- Solo play only (optionally you can play with the exact same partner/group but not with the random public; you decide if found items can be shared);
- Use only the items that you find with this character (or possibly bought from in game vendors);
- Don't use any gem that you wouldn't be able to create at your present level (optionally only use gems that you pick up);
- Don't use any Blacksmith plan that wasn't found by the character (optionally don't use the Blacksmith at all until you reach level 60). As stated above, it is best to start with a Blacksmith at level zero but you can simulate this by buying and selling items to create a loss that simulates spending money that would have been spent to level the Blacksmith and/or Jeweller;
- You may not buy or sell (optionally can sell) items on either Auction House;
- Use only the money that this character collects;
- No replaying or farming previous areas (optional) or not in an excessive way (unless stuck);
- Basically no outside help, twinking, or exploits in any way;
- Death is allowed unless you choose to play Hardcore Iron-man; and
- For an advanced challenge, pick a Monster Power level from 1 to 10 but stick with it until you reach Inferno (then you can set to zero or any other number, if you wish).
- Still too easy? Try naked iron-man (no armour, shield, etc. just use a weapon)
I call this Iron-man mode; take on the challenge and you may find the game fun and challenging again.
I suspect some people get bored because they have been power leveled, bought all their gear from the Auction Houses, and either given good items or used items they have found to seed their new characters with only the best equipment and gems. Many people played Iron-man when they first started playing Diablo 3; well why not play that way again? Oh, and take your time playing as it is NOT a contest to see who gets to Level 60 the fastest, unless of course that is how YOU have fun.
Extra: Here is someone else's challenge that is along the same lines: Narull's Random Hardcore Challenge: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6490399005
Use the auto-generator to randomly determine what character you play, what skills and runes are allowed to be used and even what follower and their abilities that you use. Hardcore up and good luck!
Extra #2: Here is my proposal for a Self-found mode that could be incorporated into the game and be selected via checkbox: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9309641216
Extra #3: (26 Jun 2014) Okay, so Reapers of Souls expansion has been out for a few months and much of the new way of playing seems to be much like the ideas in this and the Self Found treads. If you would like to play some characters in a Self Found style then join Clan SFL (Self Found League). Rules:
SF LEAGUE RULES
- OKAY: Use only character(s) that find all their own items; optionally share items between your other SF characters; buy from/use in-game vendors; craft (using SF gems / mats / recipes); using mystic and transmogrification; and one-way item transfers to non-SF characters; and
- NOT OKAY for SFL Characters: Trading; dropping items for other players; buying items from third party sites; botting; power-leveling; multiboxing; using any kind of exploit; using non-level appropriate gems; etc.