Fundamental flaw: Being a hardcore player isn't about racing people to level cap. It's about actively working towards being the best player you possibly can be. This does not necessitate leveling as fast as possible, and most often, it requires you take time away from leveling to work on other tasks that improve your character. Leveling is the easiest thing you can do, maximizing your gear and perfecting your strategies is what hardcore players will do to advance their performance.
Really? I know you've been playing this genre for awhile like myself and you should know better.
This will be my first MMO (6th overall) that will NOT follow the typical powerlevel to cap, powerlevel professions, powerlevel the economy into the ground. Being capped has always given the first players an advantage in past MMOs across many fronts. Easier monetary acquisition, access to isolated areas, etc, etc.
So YES hardcore IS about racing to the cap except in this game. I fully expect this game to be the most fluid launch from a character advancement perspective, ever. I'm sorry Mr Hardcore I have a feeling you'll have a hard time controlling this one early on. I have always played a bit more on average than most, but there has always been that few "hardcore" that really put the pressure on everyone else. Its not about being the best player, it's about control...period.
So if you're reading this and you consider yourself somewhat casual then rejoice my friends because you don't need to be worried about being pigeon-holed this time.
Now on with the hardc...ummm....I mean crybabies.