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What is Hardcore Gaming?

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by Oroshi, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Oroshi

    Oroshi Cupcake

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    What is Hardcore Gaming?

    Hardcore?

    What does it mean to you?

    I’ve started to think about this, in one of those moments before sleep. What does it mean to be hardcore in todays games? People will tell you about vanilla WoW, or the original days in EQ. Hell I remember playing PACman for now what seems like hours before dieing on the old wooden Atari console, was that hardcore, back in the day with limited lives.



    I started playing EVE Online back in the days before warp to 0, that is right you had to either pay for, or make you own bookmarks that would hopefully drop you on to the gate. If you got it wrong or were just plain unlucky on that warp you could bounce off at high speed leaving you a long heart thumping crawl back to the gate. I can tell you carrying two weeks of refined minerals back to empire from deep 0.0 in a mammoth, was hardcore for me, cause then if I lost that ship, it was not just my two weeks work, but that of my friends too.



    I’m asking this question now, of us as Gamers, and of Developers, not to say how amazing the old days were, and noobs of today don't know what it is all about. Its to look at what does it mean today, for its easy to look back at the past, and apply our rose tinted glasses and forget all the grinding, all the time we put in for those few fleeting moments. I’ll never get that feeling back from my early EVE days, and others will never get the feeling they had when they completed their first raid.



    Why?

    Well times have moved on, as we as a community have moved on, our needs, wants, and time constraints have moved on. When I first started playing MMOs, I did not race to cap, I took my time, enjoyed the game, and built up group of friends. Recently I like many others, I played Guild Wars 2, I was in PvX guild and was helping to run their WvW section, and dealing with their hardcore members, as well as being one. Quickly through the fast means possible we leveled to 80 (by running yaks a lot), so we can be at the top of our game in WvW. I got there and collected my full set of epic gear, and a horrible thing happened, I got bored and lost interested, it took a few weeks for me to realize, I was going through the motions, and starting to resent my time.


    “Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Maybe we can rephrase this quote, gaming is a journey, not a level cap.



    This is something we all need to think about, because if we consume the content of a game far too quickly, getting some where in days, rather than months, maybe we just miss the point, and don’t savour being at the top of the game. Let face it Wildstar is going to release with upwards of 150 hours of content to level in, if you play a couple of hours a night and complete everything before hitting the Elder Game, it could take you 6 months playing 4-5 nights a week. A lot of us have pressures on us that don't arise from gaming, such as work, family, study, sports, social events, holidays. I added holidays, as I have a friend who takes a week holiday off from EVE Online, so he can survive.

    So yeah, if you spent those 150 hours leveling, being immersed in the community of your server, when you hit Elder Game, hopefully you’ll have a deep passion for the game, and made many friends to play the Elder Game with. Maybe we would see other interesting side effects of this creep back in. People would be happy to pay subscriptions again, it would mean companies would not have to really on the dread microtransactions, to fund their efforts. Because in SWTOR once I hit cap, and I had completed my personal story, there was nothing to do, it was reaching the end of the good book, that sense of disappointment, followed by a hollow feeling you get.

    Why have leveling at all?

    If you think about it why, if the goal is to hit Elder Game as soon as possible, the whole leveling process is just in the way, yeah you'll end up with some gear, most of it pointless, and some cash, which is normally very little compared to what you'll earn at cap. I’ve heard this crazy saying “The game starts at end game”, what about all the content beforehand is that not part of the game, learning about your skills, how they work, you learn the mechanics of the game. There is all that lore, after all its a MMORPG, not just a MMO.

    How do you measure a hardcore player/guild?

    Is it someone one or a group of people who meet each week, four maybe five times, to grind the gear they need to defeat the current raid boss, till they all get the gear to be able to face the next raid?

    Is it the guild made up of people who get all the server firsts in a game?

    That bring me to another question if the raid bosses are going to have randomised skills how do you judge who is the better guild? For Example Guild A may be unlucky and end up with a raid boss with very hard skills, and party wipe, Guild B, there boss is easy, as they are very lucky, or Guild C, the boss has average skills and they complete the raid. who can you say you got the server first when there is a hard version of that boss, because lets face it, as much as the devs try all the skills, and possible skill combos can not be complete balanced.

    And what do people get out of it, the right to boast they did it first? Is that enough to keep your interest?

    Maybe this is what you seek in a game, and once you’ve done this then what, move on to the next game declaring MMOs are not the same they use to be, because when I played Vanilla WoW I had stacks of content to do, and the raids were hard back then.

    I’ve become that gamer, the one that has to complete the game as quickly as possible and move on to the next one, like some sort of drug addict seeking their next virtual high. Hoping the next MMO will quench that thirst, will its challenges keep me transfixed, I’m starting to think now, it will not. A friend of my said one thing about Wildstar to the Dev’s that stuck in my mind “Don’t break my heart again”. Like love if you have a list of criteria to compare another person too, you’ll never find that perfect person they don't exist. Maybe the games we are playing are breaking our hearts, as we never play them truly, we just rush through and complete it.

    So what is Hardcore?

    I’ll leave you with that question, is it someone who races to the end to fight the big boss, following someone elses commands, or someone who is still playing and enjoying that game 6 months, hey 6 years down the line, and knows the ins and outs of the game. Maybe this is why the old MMOs are the best as we gave them the chance.

    I hope this made sense, and will cause you to ask, “What do I want from Wildstar?”
  2. Ego13

    Ego13 Cupcake-About-Town

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    Commitment, Drive, Skill, and Confidence

    Personally, it all boils down to the above. With that, whether it's gaming, profession, school, or anything else.

    *e - Oh...and....nice post. ;)
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  3. Scrapple

    Scrapple Cupcake

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    well in my experience with Hardcore means not any responsibilities IRL all you do is game be the best you can be not worry about who you step on to get there. I used to be a major Hardcore Raider till I had my daughter then my priorities changed and I couldn't raid as much anymore and lost my raid spot I was told that my daughter was no excuse to stop raiding. I politely told them to go ____ themselves. So that's what Hardcore means to me not caring about anything else but the game having no time and patience for anyone but themselves.
  4. Nekofest

    Nekofest Cupcake-About-Town

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    at this point I feel like "hardcore" is nothing more than a nonsense label people use to try to put themselves on some sort of pedestal
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  5. Ego13

    Ego13 Cupcake-About-Town

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    So weird to me....almost every HC Raiding guild I've been in has been more like a family. It seems like most people's experience has been negative, which is really sad to see.

    I love how people make judgments about it though. Guess it's always similar to the have's and have-nots.

    As far as the journey/destination stuff....if the journey is worthwhile then I'm all for it, sadly it's usually more of a means to an end because it's just not that fun.

    [Mod Shades] Please watch what you say. Also, indirectly referring to those that have less than others in derogatory way is not acceptable. [/Mod Shades]
  6. lusciifi

    lusciifi Cupcake-About-Town

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    I actualy think being "hardcore" has nothing to do with skill level. I knew plenty of casuals who raided 6hours a week and were actually great players and i knew people who played 40+ hours a week and couldn't move out of the fire. I think the only thing that defines hardcore in my mind, is how much time you spend on something.

    To me leveling is important as an extended tutorial, after playing half a dozen mmos, i dont need it but it ensures that the people I'm playing elder games have at least some understanding of their character.I don't think it would be a good idea to drop people off with 30+ skills to chose from and tell them to have fun. Now if you envision a system where you are at cap but there is still progression, i have to ask how this is so different then traditional levels in the first place. I good example of a game without levels is the secret world. No one had a level, but you still gained skill points and over time got the ability to use better and better gear. And here is another point. If you could just use the best gear from the time you launched the game, what would stop people from ignoring most of the content and missing out on most of what the game had to offer.
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  7. Jynetik

    Jynetik "That" Cupcake

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    I tend to define hardcore behavior in anything in terms of level of commitment. Hardcore players will throw everything they have into the game, as much time as they can spare, all of their resources and ability in order to see that commitment grow into something lasting and worthwhile. Perhaps they are after a server first achievement, or wish to run the best guild on the server, maybe they want to be the best at w/e profession they have chosen to pursue.

    I don't think that convenience is the enemy of the hardcore player, I think convenience makes it harder for new players to make the transition to hardcore players (some would argue this is a good thing).

    As well I don't think that the leveling game in an MMO is the "Journey" and the end-game the "Destination". That is far too simplistic a way to view these games. I think the Destination would be the point at which you feel that you have accomplished everything you wanted to accomplish, met everyone you wanted to meet, and experience everything that you wish to experience and put the game down. That in my opinion is really the only way a persistent online game has a Destination. Even if your character stops leveling you are still having new experiences, meeting new people, engaging in new conflicts, solving new problems, and pushing onwards on your journey through the game as an active participant. Many people consider the true content of an online game to be the players and not so much the random AI monsters and the smoke and mirrors CGI world. The relationships you form, the personal conflicts you must resolve, and the challenges and hurdles you and your companions must overcome really define your journey.

    With that being the case as long as the game is compelling enough to create and maintain a healthy population of players for you to interact with there will always be an interesting journey.
  8. InnocentCivilian

    InnocentCivilian "That" Cupcake

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    Ouch, that's a painful story. :( Hope you've gotten a better crowd of people now who are more respectful of your real-life commitments!

    There's definitely a time element involved because the reason why I've 'quit' games is because I feel I'm having my time wasted. 'Hardcore' players, by almost ANYONE'S opinion has time/commitment as a given. You can't be a hardcore raider if you don't raid X amount of times within a certain timeframe. To use an extreme example, you can't make the claim that you're a hardcore raider if you only raid once every two months :p. There's definitely a certain degree of time commitment that people need to commit to be considered 'hardcore', although what that degree is varies from person to person.

    It's funny, you'll see in other threads people saying things like: "Hardcore players are the ones who tend to stick around, Casual players leave the game."

    But my personal gripe with such a statement is that by most peoples' definitions 'Hardcore' means 'People who like playing the same content repeatedly and have the time to do so' while 'Casual' means 'People who don't like playing the same content again and again'.

    So by definition, that statement is going to be true :p. You're effectively saying: "People who like repeating content tend to stay longer in MMOs vs players who don't like repeating content."

    I had the same experience as you, Oroshi. More than once, I found myself thinking: "Wait a minute, I'm just doing this because it's become routine not because I really WANT to do it anymore", and then quit games.

    This is why I think that the term 'hardcore' needs a bit of re-examining.

    It also raises another interesting idea: could what we term 'casual' players become what we term 'hardcore' if they had new, fresh content to keep them interested instead of making them repeat content to chase after a carrot? Part of the issue is the design of MMOs itself, I think, with a kinda 'weak' endgame based entirely around making players chase after a carrot on a stick with endless grinds.

    I could potentially have been pouring hundreds more hours into other games if they had more content that I enjoyed. That may even qualify me as a 'hardcore' MMO player, even if by current standards, I doubt I'd qualify as one.

    Make the grind too lengthy and 'casual' players will leave because they feel their time is being wasted. Make the grind too easy and 'hardcore' players will leave because they wouldn't feel sufficiently rewarded or distinct for the time they put into the game. It's an absurdly difficult balancing act.

    That's why I get the sense that Carbine has decided to abandon that particular balancing act altogether. Their solution, instead, is just TONS of different Elder Game content. They make unapologetically difficult raids for the people who like repeating content (as well as the competitive folk who want to be server-firsts), and other Elder Game content for people with shorter blocks of time to play the game, both socially and solo.

    "But what if they try to do too many things and instead of a few systems being great, they all end up being merely mediocre?" I don't know the answer to this for a fact; but again, Carbine's solution seems to be to just do EVERYTHING. AT ONCE. No shortcuts. I think that the reason why other MMOs have 'failed' is because they only go halfway with some of their features for schedule reasons, or monetary reasons. MMOs are expensive to make, and they're often a risky business venture. You can understand why many devs would be hesitant to promise as many features into the game as Carbine is doing with Wildstar. It's still something I'm concerned about, but I have high hopes for Carbine and Wildstar. Despite everything that every other game has taught me, I still have high hopes for this game partly because the devs are so supremely confident in what they have that I can't help but let that rub off on me.

    Also, to go back to another question of yours, Oroshi, that sense of progression (story and power-wise) is why levelling does resonate so well with me. I consider it a great part of MMOs, and am curious to learn exactly how Carbine intends to implement that idea into the Elder Game when you've already hit cap. The 'story' side is covered with the monthly World Storie, but are we getting more than that? What about power-progression besides items?

    I want Wildstar to have something for everyone, so that people stay. I want to like this game sooo bad, and I want to be playing it for a long time. I'm not a great game designer, so I can't begin to address the idea of an Elder Game which appeals to me and can also be realistically achieved by the devs. But I can say that I want an Elder Game that gives me a satisfying sense of progression (story-wise and character power-wise) while still being respectful of my limited free time.
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  9. Glacius

    Glacius Cupcake-About-Town

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    I think the term hardcore consists of two parts: 1) Being hardcore is dedicating X amount of time into something and 2) Utilizing that time to maximize whatever it is you are doing. Not only does one have to devote a lot of time to something but you also have to give everything you have, be skilled, and be prepared with as much as you can.

    I believe there should be raiding for the hardcore, as well as other content for those that don't put it the effort to. If there is meaningful progression again, then people that want to see the raids will have to put the effort to get what they want (which some people don't seem to enjoy). It's not so much as being a special snowflake as it is having an accomplishment rather than having everything be easy mode and just handed out freely.

    Likewise there should be other content that is more accessible, but that doesn't mean it has to be any less fun. If Carbine is going to back up what they say then there will be something for everyone.
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  10. Vembumees

    Vembumees Cupcake-About-Town

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    I've always taken the term hardcore as a timesink. If you spend more time on something than the majority, you are hardcore.
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  11. Acidblood

    Acidblood Cupcake-About-Town

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    Great post OP.

    I would say hardcore to me is having a deep knowledge of something. Generally this also equates to time, but I do make the distinction between someone who really digs in to make sense of things and gain knowledge and someone who is just going through the motions.
  12. TeoH

    TeoH Well-Known Cupcake

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    Since this is an MMO community, being 'hardcore' means "I spend 12 hours a day playing a video game and don't have a job".

    I guess the term Hardcore makes you feel prouder than the term Basement Dwelling Welfare Leech.
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  13. Extatica

    Extatica Super Cupcake

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    Well you are a Hardcore Dad, don't care about the game but about your daughter instead! :cry::cry:

    I wish more people are like that, since i can remember some ''Hardcore'' players on Vent shouting to their kids ''I'm playing! Can't you see that?!?!'' I felt so sorry for the kids. They just want to play with their dad......I even end up switching from a Hardcore Guild to a more casul raiding/PvP guild just because i became so fed up with those people not caring for their own kids.....(i want kids myself and a fine husband who cares for his kids, and me ofc :p)

    If you let gaming go above your kids, you need to do some serious soul searching!

    I don't have good memories about ''Hardcore'' players, and ussually if someone says they are hardcore i can't help it but feel sorry for them in some way. No! I think i'll never go to a Real hardcore (world-first) guild again.
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  14. Bisqquit

    Bisqquit "That" Cupcake

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    Time commitment. That is all.

    [Mod Shades] <Removed for inappropriate remark> [/Mod Shades]
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  15. Lgr

    Lgr Cupcake

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  16. Veckna

    Veckna Well-Known Cupcake

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    I guess I'm the opposite of most in this thread. I say the definition of 'hardcore' depends on the individual (hence it's a bit daft trying to label people in that manner because it's rare you'll be talking about the same thing as others).

    My personal view of 'hardcore' players has no basis on time played but on how the player approaches the time they do spend in game. A 'hardcore' player for me is one that understands what they are doing and why things occur (ie their class/encounter/skill mechanics etc), one who prepares/plans in advance so that they can focus on the task at hand without interruptions/delays that could have been avoided (ie knowing/discussion tactics in advance, having consumables prepared, logging out in front of the raid if they know they get in from work close to raid time, etc).

    Most people might define that as a 'skilled' player which it often goes hand in hand with but to me a 'skilled' player is one who is good at gameplay mechanics (ie not standing in the fires, spacial awareness, resource management, skill rotations etc).

    A 'hardcore' player can lack 'skill' (someone who is prepared for a raid and knows exactly what to do but has trouble actually doing it - ie stands in the fire/messes up dps rotations etc).

    'Casual' is a term that, for me at least, has no bearing on either of the above as I see it as a measure of time spent playing. Hence the term 'casual hardcore' would mean someone who doesn't play many hours per week but who is well prepared/focused for the hours they do spend playing.

    That's my explanation of how I view those terms anyway. I doubt it will align with many others views on them which is why it always makes me chuckle in those 'hardcore v casual' arguements where 2 people are so hung up on the terms they can't see they are both arguing for the same thing (ie agreeing with each other).
  17. Dragnog

    Dragnog Cupcake-About-Town

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    Just to clarify here I believe that everyone gets the same scenario on a weekly basis. So you are comparing the same "fight" as such. What we don't know is what limitations will be on raids before they can be put on the leader board, we don't even know what the leader boards will look like (will they be per boss, how are they measured, etc.) Also remember you will be rewarded according to your placement on these leader boards though we have not been told how.

    Also just one sneaking suspicion I have; I don't necessarily believe that guilds will be the same thing as a raid. Just as you have seen war parties separate from guilds I suspect to see the same thing with raids.
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  18. Eliat_kuni

    Eliat_kuni Cupcake

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    Yep! Responsabilities impose by the guild - check - Having a hierarchies (Supervisor - raid leader) check - Being told by the organization to show up at predetermined time -check - Politics - check - Hardcore just mean another job.

    I'm not saying this as a negative because I love my current job.

    I think people should get whatever fulfillment they get from life. Be a earning job, hobbies or families.

    What I don't like is people trying to make everyone like themselves in a MMORPG. EQ it was a prerequisite for the game to be hardcore, everyone that reach top level was hardcore. Like everyone that beat Contra or TMNT was hardcore.

    That ship sailed a long time ago. You can still have weird success like Dark Souls but is it possible in an AAA MMORPG?

    So each time an hardcore player says we should go back to the good old days, he just mean he want to get rid of me and well I like to play MMORPG. I love the RPG, the people, the crafting, the trading, the leveling etc..

    But we need the hardcore player, they bring something to the MMORPG. They are the voice and defender of the game. They will stay and make it their own. They will be the first to discover bugs and class imbalance. They will make the apps, the website. I think developer should acknowledge/praise their effort and ask them question about certain mechanics.

    I think WoW have a good balance because a lot of people is still playing it. Raid is still happening, questing, alting, pvping etc... They adjust and sometime they miss the mark but from Vanilla until now I think they have a good formula.

    my 2 cent :)
  19. Alverad

    Alverad Well-Known Cupcake

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    Lol, harsh. I don't think it's anywhere near that simple. When my son was young and required near constant attention I simply found a guild with suitable raid times (late evenings); one hardcore enough to stay on top of content, and friendly enough to consider people's commitments, and unless you are limiting 'hardcore' to being top 10 on your continent, then it really isn't a problem with some good time management.

    I really do believe hardcore is more then just time. Atm, neither me nor my partner can commit to a raiding schedule during a week - we still play daily, but that's done at our own convenience, sometimes an hour, sometimes four; heavy gaming activity is left for weekends. We have a group that we play with, that is in similar situation - we consider ourselves good gamers. We participate in organized and succesful play, across a number of games, for nearly a decade straight, with irl social life revolving around gaming. Are we hardcore or casual?

    We've met quite a few people, practically living in-game, dozens of hours a day - they take it easy, enjoy the scenery, fish for a week, then go pvping for another. Sometimes they raid, sometimes they hang around chatting for hours. Are they hardcore or casual? Or both?

    Hardcore for me is dedication, experience, pushing your own skill limits, and sufficient time - all in one pot. Hardcore can refer to any aspect of gaming, not just be limited to hardest group content.

    It really depends what do you look for in a game: is it meant to be a hide a way, a light form of entertainment, a social experience, a competitive arena, all of these at once?

    Trouble is the term is used in a derrogatory manner, similarly to Casual. There is nothing wrong with being in either state. One doesn't and shouldn't exclude another. You may have a hardcore approach to raiding, and be completely oblivious to other apsects of the game, as long as they don't serve as an aid to raiding. You can be a hardcore crafter, completely oblivious to raiding, or a hardcore PVPer who's secret wish is to turn all matters PVE into oblivion.

    People toss around the distinction between hardcore and casual and turn it into an ease mode vs challange debate. And they are right to an extend, only time is just one of the factors - you can have challanging game content that you will individually tackle, in few hours of gameplay. Is that hardcore or casual?

    If it was just time as you say, is a raid group wiping on a boss for 3 months straight, 5 times a week, 3 hours a session a hardcore team? Sure, in regards to time they are. Would they be named in the top 10 hardcore teams out there? Probably not, if you're measurement factor is success, which it seems to be in regards to various rankings out there :)
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  20. Ico

    Ico Moderator • WSC's Gentle Flower

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    True Hardcore gaming should comprise of a few things:

    1. A huge amount of effort outside of game into learning how aspects of the game work, whether it be raiding, PvP or stat-crunching to get that tiny advantage.

    2. Availability, if you're hardcore gaming you're pretty much on or at least contactable, in my darker WoW:TBC - (post Alganon Ulduar) WoTLK days I'd answer a phone call at 5am after going to bed at 3am, because Doomwalker had just spawned and we wanted the kill.

    3. Skill - you have to be very good at the game to stay in "Hardcore" guilds, however if you're putting the time into 1 + 2, it's amazing how much of the gameplay just becomes reflexes and muscle memory. We genuinely turn ourselves into Pavlovian dogs.

    Hardcore gaming burns you out, you become so flooded with thoughts of the game that everything else becomes a secondary and before you know it's two years later, you've failed a year of university and have to resit in some desperate attempt to not throw your life away because of a game.

    There is a balance to be found though, in order to be in that top 5% of players who complete the hardest content, you DON'T need to be truely hardcore. This is where (for me anyway) the term Semi-Hardcore truly comes into it's own. When you're in a (real) Semi-Hardcore raiding guild, you're their to play to the best of your ability and you're still expected to go and do all the background reading/tinkering but with the understanding that RL comes first, so raids don't go on until silly o'clock unless everyone wants to and raids aren't scheduled everyday so people can actually go and do other things without worrying that they are letting someone else down or just missing a raid that they themselves wanted to be in.

    I've seen players insta kicked from Hardcore guilds because they <REDACTED>ed up once, I've seen members completely scream at others for a tiny mistake and I've seen guild masters who thought they were god's gift purely because they were the GM.

    Whilst this is not a fair representation of all Hardcore guilds, from my experience I'd say it describes the grand majority of guilds that define themselves as Hardcore.
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