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Reaper of Souls Hardcore from the Start?

Posted 29 Nov 2013 by

This is a topic Xanth will probably tackle in a column at some point, but a fan brought up the issue of tackling Reaper of Souls Hardcore from the start vs. some initial playtime in softcore to get the hang of the new system and changes and difficulty levels, and got some Blueage on the bandwagon.

I switched to playing HC months ago and when the RoS announcement first came out I told everyone I’d be playing HC right away when the patch drops. That has changed and I’ll explain why…

GAME MECHANICS
Before we can safely play hardcore we need to understand how all the mechanics work. Even items as simple as potions are different. Probably for the better but still different. Until we can adjust to these slight changes we are putting ourselves at risk.

LIFE STEAL
We are too comfortable with this and until we learn to life without ls we are bound to put our characters in a spot they shouldn’t be in.

LEVEL DIFFICULTY
The change from MP to normal-torment is really going to trip me up. I know what mp Id be able to handle but what level of difficulty will we test this out? One slip up and you’re toast.

SERVER STABILITY
With many old members coming about there are bound to be additional lag and we are going to suffer the most.

Because of these reasons I will most likely start out playing soft core for 1-3 months then switch back to HC. I think my characters will thank me.
Grimiku: Personally, I plan on playing it safe when the expansion goes live. Rushing into an expansion on a higher difficulty is a little like aiming Vault into unexplored areas of your map.

And what’s wrong with Vaulting into unexplored territory? :P

Grimiku: Nothing if you don’t mind a dirt nap!

I found Reaper of Souls has a greater tendency to lull me into illusions of safety (and then drop the hammer when I’m unsuspecting) than the current live game. I’m used to playing on MP10, but it didn’t take long before Master difficulty wasn’t comfy. Also, I should admit that I’m talking about my Normal mode character here, but I play it like it’s Hardcore.

I recently swapped focus to my Hardcore character in the beta, and am currently leveling from 60 to 70. The first few levels are easy, but somewhere around mid 60’s the difficulty starts getting more unpredictable. We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out after some tuning passes, but I think it’s worth mentioning to the Hardcore community that the difficulty settings may not be as straight forward as they seem. I know it’s part of the fun, but it’s good to know when the road might get rocky too.

I leapt into RoS with my hardcore Monk, who was Paragon 70 and arguably the best equipped of my D3V paragon level characters, and I had no regrets. (Admittedly, I felt safer since the Beta works as a sort of PTR where nothing is permanent, so I wasn’t *really* risking my Monk.)

Xanth started off RoS in Hardcore...

Starting off HC in RoS has potential drawbacks

The Monk leveled from 60 to 70 over several hours of semi-cautious, “Hard” level DiabloWikiAdventure Mode games, and it wasn’t a real tough voyage. That Monk, as well as the level 60 softcore Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor I’ve since made the voyage with, all felt overpowered at level 60 in RoS, about like I was playing on MP1 with much lower monster density. That OP feeling faded quickly as I leveled up and the monsters scaled up with me, and by 65 I felt like I was on MP3 (with much lower monster density), and by 70 I’d have been dead, had I not been gearing up as I leveled.

I think gear is the real issue, more than new game mechanics and skill changes and such. Those matter as well of course, but Diablo 3 is a game chiefly about your gear, and while not knowing how to react to Elites with Poison Enchanted or Frozen Pulse is dangerous, playing with crappy gear is fatal. Therefore I think you’ll be fine leaping right into RoS with your hardcore chars, so long as you don’t get too crazy overconfident and pull a Xanth’s WD, leaping right into Master and relying on your now nonfunctional DiabloWikilife steal knife to keep you alive. (With grim results.)


Will you start of Reaper of Souls playing Hardcore?

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Click through for more discussion of the changes to difficulty levels in Reaper of Souls and some first hand insight on how hard those levels are for newly geared up characters in the beta.

Difficulty Settings in Reaper of Souls

  • Normal
  • Hard: 75% Extra gold/xp
  • Expert: 100% extra gold/xp, Bounties award double currency.
  • Master: 200% extra gold/xp, Bounties award double currency, New legendary recipes can drop in this difficulty.
  • Torment 1-6: 300% extra gold/XP, Bounties award double currency, New legendary recipes can drop in this difficulty, New legendary items can drop in this difficulty, 250% bonus legendary drop rate, Additional gold/XP/legendary drop rate per slider tick.
  • Yes, it was much simpler just calling them DiabloWikiMonster Power 1-10. I guess we still could, though there are only 9 increases if you count Normal = MP0, but as you see in the tooltips, there are really points of punctuated equilibrium in Reaper of Souls. That is not the case in D3, where as long as you’re at MP1, you get the full monster density and higher levels just move the slider up on the damage, exp, magic find, etc.

    The real jump in Reaper of Souls is Torment, where you see huge boosts in the legendary drop rates. Your goal as a player should be to survive and prosper on Torment+, since that’s the most rewarding stage. Moving up each level of Torment increases those bonuses still further, but it *really* skyrockets the monster hps, and you won’t see anywhere near the changes or benefits going from Torment 1 to Torment 2, and so on, as you see going from Master to Torment.

    My HC Monk is able to play Master fairly comfortably at this point, after just a couple of weeks of RoS, without any great item finds. I’ve spent a lot of time with a HC Crusader and my old softcore Demon Hunter as well, so don’t take my two weeks of play time as any kind of intensive Monk-building exercise.

    YMMV, but the point is that it’s taken me less than two weeks of sporadic play to gear up to the point that my best character is almost ready for Torment. So, if you’re setting that as your target, even in Hardcore, it’s not a wild dream. And you get to do it without spending a dime in the Auction House! (Or earning a dime selling gear that way, but try not to think about that.)