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Penetrating Shot Rogue Leveling Guide

Last Updated: January 24th 2024

Season 3 - ConstructB-Tier

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Are you looking for a ranged, nuke the entire screen playstyle on the Rogue? Well this is it! The Penetrating Shot Rogue is a relatively easy to understand powerful build that's great for leveling in Diablo 4. There are many different tools and tactics you can use that assist in keeping you safe and unleash hell at a distance.

Penetrating Shot Rogue is a Core Skill that fires one massive, piercing arrow. Pretty straight forward, literally, and while this doesn't sound exciting at first, when you spice it up with imbuements and the Trickshot Offensive Aspect, your nuke comes to life. As with most Rogue skills, maximizing its potential will require good positioning as you deal more damage the more enemies you hit in a line. Do so, and be rewarded with a fireworks display of demon body parts.

Building with Combo Points to truly unleash hell naturally comes with slower paced strategical gameplay, but do not confuse this with being slow as this build is still agile in battle and traveling the world. This is a very satisfying and rewarding build that requires some planning ahead to maximize its potential and this guide is to teach you the best way to reach end game with Penetrating Shot Rogue! Let the fireworks begin!

Penetrating Shot Leveling Setup

This build guide takes you through the Campaign up to Level 50. Endgame guides will follow soon in our Rogue Guides section. Stay tuned!

Pros
  • Easy Concept
  • Great AoE Clear
  • Long Range Sniper
  • Powerful Burst Damage
Cons
  • Slower-paced
  • Missed Shots Hurt
  • Juggles Cooldowns
  • Requires Positioning

Season 3 - Season of the Construct

In Season 3, you obtain the Seneschal Construct through the Season Questline, then collect Governing Stones or Tuning Stones to add attacks and augment them to support your build. Only certain Tuning Stones work with a particular Governing Stone. Look at the bottom of any Tuning Stone tooltip to see if it is compatible with your Construct's currently equipped Stones. Lastly, they can be leveled up by getting duplicates to max out their power. Check out our full Season 3 guide for more information.

  1. Lightning Bolt - We use this for some area of effect damage to help with clearing.
    1. Frigid Support - Applies chill, giving us easier access to freeze and other crowd control buffs.
    2. Efficiency Support - Critical Strike Chance. The more, the better.
    3. Multishot Support - More Lightning Bolts = more area of effect.
  2. Flash of Adrenaline - A free damage buff to boost our character further.
    1. Duration Support - To improve the uptime of the buff.
    2. Tactical Support - To improve the uptime of the buff.
    3. Safeguard Support - Free damage reduction.
Penetrating Shot Rogue Construct

Alternative Stones

Many other options are possible to support this build, including different Governing Stones to apply the effects. Feel free to experiment!

Governing Stones

  1. Autodefense - Great to increase survivability.
  2. Reconstruct - To recover health more reliably.
  3. Tempest - To increase single target damage.
  4. Firefly - Nice sustain damage over the course of an encounter.

Tuning Stones

  1. Slowing Support - Great to help stay ranged.
  2. Poison Support - Can be combined with Debilitating Toxins for additional defense.
  3. Breaking Support - Helps to keep up Vulnerable and remove Barrier from enemies in Nightmare Dungeons or monsters like Knights and the Butcher.
  4. Resource Support - Helps to keep the setup smooth to play.

If you are lucky enough to get either Evernight or Genesis from Uber Malphas, you want to swap them in on your Construct for their powerful effects.

Skill Tree & Gameplay

Generators

Puncture is a great choice here because it applies Vulnerable, and slow which are important damage multipliers. It also has fast attack speed, so it feels good in the earlier levels.

Penetrating Shot

This is your main ability. Due to it's nature, you should line up mobs in a straight line to hit as many targets as possible, as it is a pretty expensive skill early on, so every shot counts. When you unlock your Combo Points specialization, you should stack 3 Combo Points with Puncture before using Penetrating Shot for maximum damage.

Defense and Mobility

Here you want to pick up Dark Shroud for the toughness and the movement speed so that we can quickly move through content and also reposition well for our Penetrating Shot Skill. We pick up Dash for more mobility to get around the world quickly.

Imbuements

Both Shadow Imbuement and Poison Imbuement augment our Penetrating Shot skill for various effects to make us more powerful. Shadow Imbuement allows for additional explosions when you kill an enemy that has shadow damage on them. Shadow Imbuement also gives us back Energy upon explosion with the Consuming Shadows passive, making this a great Imbuement to pick up early on. Poison Imbuement adds additional poisoning damage to help with the bigger, more stubborn mobs with higher health pools. Use this after using both charges of Shadow Imbuement for cleaning up whatever is left.

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Key Passive

We take Precision Key Passive to help with the lack of early game critical strikes. Upon building max stacks, our next attack is guaranteed to crit and do 40% more damage.

Rogue Specializations

The Rogue's Class Specialization allows you to choose one out of three powerful passive effects to boost your build. The three available choices are:

  • Combo Points (lvl 15) - Use Basic Skills to boost your subsequent Core Skill for more damage and various other effects.
  • Inner Sight (lvl 20) - Fuel the mark with attacks until full, then unlimited Energy for 4 seconds
  • Preparation (lvl 30) - Every 100 Energy used reduces the cooldown of your Ultimate Skills by 4 seconds. Casting an Ultimate Skill resets all other cooldowns.

Unlocking Specializations

Once you reach level 15, you have to complete a short questline starting in Menestad, Fractured Peaks. A Priority Quest leads you there to help out Leyrana. After a few stops outside of town you enter the Forsaken Quarry Dungeon and finish the questline there, unlocking COMBO POINTS. After that, the other two Specializations unlock automatically once you reach their minimum level.

How to use the Specializations

Each Specialization is very powerful and caters to specific styles of play. Pick one that suits your style and build around it. The one we're after in this build is Combo Points, which is the first to unlock. In order to use it, hit enemies with any Basic Skill (Puncture) three times to build Combo Points, then use a Core Skill (Penetrating Shot) to finish. Combo Points are displayed above the XP bar in the UI. Avoid simply spamming Penetrating Shot without any Combo Points due to its high resource cost.

Learn more details in our full Rogue Specialization Guide.

Gear Progression & Global Stat Priorities

Weapons

Always use your highest DPS Ranged Weapon available for more damage. Your Melee Weapons are simply stat sticks to fuel its power. The stats to look for on these are:

  • 1-H Weapons: Pref. Sword, Core Skill Damage, Distant Damage, Dexterity, Socket
  • Ranged Weapons: High DPS, Core Skill Damage, Distant Damage, Dexterity, Sockets

Only upgrade your Ranged Weapon at the Blacksmith and fill weapon sockets with an Emerald or Sapphire.

Armor

Armor pieces typically grant us Defense and Utility stats, except the Gloves which offer a tidal wave of Offense. Here are the important stats to look for:

  • Helm: Cooldown Reduction, Skill Ranks, Socket
  • Armor: Life, Damage with Imbued Skills, Damage with Ranged Weapons, Sockets (late game you’d want to focus on defensive stats on armor)
  • Gloves: Penetrating Shot, Critical Strike Chance, Attack Speed
  • Pants: Life, Armor, Skill Ranks to Dark Shroud, Sockets
  • Boots: Movement Speed, Energy Cost Reduction, Dodge

Jewelry

Jewelry provides powerful Offensive stats that help us on our leveling journey. Pay close attention to the rolls as higher leveled pieces aren't always better:

  • Amulet: Cooldown Reduction, Movement Speed Damage with Ranged Weapons, Marksman Skill Damage
  • Rings: Critical Strike Chance, Vulnerable, Distance Damage.

Do not upgrade Armor or Jewelry while leveling. Socket Armor with Rubys and Jewelry with Skulls.

Read more about itemization in our Damage Explained, Defense Explained, and Stats Explained articles.

Legendary Aspects

The Codex of Power is a collection of Legendary Aspects you can imprint onto Rare or Legendary items at the Occultist. They unlock after completing specific Dungeons located around Sanctuary. For leveling, there are a few Aspects that are particularly impactful on this build and should be obtained as soon as possible:

Top Codex Legendary Aspects

AspectDungeon
Offensive Aspect of the ExpectantUnderroot
Scosglen
Rapid Offensive Aspect
Buried Halls
Dry Steppes
Trickshot Offensive AspectBastion of Faith
Hawezar

Learn more details in our article covering the Codex of Power.

Helpful Legendary Powers

If you're lucky enough to find a Legendary while leveling, chances are it'll be an upgrade for you and you should equip it immediately. However they are not all created equal, and some of them can accelerate your journey tremendously. Let's look at the top 5 powers you could find and how to take advantage of them:

  1. Defensive Aspect of the Protector Early access to good defense that can be found very early in the game in Fractured Peaks. Can later be used to add damage in combination with Conceited Offensive Aspect.
  2. Edgemaster’s Offensive Aspect. Small bump in damage the more Energy you have which works well with this build. Can be found in the Dungeon Oldstones in Scosglen.
  3. Energizing Resource Aspect. A great way to generate resources on single target when you're out of demons to explode for Energy. Can be found in the Dungeon Sanguine Chapel in Fractured Peaks.
  4. Defensive Aspect of Might. Free defense for just using your basic attack in rotation. Can be found in the Dungeon Dark Ravine in Dry Steppes.
  5. Wind Striker Mobility Aspect More speed helps surviving and moving around the open world efficiently between encounters. Can be found in the Dungeon Shivta Ruins in Kehjistan.

How To Level

You level in Diablo 4 by completing the Campaign, collecting Grim Favors for the Tree of Whispers, grinding Dungeons, or interacting with Seasonal mechanics. While there are many ways to level up in Diablo 4, not all of them are made equal.

Campaign Leveling

  • For your first character in Diablo 4, completing the Campaign provides the best gameplay experience and gives you access to key unlocks like your Mount.
    • If you don't have your Mount, you MUST progress the Campaign until you complete the quest Donan's Favor at the start of Act 4.
    • After obtaining your Mount you can skip the remainder of the campaign at any time.
    • The Campaign is the slowest way to level, but it's worth experiencing the Campaign and Diablo 4's storyline at least once.
    • To play Seasonal Content you need to have completed or skipped the Campaign.

Seasonal/Alt Leveling

  • Complete the Season questline, progress your Seasonal Journey to unlock Legendary Aspects, and work on your Seasonal powers.
  • If your account is below Rank 5 Renown in each zone, focus on completing your Renown.
    • This only needs to be done once.
  • Complete the Dungeons needed for any Legendary Aspects from your Codex of Power.
  • From level 1-50 you should focus on getting experience, by completing dungeons with high monster density like the Domhainne Tunnels, or Sirocco Caverns.
  • After level 50 you need to balance leveling up, Glyph Experience, and participating in endgame activities like Helltide, and Bosses.
    • The fastest experience possible is completing Nightmare dungeons with monsters up to 10 levels above your current level.
      • Check out our Nightmare Dungeon Tier List for the best layouts!
      • Around level 45-50 you should move to World Tier 3.
      • Around level 60-70 you should move to World Tier 4.
  • Alternatively: Get boosted by a friend to World Tier 4 then leech experience/loot and Glyph exp (post 50), in Nightmare dungeons.

Leveling Tips and Tricks

Let's look at some tips and tricks to remember when leveling up!

  • Level Up Your Potion. You need to farm materials to upgrade your character's potion.
    • Make sure you collect all materials as you explore Sanctuary, especially Gallowvine which is used in many Elixir recipes!
  • Compare your Items... Literally. Press Shift over an item in your inventory to compare it to what you're wearing.
    • This makes it easy to determine what is and isn't an upgrade.
  • Don't Imprint Your Best Aspect Onto Your Weapon. The most critical piece of gear while leveling up is your weapon, which gets replaced constantly.
    • This makes imprinting a Legendary Aspect that CANNOT be found in the Codex of Power onto your weapon a bad idea in the long run.
    • While leveling, only imprint Legendary Aspects from the Codex of Power onto your weapon if any at all.
    • It is a better idea to put your best Offensive Aspect on your Amulet, which can be used for a long time.
  • Sacred is just better. Between level 45 and 50 you're able to beat the Capstone Dungeon and enter World Tier 3, you gain access to powerful Sacred items which have higher item power and better stats. Getting a Sacred weapon significantly improves your farming speed.
    • There's little point to entering World Tier 3 before 45 because that's the minimum level where you can equip Sacred items.
    • The same happens with World Tier 4 and Ancestral gear at level 60.

Next Steps

Video Guide

Summary

  • The Penetrating Shot Rogue is a great all-round build, combining mobility, great AoE and decent single target damage into one complete package.
  • Stack Energy recovery where possible such as Consuming Shadows, Innervation and resource aspects.
  • Activate Poison Imbuement and Shadow Imbuement whenever possible without overwriting each other.
  • Always build 3 Combo Points before firing Penetrating Shot for the best results.
  • Focus on improving your Ranged Weapon more than any other item.
  • Look out for helpful Legendary Powers in the Codex of Power, especially those that generate Energy and buff your damage/damage reduction.
  • Read the Next Steps above to continue your journey.

Credits

Written by Dieoxide
Reviewed by Wudijo

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