WoW Classic's hardcore mode was only out for a few days before this frost gnome hit max level

Several adventurers in World of Warcraft Classic's hardcore server crying over the death of a fallen comrade.
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

World of Warcraft Classic got its hardcore servers four days ago, an opportunity (?) for players to  enjoy the experience with permadeath for their chosen character. As is the way of things this immediately triggered a race to become the world's first max level WoW Classic player. Take a bow VitochieR1 on Twitch, who achieved level 60 with a Gnome Mage specialising in frost, a feat that took them precisely 69 Hours, 53 Minutes, 34 Seconds.

No, I couldn't do it either. The frost build is a common pick among hardcore players (thanks, WoWhead), though most prefer to go for single target damage over AoE, the latter having many advantages but ultimately being a little more dangerous on hardcore (because enemies don't die so fast).

Vitochie hit level 60 on August 28 and, if you want to see a little video of a gnome whooping with all their mates around, have I got the clip for you.

WoW Classic hardcore operates a tad differently to that of other games: death is still permanent, but here you'll linger on as a ghost (which allows players to tidy up any unfinished business before logging off and punching the walls). It also lets you blame your mates for the run failing and, in a nice touch, you can transfer the dead character onto a non-hardcore Classic server and continue.

The mode also still features PvP, though Battlegrounds is disabled, which given the amount of times I've been ganked in Azeroth is quite honestly enough for me to give it a very wide berth indeed.

It may have only just been released to all players, but hardcore has been live on the test servers for a little while already, and players have certainly shown why one might want to be wary. A group of unfortunate WoW Classic players fell victim to a troll in a scheme that took a villainous level of dedication, planning, and sociopathy: it's been dubbed The 5th Horseman incident, and may be "arguably the greatest grief in all of MMORPG history".

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."