After covering the Monk and it’s Hardcore implications I thought I’d dive in the Barbarian. It makes sense, just like in the game the melee classes go in first while the range follow them ( feel free to argue with me on that). If you’ve played Diablo 2 I’m sure at some point you played a barbarian, or at the very least seen them.Whirlwind was the reason I even tried one, and the amount of time I spent whirling through enemies is one of my fondest memories ( until I hit an MSLE). So what does Diablo 3’s Barbarian hold for us, and most importantly what do I need to know to keep him alive and kicking to Inferno?
In watching the streams, it is obvious how different the Barbarian will play by comparison to the Monk. The Barbarian jumps in to the fray crushing enemies as he goes. He is fully immersed in the fights being attacked from all sides, and unlike the monk he doesn’t seem to have a get out of death free card. So what does he have and what can you use?
Leap Attack is unlocked at level 6.
A deadly fast attack, this one allows the Barbarian to leap into attack, moving far faster than running speed, as well as vaulting over obstacles or monsters between him and his prey.
Description: Leap into the air, dealing 40% weapon damage to all enemies within 8 yards of your destination. Only generates Fury if you hit an enemy.
Generate: 15 Fury
Cooldown: 10 seconds
This an whirlwind hark back to the old school barbarian, a staple of what a barbarian was. Combined with an Alabaster rune it stuns the enemies around allowing the barbarian to get in a few shots at whatever surrounds him. We know we have to get into the fray this skill ruined may allow us to whittle away at the enemies before they can scratch our armor.
Ground Stomp is unlocked at level 8.
This defensive skill causes the Barbarian to stomp his foot, crushing the earth and stunning all nearby enemies. With runestones it can add damage, knockback, and more.
Description: Shake the ground to inflict 30% weapon damage to all enemies within 12 yards and stun them for 3 seconds. Only generates Fury if you hit an enemy.
Generate: 15 Fury
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Any stun is a good one, taking less damage in hardcore is essential, it’s short cool down allows spam ability while keeping it open for those must use situations.
Frenzy is unlocked at level 11.
Consecutive hits with this melee skill grant increased attack speed and weapon damage.
Description: Swing for 80% weapon damage. Each swing increases attack speed of Frenzy by 15% for 4 seconds. This effect can stack up to 5 times for an total bonus of 75% attack speed.
Generate: 3 Fury per attack
An [/wiki]Alabaster rune[/wiki] gives this skill it’s hardcore hitch. When you kill a monster you gain 25% of your life over 6 seconds. From looking at videos the barbarian appears to be a killing a machine, and if this carries on outside of the beta content , frenzy seems like a must take, and your life may never deplete.
War Cry is unlocked at level 14.
This shout boosts the Barbarian’s Fury, as well as the armor of the Barbarian and all nearby party members.
Description: Unleash a rallying cry to increase the armor of you and all allies within 30 yards by 100% for 60 seconds.
Generate: 30 Fury
Cooldown: 30 seconds
More armor= less damage so that it of itself seems like a good idea, add in the team element and your helping keep the people around you alive, as well as happy. Toss in ( yup you guessed it) an Alabaster rune and now you’re gaining 479 life per second, as well as 50% increase in your health.
Furious Charge is unlocked at level 16.
A very fast moving charge attack, enabling the Barbarian to pass through enemies on the way to his target.
Description: Rush forward knocking back enemies and inflicting 60% weapon damage to enemies at the destination and 30% damage to enemies along the path of the charge. Only generates Fury if you hit an enemy.
Generate: 15 Fury
Cooldown: 10 seconds
Much like the Monk’s Dashing strike this is a get out of Dodge type skill, perfect for Hardcore since we can’t get stuck in corners, or with our backs to the wall.
Rend is unlocked at level 9.
A melee attack that deals considerable bonus damage to all enemies within range.
Description: Perform a vicious strike to all enemies within 9 yards, dealing 60% weapon damage every seconds for 3 seconds.
Cost: 20 Fury
Another skill that with a simple golden rune ( bet you thought alabaster) grants a life drain of 40% of damage dealt.
This skill reduces all damage taken and grants immunity to most debuffs.
Description: Reduces all damage taken by 65% for 5 seconds.
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Okay big cool down, but big utility. A nice “oh shit” button. This skill gets even better with surprise! an alabaster rune. It grants 40% life returned from damage done while under the skills duration. Not only can you assuage damage but gain back the life you may be lacking while cracking skulls.
Overpower is unlocked at level 18.
Overpower gives the Barbarian a chance to take advantage of the situation, overwhelming enemies around him with a powerful strike.
Description: Press the advantage of a powerful attack to overwhelm the enemy for 150% weapon damage to all targets within 9 yards.
- Overpower becomes available whenever you make a critical hit against an enemy
I’ll avoid the fact that this is a WOW skill and go into what it does when runed. With an obsidian rune it gives you 18% of your life back when its used, not if it does damage simply when it is used.
Call of the Ancients
Call of the Ancients is unlocked at level 25.
The only summoning skill of the Barbarian, this one allows him to summon the Ancients from Diablo II, who will briefly assist in battle.
Description: Summon the ancient Barbarians Talic, Korlic, and Madawc to inflict 100% weapon damage with each attack as they join the battle for 15 seconds.
Cost: 75 Fury
Cooldown: 120 seconds
• Talic wields a sword and shield and uses the Whirlwind skill.
• Korlic wields a massive polearm and uses the Cleave skill.
• Madawc dual-wields axes and uses the Weapon Throw skill.
Another “oh shit” button, summoning our old friends the ancients to wreak some havoc while we heal up or help. I hope I can still gain a level when they die.
Out of the fifteen passives only three seem to sing to me ( which I guess is perfect), Blood thirst, Inspiring Presence and Relentless.
10% of all life leech without gear and with the barbarian’s hack and slash style almost necessary .
Doubling shout duration and giving 60% of my life over a minute, sounds fine by me.
While below 20% Life, all skills cost no Fury and all contact the author taken is reduced by 50%. This screams hardcore. While i’d like to never be below 20% I know it will happen, this might be the difference between life and a hard reset.
The Barbarian is not the Monk, his strength is not a good defense but a good offense. We can see by his skills his hardcore life will be dependent on sapping it from the monsters he slays. I think the Barbarian will have those heart pounding moments i’ve grown accustomed to in hardcore, seeing my health bar droop and rise to resurgence with the click of a mouse but this time it won’t be potions but the skills we choose that keep us alive.
Next week: You’ve got the calculator lets see your hardcore Wizard Builds!
One Live to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly.