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The major part of this guide is written by @Username#7620 and @mazunki [they/them]#3247 on the Discord community. If you got any questions, or anything is wrong make sure to shout out to either one of us. Feel free to edit the guide, or add stuff to it too.
Thanks to everyone in #hardcore-mode-chat for making this possible. :)
Food is vital to a HCCO account and your first food source (and one that you will be relying on for quite a while) is plants. Starting out, you should fight plants for the potatoes they drop and to increase your combat levels. Note about ATK vs STR vs DEF: All three combat skills are very useful to level in their own ways. ATK increases your chance to hit and unlocks new weapons to use, STR increases your maximum hit, and DEF increases your chance to not get hit (which saves you food). In general, they should all be leveled equally. DEF should be your first combat skill that you level, as it greatly reduces the amount of damage that you will take from plants (roughly by half). ATK should be second and STR should be last (since you have a low chance to hit, it’s more important to level ATK rather than STR). Weapons in this game have different attack speeds depending on their type. Daggers attack quickly, with an attack speed of 2.2 seconds, and Battleaxes attack slowly, with an attack speed of 3.1 seconds, for instance. Weapons that attack more slowly also deal more damage per hit and weapons that hit quickly usually do less damage per hit.
There are different styles in the game, depending on the weapon you’re wielding. Melee weapons, which will be our main focus for the first part, have Stab, Slash and Block. Each style gets a bonus to the accuracy rating depending on the specific weapon. Swords usually have a better stabbing accuracy, while scimitars are better at slashing, for instance. The style you choose will also give you experience towards the combat skill in question: Stabbing gives Attack experience, Slashing gives Strength experience, while Blocking is used to train Defence. During the beginning of HCCO, you’ll have to eat manually to ensure that you won’t die. Later on, you’ll be able to automatically eat food so eating will be less of a worry.
Chapter 0: Your first gear
Start: Naked End: 4 steel pieces
You should get to about 10 in all melee combat skills (usually expressed as 10/10/10) by fighting plants and then it’s time to start getting your first gear.
Chapter 0—I: Starting naked
After you have a decent stack of food, it’s time to get your first pieces of gear from the Golbin. You should have some levels in all skills (10/10/10 or so) and about a hundred potatoes or so. You’re looking for a Bronze Battleaxe (1 in 27 chance) and a Bronze Shield (1 in 27 chance). If you get unlucky, don’t worry. Just kill plants for food until you’re able to get both. Plants have very low HP, so having a faster weapon allows you to kill them faster, as you don’t need more than 20 damage to kill a plant. So, your next goal after your Bronze Battleaxe is an Iron Dagger. You should have about 15/15/15 stats and a few hundred potatoes. The Iron Dagger has a 1/33 drop rate from the Goo Monster. Your next gear upgrades will come from Zombie Hand. You’re looking for the Iron Platebody (1 in 4 chance) and Iron Platelegs (1 in 4 chance). Some people might go for the Steel Knight first, but since the Zombie Hand has a better chance for gear, it’s recommended to do it first. You should have about 20/20/20 stats for this and, once again, a large stack of taters. After you kill the Zombie Hand, you should then move on to the regular Zombie for the Steel Platebody (1 in 5 chance). It also drops Steel Boots (1 in 5 chance), but you shouldn’t grind for them since Steel Knights are easier to get them from the Steel Knight. (20/20/20 stats recommended) You’ll end the first part of your HCCO journey with Steel Knights. They drop the Steel Helmet (15 in 67 chance), Steel Shield (10 in 67 chance), Steel Sword (10 in 67 chance), and Steel Scimitar (4 in 67 chance). You should be using the Steel Sword on ATK and DEF and the Scimitar on STR when killing most monsters, but again, daggers should be used on plants due to the fast attack rate. The Mirror Shield is a useful item to get around here, but if you decide not to get it, you can avoid ever getting tasks in the Strange Cave
Chapter II: Mithril armor
Start: 5x Steel Armour, 10/10/10, Steel Scimitar End: Amulet of Looting, AE1, 5x Mithril Armor, 40/40/40, Ice Sword, Adamant Dagger
The next Knight after Steel is Black, but should skip it, as the drop chances are very low, and the next tier is not much harder anyway.
But before you visit the Mithril Knight you'll want to take a detour to fight the Mummy for Amulet of Strength and Gold Emerald Ring to fill out your neck and ring slots. Your next step, therefore, is Mithril Knights. Because they only drop gear a quarter of the time when killed (on average), it can take quite a while to get a full mithril set. You will probably get boots (25 in 268) and helmets (15 in 268) quite often, and the eventual platelegs (5 in 268). The platebody has quite a low drop-chance (1 in 568). This is quite the trend on these knights. Before getting the platebody you will probably get both a scimitar (1 in 67) and a shield (5/134), too, so equip these once dropped, for a decent upgrade. You may equip the sword, too, but I’d stick with the Scimitar for now, to efficiently level up your Strength skill before practically perma-equipping the Ice Sword for a long while. The last thing to consider before moving on to the Ice Monster is to potentially getting an Amulet of Calculated Promotion from Leech while your name is set to "witwix", however this is only a 1% chance, so you might instead want to put it off until later. As mentioned, you will want to get the Ice Sword after getting full Mithril armor, or even before getting the platebody, as it is a really good upgrade at this point. It is practically a cold Rune Sword, in stats, except it is slightly better defensively than offensively. The drop rate is 10% at the Ice Monster over at the Icy Hills. Huge. If you’re around level 30, you will use around 80 tarters per monster. Because of variance, you might get it on your first kill or your 20th, but don’t be discouraged. Also, the Ice Sword is better at grinding Strength than all weapons from a lower tier, meaning that the next best strength weapon after.
Now, before you go away from the computer, or to sleep, it’s time to upgrade your dagger. At the Purple Goo Monster you can get a cheap Adamant Dagger. Going from 429 to 444 Potatoes/hour? Good business.
Chapter II—A: Looting Amulet
The Looting Amulet is a special amulet which automatically loots gear acquired from Combat Areas and Slayer Areas. You may get it from the Spider Chest, with a 1/22 chance. Due to the nature of HCCO, you will spend a lot of potatoes in the early game (and beyond, too), so you might want to rush this item in order to ease the grind for food as soon as possible.
By using Mithril Armor, and having around 40 melee stats, it will take you around 500 taters per run of the Spider Forest. Before you start running the dungeon, you should have a buffer of at least a thousand potatoes, just because RNG might be on your bad side.
It is quite possible to beat the zone without having any form of Auto Eat, and just make sure you time your manual eating right, since the damage of the spiders in the area is not too high.
Don’t do this, please
Otherwise, if you really don’t want to manual the dungeon, you should know the base max damage of the zone is 142, requiring 710 hp for AE1, 480 hp for AE2. This requires 6 million gold, which would require around 30 hours of active gameplay at Master Farmer, since you still don’t have auto looting. Bad idea.
Chapter II—B: Auto Eat 1
As soon as you have your hands on an Amulet of Looting, you can start to make money. A relevant point to make here, is that money making at this stage is a compromise between risk and reward. Consider the time it takes to farm up the food you need, and the time it takes to farm the gold you want.
The safest way to make money, for now, is to kill Cows, collecting their leather, and upgrading it into Green Leather through the shop. The selling price for Leather is 50 GP, while the selling price for Green Leather is 200 GP. By upgrading it, you effectively get 100 GP per piece of Leather.
Assuming you’ve got the Ice Sword, the average gold yield per cow is 203 GP.
This chapter ends when you’re 40/40/40. Use Adamant Dagger for idling plants, and Ice Sword for tougher enemies.
Chapter III: Mithril to adamant (g) + rune boots (g) + rune gloves
Start: Amulet of Looting, AE1, 5x Mithril Armor, 40/40/40, Ice Sword, Adamant Dagger End: 4x (G) Adamant Armor, 1x (G) Rune Boots, 1x Rune Gloves, 70/40/70
How does it feel to be able to get FREE FOOD overnight?
While your next target is necessarily Adamant Knights, you should know that leveling attack and defense up to 50 from your 40 stats will effectively reduce your (raw, without AE efficiency loss) potato per knight count from 170 to 120. additionally, if you decided not to get the Amulet of Calculated Promotion previously, you should definitely get it now, since you'll have extremely low accuracy on the next two knights.
Important note: DO NOT IDLE KNIGHTS. Make sure to always have more HP than the max hit of the enemy, and try to eat food right after your attack timer ends, so you don’t reset an attack in progress. Eat until full HP, or at least until you have enough HP to survive any attack. The 2.6s interval of the Adamant Knight is not really a danger provided you’re PAYING ATTENTION and have enough food.
Your Ice Sword is great for leveling Attack, and your dagger is fine for leveling defense. You may do this at Statue, in preparation to gear upgrades, and thus your first Damage Reduction points!!
Each Adamant piece has a 1/48 chance of dropping, which, mind you, is much better than the drop chances of Rune Knight. Good luck on that! While you don’t really care about the Green Boots nor the Obsidian Cape, you may as well equip them once you get them. It will be a while until you replace the Cape for anything else, but there’s no point wasting Silver/ Gold bars on the Boots. You will get Rune Boots quickly anyway.
Upgrade the Equipment you get to (G) Adamant as soon as you get them, since each piece gives you 4% damage reduction.
Now, grind up enough Slayer Coins for the Desert Hat, and 50 Slayer levels, so you can gain access to the Arid Plains. You may as well kill Master Farmers, for Gold Coins; or hit some Statues for some Gold and Silver Bars, which are both Easy Slayer Tasks, meaning they’re free to reroll.
Now, why would you want to unlock Arid Plains? Well, there’s a few reasons:
- Sand Treaders at Turkul Riders — -0.1s to all attacks? Great for plants.
- Rune Boots at Turkul Riders — Excellent upgrade, easier to get than from Rune Knights.
- Desert Wrappings at Turkul Archers — 2% dr gloves, best until Paladin Gloves.
Also, you don’t even need to manual these two enemies! After getting these upgrades, you should keep on to your hat (literally!), because your next weapon upgrade comes from the Turkul Giant at the same area. You could also sell the hat, and rebuy it a bit later. The Slayer Coin cost is not too huge. Farm up enough Gold to upgrade your Auto Eat to Tier II at Master Farmer. With Auto-Eat II you can idle Turkul Giants, provided you have 23% dr and level 50 HP. With this, upgrade your weapon into the Dragon Scimitar or, even better, the Desert Sabre.
Farming at Master Farmer
The Master Farmer gives a total of 14 unique items. You want to prioritize your bank slots for the most rewarding items, taking the price and drop rate into account. This mainly comprises the Tree Seeds, requiring 5 slots. By reserving five slots for the Master Farmer grind, you get a total of 84% of the gold drops. That’s around 809 gp per kill.
Oak Tree Seeds > Willow Tree Seeds > Maple Tree Seeds > Yew Tree Seeds > Magic Tree Seeds > Compost > Sweetcorn Seeds > Tomato Seeds > Strawberry Seeds.
And it was done.
Chapter IV: Adamant to full rune (g)
Start: 4x (G) Adamant Armour, 1x (G) Rune Boots, 1x Rune Gloves, 70/40/70 End: 5x (G) Rune Armour, 1x Paladin Gloves, Elite Amulet of Strength. 70/80/80, Sunset Rapier / Ancient Claw, AE3
The first thing you should do in this part of the story is to upgrade your Amulet of Strength into an Elite one, simply by farming more Mummies. On average you need to kill around a thousand of them. You may wait to get the Paladin Gloves until after getting Rune Armor, or you may get it already. At this point you will use around 65 potatoes per Paladin kill, and the chance to get them is 1/171. Not too hard.
The next step is to farm the feared shiny Rune Knights, and upgrade your four armor pieces into (G) Rune pieces, for a total of 29% damage reduction with the Paladin Gloves. You will need a bunch of Gold and Silver pieces, farmed at Statue. You may get Auto Eat III now, or after the 2nd loadout slot, and consider getting the 3rd and last loadout slot while at it too.
Assuming you already have 60 Slayer (and if you don't, then go get it; Giant Crab tasks are your friend here), the last thing to get before moving onto the next section is a better weapon. Deep Sea Ship is your next stop for a Sunset Rapier to speed up killing Pegasus. You'll be killing around 3300 of them to get 100 Ancient Claw Fragment which can be upgraded into the Ancient Claw. This will be a great weapon until you upgrade it to the Infernal Claw, which is still well off. Don't bother getting any Dragon Claw Fragment from Griffin yet, as they will just take up space. If you're lucky enough to get an Ancient Sword before the Sunset Rapier, then feel free to use it until you get to Volcanic Cave, as it will drastically reduce your food consumption and the associated food farming time. After that, you'll probably only want to use it outside dungeons due to the high monster damage reducing the benefits of the lifesteal.
Chapter V: Rune (g) to ancient (g)
Start: 5x (G) Rune Armour, 1x Paladin Gloves, Elite Amulet of Strength. 70/80/80, Sunset Rapier / Ancient Claw, AE3 End: 4x (G) Ancient Armour, 1x Paladin Gloves, Elite Amulet of Defence, 90/99/90, Dragonfire Shield, Sandstorm Ring
Elite Amulet of Defence from upgrading Amulets of Defence, which are dropped by Purple Goo Monsters, and Silver Diamond Ring, dropped by Mummies, are our best friends for now; the limiting factor for the remaining dungeons is how much DR you have access to.
Now that you've got full Rune (G) and Paladin Gloves for 32% DR, 88 hitpoints will allow you to idle Volcanic Cave for your first useful cape, the Fire Cape. At this point, you can expect to eat around 3000 Potatoes per kill without prayer.
You're probably noticing that potatoes just won't cut it for food anymore, so switching to Sweaty Monsters for Salmon and Lobster will reduce your overall time spent farming food. Expect to get food equivalent to 10.2 hp/kill in Salmon, 6.25 hp/kill in Lobster, and 2.3 hp/kill in Shark. Swapping food sources often means that saving all 3 types of fish might not be worth it for some players.
Hopefully you find the Volcanic Cave comfortable, as the goal is to get the Ancient Platebody, Ancient Platelegs, Ancient Helmet, and Ancient Shield. There are no Ancient Boots and Dragon Boots are unobtainable on HCCO (as is the Dragon Helmet,) so you'll continue rocking your (G) Rune Boots for quite awhile. Getting the Dragon Platebody and/or Dragon Platelegs is only useful if you plan to upgrade them to (G), as you still need the extra DR that comes from the (G) upgrade. Once you get your full Ancient Armor, make another visit to Statues to finish off gathering Gold Bars and Silver Bars and upgrade everything to (G). Luckily the Elite Chests you've been opening also drop plenty of Silver Bars and Gold Bars. In total, you'll need 6000 Silver Bars and 10,000 Gold Bars for full (G) Ancient Armor. If you get all the Silver Bars you need, move to Purple Goo Monsters for faster Gold Bars. You can also hold onto the Amulets of Fury for the Fury of the Elemental Zodiacs grind later; you'll need 10 furies in total.
After getting the (G) Ancient Shield, there's nothing stopping you from immediately upgrading it again to the Dragonfire Shield, so head to the Green Dragons to get 7050 Dragon Bones. You can alternatively wait until getting some range levels, as Green Dragons are slightly weaker to mage and range than to melee, but at this level, you shouldn't have any trouble, and the 8% DR of the DFS will be very useful as a mage and range offhand for God dungeons.
Another grind that can be done around this time is the Sandstorm Ring from Sand Beasts, which will be your best-in-slot melee dps ring. (Note that as of v0.21, the Sandstorm Ring can no longer be used to cheese early range and mage training; the special attack is now melee only.)
Once you have full (G) Ancient Armor and DFS for 43% DR (or 40% with looting and Sandstorm Ring, it's time to grind any remaining melee skills to ideally at least 90/99/90 while working your way towards 70 slayer for your next food upgrade - Trout from Raging Horned Elites or RHE; you can also take advantage of the Gold Emerald Ring from Mummies to speed up stat grinding. Once you get to this point, you can expect 447.8 hp in food for every kill! Once you start killing RHE, hold onto the Ancient Arrows they drop as they're your best arrows, even though they can't be equipped until level 70 Ranged. Additionally, the Large Horns that they drop will likely replace Master Farmers for GP farming, as the GP/hr is about the same (not to mention the food, arrows, and prayer points you're getting), with a much lower bank demand.
Ranged is quite straightforward, but we’ve been putting it off for mainly two reasons: It doesn’t provide any real benefit until you start fighting wizards, or other magic monsters, and getting its gear without having the space in your bank or loadouts for the gear and weapon(s) will be annoying.
Get your first two bows (level 5 lets you use Oak Shortbow) from the Ranged Golbin over at the Golbin Village, and use the Ice Arrows from the Frozen Archer over at the Icy Hills. These are almost as strong as Rune Arrows, which you can start to use at level 40, but are much easier and cheaper to farm, and can be equipped from the very beginning. Literally all your next weapon upgrades, except if you go out of your way to get the Yew Longbow from the Holy Archer at level 40, will come from the Bandit Chest. At level 30 you can upgrade to the Maple Longbow, at level 50 you can use the Magic Longbow, and finally you will get to use the Redwood Longbow and the Ancient Longbow at levels 60 and 70.
An alternative (but less efficient) route for early ranged training is to kill Thieves in the Runic Ruins for throwing knives, which, due to their higher attack speed and inherent 15% ammunition saving, can help with early training.
Once you get into higher levels you may consider using the Adamant (worse than Ice), Rune and Dragon Arrows you’ve collected from the Bandit Chest. If you’re farming Raging Horned Elite for food you may also use Ancient Arrows in ranged combat after level 70.
Most of your ranged armor upgrades will come from the Spider Forest, moving through Green D'hide at level 40, Blue D'hide at level 50, Red D'hide at level 60, and finally into Black D'hide at level 70. Upgrading ranged armor is much easier than for melee armor, as you can buy Leather from the shop, which can then be used to buy Green, Blue, and Red dragon leathers for upgrading their respective armor tiers. Alternatively, killing dragons in the Dragon Valley can provide all chromatic dragonhide, including Black. Ranger Hat and Ranger Boots are a nice bonus for saving ammunition while training, but after level 70, ammunition will be plentiful thanks to Raging Horned Elites, so they aren't necessarily worth the time to grind out.
Magic in this gamemode will mainly consist of casting air spells, since you can remove one colour from the rune costs. All spells cost air runes, but water, earth and fire runes additionally cost their respective runes.
This is a bad thing, for us, since we have no real way to farm a lot of runes yet, but we can get started by farming some catalyst runes at the Vampire and the Master Wizard. The Vampire is probably best for now, since it is a ranged monster, meaning we can strike it with melee, even considering the drop chance and drop rates are lower than from the master wizard.
Catalyst Runes are the runes you use to power up your spells, while Elemental runes select which element you’re using. You can remove the cost for Elemental runes with staves, which we will abuse to completely nullify the air cost, and thus only use air spells.
The Staff of Air reduces the cost by 1, allowing you to cast up to Wind Strike for free (20 dmg), the Battlestaff reduces it by 3, allowing you to cast up to Wind Blast for free (130 dmg), while the Mystic Air Staff reduces it by 5, allowing you to cast up to Wind Wave for free (170 dmg).
Keep in mind you will also need the Catalyst runes for each tier. Once you get to level 30 magic you can start wielding battlestaves, and should therefore also cast Wind Bolts. No need for Mind Runes anymore, so sell them all.
After you can cast Death spells, you might want to go back and forth between Chaos Runes and Death Runes, since they both deal decent damage, and are both farmed decently at the Master Wizard for a while. Eventually, as you get more magic evasion through leveling magic, you will only use Death runes, as the Necromancer stops hurting too much.
Ancient (g) to God gear and beyond (everything maxed, current end game)
It's about time to get your best-statted amulet, the Fury of the Elemental Zodiacs, or FEZ. You don't have to do it now, as it provides the same 2% DR as that of the Elite Amulet of Defence, but the other offensive and defensive bonuses are not to be underestimated. Refer to the FEZ/Guide for getting all the materials to make it. The Leonardo pet is good to have by this point as well, as it's a free 1% DR. Another useful item to get around this time if you don't already have it is the Sandstorm Ring, for its unavoidable special attack.
Getting 99/99/99 melee stats is not a bad plan at this point, but before moving into the Air God Dungeon, you'll want to have at least 90/90/90 melee stats, full (G) Ancient melee armor, (G) Rune Boots, Paladin Gloves, Dragonfire Shield, Fire Cape, FEZ or Elite Amulet of Defence, and level 85 Ranged. This combination of armor will allow you to reach 43% DR and idle the Air God Dungeon with as low as level 97 hp for 1000 total health, including the 30 hp bonus from the DFS. If your hp is at least level 95, then you can even use the (U) Ancient D-hide Vambraces for 2% DR more than Paladin Gloves.
Your goal is to get full Aeris God Armor from the Scrolls of Aeris, with the Stormsnap being optional. The Aeris Godsword is wholly unnecessary, as you'll want to keep using the DR of the DFS awhile longer, though all of the godswords can be used for non-dungeon grinding.
You'll want to hold on to the Air Shards which can be upgraded into Air Chests, containing various crossbow bolts. These won't be enough to supply you for the Water God Dungeon but will at least save you some time grinding ammunition in the future. The Deadeye Amulet is a pretty good DPS increase for Ranged, but DR is so tight in most god dungeons that you may not be able to use it over the FEZ.
Hopefully you've gotten the Finn, the Cat pet by now, because the 10 max health bonus makes DR and max hit calculations much easier, not to mention potentially saving you 1% DR here and there. That and the Leonardo pet will be assumed from here out for the sake of example gear, just for simplicity, alongside level 99 Hitpoints.
Water God Dungeon will be done with Ranged. Your goal is 49% DR. While it's much easier to reach this threshold with the Ancient Crossbow from Dragons Den and a Dragonfire Shield, gathering bolts from either Air Chests or Slayer resupplies is pretty tedious (though autoslayer helps, and again, Giant Crab tasks are your friend. Use basic resupplies for the most ammo per SC,) so an alternative if you have level 88 Prayer is to use the Stone Skin prayer and the Ancient Longbow, full Aeris, FEZ, Silver Diamond Ring, and a Fire Cape. Without level 88 prayer, you'll have to use a shield.
If you do go the Ancient Crossbow + DFS route, then Aeris provides enough damage reduction for you to wear otherwise fully offensive gear, including the Deadeye Amulet, Deadeye Ring, and the Cape of Prat or Ranged Skillcape.
Regardless of your gearing, the goal is full Glacia armor in 5 pieces from the Scrolls of Glacia, with the Warlock Ring from Water Chests being a neat bonus and the Warlock Amulet not being very useful. The Glacia Godsword is not worth grinding for, nor is the Cloudburst Staff. The cloudburst doesn't provide any air runes, which are required for all standard spells, so where you can use a 2h staff, you'll likely want to use your Mystic Air Staff to prevent needing to farm Wizards for air runes, but most of the late-game magic content requires a wand and shield anyway, so it's moot. Maybe you could use it for an ancient magicks setup with Icicle Volley, but Ancient Runes are also a pain to get in bulk. Water Chests are actually the best place to farm ancient runes due to the low drop rate and amount from Magic Chests. Hold on to a Magic Wand (Elite) if you get one and have the bank space to spare, as it's the best one-handed wand you'll have access to for awhile.
|Melvor Idle version v1.1.2 (Released: 12th April 2023)|
|Reference Tables: Items, Equipment, Experience Table, Upgrading Items, Combat Areas, Slayer Areas, Dungeons, Chest Loot Tables, Monsters, Monster Loot Tables|