthiel has also swapped out his aspect, and is now the embodiment of death.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: In a normal playthrough, you might reach level 30 or so out of 60 (70 with Reaper of Souls) by the time you reach the final boss. After that cap, there are Paragon Levels that are uncapped, but all those do is supply minor stat boosts.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The sewers beneath Caldeum are sprawling labyrinths filled with hellish beasts.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Emperor of Caldeum, Hakan II, is only a boy. Written histories of Caldeum explain that, following the death of the previous Emperor Hakan, the priests of Zakarum declared an impoverished infant from the north to be Hakan's "spiritual successor" and had the Iron Wolves bring him to the palace. By the time you meet him, however, he's been replaced by Belial in disguise.
  • Action Bomb:
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    • Fallen Lunatics are pretty much suicide bombers. Their bloated bodies are filled with toxins that are explosively released when they run up to you and slash their bellies with their knives.
    • Grotesques will explode and release more enemies on death.
    • The Witch Doctor skill "Sacrifice" causes their Zombie Dogs to explode. Certain Runes cause additional effects. There is also a Rune for the Zombie Charger that turns it into another dog-shaped suicide bomber.
  • Action Girl: The female members of each class, although the most clear examples of the trope will be the female Barbarian, Crusader, Monk and Demon Hunter.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The position was effectively reversed by the Auction House massively simplifying player trading: at any difficulty level but Inferno (the highest), most item treasure that drops can be ignored as players on higher levels will be getting much better items as "junk" and selling them off for tiny amounts of gold. This wiped out the value of several in-game crafting mechanisms.
    • Reversed from patch 2.0 onwards. The player needs to salvage normal (white) items for a crafting material that is used in crafting most equipment, and the Auction House has been shut down.
  • Adipose Rex: Azmodan, the highest ranking demon alive, is extremely fat due to being the lord of Gluttony and Sloth, among other things.
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  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: The Slaughtered Calf Inn, where you first meet Leah.
  • Advantage Ball: In Act III, the soldiers of Bastion's Keep fare better in battle as the hero progresses; part of this is due to practical things like taking out the enemy catapults, but it's also due to the hero's status as a Hope Bringer. A similar effect is in play through Acts IV and V.
    Haedrig: The men look to you to lead them. When they see you laying waste to the demon hordes, they are heartened. As you go, so does this battle. Always remember that.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: In the world most of the magical equipment you come by (barring some made using ancient relics) was forged by the demons for use in their wars. The events of the first game created a bustling trade from adventurers dredging the items up from the demons of the cathedral, while most traders in this game admit to getting their goods by stealing, looting corpses, or digging them out of the ground.
  • Agent Scully:
    • Leah. Despite everything she has personally witnessed, she still remains skeptical of Cain's warnings about the Prophecy of the End Days until his death. This has been parodied by Penny Arcade, and OMF Gcata also leveled this complaint during many of The Game Station's Podcasts, notably #12 and #13. The novel justifies this, where much is made of Leah's ability to almost completely block out traumatic memories.
    • Abd al-Hazir is an accomplished explorer, historian, and naturalist. In a world with powerful magic, the dead rising from their graves, and demon hordes pouring from the bowels of Hell to eat cities, Abd finds demonology and related subjects to be ridiculous superstition.
  • Airborne Mook: Several. Many have no problem moving over rough terrain, and some of them use flight to their advantage by dive-bombing you from out of range.
    • Invoked with the Demonic Hellflyer. Azmodan's ground forces were nearly defeated before due to the angels' flight capability, so he decided to breed flying demons to counter them.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: The warrior monks of Ivgorod have an Eastern Orthodox appearance and speak in an eastern European accent, but use attacks a a fighting style more similar to stereotypical East Asian martial arts. This is less a case of not doing the research, though, and more a case of deliberately combining things in an unusual way.
  • All Myths Are True: There are various belief systems in Sanctuary, and each character class has their own religious ideology, from Shen and the Wizard's Xiansai gods, to the Monk's animistic gods, to the Witch Doctor's Unformed Land. The franchise's canonical cosmology implies that angels and demons are the only spiritual beings, and is carefully vague about the ultimate fate of dead souls, but supernatural events throughout the game seem to support all of these sometimes conflicting religions, especially in Reaper of Souls where the player character meets a spirit guide who will explicitly validate whatever belief system they hold.
  • All Swords Are the Same: The game plays this arrow-straight with all its characters, but the Monk stood out in particular for a while. No matter what equipment a monk has (bare hands, punch daggers, a sword and shield, dual maces) they always attack with their fists - only occasionally hitting enemies with a sword pommel or the back of a shield. Even more amazingly, the Monk has access to special staffs - that they'll keep on their back the whole time they're fighting enemies! This was eventually fixed in a patch, where the Monk will at least use fist-weapons and staves for certain attacks.
  • All There in the Manual: The Book of Cain seems to contain a lot of stuff that never made it into the games.
  • All Webbed Up: Karyna the mystic is found in the den of the Spider Queen suspended in webbing and you arrive just to time to prevent the spider from drinking her innards.
  • All Your Powers Combined: It is revealed that the Seven Great Evils were once one incredibly powerful being of evil known as the Prime Evil, Tathamet, and that upon his death at the hands of Anu, his remains became the Burning Hells and each of his heads became the Great Evils. During the final act of the game, Diablo uses the Black Soulstone with all seven Evils inside to become Tathamet reborn, with Diablo in control due to his host being his own daughter by way of the Dark Wanderer. During the final battle, Diablo uses attacks and status effects that were previously possessed by the other Great Evils as well as his own attacks.
  • Amazonian Beauty: The female Barbarian, a red-headed warrior who is incredible tall and muscular much like her male counterpart, and looks like a more buffed version of Red Sonja. The two main differences are that she's a lot younger than the male barbarian, who's an old man, and her armor sets - especially in the official art for the game - tend to be more sexualized. Of course the latter two make her no less of an intimidating looking woman.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Diablo's true form in this game is much more effeminate than his previous incarnations, possibly due to the influence of his host, Leah. It makes for a very Squicky moment when s/he Sexy Walks past the camera in a cinematic.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: One of your partners is part of a zealous organization that does this to its recruits - former criminals who agree to having their memories wiped so that they may seek redemption. You meet him when you're dungeon crawling in a place where one of his companions is hiding, having just turned traitor. Turns out the guy betrayed his organization after gaining the ability to regain his lost memories, and had been horrified to realize that he was just some Average Joe who signed up for a job. Your partner eventually does the same thing, finding the same thing. Subversion! ... Maybe. It's unclear whether the organization actually does take in former criminals that way.
  • Amnesiac God: The Fallen Star in a rather short-lived example. Your character's whole reason for travelling to New Tristram was to find out where the Fallen Star landed and just what the hell it actually was. Upon finding the epicentre of the destruction, you find an amnesiac man lying in the glowing crater. After realising that he arrived with a sword, you're sent out to find the pieces and have them reforged before returning the weapon to "The Stranger". Upon receiving his sword, he instantly regains his memories, realising that he is, in fact, Tyrael, the former Archangel of Justice who intentionally shed his angelic power in order to aid humanity, something he was otherwise forbidden from doing.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Black Soulstone was constructed by Zoltun Kulle and has the power to absorb the spirits of both angels and demons.
  • Ancient Tomb: The game has you revisiting the old ruins of the Tristram Cathedral, which includes its share of tombs, including the Crypt of the Skeleton King where you throw down with the resurrected title monster who is barring the path to the Fallen Star that takes up the first part of the game proper.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: This little gem from early on:
    Male Villager: Did you see that stranger next to old Cain? I was listening to him talk. I'd bet he comes from Westmarch.
    Female Villager: Oh, really? So people from there usually travel by falling star? Use your head. If he's from Westmarch, I'm empress of Caldeum.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Leah, niece of Deckard Cain, starts off as a genuinely good character. Then she finds out that her Mom is an evil witch, and her dad is the wanderer from Diablo II. She becomes corrupted by the soulstone after capturing a few more demons in it, thus becoming (a more powerful version of) Diablo herself.
  • Angelic Transformation: Tyrael becomes tired of being mired in the Celestial Bureaucracy and pulls off his armor and wings, becoming a man who is frail and amnesiac until his sword is returned to him. The transformation is apparently one-way, though. A distinction is also made between being mortal and being one of the Nephalem, the humans of the setting who are the descendants of angels and demons commingling.
  • Angel Unaware:
    • Tyrael, after briefly losing his memory in Act I. The Non Player Characters have a much harder time guessing his identity than a player, even Deckard Cain who met him before.
    • Covetous Shen despite their Cloud Cuckoo Lander state of mind, is implied to be the Trickster God Zei. Reaper of Souls confirmed that they were Zei, who renounced their divinity.
    • Squirt the Peddler from Act II is a little girl selling gears (though most likely you'll use her to dump your Vendor Trash). But there's a Legendary Amulet named after her, and it's described as having the name of an ancient god of thieves, Kantwirt, etched on its back.
  • Animate Dead: The website gives an interesting justification: instead of animating individual skeletons (which might be damaged, too small, etc.), skeletons are actually amalgamated bone dust and dirt, held together by the magician.
    • The Necromancer lives by this mechanic, summoning armies of skeletons, giant anthropomorphic amalgamations of flesh and bone, and spirits of long-dead magicians to do their bidding against the hordes of demons and undead they face.
  • Another Dimension: The Diabloverse has a whole bunch of these in addition to the main world of Sanctuary:
    • The High Heavens (where angels live).
    • The Burning Hells (where demons live).
    • The Unformed Land (where the dead go, at least according to the Witch Doctor).
    • Pandemonium (where a lot of battles between angels and demons went down and where Tyrael spent 20 years reforming himself after the Worldstone's destruction).
    • The Shadow Realm (where Zoltun Kulle's body was placed).
    • Various pocket dimensions, including the Terminus and Diablo's Realm of Terror.
    • Wherever Trag'Oul hangs out.
    • Whimsyshire! The land of sunshine, rainbows, and cutesy animals that will pulverize you if you're not at a high enough level.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The most powerful demons and angels are masters of some aspect, such as Hate, Destruction, and Terror or Justice, Hope, and Valor. However, the finale shows it's possible for angels to change what they personify.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Numerous, compared to the previous games in the series.
    • You pick up gold automatically when you run by it, since you would have no reason not to pick it up. In addition, you can also equip a pet that follows you around and picks up gold from farther away.
    • The "Version 2.0" update/patch made players automatically pick up health potions, and patch 2.2 removed them entirely in favor of a "bottomless health potion". Health potions now have only one type that heal sixty percent of maximum health, as opposed to having to constantly upgrade between potions that healed a set amount once a player reached the potion's level cap.
    • Because the developers found the sheer number of clicks for jewels and crafting materials "unacceptable," picking up a gem picks up all others nearby, and picking up a crafting material does the same thing for all materials of the same type.
    • There is a mutual stash shared by all characters on an account. No need to transfer items between characters by creating games and leaving a dagger of +500 awesomeness on the ground where anyone can get it while you try to get your lower-level character in there, like in Diablo II; just put it in the chest! Said stash is also very, very large, and you can have up to seven of them if you're willing to spend the gold to get them.
    • Weapons and armor take up only two spaces in your inventory while everything else takes up just one, in contrast to the previous games' love of big items that frequently took up four to eight spaces at once and "overburdened" you in a hurry.
    • You can take gems out of Socketed Equipment. Patch 2.6 also removed the gold cost for doing so.
    • You no longer have to carry around scrolls of identify or town portal. Just one click, and you cast the appropriate spell for free, though it takes a few seconds to cast each spell. You also eventually gain a Book of Cain that will identify all your items at once with one click, but you have to be back in your safe zone to use it.
    • As of Reaper of Souls, you can reroll up to one stat per item (within certain limits) for an in-game cost of gold and salvaged materials.
    • The game averts Now, Where Was I Going Again? in two different ways. First, if you're in the correct dungeon in Adventure Mode, both the map and the minimap will show you where your current objective is if you haven't found it after sixty secondsnote . Second, the act map screen will always highlight the waypoint closest to your current objective in any game mode.
    • These often get introduced through patches as well. Examples are the addition of an armory, which stores up to five different builds on one character; the removal of dye items and making all dyes available through the Mysticnote ; and having crafting materials exist outside the inventory, which means they no longer take up precious stash space.
    • During Greater Rifts, all loot is withheld until you defeat the Rift Guardian, so as to let you focus on killing enemies since Greater Rifts are Timed Missions.
    • In the early days of Greater Rifts, players had to defeat wave after wave of enemies to determine which level they entered, with how many waves and time taken being the two factors to determine the rift's difficulty level. If the player wanted to enter a lower-level rift, they'd have to just stand around and do nothing while weaklings wailed on them. A patch changed this so the player can just select which rift level they want from a list, and beating the highest difficulty possible continues to unlock new ones.
    • Set Dungeons cannot kill the player even on Hardcore Mode, and the Town Portal spell can't be interrupted in a Set Dungeon. So if a player wants to teleport out to try again, there's nothing stopping them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Not only does Deckard Cain die at the end of the very first act, but Leah, arguably the main heroine of the game, not only dies, but has the most gut wrenching death in the entire series.
    • If you play on Hardcore mode, this applies to the player character as well.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Several lore books in the game are in this style, including a record of Lachdanaan's final moments.
  • April Fools' Day:
    • The Archivist was announced as a new class, having the character play a Deckard Cain-like old geezer whose dialogues are senile rantings. Basically Cain as a playable character: Extremely slow movement, dies as soon as a monster touches him, and has Awesome, but Impractical skills such as turning enemies into Quest Givers.
    • They also announced Diablo III blankets and pillows and a Deckard Cain GPS voice pack to go with it.
    • A little-known 2014 April Fools' joke involved a mobile game called "Happy Reaper", which describes itself as having much of the stuff that ruins mobile gaming in the eyes of the masses. Becomes much harsher in hindsight when Diablo: Immortal was announced as a mobile game four years later.
    • April Fools' Day of 2015 gave players access to "The Cow Level," where cows were the only enemy.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: Both Diablo II and this game have desert cities with this motif.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Zigzagged. Any number of NPCs can follow you on certain quests, but you can only take one hireling with you; only the Templar, Scoundrel, or Enchantress can follow you at any given time. There's not even a Hand Wave as to why your character couldn't have more than one hireling following them at a time. You just can't do it.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: As spoofed in this Penny Arcade strip. Leah stubbornly refuses to believe in most of Cain's lore and his predictions about what's coming. Despite personally witnessing the Zombie Apocalypse that's risen in the area of New Tristram, and many other eldritch happenings in the course of her life and travels with him, she repeatedly remarks with surprise that she thought this or that arcane thing you encounter was "only a story." The writings of Abd al-Hazir also occasionally scoff at stories about demons which the player character has close personal reason to know are entirely true.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: You go to Westmarch in Reaper of Souls and what you see of its nobility doesn't paint a good picture. One of the surviving nobles blames the poor for the fact that there are Reapers rampaging through the city, while another yells at his wife for forgetting to bring the jewelry. When she protests he replies with "I'd rather be dead than poor." Apparently King Justinian isn't like that, however, and only appears to be apathetic to the peasants to pacify the nobles, who threaten him with revolt in order to get him to do what they want. And he eventually gets killed by an ambitious bastard looking to become king himself.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust and concubine to Azmodan, found in Act III and voiced by none other than Claudia Black. Deckard Cain calls her voice "smooth as honey," and she speaks in overly flirtatious tones. Several people from Bastion's Keep end up hypnotized by Cydaea's voice, and the nephalem can find them in Azmodan's lair.
  • Arrows on Fire: Besides the various Demon Hunter skills, the soldiers at New Tristram and Bastion's Keep shoot these en masse. Considering what they're dealing with, it's quite appropriate
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Certain flying enemies will circle overhead out of reach, and will ambush you once you start fighting something else.
    • Enemies with ranged attacks try to retreat (even behind obstacles) so you have a hard time attacking them while they spam projectiles at you. It gets worse with flying ranged attackers who have an easy time doing said retreating...
    • Pack hunting enemies like Scavengers and Leapers will actually apply pack hunting tactics against you, by splitting up and attacking from the side or the back.
    • If facing a group of teleporting enemies, one of them will almost always teleport behind you in a narrow passage, blocking you off and trapping you so his buddies can munch on you.
    • Mook Makers like Fallen Prophets will actively run away if you try to approach them. On the other hand, allied NPCs will usually target them first.
    • Waller monsters deserve a special mention. Rare wallers will place walls in such a way that the only way to escape is to move closer to the enemy, while Champions will always place walls directly in front of a moving player. Melee classes seem to be kept back so they can't get to the enemy, while ranged classes are kept so they can't get away.
  • Artificial Stupidity: ...However, despite the above trope, the AI can seem pretty stupid. At one of the Blizzcons, the developers stated that they deliberately invoked this trope, as perfectly intelligent enemies were not fun to fight and tended to kill the player extremely quickly.
    • Demons will insist on attacking you, ignoring your followers. If the enemy is a melee opponent without Teleportation or Vortex and a follower bars their way, they will sit there doing nothing as you rain hell on them, and they won't even try to move the follower out of the way.
    • Occasionally, the AI might bug up and cause enemies to stand completely still. While not noticeable on minions because you slaughter them rather quickly, it's more noticeable when a Climax Boss such as Azmodan freezes up, allowing you to score Terrible, Terrible Damage on them.
    • If there's a doorway, enemies will line up behind the door, waiting to funnel through it one at a time. If you're using a channeled skill like the Wizard's Disintegrate, or an area-of-effect spell like the Demon Hunter's Rain of Vengeance, the enemies will outright ignore it. They'll just wait their turn to go through the doorway as the nephalem blasts them to pieces without getting a chance to fight back.
  • Artistic License – History: Discussed and Played for Laughs in-universe. After the Skeleton King is killed in Act I, a villager inside The Slaughtered Calf Inn thinks of writing about his death. There's one problem: he has no idea how the Skeleton King was killed. The man he is talking with points out that he could just ask the Player Character, who is standing right there. The villager wonders if the man is mad; why would he do that and give up his Artistic License?
  • Ascended Meme:
    • A trolling Blizzard employee's online name (Bashiok) was used for a special mob in World of Warcraft. The loot the mob drops allows players to summon a burning, dancing tree.
    • Certain Diablo characters mock Azmodan in Heroes of the Storm about his habit of revealing his plans to the enemy.
      • The Templar (that is, a StarCraft one) skin for Li-Ming has the Backstory of "Li-Ming may be strong-willed, but the will of Templar Li-Ming is stronger." to reference a popular line from Diablo's Kormac.
    • When the game was being made, fans were concerned it would turn into My Little Pony because it would feature more vibrant colors. Lo and behold, a complicated fetch quest leads to a secret level that is everything Grim Dark fans feared and more, deliberately made as a Take That! to those fans. The Rainbow level is filled with happy clouds, rainbows, pots of gold, and the map is a childish drawing. The enemies are cute ponies, teddy bears, and flowers.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The series has fun with this trope. All three games end up revealing that Angels and Demons have fought each other since the beginning of time. However, things changed when a number of individuals on both sides got tired of the conflict and created Sanctuary and Nephalem, and humans are descended from them. Then you have both sides trying to figure out what to do with this third group, since they have the potential to be more powerful than both sides, actually possess free will, and they are Immune to Fate. In fact, this game shows that demons can come back from being killed, even if it takes 20 years for them to do so. Of course, when a Nephalem kills Diablo at the end, Tyrael is quick to say that evil has been defeated forever and the eternal conflict is finally over. The Nephalem points out "Don't be so sure. True evil never dies," and Tyrael responds "Time will tell." In Reaper of Souls, Adria notes that Diablo always finds a way to come back.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Gelatinous Sire, a variant of the Treasure Goblin that yields several Gelatinous Spawn when killed.
  • The Atoner: Working your way through all conversations with Lyndon, the Scoundrel, eventually reveals that he sends the gold he steals back to Kingsport both to support his brother's wife and children, and to pay off the Merchant's Guild in an effort to get his brother released from prison. Some of his dialogue suggests that this is also why he follows the Player Character despite the escalating levels of danger; in one bit of conversation, he wonders if continuing to help the PC kill demons would make him a good person.The PC insists that he already is a good person.
  • Auction: Up until March 18, 2014, the game offered players an auction house for selling items found during adventures. One version used in-game gold, the other used cold hard cash and required a Pay Pal account. Blizzard got a cut, of course, and the cash version was not available in Hardcore Mode.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The Demon Hunter class can Dual Wield single shot hand crossbows like a pair of semi-auto pistols without ever apparently reloading. The Rapid Fire skill lets them fire like fully automatic machine guns.
  • Autosave: The game autosaves when entering a certain place.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: In Reaper of Souls, The Reapers' attack Heaven in an attempt to close a portal to Pandemonium. This convinces Imperius that Malthael has gone insane and needs to be put down, and he permits the angels to assist the Nephalem in breaching Malthael's Fortress.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Destructible objects in the environment which may be used against enemies, such as chandeliers that can drop on their heads and cauldrons of boiling tar you can spill. Lining up monsters to be killed by these objects can be more of a hassle than it's worth, so generally players will only use these with fortuitous timing and/or grouping.
    • Dual-wielding weapons seems like a great idea, a secondary weapon gives the player a +15% bonus to their attack rate that stacks on top of any other bonuses to attack rate. However, damage is calculated by averaging the damages between the two weapons. So if you have one strong weapon and a very weak one, you could end up doing less damage than just having the strong weapon alone.
    • Legendary items that shoot something as an extra attack (ie Stormcrow), are really fun. However often the percentage it happens is low, unless the random number gods were good to you and in earlier versions, there was a 10-second cooldown period. It's improved drastically now that the cooldown periods have been dropped or reduced, but the Legendary items with high stats or give a constant bonus are still better. Stormcrow and similar items do make nice power-ups for the Cube of Kanai though.
  • Awful Truth:
    • Templars of the Templar Order are convicted criminals who are tortured to "cleanse" them of their sins and then mind-wiped so that they can be turned into weapons against the darkness with purpose and clarity. When Kormac, your follower who hails from this order, comes across the journals of Jondar, a turncoat Templar who you help him kill when you recruit him, and reads the "key words" that act to restore his memory, the Awful Truth is revealed. It turns out the Order doesn't really give a damn about the guilt or innocence of its initiates, and will gladly pile false sins upon an innocent, as they did to both Kormac and Jondar, if they deem him to be a worthy asset to the Order..
    • And then it all got worse. It turns out that the real reason Adria wants the souls of all seven of the Great Evils put into the Black Soulstone isn't so that she can destroy them all forever in vengeance for what happened to Tristram — it's because Adria pledged herself to Diablo's service long ago and seeks to bring about the rebirth of her master as the Prime Evil, the embodiment of all seven of the Great Evils in one being, in accordance with Diablo's grand plan. And the vessel that she uses to bring about this rebirth? Her own daughter Leah, whose true father turns out to be none other than Diablo himself by way of the Dark Wanderer, a.k.a. the Warrior from the very first game who got himself possessed by Diablo after sticking the fragment of the demon lord's soulstone into his head.
  • An Axe to Grind:
    • Every class can wield one.
    • The Templar can wield one-handed axes, while the Enchantress can use one- or two-handed axes.
    • Many enemies use axes. Skeletal Executioners carry axes so large they have to drag them.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Unsurprisingly, Diablo as usual... until it is revealed it isn't exactly the Diablo we know but rather more or less a reincarnation of the original Prime Evil, Tathamet. At least Diablo appears to be the dominant personality, even if he has a "I Am Legion" thing going what with the other 6 Evils swimming around in there also.
    • Everyone's favorite Damage-Sponge Boss Izual is back...except he's not just a Damage-Sponge Boss anymore!
    • The Butcher shows back up as the boss of Act 1, although much expanded on from the original. After you kill him, you learn this is actually justified: according to the journal entry on The Butcher, there's more than one — this wasn't the same Butcher from Diablo I, and there are likely more of them.
  • Badass Adorable: Eirena the Enchantress is an attractive young blonde with a naive, innocent personality and an exotic accent, and she's also quite good at killing demons (especially if she's equipped with a good staff). After all, she killed her first demon when she was only thirteen!
  • Badass Beard: The male Barbarian and the Monk sport these.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Tyrael gives an epic one to Imperius and the Angiris Council shortly before willingly stripping himself of his angelic powers and become a mortal so he can protect Sanctuary.
      Tyrael: You can not judge me! I am Justice itself! We were meant for more than this, to protect the innocent! But if our precious laws bind you all to inaction... then I will no longer stand as your brother!
    • The Demon Hunter gets a couple in her introductory trailer:
      Demon Hunter: As long as I'm here, they are the prey... And I... am the Hunter.
      I stand alone. And if they keep coming, I will never stop killing.
    • Belial gets some.
      Belial: I cast off these petty illusions! Behold...the true vision of the Lord of Hell!
    • When a Wizard learns of a breach in the defences of Bastion Keep, the response is that they can plug the breach with demon corpses once they're done slaughtering the invaders.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • The Scoundrel gets one of these once he hits a certain level.
    • Some of the male Wizard's higher-level armors have this as well.
  • Badass Normal: Captain Haile, the only surviving member of Bastion's Keep's command structure and one of the few non-service-rendering NPCs to survive the entire game. He holds his men together during the initial assault, and once you save the Keep he goes looking for more demons to punish for all the men he lost. In Reaper of Souls, you can find him randomly in the graveyard and help him kill some of Malthael's minions.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Averted in this game. Destroying the Cosmic Keystone turned out to be a good thing since its real purpose was to seal humanity's true power. The newly empowered heroes end the reborn Prime Evil's reign of terror forever. However...since the release of Reaper of Souls, it remains to be seen if the trope will be played straight after all.
  • Bad Powers, Good People:
    • Leah, despite being a nice person, has some rather destructive powers she can't quite control. She has them because she is Diablo's daughter.
    • The Witch Doctor has scores of horrific powers, and a fascination with the macabre. However, he or she is genuinely nice, heroically inclined, a Warrior Therapist and a lot more personable than the stoic other classes.
  • Bag of Sharing: The game uses mechanics similar to Guild Wars' Xunlai Chests. Your personal stash allows you to transfer the gear between your characters easily. Gold and artisan experience are also bound to your account.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss:
    • One of the "boss preview/warning" of sorts near the end of Act IV shows what seems to be Imperius as the next boss, with earlier scenes highlighting a conflict between him and the Nephalem. Unfortunately, Diablo pops in and dispels the upcoming fight, neutralizing Imperius and becoming the next target for the hero.
    • Reaper of Souls reveals that Imperius and his minions being immobilized wasn't actually Diablo's doing, but Malthael's during his own attempt to kill the Nephalem.
  • Bald, Black Leader Guy: Tyrael is one after he voluntarily fell from grace to help humanity.
  • Bald of Awesome: The Stranger (Including once his memories are restored!), and also the male Monk and Witch Doctor.
  • Bald of Evil / Beard of Evil: Zoltun Kulle.
  • Ballistic Bone: In the Demon Hunter trailer, the Demon Hunter uses the tooth of a slain demon as an arrowhead for one of her bolts, which is the first to get loosed against the demonic horde that is after the only survivor of a village massacre.
    • The Necromancer can hurl bone missiles from their hands as well as a salvo of demonic teeth, or alternatively, summon independently flying bone spears from the corpses they use as sources of power. Get a mini-boss or even a glowing floor boss up against any of these abilities, and say goodbye to half their life in the first five seconds.
  • Ballistic Discount: A failed attempt at this is implied by Kyr, a weaponsmith who will task you with helping him kill some cultists. When you first see him, he's surrounded by corpses and tells you "Those cultists must have been fools to think I wouldn't know how to use my own weapons."
  • Barbarian Hero: One of the playable classes.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Barbarians have a great deal more backstory in this game. The Barbarians believe themselves to have a god-given mission to protect their territory, which houses a way to a plane of hell. This causes frequent clashes with the more civilized people who have no idea what they're guarding, and just see them as aggressive and territorial beyond reason.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Monk uses punches and kicks for his special attacks, even when carrying weapons.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Leah's outfit, although it's only really noticeable in the cinematics.
    • The Enchantress, until she gets to a high enough level.
    • All of the female Witch Doctor's outfits.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: The fate of the barbarian ghosts that haunt the ruins of Sescheron. They believed their people could only find peace if they were buried on the slopes of Mount Arreat, and because of Baal's invasion and Tyrael's destruction of the Worldstone during the previous game, there isn't a Mount Arreat to bury their dead on anymore.
  • Batman Gambit: Let's face it, Diablo was pulling a Gigyas-level one throughout all three games. While some events could be of the Gambit Roulette sort, the fact that Diablo was willing to wait millennia for everything to come together arguably excuses that.
  • Beam Spam:
    • The wizard's come in red and blue flavors, with the red one having an option to also target all enemies within a radius regardless of where the main beam is pointed, which can make for a really nice laser show in a clustered battle.
    • Diablo also has the lightning-hose ability he had in Diablo II.
    • In the second phase of the battle with Malthael, he starts unleashing these as well as a sign that he has become the next Prime Evil.
  • Beard of Barbarism: The Barbarian of Diablo III, in stark contrast to the bald and clean-shaven Barbarian of Diablo 2.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Zombie bears, an extremely powerful Witch Doctor skill.
  • The Beastmaster: The Witch Doctor has a few creepy-animal-based attacks, such as summonable toads and throwable jars of spiders.
    • The Demon Hunter can equip a skill that summons an animal companion; with the right armor, you can have a raven, spider, bat, boar, two weasels and three wolves backing you up.
  • Bee Bee Gun:
    • The wasp enemies fire out a stream of small homing wasps at you.
    • Magdha can summon swarms of insects that act as Homing Projectiles.
  • Belly Flop Crushing: The Pile On upgrade for the witch doctors Wall of Zombies calls four fat zombies from the ground who climb on each others shoulders to make a tower and then throw themselves forward into the enemy hordes for a lot of damage.
  • Belly Mouth: Ghom, a minor boss sports such a mouth. A voracious eater, it is implied that captured soldiers were either eaten by Ghom or fed to others to fatten them up before Ghom ate them.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Many areas have destructible terrain that will damage nearby enemies when destroyed, but the Nephalem city of Corvus takes that to a whole new level. While some levels have fiery vents that fry you or other traps, Corvus is filled with panels that stun your enemies, doors that slow them, containers that damage them when attacked, weapon racks that slide out to meet you, and more. This is an area that is on your side.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The Hand of the Prophet are a group of girls who served under a powerful Vizjerei lord prior to encountering the aforementioned Prophet. Eirena, one of them, is quite friendly throughout the nephalem's campaign, and yet she was thirteen at the time she and her sisters murdered their lord, his buddies, and the greater daemon the Vizjerei were summoning.
  • BFG: Urzael's main weapon fires exploding firey orbs. The noises it makes and the way he holds and fires it are very obviously patterned after a rocket launcher. Though he also uses it as a flamethrower.
  • BFS:
    • Some of the mighty 2-handed swords that the barbarian can equip are absurdly huge.
    • If you equip the Enchantress with a nodachi or Executioner Sword, when she has it on her back it's as long as she is tall.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Azmodan wants so badly to be the Prime Evil. Too bad his competition is Diablo.
  • Big Good: The archangel Tyrael is the closest thing the world has to one of these, and is especially cemented in this game, where he renounces his status as an archangel so that he can aid humanity against Hell directly. After becoming the new archangel of Wisdom, he may be the biggest good in the series period...which turns out to be appropriate in Reaper of Souls, where the former archangel of Wisdom is now the Angel of Death.
  • Big Red Devil:
    • Diablo is a mix between this and Godzilla. But if the first ever trailer for the game is any indication, his original design was much closer to this.
    • The most powerful of Diablo's Elite Mooks also took this form: the Balrogs from the very first Diablo, the Megademons from Diablo II, and the Oppressors from Diablo III.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In contrast to the previous 2 games, III actually has a unambiguously good ending, with Diablo and the other Lords of Hell being vanquished forever. However, this comes at the cost of many good peoples' lives, such as Deckard Cain and Leah. Also, while the Nephalem might have destroyed Diablo/Tathamet, Heaven lies in ruins, much of Sanctuary has been ravaged by demons, and worst of all, Adria is still at large and the Black Soulstone fell from the heavens, presumably back to Sanctuary, so there is nothing preventing Diablo/Tathamet possessing another body. See Sequel Hook below for more details.
    • Continues on with more bitterness but some sweetness in the first expansion, Reaper of Souls: Malthael goes insane with rage and frees the demon lords to possess him just so that he can kill their most hated common foe, the Nephalem... and then loses. Diablo AND Imperius (and possibly Tyrael) are now focused on ending the Nephalem, but the Nephalem has inherited the Angel of Death's position, and is poised to become even more godlike with future expansions. So basically with each expansion, things get worse for everyone while your character becomes an even more unstoppable guardian of all humanity.
  • Bi the Way: The Enchantress will innocently flirt with your hero regardless of which gender you choose, and also seems to harbor a similar affection for Leah.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The Angels of the High Heavens are not always the kind and benevolent beings you would expect; many of them are Knight Templars who see humanity as an abomination to be eradicated and do nothing when Sanctuary is attacked by Belial and Azmodan (which led to Tyrael going down directly into Sanctuary to help humanity after seeing the inaction of his brothers). But the forces of Hell are much worse.
    • A piece of lore in Reaper of Souls predicts widespread ambivalence between humans and Angels. Previously, belief in angels was purely religious belief in pure, righteous beings; now their existence is a provable fact, since the first true Angels to enter Sanctuary did so to commit genocide.
  • Black Mage: The Witch Doctor.
  • Black Magic: Any magic used by demon cultists and summoners, such as that used by Maghda's Dark Coven, which is fueled by torture and sacrifice to their demon master Belial.
  • Bladder of Steel: The game is not paused while online and there's a significant delay to Town Portaling to a safe zone. You must stand still for 5 seconds without getting hit. You also can't leave the game immediately due to a 10 second timer for that. To make matters even worse, some boss fights don't let you escape at all, so if you're in the middle of a boss fight and something comes up, you're in deep trouble.
  • Blood Knight: The Templar seems to indulge in this; no reason he can't enjoy purging demons from the land, right?
    • Reaper of Souls reveals that this streak to him comes from being a soldier of Westmarch before his recruitment into the Order. As he tells you, "fighting is in my blood."
  • Blood-Stained Letter: In the lower levels of Bastion Keep you can find the body of a soldier with a bloody letter from his wife telling about their son growing up and how she's praying for his safety.
  • Bloody Bowels of Hell: This game plays it in-between the two first games, with hell consisting of a dry, bony landscape paved with what turns out to be the skin of flayed demons.
  • Blow Gun: The Witch Doctor uses one for their starting ability.
  • Blown Across the Room:
    • Anything killed by some of the Barbarian, Monk or Crusader's special attacks is flung away, inversely proportionally to its size...sometimes in combination with exploding into Ludicrous Gibs. Many players have been amused by reducing the soft bits of their opponents to liquid and watching their bloody skeleton go flying, and watching a goatman's head go flying off-screen.
    • Elite Mooks sometimes can do this, if they have the knockback ability.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Dark Thralls. Part of their transformation spell involves having long metal spikes shoved into their spines (which Abd al-Hazir comments on at one point) and their final form is a twisted, mutated monstrosity.
    • The Tormented Stingers are actually human sacrifices turned into scorpion-like creatures.
      Cain: The demons twist their victims into the Stingers' distinctive forms by slicing open their chests and viciously mutilating their legs. Maddened by pain, these creatures can poison their prey with a single strike.
  • Body of Bodies: The Unburied are undead abominations composed of the bodies of humans thrown into mass graves without a proper burial which decomposed together into one hideous being bound by foul magic.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: The Crusader's Fist of the Heavens ability calls down a bolt of lightning, intended to invoke this.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Azmodan announces the location of his assault to Leah in a dream, for no real reason other than to gloat. The result? The assault is stopped cold by a garrison of 1000 men, and then turned back in record speed by the forewarned Hero, who has at this point become a One-Man Army. The invasion literally doesn't even make it out of sight of Arreat Crater. Justified since as Lord of Sin, he's full of pride... and that he likely wasn't trying to speak to Leah, but rather the facet of Diablo within her., and lampshaded with the achievement "He Thought He Was So Clever".
  • Boring Return Journey: This game makes the Waypoints much more numerous, so you are generally not far from one if you just press onward. Optional dungeons also now have a teleporter at the end that will take you back outside.
  • Boring, but Practical: Due to the existence of runes rather than Diablo 2's point-based improvement to your skills, it's common for early basic runes to be picked over later, flashier ones. Perhaps the most glaring is the Splinter rune for Poison Dart, despite being the earliest rune you can get - it's the most popular Poison Dart build because of its very high rate of fire.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Some of the bosses—such as the Butcher, Urzael and Malthael—have one or two healing wells as part of their arenas. They replenish, too, although not quick enough to prevent a death if you're really out of your league.
  • Boss Banter: Unlike the previous games, many bosses in this game are quite fond of this, up to and including Diablo himself.
  • Boss Subtitles: Unique enemies have a subtitle under their health bar in place of the list of randomized attributes other special enemies have. For those of them that appear randomly rather than at predetermined points in the plot, these are more often hilarious than not. For example, you can run into:
    • "Haxxor, Wielder of Giant Axes"
    • "Dreadclaw the Leaper, Rodent of Unusual Size"
    • "Growlfang, Bite Much Worse Than Bark"
    • "Vicious Gray Turkey, Delicious Armored Beast"
    • "Larson the Strange, Eater of Vegetables"
    • "The Crusher, Just Passin' By"
    • "Chupa Khazra", with Khazra being a race of goatmen.
    • "Dargon, Traitorous Cur"
    • "Digger O'Dell, Must Be Shoveling Off", the ghost of a gravedigger.
    • Nightmarity, Generosity in Death.
    • "Marko, and Now He's Dead", a reference to the often-repeated Act I line "I promised Marko I'd protect him, and now he's dead."
  • Boss Warning Siren:
    • During Rifts, when the boss meter is filled completely, the area flashes red, sparks form around the boss's spawn location, and Orek warns you with some variation of "The Rift Guardian is here!"
    • In the console versions, the arrival of a Nemesis is heralded by a few ominous hums and your controller rumbling (if vibration is enabled).
  • The Blacksmith: Haedrig. He even speaks in a thick accent like his predecessor, Griswold.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jondar. Not that Kormac cares...
  • Break the Cutie: Leah suffers this throughout the course of the game. During the course of Act I, she's proven completely wrong about the demons and is forced to watch as her beloved adoptive uncle Deckard Cain is tortured and killed by Maghda right in front of her. Things begin to look up for her in Act II when she finds out that her mother Adria is still alive. But then comes Act III, and the start of things going From Bad to Worse for her. First, she personally goes through a hellish vision from Azmodan to lure her to Arreat Crater, during which he reveals to her that he knows of her plan to trap the Great Evils in the Black Soulstone and that he's sending an army of hellspawn to get it so that Azmodan can become the Prime Evil. And then she's forced to keep the Black Soulstone together with her power throughout the course of the act so that the Evils cannot escape, which is incredibly painful and draining for her. And this is all before she gets betrayed by her own mother, who uses the aforementioned soulstone to use her as a vessel for Diablo to be reborn as the Prime Evil himself. Poor girl...
  • Break the Haughty: Kormac, the Templar. Follow his dialogue every single chance a new one appears. He finds proof of his previous memories, and due to him remembering the extremely abusive ways that his order treated him, he has both a minor Heroic BSoD and a mild case of Faith–Heel Turn. He doesn't become evil, but he does realise he's being too high and mighty, and mellows out and becomes a nicer, more human person in general by act 4, and vows to have a very stern word with his order, to put it mildly.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Pox Faulds are legendary pants that, when surrounded by at least 3 enemies, emit an aura of poison damage. The buff is a picture of a skunk, it's called 'Stinky' and the description is 'You were frightened, so you resorted to the most primitive of survival tactics'. Any ally close enough will get a similar buff noticing how someone near him/her smells.
  • Broken Angel: Izual returns as a servant of Diablo and has transformed into a demon, but many more angels can be found being tortured by demons in the High Heavens.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Tyrael loses his angelic powers. While his sword does grant him some residual power, even as a mortal, he remains a skilled commander and fighter on the battlefield... or at least, so we're repeatedly told.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Lord Wynton and Grand Maester sidequests in Reaper of Souls are usually seen by players as this. Lord Wynton keeps summoning more guards (and there's already lots of them down there) in a very small area, so you get surrounded instantly, and his sorcerers make him invulnerable; plus he's got a charging attack (with an apparently very short cooldown) that stuns and knockbacks at the same time, and then the one-shot swipe comes. The Grand Maester has constant repositioning, infinite minions (making movement tricky), Thorns-like Aura, powerful attacks and regenerating health. Throw in net lag and rubberband issues commonly associated with enemy crowds, and you've got yourself an unwinnable battle that will frustrate new players to no end.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Butcher, the first boss. There's even an achievement for finishing him off while he's stunned from the charge.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Hilariously subverted, where a random citizen in Caldeum tries to rob the Barbarian. The Barbarian's reaction is to ask him to get a closer look, then think again about what he is doing. Cue the would-be robber awkwardly backing off saying he was just kidding.
    • Throughout and by the end of Reaper of Souls, this applies to the player character, as they stood as the Dragon in question for humanity: If Angels or Demons try to bully their race, they will kick their asses, as Malthael and the Prime Evils learn the hard way.
    • Lorath Nahr, a newbie Horadrim, rather arrogantly proclaims himself your chaperon and accompanies the player on their trip to kill Adria. He says that he's there to make sure you get the info first; the PC's reply is in a tone that practically begs Lorath to explain exactly what the hell he'd be able to do to stop them.
  • The Bus Came Back: Adria, the Witch in Tristram from the original, makes her reappearance in III after not even being mentioned in II.
  • The Butcher: He's back, as the final boss of Act I...and with new powers to boot, including a harpoon, a ramming move, and the ability to set the floor ablaze.
  • Camp Straight: Surprisingly, Covetous Shen. He even has a lisp! He Really Gets Around too; one of his dialogue options talk about the many, many wives he's had. But never more than two at once!
  • Canon Identifier: All of the player characters are referred to as "The Nephalem",a title with in-universe connotations of beings with limitless potential, distinguishing them from the protagonists of the first two titles, who are referred to as "heroes".
  • Canon Name: The game confirms that the hero of Diablo I is named Aidan. Novelization gave the canon names of the female Demon Hunter (Valla) and Wizard (Li-Ming), as proven with Reaper of Souls that the characters close to them and met in the Well of Souls (Halissa and Isendra) are also in the novels featuring them. Later on, Heroes of the Storm would give the names of the female Barbarian (Sonya), male Witch Doctor (Nazeebo), female Crusader (Johanna) and male Monk (Kharazim). Datamining of said game may also hint on the male Barbarian's: Kronan.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Leoric has a flanged mace that's broader than his shoulders. Considering that he's already ten feet tall, that's saying something.
  • The Casanova: Lyndon.
    Hero: Do you miss that girl?
    Lyndon: What girl?
    Hero: The farmer's daughter.
    Lyndon: I miss all farmers' daughters.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Lyndon, again. When the PC tells him that women don't like him as much as he thinks they do, he replies "Well, we all have off days." He also tries to hit on all the female PCs and Leah, and gets shot down.
    Lyndon: [to the female Monk] Do you ever think an amazing woman like you and a guy like me could ever become more than friends?
    Female PC: No.
    Lyndon: You're missing out...
    Female PC: No, I'm not.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Despite the events of the past two games, nobody seems to believe Deckard Cain's accounts. Even Leah admits that she's skeptical of some of his writings.
    • In act III after repelling Azmodan's initial assault, you can find Tyrael talking to a messenger, with the messenger saying that the king of Westmarch's response to Tyrael's request for reinforcements is that he won't send real men to fight imaginary demon lords. Tyrael's response is "Maybe he'll believe when his kingdom burns down around him."
  • Cast from Hit Points: Succubi invoke this with a debuff that makes any resource-costing ability take off health as well.
    • The Necromancer can augment the damage of some of their skills with a cost of health ranging from 2% to 25%. A class specific item set, Trag'Oul's Avatar, has a bonus which doubles the health cost, so you can spend up to half your life on one skill.
  • Catch Phrase Interruptus: Shown in the initial demo, where the Barbarian cuts Cain off in the middle of his catchphrase, who then complains that no one listens to him.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: Well, a door behind the falls in this case.
  • Celestial Paragons and Archangels: The Angiris Council rules the High Heavens.
    • Imperius is the Archangel of Valor, who believes in "blood for blood" when it comes to demons, and is probably the biggest jerk on the council, especially when it comes to humans.
    • Tyrael is the Archangel of Justice, and one of the only angels who actually gives a damn about humanity, to the point that he becomes one in III to aid humanity directly against Hell.
    • Auriel is the Archangel of Hope, and the other main proponent for humanity. Without Malthael, she's the one tasked with keeping the Angiris Council together.
    • Itherael is the Archangel of Fate, who is in charge of angelic records and divining the future of Sanctuary.
    • Malthael, the Archangel of Wisdom and once the leader of the Angiris Council. He disappeared soon after the Worldstone did, and his whereabouts were unknown until he resurfaced as the Angel of Death in Reaper of Souls, having gone evil and seeking to destroy humanity and the Nephalem.
  • Celibate Hero: Kormac, though he seems to have a hard time restraining himself around the Enchantress. Lyndon finds this hilarious, which really irritates Kormac.
  • Chain Lightning: The Wizard's Electrocute ability does this, and can be upgraded with one of its runes to target more monsters.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: This game has a milder version of this, mitigated by the fact that your skills and gear can be changed at any time. On earlier difficulties it is not only feasible but optimal to focus entirely on your character's offensive capabilities. By the time you get into higher difficulties, doing so will get you killed. A lot.
  • Chaos Architecture:
    • Tristram Cathedral. Previously a dark catacomb, it has become a sprawling underground complex complete with things like balconies. One wonders how the enormous open cavern doesn't collapse.
    • Old Tristram, the Cathedral, and Adria's hut are also much farther from each other, and in different spots.
    • Justified in the case of the Pandemonium Fortress in Reaper of Souls; it's outright stated that the Fortress changes to match the state of mind of its occupant, so Deckard Cain's detailed notes on its layout (from II) are completely useless now that Malthael is in charge.
    • Rifts are taken from existing maps and put together. Oftentimes this has the effect of having two disjointed sections meeting up. They also are wildly inconsistent floor-to-floor pulling together from all of the game's locations. One floor of a rift might be in the sewers, the next might be in the high heavens.
  • Chaste Heroine: Eirena, to the frustration of numerous characters.
  • Cheap Gold Coins: A gold piece is the tiniest unit of currency in the game. Level 1 monsters routinely carry up to 10 gold pieces (which they drop on the ground when you kill them). Vendors are willing to pay you 2 gold pieces for a damaged club (basically a broken stick). By level 10, you'll be carrying around (and paying) thousands of gold pieces.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: One of the very first quests has you exploring the abandoned home of Leah's allegedly long-dead mother Adria.
  • Chest Monster: Zigzagged.
    • The game features copious amounts of destructible containers such as barrels, jars and whatnot. They may drop gold or items, but may also spawn Mooks such as skeletons or spiders.
    • There are no enemies that disguise themselves as treasure chests, despite such chests appearing in most levels. There is a pet called The Mimic, however, which is an obvious Shout-Out to the trope with its big mouth, sharp teeth and, according to the flavour text, inexplicable quivering.note  Aside from its cosmetic function, it also gathers gold for you.
  • Climbing Climax: Act IV takes place in the High Heavens, and the Very Definitely Final Dungeon is the Crystal Arch which is a double set of towers rising high above the rest of the celestial landscape. The area for the final boss fight is fittingly called the Pinnacle of Heaven.
  • Clowncar Grave:
    • Zombies and an Iron Maiden.
    • Wretched Mothers, Retching Cadavers and Spewing Horrors can also produce multiple zombies that are their own size. The lore states the sludge they vomit is liquid remains, which forms new zombies.
    • Act 2 introduces the Accursed family of Undead (basically quick zombies that burst into poison clouds when slain), which can be spawned continuously from piles of dead corpses that can (and should) be attacked like actual targets.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Maghda and her Dark Coven are perhaps the most monstrous practitioners of this in the setting, using both magic and more physical tortures, including flaying people alive, to fuel their Black Magic.
    • Leoric engaged in quite a bit of this when he was still alive and insane, if the Halls of Agony (the old torture chambers of King Leoric) are anything to go by. In addition to having many people (up to and including his own queen) executed out of paranoia brought on by Diablo's attempts to take over his mind and the evil whisperings of Archbishop Lazarus, he had quite a lot of people tortured. The Darkening was not a fun time to live through.
    • The Inquisitors of the Templar Order do this to "cleanse" and "purify" convicted initiates of sin and they don't really care if the person is guilty or innocent — as Kormac's example proves, they're more than willing to pile false sins upon an innocent if they consider him a potential asset to the order.
  • Color-Coded Item Tiers: This game uses a slightly different colour scheme than its predecessor.
    • Grey (Inferior, no magic properties and lower base stats)
    • White (Normal or superior, no magic properties)
    • Blue (Magic, one or two magic properties)
    • Yellow (Rare, a variable number of random magic properties. Actually the most common kind of item)
    • Orange (Legendary, named items with higher stats. Unlike D2 uniques most properties of legendary items are still random.)
    • Green (Set, legendary items that also grant extra bonuses when worn with other items of the same set)
  • Combat and Support: The playable characters and their followers, respectively.
  • Combat Stilettos: The female Demon Hunter is wearing these in her announcement trailer.
  • Comet of Doom: The Fallen Star, which kicks off the game's plot...and which turns out to be a now mortal Tyrael falling from the High Heavens.
  • Companion-Specific Sidequest: In The Reaper of Souls, your three followers give you quests that put various issues from their pasts to rest: Kormac going to face the Templar Order, Lyndon going to find his brother, and Eirena finding out what happened to her sisters.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The game brings many items from previous games back; some of them are in-game callbacks and some lampshade how they were treated in previous games (Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac, Stone of Jordan). The player character even has a chance of finding the Anvil of Fury (acquired during a sidequest in the first game) at the remnants of Griswold's forge in the ruins of old Tristram, and picking up the sword "Griswold's Worn Edge" from it.
    • There is a barbarian skill named Call of the Ancients which summons three ancestral spirits to fight alongside the barbarian. Veteran Diablo II players will recognize these ancients as the same ones that had to be fought before gaining entrance to the Worldstone Chamber that housed Baal in Act V. This particular act revolved around the barbarians and their homeland.
    • A random event in Act 2 involves meeting a necromancer who turns out to be a student of Diablo II's necromancer.
    • In Act 1 you can find the corpse of Warriv, an NPC from Diablo II who transported you between acts.
    • Sir Gorash, the elite Blood Knight you fought on the final level of Hell in the original Diablo, is mentioned in Lachdanan's journal as one of the knights that was overcome when Diablo brought Leoric Back from the Dead as the Skeleton King.
    • In Act 2 it's possible to come across and disrupt a ritual being performed by fallen at the Shrine of Rakanishu, another early Diablo II boss, and to receive Rakanishu's Blade from it.
    • Loot a bookshelf in the Cathedral levels in Act 1, and Identify/Town Portal scrolls pour out. Would have been useful 20 years back...
    • It's possible to find the corpse of Bishibosh, an early boss from Diablo II, inside the Den of the Fallen, which appears to be a Fallen Burial Ground.
    • Upon entering one of the random micro-dungeons in Act IV, Kormac exclaims "The sanctity of this place has been fouled!", which the hero says as he enters the first dungeon in Diablo.
    • During Act IV, it's possible to find the ghost of Marius, who will rebuke Tyrael for not protecting him.
    • Gharbad the Weak is back...as Gharbad the Strong.
    • Tyrael has brought back the Horadrim, with Lorath Nahr being among them.
    • Kadala, the rare goods dealer that you find in Adventure Mode, is the daughter of Gheed from the second game, and has inherited her father's business sense.
    • Farnham, the drunk from the original Diablo, returns as an undead elite during a random event in the first part of Act I. If you're first starting out your character, you're probably not going to kill enough monsters during the event to get the extra chest in time.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted with some spells. The Enchantress' Mass Control spell, which turns temporarily enemies into chickens, doesn't work on bosses but does work on the elites that spawn randomly across levels, and who may be actually tougher than bosses (depending on the modifiers). The Necromancer's Frailty curse, which instantly kills cursed enemies when they've got less than 15% of their health, works on both elites and bosses, turning what would be otherwise a Useless Useful Spell (unless using the specific rune that increases damage received) into a tool for boss killing.
  • Cool Big Sis / Brother: Eirena the Enchantress quickly comes to liken the Player Character to an older sibling.
    Enchantress: I feel as if you are my elder brother. Is that wrong?
    Barbarian: No. But I will not speak to you regarding matters of love.
    Enchantress: [flustered] About...! I was not... That is... Well, I do not know what to say!
  • Cooldown: You can spam most direct damage spells but everything else usually has a cooldown, e.g. crowd control, movement, defensive, or the uber nuke spell. Potions and skill swapping also have cooldowns.
  • Cooldown Manipulation: Cooldown Reduction is a prized property in the game's Randomly Generated Loot for certain character builds, especially in the late game. Many characters have abilities that give them massive buffs for a limited time; it is possible to bring the cooldowns low enough that they can stay in a perpetual buffed-up state.
  • Cool Old Guy: The male barbarian looks to be a few decades older than the other heroes, but his age has apparently not diminished his asskicking ability.
    Enchantress: Tell me, are you considered handsome in your homeland?
    Barbarian: Heh. I am old now, but I am strong. And that's all that matters.
    Enchantress: Oh... I was merely curious.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Of course, given dungeons are assembled from tiles. Some tilesets decidedly show less variation than others. This is actually lampshaded.
    Covetous Shen: What a fascinating place this is. Look at all this wonderful architecture! You could walk all the way around the world and never find its like! Except for this part. I've seen this somewhere else before.
  • Copy Protection: Blizzard eventually admitted that the "always online" requirement was partially due to copy protection. While the game sold well, the game got a huge amount of negative publicity. Many people could not play the game when it came out due to server overload, leading to the infamous "error 37" Memetic Mutation. The game's console ports have offline play, but the PC version still requires a constant Internet connection.
  • Corrupt Church:
    • There's a mention of Zhakarum falling in the first act — a reference to the faith that was corrupted by Mephisto and turned towards evil in the second game. One of Cain's journals that can be found in Act IV also mentions this.
    • While not a "church", per se, it's revealed that the Templar order Kormac belongs to will abduct anyone who seems like they might be a valuable fighter and brainwash them through Cold-Blooded Torture to turn them into living weapons against the demons.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Leah seems to be following in the footsteps of StarCraft's Kerrigan and Warcraft III's Arthas, Kael'thas, Illidan and Sylvanas. Seems to be a Blizzard tradition.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • By earning achievements, you will unlock new sigils, accents, and shapes for your personalized banner.
    • In Reaper of Souls, one of the new NPCs has a Transmogrify ability that lets you change the appearance of your weapons.
    • Completing certain chapters of season journeys usually unlocks a special character portrait border, pennant, or set of wings.
    • Beating all four Set Dungeons for a given character class unlocks a green pennant for that class; mastering all four Set Dungeons for the class unlocks a more elaborate pennant. There are also two sets of wings that can be unlocked by beating and mastering all twenty-four Set Dungeons.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Crystal Arch, source of all Angels and their power. If it is destroyed, Angeldom will cease to exist and both Sanctuary and the High Heavens will be cast into darkness forever. Diablo very nearly succeeds in destroying it.
  • Council of Angels: The Angiris Council, composed of the five Arch Angels: Imperius, Tyrael, Auriel, Malthael, and Itherael.
  • Crapsack World: The life of the average citizen in Sanctuary is pretty bad. Even without demons destroying your town, there is an abundance of bandits, dangerous wildlife, and crazy/incompetent rulers waiting to kill or eat you. Things are looking up when Diablo is defeated — and then Malthael and his Reapers show up, seeking to Kill All Humans for being the offspring of angels and demons.
  • Creepy Cathedral: The Cathedral from the first game is revisited in a limited capacity in the first act, where you make two trips — one to rescue Deckard Cain, and the other to destroy the Skeleton King and get to the bottom of the star that fell upon the cathedral.
  • Creepy Good: The Witch Doctor, who, in addition to summoning creatures such as spiders, poisonous frogs, or zombie dogs and bears, is a Nightmare Fetishist, but is portrayed as one of the nicest characters amongst the playable classes.
  • Critical Hit Class:
    • This is mainly the only build viable in higher difficulty games. There are magical items with the ability to increase critical hit chance, others with the ability to increase the damage on a critical hit, and items with both (mainly the so-called Trifecta, if they also have increased attack speed). Accumulating these items, you can, for example, get a 50% chance of dealing 400% of damage. Also, the game incorporates some special effects that only activate when dealing a critical effect.
    • Wizards that wish to run the Manald Heal ring work as a vastly exaggerated variation. The bonus damage the ring can give through its unique affix is enormous - between 13,000% and 14,000% extra weapon damage. However, it only works against paralyzed enemies - the paralyzed status can only be caused by casting Lightning spells while having the Paralysis passive skill, and even then, it's stuck at a flat 15% chance of happeningnote . This makes Manald Heal wizards extremely reliant on the Random Number God to work, but when it does work, the wizard gets an "Instant Death" Radius.
  • Crosshair Aware:
    • Most of Belial's attacks in his One-Winged Angel form have a green circle that appears on the spot that will be hit.
    • Elite Mooks with the Mortar, Molten or Frozen abilities now show the point and radius of their explosion moves, allowing the player to anticipate and avoid them.
  • Crossover: The Nintendo Switch port comes with exclusive content based on Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, including a costume based on Ganondorf's appearance from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, a Cucco pet, and a cosmetic Triforce icon.
  • Cry into Chest: At the end of Act II, Leah has just been through a hellish vision courtesy of Azmodan, the last of the Evils that you have to take down, who reveals to her that he knows about the plan to trap him and his brothers in the Black Soulstone, and has sent all of his legions to the mortal realm from Arreat Crater to capture it. After relaying the info about the above to Tyrael after he breaks her out of this vision, she breaks down in his arms.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The High Heavens, in contrast to the classic Fire and Brimstone Hell.
  • Cue the Sun: When you defeat Diablo for the third and final time, the dawn slowly breaks over heaven itself.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Imperius vs. Diablo. Imperius is very much on the receiving end.
  • Cute Is Evil: The denizens of Whimsydale and Whimsyshire are every bit as vicious as the denizens of Hell.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: The game mentions the role of "heroes" in the events of the second game, but The Book of Cain specifies that all five of the original character classes were involved in defeating Diablo the second time.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: If you recieve a mere Magic (blue) item from gambling with Kadala, she'll say something insulting about it in this fashion, such as that it's a good paperweight, or that you might find a use for it someday.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Veterans of the first two games will take a while to stop keeping a finger on ALT all the time since loot is clearly labelled on screen for some time after pressing the button.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Averted Trope in Reaper of Souls. The deserter in question is introduced having saved a woman's life, with much audible thankfulness from her as she declares him a hero. He doesn't accept it quite as fervently and declines the adjective, with the later revelation of his desertion from the Westmarch army explaining it. In spite of staying at a camp heavily guarded by said army, he makes no attempt to break out and comes along quietly to accept his punishment when a Sergeant later has him go to be hanged.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Studying these is why the Wizard got into trouble. It's also why they can use Arcane and Time magic while none of the other playable mage-classes of the other two games could.
  • Dare to Be Badass: The Demon Hunter trailer ends with one of these.
    You have a choice. Hunted... or hunter.
  • Darkest Hour: The start of Act IV is one of these in spades. To recap: Diablo is back courtesy of Adria pulling the mother of all betrayals. Leah is no more thanks to Adria using her as the vessel of said rebirth. Diablo has become the Prime Evil, the sum total of all Seven Great Evils in one being, thanks to the Black Soulstone that you so helpfully put the Evils into for Adria. And Diablo and all his forces are now running roughshod over the High Heavens themselves, with extra despair points due to Auriel, the Archangel of Hope, being taken prisoner by Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair. Only when you free her do things begin to look up, though you still have a lot of demonslaying to do!
    • Reaper of Souls has its own Darkest Hour near the end of Act V when Malthael releases the Black Soulstone, which he has altered to absorb the demonic essences of all beings of the plane that he sends it into, into Sanctuary, with the intent of annihilating all humanity. As people die in droves all across the world, it's a race against time to find and stop Malthael before humanity is rendered extinct.
  • Dark Fantasy
  • Dark Is Evil:
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Witch Doctor is both a creepy Nightmare Fetishist and one of the more friendly and kind characters.
  • Darker and Edgier: While previous games refrained from killing off characters with any semblance of plot importance, here Cain dies in the very first act, and Adria turns out to be a traitor, sacrificing Leah to cause Diablo to rise again. On the other hand, it's also the first game in the series in which the heroes are depicted as being literally superhuman, as opposed to just being extraordinary individuals. Oh yeah, and you actually win this time.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Many of your camp followers are carrying their own rather heavy baggage.
    • Kormac the Templar serves the Templar Order to atone for a sin so great he had to be given amnesia. Later we find out there was no sin, and the Templars abducted, tortured, and brainwashed him so he would serve them.
    • Lyndon the Scoundrel lost the only woman he truly loved to his brother. Then he accidentally gets his brother arrested and thrown into jail and is trying to get enough gold to buy his freedom.
    • Eirena the Enchantress was tasked along with her sisters by a Prophet to hibernate until it was their time to awaken and help the player on their quest. She wakes up as a Fish out of Temporal Water, and finds out that none of her fellow sisters made it.
    • Haedrig the Blacksmith saw his own father get murdered in front of his eyes, and lives with the stigma of being the descendant of the man who allegedly betrayed and murdered King Leoric. Oh, and his beloved wife becomes a Zombie Infectee and he's forced to put her down.
    • Covetous Shen the Jeweler is a happy-go-lucky guy who's had multiple wives, seen the world, recently acquired a crucible that allows him to create the most fantastical stat-boosting gems that the heroes can obtain, and has spent entire decades chasing a madman sorcerer trapped in a jewel that feeds off its owner's life force and even their personal life until they die without anything. It's implied that Shen has seen this happen multiple times after the jewel nearly obliterated his own life.
    • Myriam the Mystic is mostly happy-go-lucky, but she tried to change fate in the past multiple times only to have the consequences insult her defiance. One of the examples she's willing to tell is when she tried to save a wayward demon summoner from demonic possession, only for the demon to murder said summoner's family out of spite, driving the poor girl mad. It has left her jaded about attempting to defy fate entirely and more willing to write the little details of fate instead.
    • Demon Hunters are drawn from the ranks of the survivors of horrific demon attacks that claimed their homes and families. The PC among them not only had his or her family and village wiped out by The Legions of Hell, but the other survivor, his or her sister, was driven to madness by the experience and presumably took her own life.
  • Daylight Horror: Many of your foes are faced in broad daylight, in all four acts, including much of Act II, the siege of Bastion's Keep in Act III, and the battle in the High Heavens in Act IV. Kormac the Templar, one of your followers who has a serious case of Black and White Morality, is definitely troubled by this.
    Kormac: I do not understand how evil walks in the day. Should it not fear the light?
    PC: [some statement contradicting this line of thought].
    Kormac: But the light is both a literal and figurative enemy of evil!
  • Day-Old Legend:
    • There's a blacksmith that can make various weapons and armor using plans you find in the world. Some of those items can also be found from monster drops, but quite a few cannot. That doesn't stop them from having descriptions like 'forged by demons' attached though. Maybe he's outsourcing his labor?
    • A later patch added Kanai's cube, which has several uses, among them the ability to upgrade a rare item into a legendary item of the same type. (for example, a rare helm into a legendary helm). This means that a legendary item obtained using the cube can have a flavor text describing an ancient, extremely powerful item, even though it was just a few minutes ago a plain, not really notable item.
  • Deader Than Dead: The ending of the game implies this for Diablo, and quite possibly all of the other Evils that have been fused with him, but Reaper of Souls reveals that Diablo's essence is still inside the Black Soulstone, although the changes Malthael intends to make to the Soulstone as part of his plan may alter the Evils in some manner.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The Player Characters definitely have their moments at times, especially the Wizard.
    • Lyndon the Scoundrel usually has something snarky to say, no matter the situation.
    • Even the villagers get in on the act sometimes:
      Male Villager: Did you see that stranger next to old Cain? I was listening to him talk. I'd bet he comes from Westmarch.
      Female Villager: Oh, really? So people from there usually travel by falling star? Use your head. If he's from Westmarch, I'm empress of Caldeum.
    • Even Tyrael can bust out the snark on occasion. If he happens to be one of your NPC followers and you stand still for too long, he'll say "I will just stand here, watching the world crumble around us, while you decide on a course of action."
  • Death Glare: All classes show one in the ending cinematic of Reaper of Souls, while Tyrael narrates how they are still mortal and can therefore fall prey to corruption. The result is ominous indeed.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: "YOU HAVE DIED. YOUR ITEMS HAVE LOST 10% DURABILITY." Compared to II, where you left your equipment and corpse behind as well as losing money, this is pretty much nothing. The console version makes it even more a slap on the wrist, giving you the option to resurrect right at your corpse if you want. Hardcore mode, however...
    • Becomes more of a Death Is a Stab In The Wrist if you're using Legendary or other expensive equipment. If you use equipment with the Indestructible perk, the stab is against an armored wrist, but most one-space inventory items don't have this perk.
    • There is now a specific legendary piece of equipment, shoulder guards that came from a dying crusader protecting her order's artifacts, that prevents all durability loss.
    • In the late-game when players have racked up billions of gold, "slap on the wrist" seems like an overstatement—even with previously-expensive Legendary/Set pieces.
  • Death Seeker: The Barbarian.
    Scoundrel: What will you do when this is all over?
    Barbarian: Death awaits me. There is nothing else.
    Scoundrel: That's quite a... dark... outlook.
  • Defector from Decadence: The game enjoys this trope:
    • Tyrael does this to the Angiris Council after a loud argument regarding his actions in the prequel (namely saving humanity from certain doom.) He strips off his armor and falls from the High Heavens to Sanctuary. He eventually rejoins them, though as a mortal.
    • Subverted with Kormac the Templar. He was taken in as a criminal by the Order, magically and physically tortured until his memories were repressed, and told he had been redeemed at their hands. This trope is set up when he finds out he was actually an honest soldier of Westmarch and the whole "redeemed criminal" stuff was a facade. However, he stays faithful to the order and vows to clean it of those responsible. Eventually double-subverted; upon learning that the orders to torture non-criminals came from the top, he (with the help of the PC) killed the Order's leadership, and vowed to release his "brothers" in the order from their indoctrination.
    • Deconstructed (?) with Kormac's former templar brother Jondar. He had a similar revelation at some point, but it left him heartbroken and in a mentally weakened state. Then he was discovered by, and persuaded to join, the demonic Coven.
  • Dem Bones: The ''Diablo III'' information states that the undead are not from a single corpse. Instead, they essentially turn a corpse into bone powder and reconfigure it into a skeleton. When you raise any skeleton, it's really like you're raising a thousand tenths of a percent of a thousand different skeletons and sticking them together.
  • Demonic Possession: Leah is possessed by Diablo when Adria smashes the Black Soulstone into her chest and revived not just Diablo but the overall Eldritch Abomination Tathamet. Ho boy. Heaven got invaded thanks to that.
  • Demon Slaying: As with every other Diablo game, you're going to be doing this a lot. The primary ranged class in the game, the Demon Hunter, is especially dedicated to doing this.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Can happen with the random item generator - you'll run into weapons such as the Cruel Sledgehammer of Cruelty or the Reptilian Viper.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Everyone comes damned close to crossing this at the very start of Act IV following Leah's death and Diablo's rebirth as the Prime Evil—your character doesn't, though. The angels especially because of Auriel's capture by Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair. Only after you kill Rakanoth and free Auriel does hope return to everyone.
  • Despair Gambit:
    • Azmodan tries this, through a combination of shock-and-awe tactics and aggressive taunting. It's less than effective.
    • Diablo, not surprisingly, is better, tormenting the characters with illusive shades of people they've killed or failed in the past. It helps that he has the demonic personification of Despair as one of his lieutenants.
  • Despair Speech: Most of the people still alive in Bastion's Keep at the beginning of Act IV have these to give following Leah's death and the unleashing of Diablo as the Prime Evil upon the High Heavens, but the most poignant of all is Haedrig's.
    Haedrig: I thought I could make my wife's death mean something. It doesn't matter now, does it?
    Player: It does matter. You are here now, and we might still turn the tide of this battle.
    Haedrig: Right. I'm sure that's a comfort for Leah now that she's gone too. I've been a fool. You don't get to make things right. This world isn't made for redemption.
  • Destroyer Deity: Malthael, once the Archangel of Wisdom, seeks to be this in the expansion Reaper of Souls. And it's the Nephalems job to stop him.
  • Determinator: Your character never shows any sign of wavering in any NPC dialogue and expresses no doubt that he/she can perform supposedly impossible campaigns such as almost single-handedly taking on Azmodan's entire army. Even Tyrael loses faith and has to be told to man up after Heaven is invaded and their angelic hosts are broken and corrupted. Fallen angels, demons — your character doesn't really care. They will all be your loot pinatas.
    Barbarian: Our foes are endless.
    Scoundrel: Do you tire of it?
    Barbarian: No. It does not matter how many stand in my way.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • It is possible during replays to temporarily have two of the same companion at once. They can speak with each other - the Templar addresses his alter ego as a fellow member of his order; the Scoundrel recognizes his alter-ego as being from his guild, and the Enchantress addresses the other enchantress as one of her sisters.
    • If you have Leah in your party and go into the back room of the Inn in New Tristram, she will ask, "What are we doing in my room?". She will also complain about you reading her diary.
    • All the artisans (Haedrig, Shen, and Myriam) have dialogue for parts of the game before you would have met them for the first time. Similarly, your followers have dialogue for segments of the game before they would have joined you.
    • During the story mode, there's a Broken Bridge in which a group of cultists have blocked your way with an illusion, which requires the Enchantress follower (who is required at that point in the story) to get through. If you return to that part in adventure mode, when the game can't count on your having an Enchantress around, the player character will say, "It looks like the cultists actually blocked the way instead of using an illusion this time."
    • The Necromancer's "Revive" skill summons an undead version of a slain enemy. If it's used on an enemy that is immobile (like a carrion nest) or has no attack (like a treasure goblin), the player gets a generic skeleton instead.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Blizzard has revealed that the destruction of the Worldstone also blew up the entire mountain, destroyed the barbarian capital and turned the continent into a wasteland. By the way, the Worldstone not only kept the demons out but also the angels because some of them view humanity as a taint on creation and are quite eager to destroy it. Instead of just the Prime Evils raising an army, a full scale demonic AND angelic invasion involving every character from either side with a name is about to occur. On the plus side, the Worldstone had acted as a power limiter on humanity, and some humans are regaining their ancestral powers to become the new nephalem—most notably, your character.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In past games this was already true because the Demon Lords were Physical Gods and the personification of primal aspects (can you truly kill Terror?). Now it's even more applicable as Diablo's master plan to manifest as the physical incarnation of all Evil succeeds. As the Prime Evil he is able to turn back the angelic host and breach Heaven's walls for the first time in history. But he's still vulnerable to a good right hook. You even get an achievement for physically punching him! It's justified since the Worldstone's destruction triggered the return of humanity's original power, which is supposed to be greater than the power of the angels and demons. The heroes are the first of the new Nephalem. Reaper of Souls takes things further: You don't just punch out the Demon Lord. You punch out the Angel Lord too (Malthael) who even absorbs the Prime Evil for a power boost near the end.
  • Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Adria conceived Leah with Aidan while he was possessed by Diablo. And she knew it. Adria had consensual sex with the Lord of Terror. Just to make it a bit more Squicky, he only gradually gained control of Aidan through the first half of the events of Diablo II; his human host was mostly still in control before he left Tristram. One can only guess what was going through his head at the time...
  • Die, Chair! Die!: The game takes this to a whole new level, it's jam-packed with destructible terrain. Ruined walls will crumble and furniture will splinter from your spells going off near them. In some situations, enemies can be killed by falling debris (noted as a "Pulverize" bonus). You can even get small experience and speed bonuses if you destroy enough of these pieces in quick succession. The barbarian can earn an achievement for destroying 2000 objects using the Whirlwind attack. Moreover, the Barbarian is unique among character classes in actually gaining some resource (Fury) whenever they smash something, and Fury begins to deplete if they go too long without fighting something, so it's actually practical to break some furniture every few seconds if you want to keep Fury up in a non-combat situation such as a piece of dialogue or sorting through the latest set of loot.
  • Dig Attack: There's sandworms that pop up from underground almost without warning to strike. Also, at one point in the story, Asmodan manages to infiltrate Bastion's Keep by digging into the larder which is several levels below the ground and sending troops to work their way up to the defenders.
  • Dirty Coward:
    • Mayor Holus. He gets better...just in time to get slaughtered by Diablo.
    • In Act V, there's an enemy called the Primordial Scavenger that you find. It appears to be a massive humanoid with bony armor, but when you attack it, it blocks all damage until it suddenly collapses, revealing that it was nothing but a giant rock shell surrounding a small creature that flees and attempts to dig into the ground to escape you, only reappearing after it's reassembled its shell.
  • Disability Superpower: Tyrael in act IV. He may be less powerful as a human, but he's not affected by the corruption Diablo causes to the Crystal Arch.
  • Disappears into Light: Inverted when Tyrael decides to make himself mortal. His head (previously a void hidden under a hood) materialises from bright motes as he does so.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The first major boss of the game is the Skeleton King, who is faced halfway through the first act and is largely unrelated to the rest of the game's plot (unfortunately for the characters in-game, he's literally barring the way to that plot). Then the player must face Belial and Azmodan before the real Big Bad is finally revealed to be Diablo himself once again.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The game has this in Act III if you went into the game completely blind. The PC descends into Mordor? Check. Boss fight against the Big Bad who had been pretty built up for a good portion of the game? Check. However, after you beat Azmodan Adria betrays you and you go to the High Heavens for the real final dungeon and to face Diablo.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If you already have a high-level character and are rolling with a new one, any socketed weapon can become this. Gems, unlike gear, aren't level-capped, meaning that you can add an attack bonus gem more appropriate to a level 70 weapon to a dingy level 10 piece of junk. Then watch the enemy disintegrate before you as you waltz to the final boss.
    • Also, any gear that has the magical property "level requirement lowered by X" can be a game-breaker at lower levels, as the difference in power can be exponential between specific levels. Becomes somewhat useless once you finally reach the gear's proper level.
    • It gets better. The newest patch added Kanai's Cube, a sort of superpowered version of the Horadric Cube from Diablo II. One recipe removes the level requirement from any item. That Infinity +1 Sword of Murdering? Now it can be equipped by a level ONE character.
    • Paragon levels, which are applied to all characters regardless of who "earned" them, can be this for newly created characters. +5 per level to a given stat is a tiny boost for a Level 70 character whose stats are in the quadruple digits; it's positively massive for a Level 1 character whose stats top out at 10.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: During the "Finding the Forgotten" event, inside the House of Corpses, several corpses are scattered, and a frightened woman called Lady Arsonia asks player(s) to help find her precious pendant. After checking several corpses, she will find the pendant and recognize the bearer as herself. Furious and refusing to believe that she is dead, she will attack the players as a unique ghost. Killing her ends the event.
  • Disintegrator Ray: One of the Wizard's powers is one of these. It gets ridiculously powerful in his/her Archon Form.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Sword of the Stranger in Act 1, and Zoltun Kulle's body in Act 2.
  • Distressed Damsel: Inverted in the first act. It's the young and female Leah who wants you to rescue the elderly and male Deckard Cain. She does get captured along with her uncle later in Act 1...and again by Belial's minions in Act 2. Both times, she gets out of her own mess by unleashing the hidden power that she holds within her on the mooks surrounding her. She isn't nearly so successful at this in Act 3 due to her own mother being the bad guy this time and the strain from holding the Black Soulstone together throughout the act having weakened her.
  • The Ditz:
    • Covetous Shen. It's heavily implied he's Obfuscating Stupidity, and just refuses to give straight answers...and might in fact be a god.
    • Eirena the Enchantress, who has lived a rather sheltered life and is also a Fish out of Temporal Water. As a result she is almost childlike in her innocence about many things.
  • Divine Conflict:
    • The Creation Myth in the series is how the ultimate good Anu and the Prime Evil Tathamet battled each other for millenia, their remains eventually becoming the High Heavens and the Burning Hells respectively.
    • The archangels Tyrael and Imperius come to blows over Tyrael's involvement with the mortal realm, leading Tyrael to renounce his angelic position.
  • Divine Parentage:
    • The Nephalem were the ancestors of the humans of Sanctuary, born from the union of renegade angels and demons, but who were weakened into their current human state by the Worldstone when Inarius got frightened by how powerful the Nephalem were. With the Worldstone destroyed, humanity is beginning to get its former power back, and the Player Character of Diablo III is among the first of the new Nephalem.
    • Leah is the daughter of the witch Adria and the Dark Wanderer, a.k.a. Aidan from the first game, who became possessed by Diablo after sticking his soulstone into his own head. The magical power she wields comes direct from the Big D himself, and she is eventually used by Adria with the Black Soulstone to bring about Diablo's rebirth as the Prime Evil, the sum total of all seven Great Evils in one being.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Monk and Witch Doctor classes (regardless of gender) have several shoe and boot options which leave them barefoot. The Witch Doctor's default appearance in particular is barefoot. By applying the vanishing dye, any shoe or boot options can leave them barefoot. The Monk in particular voluntarily lives in Barefoot Poverty as part of his/her training...at least, before the game starts.
  • Doomed Hometown: Demon Hunters are survivors of towns or caravans destroyed by demons.
  • Door to Before: Dead end dungeons and caves have a magic stone on the last floor that teleports you to the entrance so you don't have to run back or portal to town. Rifts also have them, but since they take you back to town, something you can also do simply by pressing the town portal key/button, said stones just serve to indicate that you've reached the end of the Rift.
  • Doppelgänger Spin:
    • The Wizard has a spell that summons 2 (sometimes 5) duplicates to run around the enemies casting spells (for 0 damage) from her current build. When she starts the spell, she even moves into a random position.
    • There is also a monster trait that enables a similar attack, often flooding the field with clones.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Many of the set dungeons fall into this. They usually require killing a number of enemies in a very specific way. Depending on your build and how much damage you're dealing, you may accidentally kill the enemies before you're able to do what the game wants.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Tathamet is a seven-headed dragon who is also known as the Prime Evil. It is said that when he was killed while fighting the warrior god Anu, his corpse reformed itself into the Burning Hells, and each of his seven heads became one of the seven Demon Lords who reign supreme over the other demons.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Captain Rumford's ghost appears during the finale, despite the fact that the player never actually sees him die. The last time the player sees him, they're bound for Wortham, and later on in the act his corpse is found outside the town gate.
  • Drop the Hammer: The angelic troopers carry large warhammers.
  • Dual Wielding: The Barbarian, naturally, and the Monk. The Demon Hunter can dual wield Hand Crossbows.
  • Dude, Where's My Reward?: Finally averted in this game, where after 2 games and one expansion that ended with no visibly good future for anyone Diablo III ends on an uplifting note with the player killing Diablo after he becomes the God of Evil by merging with the other evils. There's no hints of getting rewarded, but hey, at least the leaders of hell are gone. That is, until Reaper of Souls reveals that Diablo's essence is still in the Black Soulstone.
  • Dummied Out: The Mystic, who was going to be a player Artisan. She was supposed to be an NPC who could infuse items with targeted enchantments, but was removed late in development. Her model, voice work, and recruitment mission still exist in the form of the NPC Karyna you rescue from the Spider Queen, but she no longer follows you after.
    • The Mystic Artisan profession returns in the Reaper of Souls expansion. The character this time is Myriam, and her recruitment takes place in the fifth act. Her services are different from the intended original; she can reroll any property of any equipment (at the cost of making it account-bound and a few legendary materials per legendary item), or change the cosmetic look of an object for five hundred gold (if you're changing to the appearance of a piece of regular gear) or fifty grand (if you're emulating the appearance of a legendary item).
  • Durable Deathtrap: The game doesn't have many traps of the classic variety, but a common baffling feature of dungeons is skeletons inside barrels. Who put the skeleton in there? Why hasn't the skeleton broken out? If the skeleton put himself in there so he could ambush you, why does he always wait to show himself until you've broken open the barrel and the skeleton is directly in the path of your weapon?note  Also, coffins that pop up out of the ground in a field for no apparent reason and open to release a skeleton.
  • Dying Town:
    • New Tristram.
    • Caldeum, according to Abd al-Hazir.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The more players there are in a game, the stronger the monsters are to compensate. The "Version 2.0" patch also did this to the monsters, though the player can choose to make them even stronger by increasing the difficulty in exchange for more experience and loot drops.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • The Armored Destroyer enemies enter battle by attempting to smash down on top of you. This doesn't do any damage, but they are temporarily invulnerable after landing.
    • The Unholy Thralls, Corrupted Angels and Oppressors charge attacks can come from off-screen. The latter two can even stun the player.
  • Easter Egg: When the player enters one of the Defiled Crypts in the Act I graveyard, it's possible for them to end up in a dungeon named Development Hell instead.
  • Easy Exp: One can earn bonus experience by destroying objects, reading tomes, or stringing together kill streaks or killing many enemies in a single attack.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Hell and Inferno difficulties are very guilty of it.
    • The big bosses tend to require a certain amount of running around avoiding damage. Players who had nimble hands when Diablo 1 came out in their 20's are 16 years older now and due to everyone aging differently some find the need to run around in a game darn frustrating as they are entering their 40's.
    • Levels are only easy until the randomized mini-boss generator pumps out something that puts the real bosses to shame. Indeed, despite their lower number of hit points, Hell and Inferno mode elites, rares, and uniques are much more dangerous than the actual bosses of the game due to the fact that at each higher difficulty level, they gain an additional added trait, and more powerful traits only appear at higher difficulties. This makes them exponentially more difficult, as many of the powers become much, much stronger in combination. Teleport and Fast in particular make many of the other traits much, much worse, because it makes it much harder to run away from enemies who leave trails of fire or who hurt you if you come between you and their friends. It also allows for the fun of invincible enemies you can't get away from, or enemies who deal damage over time if you stand in one place who can prevent you from moving. By comparison, most of the bosses are easy.
    • Invulnerable Minions is far beyond Up to Eleven. Not only Exactly What It Says on the Tin, those minions feel similar to a Advancing Wall of Doom with what you need to kill just behind it. Quitting the game to change up the elite pack spawn might be necessary to get rid of it. This mod has been expunged in 1.0.4.
  • Easy Level Trick: The fight with the Grand Maester in Reaper of Souls can be really punishing, with him periodically healing himself, also periodically using damage reflection on himself to punish you attacking him, the fight doesn't grant the player any healing globes or wells, and he's accompanied by many other enemies, including ranged ones, that will constantly respawn after being killed! But if you go down the hallway leading up to the fight, he will follow you, and his allies will stay in the room the Grand Maester starts in after respawning and not go down the hallway after you, leaving you to deal with him.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: If the Player Character is male, one of the villagers in New Tristram will eventually accuse his wife of undressing the hero with her eyes. She counters that she would look at him instead if he had a weapon like that. note 
  • Elemental Powers: The Wizard uses Fire, Ice, Lightning, Arcane and Time — the Sorcerer and Sorceress of the last two games used Fire, Ice, Lightning.
  • Elemental Punch: The Monk class has a number of elementally infused punch attacks, and in fact starts with an electrified attack called the Fists of Thunder.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: The leaders of the Angels represent different virtues. Tyrael unsurprisingly is Justice. In Diablo III, Tyrael's commitment to his virtue is so powerful that he renounces his position and powers to become mortal rather than abide by his fellow Angels' decision to abandon humanity to the demons. At the end of the game, Tyrael takes up the position of Wisdom instead, having gained some during his journey, confident that mortals can handle Justice just fine on their own. It's later revealed Malthael's true aspect was Death rather than Wisdom.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: The game contains a wealth of lore on monsters and the world that can be discovered in-game through lore entries. The two most frequent authors of such are Deckard Cain who dies early in game at the hands of Maghda and Abd al-Hazir who it's implied met a similar fate at the hands of Magdha's coven in Caldeum after witnessing a particularly gruesome ritual, though is later revealed to have been abducted by a Khazra clan, and can be rescued by the player in a random event in ACT III's adventure mode. Lorath adds quite a few descriptions in Reaper of Souls, as he is one of the few to witness Malthael's soldiers and lieutenants in action and survive.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Dark Exile and Azmodan vs. Belial in the interim between Diablo 2 and III. Tyrael points out that the disunity between the Great Evils is their greatest weakness and if they ever get their act together everyone is screwed. This is why Diablo, as the Prime Evil, can walk all over Heaven in Act 4.
  • Enemy Summoner:
    • Tomb Guardians have the ability to summon undead.
    • Certain Cultists can summon Hellions.
    • Guardian Towers have the ability to summon even more monsters depending on their element.
  • The Engineer: The Demon Hunter class, which, while mostly focused on archery and shadow magic skills, also has several abilities that give it an Engineer vibe. For instance, they can drop an automatic sentry ballista, hurl grenades of various kinds, and set complex traps to slow and damage foes. One of their passive abilities, which improves their Sentry and traps, is even called "Custom Engineering."
  • Escape Rope: The Town Portal returns, with changes. It's no longer useable by other party members, it has a five-second casting time which is canceled if interrupted, and it transports the caster immediately to town as soon as casting is complete. This is to prevent instantly teleporting back to town as soon as anything mildly threatening appears on screen, or pre-emptively opening a portal as an escape route before tackling a difficult boss, as many players did in previous Diablo titles.
  • Escort Mission: Several objectives (most notably the ones where you meet your Followers for the first time each) have you escorting NPCs. Fortunately, they have Gameplay Ally Immortality (indicated by the lack of a Life Meter under their portrait), and some will even fight alongside you.
  • Essence Drop: Monsters periodically drop crimson Health Globes upon death. The developers wanted to move away from Diablo's traditional potion spam gameplay.
  • Ethnic Magician: The game has a white Barbarian, a black Witch Doctor, and an Asian Wizard.
  • Evil All Along: This is pretty easy to assume with Adria's betrayal. However, it takes on a new layer with a bit of dialogue between the Enchantress and the PC, coupled with a comment in a journal entry by Maghda which you get after you kill her. The implication is that Adria and Maghda may have led the Coven together prior to the events of the first game, with a rift between them leading to Adria coming to Tristram while Maghda stayed with the Coven. Kormac comes to to suspect the same thing as his storyline dialogue progresses.
  • Evil Chancellor: Chancellor Eamon, in contrast to Archbishop Lazarus, was very much The Good Chancellor, who tried his best to save lives when the Darkening was going down, but was accused of being this by the people, resulting in his death when King Leoric fell.
  • Evil Gloating: Quite a few of your enemies do this, but Azmodan really takes the cake. No matter how many battles he loses, his confidence refuses to falter.
  • Evil Laugh: Every time Zoltun Kulle vanishes at the end of a conversation, he lets out an evil laugh just to remind you that he's in no danger of becoming a good guy.
  • Evil Matriarch: The game gives us Adria, the Witch of Tristram. Despite being the secondary protagonist's birth mother and a traditional aid to the player character, she allows them to destroy two Demon Lords and their armies before betraying the player, killing several allies and using her own daughter as the vessel for her dark master to be reborn as the embodiment of all evil. She performs a double-bluff in some respects, as she is openly a harsh and unpleasant individual, and is not depicted as particularly charismatic or powerful - an average spellcaster at best. She is, however, a cruel liar, and uses her record of trauma and tragedy to draw suspicion away from her true agenda.
  • Evil Plan: Diablo's multi-century plan to become the Prime Evil involved turning Izual the angel to his side so he can learn how to corrupt soulstones, employing Adria the witch as a servant and mother of his child so he will keep a physical anchor in Sanctuary while his brothers just die and go to the abyss, getting Baal to corrupt the World Stone in order to force Tyrael to destroy it, and making Adria help the Diablo III heroes contain the spirits of Belial and Azmodan in the Black Soulstone before using Leah, the aforementioned child, as his vessel to be reborn as the Prime Evil.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Virtually every NPC who's even remotely evil is guilty of this. Of course the actual lords of hell take the cake, especially Asmodan and Diablo...until Malthael and the Soulstone Sliver take the cake back in Reaper of Souls.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: Ashbringer, the very sword that Tirion Fordring used to defeat the Lich King Arthas, somehow makes its way into the Diablo universe one day and can be found by the Nephalem - but it has... changed. Corrupted by the Lich King and whatever it went through in the burning hells, the blade looks worthy for a master necromancer, and even summons helpful undead to your cause. But summon enough undead and they'll explode, temporarily purifying the Ashbringer and giving you a MASSIVE holy power boost on one enemy each second.
  • Expansion Pack: Reaper of Souls, which adds a new act, a new class and many more.
  • Experience Booster: Experience Shrines, again, as well as weapons that give experience per kill, and rubies adorned on helmets which grant a % experience boost. Reaper of Souls adds Pools of Reflection, which give you a 25% boost on top of all other boosts, which lasts about half a level for your character (but the boost is lost if your character dies).
  • Exponential Potential: You are limited to six skill slots and 3 passive slots note . However, each class has between 20-30 active skills and every skill has 5 rune variants that change its properties, in some cases dramatically altering your entire strategy. And then there's the 10-15 passives as well. And all the different types of gear you can find that enhances what skills you choose.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Lampshaded if the player as a barbarian woman takes the desert enchantress Eirena to the chilly north:
    Eirena: I fear my dress is not particularly appropriate here.
    Hero: Or anywhere else.
    Eirena: Whatever do you mean?
  • Exposition Beam: Tyrael shows Leah the events that led to his self-exile, including the part where he tore off his own wings.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Zoltun Kulle, while initially grateful to the player for his resurrection, refuses to give them the Black Soulstone once he finds out it has been tampered with in his absence. He warns the player character that someone is using him or her for their own plans and they're better off finding out what exactly is going on before using it. He has to be killed soon after. Two acts later, it turns out this was all a gambit by Adria to resurrect Diablo.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: By breaking the Black Soulstone and absorbing Diablo's essence, Malthael ended up setting the Prime Evil free when the Nephalem struck him down.
  • Eyes Always Shut: A Monk wearing the Eye of Peshkov (a legendary spirit stone), or an item transmogrified as it, will appear with their eyes shut, in accordance with its Flavor Text:
    "The mind sees most clearly when the eyes are shut." —High Abbot Peshkov


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