Hardcore Mode

Some games like Diablo 2 and Torchlight offer players the opportunity to play in hardcore mode. This option offers up greater rewards for taking the risk of permanent character death if that character is defeated.

Now Permadeath is one of those hot topics in MMORPGs. It tends to produce two, completely opposed camps. One group wants it, and wants everyone to be subject to it, reasoning that it makes the game more realistic (among other things.) The other camp is completely opposed to the idea. They think that it opens the way for griefers and laggy connections to ruin a players day.

Both camps have some good points, and their arguments have merit. But the evidence does weigh more heavily for the No-Permadeath camp’s stance. Unfortunately, players can lose their characters through no fault of their own, or through griefing and exploits. This alone makes a Permadeath game unappealing for many.

But what if Permadeath was purely voluntary in the same way it is in Diablo and Torchlight?

A player could select that little box a creation, or perhaps do a quest later in the game, to enable the Permadeath feature.

As a result, there would be faster XP gain, more skillpoints, or perhaps some other rewards and social benefits. Maybe uber epic mounts would be half price. Add in the ability to transfer that epic mount or other heirloom equipment to a newly created character upon death, and the idea of voluntary Permadeath might become more attractive to players.

Here’s the question. Would you be interested in playing a character in hardcore mode if you were given the choice, and there were appropriate rewards for doing so?

If you’re playing Torchlight will you be choosing the hardcore mode for any of your characters?

Let me know in the comments.


  1. Pete S

    If they mixed permadeath in with reguladeath in an MMO, I’d hope they would make it obvious to everyone who was playing in permadeath mode, because I’d want to avoid those people with my regular characters (and conversely if I decided to try a permadeath character I’d want to group only with other permadeath characters). The two play styles are just so different.

    I’ll only fiddle with permadeath in a game after I’ve beat the game (or in the case of an MMO, I guess after I hit cap? Never actually tried it in an MMO). I want to (in theory) see everything the game has to offer and with such a fragile existence that isn’t likely on a permadeath character.

    I suppose we have to talk about Rogue-likes, which feature permadeath as an integral part of gameplay. But they have damn little story.

    I do think hand-in-hand with permadeath must come some kind of leaderboards or hall of champions where you can compare your progress with that of other players.

  2. xXJayeDuBXx

    I agree with Pete, I would do hardcore only after playing the game some. I know myself, I am going to get myself killed at some point and it would really suck to lose all that progress. But that’s why they call it hardcore right?

  3. DrEnzyme

    Hardcore mode introduces an element of risk that’s really unique. You start to care about the character in the game because you don’t want them to die (and consequently lose all the time you’ve put into them).

    I bought Torchlight on Friday and I’ve started up two hardcore characters and a normal character in the two days I’ve been playing. My normal character functions as a scout for the hardcore one (the other one died), going ahead in order to see what the bosses are.

    Should MMOs have hardcore modes? I think so, but it really isn’t a ‘right or wrong’ kind of thing, it’s subjective. Some players REALLY don’t want to lose all the time they’ve poured into a character, and that’s fair enough. Give the player the option, and let them decide for themselves.

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