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Barbarian Basics: Resources, Weapons, and Stats

Last updated on Sep 25, 2014 at 20:23 by Poyo 3 comments

Table of Contents

This short guide is meant to introduce you to the basic mechanics of the Barbarian class. It is extremely important to have a good grasp of these mechanics in order to play a Barbarian efficiently, especially if you want to understand the builds presented on our website or make your own builds.

After reading this guide, we encourage you to also read more about Stats Priorities for Barbarians, Paragon Points Priorities for Barbarians, and Skill Damage for Barbarians.

1. Your Resource: Fury

Barbarians use Fury to fuel their devastating attacks and utility skills. Fury can be generated actively by using your Primary Skills (Bash Bash, Cleave Cleave, Frenzy Frenzy, Weapon Throw Weapon Throw) and certain cooldown-based abilities (Ground Stomp Ground Stomp, Leap Leap, Furious Charge Furious Charge, Threatening Shout Threatening Shout and War Cry War Cry). When out of combat, Fury degenerates over time unless you have Unforgiving Unforgiving as a Passive Skill.

2. Character Sheet

Your character sheet features 3 pieces of information that are very important: Damage, Toughness, and Healing. It is important to understand how these values are calculated, because having more Damage than your friends on your character sheet does not necessarily mean that you will do more damage than them, far from it.

Damage is an approximation of the amount of damage your character can deal every second, based on:

  1. Weapon Damage;
  2. Strength;
  3. Critical Hit Chance;
  4. Critical Hit Damage;
  5. Attack Speed;
  6. Passive Skills.

The different attributes are listed in order of importance, so Weapon Damage will contribute the most to your character sheet damage. As you can see, your skill usage or special effects from your items are not taken into account, which often results in your character sheet damage being extremely far from your actual damage. That said, it remains a good tool for checking if a new item is an upgrade, before you have access to legendary items.

Toughness is an approximation of the amount of raw damage your character can take before dying, based on:

  1. Vitality;
  2. All Resistance;
  3. Life %;
  4. Strength / Armor;
  5. Various damage reductions.

Healing is the amount of Life that you can recover every second in combat, based on:

  1. Life per Hit;
  2. Life per Second;
  3. Life Steal;
  4. Life per Fury Spent;
  5. Life per Kill;
  6. Health Globe Healing Bonus.

Toughness and Healing are complementary. In general, you do not want to max out one at the expense of the other. You simply need enough Toughness not to die immediately in the difficulty you choose to play in, and you need enough Healing to replenish your Health during combat.

3. Weapon Priority

Weapon Priority refers to choosing between using a Two-Handed Weapon or dual-wielding two One-Handed Weapons.

  • A Two-Handed Weapon has a slower attack speed, but higher damage per hit. It scales very well with Attack Speed, but poorly with flat damage increases (+damage).
  • A One-Handed Weapon has a faster attack speed (especially since dual-wielding grants a +15% Attack Speed bonus), but lower damage per hit. It scales very well with flat damage increases (+damage) and Life on Hit, but poorly with Attack Speed.

The rule of thumb to use when making this decision is the following.

  • When using a build that relies heavily on cooldown-based Skills and Cooldown Reduction,
Two-Handed Weapon is better than Dual-Wielding.
  • When using a build that does not need massive Fury generation, Two-Handed Weapon is better than Dual-Wielding.
  • When using a build that relies heavily on item procs and Attack Speed, 
Dual-Wielding is better than Two-Handed Weapon.
  • When using a build that relies on a Primary Skill (Generator) to generate Fury and a Secondary Skill (Spender) to deal massive amounts of damage, Dual-Wielding is better than Two-Handed weapon.

If there is a high difference in damage between two weapon types, you should choose the one with the highest damage rather than the one your skills might favor.

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