Which Diablo 3 class should you play in Season 23?
Season 23 starts on April 2, and so all of us happy Diablo players can engage in a new Season of mulching demons in Sanctuary. However, it should be pointed out that for the first time since Season 14, we won’t be getting a special Season Theme to make gameplay different or boost our character power in interesting ways. Season 23 is the Disciples of Sanctuary Season, the Season that provides no stacking buff, no extra Kanai’s Cube power, no usual set bonus now accessible to all characters. As a result, it’s the most like playing a non-Season character that we’ve seen in quite a while.
And as a result of that, I can now proudly and without hesitation say you should play as a Barbarian in Season 23, because I think Barbarians are the best class.
Barbarians are the best class and they have always been the best class
Honestly, there’s nothing in Season 23 that really requires you to play as any specific class in order to do well.
If you insist on being wrong and playing some other class? The game won’t punish you for being wrong. If you really enjoy Necromancers or Witch Doctors or Crusaders? Season 23 is the most class agnostic Season ever and there’s nothing about it that will boost any class over any other class.
It all comes down to what you enjoy the most, because the Season isn’t going to make any particular playstyle better or worse than any other. There are some gear changes, such as the changes to the Firelord’s Finery 2- and 6-piece set bonuses that push the damage back from the 2-piece and to the 6-piece, but that’s not enough to say that Wizards are suddenly not viable, in my opinion. Indeed, none of the changes to items that come along with this patch will really make or break your favorite class, whatever it is.
It should be Barbarian, mind you.
But if you want to consider every available options, here’s a rundown of the classes available in Diablo 3.
Classes for melee players
The melee-focused classes in Diablo 3 are Barbarian, Crusader, and Monk. Each of these has a different flavor to them.
- Barbarians are my soul mates and focus on brutal mass damage with huge splash attacks like Seismic Slam, Hammer of the Ancients, and Whirlwind.
- Crusaders use a big shield to block — and in some cases redirect — damage, with withering attacks like Bombardment and Heaven’s Fury that lay waste to an area.
- Monks are nearly the polar opposite of this, with high maneuverability that allows them to avoid damage that Barbarians simply absorb and Crusaders block or reflect. Attacks like Tempest Rush and Exploding Palm allow them to deal out damage while avoiding it themselves.
Essentially, if you’re looking for a melee class, these three have three variant approaches — wade in, take a beating to dole out one of your own for Barbarians, use a shield both to avoid damage and deal it out yourself while also smiting every fool in reach on the Crusader, or nimbly sidestep threats and use the enemies’ own numbers to destroy them on the Monk.
Classes for ranged players
First off, while these classes do have ranged attacks, they can use those attacks on things up close and personal to them, so don’t worry that you’ll get surrounded — each of these classes have options to bring the pain no matter where the enemy is.
Ranged players have more class options than meleers, with the Necromancer, Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Demon Hunter all focused on dealing damage from a distance.
- Wizards are the pure stuff. Magic Missile, Ray of Frost, Arcane Orb, Mirror Image, and Teleport are just some of the tricks Wizards have at their disposal. If you want to rain destruction without worrying about things like pets or minions, Wizards are the ranged class for you. Remember, your Season journey starts at level 1 with no gear or money so you won’t have to worry about optimization for quite some time.
- Demon Hunters can focus on traps, turrets, or pets to help them as they cartwheel around the battlefield, using Vault, Strafe, and Multishot to their advantage.
- Witch Doctors are a bit of a hybrid class, relying on summoned minions and curses to soften up their enemies. Then, they either use their magic to make their minions and curses stronger and whittle their crippled foes down, or they sometimes wade in to kill their debilitated enemies. If you want to use mindless Zombies as fodder and summon Gargantuan ones to fight, Sacrifice one and watch it explode, or even rain Firebats down on your foes, the Witch Doctor could be for you.
- Necromancer is a close cousin of the Witch Doctor. If you like the concept of using minions and debilitating your enemies, but not so much the specific aesthetic of the Witch Doctor, this may be your class. The Necromancer’s flavor is fairly different, with the Witch Doctor’s kit being more The Serpent and the Rainbow while the Necromancer is more straightforwardly Evil Dead, but if you like wielding a scythe while unleashing hosts of skeletons and causing your fallen enemies to explode, Necromancers are your jam.
How to level, play, and make the most of your newly-chosen class
Everyone’s equally squishy and underpowered at level 1. That’s why the game starts you off with a few shambling undead in Act 1 and gradually ramps up as you clear your way through the Cathedral. If you’re just getting started with Diablo, we have guides and info to help you out:
- How to make the most of Diablo 3’s Season 23 Follower changes
- Season 23 does not have a theme — meet the Disciples of Sanctuary
- Speed leveling 101
- Campaign Mode, Adventure Mode, and what you should be playing
- Everything you need to know about gear
- Everything else you need to know about gear (namely Legendaries)
- Getting started with Rifts
- How to run (and succeed!) in Challenge Rifts
- How Paragon levels power up your character past level 70
- Blizzard’s Diablo forums, which are full of great resources
- Builds from Diablofans to help you put together a killer character
- Icy Veins’ class guides for Barbarian, Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Necromancer, Witch Doctor, and Wizard
Now that you’ve decided on a character…
Actually starting a Season character is easy. Once the Season starts, there’s an option on the character creation screen to choose between a normal and Seasonal character. Seasonal characters start off with nothing — they don’t have any Paragon levels, they don’t share any stash tabs with your other character: they’re completely cut off at level 1 with starter gear.
From there, you play the game as normal, just as you did the very first time you rolled a character in Diablo 3. All the content is available to you — all five acts and Adventure Mode — so you can level to 70 doing the story, running bounties, doing rifts, and greater rifts, or you can play with friends. Season play is basically a reset that makes leveling as challenging as if you had no higher level characters to funnel you gold, gems, and legendaries.
Whatever class you choose (pick a Barbarian) it’ll be fun this Season.
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