Let the ear collecting begin: World of Warcraft Classic's Hardcore servers open soon

An undead warlock
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

There are many things to love about World of Warcraft Classic. The ability to reminisce and feel nostalgic listening to the peaceful music of Elwynn Forest, the challenge of classic dungeons like Scholomance and Stratholme, dueling your fellow enthusiasts outside Ironforge, farming mats for elixirs and getting world buffs… I guess. Soon, however, you'll also have the ability to be running a dungeon and have a blown pull result in the permanent and irrevocable death of your character!

Neat, huh?

World of Warcraft Classic Hardcore servers were announced earlier this year, and this week we learned that they'll go live on August 24. Bringing a little of that cutthroat permadeath flavor to the world's biggest MMO, Hardcore servers have no resurrections, no spirit healers, and no mercy. (Plus, your ear might become someone's jewelry.)

Players have been rigging up their own hardcore challenges for some time on the Bloodsail Buccaneers and Hydraxian Waterlords servers, using an addon to track when someone dies and keeping a leaderboard. It's led to some truly horrific moments, like the time a guy wiped almost an entire hardcore guild on the Four Horsemen raid after one of the gaming world's most intense long cons. 

Blizzard released a post at the end of June detailing the terms of engagement in the official Hardcore realms. Here are the highlights:

  • If you die, you're dead. Nothing can bring you back. You can, however, roam around as a ghost to chat with friends or do logistical things like transfer guild leadership
  • Your character is not deleted, and you can shuffle them off to a regular server using the free character move, but they can never again be Hardcore
  • Accidentally right clicking a PvP flagged character won't flag you—the only way another player can attack you is if you choose to flag. This doesn't hold true for NPCs, however, so be careful!
  • No Battlegrounds or Battlemasters. They've said that PvP is not the focus for these realms, but you can still enter a premade Wargame (death is still permanent)
  • Reduced leash ranges, so no more Teremus the Devourer visits to Stormwind
  • To prevent people from just hunkering down and dungeon grinding, there's a 24 hour lockout to all dungeons and 60s can't do dungeons with anyone not 60
  • No bubble hearthing!

The coolest thing by far is the introduction of a new feature—an actual duel to the death. Named after the ritual Orcish combats to determine clan leadership, /makgora will initiate a duel between two characters that ends when one dies. If you win, you'll receive a trophy to add to your string of ears—a fun little callback to Diablo 2 PvP. Anyone can check how many trophies you have, so for the hardest of the hardcore, your clout will have a literal number attached. Just make sure whoever you have tanking Zeliek doesn't harbor any grudges