Barbarians are currently the most popular class in Diablo 3. They are extremely fun to play and in my opinion this class is what makes Diablo what it is. If you like leaping into the air and making your enemies do the same while smashing them down with giant axes, maces and other weapons, then this class is for you.
- Weapons & Armor
- Stats & Attributes
Barbarian is a melee class with high DPS, a good selection of defensive and offensive buffs, and the best tank in the game. Barbarians are also one of the three Diablo 3 classes that can dual-wield weapons. They are also great at wielding two-handed weapons for slower but more powerful attacks, and can also equip shields for increased survivability. Barbarians don’t excel at crowd control, but do have great area of effect abilities able to damage, tank and kill multiple monsters at the same time: Hammer of the Ancients, Cleave, Ground Stomp and Rend are all available even before you hit level 10. Barbarians also have good mobility with Leap and Sprint.
Barbs are also great addition to any group of players with their buffs and debuffs (shouts), designed to either weaken your opponents or strengthen your allies.
For strengths, I’d have to say tanking, AoE damage attacks, able to dual wield and also use shields, and great gap-closing and escape skills.
For weaknesses Barbarians are definitely reliant on items a lot, where you often have to decide between defensive or offensive stats. Their biggest downside is also often their melee range: you need to be more vigilant about insane amounts of monsters spawning all around you, and it’s a lot harder to dodge certain spells from melee range. Having good defensive stats is a must.
Resource required to cast spells for Barbarian class is called Fury. It’s gained by killing enemies, dealing damage and also by taking damage. Instead of regenerating, Fury actually degenerates every few seconds, so you’ll want to keep going and going slaying monsters constantly. As a result, you need to consider the proper itemization, skills and runes to enable you to have as little downtime as possible. Unforgiving passive skill is available at level 55, and if you decide to take it your Fury will no longer degenerate, but actually regenerate at a slow but steady pace.
Most of the spells in Barbarians arsenal consist of AoE attacks. It’s extremely easy to take on any number of monsters at the same time due to the abilities Barbs have, but also increased survivability coming from itemization. Some of Barbarian’s abilities generate Fury, while some expend it. Below you can take a look at the full list of active and passive Barbarian skills.
|Pound of Flesh||Requires Level 10||
Increases the chance of finding a health globe by 25% and you gain 100% additional health from health globes.
|Ruthless||Requires Level 10||
Critical hit chance increased by 5%. Critical hit damage increased by 50%. Many skills and runestone effects rely on critical hits to trigger their effects.
|Nerves of Steel||Requires Level 13||
Your defense is increased by 25% of your Vitality.
|Weapons Master||Requires Level 16||
Gain a bonus based on the weapon type of your main hand weapon:
|Inspiring Presence||Requires Level 20||
The duration of your shouts is doubled. While benefiting from War Cry or Battle Rage you regenerate 60% of your total Life per minute.
|Berserker Rage||Requires Level 20||
You inflict an additional 25% damage while at maximum Fury.
|Bloodthirst||Requires Level 24||
Gain 3% of all damage done as Life.
|Animosity||Requires Level 27||
Increases Fury generation by 10% and maximum Fury is increased by 20.
|Superstition||Requires Level 30||
Reduces all non-physical damage by 20%. Whenever you take damage from a ranged or elemental attack you gain 3 Fury.
|Tough as Nails||Requires Level 30||
Increases armor by 25%. Thorns damage dealt increased by 50%.
|No Escape||Requires Level 35||
Increases the damage of Ancient Spear and Weapon Throw by 10%. In addition, killing an enemy with Ancient Spear automatically resets the cooldown and critical hits with Weapon Throw returns 14 Fury.
|Relentless||Requires Level 40||
While below 20% Life, all skills cost no Fury and all damage taken is reduced by 50%.
|Brawler||Requires Level 45||
As long as there are 3 enemies within 8 yards, all of your damage is increased by 30%.
|Juggernaut||Requires Level 50||
The duration of control impairing effects on you are reduced by 20%. In addition, whenever you become stunned, feared or charmed you recover 15% of your maximum Life.
|Boon of Bul-Kathos||Requires Level 60||
The cooldown on your Earthquake, Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker skills is reduced by 30 seconds.
|Unforgiving||Requires Level 55||
You no longer degenerate Fury. Instead, you gain 1 Fury every 2 seconds.
The tips below will tell you some of my experiences with the Barbarian class, and tell you which abilities and skills are best when it comes to leveling speed. Do note that this leveling guide doesn’t include grouping with other players, so if you play with your friends you might want to change some skills accordingly. Additionally, I haven’t been able to try all skill runes so some may be better than the ones I recommended, especially if they better fit your play style.
In the early levels (before and around 10) I recommend you use the following skills:
- Cleave: in most cases monsters come at you in groups, and this skill will hit all of them for 120% weapon damage, as well as generate additional fury. Paired with the Reaping Swing skill rune at level 18 this ability will be an excellent fury generator.
- Leap: the ability that makes Barbarian in Diablo III what it is, this attack will enable you to jump on monsters and deal AoE damage. It even generates fury and it’s great for initiating fights. With Leap Attack I prefer using the Call of Arreat skill rune which pulls nearby monsters to you, enabling you to gather them quickly and kill as many as you can with your AoE attacks.
- Hammer of the Ancients: this ability will deal 200% weapon damage to enemies in front of you, helping you clear larger minion groups.
- Rend: an alternative to Hammer of the Ancients I like using, this will cause all nearby enemies to take 210% of your weapon damage over 3 seconds.
- Pound of Flesh: this passive skill gives you an increased chance to drop health from monsters, making sure you can easily survive those massive groups of monsters and having as little downtime as possible when leveling. You can alternatively use Ruthless passive, but it’s not nearly as useful in my opinion.
To speed up leveling after level 10 I suggest you focus more on using Rend, especially at level 19 when you gain access to the Ravage skill rune, which returns a percentage of damage dealt as life. If you feel like you don’t need sustain, you can just keep using the Ravage rune.
Revenge is also an excellent ability, available at level 13. Each time you’re attacked you have a 15% chance to return 220% of your weapon damage to all nearby enemies, and also heal 5% of your health for each enemy you hit. At level 19, you’ll want to pick up Earthquake, a skill dealing 2000% weapon damage as Fire over 8 seconds. This ability will deal massive amounts of AoE damage making sure you clear enemies as fast as possible.
Overall, for leveling you’ll want to be using lots of AoE attacks, so aim for those abilities. Anything that helps keep you alive is always helpful as well, so in case you’re having trouble you can take some more defensive abilities. Also find the right balance between abilities that generate and spend rage: don’t just use one rage generating ability and three that spend it, or you might find yourself in trouble more often than you’d like.
For more detailed a specific skill builds see this guide.
For PvP you’ll want to get some crowd control and gap-closing abilities. Elemental resistances are helpful as well when fighting Witch Doctors and Wizards. You’ll often want to use shields as well to mitigate some damage. Unfortunately, there’s isn’t too much Diablo 3 PvP information available at this point, but I’ll update this part soon with more helpful tips and tricks.
As I already mentioned before, Barbarians are very gear dependent. I recommend you find a balance between your offensive and defensive abilities and items for optimal leveling speed, damage dealing and survivability. You’ll need a bit of all, as going the glass cannon route with all offensive stats and spells can be risky.
Barbarians have three class specific pieces of equipment:
- Mighty Belt – most of the mighty belts you’ll come across will only increase your armor, but the better ones will also provide other random properties.
- One-handed Mighty Weapons – One-handed mighty weapons are a diverse lot of clubs, axes, hammers, swords, and more, with massive size and unexpected balance as their only common traits.
- Two-handed Mighty Weapons – Two-handed mighty weapons come in many forms, from clubs the size of tree trunks to greatswords and axes seemingly made to be wielded only by statues.
Most important Barbarian stats or attributes are strength and vitality. Every point of strength will increase your damage by 1%, and armor by 1 point, making it both a defensive and offensive stat. Each point of vitality increases your health by 10, and while it’s not as important as strength is, I still feel having greater health pool helps a ton.
Intelligence and Dexterity are both helpful as well. Each point of intelligence increases your resistances (Physical, Cold, Fire, Lightning, Poison, Arcane, Hold) by 0.1. You should however focus more on gaining resistances from equipment rather than getting intelligence attributes. Each point of Dexterity increases your chance to dodge by 0.1%; it’s usually easier and more helpful to aim for Vitality than Dexterity when it comes to survivability.
As for secondary stats, these are the ones you should look for:
- Weapon damage – clearly it’s very helpful as it increases your base damage, as well as increasing the damage of certain abilities such as Hammer of the Ancients or Weapon Throw.
- Attack speed – 1% of increased attack speed will do exactly what it says, effectively increasing your damage output by 1%. Good to have unless you’re relying a lot on abilities that scale with weapon damage.
- Critical Hit Chance/Damage Bonus – Barbarians often have high critical strike chance (passive skills also give plenty) and getting more of it is helpful, particularly when dual wielding. Critical Damage will increase the damage you deal with critical hits, so you can have up to three times the normal crit damage.
- Armor – armor stat gives you a flat damage reduction. Being a melee class, defenses are always important to have.
- Resistances – resistances give you a flat damage reduction to a particular magic damage element. In most cases you’ll want items that provide resistances to all elements, but you might also want to consider getting some items in your stash that are aimed at reducing a specific magic element for boss fights.
- Block Chance/Amount – block amount will increase the amount of damage you can absorb, and block chance will increase the chance of that happening. If you like using shields and tanking for your group, these attributes are for you.
- Lifesteal – personally I don’t prefer this stat as I usually gain plenty of health back with Pound of Flesh passive skill and certain skill runes, but if you need more sustain in combat this is pretty helpful as well.
Grabbing strength, weapon damage and critical damage and critical hit are best when it comes to building an offensive Barbarian, but don’t forget to get Vitality as well. In case you need more survivability, get more Vitality and Damage Converted to Life (lifesteal), which will help keep you alive long enough.
Barbarian is personally my favorite class in Diablo 3 and I’m sure you’ll have fun with it as well. I do hope this guide helped you understand Barbarians a bit better. Do note that some of the information in this post may be from beta, so for a more updated guide on Barbarians I suggest you check this guide. It contains much more detailed and advanced information.