Diablo 4‘s beta is here, and those who pre-ordered the game (or bought a chicken sandwich) can play the game now via Early Access. Those who are lucky enough to dive into the game’s Early Access period will probably wonder which of the three available classes (Barbarian, Rogue, and Sorcerer) is best for them.
The good news is that Diablo 4‘s classes have felt fairly balanced during the game’s early preview periods, which means that you can generally feel safe picking whichever of the three Early Access beta classes you think you’ll have the most fun with. If that answer isn’t good enough for you, then here’s a better look at Diablo 4‘s Early Access classes and what they bring to the loot table.
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 it’s actually the Barbarian’s AoE abilities that help make them the arguable kings and queens of solo play at the moment. Yes, Barbarians’ AoE skills are mostly melee based, but whatever you sacrifice in AoE range is more than made up for with pure AoE power. Barbarians trade very little raw damage when unleashing their AoE abilities on larger groups of enemies. Skills like Whirlwind and Rend easily deal with tight groups of lesser foes, while AoE skills like Double Swing can even be used against larger targets. Since some of the Barbarian’s best skills are based on their weapon damage, that also means that their damage naturally scales throughout the course of play.
However, 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.
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, Sorecers 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.
What Is the Best Class In Diablo 4’s Early Access Beta?
At the moment, the Barbarian is probably the best overall class in the Diablo 4 Early Access beta with Rogues following just a shadow step behind.
Yes, Barbarians are slow and gear dependent. However, they generate their primary resource (Fury) with relative ease via their powerful basic attacks, and none of the other two currently available classes come close to matching their defensive capabilities. They hit hard, absorb a ton of damage, and really let you get into some trouble in the early parts of the game without worrying too much about figuring things out the hard way.
I also can’t say enough about the current power level of the Barbarian’s AoE abilities. They’re second only to the Sorcerer in that category (at least for the moment), and even their basic AoE skills can tear through lesser mobs and allow you to focus on single targets when needed. They’re just a perfect beginner class that really shines in this relatively limited format.
Don’t overlook the Rogues, though. While they boast the biggest learning curve of the early beta classes, their ceiling is also arguably the highest of the three currently available classes (even within the limits of the beta). You will die more often as a Rouge than as a Barbarian, but many of those deaths will come when you’re experimenting with the classes’ high-end abilities. Once you get a feel for how those work and how to acquire the resources needed to make them work, you’ll find that the Rogue is uniquely capable of not only dealing with most threats but dominating them.
That leaves us with the Sorcerer. To be honest, the Sorcerer’s mana-dependent style of play and comically weak natural defenses makes them a tougher sell for what essentially amounts to a demo of the game. Their potential is undeniable, but unless you are more familiar with their basic playstyle in this kind of game, I think you may have a bad time en route to their full potential. Even then, I don’t think that the beta really lasts long enough for you to see why Sorcerers will almost certainly be late-game monsters preferred by experienced players. You get a taste of that eventually, but the Barbarian and Rogue just have a little more to offer to more players out of the gate.