Two nights ago my first character hit 60 in Hardcore. I did it with a mix of public games and a lot of solo. I was elated,but now with 45 hours in and at max level more concerned about what comes next. The journey to 60 and concerns after this milestone after the bump.
It all started with my Witch Doctor. After rushing through soft core on my monk I shifted gears into a new class. From my beta play through I knew I liked it and was curious what the later levels had to offer.
Coming back to beta content was very weird. It was hard to get used to picking things up, since now it actually mattered. I was quickly surprised and how much more difficult that content actually was. Not that I was rushing to use my health potions, but each battle did present a chance of death. After downing the Skeleton King I was free to see what lies beyond the beta, and needless to say I was impressed.
The game is paced so well that I never really felt the need to go back to over level anything. I quickly found myself in act 4 sitting at level 31. I was playing blind through normal so each boss was something I had to figure out as I went in. For the most part there was few surprises: stay out of pools of stuff, use health pools if available, and damage the boss. However, as I commented before, each boss had a great thrill to it since i knew I had to beat it, or it would beat me.
Diablo was the first fight my Spirit Vessel passive kicked in. I had almost forgot I had it until then. My heart was racing and I had to do some kiting, some skill switching on the fly but in the end I progressed to Nightmare.
I knew it was going to be tough but the first champion pack I encountered Had me running back to town. Vortex and Arcane. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it back and after leaving the game I knew I needed upgrades. The Auction House was my savior and I set about using some of my hard earned gold on a new weapon and armor. With my new gear in tow I set about again following the game’s pace. I ventured into a handful of public games but as they tapered off (and I got frustrated with players going AFK) I settled back into going solo.Eventually at 52 I found my way back to Diablo. This time went better, I knew what to expect but it still wasn’t easy( and I haven’t been back since). I continued to run in Nightmare until 55 when I set off for Hell.
Once again I had champion packs scaring me off, and had me running to the AH. I progressed through Act 1 and stopped at Act 2. It was at that time I noticed my xp gain would be a lot easier and carry less risks if I simply did Wretched Mother quest runs. Averaging about 70k experience per run and taking only 3-5 minutes to complete it seemed silly not to. That area has no elites, no champions and no distractions. So I cheesed my way to 60. Which now has me thinking what next?
In Diablo 2 level 99 was never really the goal. I just wanted to get to a point to farm well and build my other characters. However Diablo 3’s system requires you to hit that level cap in order to get there. All the best weapons and gear are at that level cap. You can’t have the best possible character at level 50, you need to reach the max level. I recall with each Diablo character having the goal of getting to 42 to use Bonesnap and then goals for future gear after that. If you didn’t get to the point you were going it was okay because the next could have a chance to hit those lower benchmarks. Diablo 3 lacks that system, It seems as if any character that isn’t 60 isn’t worth it. Now I’m not arguing that the amount of time to reach max level is a hell of a lot shorter but as a result it becomes a grind to 60, a rush to the end game, something about that seems off to me. I’m still playing, I still love the game, but this feels like a big departure.
How has your journey been to 60? What are your thoughts on the Diablo III Hardcore end game?
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. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!