What is the riddle of HARDCORE?

Wotcha everyone,

On the 18th of September, the metaphorical doors of Warhammer Online will be thrown open to the world (shush, you headstart players at the back.  Stop jumping about the place), and whilst War may not be everywhere, it will most likely be in the Tier 1 zones (and probably Martyr Square, somehow).

It’s one of the most fun, most cool times to play an online game.  Everyone is excited at seeing the game for the first time, and discovering all the elements of their characters skills and abilities, as well as the world around them.  I love launch days.  It’s like the world is just opened out for you, and all you can see is a grand vista of possibility.

It’s a time to forge friendships and alliances, to shout “Squeeee!” at all the cool things, and to see if that big, nasty looking mob over there wants to be your special friend…

In the midst of this are all the usual uncertainties, but they sort of add to to the frisson of excitement.  Will there be a Core Role-Playing server (hey, it’s important to me)?  Will we be hideously outnumbered, or outnumber our enemies?  Will my capital city be constantly under siege?  Will I choose the same character class as forty-seven meeeeeeellions of other players on my server?  Will someone “take” the names I’m intending to use?

Uncertainties are part of the fun of anticipation, so I can have fun mulling over these concepts over a lovely brew.

However…  More and more, I am starting to wonder about a certain gaming style that seems to be popping up more and more on forums and boards.  To paraphrase my favourite NPC phrase from Civilisation 2; “My words are backed with HARDCORE GAMING”.

Aye.  “HARDCORE”.  I could have used “Hardcore”, but it just doesn’t seem HARDCORE enough.  Just doing a couple of simple searches on my search engine of choice brought up quite a number of links to HARDCORE GUILDs, from all over the place.  I read a few of their introductions, their aims and objectives, and their ambitions towards Warhammer Online.

It certainly got me wondering.  To the extent that I am wondering what a pathetic, worm-like larvae like me is doing thinking of even pre-ordering Warhammer Online.  I’m only going to be going on for a few hours a week, doing some RvR, Public Quests, a bit of levelling, whatever takes my fancy really.

I’m not going to be playing for [insert ever increasing numbers here] hours every day.  I’m not going to want to set up a bunk in one of the keeps.  I have no urge to crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and hear the lamentation of their women.  Well, not every 5 minutes of every hour that I play the game.

I don’t even care about “server firsts”.  Does that make me a heretic?  And you know what’s worse?  I don’t even care who *gets* a server first.  I enjoy instancing, and raiding, but I don’t have to be at the bleeding edge of four-hour wipes a night to think I’m getting my money’s worth.

What is the attraction of HARDCORE GUILD play?  I’m not actually trying to take the piss here; I’d really like to know.  Because to me it seems as if to be HARDCORE, I need to level up my character as fast as possible, and then “dominate” the end-game (which is a very negative term.  I prefer “high-level game”),  by following orders, all with the aim of destroying my enemies with no mercy.

Another thing that worries me is that from the outside, it looks very scary.  To the extent that I start to think that if I want to join an group with such a military hierarchy and organisation, I could lose weight, get fit, and join the British Army.  Hell, even the Territorial Army would occupy less of my free time.  Or if I don’t want to get fit, I can join one of the many cults that are out there.  There’s a few in my area as it is, so I wouldn’t need to move far.

If anyone fancies setting me straight, feel free.  I really am interested to know what the attraction is, because all that is happening at the moment is that HARDCORE gamers and Average-Joe gamers seem to be scornfully eyeing each other up, in the same way that non-gamers normally scornfully eye us *all* up.



8 Responses

  1. I have the same kind of worries. I like PvP for the fun of it, not necessarily the ultra-competitive side of it.

    I prefer the battle to rage back and forth, and giving me some sense of accomplishment for being a part of it.

    I’m going to make a guild as quickly as possible so we can start earning levels for it. I hope we will be able to get a small (say, 10-15 members) viable guild running without the need for zillions of members. I want to use a banner, I want to capture a keep — but I’m worried that it can only happen in a larger guild.

  2. loved the post, a good one as always 🙂

    I am/was in a semi-hardcore guild, although we turned casual now. It’s just such a broad-term..how do you classify which guild is hardcore and which is casual.
    We labeled ourselves semi-hardcore in wow, cause we had scheduled raids about 4-5x a week, sign-ups for the raids, dkp rewards, the whole shabang, but all those things were to make the raiding easier and more fair…our ultimate goal was to simply have fun, and fun for us meant seeing “high-level” content and having that feeling of success and pride when first downing a new boss with your guild buddies…
    what is the attraction of hardcore guilds you ask? i think it’s the certainty (or the belief in it) of being able to raid (a lot) and do end game stuff.
    For some its the certainty of getting the best latest epic leet loot…which comes with end-game stuff…With many casual guilds (what i’ve seen) it’s always a struggle to get raids and end-game content going, for various reasons…anyways..those are my thoughts on the attraction of hardcore guilds.

  3. The hardcore gamers believe there is awesomeness and strength in their position, when really they are succumbing to the weakness of pride. The casuals do the same if they look at the hardcores with ire.

  4. It makes me wonder – is there such a thing as a ‘softcore’ guild? A guild that has a website with big talk and guild videos showing them pwning things – but they cut out the final death scene of the boss mob, and actually only play an hour a day at most, two hours at the weekend and make it look like a hardcore guild with clever editing…

    I think I’ve overthought this really…

  5. I can completely relate to this post. 45-year-old female dyed-in-the-wool roleplayer here!

    While I know that HARDCORES will always abound in MMO’s, WAR is also great for casuals and the handful of people who still actually roleplay (not ERP, thanks) in game.

    This is also the reason I left WoW, which is obviously made for HARDCORES nowadays. (Shame, it was such a good game when it released.) I want an MMO that feels like a fine worn old leather sofa, not a bunk in a barracks or a rung on a hamster wheel.

  6. […] “What is the riddle of hardcore?” @ Book of Grudges – Buck the trend, be casually awesome! […]

  7. I was in semi-hardcore guild in WoW for some time and would like to echo one other commenter:
    Unless you were in some sort of raiding guild (and quite frankly any raiding guild was at that time almost immediately labeled hardcore, same as it happens/-ed in LotRO) you wouldn’t have seen some of the best encounters in game. And it was even worse in TBC…
    So there is some appeal to that… but of course there’s hardcore and then theres HARDCORE ;D

  8. oh and some of the most HARDCORE stuff I’ve seen wasn’t raiding 4-5 times a week, it was some RP session in a certain tavern someplace in Middle-Earth… *cough*PP*cough*
    I thought I will need a therapy afterwards… but I guess it’s the other type of hardcore, which Hawley might also want to write about =P

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