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I'm starting a Hardcore hero and I'm wondering, what should I do and what should I avoid? I never played Hardcore in Diablo2 so, there is a "hardcore for basics tips" that I'm not aware of, or is just felling?

- Should I play solo games to avoid the extra damage/health?

             Normal          Nightmare          Hell            Inferno
         ===============  ===============  ===============  ===============  
Players    HP    Damage     HP    Damage     HP    Damage     HP    Damage  
   1      100%    100%     100%    100%     100%    100%     100%    100% 
   2      175%    100%     185%    105%     195%    110%     210%    115% 
   3      250%    100%     270%    110%     290%    120%     320%    130%
   4      325%    100%     355%    115%     385%    130%     430%    145%

Source

- When is the best moment to change from difficulties (normal to nightmare to hell to inferno)?

Usually you end the difficulties in those levels.

 - Normal ~30
 - Nightmare ~50
 - Hell ~60
 - Inferno 60

- What should be the best combination for gear?

 - Weapons for damage. + Life-steal + attack-speed
 - Use Shield
 - All gear (except weapons) with Vitality and armor
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few free to improve the question, I don't know if I put all as I wanted. –  Michel May 20 '12 at 5:53
    
I tend to approach hardcore with a unique mindset. If I plan on facing a boss and risk death, then I weigh risk versus reward. Playing beefy tends to help, but I'd focus more on unique customization (ability to play any style) in hardcore. –  Domocus May 20 '12 at 6:27
9  
Very Carefully :) –  Mikle May 20 '12 at 9:48
    
i don't understand why this question was down-voted and why have 1 close vote, Please leave a comment, so I can fix if there is any problem. –  Michel May 27 '12 at 12:57
    
The close vote is there, because this is a question that has a broad answer and will provoke discussion, henceforth, not suitable on gaming.se –  DrFish May 27 '12 at 18:57
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3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Solo vs. Group Play

I prefer solo play. That's not to say that group play is inherently bad, but in my opinion it's more likely to make your life harder than it is to make it easier, particularly if you're playing in public games. Many players in public games like to rush through as fast as possible and/or split off and do their own thing, which is the #1 way to get killed in Hardcore. If you're playing with people you know and can trust to play cautiously and intelligently, then go right ahead.

When to move into new difficulties

The progression should be relatively easy to figure out; simply don't push yourself forward until the content that you're currently on feels too easy and close calls are almost nonexistent. If you really want specific level targets for reference, I moved into Nightmare at level 33, and most A4 Nightmare players seem to push into Hell around level 53 or so.

Gearing

Vitality is extremely important. When in doubt, stacking more Vitality is probably a safe choice, but don't do it to the total detriment of your DPS. You need DPS to be able to kill things quickly enough, too. Armor is also good for obvious reasons. You'll eventually need to worry about resists, too, but probably not until Hell or so.

Plan on getting most of your gear from the Auction House; it really is the only reliable way to ensure that you'll have the best gear possible for your level.

Strongly consider using a shield, regardless of your class. And if you can find one with your primary stat on it, you get the best of both worlds.

General Hardcore Tips

By request, here are some general hardcore tips, adapted from an answer I wrote to a similar question:

  • Be patient. The best way to survive a near-unwinnable situation is to not to get yourself into them in the first place. This rule of thumb applies to everything:

    • Don't move into a new area or Act until you're sure you can handle it. When in doubt, level up more and/or acquire better gear. Don't get cocky; it will kill you.

    • When exploring an area, move very slowly and cautiously. If you see a pack of Champions that you don't think you can handle, run away. Don't go into combat if you're not 99.9% sure that you can handle yourself.

    • When in doubt, return to an earlier quest (or even an earlier Act) and grind/farm a bit more. An extra hour or two spent grinding is better than another 10+ hours re-leveling another character because you got impatient and died.

  • Always keep your gear as up-to-date as possible. The auction house makes this extremely easy in Normal and early Nightmare. Beyond that, you may need to take some extra time to farm up gear before moving on to a new area.

  • Set as many defensive abilities as you can (enable Elective Mode!). My current HC character is a Demon Hunter, so that means setting things like Vault, Smokescreen, Preparation, and Caltrops for most general purposes. For boss fights, make sure you switch to a spec that complements that specific encounter.

  • Use a shield.

  • Use health potions early and often.

  • Clear zones around the edges first, then work your way in towards the middle. Always leave yourself an escape route that you can use when needed. Don't ever flee into unexplored territory.

  • If your internet connection starts getting spiky, immediately pause the game (if you're playing single-player), or town portal. Don't ever risk combat if your latency bar isn't green. (PC version only)

  • Don't ever use the "Resume" option on the main menu if you can avoid it. Start every new play session from a known safe point, such as a quest that starts in town.

  • Items in your Stash persist when your character dies -- as you level, collect pieces of useful leveling gear that you can use on your future characters. It'll make leveling back up considerably less painful.

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Hardcore is exactly the same stat-wise. To level up, and avoid dying, you should do it carefully and with plenty of defensive skills ready. A high vitality rating is a must.

You also need a good connection, lag is a killer in this game and it's the reason I won't be playing hardcore, at least until the servers stabilize in a few weeks.

Playing with team-mates that properly play their build is always a bonus, which is a lot more likely in hardcore, you won't find many casual pubbies or bad players because they're all dead.

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Something to consider... wait a little, get used to the game on non-HC. Because server traffic is so brutal right now disconnects, and lag could get your toon killed. Give it another week or 2 to be safe. Servers should be more stable. It would be a shame to have your HC toon killed by lag

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Already happened to me. –  user25424 May 24 '12 at 16:49
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