Even though Diablo 4’s story campaign is dense and filled with plenty of great side content, it ultimately just represents the beginning of your adventure in Sanctuary. Once you complete it, you’ll be able to engage with all of the various endgame activities in Blizzard’s latest hack-and-slash ARPG, including the fearsome (and rewarding) Nightmare Dungeons.
Grinding Nightmare Dungeons for their rewards is something you should do often in Diablo 4’s endgame, so it’s important that you learn everything there is to know about them. In this guide, we’ll help you do just that with a full overview of what Nightmare Dungeons are, how to unlock them, what their rewards are, and more.
Diablo 4: What are Nightmare Dungeons?
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Nightmare Dungeons are harder versions of the regular dungeons that you can find and enter while playing through the Diablo 4 campaign. Every dungeon in the game can become a Nightmare Dungeon, and while their core objectives won’t change, players will have to contend with lots of extra Elite monsters. Additionally, Nightmare Dungeons also ramp up the difficulty with various affixes that empower enemies with unique modifiers and stat buffs.
You won’t be able to challenge Nightmare Dungeons until after you complete the story, so don’t worry about them until after you finish the main quest. Full details on how you can unlock Nightmare Dungeons as you enter the endgame can be found in the section below.
Diablo 4: How to do and unlock Nightmare Dungeons
To unlock Nightmare Dungeons after you beat the campaign, you’ll first need to get access to World Tier 3: Nightmare, the third Diablo 4 World Tier difficulty. To do this, swap to World Tier 2: Veteran if you weren’t already playing on it and complete the Level 50 Cathedral of Light Capstone Dungeon in Kyovashad. This dungeon is pretty difficult and has several bosses, so make sure that you’re Level 50 and are geared up with your best items. Many enemies in it deal Lightning damage, so having some form of Lightning Resistance on hand will be helpful.
After finishing the dungeon, move to World Tier 3: Nightmare and begin completing Whispers of the Dead objectives — easily identified on the map by their distinctive red and pink icons — for the Tree of Whispers in The Writhing Mire, Hawezar. Each of these will reward you with Grim Favors, and once you have 10 of them, you can trade them to the Tree of Whispers for loot caches.
Give Grim Favors to the Tree of Whispers and open caches until one of them drops a Nightmare Sigil consumable, and use it to unlock your first Nightmare Dungeon. These items transform one of Diablo 4’s dungeons into a Nightmare Dungeon, and after you use it, the Nightmare Dungeon’s location will be marked on your map.
Diablo 4: How to get and craft Nightmare Sigils
Getting a basic Tier 1 Nightmare Sigil from the Tree of Whispers is the only way to get started with Nightmare Dungeons, but there are additional ways to obtain Sigils that become available to you after you do this.
For a while, your main source of Sigils will be Nightmare Dungeons themselves. Enemies and bosses within Nightmare Dungeons have a fairly high chance to drop a Sigil for a different dungeon, and in somewhat rare cases, that Sigil will be a Tier higher than the one of the Nightmare Dungeon you got it from. For example, a boss in a Tier 1 Nightmare Dungeon could drop a Tier 2 Nightmare Sigil, allowing you to slowly make progress towards challenging harder dungeons.
Once you complete a Tier 3 Nightmare Dungeon, you’ll get a new Priority Quest that allows you to craft Nightmare Sigils at Occultists when completed. Sigils can be crafted for a Gold cost and Sigil Powder, with the latter obtained by salvaging Sigils at the Occultist like you’d normally salvage gear and items at the Blacksmith. Sigils with higher Tiers give you more Sigil Powder when salvaged, and also cost more Gold and Sigil Powder to craft. In the table below, we’ve listed the crafting costs for each range of Nightmare Sigil Tiers.
|Tier 1-5||3 Sigil Powder, 4,000 Gold|
|Tier 6-10||6 Sigil Powder, 6,000 Gold|
|Tier 11-15||11 Sigil Powder, 8,000 Gold|
|Tier 16-20||20 Sigil Powder, 10,000 Gold|
|Tier 21-25||50 Sigil Powder, 13,000 Gold|
|Tier 26-30||80 Sigil Powder, 16,000 Gold|
|Tier 31-35||125 Sigil Powder, 19,000 Gold|
|Tier 36-40||190 Sigil Powder, 22,000 Gold|
|Tier 41-50||275 Sigil Powder, 26,000 Gold|
|Tier 51-60||350 Sigil Powder, 30,000 Gold|
|Tier 61-70||375 Sigil Powder, 35,000 Gold|
|Tier 71-80||400 Sigil Powder, 40,000 Gold|
|Tier 81-90||425 Sigil Powder, 45,000 Gold|
|Tier 91-100||450 Sigil Powder, 50,000 Gold|
Can I upgrade Nightmare Sigils?
With Nightmare Sigil progression so heavily centered around crafting, many players have wondered if an alternative that allows you to upgrade existing Nightmare Sigils to raise their Tier exists. At the moment, though, it’s not possible to upgrade your Nightmare Sigils. With that said, Blizzard could add this functionality in the future, and if it does, we’ll update this article with the details.
Diablo 4: Nightmare Dungeon Tiers
Diablo 4 Nightmare Dungeons can have a difficulty Tier between 1 and 100, with the Nightmare Sigil used to spawn the dungeon dictating what its Tier will be. Though all Nightmare Dungeons have affixes and lots of Elite monsters, the number of affixes and the level of the foes present goes up as you attempt to clear higher Tiers. On top of this, you’ll also have fewer revives to use before you fail the dungeon at Tier 21 and above. As a result, Nightmare Dungeons with higher Tiers are much harder to complete, though they also give increased rewards.
Something to keep in mind is that you can only take on Tier 1-20 Nightmare Dungeons while playing on World Tier 3: Nightmare. If you want to craft Tier 21-100 Sigils and challenge even harder Nightmare Dungeons, you’ll need to play on World Tier 4: Torment, which is unlocked by completing the Fallen Temple Capstone Dungeon in the northeastern Dry Steppes on World Tier 3.
This table shows how many affixes Nightmare Dungeons will have at each Tier, as well as the number of revives you’ll have available.
|Tier 1-10||3 (1 positive, 2 negative)||12||3|
|Tier 11-20||4 (1 positive, 3 negative)||12||3|
|Tier 21-100||5 (1 positive, 4 negative)||4||4|
Diablo 4: List of all Nightmare Dungeon affixes
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There are a wide variety of different affixes, both positive and negative, that can appear on your Nightmare Sigils and affect the conditions of your Nightmare Dungeons. While there will never be more than one positive affix active, there can be 2-4 negative ones depending on what your Nightmare Dungeon’s Tier is. If possible, you should try and tweak your build a bit to take advantage of your positive affixes — they’re pretty much the only bone that Diablo 4 throws you.
To give you an idea of what to expect from Nightmare Dungeon affixes, we’ve listed all of them in the table below. This includes both positive and negative affixes.
|Poison Damage||You deal 10% more Poison Damage.||Positive|
|Shadow Damage||You deal 10% more Shadow Damage.||Positive|
|Frost Damage||You deal 10% more Frost Damage.||Positive|
|Fire Damage||You deal 10% more Fire Damage.||Positive|
|Lightning Damage||You deal 10% more Lightning Damage.||Positive|
|Physical Damage||You deal 10% more Physical Damage.||Positive|
|Control Impaired Explosions||Being hit by Control Impairing Effects creates an explosion around you.||Positive|
|Increased Critical Strike||Your Critical Strike chance is increased by 6%.||Positive|
|Poisonous Evade||Using Evade leaves a pool of poison behind that damages enemies.||Positive|
|Increased Healing||Your Healing Received is increased by 10%.||Positive|
|Lightning Caller||You occasionally call down lightning strikes that damage nearby enemies.||Positive|
|Thorns||Your Thorns are increased by 249.||Positive|
|Empowered Elites (Cold Enchanted)||Elites always have the “Cold Enchanted” affix.||Negative|
|Empowered Elites (Poison Enchanted)||Elites always have the “Poison Enchanted” affix.||Negative|
|Empowered Elites (Shock Lance)||Elites always have the “Electric Lance” affix.||Negative|
|Empowered Elites (Suppressor)||Elites always have the “Suppressor” affix.||Negative|
|Monster Shadow Damage over Time||Monsters deal an additional 22% of their physical damage dealt as Shadow over 5 seconds.||Negative|
|Monster Cold Damage||Monsters deal an additional 15% of their Physical damage dealt as Cold.||Negative|
|Monster Lightning Damage||Monsters deal an additional 15% of their Physical damage dealt as Lightning.||Negative|
|Monster Bleeding Damage||Monsters deal an additional 22% of their Physical damage dealt as Bleeding over 5 seconds.||Negative|
|Monster Burning Damage||Monsters deal an additional 22% of their Physical damage dealt as Burning over 5 seconds.||Negative|
|Monster Shadow Damage||Monsters deal an additional 15% of their Physical damage dealt as Shadow.||Negative|
|Monster Poison Damage||Monsters deal an additional 22% of their Physical damage dealt as Poison over 5 seconds.||Negative|
|Monster Fire Damage||Monsters deal an additional 15% of their Physical damage as dealt as Fire.||Negative|
|Monster Vulnerable Resist||Duration of Vulnerable Effects vs monsters is reduced by 45%.||Negative|
|Death Pulse||Killing a monster releases a deadly lightning pulse after a short delay.||Negative|
|Drifting Shade||Drifting Shade chases players. Upon reaching them, it explodes for heavy damage and creates a Nightmare Field that Dazes victims.||Negative|
|Nightmare Portal||While in combat, Nightmare Portals open randomly near players, pouring out dangerous monsters.||Negative|
|Volcanic||While in combat, gouts of flame periodically erupt near players.||Negative|
|Lightning Storm||Lightning gathers above the player. Get into the protection dome to avoid severe outcomes.||Negative|
Diablo 4 Nightmare Dungeon rewards: Glyphs, Legendary items, and more
There wouldn’t really be a reason to run Nightmare Dungeons if they weren’t rewarding, but thankfully, they’re one of the most lucrative endgame activities in all of Diablo 4. While battling through their enemies and bosses, you can get a wide variety of valuable drops and items that include the following:
- Glyphs for the Paragon Board that strengthen your character
- Nightmare Sigils (including Sigils one Tier higher)
- Standard and Sacred (and Ancestral on World Tier 4) Legendary items
- Standard and Sacred (and Ancestral on World Tier 4) Unique items
- Lots of low-rarity item drops
- Tons of Gold
Additionally, successful Nightmare Dungeon completions are also the sole source of Glyph XP, a resource that you can use to upgrade your Paragon Board’s socketed Glyphs to improve their bonuses and/or unlock new ones. The higher the Nightmare Dungeon’s Tier is, the more Glyph XP you’ll get at the end.
Diablo 4 is out now and is available on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. It’s one of the best Xbox games for fans of dungeon crawlers and hack-and-slash combat, and we’ve been having an absolute blast with it.