General Leveling Tips
To find out more general information about leveling as a Barbarian in Diablo 4, you can check out our main Barbarian Leveling guide. You can also go to our Barbarian Builds page for a list of other leveling and endgame Barbarian builds for you to choose from.
In regard to leveling up on the seasonal realm, you might also want to check out our season checklist, as it will give you some useful tips and tricks for Season 1 of Diablo 4. Don’t miss this chance to make the most out of your leveling journey!Season Checklist
This build focuses on using Hammer of the Ancients against packs of enemies, followed up with a devastating Death Blow to finish them off. To keep our damage up, we maintain a state of Berserking, and primarily rely on two skills to stack our damage up against our foes.
- Hammer of the Ancients – our major Fury spender.
- Frenzy – Our basic attack that’s gives an Attack Speed boost.
We will also be triggering an enhancement for even more damage to our Bleeds through the Key Passive Walking Arsenal.
Now that we understand our two most basic skills, we can look deeper into how we will be allocating our skill points as we journey from Level 1 to Level 50.
Season of the Malignant
The theme for Season 1 introduces a new form of legendary gem called Malignant Hearts. There are three types of hearts that need to be socketed into matching colored sockets on all equipped jewelry and one type of heart that can be placed into any socket. For more information about the Malignant Hearts theme for Season 1 check out our Malignant Hearts guide.
Listed below are the Malignant Hearts that are useful for this build, ranked by importance. Stats displayed reflect what a Level 20 character would receive as a drop. Note that this list is based on the limited pool of Malignant Heart drops until World Tier 3 is unlocked. All other heart option become available in World Tier 3, so if you do not find one of these right away – do not worry. Malignant Hearts are primarily farm in the endgame.
Allocation of Skill points
Your first 20 skill points are used to acquire all of your skills, filling in passive points only as needed to get to the next tier. The allocation of these points is listed below.
|Skill Point Allocation||Allocation|
|4||Hammer of the Ancients|
|5||Enhanced Hammer of the Ancients|
|6||Furious Hammer of the Ancients|
|8||Enhanced Rallying Cry|
|9||Tactical Rallying Cry|
|10||Hammer of the Ancients Level 2|
|11||Hammer of the Ancients Level 3|
|15||Hammer of the Ancients Level 4|
|16||Hammer of the Ancients Level 5|
|18||Enhanced Death Blow|
|19||Warrior’s Death Blow|
|20||Death Blow Level 2|
|21||Wrath of the Berserker|
|22||Prime Wrath of the Berserker|
|23||Supreme Wrath of the Berserker|
|24||Death Blow Level 3|
|25||Death Blow Level 4|
|26||Death Blow Level 5|
As you can see in the table above, all of our skills are obtained within the first 26 points. This completes our entire skill bar relatively quickly. If you are making a Seasonal Character, you already start with 10 skill points, so it is even faster.
Your complete skill bar will look like this:
Now that you are ready to fight the hordes of hell with all your skills filled out, we can fill in your passive points with each level up. As for which passives to take once you have completed your skill load-out and Key Passive, we recommend the following ranked by importance.
- Hamstring to Level 1
- Pit Fighter to Level 3
- Slaying Strike to Level 3
- Expose Vulnerability to Level 3
- Walking Arsenal Key Passive
- No Mercy to Level 3
- Aggressive Resistance to Level 1
- Prolific Fury to Level 1
- Thick Skin to Level 3
- Defensive Stance to Level 3
- Counteroffensive to Level 3
- Tempered Fury to Level 1
- Furious Impulse to Level 3
Here is the completed skill tree for the build:
Let’s review each cluster in the Skill Tree and discuss our reasons behind each passive and skill choice, so we have a good understanding of the build before we transition into the Shout HotA Endgame Build or Berserking HotA Endgame Build. Keep in mind, if you are leveling a new seasonal character, you will have some additional skill points to spend at the beginning.
Frenzy is our choice for the basic skill in this build and will be kept at Level 1. This skill is used constantly, as our Fury pool will be more challenging to keep up until we have more points to invest in our Fury Generation. The advantage of using this skill is the huge boost in Attack Speed, allowing us to recharge our Fury faster. Put a one-handed weapon on this skill.
Our Core skill is Hammer of the Ancients, this is used as our main Fury spender. As we gain Fury through Berserking, Rallying Cry, Leap and Frenzy, we will then deplete our pool by spamming Hammer of the Ancients. Your positioning will be key during this spam attack. This may take time to feel smooth, but you want to target packs of enemies. Do your best to use it when you have groups of monsters and not waste it on small single target.
Our defensive cluster contains our only Shout skill: Rallying Cry. This skill provides us with multiple benefits, first as an escape skill with Enhanced Rallying Cry making us Unstoppable. Then we also benefit from the Tactical Rallying Cry gives us a boost to Fury and increases our generation by 20%.
In this cluster, we acquire the skill Leap which gives us a huge chunk of Fury and allows for us to use it as a movement skill to increase the pace of battle or escape a bad situation. We also take the passives listed below:
- Swiftness – Movement speed is always a priority.
- Aggressive Resistance – Increases our Damage Reduction while Berserking.
- Prolific Fury – Increases our Fury Generation
Weapon Mastery Skills
The Death Blow skill is used to trigger Berserking and insta-kill enemies, renewing the skill and allowing us to use it as a killing blow again.
- Pit Fighter – Increases offenses and defenses for Close Enemies.
- Slaying Strike – This benefits our Death Blow by increasing our damage to injured enemies.
- Expose Vulnerability – This allows our core skill to trigger Vulnerability on enemies.
- No Mercy – This increases Critical Strike Chance against enemies we Hamstring.
- Hamstring – This makes Healthy enemies we bleed slow.
- Thick Skin – This gives us the ability to trigger Fortify and all of its benefits everything time we get hit.
- Defensive Stance – This increases our Damage Reduction while we are Fortified, which from the passive above happens every time we are hit.
- Counteroffensive – This increases our Damage output while we are Fortified and still above 50% Life.
For our Ultimate skill we are using Wrath of the Berserker. This is a great power-up for our Character to use against Elites and Bosses. This makes us Unstoppable and Berserking, including boosting damage and movement speed. While the skill has a long Cooldown, it is a great skill to use during intense moments.
The Key Passive Walking Arsenal, we trigger this ability by using 3 different types of weapons across our skills. We accomplish this easily by setting our skills to the following weapons:
- Frenzy – One-handed Weapon
- Hammer of the Ancients – Two-handed Slashing Weapon
- Death Blow and Leap – Two-handed Bludgeoning Weapon
This setup will cycle the activation on Walking Arsenal fairly often, giving us the 45% damage bonus.
Mechanics and Playstyle
The majority of your power in this leveling build comes from your Attack Speed. Using Frenzy to quickly build Fury and then immediately dropping that Fury with Hammer of the Ancients to lower your enemies to within a range where Death Blow can be used. This will reset its cooldown all the while triggering a state of Berserking. Rallying Cry will help keep Fury generation high, and we can easily manage our enemies by using Frenzy or offloading all of our Fury with Hammer of the Ancients. The Ultimate ability, Wrath of the Berserker, is best used to take out Elite packs.
During the majority of your fights, you will also be triggering Walking Arsenal for a good damage bonus. This rotational way of playing will become important, as it prepares you for the endgame version of this build, which is played with a very similar skill set. Let’s review some other important elements we use to power ourselves up for leveling.
Berserking is a key damage booster during the leveling process. Berserking is most often triggered from usage of the skill, Warrior’s Death Blow. You should be using this skill by taking advantage of the killing blow mechanic to keep yourself in a state of Berserking and benefit from the increases in Fury Generation, Damage and Movement Speed. Remember, you can use Wrath of the Berserker to trigger Berserking as well.
The majority of our defenses come from our Legendary Aspects and Passives. See the list below:
- Aspect of Might
- Aspect of Disobedience
- Iron Blood Aspect
- Thick Skin
- Defensive Stance
For the HotA Leveling build, we will be focus on using a two-handed axe for the increase to Vulnerable damage, as well as getting a head start on leveling up this skill to level 10 for the endgame.
There are many options to level your character: kill monsters, do quests in each region, follow the Seasonal storyline, farm generic dungeons, participate in regional events, etc. With so many ways to get to Level 50, we have chosen some methods that will accelerate your experience gains.
Open World Activities
The open world is full of monsters and activities, you are welcome to find your own path or leveling areas but if you are looking for some great options, here are two great suggestions for this build:
The Dinidari Flats in Dry Steppes
This area is packed with Spiders! Spiders have the unique ability to break down into smaller mobs after the larger version is destroyed. This allows us to pull multiple larger Spiders together and kill them, unleashing a massive group of smaller, very low life spiders for us to grab some additional experience.
This zone has three events that cycle quite frequently (red marks) and some high-density mob areas (in the green) to farm as you move between the events. This is a great spot as we have a waypoint very close, and we do a simple rotation of two or more events. When you add the time needed to kill the dense packs of monsters in each green area, you will have a great non-stop loop for experience.
Lost Achieves in Fractured Peaks – Levels 1 – 25 recommended.
Forsaken Quarry in Fractured Peaks – Level 1 to 25 recommended.
Sarat’s Lair in Scosglen – Level 25 to 50 recommended. High Poison Resistance needed.
Uldur’s Cave in Kehjistan – Level 25 to 50 recommended.
Questing is a necessary evil if you are still grinding out your renown levels for each zone. If you need to complete your Renown, it can be a relatively easy way to get some quick experience along the way. If this is something you need to do, take as many quests as you can from one area and complete them all in one go. It may not feel necessarily faster, but going back and forth for each one is a waste of time.
In the early levels, targeting affixes on your gear can be very challenging. Part of the reason is we will be playing in world tier 1 or 2 and the best opportunity for rare gear is a maximum of 3 affixes. So the list below will show us the best four options to choose from.
|Gear Slot||Targeted Affixes|
|Helm||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Attack Speed
3. Maximum Life
|Chest||1. Maximum Life|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction from Bleeding Enemies
|Gloves||1. Critical Strike Chance|
2. Ranks of Hammer of the Ancients
3. Attack Speed
|Pants||1. Maximum Life|
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction from Enemies that are Bleeding
|Boots||1. Movement Speed|
2. Damage Reduction while Injured
3. Fury Cost Reduction
4. Berserking Duration
|Amulet||1. Cooldown Reduction|
2. Fury Cost Reduction
3. Damage Reduction while Fortified
4. Ultimate Skill Damage
|Rings||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Critical Strike Chance
3. Maximum Life
4. Resource Generation
|Weapons||1. Vulnerable Damage|
2. Basic Skill Damage
3. Core Skill Damage
The Legendary Aspects chosen below are all available from the Codex of Power, so each Aspect can be found from Dungeons in the open world. If possible, finding each of these Aspect on a piece of Legendary gear will offer you a better roll compared to the Codex of Power.
|Gear Slot||Legendary Aspect||Legendary Aspect Power|
|Helm||Aspect of Might||Basic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2.0-6.0] seconds.|
|Chest||Aspect of Disobedience||You gain [0.25 – 0.50%] increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to [15.00 – 30.00%].|
|Gloves||Veteran Brawler’s Aspect||Each time a Core Skill deals direct damage to an enemy, your next Charge or Leap deals [15 – 20]% increased damage, up to [225 – 300]%.|
|Pants||Iron Blood Aspect||Gain [2.0-4.0%] Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to [10-20%] maximum.|
|Boots||Ghostwalker Aspect||While Unstoppable and for 4 seconds after, you gain +[10 – 25]% increased Movement Speed and can move freely through enemies.|
|Amulets(50% bonus)||Aspect of the Expectant||Attacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by [5-10%], up to 30%.|
|Ring||Aspect of the Relentless Armsmaster||Gain [20-36%] increased Fury Generation while all damage bonuses from Walking Arsenal Key Passive are active.|
|Ring||Aspect of Unrelenting Fury||Killing an enemy with a Core Skill refunds [10.0-20.0%] of its base Fury cost. Can only happen once per Skill cast.|
|Bludgeoning Weapon (100% bonus)||Aspect of Ancestral Force||Hammer of the Ancients quakes outwards, dealing [32-50]% of its damage to enemies.|
|Slashing Weapon (100% bonus)||Edgemaster’s Aspect||Skills deal up to [10- 20%] increased damage based on your available Primary Resource when cast, receiving the maximum benefit while you have full Primary Resource.|
|Dual-Wield Weapon 1||Rapid Aspect||Basic Skills gain [15-30%] Attack Speed.|
|Dual-Wield Weapon 2||Aspect of Berserk Ripping||Whenever you deal direct damage while Berserking, inflict [20 – 30%] of the Base damage dealt as additional Bleeding damage over 5 seconds.|
Once you hit Level 50 with this leveling build, you will be ready to complete your first Capstone Dungeon and unlock World Tier 3. This will open up the true endgame and allow you to collect new Sacred Rares and Legendary Aspects you will need to transition into the Endgame HotA Shout and Berserk Builds. Once you upgrade your build to the Endgame build, you will be ready to push into Nightmare dungeons, World Tier 3 Capstone Dungeon, the Paragon Board system and so much more.
Listed below are the best gems to socket into gear for each slot type.
- Weapon: Emerald for the increase Damage against Vulnerable Enemies.
- Armor: Ruby for the increase to Maximum Life.
- Jewelry: Exclusively using our Malignant hearts for this slot.
Elixirs and Health Pots
Visit the Alchemist in any main town 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, or the Assault Elixir to increase Attack Speed.
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.
- September 16th 2023, Leveling Guide revamp