World of Warcraft is undoubtedly one of the best-known MMORPGs ever made and it’s still being expanded and updated with new content for players to discover and enjoy.
However, the game is already two decades old, so veteran players may be interested in looking for some new challenges. One way of adding extra difficulty to the gameplay is to play hardcore mode. So, what’s exactly WoW hardcore?
What is WoW Hardcore Server?
When one talks about hardcore servers or hardcore mode in video games, this usually means an extremely difficult mode, where players are severely punished for their mistakes. The most common element of hardcore difficulty in games is the fact that once your character dies, there’s no coming back. You’re dead, the game is over, it’s done – the only way to continue the journey is to make a new character and start over from scratch.
Losing a character in this mode can be an extremely painful experience. It basically means that all the hours you invested into gearing your hero and making them stronger are now entirely gone. It gets even worse if you die because of a connection issue or lag, rather than because of your own mistake – for this specific reason, a lot of people tend to avoid it in online games. Yet, some enjoy the added challenge, despite the potential risks – achieving something in hardcore feels much more meaningful.
The WoW Hardcore Server discussion got more attention recently, due to the announcement from Blizzard that we’re finally about to get official hardcore servers. Up until now, if players wanted to play hardcore, they had only two choices.
The first is to play on the official non-hardcore servers with self-imposed challenges. For example, whenever you die, you’d manually and voluntarily delete the deceased character. This solution comes with a caveat – there’s no easy way to prove that you’re actually playing hardcore unless you record and upload your entire playthrough.
The second is to play on dedicated private servers. This, however, is a gray area on multiple levels. Generally speaking, Blizzard does not allow people to run private servers in any shape or form – private servers are considered breaking the Blizzard rules and, in extreme cases, may even lead to serious legal consequences. With that being said, some private servers seem to be doing just fine, but if you choose to play on one, you’re doing it at your own risk.
Both options have their pros and cons, but this may soon be the history, thanks to the introduction of the official WoW hardcore servers.
Why Should You Try It?
Starting a new adventure on a hardcore server can be an entirely new experience. Players are used to dying in the game – the penalty is hardly punishing, allowing players to take a more relaxing and casual approach to World of Warcraft. However, whenever you introduce a rule that your character has only one life, the game suddenly turns into a fight for survival, where even the slightest mistake can cost you dozens of hours of playing.
Going hardcore requires a completely different mindset. You can no longer mindlessly rush into battle. You must double-check everything before venturing into the unknown. You must be prepared for the worst at all times – dangers lurk everywhere and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to get caught off guard if you’re used to playing the usual way. You’re not safe anywhere, so no more going AFK in the middle of nowhere.
It’s really fascinating how one simple change – a permanent death – can alter the game so drastically. When you go hardcore, it truly feels like you’re playing an entirely new game, even if you’re not playing with any extra self-imposed restrictions besides the “one character, one life” rule. You’re suddenly starting to appreciate skills and abilities you wouldn’t normally use just as much because now you have to focus more on survival rather than killing enemies quickly.
The core element of hardcore is permanent death, but there may be also other restrictions to prevent people from going easy mode by using certain cheesy tactics or getting carried by other players.
At the time of writing this, it’s still unclear what exactly the official WoW hardcore servers will look like and what rules they will follow. It may be that permanent death is the only real change, but we may also see some extra rules. For example, the auction house could be completely shut down, forcing players to actually work for their gear. Grouping in the open world, as well as trading, could also be disabled, to make hardcore more of a solo self-found run. There could be some restrictions added to raiding. And obviously, abilities and items related to resurrection and protection from death could be disabled as well.
These are some of the rules the community agreed upon but only time will tell if Blizzard will choose to use the same rules or something entirely different.
WoW Hardcore can be the ultimate challenge for veterans to test their skills to the absolute limits but it can also be a fresh and unique experience for less advanced players. The thrill of excitement that comes with the hardcore mode is not something that can be easily described with words alone – one has to experience it to truly appreciate its beauty. It can be annoying at times, it can be painful and tense, but even the simplest things you will achieve there would feel so much more rewarding. By all means, give it a go and see for yourself.