Call of Duty’s Hardcore Mode Is Only Played by Talentless Morons

There’s an annoying cross section of CoD fanatics who incessantly drone on about Hardcore Mode being the ultimate Call of Duty experience. If you’re even tangentially familiar with the franchise, you’ve undoubtedly run across a few of these assholes. For them, Hardcore Mode is “the mode for people with skill” and “not for pantywaist dickbags.” And even though these are well-reasoned and thoughtful arguments, they don’t change the fact that Hardcore Mode is only played by talentless morons.

Now, before you start flooding the comments section with the standard stream of self-important Internet hissy fits, lets all take a little time to discuss this like gentlemen. Or, at the very least, let me make my case and then you can make up clever, genital-based nicknames for me in the comments.

Modern Warfare 3

See, Hardcore Mode fundamentally alters the Call of Duty experience. It rearranges the gameplay on an atomic level, and not in a positive way. By shaving 30% off of the player’s health, you’re effectively increasing the firepower of every gun well past its precarious balance point. In essence, every single gun, save a select few, deals the same amount of damage per bullet, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a so many choices.

Last summer I got the chance to sit down with Mark Rubin, the Executive Producer on Modern Warfare 3, at Call of Duty: XP. Obviously, MW3 hadn’t hit the market yet and they were working out a few of the bugs, but one of the things that Rubin was most proud of was the balanced gunplay. Infinity Ward spent hundreds of hours tweaking and testing each gun to make sure that none of them offered any type of major advantage. Hardcore Mode disregards all of this intricate complexity and replaces it with a sledgehammer.

Also, have you ever noticed that everyone who plays Hardcore Mode is forced to equip blind eye? It’s a necessity when everyone in the game is constantly hiding. This means that Recon, Sleight of Hand, Extreme Conditioning, and Scavenger are rendered entirely useless. Not to mention motion sensors and jammers.

As far as I can tell, Hardcore Players simply hate options.

Options Are Confusing

During our interview, Rubin also explained that explosives had been toned down in favor of a fast-paced, gun-centric style of play that was a refinement of the MW2 thought process. They wanted to focus the gameplay on the gun battles rather than grenade attachments and claymores. These upgrades are incredibly effective in the standard mode, but I guess Hardcore players are unable to get kills in a standard gun fight.

So, just to recap, lets examine the type of player who enjoys hardcore mode:

  1. Incapable of going on the offensive.
  2. Relies on grenade attachments and hidden explosives.
  3. Can’t survive a gunfight that lasts more than a few shots.
  4. Doesn’t know how to customize their weaponry past equipping Blind Eye and adding a silencer.
  5. Typically spends the entire game hiding.

Yup. Sounds like all of the talented players prefer Hardcore Mode.

Actually, I might argue that a love of Hardcore Mode means that you actively dislike Call of Duty, because it circumvents the game’s central thesis: fast-paced gun battles.

Can you name a game that’s swarming with deliberate, methodical gameplay? I can: Battlefield 3. You should probably check it out; it might be your new favorite game.

Have you seen my silencer? Or my panties?

Now, before you accuse me of not understanding Hardcore Mode’s superiority and tossing around phrases like “free country” and “give me your address” let me say this: I have no problem with sneaky, tactics based-games, but CoD isn’t one of those games. I enjoyed Splinter Cell as much as the next guy, but I don’t play Call of Duty to relive all of my favorite sneaky Splinter Cell moments in an FPS setting. Plus, shaving 30% off of player health doesn’t turn a fast-paced, gun-centric game into a tactical shooter.

One time I used a spoon to eat a steak, but that doesn’t mean it was the right tool for the job.

  • Sandy & Molly

    Agreed, same with 1hit player is any game. Pure garbage.

    They can’t maintain their aim on a target, so they play hide and seek with ‘spray and pray’ gunplay hoping something connects.

  • Sy

    You used a spoon to eat a steak? Who would even think to do that?

    • Shelby Reiches

      In his defense, it was a very sharp spoon.

  • Staticks

    Yep, Hardcore mode makes it so that anyone can just spray and pray, and hope that one bullet hits their target. No aim required.

    The damage and gun balance of MW3 is already extremely questionable. Hardcore mode simply makes it an unbalanced joke.

    • lolwut

      OK so let me make sure I got this correct.

      According to the first part of your comment all it takes to kill someone is just one bullet, and you shoot around hoping you land that magic bullet.

      But in the second part of your comment, you claim that hardcore gun balance is a joke.

      Which is odd, because, correct me if I’m wrong, but if all it takes to kill someone is one bullet – doesn’t that mean all guns are equal aka balanced?

      • Shelby Reiches

        No, that would mean that guns that can put a lot of bullets out there covering a broad area surrounding one’s actual target have a tremendous advantage.

        • Statix

          What Shelby says is correct. However, I am being misquoted. I didn’t say hardcore gun balance was a joke. I said the WHOLE GAME is a joke, in Hardcore mode. Any game where it takes 1 bullet to kill, and all you need to do is spray in a general area with a silenced, high fire-rate weapon, is an “unbalanced joke.”

  • fact

    John Engen = TALENLESS MORON
    by write this article to insult other player

    • DarthDiggler


      “John Engen = TALENLESS MORON
      by write this article to insult other player”

      At least John demonstrates an above adequate command of the English language. I bet he toned it down to a 3rd grade level for chaps like yourself. :)

      I appreciate when people create and than immediately cite their own self proclaimed facts.

      • Josh Wirtanen

        Why do both Joshes who write for this site keep getting called John in the comments section?

  • nobody

    Someone obviously has never played the original Modern Warfare :| You’re entitled to your opinion as much as the next guy but you really don’t know anything about hardcore mode and what the players really want versus the reality of the morons who camp in it. Hardcore mode was the original run around fast paced gun-play mode because you could die so quickly and you were able to kill quickly. It was very tactical and all about reaction times, from reading your article you really aren’t tactical (which essentially means you aren’t smart) and you have no reaction time (which means you are probably a child). There were always people running around wasting the campers left and right and there still are, you just have to be smarter about doing it as well. Poor baby must have landed a death streak and quit playing after his very first game :’(

    Next time you bash an entire group of people for playing hardcore mode on a game you probably just picked up in the 3rd instalment go play it for an extended period of time and actually understand the game mode better =)

    • nobody

      Just keep in mind that I don’t play hardcore mode or MW3 for that matter but when I did play I played normals all day everyday because of the gun balance and different skill required to play that mode. I played hardcore mode during the MW/MW2 times and migrated to normals later in my MW2 “career”. Hardcore mode is a more exhilarating as you aren’t going to be gunned down by some idiot with akimbo running a muck in your normal game and if they did have akimbo anything in hardcore you still have the same chance to waste the fool. If you really sit down and think about it there are those special players in both modes that just ruin the modes completely.

      The modes are fun in their own ways because you’re forced to play a different style of game to get on top. However, there is NEVER a need to camp in either game mode, that’s just how normal players view hardcore mode when they go try it for the first time. Normal players don’t understand running out in the open doesn’t really work any more but there is never the need to stop and camp a corner.

  • Jerry

    Time to shoot some holes in your theory’s

    1. I know a lot of people hide but that can only be effective in winning TDM as KC Dom and Search and destroy involve moving forward to achiv the aim.
    2. Some people do use to much grenades/launchers but ricochet removes this as a constant through fear of dieing from hitting your own team.
    3. No argument hear as a couple of shoots and your dead. Then wouldn’t that happen in real life having a bullet in your head ?
    4. I must admit blind eye is a favourite so I can sneak up behind the opposition but I prefer using red dot sight and a heartbeat monitor combo. But can’t say that I see to many varieties of character set up.
    5. Weapon balance isn’t just about damage, you have fire rate vs recoile, reload times vs mag size/mannovability

    In the end hardcore is for people who like to shoot someone and they die realistically with no constant radar, it does bring in a few more people who camp but then different game modes do mix this up. My belief is if people are camping hammer the fuck out of them they soon stop or die. Don’t hit on the game type because it’s how te developers have decided it should play in the end his has helped sales and given you all your yearly updates. So I say more of both game types and just enjoy it for the experience you want.

    • Shelby Reiches

      I don’t feel qualified to speak on most of the other points, but regarding 3 and 5:

      3) Doesn’t a headshot kill regardless of whether you’re playing hardcore or normal? The question is more about body shots, which I don’t believe kill instantly in real life unless they manage to puncture vital organs or cause rapid exsanguination.

      5) The question, though: if you’ve balanced a pair of guns, say by giving one a smaller clip size and slower rate of fire or reload time to compensate for the damage it does in normal mode, when you go over to hardcore, that gun’s main advantage, damage, is far less of a factor, which definitely tilts the overall balance of the game toward certain guns, to be sure.

    • me

      well said. this article is the writer’s opinion and one designed to start a discussion (known on the web as trolling for a flame war) but depicts only the tdm mode scenerio as most other modes require assaulting objectives.

      the no skill argument is why i don’t play core/normal mode as everyone runs right out in the open and can get shot up only to hide around a corner and heal… talk about unrealistic.

      it becomes a game about getting headshot instakills as the gun battles are a war of health bars and dancing or halo-hopping as people spray each other. the game is most fun when there is tension in combat imho

  • Brandon

    This whole article is rubbish. Half of your points don’t apply for me, because I don’t just play Hardcore, I play Halo.
    In Halo, we have these things called energy shields, which absorb many shots before depleting, and makes for long 1v1 battles, moreso than CoD’s normal mode.
    Halo can offer the gameplay that pairs up perfectly with having lots of health, such as jumping higher, and is ovbiously a good explanation for these kinds of battles, the point of protective shields. I just don’t like how in CoD, players can soak up to 6 bullets before dropping. It just doesn’t make sense. When I sprint around like a rabbit in CoD, I assume that I need to play really well, because a bullet or two can end my life, not that I have plenty of time to turn around.
    If you don’t like hardcore, than so be it. I just don’t want to hear about it because you got your ass kicked because you can’t find the shooter before their 1 bullet kills you.

  • Merk

    I never got into MW3, (moved on to BF3) but I played more then my share of COD4, MW2, and Black Ops. All of which (including BF3), my friends and I all prefer hardcore. Why? My friends and I all agree (and I’m sure a majority of the HC players will too) that having to dump 3/4′s of a magazine into an enemy before they die is lame, and incredibly unrealistic. Obviously there are multiple elements to most online FPS games that are unrealistic, and most of which are there to promote balance and fluidity of game play.

    Shooting an enemy in the chest 7 times with an AK47 at 10 meters and watching him continue to run is just silly. Or shooting an enemy in the head, at near point blank range, with ANY freakin gun in the game, and they are still alive? But I can one hit knife kill you? Ummm…. (Even in BF3 HC you can shoot an enemy in the head w/ 1 round close range with an assault rifle and they usually don’t die. LAME!)

    Not to mention in HC there is friendly fire. So spamming rounds at a target when your teammates are in front of you doesn’t exactly go over to well w/ your teammates. Then there is the lack of a HUD etc etc…

    The generalities in your article my apply to a some of MW3 HC players, or MW3 players in general.

    Just stop trying to define a whole group of players based on your experiences. Sounds to me like you played HC and got your arse handed to you. If it’s so much easier, all you guys that play regular mode should clean up…. But that never happens.

    • AfroClam

      Do you play Hello Kitty Adventure Island on hardcore too?

  • Fanboy

    Don’t hate the players, hate the game. Ya douche.

  • usrev2

    this is the same with any hardcore mode in any game. unless the game is built to have low health like that ( like rainbow 6 vegas) it doesn’t work.
    Battlefield hardcore mode is also for bad players that rely on getting 1-2 hits before getting the kill.
    the same thing happens in games with limited lives. games like shadow run failed because it had no game modes with unlimited lives

  • dude

    My preferences depends heavily on the mode I’m playing. Team Deathmatch, HQ and CTF are best played (in my opinion) in Core modes. However, Search and Destroy works best in Hardcore. HC S&D was (excluding TDM) probably the most popular CoD4 mode so a lot of people continued playing it.

    Also, you have to consider lag. It’s much easier to kill someone in HC when it’s lagging compared to core modes.

    I highly recommend you try HC S&D (specially in Black Ops), it’s great fun, specially if you’re playing the right people.

  • candymanisking

    hardcore is filled with nothing but campers and scrubs who cant play the game

  • Mark gill

    Mmm some good Points about weapons all being equal. I play KC most of the time and got to say there are no more or less campers than in normal mode. It is handy for getting some of the challenges for master key etc. but I would challenge you back to say it harder to get a decent kill streak etc so you have to rely on your reactions, skill you have to know the maps etc. although i do get frustrated when I go back to the standard mode as I do get my arse kicked to start off with but I soon get used to it. But your argument is about as valid as saying anyone who is over tenth prestige is a better player. They just happen to have more spare time and hav played it more.

  • LearnHowToPlay

    I’ve been playing HC deathmatch since the first MW and through all the iterations since. The unrealistic weapon power in regular dm is a joke. Case in point. No body armor in the world will stop a 50 cal round. If the guy doesn’t go down in one shot, the game is severely unbalance. Especially when a shotgun with range will take down anyone from a 100 yards…

    In HC DM, you need to use tactics to be successful. Not run around like a chicken with its head cut off blasting shotgun rounds everywhere. The keys to HC, check your corners, use flash bangs, cover each others backs, and communicate. If you are not telling your team where you got killed, you are useless.

  • Neildee250

    I think the bigger issue here, is that the way a game plays isn’t quite how it used to be. Back in the days of COD4 there didn’t seem to be as many ‘other’ balancing programs running during the game, or at least the stats weren’t the same.

    You used to be able to play COD4 on hardcore the same way you can now play MW3 standard, without the game persistently trying to balance kills for the newer or less talented players. IW and Treyarch have made no effort to hide this happens and it has gotten worse as they have tried to build profits by keeping people interested.

    Hardcore gamers aren’t campers. Certain people are – the same as always. Likely those who stick around even when their skill levels are poor, which is just as the developers made it.

  • Sheared

    Only game type I enjoy playing in Hardcore mode, is S&D. LOVED playing it in CoD4.
    But, since then, it hasn’t been as fun to me through the years.

  • Savi

    I just wanna throw it out there, I personally prefer hardcore, I just like the suspense of not knowing where people are at. At times it gets annoying because some camp as hard core as possible. but heres the kicker, when I just play regular team death match, I am way better at that and is almost easy unless I run into a clan of teammates because I generally play by myself. My KD is easily double almost every round if not more. I tend to just get way more kills in regular tdm compared to hardcore. In the end I guess it’s just preference to what you want to play.

  • The truth

    This it the thing. There are some noobs who play hardcore to camp and there are people that look to play more realistic games. If you want realism forget about call of duty and buy battlefield

  • SteveO GameO

    interesting article… very passionately posted your feelings and we repect you for that.

    we have featured this article on blog4modernwarfare3 and put a backlink to this page
    thanks for the read

  • dan

    I do gotta bust your balls some because while you anticipated a hissy fit from people who play hardcore your entire rant above is a giant hissy fit so Fuck yourself. Shooting someone ten times with some guns like in regular mode is just plain dumb even if it gives guns more imaginary diversity, this renders some weapons not just weak but worthless. A 22 handgun may not make someones head explode but a well placed bullet will kill them in one shot and a head shot is the only way to achieve this in Reggie mode. Also, the indicator above enemies in Reggie sucks because it gives away position, making the sneaky aspect of warfare null. One concession I will make is that hardcore players are probably not better players per se, they just are looking for more of a war Sim and less arcade than you


    This is a load of bullshit, lets look at another way, on core you can see when your next killstreak is, you have a constant radar, you can see how much ammo you have, you get tagged and can run away like a faggot, how is that realistic? on hardcore you can use silencers and other perks so dont talk out of your ass, your just biasd and cant do well in hardcore, you get tagged on hardcore and youre dead. I bet you havent even played hardcore, you core players think youre amazing, i never play hardcore and got a swarm in 60 seconds rushing, core is too easy and for pussies in general. You wouldnt see these people that get 200 plus gameplays do half as well on hardcore, theyd get their asses handed to them on a plate, like you wouldnt see FaZe or OpTiC running around quickscoping getting vsats as theyd get raped the moment they lifted their gun. In all fairness core is the game mode for talentless wankers, scrap core for one day and replace it with hardcore, their would be an uprise as you terrible players wouldnt be able to make the cut among the hardcore elite, CORE IS A FAGGOTS GAME MODE, GET GOOD OR GET LOST!!

  • vhoxz

    I’m gonna reply to this as a HC-mode fan.
    First of all i love HC mode. It feels way more realistic then the core game. In core you see a lot of people hopping or running around with speed and stealth perks and knifing anyone on the map, you shoot 10 bullets at someones body, they don’t die and kill you in 3-4 bullets (weapon balance… RIGHT). And all the stupid tools that make the game so much easier…

    All you have in HC are your eyes, ears, and hands. You have to listen to hear enemies aproaching, you have to sneak, you have to play TACTICAL.
    I personally find HC way more intense then the normal games.

    Rules in hc are simple: play smart and shoot first and on target. Thats the most realistic fighting you can get in video games. Or do you think that IRL soldiers have a HUD with a minimap and some other BS in their helmet while jumping around and running to the enemies to knife them? Think again

  • vlingoSucks

    you sir are a retard.