Vote: Is Hardcore Diablo 3 Taking Over?

diablo-hardcoreA couple of blue replies to issues I’ve noticed in my own conversations about the game, as it seems like more players are making the move to Hardcore, full time or at least part time, and lots more are considering doing so in the first Ladder Season, when they’ll be able to start fresh at the same time as everyone else.

What is the toughest class to play on HC. My friend leveled a WD and found it too easy. He wants a challenge. What should I dare him with?
Araxom: My DHs would agree. Although the Wizard is another vulnerable class, my own Demon Hunters sometimes suffered from not dishing out as much damage as was needed when they were locked down in close quarters. I’m looking forward to leveling a new Hunter as soon as 2.1 drops.

It seems more and more players are switching to HC mode. I remembered when at ROS launch most of the HC players are stuck at playing normal to master difficulties. Nowadays, more and more hc players are playing T4-T6. HC mode is the end game. Yeah, DC, PK, and lags can kill your characters but eventually it adds to excitement. It makes you aware that you need to balance dps against your toughness. It makes you care about your character. I noticed that hc players are more cooperative and helpful to other hc players.

That feeling when a friend/clan member dies, and almost everyone will type “RIP” at clan or party chat, at SC when a player dies, u see them typing “*#@& Noob”

That heart pounding feeling when you have less HP and the screen turns to red.

Recently my friends quit playing SC mode and turns to HC and never looked back. They are having a blast.

The only part that ruins it is a lot of people think that because they play hardcore, they’re better than everyone else.
Araxom: I associate mostly with HC, but I appreciate SC. I think they’re almost two completely different games; being able to put yourself in the midst of the danger without the repercussion of permanent death allows for experimentation in ways that are just not nearly as feasible in HC mode. While in HC, I don’t consider myself to be taking it easy, but I’m also not vaulting into the fog of war. I think what I enjoy most is the impermanence of HC mode is that feeling that this battle could be my last.

We Hardcore players sometimes joke about being elitists, but at the same time… if “never dying” isn’t evidence/proof that you actually *are* a better player, what is? Obviously there are some very skilled non-HC players, but it’s much easier to gear up when you can make mistakes or Zerg content that’s over your head. And while not all the best players are Hardcore, it seems like all the worst must be Softcore, for fairly obvious reasons.

That said, the Blue has a point, and it’s not just a way to deflect the “HC elitist” question (though it was that as well). With the complete lack of death penalties in Diablo 3, HC and SC are functionally different games. Players not in Hardcore can choose to value toughness and play defensively and carefully… but frankly, that’s a suboptimal strategy. The game doesn’t punish you for dying, it rewards you greatly for pushing into higher difficulty levels, and when there’s a problem, higher DPS is almost always the solution.

Survey time! Is Hardcore Diablo 3 taking over?

Have you played Hardcore in Diablo 3?

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Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Diabloii.Net Votes, Hardcore


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  1. A friend who was a bit low on money and couldn't afford the expansion, I made him a deal. I would buy the expansion for him if he only played hardcore until the first death of a level 70 character. (He could get to level 70 and die on purpose if he wanted.) After that point he could go back and play softcore again and all his level 60's would be there waiting for him.

    He whined about not being able to use his gems or gear or artisans at first but he finally agreed. As far as I know, he still hasn't gone back to softcore.

    Especially if you play on lower difficulties, Hardcore just isn't that hard anymore, the threat of dying only really occurs if you're stupid or extremely unlucky. I don't think he's even died yet.

    Also given shared paragon levels and shared stash and shared artisans, each new character is even easier to level than the last one.

  2. I got my HC monk to 70 recently and it was actually quite fun (partly due to starting fresh though I think).

    and then I died at paragon lvl 5 cause of massive lag spike. I can deal with dying to anything but not to a damn lag spike so screw this.

  3. This is the main reason why I am not a primary hardcore player. Constant lag spikes, latency issues, computer involuntarily going to my desktop midgame, etc. There has to be a trust in your computer's ability to handle not dying for you.

  4. I'm never going to play HC if there isn't at least a small incentive behind.

    I know this has been topic of countless discussions and understand there is a thrill behind to fear for your life every second (which keeps you awake because sometimes I do fall asleep at late hours in SC).
    But the bare thought of loosing so many hours invested into building up a character from scratch, forget it…

  5. Sharagon has made re-rolling so painless it's criminal. Hardcore isn't what it once was. Also, there are too many things to try and experiment w/, something I never do in hardcore. The Pools are a good idea, although there needs to be a little tweak here or there (Legendary Find, gold find, etc, not just XP gain).

  6. Always played HC a lot but ever since 2.0.1 I play exclusively HC. Less burst damage, cooler legendaries etc.
    Its more about paying attention and taking it slow then suddenly dieing without knowing what happened. So much more fun.

  7. I would love to play HC but I live in a rural area and, while my internet has gotten much faster and more reliable over the years, it is under-provisioned and prone to lag, especially in the evenings. About 75% of all my deaths in SC are due to lag so HC is not a fun option. If I could play local instead of always online I would prefer to play HC.

  8. Here is my take. Hardcore is awesome, I play it exclusively in D2, offline. Due to being laggy and Roadrunner (regardless of extreme or standard speed) it is not worth the time investment. I've lost multiple characters at odd times of the day for no apparent reason other than a lag spike that is not present in any other game online, weekends are pretty much a waste on anything but normal.

    Point being, played my 70 Barbarian last week, was playing all day not a bit of lag. Go start a torment 1 rift and about 40% through get red bar of lag death. Luckily I have ancients equipped and smashed the button, knowing full well their their AI is not dependent on my own connection.

    I would play exclusively hardcore in an offline mode or if would invest in servers that aren't bogged down during multiple hours of the day.

  9. I played the ever living hell out of D3 when it first dropped, but as soon as I killed Diablo on Inferno with my super hyper glass cannon, nether tentacle wielding Demon Hunter I called it quits because "what was the point?". A year later I started to poke and prod at the game again and then started casually playing an HC character telling myself "I won't invest more than an hour or so at a time because he'll die and I'll be wasting my time".

    Over the course of two weeks I went from mostly SC with a little HC play to entirely abandoning SC and only playing HC (and losing 11 Demon Hunter's between that and RoS, most of them 60s with 5 – 15 paragon levels). HC has slowed the game down enough to where "reaching the end" isn't something that can be accomplished by just zerging the hell out of the game and ignoring how often I die.

    I still haven't reached T6 on my HC DH. I'm comfortably farming T4, can do T5 at incredible risk, and can't really play enough to try and refine my current build's gear (I'm avoiding M6). I'm fine with that because I have that goal, and its not exactly unobtainable either. It gives much needed longevity to the game (imo)when my goal is usually to "beat the game".

    Yeah the D/Cs and stuff suck (the bane of most of my dead Demon Hunters), but its the life of HC.

  10. I've always played SC like it was HC. I hate it when my characters die so I play and build them to minimize the potential for death. There is a simple reason why I never started with HC. I'm really slow at levelling characters.

    My playstyle can be best described as "glacial". I take my time and do things on my own. Levelling a character is not a 1 hour task for me. I don't fancy losing a char I spent quite some time on to one single stupid combination of affixes on a monster.

  11. I agree.. The only reason I do not play in HC is because of the feeling of a death by lag/drop connection. Imagine you playing a HC character lvl 70 with 150 hours spent doing all right, suddenly, a connection issue and your character appears death.. I never want to feel this frustate moment. -.-
    For ppl that aren't near the servers, the connection put your skills down.

  12. I have played some HC in D3 but nowhere near the exclusive to HC I was in D2 ladders. With the rather poor quality of connections to Blizzards servers in Europe dc's are a almost hourly occurence along with lag spikes.

    Until D3 becomes as good an online experience as D2 I will stick mostly to SC and tinker with HC. HC T3 wizard & T4 crusader is where I am at now in HC though.

  13. I have mixed feelings.

    SC allows to crank up the difficulty and to play a bit above the difficulty curve as it gives a challenge on almost every boss/rare/champion fights. Still, it feels a bit like cheating when you played HC.

    HC forces you to play below the difficulty curve (to be safe). In the end, it is quite boring except for the occasionnal danger. As a casual player, it is also quite long to restart (12-15 hours to go back to level 70) and too long to accumulate loot again for the same character. When you are not playing that much, loosing your main character is a huge hit. Meaning you will only be able to do master difficulty or so when you reach 70.

    At the moment, I am not playing but I do not know which I will do when I come back. SC would be more reasonnable, considering the time I can spend in game. Still it is difficult to renounce HC.

  14. The problem with HC is that there is just too much lag on the Internet. I'm not willing to go through the emotional hassle of losing a character to arbitrary outside forces.

    I do wish the death penalties on SC were a little less trivial.

  15. I've played a little bit of HC, mainly for a stretch last summer. It was fun initially starting fresh from zero everything, but didn't manage to get a character higher than level 50 and went back to full time SC. Recently, I've played my HC monk sporadically, finally getting her up to level 53/54 but have been more recently distracted by trying things out (SC) on the PTR.

    I might dabble a bit more in HC, especially since Adventure mode is far more enjoyable compared to the campaign. I can't see myself playing HC exclusively, though, since I don't put a lot of effort into making my characters very efficient.

  16. "Especially if you play on lower difficulties, Hardcore just isn't that hard anymore, the threat of dying only really occurs if you're stupid or extremely unlucky. I don't think he's even died yet."

    This sentence could be sum up as "HC=SC provided you stream roll at the played difficulty level"… As a kiting player which has to play carefully not to die (I hate to die, even in SC), dying only with d/c (movie which suddenly becomes interesting, kids, graphic card bug which does not display orbital…), I do no feel inferior.

    Yet, all HC I have done was at normal difficulty. Higher is too scary 🙂 To me, the point of playing HC is the thrill and that's all. Not the pride.

  17. Several observations from personal and friends experience:

    1. People are most often focused on the 'Death' part and until they try HC they cannot understand the 'Living' part. The time spent living is exciting and fun and cannot be replicated without having death as a penalty. The penalty isn't the focus in HC, its the living.

    2. Everyone plays low difficulty and doesn't push the limits. WRONG. People are clearing T6 every day. Pushing into 'unexplored territory' can be extremely exciting and can test your playing ability. Players do not realize that even in lower difficulty the odds can stack against you and your decisions will let you live or die. Most cannot comprehend the exhilaration without playing.

    3. Leveling is slow: Power leveling can take less than 2hours from 1-70, and you have gear saved in storage to equip right away. Sure you may be behind where you were, but you may also try something different and find your actually further ahead, or having more fun than before.

    4. Challenge: Alot of players come to HC and find that having to think about what they do and when they do it makes the game much more exciting and engaging.

    5. Internet: If you have lots of internet problems then yes, hardcore may not be for you. For most people internet issues are very rare, and besides that, fixable.

    6. People that try HC tend to continue to play HC. The fun, excitement and (mostly) friendlier players are what keep people in HC.

  18. > 6. People that try HC tend to continue to play HC. The fun,
    > excitement and (mostly) friendlier players are what keep people in HC.

    I agree with all that Yoo said but this most particularly. Most of the people I know in HC started in SC and at some point tried HC and never looked back.

    I think the theme of "HC taking over" happens in Diablo games naturally. As time progressed in D2, more and more people tried HC and stayed there. Ladders/seasons helps people stick with SC a little longer but eventually they experience the power of the dark side. From then on, we have them. 🙂

  19. I asked the friend I mentioned in my earlier comment. He confirmed that he still hasn't died, and that his main reason for not switching to SC again is because the gear doesn't carry over. At this point he's invested so much in the HC side of things that he'd be 'starting over' with his pre-RoS level 60's in SC.

  20. I am one of those that converted. The first 1.5 years or so of my time with Diablo was in Softcore, logging way too many hours and having a blast. When the game got stale and I got frustrated with the Auction House gearing wall, I decided to utilize Hardcore as a reset and not use the AH at all (the Hardcore self-found movement begins) and despite some amazing luck with a Barb getting all the way to Paragon 30+ and having MP2/3 on farm, I lost so many characters and had never been more excited to play D3. Each death taught me another lessen about how to be a smarter player and forced me to improve my skills or die from the same mistakes.

    Since then, I played a bit of Softcore before RoS release, but have been HC exclusively since except for the leveling the Crusader to play with Travis Day and friends on Theorycraft Thursday.

    HC, simply put, just provides one extra level of a reason to care. It adds a level of fun, but it's certainly not for everyone and that's why it's an optional box you can click. I definitely suggest everyone try it before knocking it though. Soon enough, you will become #oneofus!

  21. I might possibly maybe almost consider thinking about it if the most dangerous stuff in the game felt fair and fun to me. But most of my SC deaths are to some cheap-o combo mechanic I can't stand like Vortex or Waller or whatever. If those annoying elite mod combos weren't literally 100 times deadlier than everything else in the game, playing a more defensive game would be way more enjoyable.

  22. when RoS came out I switched to hardcore. While I've had a few moments of "holy crap that was close" for the most part it is just too easy. I have yet to die even as I push higher difficulties.

    They really need to work on the difficulty of this game in a way that isn't just +hp and +dmg. While I have no ideas myself, I know the community is full of them.

  23. Wouldn't say too easy, even paragon 600 players are proccing in T5. But yes, the difficulty 'ceiling' could be a bit higher.

  24. You can't increase the difficulty in any other way than more damage and life. The problem is simple. At someone point, you reach a damage output amount and a life amount and make it arbitrary. D1/D2 had you limited in health to a very low number (D1 extremely low) while D2 kicked around 800-2k depending on class an buffs normally.

    This allows a whole drastic chance of stuff to integrate by way of allowing damage reduction etc in static fields, not percentages. Now I understand they have added in defense and scaled defensive, which accounts for the massive rise in hitpoints, but at some point they need to understand that all the damage being the same except for some minor amount based on type has destroyed any fix that doesn't involve just bigger numbers.

  25. Played Softcore exactly twice. Once in July 2000 when I was forced to beat D2 first. Once when I was forced to reach level 10 in D3.

  26. I played SC until I maxed my DH but never truly felt challenged. I tried HC on a whim not long after release and have never gone back. Though loot 2.0 has made it easier, I do enjoy the higher difficulties. For me, even lag is part of the deal, I have no complaints should death be lag related.

    Death means starting over and knowing I'll never have that perfectly geared max character also means knowing I'll always have a game to play. Quit playing due to boredom? Not I.

  27. Gear and abilities are readily available for all classes to cope with anything currently in the game as long as the player is skillful enough to use them.

    The "combo's" you mention are dealt with by all classes, at all difficulties, everyday in hardcore. Sure some die, but its almost entirely player error.

    Regular hardcore players learn to prevent bad situations and how to handle all of the elite affixes.

  28. I'm aware of that, of course. My issue, asides from simply finding things like Vortex not fun to fight against, is that in order to handle the handful of extremely deadly combos you have to gear yourself so high so as to trivialize 99% of content. Despite the eternal promises of less spiky damage, you can still be in a situation where you've been playing 15 mins and your health bar barely moves and then *WHAM* out of nowhere some stupid cheap mob drops your health 90% in a couple seconds.

  29. I just made the switch a couple months ago. I loved being able to start from scrarch again. No gems, plans, gold, nothing. I also like that you have to work with pretty much everything. You need to maintain a good defense the same time having a strong enough offense. In softcore I didnt really pay much attention to toughness aside from a purple gem in helm and a few vitality and res stats here and there. I have not gone back to Softcore.

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