Hardcore Item Survival Options

In Diablo II, DiabloWikiHardcore players could allow friends to loot their corpse, enabling them to save your gear in case of disaster. That only worked when playing with friends (while most deaths occurred in solo item harvesting games), of course, and anything in your stash, cube, or inventory was gone forever, looting or not. That scenario is exactly reversed in Diablo III, since all HC chars on an account have access to the same stash. On the other hand, the loot option is gone.

This creates a perverse incentive to sometimes *not* wear your best gear, since if you die with it on, it’s gone forever. As all experienced D2 players learned, it was FAR tougher to obtain really high quality items than to level up a character who could use them, and this situation will almost certainly repeat in D3. This means that the top items on your HC character will be worth much more than the character wearing them, thus if you’re going into a really dangerous situation, you’d be wise to stash your best items and put on gear that’s almost as good, but not so irreplaceable.

At least that’s the theory, one I brought up during our two-part Hardcore podcast last year, and repeated in a couple of news items afterwards. Most players seem to think it’s not a great idea; that switching out the gear would just make you more likely to die, but it’s still a hypothetical, as we don’t know anything about the spikes in difficulty we’ll see during the end game.

That issue came up in the B.net forums today, and Bashiok replied with an eye on the long term economic effects of item loss upon death.

Honestly if your character dropping all of your items when you die in Hardcore is something a lot of people want, we’d very seriously consider it. So far in my experience feedback on it has been mixed at best, but it’s tough to tell the actual Hardcore players from the riffraff. It’s important to keep in mind through that without any kind of ladder resets to zero out the economy it could mean a completely different item landscape for Hardcore years down the road. For us, items being removed from the game when a Hardcore character dies is kind of exciting.

Our approach at this point is to see how this works out, because we think being a bit harsher on Hardcore is ok. Absolutely people may be scared to keep items on them, but maybe that becomes part of the fun and the strategy of it. We’re taking a wait and see, but definitely after release we’ll be interested to hear thoughts from Hardcore players and see how it’s working out.

As a once and future HC player, I have to vote against dropping all your loot on death. While it would provide the first *real* incentive we’ve seen in D3 to play in a friendly party instead of going alone, this, along with the shared stash, would take virtually all the sting out of death. HC players are accustomed to rerolling; so having to recreate your character isn’t a big deal. If you only lose what you’re carrying in your inventory upon death — not gold, not stashed gear, not runestones in skills, not Artisan training levels, etc — that’s putting too many training wheels on the Diablo Hardcore experience.

Update: Many players in comments point out something I didn’t mention here; that any sort of “drop gear upon death” would be a huge incentive for griefing. Trapping waypoints or town portals, suddenly vanishing from a boss battle just when one player is low on health and needs assistance, etc, all become more than a mere prank when the possibility of making a corpse pop is added to the equation.

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63 thoughts on “Hardcore Item Survival Options

  1. I hope it will stay so. I dont like the idea, that whe can loot the corpse or the stash remain when death. Death = beginn new, naked and with new motivation 🙂

    • Yeah.
      I’m not a HC player because I want to keep my items when I die. If they’d not punish HC players by taking their items away, HC wouldn’t be HC but just a “Grind to lvl60 when you die”-mode. 

    • Totally agree with you! I’m a HC player. I dont see difference in HC or soft if we can take our itens back. When a HC die, is generally his own fault. So, start again and be a better player!

  2. If you can’t stand the heat, don’t stay in the kitchen. Hardcore is not for pussies. Stop complaining, pussies.

    • Agree with Ehhwut-
       If they would allow corpse looting Id be VERY dissappointed – might as well play softcore and to be honest I wouldnt play softcore so ya.

      For all the peeps wanting this you dont even know what hardcore is – stick to your softcore and let us real players enjoy our deaths in peace.  

      • I played HC a LOT in D2, pretty much exclusively after passing single player in SC, had several characters and died multiple times and I support looting. IIRC you still lost your backpack so all charms etc (which I realise does not really matter in D3 due to no charms).

        Maybe a good solution would be to limit the items you can recover? Like just weapons, or for example you can only recover X items.

        It seems that originally HC was meant that you only get 1 life, not that your body and weapons vapourise and nothing can be recovered. Heck, the body even stayed on the ground.

        Maybe the items could also lose all durability if it’s expensive to repair them.           

        • Nothing is more expensive than starting over. It’s not truly Hardcore if you’d actually get to retain your l33t gear. It’s easy to restore the character via grinding (or rushing), and gold is just a time=money thing too. But gear is everything – you gotta find or trade for your wares. If you want it all back for dying, why are you even playing Hardcore?

  3. Bash makes a good point about the future economy – there has to be a way for items to be lost, too. And, yeah, it’s not particularly hardcore if the most difficult-to-achieve aspect of your character – the items – isn’t lost.
    As for not using your best gear in dangerous situations? Some people may very well do that. But then you’d have to ask them – why on earth have you even got the gear if you’re not going to use it? Bragging rights, I suppose, and that’s up to them. If the item’s good enough to give me a bit more of a chance, may as well use it!

  4. Think about this situation when it comes to HC characters and parties. Say you are with a group of three and fighting a battle with some monsters. What if you and your friend you are playing with on TS/Vent/Mumble are range attack and the poor soul by himself is a monk or barb. What if you both decided, hey lets get some free gear and then they both run off away from the guy in the pub all by his lonesome. He is dead now and the two fight their way to the body to score loot of a guy they F’d over? For that reason alone it should be all items on that character vanish. It would be worse if it was 3 friends and one loner….poor loner

    • Did you play D2 HC at all?
      1st. You dont play with strangers
      2nd. You need to give consent to loot your body
      3rd. You dont play with strangers XD

      • Since there is no party menu in D3, the consent to loot your loot (while you loot) would be automatic, so he has a point.

          • Well, given that Bashiok said “drop all your items” not “permission to loot” that’s one reason to believe it. You could also note the lack of consent for party joining, banner using, quest reward sharing, etc, and say those are all other reasons as well.

  5. So now they want Hardcore mode to be for real hardcore players that got time, skill and dedication that lose almost everything when character dies. Month ago when there was discussion about RMAH in Hardcore, they was ready to give us pay-to-win oppurtunity that is totaly diffrent from todays point of view on “how Hardcore Hardcore will be?”

  6. Interesting point to pile on. Though this form of grieving of a non issue with a simple consent loot window. But totally I agree with dropping ur shit would not incentivise but more so make co-op mandatory unless you like pain, and it goes against core design philosophy of solo play not being punished in an impactful way that JW has kept reiterating.

  7. This doesnt encourage friendly play, since dickheads may try to get you killed in public games ( most people won’t play public in HC though, at least in my opinion ) to get your phat lewt. IMHO, lose all gear on death is the best aproach, D2 had ladder resets, so there was a gear reset every 6ish months, in D3 this may be a really bad idea a few years down the line.

  8. It should stay as it is now. Share stash is more then enough, friendly corps looting would be too much.

    • How does the shared stash make things SO much better? It’s not like in D2 you couldn’t transfer items between your HC characters. The only difference is that you keep you dead HC’s stash, which wouldn’t contain the BEST items anyway cause you’re wearing them and the other beenfit is sharing with SC characters, so you can use SC for item hunting and transfer to HC – I guess that might be a big benefit, but still…

        • oh, ok. So that makes the stash argument even weaker as the only benefit is that now you don’t have to worry about items in your stash if you lose HC.

          • Unless you were multi-boxing, muling was inconvenient and time consuming in D2.  Imagine a system where you could have never lost the runes you were carrying around to upgrade, never lost anything betore you could twink it, carried a ton of equipment around for instant switching for different situations, etc.

            That’s what you get in D3, with a shared stash. You’ll never lose gems, crafting materials, gold, etc.

  9. At first I was a bit shocked, but I agree with it now. With shared stash and easy leveling, no corpse loot is the right call. I for one will use my best gear too, but I’m sure many other won’t. Then again, I will be playing public games all the way (as I did in D2), how boring to only play private games. I’ll play with friends (when I can), but we’ll leave the games open so others can join. I don’t know what all the fuss is about, it’s not like you can even PK in this game (which is something I also disagree with haha, nothing got your blood pumping like hearing that hostile sound). You can tell if the others know what they are doing or not very quickly and simply adjust your playing style, no big deal.

    EDIT: that said, I don’t really have time to play now like I did with D2 when I was chasing the HC ladder upon LoD release (and keeping a top 5 lead for a long time).. between work and other commitments, I won’t really be able to play all that much and probably won’t ever get hold of any of the top items anyway 😉

    • Measuring what, exactly? Approval of corpse looting? 

      Past votes have shown that about 10% of players are planning to go HC, so votes about specific topics of interest only to HC players are kind of a specialized venture.

  10. “it would provide the first *real* incentive we’ve seen in D3 to play in a friendly party instead of going alone”
    It would also provide incentive for griefing. What I’m about to say is not aimed at you Flux.
    Someone above said, that we shouldn’t play with strangers in HC. Why the hell not? I enjoy jumping into a public game and as things stand HC will probably cause people to be more considerate of others. I don’t want any feature that would give a reason for people to think about ways of screwing me over.
    Besides, Hardcore is Hardcore. You’ll lose your items, deal with it or GTFO. 🙂

  11. Yeah, the last thing this game needs is an option for your teammates to prank you by stepping just behind when they sense danger and then later on graciously pick up your items. Yeaaaah, that is SOOO needed.
    Instead, when there is a dangerous situation, it is better to make players focus 110 percent on staying alive and beating the enemies. Imho.

  12. The whole idea of taking off gear in HC to preserve it makes no sense to me. The hard scenarios are what you want the best armor for, and if you can play without it, then if you lose it, you weren’t missing it. What is the point of preserving an item so that you can proceed to not use it?

    • mostly agreed BUT…in D2 there were many monsters that kinda killed you in like 2 shots (remember that red globe becoming transparent in an instant?) and other crowds were more “stable”. So if you know you’ll be finding the 2-hitter you could swap the gear cause it won’t make a difference anyway (I’m not, of course, talking about gear with like 50% dmg resistance vs gear with 0% resistance, but close in specs). You put the good gear on back again for still tough but more manageable situations.

      • Well in D2 I didn’t use mules, so “putting away” gear did nothing for me and in D3 they are supposedly getting rid of monsters that do that sort of damage. They said it was bad design to make the game artificially harder.

        • well, did you not have more than 1HC non-mule char you played with?

          Glad to hear there’s no 2-hit kills anymore (apparently). That would be awesome, cause it was pure suckage.  

  13. The item popping only serves to motivate hackers/fckers to kill innocent players, definitely not a good idea.

  14. Im not sure how the market will pan out with the current settings on hardcore, but with no hard resets like ladder resets we had in the past. At some time, people will figure out whats the savest way to quickly kill stuff and have the gear to do it without to much effort, just as we all did in d2. It may take a year to reach that, maybe a month, but when it happens, they market will be affected by it. Humans are resourceful, its a given.

    On the lose everything upon death. Fine, thats hardcore, Ill deal with it 🙂 It makes me a bit scared that my barb is in the front lines however, while my ranged friends are shooting everything in sight before checking the miniboss specs 😛 

    • “It makes me a bit scared that my barb is in the front lines however, while my ranged friends are shooting everything in sight before checking the miniboss specs :P”
      That’s why Barbs and Monks have an innate 30% damage reduction. 🙂

  15. Wait .. “not runestones in skills” .. surely you loose runestones in skills when you die in hardcore? Surely they are character bound?

    • Yep ^ you do lose them but you get them back for free, unlike when they where an item as then your highly likely to lose a really good rune item that might not get back until 5 months of infernal runs.

  16. I’d like the items to drop only in the hardcore arena, so the victor can wear or sell them. In PVE though, they should disappear.

  17. “it would provide the first *real* incentive we’ve seen in D3 to play in a friendly party instead of going alone”

    Do you think this applies to HC only Flux, because after playing a weekend of the open beta – I vastly preferred playing in a group to going solo. Not only was it more interesting with beefed up monsters that could take a few hits and deal some actual damage, but it was a lot faster to clear areas too

    • Not really – they might take twice as many hits to kill, but with 4 players, you still clear much faster – and that’s ignoring the fact that you can hit a lot more at once with 4 people AOEing 

  18. whatever let me keep 1 items thats all i ask. i dont want to forever lose my windforce lol

    really though if they ever allow the RMAH in hc i will probably just sell off all good drops i get as i feel they would go for much more there. also i would feel i got something from it instead of possibly losing it forever

    • Money (either gold or RM) is worthless if you aren’t using it. Constantly selling good items, because you don’t want to lose them is a self-contradiction. What good is money for you in that case? Sure, you could buy good items that you don’t want to lose so you would sell them and… see the problem? 🙂

  19. “While it would provide the first *real* incentive we’ve seen in D3 to play in a friendly party instead of going alone”

    That’s actually my problem with it, it’s too *much* of an incentive. It creates a wide divide between playing solo and playing with friends. It crosses the line from encouraging people to play co-op, to making them complete morons if they don’t.

    EDIT: Also, of course I’m going to use my best items. That’s what they are for.

  20. I’ll be saving my top tier items for PvP.. for those of you who wondered why anyone would not use their best items

  21. Seems fine as it is imo. Death means you lose the whole character, gear and all, but the remaining items in your stash means you are still “rich” as a hardcore player and can benefit from having played a lot. When i think back on my dead hardcore chars from d2 i think of a complete person, with a certain build and a certain gear. If you can keep the gear it would simply be like you could resurrect the same character with some speed leveling and he/she kinda didnt die after all. 
    Or maybe some kind of very expensive “saving system” might be fun, like you could buy a bottle of something-with-a-blizzard-sounding-name and use it on the item and it would magically move to the stash when you die, one item per character only. 

  22. I hope the items are gone w/ a HC character dies.  If they were on my HC toon and I no longer have access to them, neither should anyone else.  Keep HC hardcore.

    Don’t let me get my items back.
    Don’t let me pay to get my items back.
    Don’t let me pay to get my character back.
    When my character dies, it explodes (and the loot along with it).

    The point of playing Hardcore is so that when your character dies (and trust me, they all will) you get to stare at your screen for 5 minutes and do you best to not punch it.


  23. Items you wear should die with your character, most definitely.  It’s not only part of what hardcore is all about, but more specifically it’s a key risk vs reward mechanic.

    People are saying “It’s dumb that you won’t wear your best armour to avoid losing it”: it’s not dumb, it’s the entire point: you have a CHOICE.  Do you wear the ultra rare armour, making you a killing machine that is much less likely to die, but risking it all if you do?  Or do you play it safer, in a way, and only save that ultra rare armour for situations where there is no risk of dying (eg farming easy mobs/bosses).  Very interesting mechanic that makes me nostalgic for the likes of early Ultima Online (do you bring you silver sword of vanq down to deceit and risk losing it to a pk, or do you settle for a basic player-made one?)

  24. Maybe we need a poll. The big problem with having to reroll now, in addition to replacing your lost gear, is that you are essentially playing the SAME character leveling up. You don’t tweak, you don’t try different skill combos (well, you might, but you know what I mean). In Rerolling in D2 you could fix mistakes, that took some of the sting out. Now, you play the same character back to Inferno? Boring. I think if I die in HC I might just quit now, or roll another class altogether.

  25. I say have it so that a HC character loses EVERYTHING that they are holding upon death. There needs to be an incentive to careful playing and planning when playing a HC character.

  26. Honestly Diablo 3 has become to jentle, i mean if your a softcore player you play softcore and expect it to be soft, if your hardcore you want a hard ass game with ALOT of terrors, I prefer the way D2 handled things cause it made you choose who to trust and if someone managed to greif you well you trusted the wrong person…it made the game interesting. I rather se you loose ALL items than the ability to safe stash your best items, Nah not liking what blizzard is doing, it was the same with WoW they introduced hardcore difficulty on raids, then casuals whined that they cant complete hardcore and Blizzard nerfs…i mean you get to choose if your softcore or hardcore, shouldnt softcore be soft then and hardcore be realy hard ? also i will miss the PK action ALOT in d3, it was fun to be scared of that Amazon standing just at the border of town ect, will miss that excitement alot

  27. Totally agree with you pal.
    And yes im gonna miss the PK action too, and that feeling that made your heart pump at 1000, its a feeling only one who has PKed or figthed PKs back can understand… its one of the 4/5 things that made D2 unique, to see real consequences of your actions, many whiner kids around i suppose.

    • I died to PKs, udnerstand the feeling and it’s a terrible feeling and an unwanted one at that. Of course that’s just my opinion and you have your own. That mechanic should never have been there for the sake of people who want to play PvM without being scared of some unbalanced tricks coming from another players.

      Regarding the whole HC looting debate, I think the name Blizzard chose is causing a lot of this stir. In D2 it seemed as it was intended to simply give you just 1 life, without focusing on the item aspect so much. But people hear “hardcore” so that means you’re 1337, bada$$ and EVERYTHING should go.

  28. Also, they are assuming that you will always have someone around to loot your corpse. You can’t activate that after dying in D2, at least I don’t think, which means you have to be playing with people you trust. What’s that, like 20% of the D2 HC community? Now you only play with other players for safety? Half the time it was other players, people I played with regularly, putting me in danger in the first place.

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