Do you want to be? The game Diablo II introduced into the mainstream the notion of 'Hardcore Mode.' That's when your character dies, you don't get back up. A quote from a favorite movie applies here: in hardcore mode once he's dead, "there's usually only one thing you can do. Go through his clothes and look for loose change."
Think of it. You're in your favorite MMORPG and someone walks in front of you with a slightly different color halo, or name, or sash around his/her waist. You do a check on the name. Level 42 the response shows. Immediately your respect for this person (or sympathy, pity, jealousy...) elevates because you know that this person can die at any moment... but hasn't. I wouldn't be surprised if at that level he/she started acquiring groupies. Now, would you like to be that person? =)
Someone with the alias Nordramor wrote an editorial on just this topic brought to you by Stratosgroup. Thus written:
It hasn't been much of an interest of mine in past years, but I have recently become more interested in the concept of Iron Man Gaming. I'm using the term "Iron Man Gaming" to apply to all types of games that do not allow you to save, store, backup, or otherwise take any steps to safeguard your game. Imagine playing through an entire RPG and not loading a saved game when you die, but rather restarting the game entirely. That is what I'm referring to as "Iron Man Gaming". I have never really taken this form of gaming exceptionally seriously, because I only viewed it as an optional style of gameplay that truly dedicated fans of a game would undertake to put their skills to the ultimate test.
...While some of you may be appalled at the idea of losing a character that you've spent many hours developing, I found the added tension and intensity in Hardcore mode made Diablo 2 MUCH more exciting. I quickly became far more attached to my Hardcore characters than my Normal characters, eventually abandoning Normal mode entirely for Hardcore. This has gotten me thinking, would Iron Man Gaming make other games more exciting as well?
The editorial doesn't mention MMORPG's, yet somehow I think that adding this feature to them would make for a lot of fun for many people.