The first thing I noticed was that not only do people not care about dying, most randoms make literally zero effort not to, at least here in normal and now nightmare. I am very often the last person standing in fights due to both gear, def. skills I had up, and HC training. On that same note, I got called a noob because I didn't know how to rez people before or after fights (right click them and they pop back up after a short cooldown) . Obviously rezzing people doesn't apply to HC, so yeah, that was kind of funny. I literally didn't realize you could be revived during boss fights, or that champs mobs stay at low health after you wipe on them, so you can just throw corpses at them until they go away.
This really makes the individual fights in SC quite pointless, which in turn makes the entirety of SC seem pointless in a way, at least to me, but then I started thinking about something else.
HC also seems somewhat pointless suddenly in a different way because of certain methods one can use to power level.
With the way that people are now powering after their toon dies in HC, I don't really quite see the philosophical difference between a friend power-levelling a new toon in town after a death, and just simply respawning in SC, except that you don't have to sit in town for 15 hours or whatever, and of course you lose your items (which also leads to the hyper inflation you see in the HC AH versus the SC AH--it is unreal the difference in price/availability of upgrades, and I can't imagine the disparity in the coming months/years).
The main gameplay difference seems to not really be the loss of the toon, but rather the fact that you can't throw corpses at champs/elites/bosses. I'm not sure how this makes me feel. On the one hand, if I don't power-level, why should I care what other people do? But on the other hand, it makes me even more nervous to pug since pretty much anyone can have a level 60 in HC right now without doing much more than sit in town.
The AH in HC is a joke compared to SC. I have more money on my one SC character than I do on my 3 combined HC chars (in the 40s, 2 rip) because upgrades are so cheap and easy to attain. This makes the game more fun in certain ways, but also stupider in certain ways too. I literally don't check my blues anymore because I can find rares in the 40s with good stats for 2-5k. Weapons are even cheaper. Gems are basically free (most people selling weapons gem the items before they put them up). Again, not sure where I fall on this one. The lack of upgrades is in a sense what makes hardcore hardcore, and you really need to get by with what you can OR farm trivial content until you outlevel the next zone through both gear and levels.
Which brings me to my next point. Since there is literally no penalty for dying, I find that my wizard faces FAR more challanging situations since I'm willing to risk FAR more, so in a sense the gameplay is more challanging. I also use more offensive skills, so fights are quicker, and I play very high risk. In hardcore, you are punished so harshly for making a single mistake in relevant content, that you end up doing nm Kulle 30 times just so you know you can take on Belial. I can't imagine doing that in SC.
Well, just some thoughts on the two different modes. I will probably end up staying on my HC toons after I get this guy into Inferno to see what all the hubbub is about. No need to hate, or flame. I'm not criticizing HC, and I do believe it is the more elegant, skillful gameplay, just thought others who haven't might played SC might be interested in how the other 99% lives.