I died. Let's get that out of the way. I died and it was terrible. I felt like someone else had destroyed something I spent so much time creating and despite telling myself I wouldn't get attached to this character I had spent 19 hours making - I was crushed seeing those words. YOU HAVE DIED. Literally unbelievable. I did not understand what I was reading. And then over the next hour I think I went through the five stages of grief. Perhaps I mean that tongue in cheek. Perhaps I don't. I wasn't mad at the end. Just disappointed. Dying was my fault. I could not blame lag on my death. My level 39 wizard died to teleporting, molten, magic sand wasps and I should have saved my diamond skin for a that moment instead of moments before when I thought it was better to use it in advance just to be careful.
But despite losing 19 hours and despite feeling as though I had the rug pulled out from under me; an hour after turning off my monitor and wandering about aimless found me starting a new hardcore character. This time a Demon Hunter - a different kind of challenge. For Diablo 3 is a different game on Hardcore mode. It's more tense. Every altercation with trash monsters means more. There's a a constant Damoclesian sword hanging over your head every time you see a magic or champion monster. Because death is easy. Minor mistakes, like popping a cooldown at the wrong time for instance, make all the difference sometimes. Your standard combat tactics can go horribly wrong depending on the affixes attached to every new foe.
But back I went. My Demon Hunter is level 45 now; higher than my wizard was. And despite knowing that this character too, one day soon, will wind up a ghost on my character selection sheet I trudge on. Because after hardcore mode - regular old software Diablo 3 is is like a walk in the park. It's nice, it's interesting but there's no sense of danger. No real threat. Nothing to make me care if my DPS is high enough or my defenses beefy enough. I think, perhaps, at this point it's hardcore or bust for me. Now, I play for those hard pounding moments when your health dips a bit too low and the monsters hold the possibility that they are a bit more than I can handle. When your screen flashes red is when things are the most exciting. It's like a roller coaster ride without the safety harness. And I can't get enough.