Diablo III has sucked gamers into a black hole of wasted time and monster bashing. I like to be a bit of a maverick and do things a bit differently even if it makes the game harder. There’s been a lot of talk on the official Diablo III forums about problems with the Barbarian class not being powerful enough. That pretty much made up my mind for me that I was going to play a Barbarian. The next concern was how to do it in an unusual way.
I combed the forums, spoke with other players in-game, and stumbled upon a build idea I’ve never tried. It seemed so unusual that I was immediately attracted to the concept. The build idea is called the King of Thorns and rumor has it that players can farm up to the first two acts of Inferno difficulty with it. Here’s how it works.
Your gear should focus entirely on the “of Thorns” attribute. Your hero is going to be in melee combat all the time, so the goal is to have enemies basically do themselves in by throwing themselves on your thorny hide. The primary feature you want is the greatest possible damage inflicted when people hit your hero. The secondary feature you want is a high bonus to vitality.
Your Barbarian should carry a “sword and board” setup. The weapon need not be a sword. It should be a quick weapon so you attack frequently, and it must have the highest “life on hit” bonus you can find. While you will do most of your damage passively your health regeneration is going to come from scoring lots of modest hits on many enemies. This need for a quick-hitting weapon frees you to use a shield for even more armor, thorns, and vitality bonuses.
Primary and secondary attacks
Use Frenzy with Maniac or Triumph Rune for your first attack. This will be your attack of choice when fighting single, tough targets. The increased attack speed will let you inflict a lot of damage, with either a little damage bonus from Maniac or a little healing from Triumph. Your secondary attack should be Cleave with Broad Sweep. Cleave lets you hit several targets at once.
Your Defensive skill should be Ignore Pain with Contempt for Weakness. Your Might skill should be Revenge with Retribution. Revenge is arguably one of the best skills of all for the Barbarian class. For Tactics use War Cry for the defensive bonus. As a purely tank player you’ll need it. For Rage use Threatening Shout with Demoralize. That will make enemies attack you and your Thorns while reducing the damage they inflict.
User Nerves of Steel to increase your armor value by an amount equal to your Vitality score. Use Bloodthirst to gain life every time you inflict damage. Use Tough as Nails to further increase your armor and get a 50-percent bonus to Thorn damage.
With this build you should be able to play solo through a huge amount of the game. You’ll also be oddly valuable in groups because your ranking ability will be fairly impressive due to high armor, high hit points, Thorn damage, and taunting power.