Hardcore Mode: poetry in death


Yesterday, Mentum died. Who’s Mentum? Well, Mentum is…uhm, was, my hardcore Crusader in Diablo 3. He was strong, willful, proud. Most of all, however, he was stubborn. Raised to fight evil in every corner of Sanctuary, Mentum would not retreat from the hordes of demons standing between him and the Prime Evil that must be put to rest. No matter how large the pack, Mentum would leap right into the fray, smack his shield into an ugly visage and strike with his blade, calling upon a wrath fueled by divine purpose. No one could stop him from smiting evil. No one…but death.

And so Mentum perished underneath the monstrous legs of the creatures he vowed to destroy, a last breath escaping from his torn body. As the Crusader ended his duty, I stared at my screen, gazing at the proof of my failure to fight the evil present in the world of Diablo 3. Mentum would not return: he was a hardcore character, having only one life. I had just thrown this life away, and Mentum would never return from the dead to finish his quest.

In this realization, I found the almost poetic beauty of perma-death. In a normal game of Diablo 3, I would have just resurrected my character and rush back right in. In Hardcore mode, however, a single mistake can mean the end of my character. It means that I won’t finish the game, at least not with this hero. I will have to start over again, doing my best to succeed with a new champion where his successors have fallen. And in there lies the poetry of the Hardcore mode.

You see, the end of one character means the creation of a legacy. All the things not on your dead hero’s body, but in your shared stash move into the possession of your new adventurer. It’s like your former character leaves behind his earthly belongings, so that those who follow have an easier time finishing the job. Sure, the road will still be perilous, but the heroes who have come before grand tools to make the job easier. The footprints left by those who have walked the path do not vanish, they are filled with the boots of heroes trying to overshadow their predecessors.

Thus, Mentum might have perished, but his legacy has not. Others will come, picking up arms in his honor, ending the story he was not allowed to. Mentum, the heroes of tomorrow salute you. Your crusade marches on!

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