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Diablo 3 Barbarian Builds Guide


The Barbarian makes a return in Diablo 3, and like always is massive, still has the ability to shout, and can chop through enemies with various devastating skills.

Pros:

  • Most powerful melee in the game
  • Shouts grant a variety of bonus effects
  • Can destroy hordes of enemies with abilities like Whirlwind
  • Most tanky hero in the game – lot’s of defense and health
  • Can summon Talic, Korlic and Madawc
  • Fantastic variety of exclusive weapons (called Mighty Weapons)

Cons:

  • Fury charging is ridiculously slow
  • Many key abilities can’t be spammed because of Fury charging requirement
  • Very few ranged abilities
  • Useless against higher level monsters that are immune to physical damage

Note:
I highly recommend that you refer to our essential Character Development Basics guide before reading this guide for familiarization with various terminologies and concepts.

For more help on Diablo 3 builds, read our Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Monk and Wizard guides.

Build #1 – Come At Me Bro

Tier 1 (Level 1-10)
The Barbarian starts off strong in Diablo III as you immediately get abilities that can deal with multiple enemies at once. Because of the weapon versatility of the Barbarian class, there are plenty of choices that can be made. Though you can never really go wrong, my recommendation for a good and aggressive Barbarian will always be:

2x Single Handed Weapon (No Shield)

Make sure to always prioritize the Mighty Weapons; they are generally more powerful, and an important Fury-generating passive relies on them.

In the first tier you are presented with a few choices. You can opt to keep Bash (which has knockback) throughout. However, I recommend Cleave instead. Though it does less damage, it hits multiple enemies in a small arc in front of you. With two single-handed weapons equipped, this ability has the capacity to instantly destroy multiple enemies with just one click.

There is also an additional choice between Hammer of the Ancients and Rend. Rend is an excellent ability for quick and large DoT damage to multiple enemies, but Hammer of the Ancients tends to deal better burst damage for quick wastage of enemies.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
There’s a good difference between Frenzy and Cleave, both in effectiveness and Fury generation. The real issue with Frenzy is that it only generates 3 Fury per attack (from now on referred as Fpa), while Cleave generates 5 Fpa. However, Frenzy greatly increases your attack speed every attack, which means the overall Fury generation rate is much higher.

Perhaps the greatest and most well-known ability of the Barbarian is the infamous Whirlwind. This ability has the same amount of intensity as in Diablo II. However, there is a massive downside this time around which makes it non-spammable: the skill consumes a massive 16 Fury – too much for anyone to rely on it for definite kills and escape. Nevertheless, it’s so good and so strong that ignoring it is harsh, and that’s why we’ll almost always take this brilliant ability.

Ancient Spear is the signature move of this build. Not only does it bring enemies close to you, but also generates a lot of Fury, which when combined with Frenzy will allow you to regularly use Whirlwind.

The general rotation when entering a crowd of enemies would be: Threatening Shout, then Ancient Spear, Frenzy like crazy, and finally Whirlwind everyone to oblivion. If things get out of hand, just Sprint and let yourself breathe a bit.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Everything will remain the same, except now you are generating much more Fury from Ancient Spear, can get healed from Frenzy, can damage when using Sprint, and can now spam Whirlwind (which now releases tornadoes) much more often. Also, your Animosity adds to your Fury generation, which will make you a spinning, tornado generating beast.

Final Build:
This is the final build. Know that though it is not utilizing some other amazing abilities, it has a deadly combination which emphasizes greatly on the frequent use of Whirlwind and Ancient Spear. These are your core moves, and should be used as much as possible.

The best part is that your amazing passive Relentless will allow you to use any ability with absolutely now skill cost when things get dire. This means that when your health goes below 20%, you have the choice to either Whirlwind your way out of the crowd, or Sprint your way out while knocking every back, both without any cost of Fury whatsoever.

Build #2 – May the Ancients Grant Me Strength

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
Since this build is a high-level build, you’ll just be filling up your action bar and passives with whatever you can get.

This time around Cleave will remain our main choice as the Fury generator through the build, because it does a great bit of damage to multiple enemies.

Two things are being focused on in this build: Maximizing damage through various skills and the use of Call of the Ancients. Because of this, cool-down management is a key feature of this build.

With good timing and smart management, you will have a lot of intense damage output and great help from three legendary Barbarians.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Once again Cleave and Whirlwind are your main direct source of damage. However, now that you have access to Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker, you must understand how to use them.

Call of the Ancients is best used when you engage a crowd with multiple elite enemies or some very powerful unique enemy. Of course, you’ll have to check the strength before actually calling out. The reason for this careful selection is the insane 2-minute CD on the skill.

Wrath of the Berserker is slightly different. Though it also has the same CD as Call of the Ancients, it won’t help you in killing multiple enemies at once. Instead, it will give you massive buffs and allow you to quick enemies quicker. This works well against elite and unique enemies (and of course bosses).

This isn’t to say that Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker cannot be used in normal fights. Whenever you feel you are getting overwhelmed you can opt to use either one for additional help. However, most of the times you won’t be needing it because of Ignore Pain and Revenge.

Final Build:
The final build is all about Call of the Ancients and Wrath of the Berserker. Thanks to Boon of Bul-Kathos, your CD on both the skills is reduced by 30 seconds. Though 90 seconds are still quite a lot, you’ll still notice a massive difference, especially since Duty of the Clan has increased the duration of CotA to 20 seconds.

The rest is nearly the same. Provocation for Revenge will ensure that it triggers much more frequently, and Broad Sweep for Cleave will do additional damage. Once again, CD management and Fury generation are two important factors in this build.

Build #3 – Let’s Go Berserk

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
Once again this build is a high-level build, and in the intermediate stages you will be taking whatever you can get. We revert back to Frenzy once again because this will greatly accompany your future Berserk abilities and buffs, making it a fantastic and quick Fury generator.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Now this is where things start getting fun. First of, Frenzy with Triumph should keep you quite healthy. Second, Whirlwind is good when you feel like using it.

But the core abilities of this build are Battle Rage and Wrath of the Berserker. Though Wrath of the Berserker really shows its strength at the max levels, Battle Rage is immediately effective as it gains a massive duration increase from Inspiring Presence (doubled to 1 minute, making it oh-so-spammable) and a gives a big boost to your damage thanks to Marauder’s Rage.

Criting becomes so much easier thanks to this and the Ruthless passive, and you’ll notice the effect of going berserk almost immediately.

Final Build:
You’ll be an insane Fury generator thanks to Frenzy and Threatening Shout. Couple that with Battle Rage, some killer blows with Overpower, and ridiculous buffs from Wrath of the Berserker to make a Barbarian whose second name is death.

Wrath of the Berserker’s duration can be easily increased with well-timed Frezy and Threatening Shout combos, and Battle Rage is spammable as ever.

Build #4 – Impenetrable

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is the tank build for the Barbarian, and has great applications particularly in PvP. Unfortunately, for a full tank build you will have to progress to higher levels. But it’s not all gloomy – many of the key abilities are still available at earlier levels, while other abilities have useful substitutes.

Once again we’re using Cleave as our primary generator. We’ve opted for Cleave because it can do more damage to multiple enemies than Frenzy or Bash would. Forget Fury generation in this build, because most of the abilities you will be using will actually be generating Fury.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
At level 30, you will have all the primary skills to make a complete tank. Your two main offensive abilities are Cleave and Wrath of the Berserker, while the rest emphasize on tankiness and defense.

Activate Ignore Pain whenever it is off CD – this is the main reason why it is binded to the right mouse click. Revenge will have its own passive use, and the two shouts are fantasic Fury generators and defensive buffs.

The passives are also focused on complete nulling of incoming damage. Tough as Nails will increase your Thorn damage greatly. Thorn damage has changed from the previously Diablo to do a flat damage amount to any monster hitting you.

Previously, thorns only activated if you took damage. That meant that defensive probabilities like blocking, dodging etcetera would never actually activate thorn. Now however, Thorn damage is present whenever an enemy hits you, regardless of whether you block it or not.

Final Build:
The final build remains almost entirely the same, except for a few Rune additions. Wrath of the Berserker gets a massive damage buff from Insanity, and War Cry gets a large defensive enhancement from Impunity.

Revenge will now trigger much more often, and Ignore Pain will heal you for a part of the damage you receive thanks to its Rune.

Build #5 – Mass Slaughter (Experimental)

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is an experimental all-out aggression build with all active offensive skills. You’ll be using everything you can to do AoE damage, for which the main abilities are Cleave, Rend, and Whirlwind. The effectiveness of the build increases as you unlock more Runes.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
As you approach level 30, your build will be nearly complete and all your abilities will deal AoE damage. Whirlwind and Earthquake are your two main abilities in this build, as they are the most powerful. Their large Fury demand can be easily fulfilled with Cleave, Furious Charge and Ancient Spear.

Final Build:
The final build focuses on getting max AoE damage from Runes. Earthquake now takes no Fury whatsoever, and the CD is reduced to 105 seconds – not much but we’ll take it.

Now it is Furious Charge that gives you life-steal instead of Rend, which can now move onto other enemies, increasing the effective area of the ability greatly.

Whirlwind is still your best friend as you have a much greater capacity to spam it thanks to the awesome Fury regeneration.

Don’t forget to share your builds, character development tips and skill rotations of choice with us in the comments below. Your feedback will not only improve this guide but also help other readers.