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Thread: [Guide] Hardcore Mode

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    Default [Guide] Hardcore Mode

    "Hardcore characters have only one life to give for Arlor... one chance to write their legend upon the stony face of time. This makes them especially rare and brave - even among heros!" ~Nalyx (Npc)

    Hardcore mode does not usually get much attention but the experience can be a lot of fun. Many people asked "how to get a purple ign" so here we go - a full Hardcore mode guide from an old Hardcore player for everybody, no matter if beginner or leaderboard player.

    Note: Things may change over time. Keep attention, some advices might be outdated.


    Getting into it:
    Once you reach level 71 you can talk to a Npc in Festerfang outpost (Nalyx). He provides the hardcore quest which requires to kill a small amount of mobs in normal festerfang. Once you turn the quest back in you can create a new character on an empty character slot and choose "Hardcore" as mode.

    The rules:
    You only have one life. A single death in PvE results in a locked char. You cant log into the char after death, neither play any further. Dead hardcore chars will be removed from the leaderboard immediatly. At this point you can delete, revive(more later) or keep the char as memory. Other limitations are:
    - No access to auction
    - No trading in any way
    - No access to maps with regular chars (besides towns and pvp). Hardcore can only play with other hardcores.
    - No stash access (at some later point you will have limited access)
    - No level up package or instant xp-packages in store

    What class to choose:
    Most people would recommend using tank because he got most health and armor. However, using the class which you know best or have played the most sounds much better to me. The mode does not work with only tanks. So pick the class you feel best with, it does really not matter.

    Skillbuilds:
    A skillbuild depends on map and preferences. The following specs are meant for new hardcore players. I suggest a full primary stat respec for tank, for mage and rogue 1/3 STR and 2/3 on primary works fine for people with bad gear or new players. As skills use at least one defencive skill for safety. Use a rather defencive build overall. Passives are commonly used afterwards. Keep in mind that debuff masteries for skills are very useful (for mage gale for example) and can be used before passives. Respec scrolls are hard to get for new players, plan your build before you click. Keep in mind that theres not the one perfect build and depends on players, gear and maps.

    Mage:
    Stats: Full Int (1/3 on str instead if low stats as a new player)
    Skills: Fireball 5/5, Ice 5/5, Gale 4/5 without speed, Shield 4/5 without Knockback
    Passives: All 5/5 but speed
    Masteries: 10/10 gale, Fireball 1/10, Shield 6/10
    Ultimate: Meteor if you play solo or duo with rogue, Energize for party runs or duo with tank ultimate
    Explanation: This is a defencive build. It focuses on stuns and supporting, not a dps mage. However if you prefer full dmg you change ice to lightning 5/5 plus mastery.
    Note: This build is the one I use myself. I had 9k hp, 4k dmg and 6.2k armor at this point but the build can be uses by everyone, no matter what level or stats.

    Rogue:
    Stats: All Dex (1/3 on str instead if low stats as a new player)
    Skills: Pierce 4/5 without gouging rush(target armor reduction), 5/5 Aimed shot, 4/5 Razor without bleeding targets, Nox 5/5 or Shadow storm shot 5/5
    Passives: All 5/5 but speed
    Masteries: Razor 10/10, Nox 6/10 or Shadow storm shot 6/10
    Ultimate: Ultimate aimed shot
    Explanation: Shadow storm shot hits multiple targets and is useful for energy farming and leveling. Endgame players should switch to nox bolt because SSS doesnt make any dmg at endgame. Speed ultimate is only useful in farming aps as a team in lower elites.
    Note: This is a build provided by a leaderboard rogue but can be used for all levels and stats with swapping sss and nox

    Warrior:
    Stats: Full Str
    Skills: Smash 4/5 without Mana ignore, Windmill 5/5, Axe without 15% dmg, Jugg 4/5 without taunt, heal without taunt, venge 5/5
    Passives: All 5/5 but critical and speed
    Masteries: 1/10 axe, 8/10 heal, 5/10 windmill,
    Ultimate: Rage
    Explanation: Its an allrounder build for all maps. Swap the skill according to the map. Jugger for maps with stun or challenging maps. Solo maps venge, axe, windmill, smash for full dmg (No taunt so you dont get hit too hard)
    Note: This build is used by a leaderboard tank with 14k hp and 9k armor but should be fine for all levels.

    General Gameplay:
    Before we go into the maps here are some general tricks for the gamesense:
    - Remember always that any risk can cause death. If you aren't sure about a boss or maps choose the safe way.
    - You can try every map with a normal char before you go into hardcore. Keep in mind that you need the same level and stats.
    - Don't rely on others too much, especially when you play with randoms. Everybody missclicks, pulls or disconnects from time to time.
    - Don't play the gamemode with a bad connection (ping spikes).
    - Don't answer messages during the gameplay or go into inventory.
    - Put Health Potions on auto. I use that for Mana too. Also use the mini map.
    You have to change the way you are playing and perception of maps/bosses. Hardcore Mentality sounds a bit overexaggerated but it's the best word to describe it in my opinion. In order to be successful in hardcore on a long term you have to respect new maps, bosses and see potential risks. One part of this is how you behave when dying or get low hp(more later). How careful you are is another point. Once you developed a different style for the mode,(compared to normal) its a lot easier for you and you will keep it for aslong as you play usually. Still, everybody can die no matter how good your gear/experience is. Sometimes, when you are playing hardcore for a very long time people forget how much work they can lose with a single mistake... and this makes them vulnerable. If you really die and start from scratch: people tend to die a few times after their first death in a short period of time. I believe its partly because they arent used to having gear a lot worse than they had before (when they were capped) but also because they do many, many maps for a second time and get bored. It makes them lose the different playstyle they have developed for hardcore and they need to regain this style. I had/have this problem too and I see it more and more in the community.

    So basically, everything you have is what you loot. Since everybody has to create a completely new character everybody starts at the very beginning of the game aswell - Brackenridge. Some nostalgic memories . At this point I will explain every expansion with their risks (Based on a new character with 0 plat spent). Keep in mind that these are my recommendations, its better to try by yourself with a normal character before going. This also depends a lot on your gear and the amount of platinum you spent.

    Risk in every map:
    Brackenridge, Ydra and Dead City are literally a walkthrough with low gear and low risks.
    Kraken has Bluecrab as risky boss. Also remember that the level raise between maps is higher than for other expansions. Useful daily quests start here.
    Nordr takes longer than previous maps. Dont pull too far, bleeding can put you into critical situations. Don't get pushed into the ice pools. To this point do all quests from previous maps and you should be at no risk.
    Shuyal maps have not been causing many deaths. However, Undim fields is by far the hardest.
    Tindirin has the troll as risky boss which caused some deaths with bugs before. Alargan is even riskier. To this point I'd recommend to skip them until you are way over the max level for tindirin (61). Overall tindirin is a lot harder than previous maps and cannot be completed in a walkthrough. You need a few days of daily quests to gain a higher level.
    Rengol mobs drop bombs which can one hit heros with low armor. Giants can also kill mages and rogues easily. I see many people doing dailies there but it is not safe. I would skip the map till level 66 at least, maybe even till 70.
    Underhul is very split. Southern gates is usually safe at level 60 already, in party even earlier. Bugs stun a lot and a full party is a huge advantage. The other two maps are a lot harder. Skip them till level 71. All dailies can be done in the first map.
    Graveyard is literally a Minefield. Aimshots cannot always be prevented thats why players under 66 should not enter. Curse can kill everybody. I use nilbog aa for that and a no Damage over time build (DoT). No pulling allowed. Players can die from others faults via curse. I would skip till you decide to do the aps at endgame. Even some full geared 76 players died there.
    Festerfang debuffs your armor and basic mobs can overwhelm you with damage. Bosses in swamps are very different in risk. Not under 76 alone.
    Maps like Hauntlet, Planar tombs, Dreamscape, Nightmare raid, shuyal bard quest and Tombs should be tested before. Shuyal planar arena is best to go solo due proximity curse, keep in mind that the entry-gates can one-hit players if they stay on it when it starts or in between bosses too. Arena received an update to scale to 81 recently (more in new update log on bottom). Everything not listed are maps for endgame and are planned in advance. All elixirs, pets, practice on main and gear is set up carefully. Players this far into the game risk the most and aps aren't usually done spontaneous now. Hardcores have played almost every map and aps at this points ingame - this will be too much to mention here. For maps that have a static damage output like that its best to respec full str, even if you are sure you can make it without more hp.

    Attempting harder boss aps:
    Once people have completed leveling up the main focus is on aps. Besides elite farming aps are many harder bosses (Planar tombs, mausoleum, raids, deep marsh, expansion maps etc.). Basically, if you plan to run maps like this take your time and don't rush. Always set up the best base for runs which means create a pt, try on normal with copied stats, practice with your team and check your connection before you attempt the boss. A ping test is free online on websites. Make clear who in the party has which function and plan moves and skills beforehand. Keep in mind that elixirs stack - you can use the video reduction elixir and the one from crates/elite runner chests at the same time (counts for damage elixir too). They are also cheaper than before. At this point I can offer to write me private message on forums if you have any question for some specific high-tier aps or boss. I have unlisted youtube videos for most aps aswell.

    Loot:
    Overall it's based on luck how good the gear is you loot. I was able to use gear I looted during the questline up to Tindirin. You can also buy chests for 3-10 plat in the store which are pretty useful. There I farmed dailies and used the lvl 41 epics and legendaries for underhul southern gates dailies which privided level 51 gear. You can buy your first belt in underhul for tokens. At this point you can risk looting something from graveyard (not recommended but many do/try/die) or you keep leveling till 71. At this point event chests have better stats than gear you can find in regular maps. Events are the key for character development at higher levels - for gear, aps, vanities, titles, pets and tokens. I got almost every piece of equipment I use nowadays from events. You can go into the event solo with /partyi xxx or create a party to play with players less than 4, just like normal. Platinum helps a lot too.

    Platinum:
    You can use the store in hardcore which means special sales during events are available. Some players were able to build extremly powerful stats with arcane items from event lockeds. It's usually difficult to loot something matching for your class. As a free to play mmo AL has to finance this way. However, you are able to experience the full length of hardcore with and without platinum. It just speeds up the process and makes the risk smaller. A well organized gameplay keeps you alive without plat aswell.

    Stash:
    At the beginning the stash is not available. At level 50 you unlock a quest which allows you to have "limited stash access". From now on you can put things into stash but take nothing out. That means an item you put in the stash is gone forever an won't be usable for hardcore anymore. Useful for pricy items for other classes for example.

    Auction:
    Auction is not available to buy or sell stuff. At some point there is a limited auction access that lets players open the auction to compare stats of their gear with stuff from auction. You have seen it maybe in some youtube videos of lb players but it's no more, no less and doesnt change much. People told me to keep it quiet earlier because it helps to determine stats of items you don't own. Its been some time so I will write it down here now. You can unlock a "unusable" version of auction if you complete the new bard-quest in shuyal tavern and buy the auction permit there (instead of travellers outpost). This might be a helpful bug but doesnt give any advantages since auction is still locked afterwards. You can simply just see them, but not buy or list anything.

    Pvp:
    A death in pvp doesnt count as death for the hero, it just gets displayed in the character statistics. TDM and CTF is not longer seperated for regular and hardcore characters. Guild battlegrounds, Duels and the festerfang brawl-arena have always been mixed. All pvp aps are possible to achieve.

    Reviving:
    When your heros has fallen there pops up an option to revive. For the price of 1600 platinum you can give your character a second try BUT you still lose the following: All experience (you will be level 1 again), all tokens including graveyard points, all achievement points, your leaderboard position including badges. Basically all you keep are your items in inventory and pets in stable. This option is only useful for very few characters in my opinion.

    Ign and friendlist:
    Just as a new character you have to pick a unique ingame name. You cannot take the same ign of your normal char but you can delete a char to use the name. Hardcore chars have a lion icon next to the class-picture in the friendlist. Alive hardcore chars are brown, dead ones are grey. These icons arent shown properly if the char died or revived recently.

    Experience:
    All daily quests are available in hardcore too. Just as in normal develop a daily xp-quest routine and turn in all by once. Make sure you wear max xp elixir. Use the video elix, klaas or shazbot or buy one for platinum. You can farm elite runner chests to get xp elixirs. Best place is the last map in elite kraken. Keep awakening each item you loot in hope for a xp awake from the 5k elix and build a full xp loadout. Some pets also grant xp too (you find more about xp in other guides on forums).

    Exclusive rewards:
    You will get a banner for level 25, 50 and 71 which come with a colored title aswell (they are not stashable). The reason most people start hardcore are the family aps for their normal char. When you reach level 71 in hardcore every character on your account gets additional 500 aps. This works for a hardcore mage, rogue and tank which makes 1500 aps for every character! Leaderboard player can equip the fitting badges (you can see them on your avatar even if u dont own them) and a banner for every lb. Its usually wider than the ones for regular chars. Via limited stash access you can send them to your normal character and display them there too. Banners count for the guild banner count at the end of a season too. Keep in mind theres no way back into the hardcore account at this point. The best hardcore players get announced on the seasonal winners thread on forums aswell. Every hardcore easonal on the leaderboard receives one banner and top10 a different badge. This badge can be used on all your characters but all other hardcore specific badges can not.
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    What to do when you die
    First of all, I'm sad about your loss and all lb players have either felt that pain or were very close to dying, I dont know any exception. I dont want to make this sound like an eulogy, I will provide what I personally think about this topic and what has worked best for me: The moment you die depends a lot on how much you have played without dying. The longer you were able to experience hardcore without fails the more foggy and vague does the moment of death stick in your memory. And thats not only for people who take this mode to the point of seriousness that they consider playing as "work". Nobody should do that, even tho it happens. Even if u consider the time in hardcore as "fun in a game" kind of time: it still hurts, alone for the fact that you are not able to continue with playing.
    So what to do when you die? First of all, I would take some time off the game. Not only for the fact that I believe a try to get back to the point your character was this quick is unrealistic, there is high chance that you die again if u start immediatly after. So take your time and don't rush till u feel confident again.
    After this the question "should I start again" came in my mind. And this is a very controversial one. And I'm not talking about reviving or creating a new char: that depends on your items, pets and if you want to spend money for a revive at all. This is about either quitting hardcore or continuing to play. People usually want both: they want to play again but they don't want to start from zero. So now, I recommend asking yourself, besides all the loss, in how far the playing itself was fun. I believe that you can make a more fitting decision this way, because it's not as easy to find motivation when you are at rock-bottom. Many, many people quit at this point and I don't understand why: They were very hyped playing, had so many fun moments and let one fail make them quit the whole game. This does not sound like a good choice to me. It means u determine your way to randomness on some level, because deaths are not planned. So now you can say: "Following this argumentation everybody should start again or they wouldn't have started playing hardcore in the first place." Thats right, so who would I suggest not to play again. I would suggest that to people who either played just to reach a specific goal and after losing that much progress the goal (for example banners, badges) are not worth it compared to others. And very important: to people who feel like they have wasted time in a game even after weeks of breaks/normal mode. If you play only for rewards, without having actual fun in playing, I don't believe its a good choice to do that again.
    The paragraph turned out a bit... a lot longer than I thought but it's an important one considering how many players I've talked to about the topic AND how many players I believe would be around right now having fun in hardcore at this very moment if they thought about this death a little bit different.

    Log of changes that affected hardcore significantly:
    Following fixes are sorted chronologically. They are not complete.
    - Hardcore chars no longer will be retrieved in case of death caused by bugs or updates.
    - Deaths in pvp do no longer result in a locked character.
    - Adding Top Hardcore Players Leaderboard.
    - Hardcores now keep their tokens in satchel if they revive.
    - Hardcore can now play PvP with normal character in all PvP-maps.
    - Introducing Top Hardcore Seasonal Leaderboard.
    - Shuyal planar Arena now scales up to Endgame (Level 81).

    Q&A with the most asked hardcore questions:
    Are you dev?!/How can I turn my name purple?
    No, players with purple igns are no devs and no you need to create a new character in hardcore mode. I can recommend a guide on forums...

    Why do people prefer hardcore if it has so many limitations?
    On the one side it's something challenging to risk everything to become stronger. Fighting a new boss is pure adrenaline. Others prefer hardcore because you need no gold. The struggle for farming and gold loot is gone. Also the average player knowledge at each level is a lot higher since all have leveled a normal char already.

    Are there any guilds for hardcore only?
    Yes there are quite a few. Many leaderboard guilds have sub-guilds for hardcore players too. Most of the guilds focus on leveling up, theres no exclusive guild for hardcore lvl81s or leaderboard players only at the moment I think.

    What is the maximal aps for hardcore mode?
    Theoretically, it's even more than normal mode because hardcore character obtain extra aps for level 2, 25, 50 and 71. However, considering some aps are extremly hard and exhausting even on normal mode something above 40k for sure. Predictions I made before were usually wrong after a few months already - showing much more is possible than most (including myself) think.

    A bit about myself:
    Hey, please call me Qua - I am the guy who wrote this guide. I started playing AL in 2013 on my character "Qua" and entered hardcore mode the day of its release in 2018. My current hardcore char "Quaset" was created roughly 3 weeks after release (and after several deaths of other toons at launch). I'm one of the players ingame who made their hardcore characters to their "main-character", you will find me on this character most of the time. I am a mage player, all character I use are sorcerers - no exceptions. I try to add all endgame hardcore players as friends, send me a request if u like to do so . I farm events most of the time but rarely still step into the very high-tier maps to do my own aps. Also, I died twice - last time about 1.5 years ago as first on leaderboard. To my greatest personal achievements in this mode count currently 17 successful boss aps as part of the first team ingame in hardcore mode (from elite rengol up till jord skratch). I was the first hardcore player to reach the normal event LB during Goblin event 2021 and ended 4 seasons as first overall hardcore player on LB so far. Arcane Legends is a hobby and I am proud of my achievements in this game since the very start. I do not carry people for leaderboards or banners. I do not take any gold or help as compensation for help - neither from friends nor from players I dont know. I made this choice on a personal level. I do not believe it is wrong or right if anyone else takes anything for hardcore help. I do not have a general opinion regarding this topic.
    Please message myself for personal issues, or with problems regarding the creation of this thread. I won't answer to these kinds of topics in any other way.

    Send a house mail to: Qua/Quaset.
    Add me on Discord: Quaset#0001
    Add me on Line App via ID: "Ihavelostmyphone"
    This is my only forum account. I have never had any other forum account.

    If you have anything else please write it down below so I can add it to the guide. I probably gave some wrong or outdated info at some point. I hope to learn some new stuff aswell. I try to welcome every single new hardcore player but my time is very limited nowadays. I hope I was able to help you via this guide at least.

    Thanks to everybody who plays the mode and for the fun we have. It became like a huge family that is sorrowful everytime somebody dies. Please be gentle with my grammar and spelling. English is not my first language. ~Quaset
    Last edited by QuaseT; 10-30-2021 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Updated changes/advices caused by game updates

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    Ty everybody for reading. I reserve this post just in advance >.<

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    Nice thread, but i think pvp needs to be more focused on now. We have plenty of pve xD

    Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

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    Great job on the guide Qua! I'm glad seeing you gotten better and top mage ever since I came back into the game and not only top mage but now the top hardcore mage!

    Keep representing the mage family!
    Keep it up brotha <3

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    Nice thread... will try hardcore soon.

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    Thanks man, beautifully done

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    Guide so good it makes me wanna start a hc char


    Karma Officer
    IGNs : Hazard ( Tank ) , Jxmaa ( Rogue )

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    This is really well done, nice job !!

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    Great and useful guide for anyone who want start a hardcore chart gj qua ��

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    Thx for great guide Qua! And congrats for leveling your char up, it takes a lot of stamina to do so.

    I stopped runnig at lvl 36. And as you say running Nordr solo takes a lot of time. At least with low level rare gear which I have available.

    Looking back now I think STS should have made the loots at least class specific if not enhance loot % for HC chars.
    Jiarijiba / Jiablast / Jiaroxx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiarijiba View Post
    Thx for great guide Qua! And congrats for leveling your char up, it takes a lot of stamina to do so.

    I stopped runnig at lvl 36. And as you say running Nordr solo takes a lot of time. At least with low level rare gear which I have available.

    Looking back now I think STS should have made the loots at least class specific if not enhance loot % for HC chars.
    Yes it's true. If sts buffs droprates for hardcore just slighlty compared to normal it would be much more attractive for people to play. At this point I usually spend a few platinum for the legendary gear chests in store to rush through the story with xp elix.

    Thanks for all the feedback. Hope to see some of you in hardcore soon! :3

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    Should be moved and pinned to AL Player Guides. Will be gone soon from main General Discussion page :/

    Aka Ares/Twerrk/Mystery. :]

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    Quote Originally Posted by |Ares| View Post
    Should be moved and pinned to AL Player Guides. Will be gone soon from main General Discussion page :/
    Yea I hope to see this in guides soon. I tried to build the thread to match the format, just need a dev to move it.

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    The only thing with drops is gear it more towards our specific class. Maybe Klaas can give a class-only elixir sometimes for hardcore, in place of the Ankhs it gives normal players for example. Current drops are fine but so much is stuff for other classes, that I just delete it all. We would all have better equips if more of the drops were for our class.

    Thanks for the guide, Qua!

    Star light, star bright...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyrce View Post
    The only thing with drops is gear it more towards our specific class. Maybe Klaas can give a class-only elixir sometimes for hardcore, in place of the Ankhs it gives normal players for example. Current drops are fine but so much is stuff for other classes, that I just delete it all. We would all have better equips if more of the drops were for our class.

    Thanks for the guide, Qua!
    It would make hardcore more fun. I'd also see some new aps for hardcore only and to see ankhs removed and the aps that you can't obtain like listing an item on auction. Overall the mode has been done nicely with matching and balanced limitations and rules imo.

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    Senior Member Gaprisha's Avatar
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    Nicely done Quanab!! Hope this gets on to the guide section.
    meep meep

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    Blogger QuaseT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaprisha View Post
    Nicely done Quanab!! Hope this gets on to the guide section.
    I don't like to bump this thread but I'd like the thread to be in the guide section aswell xD Ty tho!

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    Blogger QuaseT's Avatar
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    Added section: attempting boss aps

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    Thanks buddy for the thread


    IGN : Bluesparky

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    Senior Member Stephencobear's Avatar
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    Sticky worthy, can a dev move to guides section?
    \m/,____( >. < )________,\m/
    <High Society>

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