The Prime Evils are coming. Use this guide for Diablo 2 beginners (or returning players) and learn to fight like hell.
We asked for it, and we got it. Diablo 2 is coming back with better graphics, gameplay, and cross-platform ladder competition. In the past, I lamented the idea of a Diablo 2 remaster because I was still living in the aftermath of the Warcraft III remake.
Now, the hype train has left the station. Blizzard seems set on releasing the game this year, and that means you have to be prepared.
As someone that has spent many, many hours playing Diablo 2 over the years, I’ve come up with a survival guide to help cover the basics, so you can hit the ground running when the game launches.
What’s the Best Diablo 2: Resurrected Class?
The best class is always the one that you like best. Sort of. We’ll get to that.
This question is very hard to answer since we do not know which patch the remaster will emulate. Still, every class has some skills or utility that make it useful or fun to play.
Diablo 2 beginners or returning players trying to refresh their memory should check out this list and see why you might want to play any of the classes.
The Sorceress (or Sorc) has three skill trees based on fire, lightning, and frost. They can be very powerful since they have devastating single-target and AOE capabilities. You will also find them highly useful for teleporting through areas and setting Town Portals later in the game without using runewords.
The Hurricane build for druid is one of the most popular since it uses a powerful AOE attack that you can run almost continuously. You can also build as a werewolf or werebear and use the Druid’s summons for aid.
Paladins are great because they can use auras to buff themselves and their party members. They’re also tanky and deal heavy damage in a fight with Zeal or Hammer builds. Expect to see a lot of these guys running around.
Necromancers are great for their curses and ability to summon/resurrect monsters to do their bidding. If you build right, you can have 30+ minions killing everything in sight while you weaken enemies with your spells.
Do you want to kite the enemy and hit them with a torrent of magical arrows or javelins? Then the Amazon class is good for you. They can feel a little squishy at times, but you can put out a ton of damage without getting close to the enemy.
Assassin can be a lot of fun if you use the right skills. Mostly, I found that their use derives from setting traps as part of a group of people fighting strong bosses, like the Ubers.
Barbarians are nice as tanks and good at whirlwinding through areas, turning enemies into a fine paste. Their shouts are very useful buffs, and their ability to leap helps players get through areas quickly so the killing never ends.
At the end of the day, you should play the class you enjoy the most. You may want to tear through the Chaos Sanctuary as a Werewolf Druid or a Trap Assassin, and there’s nothing stopping you. Every class is viable in the hardest difficulties…for the most part.
Diablo 2 Class Rank List
I know I just told you to pick a class you love to have fun with, but some are “better” than others in terms of utility. If you twisted my arm, I would rank the classes as follows:
To be fair, I haven’t played the game in a few years, but I think this rank list is reasonably accurate.
Random Useful Diablo 2 Tips and Tricks
You are going to encounter many challenges while playing this remaster, so here are some useful tips to help you along the way.
- Grab a few stamina potions for the early part of the game
- Always carry town portal scrolls
- Refill your portions and stack them in your belt as much as possible
- Make use of shrines, especially poison resistance.
- Equip your mercenary with runewords
- Most of the time, gambling with merchants is a waste
- Pay attention to resistances because your immunity drops every difficulty
- Stack charms in your inventory
- Set hot keys for your skills
- You do not get benefits for killing monsters with a level too much higher or lower than your own.
- DO NOT KILL THE COW KING!
- Get every waypoint and offer to trade them to others
These are just a few basic ideas. For a game that came out 20 years ago, D2 is incredibly deep and can require a rather fine knowledge to get the best results.
What is the Best Diablo 2: Resurrected Mercenary?
The best mercenary for the majority of classes is the one from Act 2. They get auras that provide various effects from buffing your defense to lowering their defenses.
The good news is that you do not need to fight the demonic hordes alone, even when you play solo. Instead, you can hire a mercenary to fight by your side. While there are mercenaries from every act, some are better than others.
When you equip them with the proper runeword (like Insight or Last Wish) and load them up with gear, they can be formidable allies that will see you through the hard parts of the game.
That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of hiring other mercenaries throughout the game, though. At the higher difficulties, you will find that other mercs’ usefulness is limited by the enemy’s toughness and resistances.
How to Get the Best Diablo 2 Loot
From what I learned about the remaster, the game will feature most of, if not all of, the items from the original games. Some items have received updated looks and skins, but the loot tables are largely the same.
Some items in Diablo 2 drop as a result of killing specific creatures. For example, many people do Travincal Runs in hopes of getting runes and other specific items. The game has a rather large loot table that is impacted by more than which monster you slay.
People seeking the highest-end gear for their endgame runs will want to focus on slaying the right monsters while also stacking up their Magic Find (MF) stat. Players have written entire guides on Magic Find and how to use it properly.
You need to make use of items with increased MF, charms, and stack MF on your mercenary to ensure you have the highest chance of getting items. If your mercenary adds +50 to your MF, you only get that added rating if your merc gets the kill.
Keep in mind that your chances for obtaining uncommons, rares, and uniques is not always calculated the same. There are other intricacies to learn, and they are still relevant since the remaster is keeping the same exact MF setup from the original game.
Diablo 2: Resurrected Runewords Making a Return
Runewords are powerful items that you make by inserting the right combination of runes into socketed gear. For example, a three-socketed weapon fitted with Ith-El-Eth runes will produce a weapon called Malice, which is stronger than a typical axe but a beginner weapon at best.
We’ve already mentioned runewords like “Insight” that will grant you a meditation aura and boost your mana regen, a must for Sorcs and Pallys.
In short, hold onto the runes you get when you start the game. You never know when you will have a rune someone wants for trade purposes or one that can be used in a runeword.
In fact, we don’t actually know what runewords are going to be included in the game. Their appearance all depends which patch the game mimics when it launches. It seems likely that we’ll get a build such 1.13c or later, though, so you’ll have plenty of options.
Set Items Help Your First Steps and Late Grind
Set items are another way of ensuring you have the means to fight back against the hordes of the burning hells. When you collect enough items in a set, you get “set bonuses.” The bonuses vary; you might get a general buff to damage or extra resistance.
Other times, the set bonus is unique to your class, like the Trang-Oul’s set for Necromancers that allows you to summon more minions while giving you serious buffs to skills and stats.
These sets can be hard to collect since they require you to find several pieces, but you will want to keep every piece you find because they’re great trade currency. Personally, I always tried to get the Sigon’s Complete Steel on my low-level barbarian.
The Challenge of Trading
Trading will be a challenge to newcomers and returning players alike because most people have no idea what anything is worth. If you found an “Ist” rune and someone wanted to trade that to you for a “Ko” and a “Lum”, would you do it?
You need to learn everything you can about the items you collect to ensure you aren’t throwing away valuables and getting a bad deal. Fortunately, there are many resources that tell you just what your items do and how much value they have.
Climbing the Diablo 2 Ladder
The Diablo 2 ladder system is returning. The ladder system is a race to the top in terms of levels and experience. Every time you kill enemies in the game, you receive more experience. It’s simple stuff.
The ladder may have added elements for Diablo 2: Resurrected, but right now it looks like it’s a worldwide race to level 99 like the old days.
For people that are not familiar with Diablo 2’s leveling system:
- Leveling is an actual grind and you’ll need to put in many hours (60+) to hit 99
- Most people won’t hit 99, and many others will try to use bot programs to reach the top of the ladder
- If you die, you lose experience toward your next level Nightmare mode (5%) and Hell mode (10%)
- You can make leveling easier by doing power leveling and specific “runs”, or specific enemies
- You gain more experience for having others in your game, but the monsters are harder
Reaching max level is absolutely punishing, so don’t feel bad if you cap out/burn out in the mid 80s.
Now that you have the basics down, you need to learn how to get some levels under your belt.
Power Leveling in Diablo 2: Resurrected
Most returning Diablo 2 players have completed a Baal Run (or 1,000), but we are going to give you the lowdown on the path to take to get levels the fastest.
First, a few disclaimers and notices:
- This list only holds up if the new game is released exactly like the original
- You will need to take a break to seek out some decent gear during this grind or the harder bosses will eat you alive
- Unless you have extra strong friends that are just trying to pack their party with people for experience and will carry you
- These runs work best with a full group
- You can join random people’s games or coordinate with friends
Now that we got past the disclaimers, it’s time to delve into Diablo 2: Resurrected power leveling.
Tristram Runs/ Griswold Runs (Level 5-15)
Go back and experience the twanging guitar riff in Tristram that started it all. Except this time, you are killing the revived citizens of Tristram from about level 5-15.
Tal Rasha’s Tombs (Level 15-24)
From level 15-24, you’re spending time beneath the dunes in Act 2, killing bugs, ghosts, and skeletons. This is close quarters killing, and it can get very annoying despite being useful.
Once you’re level 24 and have some gear, clear the Rite of Passage so you can start killing doing the Worldstone area.
Chaos Sanctuary (Level 24-40)
From level 24-40, murder enemies in the Chaos Santuary, the place where Diablo resides.
Once you hit level 40, it’s time to do the Nightmare mode “Rite of Passage” quest and fight Baal.
Nightmare Mode Chaos Sanctuary and Baal Runs (41-60)
Now you’re going back to where you started, killing Diablo’s minions and Baal’s minions for another 20 levels or so.
At level 60, it’s time to do Rite of Passage on Hell mode. It can be intense, so bring some geared, friends.
Hell Mode Baal Runs (61-99)
The fastest way to gain levels from that point on is to do Hell mode Baal Runs with the exception of some late-game specialty quests. For our intents and purposes, though, you’re going to see a lot of dead Baal minions.
Leveling in this game can be tortuous at times. It’s not Diablo 3, where you can hit level 70 with a few dedicated hours or friends willing to run you through content. The game was designed with the grind in mind.
Leveling Can Be Fun, Too
The guide above is a good way to get the most out of the time that you spend playing Diablo 2: Resurrected. Still, you can just explore the game, get loot, and kill bosses to get levels, too.
Leveling without runs might be slower, but you can only hear Baal’s mocking laughter so many times before you snap and reroll characters.
For example, you can take a trip to the Secret Cow Level and get some levels. If you want to take a break from Chaos Runs, then go into some cow games and kill the bovine bastards until they do not give experience anymore. In normal mode, you can go in around your late 20s and stay for several levels..
Do not kill the Cow King, or the game host can’t make the portals anymore, and that’s a jerk thing to do.
More Changes Coming in Diablo 2: Resurrected
Obviously, the most significant change to the game is the improved graphics. Based on numerous samples from the different acts of Diablo 2, I’m impressed. .
The graphics for spells look great, the character models are smoother, and the game seems to have maintained its atmosphere.
From the demo videos I’ve seen, the music and sounds have received an upgrade, too. In my opinion, they need to be careful with the music because it was so impactful on the game’s atmosphere that changing it could completely alter the mood of the game.
Many of the other changes announced by Blizzard are related to minor features. We are getting small, quality of life improvements such as a larger, shared stash, better user interface, and a “revamped ladder” system.
That means there is no need for “mule” characters anymore, you will have a better idea of your stats by looking at your character sheet, and you can carry more stuff.
So far, it looks like Blizzard is bringing good changes to the game without overdoing it.They might just make this thing work.
When is Diablo 2: Resurrected Coming Out?
Diablo 2: Resurrected does not have a release date yet, but the Tech Alpha will be live shortly and Blizzard has announced the release for 2021. Whether or not it actually gets released this year will remain to be seen.
I’m hoping it gets released this year because I am feeling that D2 itch again, especially after writing this. Also, I figure the game will hold us over until Diablo 4 gets released.
A Few Concerns About the Remaster
It’s not all sunshine and happiness with the remaster. I know that some parts of this game are going to be negatively impacted by the changes in video game culture over the last decade along with bad habits from the original game.
I know that most of these issues happened in Diablo 2, but I wish Blizzard could fix some of them. I also realize that some elements are going to get worse, though.
- Gold services
- Trading gold for runs
Trading gold for runs is going to become an issue, I promise. The practice has already infested World of Warcraft, and the player bases overlap.
It’s not going to be enough for you to help defeat bosses anymore, it’s going to become a farmed service and I hate the idea of it happening.
Remember this: with just a little effort, you will be far better off working with friends to enjoy this game rather than wasting gold on having someone run the game for you.
I’m not saying these problems will prevent me from buying the game, but I’m going to roll my eyes every time I see them.
Final Thoughts on Diablo 2: Resurrected
Now that I’ve dredged my memory about the game, I almost want to download it again.
It looks like Blizzard is on the right track here, but I’m still not going to do a pre-order for the game any time soon.
All in all, I’m very excited to delve back into this world after years away. I think the old community and new players will rally around the title like they did for Classic WoW, even if it was only for a little while.
How about you? What are you feeling about this remaster? Are you excited? Worried that you may lose your family and friends to playing the game again or that Blizzard will ruin it?
Tell me what you’re thinking, and thanks for reading. I hope this guide helped you.