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Upheaval Barbarian Leveling Guide for Diablo 4 (Season 1)

Our leveling guide to take your character from level 1 to 50 with Upheaval

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Rallying CryGround StompChallenging ShoutIron MaelstromLunging StrikeUpheaval


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

Build Introduction

The point of this leveling guide is to quickly take your character from Level 1 to 50 while using the UpheavalUpheaval skill and prepare you for to easily transition into our Upheaval Endgame Build. This guide will review skill point placement as you level from 1 – 50, explaining the purpose and how each passive and skill work together to create power to tackle whatever leveling format you choose. We will also discuss which Legendary Aspects, Affixes, Gem, and Elixirs we can utilize for purposes of accelerating the leveling process.

Our primary skills in this build are Lunging StrikeLunging Strike as our primary Fury Generator. We augment this skill using:

  • Enhanced Lunging StrikeEnhanced Lunging Strike – The major benefit to this augment is the opportunity to heal.
  • Combat Lunging StrikeCombat Lunging Strike – This helps us maintain a state of Berserking through the use of Critical Strikes, it can be used as a trigger or as a way to extend the Berserking buff longer.

Our Core skill in this is UpheavalUpheaval. This is our primary spender and what we will be using to smash our enemies into oblivion. We augment this skill using:

  • Enhanced UpheavalEnhanced Upheaval – The Stun effect can break up combat and offer us the chance to reposition or remove ourselves from a bad situation.
  • Violent UpheavalViolent Upheaval – As with our previous skill, we are focusing on our state of Berserking, being in Berserk will be a key component to this build.

Now that we understand our two most basic skills, our Generator and Spender, 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.

  1. Caged Heart of the Malignant PactCaged Heart of the Malignant Pact
  2. Caged Heart of the PicanaCaged Heart of the Picana
  3. Caged Heart of DeterminationCaged Heart of Determination

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 NumberAllocation
1Lunging StrikeLunging Strike
2Enhanced Lunging StrikeEnhanced Lunging Strike
3Combat Lunging StrikeCombat Lunging Strike
4UpheavalUpheaval
5Enhanced UpheavalEnhanced Upheaval
6Violent UpheavalViolent Upheaval
7Ground StompGround Stomp
8Enhanced Ground StompEnhanced Ground Stomp
9Strategic Ground StompStrategic Ground Stomp
10Rallying CryRallying Cry
11Enhanced Rallying CryEnhanced Rallying Cry
12Tactical Rallying CryTactical Rallying Cry
13Challenging ShoutChallenging Shout
14Enhanced Challenging ShoutEnhanced Challenging Shout
15Strategic Challenging ShoutStrategic Challenging Shout
16Pressure PointPressure Point
17Iron MaelstromIron Maelstrom
18Prime Iron MaelstromPrime Iron Maelstrom
19Supreme Iron MaelstromSupreme Iron Maelstrom
20UnconstrainedUnconstrained

As you can see in the table above, we have all of our skills and our Key Passive. 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:

Upheaval Leveling Skill Bar (Placement of skills is completely optional)
Rallying Cry Rallying Cry Ground Stomp Ground Stomp Challenging Shout Challenging Shout Iron Maelstrom Iron Maelstrom Lunging Strike Lunging Strike Upheaval Upheaval

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.

  1. Finish UpheavalUpheaval to Level 5.
  2. Complete Pressure PointPressure Point to Level 3.
  3. Imposing PresenceImposing Presence to Level 2.
  4. Martial VigorMartial Vigor to Level 3
  5. SwiftnessSwiftness to Level 3
  6. Booming VoiceBooming Voice to Level 3
  7. Raid LeaderRaid Leader to Level 3
  8. Aggressive ResistanceAggressive Resistance to Level 3
  9. Prolific FuryProlific Fury to Level 3
  10. Thick SkinThick Skin to Level 3
  11. CounteroffensiveCounteroffensive to Level 3
  12. Defensive StanceDefensive Stance to Level 3

Skill Tree

Here is the completed skill tree for the build:

Skill Clusters

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 Upheaval 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.

Basic Skills

Lunging StrikeLunging Strike 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 built-in heal and damage increase for a strike against any Healthy (life above 80%) monster. Essentially, you are trying to hit every full life monster around as you rotate through your skills. The second advantage we have here is Critical Strikes trigger Berserking. This will become more common as we equip our targeted affixes (Critical Strike Chance) for rings and gloves.

Core Skills

Our Core skill is UpheavalUpheaval, this is used as our main Fury spender. As we gain Fury through Berserking, Shouts, and Lunging StrikeLunging Strike attacks, we will then deplete our pool by spamming Upheaval. 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.

The second part of this cluster is our first selection of passives: Pressure PointPressure Point Level 3. We put maximum points into this node so we can easily keep enemies Vulnerable when we attack with a Two-Handed Weapon. Make sure you set your UpheavalUpheaval skill to your Two-Handed Axe weapon.

Defensive Skills

Our Defensive cluster has three of our skills and should be obtained quite quickly, especially if you are playing a new season. These skills are powerful components to keep us fighting effectively and quickly. Let’s look at our choices below.

  • Ground StompGround Stomp – This skill gives us an opportunity to break up the fight and stun stronger enemies, allowing us to reposition to strike with UpheavalUpheaval. It also plays into our Ultimate skill later, allowing us to reduce the Cooldown with each enemy hit by this skill.
  • Rallying CryRallying Cry – This skill is one of the main drivers for our Fury Generation, not only does it grant us 20 Fury upon activation but increases our generations by 40%. However, this skill comes with a significant defensive capability: Unstoppable. This is our crowd control breaker, it will allow us free movement for 6 seconds. Very important, especially with Boss encounters.
  • Challenging ShoutChallenging Shout – This skill gives us Damage Reduction and an increase in Life, perfect for surviving large packs of enemies. It also comes with the added ability of Thorns which can prove to be helpful, as this deals additional damage as enemies deal damage to us.

As for the passives in this cluster, we take two levels of Imposing PresenceImposing Presence and all three levels of Martial VigorMartial Vigor. These increase our survivability and are helpful all the way into the endgame.

Brawling Skills

This cluster is all about passives. These passives are going to enhance this build and make everything from our Shouts to Berserking feel smoother. Let’s look at each one below.

Weapon Mastery Skills

Again, here we focus on passives only. Let’s look at each one below.

  • Pit FighterPit Fighter – Increases offenses and defenses for Close Enemies.
  • Thick SkinThick Skin – This gives us the ability to trigger Fortify and all of its benefits everything time we get hit.
  • Defensive StanceDefensive Stance – This increases our Damage Reduction while we are Fortified, which from the passive above happens every time we are hit.
  • CounteroffensiveCounteroffensive – This increases our Damage output while we are Fortified and still above 50% Life.

Ultimate Skill

For our Ultimate skill we are using Iron MaelstromIron Maelstrom. This is a great 3-step AoE that is fantastic against a ton of mobs. The augments are straight forward and quite powerful, the first gives us a huge boost to the Critical Strike Chance and the second reduces the cooldown each time we swap weapons, so if we set our UpheavalUpheaval and our Lunging StrikeLunging Strike to different weapon slots, the cooldown on Iron Maelstrom will vanish. Also, don’t forget about our Ground StompGround Stomp. This skill will also reduce the cooldown as well.

Key Passive

UnconstrainedUnconstrained is our choice for the increase in Berserking duration and overall damage. This amplifies all of our abilities, and as we raise our Critical Strike Chance, we will be able to trigger it easily with our basic attack Lunging StrikeLunging Strike.

Mechanics and Playstyle

The majority of your power in this leveling build comes from UpheavalUpheaval, aiming this into a group of mobs and cutting them down is your goal. Using our Rallying CryRallying Cry to keep our Fury generation high, we can easily manage our enemies by using our basic attack skill or offloading all of our Fury with Upheaval then building back up again, all the while having our Ultimate, Iron MaelstromIron Maelstrom, to take out large packs.

Our other two defensive skills, Ground StompGround Stomp and Challenging ShoutChallenging Shout, will be use to manage the monsters during the downtime when we do not have enough Fury for UpheavalUpheaval. 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

The most challenging component you are going to have to learn is how to manage Berserking. We have a couple of options to trigger a state of Berserk and add to its uptime, and when done properly, you can keep this state triggered indefinitely. This requires a lot movement to ensure you’re hitting multiple targets with your UpheavalUpheaval. We gain two seconds of Berserking from our Violent UpheavalViolent Upheaval perk when two or more enemies are hit. Keeping this in mind and cycling your shouts properly should keep your Berserking renewed constantly. This will become challenging in the early levels when you are struggling with Fury generation, but will vastly improve as you level up and add the needed Legendary Aspects to this leveling build. Additionally, as you begin to use gear with the increase to Critical Strike Chance affix, you will be able to trigger Berserking through your basic attack Combat Lunging StrikeCombat Lunging Strike.

Iron Maelstrom

While the section above covers the main skill rotation and Berserking, we also have included the Ultimate skill Iron MaelstromIron Maelstrom to help support the leveling process. This skill is an amazing screen wide attack with a huge boost to Critical Strike Chance and Damage. As with most Ultimate Skills, Iron Maelstrom has a very high cooldown of 45 seconds, but Iron Maelstrom also carries an interesting perk with Supreme Iron MaelstromSupreme Iron Maelstrom. This enhancement allows us to reduce the cooldown by one second every time we swap weapons. This means as you thread your Lunging StrikeLunging Strike attacks in between your UpheavalUpheaval hits, you will trigger this perk. We have also added a second mechanism to lower the cooldown with Ground StompGround Stomp and its perk Strategic Ground StompStrategic Ground Stomp. With these two effects combined, we are able to keep our Iron Malestrom at a relatively low cooldown and crush enemies regularly with it.

Now that you understand the skill rotation and benefits from only using the build’s main skills, let’s look at what gear affixes we need to target as we level up.

Leveling Options

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

Dinidari Flats Leveling D4 Barbarian
Dindari Flats

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.

Westering Lowlands

Westering Lowlands Leveling D4 Barbarian
Northwest of Firebreak Manor

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.

Dungeons

Lost Achieves in Fractured Peaks – Levels 1 – 25 recommended.

Fractured Peaks Leveling D4 Barbarian
Lost Achieves

Forsaken Quarry in Fractured Peaks – Level 1 to 25 recommended.

Fractured Peaks Leveling D4 Barbarian
Forsaken Quarry

Sarat’s Lair in Scosglen – Level 25 to 50 recommended. High Poison Resistance needed.

Scosglen Leveling D4 Barbarian
Sarat’s Lair

Uldur’s Cave in Kehjistan – Level 25 to 50 recommended.

Kehjistan Leveling D4 Barbarian
Uldur’s Cave

Questing

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.

Gear Affixes

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 SlotTargeted Affixes
Helm1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Attack Speed
3. Maximum Life
4. Strength
Chest1. Maximum Life
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified 
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies 
4. Damage Reduction Enemies that are Bleeding
Gloves1. Critical Strike Chance
2. Ranks of UpheavalUpheaval
3. Attack Speed
4. Strength
Pants1. Maximum Life
2. Damage Reduction while Fortified
3. Damage Reduction from Close Enemies
4. Damage Reduction from Enemies that are Bleeding
Boots1. Movement Speed
2. Damage Reduction while Injured
3. Fury Cost Reduction
4. Berserking Duration
Amulet1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Fury Cost Reduction
3. Damage Reduction while Fortified
4. Ultimate Skill Damage
Rings1. Vulnerable Damage
2. Critical Strike Chance
3. Maximum Life
4. Resource Generation
Weapons1. Vulnerable Damage
2. Basic Skill Damage
3. Core Skill Damage
4. Strength

Legendary Aspects

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 SlotLegendary AspectLegendary Aspect Power
HelmAspect of MightAspect of MightBasic Skills grant 20% Damage Reduction for [2.0-6.0] seconds.
ChestAspect of DisobedienceAspect of DisobedienceYou gain [0.25 – 0.50%] increased Armor for 4 seconds when you deal any form of damage, stacking up to [15.00 – 30.00%].
GlovesAspect of Berserk RippingAspect of Berserk RippingWhenever you deal direct damage while Berserking, inflict [20-30%] of the Base damage dealt as additional Bleeding damage over 5 seconds.
PantsIron Blood AspectIron Blood AspectGain [2.0-4.0%] Damage Reduction for each Nearby Bleeding enemy up to [10-20%] maximum.
BootsRelentless Berserker's AspectRelentless Berserker’s AspectLucky Hit: Damaging an enemy with a Core Skill has up to a [22-40%] chance to extend the duration of Berserking by 1 second. Double this duration if it was a Critical Strike.
Amulets(50% bonus)Rapid AspectRapid AspectBasic Skills gain [15-30%] Attack Speed.
RingAspect of Echoing FuryAspect of Echoing FuryYour Shout Skills generate [2.0-4.0] Fury per second while active.
RingAspect of Unrelenting FuryAspect of Unrelenting FuryKilling 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 (200% bonus)Aspect of the ExpectantAspect of the ExpectantAttacking enemies with a Basic Skill increases the damage of your next Core Skill cast by [5-10%], up to 30%.
Slashing Weapon (200% bonus)Edgemaster's AspectEdgemaster’s AspectSkills 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 1Aspect of Inner CalmAspect of Inner CalmDeal [5.0-10.0%] increased damage for each second you stand still, up to 30%.
Dual-Wield Weapon 2Death Wish AspectDeath Wish AspectGain [X] Thorns while Berserking.

Conclusion

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 Upheaval Build. 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.

Changelog

  • August 23rd 2023, Creation of Leveling Guide
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