Like Diablo 2, Diablo 3 will be an extremely skill-based game. Setting skills optimally and consistently is the #1 key to unlocking secrets and destroying both critters and rivals alike. While playing Diablo 2, I repeatedly saw even very good players in Diablo 2 with poorly optimized skills that prevented them from ever becoming the best, sickest Diablo 3 player amongst your group of friends. Picking the right active and passive skills can be one of the hardest things to do, especially when playing the game for the first game. Luckily for you, we’ve uncovered the secrets of all five classes in the game and are ready and willing to teach. To check out the full guide on exactly what skills and runes to get for your character check out our premium Diablo 3 Strategy Guide with up-to-date, fully-optimized builds for your class. But, since we don’t want you going into the game blind, we’ve included this as a free piece so you can get on your feet running in the game.
Diablo 3 Skills
Active Skills are the bread and butter of all characters. Without active skills you might as will be playing Pac-Man as choosing and utilizing active skills are what makes your character yours. While there are countless different combinations of active skills that work for each class, choosing an optimal build is 100% crucial to getting to level 60 and beating Inferno quicker than a Bruce Lee knee to the groin.
The current active skill system was finally finalized right before the beta in January 2012. Characters are limited to six active skill slots, which are activated at levels 1, 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24. Active skills need to be activated or used by the players and include physical and spell attacks, buffs, debuffs, mind control, auras, and more. More advanced active skills will be made available to the character as they reach key levels. Within active skills, they are further subdivided into more skill sets which are dependent on the chosen class.
One major difference in skills for Diablo 3, is they can now be respecced. Jay Wilson has said that one of his biggest regrets with Diablo 2 was the lack of respecs, which have been built into the game. While it has been argued that this hurts the replayability of the game, Blizzard has stated that respecs will be difficult and expensive to obtain, forcing players to think twice about how they select their skills. Because of this, even though you can CTRL+Z in the Diablo universe now, choosing correctly can save you weeks of frustration and the respect of many.
Passive skills were initially labeled as something different (traits) but were switched back into the original definition defined in Diablo 2. They are limited to three per character and do not need to be actively used. Classes have slightly under 20 passive skills, giving players plenty of room to experiment and optimize their characters. Within the current system of the game, players can add additional passive skills at levels 10, 20, and 30. Like active skills, passive skills can be switched and moved around with respecs. But because of the difficulty of acquiring respes, it’s highly recommended that you choose correctly first. To learn the best passive skills to choose for your individual class, broken down by stage of the game, check out our premium Diablo 3 Strategy Guide, which basically ensures your total pwnage.