After agonizing over the decision whether or not to risk my character by facing Azmodan, the boss of Diablo 3′s Act III, I finally said ‘the Hell with it’ and waded in. I panicked, sure, when the pools of blood started spreading, remembering how they killed my demon hunter. But my demon hunter had crappy gear. I stood in the blood, weathered the attacks, and had the demon lord dead in a few seconds.
Having good gear in Diablo 3 is everything. If your gear is crappy, there’s a lot of dodging and careful marshaling of potions and using every ability you have at just the right time. Me, I just put up my vortex of death and spammed my 1-2 combo.
I know, even though this is hardcore, it’s still normal mode, still super-easy, but it was just as easy with my demon hunter and I still died lots. It’s not the class, demon hunters are very powerful, it’s because, as a lifelong player of RPGs, I suck.
I used to idolize the uber raiders of the original EverQuest, certain they had a secret knowledge I could never share. Some probably did; the ones who invented feign death splitting or bard song twisting or complete heal rotations. Clearly there were some EQ players at the far end of the bell curve.
But once I got to know the uber guilders as individual people and found out most of them were hydroencephalitic idiots, clearly skill played little part. It was all about having the best gear, and the time and the will to get that best gear. Bosses are a lot easier when you can pull all the trash along with and just tank that damage in the short time the mob lives.
Guild raiding was all about getting gear with the correct people to ensure success. With the best gear, even the stupidest strategies worked.
My guild, Crimson Eternity, was a mid-tier raiding guild. Once someone’s gear was acceptable to the uber-guilds, they would typically leave. We tried to keep a family, casual atmosphere while still making progression, but it was tough when the uberguild recruiters would hold out promises of fast mob kills, no wipes, no brains, easy loot, all you had to do was fill out the numbers needed for your class and follow orders.
As my gear got better and better, I enjoyed EverQuest more and more. And through it all, I was a crappy player. Whiny, too. But once my gear reached a certain level, it was all good. Me showing up and wearing the gear was all I needed to do. I was a cleric, which is usually pretty stressful since if someone died, it was always my fault. (I was forced to learn how to do my job as a cleric for that reason.)
Anyway. All about the gear. I’ve been reading the Diablo 3 forums. It’s always about the gear, from level 1 through level 60.
Only difference between hardcore and softcore is, if you fail your gear check, you have to start over.
But that’s a pretty big difference.