Nightmare Dungeons are a modified, more difficult yet rewarding version of regular Dungeons in Diablo 4. They enable faster Character Leveling and Glyph Leveling, reliably drop the Glyphs themselves and Godly Loot in general (Legendaries, Uniques, Sacred and Ancestral Items), and always provide 4 Item Rewards upon completion. Farming and completing Nightmare Dungeons is the overall most efficient way to progress your character in the endgame; this is partly due to greater monster density and higher monster levels. They require a key to open them called a Nightmare Sigil. Nightmare Sigils transform specific Dungeons, adding Afflictions that make them significantly harder. The Tier of a Nightmare Sigil determines the level of the monsters in the Dungeon. Surprise surprise, farming the Nightmare Dungeons that these Sigils open is the best way to acquire additional Sigils.
This system can be considered a combination of Mythic+ from World of Warcraft, Greater Rifts from Diablo 3, and Maps from Path of Exile. Since Dungeons are somewhat static in their layout, monster population, and objectives, it is partly predictable what you will face in any given Nightmare Dungeon run. Here you will learn how to acquire Nightmare Sigils and all of the juicy details regarding one of the most important Endgame Systems in Diablo 4!
This post assumes that you already understand the basics described in our Dungeon Overview Post.
Acquiring Your 1st Nightmare Sigil
Follow these steps to acquire your 1st Nightmare Dungeon Sigil, which is the key to unlock your 1st Nightmare Dungeon:
- Complete the entire main quest line in the Campaign.
- Complete the Cathedral of Light Capstone Dungeon in Veteran Difficulty (World Tier II) to unlock Nightmare Difficulty (World Tier III).
- Silence 10 Whispers in Nightmare Difficulty and turn them in at the Tree of Whispers for a reward cache. Learn about the Whispers of the Dead endgame system here.
- After right clicking the cache in your inventory, a Tier 1 Nightmare Sigil will be given as one of the rewards. Pick it up!
Sigils are a common Tree of Whispers reward. You can reliably acquire Sigils within 5 levels of your highest-level completed Sigil by turning in Whispers!
Unlocking Sigil Crafting
In order to unlock Sigil Crafting at the Occultist, you must first complete a Tier 3 Nightmare Dungeon. Follow these steps:
- First complete a Tier 1 Nightmare Dungeon, which you acquire through the Tree of Whispers in Nightmare Difficulty as noted above.
- As you kill monsters and progress through the Tier 1 Nightmare Dungeon, you are likely to find a Tier 2 Nightmare Sigil. If you do not, run any Tier 1 Nightmare Sigils you acquired in that dungeon to try again. You can also reliably acquire additional Sigils through the Tree of Whispers.
- Run a Tier 2 Nightmare Dungeon or Dungeons to acquire a Tier 3 Nightmare Sigil.
- Once you acquire a Tier 3 Nightmare Sigil, complete that Dungeon to unlock Sigil Crafting!
All Ways To Acquire Sigils
There are four ways to acquire Sigils:
- Completing Whispers of the Dead.
- Finding them throughout Nightmare Dungeon runs and by completing Nightmare Dungeons.
- Completing Events (Sigil Power or the Nightmare Sigils themselves - open world and inside dungeons).
- Defeating World Bosses in World Tier III or IV.
- Crafting them at the Occultist using Gold and Sigil Powder. Acquire Sigil Powder by salvaging unwanted Sigils.
Note: There is no way to "re-roll" Sigils. Once a Sigil comes into existence, its stats including its Dungeon, Tier, and Afflictions are final. Running optimized Nightmare Dungeons for your build requires crafting new Sigils from Sigil Power, mostly from salvaging "bad" Sigils.
Acquiring in Nightmare Dungeons
Nightmare Sigils acquired while running Nightmare Dungeons are going to be within 5 levels of the Tier of the Nightmare Dungeon you are running. They most often drop the same Tier Nightmare Sigil or 1-3 Tiers above. See below for more information about Nightmare Dungeon Tiers.
Nightmare Dungeon Tiers
Nightmare Dungeons are grouped into 2 categories depending on your World Tier:
- Sacred: Nightmare (III) Difficulty, Sacred Sigils, Tiers 1-20
- Ancestral: Torment (IV) Difficulty, Ancestral Sigils, Tiers 21-100
Note: Not every Dungeon in the game can be transformed into a Nightmare version of itself. Instead, only a certain pool of possible Nightmare Dungeons exists, which changes every Season. Sacred NM Dungeons (3 per region) make up half of available Ancestral NM Dungeons (5-7 per region). See Current Nightmare Dungeon Rotation towards the bottom of the post for a full list of possible Nightmare Dungeons.
Check out our Nightmare Dungeon Tier Lists!
Nightmare Dungeon Scaling
Monsters, including bosses, scale up by +1 level per Tier, starting from level 54 at Tier 1 up to 154 at Tier 100. Higher level monsters grant more Experience and have better odds of dropping loot closer to the 925 Item Power maximum.
|World Difficulty||Minimum Tier||Min Monster Level||Maximum Tier||Max Monster Level|
Defeating significantly higher level monsters is quite difficult as they scale up their Life, Damage, and additional penalties against your Damage Reduction from Armor. As of a Season 1 hotfix, monsters start becoming weaker in Nightmare Dungeons compared to their open world counterparts of the same level starting at Tier 35 (mlvl 89). By Tier 50 (mlvl 104), monsters inside Nightmare Dungeons have ~20% less HP and ~13% less Damage than ones of same or similar level outside. Current Tier 100 Nightmare Dungeons are about as difficult as Tier 70 Nightmare Dungeons were on launch, and are the pinnacle of challenge in the game.
Check out our Experience Guide for how to get the most out of farming Nightmare Dungeons.
Nightmare Dungeon Activation
Here we outline steps for activating and traveling to a Nightmare Dungeon. Once inside, you are ready to farm and complete the Nightmare Dungeon!
Note: If you leave the game after activating a Nightmare Dungeon, you will no longer be able to enter it and will lose your Nightmare Sigil! Additionally, if you activate a NM Dungeon while one is already active, it will replace it. You can only have 1 NM Dungeon active at a time.
- Select the Nightmare Sigil in your Consumables Tab. You can do this anywhere at any time in the open world, but it is usually easiest to do this in town.
- Select "Accept" on the "Consume Sigil" pop-up.
- You have now activated a Nightmare Dungeon!
- After activating the Nightmare Dungeon, open the World Map by pressing Tab. If the map does not zoom in on the location of the Nightmare Dungeon automatically, check for it in the region that was noted on the Sigil next to the dungeon name. See right image for a visual.
- Select the Nightmare Dungeon icon on the map.
- Select "Accept" on the "Teleport Confirmation" pop-up. This will teleport you inside the newly activated Nightmare Dungeon.
- You are ready to farm and complete the Nightmare Dungeon!
Nightmare Dungeon Completion
Completing a Nightmare Dungeon is almost the same as completing a regular Dungeon. Once you complete a dungeon's final objective, the dungeon is complete and you are given various rewards discussed in the section below. However, there is one caveat: You can only die a certain number of times. The amount of times you allowed to die (and hence revive) before you "fail" a Nightmare Dungeon depends on whether it is Sacred or Ancestral:
- Sacred: 12 Revives
- Ancestral: 4 Revives
It is best to think of these Revives as your number of lives; if you have 0 Revives remaining and die again, you will fail the dungeon. Upon failing a dungeon, you no longer will be able to re-enter that same Nightmare Dungeon by any means and will forfeit your Nightmare Sigil. Of course, this system is completely irrelevant for Hardcore mode, where you lose your character if you die once anywhere, at any time, and for any reason. A successful completion and failure screen are pictured on the right.
Nightmare Dungeon Rewards
Nightmare Dungeons are hard, but the rewards are worth toughing them out! In addition to the normal Dungeon completion rewards of Gold, Experience, and a Codex of Power Aspect, completing Nightmare Dungeons enable you to find and level Glyphs, grants even more Experience with scaling monster levels and boosted monster density, and guarantees you 4 Item Rewards.
- Glyphs are powerful items that can be socketed into Paragon Boards. These can be leveled up to increase their potency and radius to cover a larger area of a board, making them one of the main reasons to run Nightmare Dungeons.
- Glyphs are most commonly found by killing monsters inside Nightmare Dungeons. Completing NM Dungeons is also the only way to level your Glyphs. Interact with the Awakened Glyphstone that is in the center of the immunity bubble that spawns upon NM Dungeon completion; an Upgrade Glyph screen pops up (pictured on the right). Select one of the available Glyphs and then select "Upgrade Glyph" to allocate Glyph Experience.
- Higher Dungeon Tier = more XP available to allocate. You can level multiple Glyphs after completing a dungeon so long as you have enough XP to increase the level of a Glyph at least once.
Note: Level your Glyphs immediately after every NM Dungeon completion. This XP does not carry over. You cannot allocate it after leaving the dungeon!
Since defeating higher level monsters grants more XP, Nightmare Dungeons are one of the only ways to power level in the endgame. Every +1 increase in monster level above your character level nets 1.5% bonus experience up to 15% (10 monster levels higher). Monsters do not grant additional bonus experience if they are over 10 levels higher than your character; however, as of Season 2, higher level monsters grant significantly higher experience no bonus aside. Choose Nightmare Sigils that allow you to quickly and comfortably push without slowing down!
It is easier to gain higher-rarity loot (Legendaries or Uniques) in Nightmare Dungeons than in the open world. This is partially due to higher monster density in Nightmare Dungeons, but also due to the fact that you always get 4 Item Rewards upon completion. One of these items is guaranteed to be either of Legendary or Unique quality, while the other 3 can be Unique, Legendary, or Rare quality. Also, the higher level the monsters, the more likely loot drops closer to the 925 Item Power maximum!
Afflictions or Dungeon Affixes as they are called on the tooltip, are what make a Nightmare Dungeon a nightmare. The intent behind them is to make running any particular Nightmare Dungeon a unique experience. There is always 1 Positive Affliction and somewhere between 2-4 Negative Afflictions depending on the Tier:
- Tiers 1-10: 3 Afflictions
- Tiers 11-20: 4 Afflictions
- Tiers 21-100: 5 Afflictions
Positive Afflictions boost your power in some way, which, depending on your build, can make a dungeon a great deal easier. One of the Negative Afflictions either empowers Elites by granting them a guaranteed Affix, or is a Special Affliction (more on those below). The remainder of the Negative Afflictions buff monster stats or debuff your own stats/abilities in some way. Here we divide all possible Afflictions into 5 categories: Positive Afflictions, Special Afflictions, Empowered Elites, Monster Buffs, and Player Debuffs.
Most of the time, we expect people to stick to one build rather than making sweeping adjustments depending on the content they're doing. There are important considerations when it comes to Nightmare Dungeons, however:
- Do you just want to farm loot and Glyph upgrades as fast as possible? Gather as much Movement Speed, Resource Generation, Cooldown Reduction, and Damage as possible to blitz through the runs.
- Are you trying to push the highest Tiers? Stack defensive stats (such as Damage Reductions, Total Armor, and Life) wherever possible to absorb or avoid hits. Alternatively, you can go full glass cannon on a ranged build to kill the monsters before they can attack you.
- Are you going to group up with others to tackle them as a team? Each member of the party should see what buffs or debuffs their class can bring to a run. Maximizing the number of unique buffs and debuffs bolsters team efficiency as a whole, which may require some small build adjustments. For example, if you have a dedicated trash mob killer, Elite killer, front-line tank/stat buffer, and crowd controller, you are likely to have a strong 4-person team. Division of roles and abilities is key to a successful group push!
- Afflictions: In some cases, you can swap out equipment to shore up build weaknesses that an Affliction can take advantage of. Avoid running NM Dungeons with Afflictions that hard counter your build. See Afflictions above.
Current Nightmare Dungeon Rotation
There is a fresh Nightmare Dungeon lineup every Season. No matter what, there are always 5-7 Ancestral NM Dungeons per region for a grand total of 30. Sacred NM Dungeons make up half of available Ancestral NM Dungeons (3 per region), hence they are listed separately. This section contains lists of all NM Dungeons, past and present. Current Nightmare Dungeon listings are on the top of each section. See how they stack up in our Nightmare Dungeon Tier Lists.
Ancestral Nightmare Dungeon Rotations
Season 2 - Season of Blood - Ancestral Nightmare Dungeons
Season 1 - Season of the Malignant - Ancestral Nightmare Dungeons
Season 0 - Launch - Ancestral Nightmare Dungeons
Sacred Nightmare Dungeon Rotations
Season 2 - Season of Blood - Sacred Nightmare Dungeons
Season 1 - Season of the Malignant - Sacred Nightmare Dungeons
Season 0 - Launch - Sacred Nightmare Dungeons
- Nightmare Dungeons are modified versions of normal Dungeons marked by extra random Afflictions and a scaling Tier difficulty setting.
- Sigils are required to open Nightmare Dungeons. They can be awarded by the Tree of Whispers or Events, found in and by completing the Nightmare Dungeons themselves, or crafted at the Occultist using Sigil Powder.
- Unlock Sigil Crafting by completing a Tier 3 Nightmare Dungeon. This requires completing lower Tiers first.
- There are two separate groups of Nightmare Dungeons: Sacred and Ancestral - one for each of the endgame World Tiers (Nightmare - World Tier III, and Torment - World Tier IV).
- Tier 100 Nightmare Dungeons are the ultimate challenge for a player's build and skill, while also offering maximum odds of acquiring top notch loot.
- Important rewards include faster Experience gain, Glyphs, Glyph Leveling, and high-rarity loot. Nightmare Dungeons are the best way to farm high-rarity loot period!
- Nightmare Dungeons have boosted monster density compared to normal dungeons.
- Afflictions make these dungeons challenging. Avoid Afflictions that hard counter your build.
- Now go forth and conquer your worst Nightmares! Good luck!
Written by DarkHumility
Original Post by wudijo
Reviewed by Dredscythe & Chewingnom