Like many dungeon crawlers, the meat of Diablo 4 is saved for the post-game content. The game’s best activities and strongest weapons are reserved for players who have achieved max level. The game will feature powerful world bosses, Nightmare Dungeons, PvP arenas, each with their own rewards. While you can level at your own pace, if you want to claim the rarest and most powerful items in the game first, you’re going to have to speed level. Here’s how.
Just note that this article only discusses Diablo 4 in its launch state. Since Blizzard plans on updating the game with new content every few months, the company might add, remove, or alter systems and mechanics that render the following information outdated. We will try to keep this article as up-to-date as possible as well as offer additional information in future articles.
What is the Level Cap in Diablo 4?
Each Diablo game has a different level cap. The first Diablo title let players max out at 50, while Diablo 2 increased that limit to 99. Diablo 3 scaled the level cap back to 70, while Diablo 4 will sport the highest level cap in the franchise to date.
At launch, Diablo 4 will feature a max level of 100. You can easily reach level 50 just by coasting through the main campaign, but to reach the top of the experience ladder, you will require a significant time investment. According to Diablo 4’s Associate Game Director, Joseph Piepiora, the average player will take over 150 hours to reach that final character level.
While characters will grow stronger with each level, their skills will not. You can only earn a total of 63 skill points, which can be used to unlock and upgrade spells and abilities. 48 of these points will come from leveling up, while the remaining 15 are locked behind regional challenges. Moreover, once characters reach level 50, they will start earning Paragon points for the new Paragon board, which is a completely different way to upgrade and customize a character’s playstyle. – Aaron Greenbaum
Which Diablo 4 World Tier Should You Level At?
Traditional RPG logic dictates that the tougher a fight, the more XP it will grant. This remains true for Diablo 4, and players can tweak their experience, speed leveling included, with World tiers. However, gamers have to earn the right to speedrun character levels first.
Diablo 4 will launch with four World Tiers: Adventurer, Veteran, Nightmare, and Torment. When you create your first character, you can only access the Adventurer and Veteran difficulties. Obviously, since Veteran grants players bonus XP and gold, you should use that World Tier, at least until your character reaches level 50 and finishes the main campaign. At that point, you should progress to the next World Tier, which is unlocked by completing the above criteria, in addition to beating the Cathedral of Light capstone dungeon on Veteran difficulty. Once finished, You can (and should) switch difficulties, as doing so will unlock greater loot and a larger XP boost.
Nightmare World Tier is geared towards characters level 50-70. After that point, you are encouraged to switch tiers to Torment for the final leg of your leveling journey. To unlock this difficulty, you need to beat the Fallen Temple capstone dungeon on Nightmare difficulty. Once complete, characters will receive significantly more XP and can potentially loot Ancestral items.
Ultimately, every World Tier save Adventurer is recommended for speed leveling since characters under 50 won’t last long in Nightmare difficulty, and anyone under level 70 won’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell in the Torment World Tier. – Aaron Greenbaum
Party XP Bonuses
Unlike previous entries in the franchise, Diablo 4 is technically an MMO that actively encourages players to team up with others. The game does so by offering XP boosts while adventuring in a group.
Diablo 4 has two tiers of team XP bonuses. The first doesn’t actually require you to join a group, just slay enemies and complete objectives near other players for a 5% boost. However, if adjacent adventurers are in a group together, then this XP boost jumps to 10%. And yes, these increases stack with similar boosts, such as the higher XP rate of tougher World Tiers. However, the boosts do not stack if you’re partied with multiple people. The boost for a party of two is the same as a boost for a party of four.
At the moment, it does seem better to join a group if you’re trying to level as fast as possible. The difficulty doesn’t seem to be much greater at the moment, and you get to benefit from party-wide effects that would otherwise go to waste. Druid and Barbarian, in particular, really shine when put into a group. – Aaron Greenbaum
Renown System XP
Early Diablo mastered the art of the dungeon crawler and its compelling gameplay loop. However, true to the genre’s name, player exploration was mostly limited to dungeons. Diablo 3 branched out and let players wander more than underground catacombs and demon lairs, Diablo 4 is expanding on this design choice and also capitalizing on it.
Each region (i.e., chapter) in Diablo 4 is tied to a Renown system. You can acquire Renown points naturally by exploring the game world. Every new area and Altar of Lilith players discover, every Waypoint they activate, and every side quest, dungeon, and stronghold players complete contributes to their point total. Rewards of increasing importance are locked behind certain Renown point milestones, and bonus XP is among those prizes. As previously stated, strongholds and dungeons are a great source of XP, but by conquering all of them in a zone, you are rewarded with a considerable influx of wealth and character progression.
Now before you channel your inner completionist and try to conquer all of a zone before moving to the next one, certain levels of Renown rewards are locked behind World Tiers. So even if you do polish off everything on a zone’s list, you won’t receive the bonus XP and gold until you finish Diablo 4’s campaign, reach level 50, and complete the Cathedral of Light capstone dungeon. – Aaron Greenbaum
Strongholds, Dungeons and World Events
While you need to complete every stronghold and dungeon in a region to receive that sweet Renown reward, many of these areas are worth revisiting.
As a general rule of thumb, dungeons in Diablo 4 are an excellent source of XP and loot since you have to wade through tons of enemies in each. If you are ever in need of XP, just run through a dungeon a few times. Dungeons will also automatically reset around 30 seconds after you complete them, so you should never run out of dungeons to farm. Similarly, you’ll regularly encounter World Events while bouncing between objectives, and they are almost always worth completing if you need XP. They also work off a respawn timer, though it’s not worth waiting around for one to begin again. You’re better off just participating in them as they appear.
Strongholds, meanwhile, are a slightly different matter. Most are one-shot affairs that challenge players and reward them with plenty of character experience. Again, you need to clear out all strongholds if you want to max out a zone’s Renown, but more than that, most strongholds turn into towns you can visit for extra quests (i.e., ways to farm XP). However, some strongholds, such as Kor Dragan, are repeatable. In the case of Kor Dragan, completing this stronghold unlocks the world event The Gathering Legions, which is challenging but boasts an XP prize worthy of its difficulty. Plus if you rest at a campfire before the event, you acquire an XP buff that stacks with the group XP boost. It’s one of the best methods for quickly acquiring XP. – Aaron Greenbaum
XP Boosting Elixirs
Elixirs and Potions are easy to overlook in Diablo 4‘s earliest hours. Unless you’re really struggling, you probably won’t have much use for their various resistance boosts and other benefits. However, you should actually be using elixirs as soon as you unlock them.
Why? Well, most elixirs in the game give you an XP boost for 30+ minutes when you use them. Granted, it’s usually only a 5% boost, but when stacked with other XP boosts, that 5% adds up quickly. In any case, basic elixirs are very cheap to craft (if you’ve been farming materials), and not using one means missing out on free XP. – Matthew Byrd
Should You Complete Side Quests or Main Quests?
Some Diablo 4 players are already wondering if it’s worth completing side quests along the way or if you should focus your efforts on the main quests instead. The answer depends on your circumstances.
I found that Diablo 4‘s campaign is structured to get you pretty close to Level 50 simply by following it. You might earn a little extra XP along the way, but the idea seems to be to get you to the next World Tier by the time the story is done. As such, it’s not a bad idea to follow the main story until those quests are done. That’s also how you’ll unlock mechanics like mounts, which greatly increase your travel speed in the open world.
However, side quests can be very valuable, especially since they contribute to your Renown. Completing a few along the way isn’t a bad idea, but saving some until the end of the campaign may be your best bet. Again, your first goal should be to unlock World Tier 3 as soon as possible. That’s when the real grind begins. – Matthew Byrd
Best XP Farming Spots in Diablo 4
Many games with XP systems usually feature a few “farming” spots. These are spots that you can go to in order to exploit some mechanic that allows you to acquire XP as fast as possible. For instance, Elden Ring had a spot that let you acquire an absurd amount of resources by following a simple loop, and Destiny had its famous loot cave.
Diablo 4 is a bit different. At the moment, players haven’t found any spots that match the classic idea of “XP farming.” Dungeons, world events, and other repeatable pieces of content are generally your best spots for pure XP, but those are all parts of the base experience.
However, some dungeons are a little better for XP farming than others. Most notably, Anica’s Claim in the Fractured Peaks region appears to be a prime dungeon to grind for XP. It’s only available after you clear the nearby Stronghold, but you should be doing that anyway.
That dungeon has a couple of things working to its advantage. First off, it’s basically a giant loop, which makes it easy to navigate. Second, the objective of the dungeon means that it typically features more elite enemies, which are better for XP, gold, and rare items. There are a few dungeons like this one in Diablo 4, but this is one of the earliest ones of its kind that you’ll find if you’re just looking to run dungeons for a while. – Matthew Byrd
Fastest Leveling Classes
If you’re just looking to level as quickly as possible in Diablo 4 (at least until you beat the campaign), then some classes are naturally better than others. If you’re just looking to level your character from 1-50 (and slightly beyond that point), then here is every class ranked worst to best for that process:
Once you get into World Tier 3 and 4 content (Level 50+), the conversation shifts a bit. That’s because survivability becomes a significantly more important factor during the later stages of the game. So while the classes above will get you your earliest levels the fastest, you’ll want to check out our rankings of the best Diablo 4 endgame classes if you’re looking on beating the absolute toughest content. – Matthew Byrd