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Diablo 3 is a very easy game. It does everything for you and gives you little control over your character. But as easy as it is, Diablo 3 also comes with a special feature to challenge any veteran gamer: HARDCORE MODE. Once you reach level 10 you can create a new Hardcore character which gives you just one life. That’s right, once you die that’s it. No 1up, no resurrect, no do-over.

For those brave enough to venture into Hardcore mode, we’ve got 12 tips on how to best survive it. Because we like to be extremely thorough, this article is in 2 parts. Only the best are willing to go into Hardcore, but even the brave could use some advice from time to time.

1 – PLAY CAUTIOUS

This should be the first skill you learn in Hardcore. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many Hardcore players die in the first act alone. Softcore gives you unlimited resurrections with almost no death penalty, which leads to some very reckless players. In Hardcore, you’re a fool if you rush into a crowd of spiders, especially in Nightmare, Hell, or Inferno modes.

2 – VITALITY VITALITY VITALITY

Every class has a specific attribute they specialize in. Barbarians need a lot of Strength, Monks need a lot of Dexterity, etc. But in Hardcore, everyone needs Vitality. As expected, Vitality isn’t important in Softcore at all since people can respawn indefinitely, but in Hardcore you must have a high Vitality to survive. When looking for equipment/gear, you typically want items that provide both Vitality and your primary attribute.

So for my monk, every item I wear provides Dexterity and Vitality. And if I find a piece of equipment that only has Vitality? Then sometimes I’ll want to use that anyway. It’s definitely a balancing act, but Vitality should always trump all other bonuses. My level 47 Monk has 20,000 life thanks to all the +VITALITY items, but I still run into problems when facing Vampiric Super Monsters in Nightmare difficulty.

3 – STOP POWER LEVELING

One of the biggest mistakes I see players do is constantly “power leveling” with friends. Basically your low-level character joins some high level friends and they kill all the monsters for you, while you gain all the XP. This is fine and dandy to get through the incredibly boring first 20 levels, but after that you need to just stop and play the game.

I have a friend who’s working on her fourth level-50 character right now. Why? Because she keeps power-leveling to about level 45 and on then does she start playing ‘for real’. The result? She dies around level 53. Again and again and again.

Most power-levelers never learn the skills needed for cautious play in Hardcore, so they die very frequently. Think about it. Who’s going to be better at building your mansion? The guy who spent the last 5 years building 30-high-quality homes, or the guy who spent the same time building 200 garages and double-wides?

4 – PLAN TO DIE

At some point you will die. All Hardcore players go through it — it’s just a matter of when and not if. So it’s a good idea to horde gold and equipment for the day you die.

5 – EXPAND YOUR STASH

Make sure you expand that stash and start storing away good items. Potions are a good thing to store, as well as rings and amulets (since they’re so hard to find at even mid-levels). When you die your stash and gold aren’t impacted at all; so when you start over your stash and gold will be intact!

6 – UPGRADE JEWELER/BLACKSMITH

Your two artisans should be upgraded (but it isn’t a high priority). Make sure you upgrade your Jeweler first since he has the most impact in your game. The Blacksmith isn’t important right now since he crafts totally shitty items, but I suspect Blizzard will fix that someday.

When you die, which is coming sooner than you think, it’ll be okay because your artisans keep their upgrades! So when you start a new character, your artisans will be right where you left off!

Until Next Week…

Those are all the tips we have for you this week. We have more tips about the auction house, healing hot-keys, purple gems and more for next week.

See you on the other side.