From Diablo Wiki
A much improved aspect of Diablo II, quests are now more immersive, complex, and inventive.
Quests in Diablo II are a fun part of the game, and some must be completed in each act to advance to the next Act or difficulty level. Diablo II has Four Acts with six quests in the first three acts, (and one secret bonus quest in Act One) and three in the final act. The Expansion adds a fifth act with six more quests, but doesn't change how any of the quests in the first four acts work, other than adding a little bit to the last quest in Act Four.
To access information about quests, press the "Q" button on your keyboard, or whatever you have changed it to if you've custom set your hotkeys. There is also a Quests button on the mini-panel pop up icon strip, and when a Quest is being given, either by an NPC or triggered by you entering an area with one, the Quest Log buttom will pop up to the lower left of your screen. If you click it the Quests window will open up with the current quest highlighted, and more info about it in the box at the bottom. The info presented in this box will generally guide you through the quest, telling you just where to go or who to talk to next. You can always check it for more info if you get lost. The Speech button at the lower right will replay the dialogue you heard from an NPC or read in a book when you first were given the quest.
The quests button can be useful also, it will let you know when you are near a quest item or monster, and you can use that as an early warning system in some places such as nearing Nihlathak in Act Five.
The quests are static in Diablo II. You get the same quests every game, single-player and multi-player, though many of them are a lot easier if you party with other players to complete them. Most of the quests are given by NPCs, triggered by your entering a new area near where the quest item or monster or location is found. You can in most cases proceed right to the quest without talking to any of the NPCs about it, but if you do return to town every NPC will have something to say about the quest, either offering suggestions or telling you directly how to do it, or just talking about it in a gossipy manner. These conversations are usually interesting and often funny, but many players never take the time to listen to them, since they are only available at certain times, often mid-quest, and not before or afterwards. Try talking to Asheara in Act Three sometime when you have the Golden Bird from Meshif, before you give it to Alkor, for example.
Once you've done a quest in an act you can't do it again, but you can (and often must) do each quest on each difficulty level, getting the full reward each time.
To get a quest, you must create a game yourself, or join one created by a character who hasn't done that quest yet. When you first join a game you can open up your quest menu, click to the act you want to check, and see if that quest is active by clicking on it. It will tell you what to do for that quest, or if you can't do it that game because someone else already has or if the game was created by a character who has already done it.
Some quests you can do anyway, even if they say you can't. These include all of the ones where you must kill something or open a chest to obtain some quest item. If you need the item the monster or chest will drop it, even if the quest isn't available that game. You'll get the item, you just won't get credit for the quest, but that doesn't matter in these cases.
Quest rewards are often quite useful. You can get bonus skill points, stat points, experience, nice items, and more for doing quests. Not all quests are required, and not all have useful rewards; you'll want to learn which are which, information that's provided on these pages.
You only get your quest rewards once per difficulty level. You can do each quest multiple times, but once you get the special reward the first time you do it, you can't get it again, though you still might get nice items dropped by the quest monster, and you'll gain experience from killing things along the way.
In Diablo II prior to v1.08, the Quest bosses in Acts Two, Three, and Four dropped a special better quality item the first time you kill them. Usually a Rare, but sometimes a Unique or Set item. This was only guaranteed the first kill, after that they might drop something special, but usually just some blue (magical) items.
In v1.08+ D2C and D2X, the "Uber drops" were removed. This might not be discernible, especially to characters with a lot of magic find, since Act Bosses have much better odds than other monsters to drop high-quality items.
More specific info on each quest reward can be found on the individual Act quest pages.
Higher Difficulty Levels
Each of the three difficulty levels are self-contained. You must redo all the quests, find all the waypoints, etc on each difficulty level. This is a good thing in terms of quest rewards, since it means you get all of them three times, if you play all the way through Normal, Nightmare, and Hell.
Often you'll want to advance to the next act to get a quest reward found at the start of it, and then perhaps go back to the previous act to gain more experience before moving on permanently. This is true as well with the first quest in Act One, which gives you a bonus skill point. You might want to defeat Diablo (or Baal, if you are playing the Expansion) and move onto Nightmare or Hell, do the Den of Evil and get your skill point, then go back down a difficulty level to level up some more.
A key aspect of defeating a difficulty level if you play on Battle.net is that you will then only see games created in the highest difficulty level you can play in. If you're on normal level and you kill Diablo (without LoD Expansion) or Baal (with LoD Expansion), you will only see Nightmare games to join with that character, making it hard to join one. You'll need someone to tell you the name of a Normal game, look yourself with another character, or create games of that difficulty level and hope others join in to boost your experience.
Keep this in mind if you are considering moving up a difficulty level to get the quick Den of Evil skill point.
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