Hardcore Glossary

From PlayItHardcore


An optional addition to games that give you the option of murdering anyone. In this, on top of being Hardcore and any other way you choose to play, Bloodlust implies you go out of your way to kill all or most of any NPCs you encounter, regardless if they are friend or foe. Bloodlust runs can be exceptionally difficult in some games, like Fallout and Morrowind, because of how they penalize you for murder. In other games it can be easy and in fact profitable, like Deus Ex 2, since there is no real penalty between chapters for wanton murder.

Classic mode

Playing the game the way the developers intended you to. You make use of new items and skills as you come to them, you follow the game's storyline, you complete it in more or less the time the game allots you. In essence, you act as if you do not have a guide or a walkthrough for it, you're just playing it without dying.

Example: Playing Fallout 2 "classically" would mean going from Arroyo to Klamath, Klamath to Den, Den to Modoc, Modoc to Vault City, et cetera, following the storyline.

Disputing Opinion

An opinion that is in direct and unreconcilable contrast with the opinion of the primary contributor to a guide. See the disputing opinion page for the standards on expressing these.


Also known as "Ironman" in some circles, Hardcore is the term used to describe any method of play in which you beat or attempt to beat a game without ever reloading a savegame (excluding taking a break and coming back or restoring from a crashing game) and without ever dying. There are many modifications on top of Hardcore you can add to make the game more interesting and more challenging. In the purest sense, if you've managed to finish a game without dying and without resorting to loading a game, you've beat it on "Hardcore".

The exact definition of Hardcore may vary from person to person and from game to game, but there are some general rules:

  1. No "Game over" scenarios. In most RPGs, that means that the main character must not die. (Unless death is integrated as a part of game mechanics. Like, say, in Planescape: Torment)
  2. No cheating. Goes without saying.
  3. No reloading. That includes not only combat/death scenarios, but any kind of reloading, such getting not exactly the same random treasure that you hoped for, or regretting a bad dialogue choice made earlier.
  4. "Trying" things. For example, making a separate save, developing an optimal strategy to win a boss fight and then proceeding reproduce it in the "main" save. You have one shot at everything.
  5. No using bugs. If you want to cheat, just cheat.
  6. No cheesing. This is the fuzziest rule. Certain spells/abilities/situations can be abused without really falling into "bug" or "cheat" category, while still taking out the challenge from the game. And without challenge, there's no Hardcore. Your conscience is the judge.

There's also a list of things allowed to do on Hardcore

  1. Reloading or otherwise "recovering" after encountering a bug that severely affected your game. That, of course, includes Showstopper Bugs, but is not limited to these. For example, if an enemy took advantage of a bug in combat and that resulted in game over, that also is a valid reason to reload. Another example: if you've completed a certain quest, and must've recieved a specific reward (with 100% chance), but the game glitched, and you didn't, you're entitled to cheat in the reward.
  2. Making multiple saves. In fact, you're encouraged to do that. Games happen to have bugs, and even that aside, files are prone to corruption. However, at all times only the latest good save must be loaded.
  3. Having separate non-hardcore runs. Or even switching from hardcore to non-hardcore (but not back).

Perhaps Hardcore is best described by its purpose - which is to have fun. By accepting the consequences of your actions. Making do with what is available, not with the same perfect gear and team every time. Allowing yourself to have an "OH -SHI..." moment every now and then instead of boring "ugh, reload again".

Metagamer mode

Pulling out all the stops. You know the game so well that you know all the dirty tricks and play with all the info that your character could not possibly have. This is typically the easiest way to play hardcore, since you can often use various tricks (or exploits) to make your character super-powerful in a short duration of time, giving you a huge advantage. Sometimes this is cheating, other times it's a legitimate play tactic. It tends to depend on how much the game cheats right back at you.

Also see the metagaming article for a more in-depth discussion of this.

Example: "Twinking" a new character in Diablo 2 with higher-level equipment, running to Navarro in Fallout 2, or camping in front of a secret door in Baldur's Gate that you know is there, waiting for your character to notice it are all good examples of metagaming.

Playing Baldur's Gate in "metagamer" mode would be immediately heading off into the woods after exiting candlekeep to collect very well hidden, very powerful magical items, giving yourself a huge advantage when it comes to completing the main quest, or collecting certain mundane items you know you will need later before your character ever knows he needs them to save yourself time(such as collecting bolts and Hull's longsword before those items are asked for in a quest). While it can be see akin to "Twinking", it does have distinctions.


The general way a player approaches a game. While the exact mechanics vary from game to game, certain tactics or playstyles are very generic and can apply to just about any game we discuss. You can read the specific playstyles we ourselves use or encourage on the Playstyles page. It includes a greater description of Bloodlust.

Primary Contributor

The person who has traditionally done the most work on a guide. This is usually the person who created it in the first place. However, if the current primary contributor to a guide goes MIA, it can change. Contact a sysop if you feel a guide's primary contributor needs to be changed.

Pure mode

The absolute most difficult way to play a game. It means on top of never once dying, you also give yourself severe restrictions on what you can and cannot do in the game, including both your own character and the game mechanics. Often this means limiting yourself to certain skills or items. Usually, this is employed when your character is clearly superior to NPCs as a means to even the playing field. You also avoid metagaming, or at least attempt to.

Example: A Morrowind game in which you limit yourself to *only* your Major and Minor skills, not allowing yourself to use any of the Misc skills, which other NPCs cannot. Pure runs are often extremely difficult, often frustrating and really left to someone who has a LOT of time to perfect the game.

Showstopper Bug

A particularly nasty type of bug present in many games. Regardless of how it comes about, a "Showstopper" bug is one that will prevent you from finishing a particular section of the game or even the game altogether. It can range from a critical NPC disappearing to a save game being corrupted to many others. Showstoppers are often easily avoidable, and whenever we are aware of them we will document how to prevent from becoming a victim.

Though we are very consistent on our opposition to cheating and our desire to never reload, we fully understand that getting stuck in a game due to a bug is one of the most frustrating experiences ever - and is one reason we tell you to save often, in different slots.