The thing that bothers me is that since Nephalem are uber-powerful beings who can bring both angels and demons to their knees and since every human is able to regain their lost power since the breaking of the worldstone, does that mean that the Eternal Conflict plotline is basically over?
As much as the story hypes up nephalem (which is weird for some characters since they were nephalem), since the population of nephalem is about to skyrocket, wouldn’t that mean that angels and demons are basically besides the point powerwise?
Not exactly, for a few reasons (note I haven’t played Immortal beyond the tutorial, so there may have been some additional info there which I’m unaware of, if so, I apologize in advance):
Reason 1: The process of a human awakening to their birthright and becoming Nephalem isn’t instantaneous and in fact varies from each Individual. In fact, some humans (despite the Worldstone’s absence) may never be able to tap into their Nephalem heritage, let alone awaken into it. Now over time, with each generation, there will certainly be more Nephalems appearing, similar to how it took generations for the Nephalems to devolve into Humans.
For example, despite the Worldstone’s destruction back in D2 LoD, it took over a decade for a new Nephalem to appear, which was the Diablo 3 hero. Now we don’t know exactly when our hero awoken into their birthright, but it was at least as early as act 1 of Diablo 3, since Alaric had called our hero a Nephalem. After Diablo 3, Tyrael reformed the Horadrim and some of the new members (like Gynvir a female Barbarian) actually had been able to tap into their Nephalem powers, but not fully awaken them. Then after the events of D3 RoS, more humans had actually awoken to their Nephalem birthright, however, Vidian the Lord of Envy, entrapped some of them and killed them in order to take their power and essence for himself, which to used to increase his own strength.
Reason 2: After the Events of Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, Humanity nearly faced extinction and had lost 90% of it’s total population.
Malthael’s plan had caused the death of 90% of Humanity’s total population. This loss of life also resulted in a massive drop in Humanity’s war potential against either Heaven or Hell. And unlike Heaven or Hell, humans naturally possess no ability to either revive themselves (demon’s capabilities) or to be effectively replaced by an individual of similar strengths (angel’s capabilities). Of course this doesn’t mean that Humanity is weak and/or will be easily destroyed, it merely means that they are in a vulnerable position, perhaps moreso than ever before. We’ll likely learn even more just how precarious the situation is for humanity in Diablo 4.
Reason 3: While the potential of Nephalems is seemingly limitless, the strength and power of a Nephalem varies for each individual.
Throughout the history of Sanctuary, there had been a number of Nephalems, from the ancient first generations to current generations, however each of them were of different strength. Most of the first generations were considered the strongest of the Nephalems, as their powers were great enough that future generations would worship them as gods. The only Nephalems known to had surpassed the ancient Nephalems were Uldyssian and the Diablo 3 Hero (who’s strength had at least reached Uldyssian’s level by the time of Diablo 3 act 4).
Now we don’t know how a Nephalem is supposedly able to increase their might (beyond just training ofc), but time does seem to be a factor for how strong a Nephalem is. For example, many of the current-generation Nephalems that Vidian had killed were newly emergent (new to their powers), however despite Vidian having killed and drained the power of those Nephalems, he was no match for the Diablo 3 Nephalem.
Vidian even claimed that the power that the Diablo 3 Hero wielded would’ve enabled them to rule over the Burning Hells itself, which wouldn’t be an overstatement considering they did defeat Diablo as the singular prime evil (who had nearly the entire force of Hell at his beck and call).
Now with all of that said, the long-short of it is that being a Nephalem doesn’t guaranteed one is uber-powerful, it merely means that their potential is uber-powerful and nearly limitless. As for whether their powers grow to that extent depends on how well the Nephalem trained, survived, and/or handles great conflicts, as well as how attuned with their Nephalem heritage they are. Despite their great might, a Nephalem can still be defeated by Demons, Angels, and/or Humans of great strength and/or numbers.
As of right now, the primary contenders of the Eternal Conflict are still Heaven and Hell. Humanity will likely continue playing the role as the trump card that can change the tide of the War. But as of right now, I don’t think they currently have enough strength and/or numbers to join the Eternal Conflict as a contender. That said, the events of Diablo 4 may change things up.
I suspect that part of it besides being closer to the source and possibly also the mix of demon/angel power in their blood, also the parentage might play a role. Leah as the daughter of Diablo herself might have had a higher basic power level as most that would be descending from a lesser demon or angel. So many reasons it was a pity that Leah was killed off so soon from what she could have brought from lore perspective.
Not sure about this though, but were most of those nephalims considered to be gods not direct descendants of Lillith and Inarius (Both quite higher ups in the power rankings for their respective factions) or was it never mentioned?
Honestly, I actually expect Leah to make a return in D4. As for whether the means and/or outcome of her possible return would be good or bad, is beyond my guess.
No. While it’s possible that Lilith and Inarius had multiple children, the only named one as far as I know of was Rathma. Most of the other named ancient Nephalems had different parents from Lilith and Inarius. Bul-Kathos for example mentioned that his parents, who were killed by Lilith, would never had allowed Inarius to have killed the ancient Nephalems.
True, did not know that about Bul-Kathos but he was more seen as the first among the Barbarians as a God, like Rathma. There were likely more powerful demonic and angelic pairings indeed and not all agreeing with Lilith or Inarius, will be interesting to see if that will play a part in D4 if a few of those are still around or their more immediate offspring from a story pov and may oppose or support Lillith.
Leah, I have the same hope, even if many seem to be against the idea.