One Life to live:Rethinking Hardcore death


With the recent discussion of hardcore death not taking away account shared paragon experience , I’ve begun to wonder if we might tweek then the very skills that have prolonged our lives for so long. After all, if the time invested was the largest sacrifice and losing a high level character the biggest hurdle, do we need to strive so hard to keep it? Could we live without our cheating death passives?
Witch-Doctor-Spirit-Vessel

My main is a Witch Doctor and before him was a Monk, and before that Monk was a Witch doctor, and before that was a.. You see where I am going. I’ve been drawn to these two classes since beta but one of the sticking points of them( especially in Hardcore) has been the get out of death card. It clearly hasn’t saved me every single time, in fact the almost full hall of heroes is pushed to the brim with my fallen Witch Doctors, but it’s saved me plenty of times that I should have died. In D2 there were no death avoidance skills, you merely beefed up your vit and defense and went along your way. A small error, a lag spike, or an unscrupulous player all could take your character’s life away in an instant. While some of that is true of D3 our survival is now more in our control than ever before. We control our difficulty, our skills change on a whim, and players can’t kill us( without resorting to nefarious ways).

However, with that shift in what we would lose on death maybe we are harking back to d2 more now. After all, reaching high levels in the expansion wasn’t too difficult, it took some time but could be managed. D3 on the other hand has had a heavy hour requirement to reach those upper paragons making the loss significantly more difficult. If we shift our paradigm and now more focused on the gear lost as opposed to time invested, then should we need skills that help us avoid death?

As I pointed out in my last column, I’m not opposed to the idea of the DiabloWikisharagonsystem in hardcore, but I hope for a uptick in difficulty to help mitigate the instant power characters will gain upon leveling back up. This might be accomplished by phasing out the cheat death passives and simultaneously opening up builds to a different level of possibilities. These skills have become a crutch and a hindrance in Hardcore. It’s hard to find a monk without DiabloWikiNear death experience, a wizard without DiabloWikiUnstable Anomaly, or a Witch Doctor without DiabloWikiSpirit Vessel. They almost feel like requirements in Hardcore because of what they do. 99% of the time you’ll never see it, but when it does work you’re happy it did. Should that be the case?

What if the expansion eliminates them completely? We often complain about the Demon hunters lack of it, since the class feels like it needs it, however if our very concept of what we may lose in Hardcore is changing then why not change the option to avoid it? From the very beginning I was hesitant about these skills in hardcore questioning whether or not they took away from the mode. We’ve not gotten to the point that they almost feel mandatory because they are there, and you’d be foolish not to use them.

It also appears we will be getting ladders in the xpac which then means we’ll be leaving characters behind often and no longer holding onto them for several months(I assume) which then leads into less need to have skills to prolong their life.The xpac provides the perfect ground to eliminate these skills and start fresh. We’re seeing the cheat death stats show up on items that break upon use and that seems like a fitting relegation for them. They are a one off, and still allow for an escape at a cost. They also can be used on all classes, however they would be useless if we still have the passives in play to take away from them.

Should the xpac eliminate death cheating passives? Or should they stay the same?

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!

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3, Game Features, Hardcore, Passive skills

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  1. I don’t like these passives aswell and only use it on WD because of the cd reduction to several skills beside the cheat death.

    It kinda kills the HC feel of 1 life, when you die and suddenly you’re back again, not to mention the ones beside WD do nothing which leave you with 2 effective passives.

  2. I’ve thought about the DH’s lack of such a passive from the other perspective, as Xanth suggests here. What if none of the classes had such a skill? Would we really miss it on the DH then? None of the classes had them in D2 after all. I think we’d still see a lot of HC play in D3, but much less on the higher MP levels, and it wouldn’t be as much fun for most classes since you’d have to play so much more cautiously. (Every class but Barbs would have to play like the DH does now, basically.)

    The issue also has to be considered with class balance, or I should say class imbalance, since that’s more what we see in D3. And I think the death cheating passives help a lot with that. You see the most Barbs of anything in HC, but you see a fair number of Monks and WDs and some Wizards as well. And I’m sure you’d see a lot more DHs if they had the much-requested passive as well.

    • Flux The DH has the most powerfull skill of all and thats Shuriken Cloud. This using the Shadow Power Trick will make your DH allmost imune to Attacks from meele.

      Most of the players use skills that saves you from death because of fear of disconnect and not fear of death in game. The game is to easy to die normaly unless you are to heroic.

  3. I think the new shared paragon will also act as an item sink, and potentially a good one too. If Blizzard can manage to make everyone play multiple character, then whatever item sink we have will be multiple by a factor of x (where x = average active character per account).

    Of course this will not solve all the problems with the economy, but it can have a huge positive effect if the items are designed properly.

  4. See, but the fact that there are items with passives effects allowing death cheating potentially coming seems to suggest that this type of ability isn’t going anywhere. Here’s something to complicate the matter though:

    What if it were a “chance to proc” rather than a 100% guarantee?

    In a way, it would work just like you playing the game actually. Every time you log in, you have a “chance to die” and maybe carrying this passive will save you, but maybe it won’t, creating a tenuous sense of security, if you will. Then, perhaps players would just forego it altogether because they’d rather rely on their own skill preventing death versus a dice roll on a chance from the passive.

    Also, what the effect moving to items does is actually allow someone who is abundantly cautious to open up their passive slot to a new choice, since it would always be a waste to have both equipped at once. When you do die and the item breaks, then maybe they put the passive back on…or maybe they grew so accustomed to their build without it that they soldier on, albeit more carefully. This has potential for complicating player choices and gameplay, which is good.

    Lastly, with ladders coming, I think it’d INCREASE the reason(s) to utilize a death cheating passive, since losing your character means you fall right back to the bottom of the ladder.

  5. I don’t agree with the assessment that the new paragon system will have on hardcore. I mean, sure you can keep a few stat points for a new character, but considering how long it takes to level up a paragon level, and in the end you only get a single stat point that can be used by only one of your character, will you really want to save them for a new character or use it for your main so you can push it even further and faster then before?

    • Every char gets amount of points equal to sharagon level.

      • This. Though the system isn’t finalized in details yet, so there’s speculation that individual characters will gain something as they “level up” as well. Even though there don’t seem to be individual levels anymore.

        I hope so anyway. Say you’ve got 500 sharagon points already and you reroll… You’d instantly have all those PPs to assign at 70? But then you’d never add another level for weeks of play time? That seems like it would be OP to start and then boring over time…

  6. My first character to paragon 100 was a DH, now followed by a Monk at level 83 – that being said – I have never felt the need to use the death cheating passive on the Monk as I felt I’d be giving up a really valuable passive slot that is actually increasing my performance… (and on top of it I feel around 100 times safer than on DH… 🙂

    I’d be more than happy if Blizzard got rid of them. It kinds of defeats the purpose of Hardcore.

    You said it correctly – we can adjust the difficulty already, there’s just isn’t a need for them in my opinion.

    • My current monk doesn’t use OWE, as a way to free up a passive slot… but I really don’t know what to put in it, since the Monk has such crappy passives. There are 6 or 7 barb passives that are vastly better than any of the Monk’s, all for DPS boosting, and if Monks had Ruthless or Weapons Master or Brawler or Bloodthirst I’d seriously consider going without NDE for that sort of huge performance boost.

      But as it is, Monk’s can’t add anything more useful than a bit more spirit regen, or foot speed, via the other passives. So NDE is worth it, even if you almost never trigger it, since it lets you play much more quickly and boldly.

  7. I think the main reason the cheat death passives feel overpowered is psychological. All they do is give you 35% EHP and some effect (spirit, aoe knockback, movement speed+ignore collission). There are other passives for most classes that give a similar amount of EHP but is based on mitigation, making it scale with healing.

    If a wiz was to play without diamond skin or a WD without spirit walk unless it was necessary to survive then they would play more safely in general and have that extra skill to fall back on when shit hit the fan. The passives do the same thing except you can’t manually activate spirit vessel to move faster or near death experience so you don’t have to move out of desecrator.

    You actually gimp your chars a little bit, but you get to play more carelessly which is nice when you’ve been farming for an hour and you aren’t focused anymore.

  8. I am with flux on this one, monk doesn’t have any worthwhile passives to take NDE’s spot.

    For the first 50pls on my newest monk I was using fleet footed, nde, and STI

    lolololol fleet footed…

  9. The DH has “passive” death cheating passive skills rather than “active” ones like the WD. The barb is similar in this way to the DH. Its more about damage mitigation over a period of time rather than an actual death cheating mechanic operating in a specific instant.

    Numbing traps, Brooding, Perfectionist and skill runes like preparation/battle scars and of course shadow power/gloom are all available to the DH along with, Sentry/Guardian turrets and Sentry/Aid Station. Plus you can stack DR on gear as well for “always up” death cheating.

    The ONLY problem that the DH currently has with survivability is the extra 30% damage taken by the class along with the Wizzard and WD. The barbarian and Monk get the built in 30% DR bonus. This situation is a really big deal for the former 3 classes as it creates big damage spikes that at times can be deadly and hard to manage/control.

    Just getting rid of that stupid extra 30% Damage taken by the DH,WD and Wizzard would go a long way to parity between the classes. That would solve the survivability issues for the DH right then and there. The DH has the skills and passives to more than hold her own after that!

  10. Well, I believe they should be removed, someone stated that effectively they only add a certain EHP to you character and that’s something that other passives do, which is true, but you still feel forced to use them.

    I have played HC on two different accounts for over 500 hours and never killed an HC char, and never seen one of this passives trigger, I’m just a really cautious player (and only had a couple of DCs), but the fact of having to use this passives “just in case” is annoying. (Actually didn’t run Unstable Anomaly on my wizard for some paragon levels, but still had to put it back).

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