After a small delay, Diablo 4‘s Season 2 update is finally here. Whether the update is enough to bring a legion of lapsed fans back to the game is a question that will hopefully be answered in the coming days and weeks. What I can tell you is that the update introduces a number of necessary changes to the game that affect each of Diablo 4‘s five character classes in various ways.
Before we dive into where all of those classes stand at the moment, please note that these rankings are broken down into “Leveling” and “Endgame” sections. As before, “Leveling” accounts for Levels 1-50, whereas “Endgame” is focused on Levels 51-100. For what it’s worth, though, the 1-50 leveling process is significantly faster than it’s ever been in Diablo 4‘s Season 2 update. That being the case, you may put slightly less stock into each class’ power level during that timeframe than you used to.
Also, as is typically the case with Diablo 4, every class in the game is technically “viable” in every stage of the game. As such, your best bet is to play the class that is most appealing to you. These rankings are more of a reflection of each class’ overall power level at various points in the game rather than a guide on which class you should play for the best Diablo 4 experience.
Diablo 4 Season 2: Best Classes For Leveling
Necromancer is the best leveling class in Diablo 4: Season 2 by a pretty comfortable distance. While some of their previously powerful endgame builds aren’t quite what they used to be, Necromancer’s already appealing leveling builds (Blood and Minions, specifically) got massive buffs. Leveling is generally much easier in Diablo 4: Season 2, but leveling as one of those Necromancer builds absolutely trivializes that process. If anything, Necromancers are a little too good at leveling. It makes everyone else feel just a little worse.
Things get a little trickier from there, but I’m going to against popular opinion just slightly by choosing Rogue as the next-best leveling class. They’re not quite as easy to play as other leveling classes (and they lack the sheer leveling build diversity available to Necromancers), but the class’ absurd power level shines brighter than ever earlier than ever. If you don’t mind playing a very specific type of Rogue while leveling, you’ll find that their speed and adaptability are pretty hard to beat. They’re also not especially gear-dependent (though the right pieces of gear can make things much easier).
Sorcerers are closer than ever to being the leveling nuclear weapons they once were in the beta. While they lack the range of survivability and evasion options available to Necromancers and Rogues, their leveling builds (especially their Chain Lightning build) absolutely tear through large packs of enemies. If you’re fine dying a few more times than usual, you might want to rank them ahead of Rogues.
Druids are an interesting leveling class. If you happen to get the right Legendary Aspect at the right time, you may be able to respec into a specific leveling build that will destroy everything in front of you in record time. If you’re not quite so lucky…well, Druids are better than they used to be at leveling, but it’s not ideal. They just lack the raw offensive output available to the classes above them. Those first 20 levels or so are going to be kind of rough, but things can pick up quickly from there.
Finally, Barbarians remain the worst leveling class in Diablo 4. Their leveling problems honestly feel like a balancing decision at this point. Not only are they gear and stat-dependent, but most of their buffs focus on their endgame defensive abilities, which obviously won’t help you much during the leveling process when you’re really trying to push for damage. It’s not a great situation at the moment.
Diablo 4 Season 2: Best Classes For the Endgame
Rogue is the best endgame class in Diablo 4: Season 2 at the moment, and it’s not particularly close. On paper, Rogues took a big hit at the start of Season 2 due to the universal nerfs/changes to things like Vulnerable and Critical Damage (two of the class’ bread and butter damage types). Yet, it doesn’t really matter. Rogues have such an insane toolkit at their disposal that they can simply turn to the types of damage that got buffed instead (in this case, Poison, Trap, and Twisting Blade builds).
Theoretically, Rogues are hindered by their lack of natural defenses, but their resource regeneration and evasion abilities tend to consistently counter that intended drawback. Again, Rogues just have so many little things in their kits that they can turn to in order to take advantage of recent buffs and sidestep nerfs. Right now, they are melting through massive packs of enemies, destroying single targets, and staying alive most of the while. They’re even a great PvP class.
Druids come in second place, though this is where the power gaps start to tighten up a bit. Much like Rogues, Druids can access such a wide variety of abilities that it’s hard to keep them down for long. Granted, they’re still fairly dependent on certain Legendary Affixes and gear, but general buffs to their Companions, Fortify/Overpower abilities, and key early skills mean that they’re no longer slightly better than useless until you reach their endgame potential.
Of course, we are talking about the endgame, and that is where Druids still shine. If you are able to put together the Exodia pieces needed to assemble the perfect Pulverize build, you will dominate every piece of endgame content in Diablo 4 with shocking ease. Even if that’s not your thing, variations of Storm Druid builds (and certain other hybrid builds) are more than viable thanks to their AoE damage output, general survivability, and speed. If they reached something closer to their full potential a little earlier into the endgame than they currently do, Druids could easily top this list.
Necromancers are the biggest beneficiaries of the Diablo 4: Season 2 changes and their winning ways continue into the endgame. Yes, Bone Spear got nerfed, and yes, that does hurt their endgame potential slightly. However, that build is still usable, and three of the other things that the Necromancer class generally excels at (Fortify, Damage Over Time, and Minions) got massive buffs in this update.
My conspiracy theory is that the Diablo 4 team made Necormacners slightly overpowered in this update in order to play off of the Season of Blood/Halloween theme. However it happened, Necromancers clearly benefited from nearly everything this update does. Their endgame power potential is just a notch below Rogues and Druids, but they offer the smoothest Level 1 to 100 experience of all of the classes. Also, there is an Infinite Blood Mist Build that is floating around that might just be the most powerful endgame build at the moment until it is almost certainly nerfed.
Sorcerers have needed some love for quite some time in Diablo 4, and they finally got a little in this recent update. At the very least, they finally got some of the Legendary Affix enhancements/additions needed to not only push the power level of their best builds but enable new endgame build options. While Sorcerers have always been viable in the endgame, this latest update ensures that you no longer need to play a very specific, often boring, Sorcerer build in order to survive the toughest endgame content. You have options, and each of them can be turned into something potentially devastating. Fire Builds, in particular, now feel like world beaters by the time you reach Level 100.
Sorcerers’ endgame problems are still in that Level 50-75 area. You’re almost certainly going to feel the dropoff in Sorcerers’ overall power level once you swap to World Tier 3. Now, you can overcome that hurdle, but doing so might require you to respec based on what gear you’re lucky enough to acquire. Even then, you might struggle to replicate what the classes above can do in that level range. None of that will really matter by the time you reach Level 100, but it will impact your endgame experience until then.
Finally, Barbarians continue their descent into maddening mediocrity in Diablo 4. Early on, Barbarian fans noted that if Blizzard ever nerfed the Triple Shout Whirlwind Barbarian build that dominated the earliest days of the Diablo 4 experience, that class would have few viable build alternatives. Well, that’s basically what happened. While Double Swing, Walking Arsenal, and Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian are all more viable than they once were, none of those builds are obviously better than the current Whirlwind Barbarian strategy (which is now a shell of its former self).
Barbarians’ defensive abilities got quite a bit of love in this update thanks to some sweeping global changes, but the class’ main Endgame problem (their lack of consistent damage output that doesn’t rely on a few specific skills) remains an issue. Until the Diablo 4 team reexamines this class’ reliance on the “Shout Package” and how their dependence on those abilities affects every other aspect of the class, I just don’t know how Barbarians are going to find their way out of this hole.