Now that Diablo IV’s beta is over, Blizzard has shared some interesting stats about the loot-grinding RPG and the way folks played it. Some of it is expected, like the fact that The Butcher killed over one million people while Ashava the Pestilent murked some 10 million others. But alongside revealing that y’all put in 61 million hours, making it the “largest Beta in Diablo franchise history,” the studio also shared the two most-played classes during the test window.
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Diablo IV is the latest isometric action-RPG in Blizzard’s long-running loot-driven series. Slated to launch on June 6 for most platforms (except Nintendo Switch, sorry y’all), the game ran a few different betas for folks to test out some gnarly demon-killing tools. I had a great time with the beta, and Diablo IV has quickly become my most anticipated game this year. As my colleague Eric Schulkin said during our VGChat, you can tell that real time and care was put into it. So I wasn’t all that surprised to see some of the stats Blizzard tweeted on March 30, particularly the two classes that were played the most.
Necromancers and Sorcerers dominated hell
Blizzard announced that folks played over 61 million hours, making Diablo IV’s open beta “the largest beta in Diablo franchise history.” That’s an impressive number of hours, but it’s not the only stat Blizzard had for us. While Ashava and The Butcher, two of the beta’s most ferocious enemies, slayed millions of folks, it came at a price. Both jerks were felled by players as well, with Ashava dying some 107,426 times and The Butcher getting bodied 576,662 times. (Considering that Ashava killed 10,163,397 players, that means she only roughly died once for every 95 deaths she dished out, making her a formidable foe for sure.) And even though the total player death surpassed 46 million, the game’s hellspawn stood no chance, as y’all decimated almost 30 billion monsters! Billion with a B. But wait, there’s more. The most compelling stat here is that the Necromancer and Sorcerer were the most played during the beta.
What makes this particularly interesting is that the Necromancer was only available during one of the game’s two beta weekends. Diablo IV’s early access beta, which ran from March 17-20, featured only the Sorcerer, Barbarian, and Rogue. But once the open beta came around, which lasted from March 24-27, the Druid and the Necromancer were unleashed and ready to lay to rest Mommy Succubi Lilith’s demonic army.
I never did check out the Sorcerer because I was too busy playing the Necromancer, who is absolutely busted once you level them up. With abilities like raising skeletons from corpse piles and exploding dead bodies to deal damage, alongside passive buffs that increase your attack speed with every kill and up your max skill gauge, the Necromancer is pretty damn cheap. The class can make short work of even the most fearsome of bosses and trash mobs. At one point during my time with the Necromancer, I had seven skeletons rolling deep with me as we jumped various dungeon bosses and overworld enemies. Within seconds, these hellish goons were reduced to little more than flesh piles for me to either use to summon more skeletons (if any were killed during the exchange) or to heal my undead homies up for the next fight. My shadow Rogue is still dope but I dunno, the Necromancer just hits different. Even Diablo general manager Rod Fergusson knows this as just before the game’s open beta ended, he suggested folks “play Necromancer.” Well, I can see why.
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It’s no secret that classes won’t feel balanced off the rip. As Blizzard said in March, “Not all classes at level five should have the same power.” I noticed the strength difference between my shadow Rogue and what I’m calling my blood Necromancer. However, I think it’s situational now. Like, my Rogue is good for mobility, while my Necromancer is perfect for mowing enemies down with her wide-sweeping scythe. Both classes are fine, but yeah, I can comfortably say that the Necromancer felt stronger during the open beta. So knowing that, I’m not surprised to see the Necromancer and Sorcerer absolutely dominate the gates of Hell. Maybe it’ll be the same when the game launches in full this June. We don’t have long to wait to find out.