"If you clear the quest, you will get everything"
Hardcore Leveling Warrior (Lucid Adventure), commonly known as Hardcore Leveling Warrior or as HCLW by acronym, is a South Korean manhwa and webtoon series written and drawn by Kim Sehoon. The series is set in the world of Lucid Adventure, a place that is accessed through dreams. It follows Hardcore Leveling Warrior and his colleagues on their full fledged RPG adventure.
This webtoon was first published on January 24, 2016, through NAVER Webtoon (NAVER 만화) in author's native language - Korean. It is updated every Sunday.
Since the 7th of November, 2017 it has been translated and published in English on Line Webtoon. It was originally updated every Tuesday and Friday but since the 26th of July 2019, it has be updated every Friday.
"When you go from level 99 to level 1 and start all over again."Main Article: List of Story Arcs and Episodes
Hardcore Leveling Warrior was the #1 Ranked Player in Lucid Adventure and the only player on the server with The Golden Armor. He is a dirty player and is criticised for his antics such as stealing quests, blocking other users from completing quests and stealing MOBs that others had almost finished and is dirty.
During an SS-Class Quest, he is beaten by a mysterious assassin and his Golden Armor and items are stolen from him before his level is reset to Level 1. He must go on a long journey of redemption to recover his stats and power as well as earn enough money to repay the money he owes to loan sharks in The Real World.
Main Article: Characters
Sehoon Kim has stated that he came up with the basic idea of Hardcore Leveling Warrior whilst he was studying at University. He was also inspired by several MMORPG series including Vindictus, Mabinogi and Ragnarok Online.
He wanted to create a world of escapism, where people could escape their dark realities in the real world through the game world such as Hardcore Leveling Warrior. He incorporated a lot of his personal experiences into the series.
In 2013 or 2014, Kim Sehoon already had a picture of Lucid Adventure on his blog, but he scratched it. He already had a picture of Hardcore Leveling Warrior, although the overall characters design changed by the time the series came about.
Kim Sehoon put the first Episode of Hardcore Leveling Warrior as a Challenge Manhwa on the 24th of August 205. After the first 6 Episodes, Hardcore Leveling Warrior became one of the Best Challenge on Naver on the 30th of October 2015. By the the 15th of November 2015, Hardcore Leveling Warrior was prooted as a Webtoon. The first Episode of the Hardcore Leveling Warrior was posted on Naver on the 23 of January 2016.
Many real world items were the primary focus on certain characters and story arcs.
- Assassination - Mainly used by Giga to get rid of their enemies or people that can potentially get in their way.
- Addiction - Portrayed mainly in the form of Gambling and gaming addiction, particularly by Hardcore Leveling Warrior.
- Corruption - Especially by the Giga Corporation, Smile Corporation and the police force. Human corruption is one of the main driving forces behind Zero's actions to destroy both Lucid Adventure and The Real World.
- Discrimination - This is shown subtly through the Players discriminating against the 'NPC', who are in fact 'real'.
- Escapism - Hardcore Leveling Warrior and many players immerse themselves in the game world to escape their horrible lives.
- Family Feuds - This is shown mainly through the Han Family. There is a feud over Roy Han's will as well as infighting within the family to get full control of Giga and Lucid Adventure.
- Mass Surveillance - This is show by Giga monitoring and tapping up communications within Lucid Adventure.
- Organ Trafficking: Chairman Kim sells the organs of men who fail to pay him back.
- Prohibition - This is shown through Giga banning the use of Nightmare by regular players while they use it freely to achieve their goals. They also banned Godcha as well.
- Propaganda - This is shown through Giga's deceit of the public. They pretend they are the Light in Lucid Adventure whilst using nefarious methods to get rid of their enemies in the shadows.
- Prostitution: Chairman Kim sells women off into prostitution if they fail to pay him back.
- Pursuing One's Dreams - Focused on throughout the series, particularly with Dark's Party. Many people are playing the game for a variety of reasons.
- Slavery - This is shown primarily through Chairman Kim enslaving people that owe him debt and forcing them to play Lucid Adventure.
- War - Focused on during The Very First War and the War between Yopi Land and Giga.
- War Profiteering - Heart Heater speaks about War being profitable.
The Series was originally translated by Game of Scanlation from February 2016 to June 2016. The series was the picked up by Hartigram then picked up the series from Episode 22. They translated it until Naver released official English translations through Line Webtoon.
There has been a lot of continued criticism of the translation quality done by Line Webtoon, as a lot of errors can be regularly seen in the translations as well as Line Webtoon unnecessarily changing the original names of characters such as changing 'Lu Bu's' name to 'Fengxian' for no apparent reason and not naming skills correctly. A lot of context is lost and plot development due to the poor translations.
Notes & Trivia
- Curiously, the acronym used by the fans of the series is HCLW rather than HLW. 'Hardcore' is one word but the acronym refers to it as 'Hard Core'. Despite the protest of some fans online, citing the HLW being the 'proper' short form, the use of HCLW has persisted.
- The series uses 'Episodes', rather than 'Chapters'.
- It uses a lot of the basic MMORPG terminology.
- Due to the Korean version being released almost 2 years earlier than the English version, Line Webtoon have been releasing 2 Episodes per week in English.
- Line Webtoon 'fast pass' caught up to the 'regular' Naver releases with 'AE 2' on May 21st 2019.
- In February 2017, after Episode 56, Sehoon Kim said that the story was 25% of the way through.
- In January 2019, after Episode 155, Sehoon Kim said that the Webtoon was only 20% completed.
- If this estimation is accurate, the series could have 620+ more episodes, making 700+ episodes in total. This would take another decade for it to conclude.
- Sehoon Kim has said the series will have 3 parts.
- Season 1 concludes The Combat Tournament Arc which ended on Episode 176. The 176th Episode was released on May 11th 2019 through Naver's 'fast pass'.
- AE (After Episodes) are the short stories after Season 1. Sehoon Kim has said that people complained that the story moved too fast, so he is using the AEs to reinforce the story before starting Season 2. He wants to include a small but important stories in the AE.
- Season 2 will be a story two years after the Combat Tournament and there will be a lot of new rules and settings.
- He got the idea of the AE from the Naver Webtoon and Line Webtoon series, Denma. The author of Denma, Youngsoon Yang, is a big inspiration of his.
- On April 2nd 2019, Hardcore Leveling Warrior reached the top spot of Naver Webtoons sunday comics.
- Line Webtoon's 'fast pass' caught up to the Naver's 'fast pass' on the 5th of July 2019. After this, Line Webtoon released a note underneath AE 6 saying "Updated Every Friday". This is because the Naver version is only released once a week. However, at this point, the normal release was still behind the Korean version so is still continued to be updated every Tuesday and Friday. On the 26th of July 2019, the series has been updated only on Fridays.
- Naver Webtoon (Korean)
- Line Webtoon (English)
- Korean Wikipedia (Korean)
- Reddit (English)
- Namuwiki (Korean)