Hot on the heels of Blizzcon, Azzure and I are holding off our interview until we see what new info comes to light. That being said this week we’ve actually seen hardcore news! We will be getting our own Hardcore graveyard( a feature suggested here and here and here…where does Blizzard get their ideas?) and will not have to worry about sacrificing a character slot for the ghosts of our departed champions. I’m very excited to see what this looks like and hopefully we’ll be hearing some news soon. This week I’ve been preoccupied with a few things, work, a sick son, but mainly the beta.
As we know there is no hardcore in the beta, so I took it on myself to make it hardcore. Every death would be a deletion of the character, I would try to emulate the hardcore experience in a game that didn’t have it. The results and my beta impressions after the bump.
Having played Diablo 2 a few times this year I went into Diablo 3 with those memories still relatively fresh. I stared at the character creation screen contemplating my choice for a few minutes before I could even confirm anything( I chose monk..more on that later). All my Diablo 3 knowledge has come from outside sources, videos, reports( read Flux’s character write ups, they are the best) and streams. I was finally able to play and it didn’t disappoint. It does however feel different than Diablo 2, the areas feel more restricted and seem to push you in the right direction, quest givers have gigantic exclamation points over their heads, and there is little room for exploration. That being said, it has the same addictive feeling I had with diablo 2, just now as I write this I logged in just to kill a few things, not because I need to( already level capped), but because it feels fun. I still feel the need to play every day, even though it’s pointless, even though the character can’t gain experience, because I’m having fun. If I already have this feeling now; I can only imagine what release will be like.
The concept of difficulty in the beta gets brought up a lot, and having played both the D3 beta and the D2 stress test I can say that D3 is by far more difficult by comparison. When the monsters were level appropriate I had to be careful ( or would have to if i was hardcore) and conscious of their modifiers, especially Arcane enchanted! Also the zoom function is back! Not really a game breaking detail but something I liked from Diablo 1 that wasn’t in D2.
The Hardcore Experiment
My rules were simple, If I died I would log off the character, delete it and restart. Having not seen many deaths in the beta I assumed I’d be fine and never even have to delete. I was wrong..dead wrong( bad pun is bad).
Now, I didn’t run out toward New Tristram and get mowed down but he first zombie I met. In fact, playing in a private game I breezed through the first few quests to play around before I jumped into a public game. Since most of my hardcore time will be spent playing with others I knew I had to play with other beta testers.
I jumped into the first game I could find, and started to mow down zombies with the rest of them. The pace we were killing things was astonishing, and I nearly forgot my experiment. In the rush to keep pace and keep killing I found myself up against a huge pack of exploding monsters and archers, which brought me back to reality.
After that death I rolled another character and got back to killing. Again the pace of the public games pushed me to my death, this time large packs of monsters coupled with and Arcane enchant led to my demise again. Delete, Reroll and this time it lasted to the level cap.
What I Learned
Pace in hardcore will have to be slower. We can’t just run in and expect to clear out the room even at low levels. I was amazed at the reckless abandon people had in the beta( granted it is just the beta). I found that working at the pace I was comfortable with was the easiest way to stay alive. I imagine hardcore groups are going to need to stay closer together and not rush from room to room. We are going to need to stick together, I discovered this while taking my time clearing a few areas alone while the group was ahead of me. An Arcane monster with a few buddies was enough to push me to the brink of death, the hydras flanked me while they proceeded to wail on my body. While I doubt this will be an end to solo running areas in group games; I do think it will be a deterrent.
Orbs, orbs, orbs… Most hardcore players from D2 can remember the time that they cleared out a belts worth of Rejuvenation potions just to stay alive. Those days are gone in Diablo 3. We still have potions but must rely on Health orbs, that are ironically unreliable. I seemed to find them more when I didn’t need them, than in those close call situations when I really did. As that Arcane monster was mowing me down, I was killing things left and right but no orb was to be found. Thankfully as a monk I had a healing spell, but any other class may not have lasted. The orb situation has me worried. Hardcore is scary enough for some, with our ability to heal ourselves is out of our hands, suddenly it’s downright terrifying. Not to say it will scare me away, but I can see where it would for some. This will push us to focus on defensives skills and when to properly utilize them. Our hardcore game is changing, but I think it will be for the better.
The beta is small and the content runs out fast. However, the impression it has left on me is a good one. While I hoped the beta would quell some excitement I had for the game; it has only added more fuel on the fire. 2012 can’t come soon enough.
In part two, I’ll break down my thoughts on the various classes and how they seemed to hold up in my experiment.
Next week: I talk with our very own Azzure about what may come to be with our all gold auction house. Will it be stable? Will gold be enough for hardcore players?
One Live 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.