Remember the early days of Diablo III, when Barbarians were considered the most underpowered class? Yes, back in the days when Act II of Vanilla Inferno was actually considered difficult, the outlook for the Barbarian was woeful at best. For many of us, those nights of spawning at the nearest waypoint are distant memories. In fact, today’s Barbarians reign as arguably the most effective Paragon leveling and farming class – only challenged recently by the Monk.
But now, with the launch of brawling, our beloved heroes of Arreat have once again been delegated to fifth place. Swarms of forums posts have been dedicated to how much Barbarians suck in PvP, and it doesn’t look like Blizzard is going to do anything about it.
Problem is most of these players are trying to keep up with other classes by playing Barbs like they are ranged fighters. A few stalwart heroes have found success using this technique, but for the most part, relying too heavily on skills like Weapon Throw is a recipe for disaster.
Barbarians are tanks, through and through, and should be treated as such. Therefore, I’ve comprised a build that caters to a Barbarian’s natural strengths: melee, armor, vitality and defense.
Let’s get one thing sorted out: You won’t find success with this build while wearing your farming gear. 35,000 hit points and low resistances simply won’t to cut it. With that in mind, here are the benchmarks you should shoot for:
- 65,000 HP or more
- 10,000 armor before buffs
- 550 resistance before buffs
- 20% dodge
- 30% block
- over 100,000 buffed DPS
These benchmarks are not as difficult to obtain as you might think. We’ll be relying on passive armor buffs to bolster our defense. I’m also assuming that the average farming Barbarian sports well more than 100k buffed DPS, and will be able to easily switch out a few gems and pieces of gear for ones that favor Vitality and Armor. Make no mistake, DPS still counts, but sacrificing defense so that you can try to keep up with a Wizard or Witch Doctor is a bad idea.
Diablo 3 Barbarian Brawling Build
Ironically, the build is probably not all that different than the one you were using pre-patch 1.0.4:
- Left Mouse – Bash + Clobber Rune
- Right Mouse – Rend + Ravage Rune
- Number 1 – Ignore Pain + Iron Hide Rune
- Number 2 – Sprint + Marathon Rune
- Number 3 – War Cry + Impunity Rune
- Number 4 – Battle Rage + Marauder’s Rage Rune
- Passives: Ruthless, Nerves of Steel, Tough as Nails
This build is relatively straightforward, and beginner friendly. For defense we use Nerves of Steel (NoS) and Tough as Nails. Notice that NoS increases armor by 100% of our Vitality. Thus, by stacking Vitality we’ll effectively increase the power of NoS.
War Cry plus Impunity is a near necessity. Even at 10k armor it will make a significant difference. If your resistances are naturally high you can consider swapping out Impunity for Charge! – especially if you find yourself Fury starved. To round out our defenses we choose a great “Oh Sh*t!” power – Ignore Pain. Coupled with Iron Hide, Barbarians will become virtually untouchable for seven seconds. Sprint is used for defense as well, and is useful for escaping otherwise perilous situations. We opt for Marathon over the usual Run Like the Wind, because it’s faster, and we’re assuming that most Diablo III players are smart enough to dodge static tornadoes.
For offense, Bash is our Fury generator. Frenzy is ok, but you’ll rarely have enough time to get the five stacks necessary to make it better than Bash. Plus, Clobbering gives us a chance to stun our foes.
Ravage transforms Rend into a mid-ranged, DoT attack. It will be your primary damage dealer. For offensive buffs, we have Battle Rage plus Marauder’s Rage. Now your 100k DPS Barb is suddenly dishing out 130k – not too shabby.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, a tank is a tank. We can make arguments about how Barbarians are worthless in PvP, and how they don’t have the same ranged burst damage as other classes. But really, should they? Try out this build – it may convince you that outlasting opponents is a viable brawling strategy.