With the (somewhat) recent release of Diablo III, and the stories I’ve heard of friends’ trials and tribulations with their ‘hardcore’ (or is it “Insanity” now?) characters, I thought I’d take a moment to explain why I’m not likely to engage that particular setting.

Permanent death? It's just like real life! This game is so realistic.

Blizzard’s attempt to prevent the deluge of “restore” requests from folks who don’t quite understand what “hardcore” entails.

Of course I like my video games to be challenging. If they’re too simple (ahem, KirbysEpicYarn), they’re not real enjoyable. Sure, there are moments where I like to play some kind of mindlessly simple game, but for the most part, I don’t want a game to be extremely easy.

But I don’t want things to be extremely difficult, either.

Now don’t get me wrong, I totally get the desire to play games at their hardest difficulty–it can be super satisfying to conquer a really difficult challenge, or to know that you’re super 1337 because you pwnd your favorite game on “OMFG” difficulty.

But I play video games to relax. I’ve generally got about 40 irons in the fire, so to speak, and I like to take the opportunity to chill out and play my favorite games from time to time. I want them to be challenging enough to keep me interested, but not so challenging that they actually add to the stress in my life. I don’t want to have to spend hours trying to solve a puzzle, or trying to defeat a specific boss.

I just want to play.

It’s the same reason that I don’t feel particularly guilty using a walkthrough, or guide, from time to time. No, I don’t really enjoy going through an entire game simply by following the walkthrough, but sometimes they come in handy. I know I’m not the only one to think, “Wow, I never would have figured that out,” after looking something up online. That’s the moment when I feel pretty darn good about looking something up, instead of spending an eternity stressing myself out.

But hey, like I said, I totally get the desire to do it all yourself; to beat games at their hardest. But that’s not why I play.

What about you? Do you like to play on Hardcore mode? Or are you a pretty casual gamer? Or something in between? Leave a comment below!

5 comments
annedreshfield
annedreshfield

I agree with you, Dan! I like just playing through a game, and while I sometimes enjoy a challenge (even to the point of me giving up and looking up a walthrough), I easily get annoyed if that's *all* I'm doing through a game! I usually don't play on the hardest level unless I'm playing multiplayer with friends and just looking for something new...and something to laugh at, since we're usually not very successful. :) So I'd say I'm definitely pretty casual, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a game, which people sometimes assume. Anyway, welcome to the Livefyre community, and please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or feedback for us. We'd be happy to help. 

David
David

There can be a few reasons for this. For the record, I am not the kind of person to play hardcore mode either (not in this game, anyhow). The reason a person would want to play hardcore mode is various, but for most people it serves a specific purpose that cannot be fulfilled by the game's ordinary mode. First, in the history of video games, games did not have these complex save systems and safety nets for players. Many times, all the player had were three chances (lives) and maybe a continue or two or three. Ultimately, there is something those games can produce that Diablo 3's normal cannot as well. That feeling is tension. Like in those early video games, a challenge the player can't overcome could mean that the last three hours or so of play time provided "no reward," which was a huge consequence of not being able to finish the game. Now, however, with most games, they can be played and there is a representation of how much time you put into it, be it an item, a level-up, a reward of some kind. Something to show that the player has done a good job. Hardcore mode provides the scenario where if the player isn't careful, they could actually lose all the progress they've made. There is a stress involved with this mode, and that stress causes the player to be more connected to the character. It's as though the character's goal of surviving for as long as possible and the player's goal intertwine very closely and create a very close relationship. This, naturally, has the player closely invested. I don't play Diablo for that reason, but I can see why it exists. On a related note, I do think it'd be nice to have hardcore mode in games where the player makes key story decisions. I feel in many times that a story's choice and impact is mitigated by the fact that the player can simply load back if they didn't like the decision they made. If there was a hardcore mode for story, where the stakes suddenly became higher because I can't just go back like normal... that'd be really cool.

danlang
danlang

David! What an insightful and awesome comment. You bring up some excellent points - it is interesting to think about how much video gaming has changed throughout its short history. I'm pretty sure I didn't think of things along those lines because with some of the original Nintendo games, I could never have hoped to beat the games. I never once made it through even half of the original Mario Bros. game, let alone through the whole thing. That whole jumping on the axe business was too much for me! Talk about hardcore gaming! :) I love your idea of hardcore story-mode. I tend to be that person who occasionally goes back and re-makes decisions that I wasn't satisfied with - but I would also probably enjoy a hardcore storyline. It'd have to be implemented on a game where it wasn't obvious which choice was the "right" one - the Mass Effect series (which I totally love, don't get me wrong!), for example, makes very clear which choice is Paragon; which Renegade. For the Hardcore thing to work, you'd have to actually think - okay... now which option is going to give me the results I want, and go with that. Though in Mass Effect's defense, the "short-text" options that lead to Shepard saying something much longer are often somewhat misleading, and he occasionally says something that I would never have expected from the short-text cue. Plus, some of the reactions to said choices are occasionally pretty insane - if there were a hardcore mode, I'd like to think that the writers/developers would think long and hard about how plausible each action and its subsequent reaction really was.