Ladder Season 1 in Diablo II: Resurrected - Ladder Distribution and Class Builds
2022/07/01 at 1:59 PM
Diablo 2: Resurrected's Ladder Season 1 began on April 28th, 2022. Approximately halfway into the first ladder season, has the class meta changed? This article examines the Ladder: Expansion Normal by looking at the class and build distribution and by providing a general analysis for all classes, as well as their position in the end-game meta.
We have also completed a guide that discusses endgame strategies to maximize experience gains for those difficult 94-99 levels.
Endgame Leveling Strategies for Diablo II: Resurrected and Ladder Season 1
Ladder Distribution in Ladder Season 1, 2 Months
Ladder Season 1 is now 2 months in, and the following chart breaks down each class by total number of characters at or above level 20 on the Expansion: Normal ladder, looking at the raw numbers, total percentage, and overall rank:
Characters >=Level 20
Compared to the start of the Ladder Season 1, the gap between Sorceress and Paladin has certainly diminished. More interestingly, the Necromancer, which was the third most played class at the start of the ladder, has lost its spot and it is now overtaken by Amazons and Barbarians.
Here are the class results with ladder snapshots taken at 24th of June 2022:
Class Build Overview for Ladder Meta
As stated above, the Ladder Season 1 Meta is demanding in many ways. Certain classes truly offer enormous power and naturally grab a spot in the meta. However, almost all classes can choose a specific spec and play the game at the highest level.
Several of these analyses refer to the
role. The CSer is a player whose job it is to run Chaos Sanctuary while other players in the same game are doing Baal Throne runs. This strategy is explained in further detail in the section below about the end-game meta analysis of high-level Ladder play.
Total Amazons: 144,298
Best Amazon Ladder Spec:
Lightning Fury/Charged Strike
Amazons are the certified boss killers in Diablo 2 Resurrected Ladder Season 1 and they dominate the meta composition. While there are some other classes/specs that can potentially kill bosses faster (ie: Smiters in Ubers and in niche scenarios), no other class can come close to the combined value of boss killing speed and AoE efficiency of a Charged Strike / Lightning Fury Amazon in ladder farm games. The strengths of the Charged Strike/Lightning Fury Amazon are as follows:
The potential weaknesses of the Charged Strike/Lightning Fury Amazon are as follows:
As it can be observed, the Lightning Fury/Charged Strike Amazons offer great power while having only a few weaknesses. They can kill P8 Baal in a matter of seconds, and they can also become CSers if required. Their weaknesses can easily be eliminated by having other synergy classes in a team composition. Therefore, Lightning Fury / Charged Strike Amazons are clear S Tier classes for the ladder meta.
Final Verdict for Charged Strike / Lightning Fury Amazon: S tier
Amazon Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Assassins: 68,600
Best Assassin Ladder Spec:
Lightning / Death Sentry Trapsin
Assassins are one of the least played classes in Diablo 2 Resurrected Ladder Season 1. While the class has seen a lot of rework / change in Patch 2.4, they are still not exactly an S Tier Meta class. However, Assassins can get pretty close to being S tier.
The most effective Assassin spec for ladder games is the Lightning / Death Sentry Trapsin, due to her great AoE damage and crowd control abilities for clearing dense areas. A trapsin can comfortably solo anything in the game. The impressive damage output of Lightning and Death Sentries ensure that the targets die in no time. Cloak of Shadows greatly helps with safety whereas Fire Blast takes care of Lightning Immune targets.
While they bring great AoE damage and safety oriented gameplay style to the table, Assassins cannot excel at specific tasks when pitted against other classes in the current meta.
The strengths of the Trapsin are as follows:
The potential weaknesses of the Lightning / Death Sentry Trapsin are as follows:
Assassins can spec into Kicksins to boost their boss damage, but they will then lose their AoE power and utilities. There are other classes that offer more damage than Lightning / Death Sentry Trapsins, namely Lightning Fury / Charged Strike Javazons and Lightning Sorceresses. The meta classes simply have more to offer compared to Assassins.
However, the Lightning / Death Sentry Trapsin still offers decent throne clear speed, crowd control and overall safety. While Assassins are extremely deadly when it comes to soloing tough oppenents, they cannot bring a "one stop shop" spec to the table, or get any crucial role in the meta team composition (such as a CSer or Teler) therefore they get into A tier for the current ladder season 1 meta.
Final Verdict for Trapsin: A tier
Assassin Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Barbarians: 115,094
Best Barbarian Ladder Spec
Barbarians are the dark horses of Ladder Season 1 meta. Their amazing crowd control abilities (Howl, Leap) combined with their strong survivability, amazing FCR frames and powerful Berserk damage grants them a spot in the meta.
While Barbarians suffer in dealing good boss damage, they can take crucial meta team roles by offering extremely fast and safe CS runs or Throne Teleports. The Berserk Barbarian is definitely one of the visible specs in the highest levels of the ladder.
The strengths of the Berserker are as follows:
The potential weaknesses of the Berserker are as follows:
As it can be observed, the Berserker/Pitzerker Barbarian can fulfil different roles in the meta. They can match or at least compete against the Chaos Sanctuary clear speed of Hammerdins and prepare Diablo. Combined with the brutal power of Grief runeword and survivability provided by Stormshield, they have Howl which isolates Chaos Sanctuary Seal Bosses and makes it very safe for the Barbarian to kill them with Berserk. They can teleport to Baal Throne as fast as Sorceresses, and use their crowd control abilities to offer safe TP's for the rest of the premade to enter the throne. They have Battle Orders which provides great survivability.
Their weaknesses can easily be eliminated by having other synergy classes in a team composition. Their only weakness is low boss damage in Players 8, which is an important factor. This makes it challenging to place Berserker Barbarians either into S tier, or high A tier.
We suggest that the increase in Barbarian numbers is also due to items becoming more available in the ladder. Two months have passed since the launch of ladder season 1, and naturally items and runes have become more accessible. This fact provides an advantage for Barbarians who specifically want to use Grief runeword or items such as Stormshield.
Final Verdict for Berserker Barbarian: S tier (or at least high A tier)
Barbarian Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Druids: 88,662
Best Druid Ladder Spec:
Druids are the second least played classes on Ladder Season 1 meta. While Druids may have various specs available for them, one Druid spec is dominant against the others: Wind Druid. First of all, shapeshift Druids cannot teleport while in shapeshift form. Their attacks can also miss bosses. Summon Druid focuses more on safety and offers a more single player friendly approach.
On the other hand, the Wind Druid can utilize Enigma for teleports, use Hurricane Cold damage for crowd control, and deal damage with Tornado. The Wind Druid has a small zoo that is a durable meatshield and the character also offers Oak Sage for a massive health pool buff, which greatly supports the team. The Druid as a class is extremely powerful at ladder launch day (day 1) due to Poison Creeper, Fire or Werebear+Stun builds. Since this article examines the end-game meta, the focus will be on the Wind Druid.
The strengths of the Wind Druid are as follows:
The potential weaknesses of the Wind Druid are as follows:
While the Druid is a very powerful class in early ladder period, the Wind Druid struggles to obtain a definitive spot in the end-game 99 push meta, because other classes can perform the meta roles better. However, the Wind Druid can definitely be an efficient class for helping against Lightning Immune seal bosses in Chaos Sanctuary or clearing/controlling the Baal throne room. They also have Oak Sage which provides great survivability and team support.
The fact that they lack boss damage (compared to the monstrous boss damage provided by Amazons) in P8 becomes really visible at the highest levels. In addition, a Berserk Barbarian can simply offer the same advantages as the Wind Druid while also fulfilling the meta roles better.
Final Verdict for Wind Druid: B tier
Druid Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Necromancers: 106,288
Best Necromancer Ladder Spec
The Necromancer is another class that could not get into the end-game meta of Ladder Season 1. While the Necromancer was the third most played class at the start of the ladder, it has lost its position and dropped to rank 5. Also, the Necromancer is the very last class that reached 99 on the ladder. All other classes have reached 99 before the Necromancer. The first level 99 Necromancer appeared on the ladder at 4th of June 2022, almost a month after season 1 launch.
The Necromancer itself currently plays a support role in early ladder team compositions. The class itself truly shines at day 1 ladder and Baal Runs; however, it starts to fall off as teams/players gear up and reach the end-game levels.
The only dominant Necromancer spec that can barely keep up with the intense pace at the highest level ladder games is the Bone Necromancer spec.
The Summon Necromancer suffers from not having targeting control or focused damage. The Summon Necromancer also takes too long to assemble a powerful army in high pace games. The Poison Nova Necromancer is very weak in general. Poison Nova damage can easily get cancelled by the Mercenary or minion damage, and Poison Nova damage is nearly non-existent on bosses anyway. All these problems forces Necromancers to play the Bonemancer spec.
The strengths of the Bone Necromancer are as follows:
The potential weaknesses of the Bone Necromancer are as follows:
The Necromancer is almost like a substitute for the meta. It is a good alternative class for supporting Chaos Sanctuary and killing immune seal bosses. The class can also take the role of a throne teleporter (aka Teler), however, 125 FCR builds that can maintain a level 51-52 Bone Spear for damage require really rare and expensive gear, and Sorceresses as well as Barbarians have better FCR frames anyway. The Necromancer may help greatly with clearing Baal throne and even skipping waves through using Dim Vision/Confuse/Decrepify. However, as the ladder progresses, the enormous power of the meta classes makes them require little to no support.
The overwhelming damage of the meta classes simply outshine the advantages offered by the Necromancer. For example, my Necromancer which played a customized CSer oriented Bone Necro spec has 8 Poison and Bone life Skillers, Torch, Annihilus and gg gear. All that gear can upgrade the Bone Necromancer's Bone Spear damage up to 6,482-6,800 Magic damage at level 98/99, whereas a Hammerdin can easily reach 10,000 Hammer Magic damage at early level 70's, without investing all skill points into synergies.
The fact that the Necromancer lacks P8 boss damage becomes even more visible when classes reach level 98, because boss damage in P8 becomes very crucial for efficient farming. The Necromancer fails to deliver the boss damage at P8 and remains as a support class. Therefore, the Necromancer gets placed into B tier.
Final Verdict for Bone Necromancer: B tier
Necromancer Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Paladins: 337,456
Best Paladin Ladder Spec
: Blessed Hammer Paladin / Hammerdin
The Paladin requires no introduction. The famous Blessed Hammer Paladin / Hammerdin still continues to dominate the meta. In addition, the newly buffed Fist of the Heavens and Vindicator Templar (V/T) builds offer great P1-P3 gameplay for budget oriented strategies. The synergy function that allows Concentration aura to buff the magic damage of Blessed Hammer takes the build to another dimension. The Hammerdin offers monstrous amount of magical damage, which does not face immunity problems and obliterates P8 Chaos Sanctuary seal bosses and monsters alike. While the boss damage is definitely lower compared to Lightning Fury / Charged Strike Amazons, it is still good enough for P8. The strengths of the Blessed Hammer Paladin / Hammerdin are as follows:
the potential weaknesses of the Hammerdin are as follows:
The Hammerdin has unparalelled versatility. The class can reach 125 FCR frames easily which allows it to have decent mobility via Enigma teleports. High survivability is not a problem due to having high life and Holy Shield. High damage is easy to obtain due to Blessed Hammer magic damage. All the end game farm areas are open spaces which allows the Hammerdin to properly swirl those deadly blessed hammers and obliterate monsters. The Hammerdin is usually the CSer in the meta, although it can also clear throne and kill P8 bosses efficiently as well. The Hammerdin continues to dominate the ladder meta and remains in the S tier.
Final Verdict for Hammerdin: S tier
Paladin Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
Total Sorceresses: 456,358
Best Sorceress Ladder Spec
: Lightning Sorceress
The Sorceress remains as the most played class in Diablo 2 Resurrected Ladder Season 1. The class has the highest mobility in game due to great FCR frames and innate Teleport ability. While all three Sorceress specs are viable on the ladder, one spec outshines the rest for highest level gameplays: The Lightning Sorceress. The Lightning Sorceress offers a great amount of damage which is synergized with FCR. Essentially, higher FCR Lightning Sorceresses can cast more often, which inevitably results in more damage. Having an Infinity Merc on top carries this build to the next level. The strengths of the Lightning Sorceress are as follows:
the potential weaknesses of the Lightning Sorceress are as follows:
The Lightning Sorceress can output massive amounts of damage in little to no time. The spec has the best FCR frames and can take the role of a teleporter or CSer. A well geared mercenary with the Delirium runeword offers a solution against certain Lightning Immune CS seal bosses and monsters. The Lightning Sorceress takes her rightful place in the S tier as a meta class.
Final Verdict for Lightning Sorceress: S tier
Sorceress Builds in Diablo II: Resurrected
The Future of Meta and Ladder Season 2
While there are still 2 months remaining for the end of Ladder Season 1, one thing is obvious: The Meta has not changed. It can be argued that the Amazon buffs changed the meta in some way, but another argument can be made against the effectiveness of such a change. Hammerdins and Sorceresses are still the dominating classes in the meta. The Lightning Fury / Charged Strike Amazon is in the meta due to its monstrous boss damage and efficiency at farming.
Our own research suggests that there are different viewpoints with regards to making changes in general. It should be highlighted that the following list of viewpoints does not encompass all of the viewpoints regarding the subject matter. While we try to remain objective and indifferent to each viewpoint, we have selected some of the general viewpoints for your consideration:
: The game should stay as close to the original LoD and no dramatic change should be made.
: Changes should be made to Diablo 2 Resurrected by staying loyal to its original soul / roots. Some examples are introducing loot filters, buffing underpowered specs/classes without nerfing others, reworking the XP system by buffing Worldstone Keep monster levels, and making level 99 grind more accessible, introducing new higher level monster zones or a new difficulty.
: Certain items and classes should be nerfed. Examples include nerfing the Enigma runeword, nerfing Sorceress teleport ability by introducing a cooldown, and nerfing Hammerdin damage.
: Overbuffing certain classes and runewords can easily change the meta and helps introduce fresh team compositions every season.
While these are not all of the viewpoints regarding the subject, it must be highlighted that patch 2.4 class balancing was not as impactful as it was planned to be. Shapeshift and Summon Druids as well as Hydra Sorcs are barely visible on the ladder. Buffing Bone Spear and Bone Spirit synergies did not increase Necromancer power level in PvE/PvM but made the class definitely stronger in PvP instead. The buff to Raise Skeletal Mage also failed and did not provide noticeable damage increase at all. Buffing Bowazon damage did not increase the power level in PvE/PvM but made it definitely stronger in PvP instead. The class balancing is definitely a delicate issue. One cannot simply buff damage or synergies for sake of PvE/PvM performance without considering its effects on PvP. These buffs did not help those classes for their PvM/PvE performance but rather they made them stronger in PvP instead. Diablo 2 Resurrected has a very loyal and dedicated PvP playerbase which makes class balancing even more challenging. The burden falls to the developers for tackling this challenge. Will there be better class balancing in ladder season 2? Can some classes finally take the S tier for the meta? We have 2 months to find out the answers.
One of the welcomed positive changes in Patch 2.4 was the change to Dclone aka Uber Diablo spawn. Before patch 2.4, players had to track server ip addresses and block certain ip's to force themselves into joining specific server branches and they filled those server spots for spawning Dclone only in those servers. This method was called "IP hunting". This made Annihilus very valuable. With the changes applied in Patch 2.4, Dclone now spawns regionally and based on the game type. This change eliminated IP hunting and made Annihilus much more accessible. A viewpoint criticizing this change states that Dclone spawns are now "too frequent" and perhaps a form cooldown can be introduced.
What about new runewords in Ladder Season 2? Compared to the runewords introduced in Ladder Season 1, will there be more impactful runewords that can shake the meta and buff certain specs? Only time will tell.
What about changing the experience grind to level 99? Will the new Diablo Chain method continue to exist and require competitive players to have 24 or more players or will there be changes to monster levels and experience so the grind becomes more player friendly instead? As more time passes in a given ladder season, player activity may potentially diminish, which may potentially make it harder for other players to reach level 99. Having a reworked/ameliorated experience system can eliminate this problem.
The answers to these questions will definitely come in time. We will be following everything closely and keep providing updates.
Get Wowhead Premium
As little as
less than $1 a month
to enjoy an ad-free experience, unlock premium features, and support the site!
Show 0 Comments
Hide 0 Comments
Sign In to Post a Comment
Post a Comment
You are not logged in. Please
register an account
to add your comment.