Guest Article: The Naked Truth


If you’re a regular listener of DiabloWikiThe Diablo Podcast you’ve heard The Eliminator talk about his experiences playing naked — which is one of the many reasons we record the podcasts with audio only, and not using our webcams. No… actually the “naked” refers to his characters in the beta, as until a patch or two ago, it was only by not equipping characters with weapons and armor could the extended tutorial that was the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 beta be made challenging and interesting. Check TDP #54, TDP #56, TDP #58, and TDP #60 for some of his naked stories, amidst the other general beta and D3 discussion.

The naked necessity has grown less pronounced in recent weeks, as the last several Diablo 3 Beta patches have considerably increased the difficulty. In fact, The Eliminator wrote a shorter version of this article several weeks ago, then had to scrap it and redo the whole thing after DiabloWikiBeta Patch 13 entirely reworked the DiabloWikiskills and DiabloWikirunestones system, as well as greatly increasing monster quantities and nastiness. Naked play was still viable there, and even with the difficulty increases in the brand new DiabloWikiBeta Patch 15 (which mostly stem from undoing the “sumo suit” style player hit points boosts we got in DiabloWikiBeta Patch 10), naked play is still a go, albeit a quite challenging one.

Enough of my intro though; here’s his long and quite detailed report on playing naked in the beta.

The Naked Truth

A phrase based off of a fable in which Truth and Falsehood go swimming. Falsehood gets out of the water first and puts on Truth’s cloths. Truth, not wanting to put on Falsehood’s clothes, stayed naked. A fable that fits quite well when talking about the Diablo 3 beta, and how not wearing anything might just give us a hint of what later difficulties might feel like. For now the truth is, the Diablo 3 beta is not hard, even when you play a “clean run.” ( A clean run is the first run through the game without any help via gear or other players.) Early on the game can be challenging, if and only if, you encounter a particular group of rare/ champion pack. But those times are fleeting.

In search for a real challenge, a lot of players have handicapped themselves. One such handicap is called a “naked run.” Although a naked run in real life can be an exhilarating (for some), it may land you in trouble. A naked run in the Diablo 3 beta has the same excitement with less legal ramification to worry about. So what does a naked run play like? Well, It plays like a completely different game.

Click through to continue reading this piece.

A luxury you don’t own

First lets talk about damage output. With gear you just melt enemies you encounter. This is exacerbated if you hand gear down from one character to another, and made even worse by the DiabloWikiArtisans. (Your artisan’s level is set to the account, and thus a new character starts out well ahead of the curve.) Midway through a normal beta run, using found equipment, it generally takes 1-2 hits to take out trash mobs. This is not the case in a naked run. There you no longer feel like you are stomping on ants. Without gear it takes at least five hits to kill those same general baddies. Some times you feel like you’re hitting a bear with a baseball bat. Big monsters that would go down in three to four hits take nearly twenty. It can be a harrowing experience.

Needed two ways

As you progress through a naked run you will find yourself using health potions, since you take damage constantly, and health globes don’t drop after every kill. (Patch 14 added health globes to sub boss fights. Now they drop a health globe when they reach 50% life.) Most fights with rare/champion and sub bosses are games of hit and run. When you have gear health disappears as fast as ice cubes melt in a empty cup. You may only lose a small portion of your health from the biggest hits. Now pour a warm drink in that same cup, and that’s what its like with no gear. (A Monk at ninth lvl has 322 health no gear, with gear you can have more then 600 with out trying very hard.)

You can loss about a fourth of your life from a big hit, which makes health pots and their timer something to take into consideration before jumping into a deadly pack of monsters. This anxiety is heightened when playing a Hardcore character. After most fights you examine your health total and debate whether or not to use a health pot to top off your health. More often I choose to pop one just to be safe.

Rivers do run dry

Another thing to take into account is your resources. As we talked about on the a podcast, resource management isn’t much of an issue when you’re playing the beta normally. Their are times where you can run out of resource, but that’s because you spammed a skill. It’s different naked, since your damage output is so much lower that you must use your stronger skills to deal useful damage.

As a result, each class plays differently as the dev team said they would. The Barbarian is designed to move from combat to combat as quickly as possible to avoid his Fury draining off. The Wizard, on the other hand, does not have that urgency since their Arcane Power regenerates very quickly.

Not just for show

That leads us to skills. In a normal run it really doesn’t matter what skills you take. The early defensive skills are largely ignored, since they aren’t needed. They are when you’re naked, though. You need those defensive skills all the time, to mitigate damage or escape from a tight spot. Skills like DiabloWikiGround Stomp and DiabloWikiBlinding Flash become life savers. Naked Barbs and Monks often find themselves surrounded, and a quick Stomp or Flash is the only thing that can give them an escape option.

Playing naked, combat evolves past “pew pew pew.” It becomes immersive and keeps you on your toes. This leads to some very tense moments when faced with specific types of monsters, as I’ll detail shortly.

Change is good

Runes change skills in major ways. You wouldn’t think that just adding leaping to your spider would make that much of a difference, but it certain does. Skill that were Average Joes without runes became Mighty Joe with new effects enabled. Skills like the aforementioned DiabloWikiCorpse Spiders (this skill needs a name change, the only thing it now has in common with corpses is that it makes your enemies into them. I say they change it to Jar of Spiders) is among the best spells now due purely to the DiabloWikiLeaping Spiders rune effect.

Other skills of note include DiabloWikiBola Shot with DiabloWikiVolatile Explosives (which came in at level 8 in patch 12, but has since been raised to level 14 in patch 14), and DiabloWikiShock Pulse with DiabloWikiExplosive Bolts, which immediately becomes the Wizard’s best CC skill. These two skills greatly benefited from the runes change.

How did this effect the naked run? Skills like DiabloWikiImpale with DiabloWikiImpact not only give you a good damage skill, but it also gave you a crowed control with the knock back and stun.

Beware of Monster

Early in a naked run, the most dangerous event is an DiabloWikielite or DiabloWikichampion pack of scavengers. They have been the death of a few of my naked heroes, especially if they have the DiabloWikifrozen enhancement. Its a terrible feeling to see them run at you. You know you are not getting away. The best thing you can do is stay alive for as long as you can and deal enough damage to try and take some with you.

Another group that can lead to problems are the packs of the DiabloWikiUnburied monsters, since they have tons of health and hit hard. The last time I fought a pack I was playing a Monk and had DiabloWikiCrippling Wave, DiabloWikiMantra of Evasion, and DiabloWikiCyclone Strike; a good group of skills for taking out large packs, but not so good at taking out big hit point monsters. I spent four minutes fighting them throughout the dungeon, even using two chandeliers killing a DiabloWikiGrotesque as a bomb, all while spamming Mantra of Evasion every three seconds, plus drinking a health pot every time the DiabloWikicooldown ran out. I can assure you that no non-naked character has ever endured a battle like that during the Beta test.

The Artist and his Canvas

With DiabloWikiBeta Patch 14 came the option to create DiabloWikiHardcore characters. Normally I don’t play hardcore, but in the beta, why not? What did I really have to loss? A level 8 character? A hour of play? It was a chance I was willing to take.

I picked a Monk and started the run. What happened was interesting. The easy first few minutes didn’t feel any different, but by the time I set food in the Weeping Hollow, I started to feel some fear. I thought to myself, what will I do if a pack of elite scavengers are in here? Will I survive? Do I have the right skill to defeat them?

I found myself scouting areas as I advanced, and making sure my escape routes were clear. All went well until I came across the rarely-spawning The Den of the Fallen dungeon. It’s dangerous — I’d found numerous champion packs in there in other games, and now that I was Hardcore I thought to myself, “this might be a very bad idea.”

I sent in anyway. No guts no glory, right?. I got lucky. I didn’t run into any rare or champion scavengers. But the fact that I was worried says something. Isn’t that the reason why people play Hardcore in the first place? That feeling of what could be around the next corner could kill you.

A True Challenge

The most challenging part of the game for a naked character is the trapped chest room sometimes found on Cathedral level 4. Characters with good gear can abuse this for absurd kill streaks, but without equipment on, it’s a whole different challenge.

In a game with a non-Hardcore Barbarian, I was looking for a challenge and I wasn’t about to shy away just cause I knew it was going to be hard. I clicked on the chest and watched it sink into the floor like a turtle’s head. Up came the four pillars (called Gate Keepers), and at once they began spawning skeletons, archers and shield bearers. I tried to take down a Gate Keeper as fast as I could but the archers turned my Barb into a pin cushion.

I respawned at the last checkpoint, ran back to the battle, and spent the next several minutes trying to get back into the room. I couldn’t do it; playing naked I literally could not kill the skeletons faster than they were spawning. Worse, I had to keep retreating due to the archers. I retreated to town to regroup and rebuild, and tried again with a different set of skills. I did better, but still not enough to turn back the tide of bones that I collided with each time I pushed into the door way.

After that I changed my attack (and skills) and I no longer cared about dying — I knew the only way I was going to beat this trap was to just focus on taking out the Gatekeepers, even if I died in the process. I jumped in with DiabloWikiLeap and started to pound away on the pillar with DiabloWikiHammer of the Ancients, after using Ground Stomp to stun the mass of skeletons that were near the pillar. I destroyed it at the cost of my life, but that was mission accomplished, and after I respawned I did the same thing to a second Gatekeeper.

I felt good that I was making headway; unfortunately I went from happiness to sadness for when I jumped on to the third Gatekeeper I attracted the attention of an elite DiabloWikiCarrion Bat who I hadn’t even seen as he was in the next room over. Him and his buddies blinked into the room and joined the battle, which greatly slowed my progression. I didn’t give up though, and after all said and done, it took me near ten minutes to clear out the entire room. It was by far the best feeling I have had while playing the beta. I had found something truly challenging and overcome it.

A taste of things to come

Playing the game with no gear (and no companion) in the beta could be a close comparison to the higher difficulties. For those that all think its too easy, I suggest you give it a try. If you really like to sit on the edge of your seat, try a naked hardcore run. For me, when the final game arrives I might start out playing naked and only add gear when I absolutely need it. This will keep the game entertaining through the “accessible” part.

–The Eliminator

Thanks to The Eliminator for his contribution. Opinions expressed in guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of Diablo.IncGamers.com. If you have a topic you’d like to write on, as a guest article or a regular column, contact Flux.

Comments

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  1. Interesting read. I wander if come release day there will be kids crazy enough to go for hardcore naked runs. 

     

    • If the “bonus” beta zones are any indication of how the difficulty ramps up, I really don’t know how far you would be able to get doing a hardcore naked run. 

      My write up here doesn’t have patch 15 info.  But I can tell you this, Rare and Champion mobs are a lot harder now then they have ever been.  With new affix and the return of some old ones that make them challenging.  Jailer is one I would hate to see on scavengers especially on a Wiz or DH.  Waller is one I wouldn’t want to encounter as a barb on a Unburied. 

      The worst thing I have encountered so far is a Teleporting Rare Unburied.  You can’t get away from them.  They move a lot faster thanks the patch 15 buff, and they have the hardiest hitting attack outside of The Skeleton Kings triple swing attack.

      • Indeed, a geared level 13 char getting charged by one of the beasts in the southern “bonus” areas ( the one that didnt spread like the north ones ) goes down to around half HP, so I’m guessing a naked char will get 1-shotted.

  2. This reminds me of those intense Iron Mans that people did in D2.

    It’ll be interesting to see how those kind of challenges shape up for D3! 

  3. Patch 15 will still kill you even if you don’t play naked – in the Den of the Fallen, my female barb ran into a pack of Molten bats in a narrow corridor – and her health disappeared in seconds. Died 5-6 times before getting past them 🙂
     

    • no you didn’t, that’s impossible. 

      • You wish it was, lol.

        • I should probably add that I was using the concept I’ll be using for the full game, meaning pre-selecting a set of skills/passives and only stick to that. She wasn’t using Ground Stomp, which might or might not have made a difference – in any case, it was nice to see that even at that level you can’t always charge into a pack and get away with it 🙂

  4. Hardcore public games can be interesting too.  As a fresh level 1 you may join a group already in Catacombs 2, 3, or 4.
     
    Even using gear, most gear slots begin at level 3, so you may go all the way to the Skeleton King without pants or boots.
     
    Or if you are trying to Rush Cata 4 at level 1 or level 2, you better be the first person through the packs.  Once everything starts spawning the areas get really crowded.
     
    If you’re playing naked at level 9, you are already leveled beyond the content, it isn’t a challenge at all.  But if you have 4 people in a game and you are level 1, you better move fast and use all the gear you can… it’s going to be a close one.
     

  5. Do you make videos? It sounds like it would be a fun watch for people who wouldn’t mind the slow pace.

    • I have toyed with the idea of doing a live stream a few times.  If you guys want to see me do a live stream of a naked run give this post a +

  6. I think that ppl that are so bored to do naked run and call it “Challange mode” and then achivement should give their beta access to someone else.
     

    • He didn’t sound bored to me, sounds like he’s been having a blast.

    • Has nothing to do with boredom. If I was bored I wouldn’t bother even playing the game.  I look to challenge myself.  By no means am I saying it’s an achievement.  I just feel it could give us an idea of how later difficulties could be like.

  7. Do you use a weapon?  Or do you punch/kick/ninja slap like in d1 with the warrior/rogue/sorc?

    Anyways, I love reading these stories.   

    • Depends on the class, some classes like the DH and Barb you can’t use their skills without a weapon.  The damage difference between the other classes that can go barehanded isn’t that much its only about a point less in DPS.
       
      I will say this, the Monk’s barehanded roundhouse kick is awesome to watch when he kicks the head off a zombie with it.

  8. When they doubled the monster damage with beta patch 14 my brother and myself did a double naked barb run and it went quite well. We had fists and no use of armor for the entire run. We fought everything up until we got to the northern side of northern Tristram and we ran by that entire area making our way to the graveyard. We went through the tombs and actually completed the Jar of Souls quest due to the fact we figured out a better way of fighting the mobs, and we did just that the entire time. Being so weak and having to alternate our ground stomp to keep monsters stunned the best we could we used one of the 4 entrances into the Jar of Souls area and kept all the monsters in a small corridor. This allowed us not to be surrounded and killed. We ran through cathedral levels until we got to the end of cat 4 where my brother finally died. We were running looking for the exit using the ground stomp to keep us alive, we got split up and he died within seconds while I went the correct way and found the Tomb of the King. I decided to continue and I bolted past the 4 pillars then I got stuck by the very last set of skeleton archers where I couldn’t kill fast enough and died. It was really challenging and quite a bit of fun. Besides not killing that fast, we had to keep our heads and pay attention.

    oh the only three skills we used were that magical hammer, ground stomp and regular punch because cleave had to have a weapon to use.

  9. Try it on inferno after release and enjoi 8)  

  10. I guess inferno rare and champion packs will have like 4 different mods (I think) That alone seems pretty challenging and scary for any hardcore player.

    Imagine a teleport / jailer / freeze / explosion combo…  

  11. DaringPastry, You forgot to mention that we were playing hardcore. Naked with fists only and more than 1 person in a game is quite the challenge.

  12. “As a fresh level 1 you may join a group already in Catacombs 2, 3, or 4.”

    Public games are bugged at the moment, you rarely join a party that’s on the quest you selected. Sometimes I can’t join Leoric runs, because I’m constantly joined up with low level characters doing the first quest.

    EDIT: I meant to reply to Kyudo, dunno what happened. Also, why the hell am I required to enter a captcha?

  13. I always wonder how people expect others to just give their beta access to someone else. You do know that beta access is not transferrable from one account to another, right? Or do you expect people to just give their battlenet login and PW to a complete stranger? 🙄     

    This was supposed to be a reply to an earlier comment. Not sure why it tacked it on the bottom.

  14. Naked run is the only way you can play Normal. Except for weapons because all skills are based on wep dmg so having none does either not work or take WAY TOO LONG to kill enemies. I usually go naked + “okay” weapons so I don’t one shot enemies but still don’t have to spent 5 sec on a  skeleton.

    Naked lvl 9 in the bugged new area was fun. Those fucking rare beasts with charge + jailer/teleport/walled/vortex lol. 

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