One life to live: Pre-patch blues

The PTR is up and humming(sometimes) and the patch is right around the corner(hopefully). Spring is slowly rolling along in and all is right in the world. Yet not all is right in D3,the auction house is slowing down to emulate winter, and people are hopping on less. Anticipation is building, but what to do while we wait?


The PTR is a strange thing for me. On one hand it’s great to be able to have a full scale test of upcoming changes to weed out any new bugs. On the other hand it has stymied my urge to log in. Now do not get me wrong this is not a this game is awful type rant, in fact I’m still playing(a lot), but I can’t help but look forward to what is next. When you can see some nice changes heading your way it’s hard to jump in and not play them. So for now I’m biding my time, and waiting for patch day.

The PTR does allow for us hardcore players to experiment in a risk free environment. The first thing I did was toss on some random gear and push my limits. Surprisingly my Monk can’t solo MP10 Ubers. Aside from suicide missions it’s nice to experience what the new patch has to offer.

Multiplayer isn’t perfect yet, but it’s growing by leaps and bounds from where it used to be. Think about multiplayer on release. It was more difficult with more people! Which caused us to isolate ourselves and our community. Now we can get bonuses from playing with each other, can find games in public based on what we are hoping to do, and dare I say it… have more fun. Hard to argue with that.

That’s what the heart of a Diablo game has always been for me, jumping online and playing with others on a shared goal. Scouring for loot, helping each other survive, and gaining new friends. I’ve gone far too long without really playing with new people. First it was harder, then people killing you in town, and last no way to find those people who shared my same desires. All that is changing, and changing for the better.

It’s also refreshing to play in acts outside of Act three to break up some tedium. Though I will say I think Blizzard is missing the mark by not having the game fully open to hope between acts at will and farm as much as you want. That’s what was nice about D2 slaughtering the act bosses and clearing your favorite areas, while skipping the parts you didn’t care for, instead of being cattle herded into one direction.

However, The patch has a downside or two. Obviously the implementation of the patch has caused a few hiccups on the real servers. Hardcore players are dying in droves to spontaneous shutdowns, and the AH is a crapshoot when it comes to stability. All to be expected on the day of a Patch release but not normally due to a PTR. The other downside is not as noticeable but still effective. With the PTR up and humming it’s hard to focus on the game as it currently is. Playing with other people still has no luster, and you know right around the corner you would be rewarded for it. Players are also dipping into the pools of the PTR and not diving into our AH creating some stagnation.

By in large I have very few complaints about this patch, other than I want it here already. One of my largest complaints about D3 has revolved around Multiplayer, which now I’m excited try out, to run with strangers, meet new friends, and start building that network of hardcore players in game. What are you looking forward to in the new patch?

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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16 thoughts on “One life to live: Pre-patch blues

  1. People are hopping on less and less all year and in 2012 as well,. Steady decline until .. what? Expansion probably.

  2. Well ive personally havent played Diablo 3 in close to 2 months. After loosing my PL70 HC WD to a disconnect, I felt no point in playing Diablo 3 anymore… With the Multiplayer and the monster density changes I’m considering re rolling my Witch Doctor. Hopefully with itemization changes around the corner, and a possible expansion announcement this year at Blizzcon, it might be time to get excited for Diablo again…

    We’ll see….. =)

      • I agree with the both of you for the most part. However, they absolutely need a game lobby. As the field of players dwindles and the variety games increases because of MP and now tagging, how will you even get in a game with 3 other players? How often have you tried to join a quick public game only to see that tick-meter and then it just makes a new game just for you. I seriously don’t understand what is going on at that office. Let us see who/what is out there AND join it!! I assure you the game lobby would boost the drop-in rate as long as they keep making the other improvement which I think they are doing (just at a snail’s pace). But if you take into consideration that there will likely be an expansion (maybe 2?) the upside of the game is still good IMO.

        Game lobby is a must for a Diablo style game.

  3. I’ver lost too many characters to DCs now that I won’t even install the game until they implement some sort of pause on disconnect feature.

    • Haven’t lost any to DC, but damn it has been close.
      Blizzard really should implement something like that.

      • Great example, although this is partially my fault, here:

        So, last week maybe Thursday, I was playing my HC Monk trying to make the push to 60 in self-found MP 10. Well, I got to the end of Normal and was pretty over-geared/over-leveled. I had just killed Izual and was on my way when I got a notification that the server was going down in 15 minutes to pick up a service update. I’m thinking, “Okay, well, if I find the zone for D right away, I can probably take him down.”

        I go through the level and I’m running into elites left and right and watching the clock tick down. Realistically, I should have quit after check pointing, but I kinda wanted the challenge of trying to beat him in the time constraints. Anyway, I finally get there and have something like 8 minutes and I get through form one, form two, and about 10% on the last form when time is down to like 30 seconds…15 seconds, so I run away from him swearing the entire time, “F***, f***, f***!” In the last moments, I pop Serenity and then the game disconnects, but it seems like it took me out of the game completely rather than a true disconnect because I was back at the screen as if I were about to join/start a game or check the AH.

        Got completely kicked off after that and then re-logged after the server went back up and luckily she was still there check pointed to right before the fight. Adrenaline rush for sure, but yeah, something like that wouldn’t have been a worry with *cough* offline single player *cough* or even a pause on disconnect like suggested above.

        Proceed at your own caution/peril.

  4. “but what to do while we wait?”

    Answer: Play Diablo 3, eat homemade pizza-sandwiches and be social with your family before it is too late.

  5. I could actually live with loosing a character in Hardcore if re rolling meant interesting lower level items, and access to more item types, and affixes.

  6. There is always a new patch coming up that promises to make the game more fun. Why on earth would I play the game now if they are going to fix (probably not, but one can always hope) the one thing that annoys me most in this game, the dumbed-down skill system and the itemization, that seems to be the result of 2 three months internships, oh sorry, that is two things.

    One of the best things to do is to buy the Commander Keen pack from Steam. It brings back memories of the good old days 😉

  7. A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon a real arcade, w/ real arcade games, and popped a few quarters in Street Fighter Alpha 3. It only took 1.5 matches for my wrist to catch on fire. Also, my timing was off, and it was then that I realized I might be getting too old for action games. My Starcraft skills have definitely deteriorated, as well. Point is, hardcore is a young man’s game, for those w/ good reflexes and tons of free time to re-roll. I think a lot of the “casual” changes made to games over the years is for old timers who don’t have the time/faculties to handle what they were able to in the past.

    • “I think a lot of the “casual” changes made to games over the years is for old timers who don’t have the time/faculties to handle what they were able to in the past.”

      Yip, this is true. Most people simply don’t have the time to put into more hardcore games. Which is a pity for the youngsters coming through who won’t have the same experience with gaming as we did when we were growing up.

      The other aspect here is that IIRC the average age of gamers is over 30, and these are also the people who have the most money to spend on games. So developers target their games to the people with the $$.

  8. Personally, I try to stay away from betas and PTRs. I wanted to experience the new changes when they have been released. That way, everything is still fresh and brand new to me. Playing tons of PTR and then playing them again in-game seems redundant to me and would probably cause me to get bored again quickly.

    I am not an elitist or a powergamer so I don’t have any reason to stay ahead in the curve. What matters to me personally is I enjoy the game for as long as possible. Haha :p

  9. I bought the D&D pack at 80% discount on GOG. Now I can access again those pearls of the past: IWD1&2 BG1&2 NWN1&2 and relative expansions plus some odd games like Demon Stone and Dragonshard. And yes, my skills with a controller are now complete crap, even for a combo with just 3 buttons to press (!).

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