Hardcore Builds Advice
One of the most enjoyable aspects of Diablo 2 was hardcore mode, which was a very satisfying experience to finally complete a full game. I was most pleased to discover a hardcore mode in Torchlight. Having completed my first couple soft-core (further referred to as softies) characters to get a feel for the mechanics and challenges, I've just now completed the game with my first hardcore character.
A rouge Vanquisher named 'Knife Game.' Her end of game stats are shown below.
Now, I'll admit is was only normal difficulty, and I plan to soon move on to hard for a couple characters, but getting through the first time was a good initial step. The primary reason to this thread is to allow for discussion of general hardcore strategies for those who might be new or are struggling with deaths, or to refine builds to enable veterans to beat a very hard without dying (indeed a feat!).
For a first hardcore character, I recommend a very strong defense. Sinking at least two points per level in defense and wearing gear that grants additional defense and high armor will snub all but the greatest damages. This Vanquisher went through just about the entire game impervious (glancing blows) to physical damage. The obvious other part of this build is high magic resists. I found the most important resist to be poison, especially in the end levels due to the abundance of Dark Zealots whose 5-missile homing attack can shred an unprotected player in an instant. Due to all the dragons in the end, fire resist is important as well, especially for a melee attacker. But if you're a ranged person, focus more on the poison resist rather than fire. In conjunction with high defense, armor, and resists, investing in Block/Parry (even better to use a shield as well) and Armor Mastery will provide added defensive superiority.
But some might bring up that focusing so heavily in reducing damage will lower one's attack power and skills. This is true, but at least in normal difficulty the enemy defenses and resists are low enough that no matter what you use, you'll still be slaughtering everything. I have not yet attempted higher hardcore difficulties (plans are to shortly start a polearm fighting Destroyer next), so I'm not sure how much one can really put in defense and still be able to hurt foes substantially. But, I can predict that keeping a high defense will always be a plus for any hardcore build.
But besides just the skills and gear a character wears, the overall game strategy and choices in action can be even more important to surviving hardcore. Just a short list of suggested strategies:
1. Level up. Purchase plenty of Map Portals to gain extra experience and equipment between the normal story levels.
2. Always keep the red health bar at 66% or higher. Running around with too low of health in the name of 'efficiency' could cause you your head.
3. Survey the next encounter before rushing in. Place yourself in a way that you can fight as few monsters as possible, or where you can most effectively use your skills while being protected, depending on the skills being used.
4. In junction with suggestion three, keep yourself located in a place where escape is always possible.
5. Play a softy character before hardcore to know what kinds of skills and equipment is good against what types of situations, and more importantly, what types of enemies and enemy attacks to watch out for or dodge (most notably strong spellcasters or devastating breath attacks). Also, this allows retirement of the first character so the hardcore player gets the benefit of an ancestor.
I'll post up in the future with any other hardcores of mine that might beat the game - hopefully on hard next.
Re: Hardcore Builds Advice
These are good tips. I tried making a hardcore vanquisher.... she didn't last long.
Re: Hardcore Builds Advice
After an unfortunate accident with the TorchED that lost my save files, I've started again with another Normal difficulty hardcore Alchemist named Auilemir. End game stats shown below:
*SPOILER* The following video is a short clip of the final boss fight.
Though not being exceptionally strong in attack, this character focused on always having an impenetrable defense. On normal difficulty, this isn't all too hard to do, but definitely a good hardcore strategy. Using some of the other neat unique items Auilemir found through his travels, I am currently working on a hard difficulty hardcore vanquisher using dual pistols and ricochet. We'll see how she comes soon enough.