This page contains general information about a character’s Level (Lv) and earning Experience Points (EXP) in Diablo 2 Resurrected.
You kill enemies, you gain EXP, you level up. Pretty simple concept, although there’s more at play than meets the eye (see Experience, below) but for now we’re concerned with what happens as you level up, not the mechanics of earning EXP.
Every time you level up you’ll gain 5 Stat Points and 1 Skill Point, as well as a marginal number of derived stats (Life, Stamina and Mana - see the table, below). You start at Lv1 and can reach a maximum of L99, meaning that - excluding bonuses from quests - you can earn a total of 490 Stat Points and 98 Skill Points. You also gain access to a new tier of skills every six levels; 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30, although other prerequisites may exist. If you add in quests, you can earn an additional 15 Stat Points and 12 Skill Points, for a total of 505 Stat Points and 110 Skill Points.
Derived Stats Per Level
While Lv99 is technically the maximum level you can reach in the game, actually reaching this vaunted figure is time consuming to the point where players who aren’t specifically doing literally hundreds of runs won’t likely reach this level. And that’s just to go from Lv98 to Lv99! Generally speaking, you can expect to reach Lv30-40 by the end of Normal difficulty, Lv60-70 by the end of Nightmare difficulty and Lv80~ by the time you topple Baal in Hell difficulty. As far as builds are concerned, hitting Lv85 - 90 will take a bit of grinding, but you’ll likely achieve these levels easily enough as you farm whatever enemies your build is ideal for.
That being the case, we’ll design our builds with a loose goal of hitting Lv85-90, which should give us around 450 Stat Points and 100 Skill Points, when you factor in quests. Of course, not all builds mature at the same rates - some will be more or less “complete” by Lv70~, and others will still be eagerly anticipating new Skill Points late into the Lv80s. Most will not be terribly effective until the Lv30s - at least not compared to lower-leveled alternatives, which in turn won’t be as competitive late-game. For this reason, we’ll recommend Beginner Builds for each class, which are designed to get you into the Lv30s and beyond, after which you’ll respec into your final build. The timing for this will, of course, vary by character.
Experience Points (EXP)
While leveling up is a simple enough concept, the mechanics of earning EXP in Diablo 2 are somewhat more complex. You kill monsters, you earn EXP. In Normal difficulty, this is a one-way process, but in Nightmare and Hell difficulties, dying will incur a death penalty. This death penalty will set you back 5% or 10% of the EXP you need to earn to level up in Nightmare and Hell difficulties, respectively, and while repeatedly dying can drop you down to the base EXP required for your current level, dying will never drop your EXP below this amount. In other words, you’ll never lose a level, regardless of how much you die.
When you die, you’ll leave behind a corpse, which you’ll need to loot to reacquire your gear. Needless to say, reaching and recovering your body without gear will be much more difficult, especially since whatever killed you when you had all your gear is probably still lurking about. Dying repeatedly will leave behind multiple corpses, and while this is an added bit of difficulty, it’s also an opportunity; if you recover your corpse, you’ll regain 75% of the EXP you lost via the death penalty. If there’s no hope in recovering your corpse, you can simply save and exit the game, then start a new game - your corpse will appear near where you spawn in town. Doing this forfeits the ability to reclaim lost EXP, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, especially if vain attempts at reclaiming your corpse would just lead to more deaths.
Killing is good, getting killed is bad. But, of course, there’s more to it than that. Your level compared to the enemy’s level also plays a large part in EXP earned. If you’re within five levels of the enemy, all’s well; you’ll earn 100% of the EXP when you kill said monster. As this gap grows - regardless of whether it favors your or your enemy - the EXP you’ll earn for killing said enemy is lowered. While the numbers are somewhat variable when your character is under Lv25, the general rule of thumb is that if the level gap between you and your enemy is 8 levels, you’re only earning around 40% of the EXP you normally would, and by the time this gap reaches 10 levels you’ll be earning 5% of the normal EXP.
A Monster’s Level (mLv) is usually closely correlated with the Area Level (aLv) where it appears, which in turn influences the Item Level (iLv) of items (and their associated mods) said monsters can drop, but that’s a discussion more relevant to farming than leveling, so for now just keep in mind the loose aLv ranges below, keep in mind the effects of level differences on EXP earned, and note that if foes aren’t giving you enough EXP, it may be time to move on.
Area Level Range by Difficulty
|aLv (Normal)||aLv (Nightmare)||aLv (Hell)|
|1 - 42||36 - 66||67 - 85|
If that’s not enough, you also have a flat EXP penalty applied as you level up. This starts at Lv70, where you’ll start earning only ~95% of the EXP a monster would normally grant. This penalty is ~50% by Lv80, just under ~6% by Lv90, and at Lv98 you’re earning just ~0.6% of the EXP you’d otherwise earn… and these penalties are after any differences in level between you and the monster.
All in all, EXP gains are a pretty grim subject, and mostly slanted against the player. There are, however, a few ways to boost the EXP you earn. The first, and most common, is by simply having more players in the game with you. For every player above one in a game, you’ll earn +50% more EXP. Of course, monsters also become more difficult:
Effect of Player Count on Monster Stats/EXP
|Players||Monster HP||Monster Damage/AR||EXP earned|
The more players in a game, the more EXP you’ll earn - and by a significant margin. If you’re killing enemies with ease and aren’t playing on closed Battle.net, boosting the number of players in your game will speed up the leveling process considerably.
Other than that, there are only two items in the game that boost EXP gained: Ondal’s Wisdom, a unique Elder Staff (Lv66 Required) will give a +5% bonus to EXP earned, and Annihilus, a unique small charm (Lv70 Required) dropped by Uber Diablo will give a 5-10% bonus to EXP earned. Given that these are both pretty late-game drops with high level requirements that will almost certainly require an established character to get, the marginal gains they give to EXP can be safely viewed as trivial to leveling.