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[Column] General: The Death of Hardcore

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,365MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

In this week's Tourist column, Christopher Coke hearkens back to an age long since forgotten... the age of the Hardcore. Read on to see what happened to the Hardcore MMO, and how Chris thinks it could be making a comeback.

I've played dozens and dozens of MMOs and the above facts represent the vast majority of popular games today. They represent the state of the genre. For us to target the developer-dictated lifestyles – not playstyles but lifestyles – of yesteryear is a fool's errand. Players demanding such are the grandparents constantly reminiscing about walking both ways in the snow. To these I suggest guilding up Conservative Party of Norrath, now with chapters in Azeroth and Tyria.

Read the rest of Christopher Coke's The Tourist: The Death of Hardcore.

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Comments

  • nuttobnuttob Plantation, FLPosts: 291Member
    You just reminded me of people camping the Ancient Cyclops for jboots in everquest 1.  You had to kill cyclopses sometimes for more than 24 hours in a row to make the Ancient one appear, and if you gave up...too bad.  Someone would take over your camp and get it instead.
  • LustmordLustmord Mt. Gilead, OHPosts: 1,095Member Uncommon
    I ninja looted the jboots ring from a guild mate. No regrets.
  • KilrainKilrain Prineville, ORPosts: 684Member Uncommon
    Good read. 3 bags first torch?

    professional web programming and design.

  • CrimsonFalkonCrimsonFalkon Omaha, NEPosts: 41Member Uncommon
    Great read! Sums up quite a bit of what I have been seeing across the genre and read on forums not to mention how I feel about it being one of those "grandparent" types! :)

    image

  • ChrisboxChrisbox Monroe, NJPosts: 1,707Member Uncommon

    This article is very very odd.  Just like how you were praising rift on where it flaws completely in one of your other articles.

    First off, 90% of this is just describing WoW. The title should've been how WoW has gotten less hardcore.

    But even then, your reasoning is flawed.  40 People down to 10 has zero to do with hardcore,  in matter of fact it was a good thing so more people could have lives and still raid in a tight knit schedule.  Raiding is just as flawed in the same area's it was in 40 man ( grind, composition superiority) , yet difficulty cap has actually risen since back in the day believe it or not.   

    The problem lies simply in the fact that

    1. We are still getting awful WoW clones to date

    2. WoW has dumbed itself down in purely innovation, not hardcore aspects.

    For example, if I had someone tell me Wildstar was going to be the most hardcore game of the year because it had 40 man raiding i would facepalm until it hurt. Its a quest hub grind raid end game releasing in 2013? I don't even know how another WoW clone is acceptable in this day and age and by all means it is not hardcore in the slightest.  

     

    Played-Everything
    Playing-FFXIV:ARR

  • ChieftanChieftan Independence, MOPosts: 1,417Member
    The learning curve and scraping together of every piece of copper was fine. Not being able to build up a solable character outside of a select few classes was my #1 problem with Everquest. The survival and gradual character building aspect is a gameplay style I'm starting to miss again.

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon
    Author's entire argument is based on the false assumption that "accessibility was driving the industry into mainstream consciousness."   Which amusingly is the same incorrect conclusion reached by numerous game designers who have churned out WoW clones only to see them fail.   Can the gameware industry really be that inept?  Blizzard is the only one with business sense and they advertise every single day and in many different places.   Advertising, not accessibility, built Blizzard's empire. 

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • Mike-McQueenMike-McQueen Enfield, CTPosts: 243Member
    I'm not sure how being able to solo everything can be considered more difficult than the old games where you were forced to group and actually interact with people in order to progress. That is a key element that is missing nowadays. That and RP. And by RP I'm not talking about "how art thou?" Dialog shit. I'm talking about the RP motivation behind a character/player's actions. I'm talking about consequences and repercussions. An Orc has inherent RP to pillage, Dwarves to build and craft and stomp orcs. Thieves pick pockets and stab people in the back. These things are lost in these new games for the most part or dumbed down to be optional. I hate what these developers create nowadays, I'd rather mud or pen and paper.

    I'm a unique and beautiful snowflake.

  • MalagarrMalagarr West Columbia, SCPosts: 13Member

    Well said.  I'm an old timer myself, but the last thing I want is a return to the old days of EQ.  I remember taking vacation time to help my wife camp Zordak, and taking the time to camp Sev myself.  I remember FCFS mobs and the quit literal devotion one had to have to the guild and game in order to be successful.  And I don't want to go back to any of that.

    That said...most of today's games have become mind numbingly simple.  They lack depth and more often than not seem like shells designed to sell you on buying something from the cash shop, rather than a world aimed at entertaining you.

    I would love to find a game that could strike a happy medium between the vast, seemingly endless possibilities of the games of yore and the easy going nature of modern MMOs.

  • ArcticnoonArcticnoon Alamogordo, NMPosts: 141Member
    Originally posted by Arclan
    Author's entire argument is based on the false assumption that "accessibility was driving the industry into mainstream consciousness."   Which amusingly is the same incorrect conclusion reached by numerous game designers who have churned out WoW clones only to see them fail.   Can the gameware industry really be that inept?  Blizzard is the only one with business sense and they advertise every single day and in many different places.   Advertising, not accessibility, built Blizzard's empire. 

    Coming from five years of FFXI a hardcore mmo, I didn't start play Wow because of advertising. I played it for the same reason I starte FFXI. A buddy told me it was great and invited me to play with him. He started playing it because a buddy invited him. I continued playing because a second buddy invited me to a guild where he and his entire family played. I left because this buddy and his family went to Swtor. I went back to Wow because this same buddy and his family left swtor. I later preodered  Gw2 because a 3rd buddy invited me.  None of these game influenced me with advertising.

    I seen commercials for Wizard 101 several times a week for years now. I have no desire to play it, but if a friend told me it was good, I would probably go there.

    I'm bombarded by Mcdonalds advertising on tv, radio  and billboards, yet I don't eat their food.

    Before you call people who have actually accomplished things in their professional lives "inept" you should first look in the mirror and realize you are not a smart as you think.

    Blizzard succeeded because their game didn't scare people away with its learning curve. Because the graphics and aesthetics where friendly and inviting. The combat was crisp quick and more action based than any mmo prior. Also Blizzard used a big IP to make their first mmo. Therefore attracting many people who'd never touch an mmo before. Because the game was good, it traveled be word of mouth like wildfire. 

     

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,214Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Malagarr

    Well said.  I'm an old timer myself, but the last thing I want is a return to the old days of EQ.  I remember taking vacation time to help my wife camp Zordak, and taking the time to camp Sev myself.  I remember FCFS mobs and the quit literal devotion one had to have to the guild and game in order to be successful.  And I don't want to go back to any of that.

    That said...most of today's games have become mind numbingly simple.  They lack depth and more often than not seem like shells designed to sell you on buying something from the cash shop, rather than a world aimed at entertaining you.

    I would love to find a game that could strike a happy medium between the vast, seemingly endless possibilities of the games of yore and the easy going nature of modern MMOs.

    I totally get this, only my game was Lineage.  It's weird that finding a happy medium is so very difficult and elusive.

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan
    Author's entire argument is based on the false assumption that "accessibility was driving the industry into mainstream consciousness."   Which amusingly is the same incorrect conclusion reached by numerous game designers who have churned out WoW clones only to see them fail.   Can the gameware industry really be that inept?  Blizzard is the only one with business sense and they advertise every single day and in many different places.   Advertising, not accessibility, built Blizzard's empire. 

    If you're putting WoW's entire climb to success on running more commercials and banner ads, you're mistaken. Advertising may have gotten the snowball rolling, but if WoW had come out without the new quest paradigm it would have stopped on the hill. Blizzard themselves acknowledge that players asked for quest to the level cap in beta. WoW was not always intended to be so open as it is today.

     

    I would put their success more on being part of the existing and tremendously popular Warcraft franchise before I would say it's all because of commercials. 

     

    After a certain point in their player numbers, WoW became a cultural thing. WoW was a known commodity in a way MMOs weren't previously. Advertising was a less important than removing extensive playtime requirements and forced grouping.

     

    Your original point is predicated on writing off an entire, nearly decade long shift on small drops in the advertising bucket of public mindshare, but let me ask you this: Why is it that non-accessible games now make up the minority of the marketshare? Why is it that EVE only has half a million players and not ten times that? Because players coming in today expect the precedent that WoW set to be met. They're not wrong for enjoying something different than the old guard and in fact make up the vast majority of players. We are two different audiences that, in a perfect world, could and should be learning from each other.

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • DihoruDihoru ConstantaPosts: 2,731Member

    I am what many would consider "one of the WoW kiddies" because my first MMO was WoW, then GW1 then many, many others... but the funny thing is as time went by I yearned for something more difficult, something more challenging even than WoW vanilla. I found that in EVE-Online for a while but after 7 or so years I think it's time for a long break from it (their iteration system works for a PvPer who lives and breathes null sec but after 4 years of that I ain't going back to it, too much of the lone wolf mentality, and as for a the rest, small scale PVP and PVE... been 4+ years since Wormholes got put in, until the next major mechanic like it I'll likely be running around in other games).

     

    The hardcore lifestyle though isn't dead, there are still games being made to cater to it, they may not be the best of games but most are still young enough for that to be ok, or are just plain interesting in their own way.

     

    In the future I foresee both the ultra casual, the hardcore and their hybrid living in the market, the latter two most likely in their own niches but who cares? If the games have a decent population it's win win for everyone :).

    image
  • misko10misko10 mariborPosts: 4Member
    The thing is, today every mmorpg wants the success that wow had. But its just impossible. The companies should not try to please everyone, instead focus on a group of players. That way we would have a lot of different mmos and not 10k wow clones and wannabes.

    image
  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    If accessibility defines success, and today's games are the pinnacle of accessibility, why are they failing?



    Originally posted by Arcticnoon
    I'm bombarded by Mcdonalds advertising on tv, radio and billboards, yet I don't eat their food.

    That is because you have already tried it. If not, and they constantly boasted that millions eat their food, you would most certainly try it.


    Originally posted by Arcticnoon
    Before you call people who have actually accomplished things in their professional lives "inept" you should first look in the mirror and realize you are not a smart as you think.

    You could use a mirror of your own if you are blind to the WoW clone failures. Ever heard of SWTOR?


    Originally posted by Arcticnoon
    Blizzard succeeded because...

    ...of the Blizzard Brand name
    ...they gave the game to millions of Chinese players for free and then used the tag "millions of players" to attract others
    ...they advertised every single day of its existence and brought in a younger demographic of players.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • nethervoidnethervoid xanex, CAPosts: 528Member

    2 Things, and none of this is meant to be trollish or a jerk.

    1. You don't look old enough to actually have played EQ1 when it released in 1999 let alone text muds before graphical MMOs came on the scene. You were something like 11 or 13 in 1999?

    2. The playstyle is not dead, it's just not the majority any longer because the demographic for 'who plays mmo's' has changed tremendously since inception.

    3. (you get an extra point heh) Old schoolers without a nice selection of games to play with the 'hardcore' aspects we saw in previous mmos like EQ and UO can attribute this issue to the industry going after larger and larger audiences. But that's a totally acceptable rant. What would the WoW players say if MMOs changed into lobby based games to capture all the FPS / lobby junkies, and we only got new titles like World of Tanks or League of Legends. It's actually happening slowly.

    nethervoid - Est. '97
    [UO|EQ|SB|SWG|PS|HZ|EVE|NWN|WoW|VG|DF|SWTOR]
    13k subs YouTube Gaming channel

  • GameByNightGameByNight Columnist / Podcast Host Rochester, NYPosts: 122Member Uncommon
    In 99 I was 13 and deep DEEP into MUDs which preceded the likes of EQ. I eventually made the jump but stayed in that MUD and old school in general until 2006.

    Writer of the RPG Files
    Official Podcast Host
    Blogger at GameByNight.com

  • coldandnumbcoldandnumb Gilbertsville, PAPosts: 90Member

    I totally agree with this article. It still seems to me that the old "hardcore" are in denial about what has happened in the genre as a whole. Like they are the only one's who opinions and playstyle should be imposed on everyone else. As the article stated the entire "hardcore" community would encompass 10% of todays players so if you were a developer why would you take a chance on alienating 90% of your potential players?

     I do agree with a lot of the complaints about today's mmos which is why I am currently not playing any mmo at all but expecting every new game to cater to a playstyle which only apllies to 10% of it's potential players just isn't going to happen.

    image
  • clk23clk23 Austin, TXPosts: 8Member
    Originally posted by Chrisbox

    This article is very very odd.  Just like how you were praising rift on where it flaws completely in one of your other articles.

    First off, 90% of this is just describing WoW. The title should've been how WoW has gotten less hardcore.

    But even then, your reasoning is flawed.  40 People down to 10 has zero to do with hardcore,  in matter of fact it was a good thing so more people could have lives and still raid in a tight knit schedule.  Raiding is just as flawed in the same area's it was in 40 man ( grind, composition superiority) , yet difficulty cap has actually risen since back in the day believe it or not.   

    The problem lies simply in the fact that

    1. We are still getting awful WoW clones to date

    2. WoW has dumbed itself down in purely innovation, not hardcore aspects.

    For example, if I had someone tell me Wildstar was going to be the most hardcore game of the year because it had 40 man raiding i would facepalm until it hurt. Its a quest hub grind raid end game releasing in 2013? I don't even know how another WoW clone is acceptable in this day and age and by all means it is not hardcore in the slightest.  

     

    While I don't necessarily disagree with your points, what would be the MMORPG playstyle you suggest should be expected in 2013 that is realistic to make, doesn't involve quests/quest hubs, or raiding?

  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,924Member Uncommon

    Honestly, the more 'hardcore' I feel would be fine with change, the problem is most of the change is for the worst. Having players having access to everything RUINS that sense of progression and rewards both HARDCORE AND CASUAL players want. Sure, you might not experience something being a casual, but knowing you are making progress is what fuels a players desire to continue. They want more and more to achieve yet games are making it more and more of a joke. You get no real sense of accomplishment. 

     

    Right now, games are falling far to hard on making everything trivial. That 'progression' element is what fuels players desire to play and experience the game. Without it, it only lowers the chances players, casual and hardcore alike, will continue to play the game and work towards it.

     

    I am pretty avid that as much as some casuals cry and moan about wanting to do everything, they really don't know what is best for themselves. That mentality is the big reason why they don't tend to stay around in games long, or if they do its often relying on "Alt leveling" or other details rather then dedicating to a main character since to them its just trivialized and not worth the effort.

     

    My EX was NOT a raider in WoW, she pretty much played for fun. When I hear she is playing WoW again and is BORED with having all the content in easy access for her, it kind of shows just how handing everything to the player just makes the casuals just as bored as even the hardcore ones.

  • JagaridJagarid West Covina, CAPosts: 415Member

    Wow, I saw the headline for this and thought for sure that the truth would be missed in the article.  But it was not.

    "It's too bad so many of them have become slaves to their old rose-colored memories."

    ^ Truth. ^

    I'm one of the grandpas, but I am no slave and it bothers me how many are. 

  • PerjurePerjure Col, OHPosts: 199Member Uncommon
    I too am one of those Grandpas - I still play MMORPG's daily. I enjoy them for what they are - a distraction. Do I miss the old days? Heck yeah I do. Could I and would I devote the 16 plus hours a day to a game now? No way.  I miss having to make my own maps and track coordinates. Discover pretty much everything for myself - it was awesome. I cringe when I hear the words "hardcore"  combined with words like "raiding, quests, and endgame"  - those words to me mean the beginning of the end of hardcore. The OP is correct - Hardcore is dead.
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,778Member Uncommon
    GW2 did the first step towards hardcore (within the themepark scene) by removing the babies hand holding trinity from group content. The so called hardcore couldnt handle the pressure..... i guess theres no such thing as hardcore mmorpgs anymore. Its just a term these guys use to feel good with themselves nowadays.
     

    image
  • ZeroPointNRGZeroPointNRG Crooklyn, NYPosts: 70Member
    Originally posted by Arclan

    If accessibility defines success, and today's games are the pinnacle of accessibility, why are they failing?

    Because that's the nature of the video game industry, and it's been that way for a long time. Around 8 out of 10 games will fail to be financially successful, regardless of genre. 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercial_failures_in_video_gaming#cite_note-2

    http://www.joystiq.com/2008/11/24/study-just-4-of-games-making-a-profit/

     

     

  • killahhkillahh calgary, ABPosts: 437Member
    I am sorry but OP, you missed the target, and you don't even know it.

    How sad.

    Rose colored glasses, you bet, i do remember a time it took dedication to become great in a mmorpg, and guess what?

    It was totally worth it.

    Become a feared killer? Known server wide or even across servers, a reputation worth something.
    I sold my UO account for 800.00US when I quit UO after it went disco, someone apperantly wanted that reputation.

    In Eq, when you got your epic at the beginning, it was amazing, a cleric with his epic, was a damn good cleric, bexause in order to get his epic he needed tons of friends, and that ment you needed to be great and have a great rep.

    The real problem is that everyone wanted that reputation and greatness, but, though laziness, stupidity, or lack of dedication, could not achieve it.

    Then along came wow, where everyman could be great. Huge success.

    I'm not bitter, i. Played wow even for a few years, but I can also say it was by far the easiest game I ever played. Without hardly trying I believe came dripping in purple, riding the dragon mount, gottired and quit.

    You see, it's all about the achievement factor in games, that's why we play them. You make something hard to get, when you get it its the. Most awsome thing ever. You make it easy to get, it's treated like garbage. It's like spoiling children, give them everything they want, and they get a skewed vision if how life works.

    And that's what's happened in RL and mmorpg nowdays, your all spoiled, you can have everything you have ever wanted in games, and your left feeling hollow.

    Gonada Dahung,over 20 years of mmorpg's and counting....Please Lord, let someone make a game that had all the awesomeness of UO, EQ and EVE...

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