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I think people should be able to start HC from the beginning if that's how they want to play the game, but I'll bet Blizzard's reasoning is that they don't want someone who is new to the game to create a HC toon by mistake and then get all depressed when they die.
I for one enjoyed playing through "easy mode" then again in hardcore... My children all want to play this game as well and I know from experience that if they started in hardcore they would quickly give up. While one of my kids has played D2 and may be ready for Hardcore, the rest haven't even touched the game yet. But then, at the same time, having the option to turn off the "easy mode" may be benefitial to those who don't enjoy progression as much as others.
A lot of new players will be playing Diablo for the first time, maybe even some will be first time players (never really played a computer game before) - imagine the fumbling around to wrap your mind around things if you've never really been a gamer at all..
.. and so you create your first character .. you tick 'Hardcore' (sounds fun) and you just die. It'll quite simply scare off too many people, you have to look at the big picture here.
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"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and as the last man He shall stand forth upon the Earth."
I will be playing hardcore, but ill play it softcore first, to get a feel to mechanics and such.
And to make sure to enjoy the settings and gameplay instead of when playing hardcore on inferno and screaming
SHIT SHIT GET OFF ME!!! all day long
But I belive they will do as with diablo 2 and remove the have to play in normal to make hardcore later on.
I think its ok that you have to play normal first, since wthen you know the worst surprises that you will encounter in hardcore mode.( probably going to save many hardcore players from "stupid" deaths wich could have easily been avoided)
Althou this removes a lot of the thrill for the hardcore players, wich is bad. On the other hand its good for the casual player who wants to join the "hardcore", since a lot of ppl is hyped up on hardcore these days.(yeah gona play hardocre myselfe)
Personaly i like that you have to play normal first, since then you can get the comfy feel of the game
I really don't think it's such problem to pass game first normally, i mean yes sure everyone is eager and so, but for those who want to race, well they'll need 2 races, first to pass on normal then right away on hardcore, so in a way even more fun/challenging if you look on it from that view. And this way really there will be much less dieing in hardcore, since you'll know what to expect where, since everyone always remember most difficult spots.
The first day the game is released there will problem be some stability issues, so i think it might be best not to start playing HC on release day, there were so many problems with the diablo 2 servers at start from what i remember, at least on the EU servers.
It seems that only the original HC players from the previous version would like to start on HC, or at least of the majority of the people wanting to start on HC are original HC players.
I think with the new skill system and several different classes, Blizzard would like us to get a feel for it, especially with new people and the casual gamer. If they allow us to jump to HC after a certain point of the game, that would probably be better, rather than finishing the game and knowing the full story line. Especially since I feel like blizzard might have made normal difficulty "too easy" considering they stated that the real game doesn't start until hell mode I believe. It might take away some of the enjoyment for some where we just "breeze" through normal mode on SC. However, the random generator might make things interesting since no run through should be the same.
I don't really see what is so bad about having to play through normal first. It will probably save you a lot of time in the end : you won't have to start over too much because you get surprised by new monsters and you can kind of see if the build you had in mind in viable (sure you can probably finish Normal with a bad build, but you might be able to see if your build can take you further or if you'll become too weak for harder modes).
This isn't setup to be a hassle to hardcore players. It is setup so players new to the game don't just click I want to be a "hardcore" character on their first character creation because it sounds cool and then proceed to die, get pissed off, and stop playing. Players that don't play = players that arent paying for RMAH, etc. etc.
Even if this is not the case, playing through normal so you can get a taste of everything before playing HC makes sense.
I hate the fact that I won't be able to start HC right from beginning for just one little thing.
I won't be able to get that impression of 1st time playthrough on hardcore, when you only have 1 life, and have to be very careful about everything you do, and approach enemy with utmost care and... you just know the drill. One can say "Delete your toon if you end up dead on SC", well of course i could do that, but would it really be the same? For me it wouldn't, maybe some people can act like they're riding a motorcycle while actually they're on the bike, but i don't like the feeling, and that I'm being forced to play this way, even though the option is still there.
Also I don't get where the hassle of "New players gonna play the game, so we've to prevent idiots from being idiots in a manner that hurts everyone" came from. If someone in the 21st century is dumb enough to click the box, don't read it up, and THEN even come after Blizzard with "I want my toon back!" deserves to get surprised when dying, seriously.
A bike and a motorcycle are two very different things, from speed to shape to how it feels. You can't compare pretending to be riding a motorcycle and pretending to be on HC even though you aren't.
The only difference between pretending to be on HC and deleting your character when it dies and HC is that you don't have the same level of stress. You know that if you decided not to delete your character, nothing is going to prevent you from doing so.
And even if you already played on Normal with a SC character, you can still be surprised on Nightmare, Hell and Inferno.