Diablo 2: Resurrected is here, and many players — new and old — are no doubt gearing up to take on the demons of Sanctuary. Diablo 2 is more than 20 years old at this point, and there are plenty of great beginner's tips and tricks that will get you acquainted with or reaccustomed to the remastered legendary game. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Focus your build
Diablo 2: Resurrected isn't like Diablo 3 in the sense that you can re-spec and re-skill characters as many times as you want. In fact, before Akara awarded a stat and skill reset reward for the Den of Evil questline and before Tokens of Absolution were introduced, there was no way to remake a character other than to start again at level one.
With the three difficulty levels — Normal, Nightmare, and Hell — you get three stat and skill resets from Akara for free. Tokens of Absolution are made by combining special essences received when killing bosses in Hell difficulty, making them rare and expensive. For this reason, you want to be careful when choosing skills for your character.
Each character has three different skill trees, and while you can mix and match skills all you want, the best builds are generally as focused as possible. For example, if you're playing as a Sorceress, you will likely want to choose either cold, fire, or lightning rather than a mixture of all three. Especially in the early game, mixing skill trees can lead to an underpowered character that struggles with bosses.
2. Maximize your Vitality attribute
Diablo 2: Resurrected gives characters four different stat pools, known as attributes: strength, dexterity, vitality, and energy. You receive five attribute points each time you level up (as well as some from quests) so they are relatively rare. While all attributes are important, Vitality is the one you generally want to maximize. A huge life pool is the mainstay of most Diablo 2 builds, with some exceptions for Sorceresses going with an Energy Shield build.
The equipment and weapons you use requires strength and dexterity to equip, so be sure you have enough of both for your best gear. Dexterity also plays into the block stat; if you'd like to maximize your block chance, save enough points. Otherwise, all attribute points should go into Vitality.
3. Maximize resistances
Your character's resistances to Fire, Cold, Lightning, and Poison are what will keep you alive when you move into Nightmare and Hell difficulties. Characters start Normal difficulty with no resistances, but they can be gained through equipment and certain quests. For the latter, be sure to rescue Anya in Act Five.
You can check your resistances on the main character screen, just below your stats. If you have, say, 15 poison resistance, your character will see a 15% reduction from any poison elemental attack.
Don't get too comfortable with resistances in Normal difficulty, as the base numbers take a deep dive once you hit the harder difficulties. You'll see a -40 penalty in Nightmare, and a -100 penalty in Hell. That means in the endgame you'll need somewhere around +175 to all resistances to have maximum protection.
Prioritize gear that offers resistances, and be sure to keep a look out for charms of the same nature.
4. Run normal Countess for runes
Diablo 2 doesn't really have an endgame, but the nature of its procedurally generated levels and respawning enemies means you can run the same bosses over and over in search of loot. In the early game, Act One's Black Marsh is home to the Countess who commonly drops runes useful for crafting gear that can carry you through to at least the end of Normal difficulty.
Look for Tal and Eth runes to create the Stealth runeword for body armor. It provides poison resistance, faster run/walk, faster cast rate, faster hit recovery, and more.
Shael and Eth go into shields to create the Rhyme runeword, with better block rate, 25% to all resistances, and a boost to magic find.
Leaf is a fantastic runeword for Sorceresses. Tir and Ral runes go into a stave for a huge boost to fire skills and cold resistance.
5. Find and use waypoints for fast travel
The game's Acts are split into regions, and most regions have their own waypoint that can be used for fast travel. However, you must discover and activate the waypoint in the wild before it can be accessed from the Act's main town.
For example, if you're planning on running the Countess multiple times, you will want to find the waypoint in the Act One Black Marsh. This will allow you to bypass the first few regions and will make your repeated trips much quicker. You can fast travel to the Black Marsh waypoint, kill the Countess in her tower, then exit the game to repeat the process.
Waypoints are static spots that will always appear in a certain region. Don't confuse them with Town Portals, which are user-created portals that expire once they're used or the game is exited back to the main menu.
6. Fill your bag with potions early on
During the early game, health potions are generally plentiful. You should find many from downed enemies and in chests around the world. Mana potions, on the other hand, are much harder to find and you'll likely have to visit vendors to buy them. Any time you visit town, be sure to stock up.
Stamina plays a heavy role as well, but only for the first few hours of the game until you level up and find better gear. For this reason, though, you'll also want to bring along a bunch of stamina potions. They can be stacked, which means you can drink three or four at once and have them work one after the other instead of all being used at once.
Antidote potions might be important in the late game, as some advanced enemies have nasty poison attacks that last until you're drained of life. Consider these when taking on bosses. Similarly, be sure to bring some thawing potions when facing Duriel.
7. Upgrade your belt ASAP
You begin the game without any special gear, and one of the first items you should look out for is a belt. Basic belts will expand your potion slots by four, while advanced belts expand slots by up to 12 for a total of 16. Even a basic belt doubles your available space, which will reduce the amount of the time you spend moving potions from your bag to the belt hotbar.
8. Hire and equip a mercenary to help with fights
Mercenaries are available to hire in the starting area of all acts. Killing Blood Raven in the first act quest will get you a Rogue archer for free, which can be equipped with corresponding gear. This is important, as mercenaries are relatively weak without armor and weapons. Any mercenaries you hire in the future will cancel your current mercenary, and any gear they're wearing will also be gone forever. Be sure to take back your gear before swapping mercenaries.
The meta-game generally leans heavily on Act Two mercenaries because of their aura abilities and weapon class being polearms. One of the best starting runewords that you can equip on a mercenary is Insight, which uses Ral, Tir, Tal, and Sol runes. This provides the mercenary (and you) with a Meditation aura which quickly regenerates mana. Combined with something like a Defiance aura, you can get quick mana regen and extra defense without much effort.
9. Hold onto runes and gems
Runes changed Diablo 2 greatly when they were introduced. They can be used to create some of the most powerful items in the game — runewords — but they're also widely used as in-game currency. Unless you somehow have an enormous surplus of runeword, you should hold onto as many as possible. Even low runes can be combined together in the Horadric Cube to "cube up," giving you a higher rune.
Gems are also quite important, both for adding special abilities to socketed items and for crafting recipes. Like runes, low-quality gems can be upgraded in the Horadric Cube, so you might want to hold onto as many as possible. You might even find people trading mid-high runes for a certain amount of perfect gems once the season's economy gets going.
10. Sell yellow (rare) gear for big bucks
Gold is always important in Diablo 2: Resurrected. You'll need it to buy potions, portals, and ID scrolls at the start of the game, and you'll need it to resurrect your mercenary in the late game. Dying also causes you to lose a bunch of gold, so a tough boss fight can leave you poor.
The best way to amass gold is to pick up yellow (rare) items, identify them, and sell them to merchants. A lot of the time you'll be able to get the maximum amount of gold in return. Side note: be sure to deposit your gold in your personal stash to prevent other players from stealing it when you die.
11. Keep gear with +Skill stats
While you receive skill points when you level up or complete certain quests, the next best way to get a boost to your skills is via gear. It is rare, but anything you find that boosts your preferred skills should be prioritized (at least unless it causes you to be a lot weaker). The best gear with +Skills will be legendary (gold/brown), and runewords, though rare (yellow) items can also roll with some excellent stats.
Thanks to the shared stash now in Diablo 2: Resurrected, it's much easier to swap gear between your characters. And since Diablo 2 drops random gear that doesn't necessarily pertain to your current character, be sure to watch out for gear that works with your other characters.
12. Use the Horadric Cube for extra inventory space
The Horadric Cube, gained through an Act Two quest, is one of the most powerful tools in the game. Not only does it help you move through the game in multiple areas, but it's also used for crafting, combining gems and runes, and more.
The Horadric Cube takes up four spaces in your inventory, but when opened it provides 12 spaces. For this reason, many people keep the cube in their main bag to hold larger items. This becomes more important as your inventory fills up with charms.
13. Open a Town Portal before facing a boss
A death in Diablo 2: Resurrected sends you back to the starting area of the Act without any of your gear. It's up to you to navigate back to your dead body, which when clicked will re-equip all of your gear and will move everything back into your inventory. Or, if you can't make it back, you can exit the game to move your body back to town. This will, however, reset the map and monsters.
When going into a boss battle, open a nearby Town Portal that won't be swarmed by enemies. This will allow you to quickly travel back to your body should you die, making the task a whole lot easier.
And if you're playing Hardcore and die, have fun starting a new character.
14. Play with a squad
Diablo's minions grow stronger as more players join, but having a group of people playing is the best way to go. You'll be able to move through the game at a much faster pace, and you'll be able to pull back and heal without as much worry about being swarmed by enemies. While most character builds focus on maximum damage with maximum survivability, there's no reason you can't work with some supporting skills to boost your party, especially in the early game.
Just know that loot is shared in Diablo 2: Resurrected, so be ready to grab any high-end items that drop. Otherwise, you'll have to ask nicely or trade.
15. Be wary of scams and bogus trades
Diablo 2: Resurrected is undoubtedly going to be filled with many veterans who are happy to help newcomers with gear and leveling. However, there are also plenty of people who want to take advantage of other players any way possible. Here are a few tips to be sure you don't get scammed or cheated.
Always check items in the trade window before agreeing to a trade. Some people will swap out legendary items with low-end items that look the same, hoping people don't check the stat screen.
Don't ever drop items on the ground in the hopes that someone will "dupe" it for you. They will pick up the item and disappear.
And don't ever download any third-party software that can "help" the game in any way. It's likely going to cause you to lose your gear in some way.
It's finally here
More than a fresh coat of paint
Diablo 2: Resurrected includes the original game and the Lord of Destruction expansion pack, with all-new improvements and better graphical quality. It's available now on all platforms.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.