Hardcore to require a normal play through

The debate seems to be over. Risingred has posted some screenshots as well as code that shows DiabloWikiHardcore will require a soft core play though in order to be unlocked.


We’ve seen multiple threads crop up over the past few months with opinions both for and against this. However it seems many valid arguments have fallen on deaf ears. Hopefully now that this is out to the public we will here an explanation as to what tilted the scales in this direction. While I may fall on the side still opposed; it is nice to see some answers, and start plotting my late night Diablo binge through Normal.

To see the full post by Risingred you can check out both his posts here and here.

What do you think now that this appears to be settled? Let us know in the comments below and on our forums.

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52 thoughts on “Hardcore to require a normal play through

  1. This was pretty obvious. Blizzard has to make everything as idiot-proof as possible. That means making sure they can’t “accidentally” create a Hardcore character and then be surprised when they permanently lose their character.

    As further evidenced by the tooltip change and the excuse they gave for not having open/closed battle.net play (and by extension, offline play), Blizzard (or at least the marketing department) is aiming hard for the lowest common denominator. And they believe that denominator to be somewhere around the level of a braindead chipmunk. Gots to get that acorn money.

    • Anyone that actively enables Hardcore mode, proceeds to create a new character, and then doesn’t understand why that character is permanently dead when they die… is a moron — although you already know this.

    • Because its difficult to code a tooltip to pop warning about hardcore mode if a player selects the HC checkbox in the char creation screen. I’m not a fan of HC but I’m sure many hardcore players that never played the beta would enjoy playing an unknown game without ever testing it before, to make it more exciting.
      But no, players are too dumb, they may accidentally check the HC box and press the OK button in the tooltip confirming the HC mode.

  2. I planned to start HC but maybe I will take a calm play thru in normal now and see the lore and stuff 🙂 Then grind grind HC 🙂

  3. Very sad about this… If i want this mode, than i want it immidiatly, and not a first play through in SC. i am old enought, to get a desission, how long and how many i cry, when my char dies…
    Please unlock this thing…

  4. You know you can delete a softcore character when it dies, right? Then it is just like HC, and when you beat normal, there you go. Also, in before “this is just to get people spending on the RMAH”

    • Can we actually consider just about any aspect of this game decided upon until the game is released??  History says the answer is no.

      Bashiok on Twitter, 1/19/12 (less than a week ago): “Nothing is set in stone”

      I don’t really have a dog in the fight since I probably wouldn’t start off with HC anyway.  I’m just saying – did any of us expect so many different aspects of the game to be removed in the latest patch?  It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that they change their mind on anything by the looks of things.  Frankly, I’m a little surprised with this news item in that regard.

  5. I don’t see the problem with this. This is how it’s always been, why did anybody expect any different?

    • Not expected, but wanted different for sake of playing mortal one for the first time with no in-game experience beyond maybe first 13 levels.
      Just look at some hardcore threads on a forum.

      • That’s probably the only good reason why people could want HC on the first go, I agree. A bit more dramatic. But harder modes are often unlockable features in many games, anyway. Blizzard had to choose, it’s impossible to keep everybody happy, might as well go the Diablo 2 route with this one.

        • If they just let us choose hardcore or softcore on the first go, everybody would be happy, since everybody could choose what they want. Now, the people who want hardcore immediately are unhappy.

          I am sad about this. I will of course be  faking hardcore by deleting softcore characters once they die, but it would be nicer if they just allowed me to play hardcore at once.

        • Yes and many games also realised that hiding certain things is a bad thing. Like guitar hero not allowing you to play all the songs multiplayer. They soon fixed it and made other stuff unlockable instead of the content / modes people wanted.
          Imagine if guitar hero disabled multiplayer unless you completed single player first. Or co-op had to be completed before you can play verses.
          It’s a needless block of a wanted feature. I’m no longer going to buy D3 on release. Not because I’m raged about it, but I think not being able to choose my difficulty for my skill/desired way of playing is enough for me to not care about playing the game right away. I’ll find it in a bargan bin in 5 years time and play it through. Of course by then they’ll have dropped the requirement for the first play through for hardcore like they did with D2…

          • It’s not hidden, it’s a bonus mode that, I suppose, should be a reward for completing the game the first time. And to contrast it against GH, it’s not content, and it certainly isn’t comparable to unlocking a multiplayer mode. But it doesn’t half seem contrived to be so adamant not to play the game based on this. I know that it certainly isn’t the same as deleting your character should you die, but I get the same feeling from losing a hardcore character as I do trying to play a no death character playthrough on other RPGs where the option is never available. Just because the mode itself isn’t in there from the off doesn’t mean you can’t emulate the same psychology, one way or another (a rose by any other name…)

  6. Oh fuck off Blizzard.  The more you make the wrong choices, the more i enjoy Path of Exile.  I’d still rather you made the right choices, but alas.

  7. There are two sides of the argument, and it’s very clear (as with a few other choice examples) which side Blizzard chooses to side with. Either…

    1) Let people have a first run-through in Hardcore if they so wish, and then put up with a bunch of whiny newbs who don’t know what they are doing and choose hardcore straight off the bat, lose a character and never play the game again, (or just complain a lot for their characters to be restored (despite warnings)).

    2) Don’t let people play hardcore on the first run-through and put up with a bunch of whiny experienced Diablo players, who want to run the risk of permanently dying in the first play of normal, not getting the experience they want.

    The world is full of newbs, Blizzard sides with them because in the end they want the majority to not be whiny.
    It would be great if Blizzard could see that newb friendly does not have to mean unfriendly to some others.

    My suggestion: Put the option “Hardcore on first run-through enabled” in the advanced settings tab, or through some other method that is less obtrusive, that only those who really want to find it will.

    • If the only reason they don’t allow hardcore without completing Normal is because they don’t want newbs to create hardcore characters by accident, then it’s very easy to fix the problem by either adding an the option in the advanced tab like you mentioned, or, I was thinking something like holding Shift + Ctrl in the character selection screen would enable the Hardcore button.

  8. Throw up a big red warning when you create a hardcore character, problem solved. If you still don’t get it, you will not get it after finishing the game on normal either way. Don’t understand why they would slap all their dedicated HC fans in the face like this, there’s no reason for it.

    *It’s the simplest thing to fix (big popup warning on selection). Maybe even hide the option to enable hardcore somewhere that you wouldn’t find it unless you looked for it. So easy to fix, argh!

    *The age limit on the game box should ensure that the target audience can read.

    *I have no interest in softcore, but I’m a huge fan. Haven’t even played games in years and bought a computer just so I could play this game. Does that not matter at all just because I’m older and not part of their biggest target audience (ie kids who has not played d2 but is playing WoW)?

    *I have very limited time to play (I’m not a kid anymore, gaming hours are precious), so I don’t want to be forced to waste time on something I don’t care about.

    *The first playthrough is by far the most exciting, and HC players are now getting robbed of that. I remember going straight to HC when the expansion pack arrived, it was amazing (and that was still just 1 new act + characters). Yes, you had to finish on softcore in diablo2 as well, but that does not justify that it should still be the case, especially now that it has been proven to be a success. Also, you could easily hack an offline character and then go straight to HC on bnet anyway.

    The new remove-anything-that-could-confuse-young-children direction of blizzard scares me. Especially since their target audience is not children. No HC from start, no PK, everyone should reach max level easily, no toggle for non-simplified tooltips, no stats/skills to lock in place etc… I’m a huge fan of diablo 1/2, and I’ve ordered the collectors edition already, but I think people will get bored very quickly with this game to be honest unless someone at blizzard stops being so goddamn afraid of not pleasing their shareholders and focus more on making a good game. Yes, new players is the biggest market, but it just seems so unnecessary to completely alienate old fans when there are a multitude of easy ways to please both.

    • Yeah, how dare they do something different form D2 and then do something like it was in D2…
      And really, as an experienced player that wants to play for at least as many years as you did D2, the 2 days (if that) it takes you to finish normal should be nothing…
      Hell, why not see who gets there first… Blizzard could even put the first HC character for each realm/region on their site for extra PR…

      • I don’t want to rush, I want to enjoy every aspect of the game after waiting this long.. but you are right, it WILL encourage rushing, and it will be hard not to take advantage if a rushing opportunity presents itself. Which is really not how I wanted to play this game (and you only get one shot at the excitement of playing through the game for the first time). Also, the “2 days to finish normal” is obviously not gonna happen for us with work/girlfriends etc.

        I’m not saying that everything that blizzard has “nerfed” are bad decisions, but put them together and it shows a trend that is very worrisome indeed. 

        Also, why draw the line at finishing the game on softcore? Just because I finished a barbarian I might not know how to play a monk, and I might die *shock*. Quick, someone notify blizzard so they can make the “hardcore” mode locked to each character to avoid this possible child-unfriendly feature!

          Dude, i was taking into account work/SO’s when i said 2 days… i’m sure someone will finish it in 8-10 hours easy (assuming it’s longer then D2)…
          As for rushing, it’s Normal, you’re not going to be farming, and following the story doesn’t add enough time to count as not rushing (especially since now it seems Cain narrates some stuff while you’re fighting)… hell, you’ll most likely lose more time watching the cinematics…
          As for the drawing a line thing… it’s because they aren’t drawing it at “knowing to play character X”, but at knowing to play the game…
          Plus, back in 2000 HC mode unlocking after one playthrough wasn’t about accessibility, but it was more of a reward, and actually some games still only unlock the hardest mode after you finished it once in another mode…

  9. This seems totally logic to me, we all should first know the game at it fullest and know the dangerous spots so we can be prepared once we hardcore through.
    Im sure the idea is to avoid frustration by being killed too often in spots where things get difficult! Im really looking forward to end bosses, we will get some nice surprises and believe me, better to not be surprised in hardcore.

  10. There’s no such thing as a Hardcore crybaby, Poli.

    Hardcore is a game mode where you lose your character after dying once, do you really think someone with a thin skin would be able to play this mode?

    There’s nothing wrong with the desire to play hardcore from the start. I want to experience hardcore without previous experience, but I guess I’ll have to rush through normal now.

    Put simply, once you play Hardcore, softcore just becomes a meaningless mode without consequence.

  11. Diablo III is dedicated for Mature people. If game isn’t designed for children why there are options for them? We all know how it will be … but seriously, if yes, they should bear with that/ Game is not for your age, it is hard like adult life /.

  12. Two things:
    1) The fact that they ultimately disagreed with you doesn’t mean your arguments fell on deaf ears.  More  slanted journalism from d3.net.
    2) The fact that it’s this way now, today in Beta version 10 in no way proves that the decision has been made and finalized.  This whole patch is full of stuff that has changed completely since the last beta patch.  What makes it so “obvious” that this particular choice is set in stone?

    • I like how dramatic you make it sound.
      And it isn’t “his” argument. If you spent any amount of time in the official forums for the past, I don’t know, two months, you’d have seen a crapload of threads about this reaching very high page numbers.

      More lack of cognizant thought from the d3 community.

      And obviously it isn’t set in stone, so we should just not talk about it to say we don’t want it set in stone. Because that makes sense.

      • His opening sentence is, “The debate seems to be over.” The final paragraph begins with, “… now that this appears to be settled?”  I don’t think I’m being over-dramatic when I say he’s implying that the decision has been made.  I’m just reading what he wrote.
        It’s perfectly reasonable to report the situation in the current beta patch.  It’s sensationalistic to claim that Blizzard has ignored the feedback from its users and settled on a final decision when neither of those things is apparent.  All we can conclude at this point is that they’ve listened and considered that feedback and have for the time being chosen a solution that many people (but obviously not all people, or they wouldn’t do it this way) disagree with.
        FWIW, I’m not trying to defend Blizzard’s choice on this.  I agree that it’s idiotic to force people to play Normal mode because you think some people are too stupid to understand Hardcore.  Why screw the reasonable, intelligent people in order to accommodate morons?   But I think your article’s perspective is a bit misleading.

    • Until we hear otherwise what impacted their choice we can only assume. Yes this is just a patch, however seeing it implemented after they had said they were 90% on it seems to indicate they have made a choice. Since Hardcore isn’t available in the beta and we can now see it as an option and what we need to do to unlock it it feels like a safe assumption. If I am wrong I’ll happily redact this but it seems pretty air tight.

  13. I love the way this website keeps pushing the agenda of something so utterly trivial. What is the big deal? You HAVE to play softcore for a couple of hours?

    Yet at the same time some of the policies what will affect us long into the future have been intentionally overlooked. The RMAH will compromise the endgame of every competitive gamer for as long as the game is playable but that issue is now forgotten. Furthermore, anyone who is against it is ridiculed when the RMAH is mentioned in passing.

    In light of this, how can something so pointless get so much attention?

    • I dunno where you’ve been for the last, hmm… since announcement of RMAH, but that topic has been ran into the ground and Blizzard’s stance hasn’t changed at all on it. This is quite new, therefore i see no reason not to be discussed. Especially that this implementation will hamper hardcore crowds enjoyment out of the game, just because some people are pants-on-head stupid and can’t read for s**t.
      Also, i think Blizz doesn’t care for diablo’s competitive nature at all. And it’s a shame, but oh well…

  14. I don’t understand why Blizzard (fanboys) insist on forcing people to play through a mode they simply don’t enjoy. Why do they insist on ruining someones first experience with the game?
    It’s like forcing people to complete single player Halo campaign before letting them battle it out multiplayer. Or forcing people to watch a dvd with subtitles and commentary on before letting them turn it off. WHY?
    There are no valid arguments in favor of not having this mode unlocked from the start.

  15. My sollution would be: Your first character will be softcore. After that first softcore character died once the option to create a hardcore character is unlocked. This sollution is moron proof. And the players that want to start out with hardcore simply suicide their first char on the first pack of zombies. Problem solved.

  16. Its really quite annoying how the softcore crowd fight against the hardcore players right to choose from the start. Its almost as if they are threatened by it somehow. They are playing a mode where a blind man with no hands could eventually get the best gear in the game given enough time, and they know it.

    I can deal with the annoyance of having the entire game spoiled by playing the wrong mode. I will be playing the game at least, so it will still be fun. This inconvenience also happened in D2, in the first few days of release it was useless to try to play a realm character, so I had to make a single player character, which I later never played again.

    The thing that will continue to annoy me into the future is the fact that anytime one of my friends picks up the game, they will not be able to join me, and I will be forced to go back into normal to play with them, or wait a week while they go through normal. It’ll take away the option to make that impulse purchase, when you are sitting on vent one night or you are having a small LAN party.

    Here is a hypothetical conversation that I foresee having over and over and over again as my MMO friends buy D3 in the coming years…

    My friend : ‘ Hey whats up’
    me : ‘not much, just playing some D3 hardcore’
    my friend : ‘oh I’ve been meaning to pick that game up, hardcore is that mode where you get 1 life right?’
    me: ‘ Yes, it makes all your decisions meaningful and the combat exciting.’
    my friend : ‘ Cool I would like to try that, and if I die I will most likely play it normal, brb let me find my credit card…’
    me : ‘ sweet.
    my friend : ‘Okay, awesome, I wonder which character I should make, what do you play?’
    me : ‘ It doesn’t matter , you have to finish the game on normal mode before you can play hardcore.’
    my friend : ‘ Oh , what? thats bs….’

    • Which softcore crowd fought against it? I’ve only seen softcore people say that they agree that hardcore should be a choice from the beginning even if they don’t plan on using it…

  17. “What do you think now that this appears to be settled?”

    Just curious as to when you think it wasn’t settled. Blizzard has always said that a normal play-through would be required. All the debating on the forums about the issue was vain supposition that Blizzard cared what the fans thought about it like so many others… Usually when Blizzard has made up their minds about something, they put their foot down about it and don’t change their mind until months or even years later unless there’s a huge outcry from the general community. And there won’t be for this…

    • Scorch, the only info we had prior to this was that they were 90% on it. Nothing after confirmed 100% that it was going that way.

    • Why would you tell me that no SC players are fighting us, and then 3 minutes later go on to describe the ongoing debate on the forums.  This comment thread alone has plenty of people trying to twist logic to say ‘put up or shut up’. Heck that’s basically what you just said, Blizzard probably aren’t listening so why bother trying to talk to them. 

      I believe that if the D3 development team has little or no HC representation from within its staff, they should be looking to the community to give them some direction. The question is, did the RMAH decide the outcome already. Maybe in Korea they can enable HC from the start.

  18. I think the number of people creating a hardcore char by accident is a wery small number, and i think the number of people that never plays the game again because they by accident lost a HC char is even smaller.

    AND I ALSO THINK that if you are that much of a noob to create a hardcore char by accident, well then you probably wont make it through act 1 or at least act 2 without dying ! So the loss wont be that big !

    A problem like this could be fixed with a pop up ! And i think its beyond stupid not to give your old hardcore blizz fans the option right away. Im not interested in hc but i know the excitement of battling Diablo for the first time, imangie doing that on HC

  19. BS. What is Hardcore about knowing what to expect after a softcore play through? Hardcore would be going into the game not knowing what’s next.  Is that not as plain to the devs?

  20. First of all, I think Blizz is vastly underestimating the intelligence of their audience and even new comers.  Granted, Blizz is catering D3 to the 80% of the gamers out there, who are casual gamers.  My issue is whynot make 100% of the gamers happy by simply adding a pop up window that indicates the nature of hardcore mode and suggest players to go through softcore first.  I just dont’ get why in D3, Blizz is making it so absolute in certain situations that excludes certain groups of people.  I mean it is a game, people who likes games will continue to play them.  People who dont’ like games, will not play them, no matter how fool proof you make it.  It is like chess.  You don’t change the way the Queen moves just because it might confuse a newbie.  I swear, the marketing dept at Blizz is ran by a bunch of girls.  No question I will play the game, just hope the end game will be vastly more deep and challenging. 

    • It has probably something to do with the RMAH.. They want everyone to get in there and get tempted to buy

  21. I don’t think blizzard understands that a big part of the hardcore community ONLY likes to play hardcore, it’s completely different to softcore and I want my game experience to be at its best immedietly.
    There’s NO argument to not have it there immedietly, if there’s a big disclaimer when you pick it there’s just no way anyone can pick it by mistake.

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