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Difficulty changes how hard one plays, generally by debuffing the player while buffing monsters to make the gameplay more challenging. In the Diablo series, there are three main difficulty levels, along with two sub levels. In Diablo III, the difficulty system was revamped. In the harder difficulties, the player will be able to get equipment and items that are much more powerful than on the previous difficulty, allowing the player to overcome some debuffs they may receive. In Nightmare and Hell Diablo II, the player will lose experience when their character dies.

In the original Diablo, one must be lv. 20 to enter a Nightmare difficulty game, and lv. 30 to enter a Hell difficulty game. Its expansion, Hellfire, added these to single player, with no restrictions there. In Diablo II and its expansion, to advance to a higher difficulty, the player must defeat the final boss in the last act within that game's story. Expansions add to the story, therefore requiring you to progress farther before allowing you to enter a harder difficulty.

Main Difficulty TypesEdit

Normal is the easiest difficulty and the game's default level when you start a new character. In Normal, the player is not debuffed and the monsters are not buffed, making it the basic difficulty type in Diablo.

Nightmare is the next difficulty, which is harder to play. In Nightmare, the player is debuffed (generally by making skills and such 2/3's effective, along with decreasing resistances), while the monsters are buffed (generally by giving them more Life and increasing their damage).

Hell is the last difficulty setting or third in Diablo III. In Hell, the player is debuffed even more than nightmare with monsters being buffed even more than nightmare. The Hell difficulty allows the player to be able to access Uber Tristram in Diablo II, allowing something else for high-leveled players to do. In the second game, every monster except bosses in game has at least one complete immunity, which may include immunity to physical damage.

Diablo III DevelopmentEdit

Upon release day, Inferno was the final difficulty mode. The lowest monster level found here was 61, which is 1 level higher than the level 60-cap for player characters. Monsters increased by one additional level for every act, up to lv. 63 in Act III.

2.0/Reaper of SoulsEdit

In 2.0/Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties are scrapped completely, and are changed to Normal, Hard, Expert, Master, and Torment (I-VI).

As of the pre-expansion patch for Diablo III, Normal, Hard, and Expert are unlocked at the start, Master requires the player to either destroy Diablo or reach lv. 60, and Torment requires a hero at lv. 60. The way the game's actual difficulty works depends on that of the host's clvl. That is, to say, as a hero levels up in power, so do his/her enemies.

The bonuses granted by increasing difficulty are as follows:

  • Normal: No bonuses, due to being the default difficulty.
  • Hard: +75% Experience, +75% Gold Find
  • Expert: +100% Experience, +100% Gold Find
  • Master: +200% Experience, +200% Gold Find
  • Torment I: +300% Experience, +300% Gold Find
  • Torment II: +400% Experience, +400% Gold Find
  • Torment III: +550% Experience, +550% Gold Find
  • Torment IV: +800% Experience, +800% Gold Find
  • Torment V: +1150% Experience, +1150% Gold Find
  • Torment VI: +1600% Experience, +1600% Gold Find

In addition, starting from Expert onwards, Bounties give double Blood Shards. Master and Torment I+ allow monsters level 61+ to drop Imperial quality gems. Torment I+ allows new Legendary items to be found at level 70, and gives a specific bonus to finding those items, scaling with increased difficulty (approximately 15% with each level, stacking multiplicatively).

On Torment difficulty, if the Nephalem takes too long (usually over 3 to 4 minutes) to defeat most of the game's bosses, they become Enraged, greatly lessening the hero's odds of achieving victory. For exact details on an Enrage timer, see the bosses' individual pages. There are two types of enrage effects: a soft enrage (the combat grows more difficult the longer it lasts, up to the point where it becomes overwhelming) and a hard enrage (once the time is up, it becomes much harder, if not impossible, to defeat the boss without overpowered gear). If a player wishes to avoid these effects, tracking their effective DPS is advised.

Note that a hero's gold find is multiplied by the difficulty level's bonus. To name an example, a hero who has a Goldskin equipped (+100% gold, 2x) on Expert difficulty (also +100%, 2x) will receive a total of +300% (4x), not the +200%.

Sub TypesEdit

  • Softcore

Softcore is the basic way to play. The player can die any number of times without having to worry about their character being permanently killed. When a player dies, they can either go back to the place they died and retrieve their corpse or be revived by an ally, allowing them to gain back their items. If a player leaves the game but still has a corpse, it can be easily reacquired in the Town of the current Act. In Diablo III, one can revive at the corpse (with a small delay), in town, or at the last checkpoint.

Hardcore is regarded by some players as the most realistic way to play. When the player dies in hardcore, the game ends for that character and cannot be revived. However, if the player has the loot corpse option on, it can be looted by other players. When one allows their corpse to be looted, they may become a target of other players, so it is wise to only use the option when needed. Some items that can be obtained by Ladder characters can't be obtained by Hardcore characters, and vice versa. In Diablo III, items from the corpse are lost, but the items from stash are not.

In Diablo II/Lord of Destruction, prior to a certain patch, one had to destroy Diablo/Baal on Normal difficulty in the respective game to unlock Hardcore, while in Diablo III/Reaper of Souls, a hero must reach level 10 before Hardcore is made available.


In Diablo II, if a single-player character leaves the game with items equipped but their corpse is still out, they will lose all the items on the corpse. Characters that are played online will receive the corpse which has the highest sale value to a merchant.

Diablo I & Diablo II
Diablo III

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