As with the main page, many spoilers here are unmarked!
Author's Saving Throw: After the long hiatus between Minecraft #4 and Minecraft #5, it was announced that three new Hardcore seasons would feature in 2017. Terraria #3 was confirmed to be released a few months after the end of Minecraft #5, MineZ #2 was posted a mere month after that one finished, and Minecraft #6 was slated for Autumn 2017 at the end of MineZ #2.
Barry. Early seasons had him gain a memetic God-like status as the master of Minecraft, and developed a reputation as the player with the best survival rate — something that was even openly acknowledged in the Diablo II season — because he became the Sole Survivor for Minecraft #1 and #2. But he ended up becoming the first to die in Minecraft #4, #5, and #7. And similar to Jeff, he tends to fare less well in the 2D Survival games, being the first casualty in Terraria #1 and #2.
Jeff. He was the last man standing in Minecraft #5 and #7, having managed to reach the Ender Dragon in those seasons and putting up a good fight before being defeated, and was among the final surviving members in several other Hardcore seasons. But he struggles in the 2D Survival games, with most of his deaths in the Terraria seasons occuring because of stupidity-induced fall damage — especially bad in Terraria #3, where he was trying out his new grapple-hook, miscalculated fall damage, and ended up dying on the team's home base with no monsters around. Even his death in Starbound was because he accidentally used the teleport function of his equipment and died from the teleportation's resulting fall damage.
Dean because of his lack of knowledge in playing the Hardcore games and general overconfidence often dragging the group into danger, as well as his tendency to make obscure references. When he ended up dying in a Hardcore season, comments would mourn his death and equally be glad to see him gone. But he has since become more widely accepted and his popularity has increased. His description in Minecraft #5 even lampshaded this aspect about him.
Dean Elazab: A raucous adventurer with a knack for pushing his luck — and he knows it. Another word for Dean would be: polarizing; you either love him or hate him. Love him for his ridiculous (and dangerous) antics or hate him for endangering the team.
The Trickster in Minecraft #6 ended up polarizing because of his lack of development as a character, and even lower amount of involvement in the events, only really setting the house on fire before it was put out. Some are split as to who his identity is meant to be: actually Todd or someone else. Other viewers found him to be one of the funnier and more interesting aspects of the season, which itself was a divisive one.
The general disagreement on which Hardcore series was the best. Popular contenders include Minecraft #1, #2, and #5, Terraria #2, #3, and MineZ #1.
Larger disagreement comes from which Hardcore series was the worst. Either because of its short length (Terraria #1 and DayZ); behind-the-scenes drama (MineZ #2 and Minecraft #6); unfamiliarity with the game (DayZ, Diablo II and Starbound); or a lack of entertainment (Minecraft #3 and #4, Starbound, Diablo II, and Terraria #1).
Every time a new Hardcore gets announced, fans will end up arguing about which players would make a great guest for that Hardcore. And due to the Rule of Seven the seasons generally follow, the fans will also argue about which players are worth dropping, which are usually guests, Dean, Jeff, or Barry.
The dubsteb intro used for Terraria #2 is a nice, catchy change of pace or an annoying and unnecessary change to the iconic Hardcore intro theme. Possibly because of its polarizing response, Minecraft #4 went back to the classic theme. Averted with the new theme introduced in Minecraft #5, which has been more well-received.
When the guys splits up during Minecraft #5, silhouettes were used for the group whose POV was currently not being observed. While this worked in MineZ — the parties were so far apart that, even if one party was in trouble, the other couldn't do anything to assist them, and MineZ having the feature of a player's death message not appearing if the player in question was far enough away — some fans complained that this fixed perspective was redundant, and was a cheap way to create false tension and suspense. Especially considering none of the other Minecraft seasons did this. And when they split up in the Nether and Dean ends up dying to lava, PBG and McJones were still relatively close to the other group, and they saw Dean's death message appearing, so there wasn't even a way to replicate a He Didn't Make It scenario.
Terraria #3 left people feeling like the season was relying a little too much on clickbait titles, which ended up mostly referring to more unnocuous parts of the video. The episode BETRAYED! merely refers to the groups splitting up and PBG feeling betrayed because nobody picked him for their team. SPIDERS AND DEATH! referred to Dean, McJones, and Lucahjin finding a big den of spiders, which they never enter and the death in question belongs to an NPC. And LEFT BEHIND referred to McJones accidentally teleporting back to their base and leaving Lucahjin in a cave, but then rushing back to get to her, with neither of them being in any actual danger the entire time. But the complaints stopped appearing by the second half of the season, especially since the episode THE JINX appeared to be a clickbait title, but turned out to have ProtonJon becoming the first death of the season.
The group having to choose to resurrect Dodger or McJones in Minecraft #6. The comments were filled with controversy over there being a choice to begin with, but also pointing out that each player had reasonable defenses towards their revival. McJones is the Smart Guy of the group and a veteran, with his death in this season occuring incredibly early on, and only because of a minor misstep of his. But Dodger is the season's guest star, meaning she gets less screentime by default, and she was the one that found the revival totem in the first place.
The decision to resurrect Dodger also led to the commments breaking further, with many pro-McJones viewers calling the season ending in failure, and citing that her inexperience and reckless nature was a detriment for the group. There's also the fact that Dodger ended up dying again three episodes later because her inexperience with the game meant she didn't know how the Nether portal functioned. But this led to further divisiveness in the comments, with some saying that this was a probable mistake to make and nobody explaining how the portal worked to her, as well as the portal's location being incredibly dangerous, and those arguing if McJones would have died that way, too, had he been resurrected instead. Especially since PBG was right next to Dodger, waiting for the portal to teleport him back, and ended up attacked by a baby Zombie and knocked out of the portal and into the lava.
Many commenters were torn about the whole twist of Minecraft #6 offering a resurrection. A good chunk of the fanbase didn't appreciate the twist because of the roleplaying elements it introduced, while others disliked it because of the eventual choice between Dodger and McJones, and more disliked it because it led to several uneventful episodes of the adventuring party wandering semi-aimlessly around, without making any progress towards their main goal of defeating the Wither. And even more disliked it because its impact was overall negligible. But most of all, it was disliked because this twist undermined the "If you die, you're dead for good" tagline of Hardcore. And other members of the fanbase liked the ideas behind the twist, and were overall happy with the end result, even if it wasn't executed perfectly. And some want this twist idea to continue in other seasons, but do wish for it to be something other than resurrection.
Critical Research Failure: The cast struggles to remember how to do things in several seasons — especially in Minecraft, after McJones retired. This is justified in cases like Yungtown and Dodger, and Dean in the beginning of the series, because they were newcomers and had little experience with the game. And overall justified as most of the group only plays the game a couple of times a year, specifically for Hardcore.
They attempt to use arrows on Endermen, which Todd even annotates in Episode 18 of #7 to be ineffective.
Jeff tries to tame a horse in Episode 18 of #7, but it doesn't work. He was supposed to use a saddle before attempting to tame the horse.
PBG and Jeff end up wasting two Ender Pearls, which are used for teleporting, when they are trying to find the Ender Portal. Although Jeff remembered soon enough that they needed to make the Ender Pearls into Eye of Enders first.
ProtonJon debuted in Terraria #2 and became one of the show's most popular guest stars. He especially had a chance to shine in the second half of the season, once the party was reduced to him, McJones, and Jeff. Those three formed a fantastic dynamic with each other, and ProtonJon went on to last an impressively long time. When #3 was announced and mentioned to feature a returning guest star, many hoped it was going to be ProtonJon, and ended up pleased to be that way.
A good chunk of the audience felt that both Terraria #3 newcomers, Lucahjin and Yungtown, stole the show in a fashion similar to ProtonJon, because of their warm personalities, knack for humor, and great dynamics with the rest of the members. They quickly became proficient in the game, avoiding many of the pratfalls that other newbies had a tendency to do. Just like with ProtonJon, it helped that they ended up outliving several of the more veteran members, and even managed to defeat the season's Final Boss. And in a season fraught with absurd, largely avoideable deaths, the two sort of became the Only Sane Pair in the group, saving each other from various dangers themselves. They even coined what became the season's Arc Words, "Follow your dreams", endearing them to the fanbase.
Fanon Discontinuity: Terraria #3 has the 'real' ending where McJones, Lucahjin, and Yungtown end up massacred by the Goblin Army, right after warping home from their victory over the Final Boss, which most of the fans choose to disregard. They favor the 'fake' ending, where the three return home in peace to celebrate their victory. This is usually due to putting it into the same category as the 'battle royales' at the end of Minecraft #1 and #4, and hence not counting any of the 'deaths'. On the other hand, given how death-prevalent many of the other seasons were, some prefer the real over the fake ending.
Friendly Fandoms: With the Ten Words of Wisdom communities (including some of the communities mutually linked with it, like the Battle for Dream Island fandom), in spite of how different the two series are. A surprising amount of members on the Discord for PBG Hardcore are also members of the TWOW community, including several staff members.
Growing the Beard: Hardcore has always been popular, but it started off as mostly a collection of friends playing the game and having fun. Beginning with MineZ #1, many people noticed that the series felt different now. With the dominating presence of the then-new editor Jeff, more dangerous enemies, better pacing and cliffhangers, a more focused cast, and the issue of zombie infections adding a significant emotion and suspense to the series, leading to it giving better entertainment. Since then, the show has by and large taken itself more seriously, with the overall production quality having improved greatly.
Minecraft #2 Episode 4 has a joke about 'Forever Alone Barry', which takes on a much darker light when he ended up being the Sole Survivor of the group in that season. He was also the last one around in the first season, having won his duel with JonTron, and was also the last survivor in MineZ #1.
McJones yelling, "You trapped me in!" in the intro for Minecraft #3 gets darker when the line's context is finally revealed. He says it when Shane inadverdently traps him into a room filling with lava, leading to his death. Downplayed in that McJones would probably still have died from the lava, even if Shane hadn't trapped him.
The description for Terraria #1: "The guys venture forth in the strange land of Terraria. Will they conquer all the bosses? Or will they all fall one by one to the dangers of zombies, blobs, and the ever treacherous falling damage? ...Only time will tell." Fall damage isn't a problem in that season, but in the later ones. #2 had three people dying from fall damage, with Dean almost dying from it. And #3 had Jeff die from fall damage, albeit in a rather silly way.
In MineZ #1, McJones and PBG talk about the awful luck Dean has had in the season, as he ended up getting infected twice. They don't know because the group had split at that point, but Dean ended up getting infected a third time.
Between Minecraft #4 and #5, PBG introduced a new show to his gameplay channel called PB&Jeff, where he and Jeff played games together. Minecraft #5 ends up with the two of them being the last two members alive. Lampshaded by Jeff.
PBG: Oh, Jeff. It's just me and you... we—
Jeff: PB & JEFF!
Throughout the early seasons of Hardcore, Dean would make references to Achievement Hunter. When former hunter Ray joined the cast in Minecraft #5, he and Dean hit it off because of their shared attachment to the series. And then Ray ends up accidentally causing Dean's death in the Nether.
ProtonJon's description in Terraria #3 seems much harsher, now that what was described to be his playstyle resulted in his death of that season.
ProtonJon: Jon's known far and wide for his ability to play a massive variety of games, and he brings that competence to Hardcore as well. No stranger to self-proficiency, Jon's keen to travel solo, quietly finding ways to achieve on his own what would elsewise take many.
Episode 11 of Minecraft #6 had Dodger being revived. During a joking interrogation, where the others accused her of being an evil clone, she solemnly remarks, "Maybe I should have stayed dead...". She ends up dying three episodes later.
Terraria #1 had PBG and Jeff be the last two surviving members. Years later, they went on to make PB&Jeff, a show where the two of them played games together. While lampshaded in Minecraft #5, this season feels like a pre-cursor.
Minecraft #3 had Jared throw a bow into the crowd, akin to a bridal bouquet. PBG can be heard cheering, "I wanna get married next!". He got married to Unicornism about a year later.
Terraria #3 has PBG use the in-game name of 'Dum Dum Peebs'. Becomes hilarious when his death for that season came about through stupidity.
Jeff tames a pack of wolves and names them all Billy in Minecraft #5. A few months later, he was cast to play Billy, the Blue Power Ranger for an episode of Death Battle. Then becomes harsher in hindsight, given the outcome of that Hardcore season, and that of the Death Battle episode.
Terraria #3 has PBG ask Luke to meet him up on the roof for a secret meeting, though he wants to swap items. Luke asks if they are gonna be doing romantic things, to which PBG says they might. The seductive music during the whole exchange doesn't help.
Dean has a tendency to address his teammates as 'my boy' or 'my beautiful boy'. He even mentions in Terraria #3 that one of his deaths in the Terraria Hardcore series was him holding hands with McJones, which is how he always pictured his death to be.
Barry became this among the fandom thanks to a combination of his laidback personality, his popularity and fame with Game Grumps, and his being the Sole Survivor of several seasons.
Smooth McGroove's role as the Only Sane Man and similarities to Barry propelled him into this status in Minecraft #3. YouTube commenters put him on the same level as Barry, and even claimed he'd be the last one standing. They were right, as Smooth outlived Shane by a few minutes.
"Gunther", the team penguin in Terraria #2, became universally beloved by the fandom, and has recently been deemed the head of a new religion in the subreddit.
The editor since Minecraft #5, Todd, is practically worshipped by some members of the fanbase, and often called on by the players. Gets solidified in Minecraft #6, where he is referred to as the creator of the world, and is a wizard that gives the gang a sidequest to find the Totem of Undying.
One-Scene Wonder: Player ACrispyWaluigi only shows up in Episode 11 of MineZ #2 for approximately five minutes, but is the one to kill McJones in combat, causing the group to lose a lot of hope and navigation. Combined with his Reluctant Warrior status, he became a highlight to the season... until behind-the-scenes drama was revealed, turning him into The Scrappy for many.
Whenever the group enters the Nether in Minecraft. But some seasons amp this up with nerve-wracking sections of the group building cobblestone bridges over large drop-offs into lakes of lava, all while the screams of the unseen Ghasts can be heard. Special mention goes to Minecraft #6, where the portal ended up suspended over a sea of lava, forcing Jared to slowly build a bridge to safety from scratch, with Ghasts floating in the distance.
PBG and McJones meeting up and escaping the caves of Sirus in MineZ #1, both infected and poisoned, leaving each of them with only half of a heart of health.
Dean became more widely accepted by the fanbase, with his skills progessively increasing in the games. By the time Minecraft #5 rolled around, his hatedom had died down considerably.
Minecraft #3 had JonTron return. While some still saw him as being obnoxious, with some of his antics (like building a lavafall inside the house) appearing as more of the irresponsible and dangerous behavior he portrayed in Terraria, others found him to be much more enthusiastic this time around, and were legitimately upset to see him die so early.
JonTron came under a lot of fire during Terraria #1, with many viewing his nonchalant and cynical sense of humor as genuinely disrespectful and a sign that he really didn't want to be there. It was especially jarring when compared to Minecraft #1, where he was much more cooperative and actually took the whole thing seriously. This all culminated in Episode 7, when he event went so far as to jump off of the roof of their house in an attempted suicide joke. All the guys played off of it, but even PBG seemed to be underwhelmed by it, and his response to Jon actually dying in that episode was, "Well, that's a thing that happened". It was so bad, many see it as more than just a coincidence that Jon wasn't in the next season of Hardcore, despite being a regular up to that point.
Jared temporarily became this after his scandal which made previous seasons involving him hard to watch. He would later debunk the accusations on his channel, but it still left a sour taste in many people's mouths.
Signature Scene: Pretty much any time someone dies, the scene tends to be one of the more memorable ones of the season. It's often the first death of the season that stands out, marking when the lighthearted mood starts to shift into darker aspects.
Watching what is the last episode of the Hardcore season, and the team is nowhere near their end goal, it can be assured that it will end in failure. This is why PBG doesn't advertise the finale as such anymore, unless the team actually is close to achieving their end goal, but instead uploads them with titles that would fit normal episodes. It's recommended that new viewers watch each season without checking how many episodes there are in total.
The death of any of the players is generally a shocking revelation, often to the point that it's worth rewatching the episode. As a result, the view count on YouTube tends to spike on those episodes.
Occured and deliberately averted during Terraria #3. Savvy users were able to access the achievement lists of the Hardcore participants on their Steam profiles, seeing that ProtonJon and Jeff hadn't obtained the achievement for defeating the Brain of Cthulhu boss — a boss not fought in the previous Terraria season, having been the Eater of Worlds, instead — and PBG lacking the achievement for killing the Queen Bee boss, spoiling their deaths. But the players caught onto that, and promptly made their achievement lists private to avoid further spoilers. Fortunately, this was done in time to avoid spoiling the outcome of the final battle.
Something similar happened with MineZ #2. The game's server is publically available and the season was announced before it was recorded, leading to many more players going onto the server and causing more player encounters and, notably, people were able to look up the player roster of the server. It was quickly noted that Dean was not on the server, indicating that he had died. This was discovered before the Hardcore season even aired.
The opening of Episode 11 of Minecraft #6 had Dodger's portrayed not grayed out, despite having died in the previous episode. This made it pretty clear that Dodger was the one the group chose to resurrect, and not McJones. Todd later stated in a tweet that this was an editing error, but it ended up pretty convenient.
Before Minecraft #6 even mentioned the Totem of Resurrection, and the ability to revive a dead teammember, savvy viewers could tell there was something different, because everyone's life bar used the regular heart design instead of the one seen during previous seasons.
What an Idiot!: Terraria #3 has earned its reputation of being the season of deaths caused by stupidity.
ProtonJon ended up being the least outrageous because he died to a boulder trap. These traps are the most lethal in early game because they are bound to be fatal, unlike dart traps, and nearly inconspicuous, unlike explosive traps. But viewers still considered his decision to go off on his own underground adventure to be somewhat dumb, and see it as a mediocre way to go out, especially since he ended up making it to the final three survivors in the previous season.
Jeff was trying out his new grappling hook and was jumping, grappling, and bouncing around, and ended up falling just far enough to die. All while on the home base with no monsters around, which many viewers and even the cast considered to be the most embarassing death in Hardcore. It even managed to out-do his similar death-by-fall-damage death from the previous Terraria season.
PBG and Dean ended up dying from prolonged contact with blocks that caused damage over time. PBG was mining the meteor, and not noticing that he was slowly burning himself. Dean was standing on a spike trap, but his circumstances were a bit more forgiveable because he was being distracted by fighting enemies, and he was standing more next to the spikes than having jumped into them.
The others had painfully close calls, such as Lucahjin almost suffocating under slush while mining in the snow biome, though her inexperience with the game meant she likely wasn't aware this was possible. McJones almost met the same fate as Dean from the spikes in the dungeon, and Luke almost drowning by standing in nose-high water, though his explanation is similar to that of Lucahjin.
Minecraft #7 has Jeff use ladders to ascend the barred towers in the battle with the Ender Dragon, even though he could easily be knocked off while climbing and being sent flying, which is a risk he acknowledged earlier in the episode. And that's exactly what happens, with the Ender Dragon knocking into Jeff and sending him falling to his death, before he can even finish climbing one tower.