Diablo III: v1.0.4 and Hardcore 60

I WAS ORGINALLY going to write something about the recent slap fight between the ex-Blizzard North folks and the current Diablo III team (and I still might), but for now, I’m simply enjoying the victory of reaching level 60 with my Hardcore character. Meet Chereyna, my unstoppable barbarella, who successfully navigated 60 levels of Diablo III without a single death.

I realize this is hardly news in a week that’s seen the release of Guild Wars II and WoW‘s big Pandaria patch (which I’ll get to in another post). But after putting Diablo III aside in June and again this month, last week’s big v1.0.4 patch spurred me to finally push my normal Barbarian to 60 and repeat that with my Hardcore character, and it feels like I’ve completed unfinished business. Playing a Hardcore character was a unique gaming experience, one I’d highly recommend if you haven’t already.

Reaction to the patch itself has been fairly positive. There was a lot of unrest from players stuck on various bosses in Inferno, and the patch brought a variety of tweaks and buffs to all five classes. Personally, I like the graphical additions that show where elites are casting special attacks, and the extra functionality that’s been added to the Auction House. If nothing else, the patch has gotten a number of people excited about Diablo III again, and it’ll be interesting to see how Blizzard continues to patch the game down the line. (PvP, anyone?)

On the other hand, this just about closes the book on Diablo III for me. My plan is to complete Hell with this Hardcore character, and that should do it. I might dabble with Inferno at some point, but having gone through the four acts so many times already, I have no interest in leveling any more classes to 60. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of the game, so as I gear up for this holiday’s release crush, a thumbs up to the Diablo III team, who — no matter what some ex-devs might say — clearly understand how to make an enjoyable action-RPG.

(The moment, captured for posterity)