- 1 Diablo 2 Quests and Areas
- 1.1 Act 1
- 1.2 Act 2
- 1.3 Act 3
- 1.4 Act 4
- 1.5 Act 5
Diablo 2 Quests and Areas
This Diablo 2 quests guide offers a sequence of quests and quest items, with notes about areas associated with quests, and interesting details about those areas.
Story progression: Certain key Diablo 2 quests must be completed in order to advance through the game’s story. Those quests, and items used in those quests, are marked mandatory below. Other quests, marked optional, produce distinct rewards instead of story progression. If you skip any quest, you may still come back later at your leisure to finish the quest for its reward.
Sideshows: some areas have entrances to optional sideshow attraction areas, which do not advance the story, but are fun to explore for experience and loot. If you prefer to explore and “fully clear” the entire game, you will definitely enjoy these side areas, but if you would rather speed your way through the mandatory quests, you can skip them.
Superuniques: Some areas feature superunique monsters. These are present in every game, always identified by the same consistent name, in contrast to unique monsters that are randomly named and populated. When a superunique is defeated, it often drops more magic items than a comparable unique enemy. Superunique monster locations are noted below in each section.
Special chests: Some areas may also feature super (sometimes sparkly) chests, which can yield extra gold, potions, magic items, or other bling. Each odd /players setting (/p1, /p3, /p5, /p7) is known to influence these special chests to drop progressively more loot. If a location has (or might have) a super/sparkly/special chest, that fact is also listed below.
Alvls: Each area has an area level (alvl) rank. These are listed below as three numbers, one each for normal/nightmare/hell difficulty. For example, “Blood Moor (1/36/67)” means that area has alvl 1 in normal difficulty, 36 in nightmare, 67 in hell. Most monsters in an area have a monster level (mlvl) that matches the area’s level, but this can vary, particularly in normal difficulty. Champion monsters get two bonus levels above their peers, unique monsters get three, and each superunique monster has its own even higher super-unique level.
If your character or mercenary is ten levels or more ahead of a monster’s level, she or he will have an easier time defeating the monster, but will probably get little or no experience. If your character or mercenary is ten or more levels below a monster’s level, she or he will find it very difficult to defeat the monster, and will also get significantly reduced experience when the monster is finally defeated.
The most balanced battles with the best experience potential happen when the difference between a character’s level and enemy’s level is about five or less. If you find that your character and mercenary suffer reduced experience gains because of large level mismatches, there are a couple of things to can try to get better experience scores: (1) You can adventure in sideshow areas that have closer alvls to yours. (2) You can also try adjusting the /players setting as you work toward better hero/monster level parity.
Waypoints: each waypoint you tag lets you instantly travel to any other tagged waypoint. A town waypoint is automatically activated for your use in each act’s initial base area. In the rest of each act, you aren’t strictly required to claim other waypoints you might find. Some players try to activate as many as they can find, as an extra side quest. Although it is possible to complete the game without activating any at all, most players take certain waypoints just for their convenience. (Exception: most players actively shun the Halls of Pain waypoint in act 5.)
Den of Evil
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Find the Den of Evil in the Blood Moor, enter it, and engage your enemies.
Rewards: an extra skill point, and one opportunity to “respec” (reset and re-specify previously spent stat and skill points).
To skip: just ignore the Den of Evil cave, but instead travel through the Blood Moor, politely decline the Rogue sentry Flavie’s warning, and proceed into the Cold Plains.
Superunique: zombie Corpsefire in the Den of Evil.
Potential special chest: Blood Moor, in a cottage. Throughout act 1, treasures might also be found in many “poppable” objects — not just chests, but also loose rocks, hidden caches, corpses, graves, sarcophagi, and weapon/armor racks.
Alvls: Blood Moor (1/36/67); Den of Evil (1/36/79)
Note: Every surface level in Act 1 has a footpath trail that can be followed to find many entrances to different areas. That road is seldom the fastest way to get to a destination, but it often comes close, so if you want to save time and advance through the first areas of the game more quickly, the paths might be helpful. On the other hand, players that find satisfaction when they accomplish “full clears” (fully map entire areas and dispatch all monsters) will prefer to “leave the beaten path” and explore wildernesses.
Blood Raven (Sisters’ Burial Grounds)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Travel through the Cold Plains to the Burial Grounds, and battle Blood Raven there. Be careful. She tries to distract you with summons. Try not to get surrounded.
Reward (normal difficulty): opportunity to hire a Rogue mercenary. A volunteer Rogue joins you if you haven’t already hired one. (Characters advanced to level 8 or higher may hire a Rogue, regardless of whether this quest was completed.)
To skip: just ignore the Burial Grounds cemetery. Instead, proceed from the Cold Plains to the Stony Field.
Sideshows: The Cave (two levels — first entrance in Cold Plains); The Crypt and Mausoleum (entrances in the Burial Grounds).
Special chests: The Cave (level 2), The Crypt, Mausoleum.
Alvls: Cold Plains (2/36/68); The Cave (2/36/77-78); Burial Grounds (3/36/80); The Crypt (3/37/83); Mausoleum (3/37/85)
Deckard Cain (The Search for Cain)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Akara gives you all the instructions necessary to accomplish this quest.
Rewards: slightly lowered shopping prices from Rogue Encampment vendors, a free magic ring (rare in nightmare and hell difficulty), and opportunity to have Deckard Cain identify magic items at no cost, instead of having to use identify scrolls. (If this quest is skipped, Cain still accompanies you in later acts, but he charges a hundred gold per unidentified item when you use his identify service.)
To skip: bypass the Cairn stones in the Stony Field. Instead, travel through the Underground Passage to the Dark Wood, ignore the Tree of Inifuss, and proceed to the Black Marsh.
Sideshows: Tristram (quest portal opens in Stony Field), Underground Passage (level 2).
Special chests: Underground Passage (level 2), and very likely another in a cottage somewhere in the Stony Field.
Alvls: Stony Field (4/37/68), Underground Passage (4/37-38/69-83), Dark Wood (5/38/68), Tristram (6/39/76)
The Countess (The Forgotten Tower)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. One way to introduce this quest is to find and read the “moldy tome” in the Stony Field.
Rewards: extra gold from a chest at the bottom of the tower cellars, and the Countess always drops at least one rune when she is defeated (usually a common rune, but with a chance for a semi-rare rune in NM and Hell difficulty.)
To skip: ignore the Forgotten Tower and its cellars. Instead, proceed through the Black Marsh and Tamoe Highland to the Monastery Gate and Outer Cloister.
Sideshows: Forgotten Tower (five cellar levels, first entrance in Black Marsh), The Hole (two levels, first entrance in Black Marsh), The Pit (two levels, first entrance in Tamoe Highland). Those are the last of our act 1 sideshows – the rest of the upcoming areas must be traversed to complete the act.
Superuniques: corrupt stalker Countess in Tower Cellar (level 5),
Special chests: The Hole (level 2), The Pit (level 2), very likely in a cottage in the Black Marsh, and probably more in the Tower Cellar (levels 1 through 4).
Alvls: Black Marsh (6/38/69), The Hole (5/38-39/80-81), Tower Cellars (7/38-42/75-79), Tamoe Highland (8/39/69), The Pit (7/39-40/85), Monastery Gate (8/40/70)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later.
Reward: opportunity for Charsi to imbue rare magic status on a normal armor or weapon. The quest is never fully completed until after Charsi imbues an item, but chances for desirable rare item modifiers improve with higher character levels, so some players choose to leave this quest unfinished until later.
To skip: ignore The Smith and the Horadric Malus, but instead proceed from the Outer Cloister through the Barracks, then through all three Jail levels to the Inner Cloister.
Alvls: Outer Cloister (9/40/70), Barracks (9/40/70), Jail (10/41/71)
Mandatory quest: must be completed to proceed to act 2. Proceed from the Inner Cloister through the Cathedral, and then through four levels of Catacombs. If Andariel’s poison attacks rapidly drain your health, consider drinking a few antidote poitions before battle. Each one that you drink temporarily increases your resistance to poison for 30 seconds, so if you drink four at once, your poison resistance should be elevated for a full two minutes. You can try feeding some to the mercenary as well.
Reward: some extra gems (two chipped gems and a normal quality gem), and opportunity to proceed to act 2.
Alvls: Inner Cloister (10/41/72), Cathedral (11/41/72), Catacombs (11-12/42-43/72-73)
Note: if you adhere to the following steps, you can enjoy an “Andy Quest Bug” reward: (1) Defeat Andariel. (2) Wait for her automatically generated town portal, and go through it. (3) Talk to nobody in the Rogue Camp except for Warriv; accept Warriv’s invitation to travel to Lut Gholein. (4) Save and Exit your game.
This isn’t the only procedure that will “quest bug” Andariel, but if you follow those steps, whenever you go back to act 1 and kill Andariel again, she will drop extra magic items instead of piles of gold, just as if you were still fighting her for the first time.
On the other hand, if you save-and-exit before traveling with Warriv, then sometime later fight Andariel again, she might not be “quest bugged,” and will usually drop extra piles of gold instead of extra magic items. In nightmare difficulty, “quest bugged” Andariel has the best chances of any monster in the entire game to drop the unique Stone of Jordan ring — double the probability of “not quest bugged” Andariel, who happens to have the second-highest chance to drop an SoJ.
|Levels of Act I Overview|
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Proceed under Lut Gholein’s Sewers to find Radament.
Rewards: a skill point (obtained by activating Radament’s tome), and slightly lowered shopping prices from Lut Gholein vendors. Also, if you haven’t already obtained any of the Horadric Staff quest items, a chest near Radament will contain the Horadric Scroll, which introduces that quest.
To skip: ignore the Lut Gholein sewers, and proceed to the Rocky Waste.
Superunique: greater mummy Radament in the Sewers (level 3).
No special chest, but throughout act 2 there are more “poppable” treasure-yielding objects, including goo piles, urns, and possibly even some hidden treasures under certain harem pillows.
Alvls: Lut Gholein Sewers (13-14/43-44/74-75)
Note: There are two entrances to Lut Gholein’s sewers. A convenient entrance lies between Greiz and the Lut Gholein city waypoint. However, if you’re in a hurry, try the other entrance at the dockside near Warriv, because the procedures that randomly generate the Sewers Level 1 map usually place the passage to the second level very close to the dockside entrance.
Mandatory item: The Horadric Cube is one of the three items necessary to fulfill the Horadric Staff quest, which must be must be completed to advance into Tal Rasha’s Chamber. Travel from the Rocky Waste to the Dry Hills, and find the entrance to the Halls of the Dead. The Horadric Cube will be in a special quest chest at the lowest area of the Halls (level 3).
To skip (nightmare/hell difficulties): if you kept the Horadric Cube that you earned in normal difficulty, you can ignore the Halls of the Dead, and proceed from the Rocky Waste and Dry Hills to the Far Oasis.
To skip (normal difficulty): if you use an item stash utility such as GoMule or ATMA, it’s possible to transfer a Horadric Cube from another single player character. However, because a Horadric Cube is so useful, most players prefer to just get another one for each character. (Transferring a Cube from one character to another may not be cheating in the strictest sense, but for some of us it feels very near to crossing a line.)
Sideshows: Stony Tomb (two levels, first entrance in the Rocky Waste)
Special chest: Stony Tomb (level 2)
Alvls: Rocky Waste (14/43/75), Stony Tomb (12/44/78-79), Dry Hills (15/44/76), Halls of the Dead (12-13, 44-45, 79-82)
Staff of Kings
Mandatory item: The Staff of Kings is one of the three items necessary to fulfill the Horadric Staff quest, which must be completed to advance into Tal Rasha’s Chamber. In the Far Oasis, find the entrance to the Maggot Lair. The Staff of Kings will be in a special quest chest at the lowest area of the Lair (level 3).
Caution: the Maggot Lair levels are mazes of very narrow tunnels that connect tight chambers. Characters that fight with minions or with area of effect spells often have harder challenges as they work their way through these mazes.
To temporarily skip: proceed through the Far Oasis to the Lost City. Eventually, to advance beyond Tal Rasha’s Tomb, you will need to come back here and obtain the Staff of Kings in order to complete the Horadric Staff quest.
Special chests: likely some in the Maggot Lair.
Alvls: Far Oasis (16/45/76), Maggot Lair (17/45-46/84-85)
Mandatory item: The Viper Amulet is one of the three items necessary to fulfill the Horadric Staff quest, which must be must be completed to advance into Tal Rasha’s Chamber. Shortly after you arrive in the Lost City, a magic eclipse turns the daylight desert heat into chronic nighttime darkness. Travel through the Lost City to the Valley of Snakes, which holds the entrance to the Claw Viper Temple. Disrupt the altar at the lowest temple area (level 2) to stop the vipers’ eclipse spell and obtain the Viper Amulet.
Mandatory quest: In order to advance any farther in the game’s story arc, you must end the eclipse, and then consult Drognan. You will not gain Jeryhn’s permission to enter his Lut Gholein Palace until after you report to Drognan.
Sideshows: Ancient Tunnels (trapdoor entrance in the Lost City)
Special chests: Ancient Tunnels, and almost certainly at least one in the Lost City.
Alvls: Lost City (17/46/77), Ancient Tunnels (17/46/85), Valley of Snakes (18/46/77), Claw Viper Temple (14/47/82-83)
Horazon’s Journal and The Summoner
Mandatory quest: Travel through the palace Harem (two levels) and palace Cellar (three levels) to find a portal to the Arcane Sanctuary. Four different ladder-shaped mazes proceed away from the Arcane Sanctuary waypoint. Horazon’s Journal will be at the farthest end of one of those four mazes, guarded by a Vizjerei summoner.
Sometimes you may get lucky and find the summoner and journal at the end of the first ladder you explore, but other times you might need to explore all four ladders to find the journal. After you open the journal, a quest portal to the Canyon of the Magi will appear.
Optional quest: The Summoner himself doesn’t actually need to be defeated before you tap Horazon’s Journal and pass the quest portal into the canyon. However, since he often places himself in the path toward the journal, most players just dispatch him anyway. The only reward is a pithy remark from whomever you next speak with in Lut Gholein.
Special chests: eight or nine (three each at the ends of the Arcane Sanctuary‘s other ladder mazes, except the upper-left, which may only have two)
Alvls: Harem (13/47/78), Palace Cellar (13/47-48/78), Arcane Sanctuary (14/48/79)
Tal Rasha’s Tomb and Horadric Staff
The symbols in the Canyon are always the same, from left to right: circle, crescent, square, spinner, arrowpoint, triangle, and clown-face. Enter the tomb with the correct symbol, and explore to find a certain platform inset with a conspicuous orifice.
You must have used the Horadric Cube to transmute both quest items (Staff of Kings and Viper Amulet) into a Horadric Staff in order to advance any farther beyond this point. Post the Horadric Staff into the orifice atop the platform, and an entry into Tal Rasha’s Chamber will be revealed.
Note: be alert when you first enter! The first chamber is a small “stair trap” with no chance for retreat (except by town portal), and Duriel will attack you immediately as you arrive. After you kill Duriel, your reward is a separate entry that opens and allows passage farther into Tal Rasha’s Chamber. A conversation with Tyreal starts a sequence of visits in Lut Gholein that ultimately grant passage to the Kurast Docks base town, to begin your act 3 adventures.
Sideshows: Tal Rasha’s six false tombs.
Special chests: one in each false tomb.
Alvls: Canyon of the Magi (16/48/79), Tal Rasha’s Tomb (17/49/80)
|Levels of Act 2 Overview|
The Golden Bird
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. The quest starts when you pick up a unique Jade Figurine dropped by some unique or superunique monster. It’s usually found somewhere in the first area (the Spider Forest), but it’s possible that it could appear in any other act 3 area. The rest of this quest consists of a sequence of “fetch and deliver” visits in the Kurast Docks base town.
Reward: a one-time-use potion that permanently adds twenty hit points to your hero’s life.
To skip: ignore the Jade Figurine after it drops.
Mandatory item: Khalim’s Eye is one of five items necessary to fulfill the Khalim’s Will quest, which must be completed to advance into the Durance of Hate. In the Spider Forest is the entrance to a Spider Cavern. Explore the cavern to find a quest chest containing the eye.
To skip (multiplayer only): If you party with another player that has already completed Khalim’s Will and obtained the Durance of Hate Level 2 waypoint, there’s a way to skip this quest: first, defeat all three High Council members in Travincal, and then enter the Durance of Hate through that fellow player’s town portal.
To temporarily skip: ignore the Spider Cavern, and instead travel through the Spider Forest directly to the Flayer Jungle. Sometimes, the game’s map generation procedures make a direct path between those areas, but with most maps it becomes necessary to slog through the Great Marsh before you can find an entrance to the Flayer Jungle. In order to advance beyond Travincal, you will eventually need to return to the Spider Cavern and take the eye.
Sideshows: Arachnid Lair (entrance by the Spider Forest waypoint)
Superunique: flame spider Sszark the Burning in Spider Cavern
Special chest: Arachnid Lair. Throughout act 3, there are more interesting “poppables,” including cocoons, baskets, and heavy stashes that need a little extra time to open.
Alvls: Spider Forest (21/49/79), Arachnid Lair (21/50/79), Spider Cavern (21/50/79)
The Gidbinn (The Blade of the Old Religion)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. After completing Golden Bird, an optional conversation with Hratli introduces this quest. In the Flayer Jungle, find a round altar with a mirage Gidbinn knife floating above it, and attempt to retrieve it. It will vanish, and not long afterward a unique or champion flayer will attack. Kill the flayer to obtain the unique Gidbinn dagger, then return to Kurast Docks and give the dagger to Ormus.
Reward: a free rare ring, and opportunity to hire an Iron Wolf mercenary. (A volunteer Iron Wolf joins you if you hadn’t already previously hired a Rogue or Town Guard mercenary in a previous act.)
To skip: ignore the “Gidbinn” round altar.
Sideshows: Great Marsh, Swampy Pit (three levels)
Special chests: at least two in the Great Marsh, and one in the Swampy Pit (level 3)
Alvls: Great Marsh (21/50/80), Flayer Jungle (22/50/80), Swampy Pit (21/51/80-82)
Mandatory item: Khalim’s Heart is one of five items necessary to fulfill the Khalim’s Will quest, which must be completed to advance into the Durance of Hate. In the Flayer Jungle, nearby the Gidbinn round altar, find the entrance to the Flayer Dungeon. At the lowest area (level 3), find a quest chest containing the heart.
To skip (multiplayer only): see Khalim’s Eye, above.
To temporarily skip: ignore the Flayer Dungeon, and instead travel through the Flayer Jungle directly to Lower Kurast. In order to advance beyond Travincal, you will eventually need to return to the Flayer Dungeon and take the heart.
Special chests: three in a couple of Lower Kurast huts near a campfire; three more if there’s a second campfire.
Alvls: Flayer Dungeon (22/51/81-83), Lower Kurast (22/52/80)
Mandatory item: Khalim’s Brain is one of five items necessary to fulfill the Khalim’s Will quest, which must be completed to advance into the Durance of Hate. Beyond Lower Kurast lies the Kurast Bazaar, which has two entrances to the Kurast sewers. There are two more sewer entrances in Upper Kurast. Find the lever that opens the entrance to Kurast Sewers Level 2, then descend to find a quest chest containing the brain.
Note: If you want to hurry along, you may have noticed the passages to Lower and Upper Kurast are always at opposite corners of the Bazaar.
To skip (multiplayer only): see Khalim’s Eye, above
To temporarily skip: ignore the Kurast Sewers under the Kurast Bazaar and Upper Kurast. In order to advance beyond Travincal, you will eventually need to return to the sewers to get this relic.
Superunique: gloom bat Icehawk Riftwing in Kurast Sewers (level 1).
Special Chests: five in the Kurast Sewers (two in level 1, three in level 2); one in Kurast Bazaar, and three in Upper Kurast.
Alvls: Kurast Bazaar (22/52/81), Sewers (23-24/52-53/84-85), Upper Kurast (23/52/81)
Lam Esen’s Tome
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. In Kurast Bazaar, search for and enter the Ruined Temple. Find Lam Esen’s Tome on a book stand, and return it to Alkor.
Reward: five bonus stat points, and slightly lowered prices from Kurast Docks vendors.
To skip: ignore the Ruined Temple.
Sideshows: Disused Fane (entrance in Kurast Bazaar), Forgotten Reliquary and Forgotten Temple (entrances in Upper Kurast)
Superunique: flesh hunter demon Battlemaid Sarina in the Ruined Temple
Alvls: Ruined Temple, Disused Fane, and Forgotten Reliquary (23/53/84), Forgotten Temple (24/54/85)
Mandatory item: Khalim’s Flail is one of five items necessary to fulfill the Khalim’s Will quest, which must be completed to advance into the Durance of Hate. From Upper Kurast, cross the Kurast Causeway into Travincal. In or near its grand temple are three High Council Member monsters. The first one defeated will drop Khalim’s Flail.
To skip (multiplayer only): see Khalim’s Eye, above.
To temporarily skip: if you still need to collect any of Khalim’s other relics, now would be a good time to go back for them, but you must return and defeat at least one of the high council members in order to proceed beyond Travincal.
Sideshows: Ruined Fane and Disused Reliquary (entrances in Kurast Causeway)
Alvls: Kurast Causeway (24/53/81), Ruined Fane (24/54/85), Disused Reliquary (24/54/85), Travincal (24/54/82)
Travincal High Council (The Blackened Temple)
Optional: it isn’t strictly necessary to kill all three High Council members to transmute Khalim’s Will, but almost all players defeat all three anyway. The only reward for defeating all three is a brief motivational speech by Deckard Cain.
To skip: just defeat one of the three High Council members, who will drop Khalim’s Flail. (If you discarded or muled the Horadric Cube you earned in Act 2, then defeat a second High Councilor and it will provide another cube.)
Khalim’s Will and the Compelling Orb
Mandatory quest: collect/retain all five quest items: Khalim’s Eye, Brain, Heart, Flail, and the Horadric Cube. Transmute Khalim’s four relics in the cube to create the unique Khalim’s Will weapon. Equip the weapon, and use it to wallop the Compelling Orb in the grand temple in Travincal. The wasted orb will unlock an entrance into the Durance of Hate.
To skip (multiplayer only): see Khalim’s Eye, above.
Mephisto (The Guardian)
Mandatory quest: Explore the Durance of Hate (three levels), and kill Mephisto, who waits across a moat at the lowest level. After that, some dredged up debris creates a path in the moat, granting access to an “infernal gate” quest portal that leads to the Pandemonium Fortress of Act 4.
Special chests: one in Durance of Hate (level 3)
Alvls: Durance of Hate (25/55/83)
Caution: if you encounter any “stygian doll” monsters in the Durance, be careful — they burst apart when they die, and the shrapnel often causes more damage than their regular attacks.
|Levels of Act 3 Overview|
Izual (The Fallen Angel)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Tyreal explains what you must do to solve this quest. Izual has a lot of hit points, so anticipate that the fight might take a while longer, compared to your previous battles against other superunique monsters.
Reward: two extra skill points.
To skip: travel through the Outer Steppes and Plains of Despair to the City of the Damned.
Superunique: demon Izual in the Plains of Despair
Alvls: Outer Steppes (26/56/82), Plains of Despair (26/56/83)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Deckard Cain explains what you must do to solve this quest. Be alert, because Hephasto moves fast and can hit pretty hard. If you fight with ranged attacks, it might be helpful to lure him somewhere that effectively puts a moat of lava between him and your hero.
Reward: four gems (two of them flawless and one perfect) and a random rune.
To skip: ignore Hephasto and the Forge; then later politely ignore the sentry Hadriel’s warnings.
Superunique: demon Hephasto the Armorer in the River of Flame
Special chests: sometimes none, but possibly up to three in the River of Flame.
Alvls: River of Flame (27/57/85)
Diablo (Terror’s End)
Mandatory quest: explore the River of Flames beyond Hadriel, and enter the Chaos Sanctuary. Defeat any superunique monsters that appear when you find and activate the magic seals. Then engage Diablo.
Your reward for killing Diablo is admittance to act 5, starting in the barbarian stronghold of Harrogath.
Alvls: Chaos Sanctuary (28/58/85)\
Note: Diablo will use several attacks and spells against your hero and allies, including very tight bone prisons, a cold melee swipe, flame novas and wide firestorms, and a dreadful stream of red lightning.
In normal difficulty, it’s helpful to prepare by collecting rejuvenation potions, and equipment with lots of fire and lightning resistance. Then during the event, see if you can anticipate when Diablo uses his firestorm or lightning spray attacks, and try to spiral-maneuver out of harms way (while you drink a potion if the fire or lightning starts hurting a lot). Then quickly return to the fight. In nightmare and hell difficulty, the range of the red lightning hose is farther, but begins to ignite some distance away from Diablo.
A hero and mercenary in melee range can often just ignore the lightning when it happens, remaining unaffected. Of course with this tactic the fire and cold attacks must still be countered with resistance, dodging, and potions.
|Levels of Act 4 Overview|
Shenk (Siege on Harrogath)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Find and kill Shenk the Overseer in the Bloody Foothills.
Rewards: slightly lowered shopping prices from Harrogath vendors, and opportunity to have Larzuk put gem sockets into any item that can have them, but doesn’t. This quest remains active until after an item has been socketed by Larzuk. Many players choose to delay Larzuk’s enhancement until they find or purchase an item worthy to be socketed.
To skip: ignore Shenk. If you proceed beside a cliff edge, you should be able to pass through the Bloody Foothills and up the stone stairway into the Frigid Highlands without Shenk even noticing you are there.
No special chests, but throughout act 5 you may find a few new poppables, including barbarian corpses, barrels, jars, and creepy “skull and rock” machines.
Alvls: Bloody Foothills (24/58/80)
Free Fifteen Barbarians (Rescue on Mount Arreat)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Search the fortified lines in the Frigid Highlands for three stockades, each penning five barbarian prisoners. Reward: Qual-Kehk gives you three specific runes, and opportunity to hire a rescued barbarian mercenary. There are no free volunteers in proud Harrogath, so if you have never had a mercenary with you from any previous act, you still won’t have one unless you pay Qual-Kehk’s small fee.
To skip: ignore the stockades. If you keep to a cliff edge, you have a good chance to get past the Frigid Highlands into the Arreat Plateau without even noticing any of the prisons.
Sideshow: Abaddon (portal in Frigid Highlands)
Special chests: one in Frigid Highlands, and one in Abbadon.
Alvls: Frigid Highlands (25/59/81), Abaddon (39/60/81)
Rescue Anya (Prison of Ice)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. Travel across the Arreat Plateau and enter the Crystalline Passage. Explore to find the entrance to the Frozen River, then find Anya at its source.
Three rewards: (1) Malah will give you a scroll that adds ten percent to your fire, cold, lightning, and poison resistances. (2) Anya will give you a random rare item, specific to your hero class. (3) Anya will open a quest portal that starts the Betrayal of Harrogath quest.
To skip: ignore the Frozen River, and continue through the Crystalline Passage to the Glacial Trail.
Sideshow: Pit of Acheron, portal in Arreat Plateau
Special chest: one in Pit of Acheron.
Alvls: Arreat Plateau (26/60/81), Pit of Acheron (39/61/82), Crystalline Passage (29/61/82), Frozen River (29/61/83)
Note: The resistance boost from Malah’s scroll is supposed to be permanent. Unfortunately, if your character is killed, that ten-percent bonus actually goes away, even after you successfully recover your corpse. If you save-and-exit, the resistance bonus gets restored next time you start playing again.
Nihlathak (Betrayal of Harrogath)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. This quest cannot be started until after Anya is rescued from her prison of ice. Enter the quest portal beside Anya. You are transported to a garden in front of Nihlathak’s Temple.
Just inside the temple, descend the stairs to the Halls of Anguish. Explore to find the Halls of Pain, then explore again to find the Halls of Vaught. (Hint: these ares are randomly generated, but the stairs to the Halls of Pain and then the Halls of Vaught are always in one of just three map locations. If you prefer to save time, just check those three locations rather than explore the entirety of each maze).
The Halls of Vaught consists of four short galleries, one in each direction. Nihlathak is at the end of one of those four galleries. (Hint: notice the murals near the stairs, painted on the walls that lead into each gallery. A particular mural always marks the one where Nihlathak hides.) Be careful if you find Tomb Viper monsters in the Halls of Vaught. Their ranged attacks can billow poison clouds that cause physical damage in addition to poison. Even after the green poison cloud evaporates, an “invisible” physically damaging miasma seems to linger for a couple of seconds longer!
It helps to hold position and wait a second or two after the cloud dissipates before moving again. Also, listen carefully. If you happen to move through a Tomb Viper’s invisible cloud, you should hear audible bashing sounds when your character suffers physical damage.
Reward: opportunity to have Anya permanently personalize one item, either a weapon or a piece of armor.
To skip: ignore Nihlathak’s Temple. Instead, continue through the Crystalline Passage to the Glacial Trail.
Special chests: one in Halls of Anguish and one in Halls of Pain.
Alvls: Nihlathak’s Temple (32/63/83), Halls of Anguish (33/63/83), Halls of Pain (34/64/84), Halls of Vaught (36/64/84)
Note: If the Halls of Pain waypoint is activated and Nihlathak is defeated, the quest portal to Nihlathak’s Temple will later disappear after speaking with Anya. This makes access to Pindleskin a lot more time consuming. Therefore, most players prefer to leave the Halls of Pain waypoint undiscovered and untagged, so that the red quest portal remains available for rapid repeated Pindleskin encounters.
The Ancients (Rite of Passage)
Mandatory quest: Explore the Glacial Trail and find its exit into the Frozen Tundra. At the farthest end of the Frozen Tundra, find the entrance to the Ancents’ Way, then explore and find the stairs up to the Arreat Summit. Touch the altar to begin the “Rite of Passage” battle against the legendary barbarians.
Reward: admission to proceed into the Worldstone Keep.
Sideshows: Drifter Cavern entrance in Glacial Trail; Infernal Pit portal in Frozen Tundra; Icy Cellar entrance in Ancients’ Way
Superuniques: reanimated undead Bonesaw Breaker in Glacial Trail; frozen creeper Snapchip Shatter in Icy Cellar; and the legendary barbarian Ancients: thrower Madawc the Guardian, leap attacker Korlic the Protector, and whirlwinder Talic the Defender.
Special chests: one in Glacial Trail, one in Drifter Cavern, another in Infernal Pit, another in Icy Cellar.
Alvls: Glacial Trail (29/61/83), Drifter Cavern (29/61/84), Frozen Tundra (27/60/81), Infernal Pit (39/62/83), Ancient’s Way (29/62/82), Icy Cellar (29/62/83)
Caution: if you open a town portal to escape the summit before defeating all three Ancients, you must touch the altar again and restart the encounter afresh. At higher difficulties, the Ancients usually have some different random attributes or abilities each time you activate the altar. If you find that one of the three is too tough for your character and mercenary to survive and prevail, it might be better to open a town portal and start over — you might get a fairer fight.
Baal (Eve of Destruction)
Mandatory quest: After completing the Rite of Passage quest at the summit of Mount Arreat, you are permitted to enter the Worldstone Keep (3 levels). The third level contains the entrance to the Throne of Destruction. Be alert when you first enter! The entrance is a notorious “stair trap” that sometimes features monsters near the entrance that instantly ambush-attack your arriving hero and mercenary.
At the farthest end of this area is a rectangular room with crab-legged Baal holding court on his throne. You cannot engage Baal just yet, and he will cast Decrepify curses at you and your allies while you try to kill the rest of the monsters in the room. Then Baal presides over an epilogue sequence, in which he summons five separate waves of monsters, each led by a superunique representative of each of the game’s five story acts in turn.
The best way to survive victorious through each wave is to kill every summoned monster, but you can also run away while trying to lure a wave’s superunique leader out of the rectangular throne area. If you manage to “park” that monster somewhere else in the Throne of Destruction, that also counts as defeating that wave, and Baal will proceed to summon the next wave. After you kill (or park) the fifth wave, Baal will retreat behind the pedestal into the Worldstone Chamber, and your hero must follow and fight him there.
Rewards for killing Baal: your character gets a new honorific title prefix, can proceed to the next difficulty (nightmare after normal, or hell after nightmare), and has opportunity to access an “easter egg” area called the Secret Cow Level.
Superuniques: fallen shaman Colenzo the Annihilator (first wave), greater mummy Achmel the Cursed (second wave), high councilor Bartuc the Bloody (third wave), balrog Ventar the Unholy (fourth wave), minion of destruction Lister the Tormenter (fifth wave); demon Baal.
Alvls: Worldstone Keep (39-42/65-66/85), Throne of Destruction (43/66/85), Worldstone Chamber.
|Levels of Act 5 Overview|
Moo Moo Farm (Back to Act 1)
Optional: may be skipped or completed later. It is not possible to visit the Secret Cow Level until after a character successfully kills Baal in act 5. That character must also have a Horadric Cube, and must have successfully opened the portal to Tristram in the Stony Field (the same quest portal that is used to rescue Deckard Cain in act 1). Find and nudge the remains of Wirt in the far corner of Tristram. Collect Wirt’s peg-leg, return to the Rogue Camp, and there transmute the wooden peg together with a town portal. This action opens a quest portal to the Secret Cow Level, where you can fight a vast army of hundreds of “hell bovines” that make silly cute noises, walk upright, and attack with pole arms.
There is no guaranteed reward for this bonus level, except for a very rare chance to find three set items: a Cow King’s Horns war hat, Cow King’s Hide studded leather, and Cow King’s Hooves heavy boots. Together these collectibles comprise the Cow King’s Leathers. Each piece can only drop in this area, nowhere else.
To skip: just let Wirt and his peg rest in peace.
To forever disable this quest: Kill the Cow King. After the Cow King is killed once, the Wirt’s Leg and town portal transmutation recipe will never again open the quest portal. Most players want to keep visiting the Moo Moo Farm as often as they can. The Cow King is always lightning enchanted and immune to lightning, so many players choose to use lightning attacks against cows, to help assure the King remains alive.
Superunique: hell bovine The Cow King, always in or near the “corral of corruption” square wooden fortress.
Alvls: Secret Cow Level (28/64/81)