Diablo 3 Barbarian Builds
With 24 active skills with 5 runes each and 15 passive skills on top of that, there are literally hundreds of viable Diablo 3 Barbarian builds.
However, there is a difference between viable and most effective – the former is just good enough for you to get by whereas the latter lets you cut through enemies like butter, racking up experience points, gold, and new loot at a much faster rate.
As you can imagine, this Diablo 3 Barbarian builds list is going to focus on those effective builds. In order to keep the process streamlined, we will keep the builds down to leveling builds, farming builds, and finally options.
Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling and Farming Builds – Solo
When leveling up, you spend most of the game without access to the best runes for each ability. As a result, the options for builds here change as you level up. Read each description as I may say to switch the rune or ability at a higher level. Here is the recommendation of this Diablo 3 Barbarian builds list:
- Cleave. Start with Rupture as a rune and switch over to Broad Sweep at later levels. Cleave is your primary skill to use against regular enemies and really any time there is more than 1 enemy around.
- Frenzy. Start with the Sidearm rune and move over to maniac. Frenzy is your primary ability to use against bosses.
- Leap. Start with Iron Impact, move to Call of Arreat, and then finally to Death from Above (depending on preference). Leap is not used so much for its offensive capabilities but because it allows you to level up faster by improving your movement. You can jump across pits and over many walls or up and down levels in a dungeon and as a result you will save a lot of travel time.
- Rend (early levels), then perhaps Revenge or Whirlwind at later levels.. Rend is your most powerful attack and Ravage makes it have a huge rage. You may want to switch this over to Whirlwind (elemental damage) or Revenge (self healing / crit bonus) at later levels.
- Battle Rage. With Marauder’s Rage, this lets you deal 30% more damage and increases your critical hit rate by 3%. With this running, your Cleave will do as much damage as your Fury Spenders would have done without the buff active.
- Wrath of the Berserker. With the Insanity rune, you end up with a huge damage boost while this is active. Good to use to burn down tough Champion bosses or when you could use some extra damage.
Note: If you find yourself running low on health, you can always swap out Rend/Whirlwind for Revenge. Revenge is a huge health booster and gets you back copious amounts of health every time it procs.
In addition to the skills above, consider these passive skills:
- Ruthless. The increases in critical hit rate and critical damage bonus stacks well with Battle Rage and Weapon’s Master.
- Weapons Master. Another solid DPS increase. I do not recommend using Mighty Weapons as I do not think the effect is that great for this build.
- Berserker Rage. Since this build is not a Fury-based build, the 25% damage bonus you do with a Full fury bar will be up most of the time.
For the most part, this build ignores Fury and instead focuses in on maximizing the damage of Cleave and Frenzy. Both of these abilities are true demolishers when buffed up with all these talents. When all the buffs are rolling, you are literally dealing over 100% bonus damage, which makes your Cleave hit as hard as other player’s Hammer of the Ancients.
Against trash enemies, stick to Cleave for the most part – it is really all you need. Rend works good against enemies with shields that block a lot as Rend cannot be blocked. You can also swap out Rend for Whirlwind (Volcanic Eruption rune), as this will convert your physical damage to fire, giving you something other than physical attacks in your arsenal.
Personally, I am a bit partial towards Revenge actually over Rend or even Whirlwind (though using Whirlwind is fun), as Revenge has no Fury cost and provides a nice self-heal and a 10% crit bonus with the Best Served Cold buff. The lack of a Fury cost means your Berserker Rage 25% damage buff will not be lost when using it!
Against boss mobs, you can literally use nothing but Frenzy and your self buffs. Get a full Fury bar, get Battle Rage active, then wait for Revenge to proc. Use it for the 10% crit buff, and then immediately pop Wrath of the Berserker. The amount of damage you can pump out in those 15 seconds is insane; other classes simply cannot compete with that raw DPS.
Use your potion timer during this time so you can stay alive longer even in the face of damage. You can burn down a lot of a boss’s HP during this short 15-second window. After all, you will have a few hundred percent enhanced damage from all the self-buffs and passive skills along with over 50% crit rate if your gear is decent (5% from Ruthless, 10% from Weapons Master, 10% from Revenge buff, 10% from Wrath of the Berserker, plus whatever you have from gear).
Diablo 3 Barbarian Builds – Group Play
When you are playing in a 4-person game, a souped-up cleave is no longer as powerful and the Frenzy burn strategy does not work nearly as well since the boss has a few times more health.
I know a lot of people like to play in groups though so I figured I would include some Diablo 3 Barbarian builds for leveling and farming for group play as well. Here is what I recommend:
- Cleave. Cleave is still a great ability, as the Barbarian’s strength is clearing out weak enemies. Use Ravage again with Rupture and then segue into Broad Sweep once it is unlocked. You may actually consider Gathering Storm in group play as this will allow you to control all sorts of enemies from getting to the ranged classes in your group.
- Ground Stomp. Use the Wrenching Crash rune. While this is not a popular ability, you should realize that a 4 second stun out of a 12 second window across a 24-yard radius means that the bulk of enemies on the screen will be stunned for 4 seconds out of every 12 seconds. This downtime is huge and adds up for your teammates.
- Revenge. Use the Vengeance is Mine rune and then Provocation. This will keep you healed up practically at all times, especially after you draw all the enemies in with Ground Stomp.
- Threatening Shout. Use the Falter Rune initially and then switch over to Demoralize. This is your taunt. You can use Grim Harvest if your group is really good once you are farming. This is a huge debuff for enemies and will really reduce the amount of damage your group takes.
- Ignore Pain. Use the Iron Hide rune and then switch over to Mob Rule. Being able to reduce the damage of your entire group by 65% is priceless.
- Warcry. You can use either the health rune or the resistance rune, depending on how your party is geared. If you have a Monk in your group, using the resistance rune lets them run Conviction Aura with no issues so you can boost your group’s damage. For really hard encounters, you can use the resistance rune and let the Monk use the healing Mantra.
For passive skills, you have no real “musts” here. You can pick the damage ones, but you have to consider that Cleave and Revenge are your only offensive runes in this build, which means you are not enhancing your damage very much.
You can swap out Ignore Pain for a nice Fury spender like Whirlwind, and then you might go with the damage runes. It really depends on how good your group is and how well everyone is geared for the encounter. As you hit a higher level, you can work in more DPS boosters. At lower and experimental levels, you might want to consider using the passive skills.
Additionally, if you have two Barbarians in your group, you can coordinate so that each person uses one shout. The reason I recommend the support and AoE role for the Barbarian in these situations is because other classes seem to be able to handle single-target damage better than the Barbarian, except of course with the Frenzy D3 Barbarian build mentioned at the top of this post.
The Barbarian has the blessing (or curse) of having one good buff and one good debuff. In a group situation, if you use those 2 skills you will be automatically down to just 4 skills on your hot bar, which is naturally going to limit your offensive effectiveness.
Diablo 3 Barbarian Builds
These two Diablo 3 Barbarian leveling builds for group and solo play are of course just recommendations. You can always switch things around and figure out what works the best for your group. For example, the support build I recommended is oriented around having ranged classes in your party (3 of the 5 classes are ranged).
If you were playing with a Monk, you would want to focus on a more offensive Diablo 3 barbarian build like the first one I mentioned. These are not the only builds that work and there are plenty of other builds out there that players can use successfully.