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"Hardcore Leveling Warrior" redirects here. For other uses of this name, see Hardcore Leveling Warrior (Disambiguation).

I'm the Hardcore leveling Warrior. I'm the best
 ― Hardcore Leveling Warrior[source]

Gong Won-Ho,[11] known as Hardcore Leveling Warrior in Lucid Adventure,[1] is a legendary player in Lucid Adventure. He is the main protagonist and title character of the Hardcore Leveling Warrior webtoon. He is the former no.1 ranker under Giga's Ranking System[1] and is one of the winners of the last ever Combat Tournament[12]. After his character avatar was combined with both the soul of the Demon King and Nightmare, he is currently allied with Nightmare.[6]

During the early years of Lucid Adventure, the then ranked no.88 Hardcore Leveling Warrior joined the Zara Guild, where he eventually became its First Battalion Commander.[2][13][8]After the dissolution of Zara Guild, Hardcore Leveling Warrior defeated the then Ranked No.3 The Best Swordsman to become the ranked no.3 player.[14] The ranked no.3 Hardcore Leveling Warrior took part in the subjugation of Nightmare during The Very First War.[7][15] At some point after The Very First War, Hardcore Leveling Warrior became an All-Stat and the ranked no.1 player. As the Ranked No.1 Player, Hardcore Leveling Warrior was the strongest player under the heavens and was one of the most powerful beings in Lucid Adventure.

Due to the machinations of Zero, Hardcore Leveling Warrior's lost his items and had both his level and stats reset back to 1.[1][16] His main goals were to regain his No.1 Rank and free himself from Chairman Kim's grasp by earning enough money to repay his debt. He teamed up with Dark and Sora to level up and to compete in The Combat Tournament. After going through many trials and tribulations and against all the odds, he won The last ever Combat Tournament alongside his team.[12]

Unfortunately, Hardcore Leveling Warrior was logged out of Lucid Adventure after suffering mortal injuries in The Real World and has not logged into Lucid Adventure for two years.[17][18] After the news of the 'Miso Corporation stabbing Incident' was made public, it is generally believed that he is dead, although, Dark still believes he is alive and has not given up on finding him.[19] On her return to Dark Land, Sora confirmed that Hardcore Leveling Warrior is still alive[20]; she later reveals that she met up with Lila, who confirmed that Hardcore Leveling Warrior is alive and saved her in the real world.[21]

After the death of God of Combat, a ranking system based on Lucid Balls was created with the limit set by Hardcore Leveling Warrior, who had reached the humanly limit when he was the Rank No.1 Player.[22]

It was revealed that his character avatar was in a comatose state and was guarded by The One-Eyed Nightmare in the Demon King Castle located in the Demon World.[23][24] As the strongest player, Hardcore Leveling Warrior was chosen as the test subject to combine with the Demon King karma to create the Ultimate Entity. After the process was successfully completed, Hardcore Leveling Warrior woke up and is now presumably on the side of Nightmare.[6]

Appearance

Main article: Hardcore Leveling Warrior/Image Gallery

The Real World

Won-ho has scruffy black hair, a look which he has had since his childhood[25] as well as black eyes. He often looks tired, with bags under his eyes. Won-ho mostly wears black long sleeve shirts and dark turquoise cargo pants.[1]

After playing Lucid Adventure continuously day and night, Won-ho developed a stubble that made him look even more unkempt. He eventually shaved it off.[26]

Lucid Adventure

His character in Lucid Adventure looks about the same as his real life appearance with scruffy mid-length red hair that seems to stand on end, giving it a rising, flame-like appearance and red eyes. During his early years in the game, his hair was mid length and grew a bit longer just before he became the ranked no.1 player.[27]

When he became the ranked no.1 player, his hair became even longer and more fiery, reaching as far down as his mid back.[1] He retained this look even after his level got reset.[16]

Scallion Head used a sword attack that resulted in Hardcore Leveling Warrior getting a bald patch on the top of his head.[28] This lead to people referring to him as 'baldy', which greatly frustrated him. He hid his bald patch with a grey-colored beanie hat[29] and applies ointment regularly to make his grow back.[30]

After losing his beanie hat during his duel with Akira, he is currently sporting a shorter albeit unkempt hairstyle.[31]

He was pretty skinny when he first created his character in Lucid Adventure[28] but became sturdier as his strength stat increased. After his level got reset back to 1,[16] he reverted to looking skinny once again. Since he raised his strength stat to 900+, he has regained the sturdy look he had at the start of the series.[32]

After his body was combined with both Nightmare and the karma of the Demon King, his left eye is now completely black and with a bright coloured demon king insignia as his iris.[6] His current attire is the typical black Nightmare appendage wrapped around his whole body save his head.[33]

Personality

Hardcore Leveling Warrior is the most complex character in the series and is the archetypal antihero. He is almost universally despised for his arrogance, money-grubbing, deceitfulness and snobbery. Although he may sometimes perform actions that are morally correct, he is often acting mostly out of self-interest rather than through altruism. Despite all this, he is still admired for his skill by both his allies and opponents alike.

His main motivation is to be the strongest and earn as much money as possible in order to escape the clutches of Chairman Kim and he will do anything to achieve his goal.

Despite his cold, calculating demeanour, ruthlessness in battle and on the surface, having relatively little concern for the well-being of his colleagues, in reality, he does care about them, seeing them as valuable allies.

His behaviour and approach to life is a consequence of having endured waves of suffering and numerous betrayals since his youth, with nearly all highlights of his life in The Real World being lows. As a result of this he very guarded and rarely opens up to anybody.

Gong Won-Ho was a self-confessed loser and felt that he was the unluckiest person in the world as nothing ever worked out for him.[25] He was orphaned at a very young age and lost the only family he had.[25] He was bullied in school and dropped out due to his life being too hard. He considered his life to be unfair and never wanted to live it. No matter how hard he tried, nothing ever worked out for him. His life was empty and he felt terribly lonely. This led to him spending most of his early 20s on gambling to fill the void in his life. He accumulated a massive amount of debt, which led to his life being thrown into further turmoil. He was continuously beaten by President Kim and literally treated like a dog, being forced to bark to the former's amusement.[25]

After finding a randomly finding a phone on the street with Lucid Adventure preloaded, he decided to give it a shot.[25] In Lucid Adventure, everything worked out as if it were making up for his horrible life and it felt like he was the luckiest person in the game world.[25]

In Lucid Adventure, he finally found a place where he belonged. It was as if the game was making up for his horrible life. He became the best player in the game. He came to prefer Lucid Adventure to The Real World and even considers it to be his real world. He even told Novelist Han that he would save it over The Real World.[16]

Early on in Lucid Adventure, although he goaded people into accepting bets and eventually used 'Betting' to consume the skills of others, he was actually a fairly sincere person and didn't seem to be conceited. The Best Swordsman even sought him out in order to recruit him to Zara Guild because he felt that the guild needed someone like him. After Armes was captured, he still seemed sincere after he became the ranked no.3 player, when he saved Sora[34] and Castle Ideizeu from Nightmare.[15]

After the remnants of the Zara Guild finally disbanded, he felt like his trusted guild abandoned him in his search for Armes and swore off companions, going at it alone. He did whatever it took to become the strongest so that one day he could find Armes and save her by himself. The isolation and supposed 'abandonment' left him jaded and led to him spurning other players.

Once he became the no.1 ranked player, he changed completely and even became a Red Player. He became arrogant and universally despised by the general public and considered a piece of trash.[1] He stole person's quests, he once blocked a road that a player needed too use to finish a quest because he was bored, he stole a mob that a player had almost killed.[1] He believed that people were jealous of him because of how cool he looked in The Golden Armor.[1]

After his level got reset he attitude has slowly been changing due to his debt in The Real World and weakened state. Although his desire for power and money are still prevalent, he has really changed for the better compared to when he had much longer hair. This change was more noticeable during the period after he lost his hair. He somewhat started caring for people beyond using them as a means to an end, especially with Sora and Dark.

Hardcore Leveling Warrior does not have anybody he would consider a friend and has been a loner all his life.[2][35] He hates partying up with others as feels that would slow him down, although he is not above forming alliances if it will help him achieve his goals.[36] Although for a time he joined the Zara Guild and saw them as trusted colleagues and maybe even friends, he was still unwilling to tell them about his living situation and how miserable his life was.[13]

Hardcore Leveling Warrior has a more vulnerable side. He has also shown moments of fear and guilt, the latter due to having to betray Dark in order to save himself from being killed by Chairman Kim in The Real World. Hardcore Leveling Warrior has shown himself to be capable of gratefulness, especially after Armes which brought tears to his eyes.

Gong Won-Ho is a gambling addict and it has put him in seriously precarious situations in his personal life. It led to him being forced into Chairman Kim's Workshop and being beaten up like a dog[25] and forced to take narcotics[11] and eat food off the floor[37]. In Lucid Adventure, his addiction is further enabled by his both his class and Personal Attribute and even transfers to his combat situations where he uses high-risk, high-rewards strategies which he has carried on even after he got his level reset.

Due to his problems in The Real World, Gong Won-Ho has been single all his life and this is a very sensitive topic for him. He is quite oblivious as to how to approach romance as seen when Armes got close to him and referred to his feelings as "unnecessary".[13] As noted by Novelist Han, he is also quite slow witted and is oblivious to romantic feelings others have for him [38]

Hardcore Leveling Warrior has been noted by several characters, including himself, to have a temper problem.[39][40] He can sometimes lose his temper which could have adverse effects on both himself and his allies.

Hardcore Leveling Warrior hates Noobs that beg for money as shown when he PKed Choco Flavoured Potato Soup[1] and he hates it when his armour gets dirtied or scratched[28][41][1].

Above all else, Hardcore Leveling Warrior is the personification of persistence and resilience. Through all of his numerous trials and tribulations, he has never yielded to fate and continues to subsist against seemingly insurmountable odds. Only once has he been seen to considered giving up, but he quickly discarded that notion.[42] He believes that as soon as you give up, you've lost already and even if he has only a 0.1% chance of winning, he will believe in he can still win with a bit of luck.[43]

During his escape from chairman kim, he was upset that he may never see his friends again which shows that HCLW allowed himself to form a bond with a team again thus allowing him to feel attachment again. When being saved by Guru, he ran, but he heard lila beg for help in order to see her children again. he pondered that his original self would have tried to save himself, but he decided to save lila and not to leave her behind especially after Guru's sacrifice. In doing so, he made the greatest gamble of his life by taking down chairman Kim who he was originally scared off. The Rank one HCLW probably would have left lila and not faced kim given that he would have a better chance at leaving by running away. Throughout his life, he always put himself first, but that was no longer the case by his action of saving lila. His life was always about misery, and as such, he always had someone to blame for any pain he went through. However, he always cursed himself for running away from everything. If given the chance to face reality, he would probably make different choices. In order to break the cycle, he is no longer running away and leaving everything behind. As opposed to the rank one, Gong Ho is moving forward to face what comes may even if its a losing bet. However, he risked his life to defeat Kim once and for all , so he and lila can run free. At the end of it all, he never lost his habit of gambling on a winning bet even if its the greatest one in his life. When he pulled lila out of the barrel, he had a smile in the face showing that he never gave in to despair and was happy to see Lila alive. Instead of running again, he prioritized saving Lila once more

Major Battles

Quotes

  • (To The Best Swordsman): "A duel request? I don't want to fight just to see who's stronger. You have to 'bet' something."[2]
  • (To himself): "But, if they [Zara Guild Members] find out about my situation, will they understand my miserable life of getting beat up by loan sharks like a dog? No way."[13]
  • (To The Best Swordsman as he left Zara Guild): "...Treacherous bastard"[44]
  • (To Yopi and Taek): "Fuck off. I'm a solo-player. And why would I need your permission to kill a monster in a game you dipshits?"[45]
  • (To himself): "Lucid Adventure! In that world, I am...'The Strongest'"[1]
  • (To himself): "I'm back...!!"[1][46][47][48]
  • (To Heart Heater): "I'm the Hardcore Leveling Warrior. I'm the best".[1]
  • (To himself): "Until yesterday, I was the strongest...and now I'm a noob."[16]
  • (To himself): "A gosu must take advantage of everything to their soul!!!"[49]
  • (To himself): "That Feeling...when you stand on top of everyone...! But then...I saw Something. Something even higher..."[50]
  • (To Light): "It doesn't matter what my level is!...I'll kick your asses in less than a minute."[47]
  • (To Light): "Your expression asks "how I'm alive even though that attack went through"; My recovery stat- hm... about one hundred times more than you fools?; That type of attack was cute!; You're a bit better than an imoogi!".[51]
  • (To Light): "The last is the super deadly-collab of my cuties-!!! And- I'll end you with a really dope and cool skill-!!!"[52]
  • (To Nightmare Choco Bibi): "They're food that I will consume to gain some EXP. Nothing more, nothing Less"[33]

  • (The Best Swordsman): "I heard you're pretty strong...I've always wanted to fight you..."[2]
  • (Constant): "I'm really happy you're in our guild, hyung. With your powerful skills and various strategies, I don't think it's impossible for our guild to conquer this world".[13]
  • (Armes): "Haha so I need a reason to save my own guild member? Call me your saviour now haha."[13]
  • (Constant): "I met Dorita and Lotus Root Girl recently. It was a little awkward at first. But we're together now. Let's get together again! Like the good old days!" [53]
  • (Sad Smile): "But Won-Ho...I didn't submit to Giga yet. I haven't given up. You know why? Because...I have you! You!! Hardcore Leveling Warrior"[54]

  • (The Best Swordsman to Chocho): "Hmm...compared to his prime days when he had all of the items...let's see...I'd say...less than 10%."[55]
  • (Yopy to Pooh Upooh): "Able to come up with unpredictable combinations of skills from various classes. If he really did regain 'The perfect Memory of Cintamani'... then all of Hardcore Leveling Warrior's skills would've been unlocked and he'll be able to show his original combat style"[45]
  • (Stone): "Hardcore Leveling Warrior, the No.1 Ranked Player before me..!!! Who will be stronger, me or him...?!"[56]
  • (The Crow to Han Sung Gong): "If he's alive...and Gun-Woo finds him...Gun-Woo will be the winner of this war"[57]
  • (The Crow to Nightmare Choco Bibi): "A vessel strong enough to house the soul of Demon King...There's no one else other than him".[6]
  • (The Crow to Nightmare The Best Swordsman): "Right now, he's currently the strongest being in this world".[33]

Other Appearances

Video Games

Playable Appearances

Other Webtoon Appearances

Translation Notes

Issues and Errors

Main Article: LINE Webtoon Translation Changes

Real Name

The characters real name, '공원호', means Gong Won-Ho (or Kong Won-Ho). LINE Webtoon changed the character's original name to 'Ethan Gong'.


Game Name

열렙전사 is correctly translated as Hardcore Leveling Warrior by LINE Webtoon.

열 is the Korean form of the hanja 熱 which means "hot; heated; having a high temperature". 렙 means "level". 전사 means "warrior".

열렙전사 roughly translates to Hardcore Leveling Warrior in English. A more literal translation would be something along the lines of Warrior Who Levels Up as if on Fire.

Nicknames

Sora calls Hardcore Leveling Warrior '열렙전사님' which means 'Hardcore Leveling Warrior-nim'. Nim (Hangul: 님) (by itself after a proper noun) is the highest form of honorifics and above ssi. nim will follow addressees' names on letters/emails and postal packages. -nim (as an affix) is used as a commonplace honorific for guests, customers, clients, and unfamiliar individuals. -nim is also used towards someone who is revered and admired for having a significant amount of skill, intellect, knowledge, etc. and is used for people who are of a higher rank than oneself. Examples include family members (eomeonim 어머님 & abeonim 아버님), teachers (seonsaengnim 선생님), clergy (e.g. pastors – moksanim 목사님), and gods (haneunim 하느님 / hananim 하나님). It shows the respect that Sora has for Hardcore Leveling Warrior. LINE Webtoon translates this as Mr. Hardcore Leveling Warrior (Episode 3) and Hardcore Leveling Warrior (Episode 4 to Present).

Dark calls Hardcore Leveling Warrior 돈벌레 (Romaja: donbeolle). 돈벌레 literally translates to 'Hireling' or 'Pensionary'; which can both mean a person who works solely for rewards/money. 돈벌레 (Don Bal Leh) is also the Hangul for 'Centipede'. There is Korean superstition that if you see a Centipede that money will come your way. The 돈(Don) in 돈벌레 also means money. So in literal translations centipede in Korean means 'Money Bug'. This is ironic because Hardcore Leveling Warrior is the exact opposite of this. LINE Webtoon incorrectly translates 돈벌레 as snob

Pooh Upooh actually calls to Hardcore Leveling Warrior as a 'Snob' (Hangul: 속물, Romaja: donbeolle) in Episode 89. A 'Snob' in Korea is a person who spends all their time pursuing power and profit, fulfilling meaningless things such as vanity, sexual pleasure, and are narrow minded.

The Best Swordsman calls Hardcore Leveling Warrior '열렙아' . 열렙 is the abbreviation of 열렙전사 and means Hardcore Leveler. The -아 (-a) suffix is a term added to end of first name. It is used to when you are directly addressing a close friend or someone who is close and younger and is has connotations of endearment and affection. It usually connotes very close personal relationship. Some call this an “affectionate” (noun), which the English language does not have. -아 does not denote respect/honor or indicate a social heirachry, only the relationship or level of affection you have with the person. The interlocutor can be either a man or woman. LINE Webtoon incorrectly translates this as Hardcore, Hardcore Bro or Hardcore Leveling Warrior.

Choco Flavoured Potato Soup called him 'Gosu-nim' (고수님) (Romaja: gosu-nim). Gosu refers to or describes someone who is highly skilled, used especially in video and computer gaming. Nim (님) is also a title of respect. Nim (님) is usually attached to professions. nim (Hangul: 님) is the highest form of honorifics and above -ssi, but is still used as a commonplace honorific for guests, customers, clients, and unfamiliar individuals. -nim is also used towards someone who is revered and admired for having a significant amount of skill, intellect, knowledge, etc. and is used for people who are of a higher rank than oneself. Examples include family members (eomeo-nim 어머님 & abeo-nim 아버님), teachers (seonsaeng-nim 선생님), holy men (e.g. pastors – moksa-nim 목사님), and a God (haneu-nim 하느님 / hana-nim 하나님). -nim will follow addressees' names on letters/emails and postal packages.

International Translations

Name Platform Language
Real

Name

Game

Name

孔元浩 (Kǒng yuánhào) 熱練戰士 (Rè liàn zhànshì) LINE Webtoon (Taiwanese) Traditional Chinese
Ethan Gong Hardcore Leveling Warrior LINE Webtoon (English) English
Kong Won-Ho Hardcore Leveling Warrior LINE Webtoon (French) French
LINE Manga Japanese

Notes & Trivia

  • His character name, Hardcore Leveling Warrior, was first revealed in Episode 1. His birth name, Gong Won-Ho, was revealed by Chairman Kim in Episode 4.
  • Hardcore Leveling Warrior is sometimes called 'The Hardcore Leveling Warrior' (열렙전사야, yeollebjeonsaya) by himself and other characters. This has annoyed some English speaking fans who insist he be simply called 'Hardcore Leveling Warrior'.
  • He appears to be right-handed as he signed Heart Heater's contract in Episode 1. He fights predominantly with his left hand but is equally capable of fighting with his right hand as seen in Episode 24, where he changed his attack pattern.
  • Hardcore Leveling Warrior has been single all his life and this is apparently known by everybody. It is a very sensitive subject to him.[58]
  • After he became a Ranker, the players who lost something to Hardcore Leveling Warrior shared his information on the Internet forum and no one wanted to make a bet any more. He considered getting plastic surgery to change his appearance and even switching his character's gender to female, but in the end he chose to 'bait' players into accepting bets.[59]
  • Hardcore Leveling Warrior has a unique walking style where he folds his arm behind his head whilst walking.[60][61][50]
  • In Episode 167, LINE Webtoon's translation made it seem like Hardcore Leveling Warrior's two favourite items where Treasured Sword of the Knights - The 7 Truths and +16 Treasured Sword of the Brave. This was incorrect. Hardcore Leveling Warrior referred to them his "cuties", which he always does with his Golden Items and Weapons.
  • Hardcore Leveling Warrior managed to escape his barrel and save Lila but it is possible he had the assistance of The Witch.
  • Given that the character avatars only appear in the game when the player is logged while asleep, it is possible that Hardcore leveling warrior is in a comatose state in the real world

References

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