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From Diablo 4 Wiki

Hardcore is a game mode that was introduced to the Diablo franchise in Diablo 2 and has become a feature of the series since it first appeared returning in Diablo 3.

Hardcore in Diablo 4

Selecting Hardcore

When creating a new character, player have the choice of selecting a character to be a hardcore character or a normal softcore character.

How it works

Hardcore characters are identical to normal/regular ("Softcore") characters in every way but one; when a hardcore character dies, that's it. There is no resurrection, no restarting in town. They're mortal. When a hardcore character dies, all gear and everything in the inventory is lost forever.

To thrive at hardcore it requires dedication and resilience, and successful hardcore players have a different mindset about how to approach the game.

The real die-hard players often select Hardcore as it ups the ante requiring a more cautious play style. This means more casual players often never opt to create a hardcore character.

Hardcore PvP

Hardcore PvP in Diablo 4 will be particularly brutal. If you die as a hardcore character in the game, your character will be lost forever. Taking on PvP as a hardcore character is not for the faint-hearted.