This will be a continuation of my previous Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks post from last week. Since my last post, I've trudged through Act 3 to the tail end on my current Hardcore Barbarian "Opie" and it appears I beat the jinx as I'm now 32 and not dead. In my recent defense of Bastion's Keep, I've come up with some more ways to keep yourself alive while playing Hardcore.
Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks (Part 1)
1. Utilize all Shrines the best you can - This may go without explanation to some, but in most cases, it's best to hold off on using Shrines until, as Captain Jack Sparrow would say, "The opportune moment". For example, lets say you're wandering through a random dungeon and happen across a Resplendent Chest. What I like to do is leave that chest there and try and locate a Fortune Shrine (You gain 25% increased magic and gold find rate.) in the area and come back for the chest. This way, you maximize your potential magic and gold find from these chests. Another good example is saving your Blessed Shrine (You reduce all incoming damage by 25%) and/or Frenzied Shrines (Your attack speed increases by 25%) until you're ready to start a boss fight or a fight with a large group. This is also a useful strategy when you're playing the on Softcore, but getting the most out of every bonus is especially important in Hardcore.
2. Watch out for server spikes - As Diablo 3 is still in it's infancy, it's not unusual for random server spikes to occur. Also, you may not have the best internet connection in the world so you may be dealing with your own spikes as well. The important thing is to know how to recognize these spikes. Typically, the first thing I notice when a spike is coming on is my character starts to "Rubber Band". For those who don't know, the term "Rubber Band" means, you'll click to move to a new location, then snap back to your original location. Once I notice this happening I stop everything I'm doing and back out of any fight that I'm in. I'll get myself to a safe location and while I'm making my way there (whether it be back to town or a safe place in the current area) I'll keep an eye on my latency indicator at the bottom right of the HUD. If it stays steady green (or whatever your usual latency is) for about 25-30 seconds, I'll go back to what I was doing. If I see it staying up, I'll head back to town and get off my Hardcore character. Blizzard will NOT restore your character if you or even they experience a connection issue which results in your characters death, so taking every precaution when it comes to latency is key. The time you take logging out during connection issues will easily be made up by the time you don't spend building up your character again after they die during a connection issue.
3. Run from Maniacs - This is very simple. It does not matter the situation, if you see a Maniac, of any kind, your first reaction should be to stop what you're doing and run. If you're unfamiliar with Maniacs, I recommend watching this video starting at the 0:50 mark. That will give you a good idea on what you're going to be dealing with. Making your first reaction be to run will allow you to reassess your situation and deal with them at a distance. What I found helpful is using NPCs as a shield. I typically use the Templar while playing in Hardcore and he'll pretty much run headlong into a fight every time. Knowing this, running away while using the Templar will almost always result in Maniacs running right to him as they'll typically go for whatever is nearest to them. This will likely end with your NPC companion dying, but better them than you.
4. Always have at least 1 escape skill equipped - Now each class has their own outs, but you should be familiar with at least 1 low level escape skill for each class. I don't even think it's a bad idea to have 2 actually, but I personally run with 1 when playing my Barbarian. Starting skills like a Barbarian's Leap (Level 8) or Demon Hunter's Vault (Level 9) are almost essential in Hardcore.
5. Proper potion usage - With the addition of potion cooldowns in Diablo 3, the proper use of potions plays a huge part in surviving Hardcore. The first thing you should know, is that the cooldown for a potion is 30 seconds. This doesn't feel like a long time until you need to use a second potion and you can't. Now, everyone knows to use a potion as a last resort because of the fact the cooldown is so long, but there are other times you can use a potion and still get the most out of them. When in a boss fight or even between larger skirmishes, don't be afraid to use a potion. If you're at a three quarters health and know you can spare the 30 seconds, use that potion. That way, you're going back into the fight with full life and you'll have another one up and ready when you need it. Another thing to keep an eye on is the type of potions you're using. It seems that in Diablo 3, the potions scale up rather quickly meaning that you'll start with potions that give you 200-250 life then suddenly you'll have ones that would be giving you a lot more just sitting in your inventory. If you have enough of a higher grade potion, make sure to equip them to the quickslot. I've found myself wandering into fights, hitting my potion only to realize I have newer, more effective potions I could be using sitting there. Because of this, I usually check my potion inventory every 3rd or 4th trip back to town in an Act and swap in the proper potions.
6. Save your equipment - If the worst should happen, you need something to rearm yourself with. Sure, the Blacksmith is good for this as you do not lose your artisan ranks or money when you die, but what about that sword you were holding on to from level 5-10 or maybe that helmet you had from 15-20? As you grow in level and begin replacing your equipment with better equipment, try to save what you're replacing in your stash if you feel it was particularly good. This way, if you should die, you'll be able to just reuse those older pieces of equipment that got you so far. Another good strategy that I use is saving lower level requirement rare items. From what I've noticed, the benefit to most rare grade items (yellow) is that they have a low level requirement. So you may find a ring that is useless to you at level 30, but the level requirement for it might be 15 and those stats would be great for someone at that level. So make sure you're taking the time to look at the level requirement for each item you find and save what you may need if the worst should happen.
I hope these tips and tricks help you out! A lot of the tips I provide here can be beneficial while playing in Softcore mode as well, it's just that these become more important when it's 1 and out. That is all I have for you now, I'll have more tips and tricks coming in the future as discover more methods of avoiding death at the hands of Diablo's minions!
As a side note...I had a nightmare the other night which involved my Hardcore character dying over and over and over... *SHAME*
Diablo 3: Hardcore Tips and Tricks (Part 3)