So i'm a new player, and I started exclusively playing on hardcore. Last night after 7 tries over 2 weeks I finally beat Kitava on act 10. It was an amazing feeling, and i'm still smiling at the achievement. GGG has made an amazing game and the early mapping that i'm starting to do is already a ton of fun.
Research yes. Before every major boss fight i watched videos on the mechanics of the bossfight. For act 10 kitava himself, i think i had watched about 10 attempts and I had a very good understanding of the mechanics of Kitava going into the fight and where the safe zones were. Even then it was a nail-biting fight.
For minor bossfights, I just watched a video on the mechanics of the bossfight once just before entering the fight. By the end most minor bossfights were pretty easy since I was dealing a ton of damage.
For build guides, on my 7th (and current) character I loosely followed one. For my first 6 characters I followed a build guide. These were the builds i played in order...
- CA/CI deadeye (died to dominus, learned about staunching flasks)
- SRS necro (died to.. well i forget what i died to. But i died)
- Glacial cascade totems hierophant (really liked this one, died to act 6 final boss)
- Glacial cascade totems hierophant (died to one of the gods in act 6, learned about maxing resistances)
- Tornado shot deadeye (died to shavronne in act 4)
- Glacial cascade totems hierophant (died to Kitava, got one-shot)
- Summon skele necro (current char)
I really think following the build guides helped me understand the beautiful, interesting and way-to-complex build tree.