Diablo 3: A Hardcore Postcard
What can you really say about Diablo. It’s a series that has always reacted to the world around it. I missed out completely on Diablo 2, but have played enough to know what a mephisto run is. Thankfully a lot is lost from that game made 12 years ago. You are no longer scrutinizing over every stat allocation, or stacking potions and scrolls in your precious inventory. Everything is refined to fit a more streamlined play through. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for that type of game, but it just is not likely most people will return to that type of system.
I enjoyed the story on normal with the class I promised to play at launch, the Witch Doctor. It didn’t end up being my favorite choice, but I stuck with it. Once I completed the game though, I headed down the path of Hardcore to hopefully gain more enjoyment. I’m not the type of person who can get behind a game that has a no fail state. I want my death to mean something, not just loss to item durability. That may not be everyone’s idea of a fun time, but it helped me enjoy the game in a way I don’t think playing it on softcore would provide. With death being permanent, my choices and attention had to be focused at all times.
Since I knew going in that I had a deathwish, I picked the only class that would be crazy enough to give their mortal life to combat, The Barbarian. It is probably the most brutal class I’ve played in any game. They hit hard, and they like to make things explode from fury. With the right equipment and skills, you can control each encounter as though you were a shepherd of death.
That doesn't mean you can relax though. At any point, you could lose control of your flock, and be overpowered. It happened 2 times before I could get it right. The first time cost me only 4 hours of my life. The next one whoever cost me quite a few more. I was still trying to figure out everything and worked my way up to 14 hours before my mighty fall, but I was being cocky. It happens a lot in Diablo. My next attempt however was a bit more satisfying. I cleared normal mode with no problem, and even worked my way up to a modest level of 42. I knew that I had hit a wall, but I continued to push.
At that point, my characters impending doom was near, and I couldn’t acknowledge that it was all my fault. It wasn’t the loot I had been given, or the random enemy placement. I can’t use the lag blame like I did on my first death, It was just me. I had dug myself into a corner that made it nearly impossible for me to get out of. By the time I made it to Act II on Nightmare, I could feel death’s presence. I made it to the Oasis and saw my maker. I was standing outside a place I was so familiar with trying to grind for The Staff of Herding, which I never did get.
The three of them looked at my character, who had just changed skills and was feeling very weak. I lost my focus for a moment and in that moment I was able to understand everything I was doing. Of course playing on Hardcore is a very insane idea, especially when you are married and have a child. But with the limited time I have with games anymore, I had to make it count. My focus broke for one second, and I was dead. As I saw my health globe slowly vanish, I had already prepared for the sudden sense of loss I was about to feel. As Blizzard informed me my character would be remembered, I had to see what I had lost. Of course I had some valuable items on my character, none of which I will miss, but it was the stats that scared me.
I had lost nearly 48 hours in my pursuit of victory. I had also monitored how many keystrokes and mouse clicks I accumulated during my journey.
Keyboard Strokes: 47,415 times
Mouse Clicks: 526,738 times
That is an unbelievable amount of loss. My hand sore even as I write this. I’m not sure what I was really after, but I won’t be chasing after it again. Maybe I was looking to live like everyone did in the year 2000, or I wanted to test if I still was a skilled gamer. Whatever the reason was, it helped me with some sort of unspoken closure for that need to keep going. Now I’ll be taking a more casual approach to Hardcore, this time I won’t actually act so “Hardcore” about it.
It is Diablo we needed, and we got exactly that.
R.I.P Claus, Cain, and Sol