Monday, June 29, 2009

The real hardcore!

I fired up my computer first thing Saturday morning in the same tradition that I had been doing every Saturday for the last ten years, except this time it felt a little different. I didn't have an MMO to play. Saturday mornings are my only chance to get some quality gaming time in, and I had nothing to play... I checked my Steam friends list and Melf still hadn't come online, so that meant a single player game was in order. I checked The Steam sales, and to my luck 'Plants vs Zombies' was on sale 50% off. Easy sale.

What an awesome little game! I won't do a review as there are already hundreds, but I can tell you that I was impressed for the price I payed. About an hour into PvZ, a Steam message popped up in the bottom right of my monitor:

"Melf is now playing Diablo 2"

WTF? I love that game! I hadn't played it in ages. I got Melf on Vent and jumped in myself. Melf asked if I wanted to join him in creating a 'harcore' character on The catch was that we needed to first complete the game online in 'normal' mode to unlock 'hardcore' mode. The goal was set! I rolled an Amazon, Melf a Sorceress. The character choice was irrelevant because they would be thrown away after hardcore mode was unlocked. We rushed through normal mode in a little under 5 hours. It would have taken longer if not for Melf's ancient D2 knowledge and the help of a few higher level good samaritans.

It was hardcore time! I chose the Sorceress, entered a name and clicked to continue. The usual message appeared warning me that if I died, it was 100% game over. If Blizzard wanted to deter me, they were going about it the wrong way. Melf created a game, and both our characters appeared in the Rogue Encampment. Melf had rolled a Paladin.

The one thing about D2 that's strangely never bored me, is progressing through the first 5 or so levels. Its fun to find a useful weapon and get enough money to buy those essential items. I think the 7th or so Zombie to fall to my firebolt dropped some hard leather armour with +6 to life. Awesome! I scored a pair of boots with 10% faster hit recovery off a shaman. Leet! I love it!

Level progression in hardcore mode is a little slower than normal. You can't take as many risks, and you need to fight with one finger on the 'drink rejuvenation potion' button. Memories of my old school gaming days were flooding back to me and I was having a ball. The thrill, the risk, the challenge! This was the real hardcore and it felt good to be back!

We finished up Sunday night at level 12 and both still alive in Act 2. We have the Horadric scroll, but need the cube... Will we make it to the end? Hell knows, but we intend to try ;)


B.J. said...

I've never been able to get into D2, namely because I've never had friends to play it with, so it has always been a solo game for me. I think the release of Diablo 3 will help that, as I know more people online these days who will purchase it upon release. I will no longer be relegated to solo play; I'll be able to play with the pack online for once, and I look forward to that.

Hardcore with a friend sounds fun. Hardcore alone is self-flagellation.

Thallian said...

woot! My bro and friends just started up Diablo 2 again , maybe there's some diablo fever going around ;)

Crimson Starfire said...

Diablo 2 is all about the multi-player with friends. If you play solo, then it's just a polished hack'n'slash. Back in my Uni days, I used to have 8 player D2 LAN weekends. I can't even begin to describe how much fun they were. Ah, I miss those days...

The release of Diablo 3 will definitely bring the crowds back. Can't wait!

When I logged onto, I was expecting to see only a few people playing. The game is nearly 10 years old after all. To my surprise there were thousands of people logged in. You mention there being some Diablo fever going around, I'm not sure that it ever left ;)

Rich said...

diablo 2 consumed my soul.

Crimson Starfire said...

Yeah, mine is trapped in a soul stone somewhere as well. I'll just have to wait for an ambitious adventurer to release me... ;)

Anton said...

I missed out on the Diablo games I guess...That's what you get for having a Mac until halfway through college. Hardcore sounds awesome, I'm doing something like that in a Neverwinter Nights campaign, only it's 10 lives in a persistent world server.