It’s a matter of days now, soon ROS will be live, and obviously our goal as hardcore players is to be as well. So what do we need to know going into the expansion to make sure we last far longer than the servers on day one?

    Xanth's tragic fate.

    Xanth’s tragic fate.

    Difficulty and leveling

    With loot 2.0 live we’ve seen the changes to difficulty but from my beta experience the difficulties seem altered from their 70 counterparts. Torment was hit with a nerf bat right before the beta went down, but it still seemed more powerful than it’s current iteration. At level 70 things are going to be hitting harder and damage will be a bit harder to mitigate. Right now Torment is easier due to the gear scaling but once these monsters start ticking up to 61-70 it won’t be a cake walk anymore.

    I found a nice niche in expert and master difficulty and slowly was easing into torment.

    Now as for leveling the various difficulties ramp up your xp gain and you can make it to 60 rather quick on master/torment depending on your gear. Once you find yourself in the 60 range it’s time to scale back a bit as the damage output might kill you in the home stretch. I found myself scaling down to hard on the push to 70 to make sure I made it there alive.

    The difficulties themselves have very little upside for straying into more dangerous territory. Aside from the Torment only legendaries you can gear up faster and more effectively in the lower difficulties. As most people are gathering paragon points like they’re going out of style there is little need to race to any sort of arbitrary level either which makes the extra experience in torment negligible.

    Adventure mode:Rifts and Bounties oh my!

    I honestly spent 99% of my time in the beta doing one or the other. Sadly they’re not available right away or I’d never even do the story mode. Which is exactly how you unlock Adventure mode, just plow through act 5 and upon finishing you’re free to jump in. I found that I would end act 5 around level 63 or so but that may have changed with the new leveling curve since beta.

    Adventure mode is the end to any sort of run that has bored you to tears. Basically you have two choices bounties or Rifts.

    Bounties set you loose in each act to complete a few quests with rewards along the way. Each act asks for you to kill a boss, as well as four other quests. I found myself in act 1 and 2 more often than others since they seemed to be the quickest bounties to finish. There are also daily bonuses for different acts than increase blood shards gained as well as experience.In tandem with completing the bounties you are also rewarded with a cash for completing all the bounties that has a chance of dropping a legendary. The biggest draw (for me) of the whole thing is rift fragments. Each quest will net you a rift fragment which when combined with four others will form a rift.

    By in large bounties are the safer option of the two for hardcore. There is a level of predictability in each act, and you can get a routine down quick to help farm whatever it is you are wanting. You learn what quests are most doable, and what aren’t worth your time and you begin to optimize rather quickly.

    Rifts on the other hand are very unpredictable. You could enter into a vast labyrinth with sparse monsters or tightly packed cave filled with exploding demons. Risk and death are around every corridor and on every floor. It’s that risk that makes them so fun, and the level of unpredictability that had me running them until my shards were depleted. Each final monster has a chance to drop a forgotten soul in tandem with the other various items you may pick up along the way. There is also the possibility of map with large amounts of treasure goblins, and after you’ve hit that piñata it’s hard not to chase that feeling again.


    Yes this still exists. I can’t say I’ve experienced it in 2.0 but i’ve mainly played solo due to a toddler who apparently is allergic to me playing d3 at night. However, all the conditions that existed before for players to grief still exist. You can still lure monsters and if anything it’s easier now with bounties. You know most people will be flocking to the waypoints to rush through the act quickly. So a diligent pk could easily trap each WP and then open the game up for the public. It should go without saying but be hesitant playing with those you don’t know.

    Join a clan or community and try to keep a radar of who might be setting those traps. Word travels fast and while the official forums prevent people from being called out the clan/community features do not.

    Same as above, there will be some heavier lag in the first few days as more people are jumping on and as a result it’s up to you to decide how you’ll play. I know i’ll be not pushing the difficulty too much with the lag possibly causing my demise. Disconnects still exist and are more prevalent for some than others, not much has changed on that in two years and I doubt it will.

    Toughness, Health pools and the lack of LS

    One thing everyone will find out shortly is how hard you can get hit by monsters above 60. You will also see your health pool make significant gains with the smart drops all rolling main stat and vit. Any piece of gear can be augmented to fit the HC lifestyle with the Mystic. That being said you may end up in a strange place as you hit 70 and begin to figure out what you can handle and what you can’t. Suddenly that toughness meter matters a bit more, and your life regeneration and life on hit, and life per spender plays a huge factor. It’s a hard transition going from LOS spam to being cognizant of what your damage intake can be. You may even have to run away on occasion! One of the things I forgot most often was my potion. Having not had to rely on them in the previous iteration of the game I forgot that I could, until it was too late. As you are watching your health try to time your potion as it very well could give you the extra bit you need to kill that pack or successfully run away.

    I found myself trying to get my Life regen numbers up while also augmenting with anything else to give me life back, whether it was LOH or life per resource spent. It wasn’t nearly as effective as LS but it’s a bit more exciting to have to take a few things into account for your survival and have no set guarantee.

    The Mystic

    For a long time we’ve had those pieces of gear that were close but not close enough for our needs. With smart drops and the ability to change stats on items we don’t need to fret about building our gear to meet our needs. The downside to the mystic is that it doesn’t take too long for you gear to reach a plateau where nothing outside of a sweet legendary will top it. However it is nice to augment gear to fit your needs instead of scouring to find better loot, but the mystic’s enchants prevent you from finding upgrades, but it’s better than looking for hours, but… first world problems indeed.


    Above all my words of advice for ROS would be not to rush into anything until you really know what your character can do. In the early stage of the beta I took my WD that I had taken to para 100( back before it was easy) and ventured into A5 bounties only to find myself quickly cut down before hitting level 62. I died for a lot of reasons, I didn’t know the area well, I still relied on LS, I had low toughness, and I wasn’t really paying attention to the new abilities. There is no more AH to flood with new wares, or gold to hoard, take your time and enjoy the one life you have, because in ROS it can go by quick if you’re not careful.

    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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