Barbarian Leveling Build Guide (Patch 2.7.5 / Season 28)
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.
This guide is part of our Barbarian Class Hub, which also includes early builds for fresh 70 characters.
|Rend Bloodbath Whirlwind Wind Shear 1 Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash 2 Leap Iron Impact 3 War Cry Charge! 4 Wrath of the Berserker Insanity|
Note that while the skills and runes recommended in the build are specifically chosen to be available at an early level and remain a solid pick throughout the leveling and early character progression, you will have to temporarily work with other skills as the build gradually unlocks. To familiarize yourself with the class, experimentation is strongly encouraged.
The build revolves around the DoT superiority of Rend, capable of tagging multiple enemies with a lethal effect while allowing you to move on, increasing leveling and early farming efficiency. To further increase its potency, you will seek out big packs with either Leap or Furious Charge, and draw a crowd towards the carnage with Ground Stomp Wrenching Smash. Buff up regularly with War Cry, and activate Wrath of the Berserker whenever you engage elites or a large fight ensues.
Skills, Runes, and Passives
The basis of every build lies in its chosen damage dealing skills. As they invariably require resource or cooldown management mechanics of some sort, and such are scarce for low level and less geared characters, you will focus on fewer damage dealing abilities early on. The typical early game build will feature a dominant damage dealer, a mobility skill, buffs and/or shields, and resource generators (either active or passive). The recommended split is:
- Slot 1 — Damage dealing ability: Making his own twist of the hit-and-move strategies of power leveling, the Barbarian acquires a powerful DoT in the form of Rend as early as level 5. You will enlarge its radius soon after, taking the Ravage rune at level 11, and stick with it for a significant portion of your leveling. During the final stretch, and especially once you hit max level, it is recommended to switch to the powerful Bloodbath rune, basically triggering several Rends at the cost of one.
- Slot 2 — Generator: Since Fury does not replenish on its own and Rend can be a costly ability in the thick of battle, you will need to add some form of resource generation to the build. Early on, primary skills can fulfill the purpose — either AoE like Cleave (level 3) with Rupture (level 9), or ranged like Weapon Throw (level 17) with Ricochet (level 25). Midway through leveling, you will gain the Wind Shear rune for Whirlwind, making the spender almost self-sufficient. If you are confident in handling the Barbarian resources at that point, you should add Whirlwind in to significantly boost your damage and improve combat mobility (as channeling the skill removes enemy collision).
- Slot 3 — Mobility skill: You have two significant options for the role, each bringing its own benefits to the build. Leap is available at level 8, and following the gambling trick outlined in the gearing section, will essentially be tripled by Lut Socks from the earliest character progression stages. This will significantly increase its utility with the Iron Impact rune (level 14), allows it to cover much great distances and makes it generate 45 Fury. If the gambling strat does not work out due to RNG, or you simply choose not to follow it, you still have a great movement tool in the form of Sprint (level 16), further improved by the Marathon rune at level 38.
- Slot 4 — Utility: You can make a definite improvement to your AoE efficiency with Rend by adding Ground Stomp to the build as early as level 4. As if the base stun effect does not disable monsters enough, you will be improving it with the pull effect of the Wrenching Smash rune at the tender level 18, and keeping it throughout the leveling process. The Fury generation aspect is simply gravy on top.
- Slots 5 and 6 — Buffs: While you can use the protective Threatening Shout nearly at the start (level 14), it is recommended that you swap it for War Cry when it becomes available at level 28. The latter has a larger radius of the party-wide buff, synergizes better with farming-oriented legendary effects like Chilanik's Chain, and has a generous restorative rune in the form of Charge!, unlocking at level 35. Your final active skill slot will be reserved for the trademark Barbarian self-buff, Wrath of the Berserker, arriving mid-leveling at level 30. Its strongest rune, Insanity, comes shortly thereafter (level 40) and will remain with you well into the endgame.
- Passives: Some of the strongest passive options for Barbarians will unlock very early on, adding nicely to a beginner build. Ruthless opens up at level 10, and adds a whopping 40% multiplicative damage increase vs. injured enemies — ensuring Rend will finish them off in due time. Nerves of Steel comes shortly thereafter at level 13, adding a cheat death failsafe to this head on, in-your-face build. Arguably the most utility-packed defensive passive, Superstition arrives at the level 30 junction, and adds surprisingly effective, combat-based resource gain on top of its obvious damage mitigation. Unlocking last (level 68), but likely staying forever in your passive selection, Rampage directly influences damage and toughness by scaling your Strength.
Gear and Stats Priorities
As the leveling process in Diablo 3 is relatively quick, specific legendary recommendations are impossible. During leveling finding upgrades is frequent, so your gear will be swapped in and out within the span of a few minutes. Following the in-game comparison system and the stat priorities outlined in the tables below will result in a solid character throughout the leveling journey.
The table below is meant to point you in a general correct direction and is by no means indicative of the exact rolls you want to go for. They can vary greatly from build to build and it is always preferable to refer to our exact guide page. If you simply use the rolls below however, and roll for skill damage on the applicable pieces:
- Ancient Spear, Hammer of the Ancients, Whirlwind, Seismic Slam on helms and boots;
- Furious Charge, Avalanche, Earthquake, Rend, Revenge, Overpower, Call of the Ancients on shoulders and chest;
- Cleave, Weapon Throw, Frenzy, Bash on belt and pants.
Wherever it says 'Elemental damage', match it to the rune of your damaging skill of choice. You will come out with a functional spec, and probably not too far off from what we would recommend in a dedicated build!
Note that skill damage and elemental damage recommendations only apply if the majority of your damage is done through that skill or element. For alt characters however, sockets take priority above all other attributes, since you can slot high level gems and benefit massively from their stat increase. For the purposes of an alt character, leveling a Gem of Ease to level 25 and socketing it in a level 70 weapon will be the single biggest boost you can provide to the leveling process.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Reviewed for Season 28.
- 10 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 23 Jul. 2021: Reviewed for Season 24.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Reviewed for Season 23.
- 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Page added.
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