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5E The Most Popular D&D Classes & Subclasses

D&D Beyond posted these stats on the most popular D&D subclasses by class based on the "high thirties" in millions of characters on the platform. This is a revisit from last year, with updated data, and only includes single-classed characters.

Fighter is the most-played class (as has always been the case with these stats), followed by rogues, warlocks, clerics, and wizards.

The 'free' (SRD) subclasses are the most popular subclasses on D&D Beyond, which is no surprise.

subclass.jpg
 
Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

MatthewJHanson

Registered Ninja
Publisher
Fighter and rouge being most popular mirrors my experience. I'm running two games right now. Both have fighters and rogues, with no other class overlap.
 

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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
For both of these points, note that the Druid specifies Circle of the Land (Forest). This suggests that the system would break out Circle of the Land (Arctic), (Mountain), etc. All of which would also be SRD. Wouldn't surprise me if all the Land options added up to a similar amount to the other SRD options.

Thanks, that's a good explanation for the one stumper here.

Much more interesting that the freebie options leading the list are the XGE options that beat out PHB options. Especially for the Bard - there the College of Valour was beaten out by TWO separate Xanathar's subclasses.

Conversely, interesting that people don't seem to build as many non-PHB Paladins - the three most important Paladin archetypes made the first book. Cleric and Wizard I expected just PHB options - both were overloaded with subclasses compared to the other classes, so there's just a higher chance of them having at least three archetypes at launch that really resonate with players.
 


BadEye

VP of Tabletop @Fandom | D&D Beyond/Cortex
The weakness isn't the numbers -- you don't need that many to get a significant statistical sample, and this is 30M(!) -- it's more (a) the cutoff between free and paid items; and (b) which of these are being played and which are just experimental builds. For example, when they did a by-level comparison, there was a big bump in 20th level characters, which in all likelihood didn't mean that a large percentage were playing Tier 4 games, but that people liked to make experimental level 20 builds on the platform, partly to plan out their advancement.

I talked about this in the Reddit thread that popped up a couple of days ago:

I stated in the stream that this provides a look at what is being played most using D&D Beyond. We're not saying that this data is representative of D&D as a whole, but it is representative of what happens on DDB.

This does indeed include free accounts, accounts with only partial options unlocked, and accounts will all options unlocked - all accounts on DDB. We could share the data from those individual buckets, but for an overall look at what is being played using DDB across the 35m+ characters on the platform, this is accurate.

I can also confirm, that if we look at any of those three groups (free only, partial only, all), the ranking of subclasses is the same. Across all classes, the top subclass you see in the full image on this post holds true. So Path of the Berserker is still the top for Barbarians, College of Lore for Bards, etc. The only thing that changes by separating the groups is the overall percentage of the top subclasses.

Additionally, since this comes up a good bit, we do make a reasonable effort to cull "theoretical" characters by only pulling in "active" ones - which we define as those having made hit point adjustments, leveling up on different days, using features and spells, and taking rests. I know it's not perfect, but it is, as I said, reasonable.


Hopefully that will alleviate some of the speculation about how the data looks within those other parameters.

Thanks!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I talked about this in the Reddit thread that popped up a couple of days ago:

I stated in the stream that this provides a look at what is being played most using D&D Beyond. We're not saying that this data is representative of D&D as a whole, but it is representative of what happens on DDB.

This does indeed include free accounts, accounts with only partial options unlocked, and accounts will all options unlocked - all accounts on DDB. We could share the data from those individual buckets, but for an overall look at what is being played using DDB across the 35m+ characters on the platform, this is accurate.

I can also confirm, that if we look at any of those three groups (free only, partial only, all), the ranking of subclasses is the same. Across all classes, the top subclass you see in the full image on this post holds true. So Path of the Berserker is still the top for Barbarians, College of Lore for Bards, etc. The only thing that changes by separating the groups is the overall percentage of the top subclasses.

Additionally, since this comes up a good bit, we do make a reasonable effort to cull "theoretical" characters by only pulling in "active" ones - which we define as those having made hit point adjustments, leveling up on different days, using features and spells, and taking rests. I know it's not perfect, but it is, as I said, reasonable.


Hopefully that will alleviate some of the speculation about how the data looks within those other parameters.

Thanks!
Makes sense.

The simplest and most iconic options are the most popular.

Opposite of a lot of our experience, but it matches what I see at game stores amongst noobs.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I can also confirm, that if we look at any of those three groups (free only, partial only, all), the ranking of subclasses is the same. Across all classes, the top subclass you see in the full image on this post holds true. So Path of the Berserker is still the top for Barbarians, College of Lore for Bards, etc. The only thing that changes by separating the groups is the overall percentage of the top subclasses.

Do you mean for single-class builds only?

I recall there was a chart last year for "All Options unlocked", with multiclassing included, that had some significant differences. Namely, Hexblade being the most popular Warlock subclass by a large margin. Or has that data changed drastically with the passing of time?
 

BadEye

VP of Tabletop @Fandom | D&D Beyond/Cortex
Do you mean for single-class builds only?

I recall there was a chart last year for "All Options unlocked", with multiclassing included, that had some significant differences. Namely, Hexblade being the most popular Warlock subclass by a large margin. Or has that data changed drastically with the passing of time?
That is correct - for single-class characters only. Allowing for multi-classing raises both the popularity overall of warlock (slightly) and definitely of the Hexblade subclass (to top of characters with warlock levels).
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Wow, I’m surprised the Warlock beat out the Wizard and the Cleric! Of course it’s by a very narrow margin, but it’s still impressive to me that the odd class out in terms of structure is actually being played more on DNDB than two members of the “core 4” classes are. It’s also the most played spellcasting class!
 

FireLance

Legend
Wow, I’m surprised the Warlock beat out the Wizard and the Cleric! Of course it’s by a very narrow margin, but it’s still impressive to me that the odd class out in terms of structure is actually being played more on DNDB than two members of the “core 4” classes are. It’s also the most played spellcasting class!
I choose to read this as encounter power love. And to continue the sentiment expressed in another thread, 4E encounter powers were the best D&D encounter powers. ;)
 


Undrave

Hero
I talked about this in the Reddit thread that popped up a couple of days ago:

I stated in the stream that this provides a look at what is being played most using D&D Beyond. We're not saying that this data is representative of D&D as a whole, but it is representative of what happens on DDB.

This does indeed include free accounts, accounts with only partial options unlocked, and accounts will all options unlocked - all accounts on DDB. We could share the data from those individual buckets, but for an overall look at what is being played using DDB across the 35m+ characters on the platform, this is accurate.

I can also confirm, that if we look at any of those three groups (free only, partial only, all), the ranking of subclasses is the same. Across all classes, the top subclass you see in the full image on this post holds true. So Path of the Berserker is still the top for Barbarians, College of Lore for Bards, etc. The only thing that changes by separating the groups is the overall percentage of the top subclasses.

Additionally, since this comes up a good bit, we do make a reasonable effort to cull "theoretical" characters by only pulling in "active" ones - which we define as those having made hit point adjustments, leveling up on different days, using features and spells, and taking rests. I know it's not perfect, but it is, as I said, reasonable.


Hopefully that will alleviate some of the speculation about how the data looks within those other parameters.

Thanks!

I find it baffling that anybody who has access to the full PHB would willingly choose to play a Berzerker... It doesn't DO anything interesting! It's not like the Totem Warrior is particularly complicated either. It just has a few decisions points at level up but there's always a solid passive buff!

I choose to read this as encounter power love. And to continue the sentiment expressed in another thread, 4E encounter powers were the best D&D encounter powers. ;)

Encounter Powers were the meat-and-potatoes of your character, the way you could really make your build's personality shine. It's the same with any Encounter ability in 5e, they really make your particular build come alive as its own thing. A class with nothing but dailies is just boring to me.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I find it baffling that anybody who has access to the full PHB would willingly choose to play a Berzerker... It doesn't DO anything interesting! It's not like the Totem Warrior is particularly complicated either. It just has a few decisions points at level up but there's always a solid passive buff!
I think a big part of the berserker’s relative popularity is the fact that it’s currently the only Barbarian that feels completely non-magical. A lot of people who want to play a Barbarian just want to play a character who gets mad and hits stuff with a really big sword or axe, and don’t want any sort of supernatural element to that, and the berserker is really the only Barbarian subclass that fully satisfies that narrative.
 

Mr Fixit

Explorer
I think a big part of the berserker’s relative popularity is the fact that it’s currently the only Barbarian that feels completely non-magical. A lot of people who want to play a Barbarian just want to play a character who gets mad and hits stuff with a really big sword or axe, and don’t want any sort of supernatural element to that, and the berserker is really the only Barbarian subclass that fully satisfies that narrative.

True. A lot of people who approach the game from a more casual standpoint, as opposed to fine folks here, also appreciate straightforward easy-to-play classes without all kinds of bells and whistles. Hence the popularity of champions. Likewise, berserker berserks and hits stuff with his big axe. I'd say that's plenty enough.;)

Speaking of berserkers, Xanathar's zealots, easily refluffed to avoid any mention of the divine influence, make an interesting alternative take on the archetype. And, for those so inclined, they can dual-wield without running into issues with the action economy (looking at you, Frenzy).
 

Undrave

Hero
I think a big part of the berserker’s relative popularity is the fact that it’s currently the only Barbarian that feels completely non-magical. A lot of people who want to play a Barbarian just want to play a character who gets mad and hits stuff with a really big sword or axe, and don’t want any sort of supernatural element to that, and the berserker is really the only Barbarian subclass that fully satisfies that narrative.

I guess that makes sense. I don't personally really see the appeal but it makes sense.
 

Undrave

Hero
True. A lot of people who approach the game from a more casual standpoint, as opposed to fine folks here, also appreciate straightforward easy-to-play classes without all kinds of bells and whistles. Hence the popularity of champions. Likewise, berserker berserks and hits stuff with his big axe. I'd say that's plenty enough.;)

Speaking of berserkers, Xanathar's zealots, easily refluffed to avoid any mention of the divine influence, make an interesting alternative take on the archetype. And, for those so inclined, they can dual-wield without running into issues with the action economy (looking at you, Frenzy).

The Totem Warrior isn't particularly more complicated. If you go Bear for exemple you don't even have to think about anything while raging. No Frenzy to debate using or not. Sure, you get fluffy rituals, but those are basically ribbons and you don't need to use them for the class to be worth it.
 

Mistwell

Legend
We went from a concept of a barbarian that hates magic and some go out of their way to destroy magic they encounter, to every barbarian except one seeming magical in some way. It's weird. There should be more non-magic barbarians.
 





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