Which class should you play in Diablo 4? Here are the pros and cons of all the classes in D4
Diablo 4 includes just five classes, fewer than we had in Diablo 2 or Diablo 3. All of the Diablo 4 classes are classic archetypes or fan-favorites from previous Diablo titles:
- Barbarian, a powerful melee combatant wielding an arsenal of weapons, returning from Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 (and definitely the class you should play in Diablo 4)
- Druid, a shapeshifter who harnesses the power of nature, and a fan-favorite making its return from Diablo 2
- Necromancer, a summoner who controls skeletal armies and wields the power of blood and bone, returning from Diablo 2 and Diablo 3
- Rogue, a highly mobile ranged and melee combatant, returning from Diablo 1, but it’s also similar to the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter
- Sorcerer, a master of elemental magic and powerful enchantments, which has been part of the franchise since Diablo 1 (though in Diablo 3 it was called Wizard)
The range of classes should offer something for every playstyle, though we hope to see a few other favorites appear in the future, like the Paladin/Crusader from Diablo 2 and Diablo 3 — or even something completely new. But as the game isn’t even out yet — Diablo 4 is currently available in open beta, with a release date on June 6, 2023 — it’s probably early to start speculating on expansions.
So what class should you play in Diablo 4? Traditionally, when I advise players on what class they should play in Diablo, I try tp convince them to play my favorite class, the Barbarian. And though I am firmly convinced that if you choose to play Barbarian you will have an excellent time, frankly, any of the classes of Diablo 4 could provide you with a great experience.
The class you should play in Diablo 4 is the one that best matches your interests and has a playstyle that suits you — and the only way you’ll figure out which one that is would be to look at them all. Each class has a unique skillset and playstyle, and even a cursory look at the talent trees for Diablo 4 reveals an incredible variety of options for every class.
So let’s take a look at each of the classes in Diablo 4, their playstyle, and their unique features. (Or you could just play a Barbarian. Here’s what we know about all of the classes in Diablo 4.
Barbarians in Diablo 4
- Class type: Melee DPS, combined with bleeds, buffs, and a bit of elemental magic
- Class resource: Fury, generated by attacking enemies but decays when out of combat
- Class feature: Weapon Arsenal, which allows them to equip four weapons, each of which may have unique buffs via Expertise
Playing a Barbarian: The Barbarian is fury unleashed, literally. They use Fury as a resource to generate the power for explosive attacks which let them carve their way through the battlefield. In Diablo 4, Barbarians are weaponmasters with the ability to wield more weapons than any other class, and swap fluidly between them depending on the skills they’re using. If you want to switch weapons as a Barbarian, just use an attack that requires a specific weapon type, and you’ll automatically grab the appropriate weapon to slash through your enemies. The Arsenal system is powerful and extremely fluid, and collecting weapons opens up more options for play — plus it’s fun.
You literally feel like a walking, extremely short tempered armory, like Oscar the Grouch if instead of trash he carried a lot of really painful implements to hit people with.
Barbarian lore: Barbarians are all about raw power, tapping into the aggression of their bloodline. In the game’s story, Barbarians were long set apart as the guardians of Mount Arreat and the Worldstone before the coming of Baal destroyed their way of life, and that destruction has left them a rootless people but even more in touch with that primal anger.
Why to play a Barbarian: If you want to be a brutal close-quarters fighter, Barbarian is the class for you. Using a big hammer or mace to shatter the ground around them, switching to a pair of fast axes to carve up anything close, then finally bringing out the giant claymore to impale an enemy and rip it in half, Barbarians are powerful, in-your-face fighters.
Druids in Diablo 4
- Class type: Hybrid, with ranged magic attacks, melee shapeshifting attacks, and pets
- Class resource: Spirit, generated by attacking enemies, but unlike Barbarians’ Fury, it doesn’t decay out of combat
- Class feature: Spirit Animals, which provide you with unique buffs
Playing a Druid: Masters of natural power, Druids have more flexibility than any of the other classes. They can summon companion animals to fight alongside them, unleash the power of storm and rock do wreck havoc from afar, or transforming their very bodies into bestial forms to lash out against their enemies. The hybrid nature of the class lets them mix and match spellcasting, shapeshifting, and summoning — and at level 15, they can call on Spirit Animals to buff them and augment their specific playstyle. Druids can be the ultimate hybrid or specialize in a specific area, depending on your talent selections.
Druids can initially pick between focusing on ranged or melee elemental attacks, or building their shapeshifting power. They can add lightning damage to melee weapon attacks with Storm Strike, make the earth rise up against their enemies with Earth Spike, or shift into a Werewolf or Werebear to Claw or Maul their enemies. Each tier of skills continues this pattern, offering multiple playstyle options that let you specialize or be a jack of all trades.
Why to play a Druid: Play a Druid if you want to call an unkindness of ravens to swarm an area, run into battle accompanied by fearsome wolves, transform into a half-bear giant to maul groups of foes, or call down lightning and hurl exploding boulders into the fray. This class is all about using the power of Sanctuary itself to lash out against the monsters that have so thoroughly abused it.
Rogues in Diablo 4
- Class type: Melee or ranged, with lots of mobility and elemental imbuements for their weapons
- Class resource: Energy, which regenerates over type
- Class feature: Specializations, which have various damage-enhancing effects
Playing a Rogue: The Rogue is a fragile but mobile class, with lots of tricks up its sleeves to stay out of trouble. They can specialize in melee or ranged attacks — or mix it up with some of both. Though they don’t have magical attacks in the traditional sense, they can imbue their weapons with cold (which slows and freezes enemies), poison (which applies a DOT), or shadow (which triggers an AOE on death). They also have a wide range of abilities to move across the battlefield, with the ability to leap backwards or dash away from danger — leaving traps behind them to lure enemies to their doom.
The Rogue’s unique mechanic is Specializations: Combo Points (which adds bonus damage to certain attacks), Inner Sight (which will give you four seconds of free casting after attacking a marked target), and Preparation (which we don’t know anything about because it isn’t available in the beta).
Why to play a Rogue: The Rogue is intended for the player who wants to use finesse to win their fights, with hit-and-run tactics, and leaping from melee to ranged to melee again to keep their enemies off balance. It’s the most mobile class in Diablo 4, with the ability to seamlessly switch between ranged and up close attacks to bring their enemies down. Don’t let Rogues from other games — even other Diablo games — make you think you can’t get up close and personal as a Rogue in Diablo 4.
Sorcerers in Diablo 4
- Class type: Ranged, with a vast array of elemental magic attacks
- Class resource: Mana, which regenerates over time
- Class feature: Enchantments, which allow you to turn active abilities into passive abilities that proc based on specific conditions
Playing a Sorcerer: These are pure elemental casters, hurling fire, frost, and lightning at their enemies. Each element has its own strengths: fire does burning damage over time, cold freezes enemies in place, and lightning focuses on AOE, and mixing these abilities appropriately can allow a Sorcerer to completely control the battlefield. Because the Sorcerer can be a bit of a glass canon, you’ll need to learn to weave the elements together to keep your foes at arm’s length.
Enhancements add even more elemental might to the Sorcerer’s arsenal by allowing them to equip active abilities as passive abilities. For example, you might have a chance to summon a Meteor to hurl at your enemies whenever you do fire damage, allowing you to add extra elemental power to your attacks.
Sorcerer lore: The Sorceress class harkens back to Esu, founder of the Zann Esu Clan which delved into the occult secrets of Sanctuary. Esu was a Nephalem, born of the demonic followers of Lilith and the angelic allies of Inarius — but other than that, we know little of Esu. However, we do know that the Zann Esu Clan has been practicing their magics for eons, and the Diablo 4 Sorcerer likely follows this tradition.
Why to play a Sorcerer: If you want to sear your foes with fire, freeze them in place when they get too close, and then convert your very form into living electricity that leaps around the battlefield, Sorcerer may be the class for you. The class has more magical might than any other, with lots of ways to fine-tune and customize their magical abilities through talents and Enchantments. If you prefer to sling spells, this is the class for you.
Necromancers in Diablo 4
- Class type: Ranged or melee spellcaster with pets
- Class resource: Essence, which refills over time; and Corpses, which come from defeating enemies
- Class feature: Book of the Dead, which allows you to modify the type of undead creatures you summon
Playing a Necromancer: From level 1, you can summon an army of skeletal warriors to fight alongside you, but as you level up you’ll be able to summon more powerful minions and customize their abilities to your liking. And though the playstyle is primarily based around these pets, the Necromancer also has the option to play in melee or at range depending on the abilities you choose, swinging a magical scythe in front of them or by hurling shards of bone across the battlefield.
When battling a group of enemies, they can control the battlefield with walls of bone or by cursing their enemies. And once a few enemies die, they can use the bodies as a weapon: Corpse Explosion can quickly bring down a group once a few bodies are on the ground.
Necromancer lore: The Necromancer class appears to be deeply tied into Diablo 4’s story — perhaps more so than any other class. They’re priests of Rathma, dedicated to the balance between life and death. Rathma is Lilith and Inarius’ son, the original Nephalem and the very first Necromancer on Sanctuary. Lilith is looking for him, and we’re looking for Lilith, so it’s possible the class will play a unique role in all of this.
Why to play a Necromancer: If you want to play a pet class, Necromancer offers the best options to tailor your companions to your liking, and the class starts with a powerful army of minions from the very beginning. Necromancers can also be specced as a fairly defensive caster, with armor made out of bone and life-stealing abilities.
Pick you favorite Diablo 4 class
As I said, choosing a class is more a matter of making the right choice for you than picking the one “best” class, and frankly all of the classes feel great to play. Each class has a unique playstyle and one of them is sure to suit you, whether you want to be a melee bruiser or a long-ranged caster.
So read up on the available classes, and then get ready to jump into the game and give it a try. It takes very little time to jump in the game and level up to five or so to get a feel for things, so you can get a feel for whether or not it’s to your liking.
What, this? Oh, the sign with play a Barbarian written on it? No, just a coincidence.
Originally published December 11, 2019, updated March 24, 2023
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