One life to live: Diablo 3 Console Hardcore

Having had an xbox sitting in my house for a while it was only a matter of time before I brought Diablo 3 on console into my life. However, part of the experience that really makes it shine is having people to play with. Since my wife is a non-gamer, and my son is three I was out of luck.

Thankfully I was blessed with my nephews spending the weekend and rain( and cold temps) ruining our plans. They’re both in high school and avid gamers, yet had never played diablo before. Their interests span a lot of genres(DOTA,borderlands,COTA etc) yet had never delved into my realm. Once the three year old was down for a nap I was able to get them going.

We each chose our characters; The oldest was a Crusader, The youngest a barbarian, and myself a Demon Hunter. The one thing I didn’t tell them was that I had already enabled hardcore mode( I passed it off as difficulty are dumb). Having played HC exclusively for years I just couldn’t justify not playing it. I did explain that if we died it would be permanent but I’m not sure they understood.

We began our trek in story mode and had finished Act 1 by the time nap time was over. They seemed generally content with the gameplay and asked a lot of questions along the way while settling for most default skills. The one thing that seemed to irk all of us was the skill/inventory management system. As they were new players they wanted to look at each piece of gear at length and each skill as well. Having played for a long time I didn’t need to do as much or takes much time and had to fight my urge to just tell them what to do.

Later that evening we jumped back into our quest. Surprisingly we had yet to face death in any form but Belial was awaiting so i figured we’d meet our maker soon enough. We continued to plod along the story and I found myself just giving quick summaries as we sped through the story. “Who’s that?””Zoltun Kulle a former Horadrim mage” “What’s a horadrim?” “A wizard now shut up and kill stuff”. We found ourselves face to face with Belial and I proceeded to give the worst boss mechanics description ever, “A bunch of stuff will be on the floor, don’t step in it” surprisingly that is all they needed to hear as we made it out alive.

Act 3 on the other hand would bring out the demise of our group. As we continued onward buffed by new skills and new gear we were ready for the next stop. As we tackled stone fort our Barbarian got a bit overwhelmed and had not selected any escape skills( my fault I guess). As he fell in battle the crusader and I fell back to take out the remaining enemies and press on. It was there that I was able to explain why my young nephew would not be respawning. He seemed a little upset at first, but was also determined to not let it happen again. I mentioned the apprentice mode and how we could not bring him back as a shell of himself but he could still play with us. Still raw from the loss he declined ( he was also quite interested in playing Heroes of the Storm) So just the oldest and I were left to trek on to Azmodan.

As the demon lieutenant fell, so did our eyelids and we decided to call it a night. As I awoke in the morning I found the two of them already up and playing. Both chose new characters and were halfway through act one. They invited me to play but I declined to make coffee and convince my son to wear pants.

Overall The experience on console is always great. The new additions make it more conducive to playing with others and the small hiccups with inventory/skills can easily be managed with a group that isn’t as new to the game. However the greatest experience was how it was a great way to introduce both the game and the mode I love to a new generation. I sent the copy of the game home with them since I knew they would use it and have gotten a few calls since then about skill choices and gearing, almost as if they’ve never heard of the internet(kids are dumb).

One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and is now back to being published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.


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  1. Haha, true, kids are dump.

  2. Hah good story Xanth. I dunno how you made it passed Belial with newbies in tow. Good job.

  3. “A bunch of stuff will be on the floor, don’t step in it”

    Actually, this is an incredibly accurate, brief, and digestible boss mechanic explanation. No need for "poison pools" or "phases". That boss fight is all about not standing in the poop on the floor — and you nailed it.


    A question — what is the "apprentice mode" that you mentioned? I've never played on the console.

  4. Am I the only one who found this incredibly selfish? It seems like he put his own playing experience above everything else.

    "Since I don't feel my playing experience is full without more people, I'm going to utilise my nephews to complete it. It doesn't matter that my nephews have never played Diablo and don't have the slightest idea of how to play, I'm going to force them to play hardcore in their first playthrough, no questions allowed. I've been playing hardcore for ages, but I don't want to make ONE concession for people who are new to the game so that their first playthrough is as positive as possible. Let's all play MY way, and I'm not even going to make sure everyone understands how we're going to play. It doesn't matter if they want to understand the plot, the only thing it matters is keeping up with the game as fast as possible so that my own playing experience is like I want. Oh, and I'm going to insult them and call them dumb as many times as I want".

    Well, at least, that's the impression I had when reading this…

  5. I can see how you would think that, and if the nephews had had a negative reaction to dieing maybe I would agree with you. It seems to me that their first playthrough was positive, otherwise they wouldn't have been playing on it the following morning.

    Also, maybe you missed the part where Xanth said they were asking loads of questions (presumably he was answering them), giving them appropriate advice on how not to get killed by the bosses & answering questions regarding skills & items. We don't know how he reacted to them pouring over every item drop, but I assume that he wasn't having a massive go at them.

    While it may have been a bit harsh to dump them into the deep end (HC) on their first time through, that's how games were originally. I think people (including devs) don't give the yoof of today enough credit on being able to figure out stuff, keep at things & not have the attention span of a gadfly.

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