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Diablo 4: Should You Do the Main Campaign or Side Content?

How much side content should you do in Diablo 4? The answer is complicated, but we'll provide it in this guide.

There is an absolute truckload of content in Diablo 4. Side quests. Side Dungeons. Cellars. Crafting. Bossing. PvP. Helltides, Bounties for a weird tree covered in heads. It’s a little overwhelming. Then there’s the main story campaign, itself a 20-30 hour endeavor that increases in level as you do. That means most of it is difficult but not insurmountable. But should you do the main campaign or side content first? We answer that question in our guide.

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Campaign Quests vs. Side Content in Diablo 4

Image via Blizzard

The answer to “Should you do the main campaign or side content in Diablo 4?” is a little nuanced.

  • Yes, you should do side content.
  • Yes, you should do the main campaign.

Let’s break down why doing both is important. For side content, what matters is which side content you do. There are lots of Side Dungeons that don’t provide an immediate benefit to your class, but the endgame of Diablo 4 revolves around Nightmare difficulty Dungeons. With that in mind, you’ll want to have them all completed. This is especially true given that Blizzard has been patching the game to normalize Dungeon reward rates (via adjusting Elite spawns), and the best Dungeon to farm today might be trash tomorrow.

So, do Dungeons? Yes. Do Dungeons. On the other hand, I’d wager that Side Quests are much more supplementary. The main reason is you don’t unlock a lot of additional grindable content until after you complete the main campaign. Once your MSQ is done, you unlock tons of new stuff and D4 endgame activities, including:

If you shotgun the story campaign and don’t at least do some side content, you’re liable to be under-leveled and vastly undergeared. Additionally, if you don’t explore the map, you won’t find the various Altars of Lilith that give permanent stat boosts and buffs to your character, as well as free Paragon points (another endgame mechanic). And without exploring the map, you won’t have nearly as many Wayshrines to fast travel to, making moving from one area to another quickly a hassle. I’d highly suggest mixing and matching content as you play, paying attention to both naturally.

How to Play Diablo 4: Main Quests and Side Quests

The strategy, then, is:

  • Follow the main story quest
  • Do Side Dungeons as you encounter them, regardless of their benefit to your class
  • Do Side Quests as you like for additional materials and experience
  • Explore for Altars of Lilith and Wayshrines
  • Do the occasional Cellar if you want a quick boost of loot or gold

You will want to be around Level 50 or more by the time you complete the Diablo 4 campaign. I was Level 47 before I even hit Act 4, and I knew I’d be behind people who played a bit more optimally.

But that answered the question of whether you should do the main campaign or side content in Diablo 4. To make things even easier for you, we’ve covered plenty of ways to play optimally and complete quests, Dungeons, Strongholds, and more with guides on how to get and use Legendary Aspects, the best Sorcerer build, and more in our D4 guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.