Every Tip You’ll Ever Need For Diablo 2: Resurrected

Every Tip You’ll Ever Need For Diablo 2: Resurrected
Image: Blizzard

Diablo 2: Resurrected is a remaster by the way of remake, bringing together Blizzard North’s original vision from 2000 and the game-changing expansion Lord of Destruction expansion. As a remaster it plays very much like it did back during its initial launch almost 20 years ago, but with the added bonus of a new 3D-layer atop the classic 2D-core.

Of course, it doesn’t play exactly like it did back in the day. Vicarious Visions has added quality of life changes into the fold, in addition to full-controller support. Which is a first for the game, adding a brand-new way to play Diablo 2. As a nice little bonus you can even plug in a pad and slay demons with a controller on PC.

And you might be wondering: what made Diablo 2 so special back in the day? Why so much noise around such a relatively old-timey game? It’s because Diablo 2 fundamentally wrote the rule-book for today’s crop of loot-filled action RPG games. It championed the old-school philosophy of being easy to pick up and play but hard to master, cementing Diablo 2‘s place as one of the most beloved RPGs of all time.

With Diablo 2, as is the way of many role-players that feature classes and builds and items with strange stats that can define the way you play, mastering comes with understanding. To quote Morpheus from The Matrix: I can only show you the door. So, like pairing two or more Runes to create a powerful Runeword, let’s get to it.

What’s new in Diablo 2: Resurrected

diablo 2 tips
Image: Blizzard

Diablo 2: Resurrected features a number of changes, many subtle enough that if you might not even notice if you haven’t played the game in years. Back in the day, you had to pick up gold by clicking every individual stack. That’s gone, replaced with an auto pick-up option that can be toggled in the menu.

Notifications will now appear to let you know you’ve got skill points to assign. The character sheet has been expanded with more detail on buffs and bonuses, and you can compare items as well.

diablo 2 resurrected
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

But the best addition? A larger stash for storing items. It’s a major change that solves one of the main problems with vanilla Diablo 2 in one fell swoop, especially if you were running multiple characters. With the addition of three Shared Stash tabs on top of the single Personal Stash you get for each new character, the Diablo 2 remaster makes it easy to swap items, gear, and large sums of gold between characters.

In terms of behind-the-scenes stuff, this new version of the game runs on updated Battle.net hardware. That improves security and reduces the hacking, but it also enables cross-progression between platforms. So, if you jump from PC to a Xbox Series X — your character(s) will be there.

The drawback? Saves from older versions of the game will only work in offline mode, with the soon-to-be-added mod support coming in the form of changing settings only, without the ability to alter or add code.

Elsewhere the changes in Diablo 2: Resurrected are mostly visual. Diablo 2 now runs in widescreen, up to 4K, and with all manner of effects at an improved 60 frames per second or higher. Compared to the original 800×600, 25 frames per second presentation of the original, it’s a huge upgrade. (The game does still run on that original 25 frames per second logic, however, and you can see this when you toggle between the updated graphics and original look by pressing G on PC, ZL and — on Switch, L2 and the touchpad on PS4/PS5, and LT + the view button on Xbox.)

Accessibility Options have been added to adjust and tailor the look and feel of the UI as well. It’s a logical addition that paves the way for more streamlined item farming.

Diablo 2: Controller versus keyboard and mouse

diablo 2 controller
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Although there are some pathfinding issues and clunky animations when climbing stairs (like in Act 2: Arcane Sanctuary), Diablo 2: Resurrected feels a lot like Blizzard’s console port of Diablo 3. Moving your character around is intuitive. You’ll often automatically attack the enemy you’re closest to or facing. Automated spell casting works for the most part, even for builds heavy on specifying exactly where to cast.

There is one major advantage that arrives with playing on a controller: the ability to map skills to face and shoulder buttons. It makes switching and casting skills a lot easier, while PC Diablo 2: Resurrected players have to select skills first, then fire with the right-click button. (You can map skills to function keys too, but the extra right click is still required.

Still, even though inventory management and the UI have the same look and feel across all platforms, moving items, crafting, and general gear work is easier to do with a mouse. There are some handy shortcuts on controller though, like clicking the right stick to auto-fill your belt with potions, or sorting your inventory.

Which Diablo 2 class to pick

diablo 2 classes
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With the addition of the base game and the Lord of Destruction expansion, Diablo 2: Resurrected offers up seven classes to choose from. When you’re creating a new character the seven campfire options you’ll be presented with are: Amazon, Assassin, Barbarian, Druid, Necromancer, Paladin, and Sorceress.

Diablo characters and classes have always been created in a way that is somewhat self-evident, meaning the underlying fantasy is catered for by the name and the overall look of the Hero of Sanctuary in question.

Amazon

The Amazon, like many Diablo 2 classes, is versatile enough to support the you-can’t-reach-me-but-I-can-reach-you Spear or Javelin playstyle in addition to wielding a Bow. Javelins can be thrown or used as a melee weapon and the Amazon can even imbue Arrows and Javelins with elemental damage.

Just don’t throw your last Javelin, or you’ll lose the item in the process.

With this in mind, the Amazon has two main playstyles with many dubbing the most powerful Amazon builds as either Bowazon or Javazon. With a mix of ranged and melee weapons to equip and elemental damage in the form of fire, cold, and lightning, the Amazon is a great class to experiment with ranged and close-range D2 combat.

Assassin

Introduced in the Lord of Destruction expansion, the Assassin might be the most difficult class to wrap your head around, but once you do, proves to be a pretty great choice if all you want to do is clear entire rooms in a matter of seconds.

With a mix of dual-blade, martial arts style combat, and putting down sentries that fire-off elemental damage, the best way to look at the Assassin is as a mix between the Monk and Demon Hunter from Diablo 3. The Assassin is also speedy, with several skills dealing with movement, avoiding detection and getting hit, and generally keeping foes at bay. That whole room-clearing stuff is definitely a great option for beginners, which we get to in the build guide below.

Barbarian

Have you ever found yourself in a dingy dungeon below an ancient city? Have you ever found yourself looking at a no-good raised from the dead skeleton and wanted nothing more than to walk up to it and smash it into tiny pieces with one fell whack of a giant melee weapon? Then the Barbarian is the class for you.

Faux late-night commercial-dude aside, as one of the Tankier builds in D2 the original Fus-Ro-Dah shouter not only soaks up damage but moves about pretty quickly too. Diablo is the reason why the words ‘Whirlwind’, ‘Frenzy’, and ‘Barbarian’ go hand in hand. If nothing else, it’s the surefire way to unleash your inner Conan. The Barbarian, not late-night talk show host.

Druid

The Druid specialises in magic of the green plains of green-ness kind, it’s also the only class that can shapeshift into a Werewolf or Werebear and deal out some primal swipe and claw to the demonic-face action. The Druid can also summon smaller creatures to fight by his side, meaning that he offers up a good balance between melee and ranged.

Necromancer

The Necromancer, being an astute learner of the darkest of magics, can raise skeletons to dispatch demons in a flurry of bone on bone combat. The Necromancer can also then use the bones of fallen demons and monsters to create some Bone Armor, just in case you wanted to look bad arse while absorbing incoming damage. Enough said, really.

Paladin

The Paladin is what you’d consider the goody two shoes of Sanctuary. The bringer of light, a shiny armour-clad warrior that fights with a little Heavenly help. And a trusty shield. The Paladin is a powerful sword and board class that can draw on a number of skills, Auras, that affect him and every friendly character close-by.

Which makes the Paladin one of the most helpful and useful co-op characters in Diablo 2. The Paladin also dispenses with magical attacks courtesy of the Blessed Hammer skill. Which is one of the most popular D2 builds. And one that is still fantastic to play in Diablo 2: Resurrected. The ol’ Hammerdin.

Sorceress

If you’re all about magic of the elemental variety, and big wands and staffs with crystals embedded in the tip, it begins and ends with the Sorceress. Firing off various fire spells or bolts of lightning or even shards of the refrigerated water kind, the Sorceress is a powerful magic dealer that loves drinking blue juice (see: Mana Potions) almost as much as the citizens of Tatooine. As per her descriptive namesake, the Sorceress is D2’s pointy-hatted Wizard extraordinaire — albeit without the pointy hat. The Sorceress is strictly a spell dealer and one of the most fragile classes in the game. A glass cannon if you will. She’s not quite cut out for up-close melee encounters, but as one of the most powerful damage-dealers the Sorceress is for those that want nothing more than to cause destruction.

How levelling works in the Diablo 2 remaster

diablo 2 levelling
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Even though the level cap in Diablo 2 is 99 odds are you won’t ever see that ceiling. Experience points received are based on the difficulty you’re playing at. So generally, by the time you reach the end of Act 1 on Normal you should be around Level 15. Completing Act 2’s Tal Rasha’s Tomb will get you to roughly Level 22. It’s diminishing returns from there.

Experience points scale when you face off against enemies closer to your level, although low-level areas will always have a cap on what level enemies can be. It means you can’t just farm weaker monsters over and over. The inverse is also true: low level characters won’t be able to be power-level if they join a party in a high-level area. This means that once you hit Level 35-40 you should be playing on Nightmare. From there, you keep levelling up to around Level 60 or so until you reach the final Hell difficulty.

At higher levels there are also experience caps. The closer you get to Level 99, the slower the process towards those final levels. And when playing on either Nightmare or Hell, you lose experience with each death. You can gain most of this back by reaching your corpse, Thankfully most of the lost experience is gained if you can make it back to your corpse, but when that’s not possible you can simply exit and reload to find your retrieved items back in town — sans any Gold you were carrying. This is one of the reasons it’s always wise to deposit Gold into your stash at regular intervals.

The good news is you can’t go down a level and playing in a party will see a sizable buff on all experience gained, roughly 35 percent. Also once you complete an Act you can go back to complete the final dungeon for both experience and better items, which is a great way to boost your Level and gear before tackling the next chapter in the story.

Explaining Diablo 2’s skill points, skill synergy and attribute points

diablo 2 tips
Akara gives you one respec per difficulty. Image: Supplied

Diablo 2 skill trees might look simple and straightforward, but there’s more depth than you’d expect. Broken up into different tabs, each one presenting potential playstyles, it pays to read all of the descriptions in full.

A key component of assigning skill points in Diablo 2 is understanding skill synergy. The Paladin’s Blessed Hammer skill, for instance, is buffed for each skill point invested in either Blessed Aim or Vigor. With the former improving accuracy and block-chance, and the latter movement speed, each point there also adds a decent chunk to Blessed Hammer’s overall damage. With that in mind, over the course of a single playthrough you’d focus on these three skills. The skill point cap outside of item bonuses is 20.

It’s a similar situation with the Sorceress, and a two-way street. The late game Level 24 skill ‘Blizzard’ not only conjures up a powerful ice storm: it gains power from points spent on Ice Bolt and Ice Blast. And every point you put into Blizzard then adds Cold Damage to both Ice Bolt and Ice Blast, too. Synergy at its finest.

So even if you don’t plan on using a skill synergy, it’s still work putting those points in for the damage boost.

diablo 2 tips
Image: Supplied

These two examples should clue you in that at a certain point you’ll need to do that thing that none of us like to do. Plan For the Future. In Diablo 2 you should be planning and assigning skills with a mind towards a specific build. And because it’s pretty hard to respec or redistribute points outside of the one time per difficulty you get from Akara after completing the very first quest in Diablo 2: Resurrected — it’s worth experimenting early, and saving the respec for when you’ve got a clear direction you want to go.

The flip side to this is Attribute Points, which aren’t all that clear from the outset but easy to get a handle on. Covering Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, and Energy there’s a few key things you should know. No matter the class you should always put points into Strength and Dexterity in order to stay in line with item requirements. Dexterity affects your Attack Rating, which dictates a character’s chance to hit. Keeping this at around 80 is usually the way to go.

And no matter the class, putting points into Vitality is key to survival because hit points/life in Diablo 2 is a precious commodity. As for Energy, unless you’re the Sorceress, it’s better to rely on Mana Potions as opposed to having a deep pool of magic power. In fact, whenever you’re in doubt — just put more points into Vitality.

The best starting builds for each Diablo 2: Resurrected class

As starter builds all of the below are not item dependent. Unique Items will make them even more powerful, as will items imbued with powerful Runewords. But these builds will still do the business on gear obtained through regular play as you make your way through the Normal difficulty.

But first, a note about Energy. Due to the abundance of Mana Potions the general rule is: Don’t assign attribute points into energy at all. That said, it’s not ideal unless you’re an expert D2 player. A little bit of extra Mana is always helpful, or just enough that it isn’t too much of a pain to keep casting without constantly trying to chug pots.

Amazon – The Lightning Fury Javazon

diablo 2 builds
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Lightning Fury is a Javazon build that focuses on using ‘Lightning Fury’ to clear groups and ‘Charged Strike’ as the main attack. This is one of those builds that takes time to, well, build towards, with ‘Charged Strike’ not unlocking until you hit Level 18. But once you’ve gotten to this point you’ll no doubt have a lot of Javelin experience — and be ready to take your damage dealing to the next level. It’s worth putting only a single point or so into the ‘Charged Strike’ prerequisite skills, and saving up Skill Points to unlock your inner lightning power at Level 18. This means relying more on Items and putting a lot of Attribute Points into Vitality. You can of course focus on Passive abilities and skills like Jab until you hit Level 18 and then use Akara to respec.

Early Skills to Obtain: Jab, Power Strike, Poison Javelin

Main Skills to Max: Lightning Fury, Charged Strike

Synergy Skills: Lightning Bolt, Lightning Strike

Key Passive Skills: Dodge, Avoid, Evade, Penetrate, Pierce

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with item requirements, and a small amount into Energy.

Item Stats to Look For: Increased Defense and Damage, Attack Speed, Bonuses to Amazon Javelin Skills, Life, Resistances, Enemy Lightning Resistance Reduction.

Assassin – The Fiery Trap Master

Image: Supplied

Otherwise known as the Trapsin this is all about focusing on the Shadow Disciplines tab where the Assassin can easily be the dispenser of fiery fury. Screen-filling stuff that does serious damage to groups and bosses on that first Normal playthrough. As a mostly hands-off way to play, you’ll mostly be running around and dropping sentries as your main damage dealer. It’s a great build for beginners and fans of speed. The Assassin’s ‘Burst of Speed’ takes care of that with a huge buff to both Attack Speed and Walk/Run Speed — making circling enemies and running to and fro a breeze. With ‘Wake of Fire’ doing all of the work and ‘Fire Blast’ used as a main attack when needed.

Early Skills to Obtain: Claw Mastery, Weapon Block

Main Skills to Max: Wake of Fire, Fire Blast

Synergy Skills: Wake of Inferno, Burst of Speed

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with item requirements, and a small amount into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Increased defence and Damage, faster cast rate, bonuses to Assassin skills, life/vitality, resistances, bonus mana.

Barbarian – Enter the Whirlwind 

An iconic build that is also a key part of what makes the Barb so much fun to play, the Diablo 2 Whirlwind Barbarian is all about the Whirlwind skill. As it’s one of the only skills in the Barb’s arsenal that delivers area of effect damage. Plus, spinning is cool.

Even though Whirlwind doesn’t unlock until you hit Level 30, the Barbarian is tough enough to survive just about anything when you focus on Shouts and a single Weapon Mastery until you get to spin. Either Sword or Axe Mastery will increase both your Attack Rating and Damage and Critical Hit Chance with those weapons, while the Shout and Battle Orders warcries offer defensive buffs. Once you get to spin though, you’ll be able to cut through most groups in no time.

Early Skills to Obtain: Claw Mastery, Weapon Block

Main Skills to Max: Sword or Axe Mastery, Whirlwind

Synergy Skills: Shout, Battle Orders

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with item requirements, and a small amount into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Increased defence and damage, attack rating, bonuses to Barbarian skills, life/vitality, resistances, bonus mana, faster hit recovery

Druid – The Elemental Nature Boy

Although it might be hard to resist the urge to turn into a creature powered by the full moon or call on the help of forest creatures to fight in your stead, one of the best damage dealing builds is a Druid that focuses on the ‘Fissure’ ability that cracks open the earth beneath enemies to apply some molten damage. Alongside using ‘Firestorm’ as an early game alternative, and a dose of Skill Synergy for when you hit Level 12 for ‘Fissure’, it’s a build that doesn’t take long to get going.

Like Whirlwind for the Barb, Fissure is a great skill because it offers up AoE damage that can decimate entire groups. The only real downside is that once you get to Act 4 there are quite a few Fire Immune enemies that will make progress a little harder. For that, gear up your Mercenary or simply chip away with melee weapons.

Early Skills to Obtain: Raven, Summon Spirit Wolf

Main Skills to Max: Firestorm, Fissure

Synergy Skills: Volcano

Defensive Skills to Max: Cyclone Armour, Oak Sage

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with item requirements, and a small amount into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Increased Defense and Damage, Faster Cast Rate, Attack Speed, Bonuses to Druid Skills, Life, Resistances, Bonus Mana, Mana Regen.

Necromancer – Raising an Army of the Dead

diablo 2 builds
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

When it comes to the Necromancer the build you probably want to dive right into is one that lets you raise an army of minions to do all of the fighting. Skeletons and other beasties running around and fighting the good fight. The classic Summoner build for the Necromancer is one that plays into this by focusing most Skill Points into Summoning Spells with the added bonus of a little Corpse Explosion — because there’s just nothing quite as satisfying as using the remains of fallen foes to explode.

With a focus on summoning the main Skills are of course Raise Skeleton and Clay Golem, though there are a couple of Curses key for sustaining this build across the entire game. Amplify Damage and Decrepify allow enemies to take more damage from minions with the latter also making their attacks weaker.

Main Skills to Max: Raise Skeleton, Clay Golem

Synergy Skills: Skeleton Mastery, Golem Mastery

Curses to Obtain and Defensive Skills: Amplify Damage, Decrepify, Summon Resist

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with item requirements, a little into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Increased defence and damage, faster cast rate, attack speed, bonuses to Necromancer skills, resistances, bonus mana

Paladin – The Hammerdin

diablo 2 builds
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

The Hammerdin is one of the most popular builds in Diablo 2 because it takes an already powerful class and turns them into an Area of Effect (AoE) beast. A beast that relies on the power of what is good and right and light. It revolves around the Blessed Hammer skill, almost exclusively, with the downside being that you won’t be able to spec into that until you reach Level 18. The good news is, with the Might Aura you can easily survive and thrive until this point and simply respec once you get access to Blessed Hammer. How it all works is pretty simple, floating hammers will spiral outwards from the Paladin and do damage as they plough through anything in their path. As they’re a little small it takes a bit getting used to their trajectory. That, and walls are the Hammerdin’s worst enemy. Powerful Skill Synergies take this build to the next level, and seeing as the damage type is Magic, enemy resistances won’t be a problem.

diablo 2 builds
Image: Supplied / Blizzard

Early Skills to Obtain: Might, Smite

Main Skills to Max: Blessed Hammer, Concentration

Synergy Skills: Blessed Aim, Vigor

Defensive Skills: Holy Shield, Resist Fire, Resist Cold, Resist Lightning

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength to keep up with item requirements, Dexterity to hit 75 Block chance, a little into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Increased defence and damage, faster cast rate, Increased block chance, bonuses to Paladin skills, resistances, bonus mana, mana regen.

Sorceress

With the Sorceress able to draw on the entire elemental table to create damage dealing spells there’s just something about cold and freezing enemies that feels satisfying in Diablo 2: Resurrected. With the Sorceress’s skill trees broken up into the different elemental types this is one of the easier builds to put together, and something you could probably figure out on your own.

There’s a lot of skill synergy across cold spells, starting off with Ice Bolt and Ice Blast as you slowly unlock the big AoE damage that is quintessential Blizzard design. Keeping it mostly within the one tree is not only key to the build but getting that sweet, sweet gravy when you consider everything buffs damage. Focusing on a single element has its drawbacks in the form of struggling against Cold Resist enemies, but for that you can use Teleport to simply skip them or get a few Fire Spells to balance things out.

Main Skills to Max: Ice Bolt, Blizzard

Synergy Skills: Ice Blast, Glacial Spike, Cold Mastery

Defensive Skills: Frozen Armour

Support Skills: Warmth, Teleport

Attribute Focus: Vitality as much as possible, Strength and Dexterity to keep up with Item Requirements, some into energy

Item Stats to Look For: Resists, Cold damage, faster cast rate, bonuses to Sorceress skills, bonus mana, mana regen

How Diablo 2’s mercenaries work

diablo 2 mercenaries
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

In each of the Acts (apart from Act 4) and in each of the town hubs you visit, you’ll have the option to hire a Mercenary. They’re Diablo 2’s version of powerful companions, and in typical Sanctuary fashion they fight for the right price.

The best way to think about Mercenaries is as co-op characters with their own skills and play styles that can complement your own class and Skill choices. Best of all? Mercenaries are available to hire for all players when playing co-op.

Mercenaries benefit from being equipped with items, and it’s important to take note of what skills they use. Picking a Mercenary that compliments your own build with alternate elemental damage to help out with monsters that have resistances to your own attacks could be the way to go for a Sorceress. One that buffs defence might be ideal for a Paladin. Here’s a breakdown of the Mercenaries found across Diablo 2: Resurrected.

diablo 2 resurrected mercenaries
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Act 1 Mercenaries: Rogues of the Sisterhood of the Sightless Eye

Hired from Kashya the Rogues are great ranged characters that benefit from being equipped with a decent Bow and drawing on Cold and Fire Arrows as their main attack.

Act 2 Mercenaries: Desert Warriors

Hired from Greiz, the Desert Warriors are best seen as your own personal Paladin. This means they come equipped with powerful damage dealing and defensive auras that can buff your entire party. In terms of weapons and armour they can be equipped with Amazon style weapons.

Act 3 Mercenaries: Iron Wolves

Hired from Asheara, the Iron Wolves are sword and board specialists with great defence and skills that draw on Lightning, Fire, and Cold. Hiring an Iron Wolf with Cold is perhaps the best option for crowd control as freezing enemies and slowing them down can prove to be invaluable when taking on packs.

Act 5 Mercenaries: Barbarians

Hired from Qual-Kehk, the Barbarians use Bash and Stun. Which are both useful if you want to keep your distance as a ranged attacker. Like the class they’re based on, it’s best to think of these Mercenaries as front-line attackers that can draw the attention of both regular monsters and bosses.

Diablo 2’s item rarity and sockets, explained

As a game that helped define the aRPG genre, it should come as no surprise that Diablo 2 uses different colours to define different types of item rarity. Gold coloured Unique Items are the best you can find. You can tell this by simply looking at their stats, with Unique Items featuring a range of stats that boost attacks, skills, defence, and many other cool things. They can be class specific too, offer buffs to all or a range of particular skills.

Unique means also Unique in Diablo 2: once they drop in a game they won’t appear in the same playthrough again.

On the lower end of the spectrum it begins with Normal White items, which after you’ve got each slot equipped you can pretty much ignore. After Normal there’s the Blue coloured Magic Items that are useful during early levelling. After this you’ve got Yellow Items that roll with several properties and even sockets.

Unlike Diablo 3, Green Set items are powerful but best suited to low level play, making the option of running a new character something that can be really powerful out of the gate. With limited Inventory and Stash space you might be wondering what items to keep in Diablo 2. The obvious answer is of course Unique Items, followed by useful Yellow and Set items. Those with sockets are useful for putting in Gems, Jewels, and Runes. Sockets can often make one item better than another due to how powerful Runes can be.

There is one more item type, Grey, which are basic Normal items that roll with multiple sockets. These not only sell for large sums of gold but are key to creating items powered by Runewords. You can also add sockets to Normal Items to create your own Grey Items via the Horadric Cube.

How Diablo 2’s runewords work

diablo 2 runewords
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Runes and Runewords are a key part of mid to late-game buffing to take your build to the next level. Single Runes can drop from enemies and bosses, each featuring their own Gem-like buffs when socketed. Runes are easy to spot as they’re bright Orange. Once you get a few you can combine Runes to create more powerful versions inside Grey Items to create Runewords. The general idea is that you need to socket Runes in a particular order (and only into a Grey socketed item) to create a Runeword.

With 33 Runes in total it is the very definition of confusing, in the sense that you’ll need a cheat sheet or guide to remember all of the combinations. Lower level Runes, like Gems, can be combined in the Horadric Cube to create a higher level Rune. Unfortunately the Diablo 2 remaster didn’t add a recipe book to track all of this, so here’s hoping that’s patched in at some point.

Runewords aren’t limited to high level play, so let’s go through a few powerful low-level Runeword items that can add quite a bit to all manner of stats. Taking Act 2 and Level 17-20 as a baseline, these are all awesome.

Steel – TirEl (Tir plus El)

A great melee weapon for Barbarian, Druid, or Paladin that makes monsters bleed out.

Slots: Swords, Axes and Maces

Bonuses: Increased Attack Speed, Enhanced Damage, Maximum Damage, Attack Rating, Chance of Open Wounds (Bleed), Bonus Mana after each Kill

Stealth – TalEth (Tal plus Eth)

Great Chest Armor that is suitable for most classes. It adds a range of buffs in addition to handy Poison resist.

Slots: Chest Armor

Bonuses: Faster Run/Walk, Faster Casting Rate, Faster Hit Recovery, Bonus Dexterity, Regenerate Mana, Maximum Stamina, Poison Resist

Leaf – TirRal (Tir plus Ral)

Perfect for a Fire Sorceress running through Normal.

Slots: Staves

Bonuses: Bonus to Fire Skills, Bonus Fire Damage, Bonuses to Inferno, Warmth, and Fire Bolt (Sorceress), Bonus Defense, Cold Resist, Mana after each Kill

Zephyr – OrtEth (Ort plus Eth)

Great for a ranged Amazon.

Slots: Bows and Crossbows

Bonuses: Chance to Cast Twister When Struck, Faster Run/Walk, Increased Attack Speed, Enhanced Damage, Target Defense Reduction, Bonus to Attack Rating, Adds Lightning damage, Bonus Defense

Malice – IthElEth (Ith plus El plus Eth)

Great for all Melee characters

Slots: Melees weapons

Bonuses: Enhanced Damage, Maximum Damage, Target Defense Debuff, Bonus to Attack Rating, Chance of Open Wounds, Prevent Monster Heal, Monster Defense Drop Per Hit, Drain Life (your own)

Again, Runewords are only applicable to Grey Items, non-Magic items with multiple sockets. Once the Runeword is applied a powerful Item is created.

How the Horadric Cube is Used For Diablo 2 Crafting

diablo 2 runewords
Image: Supplied / Blizzard

The Horadric Cube is obtained during one of Act 2’s main quests, and is located at the end of Hall of the Dead Level 3 inside a chest. Although used to create a staff in order to open the Tomb of Tal Rasha, the Horadric Cube is also used to craft various items. From better quality Gems to higher level Runes to adding sockets to Normal Items. As a magical box it can also add more inventory space for carrying Items.

Here are a few of the handiest Horadric Cube recipes. Oh, and using the Horadric Cube is pretty simple, simply add the items in and hit the Transmute button.

  • 3 Gems of one type create the next higher grade Gem. The same applies for Skulls
  • 1 Ring plus 1 Perfect Gem (and a specific potion) makes a resistance Ring.
    • 1 Perfect Emerald and 1 Antidote Potion creates the Jade Ring (Poison).
    • 1 Perfect Ruby and 1 Exploding Potion creates the Garnet Ring (Fire).
    • 1 Perfect Sapphire and 1 Thawing Potion creates the Cobalt Ring (Cold).
    • 1 Perfect Topaz and 1 Rejuvenation Potion creates the Coral Ring (Lightning).
  • 6 Perfect Gems (one of each colour) plus an Amulet creates the powerful Prismatic Amulet that applies Resist All.
  • 4 Health Potions (any quality) plus 1 Ruby (any quality) plus 1 Magic sword (Blue) creates the Long Sword of the Leech which boosts damage and adds Life Steal.

Here are the basic recipes for prepping gear for Runewords. Note, Grey Items with sockets also drop during regular play.

  • 1 Tal Rune plus 1 Thul Rune plus 1 Perfect Topaz plus 1 Normal Body Armor adds sockets. 1-4 sockets based on the item level.
  • 1 Ral Rune plus 1 Amn Rune plus 1 Perfect Amethyst plus 1 Normal Weapon adds a sockets. 1-6 sockets based on item level.
  • 1 Ral Rune plus 1 Thul Rune plus 1 Perfect Sapphire plus 1 Normal Helm adds sockets. 1-3 sockets based on items level.
  • 1 Tal Rune plus 1 Amn Rune plus 1 Perfect Ruby plus 1 Normal Shield adds sockets. 1-4 sockets based on item level.

How Diablo 2: Resurrected’s endgame works

Image: Blizzard / Supplied

When it comes to the aRPG genre, endgame refers to what you end up doing once you complete the main quest or story. What activities there are, what loot is there to chase, how does progression work, what do you need to do to grow in power.

With Diablo 2 being a couple of decades old, our modern understanding of endgame content didn’t really exist back then. At the most basic level Diablo 2 offers up three difficulty levels to work through, each providing a substantial jump in difficulty and challenge. Normal being the standard way to play, Nightmare featuring tougher enemies and bosses, plus a negative 40% resistance penalty to players, and Mercenaries doing less damage. This is amplified even further in the Hell difficulty, which means once you get to Nightmare the loot game begins.

Farming for gems, runes, items, and experience with a mind towards rare boss drops and building a tougher character. Once you complete an Act you can go back to any Boss area as all enemies respawn after you exit and start a new game. Act 3’s Mephisto is considered a great way to gear up once you hit Act 4. Or, anytime after that really.

Diablo 2’s bosses: How to take out the Prime Evils

diablo 2 bosses
Hey buddy. Image: Supplied / Blizzard

There are things you should do before taking on any of the final bosses in each act. First, stock up on Potions — fill your entire inventory just in case. Secondly put a Town Portal down before you enter the final Boss Chamber making it easier to get back if you die. Also try and keep Bosses at bay or close to the perimeter so if you do fall they won’t be loitering around your corpse. The exception here is Duriel, who’s battle takes place in a teeny tiny room.

Act 1 – Andariel

diablo 2 bosses
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Standing a lot taller than players, Andariel is a poison-based creature so it’s handy to have some Poison resistance before heading in. Or some Antidote potions. In addition to this, there are a bunch of additional monsters in the room so be sure to take them out before focusing on Andariel. Andariel is susceptible to Fire so that’s usually the way to go, as is using the room to kite her whenever you need to heal as her attacks are somewhat relentless.

Act 2 – Duriel

Found inside the true Tomb of Tal Rasha be sure to drop a Town Portal before heading in as Dureil will attack the moment the Tomb loads. The fight takes place inside a small pit so the only real evade option is to run around in a small circle. Duriel can make this difficult as he can freeze and slow you down. Apart from that Duriel is a test of your character’s abilities, where high hit points and damage and a helpful Mercenary will make all the difference. That and being a ranged character.

Act 3 – Mephisto

diablo 2 bosses
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

Mephisto, brother to Baal and Diablo, is a formidable opponent and much like Andariel is found in a large area alongside a bunch of other enemies. Taking them out before getting to Mephisto helps quite a bit, as does keeping your distance as his attacks are all melee in nature.

Act 4 – Diablo

Diablo has a lot of hit points. A lot. So this fight is all about chipping away whilst avoiding what you can. Naturally Diablo’s attacks are fire-based so having Fire Resistance here is key, with the fight being a cat-and-mouse game of hit-and-run.

Act 5 – Baal

diablo 2 bosses
Image: Blizzard / Supplied

The final boss that has the ability to split, making it tougher to locate and damage the real Baal. But the duplicate will always take more damage, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem on that front. Baal is a magic dealer that can apply a number of deadly debuffs so chugging on potions is par for the course for this fight as is taking the time to heal properly and simply run if needed.

Diablo 2: Resurrected’s PvP, explained

With up to 8 players able to form a party and play in co-op, Diablo 2: Resurrected also features the same option for PvP. But it’s a version that isn’t a specific mode per se, with one player able to go hostile and attack all seven, or groups splitting up to go at it 4v4.

1v1 Duels are also possible, with all of Diablo 2’s PVP featuring the same penalties as dying when playing solo.

Those duels can also happen in all of the locations as the main game. There’s no scaling or rules, certain builds are better than others and PvP can either be a serious endgame endeavour or something you simply do for fun. Or, to steal loot after completing a successful boss run and claim all of the goodies for yourself.

Other questions you might have about Diablo 2: Resurrected

diablo 2 remaster
Image: Supplied / Blizzard

How do you identify items Diablo 2? Scrolls of Identify are used to identify items when you’re out in the field, with the Tome of Identify able to store 20. Back in town (and only after you’ve rescued him) Deckard Cain can be used to identify all items in your inventory for free.

How do you reset your skills? You can only do this once per character, per difficulty, with Akara in the Rogue Encampment after completing the Den of Evil quest. The Token of Absolution can also do the trick but this is crafted via specific boss drops from the bosses playing in Hell difficulty. So yeah, it’s not really an option for most.

How do loot drops work when you’re in a party? Diablo 2: Resurrected doesn’t feature instanced loot, meaning it’s a free-for-all when it comes to picking up items. Finding a group that shares and plays with very different builds is the best way to get the loot that suits your character.

How do you import saves? It’s as simple as copying one set of files from one directory to another, with saves located in C:\Users\Username\Saved Games\ in Windows for both the original Diablo 2 and Diablo 2: Resurrected. The only drawback is that you’ll be limited to offline play.

How do you access the secret cow level? Combine Wirt’s Leg (obtained when you return to Tristram) and a Tome of Town Portal in the Horadric Cube. Don’t tell anyone.

How do you get the best loot? The easiest way to get the best gear is to revisit locations and bosses that drop the rarest items with a buff to Magic Find. Also known as farming, some of the best locations for sweet loot are The Pits (Act 1), Maggot Lair and Sewers (Act 2), River of Flame and Chaos Sanctuary (Act 4), Worldstone Keep (Act 5). This also applies to stocking up on low level Runes via replaying the Countess boss fight.

What’s the best way to farm gold? Follow the farming tips seen above or be sure to sell Yellow and Grey socketed items alongside Rings and Amulets you don’t need from the get go. This is an easy way to stockpile some Gold. Oh, and be sure to keep topping up your stash so you don’t lose any.

How do you trade items in Diablo 2: Resurrected? It’s as simple as being in the same game with a Trade partner, clicking on their character to initiate and then using the new trade window to put up the negotiated Items and/or Gold. Trade Items will need to be in your Inventory at the time. If you’re looking for a specific Item or Rune be sure to use the in-game Chat channels or even naming your public game something like “Looking For xx Item”.

Can the Horadric Cube store charms? Nope. Well, technically it can but adding charms into the Horadric Cube negates their bonuses.

How do you switch between the old and new graphic modes in Diablo 2: Resurrected? Pressing your keyboard’s ‘G’ key when playing on PC. Holding LT + the View button on Xbox, and PS4/PS5 players pressing L2 + the Touchpad.


Kosta Andreadis is a freelance writer and Managing Editor over at AusGamers, one of Australia’s longest-running game publications. You can also throw ‘beat scientist’ into the mix, with Kosta releasing electronic music as Kbit. Follow him on Twitter or check out his tunes on Bandcamp.

Comments

  • I picked this up to play with my brother, who was a massive fan of Diablo II back in 2000 (honestly, he would have put in 1000+ Hours into the original game and expansion). I bounced off of it quite hard – it’s…. A really old game. And it plays like one. I knew that this remaster was going to be very faithful to the original Diablo II, but I wasn’t prepared for how much of a trip back to the past this game was. While I remember my brother raving about how good it was in 2000, and while I am sure it was ground-breaking at the time…. Having played Diablo 3 before this game, I have to say that I really miss a lot of the QoL improvements in Diablo 3 and other similar RPGs. The slowness of the characters, the relative pittance of loot, the abundance of skills that almost all players agree are completely useless but are still in the game, the ridiculous darkness of some of the dungeons, where you have to have a god-awful garish minimap overlaid on your screen just to know where you are going…. Good god I was not expecting this game to feel ancient.

    I’m not that young – I was 13 when Diablo 2 came out, and I’m used to playing older games, but I was expecting something a bit more… well… fun, I suppose.

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