The Diablo series’ story is typically told in a multi-act structure, and Diablo 4 is no different. However, Diablo 4 does give you a lot more freedom on how you jump into its version of Sanctuary, allowing you to run the first three acts in any order.
Freedom is great, but it also creates choice, which can lead to inefficiency — the biggest enemy you’ll face in Diablo 4. In this guide, we’ll help you figure out the new nonlinear structure and tell you the order you should play the game’s acts in.
How many acts are in Diablo 4?
Diablo 4 launched with more acts than Diablo 3 has now — even after the Reaper of Souls expansion — and has six acts in total.
The first three acts are nonlinear and introduce you to the Fractured Peaks, Scosglen, the Dry Steppes, and Kehjistan. Each of these acts is quite long, with the initial quest typically spanning out into two distinct storylines that converge at the end of the act.
Act IV is the convergence point for the story, and it takes place all over Sanctuary. It’s also extremely short, and you’ll likely move on without realizing it. Act V will finally take you to Hawezar, the giant jungle zone south of Fractured Peaks. This act makes up for the length of Act IV, and is the longest of the bunch. Act VI is the finale act and takes place in multiple zones in Sanctuary (as well as a few new locations).
With all six acts, Diablo 4’s main campaign’s length varies dramatically based on whether you mainline the story or do side content. If all you do is focus on the main mission, you can likely complete your first playthrough of the campaign in eight to 12 hours.
How does Diablo 4’s non-linear act structure work?
When you first boot up Diablo 4, you’ll start in a cave and need to complete the mandatory prologue, which will eventually land you in Kyovashad, the capital of Fractured Peaks. From here, you’ll see Lorath off and explore the Cathedral of Light (while also getting tutorials on a few other in-game systems). By the time you’re ready to adventure out into Sanctuary, you’ll have three quests:
- “Act I: A Cold and Iron Faith”
- “Act II: The Knife Twists Again”
- “Act III: The Making of Monsters”
Each quest will lead you to a different region, with Act I taking place in the Fractured Peaks, Act II taking place in the swampy marshes of Scosglen, and Act III taking place primarily in the aptly named Dry Steppes. These quests all start entire questlines, which eventually culminate in an act finale.
Once you’ve completed the questlines for all three acts, you’ll get the quest for Act IV — which will eventually lead to your first mount.
Which order should you play Diablo 4’s campaign in?
The answer to this question is important, but also a bit boring. While the game does allow you to play in any order, there are level recommendations for each act. You can jump into Act I right away, at whatever level you finished the prologue (likely around five or six). But Act II has a level recommendation of 10, and Act III has a level recommendation of 15.
You can, of course, ignore these recommendations (they are just recommendations after all), but enemies will hit harder and take longer to kill. So enter at your own peril. Unfortunately, the most efficient order to play is numeric: Act I into Act II into Act III. But if you’re dying to play something new after playing through Act I multiple times in the beta, you can go into Act II with very minor leveling issues, which should remedy themselves quickly as you level up. Just know that you’ll eventually have to go back to Act I before you can unlock Act IV.
If you’re intending to play out of numeric order, we recommend playing on World Tier 1 (Adventurer) as it will help nullify the level difference between you and the quests.
If you’re concerned about getting spoiled by playing the game out of order, rest easy knowing that the first three acts are basically their own short stories in Sanctuary and don’t converge until Act IV.