Just like there’s a world first race to clear MMO raids, Diablo 4 also has a race of its own: to reach level 100, the highest possible character level in the game. Technically, there are two ongoing races, one for the normal/standard mode, and the other for Hardcore.
Both modes have the same difficulty, but the crucial difference is that dying in Hardcore mode is permanent, meaning you’d have to start the process all over.
Differences aside, both races have claimed their first winners. Twitch streamer Rob2628 was the first to reach level 100 in normal mode, which took them over 54 hours. Rob2628’s viewers immortalised the moment they hit 100 in the Twitch clip at the link.
Rob2628 managed to do this by playing as a Barbarian. The build they used has been circulating around as one of the best builds for the class, with particular skills and gear synergies that turn the player into an unstoppable machine.
The build relies mainly on Shouts for buffs, and Whirlwind to deliver damage. The latter even has certain Aspects that boost its effectiveness further. Unfortunately, the race hasn’t been without controversy.
Rob2628 played as a part of a group, which would be okay, if not for the fact that there’s currently a major exploit that speeds up the levelling process considerably compared to just playing solo. The trick involves the leader of the group leaving the party, which allows players reset the dungeon, making the grind much more efficient.
Champion’s Demise was their dungeon of choice here. As with any dungeon, you can count on Elites, and large numbers of mobs to be present, which is the best way to quickly level up.
Several hours afterwards, another Twitch streamer – cArn_ – claimed the title as the first to reach level 100 in Diablo 4’s Hardcore mode.
If you guessed their class, and build were similar to Rob2628’s, you’d be correct. The Barbarian build cArn_ relied on also made liberal use of Shouts, and the Whirlwind skill for quickly racking up damage.
Unfortunately, that climb has also been criticised for seemingly relying on the same exploit, which likewise allowed cArn_ (who was playing as part of a group) to quickly reset dungeons, speeding up the grind.
Before cArn_ claimed the banner, Twitch streamer wudijo was actually the closest in the running, and well-positioned to be the winner. The player actually has doing it solo, as a Rogue, which makes their attempt quite different. At the time of writing, they’re level 96.
The records achieved by Rob2628, and cArn_ very clearly demonstrate why Blizzard nerfed this particular Barbarian build hard in Saturday’s patch. Although the developer didn’t specifically call out any specific builds, it did say that some of them were simply too powerful, putting them “outside of our bounds for what is reasonable for the health of the game.”
As for why players are racing to 100 at all. Apart from bragging rights, Blizzard said it will immortalise the names of the first 1,000 players to reach level 100 in Hardcore mode – by September 1 – by engraving their usernames onto a physical statue of Lilith.
While that nerf was definitely in order, the developer has yet to comment on the group disconnect exploit.