Diablo III Barbarian Guide

Diablo III Barbarian guide by Rimo.

Whether it's normal, nightmare, hell or inferno, I'm going to give you guys a few helpful tips to make your life a lot easier.

Most of this stuff is pretty common sense, drawn from theory crafting and actually putting it to work.

I myself am in Inferno now, so everything here is 100% accurate and tested.

Barbarian Beginner tips:
  • For beginner leveling, I recommend you socket your helmet with a ruby as early on as possible. It gives you % EXP on every kill. This will help you level faster, making your time in nightmare and hell easier. Once you near 60 you can replace it for a Topaz and get that extra MF if you want to hunt gear or LIFE % if you want to be safe.
  • A trick of mine that a friend and I figured out to leveling faster is running Hell Azmodan over and over. He's VERY easy to kill and gives 105k for killing him and another 105k for talking to Leah in the armory. All in all, at around levels 50 through 60 you'll be getting 10% a run. A run takes no longer than 10 minutes. That's some pretty fast leveling if you ask me.
  • Be patient with the barb! You start off slow but once you get going there's no stopping you. There aren't many classes that can run in solo on hell / inferno and take on a group of 10+ mobs and come out alive!

Barbarian Stats:

Barbarians benefit primarily off of STR and VIT. VIT being the more important of the two since you’ll need a hefty amount of health to survive in hell and inferno. If you can, you want your pieces to have both stats, and preferably with sockets so you can put your Amethysts in them to get the extra VIT. The higher level you are, the better VIT scales. I wouldn’t encourage going full STR barbs as you’ll get 1 shot by anything more than 2-3 mobs on inferno and probably 4-5 mobs on hell. You won’t last against elite mobs or even blues.

As of right now at 60, I’m sitting at about 50k HP with 7k attack. When I use wrath of the berserker my attack skyrockets up to a maximum of 20k. As the golden rule with all Diablo games go, get enough VIT so you can survive then you can do whatever you want with the rest of your options.

Barbarian Skills:

For earlier leveling: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/barbarian#WZiVkP!bUe!ZYbcbZ

This will work fine for earlier levels. Frenzy makes the most of your damage, giving you enough attack speed and life steal to sustain through small skirmishes. Revenge is what will keep you alive and kicking through groups of 10-30 mobs on normal / nightmare. I take seismic slam earlier because it's more effective in minimizing the damage you take while doing a decent amount of damage itself. Ignore pain for when you get too low. It really saves you a lot!

Also, the 20% life steal from ignore pain's rune combined with Wrath of the berserker will heal you from low to full through the enemies entire damage. Warcry is there to keep you healthy.

Gives you the defense you need along with an extra 10% hp and 300 HP per second regen at level 60. In hard situations it's all about being able to take damage and sustain.

As for passives, I take Tough as nails (mainly because it gives you the most survivability early on. You'll want to replace this with Nerves of steel later on when you have more vitality as it'll end up giving you more defense.)

Relentless (because it's just op and keeps you from dying.) and bloodthirst because it scales so well with all of your abilities / your burst. Later on I replace this and I'll explain why. In Hell/Inferno it's all about being able to live, period. This build should get you through normal / nightmare and to the point where you can use my preferred build.

Preferred build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/barbarian#WZiVkP!bUe!ZYbcbZ

The difference in these builds is that the previous only requires level 41 and most of the skills you get earlier on. This requires you to be 52 and it works very well for Hell and Inferno. The only real differences is that I take Hammer of the ancients with it's thunderstrike rune instead of seismic slam.

Why I do this is simple. It does way more damage, you can spam it more (5 times with full fury compared to seismic slam's 3) and when you kill a mob, everything around it is stunned for 3 seconds. You can pretty much chain stun groups of mobs and take no damage while obliterating their hp.

I also take the Provocation rune on revenge because the 3% extra life steal is useless when you're taking your full hp's worth of damage every second. You NEED to be able to have revenge proccing as much as you possibly can to live. 30% > 15%. 'Nuff said.

As for the passives, I take Nerves of Steel because by this time, you'll have far more VIT in order to live through hell and inferno and it will outclass Tough as nails, giving you more def. I keep Relentless (OP !@# skill that keeps you from dying) and I trade out 3% life steal for Superstition.

Let's face it.. In hell / inferno, you won't be taking nearly as much physical damage as you will elemental / some variation. Elites will be destroying you with their Arcane lasers and mortars / desecrations and even poison. This proves to be far more useful in keeping you alive than 3% life steal.

Boss fights build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/barbarian#WZRViP!cUd!cZacbZ

This is pretty important. I manage to go from 7k attack to almost 20k attack when I’m in wrath of the berserker. Long story short, Wrath of the berserker with Insanity rune(100% extra damage) stacked on top of Battle rage with it’s rune Marauder’s Rage (30% damage bonus) and you’re hitting like a truck! Don’t forget frenzy and it’s maniac (20% increase in damage when maxed stats.)

Basically, I can chunk hell Azmodan from 100% to 50% before he decides to throw down his blood pools. The whole idea of this build when facing core bosses is get as much attack as possible and go to town with normal attacks. Also the hammer of the ancients rune smash in wrath of the berserker will be critting for as much as 60k! Insane, right? This is how you get rid of bosses.

You'll even be able to tank right through all of their damage with this unstoppable combo. Just be sure you're ready to play it safe once Wrath of the berserker runs out!

General Leveling:

Normal - Normal is actually pretty much a cakewalk. You shouldn't have any problems in normal, AT ALL. I actually used Leap and charge most of the time while in normal just so I could get around faster. The hard part starts in nightmare, and even then with the right build and decent items, you should be fine. Stick with my generic leveling build and you'll be A-OKAY.

Nightmare - Nightmare can be pretty tough if you aren't decently geared. Still, as long as you have enough health to actually take the initial brunt of the damage, revenge should heal you right up. Not too much to worry about here.

Hell - Hell gets pretty tough. Personally, after having been playing on Inferno and going back to Hell on occasion, I find it to be RIDICULOUSLY easier. It's a lot harder because the learning curve is pretty steep. You have to actually pay attention to the elite mob's abilities and react appropriately

It also helps to clear out any small mobs that might interfere with killing the elite mobs. Makes your life a whole lot easier. Even so, with my build, you should be pretty damn safe.

Inferno - I'm almost to the end of act I on Inferno and I can safely say this is one of the most challenging games I've ever played. The fun I have while playing it is crazy. Some elite mobs have the craziest combination of abilities that you have to flat out skip them because they're unkillable.

My build works to an extent, but Inferno in itself is just VERY hard. Currently I duo it with a friend and on most elite packs we have to split them up. They generally consist of three. I'll take one and burst it down with crazy damage while my monk friend tanks the other two.

I use the same build that I do with normal through hell. It's your safest choice. You just have to play very carefully if you want to make it through this terrifying place.



Remember, this is just my opinion and I wouldn't doubt that there are better builds out there. The best advice I can give you is there is no one specific build. Try and adjust your skills / items to fit your playstyle / situation.

Weapon Set: If you are wondering which weapons I am using, like I stated above, it's whatever weapon works for you. I've used both a 1H + shield and a 2H in both hell and inferno. I generally replace my gear with whatever is better.

For example, I had a really hard hitting weapon with a great shield, I used that. Then I got an insanely high base damage 2H with +1xx VIT and now I'm using that. Both work, but I personally prefer 2H for more damage aka faster clears.

Enjoy wreaking havoc on your enemies, fellow Barbarians! :D

- Guide by Rimo