Diablo 3 Barbarian Gameplay

Having trouble deciding on a class to play? This article covers all of the major aspects of Diablo 3 Barbarian gameplay so you know whether or not this class is a good fit for you.

We will start with an overview of the class, talk about the different roles the Barbarian can fill, and then compare how the Barbarian compares Diablo 3′s other melee class, the Monk.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Class Overview

If I were to summarize up the Barbarian class into an elevator pitch, I would say the Barbarian is a damage-focused melee class with powerful area of effect attacks, decent group buffs, strong self-buffs and self-healing abilities, limited ranged abilities and a decent tanking off-spec.

Since these components make up Diablo 3 Barbarian gameplay, below we will analyze each section in detail:


D3 Barbarian Gameplay – A Damage-Oriented Melee Class

The Barbarian is a damage-oriented melee class. What I mean by this is that the vast majority of its skills, runes, and passives are catered to help you deal more damage. While you do have a few shouts along with some abilities which boost your defense and you can wear a shield, most of your damage mitigation comes from your stuns or the various skills that let you gain health from your attacks.

The Barbarian has three options when it comes to equipping weaponry:

  • Dual Wielding two 1-handed weapons. This provides faster attacks as 1-handed weapons are faster than two-handed ones. You also get a 15% increased attack speed bonus when you are dual wielding.
  • Two-Handed weapons. Two-handers tend to be slower but more powerful. While your attacks hit harder, you will generate Fury at a slower rate and not be able to dish out Fury attacks as quickly as when dual-wielding or even using a 1-Hand and shield.
  • 1-Hand and Shield. Shields provide you with a nice bit of extra armor and blocking but you naturally will not do as much damage as you would when dual wielding or using a two-handed weapon. With that said, the damage difference is actually not very big between using 1-hand and shield versus dual-wielding.


D3 Barb Gameplay – Powerful AoE Attacks

Despite the fact that the Barbarian is a melee class, one key aspect of Diablo 3 Barbarian gameplay is the pure efficiency of which you can rip through packs of weak enemies. You have a variety of powerful AoE attacks, perhaps better than any other class.

No other class has an ability like Cleave, which not only deals solid AoE damage to all enemies in front of you for a few yards but does this in addition to generating Fury for your more powerful abilities. Other classes which can use their Resource-free abilities to do AoE damage to not do nearly as much damage or are as easy to use as the Barbarian’s cleave.

In addition to Cleave, the Barbarian has a wide variety of powerful AoE attacks, including Seismic Slam, Rend, Revenge, Whirlwind, and Earthquake. Rend can be runed to have a 17-yard range while Seismic Slam has a massive 45-yard range, allowing you to dish out powerful AoE attacks without even being in melee range.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Gameplay – Buffs and Heals

The Barbarian has a few good buffs and debuffs which are found in the form of Shouts. The only problem is there are 2 good Shouts and if you want to put them all on your bars you will be missing out on a large variety of abilities (you can only equip 6 total abilities). In group play you may find that using all these is worthwhile, but for solo play you likely are going to want to pick 1 shout so you can free up more space for active abilities.

The Barbarian has decent self-healing capabilities, such as its Revenge ability, which deals AoE damage and then heals you for 6% or your max health (10% when runed) for each enemy you hit. When you use this in a pack of enemies, it is worth a full heal and does quite a bit of damage. The Barbarian also has a variety of runes which can be chosen to help restore your health.

While the D3 Barb has good self-healing, you do not have heals for your party members at your disposal (aside from the regen provided by a runed Warcry).


D3 Barbarian Gameplay – Ranged Abilities

The Barbarian’s major weakness is that it has very little in the way of ranged attacks. While Ancient Spear does decent damage to a single target and is a ranged attack, it is on a 10 second cooldown. Weapon Throw is too weak and costs Fury to use, so you cannot use it indefinitely. Seismic Slam has a nice range but again has a Fury requirement, so you cannot use it more than a few times before getting into melee range.

Fortunately, the Barbarian has its Leap and Sprint abilities to help it get into melee range. The only problem is these abilities do take up space on your skill bar, and for the Barbarian, that is a big deal as there are so many great skills to choose from.


Barbarian Tanking Builds

Between its shouts, active skills, and passive skills, the Barbarian can make a decent support and good tanking class. Threatening Shout is a huge debuff, reducing enemy damage dealt by 20% (and can be specced to a 3-second taunt) and Warcry is a nice armor buff and can provide some regeneration for your allies.

The Barbarian tanks well primarily thanks to its ability to stun. Ground Stomp is a 4 second stun on a 12-second cooldown, Bash has a good chance to stun its target, and a runed Leap is another 3 second stun on a 10 second cooldown. The Barbarian tank’s real strength is its ability to stunlock opponents. While we do not know yet about the boss of the entire game, we do know that the Skeleton King can be stunned quite a bit of the time.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Gameplay vs Monk

The Barbarian and the Monk are both melee classes, but offer different types of gameplay. As mentioned above, while the Barbarian can tank and has a decent group buff and enemy debuff, it is primarily oriented for offense and has very powerful AoE abilities.

The Monk on the other hand offers more in the way of support than the Barbarian. It simply has better skills to use for the group, given that the Monk has 4 different Mantras (auras) to choose from as well as a powerful healing spell. It also can place a mark on the ground which prevents enemies from entering, which can be useful to protect party members.

To compensate for these bonuses, the Monk has a little less power in terms of its ability to deal AoE damage. It still is able to dish out plenty of damage versus single targets, however.

If you want more offensive power, then the gameplay offered by the Diablo 3 Barbarian is the way to go. If you want more options for supporting your group and still have the ability to deal damage, Monk is a good choice.

Diablo 3 Barbarian Gameplay

The Barbarian is a damage power-house and it has a variety of abilities and buffs that allow it to tear through enemies with ease. I am sure the Barbarian offers a good experience for those looking to participate in PvE, but its mobility might be a limiting factor in PvP.