DiabloWikiHardcore is a game of limitations. One life, zero mistakes. However I’ve been making one huge mistake for a long time. For the past few years due to moving, finishing Grad school, and starting a family; I’ve gotten by playing games solely on a laptop. It isn’t perfect but ignorance is bliss… that is until I had a chance to see what I’ve been missing.

    The guys at Ironside computers were gracious enough to let me borrow this beast:

    The table cover however is mine

    So in one day I went from a 2008 Macbook Pro to a top of the line gaming PC. For those of you hungry for the specs:

    Case – NZXT Phantom 410 Gun Metal
    Intel Processor – Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz
    CPU Cooling – Level 1 Cold Steel Liquid Cooling
    Liquid Cooling Tubing Color: UV Red
    Motherboard – ASUS P8Z77-V LX
    Memory – Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz
    Primary Hard Drive – 500GB 7200RPM
    1st Optical Drive – DVD Writer
    Graphics Card – Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 Ti 1.2GB
    Power Supply – Corsair Enthusiast Series TX650 650 Watt 80 Plus Bronze
    Operating System – Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
    Networking – Standard Onboard Ethernet

    With my Macbook Pro I’ve been doing fine. Still killing monsters, still downing bosses and most importantly staying alive. However, I had been doing all that at Diablo 2 levels of resolution without anything aside from low fx checked. As a result I felt like I was missing something in the game, and each time my Fps dropped to 15 I worried that my settings and computer would be the death of me and not my characters actions.

    With my new Rig set up and ready to go I decided first to enable everything on high. After weeks of staring at a grainy resolution I was floored to see what the game actually was meant to look like. I found myself just swapping through characters to see what they looked like.  Once the shock of the character selection screen wore off I decided to see the gameplay. I immediately threw myself at the Dahlgur Oasis, that area had been plaguing me with 15-10 fps on average and almost ending the life of my young Witch Doctor. As I entered in to the zone I paid careful attention to the fps reading in my corner as well as my character’s health. Just like I prefer my health to be at a hundred so was my FPS. It never faltered and even under the biggest strain I could hurl at it it I was still kicking butt at a hundred frames per second. A hundred Frames per Second! More than twice what I had been experiencing and almost ten times what I had in troublesome areas. The game also felt better, not to say I wasn’t having fun before but I felt unhindered, and it truly felt like a new game.

    So what are the advantages of a computer upgrade for Hardcore? In all comes down to survivability. At no point running on Max with a 100 Fps did I feel like I was going to be in trouble. Monsters came in to view from a distance and not striking me by surprise. Large groups didn’t slow me down, just gave me a thrill seeing them die by my hand. The computer also gave me the confidence to wade into public games. Not having to fear other players animations weighing me down I felt like I was able to contribute and not simple stand back and slowly wittle away on things.

    Another large reason is our time with our character is limited, they eventually will die. With 50+ hours into each character I want to enjoy them at their fullest, and not limit myself to the areas I know I can handle. Hardcore is already a game of limitations why add another?

    As a result I felt safer in Hardcore. Each missed frame on my Mac was causing me to not be able to accurately assess each situation. Every time my computer slowed down to handle an onslaught I was gambling with dying and losing my time. However, with this new computer I didn’t feel like I was gambling anymore. Each time I logged in I knew my computer wasn’t going to be my undoing and if anything was going to enhance my experience.

    I had to depart with the computer a few days after it arrived. I turned on My macbook pro and logged in to D3. It was a rough transition. Going from minimum to the heights of maximum and falling back down to the lowest of the low. It made me think back to my old days of D2 playing on a 56k modem in a middle of a rainstorm, It was the only option I had then but I knew it wasn’t best. I know what I’m missing now, and what a great PC can do. Now I just have to convince my wife to let me get one!

    What’s your gaming rig? Does you computer help you or hurt you in 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. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!

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