Diablo IV launches for everyone today, which means a bevy of newcomers will be crafting their Wanderers and diving into Sanctuary for the first time. Starting can seem intimidating with so many different mechanics, items, and leveling systems, which is why I’m here to offer a few tips I wish I had known the first time around (and am now applying on my current second playthrough) that will make your early hours a smoother trek.
Complete Priority Quests Immediately
Diablo IV has three types of color-coded quests: Story (yellow), Side (blue), and Priority (white). Priority quests are, as the name implies, important because they introduce new game mechanics, such as a new type of store opening up or unlocking a mount. Don’t let these gather dust in your quest log. Otherwise, you’ll be missing out on accessing a vital feature longer than you should be. On that note…
Unlock the Occultist Early By Completing A Dungeon
The Occultist is responsible for adding Codex of Power Aspects and Affixes to your weapons, turning them from ordinary to extraordinary. This store can also extract those same perks from items so that you can apply them to different ones. The Occultist doesn’t become available until you fulfill one of two conditions: hit level 25 or obtain your first Aspect by completing a dungeon. The latter method is a much faster option you can do at any time, so once you have an adequately equipped character, do some dungeon diving to promptly open this important shop.
Don’t Horde Things
Loot drops constantly, and it’s tempting to want to hold onto multiple tunics or helmets of varying effects in case you “need it.” Don’t do it.
For one, your inventory fills up very quickly, and simply dropping items is the worst thing you can do, as you get nothing for it other than space. While you should experiment with various types of gear, once you settle on a playstyle, focus on equipment that amplifies that strategy and ditch anything that doesn’t, even if those items are powerful in a different way. Selling loot is great, but since you’ll accumulate plenty of gold through quests and other means, it’s a much better idea to…
Break Down Rare Loot Often For Veiled Crystals
Rare loot is gold-colored, and breaking it down at the blacksmith often rewards veiled crystals. This precious stone is used to upgrade Rare and Legendary loot above the second level, meaning you’ll want a hefty supply of them once you reach the point of only rocking Rare equipment at a minimum. You’ll occasionally find veiled crystals while exploring or earn them as quest rewards, but the fastest and most reliable supply of them will be the valuable junk you’re lugging around.
Drink Elixers Regularly
Collecting flowers, berries, and herbs lets you concoct elixirs at the Alchemist shop. It’s easy to neglect consuming these drinks or to want to save them for a “rainy day,” but don’t. Although each of them bestows a specific, temporary effect, such as increased armor or elemental resistance, they all offer a secondary perk: a 5 percent experience boost.
Since elixir effects last for 30 minutes, this means you’ll earn more experience for a half hour, which means you’ll level up faster and earn more skill points and abilities sooner. I regularly whipped up batches of elixirs and constantly chugged the more general ones for the experience boost alone. Basically, always have an elixir effect active if you can help it. The race to the level 100 cap will be a bit faster if you do.
Hot Key Elixers On The Emote Wheel
It took me well over 50 hours to discover this, but elixirs can be assigned to your emote wheel for easier access. That makes keeping that XP boost train running much easier since you don’t have to enter the menu as often.
Build Renown Quickly To Increase Potion Capacity
You start Diablo IV with only four health potions, but you can hold more by earning Renown. This separate tier of leveling rewards you for completing world activities. That includes finding new areas, unlocking fast-travel points, completing quests, locating Altars of Lilith, and running dungeons. Depending on your World Tier, Renown has five levels but only Level 2 rewards a +1 potion capacity.
Since each of the five regions has its own Renown progress, that means you can get up to five additional potions. That’s huge, and I went out of my way to raise my Renown to Level 2 in each region solely to achieve this. Believe me, you’ll need every potion you can get.
You Can’t Unlock Everything On The Skill Tree
Saying this upfront may make leveling easier or harder, but it’s good to know early. You earn one skill point per level, but reaching level 50 opens the Paragon Board, a different, more robust skill tree unlocked using Paragon Points, which you’ll earn from that point on instead of skill points.
Even with the extra skill points gained from earning Renown, you will not unlock everything on the first skill tree, so keep that in mind as you’re choosing powers and passives. Diablo IV is about crafting specialized builds and encourages respec-ing to use new skills to deal with different threats.
BONUS: When Do I Get A Mount?
I separated this heads-up since it’s a (very) mild spoiler. You’ll see stables from the beginning, but for some reason, you’re not allowed to buy a horse despite nothing really stopping you from a narrative standpoint. So how do you get a ride?
You’ll have to reach the beginning of Act IV to unlock the story mission that grants you a mount. That will take a good several hours, even if you mainline the story. And if you’re understandably taking the time to do anything else, expect to hoof it on foot for much longer. In my first playthrough, in which I was fairly thorough in completing side activities, I didn’t get the mount for at least 50 hours.
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