Official Hardcore Rules

I always feel a bit conflicted talking about hardcore because I've previously established that it's not my cup of tea, and I feel that one shouldn't be too opinionated on forms of entertainment one has no personal stake in. On the other hand though, it is the biggest thing currently happening to WoW Classic era, so I'm curious to see how it will shake out.

Official hardcore logo

With that said, I thought it was worth mentioning that Blizzard announced the rule-set for official hardcore servers last week, and they opened up the hardcore test realm as well.

The unofficial hardcore addon has a lot of rules beyond permadeath, and there was much debate around how many of them should be incorporated into the official game mode. As it turns out, Blizzard did make a few more changes to this new realm type beyond making death permanent, but they kept it relatively light touch overall.

Above anything else, there seemed to be a focus on preventing griefing, something that was apparently a pretty popular activity on the unofficial hardcore servers, whether it involved high-level mobs getting kited into low-level zones and wiping out the lowbies, or various ways of tricking people into flagging themselves for PvP so that they could be killed. While I don't condone griefing, I've got to admit that some of these got quite creative. I remember seeing a video on reddit of a bunch of troll players that were pretending to be mobs in a cave in Dun Morogh... I didn't even realise what I was watching at first glance until I read the explanation underneath; that's how convincing their "roleplay" was.

Anyway, none of that will be possible on the official hardcore realm(s) as no quests will auto-flag you for PvP, and accidental attacking will also be impossible as you'll only be able to flag yourself by typing /pvp or attacking opposite faction NPCs. Mobs will also have tighter leashes to prevent people from kiting high-level enemies into low-level zones.

PvP in general won't really be a thing, with battlegrounds and battlemasters getting removed. If people want to take part in any kind of organised PvP, they can do so, but death will still be permanent and there'll be no honour to be earned. The only sort of semi-supported form of PvP will be the newly added option to duel to the death, with the winner earning a cosmetic buff called "string of ears" that shows how many people they've bested this way. I thought that was kind of a neat touch actually.

There'll be no restrictions on grouping or trading; level 60s just won't be able to group with lower-level players to prevent boosting, and while levelling, characters will also be prevented from doing more than one dungeon every 24 hours to keep people out in the open world. I get the idea behind that one but I wonder how it'll work out in terms of finding groups...

That abilities like a shaman's reincarnation or a warlock's soulstone will be disabled was to be expected, but I was kind of surprised to also see them officially disable the paladin's ability to bubble-hearth, considering that many max-level hardcore players apparently achieve a similar effect on all classes by using certain consumables, but okay.

Should your character die, you can still log in as a ghost to chat, and you won't have to delete the character - there'll be a free transfer to a non-hardcore realm available. That's another nice touch and I wonder how many people will choose to take that option. I assume that the Pyrewood cluster will be the target destination for these in Europe.

Either way, like I said before - while this isn't really my thing, I'm very curious to see how it will play out.


  1. I hope they are successful at combating griefing. It would be nice if any tools/processes that they develop make it over to the live servers. Not that there may be that much griefing (or same style) on live since hardcore servers have a built-in temptation to grief, but improving the perception/reputation of Wow would be a good thing.

    I'm another who isn't likely to do Hardcore, but I am happy to see them putting in thought and effort to make this a success for those that enjoy hardcore realms. Just the ability to not lose time on a character by being able to transfer off a ghost is a nice touch and something that might cause me to give hardcore a try at some point. Knowing me, probably not ;), but still it eases the pain of dying if you got along some distance in leveling.

    1. I don't think the kind of griefing that happens in Vanilla hardcore has any applications in retail nowadays. They patched any possibility of those kinds of unpleasant random interactions out of that game many years ago.

      I'm thinking I might check the special server out as well just to see what it's like, but then I think back to the starting zone hell that was the unofficial hardcore server and I don't think I would last long before getting annoyed.

    2. I was thinking more of Blizzard trying to change the perception than actually trying to tamp down on specific tactics. It is a (very) long shot, but anything to whittle down the perception of Wow players being toxic by nature would be nice.

      I had thought that I would wait until the initial wave got through the starter zones and then try a hardcore server, but I just realized given the nature of hardcore servers the starter zones are never going to be that quiet. So it probably won't matter that much about when I try (if I do).

  2. It sudden occurred to me last night that on a Hardcore server you won't be seeing anyone run from the Night Elf starting zones to Ironforge or Stormwind or vice versa. Perhaps a large group running together through the Wetlands, but at first, any 'non-native' PC would be notable. (I'm sure later on mage portals and/or warlock summons will bypass that, but at first it will be very rare.)

    1. Why not? Because it's dangerous? 😄 I'm sure there'll be people doing that kind of thing regardless. I seem to remember seeing some "migrants" like that during my brief checking in on the unofficial hardcore server as well.

  3. These changes look good - and it should have been that way on PvE servers since 2004. Never understood why some quests force PvP on me after I've clearly selected that I want to play on a PvE realm.

    1. Commenting with Google accounts has been finicky for weeks now, which is very weird and annoying considering it's the company that owns Blogger. Sometimes I can't get it to work at all and just need to come back a bit later.