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Welcome to Hardcore! With only one life, your trusty tools, and the environment around you, you are ready to embark on a dangerous journey. Only two things are different, a special item, and you only have one life. With only those changes, you are now playing a much harder game. With only one life, you have to be more careful when it comes to traps, bosses, events, and just plain exploring. Even the simplest oversight can end your character permanently. But do not disparage – There are ways to tackle this! At the start you can play it 100% safe, but if you're playing to win then risk-taking is inevitably a part of the game. This guide has many tips and tricks for surviving Terraria as a squishy mortal.
- 1 Reading this guide
- 2 Hardcore basics
- 3 Early-game survival
- 4 Class-specific tips (Pre-Hardmode)
- 5 List of late milestone goals
Reading this guide[edit | edit source]
- This starts off with general ideas for improving the player's enjoyment of Hardcore mode, in Hardcore basics.
- Its focus narrows to help the struggling player get off the ground and survive the first several nights, in Early-game survival.
- The more experienced player may wish to skip to Class-specific tips and a List of late milestone goals.
Hardcore basics[edit | edit source]
On the lower difficulties your character deaths don't mean all that much. When you die in Hardcore mode you'll find yourself remembering each death more. It's not just a hit to your wallet. You don't have the option of getting your stuff back. With a Hardcore death, you can lose hours of precious game time, with the most hopeful outcome being a head start on your next character and a lesson learned.
General rules[edit | edit source]
This section lists guidelines that can increase your survivability and enjoyment of Hardcore mode. Consider each one for adoption.
- Be prepared. All the rules that follow can be summed up by the Scout Motto. The original phrases it perfectly: Be prepared in mind by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it. Be prepared in body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.
- Stay vigilant. In other words, don't let your guard down. Nine times out of ten, you'll get killed by the danger you forgot about.
- Keep your eyes peeled. Light up every direction that dangers might come from, so you can see them coming.
- Know your exits. Make it so you can move through the environment with ease, no matter where you go. At some point or another you'll need to make a quick escapes.
- Keep one hand on your Recall Potions. These are your Get Out of Jail Free cards. Keep them slotted onto the easiest-to-reach part of your Hotbar. Use these in clutch situations, especially if you can't take the heat.
- If you realize after the fact that you could have taken the heat, consider it a second chance at the situation.
- Magic Mirrors take 1.5 seconds to teleport, but Recall Potions take 0.5 seconds.
- Binding your Recall Potion hotkey to somewhere more accessible such as the R or C key can help greatly, as the time it takes to recall can be the difference between life and death.
- Place blocks for safety. It's good practice to modify your world as much as you need to to enhance your survivability. Build surface bridges, and make slopes easy to run up and down safely. Block off scary tunnels so monsters can't get through. You can even box monsters up if you don't want to deal with them.
- Blocks don't work against the few monsters that can pass through them, like Giant Worms and Devourers. If you notice these enemies approaching and you're unprepared, your best option may be to flee entirely.
- Build a panic box when you need a moment to think: Move against a wall and surround yourself in blocks, protecting your squishy body from monster attacks. Yoyos work great with this tactic, because all you need is a single hole in your box to kill the monsters.
- Take risks deliberately. Think them through, don't miss anything, and execute them flawlessly. Taking well thought-out risks can yield high rewards, both in material wealth and narrative value. That being said, you'll be hating yourself when you die to a boss you weren't ready for or an element you didn't account for.
- Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. You'll inevitably encounter problems, and you'll have to make good strategic decisions on the fly. This takes training and practice, and you won't get there by avoiding ugly situations.
Improving yourself[edit | edit source]
If you distress at how hard this difficulty is, understand this:
- You are most likely dying to the same things you'd ordinarily die to.
- There are aspects of the game you need to work on.
This is a great challenge for long-term improvement. The way to get through Hardcore survival is to identify your blind spots during ordinary gameplay and work to cover them. While harsh, unenjoyable penalties for death will help you learn faster, you shouldn't be dissuaded from playing the game. Playing Mediumcore characters allows you to tackle obstacles repeatedly until you succeed.
If you can't tell where you need improvement, start a log of your character deaths, both in and out of Hardcore. Just write down the situations you die to, and add what you could have done to avoid them. This puts the areas you need to improve on all in one place.
Specific tips[edit | edit source]
- Play with friends! There is nothing better than several hands working together and keeping each other company, and doing so can turn a personal experience into quality time with another human.
- Another particular upshot of playing with other people is that you have a chance at preserving a character's inventory when someone dies. Uncontained items are lost when the world closes. If you wish to stick to the nature of Hardcore Mode, then surviving players can use the dead's gear for their own survival while being haunted by their ghosts. If you like a more casual Hardcore experience, let your buddy recover your stuff before the world closes, then re-enter the world with a new character.
- Do your early game errands at daytime. Do not go outside during the first few nights, and never during a Blood Moon.
- If a surface zombie happens to cut off your path, use platforms to scramble up a tree, then jump over the zombie so it can't hit you.
- Aim to obtain armor, Mana Crystals, Life Crystals, and Shadow Orb /Crimson Heart loot as soon as possible. They provide good survival boosts, but know that overindulging on health boosts or evil loot attracts the attention of deadly bosses.
- Don't increase to 200 hp until you are prepared to fight the Eye of Cthulhu.
- Don't break a third Orb/Heart until you're ready to fight the Eater of Worlds/Brain of Cthulhu.
- If you get the evil presence message and you're not ready, know that restarting the world prevents the Eye of Cthulhu from spawning and will even end the fight. If fighting the boss feels like a nightmare, ending the world is like waking up from it.
- Fish in the deepest lake you can find, you may have to artificially channel water into one spot to avoid getting junk.
- Brew your own potions so you don't have to rely on Pots and Chests.
- For more, see the Potions article.
- Place passive buff items. These increase your survival while you're in their areas of effect:
- Spread Sunflowers around the world to increase your speed and limit monster spawning.
- Place Campfires to increase your health regeneration. Do this as often as you can above ground and in key places underground. It only takes 10 Wood + 5 Torches, and doesn't require a Work Bench.
- Well spaced Garden Gnomes and biome Torches can provide increased Luck.
- Place Enemy Banners to deal 50%/100% more damage to particular enemies and take 25%/50% less damage from them.
- Use your NPCs! They provide essential goods and services that you can use like equipment, help with crafting, and healing.
Early-game survival[edit | edit source]
Beginning steps[edit | edit source]
- Gather Wood. It's the safest and most time efficient resource for you to gather, and it's essential in the early game.
- Build a shelter. A basic box is all you need for the first night, and a modestly sized one takes 150–200 Wood to make.
- Craft basic gear. For the basic gear outlined below you need 116 Wood, 20 Stone Blocks, 20 Cobwebs, and as much Gel, stone, and extra wood as you're comfortable gathering.
- At night, find a way to take pot shots at monsters from the safety of your shelter. You can collect their coins when the sun comes up.
- As another night task, start furnishing your shelter.
- When it is day again, find a cave to explore. You should have torches from killing Slimes the previous day. Explore these caves for minerals and chests.
- Scout left or right until you find a Desert. Bring enough Sand Blocks home to start brewing potions, and chop down 75 Cacti to craft Cactus armor.
As a rule, Zombies shouldn't be allowed to chew on the doors at night. NPCs can and will open doors without regards for safety, and during a Blood Moon, enemies can open doors and kill you very quickly. To keep the enemies out, you have a few options. You can keep furniture stacked against the doors (which keeps them from swinging inwards), raise your doors off the ground, or forego doors entirely in favor of something like a roof hatch. If you go with any roof entrance, you can build 1 block–wide stubs on the edge of your roof to prevent Zombies and other fighters from jumping onto your house. There are also tricks you can do to create 1-way passages. If you put a vertical line of platforms up against a wall and hammer them into stairs, you can make a 1-way door that you can even fire projectiles through.
Another good way to stay alive and rack up resources is to build a death pit or dry moat, by digging a hole deep enough to prevent monsters from jumping out, but not deep enough to keep them below the ground entirely.
Early gear[edit | edit source]
You probably spawned in the relative safety of a Forest, but in all four directions things spawn with the purpose of ending your life. Get everything you can out of your starting zone. Once you've established a personal safety shelter, you'll need to kit yourself out so you can carry your safety around with you.
Your basic kit to start off might look like this:
Some readers are going "Pff – That's kid stuff." That tallies up to 116 Wood, 20 Stone Blocks, 20 Cobweb, and at 1 Gel. While Slimes are pretty easy to kill in a Classic Mode world, you might find it's better to mostly avoid them on your first few days in any Expert or Master Mode world. That being said, you do need extra Gel for Torches and Healing potions, so get as much as you're comfortable gathering.
These are your initial consumable items that you'll want to craft "enough" of:
Result Ingredients Crafting station Campfire ( ) By Hand Campfire ( ) Torch (3) Lesser Healing Potion (2) Placed Bottle
Wooden Arrow (25) ( ) Work Bench Wooden Arrow (5) ( )total: 6 row(s)
Early exploration[edit | edit source]
Start off exploring carefully and systematically. Consider favoring slow, methodical expansion over fast scouting trips. Your first exploration goals on the Surface are:
- Get Sand from the Desert for Bottles, so you can brew potions.
- Check on the Evil Biome before too long, so you can see what containment it'll need.
- Make it to the Ocean to find the Angler.
- If you're feeling confident, obtain explosives and descend into the Evil Biome's caverns to break a couple Orbs/Hearts. Only break two. You can use ropes and block up the sides of your descent column for protection. Blood Crawlers can't get to you, but Devourers can.
Spelunking tips[edit | edit source]
- Watch out for traps. Drinking a Dangersense Potions or holding a trap part makes them stand out in dark rooms. If you can't do that, keep your eyes peeled for pressure plates.
- Be careful with traps. You never know when conflict will interrupt what you're doing, so disarm traps as soon as you find them.
- If too risky to disarm, block off/remember their location. They'll end you the moment you forget about them.
- Keep your exit route secure.
- e.g., There are certain block gaps you can fit through one way but not the other. Be sure to mine these out so you can flee through them later.
- Exit routes should be treated with caution regardless, as monsters can still spawn there when off-screen.
- Build walls for your hellevator to keep enemies from using it.
- Place Campfires to provide extra healing.
- Keep explored areas well lighted. Even if you don't plan on going back torching the area will allow for easier scouting of threats and Hardmode ores later.
- Block up all the passages you need to. Compartmentalizing your caves with blocks and doors isn't a bad idea, unless it makes it difficult for you to get around.
Specific early game tips[edit | edit source]
- At the start of the game, cut down trees and craft as many Wooden Swords as it takes to get a great modifier. It will give you a massive boost at the start.
- Cut down cobwebs and do the same for White String. Whether you'll use a yoyo or not, a Warding White String will significantly increase your defense if worn anyways.
List of early milestone goals[edit | edit source]
- Attract NPCs to your world:
- Buy a Bug Net from the Merchant to begin collecting Bait for Fishing.
- Find the Angler at the edge of the world to really up your Fishing game.
- Fish up and open several Crates.
- Mobilize yourself. Find and equip:
- Upgrade to a Gold Pickaxe or Platinum Pickaxe.
- Upgrade to Gold armor or Platinum armor.
- Loot a Magic Mirror from a Chest for an easy ticket home.
- Find/Brew a small stack of Recall Potions to escape clutch situations.
- Fill your accessories slots with useful early-game loot.
- Create a garden to farm resources for Potions.
- Daybloom for Recall, Night Owl, Shine, Ironskin, Regeneration, and later Calming/Featherfall Potions.
- Blinkroot for Night Owl, Endurance, Swiftness and later Featherfall Potions.
- Shiverthorn for Dangersense potions.
- Deathweed for Thorns/Titan(Corruption) or Rage/Heartreach(Crimson) potions.
- Waterleaf for Luck Potions and later Obsidian Skin Potions.
- Create/Locate a pond in crucial biomes for Fishing.
- Obtain a steady supply of Food to continually keep the Well Fed buff.
- Upgrade to 200 Mana as soon as possible.
- Upgrade to 200 Health when you're ready to fight the Eye of Cthulhu.
Class-specific tips (Pre-Hardmode)[edit | edit source]
- For Rangers, Frostburn Arrows are your best friend. They deal 9 damage, 4 more damage than normal arrows, and gives a debuff that does 2 damage per tick that most enemies and bosses are vulnerable to.
- in terms of Throwing weapons, Grenades and Sticky Grenades bought from the Demolitionist pack quite a punch but should only be used in the safest of scenarios on Hardcore characters.
- Bouncy Grenades are highly advised against. Although dealing extra damage, all it takes is a few misplaced throws to end an otherwise well off run.
- Bone Javelinsact as a safer and stronger alternative to Grenades but must first be crafted with Sturdy Fossils extracted from Desert Fossil in the Underground Desert.
- For guns, the Musket or The Undertakerare the earliest options, obtained by rushing The Corruption or Crimson and breaking 1 Shadow Orb/Crimson Heart, which is guaranteed to drop.
- Musket Balls can work fine early on, but should be swapped out for Silver/Tungsten Bullets or Meteor Shots for Boss fights.
- The Blowpipe, while not traditionally considered a gun is both cheap and easy to obtain provided one can get lucky with surface Chest drops.
- Alternatively the Boomstickor Snowball Cannon can unreliably be found in the respective biome's underground cabins.
- For 35 the Minishark can be bought from the Arms Dealer, provided they have already been unlocked by obtaining one or more guns earlier, and can carry the player all the way to Hardmode.
- Despite acting as a Flail the Harpooncounts as ranged damage and uniquely requires no ammo, being a great primary weapon for rangers running low.
- While Warriors have early access to swords longer range weapons will be virtually required for stronger enemies and Boss fights.
- The Wooden Yoyo is incredibly cheap and moderate in range when combined with String.
- The Amazon, found in the Underground Jungle can be of great help until one is able to kill the Eye of Cthulhu.
- The Malaise/Artery are crafted from Demonite and Crimtane respectively and are the strongest yoyos available for much of Hardmode.
- If one prefers Boomerangs the Enchanted Boomerang can usually be found in underground cabins, and a Wooden Boomerang can be crafted into one with the help of a Fallen Star.
- The Thorn Chakram acts as a flat upgrade to the Enchanted Boomerang once one can safely access the Underground Jungle.
- If found early the Mace can act as a great mid-range damage dealer and be easily upgraded for 99 torches into a Flaming Mace
- For sword users the Enchanted Swordand rarely Terragrim can spawn in enchanted sword shrines and can even carry one to Hardmode in the right hands, but can be difficult to find and aren't guaranteed to spawn in a given world. One early tactic to find these weapons is to shoot the ground in Forests with Jester's Arrows on the outer third of the map and hope the light reveals a 1 block passage signifying a sword shrine below.
- Alternatively Starfury can act as a powerful substitute, situationally being better than the Enchanted Sword, notably against the Wall of Flesh provided the ceiling is dug out, although one will need Gravitation Potions first.
- The Ice Blade can also shoot projectiles like those from the Enchanted Sword but is much weaker and should only be taken if neither the Enchanted Sword or Starfury are options.
- If you are going for the mage class, try to go out each night and collect Fallen Stars to get you to 200 mana before you take on any challenges. You should be able to get the strongest Gem Staff with the aid of Gem Tree farms if necessary. (Ruby Staff in worlds with Gold Ore and Diamond Staff in worlds with Platinum Ore).
- The Amber Staff can substitute for the Diamond Staff if necessary and is functionally equivalent to the Ruby Staff, instead crafted with Amber and Sturdy Fossils.
- You can also try to get a Crimson Rod or Vilethorn in your second destroyed Crimson Heart or Shadow Orb.
- The Space Gun and Meteor armor are a very strong mage set, but there is a possibility that no meteorite falls when you break two Shadow Orbs or Crimson Hearts.
- The summoner class is a greater challenge, and it's highly inadvisable for inexperienced players to try on Hardcore mode.
- the Raven Staff and Slime Staff, can be hard to impossible to obtain with bad luck, but are the only options for summoners in the early game.
- Killing Queen Bee early on is advisable, withHornet Staff and Bee armor acting as a great power spike.
- Obsidian armor is very powerful, arguably outranking Bee Armor but requires Shadow Scales/Tissue Samplesmaking it unobtainable without fighting EoW/BoC.
List of late milestone goals[edit | edit source]
- When setting up an area for the Mechanical bosses, it is a good idea to make sure that it does not reach heights where Wyverns will start spawning.
- Having Suspicious Looking Eyes can help greatly with defeating nighttime bosses due to the high amount of Hearts the Eye of Cthulhu drops. When fighting Plantera, Queen Bee can be used as an additional source of Hearts.
- Due to the incredibly dangerous enemies in the post-Plantera Dungeon, it is best to achieve maximum health with Life Crystals and Life Fruits (start generating after the defeat of one Mechanical boss). Summoner builds may wish to wait until they have all of the accessories purchasable from the Witch Doctor before entering the Dungeon or Jungle Temple.
- After defeating Plantera, players can build a Truffle Worm farm to more quickly obtain one and summon Duke Fishron. Be careful, though; if you're not brave enough, try sticking Duke Fishron after you have some Martian Saucer gear from the Martian Madness event.
- If manageable, the player can investigate and uncover as much of the map as they can during pre-Hardmode in order to pinpoint underground areas converted into Underground Hallow, Crimson, or Corruption Biomes upon Hardmode conversion. Stopping the rapid spread of these biomes helps preserve the Cavern layer from being altered (and can, as a result, prevent more difficult enemies from spawning and allow easier fishing). Unhindered, these can affect other Surface biomes such as the Snow biome if they spread far enough.