2011 brought a lot our way in the hardcore community. Questions were answered, and questions of course remain. 2012 will bring us Diablo 3, and before that even more hype than we can handle. 2011 is also when I started this column and while it is bit early to reminisce I thought I’d look at the questions I was posing just five months ago to see what had changed( and what hasn’t).

    Back in August I wrote a column pointing out several unknowns:

    What happens when you die? This isn’t a philosophical question, but a space and nostalgia one. I can’t speak for most, but I had a hard time deleting the ghost of my highest-level characters, and with only 10 slots I’m not sure what will happen. In the podcast last week I heard an idea from Flux that piqued my interest. What if we were given our own Hardcore graveyard for our characters? This would eliminate our need to hold on to an empty slot, while allowing us to revisit the memories of our fallen heroes. I would love this, while it would hurt to see my vast cemetery it could have awesome achievements tied to it as well, achievements for your first death, or for having fifty or more headstones. This could possible eclipse the Oregon Trail in terms or awesomeness of gravestones.

    If we are stuck with the Diablo 2 model, then the situation gets tricky. While I’m not planning on dying a lot, I can’t make any promises( though I have been contemplating if I would get an achievement for being the first to die in Hardcore) Will the call to make a new character be strong enough to bump the ghost of my highest level?

    Do I die in the arena?

    Yes we do…wait no we don’t….wait no one knows a damn thing. We’ve heard Jay say:

    Hardcore, you had mentioned that you changed it to a death match.
    Jay Wilson: That’s what I want to do. There is a lot of pushback on the team. I announced that at Blizzcon and the community were all for it. We have gotten a bit of mixed results outside of Blizzcon. It’s easy for me to get a crowd worked up so… The PvP strike team that focuses on that area, they are pretty nervous about it. Their basic feeling is that if that is what happens, then hardcore characters just won’t PvP. But then there was hardcore dueling in D2 so we may change that. We may allow hardcore PvP players to play without dying.
    That being said, I still want a way for hardcore players to duel even if not at ship. I am going to push for a way. Even if its basically just a place where you can go in the world where you are flagged for PvP. Even if it is that simple, there is a community, even if it’s a small community that I want to support. Those f**kers are crazy. Part of me is like aww you crazy bastards.

    And had Bashiok on Twitter say:

    @grug16 Less final than the witch doctor is a class, and more final than what happens to hardcore characters when they die in the arena.

    And recently we heard…nothing. We are still in the dark on what for some could be their entire experience. Some may not enter in if they have perma-death, and some may not unless they have it, but at the moment all we do have is a lack of confirmation.

    Can we go Hardcore right out of the gate?

    This is the one to me that matters the most. Hardcore has always been an option, but in D2 originally you had to complete the game in normal to unlock it. If it is an option I already have to choose and agree to a disclaimer ,then why do I have to play through on a character I don’t? Softcore players are not forced to play hardcore, why force hardcore players to play softcore? I understand the concept of allowing players to experience the game with a light penalty, to see what it has to offer, but I for one feel handicapped by it. If this is how the game goes live I will be forced to slough through on a character I will delete (due to space), to earn the right to make one I can keep. Having little time to play I will be much further behind my friends who have more time, and may still be stuck on soft core while they make their way to Nightmare, or worse Inferno. This is a quick way to sour those who have already committed to hardcore,

    In the time since I wrote that only two of those things have fleshed out. Corpse looting has gone the way of the dodo, and while I am sad to see it go I do understand why it’s gone. The shining beacon for hardcore from 2011 was the Halls of the dead that highlights your dead hardcore characters exploits and most importantly doesn’t take up a precious character slot.

    Everything else is up in the air. We have heard that they think Hardcore will require a soft core play through,  but they are not 100% on it. We also have no confirmation on Hardcore arena, or any arenas for that matter. 2012 does allow us to voice our opinions on these subjects and there are some lengthy threads on the official forums by diehards like MushMan requesting we go Hardcore from the start. With no release date in sight maybe we can still affect our own choices and start out playing in our niche right away.

    2011 Was an interesting year. I can definitely say I did not expect to still be looking forward to the game in January when I first started writing this column. In all honesty I was expecting to be reporting on the game by November, how wrong I was. Last year did allow me the chance to play the beta which exceeded my expectations, but sadly only further increased the hype meter for myself. Luckily 2012( hopefully) will quench that desire.

    Lastly the 15 year anniversary for Diablo has me nostalgic and had me dig up this gem. This was my first column I “wrote” with Flux back in 2001 in the height of Diablo 2. I was just a kid who loved playing the game and stumbled on a weird glitch. I submitted it, and Flux went about doing most of the work but I still got credit for it. Ten years later I now am a regular contributor to the site I was so enamored by. It’s in that spirit that I draw your attention to your chance to do just what I did ten years ago and join the team helping to report news. You can view the link here and go about joining the team!

    Next Week: Going back to D2: Biding time and having fun

    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.

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