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Joined: 19 Jul 2009
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re: The Beginners Hardcore (HC) Guide


fixed it up XD thought I got them all. 


Also, if anyone has Hardcore questions feel free to ask me!


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Joined: 07 Jun 2014
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re: The Beginners Hardcore (HC) Guide


very nice. there are a few references that date this, such as  MP (miss those days) but other then that, solid. I approve


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re: The Beginners Hardcore (HC) Guide



This is a guide intended for beginner hardcore (HC) players, and for those thinking about adopting the HC play style. It is not intended for advanced players. I hope this guide may encourage more people to try HC.

There are some very minor story spoilers in this guide. Back out now, if that bothers you.

What’s the TLDR?

The guide covers these topics:


1.What is HC?

2.Is HC better than softcore (SC)?

3.Is HC more fun than SC?

4.Am I going to die in HC?

5.OK, I am going to die. Will Blizzard ever resurrect my dead Hero?

6.How do I resurrect my Hero myself?

7.Why will I die?

8.How do I deal with death in HC?

9.A levelling approach that works for me

10.What level do I need to complete Normal difficulty?

11.What’s the best class?

12.What’s the best follower?

13.What’s the best build for class XXX?

14.Is it cheating to …

15.Some miscellaneous tips


1. What is HC?

You know what HC is, or you wouldn’t be here. You know that in SC Diablo you can resurrect at your last check point, body or in town. Whereas in HC you’re dead for good.


Here are some unique features of HC that may not be known to you:

·        When you die, you lose all items on your dead Hero. That means everything that’s equipped or in the Hero’s inventory. It doesn’t include stuff in your stash.

·        When you die you lose all items on your followers, including items on followers at the camp. So if you have any camped follower with good equipment, you might want to put that equipment in your stash until you hire them.

·        All your HC Heroes share the same stash and gold, but they don’t share your SC heroes’ stash and gold.

·        All your HC Heroes share the benefit of the HC crafting training you’ve done – again, not shared with SC Heroes.

·        There are some special HC Achievements.

·        You can only multiplayer (MP) with other HC Heroes.


2. Is HC better than SC (are HC players better than SC)?

Of course, we all know that HC players are mature, wise, patient and helpful people, unlike their whiny, stupid, abusive, six year old SC counterparts. ;-p

But seriously … Not at all….

No, HC is not better than SC, it’s just different. Essentially they’re different play styles, requiring different approaches and goals. One is not inherently better than the other. In some ways, SC players may be more skilful than HC players because they can afford to experiment with riskier builds and tactics. HC players, on the other hand, have to rely on solid builds and a patient approach, if they want to live a long and healthy life – but HC players may be more skilled at running away.


3. Is HC more fun than SC?


Let’s be clear, there is one BIG downside to HC: your Hero can die permanently, and it may not even be your own fault; it probably wasn’t your fault. Can you handle this? If you can’t there’s no point in playing HC, because you’re heading for a world of pain.

Paradoxically, that BIG downside is also what makes HC so enjoyable and addictive. If you can find a way to deal with the fear of death (and the reality of death), playing HC is an absolute revelation.

In SC, when you’re fighting Diablo, your main worry is that if you die you’re going to have to reload and do it all over again. Damn, that’s several minutes wasted!

In HC, when you’re fighting Diablo, you cannot afford to fail. Once you start any boss encounter in HC, you cannot legitimately quit (unless you reckon you can survive the 10 second d/c period). This means there’s no second chance: if you die, you’re leaving the room in a demon’s lunch box! This gives the play in HC an intensity simply not found in SC.

After playing HC for a few hours the constant fear of death wears off, as you begin to get used to surviving. But every time you see an elite mob, especially when they turn up unexpectedly while you’re fighting something else, it’s no longer just a game: you’re fighting for your life, because all that time you invested in your Hero will be lost if you get it wrong. Your senses are heightened and you have to play as well as you possibly can. SC has nothing to match this feeling. Trust me on this one… I have heard Anything panic although she survived.

4. Am I going to die in HC?

Probably. Almost certainly….. I have 9 times (3 lvl 70’s)

Most HC players say you will die eventually. Whether that’s true depends on how risk averse you are. I think it must be possible to play with a style which is so risk averse that you will never die due to your own poor play. But there’s still a risk of death for reasons beyond your control (e.g., disconnection).

5. OK, I’m going to die. Will Blizzard ever resurrect my dead Hero?

- No.

- “But the death wasn’t my fault…”

- Tough!

- “But surely if Blizz kills my Hero with its crappy servers, it will rezz me?”

- Nope!

- “Waaaahhhh, I want my Hero back!!!! Blizzard u r teh suck!!!”

- Have you thought about SC? Or perhaps a psychiatrist?


6. How do I resurrect my Hero myself?

This one is easy: you just go to the create character screen, select the same class and gender as the Hero who just died, and type in the same name. Diablo 3 will then allow you to create a level 1 hero who looks identical to the dead one (apart from the gear). How cool is that? Now all you have to do is to level it back up to the same level you were at before death.

Sometimes I wonder what the hard in hardcore is for ;-)


7. Why will I die?

Here are some common causes of death (CODs):

- You rushed things

- You were tired

- Lack of experience with the mobs attacking you

- You were drunk

- You were careless

- You didn’t notice that pack of elites had the “We will pwn you” affix

- Your sucky Internet company d/c’d you

- You gave your brother/sister/best friend your account details …

- Blizzard’s wonderfully reliable servers somehow dropped and killed you

- Your mommy unplugged your computer because you hadn’t done your homework

- Your gf/bf unplugged your computer because … (fill in the gap yourself)

- Players have opted to jump in your HC game greatly increasing the difficulty. (disable auto-join in options if this worries you)

Some of these CODs are your fault; they’re wholly within your control; with care, you can stop them happening again; with extreme care you might stop them happening in the first place.


Other CODs have nothing to do with you: you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and you wind up dead. This is when the urge is strongest to go onto the boards and make a post titled “F**K U BLIZZ I QWIT!” Please don’t, but if you do, can I have your stuff? ;-)

8. How do I deal with death in HC? – I take a break and turn off computer INSTANTLY. No need to say ‘bye’.

This is perhaps the most important question for anyone thinking about starting HC. What put me off HC initially was the thought that all the hard work I put into a Hero could be wasted owing to circumstances totally beyond my control, like a server failure.

I've read posts by seasoned HC players saying, “Death by disconnection is a part of HC. If you can’t deal with it, don’t play HC!” Or “HC is about the journey, not the goal; enjoy the time you’re playing.”

You can’t argue with either of these statements, but they don’t quite address the point that after you have invested a lot of time in a Hero, most people will inevitably form an emotional attachment to it, and be absolutely gutted to see it die, especially if the death occurred for reasons out of their own control. Also, after you’ve spent a lot of time playing, there is an inevitable boredom about having to restart the game right from the beginning

In the end, I overcame my fear of dying in HC, by thinking about it like this:

·        First of all, my main goal is no longer simply about continually improving and advancing a Hero (as in SC). It is also about levelling my Hero as far as I possibly can. If I die at level 50, then my next goal is to reach level 51 and beyond.

·        One of the nice things about Diablo 3 is that your stash and crafting-training survive your Hero’s death. So instead of just thinking about equipping my Hero with the best possible gear, I want to equip my stash with the best gear to enable me to quickly run through the content again should a Hero die. That way, death of a Hero is simply the temporary loss of a tool. It’s set-back, rather than a game breaker.

·        Finally, I level more than one Hero at a time, which reduces the heartbreak if one dies. Which brings me to my next point …


9. A levelling approach that works for me

This won’t work for everyone, but the way I’m now playing HC is to level one Hero of each class “simultaneously”. I’ll play one class for a few quests, then switch to the others to get them to the same level. Once they’re all at the same level, I’ll start a new quest with the class which has the highest DPS, in the hope that they can find some better stuff for the others.

The advantages of this approach are:

- You get very familiar with the content, which helps give you the experience and confidence to survive.

- You learn how each class works.

- If you loot any equipment suitable for a different class, you can give it to another Hero. This helps to give you a good chance of finding decent stuff without using the AH.

- If one Hero dies, you still have four others, and you can start again with the one you lost.

I’ve also found a modification to this approach works well. When you’ve killed the Skeleton King with all five classes, select your favourite class as your main Hero and give it extra levelling time, to keep it at least 1-2 Acts above your other characters. That way, you’ll get some absolutely superb drops for your lower level characters.

Other ways of leveling:

My most recent death put me into a day’s worth of grinding a new 70. The best way is what was mentioned above, take it slow, solo and be safe. However last time I went the balls to the wall approach and proceeded to die multiple times. I had a friend who has a solid HC guy do t6 rift runs with me, problem here is one hit and you have to restart.


10. What level do I need to complete Normal difficulty?

When you’re starting HC, I recommend you explore every part of each map and do all the side-quests and dungeons you can find. If you do this, at least on normal difficulty, you will almost certainly be at about the right level for all the main quests and bosses.

If you follow this advice, you will be at around the following levels at the end of each Act.

Act I – level 16

Act II – level 26

Act III – level 31

Act IV – level 33


So what level do you need to complete each Act safely? Well, the levels stated above are certainly adequate - I’m a pretty average player, and in SC I’ve completed Act IV at level 30 with under 2000 health and under 400 DPS without ever dying to Diablo – but I wouldn’t risk that in HC.

For players new to HC, I believe you will survive comfortably, any class, solo or MP, provided you have the following numbers (which are readily attainable without using the AH):


Act I – level 17; health 1,000; DPS 70

Act II – level 27; health 3,000; DPS 200

Act III – level 31; health 3,500; DPS 250

Act IV – level 33; health 4,000; DPS 400

*these are all approx.. do not quote me on these numbers if you do die.

You’ll most likely be fine with stats lower than these (e.g., you should comfortably complete Acts I-IV one level lower, and Acts II-IV with 500 less health). However, there is no money back guarantee if you fail! The bottom line is this: if you’re not confident you can take the next boss, farm for another level or two. The time you spend farming will be less than the time spent re-levelling.

Will this gear level enable you to survive a d/c in the middle of combat? Not unless you’re very lucky, but what gear level would? Seriously, if you’ve geared yourself to survive a d/c, the game would likely be so trivial and boring as to be unplayable.

Fyi, the only bosses that scare me in Normal level HC Diablo 3 are these:

Belial (Act II) – if you don’t move quickly enough out of his bombs, you can die quickly.

Iskatu (Act IV) – kill him before the adds overwhelm you.

Izual (Act IV) – don’t let him freeze you when you’re low on health.


11. What’s the best class?

There’s some doubt about whether melee classes such as the monk and barbarian are viable at Inferno level, but that’s beyond the scope of this guide (perhaps this complaint will be moot after the 1.0.3 patch). At normal level, all classes are perfectly viable.

I personally play a WD pet build I find it is a safe class that you can play even if you have some lag issues. Which is the main reason I started (had terrible load times) Now that I have a new computer and better connection I might try and lvl my monk or crusader…

12. What’s the best follower

So far I haven’t found there’s much in it, and none of my Internet research suggests otherwise. For my ranged classes, I like to use the Templar, because (1) he can heal; and (2) more importantly, he can often block the enemy’s path to me. For melee classes, I prefer either the scoundrel or enchantress – they’re both equally viable. Don’t forget to gear your followers – you need every advantage you can get.


13. What’s the best build for class XXX?

That’s beyond the scope of this guide. At normal level there are a wide variety of builds that will work, and you should be fine with whatever you prefer. I recommend you enable “Elective Mode” in the Gameplay Options, but you don’t actually need to it to beat Normal difficulty.

If you’re new to HC I suggest you focus on builds that use healing and defensive abilities. I also recommend you use a shield, unless you have other gear that substantially increases your DPS.

Playing normal level, I look for the highest DPS possible with my weapon, then stack a mixture of vitality and my prime stat on everything else. Don’t go overboard on vitality – the levels given in section 11 should be more than enough.

14. Is it "cheating" to …

- Get someone to boost me though levels X-Y?

- Use ability Z to skip past mobs?

- Farm the treasure goblin?

- Etc., etc.?



Look, Diablo himself (herself?) cheats. One of Diablo’s main affixes is the “Disconnect” ability. Diablo knows he can’t own you while you’re on-line, so he disconnects you, then beats the crap out of you in the ten seconds before your Hero is logged out. When you’re killed by disconnect, you die and you can’t have your Hero back. Your death was a cheat!

So I take the view that anything the game allows you to do is fair play, as long as it’s not an exploit (by which I mean using a feature which is against the rules, and would get you banned for using it), and as long as it doesn’t directly hurt other players.

I wouldn’t recommend power levelling your Heroes until you have at least got yourself to a reasonable level without power levelling, otherwise you may not develop the skills needed to keep yourself alive.


15. Some miscellaneous tips

Here are some tips that didn’t really fit anywhere else:

- Always pause before leaving your computer or ALT-TABBING to the desktop. Better still, exit your current session before leaving your computer or ALT-TABBING to the desktop!!

- When starting a new session, be wary of selecting “Resume Game”. Instead, consider restarting the current quest from the beginning with “Start Game”. This should always start you at a safe place (if anyone disagrees, let me know). You may have to repeat some content, but that’s no bad thing in HC! For me, this is very important, because I usually find the game laggy for about 30 seconds after I start a session. Of course, there are many times when “Resume Game” will put you in a safe place, but ask yourself if you’re sure before you do it.

- Approach the maps systematically, always leaving yourself with a clear explored escape route. Note that occasionally mobs will spawn in an area that you thought you had cleared.

- Keep a close eye on where the health globes are. Try to leave some behind you, so that as you move forward you have a place you can retreat to and gain health.

- Disable “Allow Quick Join” in the Social Options. You don’t want people joining the game when you’re not expecting it.

- Be very careful when inspecting your items or changing your abilities while in the field - I wouldn’t go so far as to say never do it, but then it hasn’t gotten me killed yet.

- The treasure goblin. I’ve seen plenty of advice to the contrary, but I like to go for them. The trick here is to get on the far side of it, so that it runs into cleared terrain. Do not follow it into unexplored terrain – that’s asking for an early permadeath.

- Be careful when opening resplendent chests, as there is often a mob spawn while you’re busy drooling over your treasure.

- If you’re suffering from lag, or you have any reason to believe your connection is unstable, do not play HC until the problem goes away. Some say it’s too risky to play HC at all right now – that the servers are too unstable. I’ve been d/c’d three times in over 150 hours played, fortunately not while in combat. There’s a risk, but I’m prepared to take it.

- Always check the difficulty of your own game before you create it.. nothing is worse than thinking you are going into a normal game to find out after you die it was T6 all along.

- On the same line.. Always check the difficulty of the players party who you are going to hop on in for. As it may be too difficulty for you and you may die. It is also advised to ask HC players prior to joining their game as it increased difficulty and you may get them killed…. NOT COOL.

- You can join HC chat by typing “/join hardcore” in the chat window.



Disclaimer: I did not create this guide. I have simply modified it for RoS as well as added my own personal touch. Original work goes out to Ositodefelpa -

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