Diablo 4's first player to reach level 100 on Hardcore loses character to server disconnect

While they were still recognized by Blizzard, an unfortunate disconnect and the rules of Hardcore killed a character that had 82-hours of playtime.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Diablo 4’s fastest and most stalwart champion met with a cruel fate in the game this week. After Blizzard had announced a race to achieve level 100 in Hardcore Mode (where if your character dies, it’s permanent and you have to start a new character), Barbarian player cArn achieved the result. However, as he continued onward from the achievement, cArn’s 82-hour strong Barbarian was eventually slain, not by the actual in-game content, but by a server disconnect.

This incident was shared by cArn themselves as they were streaming on Twitch at the time, as spotted by PCGamesN. After achieving level 100 on Hardcore in Diablo 4 in the contest laid out by Blizzard, cArn went for the final boss of the game. Unfortunately, on his way there, technical issues struck, the enemies in the game suddenly locked up and started running in place and a few moments later, the game disconnected entirely. Blizzard’s built-in rules on Hardcore treat a disconnect as a death to prevent players from trying to cheese the system when low on health by logging out. So, when cArn was able to log in again, he found his character had been wiped.

Diablo 4's tweet recognizing cArn for being the first to achieve level 100 in Hardcore Mode
Fortunately, cArn was recognized by Blizzard for achieving level 100 on Hardcore in Diablo 4 before a server issue ended their run.
Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Luckily, cArn was able to reach level 100 before the disconnect happened. They have been recognized by Blizzard as the winner of the contest. However, it’s also a highly disappointing end to an incredible run. CArn put 82 hours into their character and wasn’t even defeated by anything the game’s content had to offer. It also begs the question of how many other players’ runs were ended in such a manner. Given that Diablo 4 is a live-service game, disconnects that can destroy runs with dozens of hours logged is less than ideal, even if the game is quite fun in critical review.

Diablo 4 franchise general manager Rod Fergusson already confirmed that several expansions are already in the works for the game, but Blizzard might want to make the servers airtight first, especially if the game continues to have contests that demand dozens of hours of playtime.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at tj.denzer@shacknews.com and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      June 7, 2023 8:12 AM

      Connectivity is the endgame boss now.

      • reply
        June 7, 2023 4:00 PM

        This is the reason you buy 3 different fibre optic connections, get an active starlink and a good old POTS modem as backup when you play Diablo Hardcore.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 8:17 AM

      This headline summarizes a major reason I never play Hardcore mode.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 8:22 AM

      There reasoning and action doesn't make sense where a disconnect instantly kills you to prevent cheesing. WoW has this problem solved already where if you disconnect your character stays in game for at least a minute or so. This easily prevents people from trying to cheese but if a rando disconnect happens and the player can get back in and isn't dead there isn't a problem.

      It's literally a solved problem another one of their own games has.

      • reply
        June 7, 2023 11:31 AM

        I’m pretty sure that claim that a disconnect is treated as death is misleading. AFAIK, it works the exact same way as WoW where a disconnect has the character linger in game and vulnerable to attack until timeout.

        In fact, during cArn_’s race his team noticed him DC and he almost died. They had to take up defensive positions around him intercepting projectiles to keep him alive until his rejoined.

        The problem is that ARPG’s are more rippy and it’s a lot easier to die during that timeout period if you aren’t using potions and moving around.

        I’m personally not a HC player, but Blizzard needs to come up with a different solution unless they plan to eventually alienate all HC players.

        • reply
          June 7, 2023 11:38 AM

          If that's the case then it's ok and normal. Dying instantly would be madness.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 8:28 AM

      Gahhhhh that really sucks :(

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 9:07 AM

      I was thinking about that on release day and them taking the server down for an update at primetime Pacific... Although doubt many players started with a hardcore character initially

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 9:18 AM

      You couldn’t ask for a more perfect allegory about the undeniable risk of GaaS

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 9:29 AM

      you get instakilled on a disconnect? lol

      absolute dogshit game design

      • reply
        June 7, 2023 11:20 AM

        No he died to lagging out. You really think they would design a game that way?

        • reply
          June 7, 2023 12:25 PM

          > Blizzard’s built-in rules on Hardcore treat a disconnect as a death to prevent players from trying to cheese the system

          • reply
            June 7, 2023 12:25 PM

            It is as stupid as it fucking sounds

          • reply
            June 7, 2023 1:14 PM

            Is this actually true though? I'm trying to find other instances of that happening, seems like a lot of people would be complaining about losing characters in hardcore if this were the case. Watched the twitch clip of the guy getting disconnected and he was mid-combat, so are we sure his character didn't just get killed by enemies while disconnected?

            I read somewhere else that getting disconnected in hardcore mode will automatically consume a scroll of escape if you have one in your inventory which could save your character. But why would your character need to be "saved" if disconnecting in hardcore automatically deletes your character?

            • reply
              June 7, 2023 1:20 PM

              Make a hardcore character and unplug your computer and see what happens!

              • reply
                June 7, 2023 1:26 PM

                I may try that tonight (just got D4 yesterday) - I'm on PS5 though but it should still work the same

                • reply
                  June 7, 2023 2:40 PM

                  Oh it looks like if you have a "scroll of escape" you won't die on disconnect.

                  Sounds like a monetization opportunity.

                  Sell scrolls of escape to hardcore players.

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 3:10 PM

                    I started a hardcore character and pulled the plug on my PS5 and disconnected. Reconnected and hardcore character is still available. I think the statement on the shacknews article is wrong, I think the guy just got disconnected while fighting and the monsters killed him. I don’t think it’s an instakill on disconnect.

                    • reply
                      June 7, 2023 3:30 PM

                      Just did it again in a clear part of a dungeon and character is still alive and playable.

                      • reply
                        June 7, 2023 3:39 PM

                        I presume if you're engaged with even one monster though, maybe *that* triggers death?

                        Even if that monster can hardly harm you or something like that. Like some kind of "engaged = death" ruleset

                        • reply
                          June 7, 2023 3:40 PM

                          Or maybe TJ Denzer can explain where he heard about this

                        • reply
                          June 7, 2023 3:53 PM

                          This is the clip I alluded to up above.


                          The exact same player cArn_ DC'd while they were still in the race at only level 53. Once his team noticed, they stood around him to help intercept any projectiles and protect him until he DC'd. To me it seems to act exactly like WoW and other online games do, where a disconnect leaves your player standing there until you timeout. Aside from this article, I haven't seen anywhere else where it's reported that disconnecting kills HC players automatically. Just that it's not safe to do so.

                          If you rewind a little you can hear all of Zizaran's comments about the struggles with HC characters right now, including the dangers of DC'ing and some really bad bugs.

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 3:15 PM

                    Sell functional enhancements after committing to only selling cosmetics so that you can target the 0.1% of hardcore players. Can’t fail

                    • reply
                      June 7, 2023 3:38 PM


                      the functional enhancements are coming eventually

                      that's not really a question

                      don't get too bent out of shape was just an observation re: an item that at least appeared to exist to ameliorate a really weird design choice

                      though it seems the article may simply be wrong

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 3:24 PM

                    You get scrolls of escape from killing enemies in hardcore mode… I can’t find it anywhere on the store, I think it’s ingame drop only. And the scroll of escape just teleports you to a different part of the map, doesn’t prevent death or anything, you could still die after using it

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 4:08 PM

                    wait a sec. *that's not hardcore*....

                    they shouldn't have this item in hardcore mode.

                    • reply
                      June 7, 2023 4:31 PM

                      Eh, D3 was loaded with ways to cheat death for hardcore players. It doesn't shock me they'd include something special to soften the pain of an always-online game.

              • reply
                June 7, 2023 4:02 PM

                this isn't even all that hard to test. you can use a baby lvl 1 hardcore character to test

          • reply
            June 7, 2023 1:19 PM

            They probably can't differentiate between an intentional or unintentional disconnect

            • reply
              June 7, 2023 2:36 PM

              I mean - a disconnect *usually* meant you died anyway because your char hung around the game a bit longer. But there was always a chance you'd escape or be saved due to players around you cleaning up the mess, or maybe your pets cleaned some action up, or who knows

              But just, oh no - DC? You're dead?

              That's kind of unhinged. It has to be wrong. It's so insane it has to be.

        • reply
          June 7, 2023 1:16 PM

          Yes? Otherwise you just build a reflex for logging out when things get dicey (out of potions, etc) and cheat the mode

          • reply
            June 7, 2023 1:27 PM

            Seems like something a logout timer could fix pretty easily if people are logging out to escape death... MMOs did this decades ago. And pulling the plug should just cause character to stand there and get beat up by enemies until connection times out.

            • reply
              June 7, 2023 1:35 PM

              I mean that’s certainly an option but is it meaningfully different? Log out is death vs log out means your character is still in game for 30s? They’re pretty functionally equivalent. Anyone disconnected in an uncleared area is liable to die while the logout timer runs and they’ll be unhappy.

              Anyone playing hardcore knows this is a risk just like dying to a lag spike is a risk. You can mitigate it somewhat with smart design but there’s some inevitable amount of bullshit deaths that are going to happen.

              • reply
                June 7, 2023 2:19 PM

                I think the topic is getting obscured. The statement was that hardcore players get instakilled on disconnect. The supposed reason for this is so players don't abuse disconnecting to avoid death in hardcore mode. I was just saying that a logout timer would achieve the same goal but also wouldn't punish players who get disconnected in safe areas by having their character instakilled for disconnecting.

                • reply
                  June 7, 2023 3:05 PM

                  I assume the insta kill on disconnect is specifically about the behavior in unsafe areas since otherwise how do you even quit the game?

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 3:20 PM

                    So it’s not instakill on disconnect then… it’s just the player getting killed by enemies while the character stands there and eventually times out. Which is totally fine.

                    The wording in the shacknews article seems to imply that simply disconnecting from the game instantly kills your character on disconnect to prevent cheating but it just seems like the same case as any online game where your character stands there inactive for a bit and gets killed by enemies because connection dropped.

                    I mean it sounded stupid to me which is why I questioned if that’s the case in the first place, which it isn’t. There is a “leave game” option in the game menu which is how I imagine they want you to log out

                    • reply
                      June 7, 2023 3:42 PM

                      I'm wondering whether it's a function of aggro. DC + aggro = death. The thing that's odd / crummy about that, is you can be in a multiplayer situation where others can save you fairly often. So then the question becomes, does DC w/ aggro always mean death? Or is the article just totally full of shit and you're just lingering in the game, like every other game

                    • reply
                      June 7, 2023 4:14 PM

                      I mean it obviously can’t literally be “insta kill on disconnect” in all cases or you can’t quit the game. I don’t think it’d be weird to call it that when it applies outside town

                      • reply
                        June 7, 2023 4:24 PM

                        Well, we're not saying "disconnect" in such a generic sense. It's typically coming with the context "unexpectedly lose internet access mid-game"

              • reply
                June 7, 2023 2:34 PM

                One is not *necessarily* always in combat. What if you're in a cleared area? Have on an invulnerable mode?

                I suppose I'm just a bit baffled whether they really took the approach of "DC = Death" or if there is more nuance here that was lost in the phrasing of the article.

                I mean, it just seems kind of insane to me. I presume it *has* to care about whether you have aggro from a mob, but even still. Sometimes you only have one mob left. Sometimes you're in an easier area. Surely flattening everything to death is killing more characters than a 30s timeout might

                • reply
                  June 7, 2023 3:08 PM

                  Given that it’s an optional mode called hardcore whose design is to make you lose 10-100s of hours of progress due to a lag spike I suspect that given an option between optimizing for ease/comfort and integrity of the mode they’ll just do the latter.

                  Death on disconnect outside a safe area is a very easy rule for players to understand. Blizzard can then optimize for reducing disconnects and not need to worry about optimizing for loading times to help hardcore players reconnect before a timer expires or whatever.

                  • reply
                    June 7, 2023 3:44 PM

                    > whose design is to make you lose 10-100s of hours of progress due to a lag spike

                    lol derelict do you need help

              • reply
                June 7, 2023 3:09 PM

                I mean what if you DC when you're in a safe area? Should that be death?

      • reply
        June 7, 2023 3:17 PM

        Isn't it more than if you get disconnected and *then* get killed, they don't revert the death?

        • reply
          June 7, 2023 4:26 PM

          I think this is pretty much the conclusion.

          > Blizzard’s built-in rules on Hardcore treat a disconnect as a death to prevent players from trying to cheese the system

          Is simply wrong.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 10:46 AM

      Thats the biggest reason I'd never play hardcore

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 11:24 AM

      Shocker. The only reason most of these guys lose them is due to that lol

    • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      June 7, 2023 12:05 PM

      Honestly surprising he made it to 100 before that happened. Lucky for him he pulled it off before the full launch. Doing a hardcore race on launch day is a game of russian roulette.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 12:16 PM

      Peer has returned from the depths of IRC to reset your D4 connection, and at a high cost.

    • DM7 legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
      June 7, 2023 12:29 PM

      I love to play Hardcore, I know my character is going to die at some point. So I’m not mad when death eventually comes. Even if it’s a disconnect.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 1:21 PM

      At least he got to 100. Imagine getting disconnected at 99 right when you’re about to ding lol.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 3:15 PM

      happens every day on COD

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 3:27 PM

      Yeah I would've already lost 4 HC characters to lag/disconnects/skills de-sync-ing AND a memory leak.
      Fuck that noise.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 3:47 PM

      why don't they like, rewind the game state a minute or two when resuming from an unplanned outage? at least for characters that died during that time

      • reply
        June 7, 2023 3:49 PM

        Eh, probably localized internet issues that can't be accounted for with a system like that.

        I mean - I think we're as a thread coming to the conclusion that the article is wrong. I normally would have just assumed as much if I saw a statement like that in a Reddit post but I assumed the Shack reporting was based on at least loosely confirmed information.

        Maybe there are some caveats to the DC death situation that make the statement loosely correct but I'm guessing not.

        • reply
          June 7, 2023 3:55 PM

          well yeah, i wouldn't expect them to account for that, but for server instability I'd think they could. I assumed that was the issue that caused the disconnection, but I guess the article doesn't specify.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 3:59 PM

      oh man as someone predicted here on the server slam thread.

    • reply
      June 7, 2023 4:06 PM

      well, the player made at least 2 records, first player to reach HC lvl 100 and first player of HC lvl 100 to die.

Hello, Meet Lola