Hardcore Mode is one of the new elements in Kingdom Come: Deliverance introduced with the patch 1.6. This mode increases the difficulty level. Below you can find our list of the most important features of this mode as well as tips on how you can deal with the new challenges.
- How to unlock the Hardcore Mode?
- Why did I die after starting the game?
- Negative perks
- The most important challenges in the hardcore mode
- How to know the location of your character on the map? - using the markers from A Bird in the Hand side quest
How to unlock the Hardcore Mode?
You can't switch to hardcore mode if you are currently during a playthrough. You must start a new game. After selecting that option from the main menu, the game will ask you to select difficulty level.
Note - The game warns you that hardcore mode requires a good knowledge on the gameplay mechanics and the game's world (especially the locations of the main villages and towns). This is a perfect mode for those who want to beat the game for the second time.
Why did I die after starting the game?
After starting hardcore mode, you can see one or several screens that will inform you about your character's death. This is an easter egg and its goal is to show you the cruelty of the times in which the game takes place. Skip these screens. Each consecutive skip reduces your chance "to die" - after that you will finally reach the part where you can choose negative perks.
The game will display one more screen. Here, you have to pick at least two negative perks for your character. Each one of them complicates the gameplay to some degree. Below you can find their list as well as information on their negative impact on Henry:
- Nightmares - Henry has nightmares. This perk makes the resting option a little bit more problematic. After waking up your character's attributes are reduced for a certain period of time. You can limit the negative consequences of this perk by sleeping only when you really have to, that is when the fatigue value reaches critical level.
- Claustrophobic - Henry suffers from claustrophobia. Your attacks become weaker when you fight with a lowered visor. You can solve this problem by not wearing a full helmet at all or you can equip it only during more challenging fights with archers (this type of helmet protects you from being shot in the head).
- Hemophilia - Henry suffers from hemophilia which increases a chance of bleeding. This is a highly problematic perk that can cause you trouble during fights. Remember to carry more bandages. You should also participate in less fights, save your progress before larger battles, and use heavy armor along with a shield.
- Numbskull - Henry has problems with learning new things. This perk slows your experience gain down which means that it is harder for you to level up. You have to repeat the same actions more often to get a new level. This can be tiresome because slower XP gain affects all the activities that can be performed in the game.
- Consumption - Henry suffers from tuberculosis which causes him problems with breathing. Your stamina bar regenerates slower. This can be problematic during fights - you will have to make longer breaks between attacks. You also must pay closer attention to the stamina bar.
- Shakes - They can cause you problems during activities that require precision such as shooting from a bow, pickpocketing or opening locks. This is a very unpleasant perk, especially for pick pocketers - you are more prone to get caught.
- Tapeworm - A tapeworm lives inside of Henry. This perk increases his appetite. You need to eat more frequently if you don't want to feel hungry. Tapeworm perk forces you to change your playstyle - you need to spend more time (and probably gold) on getting food. You also need to carry more of it in your inventory.
- Somnambulant - Henry is a night-walker. A very unusual perk - Henry can wake up somewhere else. This shouldn't happen every time but it can be problematic if the game decides to move you to a completely unknown place or when you wake up on the opposite end of the map.
- Brittle Bones - Henry is more likely to break his legs. This perk affects only the lower part of Henry's body - you can break his legs when you jump from a high ledge or a ladder. Brittle Bones forces you to be very careful when it comes to jumps - try to avoid them. You also have an increased chance to break legs when you fall off your horse.
In our opinion the least problematic perks are Nightmares, Claustrophobic and Tapeworm. Pick two of them.
Note - There is a new trophy called 'Tis but a Scratch - it requires you to complete the entire campaign with all negative perks set as active.
The most important challenges in the hardcore mode
Here you can find the most important challenges in the hardcore mode. All of the entries on this list have our suggestions on how to deal with them. The topic of hindered navigation is discussed more broadly in the later part of this chapter (possible exploit).
- Saving the game. Autosaves don't work in the hardcore mode. They aren't created when you start a quest or when you reach a certain point in a mission. All other saving options are still available. You only have to remember to, e.g. go back to your bed from time to time or to pay for a visit in a bathhouse. The option to save your game upon exiting is still available but remember that this save is deleted automatically when you resume the game.
- World exploration. In hardcore mode you can't use your compass or check Henry's location on the map. Fast travel is also impossible. These problems can be less troublesome if you have already played the game for several dozens of hours and you know the world map. Thanks to that you will be able to recognize familiar places. However, even if you know the game, you still need to make small change to your playstyle. We recommend planning your route before each longer journey. You should also stick to the main roads. Another thing that can help you is to know that the sun raises on the east and goes down on the west. Also, the game still allows you to place custom markers on the map. However, they appear on the (inactive) compass only when you get closer to them.
- Combat. Fights in hardcore mode are more realistic. The main difference is that hits deal more damage and that armor plays a bigger role (both for Henry and his enemies). What is more, hardcore mode doesn't offer any hints known from the "normal" mode that inform you about directions of enemy attacks which give you a chance to perform a perfect block. You have to observe your enemies yourself and read their moves. Enemies are now also better at fighting in groups. Try to avoid unnecessary fights and solve conflicts peacefully. You also shouldn't fight with more than one enemy at a time. Enemies with high-quality armor and weapons are also more dangerous now. Remember that the entire main storyline can be completed with only one kill (Runt).
- Hero's main stats. You can't check your current health and stamina levels. The only information that you get are additional "effects" such as blood on the screen which appears after receiving serious damage or your character's heavy breathing and blue tint on the screen indicating that your stamina bar is almost empty. Health regeneration is now also hindered. Food and potions regenerate your health with a delay. Sleep is a better solution. Another change is that you can't eat from the cooking pots. You need to find, buy or steal food in other ways.
- Repairing items. All repairs are now more expensive. Also, worn-out equipment is less efficient when compared to the normal difficulty. Limit situations where your equipment can get damaged to minimum (don't participate in too many fights and don't let your enemies hit you). Another good solution is to leave high-quality equipment for later - high repair costs can ruin your budget. You should also start using grindstones earlier to be able to repair your weapons yourself.
- Collecting gold. Hardcore mode limits the amount of gold that you can find or receive as a reward. You also get less gold when you sell items. Because of that you should think carefully before each bigger purchase. Also, you should check out if a particular item can be acquired in other way (e.g. through exploration or thievery).
How to know the location of your character on the map? - using the markers from A Bird in the Hand side quest
While in hardcore mode, you can't check your current location on the map. However, this can be solved by a clever use of items related to one of the quests - A Bird in the Hand which can be unlocked by speaking with Huntsman Berthold in Rattay (this character is presented in the picture above). The Huntsman gives you a quest in which you have to catch three nightingales. However, the most important part is that he gives you bird cages.
This solution is clever and very simple. After placing a bird cage the game adds its marker on the world map - the picture above shows an example. Thanks to that you can check your current location with ease. Remember to pick up a cage after checking your current position.
Note - This mechanism can only work when A Bird in the Hand quest is set as active.