Should I Start Playing Terraria on a Harder Difficulty Setting?

Are you looking to make the most of playing Terraria?

Depending on the difficulty, Terraria can be a relaxing exploration game or a deep RPG. But finding the right difficulty level can be a complicated (and frustrating) experience.

It doesn’t have to be though! Read our guide difficulty in Terraria and why you should consider a challenge.

How Difficulty Works in Terraria

In Terraria, difficulty refers to how much of a challenge the gameplay presents. This game has two different types of difficulty too. One affects the world and the other affects the character. Once you pick your character difficulty, you cannot change it for this playthrough.

You pick the character difficulty mode while you start in character creation. You can choose from Journey, Classic (Softcore), Mediumcore, or Hardcore. All the modes have different consequences should your character die.

Journey starts you off with extra equipment, and you can only play on a journey world. It’s for those who want to explore only. Classic characters will lose coins collected when they die. Mediumcore characters lose items as well. Hardcore characters lose items and you cannot respawn.

The next type of game difficulty is the world modes. You can choose Journey, Classic, Expert, or Master at the point of creating a new world. This applies to the world you explore and how hard it will be to get around. Once you generate your world, you can’t change the difficulty.

Character Difficulty

These won’t impact your rewards. When you pick your character’s difficulty, it’s for the challenge itself.


Journey characters are unique as you can choose and change difficulty when you want to. It’s the only mode that allows this. You also get special tools like godmode, time/weather control, and item duplication. You can ever control enemy spawns. If you want to use these tools, you must choose Journey for both character and world difficulty.


Classic (Softcore) mode is the one your character is set to as default. When your character dies, you drop half your coins. You can retrieve them though once you spawn back in by going back to the area. Upon death, a few seconds later you will respawn at your spawn point.


If you die on Terraria mediumcore mode, you’ll drop all your items. Like in classic mode, you can retrieve these items once you’ve respawned at your spawn point. If you’re in multiplayer though, other players can steal your items instead.


If you pick a hardcore character and it dies, you’ll drop all your items including coins and ammo. You won’t respawn though, your character faces permanent death.

Instead, they become a ghost were they can watch the world but can’t affect it. They can pass through walls and keep chatting to other players in multiplayer mode.

When you quit a world with a Hardcore character, they’re deleted forever. If you had items in a chest, those will remain but anything you had in portable storage is gone forever.

World Difficulty

Higher world difficulties provide changes to how the world works. It also changes the loot you can receive. Enemies drop more loot of higher quality, so it pays off to pick a harder world mode.


Journey mode, as discussed, provides a lot of customization options for the player. But you can only access this mode with a Journey character in a Journey world.

Journey worlds are only accessible to Journey characters. And, vice versa, Journey characters can only play in Journey worlds. This mode is the “creative tourist” mode for Terraria.

Items are easy to get and the player has unhindered exploration. It’s a place to test the difficulties too, as players in this mode and change the difficulty slider at will.


Much like with the character option, this is the basic, default world gameplay mode. You will case the basic loot table here, and it adds nothing extra or special.


This option increases the difficulty of gameplay and the world around your character. It also increases the number of drops you get, and the quality of these items. Including an increase in the chance to drop rare items and exclusive content.

Bosses and enemies will have new AIs. Their attacks will hit harder and will have a higher difficulty attack routine. The Traveling Merchange also has a 50% chance to sell an extra item.

Here are a few of the Expert- only items you can get:

  • Demon Heart – consuming a demon heart gives you a permanent 6th accessory slot
  • Shrimpy Truffle – a mount with endless flight and hover that move faster in liquids
  • Worm Scarf – 17% reduction to all damage
  • Suspicious Looking Tentacle – a pet that exposes nearby enemies, pots, ores & treasures


Master mode is even more difficult gameplay and world-wise than Expert. But there is a further increased chance of more and better loot, along with Master exclusive loot.

Enemies will now have 3x the amount of health and damage than in Classic mode. They’ll also have 20% more knockback resistance. You get an extra accessory slot that’s only active in Master worlds. It does stack with the Demon Heart though, taking you to a total of 7 slots.

Builds are more important as the damage taken will reduce by your defense value. Not the standard 50% and 75% on previous difficulties. This increased build focus turns Terarria into one of the best RPG games around.

Bosses now will always drop their relic; a shining statue resembling that boss. There is also a 25% chance to drop an item that summons a mount, pet, or light pet that looks like the boss. Or, at least, it has a strong thematic reference.

All the changes with Expert mode like drop chance and AI modification apply. You’ll also get all the Expert-exclusive content in Master difficulty too.

Here are a few of the Master-exclusive items you can get:

  • 0x33’s Aviators – vanity item that changes your character’s appearance
  • Jewel of Light – light pet that summons a Fairy Princess with a pink glowing light
  • Dark Mage’s Tome – book mount that allows flying and cancels fall damage and is very fast
  • Deactivated Probe – a pet version of the Destroyer boss called Destroyer-Lite

Unless you play a Terraria modded server, Master mode with a Hardcore character is the greatest challenge you can have in Terraria, and some of the most fun.

Playing Terraria: Why You Should Pick a Harder Difficulty

So, now we’ve broken it down it’s easy to see why you should pick a harder difficulty while playing Terraria. While Character difficulty is for bragging rights, a higher difficulty world adds greater risk/reward.

Harder worlds bring new items and a greater reliance on how you have built your character. You need to think more about choices and your actions. And who doesn’t want extra accessory slots!

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our other blog posts for more!

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