Durance of Hate (Act 3) Farming Guide - Diablo 2
How to Reach: Travincal (WP) > Durance of Hate
Zone Level: Nightmare: 55 -- Hell: 83
Golden Chest: No
Boss/Champ Packs: 4 - 8 (Floors 1 and 2)
Hell Immunities: Lightning (Super Uniques on Level 3 & Mauler), Cold (Dark Lord, Blood Lord), Poison (Cadaver, Undead Stygian Doll)
The Durance of Hate is one of my favorite farming locations in the game thanks to how large it gets on the second floor during Nightmare/Hell difficulties and how great the final floor of the dungeon is with the multiple Super Uniques, Champ/Boss packs and Mephisto. If you'd like to learn more about specifically farming Mephisto check out my Mephisto Farming Location instead of this guide; this guide will only be covering the durance.
When entering the Durance of Hate to start your farming run I strongly recommend you take the Waypoint to Travincal first. This will allow you to clear the Travincal High Council, Durance of Hate Level 1 as well as Durance of Hate Level 2 and the Super Uniques on Mephisto's floor (as well as Mephisto).
Every level of the Durance of Hate shares the same Area Level in both Nightmare and Hell difficulties. On Nightmare each level is 55 and on Hell each level is 83. What this means is that on Hell difficulty the Champ/Boss packs in the Durance of Hate can drop everything but the highest Treasure Class which is 87. This is a small minority of items and unless you are specifically aiming for Best in Slot items you shouldn't worry too much about this. For more information on how Treasure Class and all of this works check out my Magic Find Guide.
Another great thing about farming Durance of Hate is that basically every class/build can farm here since there are so few immunities throughout the dungeon it is easy to avoid what you can't kill. Builds that use primarily Lightning damage will probably have the most trouble here since the Super Uniques on floor 3 will be immune to your abilities but otherwise Lightning users only have to worry about Maulers in the dungeon.
In the screenshot above you can see just how large the Durance of Hate Level 2 map is on Hell difficulty, the entire map doesn't even fit into the screenshot! For anyone who wants to skip this floor and go straight to Mephisto it's a major pain in the ass but for those who just want a big ass dungeon to farm, you're in luck!
To skip most of the Durance of Hate Level 2 and get to Mephisto as quickly as possible a general rule of thumb that people use is to either go clockwise or counter clockwise from the stairs up to Level 1. The maps that are generated in Diablo 2 are random but the "logic" used to generate them is not. For more information about this check out my Diablo 2 Maps of Dungeons Guide.
Most of the enemies you'll encounter throughout Durance of Hate aren't too much of a problem but you'll learn to run in fear from the Undead Stygian Dolls. These share the same model as the Flayers from earlier on in the jungle areas of Act 3 except they're skeletons.
Mob Alert: Undead Stygian Dolls hit extremely hard with their regular melee attacks and they explode when they get low HP which (I believe) deals a % of your max HP in damage. It really, really, hurts in other words and multiple Undead Stygian Dolls exploding around you at the same time will kill you.
A tip that I have for some of you, depending on what you are farming for in the Durance of Hate you may or may not want to skip level 2 after defeating enough Champ/Boss packs. In my experience you'll find anywhere from 4 - 8 Champ/Boss packs on Level 2 and they typically are found in the central portions of the zone or around the entrance/exits to Level 3 and 1.
Once you've defeated 6 or so Champ/Boss packs it usually starts to become inefficient to keep searching for more and it would be better if you instead start searching for the stairs to Level 3... That is unless you want the drops off the normal enemies in this dungeon too. In my experience, around the outskirts of Level 2 you'll find tons of normal enemies but not many Champ/Boss packs.
On the third floor of the Durance of Hate you'll typically find two or three Champ/Boss packs along with Bremm Sparkfist, Maffer Dragonhand and Wyand Voidbringer. These are the 3 Super Unique enemies that you'll find on this floor and they're all marked on my map above with a 1, 2 and 3. Each of the Super Unique enemies are Immune to Lightning on Hell difficulty and they all use the Flame Hydra ability, can heal their allies and have a Static Field producing Melee attack.
The blue circles on the map above are each of the locations that I personally have seen a Champ/Boss pack on this floor. It's recommended that you clear each of these rooms before fighting Mephisto so that nothing agros you while fighting him. For more information about the Mephisto boss fight check out my Mephisto Farming Guide or Act 3 Quest 6: The Guardian.