We've put together this Diablo 3 Beta Barbarian guide to get you up to speed on the most furious class coming to Blizzard’s upcoming action role playing game. This handy guide gives you all the most important info about the Barbarian from the Diablo 3 beta at a glance.
You Should Play A Barbarian If: If you love charging into the heat of battle and dominating your enemies with strong melee attacks, or tanking damage for your allies, then the Barbarian is for you. Specializing in fighting against multiple opponents, a Barb's "quick weapon swings whittle down the number of weaker foes in seconds, while their slower, ground-shaking slams and stomps can send approaching hordes reeling and crack the armor of mightier foes."
Background: The Barbarian is the only class that exists in both Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. They're a tough melee class who have been shaped to be "as strong and unyielding as stone." As they're the only class to carry over from the previous games, their story has evolved from where we last left them. Twenty years after the events in D2 devastated their culture, Barbarians are now a nomadic people who wander around Sanctuary looking for battles in order to forget about their broken homeland.
The key features of the Barbarian include melee mastery, brutal attacks, shouts, and taking hits. With their melee mastery, Barbarians can swing mighty weapons that ordinary warriors would never be able to lift. They use this ability to fight with full-sized weapons in both hands. A Barbarian's brutal attacks allow them to quite literally knock the bones completely out of their foes.
Shouts are fierce war cries that a Barb uses on the battlefield to bring out a battle frenzy within themselves and their allies. Shouts can also send a Barb's foe fleeing in terror. Finally, a Barbarian can take hits like no other class in Sanctuary. With their incredible strength, Barbarians can equip shields and heavy armor that make them more adept at tanking than any other hero.
How You Play A Barbarian: Kind of like the Monk, and the Demon Hunter to a lesser extent, Barbarians have to build their Fury resource up in order to pull off skills that will deal the most damage to their foes. Fury builds both as the Barbarian takes damage and as they dish it out. The best way to get the most out of a Barbarian is to charge from one pack of enemies to the next in order to keep your Fury from degenerating too quickly.
Barbarian Equipment: Like all of the classes in Diablo 3, the Barbarian gets their own one-of-a-kind equipment including mighty belts, one-handed powerful weapons, and two-handed devastating weapons. Mighty belts are the Barbarian's more stylish piece of attire. They wear these to show off their strength as well as a way to display their trophies. Barbarians are the only class who can dual-wield one-handed mighty weapons like clubs, axes, hammers, swords, and more. Naturally, Barbarians are also the only class who can equip two-handed mighty weapons. These are weapons like clubs the size of tree trunks or axes that were "seemingly made to be wielded only by statues." Naturally a Barb swings slower with these weapons, but if they do manage to connect with an enemy, it's going to hurt.
Barbarian Skills: Barbarians have 22 available skills in total in Diablo 3 which are divided in to three different types: Fury Generators, Fury Spenders, and Situational skills. Whereas other classes (except for the Demon Hunter and Monk) have skills that feel like they could be interchanged into any tree, the Barbarian's three types of skills are all very distinct. The Fury Generator skills usually generate between 3-15 Fury while also dealing damage. There are a good variety of high damage and utility skills within the Fury Generators, and it will be up to your personal playstyle to choose which skills will be the most fun for you to use in each situation.
Fury Spenders vary in cost anywhere between 20 and 30 Fury, except for Whirlwind which costs eight Fury per second. These aren't just the hard-hitting skills that you're going to want to unleash upon your enemies once you've generated enough Fury: they're also skills that give a bit of versatility to the class. For example, one Fury Spender, Hammer of the Ancients, costs 20 Fury and damages all of the enemies in front of you for 180% weapon damage with a 15% chance to crit. But, Sprint is also a Fury Spender and all that does increase your movement speed by 40% for 6 seconds.
Finally, the Barb's Situational skills are all very different from one another and they each offer various benefits. Some of them are usable on cooldown, like Ignore Pain, Wrath of the Berserker, Call of the Ancients, or Earthquake. Meaning, you can use them as regular abilities as long as you have the Fury to spend on them and they aren't on cooldown.
Other Situational Barb skills like Revenge or Overpower have a chance to become available in different situations. Revenge, which inflicts 150% weapon damage to all enemies within eight yards has a 10% chance to become active each time you're hit by an attack. Overpower on the other hand allows you to hit all targets within 9 yards of you for 150% weapon damage, but it only becomes available when you land a critical strike on an enemy.
Like all of the other Diablo 3 classes, Barbarians can only have six skills active at a time. You start out with two active skills at level one and you unlock the ability to use extra skills at levels 6, 12, 18, and 24. Barbarians also get their choice to equip a passive skill at levels 10, 20, and 30.
In the Diablo 3 beta all characters can only level up to 13 so you only get access to a few skills. Plus, the enemies are so tuned down that all of the spells do massive damage. Keep in mind that this will undoubtedly change when the game is released but for now, as you're making your way through the Diablo 3 beta, there are a few skills for the Barbarian that are a bit more potent than others.
- Leap Attack: Unlocked at Level 6, Leap Attack generates 15 Fury (if you hit an enemy) and allows you to leap into the air towards enemies and deal 40% weapon damage to any that are within eight yards of your destination. Not only is the animation for the skill a lot of fun to watch, but it makes going from one pack to the next fast and furious.
- Rend: Unlocked at level 9, this skill costs 20 Fury to use and it strikes all enemies within nine yards of your Barb, dealing 60% of your weapon damage every three seconds. It's not the hardest-hitting ability, but it's a very effective way to take down multiple enemies at once.
- Frenzy: Unlocked at level 11, Frenzy generates 3 Fury per attack and allows you to swing your weapon for 80% weapon damage. However, each swing increases the attack speed of Frenzy by 15% for four seconds, and it can stack up to five times for a total of 75% attack speed. If you are dual-wielding weapons and run into a pack of enemies swinging 75% faster, then you're going to be doing a ton of damage very, very quickly.
The combination of Leap Attack, Frenzy, and Rend, is a terrifying one. Basically how I play my Barbarian is that I will Leap Attack into a group of enemies, get Frenzy maxed to five stacks, building up my Fury, and then spamming all of my Fury on Rend, to further take them down. Granted, in the beta things die so quickly that it's hard to get this combo off, but it seems like the best way to kill the most enemies as fast as possible.
Passive Barbarian Skills: In the Diablo 3 beta you can only equip one passive skill once you get to level 10. Your choices at level 10 are Bloodthirst and Pound of Flesh. At level 12 Ruthless unlocks, while at level 13 you get access to Weapons Master. Passive Skills are just that: abilities that you don't have to cast but grant passive advantages to your Barbarian.
The passive skill Bloodthirst simply allows your Barbarian to gain 10% of all the damage you deal back as life. Pound of Flesh increases the chance of finding health globes by 25%, and allows you to gain 100% additional health from them. Ruthless increases your critical hit chance by 5% and your critical hit damage is increased by 50%. Finally, Weapons Master gives your Barbarian a bonus based on the type of weapon that's in your main hand:
- Swords/Daggers: 10% increased damage
- Maces/Axes: 5% chance to critical hit
- Polearms/Spears: 10% attack speed
- Mighty Weapons: 1 Fury per hit
Personally, I favored the Weapons Master passive skill with my Barbarian in the Diablo 3 beta. Ruthless would be my second choice, but as the situational skills that would benefit the most from Ruthless are too high level for me to use them currently, I picked Weapons Master. It allowed me to try out all of the weapons available to my Barbarian and get unique bonuses for all of them which was nice.
I usually don't play the Warrior-esque classes in video games, as I tend to favor ranged characters. That said, the Barbarian in the Diablo 3 beta is ton of fun to play, and I love how their strength is portrayed. The enemies they hit actually go flying, spreading blood and bones everywhere, and you can really feel the axe ripping them apart. It's pretty exhilarating to feel such strength from a character, and even though I usually don't play classes like this, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the Barb. There are also a lot of different ways to play this class which I love as well.
What do you think of the Barbarian in the Diablo 3 beta so far? Let me know in the comments below, and tell me how you set up your Barbarian's skills if they're different than the ones I used. Also be sure to check out our Diablo 3 Beta Demon Hunter Guide, Diablo 3 Beta Witch Doctor Guide, Diablo 3 Beta Wizard Guide, and our Diablo 3 Beta Monk Guide for everything you want to know about the other Diablo 3 classes.