No not griefing ( though that might be a good idea), this week we focus on the downside of hardcore ( not that I’d admit there are any). Eventually as in life we will have to deal with death, but how do we go about it?
I’ve lost a lot of characters, but the one that stung the most was the last barb I ever created. After a few hours cruising through Nightmare Meph runs I hit the jackpot. A nice Arreat’s Face to complement my gear. I’d been trying to trade for it for weeks but just didn’t have what anyone wanted. I slapped it on, admired my gear and went back to what I had been doing best. Now maybe I should have stopped right there and called it a night, but like gambling you can’t stop while you’re on a hot streak, who knew what Meph had next? I don’t really know what happened, I recall the leap over to Meph, and then seeing the screen we all hate to see. My deeds of valor would be remembered.
“A quick alt-F4 and I’ll be a good as new,it had worked so many times before” I thought. When a character was moving but the screen wasn’t, when a few too many mobs were after me, or a vicious pk was hounding me; it was alt-f4 to the rescue. No such luck in this case, the death screen was up, as was my barbs time in the hardcore realm. Denial is tough in a game when your death is staring you in the face. It is however quite easy to shift the blame, I could have blamed my connection, the distraction around me, but it couldn’t I knew it was my fault. It’s that realization that pushes us to step two.
Ah nerdrage, is there anything more humorous? Youtube it if you need confirmation.Throwing stuff, punching the air, screaming over virtual things? Sure I can say this now because the sting of death isn’t fresh ,but when it hits you are going to be mad. You of course have every right to be. You’ve spent a good deal of time with that character, and now you can’t anymore. Anger can lead to rash decision making, rage deleting your account, swearing off video games, going outside etc. It’s important to keep a level head about these things. If the goal of the game is to kill things, you can do that at levels one through sixty. Death of your character won’t take the game away from you, but your anger can. If you are someone who takes this really seriously and can’t handle failure then you have two choices: be the greatest hardcore player ever who never dies, or avoid hardcore. Once the dust settles, you pick up your keyboard and move on to step three.
This is the dangerous one, and one that really could shape hardcore in the years to come. How many times have we thought “ If I could just have one more shot” but the way hardcore was set up we knew we couldn’t. That ghost was already in our selection screen and no amount of time complaining to Blizzard in their customer service channel (trust me) would change it, no matter what the circumstance was. It’s this desire to bargain after death that leads me to fear a monetization for hardcore. What amount of money would you pay to have it back? It’s easy now to say none, but I can guarantee the option would be used. We’ve already seen there won’t be a RMAH, so Blizzard won’t be making money off the hardcore community, so this option might be the doorway to do just that. Hopefully we won’t see that, as we’ve already seen a vocal part of our community vehemently opposed to it. We’ve also seen that the Dev team seems to be opposed to it as well:
Granted this also comes from Bashiok in 2010, who also gave us insight into why Inferno is a bad idea.With that in mind, If we look to other Blizzard titles,( WoW in particular) we see they allow their customers a wide array of options with their characters from server transfers, faction switching, gender reassignment surgery, and gigantic space ponies. Hardcore resurrection could easily fall in this vein, but as long as we aren’t shouting for it, hopefully we won’t see it. I think in this case it’s better to remember when you get what you wish for, you may not be happy with the result.
I think this is where we lose a lot of good players to. No people aren’t slitting their wrists over the death of their characters ( though that puts a new spin on hardcore), but a lot look at the time invested and ask “What’s the point?”. I think the game is more than your character, it’s the experience. We go into hardcore because we get to be mortal, we can’t quit because we encountered that reality. Each death as I’ve said before is a chance to grow and learn, if death is something your concerned about it’s probably best to not only have one character but several to fall back on just in case. That way if you lose one you can pick up with another and assuage the sting of death by focusing on your new character. You can also (and I hate to say this) have a soft core back up to jump on every now and then to remind you why went hardcore. It was my forays back into softcore that would push me back to where I belong. Seeing people die and get back to the group in a few seconds, or just committing suicide via fallen can give you a perspective on what make our community unique. This may then move you to..
Finally you can move on, create your new character and spring back into action. You may want to hang on to that ghost for a little bit for nostalgia, or delete it right away and steal its name, but eventually you come back, hopefully learning something in the process
Diablo 3 is putting a lot of things into motion that should speed this process along. First we have a shared stash, no more muling, or losing myriads of items on your main character. Now you should be able to set up your next character without having to divert from your current. Secondly we have the banner system, while it isn’t much to look at it should help us catch back up to our still living friends. We can jump right into the action with your friends, no waiting through acts or checkpoints, just right back to cracking skulls.Lastly is the ease of normal difficulty. We’ve routinely heard how easy the first difficulty will be and as a result getting a character back into combat should be as well. With our followers to accompany us,I’m not predicting we’ll hit a bump in our leveling. All these point to a quick recovery, and while it’s not easy to start anew, it’s the threat of the possibility that drove us to hardcore.
I eventually came back to a barbarian a few months ago. The game has changed so much it didn’t feel right anymore, but with D3 on the horizon maybe the perfect homage would be picking up where I left off in D2, and hopefully this time if/when he dies I won’t require as long of a hiatus.
Next week: Softcore vs Hardcore: Can we get along?What are your attitudes towards our other half?
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.