One life to live: Poor Xanth, Rich Xanth: a perspective


Having spent the better part of my DiabloWikihardcore days in relative poverty; I spent most of it looking upward. Small gold reserves dwindled on new gear and reviving characters who died far too early. Having over 20 million seemed like a dream away, and even when I was close I’d get knocked down. Then it happened, an amazing drop, a bidding war, and new found riches. I found myself in a new world where everything was at my fingertips and I’m not sure if it made it better.

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This isn’t a post to brag about my cash but that of my journey upward. I got lucky. I was running craters leveling paragons and a DiabloWikiWitching hour (db) dropped with an amazing roll. It was the first time I had the dilemma of selling something or keeping it, as most of the time I’d equip an upgrade. With 8 million in my gold reserves I thought I’d put it out there for sale. Having just lost a monk recently I figured it’s better to plan for the rainy day when my current one dies and gold can help me get back on my feet. After the bidding started and the dust settled I walked away with 145 million.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hit the AH right away, but when I got there with my stacks of gold I had no clue where to go with it. Should I buy a new weapon? Armor? Shoulders? Rings? I probabally browsed the AH for an hour and didn’t buy a single thing. Ultimatley I picked up a DiabloWikivile ward (db) and DiabloWikiInna’s Vast Expanse (db) boosting my dps and keeping my stash over 100mil. As my gold hovers at that level I find myself becoming cheaper than when I had so little.

The thing I realized was that with each new upgrade I was sinking more and more of my reserves into something that could quickly disappear. I used to have no problem sinking half of my gold reserves into an upgrade but that logic changes when half becomes more than you ever had before. It also had me thinking that I was doing just fine before I upgraded, clearing the areas I wanted to, gaining levels and slowly farming keys, that each upgrade wasn’t truly necessary. I also found that my new wealth had affected how I went about my runs as well. I wasn’t picking up everything, or watching my gold count anymore. It one sense it’s relieving to know even if I die I’ll have a enough to pave the road ahead of me but it’s also scary to think of the amount of gold my monk is wearing and how much I’d lose if/when he dies. There is something freeing however about not worrying as much about what is dropping and focusing only on the things you absolutely need. No more picking up rare devas to sell at the end of a run, or running back to larger piles of gold you missed.

I also found myself largely ignoring my other characters. With each new investment I was distancing myself further and further from my other characters that it will be a true culture shock to go back down to that level. My poor level 52 barbarian has been waiting for a long time to hit 60 and he’s going to be waiting for a bit more. That investment has also had me distancing myself from public games. Granted until the force kick pk situation is resolved I would be anyway, but now with so much more to lose it’s not worth it.

The other thing I’ve found now being flush with cash is that upgrades are not as easy to come by. I imagined decking my character out in a swath of riches and riding that gear to 100, but on my way out of the poor house I assembled a motley pack of gear that served me well. So well in fact that upgrading one piece at a time has become a huge balancing act. Sure I can find an amazing new chest piece but in order for it to truly work I’ll need to upgrade my bracers, and shield and so on. While I may have some gold I’m still too poor for that. With that in mind I’ve set out to become a Hardcore billionaire and gone back to my old farming ways. Picking up as much gold as I can, selling everything and slowly working my way up. I prefer it that way, until I die of course.

That is the beauty of Hardcore though. All the work, all the effort, all the items, obliterated in one fell swoop. I’ve spent a good portion now, and still have enough for that rainy day, but I’m embracing the new element of risk I’ve added. I’ve played in poverty, and now in wealth and both have their own styles. For now I’ll embrace the world I find myself in, and if disaster strikes I’ll be fine as a pauper again. After all fortune is just a drop away.

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 me 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. Gratz on the nice drop! I remember one time watching a pair of nice str/vit/AR/crit bracers sell for 50 mil and thinking, “why on earth would anybody pay that much for one item?”. Well my thinking has certainly changed on that!

  2. Oddly enough, I found myself in this EXACT same position about a week ago. Nearly word for word in fact. The only difference was that my Witching Hour would clearly benefit a Barb most (and I just don’t really enjoy melee chars all that much), so there was little decision as to whether to sell or not.

    Anyway, good luck navigating these new waters. They certainly present a whole new world of dilemmas (that I admittedly would have scoffed at a week and a half ago). Definitely interested to hear how this plays out long term for you.

  3. i’m still waiting for my first 1 million gold drop

  4. In HC, I think anytime a person gets that first “jackpot” drop they really need to sell it and use the money to upgrade multiple item slots. It’s very tempting to want to use that uber item, because there is special value attached to self-found items. But you need to think of that item as a part of your pool of resources. And what would you do if that was a big pile of gold that you found rather than an item? You certainly wouldn’t spend that big pile of found gold on one item unless you were already rich and to the point where all or most of your items were also uber.

  5. i feel your pain with neglected characters…. 97% played on monk… >.<

  6. I just recently started in inferno after a slew of losses, and am currently in act 2 paragon 6, having a great time. Self found, no auction house, though today I started putting items up for sale. I still don’t intend to buy, but selling a high roll of int, crit dam, and some crit chance gloves seemed better then stashing them for a future character. The gold will find some crafting.

    I think that upgrading some items from the auction house would make life easy (even though I have less than 3 million) but to me the rush of seeing another ilvl 63 drop might start to fade. This is the danger of the auction house, you start to view the game differently, and maybe if you had unlimited funds the shine of the other drops would start to dull somewhat.

    Anyway, Belial tomorrow and finally act 3 for lots of farming.

  7. I have found 4 or 5 items with 50m+ potential sell value, but since I haven’t sold any of them (penalty for playing all 5 classes) I’ve never had quite this problem yet. I have been saving up pretty well of late and had a number of 5m sales, so I’m up to nearly 50m, which is much more than ever before and I can feel my behavior changing as Xanth describes.

    I’m getting lazier about picking up gold stacks, gems, tomes of secret, detouring to kill stray monsters, etc. Plus posting anything in the GAH under 200k seems pointless. But I’m buying less too, since dropping 5m or 8m on a middling upgrade seems pointless, when I can save and buy something for 50 or 80m that *really* makes a difference.

    Of course at that point I’ll have a whole new dilemma; it’s easy to spend all you have on one item when all you have can be made up again in a few days (I did that twice recently, paying 15-18m for weapon upgrades for my DH and Monk). But paying all you have seems scarier when all you have took months to accumulate…

    • I can relate to this as well, and to the experiences of Xanth and TheThirdMan. I have always had to fight the urge to spread my efforts across too many classes, rather than focusing on getting one character to the point where no further upgrades are really necessary. I’ve been putting all of my efforts into my barb for some time now, but was having so much fun recently with my witch doctor that I was trying to bring him up to a point where he could function as my farmer – the fact that his build uses an extraordinary amount of pick-up radius (approx. 30yards) makes farming a breeze with him. A few weeks ago as I was gearing him up, Blizzard showed me some love and an incredible Manjuma’s Carving Knife dropped. While the Int roll was nearly as low as it could be, it rolled a socket and 97% Crit Damage, with just under 1000 DPS. It was an upgrade for my WD that I would have never been able to afford. I kept it for a while. Ultimately I had to make the choice as to whether or not I wanted to keep working on my WD or my barb, and since my barb is to the point where upgrades are costing me easily more than $50M, I knew I couldn’t have it both ways. After some ‘soul searching’ (again, this was a weapon far more valuable than I’d ever had in my possession or could reasonably expect to afford anytime soon), I listed it on the AH. Within a few hours it sold for $350M. I was thrilled! I had all kinds of ideas about what I wanted to spend the money on. I could finally afford a Mempo with Crit Chance, or a nice pair of Lacuni’s…two things I’ve been wanting for some time now…and I’d still have money left over! But what’s happened instead is I’m incredibly hesitant to spend any of the money I made because I recognize how long it took me to amass this kind of funding. It’s been about 15 days now and I haven’t spent a penny of my earnings…instead I’ve just kept farming, posting more items on the AH, and upgrading gems that I still have below Radiant Star. Like Xanth said, I have found myself to be pretty cheap now on the AH; always worried that my eagerness might outweight my common sense when the bottomline isn’t as big of a worry. I wonder if Blizzard will create an achievement for being a miser, because at this rate, I’m going to be hoarding gold for a while!

  8. Every time I get to 50 million gold I sell it off: 9 Euro net in the pocket on PayPal.

    It takes around 15 days just casually playing when in the mood.

    I never buy on the AH, waste of money, just saving MF and play in groups.

    My avatar looks like a clown. I don’t care.

    HC every now and then. I died several times around 45. Only 600k in AH, I just vendor off in HC.

    Refreshing to see an article with a positive tune for once on this site.

    Diablo3 is the best PC game since I became a WoW addict.

    What a marvellous experience. It even cured my WoW addiction: the AH in WoW is complete meaningless to me now.

    I play for fun and get some money to play 0.25 euro poker tournaments while cycling 2 hours a day. Retired.

    I could live to be 100 this way.

    • Either you haven’t played many PC games or have played some really bad ones. That also depends on what you deem as a good game.

      D3 doesn’t come close to being best game, not even very good. But Solid good game? Yeah.

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