Diablo II was never a terribly easy game, but it became particularly difficult when cocksure players dialed up the title’s challenge to its highest level: hardcore. Hardcore mode is a feature that will be making a comeback on May 15 when Diablo III arrives in North America for both Mac and PC; however, the mode won’t be pulling any punches this time around.
In Diablo II, death in hardcore mode would result in the subsequent loss of a character and their progress through the game’s campaign. If you were playing with a friend, though, your gear could be salvaged and made available to your next ill-fated creation. Gameranx reports that, when the feature returns to Diablo III, mortal injuries will also result in the loss of all attained gear regardless of present company.
Speaking to the matter, Blizzard’s Micah Whipple had this to say about the player feedback to this adjustment to a fan-favorite feature.
Honestly if your character dropping all of your items when you die in Hardcore is something a lot of people want, we’d very seriously consider it. So far in my experience feedback on it has been mixed at best, but it’s tough to tell the actual Hardcore players from the riffraff. It’s important to keep in mind through that without any kind of ladder resets to zero out the economy it could mean a completely different item landscape for Hardcore years down the road. For us, items being removed from the game when a Hardcore character dies is kind of exciting.
Our approach at this point is to see how this works out, because we think being a bit harsher on Hardcore is ok. Absolutely people may be scared to keep items on them, but maybe that becomes part of the fun and the strategy of it. We’re taking a wait and see, but definitely after release we’ll be interested to hear thoughts from Hardcore players and see how it’s working out.
There still exists a chance that Blizzard might see to it that hardcore mode reverts to its old ways, but for now it seems that players will be under slightly more duress as they plunge into Diablo III’s most notorious encampments.