My first hardcore wizard (WhizzyHC) was just a lowly level 35 when I lost her to Nekarat the Keywarden. During that encounter, the video on my client froze; so I fought blindly during the time the video remained frozen. Once the video resumed, I saw that I had managed to teleport but had lost character control already since I tried hitting my health potion to no avail.
I quickly re-rolled with a same named wizard and was rolling along in Act II Normal when again, I encountered a video freeze. Those snakes in the Alcarnus command post made mince meat out of me quickly though.
I re-rolled again but named this new one after my SC wiz. During this journey which played out from December 16th, I took each difficulty and each act at a leisurely pace. While I played normal-nightmare mostly on monster power 10, I learned my lesson and toned down the setting during some quests and boss encounters. Once I hit hell difficulty, I played at mp5 until I hit level 60 just prior to the Lord of Lies quest. After changing into Inferno level gear, I turned it back up to mp10 the rest of the way.
I did encounter some rubber banding and occasional stutter along the way. The scariest moment was this past Friday when I had some major stuttering at the start of my Arreat Crater 2 run right as I encountered an elite soul lasher pack. I was able to get back to the waypoint at which point, my video completely froze. I really thought I was dead but when the video resumed around 10 long seconds later, I was back at the keeps; I had managed to blindly click the right waypoint. Unstable Anomaly had proc'd and I kind of just stared at the screen and thought that I should stop playing for awhile. But I had one heck of an adrenalin rush from this near death experience so I decided that if I was going to die, that day would be it.
I proceeded to clear out the remainder of Act III and decided to step foot into Act IV on Saturday. One thing I wasn't going to do was avoid Nekarat. I had managed to avoid him with this wizard on normal through hell but this time, I was going to take him on. My play through of Inferno was doing full clears and Act IV would be no exception. I wanted to see how ready not only my wizard was, but also myself.
The monster AI for Act IV sort of read my mind. One of the first elite packs it threw at me when I reached the Spire level 1 were some teleporting mallet lords. I threw up my Diamond Skin and those things came teleporting right at me. It turned out to be a fun fight as I managed to continually proc CM which allowed me to keep DS up almost continually while teleporting away when they were about to slam me.
As for Nekarat, I didn't have to search for him. The only remaining open route to get to the Great Span was where he was waiting. I had no intentions of underestimating him, plus this was also pay back time for my first HC wizard. I basically used my hydra to deal out damage while I kept my distance and had him chase me through the areas I had previously cleared. When he did catch up and jail me, I Diamond Skinned and spammed Living Lightning and orbs before teleporting and laying down my hydra. My hydra burned him down rather quickly and I was able to finish him off standing right in front of him.
The Spire level 2 wasn't much of a problem and I got to the Pinnacle of Heaven waypoint fairly quickly. I logged off for the evening. The last task was the goal I originally set out to accomplish with this wizard, and that was to clear Inferno Diablo (which I did this morning). I wanted to do this (get the Inferno HC achievement for Diablo) on a wizard because I've died all too often from stupid mistakes playing my softcore one even on lower mp settings. Out of all of my hours of play on both softcore and hardcore, this particular fight turned out to the most fun I've had in this game. It made me glad that I decided to give HC a try back in July since I could never get this kind of rush playing solely on SC.