Barbarian Leveling and Fresh 70 Guide
The purpose of the beginner Barbarian guide is to provide you with a build and item recommendations that will reliably carry you from leveling, through the pre-Torment difficulties and get you into low Torment farming, without requiring specific legendary or set bonuses. The guide also includes a section for Seasonal Barbarians, explaining how best to take advantage of the free set from Haedrig's Gifts.
Why choose the Barbarian?
Choose the Barbarian if you want to experience the brutality of melee combat in its full, blood-drenched glory. The Barbarian deals in charging, slicing and smashing demons to a pulp — enraged with maddening frenzy, but standing strong and unrelenting through mighty war cries. You will build up your energies by rampaging around in combat, leaping and shouting, and channel the built up Fury into massive, sweeping strikes. The Barbarian is the epitomy of a ruthless brawler in Diablo 3.
Progression (Seasonal or Not Seasonal)
Your progression on a given character always start with leveling to 70. To help you with that, we have a beginner leveling build that you can access using the link below.
Haedrig Gifts' Season 19 Starter Build
After reaching Level 70, the easiest way to start gearing up and progressing towards the end-game is by using the set given by the Haedrig's Gifts. Haedrig's Gifts are cache-like rewards that drop 2 pieces of a fixed class-specific set after completing chapters II, III, and IV of the Seasonal Journey. Having a full 6-piece set bonus available to you will skyrocket your character's power well in the mid-to-high Torments. This makes the early portion of the Seasonal Journey your first priority upon reaching Level 70.
In Season 19, Barbarians will find the Wrath of the Wastes set in their Haedrig's Gifts. We have an early progression build for this set, which you can find by clicking the link below.
Other Starter Builds
While you get a fixed free set at the start of every Season, it is not unreasonable to assume you will attain other sets in quick succession. If you are interested in switching around your playstyle, take a look at the beginner points for other sets below, and note to which endgame builds they point you after.
Gear To Look For
To learn how to gear up quickly and approach a character's progression in general, check out our Beginner Seasonal Guide. It includes advice and tactics related to gambling Blood Shards, doing Bounties, Regular, Greater and Challenge Rifts, and using Kanai's Cube for easy upgrades.
Certain items can be targeted through the completion of bounties or boss kills. The following is a list of such items, in order of importance for the class.
- Ring of Royal Grandeur is a legendary from Act I caches that reduces the number of set items required for set bonuses by one. While it might not be immediately useful, obtaining powerful bonuses (such as the 4- and 6- piece set bonuses of the Immortal King set) as early as possible for a huge spike in character power is an opportunity you should not pass up. Doing bounties will be inevitable for crafting materials anyway, so optimize your farming time and get this ring as soon as possible.
- Reaper's Wraps are meant to assist classes and builds with resource management problems. These bracers restore up to 30% of your Fury reserves when you get healed by a health globe — an easy trigger if you keep an eye on the battlefield. Note that these bracers are craftable, and the plan for their creation drops when you kill the Act V boss Malthael on any difficulty. Reaper's Wraps are reasonably attractive to Barbarians, as they frequently suffer from resource issues in the early game, before they acquire items like Fury of the Ancients or Bul-Kathos's Oath set.
- Avarice Band is an Act III cache legendary ring that extends your pickup radius by up to 30 yards as you pick up gold. This unassuming bonus has the potential to turn in the strongest source of defense during normal rifts due to its synergy with Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap. Their powers combined, they can render your character practically invulnerable even in the highest of Torment difficulties.
- Illusory Boots are an Act II cache legendary item that removes enemy collision — a staple of support builds in Greater Rifts, as their precise positioning for party-wide buffs and enemy disables dictates the course of Greater Rift progress. Barbarians have been staple supports for many patches now, with several party-wide damage buffs and plenty of damage reduction to add to the group, making Illusory Boots reasonably attractive to the class.
- Gloves of Worship are an Act II cache legendary that extends the duration of Shrines to 10 minutes, a very decent farming effect that is usually stored in Kanai's Cube. The combined power of Empowered Shrines (doubled resource gain, halved cooldowns), Frenzied Shrines (25% Attack Speed) and Fleeting Shrines (25% increase to Movement Speed and 20-yard pickup radius), often refreshing before their 10-minute duration, is a huge buff during normal rifts. Barbarians are among the classes that can benefit from Gloves of Worship, as the armor Cube slots of their most common farming specs are often flexible enough to fit the item in.
- Envious Blade is an Act III cache dagger with one of the most powerful speedfarming bonuses in the game — a guaranteed Critical Hit against enemies at full health. A well equipped character using this dagger can oneshot entire screens of enemies in a suitable farming difficulty. While class-specific legendaries are generally considered more important to Barbarian builds, Envious Blade is not completely out of the question as a Cube effect for the weapon slot.
- Pride's Fall is a helm obtained through Act III cache bounties, whose legendary effect reduces resource costs by 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds. Almost never fighting at a range that can abuse this power, Barbarians do not consider farming Pride's Fall a priority.
The majority of the gear will be found by random chance as you farm normally, by killing monsters, opening chests, gambling at Kadala and upgrading rare items at the Cube. While the list below is not exhaustive, these are some of the pieces to seek, spend blood shards on, or upgrade yellows for — in order of priority:
- Sets: While the seasonal journey will reward you with a complete set through Haedrig's Gifts, gambling for armor set pieces still makes sense — to improve lackluster
pieces, or complete class sets other than the gifted one. The Barbarian sets are:
- Wrath of the Wastes: Helm of the Wastes, Pauldrons of the Wastes, Gauntlet of the Wastes, Cuirass of the Wastes, Tasset of the Wastes and Sabaton of the Wastes;
- The Legacy of Raekor: Raekor's Will, Raekor's Burden, Raekor's Wraps, Raekor's Heart, Raekor's Breeches and Raekor's Striders);
- Might of the Earth: Eyes of the Earth, Spires of the Earth, Pull of the Earth, Spirit of the Earth, Weight of the Earth and Foundation of the Earth);
- Immortal King's Call: Immortal King's Triumph, Immortal King's Irons, Immortal King's Eternal Reign, Immortal King's Tribal Binding, Immortal King's Stature, Immortal King's Stride and Immortal King's Boulder Breaker);
- Bul-Kathos's Oath: Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow and Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood).
- The weapon is by far the most impactful item on your damage output, putting a priority on the weapon slot as the first to obtain an ancient item for. Due to its higher bloodshard cost (75 for weapons vs. 25 for armor pieces and offhands), you should delay weapon gambling — avoiding it at the start of character progression and only considering it when you start perfecting your gear. If you simply need a specific weapon, you will get a much better deal with the Upgrade Rare recipe in Kanai's Cube. The Hope of Cain recipe (1 rare item, 25 Death's Breaths, 50 of white, blue and yellow crafting materials) will only produce the type of item you put in (i.e. wands), cutting out all other weapons from the RNG pool that you would have to deal with through regular gambling at Kadala. Mighty Weapons are the Barbarian-specific weapons (both one- and two-handed) you can easily target through upgrading rares, with valuable and build-defining mighty weapons such as Bul-Kathos's Oath set ( Bul-Kathos's Solemn Vow and Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood), Oathkeeper, Blade of the Tribes, Immortal King's Boulder Breaker, The Gavel of Judgment, Fury of the Vanished Peak and Bastion's Revered. Other weapons valuable to the Barbarian include In-geom, The Furnace, Standoff and The Three Hundredth Spear.
- Jewelry has a huge influence on your DPS, but similarly to weapons it is expensive to gamble (50 shards for rings, 100 for amulets). When searching for specific jewelry rolls, you should consider upgrading rares instead. Band of Might deserves special mention here, as it is the most powerful mitigation jewelry at the disposal of Barbarians, overshadowing the class-agnostic Unity. Curiously, the ring has a level requirement of 8, meaning it can drop very early on, or be gambled as early as level 1. This enables the gambling strat of creating a level 1 Barbarian alt on the side, and gambling the bloodshards from your main on low level rings — quickly yielding a Band of Might from the tiny RNG pool of a starting character. Note that the item's level 1 stats will make it obsolete for endgame, but Band of Might's bonus is powerful enough to carry you throughout leveling, and to be cubed immediately at level 70. All three jewelry sets can be utilized by Barbarians, in order of importance: the Endless Walk set, The Compass Rose and The Traveler's Pledge; the Legacy of Nightmares set, Litany of the Undaunted and The Wailing Host, and the Bastions of Will set, Focus and Restraint. Other build-specific Barbarian jewelry includes Skull Grasp, Convention of Elements, Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Oculus Ring.
- Boots deserve special mention due to the gambling trick you can apply. Barbarians generally seek one legendary pair of boots, Lut Socks, and only need it for Kanai's Cube armor slot in beginner and Might of the Earth set builds. Similarly to Band of Might, Lut Socks have a required level of 8 — they start dropping early and can be gambled from level 1. In turn, this allows the strategy of gambling bloodshards from your main on a level 1 Barbarian alt, almost removing the RNG factor of gambling and producing low level Lut Socks — perfectly serviceable for the Cube.
- Barbarians have Mighty Belts, a class-specific item type for the waist slot that mixes in with regular belts to produce a fairly large RNG pool. Despite that downside, it is still recommended to gamble on belts due to their cheap price, as well as the substantial impact of Mighty Belts on several Barbarian builds. You have to be on the lookout for progression belts like Pride of Cassius, Dread Iron, Girdle of Giants and Lamentation, as well as the speedrun-oriented Chilanik's Chain and the the cross-class utility belt Goldwrap.
- There are plenty of bracers in demand for Barbarians — obvious class-specific legendaries like Bracers of Destruction, Bracers of the First Men, Skular's Salvation and Vambraces of Sescheron spread across builds for their dedicated skills, as well as generic bracers like Ancient Parthan Defenders and Nemesis Bracers finding their rightful places in progression and speedfarming specs respectively. The cheap bloodshard cost of the slot makes bracers very attractive to gamble.
- Barbarians have a few shoulder pieces to watch out for, part of three major Barbarian setups — Mantle of Channeling for the Cube with Wrath of the Wastes set, Fury of the Ancients for Immortal King builds, and Vile Ward for Furious Charge-centric Raekor variants.
- Most remaining armor slots only have one or even no desirable items for Barbarians, and it is preferable to leave them to drop from normal farming instead of wasting shards and materials on the numerous possible duds for the slot. In the long run, you will want to find Aquila Cuirass and Cindercoat (chest pieces); Leoric's Crown (helm); and St. Archew's Gage (glove).
Your armor sockets should be taken up by the highest tier Ruby gems you can afford at the time, the weapon — with your highest Emerald, while the helm can either be filled by a Diamond to reduce Cooldowns, or an Amethyst for additional Toughness. When you stumble upon jewelry with good primary stats and a socket, you should start dabbling into Legendary Gems. The Legendary Gems to consider for Barbarians are, in order of importance:
- Bane of the Trapped — staple multiplicative damage increase. Note that the gem is self sufficient, proccing itself when fighting in melee range, where the Barbarian fights almost by default.
- Bane of the Stricken — almost mandatory gem for Greater Rift progression, as it is designed to whittle down the scaling health numbers of monsters with a percentage-based increase on successive attacks.
- Boon of the Hoarder — synergizing with other farming mainstays like Avarice Band and Goldwrap, this gem will not only keep you rich, but also sped up and safe during normal rift farming.
- Bane of the Powerful — the speedfarm counterpart to Bane of the Stricken, Bane of the Powerful offers a solid overall damage and survivability increase as long as your killing speed does not fall behind the timer of the gem.
- Situational gems — Esoteric Alteration is a defensive cornerstone in facetanking builds, protecting you against bursty elemental affixes. Boyarsky's Chip is a vital part of any Thorns setup, of which Barbs have an example in their Frenzy Thorns build. Taeguk is a great addition to a channeler Barb, which you will be by using anything Whirlwind-related.
|Torso and Pants||
Kanai's Cube choices are highly build- and content-specific, making them hard to summarize. Generally speaking, Barbarians should store the powers of the following items in the Cube as soon as they have the materials available: The Furnace, In-geom, Bastion's Revered, Solanium, Lut Socks, Chilanik's Chain, Pride of Cassius, Vile Ward, Aquila Cuirass, Nemesis Bracers, Band of Might, Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac, Ring of Royal Grandeur (outside of Season 16), Convention of Elements and Avarice Band.
For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Overhauled the guide and updated it for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Updated for Season 18.
- 16 May 2019: Updated for Season 17.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Updated for Season 16.
- 20 Sep. 2018: Updated for Season 15.
- 23 Feb. 2018: Updated for Season 13.
- 08 Nov. 2017: Updated for Season 12.
- 29 Jun. 2017: Updated for Season 11.
- 31 Mar. 2017: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 10 free set, The Legacy of Raekor.
- 05 Jan. 2017: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 9 free set, Might of the Earth.
- 19 Oct. 2016: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 8 free set, Immortal King's Call.
- 01 Aug. 2016: Updated the guide to include leveling, a better fresh 70 setup and Haedrig's Gift use tips.
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