I posted the comment during one of our last podcasts, and it still has me thinking, what happened to death in hardcore? I’ve died a lot in the year since release, however I’ve found myself quite comfortable as of late. While that may be reassuring in someways it is frustrating, we need death in Hardcore, and right now it’s too easy to avoid.

    Right now It feels like death in Hardcore has become avoidable. Does that mean no one is dying? Of course not, people are dying but not as frequently as it used to be. Why is that?

    1. Items

    With the reduction in Inferno difficulty we’ve seen a proliferation in items introduced into our economy. That increase has allowed more people to push their dps ranges into a comfortable farming range. it’s now 100 times easier to find a moderatly priced weapon to boost your dps into the 50-70k range and get to farming. Which then generates more people finding more items and creating a viscious cycle. This extends to non weapons as well, crafting has given us the ability to piece together a healthy gear set to provide safety and effectivness at minimal cost. You can now roll into inferno with next to nothing and with some lucky crafts and minimal Auction house hunting be farming in no time.

    2. Monster power

    With the introduction of the Monster Power system we were given the choice in how difficult we want things to be, and we brought the introductory level of MP0 down to a much more comfortable range. The comfortability ties into the path of least resistance. If I can farm MP0 and get the drops I want, a decent amount of xp, and have it take less time, I am going to do that. However in Mp0 I fear next to nothing. Most packs now are whiddled down quickly, sometimes before I even notice the affixes. Which then makes things safer. Now I know on the higher monster powers this isn’t the case, and challenge is apparent but not many players are choosing that option over safety and ease.

    3. Monsters themselves

    Think back to D2, what struck fear in your hardcore heart? Chances are you will recall Duriel and MSLE. Both would have me nervous before I encountered them. Both would provide a substantial roadblock to progress. However nothing like that seems to be found now in D3. Sure there are dangerous affix combinations(waller/frozen/desecrator/arcane) but nothing that evokes that true peril that we once saw. Monsters also used to have resistances which made you vary up how you would even go about approaching them, now the approach is all the same, tank and spank. However D3 did have some of those options before. It may not have been popular but Invulnerable monsters provided a challenge and a strategy in tackling. The original version of arcane had hydras spawning that would push you back and force you to take a new approach depending on how they spawned. Personally i’d love to see more affixes liek this come back as opposed to don’t stand here, move over there variety. They shake up our play style and weed out players every now and then.

    4. Nerfs

    We’ve also seen difficulty take a hit since launch. there was a time when inferno meant almost certain doom for your character, and while that may have not been the most appealing we not have the capability to neuter the difficulty at will while only sacrificing some xp and mf. This is in tandem with multiplayer games which take the difficulty down a notch by monster health only scaling 50% as opposed to the previous 100% making it easier now to kill in groups as opposed to solo.

    The biggest killer of hardcore players that remains is lag, both server and client side and while that hasn’t changed much since D2 it shouldn’t be the only thing we fear. Players have now started trying to make disconnect proof characters to spurn the one thing they can’t control, while neglecting all the other things that should be out to get them.

    It’s weird to make a call for more death in the game, but it is one of the things that is vital to hardcore being just that. I lost my paragon 72 monk a while ago but since then have been roaring back on my WD relatively unhindered, how? Not by luck, but a stash full of good items, playing on mp2, and a stable internet connection have kept me alive. I don’t worry much as I load in to take down the denizens of hell and that in of itself has me worried.

    How has death treated you in D3?

    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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