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.
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.
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 Sprint: Run like the Wind and Into 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:
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?
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