Barbarian is another iconic Class from the Diablo franchise, being among the tankiest Class in the game it is an excellent team member but also a strong solo class when properly built. It can feel a bit clunky early on due to resource generation not being high and movement speed/general sustain to spam skills being unattainable, but you will be able to gain high amounts of Fortify buff (strong defensive buff for damage reduction and increasing effective Life) and as you level up to progress through its skill tree while gaining better equipment giving you the correct stats and also making the right choices in your paragon boards, your Barbarian will be strong, tanky and a glorious character to demolish infernal hordes with.
Among the best Basic skills that you will use to generate Fury, your main resource, there is Flay which is great with its chance to proc Vulnerable on enemies or Frenzy which grants Berserking, a powerful buff exclusive to the Barbarian which increases damage and movement speed. Core skills bring back a few iconic moves from previous title such as Hammer of the Ancients to slam down masses of opponents or Whirlwind to deal damage while on the move and sustain its cost through some Fury refunds upon hitting enemies. Best passives in this section are Pressure Point to make enemies Vulnerable more often and Endless Fury for two handed weapons focused builds. From the Defensive section of the skill tree Rallying Cry is a good shout buffing the whole team with +30% Movement Speed and some Increased Resource Generation for 6 seconds on a 25 seconds cooldown, Iron Skin grants you a barrier with 50% of your missing Life for 5 seconds, Challenging Shout to tank nearby enemies with 40% extra damage reductions for 8 seconds every 25 seconds and Ground Stomp to Stun in an area of effect. Amazing passives from this section are Imposing Presence giving max Life +5-15%, Martial Vigor for Elite Damage Reduction and Outburst + Tough as Nails for Thorns builds.
Among Brawling skills we find War Cry granting 15% damage bonus buff to the team for 8 seconds on a 25 seconds cooldown like other Shouts, Leap for extra mobility, knockback and slow or fury generation based on enhancement choice, Charge for an Unstoppable low damaging gap closer. Strong passives in this section are Swiftness for +4-12% movement speed, Aggressive Resistance for damage reduction while Berserking, Prolific Fury for increased resource generation while Berserking and Battle Frenzy to maintain Berserking uptime. Booming Voice and Guttural Yell are great for support builds or team play by extending Shouts duration and reducing party damage taken, Raid Leader offers up to 3% Life per second healed while under a Shout effect, pretty niche use.
Weapon Mastery skills are pretty powerful, Deathblow being an amazing single target ability to kill Minions and lesser enemies as it resets its cooldown upon killing an enemy so you can spam it against weaker enemies for much higher damage compared to using Basic + Core combo, and faster too. Steel Grasp can be used to pull in enemies, while from this section’s passives Pit Fighter is great for meleeing, No Mercy for builds using a lot of crowd control effects, Slaying Strike is generally good to have for all builds, Hamstring for builds using bleeding effects. While for builds using Fortify effect at its best, Thick Skin will be useful by giving Fortify values upon taking direct damage, Counteroffensive will increase your damage once you have enough Life Fortified and Defensive Posture will increase the implicit damage reduction granted by Fortify to Fortified Life.
Barbarian Ultimate skills are extremely powerful and useful in the right scenarios, Wrath of the Berserker enables stronger Unstoppable burst windows, but Call of the Ancient not only has a beautiful animation but it also brings great area of effect damage to a Class which generally lacks a bit in that department and for this reason is often used as Ultimate skill. From the Ultimate cluster Concussion, Heavy Handed and Brute Force are designed with two handed builds in mind granting bonus crowd control and damage effects, while Duelist will be a good choice for builds using mostly one handed weapons.
Barbarian Ultimate passives are build defining and will likely modify your playstyle a bit depending on which you use, in order to maximize your performance. Unconstrained increases Berserking max duration and max damage bonus, particularly good for Berserking focused Barbarian builds, Walking Arsenal is designed with a Barbarian who often switches between all three types of weapons.
Gushing Wounds is a sort of “Bleeding Area Damage” after killing an enemy but is probably viable only for builds focused on bleeding damage, while the strongest passive here in my opinion is Unbridled Rage, which increases the damage of your Core skills by a whopping +135%, at the cost of 100% increased Fury cost, since with endgame gear your resource generation will be much higher this passive enables a lot of extra damage to skills such as Whirlwind or Hammer of the Ancients.
Barbarian Class specific specialization is called Arsenal and it is a sort of “weapon leveling” system based on the type of weapons you use in combat. The more you use a particular type of weapon, the more that category will level up gaining specific offensive bonus to further increase your total damage output
Best Class specific Codex of Power Aspects:
- Numbing Wrath for Fortify focused builds, also Tempering Blows + Windstriker is a good combo for builds that keep swapping weapon types (by performing skills that utilizes different weapons)
- Ancestral Echoes, The Dire Whirlwind for Whirlwind builds
- Berserk Ripping and Relentless Berserker’s for Berserking builds