During the powerleveling sessions I was helping with, I have been asked many times the same questions, e.g., at what level is possible to start Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno; what gear to use and when; what skills to use for the character being powerleveled. I also played around with skills to check what was working best in terms of efficiency (mainly clearing speed and ability to keep alive the characters I was powerleveling). I searched this information on the forums, and I found a lot of it in several posts and by experimenting myself. However, I could not find a one-stop place for information on powerleveling. Thus, I decided to make my own first (very short but to the point) guide, in the hope that (even without presenting any innovative or difficult to find information) it can be of help to some players.
List of Acronyms: TR = Tempest Rush; SW = Sweeping Wind; FF = Fleet Footed; MS = Movement Speed; MP = Monster Power
Progression (i.e., when different levels become available):
Level 25: Nightmare
Level 50: Hell
Level 60: Inferno
Experience Gear (i.e., when different experience gear becomes available):
Level 1: Hellfire ring (provides 35% experience buff and even with poor stats makes your char overgeared compared to the content in normal MP10 at least till Act 3)
Level 10: Legendary spirit stone “See No Evil” (this is the first item with a socket for the head slot that is available to monks; ideally you want to put in it a radiant star ruby for 31% experience buff as soon as possible). This item has also a +exp/kill bonus.
Level 14: Legendary ring “Leoric’s Signet” (adds 20-30% experience buff, 20-21% rings are relatively cheap, 30% rings are expensive)
Level 15: Other helms with sockets become available for all classes (see previous item, use radiant star ruby)
Level 21: “Born’s Defiance” set (2 items provide a +20 exp/kill bonus, these items can also have +exp/kill bonuses)
Level 23: “Cain’s Fate” set (3 items provide 30% experience buff, these items can also have +exp/kill bonuses; suggested items: helm with a socket and boots with +% MS)
Suggested gear and skills for monk providing the powerleveling service (i.e., party leader):
Use a Skorn or a Doom Hammer for infinite TR (it does not need to be godly like Druin’s hammer, you should be melting anyway white mobs within 20 yards from your char and elites in Hell as soon as you touch them); use 4-piece Inna’s Grandeur set for practically free SW; have +24% MS gear on your char. You can comfortably powerlevel other characters with as low as 60k DPS, but the suggested damage for melting everything before contact even happens is above 140k DPS.
TR with Tailwind rune (+25% speed from the base skill and +25% speed from the rune; other option: Dashing Strike with Quicksilver rune if you are using a “sword and board” or a “dual wielding” setting)
Mantra of Conviction with Submission rune (12% debuff of mobs + 12% weapon damage per second as area damage effect)
Mystic Ally with Air Ally rune (extra area damage and protection for the character being powerleveled)
SW with Firestorm (maximum area damage effect; other options: (a) Master of Wind if you are not using the 4-piece Inna’s set, (b) Inner Storm if you need the extra spirit regeneration)
Everything else is really up to you, as long as you have enough spirit regeneration to ensure infinite TR. I personally do not use FF because I become too fast for the character being powerleveled and, then I have to stop, wait and/or go back anyway. However, it can be used if the group is fast enough to follow the party leader.
Suggested gear and skills for monk being powerleveled (i.e., powerlevelee, if you don't mind me inventing a new word):
Obviously use the experience gear as soon as it becomes available to your character. A separate note goes for items providing +exp/kill bonuses: these bonuses are very small when compared with the experience gained killing mobs. They are not worth it if they make the difference between your character getting one-shotted in Hell or surviving to continue the run without requiring a resurrection by the party leader.
Use +% MS boots and add as much vitality as possible to your character. Fill your sockets in the chest and legs slots with the highest level amethysts you have available (do not waste gold with socketing/unsocketing Marquise gems though!).
Use a 2-hander, preferably a hammer for best use of TR.
Use gear with -10 or more level reduction (up to -18) for the slots that are not occupied by experience gear.
Damage is not an issue: you should be worried to follow like a shadow the party leader and survive while doing so, not to be cocky and try to hit mobs (however, you should have no problems in Normal and Nightmare if you wish to actually fight)
TR (becomes available at level 5) + Northern Breeze rune (available at level 11). Substitute with Tailwind rune at level 20. For mobility.
Breath of Heaven (available at level 8) for sustain.
FF (available at level 10). Substitute with Exalted Soul at level 13. For speed, FF is very good; however, at low levels, the gear does not have enough spirit regeneration. Thus, Exalted Soul becomes more efficient in terms of MS by allowing to sustain TR longer.
Serenity (available at level 16) for survival.
Mystic Ally (available at level 22) + Earth Ally rune (available at level 53)
Add survival skills as they become available (e.g., Seize the Initiative, Mantra of Healing + rune, Pacifism, Near Death Experience). Find what works best for your char while keeping in mind that you are mainly trying to survive and remain close to the party leader.
The most efficient route is to repeat over and over Keeps 2 in Act 3. Avoid long backtracking for maximum efficiency. Adding Keeps 3 and Bridge of Korsick slightly reduces efficiency, but it is not too bad if you like to do them. Avoid other areas. Notice that the new mob density applies only to Inferno MP1+, so it does not apply to powerleveling :(
For maximum efficiency, play at MP10 with a party of 4 (1 party leader and 3 powerlevelees
The approach for the party leader is to be fast, use as many area damage effects as possible, and protect as much as possible the powerlevelees (e.g., if you see a group of fallen maniacs, destroy them before they reach the group).
The approach for the powerlevelees is to follow as closely as possible the party leader, load up in vitality/armor/all resistance (or resistance of choice if using One with Everything), avoid to die as much as possible (even by avoiding to engage enemies, if needed).
As soon as the powerlevelees reach the minimum levels to go from Normal to Nightmare to Hell to Inferno, kill Diablo and go up a level. The increase in experience per mob is extremely significant (I do not know if it is exponential, but it feels like).
Do not waste time to pick up loot, unless it is a legendary (credit goes to baggins for reminding me of this important rule).
Suggestions for gear and skills are not exhaustive and are based on personal play style. You may have a different play style that could require a different set up. However, the suggestions provided here are believed to be accurate for maximum efficiency in powerleveling.
I tried to double check my numbers. However, if you find that some of the information provided here is inaccurate, please let me know and I will correct it.
Enjoy your gaming experience and may Ytar give you goodly loot!