I’ll do my best to make this into a complete resource for barbarians including skill, gear, strategy and all that. Barbarians definitely have what it takes to be the top class in D3. In fact the first Diablo 3 Billionaire, Daniel Chan, use his Barbarian to accumulate most of his riches (if you want to get the strategies Daniel used or check out his Barb in action, check it out here).
Barbarian Inferno Mode
Soloing Inferno mode as a Barbarian is going to be very difficult. You generally will be as effective as ranged classes, because most high-end mobs will be able to one-shot you. Even high HP, high armor and 700+ all resistance characters will find it difficult to take down Act 3 and 5 Elites.
As many players have stated in the forums, successfully navigating Inferno more or less requires gearing up from the auction house. I suggest you get a high DPS one-handed weapon and a best shield you can afford, along with +Vitality and +Resist all armor. This should get you started on your way to slowly accumulating your “Best in Slot” set.
Here is a good build:
- Active Skill Slot 1: Frenzy with Maniac Rune
- Active Skill Slot 2: Revenge with Provocation
- Active Skill Slot 3: Leap with Iron Impact
- Active Skill Slot 4: Furious Charge with Dreadnaught
- Active Skill Slot 5: War Cry with Impunity
- Active Skill Slot 6: Ignore Pain with Iron Hide (or Ignorance is Bliss for lifesteal
- Passive Skill Slot 1: Nerves of Steel
- Passive Skill Slot 2: Tough as Nails
- Passive Skill Slot 3: Inspiring Presence
If you have a huge pool of HP (i.e. 100k), the Barbarian’s percentage-based heals start doing a lot of healing. For example, Inspiring Presence looks pretty weak, only offering 1% healing per second when War Cry is active. However, when you have 100k hp, this is actually 1000 health being restored every second.
With Revenge, you are getting 5000 health back per enemy hit. If you hit 3 or more enemies with Revenge, that is better than a health potion, and enemies proc Revenge constantly. Furious Charge is even better, restoring 8% of your health per hit. You can charge through a pack of enemies and get healed for 50k+.
You can use Ignore Pain, Leap with the 350% armor buff, and Frenzy to take enemies on in a head to head situation. You still will struggle if you try to take on multiple enemies in Champion packs at once. Try to back yourself into a doorway or corner or otherwise isolate enemies in champion packs so only 1 can hit you at a time. This is the only way to reliably kill these.
Skipping Past Enemies
While skipping rare and champion packs will cost you your Nephalem Valor buff, it is necessary if you want to kill end-act bosses like Diablo. Here are the skills you need:
- Equip the Unforgiving Passive Skill to keep your Fury up.
- Equip War Cry with the talent that offers +60 Fury generated.
- Change War Stomp to the rune that generates +30 Fury.
- Equip Leap.
- Equip Sprint with the Marathon Rune.
You can use War Cry to get Fury and then sprint past enemies. Use Leap to jump over enemies that have you boxed in. Sprint will let you move much faster than Leap, so be sure to save Leap for jumping over enemies that you cannot run past (i.e. blocking a narrow passageway, horde type enemies like spiders that block the ground in all directions).
You can skip past regular enemies this way to get to the end-act bosses. This lets your Barbarian at least get a little bit of equipment in Inferno-mode games.
Barbarian Tanking Spec
When playing in groups in Hell and Inferno, you are going to need a tanking spec. In Hell and Inferno, the Barbarian just is not a viable DPS class. You can do damage and you can definitely solo Hell and Act 1 in Inferno, but your damage is not significant in 4-man groups, especially when playing with other classes that have better damage potential.
Do not worry about tanking in Normal and Nightmare modes. Focus on maxing out your damage with our leveling builds you can find in the side bar.
Here is what we recommend:
Active Skill Slot 1: Frenzy with Smite or Maniac rune.
Active Skill Slot 2: Leap with Death from Above
Active Skill Slot 3: Ground Stomp with Wrenching Smash
Active Skill Slot 4: Warcry with Invigorate
Active Skill Slot 5: Threatening Shout with the Terrify or Demoralize
Active Skill Slot 6: Revenge with Provocation (2-man) or Ignore Pain with Mob Rule (3-4 man)
Passive Skill Slot 1: Pound of Flesh
Passive Skill Slot 2: Nerves of Steel
Passive Skill Slot 3: Tough as Nails
Playing a tanking Barbarian is pretty simple: your primary job is to stun enemies. Between Leap and War Stomp, you can keep enemies stunned for about 50% of a given fight, which is a nice bonus for your group.
You also want to use Threatening Shout on each pack of enemies as this will decrease their damage. I like the fear effect for later difficulties because crowd control is free time for your group to do damage.
Warcry with Invigorate will boost up your group’s health as well as provide a nice amount of HP regen. If I was playing solo I would recommend the armor boosting rune, but the health regeneration rune is really useful for kiting members of your group as it allows them to get a lot of healing done while kiting enemies.
Revenge with Provocation offers some nice damage as well as some self healing, but once you hit level 60 and are playing through Inferno mode, you will be able to save not only your life but also your entire group’s life many times through the Mob Rule rune which gives the Ignore Pain buff to group members.
Even with great gear and lots of health, you really cannot directly engage enemies in Inferno mode beyond Act 1. Enemies just deal too much damage. You need to use Leap to stun enemies and then stun them again with Ground Stomp. During this time, get as many hits in as you can and then start running away until your stuns are back up.
Finally, I know many people will look at Pound of Flesh and think this must be a typo. It is actually really good and lets you get basically a full heal off of a single health globe. This bonus is needed to keep you alive in Hell and Inferno.
High DPS Inferno Build (post 1.0.3) by Zrave
Wrath of the Berserker(Insanity): Once you are over 30k dps you can kill act 3 packs within the 15s duration, which makes this skill amazing.
Revenge(Provocation): Very strong and reliable skill, gives you both sustainability and strong aoe damage. Practically a requirement unless you are using a whirlwind or ranged build.
Ignore Pain(Ignorance is Bliss): I chose the lifesteal rune, even though it is nerfed in inferno, because my high dps gives good returns. When I pop Wrath of the berserker I do about 500k aoe dps, which means 4% lifesteal gives me back 20k hps! That’s better than an extra 2 seconds duration.
Leap (Iron Impact): One mobility skill is a good idea, and leap doubles as a defensive cooldown. I also like that I can take shortcuts by leaping over gaps and walls.
Frenzy(Sidearm): Still the best single target dps skill for this build. Also provides some bonus aoe damage! Excellent for small packs and boss fights.
War Cry(Impunity): Still a great defensive option, I chose to keep it and replace my defensive passives because war cry is just so good
Berserker Rage: I don’t have any fury spenders so this is an easy 25% more damage.
Ruthlessness: Ties in well with the crit hit chance/damage build.
Brawler: Being surrounded by enemies is where I want to be. Massive 30% increase, but stops working as you kill a lot of stuff.
Survivablity Stats for Barbarian
Stat priority looks something like this:
1. Resist All
5. Physical Resistance
Which Follower for Barbarian?
At some point your health pool will become so large, that small heals from your Templar will become unimportant. Switch to control/buff spec Enchantress with following skills:
- Powered Armor
- Focused Mind
Having high crit damage bonus, Scoundrel become a viable option with:
- Poison Bolts
- Dirty Fighting
- Powered Shot
- Anatomy (key skill)
Generally followers do little to no damage, but they’re affected by War Cry. Thus initially just buy some cheap magic/rare items with vitality, all resists & armor, making your follower beefy. Don’t spend too much money gearing them up.
Advice From A Pro
Here is some great advice that I encountered on the Forums:
Gearing Your Barbarian
The importance of All Resist gear is exaggerated. The notion of “You can’t beat Act X unless you have Y All Resist” is one of the biggest misconceptions floating about the Barbarian community. While it’s not completely untrue and while All Resist is still a very important stat, it is only one of many stats. I see a ton of Barbarians going about it the wrong way, wearing bad pieces of gear with high Resistance stats for the purpose of reaching this imaginary All Resist threshold that apparently makes Act 2 suddenly possible. This is the wrong way to go about gearing your Barbarian for Inferno.
-Instead, “Effective Health” is a concept you should be familiar with. Effective Health represents how much damage your character can sustain. Any stat that contributes to Damage Mitigation or Life will also contribute to your Effective Health. This dispels any misconception of an “All Resist minimum”, as well as the misconception of a max Life threshold that is pointless to go past. You can never have too much Life.
-Basically, when improving your character, you’re either increasing your Effective Health or your Damage Output, and it’s really that simple.
Effective Health = Damage Mitigation x Life.
Damage Output = Damage x Strength x Attack Speed x Crit Chance & Crit Bonus.
Having more of one stat makes the other stats more valuable. For example, the higher your weapon damage, the more DPS each point of Strength will grant you. The more Strength you have, the more DPS each percent of Attack Speed will give you. Each stat supports the other stat.
-When it comes to “Which stat is more important? X or Y?” the answer is always “it depends”. How much of each stat are we talking about here? How much of each stat do you already have? How much of the supporting stats do you already have? “Stat Priority” lists are pretty dumb.
-In my opinion, the three most overlooked and under appreciated stats for a Barbarian: Attack Speed%, Armor, Life%.
-The quantities of Attack Speed% you can find on gear is insane. When Blizzard put this random stat on gear, I don’t think they really understood what 15% Increased Attack Speed really meant. Armor with Attack Speed bonuses should really only give about half of what they actually do. As it stands, this is a great way to improve your DPS.
-10 Armor = 1 All Resist. While All Resist is boosted by 50% (via War Cry Impunity), Armor is boosted by 45% (20% from War Cry + 25% from Tough as Nails). Armor also benefits from Enchantress’ Aura and Leap – Iron Impact. When evaluating gear upgrades, consider each 10 points it adds to your Armor as equal to 1 All Resist.
-Life%, like Attack Speed%, is a stat that is undervalued by Blizzard’s development team. It was probably tuned for classes that have 20-30k life, but Inferno Barbarians typically have more than that. It can be found on Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Belt, Shield and Jewellery. Helms without sockets are generally pretty bad, just because of the Life% boost. Don’t ignore this stat when searching for gear upgrades in the Auction House.
-For top-end gear (Act 3/4 & Whimsyshire), Life on Hit and Block% stats are very good. They’re not necessarily less important before Act 3/4, but the items that grant these stats are particularly expensive, and you’re better off allocating your budget towards other items before you start to build towards these stats.
-Block has been pretty amazing for damage reduction, but you need a very good Shield and those are expensive. It’s hard to explain mathematically why it’s good, but taking 4000 less damage from single-target attacks 35% of the time sounds pretty damn good to me. Despite having 150 less resists than I used to have, I find that I’m much harder to kill. Again, you need a very good Shield to to put Justice Lanterns and Helm of Command to optimal use. Until you have the money for a top-end Shield (Stormshield or other), don’t bother with Block.
-I’m not 100% sold on Melee damage reduction (ie. String of Ears). It’s obviously very good, but I find that melee damage isn’t typically what kills me anymore, and the Belt I have gives more Armor, Resistances and tons of Strength. I haven’t really tested it out enough to say for sure, but I have a feeling I’ll be going down this route again in the future.
In my opinion, farming is terribly inefficient. When you farm, your productivity is limited to how fast you can kill things, the loot that can potentially drop, etc… You’re also at the mercy of luck. You can luck out and find a $4m item, or you can go four runs without finding a single useful drop. Basically, your earning potential is restricted by the mechanics of the game. However, when your source of income is from flipping items on the Auction House, you becomes the master of your own luck and the sky is the limit.
The day before I killed Diablo, I made about 20m in about 6 hours on the AH. Since then, I’ve been earning roughly 10m per day (@ 3-5 hours a day). I made 3m this morning while brushing my teeth. The majority of this was done over the weekend when there was tons of traffic, and I’ve otherwise been pretty lucky with some of my purchases so I don’t know how long I’ll be able to sustain this level of success. In any case, flipping items on the Auction House is the real deal. I’ve never been good at making money in MMO’s, so I definitely don’t possess some extraordinary business sense. If I can do it, literally anyone can do it. 2-3m per hour is quite a bit, but even at an average of 500k per hour, I’m sure that’s better than most people’s current farming rate.
I obviously can’t share all of my methods in detail because if everyone did exactly what I did, it would no longer be profitable.
If have issues accumulation a large gold balance, I suggest signing up for Diablo 3 Gold Guide. Most players I refer there have been able to accumulate massive amount and it’s guaranteed to work
Best in Slot items for Barbarians
Mouse over these items to see description.
You will have a block chance of 50-51% which, given that you have enough damage reduction to block the whole attack which is like 50% dmg reduction(howver this damage reduction is random). Stormshield and String of ears decrease melee attack damage by 24%. With other decent gear that is farmable in Act 1 (or on the AH) you will be looking at over 99% dmg reduction.