You hit the nail on the head about why the Hardcore are so angry about Diablo 3. The Hardcore simply wants an easy way out when it comes to anything:
Boss runs. These are boring, but easy. Blizzard is smart in that they not only provided an efficient way to farm that isn’t monotonous, but they made that the BEST way to farm! However, the Hardcore wants a boring, quick way to get loot because their lives are worthless anyway.
Magic find gear swapping. Blizzard provided the options to fix the exploit, and the Hardcore only had two responses: leave it alone, or let them swap gear with a single key (incorrectly citing that you could do that in D2 when you could only swap weapons). Regular people choose to go MF free, or gimp their gear a bit for better loot. The Hardcore wants an easy way to get it all and lord it over the well-adjusted people.
(BTW, Blizzard didn’t list the best solution: have the MF of a monster/champ pack be determined by the lowest MF value the player has during the encounter. It’s elegant, intuitive, and doesn’t destroy MF).
Inferno. You discussed this one enough, but I just find it funny that the Inferno whiners also complain that there’s no endgame. Huh? Inferno is the endgame you morons! It’s the reason you’re grinding for gear so much!
Like plants desiring sunlight or they wilt, hardcore gamers desire social competition. Why is it that every single suggestion of ‘endgame’ always translates to social competition? Diablo 2 wasn’t about social competition as more than half of Diablo 2 gamers didn’t even connect to Battle.net.
Why do I keep playing Super Mario Brothers? It is because it is fun to stomp on goombas. Why do I keep playing Diablo 3? It is because it is fun to crunch demons.
What’s great about Diablo 3 is that, unlike other games, there appears to be no ceiling on how far my character can grow. I can keep growing, improving, for months and years to come. So I am not just crunching demons for the sake of crunching demons (although that is fun), my character never stops growing. I find that to be an incredible value for a game.
It’s obvious Diablo 3 was not designed for players to spend everyday, for countless hours, farming. That’s just boring. Diablo 3 was designed to be played consistently but in moderation.
It is so important to realize there is no social competition with Diablo 3. Just because Bob has finished Inferno doesn’t mean John is the loser. Maybe Bob got a lucky drop or something. Bob thinking he is ‘done’ with the game because he finished Inferno shows he doesn’t understand the game. And John feeling bad because he can’t progress in Act II Inferno unlike his friends shows he doesn’t understand the game either.
Crunching demons for loot is the game. Everything revolves around it. You actually ‘finished’ the game in Normal. Why do other difficulties? Our hardcore friends did them because of social competition. When that social competition evaporates once they finish Inferno or get stuck, they make a Youtube video declaring that ‘Endgame’ needs to be More Social Competition. Not one of them, not Kripparian, not Athene, no one, thought to ask themselves whether or not Diablo 3 is a socially competitive game in the first place. When the PvP patch comes out, it won’t be socially competitive. They will whine even more.
The reason why I will be quitting WoW when MoP comes out (after revisiting Azeroth for a little while) is because WoW is FILLED with players whose context is nothing but social competition. It is like girls in a beauty salon trying to compete on who can become the most beautiful. Coincidentally, these gamers tend to be poor in real life. The more settled down (and have careers) type of people tend to treat WoW as just a computer game and don’t get caught up with the ‘Oh no, I must progress more than that other guild!’. Superior people in real life don’t have a hunger to prove it in a video game. To us, these are just games. To our hardcore friends, they are validations of the self.
All games are mathematical. It is no coincidence that mathematical minded people, such as engineers, end up being in the top guilds (like Blood Legion) or figuring out the game faster than other people. So what happens when a non-mathematical minded person is confronted with a game and sees it as a validation of the self?
I have found ego overriding reason and problem solving in nearly most of the cases of the WoW and Diablo 3 players. Some builds are superior than others, but they refuse to change their own due to ego. It would be admitting they were wrong. It is an incredible experience to come smack into a wall of difficulty and experience the epiphany of new insights how the character can be played in order to overcome the challenge. Surrendering the ego takes bravery. It is much easier to declare the game sucks because your ego wasn’t massaged the entire time. It is amazing how Diablo 3 only sucks when the game gets hard (in both Inferno and in obtaining gear). When Diablo 3 was easy (Normal mode, etc.), the game was ‘awesome’.
In this situation, the mathematical person’s instincts tend to be right more than wrong so the winning strategy unfolds neatly. The mathematical person doesn’t have to fight an ego since he is already winning. The player who surrenders in Act II because “the game sucks!” cannot give up the ego. I think the superior player is the one who gets stuck and defeats his ego in order to complete the challenge.