On May 15, 2013, the hosts of the Shattered Soulstone podcast got together with some listeners on Mumble for a special event. We decided that on the first “birthday” of Diablo III everyone would get online and play Diablo III together.
Special rules were created for this game. In honor of Diablo III’s first birthday, everyone’s character would play the game in their “birthday suits”. In other words, players could equip whatever weapon they could find – but were not allowed to equip any kind of armor at all. Back then, every character started out in what looked a lot like underwear.
There were more rules. Everyone would play a hardcore character. The class of that character would be randomly chosen. (This prevented people from picking the class that they were most familiar with.) We set the game to Monster Power 10, which was the highest difficulty setting at the time.
I was randomly selected to roll a Monk, a character class that I had very little experience with. I named her Lucky, in the hopes that an auspicious name would somehow make me feel more confident about her chances of survival. Hardcore characters get only one life – when they die – they are gone, forever. I’d never played hardcore before.
Gotta Catch Them All: Play a co-operative game with each of the five classes.
It took the group of us a little while to figure out who would play on what “team”. Diablo III only allows four players in one game. It took a bit of shuffling people around before we settled on who would be on which “team”. As a result, I earned the Gotta Catch Them All Achievement.
It was important that we played in “teams” instead of solo. Doing so would keep everyone honest. Players could instantly see when one of the members of their “team” broke the rules and equipped armor. Knowing that we were all being watched greatly limited the potential of cheating.
One of the things were were doing that night was trying to see who would be the “last man standing”. I cannot remember if there was a prize attached to that honor, or if it was just for bragging rights. Either way, the “teams” would ensure that whoever won the title got there without cheating.
I should probably note that we were playing through what would today be called Story Mode. Back then, it was the only way to play Diablo III. Adventure Mode didn’t exist yet.
I didn’t realize that there would be a “buff” for those who played on Diablo III’s first anniversary. This tiny screenshot says: “Happy Anniversary, Diablo III! Your Magic Find and Experience gain are increased.” I’m fairly certain this was the first time Blizzard added a “buff” to the game. Since then, there have been quite a few times where players got something extra for playing on a certain day, or week, or weekend.
LEVEL! LEVEL! LEVEL!
I remember feeling very nervous about this blue pack of monsters. They were the first blue ones we encountered, and I wasn’t sure I’d survive.
Level 10 (Hardcore): Level a character to 10 in hardcore mode.
I was rather impressed with myself for making it to level 10. Considering that I’d never played hardcore before, had barely spent any time playing a Monk, and was playing with goofy rules that prevented me from equipping armor – I was doing well.
Things got more intense as the game when on. We started running into the blue and yellow monsters more frequently than before.
Surrounded by skeletons!
“You were a Templar, Jondar!”
My “team” was ready to fight the Skeleton King. When I started playing, my hope was that I would be able to stay alive at least through the content that was in the Diablo III beta. The beta ended after players fought (and killed) the Skeleton King.
My “team” fought the Skeleton King and were victorious!
Third Time’s The Charm!: Defeat the Skeleton King in hardcore mode.
Lucky hit Level 12 in Leah’s Room. I can’t recall who brought it up, but someone suggested that we all go grab the journals whenever we went back to town. The idea was that doing so would give us a little bit more experience, and that this would improve our outcome. It wasn’t a bad idea.
Lucky made it as far as the Warrior’s Rest.
She was slain by a Dark Skeletal Archer.
This ended the adventure of Lucky the Monk, my very first hardcore character. I didn’t honestly expect that I’d be the “last man standing”, so I was just doing this for the fun of it. I cannot remember who it was that won. Overall, I had a good time and managed to live through the content that was in the beta. Not bad for a first time hardcore character, playing without armor, in Monster Power 10.
Lucky made it to Level 12. She lasted a total of 2 hours and 8 minutes. She killed 364 monsters and collected 20,717 gold. I wasn’t upset when she died because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep this character anyway. When you play “last man standing”, only one can survive.