Accepting the Diablo 3 Hardcore Mentality

One of the (few?) players who hasn’t yet made the switch to DiabloWikiHardcore asked some questions about what it’s like to change your mindset to accept the risk of loss and live with the Diablo 3 Hardcore Mentality. If you guys are regular readers you’ve gotten insight into this from Xanth’s columns (and occasional dirge), but if you want to hear some Blue thoughts on the issue, here’s your chance:

Sometimes I get interested in trying out HC but I always shy away because I know I would be too frustrated if my toon, which I invested maybe dozens if not more hours in it would die.

Paragon 100 Hardcore death.
Paragon 100 Hardcore death.
What’s your mindset about it? I really would like to hear your mental strategies becaus I cannot imagine anybody could just shrug it off (for a toon that has dozens of hours and at least decent gear).

Grimiku: I don’t think most Hardcore players “just shrug it off” if their character dies, but I can only attest to the attitude I see from my circle of friends. Most of us feel at least some level of bitterness when a hero is lost, but we also feel the added value is well worth the genuine risk. Personally, I feel like the best way to tackle Hardcore is by placing a higher value on the immediate experience rather than long term character progression. In short, have fun killing demons right here, right now. When I look at Diablo III like that, Hardcore is a lot of fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I play both modes, and I think that’s the best choice. Sometimes you want to play without a steep penalty for making a mistake, or just be where your friends are.

Vaeflare: I think that for me, part of the enjoyment comes from the excitement that death can be right around the next corner at any time, and that sense of anticipation keeps me on my toes.

When I was growing up, a lot of the games I enjoyed the most had that sense of finality to them, where if you died (or ran out of a limited number of lives), you simply had to start over. Because of that very real risk, I found that how I approached fights fundamentally changed when I was aware that my last fight could be my last. It’s for that reason that I tend to change it up and play both regular mode and Hardcore in Diablo III.

Dying is never fun, but I don’t find that the sting of losing a hero lasts too long. (My most recent Hardcore hero actually met her demise due to the fact that a renegade cat hair had unceremoniously lodged itself under a section of my mouse. Bah!) My recommendation would be to just try it out, particularly if you have a friend or two that is willing to accompany you in Sanctuary and watch your back.

Just remember that while your hero may not live forever, their deeds will indeed be remembered.

I lost my first high level D3 Hardcore, a Paragon 61 Monk, a month or so ago. And it sucked, especially since it was such a weird and sudden death. Click through to read about that, and some general thoughts about the Hardcore mindset.

My Monk died to a RD Elite with Horde that I encountered through a doorway in Leoric’s Torture levels. Couldn’t see what I was hitting, and my hps went from full to zero so quickly I didn’t even notice if NDE clicked. Literally less than .5 sec from start to dead.

Happily, I’d built up over 200m and left behind a fair amount of gear I’d outgrown along the way, so it’s been a lot easier building my second Monk, who is now back to P57. Same build but a lot of different gear, and I’m making this one, quite intentionally, a bit lower on the DiabloWikiDPS and a lot higher on the DiabloWikiEHP slider.

Xanth's tragic fate.
Xanth’s tragic fate.
I wish the first Monk hadn’t died, but as HC players always say, it’s the risk of death that makes life enjoyable. Players like the OP in the blue post seem to put all their value on the ultimate goal. If all you care about is having a P100 char, then HC isn’t for you. You might get there — I know several people who have (or had) hardcore P100s (and it’s funny since they mostly play other chars/classes, now) — but that’s not the main or only goal, and once you’re there you aren’t safe forever. The journey matters, not just the destination. Every new level up is a bit more power and every item find is a bit more for the bankroll. Knowing you might not (probably won’t) make it to P100, and that if you do it’ll be due to skill and patience and concentration, not just hours spent, is what makes the process enjoyable.

And no, we HC players don’t spend every instant on our virtual toes, with full concentration required to stay a millimeter ahead of death. Most of the time we’re grinding on a safe(ish) MP, but even then there’s attention required in case of some freak DiabloWikiWaller, DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted, DiabloWikiMolten, DiabloWikiFrozen. Also, the multiplayer experience is much better, people are more helpful and cooperative, and I find the gear game much more enjoyable and multifaceted since you have to min/max a lot more, and really push for EHP *and* DPS, which tweaks item value quite a bit from softcore, with stats like Vit, %Life, Res, blocking, and LoH carrying much higher value.

If you’re interested in trying out Hardcore, check out our Diablo 3 Hardcore strategy forum for a lot of great advice and camaraderie. You can find advice for surviving with a Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Barbarian, and shoulders to cry on if you insist upon playing a Demon Hunter. There’s even a place to bury your dead.

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

20 thoughts on “Accepting the Diablo 3 Hardcore Mentality

  1. Honestly the game just takes too long for me to want to risk losing weeks of work on a character. I love permadeath in roguelikes, where a full game can be done in a couple days or a week, but months flushed down the drain because (insert whatever factor beyond my control) doesn’t interest me.

    • I don’t know about the game taking long.. all the monster experience gear readily available from the beginning and not to mention Lvl 15 you can inset Rubys in helm on top of that Lvl 23 you can obtain a Cain’s set. Oh and now if you play in a group with the above I listed, you can power to lvl 60 in a day or two. The game is incredibly short compared to D2, the maps are tiny, the monsters die quick even if you don’t have any specific build in ues and the experience you gain with xp gear is crazy. Diablo 2 would be more frustrating to die IMO then D3 with Hardcore.

      I will say your smart however not to bother with Hardcore. You’ll probably die repeatedly to D/C deaths and Blizzard won’t do anything for you. So good idea to save yourself some heartache. I will encourage you though, if you have a 360 or PS3 to give Hardcore a chance. Playing hardcore feels like how Diablo 3 was intended to be played IMO. Its a ton of fun and gets your adreneline pumping when you face champion/elite packs or go against Belial in Act 2. Its very addicting! I wish I could play it still but I refuse to waste anymore money/time/heartache.


    • But “takes too long” to what? That’s the encapsulation of the non-HC mindset, as I tried to address in the post.

      I don’t meant this to be snarky or whatever, but it’s just a difference of opinion. I see the point of the game as enjoying myself while I play. I enjoy more being higher level and powerful and stuff, but I enjoy that largely since it’s something of a challenge to achieve it. If a person’s only enjoyment is being high level and P100 and such, then HC isn’t for them. It’s not a right or wrong sort of thing, just a difference in what you get out of the game.

      • Takes too long to get a decent variety of runes and skills available, for one. Takes too long to grind back up through simple earlier difficulties… eh. I guess it all does come down to the grind either way. It’s mostly the fact that my connection isn’t *quite* stable enough that I’d trust it never to fail me, and losing work for reasons beyond my control (aforementioned roguelikes: if you die, figure out how to play better next time, thus the burden was on me for making a mistake and dying, vs… oh connection died for a few seconds. Too bad) is not something that appeals to me.

    • Agreed, roguelikes are fun. Or old games without save files. The further you get the more the tension rises because dying means starting over. But those games are designed to be completed in a single sitting, you lose a couple hours at most.

      • Yeah well Deeds happen. It always sucks, can’t even describe what it felt like to lose a P100… but strangely I’m always invigorated, almost fired up by a deeds to rebuild and do better. I’m honored to be “featured” in the article. 🙂

  2. I loved playing Hardcore for Diablo 3. In fact, its the only reason I played Diablo 3 for as long as I did. (Back to Diablo 2 now) I wouldn’t mind dying, if I actually died fighting demons. Instead, all my deaths were to D/C’s and after losing 6 barbs, 2 over para 50, I had to throw in the towel for good. I would return to playing D3 Hardcore only if Blizzard addressed the D/C issues. Why can’t they just pause the game when we laggout and when we log back in the game is still paused? I mean, they just don’t give a **** about Hardcore players, even though we spend money on RMAH just like Softcore players and then trade with Hardcore players with our purchased Softcore gold. Its not right and I won’t support the PC version of D3 until I see them care about players. Why should we care about a game that doesn’t care about us?

    Anyways, I am back to Diablo 2 and will be here for years to come. I am excited to try out the PS3 console version of D3 Hardcore because I won’t have to worry about the server killing my toon. I will be playing offline haha! SO there is a glimmer of hope for me there but I am still concerned about the drop rates/stat rolls for items on the console version, so I am not going to hold my breath. We’ll have to see what the future holds there.


  3. I lost my first hardcore character in act IV Hell on D2. I felt as if my child had just died. I starred at the screen in disbelief for 5 minutes thinking of a way to make it not be so. In D3 I lost a HC character and I was like…ehh fuck it I’ll just re-gear in the AH real quick.

  4. Hugh…I gave D3 a try after months…erm…3 deads in an Act1 run due lags. Hardcore? RageQuit for lags killing your? D3 is not about skill anyway.

  5. One of the best things about D2 hardcore was that, at hell difficulty, you KNEW you’d be grouped with good players. Random bads doing dumb things, not paying attention, and even screwing up your game existed at minimal levels. Most D2 hell hardcore games involved people who truly cared about what they were doing. They’d chat, offer to help, and be polite and respectful.

  6. It dosn’t matter.The game just svck.Its boring either way.Blizzard you are simply pathetic and greedy.



  7. I lost one level 60 HC character through my own fault (under-geared). Then I lost my main char due to a video card crash. That char has some defensive gear that was almost irreplaceable, at least for me. Now I feel like my new chars are garbage compared to that lost one. The paradox is, if you experience disconnections or crashes often, you will die often; but if you experience them very rarely, you will instead lose a 1000-hour char, which is probably worse.

    Anyway now I play my main character mainly through the AH. I don’t actually level him, but I buy upgrades for him from the AH with the gold I generate with a secondary character that I don’t care as much to lose. I don’t feel like getting another finger to the face from the game, basically.

  8. I think the most important thing in the OP is this:

    It is the jouney that counts in HC, not so much the goal.

    So you have fun as early as lvl 1 MP 10.

    Still you can go for goals: first to 60, then kill D in Inferno with that class etc …

    I think ultimately everyone will try HC and if they get over their first death, they found a new D3.

    5 dead Monks, but 2 still going strong. One of them I hardly play as I am so afraid of losing him, so I do very quick playing sessions with that guy, typical one quest play. The reason ? Unique name … Filled with emotions, I simply want to keep him alive.

    That’s the emotions you’ll NEVER get from SC play.

    But like the article said, DO play SC too to destress … 🙂

    • You might try actually reading the link that gave the details regarding the deeds screenie posted. The reason that potion was off CD is because my game was completely lagged out and I had no control over much of anything. You really think somebody that has been able to get a HC toon to P100 is going to just lose it to a “rookie” mistake? Get real dude!

  9. I have recently been experimenting with hardcore. This is from having taken a majorly long break not playing Diablo 3 at all since like 1.0.6.

    To me, the fun of playing Diablo 3 is slogging through monsters and ‘boss’ fights. It is pretty much a hack and slash. I find it more fun to play with others as well. However, the simple hack and slash can get kind of mindless…knowing that you could die at any time gives it a little bit of extra edge.

    So far my highest level character to die was 60 paragon 1. And the deaths don’t sting as much. I think it’s partly because leveling is so quick and easy, with little fear of death (and when it does come, it tends to come quick, and unexpected, much like how I hope I die in real life (in a few decades)). There’s also less of an ‘identity’ to your character because skill swapping is free. My Barbarian died? I’ll just make another. I mourn more for the gear the character was wearing than I do for the character.

    There’s also no RMAH (which, if I could actually sell on the RMAH for real money, would disappoint me, cause I would expect to make more money on a HC AH than a normal one).

    I do agree with the population being generally nicer to each other (not completely though, still have griefers), and I like that survival stats on gear actually mean something.

    Short of achievements that require you to almost die, or save someone who almost dies, the game just feels better on hardcore. The problem a hack and slash game gets after awhile is that you feel like nothing you do really matters. Playing hardcore has enough of an edge that it seriously adds to the game, in my opinion.

    Currently, my goal is to complete inferno on hardcore with every character class (and to complete all achievements, most of which don’t require hardcore though). Paragon 100 isn’t really a goal, especially since gear I find can’t be sold on RMAH, ever, even if I did get it working so I could make real money off it. At some point you get to the loop of \more/better gear to kill monsters better/faster so I can get more/better gear to kill monsters better/faster so I can get more/better gear…\ and at that point I’d rather just play a different game, or go back to softcore where I can actually sell some of that gear for actual money.

    But overall I like Hardcore mode. I especially like knowing that everyone I play with is good enough of a player that their current character has never died before. The higher level I get, the more likely I am to be playing with people that are actually good at playing, as a general rule. Not guaranteed, but more likely. Can’t say that about softcore at all.

Comments are closed.