Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 3, 2008

Hardcore sign petition; reveal demands; order all graphics redone; Blizzard tells hardcore to appreciate colors

“Why are you attacking the hardcore?” someone asked me when reading one of my Wiikly articles back in 2006 when everyone else was gearing up for ‘Console War’ with all three systems (then, the emphasis was the three fanboy camps). At E3 2007, they jumped the shark when they began proclaiming Wii Fit as the apocalypse, as the End of Gaming. This is why they are portrayed the way they are in the Blue Ocean articles. In the Disruption Chronicles, they have fared little better. Their reaction to this E3 could stun all of us.

“Is there no offense in this?” one industry person asked me. “Why do you keep making fun of the hardcore?”

It has been open season for the hardcore to make fun of non-gamers, former gamers, and generally everyone who doesn’t subscribe to hardcore dogma (which they condemn as ‘casual gamers’). I fit that group as well. I thought it was time that the hardcore got a dose of their own medicine. Instead of making things up about them, one only has to accurately quote them.

I don’t make up quotes for the hardcore. I copy-and-paste what they say and place it in the articles (correcting their capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and spelling, naturally.) Many readers have started laughing now on forums when hardcore appear and talk as if they walked right out of an article. Still, I always think I’ve gone too far in mocking them, but then they pull stunts like the petition.

Blizzard announced Diablo 3. Many don’t realize but Blizzard is a Blue Ocean company. Their games are intended to compete against disinterest and are never in competition against other games. WoW was not in direct competition against Everquest. WoW tried to make MMOs more accessible (rest XP, simpler quests, easy to understand quests, etc.), and it unlocked larger and larger markets for them. Starcraft would not have been so successful in South Korea had the game been trying to compete with regular RTSes at the time. As a Blue Ocean company, Blizzard tries to make their games as accessible to as many people as possible and this means molding the game to be as simple to learn, it also means to attempt to have the game as many PCs as possible.

When Blizzard unveiled Diablo 3, Blizzard was being Blizzard. The hardcore had a cow and demanded (yes demanded) that Blizzard change their ways. Hilariously, they wrote a petition.

Blizzard replied to these angry hardcore (which is an oxymoron for hardcore are always angry… about something… somewhere). “Color is your friend,”

When one looks at the petition, one finds many typical hardcore ‘buzzwords’ they love. My text will be in red.

It is our opinion that the graphic elements that characterize the Diablo universe are not fully present in this sequel, Diablo universe is made of:

– Gothic and obscure scenarios, cryptic, dark and shadowy dungeons They’re in there. But I bet many of these ‘hardcore’ are the goth type.

– Graphically realistic world with realistic, dirty and muddy textures Hardcore wants everything to be ‘realistic’. But earlier Diablos were not intended to be ‘dirty’ and ‘realistic’. The art is just as absurd because it is a video game after all.

– Realistic armory and weaponry without over-sized and exaggerated proportions like big shoulder guards Also was in earlier Diablos.

– A macabre, dark and realistic art style “Dark and realistic” are so important to hardcore that it must be listed several times.

– Light radius, as all of you can remember, Diablo dungeons were characterized by the combination of a light radius system with shadows, everything that resides outside of the character vision sight is shadowed. Yet, another call for ‘darkness’.

What we got in Diablo III:

– Cartoon’ish art direction, obviously influenced by the Warcraft universe, Diablo isnt Warcraft. .Diablo and Diablo 2 are both cartoony. Hardcore didn’t realize this because they ‘grew up with it’. The same complaint was made about Starcraft II. When Starcraft I was released, (I was actually writing PC game reviews for a website then) it was bashed relentlessly because it wasn’t “3D”. People called the game above-average at best. It just shows that no one understands when a classic is released until a decade later.

– Hand made, pastel looking textures with bold lines, defined contours, smooth colors and clean shapes. Oh no! Not the bold, defined colors! Not clean shapes! Why are Next-Gen games full of gritty brown and gray and lack color? The answer is what we expected all along: it is the hardcore. Not hardcore in terms of the gamers but in the developers who are making games for themselves.

– Dungeons with a blue/green environment lighting, technique used in cartoons to depict a dark, creepy and scary feeling but once again, this is Diablo, a mature game, dungeons should have a dark aura with the occasional lights from candles, just like we got in the previews Diablo’s. A MATURE game… Hardcore love using that word.

– Character models defined by cartoon characteristics like over-sized and exaggerated parts, vivid colors and unrealistic elements, almost directly taken away from World of Warcraft and pasted to Diablo. This has always been a feature of Diablo. In fact, every complaint here is found in previous Diablo games.

– Outside scenarios with vivid colors, beautiful forests with colorful vegetation, shinny and beautiful waterfalls where even rainbows take place. Shinny? Isn’t it SHINY? And dear God, not RAINBOWS! Hardcore are too funny.

– Cartoon’ish and unrealistic weaponry and armory, over-sized and stylish armors, over-sized weapons, items that look pasted directly from World of Warcraft. If you are going to do a laundry list, don’t repeat the old points.

– Blocky, cartoon’ish graphic elements like big, over-sized fire braziers in dungeons, heavily influenced by the World of Warcraft art style, over-sized and cartoon’ish scenario decorations like smiling statues, Warcraft styled architecture and decorations. Smiling statues!? Oh no…

What we want: Here come the demands…

– A darker, gothic, cryptic and creepier environment. To whose standards? Why, to the hardcore’s.

– A more realistic artistic direction, more independent from the Warcraft universe art direction. You know a game will succeed when it inspires both LOVE and HATE.

– Darker dungeons without a blue/green environment, Diablo dungeons are dark and shadowy. “Colors are your friend.”

– The return of the light radius / shadow system from Diablo 1 and 2, a concept modified picture made by me roughly shows and suggests how the shadow system should work on Diablo 3: More darkness.

– Slightly less colorful and less vivid outside scenarios, they are too heavily influenced by the World of Warcraft ones. Yet, the same thing said again.

– Darker and less colorful landscapes, Tristam never was colorful and beautiful: here’s how it looked in Diablo 1 (before the evil was released across the lands): Colors are your friend.

– And most importantly: An independent and renewed artistic direction, not a recycled art direction taken from the Warcraft world, Diablo never was meant to be as cartoon’ish as Warcraft, they shall have independent and distinct styles, this isnt happening in Diablo 3, at first sight it looks like a remake of World of Warcraft, graphically and artistically speaking.

Now, I’m sure many of you have already jumped to the comments section and began typing, “LOLLERSKATES, MAELSTORM!! U DONT GIT IT. HE HAZ LEGITAMMIT POINTE!!1!!”

I *do* get it, and this petition and wave of complaints has nothing to do about the ‘spirit’ of Diablo. It has everything to do about gamers who played a game so much, who have so much nostalgia for it, that their state of happiness depends on the new sequel obeying their ‘vision’ for it. Many Warcraft 2 fans were unhappy with Warcraft 3. But I remember Warcraft 1 fans being unhappy with Warcraft 2. And many Warcraft fans were unhappy with World of Warcraft. Just because you love a game series doesn’t mean you will enjoy its sequels. If the sequels are nothing more than the older game with ‘enhancements’, the franchise is essentially doomed. You’ve got to do things different with sequels. No one wants to play a game that imitates the graphics of ten years ago.

Can someone’s life be so empty that they have to start up an online petition for a video game? You start petitions up to get the city to fix potholes, not to remove color from video games. If you don’t like what someone is doing with the game, don’t buy it. Believe me, sales speak volumes louder than petitions.

And no, these aren’t Diablo fanboys, these are hardcore. The complaints of not being ‘mature’, of not being ‘dark and gritty’, of having any happiness anywhere, of having any vivid colors, and attacking even lovely rainbows are universal hardcore traits. They assumed Blizzard was a ‘hardcore’ company. Nope, they never were. They are very ‘Blue Ocean’. It is the same with Nintendo. They thought Nintendo was a ‘hardcore’ company which this was never the case. They were always ‘Blue Ocean’, at least toward their software.

No longer are industry officials complaining about my mocking the hardcore. Now, everyone sees them for who they are. And as the influence falls away from them, the hardcore will become more shrill, more obnoxious, because they still believe they matter (when they don’t). Hardcore believe it is their birthright to command the fate of all video games.

While many will be ‘shocked’ by the petition and nonsense coming forth, the hardcore have been saying this for a long, long time. As the Shift slowly occurs, the more and more the hardcore stick out like a sore thumb.



  1. I can’t really stress how glad I am Blizzard is giving them a polite rendition of ‘piss off’. I don’t honestly think they’d change for anyone, but it does my heart good to see them get angry.

    The hardcore are definitely building towards critical mass out of what I believe to be a very ‘primal fear’, as ridiculous as that sounds. They know E3 is when they can’t deny the events around them. It’s like a lovecraftian horror to them, once you see the truth, you can’t unsee it.

    Things have been getting batshit nuts. Many are suddenly bashing the DS when they never did before, trying to pretend there’s a conflict, DEMANDING things of game makers more than ever before… That last one especially. Diablo 3 is only the tip of the iceberg. There have been ranting articles on how gamers are ‘sick and tired’ of peripherals and game makers need to stop, ESPECIALLY music peripherals.

    This, of course, flies in the face of how band games, and various Wii games that come bundled with peripherals, are still selling like mad.

    And don’t get me started on the sheer delusional madness I’ve seen with the likes of trying to spin the Wii is not winning. One article came to the conclusion that ‘The Wii is beating the 360, the PS3 is quickly gaining footing ahead of the 360, it’s a two horse race now, this may be as epic a clash as SNES Vs Genesis!’

    I couldn’t make this stuff up if you payed me. I’d also be willing to bet that suddenly the 360 has no chance of success to them because various leaks have made it clear Microsoft is not going to keep doing what they want most. They don’t fully realize Sony may not be doing it anymore, either.

  2. Jeez isn’t Diablo still rated M? I’m sure ax will still meet orc face in Diablo III. What the hell else do these bloodthirsty hardcore want? It’s seriously disturbing that there seem to be specific ideations of violence being demanded in games by these hardcore. Do they want children hanged next? That happened a lot in gothic literature (like Frankenstein). Do they want children raped? That’d be a mature, obscure concept? I don’t know what they what and frankly I’m scared to ask.

  3. I have only one thing to say about this petition:

    WorldNetDaily CALL YOUR OFFICE! We have a live one here.

  4. One more thing: The word mature itself. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with graphics. It has everything to do with the character of a human being. And I can tell you first hand; the hardcore are NOT mature. Being a sadist is not mature; it’s the worse form of being an absolute freak.

    Kudos to Blizzard for showing some guts and sticking to their guns on Diablo.

  5. what the hell?!

    That HUGE list could have been reducd to “we want darkness and blood not cartoons and colors” instead of repeating the same silly points over and over again.

    I am glad blizzard didn’t listened to them. Just like Nintendo isn’t.

  6. Things like these leave me wondering what those people think who they are.

    They had Flagship fullfill all their “needs” and Hellgate wasn’t exactly what they wanted. And it wasn’t what Flagship wanted in the financial context

    They try to explain Developers that succeeded for years (while rarely fullfilling hardcore-Demands) how a game has to be and how they are the only ones that can grant success

    They have a perverted view on what games are about (the same perverted view that gives games a bad taste for the public (ever realized that Wii and DS do not suffer from the Killergames-debate?)) and think that anyone that does not spare this view isn’t hardcore enough and barely a gamer

  7. You know what; I’ve got a deal for Mr. Hardcore: If they love art so much; I’m willing to give them a bus pass, and an address to a _real_ art gallery close to where they live. I challenge them to go into that art gallery and perform the same kind of reviews that they perform on a daily basis with games and LIKE IT! If they come out and hate the art gallery then they should never speak about video games in any form ever again. If they like it then I will shut up about it forever. I put 1:1 odds that they’ll refuse the deal on the spot.

  8. this reminds me of when banjo-kazooie nuts and bolts was shown off. people complained about the game being blocky and unrealistic

  9. Unrelated at the same time related, I watched Bioshock today, from a PC of one of my Friends. I read it’s was a good game, so, I wanted to give it a try.

    I was sooooo wrong… it’s just a convencional shooter with a “MATURE” theme. Too much “mature” from my own standarts; I can’t just stand it. The thing is that mad I just want to stop watching it AT ONCE.

    If that is the future of videogames by hardcore standarts, I’M REALLY HAPPY too see the Wii suceed. Love the colors, please, love the colors. I need colors after that…

  10. What a delight!

    This sounds exactly like all the fuss about the pre-Raphaelites back in the 1850’s – there must be some mileage in that comparison.

  11. I think the realistic adj is part of a situation where they lack real words to describe an artistic peace of art or direction since most of them have no idea about art history and the emotional connect that art actually holds.

    Most hardcore core do seem pretty mad at gaming as a whole and maybe this dark realism is the scary hell they want to play in. It maybe from a lack of fear in their daily life who knows?

    Another great article! I like scary stuff but forcing people to do some thing is pretty stupid their heart will not be into it. If any thing they should ask for a mod package for the game so that they can labor and make this dark realistic game.

    I mean If they want dark why not buy doom3 and mod it to isometric view? Listening to the “hardcore” is always a bad idea unless they actually have talent. There is not talent in that petition at all. These developers are being sheep to these gamers.

    Another thing have you noticed that it’s mostly the HD gamers doing this? That includes PC also and I thinks it’s because they pay so much for their games and fell like they should tell people what to make since they bought a system in hope of getting certain games.

    The fall of SONY is about to be official as the fans start demanding way more. People do this more when promises are missed one after the other. This happen during the N64 days. SONY is about to be the new nintendo just wait. The old think stopping this gamers fighting buyer remorse. Also the old nintendo fans have grown up and now feel like they can do the same thing with SONY which they switched too because mario is for kids by their standards. This article wasn’t really about SONY though or was it? These guys that want this game to be different or either new to gaming or arm chair developers that didn’t have the talent to get in the industry.

    When ever gamers are promise things they will start to lash out at the 3rd parties before they place the blame on the promise makers. These guys are a ticking bomb the first ones to blow seems to be the xbox guys as they almost seem to be out of wind arcoss the net.

    What is funny the gaming populous is way bigger than the internet. These people who say they speak for the whole have no right to represent gamers.

  12. You know what I find deliciously funny and ironic?

    While the hardcore complain about the colours and stuff, basically saying that the game is too “kiddy” (whatever that means), they forget one thing.

    The game has never been bloodier. Corpses fly in every direction, blood spurts, limbs are severed, bellies explode, flesh is disintegrated, etc. Even the sound direction conveys more violence than ever. The sounds are loud, the characters scream (especially the barbarian)…

    But hey, let’s blind ourselves willingly because the primary colours are in our game. BLASPHEMY!!1!

  13. Regarding Anonymous who brought up Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I think BK:NaB (excuse the acronym) is probably a great example of the exact opposite of what Inafune is doing with mega man 9. Where Capcom is taking Mega Man back to his roots, simplifying the game in order to restore the appeal that the original had, Rare seems to be trying to make BK:NaB as complicated as possible, stuffing everything including the kitchen sink into it, in the hopes that the “innovation” of vehicular platformer will carry the title…

    And in the process, they totally screw up the graphics (the problem isn’t that it’s blocky, it’s that it looks different from the Banjo and Kazooie that everyone came to love), the story (Banjo vs Grunty in an epic war being governed by the “king of gaming”?), and the gameplay style (BK was a platformer that made interesting use of interplay between Banjo and Kazooie).

    The game is almost certainly going to flop, because they’ve piled far too much complexity into the title while eliminating those other things that people liked about the series. Using the roots metaphor, this is like a tree growing on such a steep angle that the roots are no longer strong enough to hold it, and the tree falls.

    Sadly, where Blizzard and Capcom have gone right with their choices, Rare chose unwisely. And of course, while the ever-dissatisfied hardcore see a problem, they see the *wrong* problem. Their “solution” will only guarantee that the game will flop even harder.

    Now, I wonder how long until there’s a petition for Mega Man 9 to be made more “modern” by screwing it back up, like Diablo III got…

  14. While I agree with you aielyn (I was Anonymous up there.) I’m still trying to be optimistic. It’s likely that it will fall apart and if it does fail they might go for a simplistic approach if there is another.
    Saying that I do like how the game looks. Maybe they should created a new game instead of using banjo and tying this gameplay to it
    it could be a racing game or something

  15. That’s kind of one of the major points about it – by using the Banjo franchise for the game, they are restricting their game design to fit it into the franchise, while the franchise gets distorted to fit the game idea. Much better had they made it a new franchise, in order to give it real chance to succeed separately.

    Had it been a new franchise, the new formula could be distilled down to produce an effective game. With Banjo, you’ve got baggage to include, which means the formula has to remain more complex, and that only harms both the franchise and the innovative game idea. I applaud Rare’s attempt to be innovative, but their decision to attach it to Banjo was extremely unwise.

  16. if viva piniata or ghoulies is an indication it would have been doomed to failure. to bad, it could have been the spirtual sequel to diddy kong racing (you know an adventure racing game). Gregg Mayless did state that they whanted to create a platformer where the player can create their own solution to the objectives, I’m all for this I just think that their has to be a better simpler way

  17. “Dungeons with a blue/green environment lighting, technique used in cartoons to depict a dark, creepy and scary feeling but once again, this is Diablo, a mature game, dungeons should have a dark aura with the occasional lights from candles, just like we got in the previews Diablo’s”

    Let me said something about this phrase, apart the word “Mature”: Blue and Green are used for dark things since forever, not only cartoons. In fact, if you go and use “Black” for make obscure places, every artist/painter is going to kill you for this. Black only have to be used when you paint something black and nothing else. And THAT real artists says.

    This phrase make think:

    “Outside scenarios with vivid colors, beautiful forests with colorful vegetation, shinny and beautiful waterfalls where even rainbows take place.”

    Ok… they want realistic stuff… so… the Vivid Colors, Beautiful Forests and shinny and beautiful waterfalls do not exist? Weird guy, weird… the south of my country do not exist, because, in the south of Chile are: Vivid Colors, Beautiful Forests and shinny and beautiful waterfalls (Which even Rainbows take place!). The people from Chile must live in a Mario Game! Probably!

    And, last but not less important!

    “Hand made, pastel looking textures with bold lines, defined contours, smooth colors and clean shapes.”

    My mom would love this. Ah? The Hardcore said that ISN’T mature? The Hardcore are calling my mom inmature? They can mess up with Mario Game’s Story all they want, but they can’t call my mom inmature! BLASPHEMY!!1! :P

  18. Anytime Mr. Hardcore invokes the word Mature in any context; the only proper response to it is:

    “You keep using that word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.” – Inigo Monotya.

  19. I’ll keep that phrase in my MSN ^^! Thanks Gregory ^^!

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