Power Leveling in Diablo 3 a Reality

There has been some discussion recently about a few variations on an experience grinding route in Act 3 and 4, and the Incgamers strategy team wanted to put it to the test. The result is, quite simply, the most efficient route to leveling in the game. This is especially strong for new heroes – we took a brand new character to level 20 in about an hour without it ever leaving town.

Read on to learn how to satisfy your Baal run withdrawals – you may never play the same way again.

Edit: Blizzard has nerfed the exp returns from the Azmodan quests, its not good for rushing anymore.

TL;DRRepeated runs of the “Kill Azmodan” quest chain appears to be the best way to gain exp quickly, including rushing new characters (starting from level 1). Act 4 quest 1 is not worth the time for rushing, though it does provide very safe exp for high-level hardcore players in nightmare. Blizzard said they wanted to put an end to the 2min rush/farming runs, but seem to have overlooked the massive quest completion experience.

Video link of the run:

From the waypoint:
there is only one map between you and him, and it’s STATIC:

  • No wasted time exploring the map, you know where the exit is
  • if you’re rushing, you can skip the mobs easily
  • if you’re farming, there are 2-4 champ packs on the way to Azmodan each time, so you get a couple of neph buff stacks very quickly

Azmodan himself:

  • for combination rushing/farming, azmodan is the safest of the 4 bosses for a level 1, if you can dodge the slow moving fireball you can get azmodan exp and loot if you desire
  • for rushers, the exp boost from Azmodan is very small compared to the quest exp (Azmodan exp seemed to stay at around 10% of the quest exp), so you can just leave the level 1s in town and let them get 90% of the exp with zero risk

Things to note:

  • If Azmodan is tanked where he spawns, the low level MUST stay on that half of the room; If he goes further back than the central pillar, he won’t get loot/exp
  • As the lowbie levels the quest rewards increase as the total exp needed for leveling also increases. The number of required runs per level increases slowly, but remains better than alternative means of leveling.
  • It takes roughly an hour to take a hero from 1-20 with this method – we’re still testing beyond 20.
  • If you have a high level character capable of soloing nightmare content, Azmodan can be farmed from 50-60. Rough estimates indicate this would take somewhere between 8 and 10 hours.

Testing Methodology

  • Level 52 Barbarian with 1500 dps on character sheet
  • Level 1 Witch Doctor

Steps for rushing character

  1. Start new game (15 sec)
  2. Run to Azmodan (45 sec)
  3. Kill Azmodan (30 sec)
  4. Click soul
  5. Teleport out
  6. Quit and start new game
  7. Total Time: ~1:45

Steps for character being rushed

  1. Sort Loot In Stash
  2. Talk to Lieutenant Lavail
  3. Go to watchtower
  4. Teleport
  5. Quit and join new game (he’ll already be clearing to Azmodan)

Raw Numbers

Act 3 quest reward 1: 4,200exp (level 1) – 12,250exp (max)
Act 3 quest reward 2: 4,200exp (level 1) – 12,250exp (max)
Act 4 quest reward 1: 2,400 (level 1) – 7,000exp (max)

Time Trials
Act 3 start
00:00s take core of arreat waypoint
00:45 reached azmodan
01:15 azmodan dead
01:30 highbie left game (for azmodan only run)
02:00 quest 2 completed
act4 start
02:30s portal 1 start
02:50s portal 1 end

logout/login new game (takes about 15sec)

Total Time to complete
Act 3: 1:30 (+15s for new game) = 1:45
Act 3 and 4: 03:05 (+15s for new game) = 03:05

Final Numbers
Repeating Azmodan (BEST EXP/min)
24,500exp per 01:30 (run time) +00:15 (new game) = 14,000 exp/min

Repeat Act 4
7,000exp per 00:50 (run time) +00:15 (new game) = 6,461exp/min

Repeating act 3 and 4
31,500exp per 02:50 (run time) +00:15 (new game) = 10,216exp/min

How it degrades over time for lowbies:
lvl 4 was reached in the first run
at lvl 10, 60% of a level per run
at lvl 18, 35% of a level per run

What happens to my sanity after doing it for hours

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3


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  1. Yay. Let’s make everything pointless again. I hope they put a stop to this.
    Realy. Hardcore lost it’s charm with this then. We are back to the no risk at all and max level without effort.
    Great fun. Look at my lvl 60 hc character…. right.

  2. Good research, sounds like Blizzard might remove/move that waypoint.

    It’s also possible that they don’t care about this, since as I understand it you can’t get repeated quest exp after normal. Any idea how high level the rushed character can get before this stops being worthwhile? 

    • You do get repeated quest exp after normal – I ran Ghom in Act 3 several times with my Wizard to get him from 44 to 45.

      Really you should only get the quest gold/exp for the standard quests once only for each difficulty. Exp/gold for events and other random quests can remain though. 

  3. This again proves, that you can’t protect any game mechanic for long from creativity of human brain. Blizzard made sure that power leveling will not be able to be done normaly, since so far I noticed that if you take level 1 char to level 20 location, he gets very little exp. But still people found their loop-hole in form of quest exp reward. I think Blizz will not make this stand for long. Maybe something like item drops from bosses, that first time you get a lot of exp for quest completion and get defuff, that could last for 30 minutes or so, that next time you get small percentage of that quest exp if you have that debuff. That would easily put stop to power leveling this way, while leaving the regular experience untouched.

    • Nah just add the quests into the level formula that will fix it or add a give xp only if condition y is met, IE quest lvl – player level is X or less or a simple lvl gate on the quest XP reward. Would mean that you would have to do earlier stuff to get high enough to get the quest reward. I mean I doubt anyone rushing though the game as a group or solo would be under lvl 20 at Azmodan.

      • Just don’t  give quest experience more than once per difficulty. Problem solved. You can, and should, get the exp for killing the boss. But you shouldn’t get the experience for finishing the quest, because you already did that. Same as how you only get the special rare drop the first time.

  4. Please stop the POP-UP ads, you’re going to kill this community.

  5. This is what I’ve been doing. Currently lvl 54. You’ve missed one very important thing though. After you tp back to town you should talk to the gaurd, go through the armory, and up to the roof. You get the same xp and gold that you just got from Azmodan for ten seconds of travel.

    I should also add that for those who have a hard time with Azmodan, you can do Magda runs. The map never changes and you can easily run past most of the cultists while they are banging their staffs against the ground. Easy fight, for ok xp. If Azmodan is too tough, than this may be a more efficient option.

  6. This is also what I’ve been doing with my wiz and I’m planning on doing this up to lvl 60 (currently 57). Just goes so much faster and you don’t have to put up with those insane yellow mobs in hell ^^

  7. This article is pretty awful – the whole point of the Azmodan glitch is that you can leave the game and create a new game and start in the Azmodan room after he’s dead, allowing you to rejoin multiple in-progress games to complete the quest up to 4 times (with 4 people in the game).

    And you also need to complete the quest to go to the armory afterwards for double the experience for what works out to about 15 seconds of walking. 

    • We didn’t have four people available to do this, but the method you describe is correct. Doing this with two people isn’t ‘awful’ – it’s a slower alternative for players who don’t have 3 friends willing to spend their time power leveling 😉

  8. I made a Hardcore Demon Hunter.

    Farmed Haedrig’s Wife untill level 12.
    1m 30sec and 300g per Run.
    Bought Upgrades on Auction House.

    Farmed Wortham Burning Village until level 21.
    2m and 1k Gold per Run.
    Bought full Yellow Equips on AH.

    Now i have like 2600 Life and almost 300dps.
    So i’m gonna rush to Azmodan and keep farming. :] 

  9. Congratulations, you are cheesing HC.

    • Maybe he is cheesing your idea of hardcore, but who cares. He can play the game however he wants. He bought the game so that he can have fun. If that’s fun for him than he’s doing it right. Doesn’t hurt you. Might hurt your ego if you think your special for playing ‘hardcore’, but the idea that playing a game in hardcore mode is actually hardcore is really quite nerdy. Fight demons in real life and then you’ll be hardcore. Just a game bud.

  10. Thanks blizzard. Another broken game, even if patched.

    • Blizzard didn’t want people doing boss runs so they nerfed magic find. Then they decided to make the most profitable way to gain xp from doing quests, which was a nice thought until they made the boss quests worth the most xp. They could make every quest worth the same xp, but I don’t want to play communist diablo, where all xp is distributed equally. I want free market diablo where people who desire to level fast are free to find the most efficient means to do so.

      The story is nice, but after the first play through, I just want to get to level 60 and fight inferno monsters. If you enjoy spending your time in normal and nightmare, great. Please don’t expect everyone to play at your pace. The game is fun for people in different ways. No one is forcing you to do runs.

  11. The clag battling crab wafers are strong with this one.

  12. Lol. Remember when Blizzard said they intend to tune down rushing and powerleveling?

    Well. Now we can sit in town and not move. Good job Blizzard. 

  13. Okay, let’s backtrack to the way D2 did it on this: quest xp only awarded once for first time completion on a given character.

  14. yea… i dont know how you all can just start out on this quest, its taking me well over 30 minutes just to get to the \kill Azmodan\ quest.

  15. I Know beter method, I will not share xa xa xa 🙂
    See You

  16. I’m not really sure why your Lvl 52 barb has only 1500 dps on the sheet… Mine is that high and I’m level 34. I’ve only spent like 100k gold on the AH… what have you been doing with all your gold? lol

    • And you’re softcore…

    • Since I’m in hardcore, I’ve heavily prioritized survivability. I have about 40kHP, 40 resist all, 5000 armor. I find that I still kill most things quickly enough – it’s generally not about speed in hardcore 😉

  17. As far as I know, Blizzard’s intention was that leveling to 60 is not even the first half of the game, thus I don’t see the problem with this. Even if you get rushed, you will still have to play Hell and Inferno to get your items. Are we really sure that these powerlevelling places will be the best for that? And even if yes, will they be as easy to farm?
    Because only that would be a real problem in my opinion.

  18. Tried the Azmodan route with my level 54 Wizard (~5,3k DPS on character sheet), takes about 4 minutes (cleraring the whole area before Azmodan aswell). Was making about 110k XP and 8-10k gold per run, not bad 🙂

    • It’s even faster if you can manage to skip mobs! Most of the exp comes from Azmodan + quest rewards, the trash mobs leading up to him give relatively little.  Glad it’s working for you.

  19. Doing this on my barb. No problem ;]

  20. I would be shocked if Blizzard didn’t patch the game so that you can’t get gold or experience for completing a quest multiple times.
    Honestly though I don’t see a problem with it. The game doesn’t really start until you hit 60 and need to farm for inferno, and other than the aspect farming bug, inferno farming seems pretty legit.

  21. made 950,000 gold and got from lvl 1-60 in 6 hours (5 hours played.)

  22. i have also noticed that the xp for things like killing x number of monsters with one blow seems broken as well.  It just doesnt seem right that my level 40 char can go to somewhere in act 1 normal, heard up a bunch of monsters into a pile and drop a group killer on them and reap pretty large xp rewards.

  23. big nerf just hit the US servers, gold and xp are 1/10 of what it was

  24. Got nerfed hardcore. Xp was at about 8k and I didn’t get any from the armory part, either. 

    Probably for the best though ^_^  

  25. Yes indeed. Got nerfed big time !
    Pretty sad, Blizz didnt choose to recreate the dungeon instead of just wipe out a legal way to play the game, they probably (miss)created imo.

  26. I always spent forever leveling up and trying to find gold. Then I found this cool strategy guide. Makes the game 10x more fun http://tinyurl.com/diablo-iii-build-guide

  27. A Better Way to Get Levels see here :

  28. Why are ya’lls DPS so low? search for the 700+ base damage weapon that is decreased 18 levels so your 42 can wear it. I got two 1-handers for about 120k gold. then just wayleigh everything. if your going to power level. do it right 😛

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