I'm beginning to think Diablo 4's permadeath hardcore mode just isn't worth the heartache. A week ago, the world's first level 100 Diablo 4 hardcore character met an ignominious end at the hands of a random server disconnection, only a short time before the first character to solo their way to level 100 got stomped into the history books by the game's hardest boss. And now, popular streamer Quin69 has been unceremoniously wiped out nine levels from 100 by, uh, nothing. Just, like, nothing at all.
-172h 💀💀died to a loading screen porting to town while in an invulnerability zone. Fix your game @diablo pic.twitter.com/VnqNEpccKfJune 14, 2023
Spotted by GamesRadar, Quin69 was porting back to Kyovashad after tackling a nightmare dungeon with his level 91 druid when his game began to hang on a loading screen. Unfazed, he restarted, only to be greeted with a notice at Diablo 4's launch menu that his "fallen character has gone to the Hall of Fallen Heroes". In other words, it was gone for good, and there was no getting it back. This sent the poor fellow into quite the spiral, so he took out his rage on a mannequin he has in his home for some reason and also his microwave. I'm not sure either of them deserved it.
It's not uncommon for Diablo 4 hardcore characters to meet a grisly permadeath at the hands of a server disconnect, especially in these relatively early days of the game, but it's usually because their characters end up swarmed and devoured by trash mobs while the game isn't connected.
Quin69 had cleared his dungeon and was teleporting back to Kyovashad—one of Diablo 4's safe hubs—when his game suddenly lost the plot, though, leaving it a downright mystery as to what even took him out. As you can see above, the game only says he was killed by "environment," a message that it's almost impossible to read in anything other than a mocking tone.
Some viewers (you can see one of them in the video above) have theorised that Quin69's death had something to do with a persistent "zap" of lightning lingering about in the dungeon in nightmare mode even after the mobs have been cleared. As the theory goes, Quin69's various defences dropped when he ported to Kyovashad, but the lightning stuck around and promptly murked him while the game hung. It's as good a theory as any, and I imagine it's absolutely no balm at all for the pain in the streamer's soul.
The streamer had dedicated 173 hours to his dearly departed druid before it was swallowed by some kind of game design black hole. Even more galling, if he had hit level 100, he could have earned a spot on Blizzard's very silly Diablo 4 hardcore statue, which will one day have the names of the first 1,000 players to hit the game's max level in hardcore mode emblazoned on it for eternity. That, at least, would have been a kind of immortality.