Narrator: We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… like fools we clung to the old hatreds… and fought as we had for generations. Until the day the sky rained fire, and a new enemy came upon us. We stand now, upon the brink of destruction, for the reign of chaos has come at last.
Archimonde: Let this scar signify the first blow against the mortal world. From this seal shall arise the doom of men, who, in their arrogance, sought to wield our fire as their own. Blindly they build their kingdoms upon stolen knowledge and conceit. Now they shall be consumed by the very flame they sought to control. Let the echoes of doom resound across this wretched world, that all who live may hear them and despair.
Zeratul: You speak of knowledge, Judicator? You speak of experience? I have journeyed through the darkness between the most distant stars. I have beheld the births of negative-suns and borne witness to the entropy of entire realities… Unto my experience, Aldaris, all that you’ve built here on Aiur is but a fleeting dream. A dream from which your precious Conclave shall awaken, finding themselves drowned in a greater nightmare.
Quotes like these are the reason that people have such high expectations for Blizzard’s story experiences. Let’s take a look at a few quotes from Diablo 3, which have, to many, caused disappointment:
Azmodan: While you tinkered with your paltry catapults, my demons breached the depths of your keep.
Diablo: So, you approach the Oculus with the aim to destroy it? You will not succeed!
Diablo: Look, Tyrael… your old lieutenant.
How can these sayings possibly instill fear, or despair, or any type of emotion?
Taking monologues aside, we can also look at how dialogue was done so much more effectively in SC1 and WC3.
Duran: This creature is the completion of a cycle. It’s role in the cosmic order was preordained when the stars were young. Behold the culmination of your history.
Zeratul: All I behold is an abomination.
Duran: Your violence, young prodigal, is typical. As is your inablility to comprehend the greater scheme of things. You can destroy all of the specimens here. It will do you no good. For I have seeded the Hybrid on many, many worlds. You will never find them all before they awaken… And when they do… your universe will be changed… forever.
Terenas: What is the meaning of this? Who are you?
Medivh: Humanity is in peril! The tides of darkness have come again, and the whole world is poised upon the brink of war!
Ambassador: Enough of this! Guards, remove this madman!
Medivh: Hear me! The only hope for your people is to travel West, to the forgotten lands of Kalimdor! [There is huge outrage by the ambassadors.]
Ambassador: [astounded] Travel West?! Are you mad?
Terenas: Hold ambassador. I don’t know who you are or what you believe, but this is not the time for rambling prophets! Our lands ARE beset by conflict, but it shall be WE who decide how best to protect our people, not YOU! Now, begone!
Medivh: I failed humanity once before, and I will not do so again. If you can not take up this cup, I shall find another who will.
Medivh (narration): The warning has been given. Their fate is now their own.
[Raynor has been sent to rendezvous with Kerrigan, a beautiful psychic]
Lt. Sarah Kerrigan: Captain Raynor, I’ve finished scouting out the area, and… you pig!
Jim Raynor: What! I haven’t even said anything to you yet.
Lt. Sarah Kerrigan: Yeah, but you were thinking it.
Jim Raynor: Oh, yeah! you’re a telepath.
[referring to the mission]
Jim Raynor: Look, Lets just get on with this, ok?
And now a couple from Diablo 3:
Leah: I miss Uncle Deckard so much… It’s hard going on without him.
Player: Cain would be proud of you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you… I’m going to get back to my research.
Adria: While I was in Tristram, Deckard Cain told me of a black soulstone crafted by a renegade Horadrim. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but later, realized its true significance.
I knew the essences of the five slain Lords of Hell still existed in our world, so I spent the last twenty years locating and preparing them to be drawn into the stone when it was finished.
Adria: Kulle was interrupted during his first attempt. Now that the soulstone is finally complete, the Lords of Hell have been trapped within it.
These violate the basic principle of “show, don’t tell,” and they just have no emotion whatsoever. Look at the Starcraft 1 and Warcraft 3 examples. A lot more is expressed in each dialogue than just the words.
The only good quotes I found were in a couple of the cinematics:
Cain: And at the end of days… The first sign shall appear in the Heavens. Justice shall fall upon the world of men… The armies of Light and Shadow will clash across the fields of eternity.
That line, from the intro cinematic, actually carries some emotional resonance. Same with one other quote in the fall of Heaven cinematic:
Leah/Diablo: Even in the heart of Heaven… angels can still feel fear.
In context, that is by far the best line in the whole game. Yet most of the lines are nothing like it. Instead, we have stuff like “While you tinkered with your paltry catapults, my demons breached the depths of your keep,” or “Thank you… I’m going to get back to my research,” or “That is not the only hell rift… The flow of my legions will not stop.” It’s like you gave the cinematics a couple of good lines and then gave the rest of the game mediocre lines that an average elementary school student could have thought of.