Passive skills replaced Traits late in game development. Many passives are very similar to previously-known traits, with the main changes coming in changes to the character level requirements, and the fact that passives are on/off, rather than using 1, 3, or 5 points, as Traits did. Characters only get three passive in total, with one slot opening up for a passive at Clvl 10, 20, and 30.
See which of these skills players use the most in the ranking pages in Diablo3Ladders.com. Ruthless and Weapons Master are far and away the most popular for softcore players, with each over 85% use rate. There's more variety in Hardcore where survival is valued more than sheer DPS.
- See the Barbarian skill archive for the full list, with descriptions, of all active and passive skills that have been removed from the game during development.
The Barbarian's skills and skill trees were first seen at BlizzCon 2008 as a mix of active and passive skills (mostly passive), with only a few enabled and many showing nothing more than vague descriptions in the skill trees.
For the BlizzCon 2009 build, 24 of the Barbarian's passive skills were removed, and only five new passives were introduced: Scavenge, Strong Constitution, Bloodthirst, Retaliation, and Cripple.
For BlizzCon 2010, passive skills were removed from the skill trees and replaced by traits. Twelve of the Barbarian's passive skills were removed, but this time, 28 new traits were introduced. Only two passives were turned, more or less directly, into traits: Bad Temper and Second Wind.
By the July 2011 Press Event, the skill system had once again been completely redesigned. The traits system was scrapped, and replaced by a new version of passive skills, but still separate from the active skills. Although 13 of the Barbarian's traits were turned into passives, 18 of them were removed, and 9 passives were brand new.
The list of Barbarian passives shown at the press event was obviously still in development. There were several issues: Pound of Flesh was listed twice, Cruelty had the same description and icon as Bloodthirst, Slaughter had the same description and icon as Berserker Rage, and 6 passives had no level requirements, possibly so beta players could try them out right from the beginning. Also, the list of Barbarian passives was noticeably longer than that of the other classes, and will no doubt be shortened.
Just a few days later, the passive Tough As Nails was announced, which seems to be designed to replace Iron Skin and another passive.