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

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