Diablo III – Barbarian PvM Builds [Guide]

Diablo III
Jun
12
2012

In PvM (Player versus Monsters), the Barbarian has shown strengths and weaknesses that may be adjusted with different builds throughout the game. With how the new skill system works in Diablo III, you can prepare for various encounters with different skills and tactics in order to maximize your chances of survival and success.

The builds shown in this guide were theory crafted with the purpose of optimizing gameplay, but the ideas expressed are merely suggestions. The purpose of Diablo III’s gameplay system is to give players incentive to play around with different builds, so trial-and-error is still encouraged. Creativity and customization is still encouraged, especially since you can reconfigure your skills without regret.

Builds in Diablo III are meant to bring together skill combinations with sets of items that give the appropriate bonuses for fulfilling its focus. Whether you’re looking for survivability, offensive capabilities, specific tactical purposes, or balance between all these factors, you get to change the skills in between situations when you have the chance. Perhaps the only time you won’t be able to do that is when you’re trying to stack up Nephalem Valor buffs.

Here are some of the better ideas for barbarian builds.

Return to Top AoE Build

The main purpose of this build is to deliver lots of Area of Effect damage to enemies all at once. This is great for power leveling, letting you rack up massacre and mighty blow experience bonuses.

Active Skills
Cleave – Rupture
Seismic Slam – Stagger
Leap – Call of Arreat
Ground Stomp – Wrenching Smash
Revenge – Provocation
Earthquake – The Mountain’s Call

Passive Skills
Ruthless
Weapons Master
Brawler

Items
Critical chance and critical damage stack very nicely and helps you maximize your damage. You can go either 2-handed or dual wielding for full offensive power, or 1-handed and shield for some defense.

Strategy
Basically, you leap into a big group of enemies, then use Ground Stomp to draw them in. You then go nuts with Seismic Slam to stun and slay everyone around you. If the group is getting too much spacing, draw them in again with Ground Stomp. Whenever it’s activated, use Revenge for extra damage. Since you have the Provocation rune for Revenge, you can use it very often. You can add in Earthquake, which will kill everything in it. When everything else is in cooldown, you finish things off with Cleave and make everything explode, taking out surrounding enemies as well.

Return to Top Vampire Build

This is for survivability in most situations, letting you replenish health during combat, especially in the higher difficulties. This is more viable for barbarians with little to no good equipment in their inventory. It also makes sure that even when you have no potions left in the middle of battle, you can still find a way to get out alive. This can be used for Hardcore barbarians as well due to its sustainability.

Active Skills
Frenzy – Triumph
Whirlwind – Blood Funnel
Leap – Iron Impact
Revenge – Vengeance is Mine
Rend – Blood Lust
Wrath of the Berserker – Thrive on Chaos

Passive Skills
Nerves of Steel
Bloodthirst
Tough as Nails

Items
Focus on vitality and protection, as well as items that grant you life in various ways. Using a 1-handed weapon and shield is best to maximize survivability.

Strategy
Your main sources of healing are Rend and Revenge. When you gain Fury from Revenge, you can also go nuts with Whirlwind to gain even more health. Initiate and escape with Leap, in which Iron Armor keeps you from taking too much damage upon going in or out. Frenzy is useful for gaining more health and dealing with champion and unique monsters that you may encounter.

NOTE: The AoE and Vampire Builds can be combined to personal playstyle and preference.

Return to Top Single Target Build

This focuses on killing champion packs, unique monsters, and bosses with a balance of offense and defense. Skills that hit single targets tend to yield higher burst damage than those with splash or AoE damage.

Active Skills
Frenzy – Maniac
Hammer of the Ancients – Smash
Ancient Spear – Grappling Hooks
Ground Stomp – Trembling Stomp
Weapon Throw – Throwing Hammer
Call of the Ancients – The Council Rises

Passive Skills
Ruthless
Weapons Master
Tough As Nails

Items
Weapons with high attack speed is best, and dual wielding would be best for maximum DPS and for the effectiveness of Frenzy. As for the rest of your equipment, you will want a balance of strength and vitality to bring in both offensive and defensive capabilities so you can kill those powerful monsters without dying needlessly.

Strategy
The main objective is to close in using Ancient Spear and build up stacks for Frenzy. Hammer of the Ancients and Ground Stomp are your crowd control tools, as well as Weapon Throw for targeted stun. You can then use Call of the Ancients to bring in more help.

Return to Top Ranged Barbarian Build

This is mostly a fun build, but can still be useful in a lot of situations. While it’s not something you’d be using for power leveling, it’s great in co-op, where your abilities can help your party mates get the upper hand in combat. Also, if you can play a consistent ranged style with the supposedly melee character of the game, then you can definitely play a Demon Hunter with no problems.

Active Skills
Weapon Throw – Ricochet
Seismic Slam – Shattered Ground
Ancient Spear – Rage Flip
Battle Rage – Into the Fray
War Cry – Charge!
Leap – Toppling Impact

Passive Skills
Ruthless
Weapons Master
No Escape

Items
Main hand weapon should be a mighty weapon to take advantage of Weapons Master’s bonus ability of adding 3 Fury per hit. Also get as much critical chance as you can. With your Seismic Slam and Ancient Spear, you won’t need to focus too much on defensive stats. Barbarians get 30% less ranged damage, which gives them a defensive advantage over other ranged classes. If you don’t have crit chance, then get a weapon with high burst damage.

Strategy
You can use Weapon Throw as your main attack. Since you have a mighty weapon with Weapons Master, you can minimize the amount of Fury lost with each attack. Since it has the Ricochet rune, you’ll be spending only 1 Fury per throw. Battle Rage with Into the Fray rune in conjunction with No Escape lets you gain 15 and 14 Fury respectively as result of critical hits. You keep your distance

Return to Top Boon of Bul-Kathos Build

This is for players who really want to go crazy. The Boon of Bul-Kathos is a passive skill that reduces the cooldowns of all three Rage skills, letting you deliver maximum damage with them during each engagement. Perhaps the drawback is that you’ll have to wait for those skills to cool down before you get into another fight, but you won’t have to wait long due to that passive skill.
Idea of this build is to have one of your main three very powerful skills up each time you fight a pack of enemies. From playing the Beta this is not unreasonable, there are often 15-20s distance gaps between groups of enemies. Use bash to 3 times to get the 18% damage buff, keep up Battle Rage. Ground stomp will hold enemies in your enemies in your Earthquake and next to you ancients, and also to generate some Fury to cast WotB of and CotA.

Active Skills
Bash – Punish
Battle Rage – Marauder’s Rage
Ground Stomp – Wrenching Smash
Earthquake – The Mountain’s Call
Call of the Ancients – The Council Rises
Wrath of the Berserker – Insanity

Passive Skills
Weapons Master
Tough as Nails
Boon of Bul-Kathos

Items
You are looking for a weapon with the biggest burst damage. In terms of weapon types, you’ll want to use swords or daggers over anything else so that Weapons Master give you additional damage. As for other items, you will want as much strength as you can get your hands on in order to make the most of this build.

Strategy
Hit with Bash to get 18% more damage and maintain your Battle Rage buff. Ground Stomp holds enemies in place, while you then activate Earthquake to hurt everything in range. With both Boon of Bul-Kathos and The Mountain’s Call, Earthquake has a really low cooldown rate, which means that you can cast it often. You then use Call of the Ancients to get some much-needed assistance, then you hit some more to gain enough Fury to cast Wrath of the Berserker to finish everything off.

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