Barbarians are the definitive in your face beat down melee class in Diablo 3. They focus on causing direct damage while getting right up and personal with their enemies. They are not however just ignorant wielders of weapons, they also have the ability to call on the destructive powers of nature to deal with their enemies, such as calling down avalanches, earthquakes, or even the spirits of past ancient warriors to help them.

Even though they have access to other powers, Barbarians really do prefer to use a weapon and get in close. Therefore most of their abilities are melee ranged based and take the form or weapon attacks. Also, while some barbarians are all out offence with little worry for their own health, they can also focus on defense. When they do focus on survival, few other classes can soak up as much damage or live as long as a Barbarian.

If you are the type of player that wants to become a non-stop engine of destruction, or even if you want to be the solid rock that your enemies pound upon, the Barbarian is the class for you.

Diablo III – Barbarian Resources

In Diablo III the Barbarian uses a resource called fury. This resource is generated while in combat as you cause and receive damage. In general, the more damage you cause or the more damage you receive the more fury you generate. Barbarians also have skills that assist in generating fury, by granting bonus points of fury per attack or hit. Once fury is generate, it is then spent to activate different and more powerful barbarian skills and attacks.

While fury builds up over time in combat to be used for attacks, it also dissipates over time while out of combat. Therefore a Barbarians best course of action is to move quickly from one fight to the next so that they always have fury available to them. If a Barbarian enters combat after a long break, they will have no fury remaining and be severely limited in the abilities that they can use at the start of the fight.

Diablo III – Barbarian Appearance

As with all Diablo III classes there is a strong theme to the armour that you will find for the barbarian and an overall progression in their appearance.  For the Barbarian that progression illustrates their journey from a rough and poor start in life, to mighty barbarian lord.

Starting off a Barbarian may have little in the way of protection, only a bit of leather armour and scraps of metal platting to protect them. However as their martial prowess improves they gather stronger and more protective armour. By the time they reach maximum level they look like armored juggernauts.

Diablo III – Barbarian Abilities

The Barbarian has 6 different skill types just like the other Diablo III classes.  They are:

Primary Skills – These are your basic attack skills that you will use quite often. While they cause damage, one of their most important abilities is to generate fury with each attack. Without these basic attacks barbarians would not generally have enough fury to power all of their other abilities.

Secondary Skills – These are more powerful attacks that combine with your primary skills to form your basic rotation. These skills all consume fury though so need to be mixed in with your primary skills and between the times when your other more powerful skills are on cooldown.

Defensive Skills – These skills are all called defensive, however they don't come across to me at first glance as defensive, but rather movement based. The abilities here include ground stomp, leap, sprint, and ignore pain.

Might – These abilities all focus on the barbarians might and power over his enemies. They include overpower, revenge, furious charge, and avalanche.

Tactics – These abilities are buffs for you and your party members. They are generally short term buffs lasting a minute or two at a time. The abilities here include threatening shout, battle rage, and war cry.

Rage – These are various high damage long cool down abilities. They are some of your best abilities but due to their long cooldowns can not be used very often. They include earthquake, call of the ancients, and wrath of the berserker.

Detailed ability listings can be found in the Diablo III Skill Calculator.

Diablo III –Barbarian Stat Priority

When gearing up any character in Diablo III there are multiple different paths that you can take.  For Barbarians those choices are basically aiming for maximum damage output or maximum survivability. 

Max Damage

Weapon Damage > Strength > Crit Chance > Crit Damage* > Attack Speed

* Crit Damage is best kept in a ratio with Crit Chance.  For every 1% point of Crit Chance you gain you should look to add about 10% Crit Damage.  This is relatively easy to get through a gemmed weapon.

Max Survivability

Armour = Resistances* > Vitality = Strength

* Resistances are just as good as armour, but you need to make sure they are valid.  +Resist All is pretty much the same as armour, but stacking just a single resist needs to be considered as far less valuable.

Balancing The Two

While the above are the ideal paths for max damage or survivability, as a matter of necessity you will really need to balance the two different directions.  After all killing everything quickly but dying to a single hit is not very useful, just as being able to live forever but taking 5 minutes to kill a single normal enemy monster is not useful.  Therefore keep both in mind and balance between them to best suit your style of play.

Diablo III – Barbarian Only Stats

There are several stats that only a Barbarian can use on their gear. They are:

  • Max Fury - This boosts your maximum Fury pool.
  • Barbarian Skill Bonuses - These boost several Barbarian skills by a percentage amount. Most are between 10 and 20%. It is important to note that they are not calculated into your damage rating and therefore gear may appear to have lower damage output, but if it is an ability you use all the time, it may actually be an upgrade.

Diablo III – Barbarian Paragon Points

Every class in Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls has access to essentially the same Paragon bonuses, each class has a different resource increase under their core choices, but other that that they are the same. Each class though has different priorities in the placement of these points. For Barbarians the best placement is as follows:

  1. Core - Movement Speed to 25% > Increase Max Fury >Strength
  2. Offense - Critical Hit = Critical Damage (Keep these at a 1:10 ratio as discussed above) > Attack Speed
  3. Defense - All Resistances (to 70% on stat sheet) > Life Regen > Armour = Life
  4. Utility - Life on Hit > Area Damage > Resource Cost Reduction

Diablo III –  Barbarian Leveling Build

While levelling the main aim with any class is to kill enemies fast so that you can keep moving and earning more experience.  From levels 1-20 can be done by grabbing pretty much any skills you like as you get them.  However by level 30 and if you are playing higher than normal difficulty you will probably want to switch to something that allows you to stay alive while killing enemies quickly.

Barbarians have many great leveling builds simply because while they are leveling up they are so tough that they do not have to worry about much. They do sometimes have issues killing fast enough while leveling though as many players tend to focus too much on survival. A great damage leveling build that I like playing is one that pulls everything in close with ground stomp and then rips it all apart with close range AOE like cleave, rend, and overpower. It also adds in furious charge to that it can escape or get to another combat quickly.

  • Primary - Cleave / Reaping Swing
  • Secondary - Rend / Blood Lust
  • Action Bar 1 – Furious Charge / Battering Ram
  • Action Bar 2 – Overpower / Killing Spree
  • Action Bar 3 – Ground Stomp / Wrenching Smash
  • Action Bar 4 – Battle Rage / Marauder's Rage
  • Passive Skills – Weapons Master, Inspiring Presence, Bloodthirst

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Barbarian Leveling Build.

Diablo III – Barbarian Max Level Build

There are many different builds that you can use once you reach max level on your Barbarian. One of the most iconic though is a whirlwind build. This build aims to rush around in a dizzying dance of destruction, pulling everyone into the melee while madly striking them with your weapons. There are many different versions of this build, but this is one that I use.

  • Primary – Bash / Pulverize
  • Secondary – Whirlwind / Hurricane
  • Action Bar 1 – Sprint / Run like the Wind
  • Action Bar 2 – Overpower / Momentum
  • Action Bar 3 – Battle Rage / Into the Fray
  • Action Bar 4 – Wrath of the Berserker / Thrive on Chaos
  • Passive Skills – Rampage, Weapons Master, Nerves of Steel, Ruthless

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Barbarian Level 70 Build.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Diablo III Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.