Hard Mode is a new difficulty that was added along with Patch 1.5.0. Like the name implies it was created to make the game more difficult for players who wanted a challenge. It can be chosen upon starting a new game and can be changed back and forth by going to the advanced settings in the play game menu.
There is also a Nightmare mode which all of the changes (like tougher enemies) are increased dramatically.
Hard Mode Difficulty Changes
- Crane now has less stamina requiring you to rest more often in order to run and attack.
- Using medkits now heals over time instead of healing instantly.
- Special zombies now no longer appear on your mini-map.
- Enemies now deal more damage and get a damage resist boost, meaning you will die more quickly and enemies have more chances to end you. This also include damage over time effect you receive from monsters as well.
- All weapons now break much more often.
- Survivor Sense now only highlights dropped weapons and Volatiles during the night.
- Your flashlight now dims over time and shuts down on its own and has to be turned back on. (Verified)
- Supplies are much more scarce so you will have to spend more time searching for needed supplies.
- The night is twice as long.
- Your health and energy regenerate at a much slower rate.
- Rais's Men now appear near Airdrops sooner.
- Entering the inventory no longer pauses the game.
- Merchants at safehouses no longer sell firearm ammunition and crafting supplies. Merchants at random encounters may still sell crafting supplies.
- There is a very small chance to obtain gold-tier weapons from chests with a Hard lock-picking difficulty or higher, from the back of police vans, from merchants and from Demolishers.
- A new melee weapon rarity is available to be found on Hard mode, you have 1/1000 chance of finding gold-tier weapons from Hard chests or Police Vans.
- Decreased chance of finding higher quality tier weapons compared to Normal mode, in order to compensate the chance of finding gold-tier weapons. This means you'll be seeing blue rarity melee weapons more common.
Tips for Surviving Hard Mode
- Spike traps are your friends. Everything, except Goons and Demolishers will die instantly when impaled, including Volatiles.
- Fire is your best friend. There is nothing except water that cannot burn and rotting corpses are perfect kindling.
- Weapons should be used when all else fails or you will find yourself in deep when you have no way to defend yourself.
- Skills should only be updated in safety since you can now be attacked while improving yourself. The same goes for crafting and upgrading, thus one has to be prepared before heading out.
- When the Antizin falls, you better run, or else Rais' henchmen will get your needed supplies instead.
- The night is both a blessing and a curse. You have longer to wait and hide from the things that go bump in the night, but you also have more time to improve yourself. Know your limitations.
- Watch your health, you are only human after all.
- You can quickly gain survival points by doing parts of the quarantine zone and leave the zone, all the disaster package can be turned to quarter masters, and there are no limit on number of times you can repeat quarantine zones.
- It is recommend to get the agility tree perk "Ultimate Runner" to ensure the player will not have to cease running to recover stamina.
- All Legend skill-tree experience on Hard mode is increased by 2.5x which is 5x at the night time. You lose 25 % of your total Legend experience towards next rank upon death.
- When you die, you can only lose experience towards the next rank, not the rank itself. So if you die with 0 experience, you'll lose nothing.
- Note: To players who like to play more recklessly and thus risk dying a lot, but don't want to lose their experience, it's advised that they avoid delivering DROP(s) to Quartermaster until they have enough packages to pass the next rank, it's most safe and efficient way of progressing your Survivor and Legend skill-trees.
- After Survivor skill-tree is maxed out, the Legend experience you receive from delivering DROP(s) to Quartermaster is increased on Hard mode, even if the DROP(s) were obtained on Normal mode.
Hard Mode Rewards
Upon completion of story you will unlock two Outfits.
- Zombie Wannabe.
The rewards may break if you change the difficulty to Normal mode, or join other players before you reach 100 % story completion to unlock rewards. The rewards will not break if you upgrade the difficulty to Nightmare mode.
The rewards on each difficulty can be attained by starting NG+.