scroll down

Diablo 3 Class Strategy Guide – How To Play

Diablo 3
One of the most iconic aspects of Diablo 3 is the diversity available in the character classes of the game. Though most experienced RPG users would have little difficulty in selecting a class, those who are unfamiliar with Blizzard’s ways or are new to the series would definitely require good research.

In this guide we’ll have a brief yet complete overview of the specifics and traits of every class available in Diablo 3, and also a general description of the style of play.

But first, here’s what we will be discussing:

General

There are 5 classes in Diablo III:

  1. Barbarian
  2. Demon Hunter
  3. Monk
  4. Witch Doctor
  5. Wizard

In each class we will explain the following:

Difficulty: The learning curve associated with the class and how easy it is to play with initially.

Overview: A brief overview of the class and its specialties.

Features: A look at the unique features of the class which make it different from other classes.

Resource: Resource is the fuel of a class that can be spent to use abilities. In previous Diablo games it was Mana for all classes, but in Diablo III every class has its own unique resource. For example, the Barbarian has Fury, Witch Doctor has Mana etcetera.

Unique Equipment: Every class has three unique equipment types that are exclusive to that class, and can only be equipped and used by that class.

General Play-style: Every class has a different play-style of its own. Some are tanky and suited for all-out assaulting. Others are more tactical and require wits.

Barbarian

Difficulty:
Easy – The Barbarian is the easiest class to start off with, as they have significant melee advantage at the beginning over all other classes.

Overview:

The Barbarian is the only formally returning class from the previous Diablo games. Many experienced players prefer this class over the other, and the reasons for that are quite legitimate.

The Barbarians are the strongest physical melee characters in the game, excelling at destroying their foes at close-hand through sheer strength, sustenance and aggression.

Features:

  • The Barbarians excel at melee combat, and prefer heavy and deadly weapons that ordinary men can barely lift easily
  • Barbarians gain momentum in combat, and can unleash this momentum in the form of deadly brutal attacks that can send even the strongest foes flying
  • The Barbarians rely on their traditional war shouts to grant them strength and intimidate even the strongest willed foes.
  • No other heroes can take as many hits as the Barbarians. Their massive stature and hardened skin allow them to reflect and take damaging without hindering their strength and will.

Resource:
The Barbarian’s main resource for using advanced skills is called Fury. Fury is a replacement of the conventional Mana, and works significantly differently.

There are generally two types of melee skills available to the Barbarian: Fury generators and Fury spenders. By using the Fury generating attacks, the Barbarian fills his Fury tank. As the tank fills up, the Barbarian can spend the accumulated Fury to unleash extremely powerful Fury-spender attacks for extra damage.

If Fury is accumulated but is neither being generated nor spent for a specific amount of time, it will slowly reduce in quantity till it reaches zero. Thus it is essential to keep the Barbarian in momentum for constant Fury generation.

Unique Equipment:
The Barbarian has the following unique equipment available to him/her:

  1. Mighty Belts
  2. One-Handed Mighty Weapons
  3. Two-Handed Mighty Weapons

General Play-Style:
As stated earlier, the Barbarian’s key feature is the class’s prowess in melee combat. When playing the Barbarian, it is important to constantly be generating Fury mainly through your primary attacks (assigned to the mouse) and spending it to do extra damage. Once again it is important to note that momentum is an important factor in doing so.

The Barbarian is in general the class with the best direct defense through armor and skills. Because of this it is the ideal class for tanking in PvP or co-op games, and can absorb tons of damage without hindering his/her ability to deal damage constantly in the battleground.

Builds:
For recommended builds, read our Barbarian Builds Guide.

Demon Hunter

Difficulty:
Hard – The Demon Hunter requires understanding of the ranged DPS concept used in most MMO games, and requires tactical and high-risk gameplay.

Overview:
An illusive, mysterious class that relies on technology, acrobatic skills and the deadly precision of assassins, the Demon Hunters are the most disciplined warriors in Sanctuary.

Driven by hatred for evil and a burning drive for vengeance, their discipline and precision is their most lethal tool against their enemies.

Features:

  • The Demon Hunters excel at using range weaponry to decimate their foes from a distance
  • Demon Hunters use their wits to cripple enemies through traps of all forms, be it mines, steel-jawed traps or caltrops
  • Having the attributes of an assassin, Demon Hunters are adept at using apocryphal magic for stealth, allowing them to hide themselves from observing eyes, walk in the shadows, confine their attacks, and ultimately sneak up on their preys
  • With a variety of tactical equipment like turrets, smoke bombs and acrobatic maneuvers, the Demon Hunters have massive tactical advantage as they combine their wide variety of skills to destroy evil without even letting it touch them

Resource:
The Demon Hunter’s resource is split into two. The orange glowing half is Hatred and the dark blue half is Discipline. Thus the resource can be termed as Hatred/Discipline.

Hatred fuels all the aggressive assaulting abilities of the Demon Hunter. Additionally, Hatred is generally the faster regenerating of the two, ensuring the Demon Hunters maintain their merciless nature.

Discipline fuels the tactical and defensive maneuvers of the Demon Hunter. It regenerates much slower than Hatred, but it is only required when the Hunter needs to take evasive action.

Unique Equipment:
The Demon Hunter has the following unique equipment available to him/her:

  1. Cloaks (Chest Armor)
  2. Hand Crossbows
  3. Quivers

General Play-Style:
Many beta testers (including myself) considered the Demon Hunter as potentially the most powerful class in the entire game. This is because the class has the most variety when it comes to skills. However, the only issue is the relatively larger learning curve as compared to other classes.

The Demon Hunter is a ranged character – when playing as this class, your main goal is to take out enemies from far, dealing constant damage with the massive variety of offensive skills at hand. When things get awry, evasive maneuvers at the cost of Discipline can be used to escape danger, and the entire procedure can be repeated.

Do note however that this sounds easy in theory only. Many narrow dungeons make evasive actions nearly impossible to take. That is the time when improvisation is required; with a bit of help from the saying, “the best defense is good offense”.

Builds:
For recommended builds, read our Demon Hunter Builds Guide.

Monk

Difficulty:
Medium – The Monk requires a slight bit of understanding of healing, support, and control, but is not entirely difficult to play with.

Overview:
With strikes and blows faster than the eye can see, the Monk channels divine power in his melee attacks to destroy evil by the force of faith. Monks are generally melee characters, but also have the ability to do area of effect damage with different forms of their melee damage.

Alongside speed and strength, the Monks excel in the divine art of healing, and can recite Mantras to give them added bonuses of various types in battle.

Features:

  • The Monks have the ability to use various melee skills in succession to generate extra damage, range, and effectiveness to defeat any type of enemy
  • The Monks have the power to heal and protect their allies and themselves, making them an integral part of the battlefield
  • The Monks can recite various Mantras to utilize long-lasting holy power which can grant a variety of effects to their allies and them
  • Monks have exceptional mobility and speed, and can use it to quickly move between hordes of enemies to flank or cripple them

Resource:
The Monk’s resource is Spirit. Spirit is generally full when unused, but once used it must be generated by Spirit-generating attacks and combos.

Monks who can maintain a constant flow and chain combos together can have an endless supply of spirit, which can be used frequently to either do more powerful attacks, or heal/protect their allies and themselves.

Unique Equipment:
The Monk class has the following unique equipment available to him/her:

  1. Spirit Stones (Helms)
  2. Fist Weapons
  3. Daibo

General Play-Style:
The Monks, like the Barbarians, are melee characters. They rely heavily on close-quartered combat and a variety of additional effects to maintain their dominance in the battlefield.

The Spirit-generating abilities of the Monk can be considered the main sources of constant damage. Through these, you can chain combos and get the best and quickest results.

When it comes to defenses, the Monk is perhaps the best equipped of all. The class has a variety of defensive abilities, ranging from simple heals to magical barriers to summoning spiritual allies to aid you in battle. Hence, in a PvP/co-op game, Monks will almost always be used as support/healer characters.

Builds:
For recommended builds, read our Monk Builds Guide.

Witch Doctor

Difficulty:
Easy – The Witch Doctor has an ample amount of allies and abilities that make farming and enemy crowd control extremely simple.

Overview:
The Witch Doctor is heavily inspired by the much-loved Necromancer class in Diablo II, and retains many of the traits.

With the ability to control dead souls, crawling creatures and gigantic zombies, the Witch Doctor is best when surrounded by his/her powerful conjured allies while he/she constantly poisons, hexes and burns enemies.

Features:

  • Witch Doctors can summon a variety of dead allies to aid them in their spiritual goal of cleansing the world from evil
  • Witch Doctors command frightful magics that can poison and kill crowds of enemies, such as swarms of burning locusts, magical clouds of poison, deadly spiders and dogs
  • Witch Doctors can curse and weaken their enemies with various hexes, and can even transform them into chickens
  • Those who fight the Witch Doctors find themselves overwhelmed by crowd control effects, being crippled and unable to move by ghastly undead hands, or having their minds twisted to fight amongst each other in confusion

Resource:
The Resource of the Witch Doctor is the conventional Mana. Mana generates at a relatively slow rate, and thus Witch Doctors must carefully choose and time their abilities for efficient Mana management.

Unique Equipment:
The Witch Doctor has the following unique equipment available to him/her:

  1. Ceremonial Knives
  2. Mojos (Off-hand equipment)
  3. Voodoo Masks

General Play-Style:
The Witch Doctor is a caster-type character. This means you will be mainly casting abilities and waiting for their effects to take place.

However, the most important thing for a Witch Doctor is his/her numerous allies. Because of the slow Mana regeneration, it is essential to conjure the necessary allies before entering a battle, and then using economical primary abilities to regularly do damage.

Either way, the Witch Doctor is best when a variety of spells are used one after the other on enemies, while having the ally zombies and dogs to constantly harass and damage foes.

Builds:
For recommended builds, read our Witch Doctor Builds Guide.

Wizard

Difficulty:
Hard – Though the Wizard has the most active skills in the game, the class requires bold high-risk high-reward play-style which can be difficult for those new to such RPG games.

Overview:
The Wizard is a classic character class which utilizes its immense variety of magic abilities, of which the three primary types are Ice, Fire, Lightning and Arcane.

With these abilities and the capacity of massive amplification and transformation, the Wizard is a high-risk dare-devil that can completely evaporate or freeze hordes of enemies within seconds.

Features:

  • The Wizards excel at elemental mastery, manipulating the forces of Ice, Fire, Lightning and Arcane to do their bidding
  • The Wizards have the strongest area attacks of all the characters, with the capability of doing immense collateral damage that can freeze enemies or burn them to nothingness
  • Because of the fragile nature of the Wizards, they understand the importance of protective spells, and can surround themselves in diamond armor, slow those who strike them directly, or create mirror images of themselves
  • The Wizards have nearly endless energy available to them, and can transform into arcane beings to amplify their damage and powers

Resource:
It is a well known fact that the Wizards have the most efficient and fastest regenerating resource in the game: Arcane Power. Many of the abilities don’t use Arcane Power at all, and those which do can be casted continuously without much worries of resource depletion.

In simple words, the Wizard has a significant resource advantage over all other classes.

Unique Equipment:

The Wizard has the following unique equipment available to him/her:

  1. Wands
  2. Orbs (Off-hand equipment)
  3. Wizard Hats

General Play-Style:
The Wizard class demands an aggressive and bold play-style. Since they have little defense, they Wizards are best when using their large amount of active skills to slow and cripple their foes.

The Arcane Power resource allows Wizards to do so, and though it is slightly difficult to play as them in the start, the Wizard grows more powerful with each ability unlocked, eventually becoming a master of area damage and freeze damage which keeps enemies in check.

Though fragile, a well-built and intelligent Wizard player is likely to take out more foes in a given time than any other class.

Builds:
For recommended builds, read our Wizard Builds Guide.

Found something missing? Contribute away!