The term hardcore has been bandied around a lot recently, due in no small part to the release of Darkfall, and the very determined community that has grown around it over the long years of it’s development. One of the catch-cries of this group, aside from the high-level use of the F-Word in telling other players what they think, is to tell anyone who criticises Darkfall to go back to WoW, usually with some combination of carebear and the F-Word included.
[adsense_id="1"]So it got me wondering. It seems clear that there is a percentage of the World of Warcraft community who would enjoy playing in a more hardcore MMORPG than is currently offered in WoW, but aren’t ready for the extremes that existing hardcore games employ.
The movement of Jeff “Tigole” Kaplan to Blizzard’s new MMORPG team could be a sign that a somewhat more hardcore game is in the works. Kaplan is an old-school Everquest raider, and was responsible for implementing much of the raid content in the “Old” World of Warcraft — much of what has been casualified in recent times. Could the new team be looking for hardcore content?
I’m a believer in the principle that you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to releasing a new MMORPG, especially a sequel. SOE made that mistake to some extent when they released Everquest 2. They hurt the player base of both games by splitting the existing players. I think that Blizzard would be keenly aware of this, and will be trying to avoid it as much as possible.
And that’s why I think that Blizzard’s new MMORPG will be a new IP. But I also think that they will be trying for a different segment of the market, and the most underserved segment at the moment is the set of hardcore players. And despite the success, or lack thereof, of Darkfall, that situation isn’t likely to change unless a developer comes into the picture with a polished feature-complete game that suits a wide range of hardcore players.
Is it possible that Blizzard is looking to be that developer?