Greater Rift Leaderboards Show Diablo 3 Class Imbalance?

There’s been a lot of talk about the relative strengths (and weaknesses) of the classes in Diablo 3, as exposed by the highest Greater Rifts each class can clear. It’s easy to glance at the DiabloWikileaderboards and see that the highest Grifts cleared by Demon Hunters are the highest of any class, but it’s only like 41 vs. 39 or 38, which doesn’t seem too out of balance.

To get a better sense of the overall distribution, it’s interesting to check out the entire top 1000 per class, rather than just the top 1, or top 10. And when you do that, you get some very enlightening results. A guy on Reddit ran a program to compile all the results and averaged them out, and here are his results turned into table form. Greater Rift Leaderboards Show Diablo 3 Class Imbalance?

These figures derived by taking all the top 1000 leaderboard clears for each class, and adding them together to create an average.

Americas Server

SoftcoreSeasonal SCHardcoreSeasonal HC
Demon Hunter38.6434.5522.2923.59
Witch Doctor32.9426.5423.6219.35

European Server

SoftcoreSeasonal SCHardcoreSeasonal HC
Demon Hunter38.5835.5126.4527.44
Witch Doctor33.3928.0325.9822.25

There are a lot of interesting tidbits to be seen there, comparing the classes, and the seasons, and the Hardcore vs. Softcore. For instance, check out Wizards vs. WDs, for HC vs. SC. Wizards can do several levels GRs in softcore, but it’s obviously a dangerous playstyle, since in Hardcore the Wizards are well below the HC Witch Doctors. Also, note that the seasonal hardcore Demon Hunters are actually *higher* than the non-seasonal, on both realms. (And for Monks in EU.) Way to power level up there, guys!

What do you think of the distribution now, and what does it say about relative class balance? It’s worth quoting (again) what John Yang said about DH’s during the recent dev live stream.

John Yang: Players are noticing that the Demon Hunters are clearing 2 or 3 tiers above everyone else in the Greater Rift Leaderboards. That is a slight problem. We’d love all classes to be within 1 or 2 GR tiers from each other.

Some people have pointed out that Demon Hunter’s damage output is not too far higher than everyone else. The problem is they have really good sustain, (via Sentries) and they can do damage while being out of range or line of sight. And they’ve got Smoke Screen for invulnerability and can cheat death via their new passive.

So it’s not that DHs have OP higher damage; they’ve just got the best “pets” now, and can throw out a bunch of Sentries and let them deal huge damage while the DH shoots to add more damage, or just ducks and dodges while the Sentries do the dirty work. WDs have good pets as well, but their damage doesn’t scale up high enough to work well on the higher level Grifts, and they aren’t as autonomous as Sentries.

The melee chars should be a good comparison also, and judging by their GR clear levels, the Monk, Crusader, and Barb are pretty well balanced at this point. There’s more difference between the melee classes in Hardcore, and especially in Seasonal Hardcore. Is no one playing HSea Barbs, or do they require gear that’s really hard to find, or what?

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3 Seasons, Hardcore, Leaderboards, News


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  1. Since it tracks in comparison to the same class, it doesn't seem like a critical issue.

  2. It looks like I've picked the wrong seasonal character (SC Crusader).
    Maybe I'll just get some gear and roll a DH.

  3. Europe HC rules! 😀

    • Yeah, there's always been a strong HC community in EU. For whatever cultural/nationalistic reasons? I didn't include the Asia server stats (they're in the guy's post on Reddit) but they were interesting since hardly anyone does HC on Asia. Like no one, the 1000 best average was under GR10 for some classes.

      Speculation was that since so many players on Asia are from China (the servers are in Korea) with really bad latency that HC wasn't viable there. But there are a lot of Koreans playing D3, and they've got about the best high speed internet on earth, and we all know how legendarily hardcore (small H) korean gamers are. So it's odd that so few of them are interested in (big H) Hardcore in D3.

  4. Interesting to note that EU > NA in avg. grift level except in a couple of SC cases.

    • You have to factor in the fact that Seasons started earlier for the EU server, too. Not saying it might make a HUGE difference, but, it is technically more time played so potentially more gear found.

      In general, this is really interesting. I'm not surprised by too much here though. If Sentries had health/could be targeted, I wonder if that would make DHs too weak or bring them back in line.

  5. 1) Wouldn't this be just as influenced by which characters just get played more and how easy BiS items are to find for each character?
    2) Saying this means one character type is just plain better than another only makes more sense once leaderboards are almost totally stagnant (and with standard deviations or confidence intervals).

  6. @Raesene

    Hmm another one of the typical “it doesnt affect you so it doesnt matter” apologists. Well guess what it does buddy.
    I’m FORCED to run demon hunter to upgrade my gems 5 level higher than i can do with my own class to be competitive with my main (crusader class). Didnt think of that did u now, buddy

  7. Yes, the game is forcing when you need better gems to progress. My main is a barb and being a melee just cant deal with crazy lightning dmg when play with my friend DH. I have better gear and cant sustain my dmg because of all source of dmg on ground. He, well… he just need put sentrys and avoid all dmg letting pets do the job.
    So, yes Im rolling a DH to improve the gems to my barb.

  8. @Raesene

    Just because you, by the taste of your posts dont believe in competitive leaderboard gameplay doesnt mean it isnt intriguing for others.
    DH is standing out like a sore thumb here. Easier option, nerf it, I’m sure various “counter to the design ethos” nerf explanations are available. Take your pick bliz.

  9. What if we remove unity and add party play to the equation? Then it gets Even worse. 4 DH vs 4 barbs. We are looking at gr43 vs gr33. Id like to see a you tube video: 4 frency barbs fighting Rime in a GR35. That movie would probably last longer than Forrest Gump.

  10. While they keep the low density/high maze, movement skills will be purgatory to reach high GR. And DH has movement skills with no cooldown.

  11. For those of us a little more graphically minded here is a box plot: and a dot plot: based upon the frequency of the Greater Rift Levels by class for Season 1.

    We can see that the Wizard, Monk, and Crusader are pretty much in line with one another, but the poor Barbarian needs some buffing, while the Demon Hunter is clearly ahead of the curve.

  12. make it such that melee classes take 35% less damage instead of 30%, and I think it’ll balance all out. Not sure what to do about WD pets..maybe cap the damage that pets can take per second?

  13. It is 30%. An extra little bit isn’t going to help bridge the gap.

  14. barbains are really low especially on the he hc side as there the most gear intestive and have no cheat death passive like every class dose. So you cant push them as hard as other chars. best bet for a barb on hc roll a sader and then farm shards to gamble on the barb. I see wds gettign a hug buff when they do pets scaling to players toughness

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