After many hours have been put into a game, how is one’s success measured? Depending on the genre, an action RPG player may decide that a high rarity set of gear is the end goal. What happens when a group of players add a masochistic layer to the action RPG formula? With Diablo 3 Hardcore Mode enabled, we find out.
At the character create screen in Diablo 3, you have the option to enable Hardcore Mode before your start. Entering the campaign with a hardcore hero gives you the ultimate consequence: Die once, and it’s game over. So before my party of heroes finalized this decision, I had to witness the documented grief on Youtube first. A simple search for “Diablo 3 Hardcore Deaths” will yield many compilations of tragic character deaths. It was both enlightening and frightening to see what would happen to us one day.
Now if harder tier difficulties gave us any indication, there are a number of things that can end your day in a bad way. Things to focus on would be burst damage and stuns. There are many telegraphed attacks that can be avoided as long as you are paying close attention. Mini-bosses of all rarities can place devastating spells and attacks on you that can quickly drain your health. Toughness builds are very important in mitigating damage of all types. Gaining resistances to elemental types of damage are essential to have as well. Enemy stun attacks give you a mini freak out moment, and borderline heart attack. This opens the door to subsequent attacks, amplifying damage done to you, disables your casting, and thus preventing you from making a hasty escape.
Fortunately our group of 3, a Barbarian, Monk and Wizard (Me), are all survivors past level 40 (Expert difficulty). Hardcore Mode definitely adds a lot more drama and satisfaction to the gameplay that my counterparts claimed it would. The key to survival is teamwork, communication, and preparation. Going into a new zone ill equipped, both in items and skills will surely end in your demise. In the wise ol’ words of Deckard Cain, “Stay a while, and listen.” When back at the hub town, maximize skill allocation, crafting stations and craft-able gear. Min/Max your stats with all available gear; stack your epic bonuses from items with your most effective skill builds. Don’t forgot about passives!
As a wizard, I need to be a bit more focused on damage than my melee counterparts. Essentially, I am less threatening from a positioning standpoint in battles. Fighting from the rear, I have the chance to launch devastating Area of Effect (AoE) attacks on corralled enemies. I must also not forget about serving as a utility to the group in some way. Adding some stun effects will no doubt save you and your teammates in the long run.
Playing Diablo 3 with Hardcore Mode enabled has proven fun thus far, but that masochistic dream will eventually come to an end. I also believe that players who go down this road need to be compensated in some way or another. As it stands now, the only reward is your pride, and digital footprint on Battle.net. Maybe that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for players seeking out these types of thrills. Either way you look at it, the challenge is supreme, and it’s all guts or glory for us poor souls.