Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling Guide

In this Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling guide, I will be revealing some of the best D3 Barb leveling tips that you can use to level up quickly and easily in Diablo 3.

We will talk start off talking about how to equip your Barbarian, go into some basic leveling builds and abilities that you should use to level up with, and then finally go into some leveling tips you can use in order to level up more quickly.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling Guide – Equipment

When it comes to your Barbarian, you have a lot of options for gear, particularly in the weapons category. You can dual wield two 1-handed weapons, you can use a 1-handed weapon with a shield in your off-hand, or you can use a single 2-handed weapon. Below, we will discuss the merits of each approach.


Dual Wielding in D3

While most players you run into will be dual-wielding, this may not always be wise when you are leveling up. In fact, you can even lose damage by dual wielding if you do not have the proper equipment set up.

The reason dual wielding is not always the best choice is due to the way the mechanics behind dual wielding work. Here are the basics:

  • When dual wielding weapons, your weapon damage is based specifically on the weapon you swing and is completely independent of the other weapon. If you add a second weapon, the damages are not added together and do not sum in any way.
  • You get a 15% increased attack speed bonus for dual wielding weapons.
  • +Stats (+strength, vitality, crit, etc.) will effect attacks on both weapons. +Damage and elemental damage on the weapons seems to be weapon-specific.

In short, you get a 15% increased attack speed bonus for dual wielding, but your damage is ends up basically being about the average of the DPS between your two weapons.

This means that once you factor in your bonus damage from stats, the DPS of your two weapons need to be within about 15% of each other. If your weapons are not close in DPS, you can lose damage from dual wielding.

Dual wielding is good when you have two similar weapons. However, you may find yourself leveling up and finding a 30 DPS weapon when your old mainhand was only 20 DPS. In this situation, you are likely better off equipping the 30 DPS in your main hand and going without an offhand (or finding a shield) rather than stick the 20 DPS weapon in your offhand!

For this reason, if you are leveling up very quickly (as you should if you follow the strategies in this Diablo 3 Barbarian leveling guide), you might run into situations where you do not have two weapons of similar DPS to dual wield with.


1-Hand Weapons and Shield

If you can get a Shield with decent stats on it (i.e. lots of +strength), you will find that using a sword (or any other 1-hand weapon) and shield actually does not really negatively impact your damage as much as you might think it would.

Sure, you do about 15% less damage than dual wielding due to not getting the 15% increased attack speed bonus, but you also should consider that you never have to worry about finding two good weapons to dual wield with.

Also, in addition to blocking damage, shields have a lot of armor. You will get plenty of mitigation from using a sword and shield and do a lot more damage than you might think. The reason for this is 1-hand weapon damage in Diablo 3 is a lot closer to 2-hand weapon damage than it was in Diablo 2 (or in any other RPG type game you may have played).

Many people erroneously assume that using a shield dooms you to a life of mediocre damage, but after reading this D3 Barbarian leveling guide you know that using a shield typically only results less than a 15% damage decrease from dual wielding. The mitigation a shield provides frequently more than makes up for that lost damage.


Two-Hand Weapons

Two-Hand weapons are easier to use than dual wielding when leveling up simply because you only have to find 1. When you upgrade it, you do not have to worry about finding a second one. This is easier simply from a convenience factor.

When leveling up, I prefer to use two-handed weapons. While they do similar damage to dual wielding, the way some of your low-level abilities work make using a two-handed weapon much easier.

In particular, I am talking about Rend. This is one of your best abilities at a low level and what it does is deal bleeding damage over 3 seconds. Since two-handed weapons deal more damage, you are dealing more damage per second while Rend is active. Against bosses, you will have enough Fury even with a two-hander to keep up Rend at all times.

It is just that two-handers are slightly more efficient from a damage perspective for this reason until you can get more powerful Fury spenders.

With all that said, I just use whatever I happen to find. While I prefer two-hand weapons, if I find a great 1-hander I am going to be using 1-hand weapons until I can find an upgrade for it.


Other D3 Barbarian Leveling Equipment

Equipment for your Barb is pretty simple – you want to max out strength and vitality as a priority. After that, look for gear that offers anything to enhance your damage (+attack speed, +critical rating, +weapon damage). These are all good stats, particularly if you can get the “increases your damage by x-x” modifier, which is found on rings and Amulets.

Two other things you will want to look for is “damage dealt is converted to life” – ultimately getting a few % of this will be enough to keep you healthy and full of HP when leveling.

Additionally, you should look for anything that enhances the results from killing enemies (+monster experience, +gold find, +magic find). If you get enough of it, +monster experience actually does add up when clearing your way through weak enemies. Gold Find and Magic Find make it easier to train your Blacksmith who will be making most of your equipment.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling Guide – Builds and Skills

Since the Barbarian has so many skills, there are tons of viable builds that you can use. Instead, I will recommend a few core abilities that you should stick to and however else you want to allot your remaining slots is up to you.

In particular, I recommend Cleave and Frenzy as your primary skills. Cleave should be used against trash enemies, whereas Frenzy should be used against bosses. You can swap these two out if you like before boss fights, but if you do that you will lose the Valor buff. If you do not want to lose the buff, you can just keep both skills equipped.

Rend is simply your best Rage spender at an early level. It does a lot of damage and his a lot of targets, especially with the Ravage rune. It also does not get blocked by the pesky mobs who have shields equipped.

Finally, I recommend using Revenge. This is a great way to stay healed while you play through the game. The damage and range is pretty good too, about equivalent to a Rend.

For your last two skills you can pick whatever you like. You can always swap out skills once you get to a higher level, but in my opinion these 4 skills should be in the core of most Barbarian’s playbooks, at least until you reach a high enough level to unlock all the runes for all the abilities.


Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling Tips and Tricks

The trick to playing the Barbarian is to realize that the Barb is a great killer of weak enemies thanks to Cleave, Rend, and Revenge. You can blow through pack after pack of weak enemies and take on large numbers of opponents at once, whereas other classes have to be more careful about who they engage.

In order to tank damage, you need to keep your gear up to date. Finding the gear with the best stats is actually not that important for the Barbarian. While it helps to have good stats, what you really want to make sure is that the bulk of your gear is level appropriate.

The reason for this is that armor ratings scale quickly, particularly at low levels. If you are using gear that is 10 levels too low, your armor rating will be bad and you will take way too much damage. If your gear falls behind, you might want to equip a shield if you find you are taking too much damage.

Speaking of gear, the Blacksmith is your best friend. Do not worry about crafting the same item over and over again to get the right stats. Instead, just worry about getting the latest piece he offers for your level range so you can get a good armor rating and an appropriate armor budget.

Other than that, know that the Barbarian plays best when you carry a lot of potions. You cannot avoid taking damage with the Barbarian like you can with ranged classes. Damage is inevitable, but health potions make it easy. The Templar’s Heal ability and Loyalty regeneration help as well.

Finally, if you are stuck on a boss, do not be afraid to farm for a few levels on random enemies. You can use the extra blues you find to break them down into materials that you can use to craft yourself some upgrades as well as get a few levels higher. This makes bosses and enemies in general much easier to fight.

Diablo 3 Barbarian Leveling Guide

By following the strategies and techniques outlined in this Diablo 3 Barbarian leveling guide, you will find that leveling up the Barbarian is not only an enjoyable experience but also fast and easy.

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