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Conquering Hardcore: Tips and Tricks for Survival

Conquering Hardcore: Tips and Tricks for Survival

David "TheFeralTurtle" Hickey
Conquering Hardcore: Tips and Tricks for Survival

Conquering Hardcore: Tips and Tricks for Survival

What is Hardcore Mode and how does it Work?

  • Hardcore mode in Diablo 4 is a challenging, high-risk alternative to Softcore. In Hardcore, your death is permanent. If you die below level 10, your character is gone forever. If you die past level 10, your character goes into the Hall of Fallen Heroes. Your character is still dead and can not be played again, but this will track your characters that die.

Why Play Hardcore?

Hardcore may not be appealing to casual players. Why play and spend all of that time losing everything if you die? For a lot of Hardcore players, the appeal is the challenge. Accomplishing things such as finishing the Capstone dungeon and exploring the difficult content with the constant risk of dying and losing everything makes the experience feel much more rewarding.

Not All is Lost

Even though death in hardcore is permanent, not everything is lost.

  • Stash: All items in your shared stash will not be deleted when you die. When you are leveling and replacing gear, try to hold on to any valuable items that could help your future characters level.
  • Campaign: If you are running Hardcore for your first playthrough, your first goal is to complete the Campaign. Take your time doing this since this will allow you to skip the campaign in the future for both Hardcore and Softcore. Leveling outside of the campaign is significantly faster. If you start a new character and skip the campaign, you will notice how quick it is to catch back up.
  • Gold: Gold is a shared currency, meaning that when you die, your gold will still remain.
  • Renown Skill Points and Paragon Points: Once you complete Renown and claim the extra Skill Points and Paragon Points, these are shared through your account (in that game mode). You will still need to grind through the Renown for the extra potion slots, but having all of these extra skill points and level 1 makes leveling a breeze.

Tips and Tricks for Surviving:

There are many ways to try to ensure your survival in Hardcore. It is important to consistently find gear with higher defensive stats, make sure you’re imprinting defensive aspects, and crafting as often as possible.

  • Hardcore mode has two consumables that are exclusive to the game mode. The first being the Scroll of Escape, the other being the Elixir of Death Evasion.
  • The Scroll of Escape is a rare, drop-only consumable that will teleport you out of harm's way. The beauty of this consumable is that if you were to disconnect it, it will automatically activate and save your character. These can also be useful to get yourself out of a sticky situation, so make sure to bind this to your action wheel.
  • Elixir of Death Evasion has incredible value in Diablo 4. Unlike Diablo 3, classes do not have access to a Cheat Death passive. Luckily, these aren’t too awful to craft. The resources are quite easy to farm, and the time that it takes to farm it is inconsequential due to the value this item has. This Elixir lasts 5 minutes and can save you from Death by making you Immune for 2 seconds. Immunity will break you from any Crowd Control and prevent you from taking damage. Once this procs, you can not be saved for another 2 minutes, so be mindful of it’s internal cooldown.

Balancing Offensive and Defensive Stats

Finding a balanced between Offensive and Defensive Stats can be difficult. It’s hard to recommend stats for hardcore characters because there are so many other things to consider when building your character. But, we can recommend stats and aspects if you feel like you need some extra tankiness.


  • Armor: Armor is an amazing stat to stack in hardcore. You will receive a percentage of damage mitigation based on how much armor you have. Prioritizing Armor on your gear is a great way to ensure survival. Skulls in your jewelry sockets are another great source of Armor.
  • Life: Life is another obvious one. The higher your health pool, the lower the chance of dying. This is especially useful for Sorcs, for example. Their Ice Armor gives them a barrier based on a percentage of their life. Having life on your gear is a great way to increase survivability. Placing Ruby’s in your gear will provide you with a % increase to your maximum life.
  • Resistances: Try to pay attention to your resistances in your stat page. Balancing these out can save you from non-physical damage. Consider using an elixir if one of your resistances are really low.
  • Damage Reduction: Damage reduction comes in a few forms. There is a flat Damage Reduction affix, which just gives you a percentage of Damage Reduction from all sources. There is also Damage Reduction from Close/Distant Enemies. Prioritize Distant Enemies for Ranged builds and Close Enemies for Melee Builds.
  • Fortify Generation is a useful stat if your Character relies on Fortify as a form of damage mitigation.
  • Barrier Generation is a useful stat if your Character relies on Barriers as a form of damage mitigation.

Recommended Aspects:

  • The Aspect of Disobedience is a fantastic defensive option. When you deal damage, you gain a stacking buff that increases your armor by 0.25-0.50%, stacking up to 100 times. In large packs of enemies, this will stack to full extremely fast. This can be found in the Halls of the Damned in Kehjistan.
  • Aspect of Might is another great aspect. When using basic skills, you are granted a buff that gives you 20% damage reduction. This can last anywhere from 2-6 seconds. You can find this in the Dark Ravine in the Dry Steppes.
  • Aspect of the Protector grants you a large barrier that lasts for 10 seconds upon entering combat with an Elite enemy. This can only occur every 30 seconds, but due to how elites are relatively spread out, this has pretty good uptime in dungeons.

Defensive Skills and Passives

In Softcore, you tend to just stack your offensive stats and skill points first and grab the defensive ones later. In Hardcore, we recommend trying to get these earlier rather than later. Delaying damage for survivability is just part of the hardcore experience.

When it comes to your Defensive cooldowns, try to be smart about these. If you’re a Sorc for example, save your teleport to get out of a sticky situation. If you get rooted you can simply teleport your character away and to safety or pop Flame Shield to go Immune and break the CC. In Softcore, we tend to use our mobility skills to zip through content as fast as possible. In Hardcore, we tend to hold on to these to get ourselves out of dangerous situations. It can be painful slowly walking from pack to pack, but it’s better than dying.

Health Potions

Upon reaching certain levels, you can upgrade your potion at the Alchemist. It is important to upgrade your potions ASAP. When an upgrade is available, you will see an arrow next to your potion slots, indicating there is an available upgrade.

Elixirs and Incense

Elixirs and Incense can be crafted at the alchemist and provide some great buffs. You can only use one Elixir and one Incense at any given time.

Elixirs: I recommend the Iron Skin Elixir for a large 30 minute armor buff or an Elixir of Fortitude for a 30% increase to Maximum Life. I recommend using these in normal content and saving your Elixirs of Death Evasion for harder content such as Nightmare Dungeons, Capstone Dungeons, etc.

Incense: The Soothing Spices incense can not be crafted until level 75, but it is the one we highly recommend. This will give you 150 armor and also increase all resistances by 10% for each nearby player. At level 45, you should use the Song of the Mountain Incense which you can craft at level 45. This will give you 200 increased armor for each nearby player.

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