A few weeks back I was lamenting the lack of loss in Hardcore, or what would be the lack of loss in Hardcore with the implementation of the sharagon system. We would no longer lose our experience when we died, and the only major loss we’d feel was in our bank accounts. Then of course the auction house goes down, and the peasants rejoice.
My largest qualm with the system was the lack of a feeling of loss. After all characters would easily be replaced with a quick perusal of the auction house and nothing would change. However, now the game has changed items are everything and their loss will be felt.
In some ways it’s a return of sorts to Diablo 2. After a while it was rather easy to get back up and running with a character, but what wasn’t easy was finding the perfect items to make your build work just right (legitimately). I would run Mephisto for hours looking for items I needed, I was never concerned with reaching max level as I was with filling the coffers. I hope that concept returns in Reaper of Souls because in tandem with that was the loss of great items. That Arreat’s Face I slaved away to get was gone forever and who knew how long it would be until I saw its equal.
Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention third party sites. They never left Diablo, and I doubt they will be going anywhere soon, but my hope is that they don’t reach the heights they once did in Diablo 2. The last time I jumped into d2 It become very hard to find anyone who was willing to trade or help without the use of a site (you know which one). That spoils the experience, I don’t care if you’re using it but by no means should it become the standard by which each player must abide. That’s why I liked the AH it provided for an in-game way to achieve those goals, without it being required, however once it was completely saturated and the drop rates were off it became a bigger problem than a solution.
Another huge factor that will get added in are Ladders. A frequent refresh to the economy and the plethora of items in circulation. Losing a character will still suck but you will have the opportunity to start back on level ground eventually. Currently there is almost a need to rush through everything to reach the end to farm. Which can be fun but that rush distils the experience, especially in hardcore. Some of my best memories from Diablo 3 were in the beginning when everything was fresh and I was drooling over mediocre inferno gear since it wasn’t attainable. Ladder resets will allow that experience to continue in tandem with the rush of taking a character as far it can go, not because you need to but because you can.
Lastly are the caps/combat change. We’ve seen that Wyatt has discussed health and regeneration, as well as the caps on crit damage/chance and I have to say I’m excited. One of my biggest complaints about Diablo 3 hardcore has been the ease of it as of late. A large part of that has been the proliferation of gear, and the homogenization of classes with those core stats. If those are reduced perhaps combat will depend more on how you are using your skills than simply spamming big numbers. This is in tandem with the reduction of Life Steal skills that basically can keep you afloat now even with mediocre gear. This might be a nice uptick in difficulty that aligns well with difficulty in the game.
So it’s fair to say I was wrong in assuming the worst for Reaper of Souls Hardcore. If this all falls into place I think Hardcore will shape up rather well. What are your thoughts?
One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow him on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!