The gates of Hell have opened. Diablo IV, Blizzard’s latest entry in the storied dungeon-looting RPG, is finally out on most platforms. There’s a lot to do and a lot to see in Sanctuary, including a haunting side quest that’s both creepy and sexy all at once. But seeing as Hell is hot and demons are mean, trekking through the game’s world is no walk in the park—unless that park is a charred landscape with burnt roses and decayed weeds. All that is to say that you can’t have enough help making it through Diablo IV, so here are over two dozen tips to make your fiery journey a bit cooler.
We’re starting off with something that may seem super-basic to all you Diablo veterans out there, but seeing as it’s been over ten years since the last mainline entry was released, let’s remember that this game is going to be many people’s introduction to Diablo, and likely to action-RPGs of this type overall. So, a good action-RPG rule of thumb is to break literally everything in sight: barrels, crates, racks—in Diablo IV, almost everything drops either gold or loot, not to mention sometimes including precious refills of your health potion.
But in addition to getting money and snagging equipment, smashing environmental objects in Sanctuary could give you passive bonuses depending on your character and skills. The Necromancer, for example, can gain an attack speed buff when killing an enemy within two seconds thanks to the Enhanced Reap ability. However, you don’t have to kill an enemy to get this buff. If you chop a box with Enhanced Reap enabled, you’ll gain that attack speed bonus, meaning destroying hapless objects within the game’s world could make you stronger for your next encounter.
All throughout Sanctuary are a plethora of erected statues for you to interact with. These statues, some of which are Shrines while others, more rare, are Altars of Lilith, give sick bonuses. The Altars of Lilith, for example, statues styled after the Queen of the Succubi herself, grant a permanent stat buff to all your characters. Shrines, on the other hand, give you a temporary blessing, like turning you into a crackling ball of lightning capable of electrocuting trash mobs en masse, or making you invulnerable to damage for a short time. They’re great ways to increase your overall power while picking up a short-lived advantage to make clearing enemies a breeze. Hit them up.
Diablo IV has over 200 dungeons to loot, many of which are long, with multiple paths and copious deadends. It’s easy to get lost in one and even easier to feel tired of leaving the 10th or 100th dungeon after completion. There’s a simpler way to ditch a dungeon once you’re done with it, though, and that’s through the game’s communication wheel. By pressing up on the D-Pad, you’ll access a radial wheel that lets you perform various emotes from a “Cheer” to a “Thank You.” In this wheel is a “Leave Dungeon” option, pasted into the top-left quadrant by default. Selecting this prompt will pull up a blue loading bar, with the words “leaving dungeon” emblazoned above it. Once that bar fills up, boom, you’re back at the dungeon’s entrance. This is a godsend and saves you time, as you can get back to exploring Sanctuary without having to backtrack through a dungeon just to leave it.
Since this is a loot-grinding RPG, you’re going to pick up a large amount of gear. Not all of it will be great, though, so you might be compelled to just sell it to free up some precious inventory space for even more equipment. While I absolutely encourage you to sell, sell, sell, you should first consider salvaging stuff with any of the many blacksmiths around Sanctuary. Doing so will not only reward you with resources for upgrading your equipment, but if the gear says it “unlocks a new look upon salvage,” then you’ll also get a sweet new lewk for your customizable character. It’s like a two-for-one deal, and honestly, who doesn’t want all the hellish drip?
When starting Diablo IV you’re prompted to select a World Tier, a global difficulty setting that dictates how much loot drops, how hard enemies hit, and how much XP you get. While you could begin on World Tier I, bumping it up to the other available option off the rip, World Tier II, gives you a couple of worthwhile bonuses. Yeah, enemies are stronger and do more damage, but playing on this difficulty gives you 15 percent extra gold from trash mobs and 20 percent XP, which is great if you want to power through Sanctuary. And don’t worry because—unless you’re playing with a Hardcore character—death isn’t much of a punishment or a setback, so you can grind out World Tier II to boost your level gains. But if you do find it an unwelcome challenge, you can always drop back down to World Tier I by accessing the World Tier Statue hanging out in the center of Kyovashad.
Before you use the “Leave Dungeon” feature in the radial communication wheel, make sure you rummage through the entire dungeon. It sounds obvious, but with over 200 of them to explore, it can become quite tiring trudging through every single one. Still, doing so means you may come up on a random event, an unsuspecting field boss, or a hidden chest, all of which reward you with loot or experience points. And isn’t that the whole point of Diablo IV: gear and XP? Don’t miss those opportunities.
Across Sanctuary are various shopkeepers that sell armor, gems, and weapons, among other things. It’s totally fine if you want to peruse their wares and, who knows, maybe scoop up an item or two if they’re on sale. However, I strongly recommend you dodge buying anything from shopkeepers for one simple reason: Their markup is ridiculous! For example, I went to buy a two-handed scythe for my Necromancer after the prologue because my two-handed sword wasn’t doing enough damage. I went to the Kyovashad weapons dealer as soon as I reached the religious capital, only to find him selling a common two-handed scythe for almost 15,000 gold, nearly five times the gold I had in my bag at the time. It’s like this more often than not, making shopping a fruitless endeavor, especially since you’ll pick up way better gear simply by slashing and looting your way through Hell’s depths.
As you make your way around Sanctuary, you’ll inevitably run into characters and items, often marked by a blue exclamation point on your map, indicating that they trigger a side quest. Snatch these up and start knocking them out, as they regularly reward you with massive amounts of XP and some useful resources, such as herbs for creating elixirs or materials for upgrading equipment. Some side quests are done in seconds while others may take minutes, but either way, completing them is a great way to grind up some levels for the tougher challenges that await you. Speaking of which…
Alongside the main missions and the side quests are frequent world events, emergent scenarios you can participate in throughout Sanctuary. Sometimes, the event tasks you with protecting a cart or civilians from a horde of demons. Other times, you’re required to prevent a ritual from finishing or defeat a certain enemy within a short time frame. Regardless of the task at hand, completing these world events not only nets you tons of XP, but also gives you the chance to score some sweet gear for the trouble.
Look, I get it. The hollowed-out trees, the random loose stones, the chests, the corpses—almost everything in Diablo IV drops some loot. And you’re tempted to pick up every bit and bobble you can get your hands on, but don’t! It’s sometimes better to leave certain pieces of gear on the dirty floor, particularly those common ones—since you get much better, higher-rarity equipment as you continue exploring—and those that aren’t usable by your class—indicated by a red “X” when it’s in your inventory. Sure, you could sell these useless pieces of junk for gold, but when your gear bag quickly fills up due to the sheer amount of loot on offer, managing your inventory becomes a chore. Save yourself the headaches and, instead of mashing A/X to pick up everything, be judicious about what actually goes into your inventory.
As you get into brawls with trash mobs and huge bosses, you’re bound to inflict a bevy of status effects on enemies across Sanctuary. While the game does inform you of the ailment’s name, it doesn’t always tell you what it does. Vulnerability is one such status effect that you should consider prioritizing in your builds as enemies afflicted with it—evidenced by their health bar turning purple—take 20 percent more damage when hit. This is a great way to murk tough foes as everyone, even you, can succumb to vulnerability.
Sanctuary is full of waypoints you can use to fast-travel around. Some will activate automatically, like those you acquire after beating a stronghold, but others in various towns require you to manually get it up and running. Make sure to do that any time you see a new waypoint symbol (a triangle inside a circle) at your location on the map.
Speaking of waypoints, don’t forget to double back and nab the Nevesk waypoint in Fractured Peaks after the game’s Prologue section, which concludes with Lorath Nahr riding off to the Dry Steppes. You’ll save yourself some annoying backtracking down the line. Nevesk is but a short jaunt from Kyovashad, and it’s where you can begin the neat Woodsman of Nevesk questline. It’s also a good entry point to the Dry Steppes region for advancing the game’s story later on.
As previously mentioned, side quests are marked with blue exclamation points. Talk to every NPC with one to get it added to your queue, even if you don’t plan on completing it right away. Some quests just require you to collect X amount of an item or kill Y number of enemies, making it easy to auto-complete those requirements while you’re doing other stuff. Bear in mind that you can only hold 20 side quests at one time, but any you abandon to clear space just go back to where you found them on Sanctuary’s map so you can always snag them again when you have room.
Elixirs are found under the Consumables tab in your inventory. They last 30 minutes and offer a variety of different bonuses, but a benefit they all share is a 5% experience uptick that really pays off over time. You can craft Elixirs at the Herbalist with ingredients found throughout Sanctuary or that you get as Side Quest rewards in the form of a cache. As you level up, you’ll get access to more powerful brews you can whip up, some of which increase your maximum life or boost your dodge chance, while others imbue a substantial increase to damage against a particular monster “family,” such as demons, beasts, humans, and so on. Think of these like The Witcher 3’s oils. If you know generally what you’ll be fighting ahead of time, there’s an elixir to swig. A.B.E., my pals.
Series vets will already know this but when tussling with baddies, remember this mantra. Diablo’s monster mobs generally behave like a typical RPG party, sending their tanks up front while keeping their damage dealers and support units in the back. We want to disrupt that strategy by hitting their backline first. If you see any of these monikers in your travels—Shamans, Arsonists, Bone Ballistas, or Pestilent Walkers to name a few—absolutely smoke their asses first, trust me. And speaking of mobs…
Get in the habit of gathering up pursuing enemies in one place with a strategic retreat, ideally using a choke point like a door’s entryway, so the jerks are all grouped together for you to uncork a juicy area of effect (AOE) attack. On that note…
Generally the skills you run with should fill a variety of roles. You want something for AOE, something for high single-target damage on bosses, a defensive skill, and later on, your ultimate. Be familiar with what utility each skill provides and the right times to use them when you’re in a pinch.
In options, navigate to the Sound tab, then scroll down. Like all the way down. Nestled in the Other category all by its lonesome is the setting “Player Audio on Error.” This is what you hear when you invariably try to do something you don’t have the juice for: mana, spirit, energy, rage, what have you. In the interest of your sanity, I’d suggest switching it to Off so you don’t constantly hear your character protest that you’re out of a particular resource while you churn out attacks. Alternatively, you can go with Simple which employs a subtler audio cue when something’s amiss. Which it will be, often.
We know that not all classes start out the game feeling balanced with each other, so if you’re having trouble staying alive through a long fight or are struggling to pour in enough damage to take down a boss, don’t just keep butting your head against a wall. Take a beat and circle back later, as Diablo IV is chock-full of stuff to do. Maybe you’ll stumble across an interesting side quest, or get swept up in a world event…hey is that a cellar over there? If you’re following the A.B.E. doctrine, you’ll be leveling up in no time to come back stronger for another crack, or perhaps trying a different build entirely. Which leads us into…
Diablo IV lets you respec your character as soon as you start leveling up. You don’t even need to go to some special vendor in any of the many towns littered across Sanctuary; you can tweak your build right in the skill tree menu. And the best part is that doing so is relatively cheap, at least in the early goings. At lower levels, it’s just a couple hundred gold every time you respec your character, and since gold is abundant, there’s no need to be shy. Go ahead, experiment and try shit out. You might uncover a new, OP build.
Be ready to evade when enemies wind up long attack animations as these will hurt, lots. Foes like the Revenants, Fallen Overseers, Khazra Maulers, and Cannibal Gorgers all telegraph the big swings they’re aiming at your dome. The same holds true for dungeon bosses like the Khazra Abomination and Blood Bishop, as well as many of the big bads you’ll face down in Diablo IV’s main questline.
Returning to the Diablo franchise are treasure goblins, money-grubbing little cretins that roam Sanctuary with loot-filled sacks on their backs. They’re worth hunting down and cutting up because of the gear and gold they drop, but if you aren’t paying attention, you can easily lose sight of them. So keep in mind that, alongside following the money trail they leave behind, you can check your minimap to get a bead on their location and to make sure they haven’t dipped out—because if you don’t kill them in a short time period, they just vanish.
There’s the Diablo IV experience before you get the mount, and then there’s after. It’s really that big a deal. Equestrian access won’t come easily, however. First, you’ll need to wade through Acts I through III of Diablo’s main story, then complete the quest “Mount: Donan’s Favor” that pops up in Kyovashad. Once you manage all that, mounting up removes a ton of tedium from the game by allowing you to bypass any fight in the open world. It’s also consistently a blast to stage-dive off horseback into a mob. While a few classes like the Rogue and Sorcerer, with their Dash and Teleport skills, have the mobility chops to get by OK sans-horse, it’s still the fastest way to get around when just warping from waypoint to waypoint won’t do. What’s more, unlocking mounts on one character will unlock them for all the future characters you create as well. Quite the shortcut.
Wise words to live by in general but even more so when it comes to playing the video game Diablo IV. Be on the lookout for monsters with the “Shock Lance” ability or the prefix “Shocking” in their names. Even with resistances, these rotating beams will mess you up more than most things in the game.
You receive Murmuring Obols by completing world events, the things that happen whenever you step into the large orange circles which periodically crop up on the map around Sanctuary. “But what do I do with these Obols?” you may be murmuring. You have two options in front of you. Well, OK, three actually. You can do nothing, that’s always a choice! But more usefully, Obols can be turned in at the Purveyor of Curiosities town vendor, the one marked on the map by a money bag with a question mark. There, you use obols to gamble on weapons and armor of random quality, or to purchase whispering keys that open up silent chests which can be found all over Sanctuary. The rewards from these usually aren’t amazing, but I like stocking up on keys anyway as it’s easy to just forget about this mechanic altogether. That said, gambling can also be very useful if you have obols to burn and a particular equipment slot in dire need of an upgrade, like those pants you’re still rocking from Act 1.
The monsters of Sanctuary confidently stroll around carrying gobs of loot, and you will be whacking said loot out of them, forcefully. The Item Sort button in your inventory will save you heaps of time here as it organizes what you have by power level so you can figure out what’s actually worth a damn. On consoles, simply push the R3 button while your inventory is open.
The keyword search is a super handy tool for fine-tuning your build. Seeking a skill that inflicts the vulnerable status effect? Just picked up a legendary weapon that makes the most of frost damage? Plug those terms into the keyword search and see what options your class has to offer.
Diablo IV is a numbers game. This is not a controversial statement, as digits regularly clutter the screen whether you’re pondering which item to equip or dealing damage to a horde of enemies. However, it goes even deeper than that. Bear with me as I’m about to throw a lot of jargon at you that all begins with the letter R. You see, by doing a whole host of activities in each of Sanctuary’s five regions, you rack up renown, and advance your overall region progress, which can be viewed at any time from the map screen. Completing renown tiers gifts you realm rewards like extra skill points and increased potion capacity, invaluable for surviving the hordes of hell. Notice I said realm there? Yes, just like the aforementioned Altars of Lilith, these rewards benefit all characters on your account, including those you may create in the future.
Bearing all this in mind, I found it a sound strategy to spread your time around exploring Sanctuary’s first three areas, collecting renown with the aim of completing those first two tiers of region progress, which will net you that upgraded potion limit. You can acquire the requisite renown fairly easily simply by running around discovering areas, unlocking waypoints, and picking up whatever side quests may cross your path.
There you have it. Over two dozen tips and tricks for surviving the darkest, hottest pits of Hell. Diablo IV is as easy or as hard as you make it out to be, so consider these 11 settings to change whether you’re on console or PC. Between that and this assortment of advice, I’ve no doubt you’ll make a killing in Sanctuary and thwart the Daughter of Hatred’s plans for upheaval.