Diablo 4 World Tiers Explained: How to Change Difficulty

World Tiers are one of the core progression systems in Diablo 4. Find out how they work in this guide.

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When you first start a playthrough of Diablo 4, you have a choice between two World Tiers: Adventurer and Veteran. Later you’ll learn there are two additional Tiers called Nightmare and Torment. These four World Tiers are at the heart of the game’s progression system, with the final two only being accessible to those players who are either dedicated or crazy enough to dump dozens and dozens of hours into D4. Here’s how Diablo 4 World Tiers work and what you get.

Related: How to Unlock World Tier 4 in Diablo 4 by Primagames

Diablo 4 World Tiers Overview

How Adventurer Mode Works in Diablo 4

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Adventurer mode is Diablo 4‘s “easy mode,” where enemies won’t do as much damage and will take much less to take down. You won’t be getting any extra rewards, but if you’re new to Action RPGs in Diablo‘s vein, don’t have confidence in your reflexes, or want to experience the game without dealing with some of its more difficult sections.

The Adventurer difficulty is also great for progressing additional characters. You don’t earn any fewer Legendaries than on Veteran, and completing the campaign is necessary for reaching higher World Tiers, so it’s useful for speeding your way through.

How Veteran Mode Works in Diablo 4

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While Veteran mode is billed as a “hard mode,” much tougher than Adventurer, you can think of this as a middle point between Normal and Hard. Technically, you won’t reach a true “hard mode” until Torment, when the enemies start gaining levels on you.

In any case, Veteran enemies will hit harder and have more HP, and Elites might have additional modifiers that you’ll have to contend with. As a reward for taking on the tougher challenge, you’ll receive 20% more Experience and 15% more gold from monsters. Getting a bit more gold is good, but it’s not the best way to make money in the game.

I’m going through the game on this difficulty and exploring quite a bit, and while it is fairly challenging, it isn’t at the same level as hard modes in other games I’ve played. Anyone with experience in the Diablo franchise will likely find the Veteran World Tier a little lacking in teeth, but someone completely new to the ARPG genre might find it overwhelming.

How Nightmare Mode Works in Diablo 4

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You don’t unlock Nightmare until you complete the story campaign of Diablo 4, then complete a Capstone Dungeon to enter the new World Tier. That’s why it’s worthwhile to speedrun through on Adventurer so you can jump straight into Nightmare as fast as possible.

Another reason: enemies now drop a new quality of items called Sacred and Unique. Sacred and Unique Legendaries and Rares are simply better versions of their lower-quality equivalents, meaning once you get into Nightmare, much of the gear you’ve accumulated will be instantly obsolete.

You also unlock the ability to grind Nightmare Dungeons, higher-difficulty Dungeons with new modifiers, much higher rewards, additional progression systems centered around the Paragon Board, equipable Sigils, and more. Helltides also start appearing, engulfing swathes of the map in Hell’s energy and upping both the difficulty and rewards for a limited time. Lastly, Champion versions of enemies will start spawning, a tier above Elite that have resistance auras, making them much harder to defeat.

While better loot is the real reward in Nightmare, monsters will also award 100% more experience, drop an additional 15% more gold, and will cut straight through 20% more of your defenses.

How Torment Mode Works in Diablo 4

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To unlock Torment Mode, you must complete a second, far more difficult Capstone Dungeon while playing on World Tier 3: Nightmare. That means everything won’t just be harder; it will conform to the additional modifiers Nigthare adds to the game. As Nightmare mode is the ultimate difficulty in Diablo 4, the game recommends you be at least level 70, though the best builds can be a few levels below and still thrive.

As with Nightmare, World Tier 4: Torment introduces a new quality item: Ancestral. And like Sacred gear before it, Ancestral equipment is a straight upgrade, making everything you collected to that point obsolete. You’ll want to grind out a full set of it as soon as you can, but there are tons of other, smaller considerations as well.

Lastly, while the additional gold (15%) and experience (200%) are nice, the enemies now cut through 40% of your defenses. Enemies will also be significantly higher level than you, meaning you’ll deal even less damage, and they’ll do even more. However, if your build is up to snuff by this point, most mobs will be a cakewalk. The hardest content is something else entirely, though.

How to Change World Tier in Diablo 4

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Switching World Tiers isn’t nearly as complicated as the Tiers themselves. In northeast Kyovashad, you’ll see a large statue of Inarius, the angel. Interact with it, and you can change your World Tier whenever you like.

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Those are the basics of World Tiers in Diablo 4. There are a lot of smaller details and endgame considerations when it comes to the game’s final challenges. If you’re curious about some of the other content available in the latest entry of Blizzard’s legendary series, check out our guides on what Legion events are, how local events work, and more in our D4 guides hub.

About the author

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.