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    After months of sitting in comfort, death is coming back to Hardcore. Surprisingly, I welcome that. I’ve lost only one level 70 since ROS started, had my cheat death passives almost never proc, and lived in relative harmony with the world of Sanctuary. However in one night on the PTR I was proc’ing SV and running for my life.

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    Greater Rifts

    My one death pre 2.1 was due to load lag and a group who bailed on a loaded portal, had that not happened I don’t think I would have lost a single 70 as of now. With that background I was curious as to how hard DiabloWikiGreater Rifts could actually be. I was lucky to grab a key only first rift of the evening and I was quickly on my way to a greater rift.

    Level one was a gigantic joke and I quickly exploded the piƱata at the end and was rewarded a new key to level 14. It was a hard adjustment not seeing any loot but the explosion at the end made it worthwhile. Having had such success on the first rift I felt like the next one would be just fine. Loading into level 14 I was slammed by a pack right away. I was able to get a fetish army up and running to deal with them but not before I had proc’d Spirit Vessel. In a mere couple of seconds I was fighting for my life.

    I chalked it up to a freak occurrence and proceeded to cutdown enemies in my wake. Again I found myself ahead of the timer and rewarded with another key this time for level 20. Level 20 was a monster of a different color however, I found the timer was leagues ahead of me as I was running around for my life. Each pack both regular and elite, was reducing me to smithereens and I could barely make it out alive. I eventually cleared the area but my venture in the greater rift was over, I didn’t get a new key but I still had my life.

    In that short rift I proc’d SV three times. Somehow I survived but I imagine many will not be that lucky. One thing that is a killer is the ease of the first level and the arbitrary jump from it. You have no idea what the levels in-between 1 and 14 are life and perhaps your should have stopped at 8.However the game put you up to well beyond your capabilities and onto your demise. If there was a option to select what key you wanted after a successful completion of a rift it might help you better gauge what you want to do and not have to find out the hard way.

    The lack of skill changing also prevent your ability to adapt to a rift and what it might throw at you. A few times I wanted to switch things around but was hampered by the restriction. It was reminiscent of D2 and being locked into what you chose,and some times your wrong decisions coming back to haunt you. Normal monsters I could easily burst through were almost killing me, normal affixes I never give thought to were almost wasting me, and I was moving more in a fight than I ever had to. Mortar, Lightning, even monster explosions were almost able to kill me. While it seemed daunting it was a great challenge and walking out of a greater rift alive feels like a true accomplishment.

    With the introduction of seasons, and a fresh start, I expect greater rifts to weed out a lot of players in their quest to gear up and achieve glory. Even though I knew the dangers I still felt compelled to risk it and see how far I could go on the next one, luckily I survived but it easily could have turned the other way. The new danger in tandem with new healing mechanics are going to shake up the way we play, and after living in comfort it’s nice to feel the danger side of hardcore again.

    What are your thoughts on Greater rifts in Hardcore?

    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 me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

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