One life to live #51: Patch 1.0.4 and Hardcore

Hardcore has always been a niche. A small community of players taking on an additional challenge in a game they enjoy. Diablo 3 took that niche and made it smaller. No longer fighting alongside each other, we took to our single player games and our community slowly dissipated. Not to say there aren’t those who braved (and succeeded) the challenge but they are in the minority. With  1.0.4 on the horizon, I think it’s time we started doing what we learned in Kindergarten: playing nice with others.

1.04 is bringing us a lot of things but let’s look at what may shake up Hardcore.


Monster health won’t scale anymore

1.0.3 dropped monster damage but still increased the health pools. Which placed players in a situation that still required gear checks of their companions to get through content easily done solo.  Now in a strange idea the game actually becomes easier if you play with other people ( gasp!). I love this, I absolutely love this.  There is now a reason to play with other people, and I know it will be more effective. Will it be the death of playing solo? By no means, and i’ll still play alone when I know I could be interrupted, but how could you turn down interacting with other players and perhaps dare I say having fun?

The downside? A few epeens shrink a bit. Getting through the later acts of Inferno becomes easier, more people kill Inferno Diablo, people play the game. You can’t please everyone, and people will vocalize how they preferred it the old way, and now inferno is nerfed. If i have to choose between solo and hard, or playing with friends and easy, how could I choose to play by myself? I’ve always found this game best when playing with others and have been dismayed the my reward at the end was farming it alone.


Weapon improvements

Suddenly those useless level 62 weapons may be good. I’ve filled my inventory a few times over with level 62 vendor trash, everything failing by comparison to equal a level 63. The sudden viability of these weapons makes everyone a little bit better. A good weapon won’t help you clear inferno without having resists and armor to boot but it can help ease into it. It might help those stuck in hell make the jump and give those in inferno more people to play with. Which in my oprion is always a good thing.

On the topic of weapons I’d be hard pressed not to mention the new legendaries. While not exactly game breaking for Hardcore( at least that i’ve seen so far) the addition of new mods on weapons and increased damage has me imagining people will be clamoring for them. I look forward tot he feeling of finding one and not having to wonder how bad it is. On a side note I imagine everyone and their brother will be crafting legendaries once the patch hits and can only imagine how much brimstone prices will escalate to.

Monsters buffed and nerfed

In addition to a health decrease( in multiplayer games) we will a rise in normal monster health and a decrease in champion/elite packs health. At the same time certain affixes will be changed and altered in order to make them easier.  I’m a bit torn on this. I thought decreasing the health in multiplayer games was enough, that decreasing the affixes seems like overkill. We’ll see how it plays out but we might be steamrolling come 1.04.


Class changes

Things are shaking up for the classes but none that really seem to affect hardcore. Barbs seems to be fine if not more powerful. Demon hunters appear to still be fragile but will pack a hell of a punch to back it up. Wizards lose a bit of power on one build but should still do alright. Monks can keep DiabloWikiOne with Everything and gain some more spirit. Witch Doctors on the other had were dealt a big blow. The least popular class had it’s most popular build dismantled with a DiabloWikivision quest nerf.

Not a cure all

1.0.4 is not a cure all for D3’s woes. There is still no end game, no pvp, and itemization still has it’s problems. However it is a step in the right direction. A step forward and not back . While we are all optimistic for this new patch, try to not expect too much and enjoy what you do get. Going into it any other way can only lead to disappointment.

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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29 thoughts on “One life to live #51: Patch 1.0.4 and Hardcore

    • I’m leveling all my 5 diff chars to 60 in softcore to gain majority of achievements but I plan to level an alt of each type in hardcore to get those achievements too (and 2 of lvl 60 for each class also)

      It’s just that right now I see the game changing too much for me to want to invest time in hardcore when things are not stable enough for my tastes (I’m a casual). I don’t have the time to relevel a 60 HC char every day of the week if the char dies.

      I also noticed a bit of lag spikes recently when other people join games which could cause some issues which I’m not sure I like either.

      But I want to have all achievements in the game so I will definitely want to play hardcore and with the changes to monster life, elites, etc for inferno this should help people play together and clear content.

      • Brother casual achievement ho! 😀

        (checks brother’s birthmark on the asscheek, sings and dances for half an hour)

  1. Although I didn’t expect it when you look at the forums, I did meet some nice people playing in public games SC. With one we are now playing HC together. Both our first characters on HC, and I / We don´t expect to reach LVL 60 on our first (I chose WD, was expecting a buff and for spirit vessel… :S). But it is nice to play together. He actually died the other night, now I boost him again from lvl 1, until he is back at my level! Being helpful = fun, quicker and more learnful (is that a word?? :))…

    But how do you find nice people easy on HC or SC nowadays. Just have to be lucky I guess, and be nice urself. that helps 🙂 How is the player matchup forum going here? Many people LFG? 🙂 Anyway, HC is nice. More exciting. And better AH 🙂

  2. And btw, no really good enough incentives to switch to coop-games on hardcore.

    Since on hardcore people actually level up new chars quite often (they are not permanent here, dcs u know), an exp boost per player would make coop starting to be desirable.

    On the end gaming thougth im not sure those “buffs” will be enough to make coop play more desirable, well see.

  3. To be honest i think Witch Doctors will be HUGELY buffed in hardcore considering how much more powerful the have made pets.

    • I’d disagree with you. All we know is they can survive a bit longer. Their damage will still be rubbish and WD will lose out on their best burst damage potential. Now we only have a preview and the truth is in the patch notes but I dare say things don’t look great for end game WD’s

      • I disagree. Sure their Burst damage is reduced, but with new vision quest, and new manager regent, plus the buffs skills are getting, all other spells will do a ton more damage and for longer periods of time, while pets will provide a little bit more survivability. Witch doctors are going to do well.

        Also, I find the people I know in hardcore and myself strictly play coop. I personally do not know a monk, wiz, WD, or DH that likes to go into intern farming without a barb. Also we all prefer to have a monk. Just to throw numbers out there, if I were to have farmed Inferno act1/2 for 30 hours, at least 20 were in 4 Plyer inferno games, and the rest in 2-3 player games.

        Maybe you gotta know the right people. Hit me up, frosty #1881. Though I still need to get a new chsr to 60, only have dh in 60 now Cuz blizzard killed my wizard with a disconnect

      • I have a SC WD in act 3 Inferno, who only uses Bears as my left-click attack.

        I’m interested in seeing what the mana changes are like, because right now I HAVE to spam two long-cooldown spells whether I need them at the time or not.

        Being able to replace those spots with useful skills, and maybe slowing down on my bear attacks won’t be the end of the world.

      • Oh so having more usable skills that are not always on CD so you can actaully use them vs that elite pack that pop up wont help?

        According to you WD are just “VQ on and spam Zombie Bears etc” class, no they are not ment to be this.

  4. VQ nerf doesn’t hurt HC as much as SC. I do public act 1 runs fairly often and I still haven’t seen another WD running with VQ bears. It is really, really hard to get good mana regen items on HC.

    As Drakalon mentioned, the pet buff will make WDs unkillable unless they nerf the proc rate of Burning Dogs and Big Stinker into the ground.

    • And if they do that, then they nerf pet builds into the ground as well since that is what drives them. Hidden footprints all over again.

  5. i love the idea of hardcore, but I don’t have enough time to play SC let alone having to relvl and regrind mullions in gold due to a lag spike.

  6. I won’t play hc until they fix rubberbanding and the atrocious load lag when assets first display on screen. I die at least once each time I start d3 from these issues alone.

  7. Just realized the load lag is even worse than d2 – basically every new monster or player skill is like duriel all over again. They need to feed the client info about all monster types as youzone into the area or whenever a party member is fighting and you could banner to them. I am guessing they don’t do this because it could be used by maphackers, but something needs to be done to adress the cpu or gpu lag.

    • One acronym: SSD

      My suggestion is absurd though, you shouldn’t be forced to buy a new hard drive just to play a game.

      • I have one and i still get a massive slow lag spike when i join a group that is in the middle of fireworks

        I still think they need to do things better

        I have 16GB of RAM so I would think they could preload the whole game in RAM which could help

        • A better asset loading system would help a lot, after all if it loaded as much stuff in to your RAM as possible for the zone your in you wont see any load lag (ok you might see some but it most likely be due to some other bottle neck like GPU or CPU or internet speed).

  8. Ok I must be missunderstanding, can someone clarify: “Monster health won’t scale anymore”?

    This can’t mean that a monster will have the same health in a multiplayer game as in a soloplayer game? It would obviously be retarted if in a 4 player game a monster has the same amount of hitpoints as in solo.

    • he meant to say that the extrahealth per joined player no longer scales per difficulty.

      1.03 :
      + 75% hp per player in normal
      + 110% hp per player in inferno

      1.04 :
      + 75% hp per player in normal – inferno

  9. I play on hardcore and I have to say that playing public coop games (since 1.03 mind you) is very satisfiying and its also (mostly) easier.

    There are very few noobs past nightmare, and people are friendly and responsive in chat. A lot of people will gift you random items throught the shared playtime and Im even guilty of that myself on occasion.

    Hardcore is where it’s at.

    I think that maybe 1.04 will make things a little bit too easy, but well Hardcore only requires one mistake. Good times 😀

    • perhaps I will start HC after 104. I’ve been waiting for the game to balance out more.

      But yea, with all the skill and item buffs and monster nerfs I’m really curious to see how much easier the game will become. Hopefully not TOO much easier. Inferno A3 and 4 still give me a nice incentive to keep playing and have some content to look forward to with my main class.

  10. I play on a SSD and the game is incredibly smooth. Only had some small lag spikes so far, got a 51 Monk and 21 Barb, no deaths YET *fingers crossed*

    I play only a few hours a week, so you don’t have to be hardcore to play hardcore 😆 Haven’t played public because it’s hard to meet up with people when you have little time to play the game.

    PS Keep up the columns Xanth, nevermind some of the people here 🙄

  11. I started HC for the first time in my Diablo career.

    Almost quit D3 last week, burnt out and sad that it had come so quickly. I’m a big fan of the title.

    Ventured into HC and have been really enjoying it. I too look to play with others, so I welcome these changes.

  12. My comp is well above recommended specs. The game needs to be smoother than it is now. The only workaround I can think of, besides buying new pc, is to play a lower difficulty version of the same act first… Ridiculous either way. This lag has been there since beta (february)

    • What exactly is your lag like? I have had HUGE lag problems in SC and Diablo and for the he|| I couldn’t figure out what it was. Comp is very decent, outside of lag game ran smooth.

      My lag manifested as about a 2-3 sec delay every couple of minutes, where things froze and then resumed quckly afterwards. Did not happen with cable connection.

      Turned out VISTA was screwing me over. I am on wireless and VISA does a network scan every few minutes to try and connect to a better network. This is what causes the problem. You have to either install a separate network manager or (an easier way) is to install this awesome 3rd party tool WLAN Optimizer.

      Might not be your problem, but worth looking it up.

    • This sort of thing is why tech support jobs must suck. So many unpredictable variables.

      I got a new computer before D3’s launch, and while it well exceeds the game’s specs, it’s far from cutting edge. And I have never had any loading lag in D3. Any. At all. I do occasionally get a half second of internet lag, but the game plays perfectly. The only exception is sometimes if I start up D3 after the computer has been on for days and I have a bunch of programs open, the FPS stays at about 10. But that’s obvious even in the log on screen, as characters appear with a delay as I type them, and in that case I just know I need to restart before I try to play.

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