Diablo III's special melee-centric barbarian class is a simple man's choice, but it also has its own share of nuances with regards to pushing, grifting, and other more complex combat concerns. This means that it is a class that can satisfy the most casual to the most hardcore of players. While it is not as easy to use as the defense-centric Paladin class, the Barbarian is far more straightforward to build, making it an appropriate class for players who would rather spend less time min-maxing and more time bashing demon heads.
A Little Back Story
Barbarians were originally introduced in Diablo II. In the game, they were presented as a powerful society of fighters in Mount Arreat. Their fighting technique was without peer, they were fast, powerful, and hardy. Their entire culture was focused on the defense of the mountain –or more specifically, access to the worldstone hidden within. With the events of Diablo II seeing the worldstone destroyed, this left the entire barbarian culture without direction or purpose.
By Diablo III, barbarians have since scattered from the mountain –each one seeking their own way of living, their own meaning for existing. While some have become disgruntled with the failure of their people to protect their sacred charge, there are those who seek redemption, a chance to give the barbarians a new purpose. The new Barbarian in D3 is one such person. And the starfall at Tristram makes for a great place to start the long quest of rebuilding the once proud race. This is the character that the player controls when they choose the barbarian class.
Barbarians in a Nutshell
Mighty and strong, that is what Diablo III's barbarians are. They are big and powerful, able to carry the largest weapons that no other class can. If carrying a single giant axe is not to your liking, you can choose to wield one on each hand instead. Everything about the barbarian speaks of a class that wants nothing more than to be within punching distance of their next target, and they not only have the bite, they also have tough hides for surviving the dangerous positions they get into.
If you are playing a barbarian in a Diablo III multiplayer party, expect to be on the frontlines all the time. While the other characters are able to thin out large herds from afar, it is your job to create a killbox, funneling enemies into a single spot where you can stop their advance. Mind you, Barbarians are not tanks. While they may have decent defense and high HP (as well as great healing abilities), their purpose is not to soak up damage. Barbarians are there to expedite the eradication of the mob.
Let's Get Technical
Diablo III has introduced new alternatives to mana for non-magic classes, and the Barbarians are no different. Now, instead of using mana to cast an ability or skill, players have to make use of Fury. This stat increases with combat and damage. As long as you attack or take damage, your fury will increase. This stat decreases on its own outside of battle or when consumed for a skill. The presence of Fury alone forces barbarian players to keep moving and attacking, as assaulting a tough enemy with a low Fury tank is a terrible idea. Aside from just spamming a skill, having a good build also matters.
There are several ways to build a Barbarian. And our favorite is the most simplest one to play: the spinning barbarian. There's a powerful skill called Whirlwind that pretty much wipes the floor whenever it is used. This ability, combined with passive/boosting abilities like Berserker Rage, Rampage, Ruthless, Brawler, Wrath of the Berserker, War Cry, and Battle Rage, renders your barbarian nearly unstoppable when performing Whirlwind. It is important to also make use of Furious Charge in order for you to be able to position yourself fast while also damaging anything that gets in your way. Lastly, Call of the Ancients is a great skill for when the enemy mob is far too huge and hard to control or you need something to distract the boss with. That is just one build, there are many others out there.
There are other amazing barbarian skills such as Death from Above (a powerful leaping attack), Earthquake, Cleave, etc. and you can create a variety of builds that focus on a single one or combination of them. This usually entails selecting not only passive and support abilities, but also weapons and armor that best complement your gameplay.
Picking Your Gear
Speaking of equipment, choosing a good set is always important. Those familiar with end game gear would be quick to point out the Raekor's set as a good thing to aim for. For those wondering, the Raekor set is good for players who have the Furious Charge as part of their active skill list. Best of all is the fact that you can stack up 5 of the damage dealing buff, which oyu can unleash in a single, very powerful attack. Still, don't let this community-favorite prevent you from trying out other gear too. While some equips look really good stats-wise, it is really how you play that matters more. And regardless if an item can give other players advantages in taking damage, if their playstyle is nothing like yours, then there is nothing to gain by learning from them.