Sometimes we have ads that get me thinking. Case in point, the most recent ad on our site for the upcoming Lineage 2 classic server, which promised “hardcore leveling.” I freely admit that my time in the game was brief, but I honestly don’t recall it being all that “hardcore” by my definition. Sure, someone could jump out of the trees and introduce an arrow to my trachea at any moment, but that wasn’t hardcore. Leveling in groups or doing nothing in Final Fantasy XI was hardcore.
And yet there are some people who would argue that my vision of “hardcore” wasn’t hardcore at all, that it’s not really hard until the aforementioned arrow-trachea interactions are in place. Some people will probably argue that it’s not really hardcore unless you’re dealing with classic Ultima Online, which admittedly I bounced off of very quickly.
Like lots of terms, there’s no real hard-and-fast definition of what is and is not “hardcore,” which means it’s the perfect thing to turn over to our readers. So what do you think? What is a hardcore MMO to you? Is it one with open PvP? Grouping to level? An expansive challenging endgame? No group finder? It doesn’t have to be a game you’d want to play, but what sort of features would you list as part of a hardcore game?