In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I’d analyze our own gaming family, and in it our own family squabbles. With two modes of play, two differing experiences, two different play styles and two very different attitudes. Softcore and Hardcore are meant to be the same thing with the lone difference of a severe death penalty. With D3 on the horizon we are starting to see the differences appear not only inside the game but outside it as well. The rift between softcore and hardcore is widening, we are cut from the same cloth but don’t enter too often into eachother’s worlds. We don’t play with eachother, and that can lead to misconceptions, airs of superiority and the occasional forum flame war. We both play the same game yet we look at eachother as outsiders.
As a writer for a column focused on hardcore, I do my best to talk about my passion for our side of the game and the concerns I have with it. I’d be remiss however if i didn’t notice our growing divide with our better half. As I’ve stated before I played softcore during D2, and without knowing about hardcore was having a great time. I killed things, traded with people and got loot. Upon trying hardcore I become embedded in the playstyle and didn’t go back. That isn’t the path for all, and I don’t think we can get people to try or like our playstlye through name calling, and virtual willy waving.
Hardcore has always been an offshoot of the main game. It’s harsh death penalty has drawn a following but also critics. We’ve seen our lone difference questioned ( as well as our sanity) and seen radical changes suggested. Our softcore colleagues (not all of them) have lobbied for hardcore to softcore conversion on death and for character time locks after death instead of full character deletion. This causes us to run to our convictions, hold on to what we know and distance ourselves even further from where we once stood. In hardcore we don’t have much but if we take away the characteristic that drew us there what do we have?
As an offshoot of the main game we are also reliant on pulling what we can about out playstyle from the softcore reveals. With each new system update we’re not told how it is on hardcore, or what to expect, we must simply make our own conclusions. Hell, as early of 2009 we didn’t even know if we’d have a hardcore.
Bashiok: I think the last thing I heard from Jay on it in public was something along the lines of “Ok fine we’ll just commit to a hardcore mode here and now” outside of that no details have been released.
The average softcore player has a great idea what their gameplay will be like. They’ve seen videos, systems reveals and PVP. Hardcore on the other hand is full of mysteries. Will we be able to create HC characters from the start, or must we play through softcore? Is there perma-death on PVP?
While we may be spurned we have a tendency to look to our characters( or future characters) as being above our counterparts. We managed to get through the game without dying so naturally we are better. Or are we? Does the person with limited time become a noob because they don’t feel like losing a character they may play once a week when they have the time? Can we really measure our virtual willies in a game so dependent on luck? I think it’s best to wave our virtual willies at those in our own community as it’s apt for comparison. ( just reading that sentence makes me chuckle) Softcore to hardcore is apple to oranges. We need to stop measuring ourselves against who we strive not to be but the players we can be.
“Carebears”, “noobs”, “idiots” and the life blood of the franchise, softcore is the main game. We have to accept the fact that without them we wouldn’t have our niche. Think for a second of any major game that has a death penalty as harsh as hardcore, can you think of one? I’m hard pressed to think a company could ship a game that penalized all players so severely. It’s a great option for some but by no means for all. They will look into our community and point out flaws, suggest things, but most importantly try it, and hopefully join it. If we continue on our high horse we become what we hate, Like it or not we have something very important in common, a strong desire to play this game. We will do it meticulously, they will do it recklessly. We will bunch together while they flock apart. We will mourn our deaths, while they respawn. Our communities will be separate but always willing to take in a new member who wants something different.
Next week: What I’ve been doing wrong: my new keys to success
One Live to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.