Lets check out what percentage is the class distribution in Harvest 3.11 and why some classes are still so popular, while others see almost no play.
The Necromancer sits and mind-whopping 30% of the total playerbase. This is due to how popular Spellslinger Volatile Dead builds are. This ascendancy class is also arguably the best summoner choice also. With the introduction of Glancing Blows on the passive skill tree the Necromancer ascendancy also received a huge buff, since you can easily cap your Block Chance via Mistress of Sacrifice.
Assassin and Trickster
Both Assassin and Trickster are quite popular this league also, sitting at 12% and 11% respectively.
The Assassin has a ton of use in both Attack and Spell-based builds since it provides a ton of mobility via Mist Walker and allows you to scale Crit insanely easy.
Trickster is probably one of the most broken classes currently when it comes to defenses. Both Ghost Dance and Escape Artist when combined with a decently put-together Chaos Inoculation build can result in a nearly unkillable character. You can also never go wrong with an Essence Drain Trickster as we’ve seen in the past two years.
The Ball Lightning Saboteur is quite popular, along with other builds that use mines. This is why the Saboteur sees 6% play. The Gladiator is great for zooming around at decent speed and is an excellent choice for Bleed builds, also sitting at 6%. The Elementalist is a great choice for Golemancer builds along with some self-cast Elemental builds and even Attack-based elemental builds (5% chosen). Below these are the Ascendant (4%) and Occultist (4%). Beyond that we can see that the other ascendancy classes see below 3% play, with the Inquisitor sitting at the mind-blowing 0.7%. This is crazy, considering how strong Inevitable Judgement can be.
As we have already seen Necromancer, Assassin and Trickster result in 53% of the player base, leaving 47% for the other 16 classes. Keep in mind these statistics are only for SC Harvest, and we chose that league simply because the majority plays there. Of course the tankier classes like Jugg sees more play in HC and people tend to lean more to the Slam meta there too.
The class contribution in Path of Exile is certainly heavily influenced by Streamers and top players that are forming the meta. There are definitely skills and classes that are heavily underused and are completely viable. We do believe that every skill and every class can beat the endgame if the player has enough game knowledge in how to build a character. At this point GGG has done great job in making every build type completely viable, be it Summoners, Totems, Bows, Melee, Self-cast, Brands, Traps and Mines or whatever else you can think of. There are definitely some classes and skills lacking in power but there is nothing that can be called “completely useless”.