Hardcore is a philosophy and playing style some users take while playing Higher Ground. Based on the Dungeon and Dragons Hardcore ruleset, players accept an additional challenge when playing a hardcore character.
In order to facilitate players who wish to play hardcore in an environment which encourages all players to patcipate equally, HG has incorperated specific scripting for HC play. HG has also developed a special ruleset called "softcore" for those who want an extra challenge, but who don't want the high level of risk.
Hardcore play is more challenging than usual play. The most notable differences between hardcore mode and normal play is that WHEN YOUR CHARACTER RESPAWNS, THEY ARE DELETED. What follows is a summary of hardcore rules.
You can make a hardcore ("HC") character either by making a character with -HC- in the name, or by using the PC Scrye conversation while you have zero experience points. If you use the scrye, the -HC- tag will be added at the beginning of your name. You can place the tag anywhere in the name if you do so during creation. If you use the scrye option, any items on the character will be deleted, as will any items and gold stored in the bank personal vault under their name. You will receive 1000 gp with which to equip yourself.
When your HC character dies, if they are not resurrected in time, instead of respawning like a nomal character, they are deleted, and you will never be able to play them again. They are gone permanently, and no one, including dms, can bring them back.
HC characters face a number of restrictions with regard to items. They cannot pick up or receive through trade any item that is tagged non-HC or tagged with an HC level higher than theirs (see below for an explanation of this tagging). Attempts to do so result in the item being lost forever. The market chests are off limits to them and they cannot use the transfer bank chests to transfer items between characters. They are also unable to use second chance packs from the Item Shop.
Partying with non-HC characters is also heavily restricted. A HC character cannot gain tags or experience while partied with non-HC characters. Nor are they able to receive buffs from non-HC characters, or be resurrected by them.
HC characters are unable to speak while dead. You will not be able to shout for help, or even make conversation with those nearby.
HC characters may only use subraces acquired when playing a HC character. HC subraces ARE available for use during non-HC play.
The added challenge is the main reward to HC play. However, there's also the bragging rights. HC character records can be listed using the SIMTools command !list hardcore, which displays the top 50 characters by experience. It also shows whether the character is still alive, and how many times that character has logged out dead. Death logouts, since they cannot be distinguished from crashes, will not disqualify a character from hardcore status but they are listed, a logout when dead will not save your character from deletion as the servers save the character status (historically this was not the case) therefore multiple dead logouts tend to indicate partying with a BFM or DSM as Hellballs have a nasty habbit of causing crashes at inopportune moments.
Because of their special status, HC characters are immediately resurrected without a respawn timer if they are killed by another player. They cannot pickpocket or be pickpocketed by non-HC players. They are also immune to the death caused by the breaking of the immortal crown.
Your hardcore statistics are updated in the listing only when you save with your saving pen. When you respawn, a global server message will go out announcing the sad event if you have acquired 10,000 experience points or more.
Every item handled by a character is tagged by that character. Additionally, random loot that is popped (from opening containers or from killing mobs) is tagged accordingly. If the character is non-HC, then the item is tagged non-HC (and forever off limits to HC characters). If they are HC, then the item is tagged to a certain level following these rules:
- if the character is level 40 or below, then the HC level tag is equal to their current level minus 6 (note that this won't overwrite a previous level tag unless this results in a higher tag level).
- if the character is level 41 or higher, then the HC level tag will be 41.
You can see an item's HC level tag by using the SIMTools command !itemlevel and targeting the item. Note that this level tag is updated when the item is discarded or put into the bargaining window, so don't be deceived by HC level tags for items currently in your inventory. Finally, putting an item into a bankchest will result in that item being tagged to the character's current level (max of 41) when they take it out (i.e., there is no 6-level range).
Players may opt to engage in a less risky form of Hardcore, called softcore. The only difference between Hardcore and Softcore mode is that, instead of being deleted when they respawn, a softcore character is simply stripped of their status and has the -HC- removed from their name.
Softcore players are listed on a different list than hardcore players. When they respawn they are listed as 'Respawned' instead of 'Deceased', and their experience total in the listing is no longer increased when they gain experience. They are for all intents and purposes a normal, non-hardcore character from that point on.
All players that put -HC- in their names on creation are by default Hardcore, not Softcore. You can opt to become Softcore only by using the conversation option in the PC Scrye. If you are not already hardcore, you can only become softcore before you gain any experience, but if you are hardcore already to can opt to switch to softcore at any time without penalty.
Hardcore Hall of Fame
Type !list Hardcore to see the Hardcore Hall of Fame.
Some people choose to play a more extreme version of hardcore that is sometimes called "Real Hardcore" (or "Realistic Hardcore" or "Role-play Hardcore"). Players will indicate this status for their character by putting "R-HC-" in their character name. There is no in-game enforcement of this type of play (beyond the normal HC limitations) and the rules differ between players. The idea is to simulate the table top experience with no meta-gaming. Imagine having a Game Master standing behind you, preventing you from cheesing any part of the game, or imagine that you are actually the hero and there's no such thing as spawn points and logging out.
Some examples of the self-imposed rules that people use for R-HC- mode are listed below. As mentioned, each player chooses which rules they want to follow, but the ones in bold are considered mandatory:
- you start at level 1 (no free levels from the Rowan Guardian)
- no wallet
- no spawn camping, deliberate re-spawning, or power levelling
- no deliberate despawning of mobs
- no rescues, death is death (meaning, for example, that you can't log in as another toon to resurrect a fallen R-HC-)
- you cannot accept items from other characters (some rare exceptions may exist, such as if another R-HC- character wants to loan you an item, or give you an item that was found while you were adventuring together)
- if you adventure with non-R-HC- characters:
- you must delete your character if they resurrect you
- you cannot gain loot (during the run or through a loot split)
- limits to randomization:
- randomizing is not allowed at all, or
- randomizing is not allowed at lowbie levels, or
- you can only randomize items your character can use, and/or
- you cannot sell an item after randomizing it, and/or
- you must discard an item if its new level restriction is (much) higher than your current level
- you must skip the fetching NPC quests (e.g., getting the eel velum for Sirina)