Leveling as a Barbarian with Hammer of the Ancients and Death Blow
The Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling build smashes your foes into obliteration. This is your leveling guide for Diablo 4, with the maximum Skill Point allocation at level 50. With previous beta testing, we currently believe Hammer of the Ancients (HotA) is the best option for leveling a new Barbarian character. Let us go over the build mechanics, character progression, and playstyle!
Furious Hammer of the Ancients deals 1% additional damage for each point of current Fury. Fill up Fury quickly with multiple sources of generation, and then dump Fury with Hammer of the Ancients to deal massive blows. Death Blow is another highly damaging hit that can be used repeatedly if it kills an enemy.
This leveling build is perfect for players that are used to traditional generator and spender playstyles. Charge up for huge damage numbers with the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian!
If you are already level 50, you can check out any of our Endgame Barbarian builds.Level 50/Endgame Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian Build Level 50/Endgame Rend Barbarian Build Level 50/Endgame Whirlwind Barbarian Build
Skill Tree Points
The following table shows the order in which to allocate your Skill Points for Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling. You gain 48 points at Level 50 and 2 points from completing Renown in each Act zone, for a total of 58.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling build requires some management of resources. Multiple skills are used to generate Fury with Enhanced Frenzy, Rallying Cry, Power Leap, Furious Impulse and Prolific Fury. Once full, dump damage with Hammer of the Ancients while maintaining a high Fury count for optimal DPS.
Death Blow is another skill with high damage per hit, used to finish off enemies in order to reset its cooldown. Weapon Master’s Aspect gives Death Blow an extra charge in case you fail to kill an enemy with it.
Wrath of the Berserker is activated against tough elites and bosses for Berserk and Unstoppable.
Survivability is increased by gaining Fortify through Strategic Rallying Cry and Thick Skin. Additional Damage Reduction while Fortified is gained from Defensive Stance and gear. Fortify also increases damage through Counteroffensive and Damage while Fortified stats.
Expose Vulnerability applies Vulnerable with Hammer of the Ancients after using Death Blow. This can be tricky to keep active during boss fights. Use Death Blow to finish off boss adds and space out your charges if you are using Weapon Master’s Aspect for more Vulnerable uptime.
The Key Passive, Walking Arsenal, provides x45% increased damage with proper weapon swapping. Activating the Dual Wield buff with Frenzy and the Two-Handed Bludgeoning buff with Hammer of the Ancients is fairly easy. Assign your Two-Handed Slashing weapon to Leap and Death Blow to activate the final buff. Against bosses, alternate casts of Leap and Death Blow for the most optimal buff uptime.
Smash your enemies with the following rotation to maximize damage.
- Activate Rallying Cry if your Fury is low.
- Generate Fury at the start of the fight with Leap and Frenzy.
- Cast Hammer of the Ancients once every time Fury is full. Continue to weave in generators to maintain a high Fury count for optimal DPS.
- Finish off enemies with Death Blow to generate Fury and reset its cooldown. During long boss fights, it should be used constantly when off cooldown.
Weapon Expertise System
The specialization of the Barbarian is automatically unlocked at level 5. The Weapon Expertise bonuses gain levels as you hit with each specific weapon. Assign Two-Handed Sword Expertise to the Weapon Technique slot for the additional Bleed effect.
Hammer of the Ancients must use a Two-Handed Mace, while Frenzy must use Dual Wielded weapons. Once you have Walking Arsenal, assign your Two-Handed Slashing weapon to Death Blow and Leap.
Gear Choice and Stat Priority while Leveling
Make sure to pick up all Rare equipment drops that may be upgrades while you are leveling Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian. Save Legendary items with useful aspects in your stash to be used later for extraction and imprinting onto well rolled Rare items.
Prioritize the highest damage per hit weapon setup available. When comparing weapons with similar item levels, Two-Handed weapons are usually preferred.
Listed below are the stat affixes to prioritize on gear for Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling, ranked by their importance. Affixes on the same level have roughly the same importance.
|1||DPS value on all weapon slots|
|2||Rank of Hammer of the Ancients and Death Blow|
|3||– All Damage|
– Damage to Close, Slowed, Crowd Controlled and Healthy Enemies
– Damage with Mace, Core and Weapon Mastery Skills
– Damage while Fortified, Berserking and Healthy
– Vulnerable Damage
– Critical Strike Chance and Damage
– Attack Speed and Basic Skill Attack Speed
|4||– Damage Reduction|
– Damage Reduction while Fortified
– Any Elemental Resistances
|5||– Crowd Control Duration|
– Cooldown Reduction
– Movement Speed
Legendary Item Aspects
Aspect of Ancestral Force can be unlocked in the Codex of Power by completing the Sunken Ruins in Scosglen. Visit the Occultist to imprint this Aspect onto an item. Aspects from the Codex of Power can be used often on weapons. Avoid imprinting valuable extracted Aspects onto weapons, because they get replaced often while leveling.
Listed below are the Aspects found on Legendary items that are important for the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling build. They are listed in order of priority.
|Aspect Name||Legendary Aspect Power||Source|
|Edgemaster’s Aspect||Skills deal up to #%[x] increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.||Oldstones, Scosglen|
|Aspect of Ancestral Force||Hammer of the Ancients quakes outwards, dealing #% of its damage to enemies.||Sunken Ruins, Scosglen|
|Weapon Master’s Aspect||Your Weapon Mastery Skills have an additional Charge. Lucky Hit: Damaging an enemy with a Weapon Mastery Skill has up to a #% chance to Stun them for # seconds.||Random Drop Only|
|Aspect of the Expectant||Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by #%[x], up to 30%[x].||Underroot, Scosglen|
|Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for # seconds.||Dark Ravine, Dry Steppes|
|Aspect of Disobedience||You gain #%[x] increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to #%[x].||Halls of the Damned, Kehjistan|
|Rapid Aspect||Basic Skills gain #%[+] Attack Speed.||Buried Halls, Dry Steppes|
|Aspect of Encroaching Wrath||After spending 100 Fury, your next Weapon Mastery Skill deals #%[x] increased damage.||Random Drop Only|
|Aspect of the Relentless Armsmaster||Gain #%[x] increased Fury Generation while all damage bonuses from the Walking Arsenal Key Passive are active.||Calibel’s Mine, Scosglen|
|Aspect of Giant Strides||Reduces the Cooldown of Leap by # seconds per enemy hit, up to a maximum of # seconds.||Random Drop Only|
|Aspect of Echoing Fury||Your Shout Skills generate # Fury per second while active.||Sirocco Caverns, Kehjistan|
|Aspect of Unrelenting Fury||Killing an enemy with a Core Skill refunds #% of its base Fury cost. Can only happen once per Skill cast.||Hallowed Ossuary, Fractured Peaks|
|Ghostwalker Aspect||While Unstoppable and for 2 seconds after, you gain #%[+} increased Movement Speed and can move freely through enemies.||Broken Bulwark, Scosglen|
|Iron Blood Aspect||Gain #% Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to #% maximum.||Forgotten Ruins, Kehjistan|
|Battle-Mad||Gain Berserking for # seconds after swapping weapons # times.||Random Drop Only|
Listed below are the best Gems to socket into gear for each slot type for Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian leveling.
- Weapon: Emerald for Critical Strike Damage to Vulnerable Enemies.
- Armor: Sapphire for Damage Reduction While Fortified.
- Jewelry: Any Gem that gives the Resistance type you are lacking the most.
Elixirs and Health Potions
Visit the Alchemist to craft helpful Elixirs that increase stats and experience gain for 30 minutes. Make sure to forage plants and pick up the necessary crafting materials during your adventures; they randomly spawn around the world. Use an Elixir providing any Resistance you need most, Assault Elixir for Attack Speed or Precision Elixir for Critical Strike.
Return to the Alchemist again when you reach Level 20, 30, 45, 60, 70, 80 and 90, to upgrade your potion. The extra healing is essential to survival.