Hardcore is a play style that limits the interactions a player may have with other players and the items that are available. A player may elect to enter hardcore mode as part of the ascension process. A player in hardcore can elect to leave and go back to normal play, but they will not receive the special hardcore bonus rewards.
A Hardcore player is limited in the following ways:
- Unable to receive Clan Buffs, meat from a Meat Tree, adventures from the furniture in the Clan Rumpus Room, and take items out of the Clan Stash. However, the clan comfy sofa can be used as normal.
- You can't take items from the stash while you're in Hardcore mode.
- Unable to receive buffs from other players
- Unable to buy items at The Mall of Loathing
- You can't buy items at the Mall while you're in Hardcore mode.
- Able to sell items in the Mall of Loathing, but only from current inventory. Meat from these sales goes to Hagnk's Ancestral Mini-Storage and cannot be withdrawn.
- Unable to buy or sell items at The Flea Market:
- You may not use the Flea Market in hardcore mode.
- You can't sell items at the Flea Market while you're in Hardcore mode.
- Unable to receive items via KMail other than as a gift package that can only be opened after completing the hardcore run.
- That player cannot receive Meat or items from other players right now. If you want to send them something to open later, try The Gift Shop in Market Square.
- Unable to use skills from normal/softcore ascensions that have not been upgraded to Hardcore permanent.
- Does not gain extra stats on Stat Days. Increased healing while resting still applies.
In many ways, Hardcore is very similar to the Ronin phase, however it differs in the following ways:
- Only those skills you retained as hardcore permanent in Jermery's Permery will be usable in Hardcore mode. Skills made 'normal' permanent (100 Karma) as opposed to hardcore permanent (200 Karma) will be inaccessible until after you free King Ralph XI.
- Hardcore mode lasts from the time you return from Valhalla after electing to do Hardcore until you free King Ralph XI.
- You cannot remove anything from Hagnk's Ancestral Mini-Storage except for free pulls, and you cannot equip these. If you receive a Mr. Accessory during a hardcore run through donation, you will not be able to equip it. Items from Mr. Store older than 2016 or so may not be equipped either (some special challenge paths have a related item that can be pulled and equipped), but you can use or zap them. Familiars from Mr. Store may still be placed in your terrarium and function normally, and items with a "use" (or "squeeze") link may be used as normal.
Upon completion of a Hardcore ascension, the player receives a number of bonuses that are either increased or not given to a player who has completed a Normal ascension (see here for the list).