One life to live #17 : A whole new world

After playing computer games for a large portion of my life I thought I had it down. After all I hadn’t hit too many hiccups in my play, however my foray into the Diablo 3 beta showed me that something was wrong. I was dying too often and my skills seemed well….nooblike. So I set about doing something about it.

I had to first assess my set up. In a more shocking revelation than when I said I never played a sorceress: a long time ago I switched to a laptop when I was studying abroad, and never went back. What did that do for me? Well if forced me to learn how to play without a mouse, and I didn’t think too much of it. Yes, I could have bought one right away but I didn’t and grew accustomed to playing without. I played D2 with ease, even sauntered into raiding in WoW ( judge me lightly please) with no major problems. Yet something with D3 was making me play poorly.


Had years of playing WoW regressed my abilities? Did becoming a Dad make me incapable of using technology? Or was my technology itself inferior. WIth Hardcore being a vicious taskmaster I couldn’t be dying all the time, I needed to fix it. So what is a guy to do?

Not having the money for a completely new rig ( the kids still call computers that right?) and with Diablo 3 being such a click heavy game I began to think my touchpad wasn’t enough to hold up. Diablo 2 was doable with two simple clicks , Wow not much more. So with a heavy heart I decided I must change. However to make change easier I picked up the new steel series diablo mouse, because not all change should be hard. At first the plethora of buttons were daunting and my hand seemed incapable of using the side buttons. Feeling the need to fight change I almost reverted back to the trackpad. However, I was determined to fix my problem and stick with it.

Eventually I got the hang of it. I was able to finely balance my clicking rotation with my longer cool downs keyed to the side buttons. I was able to dismantle everything in my wake. Even with the new patch increasing the difficulty I wasn’t dying. I tried each class to level 12 so that I had as many skills as I could assign and play with. Each time I was breezing through almost seamlessly, which had me wondering how poorly I’ve been playing all these years. I loved having those “oh shit” spells usable at a finger clicks distance, helping me prevent the brain to keyboard lag I was having before. A mouse with several keys also helped the game feel more like Diablo to me. While I was using my keyboard for my spells it took me out of my remembrances of Diablo and made me think of WoW. I now can continue on in Diablo with it as the click fest I remembered it to be.

What does this mean for hardcore?

For me it meant a lot. I was able to address my problem and go about fixing it. Hardcore is a very unforgiving play style and even the tiniest of mistakes can lead to your downfall. People complain about disconnects and lag but those are out of our control. What we can change is our equipment. The last mouse I had owned had two buttons and was running great on a crappy dell. Flash-forward eight years and now the options out there are stunning. While a new mouse may not be the key to your success, something out there might. In hardcore we have to take advantage of every little thing we can do to stay alive. Optimizing our gear, our spells and even our machines. In this case the mouse made a difference but what will it be for you? What are you currently using that will save your life in hardcore?


Next week: The history of hardcore

<em>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 <a href=”mailto:[email protected]”>contact the author</a> directly.</em>

Tagged As: | Categories: Diabloii.Net Columns, Hardcore


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  1. “In hardcore we have to take advantage of every little thing we can do to stay alive. Optimizing our gear, our spells and even our machines. In this case the mouse made a difference but what will it be for you? What are you currently using that will save your life in hardcore?”

    Putting a mouse under the “little things” category for a Diablo game is a pretty bold statement. I’m honestly not sure what to say, this post has me confused on several levels.

    • Indeed.  I cannot imagine playing any real-time game on a touchpad, much less Diablo or WoW.  

      OP, what kind of WoW were you playing that you could get away with using a mousepad?  I got a mouse with all kinds of buttons on it and swapped from WASD to ESDF movement just so that I could have enough nearby keys.

    • There are a few things I’ve learned the head way playing hc over the years.

      1) no wireless mouse or keyboard. Ever.
      2) use an external power backup that will last 10+ mins and plug in your rig, monitor AND router/ modem. Many times power will go out but you can keep Internet going till you are safe. I use one from APC and it’s saved me several times.
      3) get the best Internet in your area ( satellite connections useless). Stable with no lag or drops most important.
      4) ssd hard drive for zone loading, back in the day I ran duo raptor 10k’s in raid 0 but the new ssd’s blow them out of water.
      5) avoid laptops if possible, especially if yours overheats and crashes. I bought a top of the line Dell for diablo 2 and regretted it so much because it ran so hot it would burn you. Newer laptops are better, but obviously can t be as stable as a solid desktop
      6) razor naga and g15. Can play one handed for hours, or have presetup o shit macros with keyboard.

  2. lol 😀 Disney reference

  3. i wont play hardcore until blizzard set up a server on our continent: Australia. 

    but…. wow u played D2 with touchpad? 🙂

  4. Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical
    Best mouse ever invented.  Been around for 10 years, although It has 2 less buttons than the forementioned steel series.  The size of the buttons makes up for it, though.  It’s shape is suspiciously similar to the steel series. Learn to click the side button with the inside of your ring finger and you too can rule the world, well, of Diablo anyhow.  It still has a cord, but I haven’t found a wirelss mouse with the same response of a wired mouse for precision gamer playing.  My hand fits naturally on it, as it was resting on my knee, so it will lessen the onset of carple tunnel syndrome.

  5. “Putting a mouse under the “little things” category for a Diablo game is a pretty bold statement. I’m honestly not sure what to say, this post has me confused on several levels.”

    Same here…
    U wanted play Diablo 3 hardcore without mouse? rly? o_O

    • some people get so used to a trackpad they just don’t consider it being a downer anymore.  My wife loves Zuma Blitzed.   She uses the trackpad and I can’t understand how on earth she gets really good scores.  I can get 1M+ with my mouse but hardly ever go above 250k with a trackpad.  She is the opposite.
      Really not a bad article.  Ya it kinda makes you want to go “well duh”.  But consider the popularity of laptops now.  People have gotten really used to them and the trackpads.  It’s not a bad idea to suggest to players to use a real mouse.
      Xanth, I got that D3 mouse too.  I love it.  I haven’t tried the extra buttons yet but I will make sure to do so when I finally get to play D3.   I should probably try and use them for SC2.  Come to think of it, would be great to bind them to the 7 thru 0 keys as jumping to those keys while playing is a pain.

    • It’s not that I wanted to, It’s that I thought I didn’t need to. 8 years without really using a gaming mouse you adjust to what you have( and have been doing) and grow confortable with it. However my time in D3 showed me I had to change.

  6. Wow, didn’t expect to come across someone so similar.  I also long ago switched to laptop and never looked back.  I also don’t use a mouse, playing all manner of games with a touchpad.  However, i will not return to the dark side with D3.  No mouse for me.  I did fine on Torchlight, and i’ve yet to die on Path of Exile (75 hours).  Your touchpad experience with D3 is a little scary, but oh well, more challenge i guess.

  7. you “played” without a mouse? 
    whats wrong with your laptop? had it its usb slots amputated? 
    poor thing…

    okay, honestly, i cant understand how people can bare with the inconvenience of using a touchpad. 
    nothing against using a laptop, but why pass on using a mous? D:

    still, good job playing D2 with a touchpad. now imagine what you could have accomplished using a mouse. :mrgreen:

  8. Really embarrasing.. I respected the blog entrys before.. but this.. wow..

  9. I prefer playing with one hand.

  10. kager has alot of good ideas. but most of those are expensive.

    I like my logitech m510. visibly it only have 4 buttons and a wheel, but the wheel has 5 mappable regions to it (on games that don’t make use of the wheels) even so diablo 3 has what, 6 skills and a potion on the toolbar? even if the mouse wheel is functionable in diablo 3 (I’m not in the beta yet. someone else could say weather it is or not) I’m still good, and my mouse was 40 bucks. and I like wireless mice. aside from dying batteries (but a pair of double As seriously last over a year in this thing and I’m on the comp all day every day) I’ve never noticed a difference between wired and wireless mice besides the cord getting caught on things.

    but if they add real controller support. I’ll play hardcore with an xbox 360 controller (hate all you want) I almost made it through single player hell hardcore with one in d2, and with xpadder and the hotkey system. that was really touch and go. I’d have to remember what button was the hotkey, then press that to switch and then the appropriate mouse click button (I used the right and left triggers as clickers)

    with proper controller support I have total faith i can make it through on a controller. which I prefer because I can lounge around or even just set my monitor up to a big screen tv and chill on the couch 😀
    for pvm anyway. pvp is M&kb mando

  11. I’ve always used a flight simulator controller for games like Diablo and WoW. This article is making me rethink my position, though. Maybe it’s time to give a mouse and keyboard a try.

  12. My girl massages me in the best areas while i’m playing… That kept me alive! LOL

  13. Using an ultra-simple regular mouse that comes with two clickybuttons and a scrolling wheel works well for all my pc gaming. Not sure what the big deal about it is x.x. You don’t need an ultra slick gaming mouse with more buttons than your keyboard on it wth…
    The keyboard and mouse setup doesn’t work well with all games (most notably racing and fighting/action button mashers) but that’s besides the point and not really about the mouse.

  14. I’m surprised that it was Diablo 3 that forced you to switch to a mouse and not playing WoW.

    “keyboard turner” is not a term of endearment. And it’s not some figure of speech. It really means “This player is terrible because he does not use a mouse to turn his character”. I’m sure you heard someone say it at least once. They were talking about you. You can’t both turn AND hit hotkeys at the same time, it’s physically impossible… which means you are playing ‘significantly’ worse than someone who can do both at the same time. Trackpads are great for surfing at 3am in bed… but not for serious gaming.

    For laptop gaming, I’d actually recommend a getting a trackball(logitech just came out with a new one recently), you get the precision/control of a mouse and the ability to use it anywhere on any surface (like a couch).

  15. Xanth bought a mouse and it made him better than when not having a mouse.  Maybe i will die less if i buy a monitor so i can see?  I’m so disappointed in this weeks 1 Life.

  16. Re SSD: I had to install D3 on my  platter drive, because my first play through when the SK loaded  for the 4 pillars I lag died from a 10 second complete freeze of the game while it loaded his Voice Over, or some other thing. My only death with 5 chars  to level 13

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