I thought I would chronicle my experiences of
leveling a hardcore Barbarian. First off I would like to state
that hardcore is not that much different than the
standard game. Its not difficult
to play without dying as long as you change HOW you
play. My first play through was a standard Demon Hunter who is now in
Act 2 Inferno. I would die constantly... a single shot
from anything could kill me. It wasn't until after
making an hardcore character that I understood how the game is
meant to be played. A bit of tweaking on my Demon Hunter and now
those very same mobs that would one shot me are no
problem. I actually almost never die, and when I do its
because of stupidity on my part. Best part is those
minor changes were less than 500k on the AH, and a
slight play style change. I would advise everyone to
roll an hardcore character at least once, it can vastly change
how you play.
Just before meeting Maghda I ran across a vampiric elite. This fight required a completely different skill set that I wasn't ready for. Once again my fear of death had led me to stack too much vitality, and not enough strength. Basically I couldn't out damage his heals. However Frenzy+alot of stuns allowed me to finally kill him. So it was AH time again. I was able to pick up almost a whole set of gear for around 10k. This let me once again fly through the next few hours of gameplay. When I got to Zoltun Kulle, I destroyed him. It was an utter joke. Dropped down earthquake and ground stop forced everyone to stand in it. Both his minions went down instantly and he was at 50% hp soon after. This is where it finally clicked that "Even if I am unkillable, I still wont be able to progress if I can't kill anything else". I'm doing a bit better focusing on my gear.
My gear was pretty awesome, I got to Belial and just did a nice "Tank and Spank". My HP never went below 90%, had I of thought ahead and used frenzy rather than cleave I would have killed him even faster.
-Act 3: 25 - 30
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I actually didn't learn much here. I have a general understanding of both barb and hardcore play style. All the bosses were tank and spank. No issues. Most annoying bit was Azmodan since I couldn't keep attacking while on the DoTs. Not that they really did much damage... I just didn't want to chance it, just in case.
-Act 4: 30 - 32
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Bought some crazy awesome rings/amulets. Boosted my HP up to 6.5k and my DPS to 550. I killed Izual in 5 hits. Diablo went down with only minor hiccups... but I never dropped below 50% HP. I got caught in his bone trap a few times. Melee is a bit harder to move away from a big boss than ranged.
Also, for LOTS of cool guides I would check out Diablo 3 Gold Secrets By Peng Joon, there's a small fee for it, but well worth it in my opinion.