Diablo® III

DrBlood's Guide to leveling 1-60 Hardcore

Welcome to the Hardcore Community brave soul!
Here are some following tips for your consideration in order to thrive and survive your hardcore experience.:
DrBlood's Method

Levels 1-15 (NORMAL ACT 1)

Gear:
If this is your first hardcore character you are going to be poor. Each blue drop is going to seem like a godsend especially if it has a vitality stat on it. Vitality is prized above all other stats in hardcore especially at this level. You are going to need help surviving so it is best to pick up every single blue drop you can and either sell it or salvage it at the blacksmith. You can craft some pretty decent blue gear focusing primarily on vitality during this phase.

Gameplay:
Never solo in hardcore. Many experienced veterans have died to overconfidence, lag spikes, and disconnects. There is safety in numbers. If you stray too far from the group, immediately port to town and rejoin them by clicking on a safe flag. NEVER click on any player's flag that is red because this means they are fighting an elite. Porting in at such a moment in the higher difficulties can and will get you killed. The key to success in hardcore is forming alliances and friendships with others. Being polite goes a long way! Don’t be afraid to tell people that you are scared, or new. Swallow your pride and ask for help. Some people will hook you up with spare items they don’t need or even small sums of gold. Be careful not to abuse the charity of other good players though. As a whole you will find people to be very friendly and helpful during these lower levels because everyone remembers their first time they had less than 1,000 gold.

1/3 life rule:
As a general precaution, if a non-elite monster hits you for 1/3rd of your life, you are way overextending yourself and should retreat to town as soon as safely possible. Get out of that game immediately no matter how good the group is.

Progression:
You may think I am way overly cautious, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. I generally will quest up to and kill the skeleton king from levels 1-15 in various public games before ever stepping into the Fields of Misery. There are terrible creatures in Fields of Misery, and the Highlands which players call “Bulls” which charge you. If you get hit by a bull, it can easily take half our life off! This is the reason to buff up in levels and at the same time equipping any vitality gear you can find or craft. Once you hit level 15, you should be buffed enough to survive being jumped by an elite bull pack, but be warned, the pack in southern highlands can and will still kill you if you are jumped alone by them! I cannot stress this enough, staying in a close clustered group greatly increases the group’s overall survival rate.

Levels 15-19 (NORMAL ACT 1)

Gear:
By now you have a few rare yellow items equipped along with almost every other item that should be blue stacked with vitality hopefully. If you have been blessed with an abundance of gold from generous players, you can at this point search the auction house for purple gems and socketed gear. Purple gems grant extra vitality when placed in armor or offhand items. You are going to need a butt load of vitality before you face the last boss of act 1, The Butcher. Grind your gold, craft your vitality gear, and unless you are rich, don’t try to face tank the Butcher.

Gameplay and Progression also a note on powerleveling:
By this time you should be sick and tired of act 1, DON’T be impatient! The most important lesson of hardcore is not to hurry up and rush for 60, but to develop a steady and disciplined mindset. Your confidence will develop as you conquer your foes slowly and surely. It is ill advised by many seasoned Hardcore veterans to receive what is known as a power level. Power leveling is inherently dangerous as it involves a level 60 character killing monsters for you in places that are incredibly dangerous and far exceed the 1/3rd life rule. Players frequently get killed in one blow while receiving a power level, the risk is just too great…this is hardcore after all. I personally will call on level 60 players to help kill bosses for me versus receiving a power level. Other extremely hardline self-found hardcore players will insist that you solo the whole content of the game up to level 60 in order to experience the full range of performance your character can pump out. I leave this decision up to you brave soul. When you feel ready, Kill the Butcher in a group and progress to Act 2. Again, I advise for the first time hardcore player to wait till level 19 before advancing to Act 2. One small note on the Butcher, avoid his charge, and stay out of the fire!
Edited by DrBlood#1643 on 12/14/2013 4:36 PM PST
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Levels 19-25 (NORMAL ACT 2)

Gear:
Some pretty decent blues with sockets are going to drop in Act 2, these are worth a considerable amount of money as they have a level 15 requirement….remember Act 1 players want this before facing the Butcher and will pay you handsomely for your wares! Look for socketed armour of the Bear, and any level 15 socketed amulet or ring. Gem these accordingly with what ever purple gems you self find or can afford. While you grind Act 2 focus on salvaging and selling trash blues again that have unfavorable stats. Continue training your BLACKSMITH FIRST before dropping gold on your jeweler. Save your gold for crafting the cost of crafting your vitality gear for the 20-30 range. If you have been blessed with a donation of gold from a powerful friend, I only advise purchasing ONLY your weapons and off hands from the auction house. You can easily craft suitable gear for your character and save a ton of gold this way.

Gameplay and Progression:
Players will usually do Mahgda boss runs 3-4 times to buff up their levels to around 22-23 before advancing forward in Act 2 content. Watch out for the “Bees” their damage is incredible if you get hit by their 4 bee projectiles. Be cautious after killing the Lucuni, their corpses will soon explode afterwards leaving a poison cloud which is also hazardous to walk through. Once you have hit 22-23 you can safely continue past Mahgda and progress up to the last Boss Belial. Belial is NO JOKE and has killed countless hardcore players regardless of the skill of the group. If you can, beg for some help in general chat. People understand just how dangerous Belial’s poison explosion attacks are. If you are a hardline self-found player, there's no point in reading this article as you are probably already a hardcore expert. Be sure to reach at a bare minimum level 25 if this is your first hardcore character before advancing to Act 3. All of your gear should be at least a minimum level of 20+ stacked primarily with vitality then secondly with whatever attribute that increases your damage.

Levels 25-30 (NORMAL ACT 3)

Gear:
The drops will be considerably nicer in act 3, and believe me you are going to have to earn them by risking your life! As stated previously, vitality is king in hardcore above all other stat, see to it. A good weapon is going to make a world of a difference here. Shop and trade wisely for one.

Gameplay and Progression:
Congratulations on making it to Act 3, but the dangerous journey now is about to get off da hook crazy! Act 3 is no joke and can and will kill the undergeared characters! I will personally not walk into act 3 unless I have well over 3,000 life. Perhaps I am a scardy cat, but that’s just me. Players will progress and kill GHOM from levels 23-26 typically before moving out to destroy the ballista in the fields. Some helpful tips include:
1. Make dogone sure you do not suffer yourself to become seperated from your group here!
2. Avoid the mortars, I saw a player get hit by 5 thus instanly killing him/her!
3. Never walk through the doors in the keeps if you are a ranged class without first firing off some shots through the door to see if any demons are lying in wait.
4. Beware of the goblin lunatics, they are fat little green goblins that giggle while running up and exploding on you. They have a green haze around them, make sure you are firing shots through doors and know when to retreat a bit!
5. There is an incredibly dangerous yellow rare elite pack of Tremmors in level 3 Keeps, watch out for these bad boys on ANY difficulty as they can and do kill people.
6. Avoid the final boss, Azmodan’s fireball at all costs. You do like the rest of us do when you see if coming, you run your a$$ off! This fireball will literally one shot kill you!
When you kill Azmodan you should be level 28-29, but your goal is 30. Do NOT progress into act 4, EVER! Just keep regrinding your last few levels in act 3 then have a level 60 character kill the last boss in act 4 for you, which is Diablo. Again many hardline self-found players would argue with me on this, however this thread is geared towards getting you to 60 for the first time as safely as possible. Act 4 commonly kills many people including myself, just don’t do it.
Edited by DrBlood#1643 on 12/14/2013 11:35 PM PST
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Welcome to the Hardcore Community brave soul!
Here are some following tips for your consideration in order to thrive and survive your hardcore experience.:
DrBlood’s Method
Levels 1-15 (NORMAL ACT 1)
Gear:
If this is your first hardcore character you are going to be poor. Each blue drop is going to seem like a godsend especially if it has a vitality stat on it. Vitality is prized above all other stats in hardcore especially at this level. You are going to need help surviving so it is best to pick up every single blue drop you can and either sell it or salvage it at the blacksmith. You can craft some pretty decent blue gear focusing primarily on vitality during this phase.
Gameplay:
Never solo in hardcore. Many experienced veterans have died to overconfidence, lag spikes, and disconnects. There is safety in numbers. If you stray too far from the group, immediately port to town and rejoin them by clicking on a safe flag. NEVER click on any player's flag that is red because this means they are fighting an elite. Porting in at such a moment in the higher difficulties can and will get you killed. The key to success in hardcore is forming alliances and friendships with others. Being polite goes a long way! Don’t be afraid to tell people that you are scared, or new. Swallow your pride and ask for help. Some people will hook you up with spare items they don’t need or even small sums of gold. Be careful not to abuse the charity of other good players though. As a whole you will find people to be very friendly and helpful during these lower levels because everyone remembers their first time they had less than 1,000 gold.
1/3 life rule:
As a general precaution, if a non-elite monster hits you for 1/3rd of your life, you are way overextending yourself and should retreat to town as soon as safely possible. Get out of that game immediately no matter how good the group is.
Progression:
You may think I am way overly cautious, but it is always best to err on the side of caution. I generally will quest up to and kill the skeleton king from levels 1-15 in various public games before ever stepping into the Fields of Misery. There are terrible creatures in Fields of Misery, and the Highlands which players call “Bulls” which charge you. If you get hit by a bull, it can easily take half our life off! This is the reason to buff up in levels and at the same time equipping any vitality gear you can find or craft. Once you hit level 15, you should be buffed enough to survive being jumped by an elite bull pack, but be warned, the pack in southern highlands can and will still kill you if you are jumped alone by them! I cannot stress this enough, staying in a close clustered group greatly increases the group’s overall survival rate.
Levels 15-19 (NORMAL ACT 1)
Gear:
By now you have a few rare yellow items equipped along with almost every other item that should be blue stacked with vitality hopefully. If you have been blessed with an abundance of gold from generous players, you can at this point search the auction house for purple gems and socketed gear. Purple gems grant extra vitality when placed in armor or offhand items. You are going to need a butt load of vitality before you face the last boss of act 1, The Butcher. Grind your gold, craft your vitality gear, and unless you are rich, don’t try to face tank the Butcher.
Gameplay and Progression also a note on powerleveling:
By this time you should be sick and tired of act 1, DON’T be impatient! The most important lesson of hardcore is not to hurry up and rush for 60, but to develop a steady and disciplined mindset. Your confidence will develop as you conquer your foes slowly and surely. It is ill advised by many seasoned Hardcore veterans to receive what is known as a power level. Power leveling is inherently dangerous as it involves a level 60 character killing monsters for you in places that are incredibly dangerous and far exceed the 1/3rd life rule. Players frequently get killed in one blow while receiving a power level, the risk is just too great…this is hardcore after all. I personally will call on level 60 players to help kill bosses for me versus receiving a power level. Other extremely hardline self-found hardcore players will insist that you solo the whole content of the game up to level 60 in order to experience the full range of performance your character can pump out. I leave this decision up to you brave soul. When you feel ready, Kill the Butcher in a group and progress to Act 2. Again, I advise for the first time hardcore player to wait till level 19 before advancing to Act 2. One small note on the Butcher, avoid his charge, and stay out of the fire!


Indeed ^_^
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Levels 30-40 (NIGHTMARE ACT 1)

Gear:
The same logic dictates that vitality is King again. See that all your gear is at a bare minimum mid level 20s or level 30 stacked with vitality and gemmed accordingly. Invest any gold you have into a decent weapon and offhand. Continue to train ONLY your blacksmith at this point, while saving up the jewels and training materials for later. Jewels become very important after you hit level 60 as far as crafting upgrades. Upgrading gems lower than flawless square quality is just a gold sink that wastes efforts when gear could be crafted instead.

Gameplay and Progression:
Congratulations on making it to Nightmare a level 30! Don’t get cocky though, cause it's about to get real! Your goal is to reach level 40 before killing the last boss of Act 1, The Butcher. Some folks are extra cautious and don’t even step into hardcore until they are 40! Remember this when you face the bulls in Fields of Misery and the Highlands along with the Butcher. Be careful of any elite with the Waller, arcane, frozen affix. Watch your step, don’t stand in desecrator circles elite packs put down. WATCH OUT FOR THE BULLS! Once you hit level 40, progress to act 2.

Levels 40-45 (NIGHTMARE ACT 2)

Gear:
From this point forward, you shouldn’t need the good doctor’s advice anymore. You know what it takes to not die, and just how important upgrading your gear every 8-10 levels is. You also have become a vitality fanatic! This is good! Keep it up! Remember, only buy a good weapon, don’t waste our gold on armour at the Auction House.

Gameplay and Progression:
The same gameplay advice is the same as normal Act 2, just pay attention to not walking through poison clouds and standing still in desecrator pools. Avoid those arcane beams! Mahgdas butterflies also begin to inflict damage worth noticing. Do NOT ever attempt to take on Belial, have a level 60 friend come kill him for you then advance act 3 at once you are a minumum level of 45.

Levels 45-50 (NIGHTMARE ACT 3)

Gameplay and Progression:
It just got all too real again for you. Act 3 nightmare is no joke and can kill you! Be very careful here. All of the same precautions wrote about in Act 3 Normal apply. NEVER attempt to kill Azmodan no matter how good your group is, call in your level 60 friend again to kill Azmodan for you! His fireball is just way to lethal for any mistakes to be made. If you are level 50 at this point have your friend also kill Diablo for you. DO NOT ever quest in Act 4 Normal or Nightmare, ever!

Levels 50-55 (HELL ACT 1)
Congratulations on making it to Hell at level 50! I will be attending your funeral soon though, cause now you die.

Gear:
This is the only time I would advise buying armor from the auction house, look for stats Resistance to All/Vitality. You are going to need a frigging awesome weapon too. Shop for a weapon that grants you 3000+ increase in damage. Plenty of these weapons drop with reduced level requirements from paragon runs in Inferno, where you soon will be if you continue to follow the good doctor’s advice! Aim for a minimum of 200-300 resists to all. Your life should be stacked as high as you can get it, but it will take a hit from the resistance gear. Don’t worry, you will need those resistances over vitality. Every single piece armor should be a rare yellow with a minimum level requirement of 50+.

Gameplay and Progression:
Finding people to play public games in Hell with is incredibly rare, most of the time you will be questing alone, which is insanely hazardous to your health. I can help you with that!

Monster power explained:
The game is set by default at monster power 0. If you are a ranged class, and ONLY a ranged class can safely do what is commonly referred to as the “Rumford Runs” in act 1 with the monster power setting set to 10. It is possible for a mele class to do this also, but your weapons must be pretty dang good! The advantage to MP10 Rumford Runs is that you are not engaging ANY elite packs with those dangerous affixes, unless you are foolish enough to step into a cellar. DON’T DO IT! Monster Power can range from 0-10, the monsters are extremely deadly and harder to kill, the higher the monster power. If you find MP-10 Rumford Runs too boring or dangerous, quest along with players in public games in act 1 from level 50-55 then kill the Butcher and go to act 2.

How to change the Monster power:
Do the following:
First open the game menu, go to options, gameplay, then click the monster power checkbox. You will now be able to set the monster power when searching for a public game or creating a game of your own.
Edited by DrBlood#1643 on 12/14/2013 4:57 PM PST
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Levels 55-60 (HELL ACT 2)

Gameplay and Progression:
NEVER attempt to quest in Act 3 Hell no matter how great the temptation may be for experience gain. Act 3 hell WILL chew you up and leave you weeping over the loss of your hardcore character. Just don’t do it please. Grind out your last 5 levels in Act 2 safely. NEVER kill Belial, Azmodan, or Diablo by yourself or in a public group. Just call in your big guns paragon 60 friend to come give you that boss kill.

Levels 60+ (INFERNO)
Gear:
Resistance to all and vitality, along with socketed purple gems in your armour is incredibly important in Inferno. Do your best. Remember the 1/3rd rule.

Gameplay and Progression:
I offer you no advice at all in Inferno, as I am no expert. I will let seasoned veterans pick apart my thread instead and offer their expertise on these matters. I highly encourage you to sample wisdom from people, but ultimately it will be your responsibility to play safely once you hit 60. Instead I only will offer you a link of my previous thread concerning Prepper Kiters:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/10827883260?page=1#5
Be safe,
DrBlood
Edited by DrBlood#1643 on 12/14/2013 5:00 PM PST
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Reserved
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Reserved
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@MrWrinkles: Could you please delete your reply please, so the flow of information is in a complete sequential order. I sure would appreciate it man. I will also be on later on in about an hour or less after I highlight, underline, and bold up the text in my post here.

@Actiq: I'm honored to have you also post so quickly onto my thread, but could you also delete your previous reply also.

Thank you guys so much!
Signed,
The good doctor
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All great information. Thank you.
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You should make a guide based on item drops in ptr
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Your welcome Queen,
I will be on soon.
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I won't :( About 1:15 central time. I'm working.. LAME!!!! lol
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12/14/2013 05:05 PMPosted by PandaCheese
You should make a guide based on item drops in ptr

Panda, Once I hit 60 again, I may consider playing on the PTR.
Question: If my 60 DH plays on the PTR, do any items that I gain or experience aquire stick permanently.....you know so I can use them when ROS comes out? Or will I have to redo it all again once ROS comes out?
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Friend me DrBlood. I look forward to playing with the strangest group lol. Hope you can play when Queen gets on. I believe only you could counter Antiqs eeeeevillness. Will be fun.
DrBlood-True good, MrWrinkles- Neutral, Antiq-FRAND. What player will Queen become xD
Edited by MrWinkles#1156 on 12/14/2013 8:13 PM PST
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Apparently the attention wh0re <3 lol
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Friend me DrBlood. I look forward to playing with the strangest group lol. Hope you can play when Queen gets on. I believe only you could counter Antiqs eeeeevillness. Will be fun.
DrBlood-True good, MrWrinkles- Neutral, Actiq- FRAND. What player will Queen become xD


Fixed ^_^
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Actiq, could you please delete your one post that is in the middle of my leveling guide.
I would very much appreciate that good friend.
I know weve had our battles on these forums here, but after hearing that you also were a soldier, I have come to respect that and have backed off.
No more DrCCCP nagging on Actiq.
Actiq is friend, not FRAND to Doctor.
I'm not a PK, but I don't mind showing the respect you deserve as you are battle hardened veteran.
I am calling a truce here with you.
Edited by DrBlood#1643 on 12/14/2013 11:48 PM PST
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Bumped for the benefit of new Hardcore players before I go to bed.
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