Crusaders and Witch Doctors Vie for Top Hardcore Spot

Hardcore Death charts show the best classes for surviving in Diablo III

Hardcore Death in Diablo III
The Diablo III Witch Doctor and Crusader classes are fighting for the top hardcore survivability spot. The charts of Diablo III Hardcore Deaths show those two classes vying for the top spot among all the classes, in the average character survival rate up to level 70. Even the classes with the least survivability are faring much better now they did before patch 2.0. Here's a look at the hardcore mode death rate in Diablo III, right now and compared to the past.

The Crusade Marches On
Current Survival Rate to Level 70
ClassSurvival Rate
Demon Hunter
Witch Doctor
The Reaper of Souls Expansion and Patch 2.0 brought big changes to Diablo III. With the maximum level changed from 60 to 70, and the new Crusader class added, our charts of the hardcore deaths had to be overhauled. Those charts now only show data about heroes who have played or died since the release of Reaper of Souls. One statistic we measure is the Survival Rate to 70. It shows what percentage of hardcore characters in a Diablo III class survive all the way up to level 70.

The new Crusader class initially had respectable but not impressive durability, ranking right in the middle. Crusaders were above the least durable classes of Demon Hunters and Wizards, but not as high as the hardcore perennial powerhouse of Witch Doctors. Crusader survivability has grown over time, boosted by class changes in the most recent patches. In patch 2.0.4 Crusaders gained a base 15% damage reduction. This was doubled in patch 2.0.5 to a 30% damage reduction, along with a slew of useful skill changes for Crusaders.

Right now Crusaders and Witch Doctors are tied for the top, at surviving up to level 70. The Crusaders have essentially pulled even with Witch Doctors, who have long been the best at surviving in hardcore. This was an intended change, as stated in the patch 2.0.5 patch notes that "Crusaders should be the toughest class in the game". If the shift continues, Crusaders will soon become the undisputed kings of hardcore leveling survivability.

In these statistics, Barbarians are currently the worst class at surviving to level 70. They barely edge out Demon Hunters for that dubious honor.

Class Deaths in Hardcore
Another statistic we track for hardcore characters is the Dead versus Live Hardcore by Class. This looks at which classes have more dead characters, by comparing the percentage of live versus dead characters in each class. This includes deaths while leveling and at level 70, from characters who have been played (or died) since the expansion. From this perspective, Witch Doctors and Monks fare the best. With the Crusaders' durability increasing, we expect them to perform better on this chart in the future.

Demon Hunters and Wizards are the most likely to die in hardcore mode, with substantially more dead than live characters for both of those classes. Wizards are especially notable for the high number of deaths, although some of that has to do with their overall strong class popularity. Even in hardcore mode, Wizards and Demon Hunters are the quintessential glass cannon classes.

Survival Rate to Level 60 at the end of Patch 1.0.8a
ClassSurvival Rate
Demon Hunter48.1%
Witch Doctor72.4%
These were the survival rates to level 60, just before patch 2.0 overhauled the game.
Living Better Now
All of these statistics can be compared to how much more common hardcore death was in Diablo III, before patch 2.0 arrived. Even among the classes that are most prone to die, all classes are surviving more. We archived the Hardcore Deaths as of Patch 1.0.8, saving the statistics from just before patch 2.0.1 went live. As seen by this chart, all the classes had a higher death rate back then. At that time, more Demon Hunters died while leveling than survived to reach level 60! Here are a few of the reasons why characters now have a better chance at surviving in hardcore mode.

  • Loot 2.0 Equipment - The Loot 2.0 changes made it easy for a character to get the equipment that he needs while leveling. Players previously would scour an expensive and poorly stocked hardcore Auction House, or deal with mediocre gear during the leveling process. Equipment now regularly drops that provides a character's primary stat and Vitality, which is key in hardcore mode.
  • Dynamic Difficulty - The old difficulty system automatically increased the danger that a character was in while leveling. This became especially deadly for undergeared heroes in Hell difficulty. The new Dynamic Difficulty system allows players to choose how dangerous the monsters should be. This means that hardcore players can stay in Normal difficulty mode and level up in a fairly safe environment, if they wish to make it as easy as possible.
  • Revitalized Crafting - Along with the better dropped gear in patch 2.0, the item crafting system is also more useful than before. The crafting materials up to level 60 were consolidated, and all crafted items provide Smart Loot stats. This makes it easy to fill in equipment slots that need an upgrade, if item drops haven't taken care of it.
Hardcore mode offers a different playing style than standard softcore Diablo III. In hardcore mode, a poor choice can lead to permanent character death. If you haven't tried it out, now is a great time to take the plunge and find out how much fun it can be!

Filling in the Data
All of this data comes from scans of over 4 million Diablo III characters. The data we gather at Diablo Somepage from Diablo III BattleTags and their heroes is calculated daily to make up many charts, including the Popular Builds & Skills and lists of the Best Legendary & Set Items. You can use the Add a BattleTag section to look up your own BattleTag or add it to our database. That will include your Diablo III characters in the massive amounts of data that create the charts throughout the site.

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