If the inferno of Diablo IV’s normal gameplay isn’t enough for those who are a little more hardened, players can subject themselves to an extra-special level of hell by opting to play in “hardcore” mode. It’s not for the faint of heart, but there are ways to make your time in hardcore mode a little less hellish.
Hardcore mode in Diablo IV is a unique difficulty mode that makes one simple alteration from normal gameplay: when you die, you die forever. That’s it. You won’t be able to revive your character or even get a second spin at things, death is permanent here. Playing hardcore mode is a test of attrition of how far you can go, and also tests how careful you are. For those who want to brave the challenge and memorialize yourself against the other fallen hardcore players, follow these tips. Just know that we can’t save you from hardcore mode mishaps like a really bad disconnect.
Damage is important, but in hardcore mode, a good offense is a great defense. If your mind is set on the way of the glass cannon, then you might want to reconsider playing in hardcore. Invest in some defensive stats when building your character. If you can invest in a skill that cleanses movement-impairing abilities, then do so. (If you’re immobilized, you can’t use your potions!) You aren’t going to be able to dish out damage if you’re dead, so it’s important to make sure you can survive tough fights. If you’re unsure of where to begin, we have recommendations on the best Diablo classes for beginners...though if that’s you, damn, you’re really jumping in, huh?
Speaking of utilizing potions, consumables are your best friend here while playing hardcore. You’ll want health potions, armor potions, XP potions, the whole nine yards. Complete your Renown objectives! Not only are the extra skill points helpful, but it also grants you an extra potion charge. One more health potion can be the difference between life and death.
Hardcore mode provides some items that you can only obtain in hardcore, and these items can help you evade a tragic death and a swift kick to the Hall of Heroes. These items are the Elixir of Death Evasion and the Scroll of Escape. The former item prevents death for the next 30 minutes but only prevents death one time. After preventing a death, you’ll be immune to all damage for 2 seconds, followed by a 5-minute cooldown before you can pop another elixir. Meanwhile, the Scroll of Escape allows you to teleport to a random location, saving you from a tough situation. (But by random, we mean random.)
You can get the Elixir of Death Invasion by crafting at the Alchemist. You’ll need an Angelbreath, four Demon’s Hearts, four Crushed Beast Bones, four Paletongues, four Grave Dusts, and 1,000 gold. Meanwhile, the Scroll of Escape is a rare drop.
Boss fights in Diablo IV can catch you off-guard if you don’t know their specific attack patterns. And if a boss surprises you with an onslaught of attacks that you don’t know about, it might just send you straight into the light. Knowing the ins-and-outs of boss fights in this game is important to your success in Hardcore-mode. If you aren’t able to challenge them beforehand while not playing Hardcore, then consider even watching some videos on YouTube before taking them on.
There is no honor in making things harder for yourself when you don’t have to, especially in hardcore. Well, you might get a little bit of my respect for jumping into the deep end, but I’ll be here sheltering in World Tier 1 when I can. World tiers are, generally speaking, difficulty settings. While picking a higher World Tier can net you some benefits, like increased XP rates and more gold, it’s not worth it — especially for hardcore gamers. (You won’t be able to stay in World Tier 1 forever, but you’ll spend a sizable time here.)
Risk-taking might be an option when death has no permanence, but when you’re playing in hardcore mode, you don’t want to be that guy who jumps into a fight under-leveled before getting slapped in the face because of it. In general, I think keeping the risks you take at a minimum is probably ideal, but you especially do not want to fight high-level monsters too early. Stick to monsters that are around your level.
Your life isn’t permanent in hardcore. Most players will die eventually, some sooner than others, but you shouldn’t play this mode expecting to live forever. If you’re in a situation where you find yourself having to end your run, there are some things you don’t need to stress about losing. Your gold will carry over to other characters in this mode. If you’ve found a lot of cash while playing, you can carry it over to another character. Additionally, any loot you stick in your Shared Stash will also carry over, so put any extra valuable loot you find here ASAP.
It’s not only boss fights you have to worry about. Monsters in this game can afflict you with numerous movement impairments, such as Freeze, Stun, or Immobilize. Knowing which monsters can inflict these impairments on you is important as you navigate hardcore because one bad crowd-control chain can mean the sudden and frustrating end of your otherwise fruitful run. For instance, watch out for Spiders that can slow you down, or Cannibals that can knock you down, preventing you from using Health Potions.
Wow, how I love the trend of mandatory internet connection for games that really shouldn’t need it. Let me tell you, you don’t want to be like this player who reached level 100 before unceremoniously dying to a hiccup in the servers, or even an issue with your own internet. If you notice any potential server issues or lag, don’t take a risk. Head to the nearest safe location, such as a nearby town.
Imagine your name printed in the Hall of Heroes, for all players to gaze at your progress and skill. Going into Hardcore mode with an incorrect mindset can create a frustrating experience, especially if you find yourself having to start a new run. But hardcore mode isn’t about permanence, it’s a thrill of the hunt that might someday have to come to an end. Hardcore mode should be exciting and fun, not a frustrating slam-your-keyboard experience. The more you can condition yourself to think this way, the more you’ll get out of it.