Gamers don’t want Hardcore

Oh… gamers think they want hardcore.  They even say they want hardcore. But no, they do not want hardcore, or at least not the kind of hardcore that mmo developers usually dole out to appease their requests.

When a gamer says they want something to be hardcore, they mean to say they would like to achieve something and then stand triumphant while those who have not achieved that thing are impressed beyond measure.  It has to be something that they can achieve where others fail. This is where the vision stops.  Players don’t stop to think WHY those who are impressed have failed to achieve.

In SWG, getting a gunship is considered a somewhat “hardcore” space goal.  In order to get one, you have to kill hundreds of fighters of every kind, of every level.  The barrier that keeps most people from getting a gunship isn’t some boss, but rather a huge boring grind. Many of the ships you have to destroy to get a gunship die after a couple hits, but are so weak you could bring your engines to a full stop and safely go to the bathroom during a dogfight.

It should be the other way around.  Hardcore should mean that you have to face very difficult fights where you could easily die against a dangerous opponent.  Instead, your chief enemy in most “hardcore” games is boredom.  * Cough *  Darkfall  * Cough *

When players ask for hardcore, they may expect some twitch-based challenge or near-impossible boss, but they’re really asking for a huge grind.  Hardcore doesn’t = Challenging.