One life to live #43 Interview with a Hardcore Powerleveler


About a week ago I lost my level 60 Witch Doctor. I immediately started a new one and stopped at level four to take a breather and come back later in the day. When I came back I knew what was in front of me to get to 60. I knew the hours it took, and could figure out how long it would be until I got back to where I left off. It’s that knowledge that leads to temptation, to taking shortcuts, and perhaps cheating yourself out of the experience. Having taken note of some posts on the forums I wanted to see who was behind some powerleveling services, what they entailed, and what their goals really are.

 

The interview and more after the bump.

I sent a friend request to Gotan (the head of the leveling service)and he kindly took my request for an interview.I started out simple with a few questions about the service itself and things got interesting from there.


X:What does the service cost?
G: It had originally been 400k when DiabloWikiZoltun Kulle and DiabloWikiAzmodan were still a viable option and demand low. With the Kulle and Azmodan nerfs now chain running Nightmare Diablo( with upwards of 10 players) is the most effective. As a result the cost is 2 million gold.

X:How much gold have you made as of today?
G: Around 500 million with some going to those who are leveling characters as they get a cut plus the quest reward gold.

X: How much of a demand is there for this service?
G: enough that we’ve had to suspend taking new requests for time periods since everyone who could do it was busy. Each day brings on more people looking for our services.

X: Are most of your clients Hardcore players frustrated with dying early or softcore converts trying to catch up?
G: For the most part they are Hardcore players, player who’ve stalled a bit and are looking to start running gear.

X: Do you have a lot or repeat customers? Are your clients surviving after you get them to 60?
G: Yes a lot of repeats but not due to death, mainly they want to try a new class at the max level and come back to us.

X: With no RMAH and a smaller community Why the focus on Hardcore?
G: The possibility of an RMAH makes it worthwhile, and with Hardcore deaths the need is there to make up for lost time.

X: Do you make any money off of this service?
G: No, services are only paid for in gold. However we are starting up an online poker site modelled after Eve online Hold em. This service will allow players to gamble their hardcore gold for a chance at a big payout.

X: So you are basically running a power leveling service to start a poker empire?
G: Correct.

So in a few minutes I went from questions on power leveling to poker. I didn’t fathom that it was truly real until I saw them advertising on the forums today.

Now as for the leveling itself. 1-60 is a grind, and as long as it remains that way with the end game firmly rooted at that level we won’t get away from people trying to rush to the end. In Diablo 2 you wanted to get into hell and start farming gear but truly was the goal ever to get to 99? Sure it would be nice to be max level but your effective playing (hardcore or softcore) did not depend on it. As I grind back to 60( 57 at the moment) I constantly feel like each upgrade is not as important because at 60 I’ll need to to shift out everything. If you know that the end game requires the max level, and all the best gear and abilities are there, how many times to you do it by yourself? However, getting to 60 still feels like an accomplishment. I’ve had a lot of close calls to wake me up from the grind and realize that it isn’t easy. If we measure our success on how far we’ve gone with our characters how do we compare to the person who took 3 hours to hit 60 as opposed to 65. Rushing in D2 was different than it is now. Back then you could sit idle by at level 1 and have someone hold your hand to hell. Were there risks? Sure but for the most part you got where you needed but then had to get to the work on leveling your character ( which might involve more leeching). In Diablo 3 you are standing in town getting quest rewards over and over. There is no risk to you in getting rushed, and aside from gearing you’re ready to go into hell/inferno.

We’ve seen a few of the Hardcore streamers drop level 60’s in Inferno and be back in action with a new 60 the next day(or two). While they didn’t use a service like Gotans they had friends do that for them. Is there a difference? When is it okay to bypass content (and the grind) to get to the end?

Last we have the poker system. A online way to gamble away your hard earned gold with the hope of a big return. I wasn’t familiar with Eve online’s system( or Eve online for that matter) so I thought I would check it out. For the most part it’s pretty simple, put in currency, place bets, ????, profit. In the end however the house always wins. Someone is taking a cut for you to do this, and whether you win or lose, it is lining their pockets.

Both issues question what your priorities are. Do you want to get to 60 immediately? Do you want a chance to have massive wealth? Do both of these cheapen what makes hardcore so special?

In my opinion your characters should be earned through time and diligence, along with your wealth. As I stated before getting to 60 is not a walk in the park yet, death is still out there, don’t buy your power earn it! At least until they instil a hardcore RMAH then line up and buy my crap for cash!

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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  1. As a solely HC player, I have no problem with powerleveling. I don’t think it’s difficult at all to get to level 60 provided you play smart and use the AH to keep your gear way ahead of what you’d find yourself. I’ve not been powerleveled myself, but I’ll do norm Kulle and NM/Hell Belial runs for others for quest gold (or possibly a little more epending on difficulty).

    My 60 Barb arb can run Hell Belial in ~2.5 minutes, with absolutely no danger of dying and with the actual Belial confrontations taking a few seconds. With three leechers, each can get 6 turn-ins off the run, which will take a bout 2 minutes beyond the 2.5 minute kill. People are willing to pay 100k per 5 runs, so I can make 300k in about 25 minutes. Not as good as the organized powerleveling groups but not bad for something to do for some quick, easy gold.

    Because of the way the game was designed, the journey to 60 is only interesting once (maybe twice) for most people. Beyond thay, they want to be 60 so they can work towards finding awesome gear and making progress in Inferno.

  2. Amazing story. Online poker using hardcore gold as the currency! HA!

    Stinson approved.

  3. Cross this story with all the hacked accounts and the ensuing wailing and moaning with fingers pointed at Blizzard. It’s obvious that no one ever shares their account info, just as no one ever confuses the break pedal with the gas pedal in a vehicle and gets in an accident (it’s clearly the automotive manufacture’s fault). I’m all for letting people do what they want with their account, but you get to live with the consequences.

    Gamers have also become so sophisticated that to play a certain type of game mode and bask in the glory of the achiement, they’ll pay someone else so they can click “Create new level 60 character?”. Yes Please, Thank You Very Much!

    I should add Blizzard is missing out in a big opportunity. For a small fee, they should allow you to check the forementioned checkbox.

    They should also add Tristram Style Hold’em as well.

    • If you’ve gotten to level 60 and died, but can “pay” to have a character auto-level to 60, you are essentially paying them to resurrect your HC character without the gear. It makes HC completely pointless.

      • For scrubs, perhaps. If you’re dying on the way to 60, then you’re a scrub, as this game isn’t really that hard. Good players will get to 60 every time without death, so skipping that grind isn’t really taking away from anything IMO.

        In HC, D3 is about playing beyond 60 for items and Inferno progress, not about getting to 60. You are pretty much guaranteed to not find anything of value in your grind through the story to level 60. I’ve played through Normal difficulty on softcore, then lost a HC barb at 49 in A4 NM (huge learning experience, underestimated freeze + arcane and at that point didn’t know that Wrath of the Berserker broke freeze), and my current barb is 60 in A2 Inferno. If he were to die, I’d want to get back to 60 asap to continue farming high level gear and playing in Inferno difficulty. I’ve amassed enough wealth to keep any new characters geared beyond their means on their journey to 60, which therefore has become absolutely trivial to me. Outside of lag, there’s no way I will die pre-60, which I’d probably reach in A2 Hell (grinding Lt. Vachem quest if nothing else). Levels 50-60 are especially unfun as you know that huge gear upgrades ara available once you get to 60.

        • Isn’t it a bit early to be calling people scrubs in this game? 😆

          Anyway I understand your point but there is plenty of fun to be had on the way to 60… get those Challenges you missed, Class achievements, etc. Not saying you’re wrong about most of the fun/challenge being in Inferno for a truly hardcore player, but if you are so unrelenting/hardcore so as to miss the other fun parts of the game… well to each their own eh?

        • Did you read my comment? I said got to 60 and THEN died. If you want to instantly restart at 60 when you die, then you want to be playing softcore. If having to restart at level 1 is too hard for you, you shouldn’t be playing hardcore, because that is what hardcore is.

          People complained when we first learned D3 made the re-leveling of D2 obsolete, and then when you have to re-level, people complain.

          • I haven’t actually used a power level service, but I would if I needed it and could spare the gold. You say, I might as well be playing softcore, but..
            the problem with softcore to me is the complete lack of basically any death penalty at all. I want to have to try to play in such a way as to not die. A 2 million gold penalty,?plus time spent power leveling, is enough punishment to motivate me to accomplish that.
            Actually, once you have a 100 million gold in gear, getting back to level 60 after you die is the least of your problems..

        • So you call people scrubs for dying on the way to level 60, but you yourself died on the way to level 60? Awesome.

  4. So you’re against posting exploits, but you interview someone that power levels other people’s characters, which is against the ToS and risky to anyone who does it?

    • Yes.

      We posted a video interview with a gold farmer the other day. Be sure to check it out. Marvellous stuff.

    • Right, the thing is it is going on and people are using it. It’d be foolish not to address it. Often things we report have a tendecy to be fixed. However if no attention is paid it simply goes on.

  5. For me it’s just a shortcut, the only time my HC Monk died below 60 was due to Computer Crashes and Disconnects (b.net) foult. The first three difficulties are easy beyond belief.
    My monk just died two days ago and I want to go back into action (and I mean grinding Inferno Act 1) as soon as possible. I will let friends pull be back up.

  6. Well, I lost a 57 monk a week or two ago and posted on here. Lost a 60 Demon Hunter last night to Izual on Hell. I suspected my defensive stats were too low, but was so eager to beat Hell on HC I couldn’t stop. Izzy’s shoulder charge attack one shot me. So, here I am again. Times like this I would love for Blizzard to implement a legitimate way of leveling quickly. Or at least an option to skip normal. The game is honestly not that fun for me until nightmare now, where Champions and Elites actually start to get dangerous. The scenarios I imagine (That will never happen):

    1) After reaching level 60 with a class, you are now able to make a new character of that same class starting at level 30, Act I, Nightmare. No gear.

    2) This one I think would be tons of fun. Make a sort of arena style survival against waves of monsters with massively boosted EXP, and a chance to quit between waves to gear up (from your stash or off the AH). Just fighting waves of Champions and Elites with act Bosses thrown in at the end. It would thrilling on Hardcore just because of the nonstop challenge, and it would get you back into the action (endgame) faster. Oh, and no monster drops. I don’t want it to be for farming gold and loot, just an alternative means of leveling that isn’t so dull.

    But, that will likely never happen and I will never purchase any kind of service. So, here I am pounding away at the lower levels again.

    Edit: typo.

    • Try using the little pools that are around to keep him from charging you, just run around them in circles and vault to one of the “safe” ones when he uses his frozen balls of nonsense.

    • Option 2 sounds great. As you said, too bad we will always have to run through the same friggin content 3 times/character just to get in the land of real drops 🙂

  7. Nothing screams legit quite like a gambling service based off of something from Eve Online.

  8. Well speaking as a scrub or a tyro or whatever you call someone who can and has died to stuff in Nightmare, for me it is the journey. The loot is nice and I use the AH to gear up my characters, but the point for me is seeing just how far my character can go before he dies. I played Hardcore Diablo 2 for years with a guild of like minded folks and I cannot really play soft core anymore.

    Proud member of the Holy Knights of Westmarch.

  9. I like to take unnecessary risks from time to time just for fun
    I don’t use AH
    I’ve still never been into inferno
    and I’m enjoying the game just fine.

  10. Encouraging/publicising to people to give their account information to another who they do not know is just plain laughable. Blizzard spends enough resources and long enough trying to drill not to do this into the thickheads of its players. Worse still considering the recent account hacking issue. lol. Elly I don’t remember such a massive interest in the botters,hackers,goldfarmers glorious lives previously on this site, in earlier incarnations of the Diablo franchise. I must have missed those interviews. 😯

  11. The way back to 60 wouldn’t be that boring if there were at least some realistic chance of seeing any green/orange drop at all (also guaranteed rare drops for first-kills). They really fumbled that aspect compared to D2.

  12. So was this someone on this forum selling powerleveling or did he just pick some random service on google? 2 Mill gold would be a good price, but still would be hesitant to turn my account over to someone… To each their own I guess.

  13. Buy your way to 60 if you must, but it won’t keep you alive once you get there.

  14. So would you call a person doing this ‘squishy-core’? e.g. death is not so much permanent as it is expensive?

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