How do you play in the Reaper of Souls beta test? Hardcore?


One of those “playing HC is so different” threads popped up and got a chatty Blue reply. There’s no new info in it, but it got me thinking about play styles in the beta test or on the PTR vs. the “real” game when it goes live.

How do you play HC?

Your character is dead the minute you create it. Each minute you spend playing it is one minute closer to its demise and it’s also one more minute of valuable experience for you to learn from. So put everything you know into each minute you play that character. Play to the max. Whatever the build and whatever the gear. . .put it out there and play without fear.

Got some cruddy gear and your friends want to bump up to MP8? Do it. Test yourself. I think a lot of people will be surprised by what they are capable of when pressed. (Actually I learned this from ActionKungFu many moons ago). There have been some instances lately that have really awakened me- and made me really rethink how I play this game. Something that I didn’t think possible after playing Diablo this many years.
Grimiku: I like the general philosophy here, but you might not think so if you’re in my group. I’m always taking my sweet time to prep an attack, but I never back down from a battle once I’ve started it. I’d rather die with my boots on than die tired from running.

Lately, though, I’ve been trying a bunch of builds to get ready for Reaper of Souls. Getting unexpected adds when trying a new build in Hardcore is a great way to get the adrenaline pumping (and test yourself).

I played Hardcore almost exclusively for the past year or so, but I’ve been playing mostly softcore during the Reaper of Souls beta, and I was just talking to a friend in-game tonight and thinking how different the play style is. Part of it is the Beta/PTR aspect of things, where it’s not “real.” You copied over (and can recopy at any time) your chars, you know all your progress is just going to get wiped at some point, anything great you find is just temporary, etc. It’s all an exhibition, basically.

That’s freeing in some ways and it’s why I’ve been playing mostly SC in the beta. I’m free to experiment, to try new builds, to push the difficulty level higher than is safe just to see how it goes, to build all glass cannon without paying attention to Toughness, etc. And yet… as the OP in the post above said, it’s really a different experience when things matter. You build and gear very differently (and with much more care/precision) and you really have to pay attention and take everything seriously, and try not to die.

I imported my lvl 60 HC chars at the start of RoS back in the Friends and Family beta, and had some very memorable games and near escapes. I still clearly remember how my Monk died at level 70, in a long and crazy battle that was 10x more intense than any I’ve had since, that I was *this* close to surviving, (I got trapped in small area in the Panda Fortress by champs AND a boss pack, both wallers, with Arcane, Frozen, Plagued, and Poison Enchanted all in play.)

I don’t mean this to be a whole testimonial for playing Hardcore, but I wondered how my experience compared to others. I don’t mean just about HC, but about playing in the beta or on the PTR; do you guys feel free to try whatever, new builds, new gear, higher difficulty levels, and does that really affect how you play? And if so, is that a good thing? Good for your fun, and/or good for generating useful test data?

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  1. I started playing HC in D2 and it was a real eye opener. Suddenly I was thinking about things I never considered in SC. While clearing dungeons I also became more methodical, I was back to that familiar room-to-room approach from D1: stand at a choke point and pull most enemies so I could fight at my terms.

    People who say that D3’s stat system is overly simplistic should really try HC, because what I said above holds true for D3 as well. The game plays very differently when you actively try to survive. I mentioned this already, but I think the complete lack of a death penalty *really* hurts SC and as an extension the whole game.

    • It is really a matter of play style. I hate to die and I play like you, room by room. I really enjoy it when in multiplayer, everyone is dead to a nasty pack (or two) but me and I can revive everyone. However, I’d hate death penalty because:
      – dying because of lag is not fun
      – I enjoy what Flux is talking about in this post: play at too high difficulty level so that battle are interesting and difficult (as in some white mobs with a lot of HP takes more than a second to get killed) but in this case, you cannot avoid death when some bad affix combo occur: Wallers in closed area just at the entrance of the dungeon with no possible retreat (like in the sewers before rescuing Adria) with lots of floor hazard
      if you can survive this (stay walled for 5s in descrator+plagues+arcane beam+storm, my last death), it means nothing can really hurt you and the combats are not that interesting

      I agree to have more death penalty (or equivalently survivability bonus) if they remove these cases (asked about this a few time on the official forum). I also dislike the enrage timer of bosses: What if I like kiting!

      • I love reviving other players as well!, kind of a weird fetish of mine to try and outlast the barbs and monks with my DH.

        Almost like a game within a game.

      • But you maybe can survive that sort of thing, if you gear for it and don’t press to a difficulty higher than you can handle a catastrophe on. I didn’t go into details about my Monk in the OP, but I spend literally 45-60 seconds stuck in wallers, from 2 packs, and standing in multiple elemental attacks, and nearly lived since I had like 8k regen (from gear and skills), 1200+ res, 700k hps, good shield, lots of LoH, etc.

        When I died the monsters were nearly dead (hard to hit them since they weren’t swarming and I was stuck behind walls) and I was like 1 sec from Serenity coming off cooldown, and about 5s from potion coming off cooldown. Exciting! Fatal!

        • I’m aiming for similar stats on my DH, only I will have Numbing Traps and Guardian Turret instead of serenity. Serenity sounds awesome.

          Yeah, I listened to the podcast where you described that incident, almost had it!

          That would have made a good video.

        • I agree that I can handle it by lowering the difficulty level, but then the game is not as funny since only these exceptional elite fight are fun. All the rest in boom boom you’re dead and so on. I prefer to die to 1 pack every 100, have fun for 40 packs and run over the 59 others (random figures, but it should be about that: 1%=property of two packs with nasty affixes or one when retreat is blocked) rather than run-in over 99 and having fun on 1. Of course, I would prefer that they remove this 1 but it is not that important (not whining about this), I cannot play HC anyway since my connection is fluctuant and instant death can occur anytime (even against a white mob, like the “bone assembly” with throws fire at you). Anyway, reducing the monster density really improved the efficiency of fleeing and to me, it is a good point.

  2. I have a question for HC DH player. Flux keeps mourning about the lack of death cheating skill. However, I found having smoke screen (with +15% life) + preparation (with +40% life) + vault (the free one without discpline cost) makes you pretty unkillable (if you add passives for +life and +speed and +speed after vault and smoke screen, again more). But I play SC so may be it is not true. What’s your opinion?

    • I’ve yet to be able to keep an HC DH alive past level 50, but the changes in the way damage is applied to characters should really help HC survivability. Granted, I only have experience in the PTR but what I’ve experienced is encouraging…see my post below.

      • My problem when leveling was always elemental damage and no way to get any decent levels of resistances without being scrooge McDuck.

        Diamonds and paragon points will be a lifesaver in that regard for many HC players.

  3. Whats keeping me from hardcore and others I suppose is the online only aspect. Not everyone has perfect 10-30ms wired connections, even in the United States. I personally am on a wireless connection and its my only choice in ISP where I live. Its very frustrating as a lack of infrastructure that would cost millions is basically hurting my ability to play a 60 dollar video game.

    So I do the next best thing and gear up my SC DH’s and play like I am in Hardcore.

    Its a absolute requirement to have a good connection to play any true ranged DH. It gets very frustrating once you go past 200ms and above.

    Over half of my hunters are durable tanks as a result and they do quite well.

  4. They pretty much ruined softcore w/ the stupid spawn on corpse cheat. The hardest achievement is going to be resurrecting people in co-op, b/c you’ll never get to the corpses before they’re already zerging crap all over again. The old checkpoint/entrance system was enough of a deterrent for most people.

    • You are right. Did not think about it. You should propose on the official forums to remove “revive at corpse” in multiplayer games.

  5. I’ve definitely been experimenting with different builds in the PTR, and I have to say that overall survivability should be much improved and make HC viable across all the classes. Note that 1) I only have experience at Master difficulty and 2) I did lose my HC DH while leveling her (got up to about 40ish), mainly because I was stupid. 😛

    With that said, I’ve spent most of my playtime in the PTR with my SC DH. On the live realms she is a glass cannon to the extreme – 180K dps (including the buff from Steady Aim) with only 40K hp, less than 4K armor and averages 300 on resists. White mobs on MP4 can kill her if I’m not careful…and those darn savage beasts are lethal. Through steady progression of acquiring gear in the PTR, her HP is now roughly 120K, and her toughness is around 1.2 million. I’ve dropped a lot of DPS, settling down to about 75K dps (using one of the new Danetta’s bows). Amazingly, though, I don’t use any bow-based skills right now.

    I’ve always been curious to play around with a nontraditional DH build, an “almost melee” build if you will. Due to her high toughness stat AND the way that damage is applied (to characters) in smaller, steady bits (as opposed to huge spikes), my DH can run around lobbing Grenades, allow herself to be surrounded by enemies and spam out Fan of Knives, Vault out of trouble as needed and refill HP/Hatred with Shadow Power/Preparation as needed. She’s not invulnerable, but can withstand far more punishment than the version of her on the live servers. Despite her lower DPS, she kills very quickly. Granted she does have some items that boost damage and when it procs, will do around 100% splash damage, but has far less CC/CHD as well.

    While I love ranged combat in Diablo (and other arpgs), this build for the DH is quite a bit different compared to standing still channeling Rapid Fire or blasting enemies with salvos of Cluster Arrow. Most importantly, though, she is still just as much or even more fun to play this way. Initially I gave her a melee weapon (The Burning Axe of Sankis) and I chuckled as I had to “borrow” a Storm Shield from Kormac to fill in her off hand slot, and that really gives the DH a different visual appearance as well.

    I’m definitely tempted to try to replicate this build for her once ROS launches, though I know Master difficulty isn’t all that challenging. Hope this gives some interesting feedback! =^-^=

    • So you’ll be the Demon Hunter using Mephisto’s Sword 😀

      • Maybe. I wanted to find a new legendary melee weapon for her but just decided to equip the Danetta x-bow – I can’t remember the exact name, but it’s the new version that leaves a clone behind each time you use Vault. The clones are actually pretty useful – they will do make basic attacks and will also draw some agro as well.

    • I have a grenade based tank and its doing very well in PTR, I also use a storm shield. Unbuffed, I had 1.3 million toughness with all of my vanilla gear on….:P

      • Try adding some of the new Legendaries and things get even more fun. The new Ice Climbers make you immune to all Frozen and Immobilize effects – this includes Jailer! – and you can run around with impunity and just ignore all of those frozen bombs. Izual is a total cakewalk since even his “cold hand of death” ability doesn’t affect you.

    • I’ve done a ranged DH without a bow (wanted to try a leg I’ve found) but I think the game is a bit tough on bow requirement. I think they should remove it when it is not needed (like some rune for vengeance which are only invoking shadow beasts or the bombardment rune for rapid fire) so that we have more than 1 set of skills for bow-less DH.
      Haven’t tried a melee because what I like in diablo is ranged builds…

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