One life to live: Death takes a holiday

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!

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

17 thoughts on “One life to live: Death takes a holiday

    • Hahaha, agreed. I think there’s a difference between those using the AH to shore up their characters and those playing the more “pure” route. You want more challenge, Xanth? Use only what you find. You’ll have to progress much slower, your DPS will be lucky to be in the 10K range upon entering Inferno, and you’ll be stoked every time a yelloow anything drops, representing tons of power in a possible upgrade.

      I died with my first 60 using the above strats just shortly after getting into Inferno and while it sucked, it felt like the challenge was there.

  1. I would add one other thing: Monster density. For most players/characters, larger mobs equal increased survivability. WW Barbs, SW/TR Monks, Archon Wizards, and GI/GF WDs (to name just a few) all shine brightest when there are huge hordes to plow through. This is of course works in tandem with several of the things that you listed above.

    As for Invulnerable Minions, I could not possibly miss them more. I’ve whined about it incessantly on here in the past. I realize that I’m in the minority on this, but it was AWESOME to have to think every once in a while and completely change tactics. Back when they were still in the game I played a DH almost exclusively. I used to love using Stampede to strip away the minions and get at the “boss”. At the very least, it kept you from slipping into autopilot. Another way to put that would be: It kept the game from getting stale and tedious. Or better yet, it provided variety and challenge. I fail to see how that is not a good thing.

  2. I have a different memory of D2 than you. At the end of when I was playing regularly, I could solo HA5 with my necromancer (skeleton build). I would even switch gear to take down Baal more quickly than my standard setup. Duriel and, to a lesser extent, Andariel posed danger in Normal difficulty, but after that the primary danger was the Durance and USD’s. D3 always felt more dangerous to me than D2. And even now, I have not made it past Belial in Inferno-although I hope to some day.

  3. The feeling that death is not a danger is one of the first steps towards your next Deeds. My Paragon 100 Barbarian was feeling pretty cocky at the time of his deeds, within a week of achieving 100 no less.

    The monk I started the day he died has zoomed up in Paragon levels sticking to Act 1 MP1 and feeling pretty comfortable. Last night at Paragon 61 I decided it was time to finally venture into the rest of the game and started my march to Diablo. I kept the MP at 1 and a ruby in my helm for experience while I quested. Right off the bat I ran into a major swarm of wasps and was given a wakeup call of a less than 50% life bulb which I hadn’t seen in a while. That raised my hackles and heightened my senses just a little bit.

    No matter how disconnect proof you think you are, no matter how indestructible you might feel, that next deeds is always just a mis-step away.

    I like the current system, I don’t think it needs to be made tougher. If play seems too easy then up the MP you’re playing at. People can quest through fairly easily at MP0 if that’s their style, or for the heroic you can increase the MP all the way up to 10 if that’s what makes it fun for you. Something for everybody. I think that’s a good thing.

  4. For the challenge in general, they should introduce “immunities.” Not exactly in that sense but more like extremely resistant to X element. 90% if it had only one, and 70% for each if it has two for example. Also X element damage absorbers:,the enemy will heal if you hit them with X element damage.

    They start appearing maybe late Nightmare (for practice).

  5. Given that the word “Hardcore” should mean exactly that, along with permanent death they should have it so there is a minimum monster power set. Not sure what it should be but the Hardcore experience should not be zero monster power. It is not hardcore if it is easy – it should be called “Slightly Riskier Mode” at the moment.

  6. My opinion shouldn’t matter, because I’m fresh to the HC realm but here’s my 2 gold coins:
    Going self found/no AH gives a decent amount of challenge and fun. I kept my HC account “clean” (no AH whatsoever) but I don’t mind sharing drops with my party (mostly public games on mp0).
    It works beautifully at keeping me on my toes and very happy about my drops (managed to find 3 legendaries until now on normal, 2 of which are great for their level).
    It’s stupid that you need to impose your own rules to make the game harder, but maybe ironborn is the right approach for HC. It is the most “hardcore” you can go, while still being somewhat feasible with the latest changes.
    I managed to get a “hug” from shemale Diablo and it stopped my heart seeing my red orb go half

  7. Cutting away half of the MP levels would be a nice idea. Something like the idea of Gravox.
    Mp0 – MP 4 unavailable to select (normal – inferno), simply grayed out ๐Ÿ˜›
    Would be ideal! MP5 inferno is like a fair step: you need decent gear + good skills..

  8. …and perhaps people that don’t actually play HC shouldn’t be allowed to make suggestions on how to change it for the better! People that think they should eliminate lower MP’s for HC are nuts. Permanent death is bad enough. Just go through the experience once of losing a high level Paragon player and all the gear that you worked so hard to accumulate… then look at the prices on the AH for what it would cost to actually recreate what you just lost. Do that once, and you won’t be suggesting losing lower MP’s.

  9. Death was back in town this week to take my P49 monk ๐Ÿ™ Pure cockyness killed him as I idled and started to chat in MP4 in the middle of
    spores and next to the keywarden…

    I’m going to make sure I look death in the eye a bit more often, will keep me sharp and careful with my new monk!

  10. I think Hardcore is fine as it is. If you play smart, you rarely run the risk of dying. However, if you start getting complacent then one misstep can end it all. That’s exactly how it should be. If I want a dick-punching HC experience then I can just jack up the MP, no need to start adding other artificial difficulty modifiers.

  11. Tbh I don’t think the way D2 hardcore was dangerous was very good at all.
    The total immunities sucked a golfball through a gardenhose when you were trying the SLIGHTEST oddly build or going selffound.
    When you were decently geared there was just as little danger as there is in D2 and the sudden dangers were just bugs and mostly invisible ways to knock you off the map.

    You know you can always run A4 if you want spikey damage xD

    That being said I DID have the most fun in D2 in the KTA runs where we were going selffound and usually running a bunch of themed oddball builds. However, that was years into the game where most viable builds and variations were wellknown. Then again, most of that fun was because they were (and still are) just great chaps to be around.

  12. The thing about death in HC is… it’s great for the game, provided it doesn’t happen to you.
    Players dying keeps the economy strong, makes me feel more 1337 that I’m a high paragon and most scrubs couldn’t cut it, and keeps the game interesting.

    However, when you’re the guy who dies.. death sucks.

    To the guys suggesting that the lower MP levels should be locked. That’s great in theory, but realistically, a freshly starting HC char, has practically no chance in mp5 inferno. I”m sure there are a couple of guys who could do it, but the majority wouldn’t stand a chance. I have a top 200 monk, and I’m not that comfortable solo’ing MP5.

  13. If it would be posiible i think people will play with 2 shields and 0 damage only to avoid the use of skill ๐Ÿ™‚

    True, true disconnects happend but when you see idiots playing with shield from normal till inferno you kinda /facepalm. Then there is that category of people who just like shields because they provide a good door to theyr house or a table for dinner…

Comments are closed.