Nightmare Dungeons Explained – Diablo 4

Endgame farming content is the core of any ARPG, Diablo 4 is no exception. Completing the campaign is just the beginning of your character’s rise to power. In Diablo 4, most of your endgame gear will come from Nightmare Dungeons, dungeons mutated with attachments that provide powerful perks and negative modifiers.

Related: Diablo 4: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Once you’ve got your hands on some Nightmare Sigils, it’s time to start farming for some major equipment upgrades. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Diablo 4’s Nightmare Dungeon, including where to find Nightmare Sigils, how the dungeon levels work, and the rewards you can expect from each Nightmare Dungeon.


Updated June 27, 2023 by Charles Burgar: Blizzard has greatly increased the XP rates for Nightmare Dungeons and added some quality-of-life changes to Sigils, making this the new best source of endgame XP for most builds. We’ve updated this guide to explain how to teleport to Nightmare Dungeons. Additionally, we’ve also added a tips section that covers optimal XP strategies and which addons you’ll want to avoid.

How to get nightmare symbols

Diablo 4 gameplay image showing characters fighting a dragon in their midst

Creating a Nightmare Dungeon will require the use of a Sigil of nightmares, which can be found on the consumables card in your inventory. Nightmare Sigils can drop from Whispering Tree bounty treasures, world bosses like Ashava, and rarely from slain monsters. Nightmare Sigils can also be crafted through an occultist.

After completing the campaign, we highly recommend that you farm the Tree of Whispers to gain enough XP and gear to beat the Cathedral of Light dungeon in Kyovashad. This dungeon gives you access to World Level 3. Switch to this difficulty and continue farming Whispers until you get the Sigil of Nightmare from the Reward Treasury.

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Completing the Nightmare Dungeon

After obtaining the Nightmare Sigil, go to the Consumables tab in your inventory and activate the Sigil. A dungeon listed on a Nightmare Sigil will now be marked with a unique icon on your map. Click the map icon to teleport to the dungeon entrance. You can also physically travel to the dungeon entrance if you wish.

Only one Nightmare Dungeon can be active at a time. Using the new sigil will override your currently active Nightmare Dungeon.

Nightmare Dungeons have the same objectives and tile layout as an undamaged dungeon. The only major difference is existence Nightmare Dungeon Extras, modifiers that adjust the difficulty of the dungeon. For example, a dungeon may have a Lightning Storm modifier that causes lightning to occasionally target the player. But not all modifiers are bad. Some accessories can increase your damage, upgrade your evasion ability, or increase the amount of loot that monsters drop.

Successful completions of the Nightmare Dungeon will award additional gold and very rare gear. This gear is usually a legendary rarity, although there is a moderate chance that you will receive a Unique instead. Additionally, each Nightmare Dungeon will reward XP Glyph which you can use to upgrade your Paragon board’s Glyph passives. Glyph XP can be awarded at the end of each Nightmare Dungeon via a unique altar that appears next to your character when the dungeon’s main objectives are completed.

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Related: Diablo 4: Murmuring Obols Walkthrough

Nightmare Sigil Levels and Suffixes

Diablo 4 Nightmare Sigils Example

Every Nightmare Sigil in Diablo 4 has some modifiers:

  • name: A dungeon augmented by the Nightmare Sigil.
  • Suffixes: Perks and curses that increase your character’s power in a dungeon.
  • Level: Determines the level of the dungeon.

The name Nightmare’s Sigil reveals the dungeon it upgrades. Sigils can only choose from a small group of dungeons that Blizzard prepares each season. For example, Season 1 might feature Dead Man’s Dredge as a potential Nightmare Dungeon, while Season 2 might not. This is also worth mentioning Nightmare Sigils can choose dungeons locked behind strongholds. If you can’t activate your sigil, it’s probably increasing the dungeon that’s locked for a particular fortress.

Nightmare Sigil Accessories

Devil 4 Dungeon Extras

Arguably the most influential part of any Nightmare Sigil is its accessories. These are the modifiers that appear at the bottom of the item card. Each Nightmare Sigil is cast with one positive bonus and several negative bonuses. Positive suffixes are always listed first. For the Nightmare Sigil presented above, this dungeon improves our Evade skill with a knockdown effect. As for weaknesses, volcanic geysers occasionally appear in this dungeon and all monsters attack 20% faster.

Presentation of attachment descriptions

Diablo 4 Nightmare Sigil Descriptive Attachments

Descriptions of each attachment can be displayed by enabling the “Advanced Tooltip Information” option in the Diablo 4 options menu, found under the “Gameplay” tab.

The number of attachments on a sigil is determined by its level. The higher the level, the more modifiers the Sigil contains. Focus on running Nightmare Dungeons with negative buffs that your build can handle.

Sigil Tiers Nightmares

Diablo 4 Nightmare Sigil Tier

Sigils of nightmares are divided into degrees, which dictates the level of the dungeon and the overall difficulty. Dungeon T1 starts at level 54, T2 is at level 55, and T10 is at level 63. The tier monster level is calculated by adding the dungeon’s base difficulty (50) to your world level (WT3 or 4) and the indicated dungeon level. The highest dungeon level is T100 at level 154.

These 100 levels are then divided into two groups: Sacred and Ancestral. Sacred Sigils apply to levels 1-20 and Ancestral apply to levels 21-100. Holy Sigils must be used when you are World Level 3, and Ancestral Sigils can only be used when you are World Level 4.

The higher the level of the dungeon, the more difficult but rewarding it becomes. Higher dungeon levels award more Glyph XP—a system tied to the Paragon Board—and awarding higher-level items. On the contrary levels also affect the number of attachments and revive sigil scrolls. Higher level sigils tend to roll with more negative additions and fewer revives. The exact thresholds for these changes can be found in the table below.

Glyph XP earnings seem to increase linearly with each level up. For this reason, we highly recommend farming Ancestral Dungeons if you want to farm Glyph XP.




It revives


(World Level 3)


3 Attachments

12 revivals are allowed


(World Level 3)


4 Attachments

12 revivals are allowed


(World Level 4)


5 Attachments

4 revivals are allowed

To summarize, the level of a dungeon affects the level of monsters you will fight, the level of items that can drop, the Glyph XP you earn, how much extras will affect your dungeon run, and how many revives you are allowed. A monster’s level can greatly exceed your character if you go too hard on a dungeon, so be careful what sigils you use. Hardcore characters who die in the Nightmare Dungeon are lost forever, regardless of the number of revives.

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Nightmare Dungeon Rewards

Diablo 4 Nightmare Dungeon Glyph XP Altar

Successfully clearing the Nightmare Dungeon will always grant your character extra gold, items, and glyph XP. Gold received is fairly low, but the items you receive tend to be of legendary rarity. Unique items can also drop from the end of Nightmare Dungeons as a rare reward. This makes Nightmare Dungeons fantastic for crafting your character and farming legendary add-ons.

Unique to Nightmare Dungeons, XP Glyph allows you to upgrade Glyph passives that are inserted into your Paragon Board, Diablo 4’s endgame passive tree. The harder the Nightmare Dungeon, the more Glyph XP you will receive. Each Nightmare Dungeon clearing will create an altar next to your character that you can use to award this XP.

This is also worth mentioning Nightmare Dungeons have a high density of enemies. Buildings that can quickly clear enemy packs can yield tons of XP and monster drops from Nightmare Dungeons, including additional Nightmare sigils. Kill all the monsters in a given dungeon, pay attention to Magic Find supplements, and you should have no problem keeping a surplus of sigils.

Making sigils

Diablo 4 sigil crafting

In the event that your consumable inventory is filled with sigils, you can see an occultist and dismantle any unwanted sigils. Resolved nightmare sigils will be changed to Sigil in dust, the crafting currency used in the creation of new Nightmare Sigils. Higher sigil levels provide more dust sigils when redeemed.

Forging your own sigils can also be done by an occultist. You will be able to choose a Sigil level carrier before crafting it, but the dungeons and Sigil accessories you choose will be completely random. This is a great way to skip multiple Nightmare Dungeon levels at once if your build can handle it.

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Nightmare Dungeon Tips

Diablo 4 Nightmare dungeon entrance

While playing any Nightmare Dungeon is a great way to level up your character and glyphs, not all dungeons are created equal. Some dungeon strategies can greatly increase your XP gains, while some add-ons are so damaging that you’ll want to avoid them altogether.

Additions for dungeons to avoid

Lightning Storm Hardcore Bug

Attaching a lightning storm can kill your character if you stay on the loading screen. Do not run this mod in Hardcore until this bug is fixed.

  • Burning resources: If you get hit, you don’t actually have any resources. Unless you’re a basic attacker, resolve any Sigil with this buff.
  • Empowered Elites (Cold Enchanted): Elites will always cause a cooldown, leading to subsequent hits being frozen. Unless you have multiple Unstoppable counters, skip this add-on.
  • Monster Cold Damage: Same as Empowered Elites, but for all monsters. Avoid it if possible.
  • Monster Poison Damage: Poison requires multiple health potions or healing effects to clear. Until resistances are reduced, skip this supplement.
  • Backstabbers: Monsters deal 150% more damage if they hit your character’s back. This happens more often than you might think. Not recommended for Hardcore.

Agricultural advice

  • Farm Sigils 51 levels below you: This will cause you to fight monsters that are three levels above you, providing optimal XP gain per kill.
    • For example, if you’re level 80, you’ll want to farm T29 dungeons.
  • Using Sigils: After clearing the night sea dungeon, leave it before using the sigil. This will cause your map to focus on the location of the Nightmare Dungeon you just created, allowing you to instantly fast travel to its location.
  • Sigil Management: Whenever your inventory fills up with sigils, you can store them in your inventory or dismantle them at the occultist to free up space.
  • Multitasking: During WT3, complete Nightmare Dungeons that are currently affected by the Tree of Whispers to gain Dark Favors. This will help with leveling and equipping your character.

Next: Diablo 4: Endgame Basics Explained

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