Your character has access to a vast selection of active and passive skills. You can unlock these skills by investing skill points into your skill tree. Depending on how you spend your points, you get different character builds that vary greatly in both power and playstyle. In this article we examine how skill trees are laid out and how you can allocate your skill points in them.
Skill Tree Structure
The Skill tree is divided into 7 clusters. Each cluster is unlocked as you put more points into the skill tree. It doesn't matter where you put your points, you just need to hit a certain number of points invested in total.
- 0 points: Basic cluster. Here you have only your Basic skills and their upgrades. These skills are your weakest attacks but they have no cost or cooldown. Many of them help you generate your Primary Resource.
- 2 points: Core cluster. Contains Core skills, their upgrades, and some passives. Core skills are generally your main damage dealing skills; they deal substantially more damage than Basic skills at the cost of your resource.
- 6 points, 11 points, and 16 points: Unique clusters per class. The next 3 clusters contain a variety of skills and passives. Usually some defensive and mobility skills, but also some more damage-oriented skills, which are more complex and conditional than Basic and Core skills.
- 23 points: Ultimate Cluster. Here you get your Ultimate skill with its upgrades and more passives. Ultimate skills are extremely powerful skills with very long (45s+) cooldowns. Unlike other clusters you can only have one Ultimate.
- 33 points: The final cluster only has several Key Passives. These passives are a lot stronger than all the others, but similar to Ultimate skills you can only pick one.
There's 6 clusters with active skills - same as the number of your available skill slots. However, you are not forced to match them one to one; you can easily skip any cluster (except Basic) entirely and instead pick multiple skills from another cluster.
Types of Nodes
There are several different types of nodes found on the skill tree:
- Active Skills. These square shaped nodes are found in the first 5 clusters. You can invest up to 5 skill points into each active skill. Generally each extra skill point makes a skill 10% more powerful than it was at rank 1. So a fully leveled skill with 5/5 points will be 40% stronger than 1/5 points. In other words, the first point you put into an active skill is 10 times more powerful than the next 4. If you have at least 1 point in a skill, it becomes unlocked and you can drag it onto your skill bar and use it.
- Ultimate Skills. A subtype of Active skills, these nodes are found in the penultimate cluster. The only difference is that you can only invest points into one Ultimate skill. There is no way to have 2 Ultimate skills on your bar.
- Skill Upgrades. These diamond shaped nodes are attached to every single active skill in two layers. Once you put some points into a skill you unlock its upgrade called "Enhanced [skill name]", after you pick it up, the second level of upgrades becomes available. There you choose between one of two options. Ultimate skills are a bit different, in that they only have two upgrades and there's no choice to be made.
- Passives. These nodes are round, and you can find them in any cluster below the first one. You can put up to 3 points in a passive; in most cases each point gives you the same benefit i.e. a passive with 3/3 points in it is three times stronger than it was with 1/3 points. Most passives are available immediately after you get their cluster, but some are locked behind one or two other passives.
- Key Passives. The last cluster contains big round nodes, which give powerful passive effects. Much like Ultimate Skills, you can only pick one of these passives and only need to invest one point into it.
You get one skill point each time you level up, starting from level 2. This continues all the way to level 49. You can also unlock 10 additional skill points through the Renown system. This leaves you with 58 skill points to spend on a max level character with fully unlocked Renown.
You can spend your skill points at any time and it doesn't cost you anything. You can also refund any point in your skill tree (provided it doesn't break any dependencies), but starting from level 8 you need to pay some Gold for each point you remove. This Gold cost rises rapidly as you level up, starting from 1 Gold at level 8 all the way up to several thousand Gold at higher levels.
Compared to the amount of Gold you get from killing enemies and selling items these costs never get too prohibitive. At worst it'd take you 15–30 minutes of farming to completely respec your Skill Tree. These costs are mostly meant to discourage you from constantly adjusting your tree depending on the enemies you face.
Some items give you extra ranks in certain skills. These ranks make those skills more powerful but they don't affect your skill tree progression in any way. So even if you already have a skill active thanks to an item, you still need to put at least 1 point into it before you can get its upgrades.
Skill Tree Summary
Skill Trees in Diablo 4 let you customize your character by unlocking various active and passive skills and distributing skill points between them. With more than 20 active skills to choose from, you can build your character in many different ways with unique strengths, weaknesses, and a playstyle that fits your personal taste.
Written by Northwar
Reviewed by Teo1904