Average Greater Rift Clear Times: Graphs!

Very useful article by LukDeRif collecting and comparing data on the top Greater Rift clear times for all classes. The figures are current for V2.2 on the Live realms, and it’ll be interesting to see how they change after Season Two ends and all the buffed and new Item Sets are introduced in v2.3 and Season Three.

Average Greater Rift Clear Time for every class

With all the outrage about class imbalance lately I was curious what the situation on the Leaderboards really looked like. While it is easy to take a quick glance at the top and the bottom, it is much harder to get a grasp of the overall situation of the Leaderboards. So I made a spreadsheet that would help me get a better overview over the Leaderboards. The data was taken on the 26th March and is from the EU SC and EU HC seasonal Leaderboards.


First I wanted to know what the average greater rift clear on the leaderboards was for each class in SC:

Barbarian: 46.3
Crusader: 43
Demon Hunter: 46.7
Monk: 46.7
Witch Doctor: 40.7
Wizard: 42.3


At this point Barbarian, Demon Hunter and Monk seem to be fairly even. The Crusader and the Wizard are 3 to 4 levels lower. Considering the hitpoints of monster are increased by 17% a per level and the damage is increased by 10% that is actually a huge difference. Remember that the increase is based on the previous level. That means the difference between gets gradually larger. The Witch Doctor is 6 levels below the top three. Averages are often a statistic of limited value so it is valuable to take a look at the data as a whole.


What you can see here is: the more powerful the class the fiercer the competition.

Fun fact: When I was typing in the data exactly 46 Wizards had cleared a GRift level 46 or above (the Demon Hunter Leaderboard starts at 46 by the way). It is also interesting to note that the difference at the very top is much smaller (in terms of Rift levels) than it is on average. There are multiple Wizards that have cleared GRift 50 and the only class that is seriously lagging behind is, again, the Witch Doctor.

If you want to take a look at the Softcore Data then you can find it on Google Docs.

Click through for the same study applied to Hardcore, and some thoughts on how HC vs. SC compare in Grift clear times at the mid-range and at the high end. Average Greater Rift Clear Times: Graphs!


The average Greater Rift clear for Hardcore for each class are:

Barbarian: 37.1
Crusader: 37
Demon Hunter: 42
Monk: 39.4
Witch Doctor:35.2
Wizard: 38.8


In HC the Demon Hunters absolutely dominate the field with a three level lead over the next class. The Barbarian takes the biggest hit, most likely due to the risky and fragile nature of the Raekor build. Surprisingly, Wizard is much better in Hardcore. Lets take a look at the overall comparison in HC:


Overall the spread seems to be much wider for each class, suggesting a less competitive environment in Hardcore (or just fewer players). The top players of each class are much closer than they are in Softcore. There is a Wizard that cleared a 48 in a faster time than any other character from any other class (including the Demon Hunter).

The Hardcore Data can be seen on Google Docs.

A Look Back

Just after Leaderboards and Seasons were introduced people calculated the average Greater Rift clears. If you are curious check out this post from back then and see for yourself what has changed.


In my experience playing with a wide variety of high end HC chars, there’s very little difference in play style… until you reach the higher GRs. On T6 or up into the low 30s, HC chars in great gear can fly through, playing as recklessly and killing as quickly as any SC char. I’ve done countless T6 Rifts in parties where no one slows down for anything, and they felt almost no different than party games I’ve done on the PTR. (If anything, Hardcore parties in T6 feel are faster and a lot more organized, since no one is in junk gear leeching/getting carried, everyone knows how to play their build very well, and there’s not one asshole flying five screens ahead of everyone else, stealing the Elite kills and Goblins while leaving half the trash behind for others to dispose of.)

The real HC vs. SC difference comes in later, once you’re above GR40 when monster damage rises to dangerous levels. Then HC chars *can* complete and compete, though some of the “less DPS / more Toughness” trade offs start to become visible in killing speed, and some risky builds, like Jade Doctor and Raekor’s, become too dangerous.

Finally, most SC players fail many times when trying for their highest GR. Pushing above your character’s abilities, hoping for luck from Pylons or monster type, praying for Stonesinger at the finish, etc. We do all the same stuff in HC, but have to be a lot more cautious when risking death, for obvious reasons. It’s funny, since Grifts offer the only death penalty in softcore — too many deaths = delays = no GRift clear — but the way many players react to that is by gearing glass cannon, since anything dangerous in a high GR will one-shot them anyway.

Season Two Countdown

It’ll be interesting if we see a jump in the overall Hardcore GR leaderboard next weekend, when HC players go for broke with the S2 deadline looming.

I am a case in point since I’m planning on that myself. My DH has no real gear upgrades left (other than some slight Ancient armor boosts), I can easily/routinely clear high 30s in 8-10m, and I think I should be viable up to 45ish… but I haven’t gone above GR40, even though I first cleared it weeks ago and with much lesser gear. I’m waiting for the last days of S2 and have been 1) building up more exp and Paragons, but 2) mostly delaying so if/when bad things happen, I won’t be deprived of my best char for long, since 3) I’m going to start fresh in S3 anyway.


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  1. Yesterday i just look in S2 leaderboard, SC solo players. I see first the Wizard there 10 Wizard have clear GR 47 or above. 10 Wizards! Then when I compare I see for the three classes barbarian, Monk and DH, there the cleared GR 47 or above is over 550 player.

    I wonder why it's so unbalanced? Why have Blizzard done the WD and Wizard so weak? Do they want have it so?

    Then I think about patch 2.2, what have Blizzard Improve there? Yes, the Barbarian. The Barbarian is total overpowered in 2.2. Why have Blizzard done one of the strongest class even stronger, but forget the already weakest?

    I know Blizzard for few days ago have cleared the leaderboard i the 2.2 PTR. The really interesting thing is that how the solo leaderboard is after that. Is the unbalancing still existing there?

    • That discrepancy between Wizards and the rest is probably not due to class imbalance. It's much more likely caused by differences in the amount of people playing the class or rarity of items needed to reach high GR for Wizards (which would be an itemization issue).

      When a class can reach the same GR as the rest it clearly has the same potential. Blizzard's stated goal was to keep the classes around 3 GR levels of each other at the top of the Leaderboards and at least in the EU they are really close to that goal. WDs and Wizards are slightly behind by 1-2 or levels, but I'd hardly call them unbalanced or weak.

      • Missing variable in this analysis: easy of getting higher Greater Rift keystones. Its very easy to get said keystones on a Monk or DH due to the skewing of the trial system against sustained damage (and Firebirds is all about sustained damage).

        Since its much harder for the top Wizards to get high trial keystones (because they have to roll a demon hunter, clear the trials, then go back to their Wizard), you don’t see as many clearing the top levels.

        Also, lets not forget, the higher the Grift, the longer it takes a Firebird’s wizard to kill the Guardian. The only case where a Wizard will match a DH, Monk or Barbarian is if the difficulty of the Guardian is a significantly lower fraction of the overall rift cleartime (Stonesinger). Take out an easy guardian and I’m sure Wizards fall right behind again.

      • You have to be careful trying to reach conclusions from a "single" data point like highest GR level reached as not all GR runs are created equal. If you get lucky in a run–zombies on the level, power/conduit right by the RG, Stonesinger as your RG–you can do a run 3+ levels higher than you normally can.

        When you look at leaderboards you are looking at the net results of millions of runs. It is likely that the wizards/WD that have done GR47+ were ones that got lucky with SS, etc. while the other classes have the damage to just power through them regardless of RNG. You can see that in Luk's graphs looking at the peak of the curves. Looking at the right most edge of the curve for highest level reached is less meaningful and it certainly doesn't mean that the classes are balanced.

        It really isn't a debate. Partner up a DH and a wizard and do some runs together. You can immediately tell who is doing all the damage. I've done runs like this on my wizard. It feels like the old days partnering with a jade WD–it doesn't matter what I target, it is dead by the DH before I can do any damage.

        (Not to mention things like the composition of 4-man GR groups. The top 1000's are almost all Sader/zds WD/DH/DH. You will never ever see the DH's replaced by wizards because their damage potential is literally a fraction of a DH's.)

    • Whether the Barbarian will still be the absolutely best class in 2.2 remains to be seen. It often takes time to completely optimize the builds, so only time can tell. Overall the class balance is going to be better than it is now.

      @HardRock: While the factors you named are certainly valid I think that at this point we can say that the Wizard is weaker than the top 3. The difference is not as large as many people make it out to be. The gap between each GRlevel gets progressively larger due to the way GRifts scale.

      @Malentros: Yes it is much easier to get high GRkeys if you are DH, Crusader, Monk or Barb. That should not factor in too much to the Leaderboards, since it is relaitvely easy to get somebody to help you generate Keys (just make a zDps Crusader). Does it still suck that you can't get higher GRkeys as a solo player ? In my opinion: Absolutely!

      @Timesink: The points you bring up have some merrit. Yes the higher GRift clears are the result of fishing for the perfect Rift. That is true for all classes, thus they are on a somewhat even playing field.
      Seeing how far a class can push is very informative and gives us a better idea of the classes maximum potential.
      Also solo play and 4player are two different beasts. The way the DH deals damage is great for group play. Barbs and Monks are very close to the DH in solo play but you never see them as dps classes in the higher 4player GRifts. Is there are an imbalance between the classes when you look at 4player GRifts and is that a bad thing ? Yes and yes.

      To everybody: I love the discussion that is going on. Keep it up 🙂

  2. i dont understand why people always compare softcore vs hardcore…. which class if doing what i could understand but why even think about it is beyong me !! While its the same game, its totaly a different playstyle and i think everyone understood this now ! Hey i even listened to another podcast (not the one fluxdoes) that the person talking was totally depressed and didnt want to play anymore (he played hardcore of course) because some people in softcore where paragon 1000+ ….and he was really pissed about it.. wtf? Its like playing russian roulette with blanks and real bullets you just cant compare(maybe blanks hurt i have no idea lol)

    I dont play hardcore , i do go glass cannon on my dh, but i dont just go meh dont caare if i die… i dont like too… Harcore sound and looks really nice its something that idwant to try… Kripparian death (on video) leviathan , listen to the podcast westmarch made when S2 launched… lag lag lag lag bug error , my cpu freeze on occasion (rarely but it happens) d3 crash etc etc etc i know myself, and no i couldnt handle loosing a 300 hours character on a lag or a ddos attack or whatever reason that would be out of my control !! If its because id jump in a arcane beam like a fool… no problem !But the fact that i could loose it all becasue some lizard teen decided to ddos blizz server while i was trying to do a new grift record…

    keep up the good work and sorry for my English 🙂

    • I can only suggest you try HC. Once most people do they never go back. 🙂 There is nothing like the rush of a near death. I was convinced to try HC by a friend about one year into D2. I never played my SC characters again and in D3 I've never even considered anything but HC. You sound like you have the right approach to the game–not wanting to die–for HC. The only adjustment you'd have to make is not going glass cannon builds. Anyway if you are up for it, give it a try, you might get addicted to the adrenaline rush.

      Obviously if you have a very poor connection or a computer then that is an issue. I've played hours and hours of HC exclusively and I've only ever lost one character (a level 35 crusader back when you had to level characters) due to a DC and that was during launch of vanilla and we all know how smoothly that went. In the rare even of a DDOS attack you are much more likely to notice latency before it would result in a death. 99.9+% of the time I just log into D3 and play and have no issues with latency or DCs.

    • I really used to feel like you do. Could not stand the idea of losing a character I had put hours and hours into.

      The HC experience really varies wildly depending on a number of factors. Stability of computer and stability of your internet connection are big factors. If you have issues with those, I'd say stick to SC. But if those 2 things are fine, there is no real reason to not try HC. DDOS of the whole battle.net system is quite rare.

      The thrill of the prospect of death is what makes HC so much fun. And if you do die, bouncing back is usually not hard if you've got yourself a good collection of backup gear.

      You also get an attachment to the character and if they do die, you put them into your heroes graveyard. You literally remember how they died, you remember what it was you lost. (like a perfectly rolled weapon or what not)

  3. Is anyone else annoyed that the title of this post (and the dude's spreadsheet) is "Average Greater Rift Clear Time" yet the actual clear times are not mentioned AT ALL? It should just be called "Average Greater Rift Cleared".

    The data is available. I'd be interested in seeing the average rift clear time per level per class

    • I do realize that the title is misleading and your criticism is absolutel valid in that regard. I will make sure this does not happen in the future (and feel free to call me out if it does, I appreciate it).

      The thing that I do not quite understand is why you would be interested in the average clear times per level for each class. What meaningful information would that statistic give us that we can not get from the data I already collected ?

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