World of Warcraft (WoW) hardcore mode started out as a fan made version of the original game, with a lot of restrictions of what the player was allowed to do (no trading, quest grouping etc), and one fundamental rule: if you die, you have to delete your character.
The people at Blizzard were not late to monetize on this idea and therefore created official hardcore servers. These servers have been immensely popular as players return to Azeroth to try to reach level 60 without dying.
Below are my top ten advice to survive your journey in WoW hardcore mode:
- Don’t play tired.
In hardcore mode, you have to make a lot of smart decisions, and there is often very little room for error. One mistake can mean the end of your journey. Therefore, my first recommendation is not to play when tired. Tired people make bad decisions. If you want to play the game anyway, play on era / retail / wotlk.
2. Don’t go AFK.
I’ve seen corpses in many weird places. As you don’t know what will happen and what other players and NPCs will do when you are not looking at the screen, it is best not to go AFK. Logout instead! Even if you think a spot is safe, some event might be spawned (for example, in Stormwind’s throne room) or a player may initiate some game mechanic that you were not aware of.
Also: Don’t Alt+Tab out! This advice is consistent with the don’t AFK rule above. Sometimes you just quickly want to look up some information about a certain quest or encounter, and switch from your WoW application to a browser window. Again, log out instead! Although WoW is quite stable, sometimes applications crash when you switch between them. However, don’t log out at unsafe spots, as you don’t know what will pop there while you are away.
3. Know your class!
My first death in Hardcore WoW came from a weird situation in Redridge Mountains. My hunter got aggro from a bird and for some reason, my pet could not take it off me and I died unexpectedly. I had noticed before that my pet lost aggro rather quickly when I engaged mobs with my bow, but figured that was just the nature of the class. I was wrong. I had totally missed that there are two ways to train hunter pets: First, via pet trainers. Second, via the “train pet” icon. Via the latter, you can train “growl” which is essential for getting mobs to focus on your pet. Moreover, I while running away from the bird, I could also have utilized the “scare beast” skill to get it away from me. Instead, I died from a situation that should not have been dangerous at all.
A related advice is: know the game! There are several ways the game may surprise you, such as the spawn of certain elite mobs (Hogger!), scripted quests, and areas where you may end up falling to your death. Here, I recommend watching channels such as “Classic Hardcore” on Youtube, where you see a lot of players die, or barely make it, in these kinds of scenarios.
4. Be mindful with addons.
Good addons can be lifesavers in WoW, and enhance your overall gaming experience. Old addons on the other hand, may distort the game, and prevent you from playing it properly. Thus, use them with care and only use trusted addons. After a game update, be careful and make sure everything works as intended before you go hunting.
5. Don’t get distracted.
This advice is related with the advice on addons above. Some features in the game may distract you (e.g., from looking at your health bar). Examples include the death log from the Death Reports addon, guild chat, or extensive information such as damage meters etc. Of course, also avoid getting distracted in real life. Play when you know you have control over your time and don’t need to be there for your family etc.
6. Watch out when in caves.
If you use the Death Reports addon and observes the heat maps that visualize where people die, you will see that caves are overrepresented here. There are many reasons for this. First, as the game is layered, mobs tend to “hyperspawn” at times, which may surprise you. Second, most caves only have one way in and out which means your escape options are limited, and it is easy to get a bit lost. I see caves in WoW hardcore as quick “hit and run” missions where you go in, do a quest efficiently, and get out as fast as possible. Any sign of danger, you leave.
7. Be nice to other players.
WoW hardcore is crowded, which is both good and bad. Be friendly and help other players. Buff them! This increases the chances that if you would get into trouble, they will come to your aid. People are generally friendly and help each other in the game.
8. Watch out for other players.
Even if other players are a good source of aid, and make the game fun and dynamic, they can also be your worst enemy. If you help someone by hitting the mob they are fighting while running by, remember you are now on this mob’s aggro list. If the player fails, the mob will come after you. When in dungeons, be extremely careful and consider leaving if the group shows any signs of not being able to handle the content. Also, watch out for griefers: players that will get you intentionally killed. Don’t accept summons and invites from people you don’t trust.
9. When in doubt, kill greens.
If you find yourself between zones for questing, or the leveling spots currently feel a bit too risky: kill greens! Green mobs are relatively easy to kill, and they give you xp. Grind! Generally, if you are not in a hurry, make sure to do as much content as possible that is below your level rather than trying to hunt orange quests. Remember that South Park episode when they killed a lot of pigs to level?
10. Avoid “just one more kill..” moments.
As you are getting close to the next level, with just a bubble of xp left, it is easy to get sloppy. Just a couple of mobs left. Same with certain quests where you only have one or two mobs left. My advice is to treat these encounters precisely as you would any other monsters: prepare, drink and eat, make sure the area is safe from other monsters etc.
I hope these tips will help you enjoy and survive your journey to level 60 in hardcore WoW!