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One of the first two classes introduced with Diablo 3, the Barbarian is a powerful melee class that uses fury as a resource. The Barbarian is the only one of the first five characters to use strength for a mainstat and has consistently ranked as one of (or the) most popular class during the first year of Diablo 3.

The Barbarian was also present in Diablo I and Diablo II:

"Barbarian" can also to the race of humans living in the northern lands of Sanctuary.

Diablo III Class
The Barbarian
Skills: Barbarian Skills
Passives: Barbarian Passives
Resource: Fury
Common builds:
Origin: Bastion's Keep, Mount Arreat
Affiliation: Children of Bul-Kathos
Friends: Druids (distrust)
Foes: None known

Concept[edit | edit source]

Male Barbarian.

Barbarians are the only playable class that returns from Diablo 2. Necromancers are seen as NPCs and Paladins are mentioned, but the Monk, Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Witch Doctor are technically new classes, though some of them fairly obviously fill the same archetypal style roles. (Wizards differ only slightly from Sorceresses in Diablo 2.)

From Jay Wilson [1] in 2008, speaking about the Barbarian's concept.

The barbarian is the only returning class. Originally we actually planned to have no returning classes, but as we developed the barbarian, it essentially ended up turning into a barbarian. We sort of got to the point where we went – because we actually had a different name for him originally - I think were going to call it this other name and everyone else is just going to call it the barbarian, so maybe we should just call it the barbarian. One of the things we really did not want to do – it's why we set that initial goal to not repeat classes – was, we didn't just want a rehash; we wanted to make the sequel and the sequel has new gameplay and new experiences. I know a lot of people really love the classes in Diablo 2 and it's not my desire to intentionally arc those people – I like those classes to; I love the Necromancer, he's my favorite class from Diablo 2 – but as our goal we really wanted to provide new experiences; that was our focus.

Barbarian Active Skills[edit | edit source]

During early development all classes had their skills sorted into 3 skill trees, much as we saw in Diablo 2. The Barbarian's were Battlemaster, Berserker, and Juggernaut. The skills (passive and active) in each and the arrangement of the skill trees evolved during development, until ultimately the entire concept was scrapped. In the final game all passive skills are sorted separately from actives, and there are no more "trees," just skills and rune effect that become available at various levels from 1-60.

The following is a quick list of barbarian skills. See the Barbarian skills page for a more thorough summary, or any of the individual skills pages for full information.

Fury Generators[edit | edit source]

These skills build Fury for the Barbarian. At low levels characters must bang away with these basic abilities in order to build up Fury, which is expended by more powerful attacks. At high levels much Fury gain comes from equipment or procs, largely from critical hits, and actually using Fury Generators is less important.

  • Bash - Melee attack with bonus damage and a chance of knockback.
  • Cleave - The Barbarian swings at multiple targets at once, dealing bonus damage to all targets in front of him.
  • Leap - The Barbarian leaps very quickly over a considerable distance, dealing damage to all enemies in the radius where he lands.
  • Ground Stomp - Stomps on the ground, dealing area of effect damage and stunning all nearby enemies.
  • Frenzy - A melee attack that increases the damage and attack rate with each hit.
  • War Cry - A shout that produces Fury, and increases the armor of the Barbarian and all nearby party members for a short duration.
  • Furious Charge - The Barbarian charges across most of the screen at high speed, dealing damage to all enemies in his path.
  • Ancient Spear - A ranged attack that hurls a spear, skewering enemies and hauling them into melee range. Slows target for a short time.

Fury Spenders[edit | edit source]

These skills expend Fury for attacks that are (generally) more powerful or versatile than Fury Generators.

Situational Skills[edit | edit source]

These skills generally cost Fury to use, but rather than functioning as direct attacks, they are buffs, debuffs, defensive abilities, panic buttons, or other helpful talents.

Barbarian Passive Skills[edit | edit source]

All classes in Diablo 3 can choose from 3 passive skills (enabled at level 10, 20, and 30). The Barbarian's passive skills are very powerful with a number of them focused on increased damage, much to the envy of other classes with passives that add little or no DPS.

This is a very quick listing. See the Barbarian passives article for more details, or click on any of the individual passive skills for full stats and info.

Barbarian Traits[edit | edit source]

Traits were passive skills during early development. Many of them were directly transformed into Passives, but others were dropped entirely. Traits had trait points, from 1-5 points that would improve their effect, but this sort of point system was entirely removed from Diablo 3 during development.

  • See the Barbarian traits page for full info on what the traits system looked like.

Background[edit | edit source]

Lead by Bul-Kathos, the tribes called "barbarians" by the people of the Western Kingdoms united and took upon themselves a sacred duty to protect Mount Arreat and its mystical secrets, until it was destroyed. They call themselves the Children of Bul-Kathos.

The Children of Bul-Kathos developed a kinship with the land over the years, and learned to harness the primal energies in nature to enhance their own substantial physical prowess, popularly referred to as "fury". They also developed a spiritual strength that far surpasses most of the living and dead creatures found throughout Sanctuary. Ancient spirits even guarded the very gates to the Worldstone Keep.

A number of Barbarians started roving the lands outside the Steppes, prepared for war and seeking information regarding the activities of the Prime Evils. During the concluding events of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, the characters defeated Baal, only to learn from Tyrael that the Worldstone had been corrupted and would have to be destroyed. The destruction of the Worldstone caused a shockwave so powerful it blasted Mount Arreat to rubble, destroying the remainder of Baal's army in the process, thus saving the Barbarian lands from its invasion. However the Barbarians found their sacred Mt. Arreat laid to complete waste, and the duty that had been theirs for generations was therefore broken.

Arreat Crater

Twenty years later, when Diablo III takes place, the Barbarian lands are largely deserted, and the only remains of Mount Arreat, formerly the symbol of the lands and the source of the Barbarians' spiritual strength, is a huge crater.

More than the physical damage, the events detailed in Act Five of Diablo II devastated the Barbarian culture. The Barbarians gained their identity and cultural pride from protecting the Worldstone within Mount Arreat. To see it defiled by Baal and his minions, and then destroyed, tore out the heart of these proud people. They abandoned their homeland and became nomadic, wandering the lands of Sanctuary and pitching themselves into battle after battle in an effort to forget the pain of their shattered homeland.

Abd al-Hazir visited the Barbarian lands and wrote about his experiences and observation in the 25th entry of his writings. It sets the stage for the story we will learn when playing the game.

The Barbarians consider it their sworn duty to protect Mount Arreat and the mysterious object within. They believe that if they fail to uphold their duty to the great mount, or are not given a proper burial upon its slopes, they will be denied a true warrior's death, and their spirits shall roam the land without honor for all eternity.
If there are any barbarians left alive, they must truly be without hope. Perhaps this is the genesis of the rumors of monstrous things reported to resemble the barbarians in size and ferocity, but that are in reality nothing more than unreasoning, inhuman beasts. Could the destruction of not only their home but also their very beliefs have actually brought this magnificent race so low?

Male Barbarian's Backstory[edit | edit source]

Barbarian story changes?

The male Barbarian was initially-planned as a returning character. Literally, the D3 barbarian was the same individual as the D2 barbarian, returning to fight evil twenty years later. Jay Wilson spoke of this during the WWI 2008 panel Denizens of Diablo:

This is actually the same individual from Diablo 2. He's aged twenty years, and he's got a personality in this game. Look at his gear; his [[armor]] has points on which he could impale himself. It's extra protection for the harsh environment, but it's also dangerous to him. The day to day life characters lead in this world is very hard. With the Barbarian, we had to updating a classic.

The Barbarian was exciting for us to work on -- to take a classic char we all love to play and bring him back to life. What's this guy been doing for the past 20 years? This guy's 8 feet tall and 300 lbs of pure muscle. He saw things during the events of Diablo II that would have killed most people, but he's still around. In D3 we aged him, grayed his hair, gave him some scars. We think those elements help sell the story visually. Signs of age, how he wears his armor. All that helps us tell the story visually.

This story innovation proved problematic during development, as it would have required entirely different dialogues and plot/quest structures for just the male Barbarian and no other characters. (For instance, how would the male Barbarian have spoken to Tyrael? Or reacted to having to face Diablo again, twenty years after defeating him previously? For these reasons, the idea of the male Barbarian being the same individual from Diablo 2 was scrapped during development, as Bashiok reported in late 2010.[2]

There were talks shortly after BlizzCon about this and I believe the idea to give the male barbarian a unique story as compared to the female gender is now in question. It’s very likely to be simplified, the male barbarian would not be unique, and would no longer be spelled out as the barbarian from Diablo II.

This information has not been further updated, and no more details were shared about why the developers would want to make this change. It would clearly save them a lot of work writing different dialogues for the male and female Barbarians, but the male Barb would differ from everyone else also. He would have memories of battling Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal. He's ventured to the Burning Hells. He's met Deckard Cain and Tyrael. He knows why and how the Worldstone was destroyed, etc.

Though little is known about the story of Diablo III, it's clear that a lot of those past events will be referenced in the game, and various NPCs, monsters, and other characters will return. Besides being a lot of work to write different dialogues for the male Barbarian in all those instances, it's possible that some of the game's plot twists and turns wouldn't work. Events might simply not make sense for the male Barbarian, since he would/should have so much more information than the other 9 gender/class individuals. This, more than inconvenience/extra work, might be the motivation behind Blizzard's apparent decision to retcon the male Barbarian him into another noob.

Female Barbarian's BackStory[edit | edit source]

Female Barbarian.

Unlike her male counterpart, the female Barbarian had no backstory during early development. In the final game she is much like the males and females of the other classes, just a youngish hero out to battle evil.

Development[edit | edit source]

Along with the Witch Doctor, the Barbarian was unveiled as the first Diablo III class at WWI 2008 in Paris. The character details changed greatly during the years of development after that point and before release, but the basic style and look of the character remained constant.

Character Model Evolution[edit | edit source]

The Barbarians, both male and female, were reworked visually during their development. Since the Barbarians were the first characters completed, they were the roughest, and were the only characters to receive "new faces" during development. This was confirmed by a new, prettier/softer female Barbarian image released in October 2010, and accompanying comments by Bashiok. [3]

Bashiok: Both the female and male barbarian have had pretty drastic make-overs since the original character renders back from announcement. All of the heroes from announcement have to one degree or another been gone over again since then, but I’d say the barbs are most noticeable as their actual faces were redone.

The female Barbarian's face was prettified a bit, made less square and hard, between the early in-game character model and the more refined one produced later in development.

Female Barbarian facial evolution.

Character Biography[edit | edit source]

The Barbarian is the only class to return from Diablo II. The initial character story was that the male Barbarian was the same individual from Diablo II. Twenty years later he'd be called back to the war, as the demonic invasion commenced. This plot twist has been reconsidered, and as of November 2010 it sounds like it might be written out of the game. To the dismay of most fans.

That aside, the plot situation of the Barbarians in Diablo III is that they are out to avenge the destruction of their homeland. When Mount Arreat was destroyed along with the Worldstone, it tore the spiritual heart out of the Barbarians lands, and the surviving Barbarians are now wanderers and nomads, untethered and rootless after the desecration of their homeland. This element of the character is hinted at in the official character lore.

Official Lore[edit | edit source]

As related in entry #25 in the writings of Abd al-Hazir.

In my journey to catalogue the various denizens, civilizations, and fauna of our world, I have traveled far and wide, but never before have I been struck with such dismay as when standing upon the ramparts of the ancient fortress of Bastion's Keep. I came to see firsthand the barbarians, those near-legendary, immense, relentless, dual-wielding furies of combat dwelling upon their sacred Mount Arreat.

Instead, I stand here looking at a mountain that has been torn asunder by some extraordinary force. The sight, I must confess, is incomprehensible. Yet what I see before me cannot be denied.

What truly happened here? Where are those majestic warriors of old?

Though they were once misunderstood as simple, bloodthirsty invaders, the long and noble history of these proud people is now rightly acknowledged. And therein lies the greater tragedy here, for those of us familiar with the nobility of the barbarians remember too what they call their "vigil", the concept that lay at the very heart of their culture. The barbarians consider it their sworn duty to protect Mount Arreat and the mysterious object within. They believe that if they fail to uphold their duty to the great mount, or are not given a proper burial upon its slopes, they will be denied a true warrior's death, and their spirits shall roam the land without honor for all eternity.

If there are any barbarians left alive, they must truly be without hope. Perhaps this is the genesis of the rumors of monstrous things reported to resemble the barbarians in size and ferocity, but that are in reality nothing more than unreasoning, inhuman beasts. Could the destruction of not only their home but also their very beliefs have actually brought this magnificent race so low?

Media[edit | edit source]

Barbarian Profile Video[edit | edit source]

You can find pictures in the Diablo 3 screenshot and picture gallery:

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]