Experience Mechanics

Content of this article:

  1. Experience in General
  2. Pools of Reflection
  3. Other Experience Bonus
  4. The Level System 1-70
  5. The Paragon System - Stats & Distribution
  6. Experience Table 1-20k & Scaling
  7. Paragon DPS Toughness Scaling
  8. How to farm Paragons?

1. Experience in General

Experience (Exp) in Diablo III is earned by killing monsters and completing Greater Rifts (GR) or Quests. There are two systems in place to track your experience progression. These systems are tracked account wide per Region and are separated into Hardcore and Softcore. On top of that a new Season is released every 3-4 months, where players have the option to start completely fresh at level 1 again. Here are the two systems:
1. The Level System where you unlock skills, runes and passive at certain levels. The maximum level with the Reaper of Souls Expansion is 70. Nowadays these 70 levels can be farmed very quickly (more info below).
2. The Paragon System provides certain character stats each level, currently scales up to 20.000 levels total and is considered as the endgame system in terms of leveling. When a Season ends all your farmed Paragon experience is added to your non-season account. Here you can find a great source to check your combined paragon.

2. Pools of Reflection

Pools of Reflection (pools) can be found in adventure mode and Nephalem Rifts but not in Greater Rifts! If you click one it grants 25% more experience for every monster that is killed for half your current level. Pools are shared when clicked to all party members in the same area. The pool is counted individually for each party member's level and is lost when the player dies. You can stack a total of 10 Pools of Reflection at the same time.
The 25% experience gain is multiplicative to other bonus experience sources in game and does do multiply with itself on closing Experience for Greater Rifts or Bounty Quest completion. This leaves you with 1.25 \cdot 1.25 - 1=56.25\,\% more experience and together with the 25% extra you get during the Rift, pools provide a total average of around +40% experience gain. This is the reason why the total experience distribution of a Greater Rift shifts to ~40% for the monsters killed in the Rift and ~60% for the Quest completion reward when playing with pools.
In general you should start taking pools at around 2.500 Paragon levels. On low Paragons it is usually not worth the extra time investment to find a pool, as the pools are instantly consumed due to low amounts of experience requirements. You might as well use the time and just start running another Greater Rift already.

Pool Strategies
A common strategy during higher Greater Rifts is to only take pools for the Rift closing experience as this is the majority anyways and you can not die and lose the pool. To find pools quickly players can use the item Bovine Bardiche in the cube to open the Not The Cow Level, which spawns with 2 pools guaranteed. You can also quickly check for pools in Adventure Mode. Here you can see a few commonly searched areas for pools. Players usually check some of the most common waypoints when they are already done with salvaging and gambling their items.
You can also pre stack 10 pools on multiple characters for a good farming session. If you die or you pools run out on one character put all your items into your stash and switch to the next character that still has full pools. Ideally you have the skills and item setups saved in your Armory for efficient farming and less downtime.

3. Other Experience Bonus

All the following mechanics are ways to increase your experience gain: 

Greater Rift Scaling 
For each tier the average total experience gained by clearing it goes up by 8% from GR1 - GR70. The experience roughly doubles each 9 tiers. From GR70 - GR150 the experience scaling is reduced to 5% per tier, doubling roughly every 14 tiers. The total experience is divided into around 50% for monsters killed inside the Greater Rift and around 50% for the closing of the Greater Rift. This 50/50 ratio shifts to around 40% for the monsters killed and 60% for the closing when using Pools of Reflection (further explained in the Pools of Reflection section).
The Greater Rift scaling works inside the Greater Rift and for the experience reward when closing it.

Torment Scaling
The higher difficulty you go to during Adventure Mode the more bonus experience you will receive. Please note this experience scale does not interact with the experience gained in a Greater Rift. That means a GR70 will give the same experience weather it is opened on Normal or Torment 16. This scaling works for killing enemies and for Quest experience rewards from Bounties or Nephalem Rifts.

Party Buff Strength in Numbers

For every player in the party enemies grow stronger. As a reward for teaming up you also get an experience and a gold find buff of 10% per player up to 30% at 4 players. You need to be close to your allies to benefit (around 1,5 screens) on the same area gain the buff. This buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift completion rewards and provides around +12% total exp boost in a full group. This buff is additive to the Enlightened Shrine buff.

Enlightening Shrine 
Enlightened Shrine's can be found in Adventure Mode and Nephalem Rifts, but not in Greater Rifts! If you click one it provides you 25% more experience for every monster that is killed for the next 2 minutes. This Shrine buff is lost when you die and can not be carried into a Greater Rift. The only way to get an Enlightened Shrine inside a GR is to use Ahavarion, Spear of Lycander to proc it by killing Demons inside the Greater Rift or outside in Adventure Mode. This effect works for party members in the same area and can be enhanced by using Gloves of Worship. Only the player wearing the gloves gets the 10 min buff duration while every other player remains at 2 minutes base duration. Shrines can re-proc but do not stack with each other and their duration will reset. This buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift Completion rewards, is very RNG dependent and provides a total of ~3% more experiece during Greater Rifts in a full group with an average Shrine up time of 1 wearer of Ahavarion, Spear of Lycander and Gloves of Worship. Furthermore this buff is additive to the Strength in Numbers Buff.

Bonus Experience Gear 
There are multiple items that give you bonus experience gain like: Leoric's Signet, Hellfire Ring, Cain's Destiny, Born's Command and any helm or specifically Leoric's Crown with a socked Flawless Royal Ruby. This is awesome to use while leveling 1-70 and is still useful for Paragon farming in groups. The tooltip that says: “This effect is reduced by 100% in Greater Rifts" is straight up incorrect!
It does work! But the bonus is divided by 10 on level 70 and then shared between your party members: For example having 1 Cain's Destiny in the party this means: 50% Bonus / 10 / 4 =1,25% Bonus experience. This value is further reduced as it only applies to monsters killed inside a Greater Rift and not for closing experience reward (around 40/60 spli). That means if you are farming at high levels in a group with pools, the total bonus experience of all players combined divided by roughly 100 is the actual experience benefit!
As low as the outcome number sounds (usually around 1,5 - 2% total in farming groups) it is still worth it due to the lack of other useful alternatives in these item slots, especially on the support classes. Even a 2% bonus can add up fast if you do 100’s of runs and can also save you a few Greater Rift Keystones to reach your Paragon goal. This buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift completion rewards but still provides around +2% boost in groups.

Bonus Experience per Kill
Every time you kill a monster you gain additional experience. This stat can appear as a secondary stat on items and on the Gem of Ease. The use of this stat is very limited to leveling 1-70, as it does not scale with Greater Rift difficulty. Furthermore his buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift completion rewards as you do not kill any monster and yields 0% boost at maximum levels.

Experience Buff as a Community Event
On special occasions there has been Community Events with buffs to experience gain. The last double experience event latest for a week after the Rise of the Necromancer release back in 2017. This buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift completion rewards so it is more like a +40% experience event.

Experience buff in China
If you are playing on the China server you have the option to purchase a +25% experience buff. This buff doesn't count for Quests or Rift completion rewards either. So overall it is around a +9% total boost in solo and +8% in group as it is additive to the Strength in Numbers & Enlightened Shrine buff.

3. The Level System 1-70

The first thing to do in Diablo III is to level to the maximum level on 70 to unlock class specific skills, runes, passives and new items. This Level system is usually completed in a few hours or a day while the majority of the long term leveling process revolves around the Paragon system. Here are some steps to follow for fast 1-70 leveling: 

1. Complete the Challenge Rift after the Season has started (Seasons usually starts at 5.01 pm in-game)
DO NOT COMPLETE IT until the “Season is now live” popup appears! 
2. Create a seasonal character 
3. Grab the Follower Weapon and Shield 
4. Claim your challenge Rift bag 
5. Upgrade vendors 
6. Gamble Items for your specific class. See what you can get at which level here.
7. Craft low level items for damage and toughness and begin one of the common level strategies

Checkout the full 1-70 Leveling Guide here.

4. The Paragon System Stats & Distribution 

The Paragon system is distributed into 4 categories. Each time you level up you can spend a point in a different category all the way up to level 800. After level 800 you can only spent points in the first category and so your Main Stat grind begins. Here are the 4 categories: 

1. Core 
You can choose between:
Main Stat (infinite scale, each point provides +5 Main Stat which is either Strength, Dexterity or Intelligence depending on the class) 
Vitality (infinite scale, each point provides +5 Vitality) 
Movement Speed (+ 0,5% per point, Max 25%)
Maximum Resource (scale varies for each class, Max 50 points) 
Generally you go Movement Speed first until you have 25% on your character stats, then some builds spec into Maximum Resource. After that put points in Main Stat if you are a damage dealer or into Vitality if you are a support. At higher levels most support builds distribute Main Stat and Vitality in a 50/50 ratio.
2. Offense 
All points are capped at 50. You can choose between:
Attack Speed (AS) +0,2% per, Max 10%
Cool Down Reduction (CDR) +2% per, Max 10%
Critical Hit Chance (CHC) + 0,1% per, Max 5%
Critical Hit Damage (CHD) +1% per, Max 50%
For all damage builds you usually want CHD first then into CHC. You can make an argument for going AS earlier
if it can give you an important breakpoint. You only prioritize CDR  if that's needed for a special skill combination or 

3. Defense
All points are capped at 50. You can choose between:
Life % +0,5% per, Max 10%
Armor +0,5% per, Max 25%
All Resistance (AR) +5 per, Max 250
Life per Second (LpS) +214,6 per, Max 10.728,46
For all Strength and Dexterity Main Stat builds choose AR first then Life % into Armor into Life per Second. For Intelligence builds choose Armor into Life % into AR into Life per Second.

4. Utility
All points are capped at 50. You can choose between: 
Area Damage (AD) +1% per, Max 50%
Resource Cost Reduction (RCR)+0,2% per, Max 10%
Life per Hit (LpH) +82,5 per, Max 4.125
Pickup Radius +0.1 per, Max 5.0
For all DPS Builds choose Area Damage first. Then usually Pickup Radius followed by Resource Cost Reduction and Life per Hit last.

5. Paragon Experience Table & Scaling

Generally the first 750 Paragon levels are very fast to reach as you progress trough the game. Up to that point the experience scaling is very mild. From Paragon 750 to 2.250 the scaling is still linear but total experience adds up to higher numbers slowly. From Paragon level 2.250 the scaling gets exponential and finally reaches numbers of multiple trillions of experience points required per Paragon level. To view the full Experience Table 1-20.000 with the scaling of each level in detail click here.

The highest known Paragon is a player from China with 16.000 Paragon. This player farmed a total of 56.600 TR and is around 50% of the way to 20.000. Here is a link to his profile.
If you are having fun and have a more casual approach to the game don't worry all too much about Paragon levels.
You will get them naturally as you play the game! 

6. Paragon DPS & Toughness Scaling 

Let’s be honest here: the current Paragon system in Diablo III is pretty overpowered. Don't get me wrong in an ARPG game players should be rewarded by grinding hard and simply just by playing more or more effective than others. But farming gear, gems ups or augments is far outclassed by farming Paragon levels. First of all the Paragon system is infinite (the theoretical cap of currently 20.000 will not be reached within years of playing) and simply put it is just too rewarding in terms of raw and guaranteed account wide power gain for time invested. This table will show you why:

Paragon Damage Comparison

Paragon LevelUnbuffed Main Stat with AugmentsDamage gain compared to PreviousMultiplicative Damage loss vs 10.000 ParagonGreater Rift Tier Difference vs 10.000 Paragon

Damage wise you can clearly see that a 10k account has a huge advantage of around 7 Greater Rift tiers over a 2k account. This advantage is even further enhanced by the additional toughness gain from more Paragons due to increased Main Stat that provides either All Resistance (Intelligence) or Armor (Strength, Dexterity):

Paragon Toughness Comparison

Paragon LevelExample estimated ToughnessToughness gain compared to PreviousMultiplicative Toughness loss vs 10.000 ParagonGreater Rift Tier Difference vs 10.000 Paragon

This WW Rend Barbarian Planner's unbuffed toughness was used for comparison. It is just ridiculous how much easier the game becomes at higher Paragon as you just get so tanky. A 10k account has around 38 Greater Rift tiers more toughness than a 2k account!

Checkout this video by wudijo for more details:

Paragon Comparison

For all the benefits you gain from farming Paragons you have to put in time, but that time investment is just too effective when done properly. Even at a higher Paragon level you still gain a few levels per hour as you get more damage, more toughness and better pool efficiency. An often raised suggestion within the community is to change the Core Paragon tab to only provide +1 or +2 Main Stat and Vitality per Paragon point spent, instead of the current +5. This change would significantly change the crazy value Paragons have and could shift the focus back to farming items, while still maintaining a rewarding time investment in Paragon leveling farming for those who are interested.

7. How to Farm Paragons

So after listing all the information about Paragon lets see how we can actually farm them effectively:

  • Play in Groups
    Make use of the Strength in Number buffs, have awesome synergies that you can use to maximize damage output, clear higher content, dies less due to toughness buffs from you party members so you can keep pools longer and find pools faster when 4 players search at the same time
  • Never stay in town 
    Town is Lava - in Town you get 0% experience 
    Be fast with your town rotation, put potential useful items in your stash and identify in bulk to reduce town time even further
  • Join Voice with your group 
    Communicate, sync your breaks and plan a schedule to play ahead of time 
  • Farm Greater Rifts 
    The only real way to farm Paragons is to do Greater Rifts as the experience scaling is crazy in there. It's often better to stay on lower Greater Rift levels than going to high to quickly. Ideally you want to stay below 3 minute clear times in speed runs to achieve maximum key and experience efficiency
  • Play with pools 
    After around 2-3k Paragon try to always play with pools, search them fast, open and craft Bovine Bardiche and do not die!
  • Follow the current EXP-META 
    There are big difference in classes and builds that are played. Look for good group synergy and follow the current experience META here
  • Enjoy the game 
    You will play way more and automatically get more Paragon level when you enjoy what you do!

We hope this guide gives you a better understanding how experience works and how to farming it in Diablo III to progress to newer heights - Enjoy!

Post by Rob