Diablo 2 Heart of the Oak Runeword

The Heart of the Oak Runeword in Diablo 2 (or HOTO, as it’s affectionately known) is one of the best late-game Runewords for casters, especially druids and sorcerers. The reason it is so popular is because it gives you a mana boost, +3 on all skills, a faster cast rate, incredible bonuses against demons, and much more. However, getting the HOTO Runeword is pretty difficult. Makes sense, given its power and late-game status. So, in our Diablo 2 Heart of the Oak Runeword guide, we’ll show you how to get Heart of the Oak in D2R.

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diablo 2 heart of the oak runeword
Diablo 2 Heart of the Oak Runeword

Heart of the Oak Runeword D2R

To get the Heart of the Oak Runeword in Diablo 2, or D2R, if you will, you’ll need a non-magic stave or mace with precisely four sockets, and four runes – Ko, Vex, Pul, and Thul, in that exact order. The best bet to get a staff is to try and get a Gnarled Staff or Battle Staff that can drop at any difficulty. Even if they don’t have four sockets when you find them, that’s fine. You can bring them up to four sockets by completing Larzuk’s quest in Act V (more info in our How to Add Sockets – Larzuk guide). You can also just play the game and check each grey staff, just in case it has four sockets. That how we got ours.

The same system works for maces. The flail is the earliest mace you can find with four sockets. It has to be level 26, so you should be able to get them in Act IV on normal difficulty and above. Of course, one of the most beloved places for farming almost anything is the Secret Cow level, so pay that a visit if you can.

The runes are a different matter. Thul is a relatively low-level rune, and you can get it by farming The Countess in the Forgotten Tower on at least Nightmare difficulty. Ko and Pul can drop from Act IV on Nightmare difficulty, but you can also get them from The Countess on Hell difficulty (rare drop) or by farming the Cow Level on Hell.

The Vex rune is the biggest problem when making the Diablo 2 Heart of the Oak Runeword. It’s extremely hard to grind. You can very rarely get it from the Andariel in Act I on Hell difficulty, as well as from Diablo and Baal. If you’re beyond lucky, you might even get it as a random drop all through Hell difficulty. People say that you can also get it from The Pit or the Cow level on Hell difficulty. Your best bet is to take two Gul runes and one Ruby to transmute it into Vex. That’s a good way to get all four of them, actually; you can read more about that in our Horadric Cube Recipes guide.

Once you have a staff or mace with four sockets and the appropriate runes, place the runes into the sockets in this order: Ko, Vex, Pul, and Thul. Your character needs to be at least level 65 to wield it, so it’s really a late-/end-game weapon. It grants you a massive +3 to all skills, plus incredible bonuses against demons, a boost to mana, and more. You can find a full list of the Runeword’s perks in the list below. It is fantastic for druids and sorcerers, and even certain paladin and necromancer builds.

  • +3 To All Skills
  • +40% Faster Cast Rate
  • +75% Damage To Demons
  • +100 To Attack Rating Against Demons
  • Adds 3-14 Cold Damage, 3 sec. Duration (Normal)
  • 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
  • +10 To Dexterity
  • Replenish Life +20
  • Increase Maximum Mana 15%
  • All Resistances +30-40
  • Level 4 Oak Sage (25 Charges)
  • Level 14 Raven (60 Charges)
Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.


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