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Diablo 4 Speed Leveling Guide

Last Updated: May 13th 2024

Season 4 - Loot

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A new class or build has piqued your interest, this Speed Leveling Guide is here to get you zooming to level 100! Learn everything about how to reach the maximum level in the most efficient and fastest way imaginable. This guide is suitable for group and solo players and includes tips for both playstyles.

The following strategies assume you have completed the Campaign and finished acquiring your Renown to accelerate item and level progression on your new character.

Preparation

To minimize the downtime during your leveling session it is important to prepare a general outline for the new character you have created. The Preparation section is going to cover everything you can do to speed up your leveling process before even creating your character. If you want to level fast, always remember: "Town is lava."

Picking the correct leveling build

While you have very likely already chosen your desired Endgame build from our Endgame Builds Tier List, it is important to choose the correct leveling build to go with it. Picking the correct leveling build ensures a fast progression through the early levels and can be done by checking out the Leveling Builds Tier List. These builds are generally your best bet at reaching your desired Endgame build the fastest, since they clear density extremely well and incorporate high movement speed with low cooldown movement abilities.

Understanding experience gain

As a baseline, experience earned from monster kills follows this set of rules:

  • Monsters give a base experience value depending on their HP/size that linearly scales up with their level.
  • Elites always give a fixed amount of XP, regardless of monster type, also linearly scaling up with their level.
  • Minions (of Elites) and Champion monsters always give 60% of the experience of an Elite of the same level, making them valuable targets.
  • World Tier 2 increases experience gain by 50%, World Tier 3 by 150% and World Tier 4 by 250%.
  • A bonus is applied for defeating monsters that are higher level than your character, while a penalty is applied for defeating lower level monsters. These adjustments depend on the level difference between your character and the monster.

The experience value of Elites is significantly higher compared to regular monsters, given you can defeat them at a comparable pace. To give some examples: Compared to the biggest regular monsters in the game (e.g. Bear, Ice Clan Mauler), Elites give precisely double the XP. Compared against a regular small to medium-sized monster (Warg), roughly x7.7. As you level up, zones and monsters level with you to keep fights challenging.

When fighting monsters outside of your own character's level range, the following multipliers apply:

  • Monster is 1 level above character: +1.5%
  • Monster is 2 levels above character: +3.0%
  • Monster is 3 levels above character: +4.5%
  • [...]
  • Monster is 10 or more levels above character: +15.0%
  • Monster is 1 level below character: -10%
  • Monster is 2 levels below character: -20%
  • Monster is 3 levels below character: -30%
  • Monster is 4 levels below character: -40%
  • Monster is 5 levels below character: -50%
  • [...] approaching 0 XP

Additionally, when you are fighting monsters of higher level there's a limit to how high their base experience scales. This limit is called maximum level offset and it depends on the World Tier:

  • World Tier 1 (Adventurer): Up to +0
  • World Tier Tier 2 (Veteran): Up to +3
  • World Tier Tier 3 (Nightmare): Up to +6
  • World Tier Tier 4 (Torment): Up to +10

This means that if a level 1 character gets into World Tier 4 and kills a level 75 monster, that monster's experience will be treated as if it were level 11. After that, all experience bonuses apply normally, such as underleveled bonus and World Tier bonus.

Tip: Since a monster's base experience value scales up linearly according to their level, fighting higher level monsters (up to the maximum level offset) is much more valuable on low character levels compared to high character levels where the impact of each additional monster level is not as high compared to its total experience amount.

Codex of Power

Target Codex of Power Legendary Aspects that your build requires or benefits from, by completing the required Dungeons if your Main hasn't unlocked them yet. This is the most reliable way to power up your Alt's gear before even playing it. This is preferably done on your Main while completing Renown Objectives to speed up the process of leveling your Alt, but can also be accomplished as you level in Dungeons on your Alt by losing out on efficiency. Completing the required Dungeons on your Alt is not advisable if you want to speed level your Alt. These Legendary Aspects can be continually imprinted on new items as you progress your new character. You can also acquire required Legendary Aspects by purchasing Legendaries from other players and salvaging them at The Blacksmith.

Look up and unlock all Codex of Power Aspects required for your leveling build before you start speed leveling your new Alt character.

Stashing "Twink" Items

If you already know which other characters or builds you want to play after you are done on your Main, you can stash items for your planned Alt(s) along the way. Keep in mind that the level requirement of an item is based on the character level of the character that finds the item. This means that every 5-10 levels or so you can stash a batch of gear that you find on your Main, which has optimal stats for your planned Alt.

Also, Sacred items have a level cap of 60 and Ancestral items have a level cap of 80, making it possible to save some really juicy items for later on. Furthermore, you can purchase build enabling Uniques from other players to increase your new character's power tremendously and smoothen the leveling experience. If you are lucky enough to have acquired an Uber Unique, you can skyrocket the power of your new characters by equipping those starting at Level 35.

Consumables

During your time leveling, it is important that you have at least a Level 1 Elixir up all of the time for a constant 5% experience boost. As soon as you have the materials required for Level 2 Elixirs, or are lucky enough to find them, you need to use those for a constant 8% experience boost. It does not matter which type of Elixir you have running, since they all provide a boost to experience (5%, 6%, and 8%). The following Elixirs are cheap to craft and give most builds the biggest bang for their buck, so prioritize using these:

  • Elixir of Advantage (I & II)
  • Elixir of Precision (I & II)

Extremely powerful but expensive Elixirs that grant 6% increased experience are the following:

  • Elixir of Holy Bolts
  • Elixir of Momentum

If you want to squeeze out every last bit of experience gain you can also use Incenses during your time leveling for an additional 5% experience boost. Incenses are quite expensive, persist through death but only last 20 minutes. Incenses apply a buff to all players within a decent sized range around the user. You can only use one Incense of each type (I, II, III) at a time to stack their combat effect, while the experience bonuses of Incenses do not stack.

Helpful Type I Incenses:

  • Desert Escape
  • Storm of the Wilds
  • Song of the Mountain

Helpful Type II Incenses:

  • Soothing Spices
  • Reddamine Buzz

Helpful Type III Incense:

  • Chorus of War

Imprinting / Tempering Items during leveling

Legendary Aspects, Tempering as well as weapon(s) play a huge role in a character's power. Therefore you want to always be replacing your current weapon with a higher DPS weapon every time you find an upgrade, while keeping all your important Legendary Aspects and Tempers. To save materials and prevent you from having to go to The Occultist and The Blacksmith to imprint and temper your new weapon(s) every 5 minutes you should imprint your strongest Legendary Aspect on your amulet and ring slots because these will be changed less often and the stat difference on these items when not changed regularly is less impactful. The cost of imprinting and tempering goes up with Item Power as the general value and impact of those increase as well. If it is your first character in a Season, you won't have the materials required to always re-imprint and re-temper all of your items all the time.

Generally speaking, you want to invest just as many materials as necessary to one-shot trash mobs so you don't run the risk of running out of crafting materials during your speed leveling journey. Make sure you save enough materials to power up your character when it is most needed just before completing a Capstone Dungeon and joining the next World Tier.

Valueable Item Stats

Some stats are more or less valuable depending on your current level as not all of them scale up equally or hit specific breakpoints early on.

  • Life on Hit / on Kill is extremely valuable during the early game to keep you at high HP during a fight or when engaging into the next one.
  • Additive damage rolls and tempers such as % Damage, Close Damage, Fire Damage or Paragon Nodes such as Targeted or Magic Node are much stronger early on in your leveling journey until their value gets diluted as stats on your gear increase.
  • Resource per Second comes in handy when you have not yet solved your Resource problem in early levels.
  • Movement Speed is an incredible efficiency multiplier during all forms of content.
  • Armor and Elemental Resistances keep you healthy throughout all sorts of content, but trivialize early content if you cap them as soon as you can.

While the above Item Stats are incredibly helpful early on and some of them lose value over time, the following stats are the complete opposite due to increasing stat values as you climb in levels:

  • Main Stat (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Willpower)
  • Resource Cost Reduction
  • Cooldown Reduction

Season Blessings

  • Smoldering Ashes become available as you level up and progress your Battle Pass.
  • Make sure you check your Seasonal Menu regularly for new Smoldering Ashes and spend them on the "Urn of Aggression" first to increase the experience you gain from killing monsters.
  • It is possible to progress the Battle Pass faster than your level. In that case, you will not receive the next Smoldering Ash at the same time you unlock them in the Battle Pass.
Seasonal Blessings

Leveling

After the preparation is done you can finally jump into the game and begin your lightning fast leveling experience. For this you create your seasonal character, skip the campaign, and select World Tier 2 for that juicy 50% increase in experience.

Skipping the Campaign allows you to enter the most dense areas of the game at Level 1 and tremendously speeds up the leveling process.

Seasonal Mechanic

The most optimal way to start your leveling journey is to unlock the Seasonal Mechanic to progress and unlock its full potential while you speed level. You don't need to fully complete the Seasonal Questline when you are Speed Leveling, instead, you stop progressing the Seasonal Questline after you have unlocked the usage of the Seasonal Mechanic and return to complete it after your character hits Level 100.

Helltide Leveling

With the changes to Helltides in Season 4 the fastest way of reaching World Tier 3 by completing the Capstone Dungeon is scavenging the Helltide while opening Helltide chests, joining Helltide Events, completing Tree of Whisper Grim Favors and Legion Events while in the Helltide.

  • Fill up the Helltide Threat Meter as fast as possible for additional Monster spawns by killing everything in your path.
  • Focus on completing Tree of Whisper Grim Favors and Legion Events while in the Helltide to sykrocket your leveling efficiency.
  • Join and complete Events for additional Aberrant Cinders.
  • Save up all Baneful Hearts for when you are in World Tier 4 as almost all Monsters spawned during the Blood Maiden Event do not grant experience.
  • Collect cinders while saving them to open Helltide Chests at the end of the Helltide for maximum experience gain.
Helltide Threat Meter

If you are leveling in a group make sure you communicate whenever a Helltide Threat Meter is about to be filled so you can group up, because the additional Monsters help fill surrounding player's Helltide Threat Meter. This way you can benefit from constant additional Monsters spawning while completing other Helltide objectives.

Helltide Chest's experience reward scales with character level. Therefore make sure you save up all your Aberrant Cinders and open the Helltide Chests just before the Helltide ends to receive the maximum amount of experience.

When you get extra lucky and find a Profane Mindcage during your Helltide endeavors make sure to activate it only at the very start of a fresh Helltide. This way you maximize the benefits throughout the whole Helltide and ideally group up with other players that also have a Profane Mindcage active to benefit from multiple increased Threat Meter gains and therefore have even more monsters spawning.

Capstone Dungeons

The most important thing for every freshly created character is entering World Tiers 3 & 4 as early as possible. Speedrunners enter and clear the Capstone Dungeons at Level 30-40 and Level 50-60 respectively. The level at which you clear the Capstone Dungeons heavily relies on your build's strength and your ability to pilot it correctly.

To smoothen the Capstone Dungeon experience make sure you power up your character a lot more than during the previous levels by tempering and imprinting, since the following spike in difficulty after changing World Tiers is going to be quite harsh. Pay close attention to your Armor and Resistance values as these decrease incoming damage tremendously. It is therefore worth tempering these stats before you can fix them in different ways later. The Capstone Dungeon should feel somewhat easy because of the even bigger difficulty spike afterward.

Rushing World Tier 4 early by completing the Capstone Dungeon might sound scary at first, but the initial difficulty spike can be decreased by completing Strongholds to unlock certain Nightmare Dungeons locked behind them. Monsters in Strongholds are always two levels higher than the player, making them an easier target and a smooth start into a new World Tier while already providing Sacred and Ancestral gear respectively.

You can easily underestimate the difficulty spike for a new World Tier and it may be worth going back to the previous World Tier to gain a few more levels and increase your character's power. Especially when a new Season changes the base game a lot and power levels are not fully explored yet.

To help you make a better call on when to leave your current World Tier, keep in mind that Sacred items are only equippable after Level 35 and Ancestral items after Level 55.

On Alt characters, you can clear Capstone Dungeons much sooner than on your first playthrough. Make sure you capitalize on your Alt's increased power by attempting the Capstone Dungeons earlier than usual. Focus on AoE damage abilities during most of the Capstone Dungeons while switching to a powerful single-target ability for the Capstone Dungeon endboss. Entering World Tier 3 also unlocks access to Nightmare Dungeons.

Nightmare Dungeons

Monsters in Nightmare Dungeons and The Pit have an additional 80% experience multiplier. Therefore it is extremely important to get into Nightmare Dungeons as early as possible to maximize leveling efficiency. Make sure you are fighting monsters that are exactly 10 levels above your character, not more not less. This ensures you are extracting the absolute maximum experience per monster you kill while keeping their health and therefore your time to kill as low as possible. Target S and A Tier Dungeons from our Nightmare Dungeons Tier List since the experience per hour between the best and worst Nightmare Dungeons is doubled on average.

Dungeon Events are extremely valuable to complete after the changes in Season 4 and should always be prioritized while running Nightmare Dungeons.

It is not required to fully clear a Nightmare Dungeon, instead, it is more beneficial to speed run through it while killing roughly 80% of all Monsters in a Nightmare Dungeon. You have to judge for yourself if a Monster pack is worth the detour instead of bee-lining to the dungeon objectives or events.

Only pick up Rare and Legendary items to minimize having to salvage at the vendor. If your Salvage Materials are comfortably high from playing your Main character, then consider throwing away everything that is not an upgrade to save additional time from not having to visit any vendors.

S and A Tier Nightmare Dungeons from our Nightmare Dungeon Tier List yield twice as much Experience per hour on average compared to D and F Tier Nightmare Dungeons.

Endgame

After acquiring every Legendary Aspect your Endgame Build needs, you switch to your Endgame Build to progress through Nightmare Dungeons. Focus on targetting S and A Tier Dungeons from our Nightmare Dungeons Tier List while minimizing your time in towns and at vendors for optimal experience per hour. As soon as all your Paragon Glyphs are at least Level 15 you can decide if you want to jump into The Pit to acquire Masterworking materials or keep leveling your Paragon Glyphs to Level 21 in Nightmare Dungeons and afterwards jump into The Pit and start finalizing your gear through Masterworking.

Additional Group Play Info

Playing in a group is one of the best ways to level your Alt quickly. Accelerate your progression by taking advantage of the 5% experience nearby player bonus and an additional 5% bonus if you are partied with them. Leveling up in a party is especially beneficial in Helltides and Nightmare Dungeons because you profit from other players' Hell Tide Threat Meter filling up and can split up in Nightmare Dungeons to complete objectives quicker while the experience is shared throughout the whole Nightmare Dungeon.

Summary

Credits

Written by Chronikz
Reviewed by wudijo, Dredscythe

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