Diablo 2 Rune Farming

Runes in Diablo 2 are needed to upgrade your gear by collecting appropriate Runewords. If you are planning to play Diablo 2 Resurrected and farm top-level content farming runes are a must as they are an essential part of the game. There is no other more effective way to become stronger. In this post, you will learn more about efficient Diablo 2 Rune farming.

Low-level runes are not hard to find and you can use them for Starter Runewords, but they get better as you proceed through the game. To get better runes you’ll need to farm more high-level monsters. Magic Find doesn’t affect rune drop neither equipment nor quantity. So the only effective way to farm higher level runes is to kill more powerful monsters. The game is designed the way that the number of monsters is influenced by the number of active players. You can increase it manually with a command /players X, where X is for the number of players from 1 to 8 in the game. If you want to set it to the maximum the command will look like this: /players 8. That will work if you play in Single-player. Or you can invite other players, but you will have shared loot though.

There are also other ways to obtain runes in Diablo 2 in addition to killing monsters like completing quests and farming chests. Below we describe each of them in more detail.

Rune Hunting

The good news is that there are some monsters that have higher chances of dropping runes. The most likely is The Countess, found on level five of the Forgotten Tower in the Black Marsh level of Act One. Other monsters have a higher drop rate for runes because they cannot drop armour or weapons:

  • Wraiths
  • Finger Mages
  • Vulture Demons
  • Willowisps
  • the Swarm

The monsters above really drop runes more frequently, but it is relevantly hard to find them and they spawn in small groups. So many payers consider it wiser to farm more monsters in general rather than particular ones.

Thus, the fastest way to guarantee that a high rune will drop is an 8 player group in any of the level 85 areas due to a higher monster density. Those locations are:

Keep in mind that if you play with other players your loot will be for everyone and you will farm runes slower as they might need them as well. If you want to play solo you can tell the game to increase the number of players by the command that we have mentioned above. But also remember that farming, for example, white mobs on players 3 yields more runes, but if it takes you way longer to kill those monsters, then it’s not worth it. Going from players 1 to players 3 is a fairly significant boost in rune drop rate, but any further increases are a lot less noticeable. Specifically due to lower farm speed.

Quest Rewards

The other way is to complete quests that grant runes as a reward. There are three of them: Forgotten Tower, The Hellforge, and Rescue on Mount Arreat.

Forgotten Tower

This quest does not have a Rune as part of its reward (just a bunch of gold and minor items from a magical chest), but since you need to kill The Countess, who’s dropping a rune almost every time she’s killed. Her rune drops were increased still further in the latest patches, and she’s now a very popular target for item running characters. The Countess has better odds to drop a higher level rune the first time a player kills her on Nightmare or Hell difficulties when they get credit for completing the quest. She is capable of dropping up to six runes each death, and will often drop two or three. They’re very unlikely to be higher tiers, but a couple of other mid-level runes are not uncommon.
Highest rune she can drop: El(r01) – Ral(r08) (Normal), El(r01) – Ko(r18) (Nightmare), El(r01) – Lo(r28) (Hell).

The Hellforge

When a character shatters Mephisto’s Soulstone on the Hellforge in Act Four, four gems and one rune drop as part of the quest reward. The runes that may be found from this quest vary by difficulty level. Which one drops is selected randomly. Unlike the runes from The Countess, or any other monster drops in the game, the lower level runes are not more common. Be sure to complete this quest when you can get your rune drop, and do not finish it with other players in your party if they have not finished the quest already. Four gems drop for every character completing the quest, whether they’re near the Hellforge or not, but only one rune will drop for the quest completion, whether one or eight characters are in the party/completing the quest.
Highest rune she can drop: El(r01) – Amn(r11) (Normal), Sol(r12) – Um(r22) (Nightmare), Hel(r15) – Gul(r25) (Hell).

Rescue on Mount Arreat

You must scour the Frigid Highlands in Act Five and find fifteen captive Barbarian NPCs. They are held captive in wooden-fenced pens in groups of five, and when you find them you need merely knock the lock off the gate, and they will stream out and vanish into a portal that appears for them. This second quest in Act Five is easily accomplished, and your character will receive a Tal(r07), a Ral(r08), and an Ort(r09) rune as a reward for completing it.

Farming Chests

Chests (this includes barrels, crates, hidden stashes, etc) are an excellent source of items, including runes. More players in the game increase the number of items found from chests. Make sure to farm chests in the highest possible area for more uncommon items. The level of runes that can be found from chests progresses steadily as you move through the game. Below you can see what you can expect from a chest in a relevant area:

  • Act 1 Normal: No Runes from Chests
  • Act 2 Normal: El/Eld/Tir/Nef (r01-r04)
  • Act 3 Normal: Eth/Ith/Tal/Ral (r05-r08)
  • Act 4 Normal: Ort/Thul/Amn/Sol (r09-r12)
  • Act 5 Normal: Shael/Dol (r13-r14)
  • Act 1 Nightmare: Hel/Io (r15-r16)
  • Act 2 Nightmare: Lum/Ko (r17-r18)
  • Act 3 Nightmare: Fal/Lem (r19-r20)
  • Act 4 Nightmare: Pul/Um (r21-r22)
  • Act 5 Nightmare: Mal/Ist (r23-r24)
  • Act 1 Hell: Gul/Vex (r25-r26)
  • Act 2 Hell: Ohm/Lo (r27-r28)
  • Act 3 Hell: Sur/Ber (r29-r30)
  • Act 4 Hell: Jah/Cham (r31-r32)
  • Act 5 Hell: Zod (r33)

One of the most popular places to farm runes from chests is in Lower Kurast (Act III). The main advantage is a large number of not only Chests (and Super Chests), but also a variety of containers (baskets, stashes and dead bodies).

You may also find it interesting to see the full list of Runes in Diablo 2 and the upcoming Diablo 2 Resurrected. And also read the list of Runewords to understand why you should focus on farming runes.

Since rune finding is largely a monster killing issue, it’s best to kill them quickly. Levels with a lot of monsters are best, simply to increase the total item drops. Places like the Chaos Sanctuary, the Flayer Jungle, or the surface areas of Act One (like Secret Cow Level) are popular killing zones due to the high density of monsters. Kill large packs (especially wraiths) and any Unique monsters that you find. A good alternative is doing Countess runs and/or farming super chests from Lower Kurast.

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