Best Designed Version of Each Class?

What do you think is the best designed variant of each class from each edition of D&D? Please note this is not supposed to be an edition war so I would rather not have any declarations of XYZ being the best version. Best designed also does not have to be the most powerful as you can mention what edition captures the essence of the class or whatever. The question is subjective an there is no right and wrong answer. In the warlords case bear in mind that it was only in one edition so 4th ed wins by default there.

 Barbarian.  

 Most people think of the barbarian as a rage based class probably due to 3rd ed. It was originally in Unearthed Arcana IIRC in 1st ed. Overall I liked the 2nd ed Barbarian the best as you were a barbarian using inferior weapons of stone and you had a lot of options via kits. Not a berzerker fan of 3rd ed and the ping pong version of 4th ed as they were both built around uber damage. A barbarian to me could also be a horselord or beastmaster.

 Bard.
 Another funny class as 1st through 4th ed have all had a different bard class. 1st ed it was a dual class, 2nd ed a wizard, 3rd ed a skill monkey with a few spells and in 4th ed is was a leader. Overall I thought the 3.5 version  was the most interesting one and it was one of the better classes without being mind numbingly broken. The 4th ed one also stood out to e even though I did not like the AEDU power structure but I never got to play 4th ed just DM it but it looks like an interesting class.

 Cleric.
 Kind of a boring class in pre 3rd ed versions of D&D and often one you had to beg someone into playing. Specialty priests inn 2nd ed however, various non broken builds in 3rd ed and the 4th ed one whoever all offer interesting takes on the Cleric. I do not have a favorite one here but the D&DN ones look to be interesting without being borked like 3rd ed clerics. 

 Druid. 
Broken as hell in core 3.5 the class was broken up in 4th ed and I am not a fan of that versions Druids. Probably also broken in 1st ed due to getting level 3 spells at level 3 and having very interesting abilities in a basic game. Overall I think the 2nd ed Druid was the best on in terms of balance and flavor and the 2nd ed Complete Druids Handbook was quite good.

Fighter.
 Very boring class pre 2nd ed and it started to have interesting options in that editions cycle. 3rd ed added feats and 4th ed added powers. Overall I prefer the 3.5 fighter in design but it was overshadowed by spellcasters. The basic design of the Fighter was converted to Star Wars Saga which added talents and more skills to the class and it removed the spell casters. The 4th ed Fighter was interesting but was ultimately limited in styles compared to the 2nd and 3rd ed fighters. Adding talents and power type options via fighter feats helps the class out alot. The 3.5 concept and design was good, execution in that sytem was wonky however although it was a popular class it seemed.

Monk. 
My most hated class. More or less sucked until 4th ed. The less said the better as I hate this class. 4th ed version wins.

Paladin. 
One of the most controversial classes in the games history. The 4th ed Paladin was to different to the 1st to 3rd ed Paladins so it kind of failed to capture the essence of the class. The class also needed help from Divine Power source book. Hard to pick a winner but leaning toward the  3.5 version of the class as Pathfinder kind of borked the class up IMHO. A class less said about the better due to edition and alignment based wars. Next.

Ranger
This class was changed al ot in 4th ed and it strayed away form the "classic" ranger of 1st to 3rd ed although the class has actually changed in every edition. Probably overpowered in 1st in was the only way to dual wield in 2nd ed core books. Hard t pick a winner as it is purely a personal preference but the archetype of a woodlands warrior is a difficult one to ignore.

Rogue/Thief in pre 3rd ed.

 Pre 3rd ed this was one of those classes that was similar to the cleric. It could be hard to get someone to play a thief and the class could be ignored in a non dungeon setting. 3.0 made some interesting changes and Pathfinder beefed the class up. I did like the changes 4th ed made to the class though such as sneak attack and the dagger thing. While it is difficult to translate the mechanics directly the  D&DN one seems to have a 4th ed legacy about it. Overall I'll give this one to the 4th ed Rogue.

Sorcerer.

 Usually used a a blaster in 3rd ed and as a striker in 4th ed and outclassed by the wizard in both. Pathfinder may have the best sorcerer yet but being brutally honest none of them are that good or interesting. Pathfinder or 4th ed wins this one take your pick. I give the class a big meh.

 Warlock.
 In 3rd and 4th ed. A lack of experience with either class makes it hard for me to judge. I do not really like either version YMMV.

Wizard.
 The most powerful class in pre 3rd ed CoDzilla gave it a good run for the money in 3rd ed. The 4th ed one I found to be quite interesting but it lacked the traditional wizard feel or essence of the class and from what I hear the class was slightly overpowered out of combat and compared with other controllers. I liked the 2nd ed version of the class and the 4th ed venison.  The basic 2nd ed class had the most interesting vancian options in the Tome of Magic and Spells and Powers with wild mages and shadow mages making an appearance. I liked the 4th ed one because it didn't wreck games.






 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

First, let's remember to avoid edition wars in this thread.  Favorite versions doesn't mean you need to bash other editions.  Thanks.

Second, my favorites...

Assassin - I adore the flavor of the shadow-using assassin of 4th edition.

Barbarian - I actually prefer this to be a background and enjoyed the various barbarian kits for other classes in 2nd edition's "Complete" series of sourcebooks.

Bard - 1st Edition bard was sort of a proto-prestige class and I like the mystery and challenge of it because of that.

Cleric - 2nd Edition's specialty priests were a lot of fun.

Druid - Not really a fan of this class so I don't really have a favorite edition version of it. 

Fighter - The BECMI fighter had some interesting options at 9th level, including becoming a paladin, knight, or avenger, or settling down and ruling a barony.

Monk - The 3.5 monk was an interesting combination of oddball features, though I reflavored the class for my homebrew world to be more based on Brazilian capoeira than Asian martal arts.

Paladin - I like the 3rd Edition paladin for one reason - the blackguard.  I like the implied story of the corrupted paladin turning to evil.

Ranger - 2nd Edition's potential followers for high-level rangers were just nifty.

Rogue - 2nd Ediiton thieves had some nifty kits available to them.  I particularly enjoyed the Fighter/Magic-User/Thief Collector kit from the Complete Book of Elves - Indiana Jones with pointy ears.

Sorcerer - Like the druid, not a fan of this class.

Warlock - 4th Edition's pacts were intriguing from a story perspective.

Warlord - Really only present in 4e.  Still, an interesting addition to the game.

Wizard - I was a fan of 3.5's crafting rules and enjoyed, believe it or not, draining off my character's XP to make items.                          

All around helpful simian

First, let's remember to avoid edition wars in this thread.  Favorite versions doesn't mean you need to bash other editions.  Thanks.

Here is to hoping that this keeps up throughout the thread. I almost feel like this line should be quoted with every post so everybody posting sees it over and over again.

Bearing in mind that I am talking specifically about the class and what it did in various editions - not taking into account anything else from the edition mentioned:

Assassin (2e) - I liked when it was a character background in 2e.

Barbarian (2e) - I also liked when it was a background or kit from 2e.

Bard (4e) - The 4e bard with the ability to actually be good at everything - but no real mastery over any one thing - appealed to me greatly.

Cleric (none)- Mechanically, I liked that 4e has clerics that could do something other than heal (with the minor action heals). Fluff wise, I've never liked the Cleric as presented. Too little distinction from the Paladin in my mind.

Druid (none) - Never felt this class has reached its full potential.

Fighter (4e) - 4e, hands down. The ability to finally be the BA that it should be, with a pleuthora of different ways of fighting. The only downside to the 4e fighter was that you couldn't make a straight striker fighter (discounting essentials).

Monk (none) - Another class I've always felt was better expressed through a background.

Paladin (none) - Another class that I don't feel has ever found it's true potential (unless you combine the avenger, paladin, and cleric all from 4e and turn it into one class "holy man with a weapon").

Ranger (none) - Always felt "nature guy with a bow" was more of a background, myself.

Rogue (no one) - Moreso than any other class, this one has changed the least between every edition. I honestly can't pick out which does it best because of that.

Sorcerer (none) - Never felt it was a class seperated enough from Wizard, even in 4e. Kinda wanted to try the Chaos Sorcerer in 4e tho.

Warlock (none) - I think the 4e Warlock Pacts really made the class interesting, but I still have never seen enough difference between this and a wizard to be thrilled about it.

Warlord (4e) - I love everything about this class - arguably my favorite class of all time, every edition.

Wizard (no one)- Again, every edition has had such similar concepts and mechanics for the wizard, it's hard to pick out which edition did it best.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

My memories of 2e are 15 years fuzzy, and I never played much 1e, but I'll give this a go...

Barbarian - I might have to go with the 4e barbarian here.  When it was released, it was the first striker to actually catch my interest (the PHB1 strikers all seemed rather samey and boring, although I eventually came round and had loads of fun with warlocks).  4e was the first time I felt compelled to play a barbarian, and did, with great fun.  That may have had more to do with the concept I came up with than mechanics, but I think the Thaneborn option helped inspire me, and the ease-of-reflavoring that was a major boon of 4e may probably helped too.

Bard - While my favorite 2e character was a bard, I think that again had more to do with character concept than mechanics.  I enjoyed the Valorous Bard I played in 4e just as much, but it was very different experience, and I was never quite able to satisfactorily rebuild my 2e bard in 4e.  So maybe that's a tie?

Cleric - Oddly enough, I think I'm going to have to say 5e.  It just... works for me.

Druid - while I liked the druid concept, I never really cared for how it was implemented in any edition I played (albeit I don't remember much about the druid from pre-3e).

Fighter - 4e, far and away.  The 4e fighter felt like a class worthy of Beowulf and Gilgamesh.  It was also one of the most versatile classes; while most classes had one secondary stat, maybe a choice between two secondary stats, the fighter could use a mixture of up to three secondary stats.  I especially enjoyed polearm fighters.  However, I did miss being able to use Dex as an attack stat, and appreciate the return of that option in D&DN.

Monk - Not familiar with the class prior to 3e.  I'd say the 4e monk worked the best mechanically, but didn't quite feel like a monk to me.

Paladin - I think the 4e paladin is the only iteration that's ever interested me (or compelled me to make one), probably because in prior editions the range of character concepts was much more narrow by default.

Ranger - My first long-running character in D&D was a 2e ranger, so that will always hold a soft spot in my heart.

Rogue/Thief - Tough call.  I'm more certain of what I didn't like about the rogue/thief in various editions, but I won't go into that.  4e was mechanically functional, but not that interesting.  The Pathfinder rogue seemed cool; I built one, but never got to play him as the game fell through. 

Sorcerer - Not that into the class, but the Pathfinder bloodlines were pretty dang cool.

Warlock - I never had the 3e book that introduced warlocks, so my familiarity is only with the 4e iteration, which I loved, or at least I loved the Vestige pact, for both flavor and mechanics.

Warlord - Loved this class a bit too much; played until I was almost sick of it.

Wizard - I know the wizard is possibly the most iconic of iconic D&D classes, but I don't think I have ever played one, in any edition.  Nor have I ever had the desire to.  Possibly because my tastes fall somewhere on the opposite end of the iconic-oddball spectrum.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I'm a pretty strong 4e partisan, so it's tough to be objective. In general though, I think 4e did the martial classes better than anything before. Particularly the fighter and the rogue were both plain awesome in 4e, my two favorite classes of any edition ever. Both of those classes had a great deal of flexibility in 4e. The fighter could be a traditional knight, a berserker, an elegant master of swordplay, or even a drunken brawler. The rogue could be a thief, a swashbuckler, a sneaky thug, or a sniper. And both of these classes had mechanics that made you think. The rogue was always working to get CA, while the fighter wanted to spread his mark around as much as possible and use his stickiness to mess his enemies up. 
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
Barbarian - 4e.
It was the best class in the edition.

Bard -cant compare. 2e and 3e felt the same and didnt play with enough in 4e



Cleric - 2e specialties by a mile. Pure Clerics are terrible in every edition. Mix in AEDU and its perfect. So 2e specialty priest with 4e structure. As long as the A isnt too powerful its fine.


Druid - Tie 4e in structure, 3e for multiclassing 


Fighter - 3e by far


Monk - 3e for the multiclassing


Paladin - 2e by far



Ranger - 2e since its build more ranged combat


Rogue/Thief - 3e for multiclassing


Sorcerer - 5e


Warlock - Here is the kicker we have 5e again the two classes that were pulled get my 5e votes


Wizard- 2e
I really liked the:

1st Edition Elf (Gish)
1st Edition Magic-User
1st Edition Thief
2nd Edition Monk
2nd Edition Barbarian
2nd Edition Ranger
3rd Edition Prestige Paladin (dips for multiclassing)
4th Edition Druid
4th Edition Sorcerer
5th Edition Fighter


 
 Barbarian.  


None, really.
If the Barbarian were something more akin to a ranger I'd maybe like it better.
But as a supposed "norse berserker"-inspired class... it just fails completely.
This idea of norsemen/vikings being uncivilized savages swinging their axes with sheer anger and no technique is pure nonsense and an old stereotype. Those warriors would be very much Fighters, skilled, trained and competent. 
And if that was not the supposed concept behind the Barbarian, but really just a "wild" warrior from a primitive culture, then as I said maybe it should be something more akin to a ranger.


 

Bard.

I like the bard in 3ed/3.5 as "the guys who does a little bit of everything."


Cleric.


3ed's idea of Domains was great! Lots of fun.
For some reason, though, 2ed's cleric has some charm that appeals to me more.

Now, to dig a little deeper and be really honest...
THE BEST cleric concept I've seen in D&D (though it wouldn't fit in every setting) was Dark Sun's "elemental" cleric.
The whole concept was just awesome.


Druid.


**leans forward and vomits**
Sorry, I just hate D&D's concept of druids as "friends-of-nature priests" who are surrounded by beasts, live in the woods, and only wear stuff that comes from nature.
Maybe, and just maybe, that as a specific archetype inside the druid class would be OK, but without all the polymorphing, please.

OK, the reason for all my hate here is that I love the concept of druids in a game as something similar to traditional celtic priests. And a strong political figure in society, not a hermit in the woods.
I've always house-ruled them to something more like the wizard/sorcerer as a class (but with cleric-druid spells).
It always felt to me that D&D failed to grasp the concept of druids.

Again... I think that Dark Sun's druid was the best, maybe because it was something different, made for a setting with barely any paralel to our real world. 


Fighter.


In my opinion, of all classes and editions, 3ed's Fighter is the best class design EVER in D&D.
Period.

So simple and so elegant.
You can build any type of warrior with it. It's all in the player's choices.
Rarely has a fighter in one of our 3ed games felt the same as another fighter. And it was by far the most played class.


Monk.


Just... just... NO!
From Rules Cyclopedia's Mystic to any monk version afterward... they're all just bad.
If you want something "oriental" in your game please make something that even remotelly resembles a character or class inspired by some oriental culture or mythology. D&D has always been very bad at tackling anything oriental. It's just not their thing.

Here I'm going to mention the Complete Ninjas Handbook in 2ed.
Technically it's not about monks... and the ninja class in it isn't so great either, but the Martial Arts system in this book is actually very good, and by far the best attempt D&D has ever made of implementing oriental-styled martial artists in the game!


Paladin.


I like both 2ed's and 3.5.
I'd say 3.5 wins because it actually gives you benefits for a high Charisma instead of making Cha 17 (!!!) a requisite for even taking the class.


Ranger


3.5 hit the sweet spot!
3.0 seemed a bit like a weird fighter, but the changes they made in 3.5 gave the Ranger a real identity as an independent class.

PF made some good adjustments in some of the ranger's class abilities, but it also included a whole lot of minor abilities that I felt unnecessary, kinda "flooded" the class. I like classes to have more of a general orientation for you to build your character upon. Instead of picking a bunch of specific minor abilities.
 

Rogue/Thief in pre 3rd ed.


3.5.
Because 3ed's skill system is absolutelly great! And the rogue is a great class for players who like to play lots of skills.
Also, Sneak Attack is better than the old Backstab from 2ed.

 
Sorcerer.


A "meh" class that they introduced just as a "partial" alternative to the Vancian Wizard.
It's not bad, but it's so similar to the wizard that it feels kinda unnecessary.

I'm going to stretch out a bit here and say 3.5's Warlock was the best sorcerer.
Just because I feel like the mechanics used for the class would have been great for the sorcerer, giving it a real differential from the wizard.


Warlock.


Well... see above in the Sorcerer section.
Let me just mention that although I like 3.5's sorcerer, that class didn't get as much love as the core classes, so it feels a bit lacking.


Wizard.


Mmmmmmmmm... not sure.
Wizards in all editions feel very similar to me (except 4ed's). They have small differences but all feel the same.
And I find them all good (except 4ed's).

I'll say 2ed is the best.
Just because the spells in 2ed were on overall less powerful than in 3ed, and yet somehow casting them in 2ed felt like you were doing something much more powerful and wondrous than in 3ed.
I don't really know why. Maybe it's just how I remember those times...



 

First, let's remember to avoid edition wars in this thread.  Favorite versions doesn't mean you need to bash other editions.  Thanks.


Barbarian: 1e
Bard: 2e
Cleric: 2e
Druid: 1e
Fighter: 4e
Paladin: 4e
Ranger: 1e
Rogue: 4e
Warlock: 3e
Warlord: 4e (really no choice on this one)
Wizard: 2e/4e

Barbarian: 1e
Bard: 4e
Cleric: 2e
Druid: 1e
Fighter: 2e/4e
Monk: 1e/4e
Paladin: 2e
Ranger: 1e
Rogue: 4e
Warlock: 4e
Warlord: 4e
Wizard: 2e

Honorable mentions: Avenger 4e, Shaman 4e, Artificer 3e 
Interesting idea. I'm skipping the couple I really don't have an opinion on.
 
Barbarian Not much difference in them between 3.5 and 4th in my opinion they are about equal.

Bard 1st editon version was cool.

Cleric
Definately 4th in my opinion. They got to be something other than a band aid. Different types of buffs were cool.

Fighter 4th edition most certanintly. Finally got cool abilities that didn't require a bunch of extra rolls or begging the DM to actually let you do something.

Paladin
2nd edition. I played a bunch of them. Even with the alignment restricitons. Of course my DM's usually ignored most of that.

Sorcerer another tie 3.5's best spontaneous caster and 4th had some cool mechanics as well.

Wizard
4th edition. All the cool magic and none of the overpoweredness.

Adding in:

Psion: I really liked the power point system from 3.5.


______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

Barbarian: none (would be better as background)
Bard: 4e
Cleric: 4e
Druid: 2e (lore)
Fighter: 4e
Monk: 1e
Paladin: none (kind of redundant with fighter/cleric)
Ranger: none (would be better as background)
Rogue: 4e
Sorcerer: 3e (lore)
Warlock: 3e/4e
Wizard: none (never saw a version that did it justice)

Honorable mentions: Avenger 4e, Berserker 4e, Shaman 4e, Skald 4e, Swordmage 4e, Thug 1e, Warlord 4e.
Fighter, my favorite class - 1st edition. The double spec is easy to houserule applying to any weapon, making the class even more awesome.

Cleric - Never been much of a fan, and 3rd made them them (along with druid) the height of overrated-sauce. Going with 2nd on this one.

Druid - the other half of the mythical CoDzilla. Going with 1st on this one simply because of the thematic restrictions on the class and its spells.

Wizard - 2nd, for the spells. My favorite is easily temporal stasis.

Paladin - 3rd, oddly. Divine grace buffing your stats upwards of +4 the minute you hit 2nd is one of the best reasons to go pally.

Ranger - 1st. Bonus equal to level to damage versus giants and other evil stuff? Yes, please.

Rogue - 3rd, with the caveat that I like the idea of sneak attack, but too many things can nullify it.

Bard - never been a fan. Never opted to play one "just because" - only ever played them in short-lived stuff. Don't have enough experience with the class and its iterations to say one way or the other.

Barbarian - I like the mechanical benefits of the 1st edition one, but the experience per level table is all kinds of cracked. When I play 1st and start at high levels, I generally go several levels of barb and then branch off into fighter.

Monk - 3rd edition, easily.
First, let's remember to avoid edition wars in this thread.  Favorite versions doesn't mean you need to bash other editions.  Thanks.



Barbarian: 1e, except for the whole destroying magic items thing.  Destroying technological devices would have made more sense. (Warn the gnomes!
                There's a barbarian on the loose!)
Bard: 3.5e
Cleric: 5e
Druid: 2e
Fighter: 3.5e
Monk: 1e Oriental Adventures, only if played in that setting.
Paladin: 1e Cavalier (the true paladin, not a templar incorrectly named)
Ranger: 3.5e, though I was tempted to say 2e, because I loved my 2e ranger myrmidon.
Rogue: 3.5e or 1e Thief-Acrobat, though 5e could be sweet with some tweaks, especially being able to play an assassin at 1st level.
Warlock: I don't really like this class, but I'll go with 4e because the pacts seemed interesting, though I missed the one in the 5e packet.  3e eldritch 
              blast was, IMO, ridiculously over-powered.
Warlord: 3e Marshall
Wizard: 1e Dragonlance robed wizard or 3e warmage, though, here again, the 5e version is shaping up to be quite good.

What do you think is the best designed variant of each class from each edition of D&D? Please note this is not supposed to be an edition war so I would rather not have any declarations of XYZ being the best version. Best designed also does not have to be the most powerful as you can mention what edition captures the essence of the class or whatever. The question is subjective an there is no right and wrong answer. In the warlords case bear in mind that it was only in one edition so 4th ed wins by default there.

 Barbarian.  

 Most people think of the barbarian as a rage based class probably due to 3rd ed. It was originally in Unearthed Arcana IIRC in 1st ed. Overall I liked the 2nd ed Barbarian the best as you were a barbarian using inferior weapons of stone and you had a lot of options via kits. Not a berzerker fan of 3rd ed and the ping pong version of 4th ed as they were both built around uber damage. A barbarian to me could also be a horselord or beastmaster.

 Bard.
 Another funny class as 1st through 4th ed have all had a different bard class. 1st ed it was a dual class, 2nd ed a wizard, 3rd ed a skill monkey with a few spells and in 4th ed is was a leader. Overall I thought the 3.5 version  was the most interesting one and it was one of the better classes without being mind numbingly broken. The 4th ed one also stood out to e even though I did not like the AEDU power structure but I never got to play 4th ed just DM it but it looks like an interesting class.

 Cleric.
 Kind of a boring class in pre 3rd ed versions of D&D and often one you had to beg someone into playing. Specialty priests inn 2nd ed however, various non broken builds in 3rd ed and the 4th ed one whoever all offer interesting takes on the Cleric. I do not have a favorite one here but the D&DN ones look to be interesting without being borked like 3rd ed clerics. 

 Druid. 
Broken as hell in core 3.5 the class was broken up in 4th ed and I am not a fan of that versions Druids. Probably also broken in 1st ed due to getting level 3 spells at level 3 and having very interesting abilities in a basic game. Overall I think the 2nd ed Druid was the best on in terms of balance and flavor and the 2nd ed Complete Druids Handbook was quite good.

Fighter.
 Very boring class pre 2nd ed and it started to have interesting options in that editions cycle. 3rd ed added feats and 4th ed added powers. Overall I prefer the 3.5 fighter in design but it was overshadowed by spellcasters. The basic design of the Fighter was converted to Star Wars Saga which added talents and more skills to the class and it removed the spell casters. The 4th ed Fighter was interesting but was ultimately limited in styles compared to the 2nd and 3rd ed fighters. Adding talents and power type options via fighter feats helps the class out alot. The 3.5 concept and design was good, execution in that sytem was wonky however although it was a popular class it seemed.

Monk. 
My most hated class. More or less sucked until 4th ed. The less said the better as I hate this class. 4th ed version wins.

Paladin. 
One of the most controversial classes in the games history. The 4th ed Paladin was to different to the 1st to 3rd ed Paladins so it kind of failed to capture the essence of the class. The class also needed help from Divine Power source book. Hard to pick a winner but leaning toward the  3.5 version of the class as Pathfinder kind of borked the class up IMHO. A class less said about the better due to edition and alignment based wars. Next.

Ranger
This class was changed al ot in 4th ed and it strayed away form the "classic" ranger of 1st to 3rd ed although the class has actually changed in every edition. Probably overpowered in 1st in was the only way to dual wield in 2nd ed core books. Hard t pick a winner as it is purely a personal preference but the archetype of a woodlands warrior is a difficult one to ignore.

Rogue/Thief in pre 3rd ed.

 Pre 3rd ed this was one of those classes that was similar to the cleric. It could be hard to get someone to play a thief and the class could be ignored in a non dungeon setting. 3.0 made some interesting changes and Pathfinder beefed the class up. I did like the changes 4th ed made to the class though such as sneak attack and the dagger thing. While it is difficult to translate the mechanics directly the  D&DN one seems to have a 4th ed legacy about it. Overall I'll give this one to the 4th ed Rogue.

Sorcerer.

 Usually used a a blaster in 3rd ed and as a striker in 4th ed and outclassed by the wizard in both. Pathfinder may have the best sorcerer yet but being brutally honest none of them are that good or interesting. Pathfinder or 4th ed wins this one take your pick. I give the class a big meh.

 Warlock.
 In 3rd and 4th ed. A lack of experience with either class makes it hard for me to judge. I do not really like either version YMMV.

Wizard.
 The most powerful class in pre 3rd ed CoDzilla gave it a good run for the money in 3rd ed. The 4th ed one I found to be quite interesting but it lacked the traditional wizard feel or essence of the class and from what I hear the class was slightly overpowered out of combat and compared with other controllers. I liked the 2nd ed version of the class and the 4th ed venison.  The basic 2nd ed class had the most interesting vancian options in the Tome of Magic and Spells and Powers with wild mages and shadow mages making an appearance. I liked the 4th ed one because it didn't wreck games.






 

Assassin- 2e Kit (should be a combination of backgrounds and feats)

Barbarian- 2e Kit (should be a combination of backrounds and feats/specializations in 5e)

Bard- Liked the 2e bard as a base class like the 4e bard as a base class, love the 1e bard as a paragon path idea

Cleric- 2e fluff 4e balance

Druid- there was a 3e variant shapeshifting druid that I really liked combine that with 4e balance and that would be ideal

Fighter- 4e and it's not even close

Monk- Not sure I've ever seen this done in a way I like- probably 4e if anything

Paladin- 4e and not really close- for the first time paladin was significantly different from both fighter and cleric both

Ranger- Somewhere between 4e and 2e kits not sure which though perhaps rename as skirmisher and make the traditional 1e ranger into fighter backgrounds and paragon paths.

Rogue- 2e kits 4e balance

Wizard- 2e flavor 4e balance

So if 5e were a combination of flavor from 2e with 4e's balance and options for classes which traditionally didn't have them I would be a happy camper- unfortunately they have no interest in making this sort of game.




 
Barbarian: 4th edition by default, but I don't like the daily rages. I'd prefer a big tactical trade-off when entering a rage.

Bard: 3rd and 2nd editions. It was a bizarre class, but the only real alternative to play non military rogues in 3rd edition, or just a useful rogue in 2nd edition.

Cleric: 4th edition by default, because I hate healing bots. I'm still not convinced by cleric being an "iconic" class.

Druid: None.
I love the aesthetic freedom offered by the 4th edition wild shape, and I hate druids requiring monster manual mastery or to kill other druids to level, but this class concept keeps being very weak. Nature protectors learning ways to ignore natural laws make very little sense.

Fighter: 4th edition by default.
I wasn't fan of feat chains to become a one-trick poney useless against too big or non humanoid creatures. And +1/+2 basic attacks spammers were IMO totally boring, even 6 darts per round throwers or the 2nd edition overated improvisation rules.


Monk: The mundane version could be a rogue subclass, as criminals and peasants tend to develop unarmed techniques. And then the mystical versions could be prestige classes or feat chains. I like the concept, but it could be more universal than "asian".

Paladin: A warrior with cleric in it. Or a cleric with warrior in it. Only interesting for the endless discussions about what a paladin is allowed to do. Sacred warrior should be a patch for fighters, but I won't fight against a sacred cow this big.

Ranger: None.
This class is so iconic that nobody agree on what it should be. For design reasons, between fighters, rogues, barbarians, and druids, I think rangers should be the ultimate beastmasters (including wild monsters), and not bow or two-weapons masters by default, as these style are hardly usable in areas with lot of obstacles and narrow passages, like in wild forests or caves.


Rogue/Thief : 4th edition, for the skill system. Or none when wanting to play non weaponmaster rogues. I only played thief in 2nd edition, and it was mostly a useless class, unable to detect traps beyond small size or to offer something that bards weren't able to provide to a group in top of other group friendly abilities. The rogue shouldn't be limited to the guild trained rogues created by Fritz Leiber.

Sorcerer: the 3.5 sorcerer was my favorite spellcaster until the warlock.
Each metamagic was a multiplier for the number of spell known, and each option was available on the fly. It dwarfed wizards in any fast paced adventure and weren't penalized on the utility side after few levels of carefully chosen flexible spells.

Warlock : 3.5, the funny full at-will caster. Not enough support, too much magic items related class features which were nonsensical for the class concept and should have been a feat chain. No dailies boring tracking.

Wizard : None.
Far too much dailies tracking in old editions, not enough spellbook centered in 4th edition, not a well defined class concept in all editions.
If I were to consider things like balance, power structure, and fun to play, I would say 4e for every single one of them, because 4e's class mechanics were just far and away above any other edition IMHO.  It's system mechanics had some problems, and it's flavor was mostly nonexistent, but it's class mechanics were generally awesome.  So I'm going to largely ignore that - but not completely because the flavor is largely unchanged in many classes across editions.  So I'm trying to focus on how well the mechanics facilitated the flavor.  Also, my 1/2e experience is fairly limited outside of the core 4.

Barbarian: 4e berserker.  I loved rage as an actual tradeoff rather than a resource, because it let me really play the controlled, disciplined warrior who occassionally unleashes the beast, without giving up my best class feature.

Bard: 3.x.  4e bards didn't really cut it for me, as they were just too locked into the "face" roll without enough of the "jack of all trades" roll.  Being more or less trained in everything didn't cut it anymore, as training was secondary to abilities and other bonuses in 4e, and a reduced skill list meant someone was trained in most things, so you were still second best at any non-charisma skills).  You didn't get the breadth of spells unless you had the time for a ritual, either, and you're powers were restricted to a fairly narrow range of flavor that I didn't much care for.

Cleric: Tough one if I ignore mechanics.  Maybe 5e, actually, if I'm really ignoring mechanics.  It's the first to make deity choice a big deal, and to really accomodate both the armored and the robed archetype.  Of course, 4e was the only one not to force you to choose between healing and cool spells, but that's pure mechanics.

Druid: Not a class I've ever cared for in any edition.  Probably 2e for the flavor - no metal was a great theory (if not a great mechanic), and I've never really cared for wild shape becoming increasingly definitive for the class as editions advance.  

Fighter: 4e.  It's not just that it gave explicit permission to the fighter to do things other than hit it with a sword over and over again (or, if you took the feats, and it wasn't too big, break the game spamming trip/disarm/grab).  It's that it made the fighter a defender, instead of a DPR king with high durability.  Some say the 3e fighter let you play any kind of fighter you want, I think that's hogwash.  It let you use any kind of weapon you want, and it let you make an archer fighter (but both editions' fighters were so devoid of flavor that you weren't giving up anything making a 4e ranger if you really wanted an archer), but no matter what you wielded and whether you favored DEX or STR, you were still a DPR king with high durability.   4e let you play a defender, and I loved that.

Monk:  I have to say 4e again.  5e's ki powers really push it towards the anime-style warrior I've never felt belonged in D&D.  Pre 4's mechanics were contradictory: fast movement, but if you go more than 5' you give up flurry; front line fighter, but low on HP, AC, and damage; SoD/S effects, but without the DCs to use them effectively...  That just left it without space to contribute, for me.  Except maybe as a mage-killer, which just didn't fit the fluff at all.

Paladin: Again I loved 4e's mechanics on this (at least once they fixed the more glaring inequities), especially the way roles gave paladins a really distinct design space from clerics, but I felt 4e's paladin was kind of soulless (like most of 4e, frankly).  It's armor just wasn't as "shiny" as the 2e/3e paladin, with its immunity to fear, it's curing of diseases, it's detecting and smiting of evil (abusable as Detect was), and it's lawful good requirement (not that I'm advocating hard-coded alignment restrictions)...  

Rogue/thief: Tough one - they're all so similar on flavor.  I'm going to have to say 4e for attempting to achieve in-combat balance rather than pretending it's ok to make rogues be useless in combat so long as they can make everyone else useless outside of it.  Also, I liked how the builds and powers really supported different rogue archetypes, letting you play an aerialist or a sniper without gimping yourself or making stuff up that had little to no mechanical impact.

Sorcerer: Not a class I've ever cared much for.  Pre 4e, it was just a wizard with different (but poorly defined) flavor and less versatility.  4e, it was at least it's own class, but not a class I cared much for.  I haven't played the pathfinder one, but I like where it's going with bloodlines and making them a little more defining.  So I'll go with PF.

Warlock: 4e.  Pacts is definately the way to go for warlocks, IMHO.  The 3.5 warlock feels more like a sorcerer (as others have pointed out).

Warlord: Loved the warlord, and 4e is the only one we've got.

Wizard: 4e again.  I'm probably letting my distaste for vancian seep in here, but there were other things I liked about it.   I liked that implements were not just for decoration.  That the class was fun to play at 1st level (HP and at-wills are mechanics, yes, but it's the result not the mechanic I liked).  That laying down a daily really changed up the whole encounter instead of just spiking your power level.  I'll grant the rigid spell descriptions and poorly executed ritual system got in the way sometimes, but most of that could be avoided by having a DM who remembered rule 0.   
If I were to consider things like balance, power structure, and fun to play, I would say 4e for every single one of them, because 4e's class mechanics were just far and away above any other edition IMHO.  It's system mechanics had some problems, and it's flavor was mostly nonexistent, but it's class mechanics were generally awesome.  So I'm going to largely ignore that - but not completely because the flavor is largely unchanged in many classes across editions.  So I'm trying to focus on how well the mechanics facilitated the flavor.  Also, my 1/2e experience is fairly limited outside of the core 4.

Barbarian: 4e berserker.  I loved rage as an actual tradeoff rather than a resource, because it let me really play the controlled, disciplined warrior who occassionally unleashes the beast, without giving up my best class feature.

Bard: 3.x.  4e bards didn't really cut it for me, as they were just too locked into the "face" roll without enough of the "jack of all trades" roll.  Being more or less trained in everything didn't cut it anymore, as training was secondary to abilities and other bonuses in 4e, and a reduced skill list meant someone was trained in most things, so you were still second best at any non-charisma skills).  You didn't get the breadth of spells unless you had the time for a ritual, either, and you're powers were restricted to a fairly narrow range of flavor that I didn't much care for.

Cleric: Tough one if I ignore mechanics.  Maybe 5e, actually, if I'm really ignoring mechanics.  It's the first to make deity choice a big deal, and to really accomodate both the armored and the robed archetype.  Of course, 4e was the only one not to force you to choose between healing and cool spells, but that's pure mechanics.

Druid: Not a class I've ever cared for in any edition.  Probably 2e for the flavor - no metal was a great theory (if not a great mechanic), and I've never really cared for wild shape becoming increasingly definitive for the class as editions advance.  

Fighter: 4e.  It's not just that it gave explicit permission to the fighter to do things other than hit it with a sword over and over again (or, if you took the feats, and it wasn't too big, break the game spamming trip/disarm/grab).  It's that it made the fighter a defender, instead of a DPR king with high durability.  Some say the 3e fighter let you play any kind of fighter you want, I think that's hogwash.  It let you use any kind of weapon you want, and it let you make an archer fighter (but both editions' fighters were so devoid of flavor that you weren't giving up anything making a 4e ranger if you really wanted an archer), but no matter what you wielded and whether you favored DEX or STR, you were still a DPR king with high durability.   4e let you play a defender, and I loved that.

Monk:  I have to say 4e again.  5e's ki powers really push it towards the anime-style warrior I've never felt belonged in D&D.  Pre 4's mechanics were contradictory: fast movement, but if you go more than 5' you give up flurry; front line fighter, but low on HP, AC, and damage; SoD/S effects, but without the DCs to use them effectively...  That just left it without space to contribute, for me.  Except maybe as a mage-killer, which just didn't fit the fluff at all.

Paladin: Again I loved 4e's mechanics on this (at least once they fixed the more glaring inequities), especially the way roles gave paladins a really distinct design space from clerics, but I felt 4e's paladin was kind of soulless (like most of 4e, frankly).  It's armor just wasn't as "shiny" as the 2e/3e paladin, with its immunity to fear, it's curing of diseases, it's detecting and smiting of evil (abusable as Detect was), and it's lawful good requirement (not that I'm advocating hard-coded alignment restrictions)...  

Rogue/thief: Tough one - they're all so similar on flavor.  I'm going to have to say 4e for attempting to achieve in-combat balance rather than pretending it's ok to make rogues be useless in combat so long as they can make everyone else useless outside of it.  Also, I liked how the builds and powers really supported different rogue archetypes, letting you play an aerialist or a sniper without gimping yourself or making stuff up that had little to no mechanical impact.

Sorcerer: Not a class I've ever cared much for.  Pre 4e, it was just a wizard with different (but poorly defined) flavor and less versatility.  4e, it was at least it's own class, but not a class I cared much for.  I haven't played the pathfinder one, but I like where it's going with bloodlines and making them a little more defining.  So I'll go with PF.

Warlock: 4e.  Pacts is definately the way to go for warlocks, IMHO.  The 3.5 warlock feels more like a sorcerer (as others have pointed out).

Warlord: Loved the warlord, and 4e is the only one we've got.

Wizard: 4e again.  I'm probably letting my distaste for vancian seep in here, but there were other things I liked about it.   I liked that implements were not just for decoration.  That the class was fun to play at 1st level (HP and at-wills are mechanics, yes, but it's the result not the mechanic I liked).  That laying down a daily really changed up the whole encounter instead of just spiking your power level.  I'll grant the rigid spell descriptions and poorly executed ritual system got in the way sometimes, but most of that could be avoided by having a DM who remembered rule 0.   



 Interesting responses here and it is no surprise that people seem to prefer the 2nd ed and 4th ed wizards over the 3.5 one. Quite a bit of breakdown as well in terms of what editions prefer as most posters are cherry picking their favourites from all editions- which is the point of the thread.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Barbarian: 2e.  I feel like barbarian is a subset of any other combat class (a fighter-barbarian such as the dwarven battlerager, or a ranger-barbarian who communes with primal spirits are both legitimate ideas and should be able to be expressed), and 2e was the best at reflecting that mechanically.

Bard: No favorite.  I hate every bard version in every edition I have played.  (Did not play 1E).

Cleric: 2e specialty or 3e.  I liked having your deity/domain choice actually affecting your character.

Druid: 3e.  Did not like the hierarchy in 2e or the enforced dualism in 4e.

Fighter: 2e.  Note that my like of the 2e fighter is based in the combination of fighter and system.  Specifically, in 2e, a single-classed fighter was the best at fighting, period.  They got more attacks per round faster than the paladin or ranger, they got more or the same hit points, they got better or the same attack bonus, they were the only class that could specialize in multiple weapons (or master weapons in later books), and so on.  The actual fighter class itself wasn't the most interesting version, but it had unique abilities and a unique niche that no other edition has, in my opinion, matched.

Paladin: 2e.  Again, based on things other than the actual paladin class, but I liked that not every character could be a paladin.  Anyone can be a holy warrior, not everyone can be a paladin.  (Making it effectively a prestige class, as Hackmaster does, is another way to get the same effect without ability score prereqs on classes.  Just noting that because I'm not necessarily in favor of abiilty score prereqs in general.)

Ranger: I dunno.  I don't feel like any edition of D&D that I've played has really nailed the ranger.  They all have good things and bad things about them.  I can say, however, that 3.0 definitely did not get it right.

Rogue: 2e.  Like the fighter, the thief had a unique niche and unique mechanics to back it up.  They also actually played like a stealthy character instead of a flanking-fighter.  (I feel sneak attack is too easy to get and does not sufficiently reward stealth and cunning.  Backstab, on the other hand, is lethal and difficult to get.)

Warlock: 3e

Wizard: 2e.  The 2e wizard had versatility, power, and clear, sharp, major weaknesses.  There are things a 2e wizard is good at and there are things they are bad at, and there's a very sharp divide between the two.

The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I really liked the:

1st Edition Elf (Gish)



That's the Basic Elf. 1st edition Elf was a race. It could be a F/MU. but didn't have to be.


Barbarian: 4e, if we have to have one.
Bard: 2e. 1e was too strange, 3e got silly, and I thought the 4e one to unfocused.
Cleric: 2e. If specialits priests were better balanced realtive to each other that's how I'd prefer them.
Druid: 2e, as a type of speciality priest.
Fighter: BECM. Hard cases, and perfectly capable of operating away from combat too.
Monk: 4e. No other version really seemed to work.
Paladin: 3e. Surprisingly evocative of what I think a paladin should be like.
Ranger: 2e. Especially with kits in play, you coud make any Ranger archetype I could want.
Rogue: I don't think it's ever been done well.
Wizard: 1e. Not because I particularly love the Magic User; give me an Illusionist and three or four more specialist wizards, and I'll tolerate the generalist who gets something from every school without getting the best of all of them.

These, in the day when heaven was falling, The hour when earth's foundations fled, Followed their mercenary calling, And took their wages, and are dead. Playing: Legendof Five Rings, The One Ring, Fate Core. Planning: Lords in the Eastern Marches, Runequest in Glorantha. 

Does anyone want to combine the data and see if there are any patterns?  I am curious.
I do note that there are very few mentions of essentials do people just not like these or have no experiance with them ?

Barbarian: Essentials (beserker) in many ways like the 4th edition barbarian but liked that it mattert what kind of climate your home land was.
Bard:  I realy loved the essentials Bard (skald) using it's aura mecanics.
Cleric: 3e. 
Druid: 2e
Fighter: 4th
Monk: 4e. 
Paladin: Essentials (cavalier)
Ranger: 3e
Rogue:essentials (tihef) liked the tief tricks.
Wizard: 2e
 
I do note that there are very few mentions of essentials do people just not like these or have no experiance with them ?



I've mentioned the Berserker and the Skald as succesful implementiaion of their respective concepts, as you did, but I'm not sure they can be considered 'Essentials', other then chronologically, since they are both fully-fledged AEDU classes. Still I think in general not many people had a chance to play them, since they were published late in lifecycle of 4e.
Barbarian:4E this class really rocks.
Bard: 4E
Cleric: 2E/4E I like 4E version of the cleric because the system doesnt´require the cleric to be in the party. 2E cleric was awesome because of his turn undead, which was pretty powerful  
Druid: 4E, love the flavor of this class, and the fact that it´s very distinct from the cleric.
Fighter: 4E fighter is awesome with so many tactical options. 2E was a meat grinder as I remember, lot of fun, buit less interesting choices, and became obsolete in high level compared to wizards, better retire and go live in a castle as a lord, and start over at level 1. 4E fighter is cool all over his career.
Monk: no opinion on this class, I like the concept but never got to play it.
Paladin: same, but as a DM 4E seem to be my preferred option here
Ranger: 4E
Rogue: 4E
Warlock: 4E
Warlord: 4E
Wizard: 4E/2E I like that 4E got the wizard under control because he was too powerful, the character is still very interesting and balanced against other classes.Playing as a wizard in 2E had a fun arc, if you survive the first levels.
I modified the Generic Classes from the 3.5 Unearthed Arcana.  That with Gestalt Classes and E6 and I have the most malleable characters D&D has ever given me.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I do note that there are very few mentions of essentials do people just not like these or have no experiance with them ?

Barbarian: Essentials (beserker) in many ways like the 4th edition barbarian but liked that it mattert what kind of climate your home land was.
Bard:  I realy loved the essentials Bard (skald) using it's aura mecanics.
Cleric: 3e. 
Druid: 2e
Fighter: 4th
Monk: 4e. 
Paladin: Essentials (cavalier)
Ranger: 3e
Rogue:essentials (tihef) liked the tief tricks.
Wizard: 2e
 



 Essentials was a class varient book. It would be like using the Players Option books for 2nd ed or various 3.5 splats. I was using the core classes more or less and excluding varients, and new classes several of which are exclusive to XYZ edition. I more or less used the 3.5 classes+ warlock as the warlord has been in 1 ediiton, the assissin as a core class is one edition etc. I was iffy about including the Warlock and Sorcerer.


 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Okay, on the class tip, the Incarnate almost drops unscathed into 5th Ed (really, do the math...).

That is one of the big sells for me, is the ease of conversions from ever other edition.
Assassin:  4E.  Shadow magic is how you give it an identity distinct from the rogue.  And the veil system was elegant even if it was a little weak mathematically.

Barbarian:
  3E.  The overtly supernatural 4E barbarian was cool, but I think it would work better as some sort of optional variant.  The "default" barbarian should be no more magical than Conan or Fafhrd.

Bard:  4E.  The broadest version of the class.  You could be everything from an urbane trickster to a warrior-skald.  Earlier editions tended to pick one interpretation and run with it.

Cleric:  DDN.  Really liking the god system so far.

Druid:  2E.  Before animal companions and wildshape became defining core features of the class.  You could do them, but the class wasn't built around the assumption that you would.

Fighter:  4E Essentials.  More balanced and distinctive than 2E or 3E, less locked into a system of specific maneuvers than 4E core.

Monk:  4E.  No contest.  The first edition to even get the monk close to correct, putting the class' amazing mobility front and center.

Paladin:  Can I say Pathfinder?  3E's was too railroaded, 4E's was too bland, Essentials' was somehow even more bland.  I really like the paladin as a concept, but no D&D class has really nailed it for me.

Ranger:  3E.  Though I haven't really been satisfied with how archery has worked in any edition.  Why is the best option always to become a human machine gun?  That makes no sense.

Rogue:  3E.  Int is a dump stat for 4E rogues.  That is unacceptable.

Sorcerer:  3E - the warlock.  The actual sorcerer was more distinctive from the wizard than it looked at first, but still, drawing from exactly the same spell list was probably a bad call.  I like sorcery being so alien from wizardry that it's different systematically.

Warlock:  4E.  The 3E warlock was really missing the "pact" flavor.  DDN's was even better, when it made its brief appearance a couple of packets ago.

Wizard:  DDN.  Old-school Vancian magic with finally an eye towards balancing spells?  Sign me up.
Does anyone want to combine the data and see if there are any patterns?  I am curious.


Results in boldfaced beat its competition by double.





















































































































































ClassBECMI1e2e3e/PF4ePlaytest
Assassin22
Barbarian4617
Bard2246
Cleric8134
Druid3712
Elf1
Fighter211491
Monk3137
Paladin1476
Ranger3541
Rogue1248
Sorcerer211
Warlock1571
Warlord17
Wizard25121


Only 2e and 4e have classes that clearly outshine the competition (well, Elf for BECMI, but it has no competition).  Looks like the community wants 2e-style spellcasters and 4e-style martials.
Sure, why not?

Barbarian: 2E. Specifically, from the Complete Barbarian's Handbook. The cliche of barbarian = rage was hinted at, but personified only in the Ravager kit. There were barbarian-fighters and barbarian-clerics. I feel they captured the essence of "primitive combatant" so much better than any version since.

Bard: 2E. Specifically, from the Complete Bard's Handbook. I hated that most versions of the bard were little more than guys with musical intruments, but the various 2E bard kits gave us so much more like the Gallant (the epitome of romantic warrior), the Herald (a travelling teller of bold tales), and the Loremaster (the quintessential historian).

Cleric: 4E. The only thing that keeps me from claiming the 2E cleric is the Priest group itself. When clerics are in the same ballpark as druids, it just loses something. The 4E cleric seemed to capture the essence of divine warrior better for me. I loved the priest kits of 2E, but 4E still wins the Cleric class for me.

Druid: None. I have yet to play a druid that I liked. Perhaps it is more a matter of me actually wanting a representation of real-world druids (and D&D never being able to deliver that), but not a single druid yet has impressed me. They are either too caught up in the "balance", woefully overpowered, or just plain boring.

Fighter: 2E and 4E. 2E because of the wealth of material in the Complete Fighter's Handbook that made the class so much more than just a guy with a sword, and 4E because it tried its best to give the fighter a direction and a focus that kept it relatively balanced with the other classes. If forced to choose between the two, I guess I would have to go with the 2E version, again, simply because of the tons of options present in supplemental material.

Paladin: 4E. Much like the cleric, I feel that 4E was able to give the paladin that "divine warrior" feel better than other editions. No silly alignment restrictions. No tithing demands. Just a badass channeler of divine might.

Ranger: Ugh. I hate this one. Much like the druid, I'm hard-pressed to pick one that I actually like. The first ranger I played was in 1E, and he was a fun character, but he felt like little more than a fighter with a woodland-lean to him. 2E's ranger didn't do much better. Neither did 3E's. 4E's ranger felt more like a default archer or Drizzt-clone (depending on build) than anything else.

Rogue: 2E, no doubt. The 2E thief was not the skill-monkey he later became. He had a defined set of thieving skills that were his, and he used them well. He wasn't the #2 melee guy behind the fighter. He wasn't the only viable character in OOC situations. He was simply a thief, and he made it look good. Combined with the various options and kits from the Complete Thief's Handbook, there has yet to be as good a thief since.

Warlock: Never played one, so I can't comment on this one.

Wizard: 2E. While they were still overpowered at later levels, they were kept well in check at lower levels by super-low HP, inability to wear armor, cost of spell components, chance of spell failure, and so on. Until about double-digit level, a 2E wizard was an asset, but a delicate one that had to be protected.
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Does anyone want to combine the data and see if there are any patterns?  I am curious.


Results in boldfaced beat its competition by double.





















































































































































ClassBECMI1e2e3e/PF4ePlaytest
Assassin22
Barbarian4617
Bard2246
Cleric8134
Druid3712
Elf1
Fighter211491
Monk3137
Paladin1476
Ranger3541
Rogue1248
Sorcerer211
Warlock1571
Warlord17
Wizard25121


Only 2e and 4e have classes that clearly outshine the competition (well, Elf for BECMI, but it has no competition).  Looks like the community wants 2e-style spellcasters and 4e-style martials.



 Thanks for that Wrecan feel free to keep it up to date. Its actually an interesting table and there are a few surprises outside the 2nd ed spellcasters and 4th ed martials.

 The barbarian for example splits along pre and post 3rd ed nearly evenly. THe rage based one vs the 1st and 2nd ed one which was similar to each other up to a point. 50/.50 split between rage and something else.

Ranger.
 The woodsman archtype seems strong, the 4th ed one is not very popular at all. The mechanics of the class changed from 1s-3rd ed but the preference seems clear at this point.

Druid. Big preference for pre 3rd ed Druids, similar ith Clerics.

Fighter. Strong prefereence for 4th ed fighter followed up by 3rd. Options seem popular regardless if they are feat or power based. Similar deal for the Rogue.

 Monk. No surprise there. The pre 4th ed monks generally suck.

Warlock. Almost 50/50.

 The D&DN Cleric is also reason ably popular so far although the 2nd ed one is also popular but they amy also be due to the priest factor. Seems people want the choice of god to matter mechanically unless I am reading to much into it.

 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 



 The D&DN Cleric is also reason ably popular so far although the 2nd ed one is also popular but they amy also be due to the priest factor. Seems people want the choice of god to matter mechanically unless I am reading to much into it.

 



It must be the Priest book that gives such popularity to the cleric.  I'm surprised that the 3e cleric didn't get more love, though, with its domains.  Maybe it's that DDNs cleric is perceived as being superior by some (an opinion which I hold).

I'm not sure, however, how much these results really show, because some classes were so similar across a couple of editions.  3E and 4E versions bear the least resemblance to each other or to other editions, IMO, whilst 1E and 2E were the most similar (also IMO).  And then you have 5E, which is trying to take the best of each and is incomplete.
I do not think the 3rd ed spellcasters are actually that popular due to CoDzilla and the Wizard. I like 3rd ed a lot but I voted for 2nd ed and 4th ed options in those classes. I think most 3.5 players are well aware of the probelms those classes have.  I like the 3rd ed domains and I like the D&DN take on domains more than the 3rd ed ones. The rest of the spellcaster classes not such a fan of although I have a soft spot for Druids and I liked some of te varient Druids that gave up wild shappe or the animal companion. 

 There is a big difference in the power level between the 2nd ed and 3rd ed Druids mostly due to wildshape and the animal companion.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Barbarian : (none) - Love some of the features of 3rd and 4th, but the daily rages didn't work for me. If I had to pick - 3.5, although I tend to prefer 4th edition in general.
Bard: I loved a couple of the builds in 3.5 -- one of my favorite characters was a 3.5 bard that just didn't translate to 4th.  OTOH, the 1st edition bard was something that had to be striven for.  That made it unique and appealing.  Never played 2nd edtion Bard.. So to me, this is a tie.
Cleric : rarely enjoyed this class.  Mechanically 4th edition wins, simply because, after 3.5, it reigned in COD. 
Druids : (none) 3e's was broken, but 4e's seemed anemic to me.  Didn't fit at all.  I did enjoy designing a 3e build, but never played him. 
Fighter : 4th edition, hands down.  If I got to include Warblades, Swordsages and Crusaders, Tome Of Battle did much for fighter classes in 3.5.  I loved the plethora of feats available in 3rd, but they simply weren't worth it in that system.  
Paladin : Divine Power 4th seems the best to me.  Divine Sanction gave them a power-up mechanically, and Paladins still felt different from fighters. 3rd edition seemed to locked-in to a certain same-ness. Recollection of pre 3rd is hazy. 
Ranger: My 2nd edition ranger was one of my favourite characters of my early years.  Nostalgia wins.
Rogue : Always seemed like a mess in every edition. 
Warlock : Fond of the pacts in 4th.  One of my favourite story-lines as a  DM in 4th revolves around a Dual-Pact Warlock torn between her two "masters".
Warlord : Perhaps my favourite character of recent years was one of these, and it's become one of my favourite classes as well.  
Wizard : (none) -- this was a hard answer to come up with. I love the wizard, I really do.  I loved my Mage/Psionicist in 2nd ed Dark Sun.  Loved my 3rd edition Wizard (who never quite got high enough level to experience "Brokenness") and I've enjoyed every one I've played or DMed.   Yet each has had their issues.  Never liked Vancian.  4th edition seemed the most balanced.  I'd have put 4th, but the wizard does seem to lack a certain something in that edition. 

(Bonus)
Artificer : 3rd.  This class was defined in 3.5 Eberron, and works best there.  It was horribly overpowered (or could be made so), but then that was because spells and enchanting items were so broken.   As a jack of all trades - I was in love with it.  It never quite made the translation to 4th edition, IMO. 

 
Sooooo...after looking at Wrecan's compilation, I'm apparently the only person on the planet (or at least the forum) who prefers the 1st edition fighter.

"One is the lonliest number..."

That's ok though, I don't mind.

Side note: Zard, congrats for making a fabulously interesting and civil thread, which this forum is sorely lacking in a lot of times, and which I'm as guilty of contributing to as anyone.
Sooooo...after looking at Wrecan's compilation, I'm apparently the only person on the planet (or at least the forum) who prefers the 1st edition fighter. "One is the lonliest number..." That's ok though, I don't mind. Side note: Zard, congrats for making a fabulously interesting and civil thread, which this forum is sorely lacking in a lot of times, and which I'm as guilty of contributing to as anyone.



You were right the first time; you are the only person on the planet who prefers the 1st edition fighter.  :D
Sigh...it's lonely at the top of the dice heap :P
Sigh...it's lonely at the top of the dice heap :P



I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but that's dung.  But, hey, at least you're not at the bottom of it!
And here I thought the smell was just nerd sweat...silly me.
And here I thought the smell was just nerd sweat...silly me.



For that little problem, just use Brute.  It smells like a man.





Really???  Who wants to smell like a man?  Don't we use deodorant so we don't smell like men?

Worst.............advertising.............slogan...............EVER!     
(Artificer: 3e - It really did just define the class, conceptually and mechanically, for me.)
Barbarian: 4e - Options.  So many more options.  And I'm not a fan of the pure "anti-magic" Barb.
Bard: 3e - I just like it, what can I say.
Cleric: 3e - I have my issues with power levels, but it allowed for a wide variety of pretty distinct characters.
Druid: ??? - I'm not familiar enough with pre-3e, and I really don't feel like either 3 or 4 really nailed it (for different reasons).
Fighter: 4e - It has a niche, it fills it spectacularly well.
Monk: 4e - It's just an amazing class.
Paladin: 4e - Options.  So many options compared to other versions.
(Psion: 3e [EXPANDED Psionics] - I like the 4e version, I'm not a fan of pre-3e versions, and the think the XP Psion is just clean.)
Ranger: ??? - I'm not familiar enough with pre-3e, and I really don't feel like either 3 or 4 really nailed it (for different reasons).
Rogue/Thief: Playtest! - Credit where credit is due, I actually really like the PT Rogue at the moment.
Sorcerer: 4e - Kind of by default, for me.  "A (Slightly) Different Wizard" is a pretty lame concept.  As others have pointed out, both 4e and Pathfinder have worked hard to make this a class of its own (and the Playtest, though it was such a limited look).
Warlock: 3e - I like the 4e Warlock, but the 3e version is just... more warlock-ey to me, I guess?  It kind of defined the class for me.
Warlord: 4e - The Marshal is tolerable, but the Warlord is amazing.
Wizard: ??? - I'm not familiar enough with pre-3e, and I really don't feel like either 3 or 4 really nailed it (for different reasons).
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)