You're not really one of us until you tell us how your first hero died. Do you have a story to tell?
Oh boy- well, I could probably write volumes about this.. nay, ARCANE TOMES worth of literature about this, but I'll need to be brief as I'm juggling a few threads in various places.
Let's start here: I had played Diablo and I loved it, but I didn't own it back in the day. My buddy had a sweet LAN set up and Diablo was one of the first coop games that we really hammered away at over at his place. Anyway, when D2 came out, I was all over it. I saw this strange 'Hardcore mode' and was curious about it, but it wasn't for me. At least... I didn't think it was. One day, my buddy Shane give me a holler to jump on in and I couldn't join his game. He let me know that he was rolling a HC character, and after some arguing about the perceived futility of it, I reluctantly joined.
Never again did I look back.
The first run through was relatively tame, and it wasn't even probably until my 2nd or 3rd night when I had my first brush with death. The corners of the screen glowed red and time halted to a stand-still. I immediately realized that the hours of work I had put into this little newborn character were on the line here - adrenaline surged and I began to pop skels with reckless abandon. I remember feeling like I needed to push some key but I couldn't think straight. Nothing was going right.
Anyway, somehow I survived. But I was changed. I never had that experience with normal Diablo before, and although I do respect it and can appreciate the intensity of it- it's just not the same. To each their own. Forever and always, will it be hardcore for me.