All Diablo 2 Difficulties, Explained

In Hell, Nightmares are Normal.

While we thought the days of grinding the ladders in Diablo 2 were long gone, the ladders, lobbies, and runs have changed little in Diablo 2: Resurrected. Players still have four game modes to choose from while playing, so it feels like we're straight back in the early aughts trying to grind our way to the most powerful characters.

All Game Modes

There are three difficulties in the normal game mode (no permadeath) and the Hardcore mode (permadeath). The differences for each one are listed below.

Normal

This is the default difficulty level for Diablo 2: Resurrected. No other difficulty level is available until you defeat Baal in Act V and complete the campaign.

  • Unlocks:
    • Normal Gamemode Title: Slayer
    • Hardcore Gamemode Title: Destroyer
    • Gamemodes: Nightmare, Hardcore
  • Death
    • Player does not lose any experience points.
  • Monsters
    • Normal monsters have base stats.
    • Unique and Champion Monsters get +90 damage bonus.
  • Hirelings
    • Hirelings and Summons do -50% damage to Bosses.

Related: How to complete the Search for Cain in Diablo 2: Resurrected

Nightmare

Nightmare mode brings the challenge to the game of Diablo 2. Monsters are stronger and stronger, and attacks can be weaker, but the loot rewards are much more substantial.

  • Unlockables
    • Normal Gamemode Title: Slayer
    • Hardcore Gamemode Title: Destroyer
    • Gamemodes: Hell
  • Loot
    • Exceptional items are far more common.
    • Lower level Elite items show up in Act V.
    • Monsters have about 10 percent drop rate for exceptional items.
    • Bosses and Champions have about a 20 percent drop rate for exceptional items.
  • Death
    • Players lose five percent of their experience to reach the next level. Players will not go down a level if this goes below zero. If you recover your corpse, you get back 75 percent of the experience you lost.
  • Monsters
    • Monsters have more HP, Damage, and Resistance.
    • Unique and Champion monsters do +75% damage.
    • Monsters with skills gain three levels to magical attacks.
    • Boss monsters gain additional modifiers for bonus stats.
  • Players
    • Characters take a 40 percent penalty for their resistance.
    • Hirelings and Summons do 35 percent damage to Bosses.
    • Curses, Life and Mana Stealing, and additional status effects are cut in half.
    • Monsters are more randomized starting in Act V.

Hell

Hell mode is the hardest difficulty setting. It greatly increases the randomness of monsters and their strengths. Stronger monsters will show up far more often, and Bosses are way harder to destroy. Buffs and bonuses also take a hit in higher game modes.

Related: What weapons to use for characters in Diablo 2: Resurrected

  • Unlockables
    • Normal Gamemode Title: Patriarch/Matriarch
    • Hardcore Gamemode Title: Guardian
  • Death
    • Players lose 10 percent of their experience to reach the next level. Players will not go down a level if this goes below zero. If you recover your corpse, you get back 75 percent of your lost experience.
  • Leveling
    • As you progress through higher levels, the amount of experience gained from defeating mobs greatly diminishes. Players level up much slower towards the end.
  • Loot
    • Elite items show up far more often.
    • Monsters have a 30 percent chance to drop exceptional loot and a 20 percent chance to drop elite loot.
    • Champions and Bosses have a 40 percent chance to drop exceptional loot and a 40 percent chance to drop elite loot.
  • Monsters
    • Mobs are generated more randomly.
    • Most mobs will have some form of resistance, making element-infused weapons almost essential.
    • Unique Monsters and Champions get gain 66 percent attack damage bonus.
    • Monsters that can cast skills gain seven levels to magical attacks.
    • Boss monsters gain additional modifiers for bonus stats.
  • Players
    • Characters take a 100 percent penalty to their resistances.
    • Hirelings and Summons do 25 percent damage to Bosses.
    • Curses, Life and Mana Stealing, and additional status effects are cut to about 25 percent.

Hardcore

Hardcore is technically not a difficulty, but it can be confusing. The difficulties available in Harder are the same as the difficulties available in normal game modes (Normal, Nightmare, Hell). The only difference between Hardcore and normal is death in the game.

If your character dies for any reason, be it poor internet connection, losing a PvP battle, or even from hackers somehow manipulating the system: You do not get your character back. That character is permanently dead and lost in the void forever. Additionally, you cannot transfer a Hardcore character to normal and a normal character to Hardcore.

That's all there is to know about all the difficulties in Diablo 2: Resurrected!

Be sure to check out our Diablo 2: Resurrected Homepage to see all the latest news, guides, and content for the remastered version!

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About the Author

Freelance writer and jack-of-all-hobbyist-tech-development-trades (website, game, and program). My passion is to create content that entertains and makes people think critically.

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All Diablo 2 Difficulties, Explained

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