I play both ASC and AHC in Path of Exile, I was just baffled by the population discrepancy between the two. For me it’s been a huge turnoff this league, and the main reason why I haven’t grinded more than one char to end game in AHC. I hate it when I’m playing and it feels like all the chats are dead. But why?
Some players think that most players don’t spend enough time on the game to errant playing hardcore. It’s super easy to get insta gibbed in this game and then if it’s had core you have to spend 6+ hours leveling a new character as well as losing all your expensive gear, even if you can buy poe items on U4GM. Most players don’t want to deal with that.
Some players don’t enjoy a game based around one twitch response to disconnect and “cheat” failure state. They can enjoy a game based on twitch responses, but not on a single cheating one when the rest of the game isn’t like that. They enjoy hard games with hard punishments when those are well designed (Dark Souls, rogue games). They think that PoE is a terrible game to play with permadeath, terrible game design with that. That is before even talking about disconnections and random crashes.
Maybe because game crashes, server performance issues, imbalances in monster, costs you all of your investment while you have no say in it. The game doesn’t feel like hardcore is really taken into consideration all that much anymore (majority vs minority), it sucks but its just the way it happens now.
However, some of players enjoy both, it’s also possible to enjoy HC only OR SC only too, depend on what values determine the fun you’ll get out of a game.
For some players this Challenge/Thrill and adrenaline rush from HC is what drive them (motivation wise) to continue playing (after 10k+ hours). And they feel like the more they play HC PoE, the less they enjoy 99.99% of other games (other genres of games especially), because it’s pretty rare to be punished hard enough to actually have adrenaline rush’es to difficult content.