One life to live #22: Patch 10

Patch 10 is upon us and on the surface not all is applicable to Hardcore. However,if all things hold this patch has shaped a lot of what we may see at release.


No hardcore from the start

Let’s clear the air with the big one first. As of right now all signs point to Hardcore being unlocked by a normal play through . After weeks of questioning, multiple threads on the forums, and no blizzard response; we got the most definitive answer possible. The screenshot speaks for itself. It’s sad to see it in front of me however I am relieved to have this answered and am ready to move on. Could it still change before release? Of course, but I’m not willing to bet on it now.


No cube, no stone, no altar-more service.

We also lost our insta-slavaging, insta-selling tools and saw those abilities relegated to our friendly blacksmith. I personally liked the cube and the ability to keep a high paced game going without playing Inventory tetris but I can see some upsides to this as well.

1. It will slow the game down: A crazy thing to suggest but in Hardcore a rigorous pace can quickly lead to your demise. Having to stop in town can alleviate the go!go!GO! mentality that pushes you into a death trap. It can allow for each player to step away and compose them self and always be at 100%.

2. It will help you leave alive. In D2 I liked being in town preparing for battle, grabbing potions, repairing armor, and then leaving to vanquish evil. It also allowed for me to think about where I was going and if perhaps I should call it quits while I was still ahead. I lost too many characters from not doing jet that. I assume I will in D3 as well but I know it was a lot harder to pull away from the game when I didn’t have to stop.

We also lost a 10 second cast to get to town and replaced it with a 3 second cast portal. Less time casting means less chance to get swarmed by whatever is lurking around a corner when I’m at 10% life and I’m okay with that.


No more altars!

I hated these things with a passion. Having to come to town to switch out one skill, or even to look at if one was better than what I was using seemed illogical. Now the new system isn’t perfect, and I think the cool downs need some work but being able to switch skills without the trip seems logical to me.


More Orbs + More health points=longer life?

We’ve seen reports of monks and barbarians at level 13 with 2k life, and more health globes than you can shake a dead cat at. Obviously both of these are pivotal to staying alive in Hardcore. I had lamented a few patches back that the globes seemed to be feast or famine and that with the demise of potions Hardcore would be in trouble. It looks like the feast is now on, and we’re going to be throwing out a bit of food.

As for hit points I was one to pump vitality in D2, A large health bar makes me feel safer, but as Flux reported having insane amounts of health so early on is like wearing a life vest. The problem is: this early in the game is not even waist deep water, we shouldn’t have any fear of drowning just yet but we might be too coddled.

Each patch brings some joy and some sorrow. Some good news and some bad. This patch won’t be the final product but it feels like we’re getting close. Granted I feel like I’ve been writing that for months but a guy has to hope right?

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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  1. I hope Hardcore starts in at least Nightmare, “normal” will be too easy to play over and over in hardcore. Unless it can be rushed in 1 minute.

    • Yeah… Start out in nightmare, for content that is tailored for lvl ~30+ With hardcore to boot. Unless you want a level 30 straight away. For that matter, why level at all, let us all just get level 60 chars and start right on inferno.
      Nah, you will have to start out on normal. You’ll unfortunately have to play through normal non-hardcore once first, which I find silly. But that’s the way they want to roll. I don’t mind making the game accessible to new players, but that just feels like too much coddling.
      Other than that, I don’t care how hard or easy normal is. The scope of the beta feels too easy now, but I think that it’s about right when the scope extends to the entire game. You won’t be spending much time in normal act 1. Remember Diablo 2 normal act 1? It was just as easy, if not easier. Hell, if I played local single player I’d always use /players 8 to make it more difficult and much faster to level. Which I guess is why I never really liked games because I couldn’t do that there.

  2. You can drown in as little as two inches of water =D

    But seriously, as a hardcore player, if we are going to have to play through normal then we are already too coddled.  All of the suspense and from what I’ve been reading, all of the challenge just won’t be there until at least nightmare.

  3. As much as I wanted to start out in HC from the start, this honestly isn’t a big deal.

    From all reports, normal difficulty (and even nightmare) is suppose to be accessible to more gamers.  Things don’t get challenging until hell and inferno.  So playing normal in HC the first time was going to be easy, anyway.  It is not like seeing it once in SC is going to ruin that challenge; that challenge never existed in the first place.

    Besides, this gives me one SC character to farm with and sell items to noobs with more money than sense on the RMAH. 🙂

  4. I think forcing players to complete Normal SC before creating a Hardcore character isn’t a bad thing. It will allow us to experience the story, test out the combat system and learn the classes without having to worry about starting over.

    And it also does prevent the noobs from clicking Hardcore when they first buy the game without actually realizing what it actually means. I know alot of people don’t care about the “noobs” but this does actually happen. Blizzard wants to get more people into the Diablo series and they don’t want to risk turning someone off because they accidentally chose the perma-death option.

    Ultimately, most of us will burn through normal in the first day or two, and we will be able to start our hardcore characters right after.

    PS: To those people who want to skip normal, have you ever played Diablo? Difficulty is a progression based system in the Diablo games, and it should always remain that way. If you want it insanely hard to begin with go play Torchlight, but imho not having difficulty progression based ruins the replayability!

  5. Why don’t they just let the players play the game as they want?  What’s with all the hand holding in D3?  It’s like having some annoying kid watching over your shoulder in an arcade telling you how to play.

  6. You hardcore column is fantastic and my favourite part of the site.

    Your comments are insightful and its stupid that they will make us play through normal, but the truth is that I am just so sick of waiting to play Jay Wilson’s Diablo 3 that I would probably accept anything at this point. He’s worn me down, he’s won. I just mutter to myself ‘ you’re right Jay’, all day.

    • Well thank you Token, and I agree waiting has taken a toll on myself as well. part of writing for the site is staying abreast of all the news ( or lack there of) and I wish sometimes I could be ignorant of it and bide my time idly until the game was released. Sadly however, I am quite obsessed with this game and just can’t shake it!

  7. More health globes than you can shake a dead cat at?  What about shaking a dead dog?  Or a beating a Horse to death then shaking it?  Maybe a Coach Jerry Kill shake would be enough.  Or I could get a payloader and shake an expired packaderm?

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