One life to live: Reflecting on HC issues that remain in ROS


In a little over a month ROS will be live, and open to all (who purchase it of course) and while it brings a breath of fresh air to the game, there are still things in our mode that haven’t changed. The main issues and a rant on pools of reflection after the bump.

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Disconnect issues

Let’s hit the big one first. A large issue with hardcore is the gap between a disconnect and time your character is left in the game. It should be only 10 seconds(the standard time in game to logout) however, if the server doesn’t receive the signal that you’ve dropped connection immediately then you could be standing there for much longer, and you might be logging back into your ghost.

I can not really attest to any disconnection issues. I’ve only had a handful in the time that I’ve played since the launch of Vanilla, and have had no disconnects during the beta. However my experience seems incongruous with what others may say. As a result ROS will not be bringing some sort of change on the front for disconnect issues. If you’ve stayed away from HC for that fact you may want to remain so. What I can say is that the larger health pools has eliminated the fear of a quick 1 shot death but I’m not sure how many characters could survive 30 seconds to a minute of being wailed on by fearsome foes.

Player killing/griefing

With the lack of pvp and the hostile button people have found nefarious way to grief their fellow players. The largest one hangs on the ability to lure monsters while stacking heavy defense, and creating a horde that will levy your prey. This has been going on for months, and once one person abandons their attack, another picks up the mantle.

Will ROS change this?

As far as I can tell it will not, well not directly anyway. The Beta has not been a breeding ground for this activity but it still could be accomplished. People could still set up traps at various bounty points and then open their game to the public. The larger health pools we’ll have at 70 could help alleviate some of the sting from the trap,but if you’re at a high enough difficulty, or there are enough monsters swarming you any amount of health won’t help.

So what can ROS do currently to stop it?

It lies in a few things gear and social features. Some gear can help you get out of a precarious situation. Barter town pads come to mind. With them you can use your portal while taking half damage and not interrupting your cast. Now is it ideal to always equip these? Of course not but it’s an option. It would be awesome if this was an inherent capability upon taking a banner or portal and being attacked.

In tandem with gear there is the new social features of clans and communities. These can serve as a sounding board to warn other players of the inherent dangers other players present. Presently PK’s can work somewhat anonymously as you cannot call someone out on the official forums, and they key in on players who are relatively oblivious to the information on them anyway. Now with clans and guilds you can post out information, or even keep a list of people who are griefing and warn your comrades about their abilities.

The other thing that could decline griefing is the fact that those who grief rely on specific builds and gear that is quite plentiful on the auction house, but may not be as fruitful in a post-AH game. So with the right combination of warnings and gear dissipating with death the concept of griefing could fade. However, the inclusion of the mystic could allow players to compensate for this loss by catering their found gear to meet their devious needs.

Will this be enough to sway people not to do it? Of course not but it might make it a bit harder until Blizzard does something to actively discourage this ability.

Pools of reflection rant

I’ve found plenty of pools of reflection and have yet to lose my buff since they were implemented. I see them all the time, and in hardcore it really feels like a static buff to experience gain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have the buff but it largely feels pointless. The goal is to reward lack of death in SC but as our mode is based purely around avoiding death a bonus for doing just that doesn’t seem needed. I wish there was something different in hardcore for these pools, something that made them more meaningful for our mode. However, I’m stuck on ideas at the moment, so I turn it to you.

How could pools of reflection be tuned to our mode that rewards the hardcore mindset? And are any of those other issues pressing for you in ROS?

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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  1. Instead of an exp buff, Pools of Reflection could give HC players significant life regeneration for 25% of your experience bar until you die.

    Then people would go into T6 and die, thus giving them a chance reflecting on their greed for take advantage of a buff.

  2. Something that adds dynamic! A random reflection of what could possibly be in your character’s immediate future. Will it reflect Fortune? Fame? Death? Wisdom? Something at the bottom of the pool?

    I always liked the Monster & Gem shrines in D2; “Death’s advocate approaches…” or dropping a wad of gems on the ground deciding which gem I should upgrade next. They were a welcome surprise and maybe Pools in hardcore could be a throwback to such?

    example: A Reflection of Wisdom from the Pools of Reflection; Lore is one of the finer things I can appreciate, perhaps an undelivered message from the ghost of Deckard Cain or an Echo of one of the Archangels or old characters you miss … something new or obscure we may not have known.

    Fame I would imagine would require some technological voodoo to generate a nifty little side quest ahead of you or in the next map tile.

    Fortune? Guaranteed legendary/something of moderate to high value 1-70 off the next %something? A reflection of your character rolls an item that could be an upgrade of one of your currently equipped items?

    A reflection death would probably be the most common roll … will you meet it head on confident of your triumph or heed the warnings? Maybe a portal will open but where does it go …?

    A reflection of (Clone) Diablo? Heh heh heh …

  3. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that Hardcore is more of a throwaway thing for D3; I doubt that any features were created specifically to be great/terrible for HC. TBH, as far as I recall, it was pretty much the same way for D2. I think HC got a few uniques that softcore didn’t get, but even in D2 I don’t think there was that much specifically added for HC. Thus, I wouldn’t hold my breath about getting pools changed for HC.

    That said, I don’t really see how pools are any worse for HC than they are for SC. Pools of Reflection are basically like Experience Shrines, except that instead of granting 25% increased experience for a set amount of time, they grant 25% increased experience for a set amount of experience. Since the whole point of HC is not to die, I don’t see much problem with them as is. They still provide you a good benefit (increased XP is faster Paragon levels), they’re just rewarding you for doing something that you would have had to do anyway (not die). Because of this, I don’t necessarily think that they really need to be changed for HC. I can understand that it’s not the most interesting benefit, but as I said above, I don’t think that the devs really design around HC.

  4. As I have yet to even try the beta or ptr, my opinion is still slightly in the dark (ignorant?). The add buff sounds nice, but something similar to Ziodyn’s post would be nice. Lore infused objectives/traits. Maybe get a ghost/shadow of Bul Kathos and receive a 25% bonus to strength along with the exp gain. See Marius in the asylum and receive a -10% in intl for a short duration. This could provide more of that adrenaline surge and strategy that HC is.

    OR Maybe add a disconnect fail safe while the buff is on 😉

  5. I agree, I’ve played 100% hardcore on the PTR and these things are like ‘oh, free xp, fun.’

    Honestly I’d like to see more cursed chest and cursed shrine events, I’ve seen them almost exclusively in act 1 in the cathedral and like almost nowhere else. It’d be great to have those kinds of things in all the acts and not just in one.

    • I saw few in A3 (Keep Depths 2, Caverns of Frost, Arreat Crate 1). They tend to spawn in set locations with set event. I don’t know if they can spawn in every area.
      Sometimes I feel really dissapointed when they’re not spawning in Cathedral level 1.

  6. I’m kind of dissappointed that they didn’t do something to address the D/C issues that a lot of players have real issues with and end up losing a lot of time just because there was a server hiccup (in recent experience its generally on blizzards end). I was hoping with RoS they’d take the time to be able to develop something that would at least give us a little more leeway if we were disconnected through no fault of our own, such as being able to log back into the same game that’s “paused” within a 10 minute time frame or something. Considering I’ve lost over half of my HC characters to server side lag or disconnects its rather disheartening having to reroll through no fault of my own other than the fact I chose to play the game. My goal since I started playing again back in May was to beat HC Inferno Diablo but the furthest I ever get is Act III in Inferno because when I slow down to grind gold/gear/gems I invite more chances for the server to have its hiccup and get my character killed. I’m a little bitter about this at the moment because I just had a Demon Hunter die because of that exact reason a few hours ago while I was streaming.

    I’ll get back on the horse and try again, but is this a question of sanity at this point? If I’m leveling until randomly the servers say “well time for you to die” and then I have to start over again, that’s not incredibly fun. I enjoy the risk of Hardcore when the risk is me choosing to maybe chase that treasure goblin or fight that elite pack with a particular nasty set of affixes. I don’t enjoy the risk of my character arbitrarily being dead because of something 100% out of my control outside of flat out not playing the game.

    The PKing/Griefing will probably mostly vanish at the start of RoS because people won’t have the gear to do it crazy effectively at first, but it’ll probably rear its ugly head again in about a month or two. The clans being able to make more publicly known who’s a PKer/griefer will go a decent ways I think.

    Pools of Reflection are “meh” to me for the way they work. I just kind of accept the bonus as is and roll with it. I’m fine with them making my leveling just that little bit quicker, especially when I’m on my Xth demon Hunter.

  7. Reflection Pools are totally fine for HC because I like farming paragon levels (faster).

    • I’ve only been playing softcore since PoRs were added, and I’ve wondered how pointless they feel in Hardcore. If I play any of my chars safely, Master or below, I tend to stack them up pretty quickly and they feel permanent. However if I’m going more recklessly, doing fast play in T1 or T2, then they do get reset every now and then and it’s kind of a bummer. Especially if I had a bunch stacked up.

      Also, sometimes I just won’t find them often enough to keep them up, especially if I’m doing Rifts, as fast as EXP gains now. I’ve taken to noticing which areas they are most often found (the two ruined dungeons on the way to Adria have a lot) and I’ll go do a bounty in one of those areas just to get 2 or 3 stacked up quickly.

      This is ironic, since I’m not bothering with Hellfire Rings or rubies in the helm on any of my beta chars, since the exp isn’t real or lasting. I often find myself anticipating how crazy the exp gain will be on live, when I’m doing HR + ruby hat + HR on merc + leoric’s ring on merch + Pools, while safely speed farming hard or master in the early days of RoS while I try to gear up.

      • Spoiler Alert 😀

      • I’m finding the Reflection Pools quite often while doing bounties (mostly in act 1). I’d say their XP buff(s) cover ~50% of my playing time, which is a quite significant paragon leveling bonus even in HC.

      • Flux, if you want to play RoS HC safely, get as much melee/missile/elite damage reduction and bonus damage to elite as possible. Aughild’s set bonuses, for example, got a huge boost in that regard last beta patch. If you use the Royal Grandeur ring with it, you get some amazing stats with just 2 crafted set pieces (for hardcore play).

  8. A perma 25% Exp buff for playing HC seems like a pretty nice bonus to me. Why is something needed more than that?

  9. I have suffered far more disconnects and lag on the Beta realm than I ever did on the live realm. I assume it’s because beta and ptr are on a different server with much lower capacity, but I’ve played mostly softcore in RoS partially because I’ve had numerous disconnects and quite often in games I’ll get a 3-5s burst of lag where nothing everything freezes, before it snaps back and monsters are dead around me since my char kept using whatever button was pressed when the lag began.

    I’m hoping/assuming that won’t be a problem when RoS goes to the live realms, but I don’t see anything changed/improved in RoS to deal with disc’s or lag. Aside from all the general game/combat changes that slowed the rate of death considerably.

  10. I’ve often felt that there should be some intermediate mode between softcore and hardcore, where death is significantly penalized but not in a permanent kind of way. Even the D2 mechanism of sucking back your exp every time you died is preferable to what they’ve got now, which is… basically nothing.

    I like the *idea* of Hardcore, but every time I actually get pretty far into it, I’m frustrated when I die due to lag or other factors that I feel are usually out of my control. I know that there are ways to mitigate that eventual loss, but it’s still an unfortunate dance to have to go through.

    It really irritates the hell out of me when I play softcore and see glass cannon idiots just charge in and die repeatedly and manage to ultimately be successful.

    Maybe base experience gain should be reduced and Pools of Reflection improved, coupled with exp loss on death to at least endure that kamikaze morons never make progress.

  11. It is shocking dc is still an issue.

    All Blizzard has to do is come out an explain the issue.

    Just tell it how it is… please… be cool just once after recent years.

    • The issue is connection quality. Packet loss can happen for various reasons and client-server communication can be interrupted for varying amount of time. Answering how long should the server wait before disconnecting the client is not easy for this reason.

      This issue will never completely go away. Network reliability constantly gets better, but an ISP can never guarantee that their infrastructure won’t break down due to stress or a simple malfunction.

      • So why can I alt f4 or save exit in D2 and not die? Did Blizzard north patent that batch of coding?

        • Because when you press ALT+F4 the client sends a packet that causes the server to close the game session. The same thing happens in D3 as well if the connection to the server is open.

          The problem is that when your connection is interrupted by something the server only sees that there’s no incoming data from the client. Naturally it will close the connection after a while, but keeping in mind the variables I mentioned in my previous post, how long should it wait before doing this?

          The current 10+ second wait seems excessive to me. Personally I think 2-3 seconds should be more than enough, but then again I’m not a network expert, unlike the guys working at Blizzard, so it’s much more likely that the current timeout period was implemented after careful consideration.

  12. What if Pools granted you that uninterruptable portal that you were longing for, Xanth?

  13. Since reflection is in the name of the pool, why not change the mental to the physical stuff and have it buff your thorns?
    Just let it reflect more damage to the beasties attacking you. That is something almost all characters would like, apart from the ranged characters who manage to not be hit at all.

    And if they really want they could even stack the effect of the pools too, by raising the percentage everytime you use a pool or by having a predetermined amount of total damage reflected per pool and just stack that when more then one pool can be used…

  14. Pools could buff the duration or potency of the next shrine you use. The buff you get from the pool will last a certain number of shrines. Each time its used to buff a shrine it reduces the xp buff you get from it until zero. It can’t be renewed until its used.

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