One life to live #36: The art of dying

After profiling the classes in the beta I picked up my fair share of negative comments, some of which I expected. Obviously claiming someone’s favorite class isn’t fun is sure to fan some flames but that isn’t my concern but after seeing comments like:

Sooo, judgement calls with an overleveled Barb in the tutorial/easy part of the game. Easy gameplay with improved weapons (without having to rely on drops).

And then you’re repeating quests to “keep yourself alive”? You’re kidding right? Not even my dumbest friend was this bad at the game he had to do it.

I’ll love seeing how you’re possibly going to beat Nightmare/Hell/Inferno with a hc char without getting uber fed by other people.


”After a few deaths last week with the Barbarian…” You lost my interest somewhere here, noob

When did dying become  taboo?

Hardcore is a game that puts you on the edge and even the best Hardcore players will die. Death is a part of the game, and as a result, something I seek out in order to better understand what can be my undoing. It is the beta after all! What is the loss of a few hours to save many in the future? My beta attitude was just that. How far can I push each character to find their breaking point? How much is too much? What happens when my back is against the wall? All good things to know early on before you get going, and things that later on will come in handy.

If we can go through Hardcore without dying, without facing some challenge, then what is the point? What is even worse is that we should feel the need to hide our mistakes. We learn from our mistakes, and those of others, in order to get better. There should be no shame in dying, that’s why I don’t hide what I do. Is it disappointing? Of course, but each death is a reminder of why this mode is so exciting.

With release approaching, this column will change as well. I won’t need to preview ideas or speculate what will happen. The evidence will be in our hands(or on our Hard drives). So, in moving forward I bring the question to you: What do you want to hear about in Hardcore as the game goes live?

I have a few things lined up but this column will not just be my leveling process as I go through the game.

Deaths of the week: Submit your death, the who, the what and the how for a chance to be published in the column so your deeds can be remembered (plus it’s always nice if someone else does the dying)

Builds that are working: Builds for the classes that people are using and more importantly surviving with. How they work and how to use them.

Problem areas for DiabloWikihardcore: Highlighting the areas that are killing the most people and how to get through them.

Bosses: Hardcore boss strategies and ideas for solo and group play.

Boss modifiers: MSLE still strikes fear into my heart. What will it be for D3? How do you bring it down safely?

PVP strategies and builds: Just going to say I’ll write about that, not holding my breath though.

Anything I missed or you want to see feel free to contact me with a PM or Email.

Next week: Hardcore 101: What do people need to know before they wander into hardcore?

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 me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

74 thoughts on “One life to live #36: The art of dying

  1. Sad that some people feel the need to go all out dumbass with comments like that, but guess that’s the internet for you… On the other hand it’s nice to know that those same individuals will rage quit after dying repeatedly in HC.
    Looking forward to reading more in the coming months and if possible I would like to know more about group play experiences – tactics, classes, “roles”, synergies and so on 🙂 .

    • Ditto.  Would like to know more about group tactics: how to best use different characters to make a really, really bad-*** team of monster-slayers.

      • I would love to see a poll or something about whether or not the HC community will do hardcore immediately, after their first full playthrough, or sometime afterwards!

        • That sounds vaguely familiar.  I think Flux might have already run such a poll, if you check the archives.

          • I remember that one too, but it was at least a couple of years ago, and all the votes from more than 18 months back were lost when we switched to a new news script.  Be worth running a new one at some point, anyway.

  2. Failure can be a good thing. Most people don’t realize this and try to avoid it all cost. While that may make sense in the real world, in a game like Diablo for example that’s the last thing you should do, since the negative repercussions of failure are minimal and the benefits are many, if you’re willing to learn. If you are, then you will learn faster than others if you make more mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail and tell about it.
    Captcha: no-brainer
    If only it would be true…

  3. I probably won’t be playing hardcore, but the ideas for the column sound interesting.

  4. Can’t wait to play hardcore mode, I don’t have any suggestions – strats and maybe “Tales from the dead – stories about hardcore death.”

    Deaths of the week seems to cover that. 

    What about tales from players who are new to hardcore?

  5. i have no died once on all 5 characters, on soft and hard core…… but i applaud your way to pushing the limits. It will certainly warn others on what not to do, what to look out for, and what to expect when death DOES happen, comes release. Ignore those comments, they dont need that kind of help, but doesnt mean the rest of the community dont. 

    Now you know how blizz feels. 😛  

  6. I believe the beta was focused on testing dynamics and nerfing the difficulty.  Xanth is right – his characters were going to be wiped and having an idea of a classes limits is just as important as knowing their strengths.
    I would definitely want to see information on everything mentioned in the article.  If the mid/late/end game acts are going to be as difficult as Blizzard promises, pooling our information on tactics and danger spots would be the way to go.  Doing so would lessen the amount of time we are stuck seeing the ‘Deeds’ screen.

  7. I’m going to play my first ever hardcore game (in the Diablo universe) with Flux this weekend.  We’ll record it so if that commenter wants to see a noob he should just watch that next week.

    I’m intrigued to see if I play any differently now that I’m mortal or maybe I’ll forget I’m playing HC.  Also, I’ve not died in the beta yet and I’d very much like to keep that record going.

    I’d not worry about those sorts of comments.  You’ll always come across chest-beaters trying to make themselves feel better off your back.

    • Wait, you’ve never played hardcore, even in D1 or D2? I wasn’t a huge hardcore player, but even I had played my fair share of HC games. And I played Diablo 2 for (only) 3 or 4 years, which isn’t as long as some of the people here. 

      Anyway, good luck Elly.  

      • I have not played HC either. and i have played D1-2 for many years. and i would like it to stay like that :)))

      • There was no HC in D1.  😉  I feel like an annoying know-it-all for pointing this out, but alas…

    • My wife and I got a chance to play the open beta on weekend. The best time we had was when we tried to rush through some levels, without any regard for our safety, just to get to the Skeleton King. We saw red a couple of times and there was a lot of screaming and shrieking going on (not from my part). I think my wife forgets we are not playing HC. 

    • I hope you guys will run into a Nightmarish or Teleporting Unburied pack. Boy that can be fun at low levels. 🙂

    • I don’t think the beta would be a very good indicator of what it’s like to play HC, to be honest. You’re not going to get that same rush because there’s very little danger.

    • please play a weak class and use a poor build 

      it would be interesting to see you actually feel the danger of near death 

      • What is always a good feeling in HC for me when I look back or end a session is thinking: “Hey, I am still alive !” That feels like a real achievement and is very satisfying. I always feel how precious my little life is and I go extra careful into the next session.

      • I’m not sure which class Elly’s going with, but I’m planning on being a Monk, and as we’ve been planning this and delaying it for weeks, I haven’t played any Monk in months. Thus it’s the one class I don’t know very well, so at least that’ll be some level of handicap. We’ll probably use equipment, but no twinking or going out of our way for early crafting.

        After all, the video/podcast/thing would be much more fun to view if one or both of us died, unlikely as that scenario might be.

    • Elly, if you play HC like you play the beta normally the chances you will die are pretty low.  If you want to feel the fear, you both should play with no gear.

      *edit* ha made a rhyme

  8. Those are the kids that weren’t allowed to keep score durring their peewee football league, and everyone got a trophy…

  9. Although I don’t agree with the comments as such, I do believe you might find it hard to get through the game in HC as some of the comments suggests. My first playthrough of the D3 beta (which was during the recent open beta) was with a barb playing solo. Not knowing anything about anything, I still managed to clear the beta without much of a problem. Although I did get a small shock over how difficult (comparatively) the skeleton king was, and I did have to drink a few potions while chipping his healthpoints away, I don’t think I drank a single potion up until that point. The whole playthrough took me a whopping 2 hours (lots of sightseeing and urn smashing haha) and I finished the beta at lvl 8 (leveled to 9 when skeleton king died).

    Not trying to brag or justify the trolls, but surely you can’t have been entirely surprised to get those kind of comments? 😉 Never saw a single person die during my intense open beta weekend.

    • Den of the Fallen level 2… If you’ve been there, you’ve died. Molten Bats in a narrow corridor = instagib.

    • In previous articles, and here, Xanth has pointed out that his strategy is to push his characters as far as he can and to play risky to test his limits. He’s not taking the easy route like you did.

      Playing alone is easy. Playing with a group is easy. Playing in a multiplayer game and going off on your own to deal with a room full of champions or a particularly nasty elite pack, before level 10 and with sub-optimal gear? It’s a situation I’ve been in myself a few times and it’s not a walk in the park. The difficulty of the SK pales in comparison to some other scenarios the beta has to offer, if you dare to play risky.

      • On the pushing far and fast, that’s how my last deaths were in the beta. Months ago, but I did a new wiz and ran through much of the content, and thus reached Leoric at about lvl 7, with hardly any gear on and around 130 hps. I wasn’t real careful against him and he got me with two hits in a row after one of his teleport attacks, and that was enough to take me out before I could click a potion.

        It’s useful to die; you experiment with different things, see what it’s like to restart, etc. I’d never died on Leoric before so was surprised to find that the restart was all the way back outside of his chamber, and that I got the whole bridge-breaking cinematic over again, and had to start the battle from scratch.

      • Having only had the beta for the open weekend, my experience is obviously limited. After the first solo run though, I only played public multiplayer games, often running off by myself, and always throwing myself into packs head first without looking to use AoE skills (with all classes, not just barb). Which is someting I would never do in D2, but there was just no feel of danger at all this early on. Anyway, I’ll stop now, don’t want to troll just wanted to clarify. I do enjoy the HC articles even though I did find the barb + dying one a bit strange. And no, unfortunately I never got to see the Den of Evil 🙁

        EDIT: and I fully expect to die, anything else would mean the difficulty is set too easy, I just don’t expect to die on the first act.

  10. Is anyone ever going to proof read your articles?  Incredibly painful to read through all of the formatting and grammatical errors.

    • to DB:…incredibly painful to comprehend why you bothered to speak on such an asinine topic…
      …the next time you consider voicing one of your thoughts, just don’t…thinking is not one of your strengths… 

      • I’m sure it’s “incredibly painful [for you] to comprehend” how someone else could have an opinion different from your own. What’s wrong with free speech? Does it bother you so much that some people value a nicely-written article?

      • Good one.  I see you have difficulty using the English language as well.  Maybe Flux can hire you to write articles for the front page?

        Sorry, but when I come to a news site, I expect to see professionalism.  That applies to the writing as well. I think the author has some interesting things to say, but he makes himself look very juvenile with the way he is writing.  Obviously, there is no proof reading going on here.  It looks like a Livejournal/Facebook post.

        This is why people go to Diablofans/Reddit for their Diablo news. They’re generally the first to post new information. Also, the articles don’t look like they’re written by an 11 year old WoW player.

    • Some of his past articles were rough, but i didn’t notice anything egregious this time.

  11. Oh I love internet elitist. “you died? Wow you suck at this game. this is like the easiest piece of crap game ever, only an idiot dies”. There is a good change that people who make these comments don’t even play hardcore. This is why I really wish there was a death counter attached to player characters

    • Better yet, how about special titles, for instance: Eternal (has never died), Faithful (died only 1-3 times) all the way down to Doddering (died more than once per level). 😈

  12. I would like to see builds for later difficulties tested and the pros and cons of them. Where to change the build as you move through the difficulties.

    I would like to see deaths like the graveyard that was done here for d2. 

  13. The thing is, I can’t remember you mentioning deliberately seeking out death in those class articles themselves, only later on in the comments and now here. It might be true, but it came across as though you were dying because of genuinely difficult situations, not because you decided to go stand still in a corner with a mob surrounding you. No offense or anything, but maybe you should’ve mentioned your intentions beforehand, because people might interpret them as petty excuses now. 😉

    • The idea that a player, any player, should have to excuse himself due to something like dying, especially in hardcore,  where dying is sort of the point, is detestable. What did he do that is horrible that he should apologise or excuse? He died. D-I-E-D. Regardless of it being intentional or not, and I believe him when he says it was intentional, is part of the game even is softcore, not to mention in hardcore, so the idea of being forced to make excuses for dying is, at least to me, highly infuriating. 

      He isn’t coward for dying, he is brave men for admitting he died, and a smart men for being able to learn from his death, wheter it be intentional or not. I am willing to wager that large number of people in the beta had actually died, but were too ashamed to admit it. Those people who can’t admit their death and are ashamed fo it, shouldn’t play hardcore. 

      • You missed my point. I certainly won’t judge a person on something as trivial as their skills in a videogame, I was just saying he could’ve been more clear about his intentions beforehand. There is apparently a case of miscommunication here, which leads to people having false assumptions.

        If the dying was intentional, then I think the way the articles were written is misleading, since they seemed to portray a genuine hardcore beta experience.

    • While this may or may not be true, it is completely irrelevant. The point is those comments are just plain rude and childish.

    • There really isnt much to write about, other than trying to make it eventful intentionally. is beta. in the case of HC, it means making situations where u can actually die. I doubt any of the d3 article writer can get into any situation in the whole beta, “genuinely”, where they can die. It only make sense that it was intentional. 

      • If it was intentional, than it wasn’t a write up of a genuine beta hardcore experience. I don’t want to read juicy, made up stories about hardcore, I just want to get an impression of what it’s like in ‘reality’.

    • Go read his Barbarian article. Specifically the part where he discusses going off separately from the group to fight a group of molten bats on his own. There’s also mention earlier on about how he pushes his characters to see where they might break.

      I agree that making this more clear to readers might help stem some of the hate, though. 

  14. I dont understand why “noob” is supposed to be an insult. not everyone starts with intimate knowledge of every game they play, we were all “noobs” at one point. its a pointless as walking up to a baby just learning to walk, waiting for him to fall over then shouting “noob!” in his face and bitch slapping it. who is the real asshole here? lol

  15. If you’re trying to push the limits to find out what kills you, wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply spend more time playing non-hardcore so you have more overall experiments to run? I guess certain mechanics like finding new gear won’t be testable but those are more annoyances than actual things you can train to overcome.

    I do think it is unfortunate that there is a perceived shame in dying. At least in soft-core, I think staying at the brink of death (and perhaps dying a few times in the process) is probably where you will learn to kill most efficiently. If you always play it safe you’re probably not going to get better as quickly.

    I could fathom having hardcore characters that wold benefit from my softcore experience. For example I’d have parallel groupings of characters and if I had an idea for a skill set change for my HC barbarian, I’d try the experiment with my SC barbarian first, going all out, to see how that affected my kill rate and my overall odds of dying. If i died here nothing would matter and I’d get more data than if I had to worry about my HC dying.

    If the experiment works then it’s time to move it to the HC. I guess this kind of attitude doesn’t make me very hardcore does it…

    • I think that discussion came up a few time, and the general idea is, for “REAL” hardcore players, having a softcore, at all, defeats the purpose……. 

      • I would argue the opposite. Having a char to play that can die over and over, and then going back to an HC char, it kind of reinforces why you play HC to begin with.

        • heh yeh, as i said, for “REAL” hardcore players, or so they claim…… for me, if i ever play HC, ill have my SC counterpart still. Ill probly play only SC anyways, blurdy aussie internet ping…… 

  16. After reading some of these “One Life to Live” I’ll probably make a HC char later in the game. I love a game experience that puts me on the edge!

  17. Xanth, so your going to jump into hardcore as soon as you can ?
    right after making a level 10 softcore char ?  

  18. I find that without HC death, the game gets stagnant for me.  With the HC death, I have unlimited replayability.  I do not know what that says about me as a player, but I love the feeling of starting over after a death and figuring out how to build a better character. 😉

    I wouldn’t be so thin-skinned. Since you are writing a column from the standing of someone with expertise, you’re going to receive criticism if you come off as anything but an expert. I enjoy your column, but I have to admit, that I’m skeptical of your credentials. Between dying in beta, and your claims of main tanking progression content in WOW without a mouse (in your inane “eureka” column  about finally buying a mouse), I don’t know if I trust you.
    With that harsh criticism aside (hopefully not unfair), I think that the direction you are taking the column in the future is a good one, and I look forward to reading it. I just hope I can shake the little voice inside my head that says, “this guy is talking out of his arse.”

    • I get where you are coming from. My point with the column is not to be thin skinned but to challenge the concept that dying is a bad thing. As for credentials I’m just a dude who enjoys Hardcore, enough to write about, follow it and play it. I’m not an elite player, I wouldn’t crack the ladder if there was one. However my passion for the mode is unwavering, and I hope to help foster the HC community and keep it thriving.

          • I still haven’t been able to find out why that happens.

            Are you posting a reply directly from the CMS system Xanth or in the comment box here?

            If it’s via the CMS best don’t do it any or it’ll just confuse people.

          • yup I’m in CMS, it’s a strange bug since I know i’ve posted from here and had it not say Rush

          • better to just click to the normal view and use that. I’ve posted from CMS and it shows up as Flux, but without my avatar and with my name in white, so looks like it’s some anonymous poster using my name, which is confusing to readers.

  20. @Anal & Ghosa
    I am convinced Inferno will wipe the floor with your little elitist asses. If You ever reach it without cheating that is… :mrgreen:

  21. Besides I rather play SC now while I was a D2 HC veteran, just because I’ll still have the same playstyle now as I did back then and when I accidentally die, I wouldn’t have to be emo all day and seen all my time wasted.
    I save myself the trouble while the challenge remains the same, I don’t need an ingame mechanic to make my feel punished.
    Also don’t think you’re exceptional or any better just because you play hardcore mode.

    • Care to elaborate?  I’ll be the first to say Hardcore players are exceptional players.  It proves that a player is skilled enough to get to a certain level without dying.  If that isn’t a clear indication of skill then what is? 

    • I don’t carry a temper that can reasonably cope with losing several hours playtime, but damn, I have the highest respect for those who do.
      Playing HC isn’t about being superior – it’s about seeing how far you can get, knowing there’s no room for error. I will be playing HC, but on a very casual level, as I do appreciate how cool the mode is. 

  22. @ ghosa:  maybe he had a trackball?  (okay, okay, your little voice is right… about me anyways).
    well, about Xanth’s posting, i’d agree with you here, but in a positive way.  taking the vinegar along with the honey is sometimes just a sign of being in the big leagues.  everyone’s a critic’s critic and D3 (or D anything) is a huge IP to be writing about, that’s just going to attract them all, fans and trolls alike.

    reading thru Xanth’s comments (at least today, since i can’t comment on the other ones without have read first), i’d say there’s enough positive support and interest to say there’s a successful following.

  23. Does anyone know the Achievements are going to break down with Hardcore/Softcore mode?  I would really like to see some analysis on that when the game is live.

    • They’re not sorted separately in the beta, which I was disappointed to see. All your chars, HC or SC, trigger the same ones, and there aren’t any HC-specific achievements in the beta. (Though there are some SC-specific ones, like resurrecting other players.)

      Presumably full game we’ll see HC only achievements added in.

  24. well, i died in the open beta in the beginning due to lag several times. i probably died to stupidity at some point too but i seriously dont even remember because its not a big deal to die. i mean there’s not much of a consequence to dying at this point. if you aren’t dying, perhaps you are playing too safely, in my opinion, which is boring. you are either overgeared or just plain being a wuss if you aren’t willing to bite the dust. 

    • Staying alive in the beta is kind of like capitalization, Icylm. It’s not hard for some of us.

Comments are closed.