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Barbarian Class Overview

Last Updated: February 14th 2024

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The Barbarian is a staple class in the Diablo franchise and returns for glory in Diablo 4. They use overwhelming strength and a mastery of weapons to turn battlefields into wastelands. This overview covers their Strengths & Weaknesses, Skills, Passives, Legendaries and much more. Let's jump in and learn about the true god of weapons!

Class Identity

The Barbarian has unparalleled strength and expertly wields multiple weapons during battle. He bellows intimidating war cries and unleashes ground-shaking slams to send approaching hordes reeling. Barbarians are fun to play with fast-paced action and many customization options. Their skills are fueled by Fury, a resource that generates while in battle and depletes slowly outside of it. All Barbarian skills deal Physical damage by default.

Female and Male Barbarian


  • Tremendous Damage. Barbarian Core Skills are devastating, especially when supported by their additional skills and buffs.
  • Berserking. The Barbarian is the only class in Diablo 4 with the amazing Berserking buff, which gives them 25% increased damage and 15% Movement Speed.
  • Quick Movement. The Barbarian has multiple movement skills and various ways to boost their base Movement Speed both actively and passively.
  • Can DPS at Range or while Moving. With skills like Upheaval, Whirlwind, and Call of the Ancients, the Barbarian has many DPS options for different scenarios.
  • Very Tanky. Challenging Shout and many bonuses like Fortify make Barbarians very hard to bring down.


  • Fury Dependent. Fury depletes over time while out of combat and the powerful Core Skills consume it quickly.
  • Long Cooldowns. All your Shouts and Ultimate Skills have long cooldowns. While there are ways to reduce these, they still significantly stall your damage potential in longer fights.
  • Close Combat. Most Barbarian builds are melee based and some Elite and Boss abilities can be hard to dodge while close by.
  • All Alone. Other than Call of the Ancients, Barbarians can't summon pets to DPS or tank for them.
  • Slow Early Game. A fully powered-up Barbarian is one of the scariest opponents you'll ever face, but in the early game they're slow mostly due to poor resource generation.


The Barbarian has the unique ability to equip FOUR WEAPONS at the same time:

  • 2x Two-Handed Weapons (Bludgeoning Maces and Slashing Swords/Polearms/Axes), and
  • Dual Wielded One-Handed Weapons (Bludgeoning Maces and Slashing Swords/Axes)

They can swap between them depending on the ability used, and the Barbarian's Arsenal System lets you choose which Weapon applies to each ability.

The rolled affixes of each Weapon always apply to your damage, however the raw Damage per Second (DPS) of a skill is determined only by the attacking Weapon in the Arsenal System. In other words: your main weapon does your damage, and the others are "stat sticks".

There is one final advantage to holding this many items: more Legendary Powers! These extra powers are very useful and gives the Barbarian a notable advantage.

Barbarian Item Slots:


Chest Armor


Ring (x2)


Two-Handed Bludgeoning Weapon
Two-Handed Slashing Weapon
One-Handed Weapons (x2)

Example gear for the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian

Check out our Legendary Aspects and Codex of Power Overview or our Uniques Overview to learn more about which items the Barbarian has access to.

Skills & Passives

Skill points are unlocked by level-ups and the Renown system. As you spend more points, you unlock multiple categories of skills. Each active skill can be leveled up 5 times (and further with items), increasing their power (usually +10% of the base value) or reducing their cooldown by 5% with each additional rank. After unlocking a skill, you can enhance it with another point and then choose one out of two upgrades to specialize it even further.

In addition, there are passives found all over the tree, attached as optional choices to certain skill clusters. They grant small bonuses to damage, defense or utility under certain conditions and help to round out your build by shifting it further in the direction you want to take. All passives have 3 ranks and usually scale linearly.

Check out our Skill Tree Overview to learn more details.

Basic Skills

Basic skills are weak and are used to generate Fury. and apply debuffs like Vulnerable. When you run out of resources, they are useful to finish off small enemies or to add extra damage against an Elite or Boss while you prepare one of your stronger Fury-spending attacks.


Enhanced Flay

Battle Flay

Combat Flay


Flay has a relatively high potential damage per hit compared to other basic skills. However, like all Bleed skills, that potential is only realized if the DoT ticks for its entire duration. This ability also gives a respectable Damage Reduction bonus, or increases total Bleed damage. Because of that, it's best when facing a boss with a Bleed build.

Core Skills

These skills are primary damage dealers of most Barbarian builds. They spend lots of Fury but deal much higher damage and hit more targets than Basic Skills. In addition, Core Skills can be amplified by multiple Legendary effects.


Enhanced Rend

Violent Rend

Furious Rend


  • Rend is best known for its fantastic power in player-versus-player combat. It has the highest damage per hit of all core skills, but you must be patient for it to pay off. It is also very Fury-efficient, which makes it a popular choice for leveling.

Defensive Skills

These skills significantly boost your defensive capabilities. Many of them also allow you to control enemies and increase your Thorns damage.

Rallying Cry

Enhanced Rallying Cry

Strategic Rallying Cry

Tactical Rallying Cry


  • Rallying Cry gives movement speed, Fury generation, and grants Unstoppable. Because it is a Shout, you can use it without interrupting attacks or movement. Most people take this as soon as possible, and never remove it from their hotbar.

Brawling Skills

This cluster of skills adds various utility choices to your setup. Generally you want to choose one of these depending on your build and play style to assist you either offensively, defensively, or both.

War Cry

Enhanced War Cry

Power War Cry

Mighty War Cry


  • War Cry is not as critical as Rallying Cry or Challenging Shout, but it's a great skill nonetheless. The most valuable aspect of this skill is that it grants Berserking for a whopping 4 seconds. The damage bonus is good as well, but the cooldown is very long.

Weapon Mastery Skills

These skills allow you to master your Weapons, dealing significant damage with cooldown based attacks.


Enhanced Rupture

Fighter's Rupture

Warrior's Rupture


  • Rupture is not what you'd expect. Basically, it seems like a good idea to take the enemy's remaining bleed and deal it all to them at once ... but that's damage that they were going to take anyway, making Rupture almost a waste of time. The Enhanced Rupture bleeding explosion scales very well in endgame, and some players actually open combat with this for the attack speed bonus.

Ultimate Skills

Ultimates are high-impact abilities with a long cooldown and need to be built around to be effective, so not every build runs with one of them. Only one can be chosen and only have a single rank with a two-step linear upgrade path that offers no extra choices.

Wrath of the Berserker

Prime Wrath of the Berserker

Supreme Wrath of the Berserker


  • Wrath of the Berserker is the most popular Ultimate in the endgame. It gives Fury Generation, Movement Speed, grants Unstoppable, and can double the damage bonus of Berserking. It buffs the base 25% into 50%, and as long as you keep that Berserking buff rolling, the buffed value never fades.

Key Passives

These passives are located at the very bottom of the Skill Tree and couldn't be reached in the preview version. They are extremely powerful and define the overall playstyle of your build. Similar to Ultimate Skills, only one of them can be chosen!


This passive improves the damage bonus of Berserking, as well as its maximum duration. By default, when you gain or extend the duration of Berserking, it cannot exceed 5 seconds. Unconstrained increases this duration cap to 10 seconds. In addition, this key passive improves the multiplicative damage bonus granted by Berserking from 25%[x] to 100%[x]. Note that with Supreme Wrath of the Berserker and Unconstrained, your 100%[x] Berserking damage bonus doubles to 200%[x]. And yes, you can keep that bonus up indefinitely.

Unique Class Mechanic - The Arsenal System

The Arsenal System allows Barbarians to wield 4 weapons and assign different weapons to each of their attacks. Each weapon gives a different Expertise bonus to the Barbarian's attacks. In addition, the Technique Slot is unlocked via a quest chain at level 15. In addition to getting the Weapon Expertise bonus for the weapon they are currently using, Barbarians also get the benefit of the Weapon Expertise they have assigned to their Technique Slot regardless of what weapon they are using. Note that the Technique slot only gives the first part of Expertise, not the bonus. The Weapon Expertise and the Weapon Technique stack, so it's okay (and sometimes optimal) to assign a weapon currently in use to the Technique slot.

Check out our Barbarian Arsenal System post for more details on this system.


The four core attributes provide the following to the Barbarian:

  • Strength: Skill Damage (10% per 100), Armor (1 each)
  • Intelligence: All Resistances (5% per 100)
  • Willpower: Resource Generation (3% per 100), Healing Received (10% per 100), Overpower Damage (25% per 100)
  • Dexterity: Critical Strike Chance (2% per 100), Dodge Chance (2.5% per 100)

Strength is considered the main attribute as it multiplies all of your skill damage. Dexterity and Willpower are also useful for their offensive and defensive bonuses, while Intelligence improves magical resistances. Some items can roll bonuses to attributes and later on Paragon boards allow stacking the right stats for your character. In addition, you may find hidden Altars of Lilith in the open world that unlock a permanent bonus for all of your characters.

Check out our Stat Overview to learn more.

Video Guide

Barbarian Summary

  • Barbarians are powerful, mobile and tanky, but they fight alone, have to be in close quarters, and struggle with resource generation early on.
  • They deal Physical damage with melee attacks.
  • Fury is their primary resource. It degenerates slowly and has to be generated in battle to unleash powerful attacks.
  • With Four Weapons equipped at the same time, they have advantages from Weapon swaps, extra stats and additional Legendary Powers.
  • Core Skills deal massive damage at the cost of significant Fury.
  • Barbarians bring incredible utility from their shouts, making them a strong choice for group play.
  • The Arsenal System allows Barbarians to use a variety of weapons for every attack, Weapon Expertise gives each weapon a unique bonus, and the Technique slot gives one additional Weapon Expertise at all times.


Written by Slothmaster
Contributions by Raxxanterax, Rob
Reviewed by Aristotelian, Echohack

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