The main problem with survival/hardcore is that it is too easy to acquire resources such as iron and diamonds. The solution to this problem is as follows.
First, only coal ore generates randomly. Iron, gold, redstone, lapis lazuli, emerald, and diamond ore only generate in the walls of caves.
Second, villages do not generate. To get villagers, you must cure zombie villagers.
Third, pools of lava can randomly generate at any height, not just below Y=11.
Fourth, dungeons are a lot more common, and have less loot.
Fifth, there are a lot more caves, so you are more likely to be surprised by hostile mobs during the day.
Sixth, silverfish blocks can generate in any biome, not just mountains.
Hopefully those changes will increase the difficulty so that hardcore mode is more of a challenge.
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