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    hardcore levelingDeath in HC always brings us back to where we started. Back at humble beginnings and a quest to reach where we fell off. However after falling several times you want an expressway back as opposed to a rural commute and now with ROS The expressway is up and running.

    In an incident of Irony, or perhaps fate, I lost my WD last week after declaring my avoidance of death.

    Death story time: After cruising through a few rifts with a clanmate( who shall remain nameless..cough *aazmandius* cough) and a few other people we jumped into a new rift. Or rather they did, They managed to load a bit faster than I did and rounded up a few of the most furious monsters, several packs, and all the arcane beams they could find and quickly ported back to town after proc’ing their own cheat death passives.My spirit vessal proc’d by the time my screen had fully loaded, and I was dead before I even saw what hit me. Not a great way to go but that is Hardcore, and I knew the risks well before I entered that portal.

    It stung, probably more than any death before it, but I soldiered on. I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get back to 70 but of course each moment not farming rifts was time I wasn’t getting my tasker and theo, granted the same could be said about most of my rift farming but I digress.

    I hit 30 the night of my death, I had a few things to make the low levels tolerable and was content with that progress for the night. As I logged in the next day I knew what was in store for me but was curious what people were doing for a power level now that ROS and adventure mode was in play. Was it harder? Or more dangerous? The answer was neither.

    I joined a community for powerleveling and quickly found out how it works. You create a game on T6 looking for 2 bounties. Clear the Damp Cellar in Act 1 and Cleanse the Hell rift in Act 4. After that you spam the chat looking for a someone to help clear. People quickly respond and you have a game going in a few seconds. The clearer will rush to the quest zone and zone into the cellar. They clear and call you down. You then hide in the corner near the exit while they complete the chest event, racking up xp for both the monsters killed but the bounty as well. My first game I joined was for cellar only and I went from 30-35 in a manner of minutes. The process for the Hell rift is much similar, though you can also just zone in and portal to town in order at least receive the bounty xp. That process continued for a half an hour of creating and joining games until I found myself the proud owner of a level 61 WD.

    From there I teamed up with Aaz again (making up for previous sins) and cleared act one bounties until 70. The time it took to go from 30-70 was actually less than it took me to go 1-30 solo. I can’t say I’m surprised by this, Power leveling and Diablo go hand in hand, we’ve seen iterations of it before with quest cascading back in the early stages of D3 but this actually seems faster.

    As I mentioned before the sting of death isn’t really in the 1-70 loss but in the items. The journey back just adds a little level of harshness to it. I can say contrastly that it was nice to bypass it this time and go back to running rifts right out of the gate. Will I continue to do this for each new character? It’s hard to say, it certainly is easier but there is a level of cheapness to it. Leveling in ROS doesn’t take too much time but the end goal is still to get back to 70 to farm and as a result the shortest path is always most desirable.

    The question then remains will Blizz do anything about this?

    There is precedent here for Blizz to interfere. In D3 classic they swooped in nerfed quest cascading in act 2 that was allowing players to quickly progress through 1-60 while doing nothing in town.This new power leveling is now actually easier than that ever was. As I mentioned earlier power leveling is mainstay of the game, but when the levels come this quickly is it too much? Sound off in the comments below!

    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 him on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!

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