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Vessel of Hatred

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Vessel of Hatred is the first Expansion Pack for Diablo 4 and has a release date of 8 October 2024. This is a paid for expansion that expands the Diablo 4 storyline. It was announced at Blizzcon on 3rd October 2023.

Blizzard have released a bit of information about different aspects of the expansion, confirming some of the datamined information.[1] That doesn't mean that all that has been ripped from the game files will appear in Vessel of Hatred.

Arriving at the End of Diablo 4

At the end of Diablo 4, the Wanderer (you) and the young scholar Neyrelle, arrive at the Cathedral of Hatred to capture Lilith in a Soulstone that Donan, a member of the Horadrim, has created. However, Neyrelle, believing Mephisto to be the greater threat, captures his essence instead. Before Lilith arrives Neyrelle leaves the Cathedral through a red portal and at some point returns to the Horadric Vault (Map) in the Mistral Woods where she pens a goodbye letter to Lorath (the last remaining Horadrim) explaining her departure and intention to take care of the Mephisto problem herself. Meanwhile, the Wanderer is left to defeat Lilith, reducing her to ash, presumably never to be seen again.

However, this is Diablo so that is not an absolute given.

In the epilogue, Neyrelle travels west across The Fractured Peaks and deserts of Kehjistan to the docks in Kurast where she boards a boat and sets sail across the Twin Seas to the western continent of Sanctuary, Mephisto Soulstone in hand and shadowed by the bloodied wolf.

Where Vessel of Hatred Picks up the Story

Location

Blizzard has confirmed that our journey in Vessel of Hatred will take us to the southern coast of the western isles, south of Gea Kul (Map) and Zarbinzet (Map). We will begin the adventure at River Gate in Nahantu, previously closed off from the rest of Sanctuary for the last several decades, and from Lilith’s influence. However, Kurast and its docks, last visited in Diablo 2, will serve as the central hub. Travincal and its subterranean areas will also play their part.

The geography of the land is quite varied, from the thick flora and fauna of the Nahantu (referred to as the Torajan Jungles by outsiders) (think Flayer Jungle in Diablo 2) to the barren expanse of the Teganze Plateau. It is also home to the Field of Giants as well as the dark, dank depths of the Kurast Sewers.

Beyond that, to the western portion of this region, there has been no mention so we do not know if Vessel of Hatred is confined to just the eastern portion.

Diablo Timeline and Act Locations

One area that appears in Diablo 4 but in nametag only is The Lost City of Ureh. This place has never appeared in a Diablo game, however, it was intended to be a location in Diablo 3 and made a fleeting appearance in that game's announcement video. [2] It has only appeared in the Diablo novel The Kingdom of Shadow (Buy US - UK). It hasn't featured in Diablo 4 but we have been within spitting distance of it and in fact, the steps to it are merely blocked. For now. It may well not feature in Vessel of Hatred but it's opening up at some point.

The once spectacular City of Ureh.
The once spectacular City of Ureh.
The site of the City of Ureh is just north of Zarbinzet.
The site of the City of Ureh is just north of Zarbinzet.
Steps up to The Lost City of Ureh are blocked in Diablo 4.
Steps up to The Lost City of Ureh are blocked in Diablo 4.

Class

Blizzard deliberated whether to reintroduce a classic class from the past or to offer something new. Ultimately they decided to go with something completely new to the game series.

The Spiritborn is the new class that will be added in the expansion for Diablo 4. [3] Spiritborn are native to the jungles of Nahantu, where Vessel of Hatred takes place, and they are said to be deeply rooted in the elements of nature and the spiritual realm.

In October 2023 Diablo 4 game files were datamined [1] and mention of the Spiritborn was first discovered along with details that the class taps into two resources. Vigor and Alliegance fuel physical vitality and endurance and, through their spirit connection to nature, call upon spirits of nature to aid them. This part has yet to be confirmed.

"Spiritborn are apex predators built for the jungle with a flow and feel I can't wait for you to experience." - Brent Gibson, Game Director

The image below released by Blizzard shows the Spiritborn wielding a double-headed glaive, a type of polearm, which is an item type currently only the Barbarian can use.

spiritborn class from diablo 4 vessel of hatred
Spiritborn class in Vessel of Hatred

More information will be revealed on July 18th which will include gameplay of the Spiritborn. [4]

Updates to the other classes will also appear in Vessel of Hatred including:

  • New Skills
  • New Paragon Boards
  • New Legendary Glyphs
  • Increased level cap
  • and more...

Mercenaries

You can recruit Mercenaries who will fight alongside you and level up as you progress. The only image released so far shows 4 mercenaries to choose from but we don't know if more are yet to be revealed. These four look like a Rogue, Paladin, Barbarian and some kind of spell caster.

Mercenaries introduced in Vessel of Hatred
Mercenaries introduced in Vessel of Hatred

Pets

Pets are available who will pick up gold and material with quite a large radius. They have no attacks and can not be killed. So far three have been announced.


Vessel of Hatred Story with Possible Spoilers

Neyrelle's letter to Lorath at the end of Diablo 4 makes it quite clear she expects to do this journey alone.

Because you are the last Horadrim now my mother would have wanted me to stay with you. She believed the Horadrim had all the answers. I don't know if she'd recognise this person I'm becoming. It's hard for me to think about her right now. But then I remember you and Donan. You weren't "all-knowing Horadrim." You were bitter. You were uncertain. But you were always true friends. That's what I hold onto because there is so much further to go. Your imperfection gave me hope. And we will need it to face what comes next. To face him...and his brothers.

I don't know how much time I have, but there has to be a better answer. And I have to find it. Alone. I know you want to go with me but people have already died because I was not careful enough. I can't risk you too.

If I've misjudged, the world is going to need you to survive and clean up the mistakes I leave behind.

I know you don't want to hear this, but you don't get to quit. Not again.

Wish me well, Lorath. Because if everything works out as I hope...we will never see each other again." ~ Neyrelle

Neyrelle is following in the footsteps of a Prophet of Light and is looking for answers about what to do with Mephisto’s Soulstone as his spirit pushes against her every step of the way.

Whilst Blizzard hasn't elaborated more than this in regards to Vessel of Hatred, the compendium released in June of 2023, Diablo: The Book of Lorath picks up the story after Neyrelle sets off across the Twin Seas.

Neyrelle is certain that Lorath will follow her and so leaves letters in places she expects he may visit.

Before I left, you hinted that you might be taking a journey of your own. In your typical stubborn way, you remained maddeningly cryptic about it. So I am going to leave letters like this along my way just in case your road brings you to any of the same places. ~ Neyrelle

Lorath has set off in pursuit of sorts. His primary objective (and plan for some time) is to compile a record of Sanctuary’s most powerful relics and the stories behind them to pass on to Neyrelle to aid her in the challenges she will face. The Cathedral of Light, under Prava's orders, have seized the Horadric Vault so The Book of Lorath could end up being the only documentation she will ever have access to.

To protect such valuable wisdom Lorath hunts down certain relics and transfers their powers to special glyphs he creates that he places at the beginning and end of the tome thereby protecting all text in between. He explains in the book why he chose this way.

I know the spell I crafted is unconventional. I know there were and are more traditional wards available. I don't want to keep doing what has already been done. That can only achieve the results we have already obtained. Wards and Soulstones will inevitably break. Vaults will be opened. Libraries will be burned or seized. Codes will be deciphered. To those with demonic or dark intent, its contents will be incomprehensible, impenetrable, and inviolable. That means if you are reading this, you have been judged worthy by the magic I have put in place.

As Lorath snakes his way across Sanctuary he finds signs Neyrelle has passed that way and her constant struggle to resist the Lord of Hatred is all too apparent. In her wake, she leaves chaos, violence and hatred and so it appears she is losing herself to his malevolent visions. In a letter to Lorath, she left with the ship's captain in Kurast it's evident she's aware of Mephisto's influence on her.

I should not have come to Kurast. This was Mephisto’s domain. Almost as soon as I arrived, his voice grew louder, more insistent. The Lord of Hatred laughs at humanity’s insignificance. He mocks my weakness. He shows me the ruin that is to come. Sanctuary devoured. I fear the raging storm inside my head will drive me mad.

By the time Neyrelle reaches Ivgorod to seek refuge and guidance with the monks of the Floating Sky Monastery her situation looks dire. Lorath, only days behind her records in his book:

One of the masters spent time with her. His voice trembled with fear as he spoke. And he was one of the few who would go near her to teach her. He said she is an agent of pure chaos and hatred, even though she clearly doesn’t want to be. The monks never even let her into the monastery. They made her sleep in a guest hut far outside the walls. I don’t blame them. I fear I am losing her, or perhaps she is already lost.

This is where Neyrelle's trail goes cold. Lorath however faces a dilemma. Should he press on with his quest to complete this tome or abandon it and pursue Neyrelle in earnest?

The book is for Neyrelle, and it must be finished and ready for her. If not her, it must be ready for others. Though I must believe it is for her. This last stage of my journey is the riskiest – not for myself, but for the book. If this fails, then everything I have done, all the miles I have travelled and the words I have written, will have been for nought. At times like this, I wish I prayed.

He presses on northeast, to the island of Xiansai. One of the original members of the Horadrim, Deckard Cain, (killed in Diablo 3) said the mountains of Xiansai are littered with arcane repositories and so it's here Lorath hopes to locate a spell or device that will enable him to craft the magical glyphs to protect this tome.

He leaves one final letter to Neyrelle that he closes with a promise.

As soon as I am done with this island, I am coming to you. No matter where you are, I will find you, and I will help you. If that is the last thing I do, my head will go to the Tree of Whispers wearing a smile. ~ Lorath

So, where is Neyrelle now? After leaving the Monastery she has deteriorated significantly compared to earlier in the book. She's not yet equipped to resist but will Lorath find her in time or will his search prove to be an exercise in futility? If he does can he even save her or will Mephisto have overpowered his vessel? After all, Mephisto broke free of the last Soulstone that contained his essence and as he is reportedly "the most intelligent of the Prime Evils" his capture in the stone could be part of his cunning plan all along.

The Book of Lorath routes for Lorath and Neyrelle
The Book of Lorath routes for Lorath and Neyrelle

Where do we fit in?

As you can see from the map once Neyrelle reaches Kurast she sails for the western lands but Vessel of Hatred does not venture there. In The Book of Lorath she is still over there and last seen to the north in Ivgorod but at some point she and presumably Lorath return to the eastern lands and down into the Torajan jungles, the setting for Vessel of Hatred. Neyrelle is already succumbing to Mephisto so by the time we run into her she won't be the Neyrelle we last met.

Probably the hero's quest will involve saving Neyrelle and vanquishing Mephisto forever (in Diablo 'forever' is a very loose term) but perhaps his influence has already infected the jungles and corrupted the citizens. We may well have to protect or retrieve Lorath's tome. We also might have to deal with Prava and the fanatics of the Cathedral of Light if they ventured south to kill Lorath and eradicate the last of the Horadrim.

Is there anything else from Lorath?

The Book of Lorath is much more than the excerpts above. It's an illustrated catalogue of the most important artefacts and relics in Sanctuary with detailed backstories that enrich your understanding of why they've played a part in your Diablo questing over the years. You can purchase the book from Amazon and a small percentage of the sale will go towards the site coffers.

Book of Lorath 2.webp
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Vessel of Hatred Gallery


Will Vessel of Hatred be free content?

No, the expansion is paid for continuation of the Diablo 4 story. No price has been revealed yet but as with most Blizzard expansion, the price is usually slightly less than the full Diablo 4 game price when it was released.