The Diablo III beta was running full steam this weekend, as Blizzard works out the kinks before it arrives on May 15.  Upon launch you’ll have various character types to choose from, each one taking a different route on your adventure than you might expect, thanks to different the perks they carry.

What kind of perks, you ask?  Well, let’s break down each character individually and see what they bring to the table.

The Witch Doctor

Those of you who previously played the necromancer in Diablo II may find something recognizable in the Witch Doctor.  However, instead of a straightforward spiritual approach, they use stuff that’s better associated with them, including voodoo-related techniques and shamanism.  Playing as the witch doctor, you’re able to summon monsters, harvest souls for later use, hurl poison at enemies to weaken them, destroy things with explosions, and, our personal favorite, cast curses, which could have an effect on an enemy later in the battle, turning the tide in your favor.  All of this is powered through mana, which regenerates over the course of the journey.

Oh, and on a side note, Blizzard hasn’t ruled out adding the necromancer in a later update for the game.  For now, though, the witch doctor will certainly suffice for those who feel a bit devious.

The Barbarian

If you’re up for showing off your brute force, the barbarian is your key choice.  You’ll have an assortment of skills available, all of which tie in with your physical prowess.  The barbarian is most effective against large groups, as he can fly through the air and deliver a crushing blow, or chop his way through swarms of enemies.  He is solely fueled by fury, which he generates a certain amount of, and can rebuild by fighting certain enemies, as well as taking damage from them.  He’s good on the offensive and defensive as a result, and the more fury he has, the stronger his abilities become.  And when you’re facing larger enemies, they definitely come in handy.

The Wizard

If you’re familiar with the sorcerer or sorceress characters from previous Diablo games, you’ll be right at home with the wizard.  He or she can summon all sorts of fancy attacks, including lightning, fire and ice, which can pummel enemies senseless, no matter how powerful they appear.  They can also use defensive strategies in the heat of battle, including the ability to slow time around them, stopping everything in their tracks, and teleporting the battlefield, ideal if you find yourself surrounded.  The wizard is also an ideal character if you want your power refilled in a hurry, as they use arcane power, which generates faster than most power sources within the game.

The Monk

If you prefer fighting enemies with melee attacks, or being all “up close and personal” with whoever’s battling you, then the monk is your key choice.  With them, you’re able to cripple foes, deflect projectiles (nifty for long-range attackers), attack with a resounding sense of speed, and land killing blows that are better than most combatants can provide – even the Barbarian.  They can also resist damage easily, which is a good thing, because the monk is probably the character who can generate energy the least.  They utilize chi, which can build by using defensive techniques and attacking enemies, though it takes a while to build up.  No matter – the monk still kicks butt.

The Demon Hunter

Last but definitely not least, you’ve got the demon hunter, a character that stems most of their abilities from Diablo II’s assassin and amazon classes.  They’re able to mix up attacks using a crossbow (for long range) and small explosives (for short range).  But the crossbow can be used for several trick arrow types, including the Chain Arrow, which can puncture enemies from a great distance.  The demon hunter is the only class to utilize two different power sources, both used separately.  The first, hatred, regenerates quickly for use with attacks, while the second, discipline, regenerates a little more slowly and used for defense.  Be sure to keep an eye on both of these as you battle.

For more class-specific strategy, be sure to check out our other Diablo 3 class mini guides!

• Demon Hunter

• Witch Doctor

• Monk

• Barbarian

More to come!