I’ve just finished running all five classes through the beta – in Hardcore mode. The beta isn’t terribly difficult, but since Hardcore mode has been unlocked for the past two weeks, I figured it’d make the class run-throughs a bit more interesting and exciting.
I ran all five characters through from start-to-finish – using only the items they picked up along the way, with the occasional crafted piece. The Skeleton King was gracious enough to drop some rares, but all five run-throughs were completed using whites and blues. I also used the Templar – talented with Heal.
Each run took around an hour – give or take a few minutes – and all of the classes were level 8 by the time they took on King Leoric.
It’s definitely noticeable how much Blizzard has tuned that fight since the early days of the beta. It is a more difficult fight than it was 5 or 6 months ago, not to mention he takes much longer to kill. It’s not what I’d consider a really tough first mini-boss encounter, unlike…say…The Butcher in Diablo I, but it’s one of those fights where you need to pay attention to your positioning, or else you can find yourself overwhelmed by bony bad guys.
Which class did I enjoy the most?
My choice as favorite Diablo 3 class (so far, anyway) was a little surprising to me. I thought for sure I’d have picked the Barbarian, after having been such a hardcore Barb guy in D2, but my favorite was actually the Demon Hunter.
Early on in the game, the Demon hunter just “feels right”. The class mechanics are fun and interesting, and the Demon Hunter abilities seem well balanced. The class puts out respectable damage – both single and multi-target – with nice options for snaring opponents and mitigating damage.
I found the Demon Hunter to be the most enjoyable class to play, for a variety of reasons. I like the look of the class, the emotes, the play style, and the abilities are just really fun to use -and- they look pretty cool as well. Rapid Fire + Frenzied Shrine buff = pure win.
Continuing on after level 8, the Demon Hunter becomes incredibly more awesome once Vault becomes available. This ability rocks for speeding through dungeons, escaping from packs of hostile mobs, and for getting to health orbs…and once again…and most importantly…the ability looks pretty cool when used.
Which class felt the most overpowered?
I think I’ll have to go with the Monk. Tempest Rush – the Monk’s version of Whirlwind – is probably my favorite ability of any class so far in the beta. It’s outstanding for not only AoE damage and crowd control, but for blasting through groups of enemies in order to reach health orbs. In addition, the Monk gets her own heal at level 8 – Breath of Heaven. Not only did I never need to swill a potion during the Skeleton King fight…I never even came close to dying.
In addition to being the most OP, in my opinion, the Monk also rates as my second favorite class. The Demon Hunter wins out by a very small margin, but that could change once the game is live and I’ve had a chance to play a bit more with the Monk. Considering we’re only experiencing a minute portion of the content that will be included in the game, it’s hard to really gauge which class I’m going to like best once I’ve had a chance to blow past level 13 and beyond. Right now it’s feeling like Monk and Demon Hunter will be my preferred champions, but the Barbarian could end up being the sleeper class that really shines later in the game.
Behind the Monk, I’d have to say that the Wizard felt the second most powerful during the Skeleton King encounter. The Wizard feels a bit fragile for the first couple of levels, but once she unlocks Diamond Skin and the runed version of Ray of Frost – it’s on. Not only can she take a punch, but things just drop dead all around her – with health orbs popping up left and right – making sure you always have plenty of hit points.
Which class did I enjoy the least?
I’m going to have to say that the Witch Doctor is my least favorite class in the beta, although, I have to admit…I really like the AoE flamethrower Firebats skill. Problem was, I couldn’t see using it over the runed Grasp of the Dead, due to lack of a crowd control ability. Also, the disobedient Zombie Dogs can be a bit annoying when they attract unwanted mobs, plus I often found myself mistaking them for hellspawn, and wondering why my poison darts were just passing right through them. However, they do hold aggro pretty well and it’s nice that they receive healing via the health orbs.
What about the Barbarian…?
I like the Barbarian class so far, but it doesn’t feel as smooth as either the Demon Hunter or Monk – for me, anyway. I’m a huge fan of the Barbarian class in Diablo 2, so I’m willing to bet that in time, the D3 Barbarian will win me over again. My love affair with the Demon Hunter may just be a passing fancy.
Which class am I going to roll first on May 15th?
Even though Demon Hunter is my beta-favorite, I still cannot say for sure. I’ll probably roll a Demon Hunter first, but the thought of crushing Nightmare and Hell with a Barbarian – for old time’s sake – sounds really good too. One thing’s for sure, I’m going to plan on committing to one toon and charging to 60 before I create another. The second class I roll will be the one that has the most useful goodies available to them via the shared stash.
It won’t be a Witch Doctor or Wizard, however. I’ve never been much for casters.