After its 15th Anniversary celebrations, Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) has received update 48.5 which also heralds the start of a new season of Hardcore League. Check out the details of the DDO Hardcore League mechanics, features, and what’s new with the 48.5 patch below.
What is Hardcore League?
Launched in August 2019, the Hardcore League is Dungeons & Dragons Online’s special 3-month event that opens up a separate server (appropriately named the Hardcore server) for players looking for an added challenge. The Hardcore server applies special rules that applies to all players, whether they have a Free to Play, Premium, or VIP account.
Similar to the mechanic introduced in the Diablo games, Hardcore League features permadeath. On a normal game of Dungeons & Dragons Online, characters can be revived by spells like Raise Dead, Resurrection, Reincarnation, or even as a zombie through the Pale Master ability or special items like the Jack Jibbers Blade. You can also buy one-shot resurrection items from the in-game DDO store using cash or DDO points. However, in the Hardcore server, none of these will work! The character will be removed from the game map and placed in a special area called the Land of Lost Souls until the end of the season.
To add insult to injury, there will be an in-game announcement of the character’s death, mentioning them by name, what the character's level is when the death occurred, and which enemy dealt the killing blow. A character in the Land of Lost Souls cannot interact with the game world nor can any of the items it is carrying at the time of death be stored or transferred. By the end of the Hardcore League season, any character that is in the Land of Lost Souls will be allowed to access the bank and inventory. For a brief period after the season ends, players may also opt to transfer the dead character to one of the regular servers.
Other rules that only apply to the Hardcore server are:
- All characters start at Level 1 (even for accounts with Veteran Status or using Iconic Classes which normally start at Level 15 upon creation).
- No character can enter a quest area or dungeon if the base challenge rating is more than 4 levels lower than the character’s level. For instance, a Level 10 character cannot enter a dungeon with a base challenge rating of 5.
- Characters in normal servers cannot be transferred to the Hardcore League server. Normally, any character of any level can be transferred to other DDO servers for a fee.
Note that the previous Season Three of Hardcore League had a mechanic for earning a number of revival instances at certain touchstone levels. Season 4 has dropped that mechanic, re-enabling the full permanent character death mechanic.
DDO Hardcore League Season 4 Specific Details and Rewards
— DDO Unlimited (@DDOUnlimited) March 31, 2021
Season 4 is titled Might and Madness (a not-so-subtle nod to classic video game franchise Might and Magic). As with previous Hardcore League seasons, there will be a running theme. In this case, players will encounter Daelkyr Lords. In Dungeons & Dragons lore, Daelkyr are extradimensional beings, denizens of Xoriat, the Realm of Madness in the Eberron campaign setting.
As an added wrinkle to challenge players, Hardcore League Season 4 will have the Mimic Hunt event persistently active. Mimics are creatures that disguise themselves as objects, but usually choose treasure chests. In DDO, they have a higher challenge rating than the actual quest. With their Mimic Slobber ability to deal stacking 3d8 acid damage every 2 seconds and the Sticky attack that slows movement, Mimics are extremely dangerous to the unwary, especially to characters at lower levels. As every chest in the Hardcore League server will have a chance of being a Mimic, this can add quite a bit of challenge in avoiding permadeath.
Aside from the personal satisfaction of playing the tougher challenge in Hardcore League, those who manage to survive the entire 90-day season will receive special rewards, as follows:
- Attain Level 20: Death Walker's Sash IV Cosmetic Item
- Accumulate Total Favor of 1,750 - Overlord Collar
- Accumulate Total Favor of 5,000 - Daelkyr Steed Special Mount
- Attain 10 Reaper Enhancement Points – The Death Walker's Cloak IV Cosmetic Item
- Attain 20 Reaper Enhancement Points - Thaarak Pup War Veteran Pet Companion Certificate
These rewards will only be awarded if the character that attains these benchmarks are alive at the time and claim them from Xix, the Hardcore Season 4 Rewards NPC located at the Hall of Heroes. All rewards are account wide and will be available to all characters in every server once awards for the season are given out.
Other Details of Update 48.5
In addition to the launch of Hardcore League Season 4, DDO’s Update 48.5 also includes the following updates to the game:
- Mount Stable – Mounts were introduced in the Keep on the Borderlands adventure pack. Multiple mounts took up space in character inventories and could only be stored in a Small Wondrous Mount Bag included in the premium Keep on the Borderlands Bonus Items (included in the pack and later purchasable at the DDO Store). With Update 48.5, a new tab is added to players’ inventory that serves as a stable. In addition, any mount a character has acquired and added to the stable will become available to all other characters under that account and server.
- Replacement Medium Ingredients Bag – The previous Small Wondrous Mount Bag will be replaced by a Medium Ingredients Bag.
- Leaderboards for the Hardcore Season 3 have been added to the Hall of Heroes.
Dungeons & Dragons Online Hardcore League Season 4 will be running from March 31 to June 29, 2021.