Crawling Through the Nightmare

If you’re wondering if my venturing into the hardcore world was a fluke, it hasn’t. My HC wizard is still progressing along nicely (and slowly) through Nightmare having just downed the Butcher without too much difficulty. Granted I’m keeping the game set at MP0 as my wizard is playing exclusively solo and self-found.

Yes, that’s right. I’m staying away from the auction house other than to sell stuff to augment my gold income since I’m still working on opening up the third tab. This might be a strategy that will come to bite me in the butt later down the road, but I’m determined to not resort to farming the AH and trivialize my hardcore experience. I want to experience going through the game as it was intended.

Now granted, if I do lose my wizard at some point along the way, I may not be as idealistic as I am now and pick up some gear to speed up the process of catching back up to where I was, but for now I want to remain completely self-found.

So with this self-inflicted limitation you might be wondering what kind of build I’m using with my wizard. So far I’m pretty much sticking with Electrocute (Forked Lightning) and Blizzard as my main attacks. As for my hotkeys I’m using Wave of Force (Force Affinity) as my GET AWAY FROM ME button along with Diamond Skin (Crystal Shell) for when WoF is on cool-down, or I just need to be able to absorb some incoming damage.

I’m still using Ice Armor (Chilling Aura) and Magic Weapon (Force Weapon) but these two skills I may change out since I’m now in Act II Nightmare, aka where I originally started having massive problems during my first playthrough. I am gearing differently than I did back when I first played, so perhaps my run through Nightmare won’t be as … *ahem* nightmarish.

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Never Say Never

Don’t worry folks, this isn’t going to be a blog post about Justin Bieber, though would that really be so awful? No, this is about how I swore up and down (especially with the difficulties my wizard experienced in Nightmare) that never would I play a hardcore character. Granted I dabbled in hardcore months ago for a gaming night with folks from the Shattered Soulstone community, but that was with the express intent of dying. Never would I actually consider it as something that I would actively care about.

Well folks, somehow all that changed.

Now before all you hardcore purists get too awfully excited I do not want to oversell my interests in playing hardcore. I still have yet to experience my first death so I’m not sure how I will react to it, especially if I get pretty far. So far my hardcore wizard is progressing slowly and carefully and I can honestly say that it feels like I’m playing a “new” game.

I’ve had maybe one or two close calls so far and I think I’m starting to get the allure of it. Again, though, this may change after my first death but there’s something about knowing if you die that’s it. As such I’ve built and geared my wizard differently than I would where death just means a small monetary and time loss. I value gear that’s heavy on VIT and other defensive bonuses over DPS focused stats. I’m also (re)learning to love and use Wave of Force to either push enemies away or reflect projectiles back at their launchers.

Did you know that you can actually reflect Diablo’s fireballs back at (s)him? I didn’t until I tried it when I cleared Normal with my wizard. It’s a lot of fun even if it doesn’t damage Diablo.

Almost feels like Burning Crusade all over again.

Now that my wizard is in Act I Nightmare I’ve slowed the pace at which I’ve been pushing with her. Her survivability is pretty decent, but her damage output is just low enough that slow and careful is the name of the game. As it should be, right?

Not having a sugar daddy/mommy to twink out my wizard has me wondering if I should go back and start a secondary hardcore wizard just in case. Also to free up some more stash space being clogged with gear that I’ve saved along the way just in case. It’s weird to be in this position of not having gold and stash space again. It’s also just as weird that I’m approaching playing hardcore with the mentality of just in case. Does this signify a true transition to the hardcore lifestyle?

I’m not sure what it means, but I will definitely keep everyone updated. I am, however, pretty certain that I will not be giving up playing for fun where a death doesn’t mean hours and hours of invested time go down the drain. I still play a little too carelessly for that, especially in Inferno. There are also times where is prefer to just “veg out” and not have to stress over making silly mistakes.