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Diablo 4 Barbarian Guide

Updated 10.08.2023 12 Mins to read Share
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Diablo 4 Barbarian Guide

Barbarians are Diablo 4’s dedicated physical melee class. They focus on wielding weapons and raw physical might to slaughter enemies in head-on confrontations. While this may sound simple, players still have to make many choices while developing Barbarians. Read our guide for information concerning this class and advice for putting together an effective build.

Barbarians are oriented exclusively towards melee combat. They can inflict tremendous harm up close, especially when assisted by their numerous buffs. Fortunately for a frontline class, they are also extremely difficult to kill. Their most obvious downside is the absence of ranged options, though this is partly compensated by their numerous mobility skills. Fighting up close makes it harder to avoid attacks from powerful foes. Resource and cooldown management can also be rather tricky. Finally, this is a class that takes a while to reach full power.

Barbarian Attributes

Despite similar effects, attributes work subtly differently for all classes. The Barbarian version is below, along with recommended priorities for increases and gear bonuses:

AttributeGeneral Effect per pointBarbarian Effect per pointRecommended Priority
Strength+1 Armor+0.1% Skill Damage1
Intelligence+0.05% all Resistances
4
Willpower+0.1% Healing Received
+0.25% Overpower Damage
+0.1% Resource Generation2 or 3
Dexterity+0.025% Dodge Chance+0.02% Critical Strike Chance3 or 2

Unique Barbarian Features

  • Barbarians normally generate Fury with Basic attacks and spend it to activate more powerful abilities. This resource slowly degrades whenever the hero is not fighting;
  • Many abilities interact with the Berserker effect unique to this class. It increases damage and movement speed;
  • Barbarians dismount by jumping off the horse and smashing the ground, damaging all foes near the point of impact;
  • At level 5, Barbarians gain access to the Arsenal class feature. It lets them simultaneously equip four weapons by assigning them to different skills. Each skill normally requires a specific type of weapon. When attacking, the hero inflicts harm based solely on the applied weapon’s stats. However, the wielder always benefits from all equipped items’ random bonuses. Each weapon type also grants its own Expertise buff. Hitting PvE targets increases Expertise in the appropriate item type and improves the bonus. Reaching the Expertise cap of 10 also activates a secondary bonus for that weapon;
  • Completing the Master of Battle quest received at level 15 upgrades Arsenal with Weapon Technique. This Barbarian specialization feature lets them apply one Expertise bonus regardless of which weapon is involved in the attack. The effect is not combined with the original weapon’s bonus (so there is no added benefit from wielding a Polearm while the Polearm technique is active).

Barbarian Skill Tree

Barbarians have access to dozens of active skills. They may be divided into several categories:

  • Basic skills consist of less impressive attacks that produce Fury. Since they cost nothing and do not require cooldowns, they may be used when other options are not yet ready;
  • Core skills are special attacks that do cost Fury. Each among them affects a different area (in front of the hero, to their sides, etc.), letting it hurt several foes at once;
  • Defensive skills include protective buffs and crowd-control options;
  • Brawling skills help the hero attack, whether through buffs or movement abilities culminating in attacks with crowd control effects;
  • Weapon Mastery skills are especially powerful attacks with lenghty cooldowns;
  • Three mutually-exclusive Ultimate skills. They let the Barbarian renew Berserking with each Basic hit, chain attacks with different weapons, or summon ancient guardians to aid in battle. The latter is the only summon skill available to this class;
  • Passive skills that provide always-on bonuses. Most of them buff certain stats or damage done under specific circumstances. They culminate in mutually-exclusive Capstones that give sweeping damage bonuses under more complex conditions.

The best Barbarian skills largely depend on the build, though some are almost universally useful:

  • Lunging Strike is a Basic that combines closing distance and Fury generation, ensuring its prominent role in nearly every build;
  • Shouts provide essential buffs to the Barbarian while also aiding allies. Rallying Cry is especially important since it increases resource generation and movement speed for the entire party;
  • War Cry significantly increases the party’s damage, making it a straightforward but crucial boost;Challenging Shout taunts opponents while reducing the harm that could be inflicted on the hero, a vital benefit for a frontliner.

Barbarian Paragon Boards

  • Barbarian Starter: The initial Paragon Board for this class leans towards Strength, damage, and survivability bonuses;
  • Blood Rage: Bleeding and Berserking bonuses, as well as interactions between those effects;
  • Bone Breaker: Bonuses for 2H Bludgeoning weapons, Overpower damage, and attacks made while healthy, plus the Fortify effect;
  • Carnage: Berserking bonuses along with some healing increases and damage reduction;
  • Decimator: 2H Slashing weapon buffs and advantages against enemies who have been made Vulnerable;
  • Flawless Technique: 1H weapon and critical strike enhancements;
  • Hemorrhage: Bonuses to damage-over-time effects and attacks against Bleeding enemies;
  • Warbinger: increased Fury gains and Fortify effects, helping the hero stay in the fight longer;
  • Weapons Master: Armor and damage bonuses with special focus on crushing greater opponents.

Barbarians have access to a variety of Glyphs, most of which benefit specific builds. Territorial is probably the most useful, since its primary and secondary effects help attack and defend against all opponents in melee. Wrath is worth considering for its critical effect and unlockable Wrath generation on each critical hit. The secondary effect of Marshal lets each Shout reduce the cooldown of other Shouts, letting the Barbarian stay buffed far longer.

Best Barbarian Legendaries

Barbarian Legendary items are gamechangers that can seriously influence their tactics. Most are particularly suited to specific builds, but some Barbarian Aspects are useful for nearly any variant:

  • Bold Chieftain’s Aspect: Decreases the cooldown of Shout buffs based on the number of surrounding foes;
  • Aspect of Echoing Fury: Generates more Fury whenever Shouts are active. This is a Codex Aspect, making it a particularly reliable way of addressing resource deficits;
  • Aspect of Limitless Rage: Generating Fury over maximum capacity provides a Core skill damage bonus;
  • Weapon Master’s Aspect: Extra charge for Weapon Mastery skills, plus stuns when they score Lucky Hits.

Most Diablo 4 Barbarian builds revolve around the Whirlwind skill, Bleed effects, or the Thorns stat. Those builds have many possible variations, depending on personal preference, recent patch changes, and random gear drops. You could find numerous builds for them online. Rather than prescribe a specific path, we will explain what makes them work and how you could use them.

Barbarian Whirlwind Build

Likely the most popular Barbarian build revolves around the Whirlwind attack. This Core skill hits every foe around the Barbarian, rapidly whittling away at their defenses. If properly enhanced, it lets the hero slaughter hordes just by standing nearby. Sadly, Whirlwind is not optimal for fighting powerful single targets, which weakens it as a solo build. Apart from that, its main weakness is high Fury requirements, especially if buffed with the Unbridled Rage Capstone passive. Shouts and resource Aspects address this problem. Direct damage buffs, such as Berserk, should be prioritized to maximize killing power. Movement skills are crucial to keep the Barbarian in the thick of it. The most effective weapon here is the 2H Sword.

Barbarian Bleed Build

The Bleed effect deals Physical damage over time. It is the Barbarian’s best option for taking down single targets, although it is also effective against small groups of tougher foes. The Bleed build is also known as the Rend build due to its reliance on that Core skill. This power opens bleeding wounds on enemies in front of the hero. Compared to Whirlwind, it requires more patience and planning to use right, since targets don’t die immediately. The Barbarian must know when to move on from dying opponents. Mobility skills and buffs are crucial for maximum effectiveness, since they let this movement be accomplished qucily. Herding enemies into exposed groups is also important and may be helped by Charge. As with Whirlwind, 2H Sword is optimal.

Barbarian Thorns Build

Thorns in Diablo 4 are a special stat that reflects some part of the harm done by opponents’ strikes to hurt the attackers. It is perhaps especially useful for Barbarians, since they are bound to take and withstand many attacks. Maximizing Thorns creates a somewhat tricky but effective build in which enemies dash themselves to death against the hero. Barbarians have access to several sources of Thorns, beginning with the Combat upgrade for the Basic Flay attack, Outburst and Tough as Nails passives, and the Strategic Challenging Shout upgrade. They can also pick up Needleflare and Death Wish Aspects through the Codex. Other Thorns-boosting gear may drop as well, most notably the Unique Razorplate. Apart from that, the key consideration is raising defense.

Build Combinations

In practice, players often combine two of the above build concepts:

  • Whirlwind+Bleed: This is an all-out offensive build, with Bleed compensating Whirlwind’s weakness against tougher opponents. The focus is still on Whirlwind, but bleeding effects are maximized using its Furious upgrade, the fully-leveled 2H Sword Expertise, and the Berserk Ripping Legendary;
  • Whirlwind+Thorns: The Thorns build is very flexible in that the only hard requirement is maximizing Thorns. Attaching it to Whirlwind does not undermine it. On the contrary, being surrounded by attackers on all sides presents excellent synergy. The Tactical upgrade for the Iron Skin defensive skill and the Iron Warrior Legendary are invaluable for emergency defense if the opponents start to overwhelm the hero;
  • Bleed+Thorns: As above, Thorns is easy to combine with Bleed. Flay becomes the main Fury generating ability, while Rend remains the default attack power. Tactics revolve around taunting and luring in foes to be bled. Between Thorns and bleeding, most opponents can be worn down pretty quickly. Worth noting that Tough as Nails converts part of Thorns damage to Bleed, increasing synergy.

Barbarian Leveling Build Tips

In addition to mechanics of completed builds, there are special considerations to keep in mind while leveling your Barbarian:

  • Since Barbarians take a while to come into their own, consider playing on World Tier 1. Despite giving less EXP, it may still be faster and less frustrating since it reduces the odds of getting stuck on bosses;
  • You should assign priority to essential skills that will make your build functional. A viable priority order is Lunging Strike->Whirlwind (or Rend)->Rallying Cry->War Cry. Afterwards, you could start adding extra pieces such as Brawling or Weapon Mastery skills;
  • Early on, you are likely to struggle with producing enough Fury. Picking up upgrades and items that increase it will help a lot. Conversely, you should think twice before choosing options that raise Fury costs;
  • The main concern with respect to equipment should be increasing your build’s main weapon’s DPS (any 2H Slashing for the most popular builds mentioned earlier). Techniques start to matter more later, once they have been fully leveled and high DPS has been ensured. Stat bonuses are usually more important for all other weapons;
  • Claim Codex of Power Aspects that support your build as soon as possible. While weaker than randomly looted Legendaries, they still give an important early advantage. That is especially important for Barbarians with their relatively weak early levels. Likewise, remember to save up Gold so you could quickly apply randomly dropped Legendary Aspects to your gear if need arises;
  • Do not imprint any Aspect on your main weapon during this process. You will change this weapon often, so it would be a waste. Use accessories like the Amulet instead.

Leveling a Barbarian can be quite difficult. Whichever build you choose, they will not reach full strength before reaching the endgame. Until all pieces are in place, their flaws might delay progress. Finding the right drops can be frustrating as well. Rather than grind, you could outsource some or all leveling tasks to CakeBoost. Our professional Diablo 4 boost services cover tasks like powerleveling, acquiring power-ups such as Altars of Lilith, and farming Legendaries or Glyphs. Alternatively, buying our Barbarian build boost hands over the entire process to our boosting team. Expert boosters will level your character, farm necessary items, and make all the right choices to make your build work.

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FAQ

Are Barbarians any good in Diablo 4?

Barbarians are deadly melee fighters with great mobility and toughness. They suffer from limited ranged and summon options and resource management issues. On the whole, though, they are a very powerful class. Being hard to kill and comparatively easy to play makes those heroes especially appealing for new players.

Which Barbarian build is the most powerful?

As of this writing, the area damage-focused Whirlwind build is widely recognized as the best Barbarian build for nearly all purposes. Although it has viable competitors, its sheer power and ease of use ensure its popularity in both leveling and endgame activities.

How do I change weapons as a Barbarian?

Most Barbarian skills require specific weapon types. Barbarians change weapons automatically whenever they use those skills. Individual items tied to each skill are assigned automatically based on optimal stats. However, you may swap them manually via the Skills window, cycling between eligible weapons for each individual ability.

How do I play through the Barbarian class quest?

On hitting level 15, the Master of Battle quest will appear in the log. Travel to the Dry Steppes settlement of Ked Bardu and contact Forgemaster Gerti. She will direct the hero to meet Katra in the town’s northeastern corner. Katra, in turn, will call for the hero to kill 30 human and 20 beast opponents in hunting grounds north of her position. Afterwards, step inside a nearby cave and slay the Elite monster. Doing so unlocks the Weapon Technique Barbarian class mechanic.

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