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Since there is no saving in Diablo 3, suppose I suddenly have to go do something with no previous warning (having a 2 year old son will do that to you), and I'm in a relatively safe area (no boss fight), can I leave my character idling in a corner with no fear of monsters walking by and attacking her?

Alternatively, can I use my town portal and idle there? What happens when I teleport back? Do the monsters respawn?

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I'm assuming you're asking regarding playing with friends, since in single-player you can just pause... – Oak May 16 '12 at 13:32
For what it's worth, you can idle for hours without getting kicked from the game, too. Blizzard apparently isn't detecting and booting idlers, or if they are, it's a really high timeout. – Sterno May 16 '12 at 13:35
@Oak, actually... I didn't know you could pause it (since it doesn't with just pressing ESC I assumed it was not possible. Thank you for making me feel dumb! – juan May 16 '12 at 15:27
@Sterno - I time out for idling after about 20 minutes. – user9983 May 18 '12 at 12:06
@OrigamiRobot I wonder if that's new. I had my wife's account idled for at least 4 hours (in a solo game, in Tristram) on Wednesday night. She was also alt-tabbed away, but I can't imagine that actually made a difference. – Sterno May 18 '12 at 13:23
up vote 6 down vote accepted

IF you are soloing you can "Pause" the game by pressing ESC or ESCAPE Also you can Press Y and go in pause as well

You can also use T and head back to the city (If you are not in a boss fight/dungeon) and return for your spot after that.

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Note: those are the default Key for option, achievement and recall (respectively) – Michel May 16 '12 at 13:37
This is not my experience - I've timed out after only 45m or so of idle (with the game paused, even). – Ian Pugsley May 17 '12 at 18:51
@IanPugsley maybe it was because the game was paused – Michel May 17 '12 at 23:22
Nope - same thing has happened with it unpaused. Initially, it happened, and so I paused to check to see if it still happened. – Ian Pugsley May 17 '12 at 23:24
@Martin take a look at this When is the game saved, and how?. – Michel May 18 '12 at 13:44

Monsters do you not respawn unless you leave and rejoin your game, or do something that causes an area to reset(which wouldn't happen while idling). If you're sure the area immediately around you is clear of monsters, you should be fine. Monsters don't tend to wander to far from their spawn point.

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In the beta, it was discovered that other players can kite monsters even into town. If you are playing with other people, idling is only safe if you are in an area that requires you to "zone in" (such as Deckard Cain's house in Act 1).

For solo games, the safest way to idle is to pause the game, as others have mentioned.

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This is valuable addition – Kromster May 18 '12 at 13:30

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