7 beginner tips for Diablo 4 as it arrives on Xbox Game Pass

Diablo 4
(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment/Xbox/Jennifer Young)

Today is the day the latest instalment of my favorite franchise has arrived on Xbox Game Pass. Just nine months after its launch, Diablo 4 is emerging as a newborn demon spawn. Fresh onto the subscription service for a whole new hoard of players to join the battle against Hell.

While you may not have escaped the news that the game is undergoing a considerable overhaul with Season 4 in May, I can assure you that, as a new player, your campaign experience will be mostly unaffected by these changes, which are mainly targeted at endgame. With that in mind, you can get stuck in now and have a comfortable six weeks to enjoy the campaign before that happens. Here are some tips I have to help you in Diablo 4.

1. You don't need to have played any previous Diablo games.

You don't needto have played the other Diablo games to enjoy Diablo 4 (Image credit: Blizzard)

While Diablo 4 is set around fifty years after the events of Diablo 3, you don't need to have played the previous games to enjoy the story. Diablo 4 is quite different from the games that game before it, just as Diablo 2 is quite different from Diablo 3.

The campaign does a pretty good job of building the world around you, however you may need some broader context as to why the world of Sanctuary seems, well anything but a place of Sanctuary. Before the game's launch, I compiled an extensive summary of the lore, and the goings on in the previous games in this Diablo lore summary. Essentially, this is a classic tale of Angels vs Demons, with humans stuck in the middle of a neverending war. As long as you understand that simple pretense, the game will fill in the blanks for you. 

2. Don't skip the campaign.

The campaign for Diablo 4 is the best part (Image credit: Windows Central)

The campaign is incredible, we gave the base game a resounding 5/5 starts in our full Diablo review. And if you're here looking for beginner tips, the campaign is the absolute best way to learn the game as it will introduce all of the loot and crafting systems to you at a more manageable pace.

You can skip the campaign in Diablo 4 if you want, and be dropped in town with access to all the vendors and the ability to level up much faster of course, but I strongly advise against this as a new player. You'll also be missing out on some of the most incredible cinematic cut scenes I've ever seen in a game. Seriously, play it!

3. Choose a class that suits your playstyle.

Diablo 4's classes around a very cozy campfire. (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Currently there are 5 classes in Diablo 4, here's a brief description of each you can choose from:

  • Rogue: My favorite class! A being of pure speed and slick attacks. Use a bow, daggers, or both and zip around the battlefield assassinating your enemies.
  • Druid: The shapeshifter. Not content with just wielding nature based magic? Well do it as a bear, as a wolf and command your own beasts. 
  • Barbarian: Barb go smash, barb go smash hard.
  • Necromancer: Command a bunch of skeletons, wield scyths and use the powers of blood and bone. In my opinion if you're an absolute beginner the Necromancer is the best pick as a class that will do a lot of heavy lifting for you through the campaign. 
  • Sorcerer: Wield powerful elemental magic as a glass cannon and light up the battlefield. 

We already have a bunch of best Diablo 4 class builds if you want to read more detail and perhaps get to grips with all of the skills, but don't be afraid to experiment. Build guides are great, but it may be fun coming up with your own build for a first run.

4. Don't be a hero, pick a manageable difficulty.

There are four world tiers available, but the higher difficulties are locked until after the Diablo 4 campaign.  (Image credit: Future)

When you first start your Diablo 4 playthrough, you are asked to choose a difficulty setting, these are described as World Tiers, and there are four of them. Only World Tier 1 and 2 will be available to you initially, you will need to level up and beat something called a Capstone Dungeon to unlock the higher difficulties, but don't worry about that for now, just pick between the two World Tiers available to you and pick wisely.

  • World Tier 1 - Adventurer
  • World Tier 2 - Veteran - 20% XP boost and 15% more gold

World Tier 1 is for those new to the game, but don't think this is 'Easy mode'; it may feel it at first, but around character level 30-35, you may start feeling the heat (of Hell). If you're already quite familiar with how an isometric looter hack-and-slash game works and want slightly more of a challenge, you can choose World Tier 2.

Despite the original allure of 'extra XP', if it's taking you a long time to kill enemies in the early game, don't be afraid to turn it down a notch. You can do this anytime by visiting the Inarius statue in Kyovoshad. The loot drops are no better in World Tier 2, you only see a change to this once you unlock World Tier 3.

I highly recommend playing on World Tier 1 for new players until you are familiar with the game. You'll also notice the option to create a 'Hardcore' character. This means if your character dies, they are permanently dead. It can add an extra layer of challenge and excitement to the game but also a lot of frustration, and not something I would recommend to a new player. 

5. Loot drops from monsters, kill monsters for better loot, equip better loot, kill monsters faster. 

If you care about optimizing your gear, enabling Advanced Tooltip Compare is a must. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The key gameplay loop with Diablo 4 is equipping your character with the loot that drops from your enemies, and consistently checking the drops for upgrades to what you are wearing. So you can hit harder, better, faster and stronger. Early in the story, you won't care too much about all of the individual stats, just equip the highest level that drops for a base increase to your damage. As you get to higher levels, you may start to care about the more minute details.

If you really want to compare all your gear at a more detailed level, you can turn on Advanced Tooltips in the gameplay settings menu to see a more detailed comparison between your current gear and new-found spoils. 

You can enable Advanced Tooltip Compare in the Gameplay tab of the Diablo 4 options menu. (Image credit: Windows Central)

6. Complete your class quest as soon as you can.

Class-specific quests are essential to unlocking the full power of your build, and once you hit level 15 on your character (apart from Necro which is 25) you'll get a quest populate in your log to go and do your quest. Don't just ignore these, as they will unlock a lot of power for your character. These are:

  • Barbarian - Level 15 - Master of Battle - unlocks Technique slot in Arsenal
  • Druid - Level 15 - Spirits of the Lost Grove - unlocks all Spirit Boons
  • Necromancer - Level 25 - Call of The Underworld - unlocks your Golem
  • Rogue - Level 15 - True Potential - unlocks 3 specializations
  • Sorcerer - Level 15 - Legacy of the Magi - unlocks Enchantments 

7. Legendary Aspects are what really take your character to the next level.

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Depending on the type of build you are going for, you'll notice that Legendary dropped items have an extra affix on that compliment certain skills. These are called Legendary Aspects. You'll want to pay attention to these as they are crucial once you start facing tougher enemies.

Legendary Aspects can be taken off your gear and applied to something else entirely. So, for example, You are playing a Necromancer using the 'Blood-soaked mist' Aspect on your weapon. A new weapon drops for you that is a significant upgrade but it doesn't have this Aspect. You can visit the Occultist in town, remove that Aspect from your current weapon, and imprint it onto the new one.

Once an Aspect is taken from a piece of gear and imprinted, it cannot be extracted again. You can imprint as many times as you want, though (crafting and gold costs are permitted). Additionally, there is the Codex of Power, where you can scroll through all of the Aspects available and see if you can unlock one permanently by completing a dungeon. You can pin the aspects location to your map for easy navigation.

As mentioned before, the game gets noticeably diceier around levels 30-35, so you'll want to start paying attention to what Aspects you have equipped around this level. The Codex of Power and how it works will be changed with the huge patch update in May. For now, the basics of it are fine for the campaign experience. 

Diablo 4 is an epic addition to Xbox Game Pass

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

I love the Diablo franchise so much, I bought Diablo 4 four times just to have it on multiple platforms. I also pre-ordered the Collector's Box months before the game hit the shelves, I was so confident I would love the game. Despite investing heavily myself, I'm actually thrilled to see it available on Xbox Game Pass within a year of its launch. I couldn't be happier about the opportunity for more players to experience the game without the larger upfront financial commitment. This really represents what Xbox Game Pass is all about. 

Diablo 4 undoubtedly gets a lot of heat for its live service aspects and the rollout of seasonal content—but none of this should overshadow what an incredibly constructed base game it has. We are also about to enter a new era, with the most recent Campfire Chat leaving many of the community optimistic about the game's future.

Now couldn't be a better time to jump into the game and learn the ropes using the campaign as a stepping stone. Hell, you needn't even play any of the seasonal content at all. Some choose to finish their Diablo journey once the credits roll, and with the game available on Xbox Game Pass, why not give it a try?

Jennifer Young

Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.