The Diablo 4 hardcore race to 100 now has real stakes

The Diablo 4 hardcore race to 100 gives you the chance to have your name permanently engraved on a Lilith statue if you’re among the first to reach max level.

Diablo 4 hardcore race to 100 - a blue-and-gray-haired Necromancer with glowing blue eyes and symbols painted on her face in blood.

The Diablo 4 hardcore race to 100 just got real. With no leaderboards planned at launch, it seemed like there’d be little more than a vague notion of accomplishment if you were one of the first Diablo 4 players to hit the milestone while playing in the permadeath mode for the demonic RPG game. However, Blizzard has now introduced real stakes, offering a special prize to the first players able to reach the Diablo 4 max level cap.

“Think you can cheat death?” Blizzard asks via the official Diablo 4 Twitter account. Reaching max level in hardcore is no mean feat – just in case you’re unfamiliar, the ‘hardcore’ toggle is a permadeath mode where dying even once means an end to that character. It’s long been popular among the most, well, hardcore of players due to its high-stakes tension, and of course adds a special electricity to watching the best Diablo 4 streamers play.

Now, if you can be among the first 1,000 players to make it to level 100 in Diablo 4 while playing on a hardcore character and tweet proof using the #Diablo4Hardcore hashtag, Blizzard will engrave your account’s BattleTag onto a physical statue of Lilith. You’ll need to include your full BattleTag along with picture or video proof of your max-level hardcore character and the ‘Tempered Champion’ title you’ll earn in-game for reaching the milestone.

Diablo 4 Hardcore race to 100 - a shadowy silhouette of a Lilith statue with the caption "Make Your Mark #Diablo4Hardcore"

Personally, I’m all for this challenge. Hardcore is certainly always fairly tense, but it really comes into its own when you’re forced to play as fast as possible, because you have to walk the fine line between maximizing your potential experience gains and minimizing the risk of pushing too hard and dying.

It’s a big part of why I always enjoyed racing in Path of Exile, and I was a little worried that a lack of leaderboards would make the initial ‘race to 100’ after the Diablo 4 release date feel somewhat of a damp squib. After all, the first time through, when most players won’t have seen the majority of the game or know quite what’s coming, is probably the most exciting instance of this type of competition, because no-one yet knows quite what the best strategies or optimal builds will be.

There is, of course, one notable caveat lingering in the air – the race begins with the Diablo 4 early access launch on June 1, meaning that you’ll almost certainly need to have bought the Digital Deluxe or Ultimate Editions to have a chance of being among the first to hit the milestone. That said, many players will be looking to take their first run slowly and enjoy the world and story, and will likely want to do so without the stress of hardcore hovering above them like the Sword of Damocles. So perhaps there’s still a chance.

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Full terms and conditions can be found via the Blizzard forums.

If you’re looking to get involved, you’ll want to make sure you know the best builds for all Diablo 4 classes. It’s probably also a good idea to get a rough idea of the Diablo 4 time to beat and make sure you’re ready to go on day one by checking the Diablo 4 preload times and installing the game ahead of launch to get a leg up on the competition.