If you are just diving into Diablo 2, the experience might feel unusual: playing the game itself feels very simple. In fact, for those coming from Diablo 3 or Diablo 4, the gameplay might seem too simple — for once, you only get two set ability slots to choose from, with very limited respecs.
And yet, looking up guides for Diablo 2 feels anything but simple. One look at a “cheat sheet” that contains Runewords and Breakpoint values could make your head spin. A lot of it is geared towards returning players and the endgame, and a lot of it are sheets with acronyms and numbers.
We at Diablo Tavern hope to cover these topics as well, but in a much simpler language and with suggestions you could implement on lower levels, not just when you grind out your Baal and Mephisto runs with the inventory space completely taken up by Charms.
If you are a beginner, we prepared answers to some frequently asked questions for you below. Some could even be useful to a more seasoned player. After that, feel free to explore the pages we have that interest you the most!
What Is the Best Diablo II Class for Beginners?
Most of the classes in Diablo II start out slow: go with your gut, because you are likely to spend several hours leveling and grinding gear before your true powers kick in. Pick something that sounds fun and have your first playthrough on Normal difficulty without worrying about perfecting it.
The community most often recommends Sorceress as the best beginner Class: since she is a ranged caster it will be easier for you to make gear choices without screwing up — close range is typically a bit more dangerous. Her Teleport Skill is the best mobility skill in the game, and her Blizzard-based builds tend to be the most potent for damage.
In the same vein, Amazon with her Lightning Fury, Elemental Druid with his Tornado, Necromancer with Bone Spear or a Summoner Necromancer with Corpse Explosion, the Assassin with her Lightning Sentry or Wake of Fire (our personal favorite), or the Barbarian with War Cry are often noted for similar reasons.
How Do The Difficulties Work?
You will always start off on a Normal difficulty with your newly created character. You will then need to play through the campaign and its 5 Acts. Once you defeat the final boss, you will begin a playthrough of the Nightmare difficulty. Play through the campaign again and you will unlock Hell.
Things ramp up quickly from Nightmare on: all of your resistances get reduced by 40% (100% on Hell) while the enemies get higher resistances or even Immunities. Overcoming those is a whole challenge of its own.
You can switch between difficulties at any time once you unlock them.
Alternative Way Of Increasing the Difficulty
A unique way to increase your game’s difficulty is to emulate having more players with you when you are playing as a single player offline. Hit “Enter” and type in “/players#” (“/players2”), for example. The enemies will get their HP multiplied by that many levels, but so will the experience they award.
However, it’s all too easy to get carried away with this setting: remember that it’s best to match the challenge level to how quickly you are getting through the content. In the same vein, when you struggle fighting more powerful monsters it might be a good idea to go back to a previous zone to grind out easier enemies first.
If you hit a wall with Nightmare or Hell, Diablo 2 often requires you to optimize your build to proceed: a respec may be necessary.
How Do I Respec My Character?
You can respec in each difficulty level once by visiting Akara in town, after you complete the Den of Evil quest. If you’ve already used all of your free specs for your character, you must instead craft a Token of Absolution using the Horadric Cube (which you get in Act 2).
To craft the Token you need rare drops from Andariel or Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal which you can only get on Hell difficulty. So, definitely don’t spend your respecs too early on.
How Do I Stop Dying So Much?
It depends on your level and build but there are a few common mistakes you can make: not putting enough points into Vitality is a common one. Almost all of the builds will prioritize Vitality from level 1 to level 90+, with only a few divergences, and that says something.
Items like the helm from Tal Rasha‘s set will have a % Life Stolen Per Hit stat. If you put too many points into Strength or Dexterity (it’s not recommended to put too many into Energy), this stat could help you bide it over for a few levels until you can put a few more points into Vitality.
Remember to check the vendors in town for the items they carry: don’t underestimate the gear they can offer you.