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DiabloNov 21, 2019 2:00 pm CT

Everything we know about the Diablo 4 Barbarian

If you liked the Barbarian from Diablo 3, you’re going to like the Barbarian in Diablo 4, and if you liked the Barbarian in Diablo 2? Well, I’ve got good news for you.

Think of the Diablo 4 Barbarian as those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials where someone crashes into a peanut butter jaw with a bar of chocolate, except in this case the bar of chocolate is the D2 Barbarian, and the peanut butter is the D3 Barbarian, and the end result is the D4 Barbarian. As someone who went back for seconds and then thirds on the Diablo 4 demo at BlizzCon, I think I can say that Barbarian players are not going to be disappointed by what is to come for their favorite class.

Barbarians are closely tied to Diablo lore

As of right now we don’t really know what, if any, particular story the game has for Barbarians. Diablo 2 didn’t really have any specific story for them aside from a few moments in Lord of Destruction, and Diablo 3 managed to have a specific story for every class that didn’t vary very much at all so it’s up in the air what approach Diablo 4 is going to take. We know from D2 that the Worldstone was destroyed, the sacred Mount Arreat exploded, and the entire culture of the Barbarian people known as the Children of Bul-Kathos was destabilized horribly.

There were over 33 Barbarian tribes before the destruction of the Worldstone. How many have survived and what lives they’re living as of Diablo 4 is currently unknown, but they may well have migrated from the Dreadlands — what was the Northern Steppes before the destruction of Arreat — into Scosglen or other regions in search of a new purpose or just to escape the armies of demons that poured out of the Arreat crater. Since Scosglen is the home of the Druids and a central area in Diablo 4, and since the Druids and the Children of Bul-Kathos share ancient cultural times going back to the ancients — Bul-Kathos and Fiacla-Gear, founder of the Druid order, were brothers — it’s possible they were even invited to shelter there by their Druid relations.

For a deeper dive into the lore of Bul-Kathos, the Barbarians, and Sanctuary, we have a Know Your Lore that covers it.

How Barbarians play

There are some innovations to the Barbarian in Diablo 4, most of which are based around the Arsenal system, which makes the Barbarian a much more visceral and melee combat oriented class than ever before. Instead of the Mighty Weapon system from Diablo 3, the Barbarian of D4 uses up to four weapons — a giant 2h club or mace, a similarly enormous 2h sword, and two one-handed weapons (in the demo they were mostly axes or hammers) which allow you to customize your abilities and bind them to specific weapon combinations.

The Arsenal system and it makes the Barbarian in D4 one that is intrinsically tied to its armament. Because Barbarians carry four weapons at a time, they get more item affixes boosting them than other classes, and because specific Skills use specific weapons, you automatically switch to that weapon when you use those Skills.

The Barbarian has a series of options to choose when generating Fury, the resource that they use — their resource generation moves on the Beta at BlizzCon were Bash, Flay, Frenzy and Lunging Strike, each of which requires a certain kind of weapon. Bash, for example, requires a bludgeoning weapon. There are Fury abilities that spend that Fury, Defensive abilities which don’t cost Fury and are either passive or require activation (some of those actually generate Fury), Brawling abilities that allow you to control the battlefield via movement or by moving others, and Weapon Mastery abilities which involve new ways to use your Arsenal in combat.

Finally there are Ultimates — abilities like Berserker Rage or Call of the Ancients in Diablo 3 — but modernized for D4. All of this combines to create a highly malleable class that you can customize in different ways depending on what you most want them to be.

Barbarian talents and abilities

Barbarian talents this time around deal with the idea of them as heavily armed behemoths. Endless Fury increases Fury generation, for example, while Fierce Brawler adds to attack speed while using one hand weapons and critical strike while using two handers. My personal favorite is Walking Arsenal, which creates a real incentive to switching between weapon types.

The talent trees in general are pretty familiar if you played Diablo 2, or even World of Warcraft back in the day — the Classic days in particular –with a lot of talents that just increase an ability with the spending of points. Close Quarters Combat, for example, has a very familiar feel: You deal 3% increased damage per point to enemies within melee range, but take 1% increased damage per point from enemies outside of melee range. It’s an interesting take, mind you, but it’s nothing you won’t get around to pretty quickly.

If you’re curious about the Barbarian and want to read more, both Polygon and Wowhead have roundups of all the skills and talents available to your favorite murder machine.

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