Anyone who has played through Act V of Diablo III will find that many of the buildings include smaller side quests. If you are playing through Story Mode, you can choose to ignore them and stick with the main quests, or to see how many you can find. Some of these side quests turn up as Bounties in Adventure Mode.
Overall, the stories presented in these little, randomly appearing, optional objectives paint a picture of how bleak and dangerous Westmarch has become. Each shows what happened to random people who were unfortunate enough to be living in Westmarch when Malthael and his minions came and started ripping out people’s souls.
One of the stories that grabbed my attention is in an objective called “House of Deep Sorrow”. It is short, and fairly simple to complete. The implications of what this short story reveals are very disturbing, (even in context of Diablo III).
The House of Deep Sorrow objective could appear behind any, random, glowing doorway in Act V. As a player walks in, an NPC (non player character) named Lady Victoria calls out: “Leave now! Save yourself!”
Lady Victoria is somewhere in the middle of the glowing magic. She’s being attacked by what appears to be some of Malthael’s minions. The player comes in and can help her, but Lady Victoria doesn’t want the help. At first glance, it seems like she’s being altruistic and trying to prevent the player, and the player’s Follower, from being tormented by whatever magic those monsters are throwing at her.
She turns into a demon – Lady Victoria, The Doomed Woman. The player has to kill her. Well, I guess the player could choose to let Lady Victoria kill him/her, but that’s not any fun. It’s also not really a choice for players with hardcore characters.
A player could leave the room, but doing so would mean that he or she couldn’t complete this particular objective. Act V has a whole lot of NPCs that seem like normal people at first, but then turn into skeletons and/or demons as the player gets near them. So, it isn’t exactly a shock that Lady Victoria has turned into a demon, or that the first thing she does after turning is attack the player.
Lady Victoria: The angels and their monsters are killing everyone! What will they do to me when they find out what I truly am? My mother and the demon attack she survived. It’s…it’s all too horrible to contemplate!
The icon of Lady Victoria shows a young woman. She might be a teenager. Her title, “Lady”, probably isn’t an indication of her age. Instead, it signifies that she either is from a wealthy family or somehow related to nobility. In any case, Lady Victoria appears to be no older than 20 or so.
Her journal mentions that her mother survived a demon attack. It’s not unusual for people in Sanctuary to be attacked by demons. The player gets attacked by demons and all manner of other monsters throughout the game. The attack Lady Victoria is talking about is different, though. She isn’t saying that her mother got beat up by demons – and somehow survived that battle.
Lady Victoria has a “horrible secret” that she has been hiding her entire life. The secret directly relates to the demon attack her mother survived. Lady Victoria wrote “What will they do to me when they find out what I truly am?” Put that all together, and it is clear that Lady Victoria’s mother was not just attacked by a demon, but impregnated by one.
Lady Victoria is the product of rape. Her mother was human and her father was a demon. After the player comes in and kills the monsters that were attacking her, Lady Victoria says that the monsters had “stripped her humanity from her”. She wasn’t speaking metaphorically. As a result, the demon aspects of her come out.
It makes sense for her to be worried about what “they” will do to her if her “horrible secret” is discovered. Humans will want her dead. Demons will want… I’m not sure, but whatever it is wasn’t something Lady Victoria wants to have happen. She’s stuck without allies in a world that is at war, after spending her whole life worried that someone would find out that she is part demon and reject her. What a tragic story!
I’m disturbed by this scenario more so than some of the other ones in Diablo III. Blizzard didn’t need to create a character that was the product of a rape. They didn’t need to have Lady Victoria drop a journal in which she mentions that her mother survived a demon attack, and which implies that the attack included rape. This scenario would have worked just fine without the mention of the rape that Lady Victoria’s mother endured – and that produced Lady Victoria.
Here’s why: All of the humans on Sanctuary, and the Hero/player character too, for that matter, are already a mixture of angels and demons. The humans in Westmarch are descendants of the angels and demons that came to Sanctuary in an effort to opt-out of the Eternal Conflict. Inarius was an angel who created Sanctuary. Long story short, he fell in love with a demon named Lilith. There were other angels, and other demons, who also went to Sanctuary in order to opt-out of the Eternal Conflict. The angels and demons fell in love, and produced offspring, that were the original Nephalem.
The main concept of Act V plays off of this very important piece of Sanctuary’s history. Malthael knows that the humans who currently live on Sanctuary are a mixture of both angel and demon. He concludes that this means any human could choose to join either side of the Eternal Conflict, and in doing so, give that side an advantage. They would unbalance the Eternal Conflict and one side would win.
Malthael wanted to ensure that the humans would not decide to join with the demons. He, and his larger minions, start ripping out human’s souls. Of course, this kills them, but Malthael sees that as a better outcome than what would happen if they joined with the demons. The biggest concept of the Reaper of Souls expansion – and what ties things together in the story line – is that the humans in Sanctuary are a mixture of both angels and demons.
We didn’t need a story about a woman who was raped by demons – told to us by the daughter that was produced from that rape – in Diablo III. They could have left out the journal entirely. The player would see Lady Victoria getting attacked by demons, would hear her say that she has had her humanity stripped from her, and conclude that was due to the magic the demons were throwing at her.