Diablo 4 Beta: Best Classes For Server Slam Weekend

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Diablo 4 Classes

Photo: Activision Blizzard

Diablo 4‘s Server Slam weekend offers one more chance to try the game’s “beta” before the game launches in June. Since this will be the game’s third early access period so far, we actually have a pretty good idea about how the game’s classes stack up against each other and which should be the most powerful during the Server Slam period.

So while we’ll have to update these rankings ahead of the game’s proper release, here’s a look at where every class in the game stands ahead of this final beta weekend.

Barbarian – A Straightforward Powerhouse That is Perfect for Beginners

Anyone vaguely familiar with previous Diablo games (and most RPGs for that matter) should know what to expect from Diablo 4’s Barbarian class. If not, then just know that Barbarians are mighty melee powerhouses who rely on multiple massive weapons to carve their way through waves of foes. 

Barbarian’s powerful strikes certainly make them the perfect class for Diablo 4’s tougher one-on-one fights, but they’re not lacking in AoE abilities. In fact, Barbarians boast a couple of viable melee-focused AoE abilities at the moment, each of which is designed to support various playstyles. You won’t tear through packs of enemies in record time at the moment, but you will be able to hold your own in any encounter.

Actually, the Barbarian’s biggest draw in the early stages of the game may just be their defensive abilities. Iron Skin is one of the more powerful personal shields in the early game, while Ground Somp is an incredibly effective AoE stun that can either buy you time or set up powerful follow-up strikes. You can certainly build a more aggressive Barbarian if you choose to do so, but early-game solo players learning the ropes will want to incorporate the class’ tanking and buff abilities. With the right skills, you’ll start to feel unstoppable for reasons that go beyond hubris. 

The Barbarian’s lack of range abilities and longer cooldown times are their biggest drawbacks. You can certainly survive the melee onslaughts this game throws at you, but there will be times when you’ll wish that the game offered you at least a few more ways to defend yourself at a distance. While you’re waiting for your abilities to cool down, you’ll also be relying on super basic melee strikes, which isn’t always the most exciting way to play the game. Barbarians are the most gear-dependent class in the game at the moment, which means that you may have to depend a little more on drops than you may like.

Rogue – A Returning Class That Offers a Little Bit of Everything for Experienced Players

Anyone that was worried that the Diablo team had forgotten about Rogues and wasn’t going to show them the proper love for their return in Diablo 4 can put those fears to rest. It turns out that Rogues are absolute terrors who excel at many aspects of the game. 

Like many other Rogues in most other RPGs, Diablo 4’s Rogues often rely on stealth and subterfuge to get the job done. Abilities like Shadow Step allow them to quickly move behind enemies and perform a devastating backstab, while Dark Shroud allows them to summon shadows that can absorb incoming damage. Those who prefer “gadgets” will want to rely on Blinding Smoke and Poison Trap to stun enemies and then force them to wade through a DoT cloud of pain. Rogues can even imbue weapons with special types of damage in order to exploit enemy weaknesses. 

However, the Rogue’s most significant asset may just be their extensive array of ranged attacks. While not primarily a ranged class (unless you chose to build them that way), the Rogue’s ability to deal considerable damage from afar feels especially valuable when paired with the classes’ evasive maneuvers and melee combo potential. Open with some ranged strikes, unleash some close-range combos, and you’re laughing. Demons are dying, and you’re laughing. 

Unfortunately, the Rogue is a pretty complex class by Diablo standards. They do not deal a ton of base damage in the early game, which means that there will be times when you’ll be overwhelmed by packs of even lesser foes. You really have to master this class’ positioning and timing in order to get the most out of them. If the idea of constantly staying on your toes while you acquire the resources needed to unleash your best attacks doesn’t sound like a good time, then you will struggle to love this class. The Rouge’s unique “stance” mechanic further adds to their complexity by forcing you to consider several methods of attack and how they pair with your chosen build and abilities.

Sorcerer – Glass Cannons That Can Unleash the Most Powerful AoE Abilities in the Game

As you probably guessed, Sorcerers are Diablo 4’s masters of the arcane arts. They sling spells as casually as other classes swing their weapons, and they eventually gain access to powers once limited to the gods. However, the real ace up the Sorcerer’s sleeve is their mastery of the elements. 

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From the start, Sorcerers have access to basic fire, ice, and lightning abilities. As you expand their skills, you’ll eventually be able to either lean all the way into one of those elements or combine them for some devastating combo effects that allow you to successfully target various enemies’ weaknesses. Regardless of which path you choose, you’ll almost always have access to devastating AoE abilities that allow you to tear through groups of lesser and stronger foes with little effort required. 

Don’t overlook the Sorcerer’s defensive and utility abilities, though. Skills like Ice Armor can keep you alive during the game’s toughest fights, while Teleport allows you to zip around the battlefield and deal damage along the way. Sorcerers are also blessed with the ability to conjure powerful elemental weapons and creatures that can do a lot of heavy lifting if you have the mana to spend on them. 

Mana is one of the Sorcerer’s biggest issues, though. While all classes depend on one resource or another for their special attacks, mana tends to drain pretty fast in Diablo 4, and Sorcerers use a ton of the blue juice. It can be challenging to properly manage that resource throughout the game. Furthermore, Sorcerers are the weakest defensive class in Diablo 4 by some distance. In the early game, they can often feel helpless. Their high-end power level is meant to make up for that weakness, but be prepared to die a lot until you start to unlock even a fraction of that potential. 

Necromancer – A Powerful Class That Relies on Minions For Insane Damage

As you probably guessed, Necromancers are magic users that primarily rely on raising the dead and using them as minions. However, that’s not the only trick that Necromancers have up their sleeves.

Actually, it’s possible to build a viable Necromancer that doesn’t even raise minions. The class’ powerful “Blood Magic” abilities allow them to access a variety of offensive and defensive spells that generally don’t rely on minions. Even better, a lot of those blood abilities offer offensive and defensive capabilities in unison. Some steal life from enemies and restore your own health in the process, while others offer defensive buffs at the cost of enemy lives. Those blood abilities offer the Necromancer a tank-like set of tools many RPG casters don’t have access to.

However, the Necromancer’s minions obviously remain the main reason that you should choose this class. Specifically, Corpse Explosion is probably the best reason to choose this class over other options. That incredible ability allows you to detonate fallen enemies and deal tremendous damage to any other enemies caught in the blasts. While that ability was recently nerfed, it remains a cornerstone for many Necromancer builds.

While the Diablo 4 betas won’t let us explore the Necromancer’s full roster of summonable allies, their undead armies are still quite powerful even in the early stages of the game. You’re going to rely on them for most of your offensive capabilities, and the minions that are available are quite powerful.

However, those minions can be a double-edged sword. Many of the Necromancer’s abilities are based on being able to summon minions. That also means they need a steady supply of corpses. That means that the necromancer excels in fights against large packs of enemies, and can struggle (comparatively) in some other encounters. It’s also possible that some players will simply find that level of micromanagement to be a bit frustrating.

Druid – An Incredibly Versatile Class That Can Use a Variety of Abilities

Historically, RPG Druids have been known for their shapeshifting abilities. Diablo 4 not only honors that archetype but utilizes it in interesting ways.

Druids can be tanks, DPS machines, or casters. It all depends on how you build them. Even the earliest Druid abilities allow you to access skills from a variety of playstyles. From there, you can build your Druid out in whatever way you want. That inherent versatility makes Druids a favorite among “builders” who want their classes to be a bit of a blank slate.

However, it’s important to remember that Druids are not limited to a single form or playstyle. They’re able to swap between various forms at will (if you’ve picked the right skills). That allows you to access various schools of abilities at various points in the game. Even better, some Druid abilities actually offer buffs whenever you swap your shape.

Like Necromancers, Druids also have access to various minions. They don’t rely on them as much as the Necromancers do, but they can actually carry a lot of weight. They’re especially valuable to Druid players who are able to pick the minions that support their preferred playstyle. For instance, wolves allow Werewolf Druids to spread their damaging poisonous effects even faster than before.

Unfortunately, all of those options come at a cost. Druids suffer from the classic “Jack of all trades, master of none” conundrum. They can do so much, but they’re not necessarily the best in any given field. While recent changes to the class make it easier to justify using all of the Druid’s forms in conjunction, you may sometimes find yourself wishing that your preferred Druid form was a bit more powerful.

Every Diablo 4 Beta Class Ranked Worst to Best for Server Slam Weekend 

As it stands, here is where every Diablo 4 Beta class stands ahead of Server Slam weekend:

5. Druid

4. Barbarian

3. Rogue

2. Necromancer

Latest Game reviews

1. Sorcerer

Despite some recent buffs, Druids remain a pretty tough sell. I actually kind of love the DPS-focused “Rabies Druid” build, but the class’ fundamental issues remain exactly that. In the early stages of the game, Druids just don’t have access to the tools they need that will conceivably eventually elevate them. Bear Druids are too slow, and caster Druids just can’t keep up with other caster options. They’re still a viable class, but they’re not quite there yet.

Barbarians greatly benefited from their recent changes, though. It’s now significantly easier to compensate for their mobility issues, and they’re even more durable than before. Both of those factors (and other changes) make them much better in boss fights. Sadly, the best way to build a Barbarian is to treat them as a tank. Their DPS capabilities just aren’t really where they need to be yet. The full game should help address that issue, but Barbarians still suffer from the relative lack of high-end gear and skills.

Rogues are a wildcard. They have access to an incredible toolkit that allows them to operate effectively as both melee and ranged DPS characters. They’re also blessed with some incredible defensive/evasive options that make them ideal for solo players trying to take out the toughest enemies. Honestly, the Rouge doesn’t have a major weakness, but the next two classes are just better equipped to blast through early-game content.

While the Necromancer did take some big hits to their overall power level recently, they remain pure AoE powerhouses. They can rip through packs of enemies in record time, and their enhanced defensive capabilities allow them to survive encounters other casters would traditionally struggle with. If you’re ok with figuring out and managing a slightly more complex kit, they remain a top-tier option.

At the moment, though, it’s hard to top the Sorcerer. Their AoE abilities are phenomenal, but the also possess the skills needed to survive and thrive during boss fights and similar encounters. Even better, there are several ways to build a viable sorcerer. You can even combine all of their elemental abilities and use their full kit if the mood strikes you. It’s likely that further Sorcerer nerfs are coming, but until those are implemented, the sorcerer remains one of the best ways to speedrun through some of Diablo 4’s earliest content.

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