I lost another Hardcore Witch Doctor last night. That makes three this season:
- A level 50, died due to inattention.
- A level 70, paragon 50, died attempting a Greater Rift that was too high.
- Last night’s level 65, again due to inattention.
I have, of course, rolled another.
Last night’s death was stupid, and I should have seen it coming. Despite thinking that last time I played her, she seems a little fragile at the moment, I should re-gem for +resist all or turn the difficulty down a notch, I started playing her last night after work when I was tired and laying on the couch, definitely not giving it my all. She died to a champion pack in a Nephalem Rift, standing in the bad, my reflexes most definitely not flexing.
Seeing as though every death results in a howl of agony being issued forth, why do I keep doing this to myself? I can only say that since I’ve started playing on Hardcore, it’s really become the only way I can play. Let me explain.
After the second, most progressed Witch Doctor died, I was stumped for a couple of hours. It really took the wind out of my demon-killing sails, and I couldn’t decide what to do. She wasn’t only my furthest progression in season 4, she was my most progressed character anywhere. I was completing Nephalem Rifts on Torment IV, and every Greater Rift I attempted was a new personal record. That she died doing that was a “good” death. Her deeds of valor have indeed been remembered.
So I umm-ed and ahh-ed about making another Hardcore character and thought about Softcore. If I died, it wouldn’t matter! I could keep on aiming for higher and higher Greater Rifts, and I could amass a fortune and complete a fancy set of gear… all very tempting. I made a Softcore character and set off.
About an hour later I caught myself standing in a pool of desecrated bad, my health barely wobbling, but thought to myself, this is really dumb. Already I can’t be bothered to move out the bad because it probably won’t kill me, and even if it does, it doesn’t matter. There’s consequence. Now, I can totally understand the appeal of playing Softcore. I did it for a long time. I get that there’s playing just for the sheer joy of smashing things up and blowing up hordes of monsters, and not every game has to be a constant test of skill and concentration. But personally, I just can’t get enthused for Diablo III now if I’m not going to “pay the iron price” for my lapses.
That said, while Hardcore is a test with real consequence, there are things you can do to mitigate your losses. Obviously the biggest loss is the loss of your levels; particularly painful if you’re near the level cap and the endgame. There’s nothing you can do about that, but accumulated Paragon levels make a huge difference to a new character; I can level a new Hardcore seasonal character in easily half the time of a Softcore one now. It’s tempting to think you lose “all” your gear, too, but really, through judicious use of the shared stash, you really only lose what you have eqipped at the moment of death. I have a library of levelling legendaries now, so gearing up along the way isn’t such a big deal any more. What you’re actually wearing at the moment of death is only one slice of gear, and if you’re careful about using the stash as you upgrade, it’s quick to catch up to that point. Plus, of couse, you get new legendary pieces along the way, and the bonuses on them might suggest a new combination of skills that you hadn’t considered on previous runs. The only gear that’s a truly sad loss is any legendary gems slotted, particularly if they’ve been upgraded.
My only option is to keep playing, keep improving, keep archiving these heroic ghosts and trying to learn a little from every death.