Diablo 2 – PvM / Singleplayer Mastery Guide

Diablo 2 Cover Art

This Diablo 2 Guide is the go to resource for all d2 singleplayer & PvE related resources, covering an extensive list of tips, strategies, resources, softwares, mods, builds and items. Returning to our beloved Diablo 2, has brought with it many new teachings & insights. And it is only right to share, that which I have now learnt.

Another Timeless and Ever Expanding Guide – By Faraz Jafari

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Table of Contents:



Tips & Commands

Simple Commands That Will Make Your Life Easier

Ctrl + Left click on an item to sell it. No more drag and drop.

Shift + Right click on scrolls and potions while at the shop to fill up your entire tomb or belt of that particular item.

Shift + Left click on potions in your inventory to auto-place them into your belt.

Shift + numbers 1-4 to give your Mercenary a potion from your belt

/nopickup and you will not pickup items, unless you are holding alt. Ideal for melee characters/builds

/players (1-8) to increase the difficulty of the game in singleplayer while increasing, exp & drop rate (more on this later).


Dont Be Greedy

Counter intuitive, but check this out. You never need to pickup coins, especially during the earlier levels. This saves you a huge deal of time in the long run and you end up leveling and progressing through the acts/levels much quicker. By simply learning what items are valuable you can very quickly increase the size of your stash, without running around like a peasant. Early level items to pickup are: throwing knives, strangling gas/fulmination potion, some blues, golds and uniques. Magic items such as charms, rings and amulets sell well regardless of stats.

Once you’ve overcome the early level poverty, pay attention to the item values and you will no longer have a money flow issue. Well, unless you can’t control yourself when it comes to gambling. Decent drops sell for 10k+ to vendors and only pickup large stacks (around 1k+ mark) from Elite Mobs/Bosses.


Open Chests & Break Jars

Opening Chest & Breaking Jars

Regardless of what stage or difficulty you’re playing at, take the time to open chests, look under rocks and break jars. 40-50% of your magical item drops will be found in these hidden objects. Even more important are those that are near elite mobs and bosses. View the Diablo 2 Farming Guide for more related information.


Learn Your Runewords & Recipes

Initially an overwhelming task. Getting Acquainted with the Runeswords and Recipes will be part of the process of being geared well for high difficulties (Nightmare & Hell) and surpassing in stats & skills to overcome your enemies. Early on knowing some of the basic Runewords will help out greatly.


Common Early Level Runeswords

Runewords Item Level Runes
Steel Level 13 Tir + El
Nadir Level 13 Nef + Tir
Malice Level 15 Ith + El + Eth
Stealth Level 17 Tal + Eth
Leaf Level 19 Tir + Ral
Zephyr Level 21 Ort + Eth
Ancient’s Pledge Level 21 Ral + Ort + Tal
Holy Thunder Level 23 Eth + Ral + Ort + Tal
Strenght Level 25 Amn + Tir
Edge Level 25 Tir + Tal + Amn
King’s Grace Level 25 Amn + Ral + Thul
Spirit Level 25 Tal + Thul + Ort + Amn
Radiance Level 27 Nef + Sol + Ith
Insight Level 27 Ral + Tir + Tal + Sol
Lore Level 27 Ort + Sol

How to Get Ladder Only Runewords in Singleplayer

Checkout the Best Diablo 2 Runewords page for a more extensive list.


Make Use of Quest Bonuses

Quest rewards can become very useful if used correctly and can make things much simpler at times. For example, I managed to get this from a Act2 Perfect Falcon Mask using the Act I: Quest 5: Tools of the Trade reward that I had saved up.
Really Good Early Druid Hawk Helm

Useful Quests:

  • I: Quest 1: Den of Evil – Free Respecialisation
  • I: Quest 5: Tools of the Trade – Imbue Normal Item
  • V: Quest 1: Siege on Harrogath – Add Sockets To a Non-Socketed Item
  • V: Quest 3: Prison of Ice – Scroll of Resistance for permanent +10% elemental resists


Understand Breakpoints

Explaining the technical side of breakpoints is difficult and unnecessary. All you need to know is that they are different for different classes/damage types. Meaning each class has its own set of unique breakpoints that need to be understood by the player aiming to maximise their gear and potential. They apply to the following values: Faster Block Rate, Faster Cast Rate, Faster Hit Recovery and Increased Attack Speed.

Example: the points needed for a Lightening Sorceress to go from Level 12 (@117 points) Fast Cast Rate to the next @194 points, leaves a gab of 77 points. Which means if your gear is taking you to a hypothetical 187 points, you are failing to hit the next level and therefore wasting your stats. Read more about Breakpoints here.


Damage Resistance

The other key thing to keep in mind, is the priority given to the damage resistances. The general rule of thumbs is Lightening > Fire > Cold > Poison, Lightning being the highest due to it hitting the highest. Each act has its main damage type and your build or class will have its own weaknesses to consider. Example: playing a melee would mean that you’d need to prioritise cold damage resistance more due to the attack speed reduction of freeze effects. Which can actually be solved by equipping an item that reduces freeze time or stops you from freezing all together.

During later stages of the game. You must stack resistances as best as you can, because of its dramatic effect on your survivability. And the way players do this, is by filling their inventory with small charms with 4-6% damage resistances. So when these drops make sure to keep them stored.


Bonus Tips from Diablo 2 Elder

  • Tools of the Trade rewards should be saved for later in the game. The item is tagged to your char level so if you use it at 80 you will get amazing level 80 items instead of a low-level items you will move on from quickly.
  • Skip optional areas (typically the dungeons and caves like the Swampy Pit in Act 3). Unless you need the level, it’s best just to skip it as you will level up normally in the story.
  • In Hell difficulty, some of these “useless areas” turn into the best places to farm, such as The Pit in the Tamoe Highlands. These areas are ‘level 85’ areas, which gives access to the best drops when magic finding.
  • The Countess drops more runes on players 1, so farm her @ P1.
  • Chests have better drops when you’re on a higher player difficulty. The Hell difficulty Lower Kurast superchests are arguably the best place in the game to find high runes, especially if your character can consistently run P8.




Diablo 2 Leveling Banner

Quicker Leveling In Singleplayer

Leveling in singleplayer was a pain during the noob days and one reason I always went for the Battle.net games. However, after learning about the /players 8 command which simultaneously increases monster difficulty, exp gain and drop rate. Leveling has become a breeze.

It is quite common to hit level 20 by the time you finish Act I. Not to mention you’ll be better geared because of the increase in drop rates and have a stronger build. Only the best builds can move through the /players 8 (hard mode) effortlessly so plan ahead and keep your wits about you. Otherwise try raising difficulty to /players 3, 5 or 7 to still get drop rate bonus.



The go to Mercenaries seem to be the Act II ones due to their useful Auras (Pray, Defiance & Might). However, each Mercenary can still be utilised to cover for the weaknesses of your build and should be chosen based on this factor as you advance and improve on your strategic thinking.

There are more than a few Runewords and weapons of every kind that provided useful auras that includes bows. Which makes other mercenaries other than Act II still useful and viable in certain cases.

Resources to checkout are:
General Mercenary Stats
Extensive Mercenary Guide


Character Guide

Diablo 2 Mercenary Banner

Don’t go a certain class, because of a build. Choose your class based on their playstyle and find the best build for what you want to achieve. All classes are powerful when speced/geared correctly and will have at least one variation that will enable them to play on /players 8, Nightmare & Hell difficulty.

The most viable classes for self-funded Singleplayer characters seem to be; the Paladin, Sorcerer, Assassin, Amazon and Necromancer. But this does not mean that the others cannot and will not be capable. We have yet to hit the limits of the capabilities of classes/builds and a little curiosity and experimentation might leads us to a new generation of playstyles.


Diablo 2 Builds

[ Diablo 2 – PvM / Singleplayer Builds ]

This is something that I am slowly working out for myself. Attaining variations of different class builds is quite easy to achieve. However, assuming you want to play Singleplayer and want to self-fund your character and also play through all three difficulties. These are the builds that I hear can achieve this result:

  • Summon Necromancer
  • Duel Element Sorceress
  • Zealot Paladin
  • Trapsin Assassin
  • Javazon Amazon

    Currently experimenting and working on my own Diablo 2 builds. These solutions were based on the help of the Diablo 2 Reddit and Facebook community. So do join if you are interesting in being in touch with others with a similar interest.


    Crafting & Runewords


    It is important to know thy cooking recipes. Something I am just getting to understand myself. Checkout these resources:

    Crafting Basics
    All Recipes List
    Transmutation Recipes
    Crafting Handbook



    This part is probably my favourite thing right now.. Learning about Runewords and the benefits that the items can provide is very exciting and greatly adds to the replayability of the game. The ingredients of Runewords basically come down to having the correct item, with the right amount of slots and the needed runes.

    Checkout these three lists for all the runewords: originals, 1.10 & 1.11.

    [Download] The Runeword app to help you out.


    Mods & Software

    installing Diablo 2 Screenshot

    Diablo 2 is now almost two decade old and these mods can help.

    Hero Editor – Which still works with the latest versions of the game.
    MultiRes – Increase the resolutions offered by the game.
    PlugY – A game variation that provides you with a shared and expandable stash.
    GoMule – Allows items to be stored and transferred between singleplayer.
    Runeword App – Gives you real time information on all that you need to know.

    Consider checking out these online Diablo 2 mod communities.

    Project Diablo 2 – A mod for and by passionate Diablo 2 fans. Aimed at maintaining the Lord of Destruction experience and provide consistent ladder resets while improving on the game as if development never ceased
    Path of Diablo – A private server aimed at increasing build diversity and replayability with as few changes to the original experience as possible. Ladders happen every four to five months and always includes a content & balance patch which helps keep the game fresh and exciting.


    News & Updates

    Diablo has recently been receiving new updates (current build 1.14d) and will continue to do so with the help of the Blizzards Classic Team.
    Furthermore, Diablo 2 could be next to be remastered.




    Look, playing the game so many years after its best years is a love affair and having others to share and experience that with just makes it way more enjoyable.
    Make sure join the Diablo 2 Facebook and Reddit community.

    And come hangout with your Diablo 2 Streamers on Twitch. There is more of us playing Diablo 2 than we had initially released.

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