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Diablo II: Resurrected

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How to Find High Runes

Nathan Garvin

While there’s a certain thrill in popping a boss and seeing golden items drop, many of the game’s most powerful items are not unique items, they’re runewords, and the best runewords are comprised - at least in part - of high runes. It’s no exaggeration to opine that a player’s wealth can be measured in the number of Ber runes they possess, and players who want the most powerful endgame builds will need to collect numerous high runes, including Ist, Vex, Ohm, Lo, Ber and Jah.

While Magic Find is a complex topic - covered in detail on the How Magic Find and Item Drops Work page - finding high runes is relatively simple. Like magical/set/unique items, the quality of runewords that can drop is determined by the Area Level (aLv) where drops occur - the higher the aLv, the better runes you can find. You want high runes, you’ll need to farm aLv85 areas, all of which can drop any rune in the game. Generally, however, the further you are in the game, the better runes will drop, with Ber runes showing up around Act 3 in Hell difficulty, Jah runes potentially dropping in Act 4 Hell difficulty, and so on.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of other variables. Runes aren’t magical items, so Magic Find gear will not improve rune drops. The only thing that will increase the rate at which you accumulate runes is by getting more drops to occur. In practical terms, this means killing enemies. The more you kill, the faster you kill them, the better your chances of eventually getting runes, and if those enemies are high aLv enemies you may even score the odd high rune.

To this end, enemy density is important, making locations like Ancient Tunnels, the Chaos Sanctuary, the [Worldstone Keep] and The Secret Cow Level prime rune-hunting locations. On the plus side, you may also find rare unique and set items while hunting for runes, which is always a bonus.

That said, there are a few things you can do besides farming dense, high aLv areas:

The Countess

One of the prime alternatives to volume-killing high level mobs is to farm The Countess, who is virtually guaranteed to drop you runes every time you kill her. This is fine for gathering a collection of low-runes required to make runewords like Spirit and [Insight[(https://www.gamerguides.com/diablo-ii-resurrected/guide/runewords/weapons/insight), among others, but for high runes, complications arise.

While The Countess will almost always drop you runes, there’s no guarantee they’ll be rare runes. The higher the difficulty, the higher quality runes The Countess can drop, with Ral being the highest rune she can drop in Normal difficulty, Ko in Nightmare difficulty, and Lo in Hell difficulty. Lo isn’t a bad drop by any means, but her odds of dropping runes that high are no greater than most other monsters - Ist is the highest rune The Countess has a higher-than-average drop rate for, and even then, this is in the 1:300 range.

There’s no harm in doing The Countess runs, but if you’re trying to make endgame gear that requires Ber and Jah runes, you’re almost certainly going to be better off doing dozens of aLv85 area runs than you are doing a greater number of Countess runs… on the other hand, if you really need an El to Sol rune, by all means, The Countess will probably give you what you need fairly quickly.

Of course, there’s also the matters of actually being able to kill The Countess. She’s not all that dangerous on her own (provided you’re not bothered by the fact that she’s cold and fire immune), but you’ll have to find the Forgotten Tower in the Black Marsh area, then delve through five dungeon levels to reach her. Without Teleport, this will take a prohibitive amount of time, and with Teleport… the time it’ll take you to reach and kill The Countess is probably greater than or equivalent to the time it’d take you to clear an aLv85 area.

Spare yourself the bother, clear aLv85 areas that you’re able to easily and quickly clear. You’ll get fewer runes, but the ceiling for them will be higher, and there’s plenty of other high-tier gear you can find. Worst case scenario, you might find something you can trade for a high rune.

Lower Kurast Runs

Alternatively you can turn your eyes towards Lower Kurast, which might seem fairly unexceptional at a glance, save for one fact: almost every Lower Kurast map spawns with 3-6 super chests. These chests tend to drop a lot of items, and while you won’t get unique items doing this, these chests will regularly drops gems, charms and, of course, runes. The highest rune you’ll find this way is Ber, but it’s one of the more mathematically sound ways to specifically farm high runes, and Ber runes aren’t a treasure to turn one’s nose up at.

Of course, this would all be useless if you had to spend a significant amount of time looking for these chests. Fortunately, the locations of these super chest are semi-static, or rather, the procedural generation of Diablo 2’s maps betray their locations. In most Lower Kurast maps there will be a bonfire surrounded by torches, and northeast and northwest of this bonfire will be two huts. In the northeastern hut is a super chest and a weapon rack and in the northwestern hut are two super chests (there’s also an armor rack between the two huts, for what’s that’s worth).

While the location and number of these bonfires will vary between game spawns, there’s almost always one bonfire (hence three super chests) and regularly two (hence six super chests). All you need to do is Teleport around until you find the bonfires, then loot the chests - it might not be automatic at first, but after a few runs you should be able to pick these bonfire adjacent huts out by just viewing the minimap. Of course, this process begs for a Sorceress (Teleport, again the most valuable skill in the game) and works much better in singleplayer games, where maps are static (you can reload maps until you get one with two bonfires, both relatively close to the Waypoint), but it’s viable enough in multiplayer.

There’s one crippling downside to this, however: It is about the most mindlessly repetitive task you can do in Diablo 2 Resurrected. It may well be subjective, and others might find this less tedious, but in our experience, the worst thing you can do in Diablo 2 is try to specifically farm any one item. If you’re got single-minded determination and transcendent patience, Lower Kurast will serve you well. If you want some variety, both in what you’re doing and what items you can expect to find, we suggest, once again, you stick to aLv85 areas.


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Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Activision Blizzard
  • Platforms,
    PS4, PS5, Switch, XB One, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Action RPG, Hack-n-slash
  • Guide Release
    20 September 2021
  • Last Updated
    1 March 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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The guide for Diablo 2 Resurrected seeks to help new players find their footing in Sanctuary by providing build advice and information on gear and how to farm it.

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