There’s a lot of intricacies to leveling up from scratch in D3 every season. While many wait for powerlevels, some suckers like me actually enjoy the process every now and then. So without further ado here’s a rundown of tips tricks and basic knowledge about the D3 leveling process. This guide assumes mostly you’re a seasonal character, though I suppose it doesn’t matter if you’re on non-seasonal too.
PLEASE BE ADVISED – This guide is meant to be used
alongside the class leveling guides.
The point of this guide is to help inform you about the various paths, tips, and methods of leveling in D3 so you can eventually tailor your own way through.
The optimal start: CHALLENGE RIFT
No matter what method you choose down the line, massacre, nephs, or a mix of both (the last options is my choice btw) – there is one universal truth: The optimal start to anyone’s leveling process is COMPLETING THE WEEK’S CHALLENGE RIFT.
Why? Challenge Rifts give you a titanic headstart on resources: Gold, Shards, Deaths Breaths, Crafting and Bounty materials… Like, seriously it’s THAT GOOD. Not starting with Challenge Rift is seriously a huge gimp.
Aside from this, EACH CLASS HAS A WAY TO ABUSE THE GIVEN DEATHS BREATHS AND BLOOD SHARDS. Fine, not every class is equal in this regard, but generally speaking, you have a pretty good chance to gain up to 5, 10x more power. Interested?
The basic process is this
- Complete the challenge rift, and gain the many materials from the cache.
- Level up the Blacksmith to max.
- Craft a level appropriate weapon (70 if you’re unsure) and UPGRADE it to legendary, hoping to get certain weapons with godly kanai effects.
- CUBE the weapon if its decent, so you can “use” it at Level 1.
Each class has favored weapon types to upgrade,
which I outline in their specific leveling guides.
After this, the same process goes for Blood Shards, too. Either you bait an amazing legendary you can wear outright at level 1 and reap its effects until you’re 70 or cube it.
So completing the Challenge Rift allows you to do all of the above, while leaving you with a bunch of crafting materials and millions of gold for upgrades and rerolls. Seriously. Challenge Rift may as well be a mandatory part of leveling.
Find it too cheesy? Wanna level up naturally? Don’t worry the leveling guides have builds FOCUSED on that, with easy adjustments depending on what legendary you might get if you do choose to try this method.
Just spawned in Adventure Mode? Two small protips:
Steal your Templars weapon, or Scoundrel if you’re a DH. Also don’t forget to EQUIP YOUR PET to gather gold.
Out of the gate BONUS: Go to Expert and open up adventure mode and check if any of the “easy to get to” bosses are on bounty. If so, rush to and kill the boss for an easy chest with yellows. Examples of easy to reach bosses are Zoltun Kulle, Maghda, or King Leoric. Don’t bother with the others. You’ll gain a few levels in the process too. Not bad for 2 minutes work.
The Million Ways of Level
Here we will talk about the value moves you can do in the various phases and different methods of leveling!
Massacre or not to massacre?
Okay… since the dawn of Massacre Bonus, grinding has become a thing. Grinding is defined as “repeating the same few high density maps, getting as many and as high a massacre bonus as you can get”. The question is, is grinding really worth it?
My stance on grinding is firm: I DO NOT RECOMMEND IT exclusively, but I acknowledge its speed. Does it matter though, since free sets require Season Journey chapters??
What some people don’t understand is it’s not BLACK AND WHITE. The ultimate leveling techniques make use of ALL processes available to you.
Nephs: Why I like ’em and the ‘Neph Breakpoint’
My personal recommendation past the “early phase”? Nephalem Rifts. Why?
- HIGHER Legendary chance, better loot overall.
- Materials! Gems! Money! Rift guardians!
- Conduit? Power? Speed? Channeling? FREE LEVELS
- I dare say, personally, “more fun”.
PYLONS are an underestimated quality of nephs. Those pylons (with the exception of shield) will give you at least 1 level in the aftermath! VALUE. I once got 2 levels off a Conduit!
Even with zero luck, the very fact you have crafting mats will make re-rolling and setting up your Fresh 70 character much easier than just going in raw. If you happen to bag 1 or 2 useful powers to cube? You gucci, son.
The Neph Breakpoint: Every class has a “neph breakpoint” usually at L21+ when they unlock their second or third passive slot. Nephing past this point is a lot safer and easier simply because you can kill elites and RG’s a lot easier. All the builds posted in the links above are easily capable of ripping nephs apart.
So just man up, do nephs and adjust difficulty as needed. It’s smooth sailing from here!
During the leveling process – bounties are notably poor. The chance for low density maps, and extremely tough purple bosses are enough of a turn off to go this route.
I would only do one set of bounties on a relaxed difficulty to complete your seasonal journey entry, I mean it’s already part of it.
Other Leveling Tips
Crafted Weapons – Always bet on AXE: Crafted 2H axes are your best friend for leveling up. This starts at Level 8, and every few levels thereafter. For this reason ALWAYS UPGRADE your blacksmith as you go along! No money? You grinded didn’t you…
Whenever you’re catchin’ a breather, always check on the Blacksmith for a new 2H axe!
Gaining Value while leveling
Ok so while you’re technically in the early game, there’s a lot of value moves you can do to have a more impactful leveling phase. How? The Season Journey.
Kill boss? Go there WHILE massacre bonusing! Value gained! Chapter 1 has two of these, and Chapter 2 has another pair of these which require L60… so why wait till 70!?
You can also go to Ruins of Sescheron ACT III to unlock Kanai’s Cube. It’s a high density map! Massacre bonus it up while you’re on your way! why wait till 70!?
Summary of leveling process and tips
As you can see, the optimal leveling path is purely defined by your own goals. But if you take the Seasonal Journey into account – ONLY massacre or ONLY doing Nephs is a mistake. Be flexible and aware!
If there is ONE THING I insist on for pure value alone: DO YOUR CHALLENGE RIFT.
A COMBINATION to maximize all types of content while getting to 70 is the ultimate way to level IMO, at least for the vast majority of the players out there. GL HF!
Fresh 70 Onward
Well, I guess you’re going to need some Fresh 70 guides for each class, and getting the free set. Note that any GR20 notes we have are as bare bones as possible, and I’ve rarely seen any guide attempt to cobble up a build together that will clear GR20 literally ASAP.
The above guides have info for characters WITH or WITHOUT the free set.
Good luck leveling up and always remember this for the seasons to come! Hopefully you learned something about the D3 leveling process! Head on to our D3 Directory Guide for other related info.