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At the end of Diablo II, the soulstones of both Diablo and Mephisto were destroyed at the Hellforge. It's been a couple of years since I've played the game, but if I remember correctly, it was explained that this would forever destroy the essence of the two Prime Evils. (I'm pretty sure Baal's soulstone was also destroyed at the end of the expansion.)

I just reached Act IV of Diablo III, however, and it becomes obvious that Diablo was less than vanquished.

Do they ever explain how this was the case? In particular, if his essence was never completely destroyed, how did it come to be entrapped within the Black Soulstone (along with the essences of the other five Great Evils destroyed in Diablo II)?

Also, I would prefer it answers to this question would not include spoilers for Act IV (and beyond).

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2 Answers 2

There is the scene where the black soulstone is completed in Act II. It is explicitly stated by Adria and accompanying adventurers that that is what she has been doing all the years of Leah's life. Going around and marking the souls of the three previous prime evils so that when the black soutstone was completely they would be sucked into it.

So the current in-game explanation is that the souls were never destroyed, they were then sucked up by the black soulstone when it was completed.

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The lesser evils that had been killed earlier (Andariel and Duriel) must have been marked also not only the 3 prime evils. – Blem May 23 '12 at 21:07
@Blem That is possible. I just reached that part in the storyline where all of this happened in ACT II not to long ago and it was just the 'Oh that is what you have been doing all this time!' sort of revelation. – James May 23 '12 at 21:09

If you want spoiler-free lore background, I can only recommend this video of the Blizzcon 2011 Diablo 3 Lore Panel. To put it in a nutshell, you can't really kill the great evils, only their manifestation in Sanctuary.

The soulstones where created to capture the essence of the demons, and bind them, since they were almost indestructible. Chris Metzen said in an interview that the whole idea of the soulstone was influenced by the "exorcist" idea of sacrificing yourself as a vessel to capture a demon. That is why the hero from Diablo 1 becomes the dark wanderer in Diablo 2.

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This is just a bit of a nitpick, but after several retcons, the warrior from D1 becomes the dark wanderer in D2. Horazon is the sorcerer from D1, and Blood Raven is the rogue from D1. – nukeforum Sep 28 at 14:44

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