If there’s one thing I am bad at in videogames, it’s survival, so imagine my face when Blizzard announced that Hardcore was actually coming to World of Warcraft Classic. While I was beyond excited, a little part of me died (much like my Diablo 4 hardcore character) inside – it’s a new look for the age-old MMORPG, but it seemed like something that I wouldn’t be able to take part in. Having chatted to the WoW Classic Hardcore dev team, though, my fears have (largely) been put to rest.
In an exclusive interview with PCGamesN, game producer Linny Cooke Saverline and assistant lead game designer Tim Jones told me that, even as a casual player, I can make one of the new Hardcore realms my home.
“One of the things we’ve really tried to encourage is that you play at your own pace,” Cooke Saverline tells me. “We’re not all about the endgame – we’re about the journey of getting there, so take some time, run around your zone slowly, and make your whole journey more meaningful.
“Here are some of the other things I think are really, really neat: when your character dies, you can’t resurrect, but you can stick around as a ghost if you want to still interact with your guild and see how everyone’s doing. You can say goodbye to your character – maybe a little bit of roleplaying in there, too!
“Then you don’t lose that character; you can transfer them to another Era WoW Realm, so if you’ve gotten attached to them, [you’ve] not sunk a bunch of time. You don’t have to lose that character – you just can’t play them in hardcore anymore. We’re very much encouraging people by saying ‘sure, you died, but everybody does – let’s go again!'”
“Something we’re doing is making sure PvP is very much an opt-in form of gameplay,” Jones continues. “By default, all of the Hardcore Realms will be PvE-focused to place emphasis on that leveling journey, exploring the outer world, and playing with other players as you just enjoy Azeroth. But, for PvP, you have to opt in to do it.
“And so one of the things that we’ve done is look over all the quests that sort of unknowingly flagged players for PvP and then put them in a situation where they could be hunted down by the enemy faction without them purposefully opting in.
“There are also situations where escort quests could be exploited by people trying to interrupt your questing experience by killing the NPC you’re escorting. We’ve changed the faction templates on a lot of those, if not all of the escort NPCs, so that people can’t interfere with you doing that quest. We’re trying to take care of the player.”
“I am the type that absolutely would accidentally flag myself for PvP, so I’m really excited about that,” Linnie says with a smile, and that is a whole mood right there.
As someone who isn’t really a PvPer and focuses more on the story and the world that frames it, Hardcore actually sounds right up my alley. I went into this interview with a genuine fear that I wouldn’t survive a night in Hardcore Azeroth, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll give it a go.
Until then, you’ll find me perusing our WoW WotLK Death Knight guide – you’ve got to run a Death Knight for Hardcore; it’s in the name. If you prefer to tear down your foes from afar, though, I recommend looking through our WoW WotLK Affliction Warlock guide instead – it’s one of my favorite specs.