After an article of mine was featured on the blizzard site( no big deal), I decided to enter into the comments section. With my column hitting a large new audience I was curious what new similes they had for how much I sucked(black hole like? Industrial vacuum?). However, what I found wasn’t a critique of me, but of the mode I love so much. What is the point of Hardcore?
In any game there really is no point. They are entertainment, something we do to escape and enjoy ourselves. That being said Hardcore is then a niche of that concept, an added rule to game.
That rule adds challenge. Can I do what I want in the game while not dying? Can I achieve at the highest echelon without compromising my characters life? That leads to a new balance to the game. Not only are you concerned with destroying the denizens of hell, but keeping your health bar full as well. I’ve had a lot of hard decisions in the past few months debating over more dps at the cost of my health, switching out gems, and deciding if it’s worth it. In softcore that’s not the case. Death is a hurdle, not the end. You don’t have to think those decisions over because they don’t really matter. Hardcore allows for your decisions to matter and the choices you make can be deadly.
Hardcore allows for ownership of your character. I own each mistake and triumph my characters have had. Through my decisions I’ve guided them to where they are be it high paragon levels of the Hall of heroes. Most importantly I own the memories of that time with the character. I own those “oh shit” moments, those lag spikes, and those triumphs of taking a character father than the last one. When I look back on D3 I won’t recall my exact gear, my exact spec, but I’ll remember that. I also own some weird sense of pride for taking my characters farther than before, no where was that more apparent than when I hit inferno (pre-nerf) without ever touching it on softcore.
The economy also makes the game down right enjoyable. Things sell here! Low level weapons, gems, anything that is usable is reusable. You can make a steady bankroll just selling the stuff you find as you level, since a lot of people are dying and setting up the process all over again. With the element of death their is a demand at both the top and bottom for gear; which allows anyone a chance to strike it rich, or work their way up. That death also eliminates a massive influx of items that devaluate everything else, making even the item you poached off the AH seem more valuable since their isn’t an identical one right next to it. Suddenly you having bidding wars on items not worth blinking at in soft core.
Now the biggest misconception is that we will inevitably play slower and safer, and that will equal boredom for most players. However I don’t find that to be the case.I’ve found most players play at the level they can handle without dying. That’s not to say we don’t risk it, and my use of tranquility on my monk can testify to that. I often run on a MP that I can clear quickly but that can still give me enough “oh Shit” moments to hesitate bumping it up a notch. However, once those moments abide, I am quick to push it up and push my character forward. I imagine most do the same. In reality how is that much different than the softcore mindset, pushing yourself at the rate you feel safest and most efficient? The only difference in this case is the respawn timer in hardcore is a hell of a lot longer.
Hardcore isn’t for everyone, Lag will kill you, mistakes will kill you, stupidity will kill you, but your memories won’t die. You will recall that first death, build off of it, and get better and die again, and keep going because you’re enjoying the journey not the destination.
One Life 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. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!