One Life to Live: Taking the Sting out of Death

One of the things about DiabloWikihardcore that makes it great is the death penalty. It is what keeps the economy going, people striving to see how far they can go, and what makes the game is some way a bit more meaningful and challenging than its softcore counterpart. With DiabloWikiparagon 2.0 in the works however some things are changing and blurring the lines between modes.


If you breezed past that tweet let me quote it for you

Quick clarification, part 1: Currently, post-Paragon 2.0 going live, losing an HC hero will not = loss of shared HC pEXP/pPoints/pLvls

If this is to go live that means when you die you will lose only the gear you had on that character and the time invested getting them to level 70. Let that sink in for a second.

So what does that mean? One of the big penalties becomes a bit less harsh. Having just hit paragon 100 recently I know how much it would suck to lose him. However what would be harder to replace than any piece of gear was the time I put in to get him to that point. Each level was a labor of love to improve my character (albeit marginally) and to pursue a quest of hitting 100. However in the new system, the DiabloWikiWitch Doctor that would replace him would pick up on the same stage as the previous one just with a different mash up of gear. Suddenly the journey becomes a little less meaningful, and in essence that’s the most captivating part of the mode.

To have such a light penalty for death seems odd. While it will still require you to go through the paces of trekking 1-70 everything else is handed back to you once you get there. Currently going 1-60 doesn’t take too long any more even solo, and if your are rushed it can be done in a few short hours. I once complained in my first column about hardcore becoming less so due to a shared stash and lack of pvp, but we managed to get by (and I lost my share of characters). Yet this seems to be a bit more extreme and ground breaking for the mode.

Now I can understand there is an upside to this. It would be great to play any character I had and not feel penalized because I had invested more time in another. It also would be nice not to have to trek to 100 again on each class to feel powerful with that class. It would also be nice to rebound quickly and know the only thing standing in your way was 1-70.

That being said, is death enough of a penalty then? Is simply starting over with no loss on the shared scale enough? Why not eliminate half (at minimum) of the experience gained by that character who died. That way your shared account would still take a hit, while not depleting every gain that was made. Or you could take it to the extreme and eliminate all of that character’s earned experience. Either way would be preferable to the slap on a wrist that it might be. It would also show that death is still meaningful and more than your gold stash will take a hit.

Now this is all speculative. Perhaps with the new system we will be seeing a huge upswing in difficulty that would have us losing characters as quickly as we did in d2 (msle anyone?) and in that case perhaps this change would be welcomed. However, in the game’s current state death is already pretty avoidable, and when it does find you know it’s a journey to get back to where you once were, a challenge to emulate your past success, not something easily replicated with a few hours time and AH scouring.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m in the minority. Do you think the new death penalty in Hardcore is a good thing or a bad one? Sound off in the comments and let’s generate a discussion!

One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow him on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!


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  1. Sure, losing 500 hours of your time and some great pieces of gear is not enough…

    • uo dont lose the 500 hours, the paragon xp isnt lost, as said in the article.. So you only lose the gear 🙂

      • That’s partly true, but you found (or bought) your great gear by playing 500 hours, so I shouldn’t have said both, I agree.

    • Yeah, the gear goes. But the “500 hours” of playtime (minus leveling 1-70) – meaning most of the XP – doesn’t anymore due to the Sharagon system. That’s exactly his point.

      I think it’d be all right but I prefer the more hardcore way of: losing the character = losing the XP.

  2. Nice!

    That means with each reincarnation we get strong!

  3. Terrible idea. I think all XP gained with the character should be removed. Isn’t that the definition of Hardcore?

    • Yep. Ain’t the importance of each individual character to the player watered down enough already? The Account is all that matters… Hoorayyyyyy!

      • I think losing all exp from a dead char would provide perverse disincentives. People would constantly be retiring chars to be sure they don’t lose their exp. You’d feel forced to reroll new chars of the same class just so they wouldn’t lose your P levels if they died.

        Would the system actually take shared bonus points away from other chars if your biggest char died?

        Apparently chars will not have individual Paragon levels in the new system; so how would you even know which ones had X amount of exp tied to them? If they’re all level 70…

        • Good points. And I have only an answer for your last question: The graphical representation of sharagon exp is the key. If you have a representation of the “sharagon exp bar” with each characters attribution plottet in a different color, then it would be easy to discern.

    • I think bliz is taking general principle of Sharagon levels too far. It’s a good idea to provide some bonuses to all of your chars and boost the fun/profit with an Alt, but I’d also like a char to get stronger with more time played and levels gained. If I have a Paragon 80 char they should not be identical to a Paragon 1 char of the same class, (assuming equal total paragon exp from other chars on the account) but apparently they will be as soon as Sharagon goes in.

      When we first talked about Sharagon on the podcast, before any details had been revealed, we all figured it would be something like 50/50 bonuses. So half the bonus per level would come from that specific char, and half would come from your account. I still like that in principle, and it would work easily with the Paragon 2.0 system.

      • Rough idea: Why not keep the basic idea of earning sharagon exp individual per character first until the char (dead or alive *g*) is deleted, whereas the sharagon exp is transfered to the account and thus adds to the sharagon exp of each existing character left. Call deleting a character “going to the soul” and both the casual players and the rpg players (that are still waiting for an intricate and deep character system, btw.) get what they want… Hmmm … Also sounds like a good and meaningful way of differentiating SC from HC even further. /trail of thought

  4. I like the idea of losing some of the xp. That is kinda how death in D2 LOD softcore worked wasnt it? You would loose a small amount of xp… Also MSLE really sucked….. Just like the FE bug…. BAAAAAAAAAH

  5. Maybe they could do what Tsubir said, is really fair to each part.

    If you have two characters before Paragon 2.0:
    Wizzard lv70 Plv30
    Monk lv70 Plv20
    So lets say after paragon 2.0 you got a paragon account lv42 (some how the xp of a lv30 and lv20 would make you a Plv42)…If you died with the Wizard, all the paragon xp he won after lv70 would be deleted.

    The way they are plaining to do, will for sure make HC less …hardcore =/

  6. Really hope they don’t go forward with this…

    Should lose all XP for hardcore. Well not all, just the part that was contributed by the dead char.
    It’s hardcore! jesus! how much more do you gotta dumb it down, your char is supposed to mean something.

    Else it’s just gonna be a grind to 60/70, put on your items that you saved after the most recent upgrades and GG.

    It’s gonna be Softcore…

    They should also reset blacksmith/jeweler progress while they are at it.

    • And Stash bags.
      While they are at it wouldnt be bad to give us the option for full account reset with achievments wipe included.

      What’s the point of all those hours making art for the achievments, and coding for them to trigger, if the player only gets to do them once?

      Even Metal Gear Solid and tons of other old console games let you create new User and start game from scrap.

      Guess they still have allot to learn in console games making.

      (** Then again ladders could include all of this… **)

      • I have an idea, if one of your hc character dies, all your hc characters die and you start again from scratch.

        THAT would be hardcore!

  7. I think the new system simply doesn’t mesh well with HC/SC… rather, I think HC never meshed super well with the “we’ll treat this as an account/shared set of characters” from the beginning.

    That was always sort of their concept. Characters didn’t matter, the account did. You used your account name, not character names. Gear was stashed and traded between everyone, and no character was fixed in skill sets. Of course, the time invested in getting individual charachters to p100 was heavy, but now that that’s done away with, things are even more account focused rather than charachter focused. Almost entirely.

    Which is a big problem for HC. Why should I loose all of my shared xp on my still alive Barbarian because the crusader I just started for the expansion died shortly after entering Act 5 inferno? IMO, the barbarian probably shouldn’t suffer for that. But how do you manage to separate the two when everything but the actually equipped gear is shared? It’s a loose-loose choice. Is it better to have the Barbarian die too, when another character does? That seems beyond ridiculously awful. So, given that they’ve pidgeonholed themselves into an account wide system, Blizzard took the other choice that has the effect of removing a ton of the sting of dying.

    Within their idea/system, I think Blizzard made the best choice. I don’t think it was ever the best approach to character/account development though.

  8. For one thing, we don’t know exactly how the Paragon 2.0 system is going to be implemented to really be judging yet what’s good or bad about it in regards to HC vs. SC. From what I understand, gaining Paragon experience on any character is going to earn you points that can be applied to your account. Once you’ve earned points you’re not going to lose them. As they are earned they are not even attached to a single character any more, they are attached to your account. So why would a character dying take those earned account points away? That wouldn’t make any sense. Also, I’m pretty sure the statement “However in the new system, the Witch Doctor that would replace him would pick up on the same stage as the previous one just with a different mash up of gear” is not accurate. The new Witch Doctor isn’t going to automatically be a P100 just because you lost a P100. I’m pretty sure any new character is still going to have to go through the same entire grind as his predecessor did, he’s simply going to be benefiting from the Paragon 2.0 account points that were earned in that had been earned by earlier characters (assuming that points can be redistributed or are still available to be distributed). The new Witch Doctor is still going to have to level from 1 to 70 and then start leveling at Paragon 1 just like before. At least that’s the understanding I have of the new system. But again, we’ll have to wait and see how the new system fleshes out to know for sure.

    • I think the article is right. If the new Witch Doctor had to also start all over from Paragon 1, wouldn’t that mean that players would just continually camp low paragon levels to gain paragon points for the account?

    • The way I understand the system will work, each individual character will not have paragons to grind. So when you die, you get back to 70, and you start earning account experience again.

      IMO gear is more important that time. I could be jaded from dying so many times.

  9. Not even a hardcore player,

    just here to say:
    Rebbelrebbelrebbeltheystookours paragons

  10. What if it was made that after you died you had no access to anything in your stash (so no hellfire rings) until you got back to 70. You had to Ironborn all the way to 70 with no pwr lvling. Closest co-op lvl to you could only be 5 above or below.
    I wouldn’t want to be dying then!

  11. I think that just as Zappa mentioned, the paramount issue here, is whether characters STILL have their individual paragon levels as well as the account wide paragon level, or whether all chars at level 70 are “done” and can only grind exp for the account.

    If the latter is true, I can definitely see a problem here, as there would be no way to distinguish a level 70 played for an hour, to one played for 1000 hours.

    What if the paragon points we got to assign were permanent in hc? that way, they would be alot more iportant, and each character who we have heavily invested paragon points into would be that much more meaningful and truly show “experience”?

    Just a thought.

  12. I’m torn on this one… I don’t like paragon exp rising and rising with death not detracting anything, but losing all your paragon is quite harsh also.

    I think your suggestion of losing 50% of your paragon on death is a pretty good one!

  13. Currently, your stash stays, your artisan levels remain, gold and items found on your high paragon characters remain (that were stashed).

    The lines are already blurred, you just do not see them because they were always like that. It is not a clear cut death, things will always remain, unless you literally do not pick up gold (impossible?) or spend every dime that you get with your characters on things that never go into your stash and never upgrade your artisan.

    But that is the thing: the journey already gets easier to the second HC char, and the third, and the fourth. This is fine.

  14. Tbh, I don’t mind that sharagon would not get detracted.

    I’m slowly approaching PL100 on my barb and tbh this will absolutely be the last character on which I dedicate such an enormous amount of time to just grinding out xp. The loss of a character, gear included seems more than adequate to me.

    I kind of like the idea that there is benefit to time invested, even on hardcore. Yes, the time to lvl to 60/70 may look trivial, but the time it takes to get her crafts where they’re at seems plenty painful to me.

    • Very well said, re-leveling to 70 may be just a slight slioght sting, but all the gear I’ll loose….. Ouch. Not too mention the expansion seems to be heading in the direction of Account Bound Crafts, Account bound items from enchanting etc.

      Loosing those items is loosing a lot of time invested.

      Hell, last week I lossed a lvl 51 para wiz, but along with her death I lossed to of the best crafts I have ever seen. An ammy and some int shoulders. Let me tell you, that was a bigger sting than the paragon level.

  15. As someone who doesn’t have all the time in the world anymore with wife + kids + too much work this sharagon is the way to go for me.

    Should I die; well the time invested isnt just fully wasted. Same reason why I appreciate the fast respecs. I’ve grown too old to play like I did in D2 with 20+ accounts with numerous lvl 99s of all chars with various build.

    Sharagon here I come!

    Now to await any decent changes in loot! 😀

    • Same boat here man. The gear is a big sting, and the inconvinience of leveling 1-70 will suck. If anything, shareagon will resemble more of Diablo 2 than anything. Never cared too much about loosing a level 97 sorc on hardcore, it was about loosing that near perfect griffons that took me 2 weeks to trade for. =P

  16. I’m with Aud on this one. My sentiments pretty much exactly.

  17. To be fair… I don’t think sharagon (or D3 in general) was ever meant to cater specifically to the HC crowd. I mean, with the inclusion of the games signature feature (RMAH) on SC only, that alone was a pretty good indication that they were trying to balance the game around SC. I’m not sure succeeded at that, and I passionately hate the RMAH, but whatever. Even the online only thing is a serious HC annoyance (it is to me, at least. I never had to deal with ping on my D2 HC characters, and I never wanted to).

    The point is that HC was always more of a tossed on thing from the get go. This sharagon system isn’t good for HC. It just doesn’t mesh all that well at best and, at worst, it provides horrible disincentives to normal play as Flux talked about. But I don’t think that’s their main concern at all. I think the only real issue is whether sharagon works well for SC. HC and individual character uniqueness seem about as supported in this game as ice on the sun. And if you do play HC, it’ll still probably be a severe annoyance to loose your top-tier gear that you’ve spent a very long time acquiring (assuming the new drop system doesn’t make it super-easy to get that sort of gear).

    So, well, even if it fails in HC, I’m going to say that I think the sharagon works rather nicely in SC where the designers are placing the vast majority of their focus.

    I’m really quite pulled to the idea of just starting a SC character in the expansion, honestly. Blizzard seems to be making multiple positive changes. And some neutral changes that might not work out. But no particularly awful ones on that front. I don’t know why they decided to be so rigid in saying “this is how the game should be played”, but, honestly, it doesn’t make sense to fight them and their design. I dislike a lot of things about the game. I don’t really like the SC focus either. But – if I’m going to keep playing it – that’s stuff I might as well just accept.

    • Agree to Disagree? Softcore has some issue with shareagon as well. Just like in hardcore, a new level 70 crusader will be the same para level as the barb someone spent 3,000 hours playing.

      Only difference is death, but beyond that some of the same issues people have arrive on both SC and HC. Hardly SC focused expansion because of this. If anything, with blizz trying to let players find the best loot in game, its quite the opposite. If that holds true the RMAH will be netting much less sales.

  18. I like this change. And I played hardcore exclusively in D3. Have a p100… Never even touched softcore really. I don’t farm like a madman and I don’t powerlevel. Getting to that p100 took me nearly 1k hours of some very serious effort… I’m extremely unlikely to lose that by my own mistake but lag can easily do me away at any time. Yeah, don’t want that. Losing all my gear and normal character levels is bad enough. I play hc for the better economy and the inherent danger present at every second which causes everyone to play more strategically – not to throw away months of my life for the heck of it.

    So, yeah, paragon 2.0 is a welcome change for my playstyle. But I can see how those with 20billion gold (not exaggerating; half my friends have that much…) and the ability to reach lvl60 in 2hours will probably scoff at this change.

  19. This looks like the SF mode fights that are happening on official forums. The “just don’t push the AH button” applies here. Just reset you sharagon after death or don’t use the points instead of requesting an official hellcore mode. It is like the variants on D1. Moreover, based on a daily check, websites like d3ladders can check you apply the rules.

  20. For SC, I imagine this new system will be well received. To HC players like myself though, this is pretty darn awful news. I just keep waiting for them to replace all the swords with Pillows and demons with Tickle Monsters.

  21. This would effectively end hardcore and turn it into softcore+. The challenge in hardcore is surviving long enough to achieve those high paragon levels. Now when you die, you pick up right where you left off. Isn’t that the definition of softcore?

    Losing the gear is a trivial penalty. Ten minutes on the auction house and you are restocked.

    If Blizzard implements sharagon as described, they would in essence be removing one of the defining modes of the Diablo franchise. Very disappointing.

  22. I think too many people speculate about whether it will be possible to distinguish single character XP from overall account XP.

    Seems to me that all of them are utterly underestimating system Blizzard had created here. Afterall, when your HC char dies, it shows exactly how much gold was collected with that single char, despite shared funds and no reason for that statistics at all.

    I have absolutely zero doubt that even if account wide shared XP goes live, Blizzard will still have available all data necessary to distinguis XP gained by specific char overall, in last month, in last week, in last hour before death… From kills, from quests…


  23. Yes I agree completely. I’ve long said that I think while SC has many issues, HC is a very solid game right now (itemization is better, etc). It doesn’t need loot2.0 (but whatever, it’s nice), and it certainly doesn’t need “sharagon” as you awesomely put it. I’ve defended D3 for awhile based on HC gameplay. This might lose me.

  24. Keep in mind that when the AH is off and most of your good gear is gear that you have found/modified, it will probably be a little bit like now: Start over and try to find good items again, maybe buy one or two. That’s the theory although we will have to wait until more information is unveiled.

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