## An analysis: Number of builds for each class.

• I posted this on the official Blizz forums. I am posting here as well. Let me know what you guys think.

So I am pretty sure lots of people have asked this question as to how many possible builds are there for each class in D3 (Elective mode enabled). I didn't find the answer anywhere myself, so I decided to create a thread on it. Here's my take on it.

A build consists of any 6 active skills and any 3 passive skills.
For each class
# of active skills = n
# of passive skills = p
Each active skill has 5 runes

No. of ways of picking 6 active skills from a choice on n = nC6. (n "Combination" 6)
No. of ways of picking a rune for each of these active skills already chosen = 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 5^6
No. of ways of picking a passive skill for a choice of p = pC3. (p "Combination" 3)

Total No. of possible builds for each class, S = nC6 x 5^6 x pC3.

nC6 = n!/(6!(n-6)!) and pC3 = p!/(3!(p-3)!).

Now let's compute the no. of skills for each class individually.

Barbarian

# of active skills = n = 22
# of passive skills = p = 16

Therefore S = 22C6 x 5^6 x 16C3 = 652,863,750,000. (652 billion+)

Demon Hunter

# of active skills = n = 23
# of passive skills = p = 15

Therefore S = 23C6 x 5^6 x 15C3 = 717,670,078,125. (717 billion+)

Monk

# of active skills = n = 21
# of passive skills = p = 14

Therefore S = 21C6 x 5^6 x 14C3 = 308,626,500,000. (308 billion+)

Witch Doctor

# of active skills = n = 22
# of passive skills = p = 15

Therefore S = 22C6 x 5^6 x 15C3 = 530,451,796,875. (530 billion+)

Wizard

# of active skills = n = 25
# of passive skills = p = 15

Therefore S = 25C6 x 5^6 x 15C3 = 1,259,070,312,500. (1259 billion+)

Things to note
Wizard has the most no. of builds and Monk has the least. Wizard has more than 4 times the no. of builds as the Monk.Some interesting comparisons involving the no. of Monk builds since it has the lowest no. of builds.
► If every person in this world (~7 billion) plays Monk in D3, then it is possible to play in such a way such that every single person is playing with a different build.

► So if every single person in this world is playing Monk in D3 with a different build, it will still only cover 2.27% of the all the possible Monk builds.

► So will there be a time when it is certain that 2 people will have the same build?
Yes. Going by the present growth rate of world population (1.1%), the population of Earth will reach 310 billion in the year 2569. If every person in the world is still playing Monk in D3 at that time, then it is guaranteed that there will be atleast 2 people who have the same build

► How much time will it take me to test all the builds for Monk?
If you test a build each second, then it will take 9787 years to check all the 308billion+ builds for the the Monk.

Since checking builds every second isn't possible, so let's say you check a new build every 5 minutes. Then it will take 2.9+ million years to check every build for the Monk.

► And we haven't even touched the other 4 classes which have a lot more builds than the Monk.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4768346902
http://diablo3barb.wordpress.com/barbarian-calculator/

My D3 blog
http://diablo3barb.wordpress.com/
• I'm glad to see you got the math right. The thread kinda sorta already exists though. http://www.diablofans.com/topic/36115-47274700000000000/ It does take a good ways down the first page before the math is completely right though. Hehe

However, the real questions to me are:

1) How many sufficiently different builds are there per class? This is subjective obviously, but taking a given build and swapping one passive or one rune will usually not significantly alter a build -- at least, not to extent that I think most players would consider it a completely different build.

2) What percentage of these sufficiently different builds will be viable in Inferno? Again, this is subjective to an extent.

3) Out of these viable, differentiated builds, what sort of distribution should we expect across the player-base? IE, will there be 5 Barbarian builds that encompass 90% of all characters, or 5000 builds?

I don't even know how to begin answering these questions though, other than to wait and see what happens when the game has been live for six months to a year.
...and if you disagree with me, you're probably <insert random ad hominem attack here>.
• Quote from tanis0

I'm glad to see you got the math right. The thread kinda sorta already exists though. http://www.diablofan...74700000000000/ It does take a good ways down the first page before the math is completely right though. Hehe

However, the real questions to me are:

1) How many sufficiently different builds are there per class? This is subjective obviously, but taking a given build and swapping one passive or one rune will usually not significantly alter a build -- at least, not to extent that I think most players would consider it a completely different build.

2) What percentage of these sufficiently different builds will be viable in Inferno? Again, this is subjective to an extent.

3) Out of these viable, differentiated builds, what sort of distribution should we expect across the player-base? IE, will there be 5 Barbarian builds that encompass 90% of all characters, or 5000 builds?

I don't even know how to begin answering these questions though, other than to wait and see what happens when the game has been live for six months to a year.

most people miss the fact that you cant reselect the same skill again (even whit other runes!), and therefor its out of the count. also unruned skills shouldn't be counted imo.

my math used the bassis of using any skill at any slot, ONCE, same whit passives.

example:
passive1+passive2+passive3
is same as
passive3+passive2+passive1

in my math :]
Game Designer - Micro Design
• i didn't look deeply at the math there.. but just to be sure.. did u take in consideration that if u choose 1 skill with a determined rune u can't choose that skill again with another rune?

and i wonder why ppl keep complaining about the customization of d3...
good work
• HHmm - interesting- and yet even the Blizz guys note that with all the potential variable in D2 and Wow there are builds that are gravitated to and found to be best - u spend time honing the build after reaching level max and it may vary slightly in different scenarios - eg vrs a boss or against mobs or against a certain enhanced elite mob pack and u will swap out for that fight....

I recon there will be fewer than 100 builds commonly used (with = or - rune differecnes) per class.

This may sound like its not much in the face of billions of choices BUT even if it was 10 per class it would be more than the apparent "freedom" of the old days skill tree approach- Blizzard have improved the build options with perhaps removing some of the sense of control u have as u level up. It was only a "sense" of control tho....
• I wonder what the number of possible builds are when you don't use elective mode? In one breath blizzard boasts about billions of builds but in the next they state that the game is meant to be played in non-elective mode. I'm sure the numbers are still big but it's something to think about none the less. While I think most people who know what they're doing will use elective mode, this number might be closer to the number of viable builds.
• People had fun in Diablo 2 making characters and figuring out how to spend roughly 100 skill points by allocating them into roughly 30 skill slots (per class), both active and passive. Some builds were serious business and some builds were just goofy builds where people had fun figuring out how to make them viable.

In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinations of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.

Do all of the math you want. Go ahead. Slobber over a big passionless number that's at the end of an exponent equation. Big whoopidee doo. It's all generic combinations with very little identity. More doesn't mean better. Every Blizzard fan should know that by heart. Nobody gives a crap if your rogue build is different, They only care if your Combat rogue or your sublety rogue rips into flesh better than the other guy... or if you have the skills or rotation down pat to do so. Who would give a crap if your rogue build is skill combination #3450?

After 6+ years of development, we basically have the same situation where every build has the same purpose of killing crap, while having also having every build have less identity. We might as well just go back to Warcraft 2, where every one of our skills could be perfectly balanced, similar to have every unit in WC2 was a mirror matched unit and they did the exact same thing. Outside of making, let's say, an MF run Demon hunter or a PvM Demon Hunter, what else is there?

Diablo 2 Player: I'm leveling a whirlwind barb.

Diablo 3 Player: Cool. Well you see... my barb will have bash and leap and ignore pain and whirlwind and...

Diablo 2 Playter: Um... so that's a whirlwind barb then, right?

Diablo 3 Player: Well, yeah... but not really. There's more to it then that. You have to see my skills to understand how it all works Plus my runes are...

Diablo 2 Player: Sounds complicated and boring. Too long, didn't listen. Brb, pindleskin run.

Diablo 3 Player: Screw you, noobtrash!

Gems, gear sets and followers will have to be more in-depth to compensate. If not, you'll basically just have a maximum of five characters with an extended stash and maybe mule characters for extra storage. Why? Well every character can switch to another characters "build" simply by switching gear, at absolutely no cost. Almost 12 years have past and all we have done was go from a game where we could have multiple builds of each class (example. having a hurricane druid AND a shapeshifter druid) to a game we just have one character of each class (ex. having one druid that can just switch to any build whenever he wants just by switching skills and gear.)

Math does not make a game fun long-term. If it did, all of you guys and gals would be Actuaries in real life having a great time making a good living.
Some people tell me I'm going to hell. I just let them know that I've already packed my bags!
• Quote from asfastasican

People had fun in Diablo 2 making characters and figuring out how to spend roughly 100 skill points by allocating them into roughly 30 skill slots (per class), both active and passive. Some builds were serious business and some builds were just goofy builds where people had fun figuring out how to make them viable.

In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinaStop studying and get drunktions of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.

Do all of the math you want. Go ahead. Slobber over a big passionless number that's at the end of an exponent equation. Big whoopidee doo. It's all generic combinations with very little identity. More doesn't mean better. Every Blizzard fan should know that by heart. Nobody gives a crap if your rogue build is different, They only care if your Combat rogue or your sublety rogue rips into flesh better than the other guy... or if you have the skills or rotation down pat to do so. Who would give a crap if your rogue build is skill combination #3450?

After 6+ years of development, we basically have the same situation where every build has the same purpose of killing crap, while having also having every build have less identity. We might as well just go back to Warcraft 2, where every one of our skills could be perfectly balanced, similar to have every unit in WC2 was a mirror matched unit and they did the exact same thing. Outside of making, let's say, an MF run Demon hunter or a PvM Demon Hunter, what else is there?

Diablo 2 Player: I'm leveling a whirlwind barb.

Diablo 3 Player: Cool. Well you see... my barb will have bash and leap and ignore pain and whirlwind and...

Diablo 2 Playter: Um... so that's a whirlwind barb then, right?

Diablo 3 Player: Well, yeah... but not really. There's more to it then that. You have to see my skills to understand how it all works Plus my runes are...

Diablo 2 Player: Sounds complicated and boring. Too long, didn't listen. Brb, pindleskin run.

Diablo 3 Player: Screw you, noobtrash!

Gems, gear sets and followers will have to be more in-depth to compensate. If not, you'll basically just have a maximum of five characters with an extended stash and maybe mule characters for extra storage. Why? Well every character can switch to another characters "build" simply by switching gear, at absolutely no cost. Almost 12 years have past and all we have done was go from a game where we could have multiple builds of each class (example. having a hurricane druid AND a shapeshifter druid) to a game we just have one character of each class (ex. having one druid that can just switch to any build whenever he wants just by switching skills and gear.)

Math does not make a game fun long-term. If it did, all of you guys and gals would be Actuaries in real life having a great time making a good living.

What is stopping you from making one Barb that's AOE and one Barb that's crit in D3? Do you not have the will power to refrain from merely swapping skills and gear to change your build? Will the temptation be too great? Or do you posess the will power and simply resent the fact that not everyone has the time and desire to level new characters for new builds?

Grab yourself some tissues and just enjoy the game for Diablo's sake...

i didn't look deeply at the math there.. but just to be sure.. did u take in consideration that if u choose 1 skill with a determined rune u can't choose that skill again with another rune?

and i wonder why ppl keep complaining about the customization of d3...
good work

Yes he took that in the calculation, his formula is 100% correct if you consider that a build must have all things runed and all 9 skills. nCk means how many ways there is to pick k things among n, or fill k holes among n. Of course it takes into consideration you cannot pick the same thing twice otherwise it would just be n^k.

I didn't verify the number but I just assume he used his formula correctly with the right inputs.

Though for the debate... it means almost nothing. But still, there is very low chances that you have the exact same skills + runes as another player. You may be very samely but even considering a will to min/max I doubt people will have 100% the same things (unless they purposely copy).
• we get it, D3 is more customizable than D2. Anyone who says different is retarded
Quit making these "analyzing the number of builds" topics. This is like the 5th one Ive seen
Blizzard used to care about releasing Diablo III, then they all took an arrow in the knee...
• Quote from Nivius

Quote from tanis0

I'm glad to see you got the math right. The thread kinda sorta already exists though. http://www.diablofan...74700000000000/ It does take a good ways down the first page before the math is completely right though. Hehe

However, the real questions to me are:

1) How many sufficiently different builds are there per class? This is subjective obviously, but taking a given build and swapping one passive or one rune will usually not significantly alter a build -- at least, not to extent that I think most players would consider it a completely different build.

2) What percentage of these sufficiently different builds will be viable in Inferno? Again, this is subjective to an extent.

3) Out of these viable, differentiated builds, what sort of distribution should we expect across the player-base? IE, will there be 5 Barbarian builds that encompass 90% of all characters, or 5000 builds?

I don't even know how to begin answering these questions though, other than to wait and see what happens when the game has been live for six months to a year.

most people miss the fact that you cant reselect the same skill again (even whit other runes!), and therefor its out of the count. also unruned skills shouldn't be counted imo.

my math used the bassis of using any skill at any slot, ONCE, same whit passives.

example:
passive1+passive2+passive3
is same as
passive3+passive2+passive1

in my math :]

pC3 is the no. of ways choosing 3 items from a list of p items where the order does not matter. So it takes into account the fact that

passive1, passive 2, passive 3 is the same as passive3, passive 2, passive 1.
http://diablo3barb.wordpress.com/barbarian-calculator/

My D3 blog
http://diablo3barb.wordpress.com/
• Quote from ThumTrick

I wonder what the number of possible builds are when you don't use elective mode? In one breath blizzard boasts about billions of builds but in the next they state that the game is meant to be played in non-elective mode. I'm sure the numbers are still big but it's something to think about none the less. While I think most people who know what they're doing will use elective mode, this number might be closer to the number of viable builds.

Its still a very high number but i agree it removes some of the ridiculous ones (it also removes some valid ones). If you want to get the number yourself do it like this:
If c_i is the number of skills in category i, and since you can only chose one skill in the category, then the total number of possibilities is:
c_1 * c_2 * c_3 * c_4 * c_5 * c_6 * 6^5 * pC3

Where pC3 is as described in the OP and p the number of passives of the class.
• Quote from asfastasican
In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinations of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.
I don't quite agree...

Sure, there will be some shifting. But I played Diablo II with free respecs (plugY) most of the time, and continual shifting doesn't make sense and not something I did often.

Sure, I started a Shock Zealer, and I can probably switch to a Frozen Zealer, heck, maybe even to a Vengeance Pally. But say I switch to an Avenger, I'll need quite different gear even at middle levels. I prioritize really fast attack speed with low damage on Zealers. I need a somewhat fast weapon for an Avenger but damage is far more important. I need a tiny bit of mana leech and I'm set for my Zealer. I need a shitload of mana recharge/leech/add for an Avenger.

Knowing my typical layout, I could probably get to middle of Nightmare on a Zealot. Say I switch to Avenger there... well, tbh, I'd probably just like not be able to do anything just because of my gear. I'd have to go to like early Nightmare or late Normal and farm for a damage weapon. And these are fairly similar builds. The more similar two builds are, the more shifting you'll see. But gear will regulate that.

What you WOULD probably see is people possibly switching when they find new gear that doesn't fit their current build. And that'll only work so far. Closer to Inferno builds will get more stagnant, and then you have Nephalem Buff on top of that.
• I did a comparison in another thread where I determined that a Necromancer in D2 had roughly 15k possible specs which ended up as maybe 50 variations that could be considered viable (less then 10 that were probably considered optimal) in Hell.

So if 15k Necromancer specs gave us 50 viable builds in D2, what will D3 with it's over 500 billion possible WD specs give us ^^!?
Winter is coming...
• Quote from Tinkertank

I did a comparison in another thread where I determined that a Necromancer in D2 had roughly 15k possible specs which ended up as maybe 50 variations that could be considered viable (less then 10 that were probably considered optimal) in Hell.

So if 15k Necromancer specs gave us 50 viable builds in D2, what will D3 with it's over 500 billion possible WD specs give us ^^!?

IDK but I call BS about those 50 viable specs....
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

Epicurus
• Quote from Equinox

Quote from asfastasican
In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinations of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.
I don't quite agree...

Sure, there will be some shifting. But I played Diablo II with free respecs (plugY) most of the time, and continual shifting doesn't make sense and not something I did often.

Sure, I started a Shock Zealer, and I can probably switch to a Frozen Zealer, heck, maybe even to a Vengeance Pally. But say I switch to an Avenger, I'll need quite different gear even at middle levels. I prioritize really fast attack speed with low damage on Zealers. I need a somewhat fast weapon for an Avenger but damage is far more important. I need a tiny bit of mana leech and I'm set for my Zealer. I need a shitload of mana recharge/leech/add for an Avenger.

Knowing my typical layout, I could probably get to middle of Nightmare on a Zealot. Say I switch to Avenger there... well, tbh, I'd probably just like not be able to do anything just because of my gear. I'd have to go to like early Nightmare or late Normal and farm for a damage weapon. And these are fairly similar builds. The more similar two builds are, the more shifting you'll see. But gear will regulate that.

What you WOULD probably see is people possibly switching when they find new gear that doesn't fit their current build. And that'll only work so far. Closer to Inferno builds will get more stagnant, and then you have Nephalem Buff on top of that.

I agree with this, in D2 we have a limited number of respecs, but honestly, we spend more time finding gear than levelling - builds are complete when we get the target equipment for that build. The difference between D2 and D3 in that regard is still big, but it's still generally the same in that builds involve equipment to a large degree. What are "builds" anyway? If someone says "crit barb" and the fact that there's a lot of ways to do that in D3 sounds better than knowing exactly what equipment, skill, and stat allocation that player has. Two "whirlwind barbs" in D2 would have similar equipment, same skills and synergies - no identity. Two "AOE Barbs" in D3 could have little in common with gear, skill and rune choices. More individuality, I would say.

And I know of only 3 viable "builds" for Necromancers, and around 2-3 variations for each. And all these builds have a lot in common for target equipment, and same stat allocation.
• I like this alot, hopefully it'll start putting to rest the whole customization complaint. Alot of people just want the exact same mechanics from D2 and are a bit worried about the change. Seeing these numbers and playing in the beta makes me glad that Blizz has decided to mix things up and go against the grain.
Also, as far as the different builds, (crit barb is used alot) will probably be determined by the gear you seek and I imagine the passives will play the biggest roles as far as the name of your build, which leaves alot of room for customization in the other skills/runes you use.. good stuff!!
• Bone and fishymancer, anything else just isn't viable in hell.
• Quote from asfastasican

People had fun in Diablo 2 making characters and figuring out how to spend roughly 100 skill points by allocating them into roughly 30 skill slots (per class), both active and passive. Some builds were serious business and some builds were just goofy builds where people had fun figuring out how to make them viable.

In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinations of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.

Do all of the math you want. Go ahead. Slobber over a big passionless number that's at the end of an exponent equation. Big whoopidee doo. It's all generic combinations with very little identity. More doesn't mean better. Every Blizzard fan should know that by heart. Nobody gives a crap if your rogue build is different, They only care if your Combat rogue or your sublety rogue rips into flesh better than the other guy... or if you have the skills or rotation down pat to do so. Who would give a crap if your rogue build is skill combination #3450?

After 6+ years of development, we basically have the same situation where every build has the same purpose of killing crap, while having also having every build have less identity. We might as well just go back to Warcraft 2, where every one of our skills could be perfectly balanced, similar to have every unit in WC2 was a mirror matched unit and they did the exact same thing. Outside of making, let's say, an MF run Demon hunter or a PvM Demon Hunter, what else is there?

Diablo 2 Player: I'm leveling a whirlwind barb.

Diablo 3 Player: Cool. Well you see... my barb will have bash and leap and ignore pain and whirlwind and...

Diablo 2 Playter: Um... so that's a whirlwind barb then, right?

Diablo 3 Player: Well, yeah... but not really. There's more to it then that. You have to see my skills to understand how it all works Plus my runes are...

Diablo 2 Player: Sounds complicated and boring. Too long, didn't listen. Brb, pindleskin run.

Diablo 3 Player: Screw you, noobtrash!

Gems, gear sets and followers will have to be more in-depth to compensate. If not, you'll basically just have a maximum of five characters with an extended stash and maybe mule characters for extra storage. Why? Well every character can switch to another characters "build" simply by switching gear, at absolutely no cost. Almost 12 years have past and all we have done was go from a game where we could have multiple builds of each class (example. having a hurricane druid AND a shapeshifter druid) to a game we just have one character of each class (ex. having one druid that can just switch to any build whenever he wants just by switching skills and gear.)

Math does not make a game fun long-term. If it did, all of you guys and gals would be Actuaries in real life having a great time making a good living.

If you're complaining about how all the abilities kill monsters... go play another game.

i want my abilities to kill monsters. thats why im playing diablo 3 and not hello kitty island adventure
• Quote from asfastasican

People had fun in Diablo 2 making characters and figuring out how to spend roughly 100 skill points by allocating them into roughly 30 skill slots (per class), both active and passive. Some builds were serious business and some builds were just goofy builds where people had fun figuring out how to make them viable.

In Diablo 3, people will shift through different combinations of skills that have very little identity. They aren't builds, just combinations. When somebody says they are making a crit barb or an aoe barb or bash barb, you will have absolutely no way of knowing what the hell their build actually is. It's just another combination of skills that does the same crap as the next guy's.

Do all of the math you want. Go ahead. Slobber over a big passionless number that's at the end of an exponent equation. Big whoopidee doo. It's all generic combinations with very little identity. More doesn't mean better. Every Blizzard fan should know that by heart. Nobody gives a crap if your rogue build is different, They only care if your Combat rogue or your sublety rogue rips into flesh better than the other guy... or if you have the skills or rotation down pat to do so. Who would give a crap if your rogue build is skill combination #3450?

After 6+ years of development, we basically have the same situation where every build has the same purpose of killing crap, while having also having every build have less identity. We might as well just go back to Warcraft 2, where every one of our skills could be perfectly balanced, similar to have every unit in WC2 was a mirror matched unit and they did the exact same thing. Outside of making, let's say, an MF run Demon hunter or a PvM Demon Hunter, what else is there?

Diablo 2 Player: I'm leveling a whirlwind barb.

Diablo 3 Player: Cool. Well you see... my barb will have bash and leap and ignore pain and whirlwind and...

Diablo 2 Playter: Um... so that's a whirlwind barb then, right?

Diablo 3 Player: Well, yeah... but not really. There's more to it then that. You have to see my skills to understand how it all works Plus my runes are...

Diablo 2 Player: Sounds complicated and boring. Too long, didn't listen. Brb, pindleskin run.

Diablo 3 Player: Screw you, noobtrash!

Gems, gear sets and followers will have to be more in-depth to compensate. If not, you'll basically just have a maximum of five characters with an extended stash and maybe mule characters for extra storage. Why? Well every character can switch to another characters "build" simply by switching gear, at absolutely no cost. Almost 12 years have past and all we have done was go from a game where we could have multiple builds of each class (example. having a hurricane druid AND a shapeshifter druid) to a game we just have one character of each class (ex. having one druid that can just switch to any build whenever he wants just by switching skills and gear.)

Math does not make a game fun long-term. If it did, all of you guys and gals would be Actuaries in real life having a great time making a good living.

I've been reading on these forums for a while now and I've become so fed up with this argument that I've decided to actually make a post. Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears that you believe having to re-level a toon to respec is more meaningful than just openning your spellbook and swapping out abilities. I can see how this makes sense to some people since each toon's skills are permanent, and therefore each individual has more of a unique identity. (ie. blizzard sorc and meteor sorc).
The fact that you are ignoring though, is that in D2 it took less that 5 hours play time to level a toon to 80. On top of that, and I admit this is merely my opinion, those ~5 hours felt like a necessary but annoying chore that I had to complete before I could have some real fun. As a result, you are actually arguing that an annoying ~5 hours creates a meaningful identity that a toon in D3 will lack. I for one am glad that Blizzard does not share your opinion.
What really gives a toon a unique identity is the gear. I'd be happy to expand on this but I feel like I've already said too much for my first post.
/rant off