So here it is, I got the virtual ticket to Blizzcon, so here's the notes I took from both of the main Diablo III panels.
The Reaper of Souls addresses the gameplay overview, which I've detailed in very short form.
For the lore and story Q+A I have used slightly longer form for two reasons. Firstly this was the panel that was requested on the Followers of the Dismal Jesters facebook page, and secondly because it's lore and story, come on. It can't really be condensed that much.
Disclaimer: I've paraphrased the FUCK out of this stuff for the sake of brevity, also, I've left out most of the questions I'm not cool enough to understand, I got most of 'em though.
[u]Reaper of Souls:
-Celebrating the dark, gothic heart of the Diablo series.
-Malthael, new villain
-Adventure mode - Go anywhere, slay anything.
playing campain repeatedly wasn't fun. Play what parts of the game you want to, when you want to, no more linearity in Adventure Mode.
Jump to any waypoint
Bounties and Nephalem Rifts.
Bounties: Random quests given at the start of game. Gives a reason to go to various different acts/areas out of sequence. (kill a boss, complete an event, kill a unique, clear a dungeon)
NR: Highly randomized pocket dimentions, enemies from any act of the game, in any themed area. Random dungeons 2-10 levels deep. randomized enemy powers and abilities, randomised cool player buffs.
New area: Pandemonium -
The eternal battlefield, constant conflict, been teased for a long long time in cinematics. Floating ruins of various types of abandoned and ruined architecture. Otherworldly, ravaged, old.
Malthael is there. His territory. Sees humans as an abomination. Was angel of wisdom, now is angel of death.
[u]Lore and Story Q&A panel:[/u]
Q: Will we see a 'failure cinematic'? do we see malthael destroy humanity if we fail?
A: Cinematics are pretty resource intensive, but there might be some interesting things when you die, not at a point where we can talk about them yet though
Q: What happened to the Dragon, where's Trangoul
A: Hasn't been an appropriate place to introduce him. He's out there somewhere.
Q: How do the templar and crusader differ in ideology, will they have dialogue in game?
A: Quite a bit of difference, templars are newer, rose from the ashes of the Paladins, some questionable practices of indoctrination.
Crusaders are older, made at the same time as the paladins, went east instead of west when they were created, not heard of for a long time. They represent an older, more pure version of the Zakarum Faith.
Q: At the end of D2, the worldstone was shattered, what happened to it.
A: It was shattered into pieces, where they are/what's being done with them is unknown, interesting in the future.
Q:Is tyrael human now since he got rid of his angel-ness?
A:He's mortal, not human. He took the form of a human, but he's not a nephalem, just a mortal with a cool sword.
Q:What's the difference between a mortal and a human?
A: Human is half angel, half demon. Tyrael is 100% angel dna, but he's given up that stuff that makes him a celestial being.
Q: Any reference to Deckard Cain in reaper of Souls?
A: Yes, you'll feel his influence, hear his voice
Q: Was deckards death a mechanic to develop Leah's character?
A:Yeah, we wanted to up the emotional stakes, and to pass the torch to Tyrael.
Q: How is heaven going to respond to Malthael's appearance?
A:Tyrael believes that humanity is our best hope, Imperius doesn't believe that.
Q: When were the demon hunters founded? Are they recent?
A:After the events of D1, the people whose lives had been shattered were angry, some of them gathered together, went to the north, started training.
Q: It's obvious christianity was used as inspiration for the world of Diablo, are there any other religions you draw from?
A: The world relies heavily on Judeo-christian themes, Monks have a very non-Judeo christian outlook. As the world has taken on a life of its own, we've not required it as much.
Q: Leah's soul: Can we go back and redeem it?
A: No current plans to revisit what happened there, she's on her radar but her fate needs to sit there for a while to 'mean anything'.
Q:Nephalem, what were they? What was their culture like? What happened when they realised their power was fading?
A: When they realised their power was fading, they were scared enough to make deals and hide out (see drowned temple).
Nephalem culture began in its golden age, went into decline from there. Each generation was born weaker and weaker. Some didn't understand what was happening, thought it was a plague.
The ancients were the first Nephalem, each of the different children of the Angels/Demons developed their cultures differently.
A: Who do the Monks pray to?
Q: They have tons of gods, they see gods in everything, rivers, abstract concepts. There are gods of order and gods of chaos (which reflects how events unfold) . THe religion of the monks has a small glimpse into the greater reality of things.
Q: What happened to Adria?
A: She's ticked us off a little bit with what she did, we haven't forgotten about her, her time will come. She's still a disciple of Diablo.
Q: Is it possible to reinstate Tyrael as an angel?
A: I don't think the enduras council has that ability. Tyrael's sacrifice needs to be hard to reverse to really mean anything.
Q: if tyrael were an angel still, would he have beaten Malthael in the cinematic?
A: Probably not, Malthael was one of the more powerful angels, and now he feeds on the souls of the dead, making him stronger.
Q: Where do human souls go? Where's Deckard Cain's soul?
A: We're not ready to reveal where human souls go, but since Malthael, souls aren't often getting where they're supposed to
Q:Covetous Shen is very mysterious, any more story involving him incoming?
A: Absolutely yes, there will be some adventures you can go on with lots of the follower characters which give exposition. Covetous Shen really wants to find that Jewel. You're going to westmarch, you'll be very close to the Scoundrel's old stomping ground.
Q: Are you guys writing the rest of the story based on the prophecy of the end of days?
A: The prophecy is the inciting factor in all of this, but your player characters aren't going to let events unfold the way they were prophecised. The Nephalem aren't in the books of fate, so they're a big monkey wrench in the machine of destiny.
Q: Is inarius still alive?
A: Last I heard he was being tortured in hell.
Q:Was Zoltun Kulle supposed to be particularly morally ambiguous?
A: Yeah, we thought that making a character who makes a good point but who also maybe doesn't have our best interests at heart would be good. Any time we can find a place to introduce moral ambiguity, we always love that.
Q: At the end of D3 you see the black soulstone falling from heaven. How did Tyrael get it.
A: Heaven is a tiered place, it just fell onto a lower tier of heaven.
We're releasing a novel which details how Tyrael realises that he has to reform the Horadrim and get the Black soulstone out of heaven called 'Storm of Light'
Q: What would happen if the entire council of heaven De-winged like Tyrael.
A: Shedding his wings was a symbolic gesture, he shed his celestial nature,
if the whole council did that, though it'd be chaos, (but the world would get a lot of nice mortals)
[Enter Jesse Cox dressed as Leah]
Q: In act one, I say I don't know anything about demons, but in act 2 I talk about skeletons, where's the logical leap in me believing in one and not the other?
A: If you lived in a world where you regularly saw walking skeletons, there's no reason you'd then believe in everything else without seeing it.
A2: She just doesn't believe in an overarching rhyme or reason to all the weird things that are happening, just that she lives in a chaotic world.
Cheers for reading if you got this far. Hope you found it a decent resource.