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Diablo logo


The Diablo franchise is another game universe created by Blizzard Entertainment. It is a dark fantasy action role-playing game franchise. It is not related to the Warcraft universe in any way, nor are there significant contributions from that universe to this one. Although, there have been some rumors of more linkage.

Diablo II logo

Diablo II

Diablo III Logo

Diablo III

Diablo IV Logo

Diablo IV

Many people suspected that the Diablo franchise was dead when Blizzard closed Blizzard North (the studio that created it) after the release of the last Diablo II. The franchise continued as Diablo III which was announced at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational 2008 in Paris, and eventually was released in 2012. Diablo Immortal, originally a mobile-only game in the franchise, was announced at BlizzCon 2018 to poor reception and was eventually released in 2022 with a PC port but with a heavy focus for mobile. Diablo IV was announced at BlizzCon 2019 with a planned release in 2023.

Influence on and differences from Warcraft[]

Helm of Domination Diablo III

The Helm of Domination, as seen in the Caverns of Frost in Diablo III.

Humorous references aside, many spells and abilities in WC3 and WoW were inspired by skills in Diablo II, namely auras and the idea of passive skills. The RPG elements of Diablo were significant in the development of WoW, as it meant that Blizzard already had experience in building an RPG. Here are some of the similarities that players may notice between games:

  • The Barbarian of Diablo II features a variety of buffs in the form of battle cries, which most likely inspired the Warrior's Shout abilities. (One of which was the ability to Shout in Diablo.) Most if not all of the shouts in WoW have a counterpart shout in Diablo.
  • Barbarians in Diablo II could dual wield two-handed weapons, identical to the Ability warrior titansgrip [Titan's Grip] of Warriors in WoW.
  • Barbarians in Diablo II have the skill Whirlwind identical to the Warrior skill Ability whirlwind [Whirlwind].
  • Several of the Mage's spells are taken directly from the Sorceress, including Spell shadow detectlesserinvisibility [Mana Shield], Spell frost frostnova [Frost Nova], and Spell frost frostarmor02 [Frost Armor].
  • The Rogue's combo point system is similar to that of the Assassin's charge system in which players could accumulate charges and unleash finishing moves whose powers depended on the number of charges the player has. The Assassin also features a series of damaging traps, like the Hunters of WoW.
  • Druids from Diablo II can shapeshift into Werewolves and Werebears.
  • Paladins in Diablo II have numerous auras. They also have the Ability warrior charge [Charge] ability, which in WoW belongs to the Warrior.
  • The Necromancers in Scholomance and Stratholme use the Bone Shield spell and can raise skeletons, both of which Diablo II's Necromancers have.
  • The Inv chest leather 13 [Bone Shield] ability of Death Knights has a similar animation and function as the Bone Armor spell of Necromancers in Diablo.
  • Socketed items were first introduced in Diablo II and later applied to World of Warcraft.
  • The Murkalot pet is themed after the new Crusader class in the Diablo III expansion, Reaper of Souls.
  • Thunderfury and Ashbringer also exists as items in the Diablo setting.
  • The Mage Clan Wars possesses many story similarities to the War of the Ancients
  • The Mythic+ system and Torghast, Tower of the Damned are based on the Greater Rifts from Diablo III.
  • The Threads of Fate leveling mode in Shadowlands is similar to Adventure Mode in Diablo III.
  • The Companions skill line for Demon Hunters in Diablo III takes the skeleton rigs of most of the animal companions from World of Warcraft; specifically the wolf, ferret, and boar. In the case of the boar, the model is a direct rip from World of Warcraft.

Like in the Warcraft universe, Diablo features demons, but unlike Warcraft, Diablo's demons are ruled by devils, come from Hell, and fight a war against actual angels. The more traditional nature of Heaven and Hell make the world of Diablo extremely different from that of Warcraft. Religion becomes a conflict (references are made to Mage Wars and Inquisitions), and humanity becomes pawns in a greater conflict between angels and demons. In World of Warcraft, the fight for fame and glory can be tied into a quest to save the world from the evils of the Old Gods or the Burning Legion. In the world of Sanctuary, no quest for prestige and riches can occur without facing the minions of Hell.

In terms of visual style, Diablo is on the opposite end of the visual spectrum from Warcraft.[1]

Diablo references in Warcraft[]

Vanity Items
  • Inv weapon bow 11 [Eaglehorn Long Bow]: named after The Eaglehorn, a unique bow from both Diablo I and II.
  • Inv staff 13 [Staff of Jordan], Inv belt 40 [Sash of Jordan], Inv staff 13 [Grand Staff of Jordan]: References to the Stone of Jordan, one of the most important items in Diablo II, which was used to socket items when no quests were available. They were collected in stacks and used as a form of currency.
  • Inv sword 43 [Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge], Inv sword 40 [Dal'Rend's Tribal Guardian]: Best known to players now as the namesake for the heirloom Inv sword 43 [Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge], it's a tribute to a weapon set in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Bul-Katho's Children, which also consists of a Sacred Charge and Tribal Guardian.
  • Inv axe 23 [Butcher's Cleaver] from Shadowfang Keep's Razorclaw the Butcher has exactly the same name and weapon type as the loot drop from Diablo I's Butcher.
  • Inv sword 01 [Doombringer]: it's lacking good stats, but it's named after Doombringer, a two-handed sword with great stats in all three Diablo games.
  • Inv weapon shortblade 25 [The Ziggler]: this low-level BoE dagger references The Diggler from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, a dirk effective in early levels too.
  • Inv spear 08 [The Needler] could be a reference to the Halo weapon or The Needler from Diablo I.
  • Inv hammer 04 [Heaven's Light]: named after Heaven's Light from Diablo II, one of two unique Mighty Scepters in the game.
  • Inv spear 02 [Grim Reaper]: named after Grim Reaper war scythe from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, which also was a weapon that was best at lower levels with a damage proc.
  • Inv spear 05 [Gargoyle's Bite] is a low-level BoE with additional armor, named after Gargoyle's Bite from Diablo II, a winged harpoon with life leech.
  • Inv weapon shortblade 06 [Glacial Spike] is a removed item that used to be a reward from the Sunken Temple mage class quest. The Diablo II version had a cool proc that caused an AoE explosion and froze enemies in place--the WoW version had Frosty Zap, a chance to restore mana when casting Frostbolt.
  • Inv polearm 2h cataclysm b 01 [Livestock Lochaber Axe] that drops from The Cow King may be a reference to the Bovine Bardiche in Diablo III which was used to create the portal to the secret cow level.
  • Stone Cairn Lake in Elwynn Forest is a lake with an island at the center that has five stones arranged around a memorial. This is a reference to the Five Cairn Stones, an area in Diablo II where you open a portal to Tristram in Act I.
  • Inv chest leather 06 [Cow King's Hide] is a reference to the Secret Cow Level, the Moo Moo Farm, in Diablo II, which contained Hell Bovines and the Cow King.
  • Diablo II contained a secret level where one had to battle hordes of insane bovines, including the extremely powerful Cow King. This level was built into the game after a fake screenshot was posted of a secret cow level supposedly in the first Diablo game. A saying once existed in the loading screen tips in World of Warcraft that said: "There is no cow level." (The saying was also a cheat in the game StarCraft which caused you to automatically win the round.)
  • Inv pants 04 [Tristam Legguards] is named after Tristram, one of the most important locations in all Diablo games.
  • In reference to his demonic form in Frozen Throne, one of Illidan's gag quotes is "Wings, horns, hooves...what am I saying, is this Diablo?"
  • Another common humor reference to the Diablo franchise is the mention of Wirt and his wooden leg. Wirt was originally an NPC character in the first Diablo game, filling both the role of a rare-item vendor and a quest giver. It is believed Wirt was killed when Diablo's minions overran the NPC town of Tristram. In Diablo II, it was a requirement that the player needed to combine Wirt's Leg with a Tome of Town Portal in order to gain access to the Secret Cow Level. In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, an item called Wirt's Other Leg could be found in one of the campaign levels after defeating the Butcher, a giant abomination named after an early boss in the original Diablo. In World of Warcraft, there are several items that are named after Wirt's wooden leg including Inv mace 1h wirtsleg b 01 [Wirt's Fightin' Leg], Inv mace 1h wirtsleg b 01 [Wirt's Haunted Leg], Inv mace 1h wirtsleg b 01 [Wirt's Last Leg], Inv misc flute 01 [Southsea Lamp] that was formerly named Wirt's Third Leg, and an object Wirt's Gambled Leg.


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