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The key feature of Hardcore mode is that the player is not given the option to respawn upon death as they would in other game modes. Instead, there are two buttons on the death screen: "Spectate world" and "Title screen." "Spectate world" sets the player to Spectator mode and respawns the player at the world's spawn point, making them able to view and explore the world only in that mode. The "Title screen" button simply leads the player to the main menu screen; re-opening the world simply returns the player back to the same death screen as before.
In addition, Hardcore mode worlds are restricted to hard difficulty.
When creating a Hardcore mode world, the Enable Cheats and Bonus Chest world options are locked to OFF. On the world selection menu, hardcore mode worlds display dark red text reading "Hardcore Mode!"
While in Hardcore mode, the hearts representing the player's health look different, as they include dark red marks inside the icon.
Hardcore mode is specific to worlds, not players; the variable determining whether the world is in Hardcore mode is saved in
level.dat. Thus, the player can use
/gamemode creative (if cheats are enabled) to set themselves to Creative mode. Players in Creative mode while on a Hardcore mode world still see Hardcore mode's death screen upon death.
It is normally impossible to toggle Hardcore mode once the world has been created, though it is possible to use external programs such as NBTExplorer to change it by setting the
hardcore tag to either 1 (hardcore) or 0 (normal).
However, it is possible to enable cheats through the Open to LAN feature in the pause menu. From here, the player can, while spectating the world after death, type
/gamemode survival to bring themselves back to Survival mode, being able to play again by cheating death.
Hardcore mode is an option for multiplayer, and its functions are similar to those in singleplayer. All players have hardcore mode enabled — it is impossible to have some players in hardcore and some not.
Upon death, the player has the option to choose whether set to Spectator mode or go back to the main menu.
Friendly-fire MUST be enabled
|Java Edition Beta|
|November 22, 2010||The idea of Hardcore mode came to Notch from a Minecraft gameplay blog on the PC Gamer site.|
|September 23, 2011||Notch tweeted an image of a button that enables Hardcore mode.|
|September 28, 2011||Notch tweeted an image of the Hardcore mode death screen.|
|1.0.0||Beta 1.9 Prerelease 2||Hardcore mode added.|
|1.3.1||12w17a||The 'Bonus Chest' and 'Enable Cheats' world options cannot be enabled in Hardcore mode (server operators' commands are not affected by Hardcore mode).|
|12w18a||Hardcore mode can now be used in multiplayer.|
|1.9||15w37a||Rather than deleting the world upon death, the player now has the option to be put into Spectator mode.|
|1.15||19w35a||"Delete world" on the hardcore death screen has been replaced by "Title screen."|
- When Notch announced Hardcore mode on Twitter, he jokingly posted an image of an 'ultra hardcore' mode where the premium status of the player's account is revoked on death, which may reference the custom gamemode of Ultra Hardcore.
- When a Hardcore mode world is loaded on a version released prior to Hardcore mode, the world is converted into a Survival world. Loading this world in a version featuring Hardcore mode does not revert the world back to Hardcore mode.