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    I lost my first Witch Doctor at 60 in hell, my second at 59 in hell, but on the third Fifth time, well the third Fifth time has been the charm. 1-60 isn’t the most fun the second time around, yet alone the third Fifth, but the victory becomes much sweeter when the journey is filled with obstacles.

    Editing Note: In the time of originally writing this piece and publish I lost two more Witch Doctors. Who knows how many more will die before you finish reading?

    Ironically each time I’ve gone to post this column I’ve lost the Witch Doctor I was referencing. I’m wary now as type this that Blizzard will randomly delete my current doctor from the servers, but even still I’d press onward. Is it perseverance or stupidity that keeps me coming back for more of the same class?

    As my monk sits in inferno gathering dust, I ready my inventory to set out back into New Tristram a lowly level 1. Zoltun Kulle runs are gone, and the trek to 25 is now something you have to experience and be a part of, instead of mindlessly handing in a quest. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I missed the ease of those early hand-ins. However with the recent changes in 1.04 it was nice to feel what the class had to offer at the lower levels, and how leveling a Witch doctor had changed since I first made one at release.

    As new as things were, the grind is still the same. You want to be 60 because that’s where the action is. Inferno, good loot, and challenge. Everything else is just a hurdle you have to cross. That’s not to say it’s a cakewalk ( do those still exist?) to get to 60, people still die, but it feels hallow and obligatory.

    As a result of that feeling and the game really opening up at 60, you can easily find ways to quicken the experience. First is maximizing +xp on kill gear. A few extra experience can really add up and when it’s hitting a 100+ per kill you can begin to see your bar shoot rise quickly ( not a phallic reference). Combine that with + bonus xp and you can cut your leveling time in half. The new Cain’s set bonus will grant you +30% bonus experience, while a red gem in your helm can grant upwards of 31%(if your loaded) bring you to between 51-61 extra xp!

    In terms of effective leveling a friend and the Arreat craters in Nightmare can pay off in spades. I was able to go from 25-50 in just two hours with a friend and my handy xp gear. In total going from 1-60 can be done in about 8 hours with the right conditions. Considering my last Witch doctor died with 50 hours played, that means the bulk of my time lost was in Inferno. Which puts things into perspective. With paragon levels, now the sting of death isn’t in the fact you have to get back to 60 but the levels lost after it.

    Every death I’ve experienced has been followed by the same response. I calmly exit the game and create a new character. I level a bit an log off. No tantrums, No tears, just determination to get back to where I started. Having one sixty cooling his heels in inferno I could easily go back to it, but I’ve been so enamored with this class that I can’t play anything but it. If five deaths haven’t changed my mind I’m not sure much will. Maybe six?

    Each character brings the chance to be better than the last one. The slow grind in inferno trying to get some semblance of an upgrade is replaced by continual upgrades and perhaps something that far surpasses what you once possessed. Each Witch Doctor I’ve made has been better than the last. Gone further, found better gear, higher dps, and each experience has been worth it.

    What class can you not seem to stop playing? What would it take you to switch?

    One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth (a paragon of objectivity) 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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