Hands on with Diablo 3 Hardcore in Reaper of Souls Beta


Elation, excitement, anticipation, all words to describe how I felt when I saw the Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls beta invite in my inbox yesterday night. The download was big but my will to play Hardcore was stronger. So far I have nothing but good things to report which is surprising considering how quickly I managed to kill of my former paragon 100 Witch Doctor.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 8.13.07 PM

I also killed this barb because…it’s a barb

I jumped into the beta while it was still downloading and knew that my play may be hampered by the download in the background but I couldn’t wait any longer! The first thing I did was look at my new paragon level(141) I can only assume dead hardcore characters add to it as most of my other paragon levels are miniscule by comparison to my living 100. After hitting that mark my play had dropped a bit so I’m not surprised to hear Flux has a higher level than I do since he was still chasing that dragon.

I quickly set out to try the crusader, everything else would have to wait. I jumped in to campaign just to test how things were by comparison to starting fresh in vanilla. However after saving Cain I grew hungry for the new and fresh content and jumped into adventure mode, quickly finding myself in act 5. I took the closet bounty and got to work. Unfortunately it was bugged and I couldn’t complete my objective, so I went on to the next. This one worked and I was quickly plowing through enemies and completing my objectives. I loved how each mission was clear cut and to the point, and I never felt like I was wasting time. After finding my first riftstone I held off and kept on doing bounties.

After trying out a few bounties I decided to hop into a DiabloWikiNephalem Rift and see what it was all about; I never went back. Each rift was giving me at least one DiabloWikiRift Keystone and I found myself just going in for more. What I noticed right away was how deadly these could be later on in the game. You have no idea what is in store for you and as you zone in you can easily be swarmed with fallen maniacs or worse and poof there goes your character. However, with risk comes reward and I found my time leveling there was a hundred times more exciting than the linear path D3V had set out for us. You knew in D3 what level to be and where you could go, and how tedious 1-50 could be. I didn’t feel any of that as went through since each pack was challenging, each area unique.

That ease in leveling may come in handy since as I mentioned in my break line I died on my well geared Witch Doctor on his first rift. After playing around with my crusader to level 20 I decided it was time to play with the big guns and give my WD a try. As I was doing Mp5 with ease back in D3V, I figured I would give Reaper of Souls a go on Master just to see how it would roll.

I was curious to see just how far I could push my character, and since he wouldn’t really die (due to the RoS beta being on a sort of DiabloWikiPTR for testing) I was okay if it happened. I did a quick bounty for a rift key and jumped in. I was zoned into an act 5 area and was quickly overwhelmed. Skeletons were spawning left and right as monsters were hammering me and my zombie bears could barely (get it?) keep up. It was noticeable how much life steal’s absence will affect the hardcore way in Reaper of Souls. Even putting up big numbers wasn’t enough and I was greeted by a familiar deeds notice. However this time there was something else added on. There is a placeholder saying that it needs to be replaced with game data on the deeds screen. I can only wonder what data they may toss our way but hopefully it isn’t salt in the wound. It may sound weird but I love that I died. I love that there was a challenge tossed my way, and that facerolling through the same things doesn’t seem like an option. We’re going to be surprised by what’s tossed in front of us, and forced to make decisions on our gear and points of how best to stay alive. That feels very D2 to me.

Overall everything is amazing, I haven’t done enough testing yet to report on quality drops, or hitting a loot ceiling, but what I can say is that Diablo has me back to wanting to log in more than do anything else. It just feels right and for me that’s all I need. Stay tuned for more hands on hardcore reports as I continue to test and sound off in the comments on what you’d like to hear about.

Comments

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  1. Sounds fun! My only question is do you think there is gated content? Without gated content, it will get dull again after 2 months. Hopefully they have extra features and modes set aside that you have to work towards.

  2. “…my zombie bears could barely (get it?) keep up.”
    Boo.

    • As a connoisseur of terrible puns, I am required to write that Xanth did it wrong. To work best, he should have said ‘my zombie bears could bearly keep up’! Tally Ho!

      • As a connoisseur of terrible double entendres my advice is that when your bear can’t keep up you should look for another one, preferably someone that isn’t a zombie.

  3. Great write-up, Xanth!

    I really am anxious to read more on the hardcore
    perspective of RoS, the whole leveling system, the effects of LS going
    the way of VHS and so on.

    How do you feel will it be leveling a new char back to 70? Is it doable
    by only playing AM, and perhaps only act1, since mobs scale with your level now?

  4. Hardcore is the best way to play. Great write-up. Genuinely got me excited about rifts. Wasn’t sure I was going to buy but I might have to.

  5. what can be said about level randomization i wonder?

    so far, i’m looking forward to the new things and tidbits but i’m also a bit “scared” because hardcore it seems, will be something totally new in future – which is fun.

  6. xanth, is zookeeper an option? really curious about that

  7. Good write up. Just what I wanted to hear from an opening impression.

    I played the crap out of D2 HC for many years but the thought had barely come into my head during my playtime with D3V.

    Initial impressions from RoS are making me want to get back into HC. Look forward to more of your reports, Xanth.

  8. I’m really hoping they just used the softcore paragon mechanics on hardcore for the time being. If not this would IMO be a disaster for hardcore mode!
    If you think about it getting to level 70 will be so easy, you can easily discard it, thus making paragon level your \real\ level and since you will never lose any in the current state you are basically playing softcore with only a risk of losing your items :(. Half the pain of losing an endgame hardcore character has always been losing your level progression because you take pride in how far have you come along. IMO you share it, you use it, you lose it! Upon dying you should lose a percentage (say between 10-25%) of your paragon progression.

    Another thing that really bothers me is fallen heroes paragon experience counting in paragon 2.0 while deleted fallen heroes experience don’t and here is why; prior to the only recently announced paragon 2.0 system, the choice between either keeping, archiving or deleting your fallen hero was merely a profile cosmetic choice. There was never any indication this could later impact your progression for obvious reasons (this is hardcore and you died). To retroactively reward those for making the arbitrary profile cosmetic choice to either keep or archive their fallen heroes is to punish those who deleted their fallen heroes. If they can’t retrieve deleted fallen heroes experience all other fallen hero experience should be deleted as well.

  9. Xanth, I’m interested in hearing about how the new WD skills work, particularly Piranha. Thanks for the report; I look forward to reading the next one.

  10. Great write-up, Xanth. Sounds like Neph Rifts will be totally unpredictable (which only increases their appeal for me). Enjoy the beta!

  11. Sorry if it was already answered, but can you right now add Paragon Points to your level one character ?

  12. Been watching streams of ROS on twitchtv and players already saying legendarys are already overpowered. Sounds exactly like the console version.

  13. I have over 450 paragon levels in hardcore. I am definitely concerned with the life steal situation, I simply can not do mp8-10 without massive healing. I haven’t played RoS yet but it looks like we’ll be forced to drop down the difficulty quite a bit until we’re very very geared.

  14. Clearly the placeholder text will be important stuff like:
    “You die 83,4% more than the average player”

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