Bashiok fielded a nit-picky question today, about the Barbarian’s appearance. “If the barbarian in D3 is supposed to be an older version of the same D2 Barbarian, what happened to his tattoos?” Bashiok’s three-word reply:
This sounded like retconning to me, but looking at the official D2 Barbarian artwork… Bashiok appears to be correct. The only marking on the Barbarian in the original Diablo II character design is the blue streak that runs up his chest and over his face and head. He’s unmarked in the earliest concept art. Not until Blizzard added the high fantasy-style character portraits to their website, long after the game’s release, did we see a Barbarian with tattoos and other such details (but no blue stripe warpaint, oddly).
This Barbarian (seen to the right) clearly has tattoos to match his um… enhaned fashion sense, and perhaps the most amazing unique shin guards ever seen outside of a Bruno film, but while that artwork can probably still be considered canon, it’s more of a reinterpretation of the classic look, and clearly doesn’t match the character in the game.