Dying in World of Warcraft Classic is about to become far more punishing, as Blizzard has announced it will be creating official “hardcore (aka permadeath) servers this summer.
Blizzard is taking inspiration from a popular fan-made game mode that has instilled new life into WoW Classic’s original servers in recent months, which prior to the hardcore craze, had become a bit of a ghost town. The fan-made version of the mode uses an add-on (appropriately named Hardcore) to track player progress. It also features a number of additional rules and restrictions, such as players only being able to complete each dungeon once prior to level 60, the inability to use the auction house, and a ban on trading with other players (unless the two are leveling partners). Currently, hardcore is played on a handful of already-existing servers, something that can be a little disorienting for players on those servers who aren’t clued in to what’s happening.
The Spirit Healers are Ready. ⚰️
Official Classic Hardcore is coming.
Stay tuned for more info. pic.twitter.com/tAsmV9NKDI
— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) May 13, 2023
The announcement of an official version of the mode came via Blizzard developer Josh Greenfield, who appeared on a livestream for a community-organized (and Blizzard-sponsored) Hardcore All-Stars speedrun tournament. Though details are still light, Greenfield did confirm at least some of the changes players can expect for Blizzard’s version of the mode. In addition to dying resulting in being unable to resurrect or continue running around the world as a ghost, the official hardcore realms will also add a new “mak’gora” duel mechanic where players, if they choose, can challenge each other to the death. It’s currently unclear what other original features Blizzard will be looking to introduce, or if it will officially codify additional rules featured in the fan-made version of the mode.
Greenfield additionally confirmed that the game’s upcoming hardcore servers will be entirely separate from new seasonal servers for WoW Classic, though he didn’t share details on what exactly the new season would entail. WoW Classic’s previous season, Season of Mastery, featured faster leveling speeds and more-challenging raids. Blizzard previously recognized the hardcore community with the introduction of the Soul of Iron mechanic as part of Season of Mastery.
“We’ve been very energized by the community’s enthusiasm for Hardcore, watching along with you, and doing a lot of Hardcore play ourselves,” Blizzard wrote in a forum post. “We’ll let you know much more about it soon.”
A public test realm build for hardcore servers is coming soon, according to Blizzard, will a full release later this summer. In other WoW news, Blizzard announced that the next patch for the game’s current Dragonflight expansion will introduce a new mega-dungeon featuring the biggest dragon in WoW history, Galakrond.