Not all of us have Diablo’s various hellscapes etched into our history. If Diablo 4 is your first foray into the action-RPG series, this article is for you. We’ve put together a selection of beginners tips and explained some key concepts that’ll ensure you’re having a hell of a time from the get go, even if you don't know the difference between Lilith and the Light.
Give all the classes a go
Diablo 4 features five main classes: Barbarian, Necromancer, Sorcerer, Rogue, and Druid. You can pick based on the looks and rough descriptions of the characters creation screen, but it’s even better to give them all a go yourself. You can have up to 10 character slots open, and it doesn’t take long to unlock at least a few of the base skills for each class and give them a whirl.
Don’t worry too much about whether you’re playing solo or with friends – all the classes are good in their own right. Find the one you have fun with the most and stick with that. And while you’re trying them out…
Test all skills and respec early
The first abilities you’ll be able to spend skill points on will all be fighting for the same basic slot, meaning you can’t use them at the same time. You’ll want to stick with and upgrade one in the long run, but you can give them all a try early to discover what you like.
Diablo 4 allows you to respec skill points for free up to around level 12. That means you can test out one skill on a few enemies, then refund it and purchase another to use in its place. Find the ability on your skill tree, then hold the refund prompt (Square on PlayStation) to reclaim the point (or press the prompt to refund all spent skill points). You can then apply it to one of the other abilities within the same section.
The starting abilities can make a huge deal of difference for some classes, even changing them between melee and ranged attacks. As such, you’ll definitely want to give them all a go before settling down with your killing method of choice.
Don’t be afraid to look up builds online
Discovering different ability combos and connections is one of the great joys of the Diablo series. But the wealth of stats and boosts can prove seriously daunting for newcomers. If you don’t want to dive right into putting together your own perfect character, don’t feel bad about looking up some class builds online that suit your style of play.
We’d still encourage you to experiment from time to time, but following a class build can relieve a lot of decision-making stress early if you just want to get stuck in with the story or slaying monsters.
Fully immerse yourself with the Cloud III
Newcomers might not be aware of it from the off, but the world itself is one of the biggest upgrades Diablo 4 brings to the series. Environments are teeming with subtle details, making them eerier, more menacing – practically dripping with malignant dread. But to truly immerse yourself? You need to indulge in the audio environment as well.
Load up Diablo 4 with a gaming headset like the HyperX Cloud III and you'll transport yourself into Sanctuary like never before. Basic dungeons transform from monster-mashing playgrounds into unsettling arenas of scraping chains and distant, morbid moans. And when the action unfolds, each shearing slice or crackling arc of a spell will be discernable thanks to the Cloud III's angled 53mm drivers, built specifically for gaming. The soundscape of Diablo 4 is brilliant. Don't miss out on it.
World Tiers aren’t the same as difficulty
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make regards the World Tier your character starts on: Adventurer or Veteran. This isn’t quite so straightforward as a difficulty option. Bumping up to Veteran (Tier 2) will increase enemy health and damage, but they’ll also reward more gold and experience when beaten.
The important thing is that you can swap between these World Tiers at will, either from the character select menu or from the World Tier statue in the hub town of Kyovashad. Don’t be afraid to do so.
Most newcomers will likely want to start on Adventurer (Tier 1), as this will give you plenty of time and safety to try out classes and abilities. If you want to level up a new character a little more quickly, shift up to Veteran. You can always drop back down again when you’re faced with a challenging boss.
Salvage, don’t sell
You’ll pick up a lot of superfluous stuff in Diablo 4: Armor, weapons, and trinkets your character has no use for. If you made the jump from other RPGs, you’ll probably be looking to sell this junk as soon as possible. Don’t. In Diablo 4, you should be salvaging your spare equipment instead of selling it.
You’ll need to find a blacksmith to start salvaging, but doing so will reward you with material resources instead of gold. Building up a healthy store of these will be invaluable in the game’s later stages, as you’ll use them for upgrades and imprinting. Salvaging will also unsocket any gems – powerful modifiers that adjust how an item works – in a piece of gear, letting you use them elsewhere.
You can certainly sell gear when you’re running low on cash, but early in the game it’s far easier to stock up on gold by diving through a dungeon than it is to restock material supplies. As an added bonus, salvaging new items also unlocks transmogs which let you adjust the visual look of your equipment.
Elixirs are consumable items you can craft at alchemists or receive for completing some quests. In addition to a more targeted buff, they offer a 5% experience bonus for the 30-minute duration. That really adds up when you’re in a dungeon, so don’t hesitate to down one of these easily forgettable buffs before you head inside, even if its core boost isn’t necessarily of use.
Activate Waypoints and Altars of Lilith
Finally, a simple bit of advice that’ll save you a whole lot of tedious backtracking. Waypoints are fast travel locations you’ll uncover across the world, namely in towns and points of interest. On your map they looks like light blue circles with three lines intersecting through the middle.
Whenever you get near a new one of these, head over and interact with it. Waypoints in Diablo 4 only become accessible after you have interacted with them, not just by being nearby. Forget to do so and you’ll have to make the tiresome slog back on foot.
While you’re out and about, be sure to also interact with any Altars of Liliths you encounter. These small demonic statues grant permanent stat boosts to not just your current character, but all your characters on the realm. That means triggering them will also boost any new classes you make later on. Handy.
And with that, you've covered all our Diablo 4 beginner tips and tricks, leaving you ready to venture out into the now slightly less mysterious world of Sanctuary. Oh, and let Lilith know we said hi!