Having strayed from my beta write up last week to interview Azzure, it’s time to delve back in. Revisiting my hardcore beta experience the rules were as follows: no use of the stash, public games only, and of course if I died I had to delete and start again. My tallies, trials and tribulations all after the bump.

    The Monk

    Having read flux’s reports and seen countless streams I was quite excited to play the monk. I was not disappointed, I found I had a perfect balance of killing power and safety. It was with the monk that I found my experiment the most successful. While the monk still can find himself in bad situations as a melee character with the world blowing up around him, his self heal in tandem with his his dashing strike kept death at bay.

    Pros: The self heal really comes in handy when orbs are not around when you need them. I was able to keep a great pace and not slow down for fear of death. Killing monsters also was no problem. The monks combo’s were fun and effective.

    Cons: From what I’ve seen playing a melee character in D3 has it’s drawbacks. As you push through with your group you are in the middle of the fray. When you come across those large packs with enchantments, which blow up upon death, you can’t get out in time. Range have the advantage in in being on the fringes, but melee puts the crosshair on your back.

    Body Count: 1 death; due to a large pack of molten monsters and over excited group members.

    The Witchdoctor

    I loved my necro in D2 classic, but grew tired of simply letting my minions do all the work. The WitchDoctor is a nice balance between being in the action and letting others do your work for you. I usually felt like a had a nice cushion between death and myself, and imagine hardcore witchdoctors will be quite sucessful. However, When my minions strayed to far away and I was surrounded; It felt like I lacked the firepower to get away. Going forward into release will be about not letting those situations happen.

    Pros: Minions can take some of the heat off of you while you fling zombies, frogs and poison and way ever you want.

    Cons: Getting separated from your meat shields makes you easy prey. I felt like I was killing things much slower,

    Body Count: 3, Being overwhelmed as I stated above drove me to the grave a few times.


    The Demon Hunter

    With memories my my amazon fresh in my mind I went into my Demon hunter playthrough optimistic. Having heard the resource problems, and lack of power questions I tried to be a blank slate. I found myself having a difficult time getting a routine going. I ran into the hatred problems but powered through to the later levels.

    Pros: I felt safe at a distance and was able to pick off monsters. Seemed to even out as I got more skills and was a higher level, but I was out leveling the content,

    Cons: The class just didn’t feel right to me. Looking forward to trying the new version.

    Body Count: 4, running out of killing power and of course was killed.

    The Barbarian

    An old favorite and the second character I created. His grizzled visage brought back the nostalgia of leaping to Meph and magic find runs. I found myself looking for my stamina bar, and almost falling into habits from D2.

    Pros: Great ability to deal damage, I was crushing things left and right.

    Cons: At lower levels fury generates slowly, and it feels like your big moves are wasted by the end. The lack of life steal early on also make orbs so much more important. As I had stated before, with orbs dropping sparingly it can put you in a bad situation. When your health is low you have to hack, slash and hope to see a chance to get some life back.

    Body count: 5, the orb grind can be a killer…literally. Having faith you’ll find one can be your undoing.

    The Wizard

    Having already divulged my secret shame of not played a sorceress, I was out to redeem myself with the Wizard. Out of all the ranged characters I found The wizard was one of the best. I loved freezing enemies or watching lightning jump from one target to another. I could have spent days just using disintegrate. However it is glass cannon and if you’re not prepared you end up restarting.

    Pros: I was able to deal great damage at a distance and snare my enemies to get out of their range and whittle them down.

    Cons: Most modifiers could be a bane for a wizard. Molten and arcane in tandem with overly enthusiastic group members brought me down a few times.

    Body Count: 3, tight situations with few orbs and no potions brought me to my demise.


    Final Thoughts:

    This is only the first 13 levels of the game, but I still found a few times that could have you starting over. Hardcore in D3 will be( in my opinion) just as challenging as D2 if not more. How often did you find yourself challenged in the first act of D2? How many times did you need to run away or reevaluate your talents? What scares me most for D3 is that I felt more comfortable in a single player game than playing with others. Over half of my deaths were due to my groups actions, and while I may have put my self in the situation, they certainly didn’t help. Grouping is further hindered due to little conversation between players and the inability to name games.┬áMost importantly the game still has me playing, even with only 13 levels, even with no loot to lust after, I am still playing. If i can get this much life from a snippet of the game I can only imagine what the whole thing will do.

    Next week: Reaction to the recent hardcore news: Halls of the dead, no corpse looting and *sigh* no HC from the start. What are you excited for? What do you dislike?

    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.

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