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Just ask the player who recently managed to take a character from level 1 to level 70 in just one minute.None of this was true of the old Diablo 3, the one nobody liked - and it's incontrovertible that Hardcore progress is less meaningful now than it was then (until the giddy heights of the endgame Torment difficulty, perhaps).Now you play Hardcore like a maths genius at the blackjack table, or a game theorist at the stock exchange: measuring acceptable levels of risk, keeping things interesting while playing it smart.In its own way, it's a thoroughly satisfying way to play; and I already know that Diablo 3 is so well-made, so instinctive in its pleasures, that it can survive, thrive even, while letting players have their wicked way with it.It was not a fitting fate for a game that was, in short bursts, an absolute blast, and which otherwise boasted a vigorous commitment to violent camp, to explosive excess. An excellent console version and the Reaper of Souls expansion killed the auction house, replaced repeat playthroughs with the go-anywhere do-anything Adventure Mode, accelerated levelling and opened the loot taps until the feeble trickle of item drops became an almost embarrassing gush of clanging legendaries.
I vowed never to go beyond Expert difficulty, no matter how easy I was finding it, no matter how laden my Crusader with legendary items and stat-boosting gems.
And in the game's flexible skill system I had many ways to sacrifice offensive options in favour of making my character even more robust. And the reason was that between my character build and the user-set difficulty, I had tuned the game to exactly where I wanted it to be (armed with the knowledge, gleaned from my unicorn mauling, of precisely how much would be too much).
As a nuclear option, I could push the difficulty down to Normal any time I liked. I've played Diablo 3 quite a lot - over three years and three formats - and I have an instinctive sense of where its sweet spot lies.
" He has three level 30 Destiny characters.) But I didn't feel heroic at all. A highly polished action-RPG with superb combat design, it was initially hamstrung by a grindy structure and a parsimonious attitude to loot.
The former asked you to play its flabby campaign over and over again on ascending difficulty levels, while the latter was influenced by an ill-advised real-money auction house that sucked all the fun out of Diablo's loot-hunting endgame.
On Saturday morning, I killed Malthael, the tricksy end boss of the expansion, opening up the deliciously anarchic Adventure Mode for future Hardcore characters.