Dungeon Levels



DUNGEON LEVELS

 

There are 16 levels in Diablo. Shortcuts from town that descend directly to level 5, 9, and 13 become available to characters who have reached those stages. These shortcuts can be entered directly in multiplayer mode on Nightmare and Hell difficulty. Otherwise, players must first use the shortcuts to return to town before they can be used to enter the dungeon.

 

All regular dungeon levels are randomly-generated in Diablo, with the partial exception of level 16, which is only semi-random, since the same elements are found in each of the four corners. The various smaller sublevels, entered for single player-only quests, are not random in their layouts. Randomization sometimes results in odd effects; the stairs might be found right beside each other, for instance.

 

 

Tristram

 

The town of Tristram is the first level in the game, and one that players must return to in order to buy and sell items, and replenish their potion stocks. All of the NPCs are found in Tristram, and some of them must be spoken to in order to receive quests and quest rewards. There are stairways down to all the levels in the dungeon from town, though the stairs down to the deeper dungeons do not appear until characters reach various minimum level requirements.

 

Tristram always has the same layout it's not random at all. Click the thumbnail to see an awesome, enormous overhead view of Tristram.


 

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Dungeon
- “The sanctity of this place has been fouled.”

 

The uppermost four levels are called the "Dungeon" in-game when you point the mouse at the front door of the Cathedral, but this may be a holdover of the use of the term "dungeon" for any fantasy adventure area. Most players often call this the "Cathedral", "Church", or "Monastery", as it is directly below the desecrated building.

 

These levels are marked by numerous large square rooms connected by long hallways lined with pillars, and lots of smaller side rooms behind closed doors, often filled by shrines or small libraries. There is very little wasted space on these maps; few internal areas are not filled with accessible rooms, so these levels feel larger and longer than some of the later areas.

 

The monster variety consists of low level animals such as Fallen Ones and Scavengers, while undead monsters are particularly abound. Few monsters here possess any elemental attacks, although ranged attacking skeleton archers are very common. The dungeon levels are fairly easy for novice players to clear through.

 

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Catacombs
- “The smell of death surrounds me.”

 

Levels 5-8 are called the Catacombs, or abbreviated to "the Cats." These dark, gray and black levels are maze-like, winding through long, narrow corridors and frequently bottle-necking at single width doorways. The cats are filled with numerous small chambers, most of which boast libraries, shrines, goat shrines, or skeletal tomes. These small rooms are usually packed full of monsters, and many players enjoy leveling up in the cats since those chambers are experience honeypots.

 

Most characters find these levels not too difficult, since all of the narrow passages and doorways make it easy to take on monsters one at a time. There are few magical attacks to worry about here, so resistance is still largely optional. Ranged attackers are fairly common though, with Skeletal Archers and Goatmen Archers quite common, and Acid Spitters (magic damage) as well, so use caution. Avoiding arrows and running down archers isn't tough, with all the corners and small rooms to restrict their mobility.

 

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Caves
- “It's hot down here.”

 

Levels 9-12 are known as the Caves. The Caves are much more difficult than the Catacombs for most characters, with wide open areas and no long narrow spots to funnel monsters through. There are some gates along the low fences, but the ranged attackers will fire over them, and many monsters will pathfind around some cluster of rock when the gate is blocked, coming at you from behind.

 

There are numerous streams of lava throughout the Caves, and despite the fact that they're easily narrow enough to step over, these act as impermeable barriers to monster or character movement. They do not stop any sort of ranged attack though, and in some places diagonal melee attacks can be carried out as well. Characters with ranged attacks, Rogues and Sorcerers primarily, can often use the lava rivers to trap enemy monsters and pick them off from safety.

 

The Caves can be hard to see in, since the outcroppings of rock do not go transparent when you walk behind them. Items dropped behind walls can be quite hard to find, and it's tough to target monsters or barrels at times.



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Hell
- “I must be getting close.”


The levels from 13-16 are referred to as Hell, though Diablo II makes it clear that this is merely a warped manifestation and not the real thing itself. The Caves are actually more like the classical Christian conception of Hell, with rocks and lava and flame; the "Hell" levels in Diablo are very clean and sterile, with walls and stairs seemingly formed from bones, and what looks like lakes of blood behind the walls on every side.
 

 

Most map layouts of the levels in Hell are divided into quadrants, with long walls along the middle of the level and four large rooms in each corner. There are exceptions, and some layouts are practically honeycombs, but the majority of areas of Hell are fairly wide open and very conducive to ranged attacks. Rogues can turn these areas into a sort of bowling alley, firing in straight lines well off the visible screen and listening for the sound of their arrows hitting. Sorcerers are very happy in Hell also, with good firing lines for their spells and long, straight stretches of level to retreat to, while still firing at the advancing enemies.  

 

Hell - Monster To-Hit Bonus

 

Physical damage monsters on the lower levels of Hell have a bonus to/hit that makes them more likely to hit characters, irrespective of their defence (though hits may still be blocked). These bonus hits (more accurately described as special penalties to player defence) mean that monsters on these levels never have a to-hit lower than:

 

Dlvl 14: 20% - Dlvl 15: 25% - Dlvl 16: 30%

 

They may have much higher to-hits than these; such as on a lightly-armoured Sorcerer. But their to-hit is never lower than this. There are no physical damage ranged attackers in Hell. This property is not applied to magical attacks, such as Bloodstars, Flash, or Fireballs, which are calculated differently than melee strikes.

 

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Level 16

 

Level 16 always has the same layout and monsters; Blood Knights and Advocates each game, with about half of the monsters in pre-set positions. Others are spawned in random locations each game, though. There are no chests, barrels, or cauldrons found on level 16. Since there are always only two types of monsters on this level, and since Advocates are triple immune on Hell difficulty, all characters can benefit from special tactics on this level.

 

One of the simplest and most useful is to run through the open areas of this level, especially the northern quarter, activating all of the Blood Knights and training them out to some area that's already clear of Advocates. This makes it easier to kill the Knights (with fire or melee) without having to dodge fireballs at the same time, and makes it easier to deal with the Advocates without having the tanking Knights slowing you down.

 

This same sort of Fireball gauntlet can be run in other places on the map, including the western quarter (once the switch is thrown to open the walls). It's much easier to clear the Advocates out of that + shaped box once the Knights are disposed of.


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Note: click to enlarge)

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