On Normal and Veteran difficulties, the main quest leading up to and finishing at killing the Voice of Ch’thon gives a guaranteed level 50 legendary item, regardless of your own level, since this is the lowest possible level for a legendary anyway.
It can be completed on normal difficulty easily even for a player new to the game, but being an experienced player helps here since it lets you quickly take 5 minute detours to grab some of the secret stashes that are on the way to completing the main quest, which often yield epics.
Firstly, here are some links to some of the characters I’ve used for doing this:
This is not an exhaustive list of characters I’ve made, but it shows some key examples of the types of build you’d be going for.
These builds are supposed to be less gear-dependent due to their heavy investment into specific skills. More on that below…
Above are some images from runs I’ve done with characters made solely for the purpose of getting that “free” legendary item. Normally a run will finish with the character being between levels 32-38. With some characters I continued playing after that point, but a big part of why I do this isn’t for the legendaries, but to try simpler but effective builds than what I normally go for.
However, the fact remains that high level and appropriately built characters may well acquire legendaries more easily and at a better pace from high-end boss/elite farming, but if you’re after specific legendaries for a planned character, this speed-run method is not a bad way to go about it because you’ll get a fair share of epics to use on new alts along the way anyway, not to mention that all the junk you sell can be turned into shared iron for your other characters easily if you have the Forgotten Gods expansion.
The main idea with making characters for this type of run, is to focus on a single class and pick a strong-hitting ability to max out.
That’s about it, actually. That’s all it takes to do these runs, really. For this character specifically I often swapped between a two-handed ranged and a two-handed melee as required, but generally just used whatever I picked up along the way.
Step-by-step guide, for doing these runs:
- Create character, obviously.
- Pick a class, based on the following recommendations:
- Highly recommend Shaman (focus on Primal Strike, take the cooldown modifier)
- Nightblade (focus on Phantasmal Blades; Shadow Strike is a good alternative but more difficult to clear groups with)
- or Demolitionist (focus on Molotov with added cooldown/total damage modifier)
- Note: Alternatively, pick whatever you might think is fun! But definitely try to focus on maxing out a single hard-hitting ability. Most abilities in the game can be used for this purpose, but some are really obvious cookie-cutter type stuff, like above.
- I don’t recommend dual-classing heavily. If you want to pick a second class at level 10, I recommend you pick it for an easy-to-get passive buff that it has early on, but not for its own damage ability if you’re already focusing on something else.
- Note: Some of the map directions given below show multiple main paths (RED) you can take, as sometimes the best path will be blocked by a random object. The alternative paths (CYAN) are quick/optional detours that are of interest.
- Tip: Do summon your personal rift gate every now and then, and at bosses, if you haven’t already developed this habit. If you do die, it saves a lot of time.
- As you go along, since you’ll be using a hard-hitter that may one-shot most enemies/groups, just kill a few now and then as you run through areas. Don’t stop too much for loot unless you really need it, if you want to cut on time taken for the run.
- Generally, don’t bother going back to deliver quests. This is unnecessary. The game is clever enough to still let you turn in everything appropriately even if you didn’t explicitly take the quests.
- From Devil’s Crossing, go to Lower Crossing’s Burial Hill, kill the Reanimator boss. Cleanse the shrine if you want/grabbed shards for it.
- Don’t go back to Devil’s Crossing, continue running through the marshes and get into the Flooded Passage cave with the rock golem boss. Cleanse the desecrated shrine just before the boss for extra XP/drops, should be quickly done.
- Make your way directly to the Warden’s Mansion at Burrwitch Estates, getting any rift gates you get close to. You can clear the rift gate at Burrwitch Village if you want since it should give some decent XP/loot from the mob waves.
- You can rescue Darlett along the way, just before the mansion, for some extra XP – also grab the secret chest in the same area behind the rock wall and cleanse the shrine topside for additional XP/drops.
- Go into the mansion’s cellar, from there take the quickest way you can find to the next level, which is often following along the northwest side of the first level (there’s a secret passage there with spiders).
- Cleanse the shrine before the Warden’s Laboratory rift gate for extra XP/drops.
- Go straight for the Warden now, nuke him, get all the decent loot or stuff you may want to sell.
- At this point you will be able to quickly clear the Slith infestation underneath Devil’s Crossing, so clear out your inventory on vendors from the boss loot and then do that.
- If you don’t already have the extra 6 scrap you need to repair the bridge, get it from your shared stash or go through the marshes quickly to find some more from the scrap piles/heaps. Around Wightmire and South/Southwest of Burrwitch Village can be decent spots for scrap, but it does depend on luck ultimately.
- After you’ve repaired the bridge, just go through, kill Shanks, get the loot from his special chest in the big house and continue straight through.
- As you go past Drew Larkins, you can do the quest, or not. But grab the hidden loot across the river Northwest of him.
- Pass next to the Arkovian Foothills rift gate to grab it, but go straight for the Staunton Mine entrance to get the dynamite you’ll need to clear the bandit blockade. At any point after this, go back to that rift gate to deliver that quest for some extra bag space.
- Go through, get the Old Arkovia rift gate and get the quest to kill Gulgoth; kill him for easy quest XP; easier for ranged characters but can be kited quickly with melee too.
- Head straight for Cronley’s Hideout due north, kill groups of bandits with AoE but ignore the lone bandits for the most part.
- Grab the ruined shrine in the quarry pit if you want (requires scavenged plating) but otherwise head straight for Cronley. Kill him and grab any chest loot too, but don’t forget to destroy the hidden crystal and keep some for yourself. Easy XP and a powerful consumable, should you need it.
- Get the Twin Falls rift and go directly to the desecrated shrine; after clearing it and grabbing anything that is worth grabbing, go for the Arkovian Undercity entrance and from then on just go straight to the next area. Kill Nomos Dred if it feels easy to do and open the nearby sarcophagus too, may have worthwhile loot.
- Go through the Broken Hills directly, get the shrine (polished emerald req.) and talk to Elsa quickly if you want. Go straight for the troll cave.
- Take the most direct path you can take to the troll boss in Smuggler’s Pass; if you are using melee, these big troll bosses can still be easy to deal with, when they start their swing, run out a bit, and then once they swing and have safely missed you, just go back in to attack them. Look out for the overhead earth-ripping wave attack, too; it can hit like a truck.
- Go through, get the Deadman’s Gulch rift, talk to Ulgrim if you want, but there’s no need yet! Then go into the Mountain Deeps.
- Take the shortest path to the desecrated shrine and clear it for easy XP/loot. Again, go straight out of the cave and grab the nearby rift gate.
- Clear the rift gate at Homestead, then sell/vendor as needed and teleport back to Deadman’s Gulch; now talk to Ulgrim to tell him the way is clear, and then return to Homestead, where you should speak to him again, and then captain Somer.
- Do the quest for clearing the eggs if you want, but you can skip it and go straight through the fields, grabbing the shrine (mutagenic ichor req.) if you can and taking the shortest possible path to the Abomination boss.
- Take any relevant loot and go back to Homestead, report to captain Somer. Do all the conversational dancing as quick as you can and head straight out the Northeast gate as soon as you can.
- Go past Sorrow’s Bastion, take the rift gate if you want. Go into the Blood Grove and kill Bolvar for some loot, clear the shrine (seal of binding req.; should get plenty in the area) and find the captive farmers.
- Then head straight for Zaria, at the Darkvale Village. Kill her, then clear the shrine. Easy XP/loot all-round.
- Inside the Darkvale Gate, take as short a route as you can find to the next level, and then in there, again, the shortest route you can find to the boss. Dispatch him, get the quest item and any loot. Don’t forget the side room to the Southwest that has a chest.
- Act III kind of starts here but not. Anyway, from this point on, just go straight through everything, killing any major groups/elites quickly and get to Fort Ikon.
- Grab the shrine (cracked lodestone req.) just West-Northwest of the Asterkan Valley rift for easy XP/loot, but otherwise continue to Fort Ikon.
- If you haven’t already spoken to the NPCs at Homestead do so after clearing the Fort Ikon rift. Then you can speak to Inquisitor Creed when he’s at Fort Ikon, so you can continue down into Fork Ikon’s Armoury. Don’t forget the secret chest next to the Armoury’s entrance. Grab the legion supplies on the way and kill Lucius, he may be a bit difficult since you’ll likely be underleveled and he hits quite hard, but you should be able to kill him quickly even so.
- Heard Fort Ikon enough times yet?
- Then do all the NPC chat dancing again and do the quest to talk to the Outcast if you want. Pick whichever option you want but I recommend just being friendly with her if you’d like to use this character further after the run is finished anyway.
- Clear the way with the explosives and go directly to the Necropolis Interior rift. Be careful of landmines on the way. Clear the Necropolis desecrated shrine if you want some easy XP/loot, but otherwise just head straight for the rift and clear it.
- Speak to Ulgrim, then go and destroy the wagons. Just head straight into the unsealed entrance now and head straight for the Voice of Ch’Thon, killing any large groups along the way and grabbing the easy-to-get secret chests.
- That’s it, you will be done.
Depending on class choice and luck with drops, you may be more squishy, but generally you should die no more than ten times doing a run, and you should be able to finish a run taking between two to three hours only, even with deaths.