Much like the soon anticipated Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve been given much to digest as of late. Some of it went down real well, some of it was ignored like the canned cranberries, and some of it left something to be desired. As we look back at the meal Blizzard served us it’s hard to see how it’s going to settle on us. Is it going to be the meal we talk about for years come? Or remembered as fondly as the time we all got food poisoning?


    Now if you’re curious about that break line, I once had a Thanksgiving in which half of my extended family came down with awful food poisoning. It is brought up each year and I can’t even look at a piece of sweet potato pie anymore. Now don’t take that as an allusion to D3ROS being awful, 90% of what I’ve seen points me the other way. However, some things you just need to wait and let digest to see how they sit.

    First, we have to face the fact the game we know for Hardcore is completely gone. Every facet is changing. Now perhaps that seems brash but look at the facts:

    1. The shared paragon system allows your character to reap rewards from other characters and takes the sting out of death.
    2. The auction house is gone and you can no longer quickly vault up your characters with your fat stacks
    3. All top end and legendary items are account bound, preventing trading and quick gearing of characters, and searching for the perfect item to help keep you alive
    4. Adventure mode eliminates the dead zone of 50-60.
    5. No more difficulty levels to wipe out hordes of characters on the journey to paragon 100.
    6. DiabloWikiLoot 2.0.
    7. You can’t rain loot from the sky for new people.
    8. Disconnects have been eliminated (just kidding).

    All of those things add up into a brand new game almost for us hardcore folk. A lot of it will change the way softcore plays but all of it will change the way hardcore feels.

    Some of it will be weird. It is going to be weird to lose a character and not lose the progression. To pour your time and energy into a character and when it dies pick up with another right where you left off( aside from the 1-70 grind). The severe death penalty has been one of the things that always made Hardcore what it is, but it might be on the right track now with items being so important and their replacement even harder now because..

    It will be weird not to be able to sell or trade legendary or enchanted items. I’m not an AH fiend, nor am I a trading connoisseur, but I’ve had a fondness for flipping a few items and selling my wares to help gear up. However, I can count on one hand the amount of items I’ve found that I can use on my characters, and if that’s alleviated I’d be hard to argue. I remember fondly in Diablo 2 doing Meph runs for an Arreat’s Face for my barb, it took days but when I finally got it I was elated (I died shortly thereafter and was delated). I haven’t had that feeling in D3 and hope that ROS has me chasing those items yet again. Yet I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’m sad we can’t do some form of trading for those top end items. I loved being able to barter and trade my wares for new items, and see what I had collected could get me. The item binding also prevents some of my favorite things in HC which is generosity. All those items I don’t need are bound to me and can’t be gifted to new players

    On the other hand it will be nice..

    To not have a dead zone. Leveling back up in D3 was tedious. Venturing through three difficulties to get to the fourth, and hitting a massive wall from 50-60 if you were untwinked. It will be far nicer to do one difficulty and differentiate as I see fit from there. I also imagine a vast amount of leveling will be done through adventure mode as it seems to be a quick way to level and loot, and who doesn’t love effectiveness?

    To lose your characters gear and not millions (billions?) of gold. One of the hardest parts of hardcore has been the price tag attached to each character. It was more than just time invested but gold invested as well. That wasn’t a sweet Manajuma’s you lost but a 500 million one, and the toll on your gold, and will to push on could be crushed by the fiscal loss more than the time. That switch will be refreshing and in some ways encouraging, “I found one once let’s try again” as opposed to “I’m out of gold and can’t afford it”.

    Clans interface teaser image.

    Clans interface teaser image.

    To join and play with a clan. The sight of the old school D2 lobby at the bottom of the clan interface made me giddy. I have said many times how I wanted a better socialization features, and the friends list wasn’t cutting it. To be able to socialize and group up quickly will be refreshing and while it’s early to se show it plays out I’m damned excited.

    To not be stuck in the same run over and over again. Consistency is the hobgoblin of people’s minds and the routes we’ve withered out for ourselves can get a bit tedious. To be able to jump in to random bounties and open the map and go will be refreshing and can only enhance the hardcore experience as we’ll truly not know what we are in store for. A large complaint i’ve had has been the lack of death or the easy avoidance of it. Now we can toss ourselves into the unknown and have tales to tell of massive packs we somehow walked away from as opposed to the once monster that seems to kill us all..lag.

    Which of course brings us to the one thing that isn’t addressed. Disconnects and Lag seem to still be an issue for many players, and the ten second timer causes much of their frustration. I posted recently on the D3 forums an wish list for the game and asked for suggestions with the vast majority crying out for a d/c fix. I’m not sure what could be done that would be exploitable by those looking to avoid death at all costs but perhaps it’s an issue worth revisiting.

    Lastly is the PK problem or rather the griefing problem. Over the summer there were some notable griefers who made quick work of those entering their games. While the players may have gone away, the tactics have not, and players are still being lured and trapped by hordes of monsters. I’m curious what can be done, or will be done to prevent this from continuing in the expansion. Hopefully adventure mode and the open world will help alleviate it but where there is a will there is a way.

    Overall I’m excited for RoS and look forward to the freshness it’s bringing to our mode. How are you digesting the info?

    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!

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