Triple Vote: Reaper of Souls Strongest Class, and Class Balance


The issue of class balance is a constant debate for the community and the developers. Are the classes even? Can they be? Should they be? It’s a fact that (when using the right build) the Barbarian was by far the strongest class for most of Diablo 3, but whether or not that’s a bad thing is open to debate.

A fan brought up the issue of class balance in a post on the EU B.net forums and got an interesting reply from CM Vaneras. The OP is worth a read, but to summarize; the fan first played a Witch Doctor and enjoyed it, but when he tried out a Wizard he found the class much more powerful, even when less well-equipped than his WD.

This made me wonder, is this a game that Blizzard wants balanced?
Vaneras: The classes are intended to feel distinctive and unique while at the same time retaining the feeling of becoming increasingly powerful as you progress, so while the developers will likely avoid homogenising skills and gear purely for the sake of attaining a one-to-one performance ratio between classes, they do care about class balance quite a bit—If one class feels too lacklustre compared to the others, then developers will make adjustments to bring the class more in line with the others. The same thing goes the other way round if one class clearly outshines the others btw.

Typically class tuning is required after major releases such as expansion packs, and this holds true for Reaper of Soul as well since we had massive class overhauls and also had a release of an entirely new class. Now that players are levelling up their characters to max level and have begun the process of farming for gear and climbing to harder difficulties, the developers have a much more complete picture of the class balance situation now than they did just after patch 2.0.1 was released, and with the data they have right now, they are in a much better place to make informed decisions. Many things have been hotfixed already, and more adjustments to classes are coming in future patches 🙂

It’s hard to comment objectively on just how well-balanced the classes are since in D3 so much of power = gear. We’ve had less than 2 weeks of Reaper of Souls so far, and very few of us have geared up even one character to top quality, much less several different ones to compare their relative power. You can compare characters with okay quality gear, but that can be deceptive since most classes can unlock far greater potential once they add a special legendary items, and thus a single item can make a big difference in class power perceptions.

Busy amazing themselves.

Busy amazing themselves.

That said, as far as you can tell from playing multiple classes, or playing with others in party games… how do you feel about class balance? Do you feel any classes are way under or way overpowered? I guess that’s more about skills than classes if you want to slice it finely. Take D3V: it wasn’t that all Barbs were instantly OP, it was just 2 or 3 skills/passives worked a little too well when combined with the right gear and play style. Imagine how different the class balance conversation in D3V would have been if Bliz had just slightly nerfed DiabloWikiSprint: DiabloWikiRun like the Wind and DiabloWikiInto the Fray back around August 2012?

That’s a long time ago. How about now? Curious about this issue, I just logged on and did a count of the most recent class played by all the members in the 2 clans I lead: IncGamers Hardcore EU and IncGamers HC West US. Here’s the tally:

  • Barbarians: 40
  • Crusaders: 42
  • Demon Hunters: 40
  • Monks: 37
  • Witch Doctors: 30
  • Wizards: 62
  • Not exactly scientific, but there’s pretty good parity… until the last one or two. My goal in this census wasn’t to prove the OPs point about playing a WD until he found how much stronger a Wizard was, but… the numbers seem to testify to that, eh?

    So, let’s measure with a larger pool. Which class have you guys been playing? Which is Reaper of Souls strongest class? And how do you feel about class balance as a general principle?


    Which class have you played the most of in Reaper of Souls?

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    Which class is the strongest at this point in Reaper of Souls?

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    How do you feel about class balance as a development theory?

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    Comments

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    1. I’ve voted Wizard, but that’s because I feel rather OP right now with my gloves of worship, infinite arcane power, Pride’s Fall reducing AP costs even more, and with Black Hole and teleport on a 6 second cooldown because of the 1-hour Empowered Shrine. I’ve tried the crusader but he’s horribly slow. Though to be honest, I really can’t say much on class balance yet because I’ve just not got the other characters geared up enough.

      • where are you getting the 1 hour shrines? gloves of worship are 10 mins…

      • “I’ve voted Wizard…Though to be honest, I really can’t say much on class balance yet because I’ve just not got the other characters geared up enough.”

        This is why it’s still too early to tell; almost everyone is still in this position.

        My wizard is my main, and he has nearly 2x more sheet DPS than my other two level 70s (crusader and WD) because i played him the most so far.

        That being said, both my crusader and WD can comfortably do T1, and they don’t seem any LESS powerful than my wizard did when he was at that point in DPS (though both, especially crusader, are able to take a hit better than my wizard).

        I’m not voting because I only have 3 classes at 70, and one has a lot better gear than the other two. None of the three classes stands out as being particular over or under-powered right now with the right build (though i feel like justice/blessed hammer lightning rune is the only crusader build that works well). Frozen orb is “overpowered” relative to other arcane orb runes, but certainly doesn’t feel required.

    2. Barbs only needed nerfing to Into the Fray and perma-WotB. Primary Fury generators have no reason only generate like 4-6 Fury. The only buff Barbs need right now is more Fury generated on their Primaries. It would make them far more viable without being OP, and without having a necessity of certain gear or two skills (Warcry – Charge and Furious Charge – Stamina). Non-perma-WotB builds were not OP, and in fact I used a HotA Smash build with WotB – Insanity instead. But I’m a Crusader main anyway so oh well.

      Wizards definitely feel the most OP currently because they’re the new Barb in the sense that they perform the best/most efficiently with low to average gear. I don’t think many people can speak for best gear yet, but it’s likely seeing this trend that it stays like that. When I play Wizard and shred through enemies so quickly, it feels like the Wizard balance team forgot to balance them around 2.0’s “slower combat pace with higher enemy health pools but you also die slower too” feel. They still kill enemies just as fast as they did before 2.0, unlike other classes.

      • Perma-WotB has been nerfed. Thrive on Chaos now gives a crap-ton of Life when Fury Spent

        • Yes, it and Into the Fray was all that needed nerfing. They didn’t need to nerf primary Fury generation.

          • Bliz explained this in various interviews and such and said that Barbs fury rate was way over their designed goals. Arguably the better change would have been to just turn off the massive generation possible; that would have removed perma-WoTB by itself, though it would have been pointless to have that rune effect if it wasn’t really usable.

    3. I don’t mind if one or two classes are more powerful, but every one has to be viable. I spent a few days of RoS trying to get my Witch Doctor up to T1, then I switched over to my Wizard and I was there almost immediately.

      As far as I’m concerned the Wizard and Frozen Orb are where they should be, and some other classes/skills need to be buffed to roughly that level.

    4. I think the best we can hope for from blizzard is that all classes are viable. Are think we are asking to much for a perfectly balanced game.

      • I think perfectly balancing an RPG is unrealistic. I think the best we can hope for is reasonably balanced classes.

    5. The classes all seem pretty viable right now, really enjoying the crusader and the barb, but I keep going back to my sorc just due to the clear speed on her, seems so much faster. I do hope that they balance the monks Epiphany a little more, as it feels useless right now compared to the other level 61 class skills. Black hole is awesome, Vengeance is awesome, Akarats is also pretty awesome. Epiphany is just underwhelming, especially for a 90s cooldown, it’s just not worth it. The barb’s Avalanche is also a little underwhelming, it’s like a less powerful earthquake with a slightly faster cooldown.

      • Have to agree with you here. I play a Monk, and while they’re good, Epiphany is pretty useless and just doesn’t deliver. It’s uninteresting and not very useful. I tried using it a bunch at launch and then stopped.

        Also, they made it a 60 second cooldown — not 90 seconds.

        • I had the same feedback for Epiphany going back to first testing it in the beta. It’s like the greatest skill ever for destroying trash mobs who are well-spaced across the screen. But you don’t need a new skill for that, and the Barb gets that useful bonus per kill stack from a new passive, while the Monk has to drop a limited duration skill for it.

          Against bosses it’s meh; just a boost to spirit regen with some other minor effects varying by rune type. I can understand that Bliz didn’t just want to give the Monk his own version of WotB (as they did to the DH with Vengeance) but that would have been a much more useful tool than Epiphany is now.

    6. Really disappointed with the Crusader. Most of his Wrath skills feel far too weak for the cost and too many of his skills are on unnecessarily long cooldowns. I seriously think they could cut most of his CDs by a quarter and increase the damage of most of his spenders by a quarter without making him more powerful than the other classes.

    7. Ive played the Crusader since release and it feels like its bogged down by long cool downs. Wrath generation is slow, coupled with a 2 hand, it’s even slower. The crusader feels like it wants to be a melee/caster character but fails to deliver on both fronts. They dont have the 30% reduction that barbs/monks have and their wrath spenders suffer from low dmg with outrageous cool downs. For example Bombardment’s 60s cd, 570% dmg just plain sucks dmg/ crowd control wise compared to many Wizard skills like meteor and blizzard. They also offer no utility in terms of crowd control or resource management.

      While Im standing there slowly building my wrath up and casting maybe 3 spenders before I have to build wrath again, I wonder why Im not playing barb or wizard instead.

      • That pretty well sums up my Crusader experience in the beta, and it’s why I haven’t played one since Live. Back then the generators all felt weak and slow (like worse versions of the Monk/Barb generators.) And the spenders were flashy and pretty, but not as good as Wizard spenders, and the Crusader’s cost much more resource which generated back very slowly.

        I didn’t really understand how the class was meant to be played; it seemed like it was designed for D3 vanilla, as a sort of mediocre power mage with good tanking abilities to offset the lower damage output. But in D3v2/RoS everyone is so much less squishy that the Crusader’s tankiness is not the advantage it would have been in the ago, which just leaves him weaker at tanking than the melee classes, and weaker at damage output than the mage classes. And with much slower movement than all the others, aside from Horse form.

    8. I’m surprised you didn’t have a vote on weakest class thus far; Crusader would win in a landslide, as pointed out above. The Wizard is just out of line right now. It’s kind of funny, you bring back two of the most OP skills in all of D2, and expect them not to be OP in D3.

      • Although in reality Frozen Orb is mainly imbalanced because it is bugged. You can test this yourself, but basically it is doing 2-3x the listed damage.

        • You mean my superior playing skill and veteran video game ability is actually just a bug? My feelings…

        • It’s not a bug for it to hit multiple times anymore than it is for ball lightning to do the same. The fact is just that it’s too strong damage-wise, and chills to boot.

    9. Wizard/Wizard/All classes viable.

    10. My goal in this census wasn’t to prove the OPs point about playing a WD until he found how much stronger a Wizard was, but… the numbers seem to testify to that, eh?
      I don’t think this is necessarily accurate… (it might be the case wizard is totally better in every way, I wouldn’t know since I’ve never played a WD. That’s my point though – To me WD feels really un-diablo like, and simply never struck up my interest regardless of how powerful or not it was. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if that was the case for at least a small minority of other people as well).

      For my own class, I’m playing a DH (although I mix it up a bit with my monk). Not because I’m convinced it’s the best… I chose it simply because I <3 vault.

      • exactly

        “but… the numbers seem to testify to that, eh?”
        this doesn’t show that the Wizard is more powerful than the WD

        maybe everyone in your clan leveled a WD in D3V because they thought it was more fun than a Wizard, but now with the changes in RoS they feel the Wizard has finally reached the same “funness” level as the WD,
        so they are all trying the Wizard for the the first time

    11. The classes feel somewhat balanced, but it’s not close enough. Here’s my tier list and opinion not including use of extremely overpowered build-changing legendaries:

      Wizard, DH, Monk
      Witch Doctor, Crusader, Barbarian.

      Wizards are really the strongest class in the game atm. Frozen orb is so good it outshines pretty much every other skill they have, but more importantly, they have the best set of passives and support skills. Familiar, magic weapon, and pinpoint barrier provide unmatched dps boosts for actives, while glass cannon, unwavering will, cold blooded, and elemental exposure provide 4 additional and significant damage boosts. The combination of the above is really quite insane. You can even drop glass cannon for one of the several other good passives that don’t make you die fast.

      Wizards don’t need a nerf (except frozen orb, since it shouldn’t outshine the other skills), but other classes need to be brought up onto this same level.

      Demon hunters are just incredibly strong. They can stack tons of damage and the only real threat is waller. Probably the strongest class for extending beyond your toughness level. Wolves actually tank amazingly well and their damage boost is one of the strongest.

      Monks are also fantastic. They can do a lot of damage while still being pretty tanky thanks to the 30% reduction, and overawe is a fantastic debuff.

      Crusaders aren’t bad, but they feel incredibly lackluster. Most of the spenders are weak without crazy legendary affixes. It feels like this class won’t shine until you get several build-altering legendaries. The lack of 30% damage reduction is honestly a mistake. There’s no such thing as a true ranged crusader unless you manage to get all the divine shield legendaries, and even then you’re likely going to be pretty close. The \additional toughness\ of the shield, aka the passive tax, is high, but the rest of the crusader’s passives are incredibly weak. In order to survive in melee, you typically need to spend 4 passives on defense, which is impossible with heavenly strength. If you choose to go with damage passives, good luck. This class probably needs some major tweaking, more than any other class. If you wanted to play full-tank, there’s no way you’ll compete with either barb or monk because of the 30% damage reduction. If you want to go full-dps, you also can’t compete because they have better passives and can dual wield. There’s really no way for the crusader to shine other than abusing the Blade of Prophecy weapon, but good luck finding it.

      Witch doctors are a bit weak only because they’re so incredibly gear dependent. Mana regen is horridly slow as a base, so if you want to move away from the extremely weak signature spam, you need to have specific affixes or gear like cindercoat. You’re also stuck using piranhas (which isn’t a terrible ability) for your utility, whereas wizards’ utility comes from passives, leaving their builds more open. With the right gear witch doctors should be competitive.

      Barbarians I don’t have much of an opinion on. I really find their skillset somewhat boring, and they don’t have very good damage boosts now from passives and buffs. Warcry is nice, but the class just seems to offer less than others. They’re good at chain stunning though.

    12. Wizard is not OP at all, I just killed 2 elite packs, bounty unique and Keywarden with one archon while standing and holding right mouse on T2 /trollface.

      But seriously, instead of nerfing Wizard to the ground, Blizz should focus on bringing all other classes on Wizard level.

    13. http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9952815812?page=1#0

      Nice post by our European MVP OioxFûl, let me quote:
      “I did a count of legendary items that change a skill of any class. And here’s a list of what I found, prioritized and formatted according to the feedback from you, the community:

      Place (may not be final count):
      1st Crusader with 23 skill-changers
      2nd Witch Doctor with 19 skill-changers
      3rd Wizard with 17 skill-changers
      4th+5th Monk and Demon Hunter with 13 skill-changers
      6th Barbarian with 9 skill-changers”

      • I had noticed the strangely high number of Crusader-skill-specific items and I find it pretty annoying. I find the skill-specific legs kind of a lazy way of creating good legs (most effects should be impactful in a broader way then just making one skill crazy OP) but a few here and there is okayish…but 23 of them when he only has 24 skills is pretty ridiculous. It’s almost like they made him purposefully weak since they’d crammed so many skill items into the game for him.

        • That’s exactly how it feels. Condemn and Blessed Shield could be really strong with legendary boosts, but without they feel horribly weak, and blessed hammer barely hits for more damage than signature spells.

    14. I would vote Crusader for weakest class. I would vote sorcerer for what every class aspires to for DPS.

    15. My opinion of monks is that there aren’t good options for spirit spenders. Cyclone strike needs to do more damage, Wave of Light has a long animation time and doesn’t work well with free/high spirit regen type affixes, Tempest Rush is a skill that must be completely geared towards, Lashing Tail Kick has such short range that it feels clunky in this world of AoE, Exploding Palm is okay I suppose. There aren’t enough holy skills for generators or spenders and the same is true for fire spenders. Our new class set is completely geared towards lightning-based attacks which is unfortunate for really the holy class/healer class to not have a holy set. The new skill Epiphany while effective and kinda cool has issues with it’s teleport functionality. Most of the fist weapon legendary affixes seem thrown together and boring. The dashing strike one doesn’t help most people, and the Fist of Azturasq one is okay with Exploding Palm, and then there are the Daibo’s that have plenty of neat legendary affixes, but basically don’t get used enough because of the immortal 2-handers suck problem (gems should have double effect in 2 handers or something).

      Dashing Strikes not going through waller affix for anyone else? WTH is that?

      One with everything is actually an improvement in the world of enchanting because single resists are secondary affixes so they don’t take up a primary spot.

      Unity is a nice passive if you actually use a mantra that benefits party members and your group actually learns to kill mobs together.

      2 dodge passives one with the use of two one handers and one with the use of crit chance, one offensive ability that takes advantage of high dodge (in a small aoe once you dodge a hit)

      Solutions: Buff Cyclone Strike Damage, Reduce Wave of light animation time,make more appealing monk-specific legendary fist affixes, How about making +healing affix add a percentage to the damage component of holy spells so stacking +healing would be a better build option? Are element specific effects even in the xpac or did that get put on the backburner(fire-short dot,cold-slow,lightning-stun chance,poison- long dot?,holy-small LoH etc.)

      Maybe this is a rant, but they are still right there as the other tank class that does less damage but has to take the brunt of the hits. Which elite modifier doesn’t affect a melee class is the question you ask often.

    16. I think the DH is pretty strong but only with only one build: CA. They should boost the other skills so that people can play other builds instead of just going for that one. I’D also like to see some skills type change. There are too few cold runes with the DH which kind of limits that elemental type to frozen arrow.

      I’d also like to see them expand the items a bit so that it’s possible to get a cindercoat like piece of chest that boost as much damage for cold/poison/holy/arcane/physical/lightning so that other builds could also have a good +elemental piece. Right now fire has the upperhand since it’s the only chest piece with elemental that is such overpowered.

    17. I’ve heard people saying that the Crusader is total beast and in the next thread someone cries that they are super crappy. So I always take any analysis with a grain of salt. Usually it comes down to, “I don’t like this class, what am I doing, whatever, it’s garbage,” and then they write it off, but still make sure to mention how terrible it is any time the topic is brought up.

      Given enough time and effort, any class can do pretty well.

      • If the class was really balanced, people wouldn’t be saying it sucks at all. They feel bad because they are bad. They’re forced to use a shield with a 2hander, just to compete with the same dps every other class gets by dual wielding or using a quiver/source/mojo, but they also pay a movement penalty for it. Then they only get 3 passives, and their passives are incredibly weak. Their dps passives are finery, blunt, and holy cause, with other less direct dps passives that are hard to measure.

        Finery gives a maximum of 770 str I believe, which requires having socketed rings, amulet, and shield which is not ideal. More realistic would be having 7 sockets for 490 str. A decent amount of str in my opinion would be 7500. Increasing this to ~8000 is only about a 7% damage increase.

        Holy Cause increasing holy damage on weapon by 10%. Assuming a holy weapon, which is probably about 2/3 holy damage, this is again about 7% damage increase, but since it also heals this passive isn’t bad.

        Blunt is a 20% damage increase to your main skills, if you use them. Not a bad passive, but really restrictive.

        Overall this gives you approximately 35-40% bonus damage for 3 passives, which is all you have after heavenly strength.

        Compare this to wizard who gets 10% from cold blooded, 10% from unwavering will, 5-20% from elemental exposure, and 15% from glass cannon, there’s no comparison. Wizard’s passives, not even counting skill slot passives, give up to 62.5%, possibly more depending on how things add or multiply together. With actives included, they get about 100% plus 5% crit chance. Of course you can’t compare this 100% bonus to a crusader’s 40% because they would have a law and/or several cooldown skills to supplement their damage, but there really is a disparity in terms of damage.

      • I suspect anyone saying “the Crusader is total beast” is using some of the Crusader specific legs. Some of those are super powerful. But nobody should *require* specific legs just to make some of the awful skills worthwhile.

        • The Crusader is a total beast and you don’t need any specific Legendaries for that to be true. What you need is high crit damage (300%+) and possibly high crit chance although the latter isn’t that important. Then what you need to do is use Judgment / Resolved and Borbardment / Impactful Bombardment against Elites and watch them die in an instant. Against bosses and normal enemies you only need to put Fist of the Heavens / Fissure in good spots and you’re set. Right now leaving a Crusader out of any party is a crime against efficiency.

          The issue with Crusaders isn’t that they are weak, it’s that they don’t have much choice in skills (even with Legendaries) if they want to be efficient. Sure, their Wrath regeneration could use a little buff as well, but the main problem is that in my opinion out of all Wrath spenders nothing can compete with Fissure, especially when you have more than one Crusader in your party.

    18. So sox are the nu hammerdins basically. Hammerdins never got properly nerfed either.

    19. Shows what they know about balance. For almost 2 years, vanilla has skills used in less than 1%, which is basically unacceptable. By simple number change, at least some of them could become usable. Yet, they never did it – and Skills2.0 is what one of first balance patches should be – even more, the game with such bad balance should never have left beta.

      This is just logic – The God is beyond hatred. And it applies mostly to the intra-character balance, inter-character might be a bit off, having a character that is harder to master (but possible, and then equal to others) is relatively customary.

      Having a skill/passive that only 0.4% out of 12,000,000 players finds of some use is unacceptable and disgraceful. Yet, many of those are left unchanged.

      And plebeian talks about ‘rebalancing after the expansion’? The God has passed his divine judgement – he hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about. Should be blue.

    20. Frozen orb and cluster arrow are overpowered.
      They should and they will nerf frozen orb. Blizz have stated in 2834623 posts since release of vanilla that build diversity is important for them. For that to happen with the wizard FO needs to be nerfed. 90% of all wizards use it. I find it strange that they didn’t pick this up before the release. It was a new skill and they probably did shitloads of testing on it. It’s way better than the other arcane orb runes and its good vs packs and single targets. In general I think the wizard class is in a very good place with many viable builds. Nerf FO and the wizard is spot on.
      I have focused on the barb so far in ROS. It’s a much more polished class now, but he still need tweaks to open for build diversity in my opinion. The primary skills are too weak and some skills seems to be a bit buggy. Boulder toss, seismic slam and hota seems to miss the target quite often which is annoying, (and yes I’m confident that I hit the bastards). In general I believe the barb needs to have some fury management tweaks to avoid 80% of the barbs use WW-wind shear. The fire hammer build is great, but you need SOJs and cinder coat.
      I’m glad I didn’t give up on the barb since he felt a bit weak the first days of the expansion. He is so fun to play when you get decent gear.
      The next patch of RoS is going to be interesting.

      • I don’t know how you can miss with Seismic Slam. 2 years of experience with that skill and I never noticed it missing anything. SS is not going through waller and probably procs crits not well enough, that’s the only problems I’d found.

    21. I only have two 70s, Wizard and Crusader. But I’ve played all the classes to at least 60. And from my experience, Wizard basically has the best of every world.
      Witch Doctor doesn’t quite have the mobility, same feeling for Barbarians. Crusaders have a rather clunky feeling resource, while Wizards can basically not even use a spender if they want to. Demon Hunters are a close second in my opinion, but they can’t go through walls and they feel even squishier due to not getting free armor OR resist, but rather, an unrealiable dodge chance which is less useful the more attacks per second you are receiving.

      i dont think any class is just so bad that it needs a buff (even crusader feels okay, maybe needs a slight buff, but doesn’t feel broken in a bad way at least)

      but wizard just sort of stands above the rest due to its option for mobility, tankiness, raw damage, and how forgiving its resource is compared to others.

    22. The whole rune system, still based on levelling, needs to be changed – everyone plays each character once for a certain amount of hours, then reaches maximum level and have all skills and runes unlocked. Afterwards, the same player spends hundreds or thousands hours playing fully unlocked character.

      If any rune has 80-90% usage and is in the most builds, something is wrong – either others skills or runes are inferior, or combination in question is overpowered. Furthermore, it may happen that the character actually *needs* that combination to survive.

      Proper skill balancing (buffing alternative runes or other skills, nerfing OP skill) would solve this problem.

      Another solution is adding more skills/passives for builds. With just 7 skills on disposal, variety of choices (we are in the range of ‘off’ skills, not absolutely needed and likely situational, which have much harder competition among each other, for all classes alike). Adding 8th skill further improves diversity and, ultimately, fun in the game).

      Approach ‘lets put x items that modify skills’ is not necessarily bad, and could be fun, but is not the complete solution. Itemization can never be replacement for bad initial balance – or for ‘wise’ decision that player cannot *invest* in anything to customize his character, rather just play and things happen to him – as finding good skill modifying item.

      • (The God may like to be aware that there are only 6 skills on the toolbar…)

        But yeah, I’m baffled why they seem uninterested in tweaking aaaaall those runes that are almost entirely ignore by players. Tons of them only need minor number tweaks to get them to worthwhile status.

        • The God is aware, but also that there is no actual reason against adding more. Even with keeping (unreasonably low) number of buttons, there are ways to compensate, as in making ‘timed passive slots’, for containing skills cast every ten minutes (sic!), which are basically a waste of a skill button (force weapon or wizard Amos come to mind), and perhaps clickable for additional bonuses (as in monks mantras). Most of the classes have some, and ones who doesn’t could perhaps trade it for another normal passive (still promoting diversity).

          Guiding idea of making ‘tough choices’ for players failed, at least in the current balance state, and degraded to making ‘forced picks’ with few variations. But the game itself can be still cured, The God believes – Blizzard just needs to continue swallowing bitter pills and admit that some of game paradigms were wrong – 6 button, for instance – to use famous ‘Blizzard fan defense’ (or rather gambit?) ‘if you don’t want them, don’t use them. Bashiok grandma should be able to play it with only finger’. Ok, Bashiok grandma can play normal, maybe hard. But ‘top players’ certainly are able to have fun without worrying of using left hand over mighty 1-6, or whatever, especially if ‘6’ needs to be pressed every 10 minutes or so.

          Well, in the next expansion, perhaps…

    23. QUOTE

      I suspect anyone saying "the Crusader is total beast" is using some of the Crusader specific legs. Some of those are super powerful. But nobody should *require* specific legs just to make some of the awful skills worthwhile.

      Sadly, it seems that the developers factored in the legendaries when determining skill balance. Those legendary effects SHOULD be making you overpowered, not bringing you up to par.

      • I thought it was just something as simple as people stacking CDR.

        • Stacking CDR will not make skills like Shield Bash or Blessed Shield non-garbage. Compare the damage on Phalanx – a skill I think is really cool – to the damage on similar skills from other classes and Phalanx looks pathetic by comparison.

    24. So you managed to find one rune on one spender that is very effective? That’s cool…..I’m not saying they don’t have a good skill here and there (though I’m doubting Fissure is really competing against the other classes best spenders). But as a class, they have a lot of pathetically weak skills right now when you compare them to what other classes have going on.

    25. You missed a poll for “Which class is the most fun to play?” Obviously, the fact that everyone agrees that the wiz is the most powerful, yet only 29% have made a wiz their main says something.

      Personally, I have played all 6 classes to 70. My DH is my main and has, by far, the best gear, yet my wiz is almost as powerful, even though she has less than an hour played at 70. I still prefer my DH, she is the most fun for me.

      In my opinion, for power level from what I’ve seen so far, it is Wiz > DH >>> Barb > Monk >>> WD > Crusader. There is a big difference between the first two, the middle two and the last two.

      Now, if they all had awesome gear, this ranking might change, but with new 70s, that is how it goes.

      Oh, and I don’t use CA on my DH, and still place her solidly 2nd. Like the Wiz, she has a number of viable builds.

    26. Usually, if almost everyone uses one skill it’s because it’s the only one worth using. In this case, it’s because people are “never very imaginative”. They find one build, mindlessly copy paste it, and then stop looking.

      Sure FO works, if you’re fine with spending at least a third of your time not using it because you’re out of AP. I tried it, quickly got annoyed with the lack of sustain, and looked for other options. I promptly found 3 other skills competitive damage wise, though one was very quickly dismissed because it had even worse sustain problems. The other two? You could spam them forever without much difficulty. And because the parrot flock isn’t on them, you probably won’t get nerfed.

      What they need to do is:

      Make other AO runes competitive with Frozen Orb.
      Half the cost of Meteor.
      Remove the cast limit on Blizzard.

      And then instead of moderate variety appearing as less than it is, you have real greater variety.

      As for DHers, they actually do lack variety. Impale just sucks, Rapid Fire needs a heavy proc build, Multishot is at best a utility skill, same for Strafe…

      • Your build just isn’t good enough if you’re unable to sustain arcane power. With only 4 AP on Crit, I can cast it as much as 8 times before I have to switch to magic missile, and my max AP is only 90 something.

    27. I really love the way a Barb feels. You can WW your way through most mobs and continue on your merry way. DH is also kinda fun. But as most know, I love my Wiz. It feels pretty powerful and yet a bit fragile. Exactly what I would expect from that class.

      Arcane Torrent is pretty fantastic in every regard. Very spammable and yet I do not use it. Why you might ask? Because it’s too slow for my play style. Time to cast and animation make it less desirable for me and lack some cleave that FO gives us.

      Meteor is a great skill, but the lack of APoC is our current generation of builds is very evident. As Steven says above they need to reduce the cost.

      Twister and other AP spenders are just okay but lack something..Either a bit too random or too costly…

    28. Since RoS dropped, I haven’t played DH or WD at all really. No opinion on those. I’ve played the Monk a bit and he needs work. As others have said, his resource spenders, esp secondaries, are lacking right now, and I’ve felt no temptation to use epiphany. He plays fine and feels balanced, but he doesn’t feel awesome and he doesn’t feel like he hits hard or kills things fast.

      I feel the Barbarian is much improved and plays way better, and I actually use avalanche all the time, I’ve experimented a fair bit and find it better for me than wotb or earthquake, which really surprised me. The ruthless passive is incredible for finishing off monsters, esp bosses. I also have no issues generating fury at all; to me, he feels great and I figure I just need to keep gearing up. I’ve played mostly that and the Wizard. The Wizard feels about perfect right now. Black hole is amazing, and disintegrate has been one of my favorite skills in the game since day 1, still is.

      I used the weekend buff to level a Crusader to 57 (didn’t have more time). His offensive abilities seem decent to me and I don’t have issues generating wrath, but he is pretty squishy. I don’t feel his defenses are enough to account for the lack of 30% passive reduction. Maybe they should give him 15%? Playing him reminds me of the DH where things are going fine and then suddenly all his health is gone out of nowhere… but I thought he was supposed to be able to stand his ground at least a little bit. I don’t feel comfortable letting him get surrounded. Heck, even the Wizard, I use the audacity passive, pop diamond skin and just stand there melting everything, and she’s the glass cannon. The Crusader appears to have lots of healing abilities but in practice they heal very little and I don’t want to devote all of my skills and runes to various healing flavors at the expense of damage output. As a Barbarian, when I need to heal I use Ignorance is Bliss and he’s full health in short order; the Monk is also pretty easy to keep at full health; with the Crusader I’m still at a loss how to manage all the damage coming in. In short, I guess I’d say his damage output is okay but he needs to be more survivable.

    29. I’ve been playing crusader since I beat A5 with my wizard, and I only really noticed how bad they were when I started running numbers and compared it to my fresh, barely played wiz. Crusader has 5 or 6 legs, decently rolled, compared to the wiz’s one. Wizard still outdamages him by double, if not more, on anything except judgement/bombardment champ packs. Even then, the wiz only takes a few more seconds to kill stuff at T1 and doesn’t have to spend long cooldowns hoping to hit most of a pack.

      The datamined buffs for this week’s patch seem like a good start, but I can’t help but suspect Crusaders will still be a bit behind without rarified gear (2-handed flail with high rolls and a socket and wrath gen that rolled holy damage… coz those are common). I’m cautiously optimistic, but I need to play with the changes before I bother trying to gear my Crusader up any further.

    30. Wizard STILL the most popular class – has that ever NOT been the case?

    31. Items drive builds and classes. My HC barb has enough DMG to faceroll T4. Just need more toughness. 16m ain’t gonna cut it on T4

    32. I’m really not too concerned about class balance in an aRPG and I think a big part of the reason loot/skills were such a bore in Vanilla D3 is because there was too much focus on balance. I mean honestly, when you start introducing items and abilities as powerful as you see in the Diablo games, tight balancing is pretty much impossible. Thus, to balance well, you have to downgrade the game to a numbers game – cue, stat-stick loot that we got in Vanilla.

      The most important thing for Diablo is fun: is feeling powerful, having numerous options available to you and loot feeling epic. After that you can think about balancing but never before IMO.

    33. QUOTE

      Hey Steven, what were some of the other wizard skills you liked? I'm use FO right now but I kind of want to switch it up. I just don't have the time to do a ton of testing myself.
      
      This is another downside to having gear that has such specific effects. People like me who have limited play time will be hesitant to try out new builds because our gear will be focused on improving our current skill. I'm probably not going to try a fire build when all of my gear is focused on improving cold skills and arcane orb damage. I'd need to farm a set for every element. I know I could enchant the gear to change that stat, but I've had to reroll other stats on gear to get sockets and things like that.

      Arcane Torrent and Disintegrate. Which is another reason to not follow the herd, as when people start crying nerf FO Blizzard will, and then what is that gear? A miserable pile of souls? Have at you! Not that I want that to happen, but you know it will. Even though it’s a single player noncompetitive game and FO isn’t ultra powerful. AT starts inherently better against one target, Disintegrate inherently better against several but there’s ways around either of these.

    34. The crusader class is fundamentally flawed by design. There seems to have been no real vision beyond “make a class that depends on the new cooldown reduction stat.” The over-emphasis on long cooldowns makes for lopsided gameplay and a class that’s impossible to balance because the crusader needs to spend 3-4 skill slots doing the damage that other classes do with two. This leaves very little room for utility skills, you can barely squeeze in the severely underpowered Steed Charge (if one finds it worth using at all) and many of the skills are just weaker versions of what other classes get. Compare Provoke to War Cry, for instance.

      The skillset is also crammed with stuff that doesn’t scale well. Block is crap beyond T3, and many of the passives give flat amounts of stats or healing. Two thirds of the passives are unusable garbage, of course. Most aspects of the crusader class are just a solid level below the other classes in sheer value, but the worst thing to me is the way the developers seem completely oblivious to the importance of speed. If you make a class that’s vastly slower than the others, it will remain underpowered even if you do manage to give them damage and defenses on par with the best. The tragedy of the crusader is that even if they end up doing the most DPS and being the tankiest class, they still won’t be worth playing for anyone concerned about efficiency and farming speed.

    35. Until blizzard tones down Wizard active damage multiplication they will always be the strongest class. Prodigy, electrocute & FO weren’t really the issue.

      10% all damage from sparkflint

      20% all damage from magic weapon

      5% crit & 35% armor from pinpoint barrier

      For 3 active skills. Toss in a cooldown a generator and a spender and you’re set.

      Passives, everyone wants Blur for the fantastic damage mitigation. So that give you 3 slots left

      15% damage for some minor armor & AR reduction (more than made up for by energy & int > AR conversion & blur)

      10% damage and 20% armor & resists for standing still for 1.5 seconds (remarkable synergy with all the wizard channeling skills)

      15% damage just for being within 15 yards of the monsters

      It adds up VERY quickly.

      1.10 sparkflint * 1.2 magic weapon * 1.10 pinpoint barrier+ * 1.15 glass cannon * 1.10 unwavering will * 1.15 audacity = 111% damage increase. More than double damage JUST from passive & active skills. None of them are highly conditional like many other classes equivalents (for example steady aim on demon hunter).

      +this is a complicated calculation. Right now on my main character spreadsheet 5% CHC translates to an 11% damage increase on her primary skill so rounding to 1.10. Obviously this changes depending on the rest of your stats.. weapon dmg, CHD, etc

      All of this is multiplicative with the old bonuses (elite %, CHC/CHD%, int %) and with the new bonuses (skill dmg %, elemental dmg %).

      Also, NONE of this is counting all the other ways Blizzard gave Wizards to multiply their elemental damage. Spectral blades – flame blades. Black hole absolute zero or spell steal. Disintegrate – intensify. Arcane torrent – disruption. I’m not maining a wizard at the moment so I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting. I’m sure you get my point.

    36. None of them are highly conditional like many other classes equivalents (for example steady aim on demon hunter).

      Screw steady aim – how about Marked for Death? 20% damage boost to a single monster for 3 Disc is pretty pathetic next to 20% damage boost to all monsters essentially for free. If I had a magic wand I could wave at D3, removing/redesigning Magic Weapon would certainly be on my “to do” list.

    37. QUOTE

      Screw steady aim - how about Marked for Death? 20% damage boost to a single monster for 3 Disc is pretty pathetic next to 20% damage boost to all monsters essentially for free. If I had a magic wand I could wave at D3, removing/redesigning Magic Weapon would certainly be on my "to do" list.

      That’s a great point. I’ve said before that calamity (hand crossbow with guaranteed chance to apply MfD to everything we hit) is the best MfD rune which is kind of sad, but it certainly makes calamity a hot ticket item!

    38. Anecdotes don’t disprove self-evident facts. Maybe your wizard just isn’t very good, or you haven’t seen how the other classes perform with similar gear/effort. The indisputable fact of the matter is that the wizard class does too much damage because they have so many stackable, unconditional bonuses that are simply too good, and since the most rewarding content is frankly T1 where survivability is barely a concern, there’s no disadvantage to being a “glass cannon” (which wizards aren’t even really, they just aren’t specifically tanky).

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