Diablo III Hardcore Tips - How to Avoid Death


Tribe of Judah StarCraft Series Chapter Leader
I die like it's my job. I create a character, die, then create another one, and then die. Of the 16 hardcore characters I've created, 9 of them have died, the most recent was a level 54 yesterday.
My profile: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/eskunu-1640/

The fact of life (in Diablo Hardcore) is that you're going to die. You just have to face it at one point; you have to expect it, but also work to mitigate the risks. Sometimes it's going to be a low level character, sometimes it's your best geared character. Sometimes you die to something really dumb, or sometimes it's a technical glitch with your computer, the server or connection, or the game client itself. Patches are notorious killers.

Here are some tips to help diminish the risk:

  1. Avoid Collision
    Collision in-game refers to anything that you can't walk through or push out of the way, likes walls or monsters. Many, many deaths occur due to pathing and collisions, so don't get trapped in a bunch of mobs. As a barbarian or monk, it's okay to run into a group of creatures, but know how to fight your way out, and never, ever get trapped or fight in a corner or against a wall.
  2. Kite
    Kite the mobs around, going in the direction you've already cleared, and NEVER moving forward. Even as a melee class you should learn to kite. Learn to kite effectively by using the Shift key to launch your attacks. Always move around.
  3. Upgrade
    If you're not killing monsters within 2 blows (about half a second), or almost 2 blows, then you need to upgrade your gear by visiting the AH, crafting, or revisit an earlier Act and turn the monster power level up.
  4. Play with friends or at least with the Followers
    Other guides will tell you to play by yourself, but I prefer to play with friends because they can help you out quite a bit, especially if you designate roles like tank and DPS. You can also help each other out by choosing crafting paths; i.e. I have chosen blacksmithing and my friend Kamarrow does all of the jewelcrafting for me.
  5. Play multiple characters
    I try to have one character in each level range; a character in the lvl 1-10 range, one in the lvl 11-20, 21-30, etc. I also have multiple classes of the ones I like the most, so I always try to have 2-3 barbarians, 1-2 witch doctors, and 1-2 demon hunters. That way, if I feel like playing more of a 'slow' game then I'll jump on a lower level character so I'm not at a high risk. Or, if I'm very attentive and energetic and want a fast paced game, I can play either a middle or higher tier character. I can also choose to farm on one of these characters.
  6. Take breaks
    If you've been playing for an hour or so, then feel free to get up and take a break. Nearly every one of my characters that have died have died when I was playing for more than an hour and I let my guard down. If you do die, then DO NOT PLAY. Let your head cool for a little bit before you jump back into the game. Even if you don't follow this advice, at least play a low character, or create a new one.
  7. Follow the story
    The story allows you to go at a slower pace, which is good. The last thing you want to do is jump from one scene to the next, from one Act to the next; that's a great way to end up getting killed. Each scene has a moderately higher difficulty, and the difficulty between Acts, let alone after completion of Act IV, is significant.
[size=+1]Why Play Hardcore?[/size]
There are four primary reasons why I think players should focus on Hardcore.

  1. Longevity
    In softcore you create a character, and that's that. You might create another class, if you like, but once you get to 60 you've pretty much seen everything and you've reached 'the end' of the game. Granted, Diablo was never an 'end game' franchise, but you still feel like you've reached a plateau. In Hardcore, there is a significant risk that you'll lose your character at one point. For example, I have invested 163 hours on 16 characters in Hardcore and I still have not reached level 60 on any of my characters. That is a personal goal of mine, and that's partially what keeps me going.
  2. It's Exciting
    Nothing gets your blood pumping like when you've rounded the corner of the Cathedral and you run in to 2 groups of elites in Hell difficulty. Well, nothing except starting a new Act, because each Act is significantly harder than the last. Or, starting a new Difficulty. Or, getting several upgrades to your character. Just last night I reached level 22 on one of my characters, and I had 3 pieces of armor waiting for him - not to mention the new runes and abilities that were unlocked. Yes, you can get that in softcore, but it doesn't mean quite as much or have as much relevance as in hardcore.
  3. The Economy is Stronger
    Well, this is a two sided coin. Pun intended. The macro-economy is largely the same as softcore (i.e. the economy of the Auction Houses), but the difference comes in personal economy. For example, in softcore let's say you take a character from 1-60, make 1,000,000 gold and spend 1,000,000 gold on your character through upgrades and crafting. In hardcore you have the same scenario, but your character dies as soon as he reaches 60. Now you're left with no gold because everything you've invested into that character is gone, and you no longer have a character you can farm with. You have to start from scratch, and you have to be more careful with how and when you choose to invest into your character. Further, in Hardcore you do not have access to the RMAH, which significantly boosts the value of items in the HC AH.
  4. It's Challenging
    It's not challenging in the sense that it's any more difficult than softcore, but it's challenging in that it's a war of attrition, and you always, always have to stay ahead of the game and play smart. Even the most minor details, details that don't seem important, can have a tremendous effect on your character and the gameplay. The game becomes exhilarating because each minor detail is amplified to the point that your entire progress could come to a screeching halt thanks to a frozen orb that you couldn't avoid, or Jailor/Desecrator combo, or maybe your follower or teammate is pulling mobs faster than you like. These are all very exciting elements, and these are primarily what keep me playing. Even though I suffer a great disappointment when any one of my characters dies, I find that the risk of investment is highly entertaining.
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Ah, ok. I have been thinking about joining you guys, but not sure if I will. Already have so much else to do, and I was wanted to get back into SC2.


Tribe of Judah StarCraft Series Chapter Leader
I've been playing a lot lately. Hoping to find some others to play along with :)