Death is what what happens when a player character suffers too much damage. Symptoms include low blood pressure and seeing tunnels of white light. Fortunately, death is not the end. Players suffer certain penalties upon death, before respawning a distance from where they died. On singleplayer hardcore mode, the entire world save will be deleted, while hardcore multiplayer death results in losing one's entire character (including attributes and items). The penalty for death is set by the difficulty level; players can select their desired difficulty when beginning a new game. As of May 2012, it is not known whether difficulty can be adjust mid-game. There are five levels of difficulty:
- Easy - Players don't drop any items when they die, but take a 5% hit to their attributes. They respawn a short distance away from where they died.
- Medium - The recommended setting; players drop all food and ammunition but not equipment or weapons. All attributes are decreased by 25%.
- Rigorous - Players drop all unequipped items, and other players may pick up these items. In addition to a 50% attribute decrease, players respawn further away from their point of death than on easy or medium difficulty.
- Unyielding - Players drop everything, may have their items taken by others, lose 90% of their attributes, and spawn further away from their point of death than on rigorous difficulty.
- Hardcore - All items are dropped and 100% of attributes are lost. In singleplayer, the world is deleted upon death.