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  • The Undead: Standard for the Diablo series. You mainly encounter them in the first act, but they also show up in lesser numbers in the next two acts, are completely absent from Act IV, and return with a vengeance in Reaper of Souls thanks to the Reapers of Malthael.
  • Underestimating Badassery: An odd case where the Wizard does it to herself. If you have the expansion and are doing a new game+, when you reach the fortress at Mount Arreat, one dialogue with Myriam the Mystic has the normally confident Wizard exclaim "I can't defend the fortress all by myself!". Myriam just says something like "I wouldn't be so sure, in the future I see you and many, many slaughtered demons". Myriam's right.
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  • Unequal Rites: The description of the Wizard on the website suggests that she's an outcast from the mage clans for her willingness to use "forbidden arts," and even calling herself a Wizard instead of a Sorceress is considered crass.
  • The Unfought: You never get to fight Adria or Imperius in the original game. However, Adria shows up as a boss in Reaper of Souls and Imperius is heavily implied to be an antagonist in the next expansion.
  • Unholy Ground: The village of Tristram gradually became one of these after Diablo corrupted the town's cathedral. For twenty years afterwards rumor persisted of the land being cursed for any who tried to settle there.
  • Unidentified Items: Ordinary enchanted items are recognizable immediately, and the player can simply right-click on a a Rare or Legendary item and wait a few seconds to identify it. A patch introduced a Great Big Book of Everything that identifies everything in the inventory at once.
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  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: Tristram Cathedral was dark and claustrophobic in Diablo. In Diablo III, it looks like one giant cavern, with the player running around on rooftops.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The Barbarian has Wrath of the Berserker, essentially a Super Mode for the character that allows him or her to attack faster and harder.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: All of the player classes are a bit strange-looking, but people in the setting are used to adventurers. The Witch Doctor, however, is so far outside the cultural context of any place he visits that it's a wonder he's not taken for a cultist, especially when he has a horde of zombies following him around. This goes double for the Necromancer, who, especially in Acts I and V, looks exactly like the kind of villain the civilians are fighting, and is surrounded by skeletal minions just like those they've been desperately trying to defeat. Despite this, every NPC who spots a Necromancer immediately recognizes them as a hero.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Defied in act II, Your character outright refuses to let any word Zoltun Kulle says get to them; even though there is some truth in his words, he's still a mad mage with a god complex. Later on, Emperor Hakan II asks to see the Black Soulstone, and the player character immediately outs him as Belial without even leading him on.
    • Played straight in act III; see Wham Episode below.
  • Uriah Gambit: Tyrael suspects Belial of this, arranging pointless and dangerous missions in the desert for the Iron Wolves while his demons infiltrate the Imperial Guard.
  • Using You All Along: The entire quest-line involving the Black Soulstone, which takes up the majority of the second and third acts and involves the killing of the final two Great that Adria, who it turns out is a servant of Diablo, can use it to resurrect her master as the embodiment of all seven Great Evils in one being, in accordance with his centuries-in-the-making Evil Plan to destroy the High Heavens and end the war between Heaven and Hell once and for all.
  • The Usual Adversaries: The undead and Maghda's Dark Coven early on, the demons thereafter.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon:
    • The corrupted Silver Spire, complete with blood falls, lightning, and the corpses of angels staked to walls.
    • The final battle of Reaper of Souls takes place in the Pandemonium Fortress, which Diablo II fans may remember, but which has changed significantly since Malthael took it over. The final battle with the Angel of Death himself takes place in the very heart of the fortress.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: The first fully 3D entry in the series. Ironically, both cinematic and gameplay graphics are stylized in an attempt to look like painted 2D visuals.
  • Viking Funeral: Pyre variant, for Deckard Cain.
  • Villain Has a Point: The game has your main character as his allies forced to negotiate with the ghost of Zoltun Kulle, an Obviously Evil villain who makes no attempt to hide the fact he is using you to be revived. During your cooperation, he passes most of the time explaining your character that he actually is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who want to awake humanity's true power, and that your own allies are manipulating you for their own purposes. At the end of Act III, it turns out one of your allies, Adria, was indeed using you to prepare Diablo's resurrection.
    • In Act V, Adria also points out something that is right: the Angels are pretty bad themselves, only attempting to control humanity with rigid rules and probably have no interest in humanity's welfare (after seeing the results of the Eternal Conflict that they so badly want to win... yeah...). The nephalem's opinion of Adria does not change, given how she used Leah in her own plans, and may have set her up for it all along, which rings of hypocrisy if one thinks about it, but even then, the point about Angels not being that good may still stand.
  • The Villain Must Be Punished: In the Reaper of Souls expansion, at one point the story reveals that Adria, who had betrayed the heroes in the game's third act and sacrificed her daughter Leah to resurrect Diablo as the Prime Evil, is alive and is also seeking the whereabouts of the expansion's Big Bad, Malthael. The player's character, regardless of class or gender, will become nigh-obsessed with killing her to avenge Leah, to the point that an NPC has to tag along on the quest to find Adria so he can needle the player's character about getting the information about Malthael first.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Several times in the game.
    • Maghda has one when the player character points out that Belial may just be using her as a decoy. She comes to grips with it just in time for the player to kill her.
    • Belial himself has one when players get the Black Soulstone, and another couple while the player fights him.
    • Cydaea drops the "sexy villain" routine when you knock her down to about the last quarter of her HP, screaming "I will break every bone in your body!" or "I will enjoy playing with your corpse!" or just plain "No!"
    • Diablo himself has one when you defeat him in the Realm of Terror; around the middle of the boss fight with him, he loses patience and uses one of his ultimate attacks on your character: trapping you a Realm of Nightmare where, according to him, no one ever managed to escape from. When you still manage to get out of it, he completely loses it:
      Diablo: NOOOOO! This wretched light must be eradicated!
    • In Reaper of Souls, the second major boss goes through this. Adria starts out her battle being confident, mocking you for not stopping her to kill Leah, and pretty much says that heroes exist to die, this is while she has a steady rate on filling the area with blood blob creatures. Drop her to half HP, and she starts getting frantic and easily floods the whole area with her blood blob creatures. All the while, Adria screams that Diablo will return, while your character tell her that even if he does, Diablo won't have enough time to save her.
  • Vow of Celibacy: The Templar Kormac has taken a vow of chastity as part of his initiation. This combines rather humorously with his crush on Eirena. By the time of the expansion, he's renounced most of the Templar creed, including the vow of chastity.
  • Wackyland: Whimsyshire, full of flowers, unicorns, and teddy bears. Of course, this being Diablo, it still has Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Leoric, the Skeleton King. The buckets of hitpoints, lethal cleave attack, and ability to summon Mooks meant the player needs to utilize dodging, defense, and mitigation to succeed.
    • Players who roll through the first two acts on Normal while stacking offensive spells will die at Belial, since the nature of his attacks demand damage mitigation and movement skills to avoid being melted.
    • Urzael of Reaper of Souls is a rude awakening to those who have blown through the other four acts on their Level 60 characters on Torment and think that they can do the same with this particular act. His BFG packs a wallop, and his other attacks require movement skills and mitigation to avoid being fried alive.
  • Walking Spoiler: The true identity of the Stranger that fell from the sky is not revealed until the very end of Act I, where it turns out to be a newly mortal Tyrael who has sacrificed his divine status to aid humanity directly against the last two Lords of Hell. He plays a major role in the rest of the game, serving as the de facto leader of your small party and even taking up his sword, El'druin, to battle alongside you at certain points in the final two acts, as well as part of the expansion act.
  • War Memorial: In the Festering Woods near New Tristram you can find a memorial to the Last Stand of the Nephalem, and then re-enact it against undead enemies.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The Wretched Queen, who's basically just a stronger version of the Wretched Mother enemies and requires little effort to destroy.
  • Warp Whistle: Waypoints allow instant travel to any other unlocked waypoint. The game has a "waypoint" in nearly every zone (including towns and enemy lairs), which can instantly teleport the player to any other waypoint in the act. However, as the zones are sorted according to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, only two waypoints are typically used: one in the town, the other in the most advanced zone so far. Unlike Diablo 2 they are not permanent from game to game and depend on what quest you select, and you can no longer travel by waypoint back to previous acts while in campaign mode (you can still do so in adventure mode).
  • Weapon-Based Characterization: Each player class has one or two weapon types that only they can use. These almost always have traits that help that class in some way, usually by improving resource generation, and the highest-tier Legendaries often have special traits that empower class skills in absurdly broken ways.
    • Barbarians get Mighty Weapons, a catch-all term for anything that's too heavy for the other classes to wield. Mighty Weapons come in both one-handed and two-handed varieties, and tend to be relatively crude in appearance.
    • Crusaders get Flails, which come in one-handed and two-handed varieties, and the creatively-named Crusader Shields.
    • Demon Hunters get Hand Crossbows, smaller variants of regular crossbows that, as the name suggests, are one-handed weapons, allowing them to be dual-wielded. Demon Hunters also get Quivers, off-hand items that ignore the normal two-handed status of bows and crossbows.
    • Monks get Fist Weapons, which are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and Daibos, special two-handed staff variants.
    • Necromancers get Scythes, which come in one-handed and two-handed varieties, and Phylacteries, mystic relics that are equipped in the off-hand slot.
    • Witch Doctors get Ceremonial Knives and Mojos, mystic relics that are equipped in the off-hand slot.
    • Wizards get Wands and Sources, mystic relics that are equipped in the off-hand slot.
  • Weaponized Offspring: Wasps will shoot small, slow-moving, explosive versions of themselves at you.
  • We Can Rule Together: Zoltun Kulle offers this repeatedly to the player character in Act II. The nephalem's not interested, including rebuffing Kulle's offer of immortality by pointing out how little good it seemed to do him.
  • Weirdness Censor: Pre-release information says that the majority of the world has shrugged off the events that happened 20 years ago, and are unaware that demons were responsible for the havoc caused. This is rather odd, because in the second game, the minions of the Prime Evils seemed to rampage across most of the known world, and most of the NPCs you talk to seemed aware of the cause of the problem.
    • Even in one of the novels, a necromancer comments that their seers suspect that Baal is responsible for the destruction of Mount Arreat in the Lord of Destruction expansion pack. Not only do the necromancers usually seem more aware of what's going on than the rest of the world, but Baal was anything but subtle during his assault. Baal wasn't exactly skipping merrily to the summit, though. He killed cities and possibly kingdoms that were in his way. Who's left to say what really went on besides some reclusive, not terribly credible barbarians?
      • In the absence of forensics science, evidence of the Prime Evils rests entirely on eye witnesses. The demons weren't exactly leaving a lot of those... and most of them would likely be thought insane by anyone who hadn't been involved in the previous conflicts. Marius is a clear example of this, narrating his misadventures with the wanderer from inside an asylum cell.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Zoltun Kulle, a powerful sorcerer who created the Black Soulstone to imprison demons...and angels, whom he regarded as little better. His ultimate goal was to force the angels to unlock the power of the nephalem, the powerful precursors to humans. While his methods were far too extreme (and led to him being sealed in multiple cans), he did have a few points in his favor; while he wasn't entirely right about the angels, he wasn't entirely wrong, either... and his repeated warnings about you being a pawn of someone else's plans were ones you really should have listened to.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Deckard Cain's death. It didn't help that the intro featured a Red Herring where Cain was hit by a meteor...and lives.
    • Adria's betrayal given the foreshadowing:
      1. Adria and the person who may or may not at the time have been possessed by Diablo had a child.
      2. It appears she knowingly had a child with Diablo.
      3. Adria's journal states that she plans to be gone from Tristram after the Wanderer leaves, but before the demons arrive to slaughter everyone.
      4. Adria wants to get right to the task of taking on Belial upon claiming the Black Soulstone despite everyone in Caldeum being in danger from him, even calling the Nephalem and Leah's efforts to save them "foolish heroism."
      5. Adria is quite indifferent to Leah's suffering while she's holding the Black Soulstone together at Bastion's Keep, even stating that she "fears she'll be damned as well".
      6. The other player characters of the first game have turned evil.
      7. It's a Diablo game, and no Diablo game can be complete without a showdown with the Big D.
      8. You're Properly Paranoid.
  • Wham Line:
  • What a Piece of Junk: Can be invoked by having rare/legendary equipment transmogrified by Myriam to look like starter equipment.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: The barkeep remarks that naming the town New Tristram was probably a bad idea since the old one was burned to the ground by demons. He says "This wouldn't have happened if we'd named it New Wortham." A few quests later, Wortham is burned to the ground by the Coven.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happened to the heroes from Diablo 2 after they were sent away to safety by Tyrael. However:
    • A Necromancer turns up in Act II and mentioned how his mentor who trained him helped stopped Diablo twenty years ago.
    • In the Wizard's short story on the Diablo III website, it is revealed that the Assassin may have killed the Sorceress.
      • This was confirmed in Reaper of Souls when the Wizard meets the ghost of the Sorceress who trained him or her. However, it's still blurry if it's the same Assassin that helped her before that killed her; her killer definitely came from the same organization, though.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Lampshaded by a journal entry you can find in the middle of a mook camp in Act II by a cultist talking about hearing of a hero coming who cut down his allies like they were children and that now he can't sleep at night out of fear. One of the mooks writes about how long time they've been camping waiting for you, the stories he has heard about how strong is your player character, asking himself if they even have a chance to stop you, and wondering if they are not being used as cannon fodder by their superiors.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: All told, Azmodan has a substantial fighting force, including powerful siege weapons, demons that are strong enough to destroy walls, enormous snake-like demons that can function as breaching towers, total air superiority, and a well-conceived plan to open up a second front by having some of his forces tunnel up from the ground into the lower levels of the keep. The player character responds to each of these threats with the singular tactic of "kill it until it stops moving."
  • When Trees Attack: Subverted: The Wood Wraiths and other treelike enemies of the game are explicitly not trees, but monsters who took the form of trees to better ambush prey and, in fact, have nothing to do with plants. The fact that they bleed growing green blood supports this claim. The fact that they fight with exploding weeds does not.
  • Where It All Began: The original game begins in the High Heavens, with Tyrael's argument with Imperius and subsequent falling out; it ends in the High Heavens with the Nephalem's battle against Diablo.
  • Whip It Good: While not necessarily a whip, Auriel uses a giant cord-like ribbon wrapped around her body in this fashion.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: Some of the zombies will turn into crawling torsos when damaged; some of them start off that way.
  • Wings Do Nothing: The wings you can get as drops don't actually let you fly, but hey, they look cool.
  • Witch Doctor: One of the new classes is the Witch Doctor, which appears to be quite similar to the Necromancer in Diablo II, who also have many similarities to witch doctors.
  • A Wizard Did It: The goatmen or Khazra turn out to have been created by the Vizjerei by magical corruption of captured umbaru tribesmen, and their previous lore as demonic lieutenants of Baal, the Lord of Destruction, turns out to have been nothing but Vizjerei propaganda meant to cover up their misdeeds.
  • Wolverine Claws: Some of the Monk's fist weapons feature blades, including one legendary weapon that's a homage to Wolverine.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. The zombies. Yes, seriously. At least, the ones who rose in the wake of the fallen star. They are explicitly those who were murdered or slaughtered by the demons from the first two games, awoken by Tyrael's uncontrolled power, which promised them justice.
  • World of Ham:
    • An ensemble cast of some of the largest hams in the series. Even the player characters can get pretty hammy at times. The Templar, however, takes the cake through his sheer pervasiveness.
      By all that is holy! Do you see that enemy over there?
      That was a worthy foe! Glorious!
      Black magic bars our way, but the will of a Templar is stronger!
    • From the High Heavens, we have the Archangels Tyrael, Imperius, and even Itheriel and Auriel when they speak. From the Burning Hells, we have the Three Prime Evils Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal. And so on and so forth with the player characters and among their followers. Even the funny Ghost of the Cow King himself is hammy...or rather, beefy.
    • Tyrael is pretty damn hammy in the flashback to how he left heaven... And it is awesome.
      Tyrael: You cannot judge me! I am justice itself!
    • Every evil character is a ham, with special mention to Azmodan.
  • Wutai: Xiansai, where both Covetous Shen and the Wizard hail from, and is quite Chinese in general motif, but is never visited in-game.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The entirety of the first two games and the first three acts of the third. It was all a grand plan by Diablo to merge the 7 evils with himself as the head.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Humanity as a whole. Being descendant of the Nephalem, children of rogue Angels and Demons, humans possess abilities their parent races do not, and can choose between good and evil. Without the influence of the Worldstone diminishing them Humans are beginning to regain this lost power. The player character being one of the first in a new generation of Nephalem
  • You All Look Familiar: A lot of NPCs share the same models, especially the soldiers in Act III.
  • You Are Already Dead: One of Monk class' skills, Exploding Palm, causes the target to explode if it is killed by Damage Over Time. Given that Diablo III is chock full of Shout Outs, the reference to Fist of the North Star was no doubt intentional.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: In one random dialogue, Lyndon the Scoundrel questions whether killing the Lords of Hell would be enough to make him a good person. The hero of the game says no. He already is.
    Lyndon: If I keep killing demons, I might actually become a good person, right?
    PC: I don't think so.
    Lyndon: Seriously?
    PC: You already are a good person.
  • You Are Too Late: There are several examples, in keeping with Diablo tradition, including being too late to stop Adria from killing Leah and resurrecting Diablo. But ultimately subverted: the PC arrives at the climax just barely in time to stop Diablo.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: The Scroll of Fate dictates the fate of everything in existence. The only ones who can fight fate are the Nephalem (the player characters) since the Scroll of Fate doesn't mention them. Their fate is unwritten. This is good news for Heaven, since the Angels are otherwise destined to fall to the Prime Evil.
    • Myriam the Mystic believes in this... but she also believes that how horrible or wonderful your fate is depends on how much work everyone around you is willing to put into it. Which is why she just lets Diablo possess Leah despite all the attempts to defy his return; all that effort ended up making Diablo rash and impatient, causing him to construct a very conspicuous portal to heaven that the Nephalem can pass through unharmed.
      PC: You knew.
      Myriam: Of course I knew. That's the point of the future; it keeps coming. You don't win a duel by throwing the first punch and going home. Diablo was always going to come back, but now you have a chance to defeat him.
  • You Can't Kill What's Already Dead: Once certain undead enemies take enough damage, their torsos will be severed from their legs and they will crawl towards the player with only their arms.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Of course. Otherwise it would all be over by as early as Act II.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real:
    • Belial's One-Winged Angel phase has got to be this, as the moment he's defeated, all damage to the surroundings that happened during this battle is immediately undone. It helps that his epithet was 'The Lord of Lies'.
      • The Book of Cain supports this, saying that Belial's skill in deceit rises above trickery, into challenging the perception of reality itself. Literally, he makes your mind believe that all that was real.
    • Diablo's Realm of Terror is another debatable place.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Malthael does this to the Horadrim at the start of Reaper of Souls, and he and his minions continue doing it throughout the expansion, intending to mete the same fate to all humans.
  • You Will Not Evade Me:
    • Elite Mooks with the Teleporting, Waller, Jailer, and Vortex abilities can do this to you.
    • The Ess of Johan lets you Vortex a load of monsters to the site of one monster you are immediately attacking.
    • The Butcher has a move where he pulls you into close range with his meat hook.
    • The Barbarian's Ancient Spear move allows you to do this to your enemies as well.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Act I starts off as this, thanks to the Stranger's fall reanimating those slain by Diablo's forces.
  • Zombie Puke Attack: Wretched Mothers use the "smaller zombie" method of this to act as Mook Makers, as well as the "gob of acid" method to directly attack.