When creating a character, you have the option of setting that character up in Hardcore Mode. Overall, this is similar to the Normal mode, with one crucial difference — if a Hardcore character dies, they are gone forever and will be deleted.
If you choose to take on this challenge, here are a few tips for keeping yourself alive, and being prepared in case you die.
- Start a new build with maximum survivability, then slowly switch to more DPS when you’re more comfortable.
- Using Unity and giving your Follower their immortality Relic is a great form of damage mitigation.
- Every character and Follower has what the community calls a “cheat death” passive. These passives prevent death from a killing blow, with a long cooldown afterwards. Set it up both on yourself and your Follower. If both get triggered and are on cooldown, play defensively or run away until one comes back up.
- Have a Skill that gives Crowd Control immunity in case you need to get away in an emergency.
- Only engage new enemies when you’re ready. This means waiting until your health is high or at max, and taking care of any dangerous enemies currently following you first.
- Avoid fighting multiple Elite packs.
- Pay close attention to Elite Affixes.
- Fight dangerous Bosses near an entrance/exit to a Greater Rift floor.
- Never leave your game unattended outside of town.
- Don’t go straight to a high difficulty. Start at a comfortable level, then slowly move up when it feels too easy.
- Never use the Bottomless Potion of Chaos.
- Try to prevent yourself from being cornered.
- Don’t play this character if you are experiencing server or internet connectivity issues.
Prepping for Character Deaths
No matter how much prep you do or how careful you are, your character will most likely die eventually. However, there are steps you can take on your current character to make sure you can quickly get back on your feet should you want to make another Hardcore character.
- Level a Gem of Ease to 25 as quickly as possible, so you can level a fresh character much faster.
- Save backup gear. This includes Follower gear.
- Frequently move normal gems you find to your Stash.
- Level multiple sets of your main gems.
- Don’t farm with your best items if you have good enough alternatives. Save your best gear for when you want to push Greater Rifts.
Special Mobs and Maps
There are a few types of mobs and map locations you should be a little more careful with, should you run into them, as they can be very dangerous even while just farming.
- Dune Dervishes and Sand Dwellers – These can reflect your projectile Skills.
- Enslaved Nightmares – Are capable of lowering both your Armor and All Resistance, making you much more vulnerable.
- Terror Demons – Can inflict a reduced healing debuff.
- Oppressors – Dangerous enemies that have a powerful fire breath when you’re close, and can quickly charge at you for massive damage if you’re far.
- Blazing Guardians and Smoldering Constructs – They can stack a fire ground effect if you stand still for too long. This effect cannot be dodged, making it especially dangerous for builds relying on avoidance.
- Noxious Guardians – These will explode for heavy damage when killed.
- Corrupted Angels – Avoid getting hit by their hammer as much as possible. They are sometimes so powerful that they can one-shot you.
- Punishers and Armaddons – Tanky monsters that can Stun you.
- Savage Beasts, Skeletal Beasts, and Tusked Bogans – All have a powerful charge attack.
- Dark Berserkers and Pain Mongers – Occasionally use a powerful attack with their hammers.
- Barbed Lurkers – Their projectiles inflict a powerful Poison effect.
- Vile Swarms – Have no collision box, so if there’s a large group of these they can all hit you at the same time.
- Arreat Crater – The fire from Demonic Forges in this level can burn you down very quickly.
- Keep Depths – Watch out for walls of fire in some rooms. On top of burning you, it can set enemies on fire, making them more dangerous if they get close to you.
- Pandemonium Fortress – The lightning shot out from Shock Towers in this map is very powerful and has a huge potential range, since the lightning can bounce off of enemies to you.
- Halls of Agony – There are a few things to look out for here. Fiery Grates can quickly burn you if you stand in them. Traps set along some of the walls will deal Fire AoE damage when hit. Finally, there are zombie pits that additional enemies can spawn from, even after the Rift Guardian is defeated.
- Paths of the Drowned – The Blood Pools in this map frequently kill Hardcore players, even during farming.
- Dahlgur Oasis – Moonseeds will explode shortly after being hit, and can easily one-shot many builds.
- All narrow maps – Be extra careful not to get stuck with a large mob in these maps. Have mobility Skills ready.
It’s worth noting that Hardore Mode is the only way to get the Ancestors’ Grace Amulet. However, while it can give you a third source for the “cheat death” passive (we discussed it earlier in the guide), it isn’t worth using over the normal endgame Amulets used in typical builds.