The 9 Biggest Mistakes Players are Making in Diablo 3

We’re sitting at almost exactly 1 week since Diablo 3 was released in the US and around the world. We’ve seen a lot of things we didn’t expect and others that we completely saw coming. My prediction that the RMAH would get pushed back again came true (it’ll go live on May 29th) – but right now, what are the biggest mistakes players are making in Diablo 3? Here is what I’ve come up with, make sure you’re not guilty of these:

#1 Not Bringing a Follower Along

Did you know if you’re playing solo you can bring a follower along with you? If you didn’t, you’re making the game more difficult than it needs to be. Maybe you’re a purist and insist on running through Hell mode alone. I bet you’re dying a lot. There are three follower types, the Templar, Scoundrel and Enchantress. There is a lot of debate which is best, but honestly it’s different for each class and each class play style. The templar heals, the Scoundrel slows and the Enchantress casts spells. Play with each of one, pick a favorite and use them diligently, you won’t regret it. If you didn’t know, you can even gear them up.

Diablo 3 Followers

#2 Not Buying Gear off the Auction House

Sure, you’re too cool to buy gear from someone off the Auction House. You’re so good that you don’t need help. Well, you’re going to die. Thirty to Fifty thousand gold is all it costs to deck your character out in moderate gear (use buyout caps when searching for gear). Hopefully you didn’t already waste all your gold on repairs and artisans. Don’t try to buy the best stuff there, you don’t need +100 Dexterity and +100 Vitality in Nightmare as a Demon Hunter. You just need something with both Dexterity and Vitality in that slot that you’re currently sporting +52 Strength and +42 Dexterity. If you can add a primary stat to each piece of gear slot, or round them all up a bit you can add hundreds of Vitality which equates to thousands of health points. All this equates to living instead of dying.

Visit the auction house, sort by buyout (highest on top) and then go to page 10 or 30, there’s the clearance area you’re looking for. These sellers are stepping over each other left and right to sell you some nice gear. Let them help you out.

#3 Wasting Gold on Your Artisans

Most players are telling me that they have a level 4, 5 or 6 Blacksmith and/or Jeweler. I respond with, ‘oh yeah, what’s that get you?’ In the case of the Blacksmith you can make some pretty nice gear, but the Jeweler… you won’t be able to make gold with them until you can combine gems like squares and stars. Unless you’re really patient you’re not going to get a lot of upgrades from your Blacksmith. Just buy the gear off the auction house, it’ll be cheaper and save you 100,000 gold or more.

You can make gold with both Artisans, but if you are not then you wasted money on them early in the game when money was especially valuable.

#4 Ignoring Skill and Game Mechanics

Diablo 3 is serious business. Consider the passive skill Archery for the Demon Hunter. It buffs your damage based on the type of weapon you’re using. If you’re comparing two weapons of different types the tooltip might tell you that one is better than the other but that just might not be true.  Tooltips can’t predict everything so you have to understand what it is that is going on before making key decisions like what type of gear to equip. There are also skills like Steady Aim that increase your damage when an enemy is within a certain range of you. Do you know what 10 yards looks like in the game??!! If you don’t, what the hell do you expect?

Archery Skill

#5 Ignoring Vitality

Damage is cool! Let’s see how high we can get the Damage stat to go in our stat screen. Oh, 500… 800… 1300… 2200, yes! But.. why am I still dying? Stop ignoring Vitality. Even if you’re a Demon Hunter… especially if you’re a Demon Hunter, you’re going to die a lot if you don’t have a lot of Vitality. Don’t be embarrassed to cut your DPS down 25% to double your Vitality. Watch your health globe in the bottom left when you equip some nice Vitality gear. See that new health? How nice would it be to have that when some cheating ass elite pack jails you, walls you and then hits you with something that you didn’t even see? What good is all that damage anyways if you’re spending 1/4 of your night running back?

Health Interface

#6 Sticking with your Original Skills

I’ll use the Demon Hunter again for this example. Rapid Fire looks pretty damn cool, and if you got in the habit of using it on Normal difficulty it probably worked just fine. But once you reached Nightmare or Hell and started dying did you blame your class (this class just sucks) or your skills? Chances are it’s your fault, but you should look to your skills before blaming your class. Rapid Fire is primarily for cooperative play where your allies take the damage and afford you the opportunity to hold still. A skill like Chakram will let you dance around while doing high amounts of AoE damage. This is just one example, I’m sure there are more for each class. Play with each and every skill at least once before you pretend like you know what you’re doing.

#7 Running Back in Cooperative Games

This is a pet peeve I’ve noticed recently in cooperative games. If you die, release your body and immediately teleport to town, then click on an allies’ banner and you’ll be instantly teleported back into the action. Don’t run back… Of course if you aren’t making the mistakes listed above you probably aren’t dying in cooperative games unless it’s a complete wipe. Either way, this is a helpful trick to get back into combat really fast and I’m seeing too many players run back the hard way when in a cooperative game.

#8 Using Only One or a Few Skill Builds

At level 60 you’ll receive a bonus the longer you can play using a single skill build. This should give you a hint that frequent skill swapping makes the game easier. While you’re leveling, there’s no harm in swapping from build to build based on whether you’re solo’ing, playing coop, fighting a boss or running easy content. Slowing mobs might be helpful now, but later when your friend joins its not so helpful. Switch to another ability!

#9 Not Using About Elective Mode

Some players don’t realize that there is an ‘elective mode’ when it comes to skill builds. Just because there are only four options for your primary skill doesn’t mean you have to choose from one of those four options. Go to Options -> Gameplay -> Interface and check ‘elective mode.’ This will allow you to assigned whatever abilities you want in whatever location you want. You’ll see most of the skill builds on Diablo 3 Artisans don’t use elective mode. That’s because the default setup is actually pretty nice. However, there are some common situations where you might want to swap out Sentry for a Bat Companion (just an example) instead of being forced to sacrifice your Bat Companion for Vault.

Elective Mode

There are probably more mistakes that players are making, these are just the 7 that stand out to me. If I’m missing one, please share it below in the comments area.

There are also some small tips that might take new players awhile to figure out:

  1. Hold CTRL to preview gear before looting it
  2. Hold ALT to compare a ring to your second ring
  3. Vendor your Magic Items, don’t salvage them.
  4. Check every vendor for upgrades.
  5. Tap ALT to auto-show loot that isn’t otherwise being shown.

If you’re still having problems with your class ask other players that you meet how they are overcoming the challenge that you’re stuck on. Chances are they will be willing to share their stats, gear, skills and play-style with you.

Important: Many of the strategies and tips I share here were originally inspired by the people at the Diablo 3 Gold Secrets Forum. If you're serious about making the big bucks in Diablo 3, or just being the best players, you need to signup ASAP.

Leave a comment


  1. Awesome tips. Once again, +1 for the Vitality tip. You really do need a lot of Vit in Nightmare and up. Many monsters can easily kill you 1-2 hits if you don’t have enough hit points.

  2. What? The artisan is an amazing addtion. Instead of having to kill things to grind for decent gear you can actually MAKE IT.

    If your using the auction house at all, whats the point of playing the game? Its about the drops and progression not just buying what you want…

    • yeah gl with making your gear, all those random stats and you probably won’t even get good stats on 1 item if you make 8 of them.

      instead of grinding for gear you can now actually BUY IT instead of spending money on the bs.

      i want to get through hell/inferno not grind for gear on nightmare just so i can do hell. buying a new weapon that has 2k more dmg for 30k is worth it (hey you spend that on you bs and got 1 decent item?)

      if you just want gear what’s the point of playing the game? it’s all about enjoying the challenge and not get owned because you ddin’t get good drops.

      i hope you see that it’s all a matter of what people like, you like your way i like it mine

      (btw there is no difference between the ah and the bs other than you know what you get on the ah, you spend money to get the item instead of killing stuff, but you got the money + materials from killing stuff)

      and the point of the game is to get the to the secret pony level

    • ^ After you buy stuff from the AH, items don’t stop dropping, and you will probably make more progress.
      Enlighten yourself from your scrub mentality

  3. I’d agree with most of the tips, except for artisans. Why not level them up? Sure it costs money, but I have been gearing myself up all the way to Act IV solely on drops and BS products, and I kick ass! Azmodan went out in a puff and all those bosses before him didn’t even make me break a sweat. Plus, now, and forever, I can rely on artisans on my next characters without the need to pay more for them. I like Artisans, period :)

  4. I luckily made 2 of these mistakes. The Elective mode and Artisans.

    What I’ve done since:

    1. Sell it ALL blues and Yellows. you get TONS of money.

    2. Playing as a monk I look for Base (Dex) +Vit. So I was able to get well over +400 dex and Vit. I BLEW through Normal Mode. Best thing since the game is new people are underselling because they aren’t. So I only spent like 30k on the AH and still have 100k left over.

    3. It’s SOO important to maximize your setup with how you playing. I dual wield so this is what I’ve been using. Granted I tore through Normal with this so I’m sure it’ll change now I’m that I’m starting nightmare. (

    4. I have a Razr Death Adder and it gives me all the options I need to play 1 handed. I find it more enjoyable. 5 clickable buttons and scroll up and down for my healing and pots. Keybindings set them accordingly of course. Once I get into town I do use my keyboard but I am finding that I actually dont’ really have to if I just use the UI.

    5. Having a blast in-spite of the very vocal minority..

    Game is soo damn fun!

    I am finding new setups for when I’m soloing and/or in groups. Different areas, dungeon types, etc.

  5. Also, for Demon Hunters, Smoke Screen.
    Haven’t died since using that skill^^

  6. I agree with Maz. I don’t use the auction house a whole lot because I’m here to play the game and find and make new equipment. The auction house takes a lot of the fun away for me. Along with that, because I use the artisans and not the auction house, I salvage everything for the materials instead.

  7. Hi Meldora, awesome tips you have. On the point about Vitality, its true most people ignore giving some points to vitality. Goes the same for it. Indeed its important in the later part of the game where the mob’s damage is super crazy. :)

  8. Disco Inferno

    Some of this is decent, but I’d like to specify a bit on the Demon Hunter. Anything you experience during normal is inappliccable to the rest of the game, seriously, Normal is like kindergarten, you could build an INT Barb that only uses crossbows and you’d still plow through it.

    During Nightmare and Hell, you can float around 15-20k HP on a DH, but never anything more, if you’re gimping your dps to get Vit, you’re playing wrong. DH’s can, up until Inferno and the latter parts of Hell, completely lock down the battlefield with the Elemental Arrow (frost) pretty much indefinately. You always use Smokescreen, you always use it with the 3sec glyph, you ALWAYS have prep. and you use the Bat companion. Swap aggro between yourself and your follower for easy slaughter.

    Chackrams are crap, Bola shot is crap after nightmare, Impale is awesome with overpenetration and a 2h xbow with socket for crit dmg.

    On Inferno everything goes out the window. Ditch the templar, get the scoundrel, spec him for disable. You’re going to be using Discipline and Stupid dmg as your survival stats now so synergize yourself around it. I have 13k HP and I slaughter my way through Inferno easily solo.

    • Heyo Disco thanks for the comments. I’d love to see some videos of you slaughtering your way through Inferno with a 13k hp DH.

      • i have 13k hp.. on level 49 wd end of nm. I can’t imagine someone slaughtering through inferno on 13k hp considering how much harder it is

      • Lots of really good info. One thing I noticed was missing was enabling advanced tooltips (I saw they were enabled but the default is just the uninformative “This lowers that” or “this increases the time of that”)

        Only thing I disagree with is your vitality argument. You can’t stack enough to actually survive in late hell to inferno to warrant the hit to DPS. Especially in co-op. SS spam > prep > SS spam and hope your DPS was high enough to kill the thing

  9. great tips, don’t understand on thing though, what did you mean by point 4 “Check every vendor for upgrades.” upgrades to what ?!

    • Upgrades to your gear. For instance you might not even have a ring on your right finger at level 15 but if you check your vendor they will sell you a pretty bad ass ring. I found a lot of updates throughout Nightmare and Hell from vendors. They are pretty cheap too.

  10. Currently using a 19K hp level 60 wizard in Inferno. With Crystal Diamond Skin and Force Energy Armor… There’s no real need for excess vitality. That’s why I’m focusing solely on weapon damage and intelligence points.

  11. I just wanted to point out something that I am finding very useful, I was stacking vit and dex on my demon hunter but still getting hurt pretty bad. I sacrificed a bit of vit and dex for int. and built up my resistances. Now elites don’t hurt nearly as much and I live a lot longer. Elemental damage is a pain. All in all a good list here. AH is very useful when getting frustrated with the game difficulty. I am in hell mode and have only used the AH a couple times when I really needed to beef something up because drops sucked.

  12. /Agree with Jaetch.

    It is important. However, don’t get too hung up on it. Your main stat (barb=strength, monk=dex, etc) provides you with significant defensive capabilities. For my barb, I took vitality where I could get it, but still focused on strength. I’m through hell now with ~20k life.

  13. As a ranged character (dh, wiz) Be certain to stack DAMAGE after hell act 2

    You will no longer be able to use diamond skin. Packs will eat you for breakfast.

    I had to really redo my skills once I hit a brick wall with incoming damage. Kiting is ever so important, so use blizzard as your arcane using skill. Venom hydra is a good companion to blizzard and teleport/fracture is my only defensive spell these days. Armors are useless now (force armor was nerfed) so Now I go for max dps. 2 skills I have increase my damage from 10k to 14k. Magic weapon (With poison rune) and familiar with sparkflint rune.

    This = win.

    Don’t let them touch you. :roll:

  14. I still salvaged ilvl 61+ magic items since they will give the inferno level essence and tear.

  15. I know that its old post, but noone seems ever to write that even medium level gear is very expensive. Today youll have to invest real money to buy “lacuni bracer” or “witch-whats name” belt. Why noone writes about their ingame gold source – are you buying gold people? Than why all those posts about ruined economy – You have ruined it too.

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