Barbarian Leveling Guide

Table of Content


The Barbarian Leveling Guide provides you with all the necessary information to get your favorite Character started!
Not every Skill is suitable to be used during early leveling for three reasons:

  • Only a number of Skills work well without any previously farmed gear.
  • A lot of builds lack damage during the leveling phase. It can become a big struggle or even straight up impossible to progress, starting with an end game build.
  • Some builds have a hard time transitioning into hell due to Immunities.

We provide you with step by step Skill trees and easily accessible items that help you in your play through. Additionally, you get tips and insights on how to deal with Immunities and the more difficult fights.

Gear used in this guide
Double Swing
War Cry
Battle Cry

At the end of this guide you'll have a Level 75 Barbarian that used 1 out of the 3 respecs the game provides. You can use these to transition into your build of choice.

If you like the build at the end of this guide, check out the War Cry Barbarian Guide, which continues it to the end game.

Act 1 Normal (Up to Level 15)

In Act 1, we build the foundation of the entire progression through Normal. Depending on RNG you can reach up to Level 17, however, on average you'll end up between Level 13 and Level 15.

Skill Point Allocation:

Level 2:
Level 3-4:
Den of Evil:
Level 5:
Level 6:
Level 7-11:
Level 12-15:

Mace Mastery
Save Skill Point
Double Swing + Leap
Double Swing

Attribute Allocation:

Level 2-7:
Level 8-10:
Level 11-12:
Level 13:
Level 14-15:

All into Vitality
All into Dexterity
All into Strength
1 into Strength, 4 into Vitality
All into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • Clear out the Den of Evil and pick up items to sell, like Rings, Amulets, Charms, etc.
  • Return to town, sell the items to Akara and purchase 2 Scepters, some Stamina Potions, and if possible, both the Tome of Town Portal, and the Tome of Identify.
  • From this point onwards, Elite Groups are your primary focus when it comes to killing monsters. Don't waste your time with individual monsters. They grant far less Experience!
    Until Level 6, use regular Attacks to destroy your enemies. Against tanky monsters and Elite Groups, use Bash for increased damage output.
  • Fight your way to the Black Marsh. Find the Waypoint and start farming The Countess inside the Forgotten Tower for the below listed Runes. Put the Runes into your Stash for storage.
    Check Charsi for the 2 Socketed Body Armor, and 2 Socketed Helmet at the start of each run.
  • Double Swing becomes available at Level 6. At this point you need 2 Scepters equipped. Place Strangling Gas Potion into your Weapon-Swap. Throw them at Elite Groups before engaging them with Double Swing.
  • After acquiring all Runes, make your way to the Catacombs Level 4, where you face the first Act boss, Andariel - Maiden of Anguish.

Gear Checklist:

2 SceptersShop at Akara
after the Den of Evil
Tip: If you get them with Sockets, put in any Chipped Gem that provides additional damage.
Strangling Gas Potions:Drop from monsters / chestsTip: Their Quantity can be restored to maximum by selling and repurchasing them from a Vendor.
Choking Gas PotionsDrop from Poison ShrineTip: Open your Inventory to place the Potions as individual stacks. You can restore each stack to maximum quantity by selling and repurchasing them from a Vendor. This gives you more stacks, in case you run out by accident.
2 Socketed Helmet
Shop at Charsi
or drop from monsters
This Helmet is used to either put 2 Ral Runes, or the Runeword Nadir into.
Make sure that it is NOT a Magic Item for the latter.
2 Socketed Body Armor
Shop at Charsi
or drop from monsters
This Body Armor is used for the Runeword Stealth later on. Make sure that it is NOT a Magic Item.
3-4 Tal Runes
2 Eth Runes
1 Ith Rune
1 El Rune
Farm at The CountessThese Runes are used later for:
- Stealth
- Malice Flail
- Gemmed Flail
1-2 Ral Runes
1-2 Nef Runes
1 Tir Rune
Farm at The CountessIf acquired, these Runes are used for:
- Any Helmet
- Nadir
- Heavy Gloves

Create Nadir Stash / Inventory Optional: At Level 13, put the Nef Rune and the Tir Rune into the 2 Socketed Helmet you acquired in Act 1.

Act 2 Normal (Up to Level 20)

In Act 2, we can shop some more Base Items to use during the progression in this segment, or in later stages.

Skill Point Allocation:

Level 16:
Level 17:
Level 18:
Level 19:
Level 20:

Save Skill Point
Leap Attack Battle Cry
Mace Mastery
Increased Stamina

Attribute Allocation:

Level 13:
Level 14-20:

1 into Strength, 4 into Vitality
All into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • After purchasing a Belt, and, if you are Level 14, 2 flails.
  • Immediately create Malice Flail when you hit Level 15.
  • Start using Choking Gas Potions at Level 16 for Area of Effect damage. They become your main way of dealing with pockets of monster density. You can continue using strangling Gas Potions until you find these.
  • At Level 17, create and equip Stealth, and the Gemmed Flail. In combination with Malice Flail, you'll use this for the foreseeable future.
  • When you hit Level 19, equip a Gemmed Cap. This Helmet can be a lifesaver in Act 3 and 4!

Gear Checklist:

2 3 Socketed FlailsShop at FarahLevel 14 Required to Shop!
Used to create:
- Malice Flail (At Level 15)
- Gemmed Flail (At Level 17)
Choking Gas PotionsDrop from monsters / chests
Drop from Poison Shrine
Tip: Their Quantity can be restored to maximum by selling and repurchasing them from a Vendor.
Create Malice Flail Stash / InventoryAt Level 15, put the Ith Rune, El Rune, and Eth Rune into one of the 3 Socketed Flails you are using.
Create Gemmed FlailStash / Inventory At Level 17, put 3 Tal Runes into the second 3 Socketed Flail you are using.
Stealth Stash / Inventory At Level 17, put the Tal Rune and the Eth Rune into the 2 Socketed Body Armor you acquired in Act 1.
Gemmed CapStash / InventoryAt Level 19, put the 2 Ral Runes into the 2 Socketed Helmet you acquired in Act 1.
Bone ShieldShop at DrognanPut the Bone Shield into your private stash. It'll be used for Rhyme in Nightmare.

Act 3-4 Normal (Until Level 25)

In Act 3 and 4, we have to get some serious leveling done, before transitioning to Act 5.

Skill Point Allocation:

Level 17:
Level 18:
Level 19:
Level 20:
Level 21:
Level 22:
Level 23:
Level 24:
Level 25:

Save Skill Point
Leap Attack Battle Cry
Mace Mastery
Increased Stamina
Double Throw
Save Skill Point
FrenzyIncreased Speed
Battle Orders
Battle Orders Frenzy

Attribute Allocation:

Level 17-25:

All into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • Throughout Act 3, aim Choking Gas Potions at the weak Flayers running around. These Potions are your only Area of Effect clear option.
  • In melee combat, use Battle Cry to lower their Defense and then Double Swing to apply Open Wounds / Poison Damage.
  • Equip your Helmet to guard yourself against the devastating inferno of Flayer Shamans.
  • Progress through Act 3, but stop at Travincal! Complete the creation of Khalim's Will but DON’T smash the Compelling Orb! We replace our Gemmed Flail with Khalim's Will and use it to Level-Up in Flayer Jungle or Travincal. Target Level is ~24.7.
  • At Level 24, start using Frenzy to increase your movement speed and Attack Speed. After getting Frenzy Charges, use Double Swing to deal your damage.
  • Hire an Act 2 Mercenary (Blessed Aim) to help out and equip him with the strongest Polearm you can find. Typically you can find a Pike by this point.
  • At Level 24.7 you'll have to replace the Khalim's Will with Gemmed Flail to continue your progression. Kill Mephisto and continue to Act 4.
  • Make your way towards Chaos Sanctuary, kill Izual and complete the Hellforge Quest along the way. If any quality of ruby drops from the latter, take your time to farm some Gem Shrines to upgrade them to a perfect ruby. This is used to create the Crafted Gloves.
  • Start using Battle Orders and keep this buff up at all times.

Gear Checklist:

Staff of TeleportationShop at OrmusA minimum of Level 19 is required to shop it!

Tip: Shop the Staff between Level 19 and 23. Because of its Level Requirement of 24, a Staff of Teleportation has a red background in that Level range, making it easier to check the Vendor.
Khalim's WillQuest-progression in Act 3Before using Khalim's Will to open the Durance of Hate, use it instead of the Gemmed Flail while leveling.
PikeFound throughout Act 3
or Shopped in Act 4
Hire an Act 2 Mercenary and equip him with a Pike to help out on the tedious leveling sections.
Perfect Ruby or Flawless RubyAct 4 Quest 2If you are lucky, you get a Perfect Ruby or Flawless Ruby. Find a Gem Shrine if you get a Flawless Ruby.

Then craft Heavy Gloves:
Heavy Gloves + Perfect Ruby + Nef Rune + Jewel in Horadric Cube
Heavy GlovesShop at Act 2 Vendor
JewelFound between Act1 and 3

Act 5 Normal (Up to Level 31)

Hope you are ready for some repitition... Time to farm some Eldritch the Rectifier.

Skill Point Allocation:

Level 26-28:
Level 29:
Level 30:

Level 31:

Save Skill Point
War Cry
Battle Command
War Cry

Attribute Allocation:

Level 26-31:

All into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • Make your way to the Frigid Highlands Waypoint and kill Shenk the Overseer along the way.
  • Now it's time to farm Eldritch the Rectifier until Level 29. This is the easiest place to farm for the Barbarian. Make use of an Act 2 Mercenary equipped with a Pike.
  • At Level 29, put the Gnarled Staff of Teleportation into your secondary Weapon Slot to increase your mobility.
  • Make your way towards Mount Arreat, save Anya in the Frozen River and kill off the Ancients.
  • Continue your way down to the Throne of Destruction, kill off waves 1-4. Wave 5 is very hard to kill. Kite them out of the big room and try to lose them. When returning to the big room, Baal should move into the Worldstone Chamber. Kill him - This might take a minute...
  • Equip a combination of Wyrm's Wand of the Magus, and Sounding Javelin that allows you to hit the highest Cast Rate Breakpoint you can.

Gear Checklist:

1-2 Wyrm's Wand of the MagusShop at MalahCheck Malah while farming Eldritch the Rectifier.

Mana > Faster Cast Rate
1-2 Sounding JavelinShop at Malah Check Malah while farming Eldritch the Rectifier. +1 to Warcries (Barbarian Only) can be on any Throwing Weapon she sells, so check them all.
Rancid Gas PotionsDrops from monstersUse these while farming Eldritch the Rectifier to increase your damage output. Afterwards, they don't have any use anymore.

The Secret Cow Level (Level 31)

Return to Act 1, save Deckard Cain (if you didn’t during Act 1 progression) and pick up Wirt's Leg in Tristram. Talk to Akara to reset your Skill and Stat Points.

Skill Point Allocation:

Combat Skills (1 Skill Point each):

  • Leap
  • Leap Attack
  • Bash
  • Stun
  • Concentration

Combat Masteries (1 Skill Point each):

  • Mace Mastery
  • Increased Stamina
  • Increased Speed
  • Iron Skin
  • Natural Resistance


  • Howl - 1 Skill Point
  • Taunt - 1 Skill Point
  • Shout - 1 Skill Point
  • Battle Cry - 10 Skill Points
  • Battle Orders - 8 Skill Points
  • Battle Command - 1 Skill Point
  • War Cry - 2 Skill Points
Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Attribute Allocation:

  • Strength: 13 Stat Points
  • Dexterity: 40 Stat Points
  • Vitality: Remaining Stat Points

Playstyle & Progression:

  • From now on we are using War Cry for Area of Effect Damage. This Skill not only deals Physical Damage, it also incapacitates your enemies with a Stun.
  • Make sure to keep the buffs of Battle Command and Battle Orders are up at all times.
  • The only goal of this section is to get 2 Crystal Swords from The Secret Cow Level. Open the red Portal by putting a Wirt's Leg and Tome of Town Portal into your Horadric Cube. Do as many runs as it takes.

Gear Checklist:

Malice FlailPut into StashPut one of your 3 Socketed Flails into your Stash for later use. (Black)
2 Crystal SwordThe Secret Cow LevelFarm The Secret Cow Level until you have 2 Crystal Swords. Use the Socket reward from Larzuk in Act 5, Quest 1 on one of them. Save the other in your Stash to do the same in Nightmare Act 5.

Note: If a 4 socketed Crystal Sword is found during Nightmare Progression you can save a Socket Quest.

Act 1 Nightmare (Up to Level 40)

Time to start Nightmare, and we have a lot to do in Act 1!

Skill Point Allocation:

Level 32:
Den of Evil:
Level 33-40:

War Cry
Battle Cry
War Cry

Attribute Allocation:

Level 32-40:

10 into Dexterity
Rest into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • Start Nightmare by shopping for a Belt and Boots with Resistances / Faster Run/Walk.
  • Continue to use War Cry for Area of Effect Damage.
  • Make sure to keep the buffs of Battle Command and Battle Orders are up at all times.
  • Clear out the Den of Evil to get the additional Skill Point.
  • The main priority in this Act is farming The Countess for a number of Runewords (listed below). Kill any Elite Group that you encounter along the way.
  • After farming all the Runewords, make your way down to Andariel. Use Concentrate in combination with Black and Rhyme to bring her down to low Life. Switch back to the Spirit Crystal Sword + Sounding Javelin setup to finish her off with War Cry.

Gear Checklist:

Coral Demonhide SashShop at Charsi or GheedShop for a 4-row Belt with Resistances.
Lightning Resist and Fire Resist are the main priorities.
Garnet Heavy Boots of HasteShop at Charsi or GheedShop for Boots that give Faster Run/Walk and Resistances.
Lightning Resist and Fire Resist are the main priorities.
Garnet Heavy Gloves Shop at Charsi or Gheed Shop for Gloves that give Resistances.
Lightning Resist and Fire Resist are the main priorities.
Mandatory Runes:
2x Tal Rune
3x Thul Rune
3x Ort Rune
2x Amn Rune
Io Rune
Nef Rune
Sol Rune
Shael Rune
Eth Rune
Farm at The CountessLet's break the Runes down:
- Create the first Spirit Crystal Sword right away. Put the Runes for the second one into your Stash.
- Create your second Spirit Crystal Sword right away if you find another 4 Socketed Crystal Sword along the way.
- Create Lore Cap for +1 to All Skills.
- Create Black Flail and Rhyme Bone Shield and put them into your Stash. They are only used against Act Bosses and the Ancients fights.

Optional Runes:
2x Amn Rune
3x Tir Rune
Ral Rune
Tal Rune
Sol Rune
Farm at The Countess If you don't get lucky with the Io Rune you can instead create a Strength Scimitar for yourself.
For Act Bosses and Ancients fights, you can equip your Mercenary with Strength Spear.
If you find a 4 Socket Polearm throughout Nightmare, create an Insight to ease your Mana issues.

Act 2 Nightmare to Act 5 Hell (Up to Level 75)

Skill Point Allocation:

Max out your Skills in the following order:

  • War Cry
  • Battle Cry
  • Taunt
  • Howl

Attribute Allocation:

Level 40-75:

Enough Dexterity to keep 50% Chance to Block
Rest into Vitality

Use the Slider for visual Skill Progression

Playstyle & Progression:

  • Make sure to keep Battle Orders and Battle Command up at all times.
  • Use War Cry to kill off Elite Groups and make your way through the campaign.
  • In Act 5 Nightmare, create your second Spirit Crystal Sword, using the Socket Quest and the stashed Runes.
  • If you are lucky with a random 4 Socket Polearm drop, you can also create an Insight and equip it on a Holy Freeze Mercenary. This eliminates most of your Mana issues.
  • Against Act Bosses and the Ancients, use the Crushing Blow setup with Crafted Gloves, Black Flail, and Rhyme Bone Shield to bring them to low Life before finishing them off with your War Cry setup.
  • In Act 5 Nightmare, make some Baal-Runs to gain some Levels before you continue to Hell. Only kill the Waves in the Throne of Destruction, Baal himself is a waste of your time.

Gear Checklist:

2 Spirit Crystal SwordCreate in Act 5 NightmareUse the Socket Quest in Act 5 Nightmare and create the Spirit Crystal Sword from the Runes you put into your Stash.
Insight PartizanDrop from monstersCreate an Insight for your Mercenary. You have to find a 4 Socket Polearm to do so.



For more information on the mechanics involved, check out our in-depth article on Breakpoints.

All builds rely on specific Breakpoints for effectiveness throughout the game. Meeting Breakpoints for Cast Rate, Hit Recovery, and Block Rate increases the rate of casting spells, recovering from big damage, and block by 1 Frame per Breakpoint.

Faster Cast Rate (FCR)
With Stealth and double Spirit we reach 75-95% Faster Cast Rate. The next Breakpoint is achievable with 10-30% Faster Cast Rate from items like Rings, Amulet, Caster Crafted Belt, Circlets, and Gloves.

Cast Rate Breakpoint

Increased Attack Speed (IAS)
With the recommended gear we reach 25% Increased Attack Speed before while using our Crushing Blow setup for Concentrate.

Attack Rate Breakpoint

Faster Hit Recovery (FHR)
Faster Hit Recovery controls how fast our Character finishes the Hit Recovery animation. Stealth and double Spirit grant a total of 135% Faster Hit Recovery.

Hit Recovery Breakpoint

Faster Block Rate (FBR)
We do not target a specific Block Rate Breakpoint, but we have 40% Faster Block Rate while using the Crushing Blow setup.

Faster Run Walk (FRW)
There are no Breakpoints for Faster Run / Walk. With the recommended gear, you reach 45% Faster Run / Walk.


All of our Leveling Guides are viable for Hardcore.
Changes to consider:

  • Over Level before you enter Nightmare / Hell. Suggested Target Levels are ~38-40 for Nightmare and 65+ for Hell.
  • Make sure to have your Cold, Fire, and Lightning Resistances capped at 75% when you enter Nightmare and Hell. The easy way to check this is to enter the difficulty you want to play and open your Character screen.
    • We recommend farming Flayer Jungle or The Secret Cow Level in Nightmare for Charms. They make it easy to cap your Resistances.

Gear Options

With a shared stash now available and the fact that this might not be your first Character we want to give you some gear options that can improve your Leveling experience a lot!

Until Level 18:

  • Death's Hand + Death's Guard provides you with 30% Increased Attack Speed, All Resistances +15%, and Cannot be Frozen. These are incredible Stats for melee builds.
  • Bloodfist is a great option for the entire leveling process, providing +40 to Life, +10% Increased Attack Speed, and +30% Faster Hit Recovery.

After Level 18 respec:

  • Skin of the Vipermagi is the best Body Armor you can equip on any caster for Leveling.
  • Magefist gives you 20% Faster Cast Rate which helps to improve your Cast Rate for War Cry.
  • A rare Amulet with +x to Barbarian Skills or +x to Warcries (Barbarian Only) is very powerful. Unique options for the Amulet are The Eye of Etlich and later a Maras Kaleidoscope.
  • Hsarus' Iron Heel and Sander's Riprap are strong options for the Boots slot. Both provide you with Faster Run/Walk and are very common drops.
  • The Stone of Jordan provides you with +1 to All Skills, which scales our damage up significantly. It's a rather expensive option, but if you have one, put it on!
  • Arreat's Face is an incredible Helmet providing +2 to Barbarian Skills, All Resistances, and % Attack Rating which helps in boss fights.

Farming Spots at Level 75+

The areas below are well suited for this build to farm efficiently. While this build can also farm other areas, we’ve selected these specific areas to make the most use of the build’s strengths. Please take special note of the danger level, clear speed, item types, and Immunities that define these areas.
Grayed out areas are not recommended for this build!

Act 1:

The CountessMediumRunes
Key of Terror
Cold, Fire
The PitMediumAll item types
Lightning, Cold, Fire

Act 3:

Fire, Cold, Lightning

Act 5:

Eldritch the RectifierLowGearing
Shenk the OverseerMediumGearing


  • Use Double Swing early on as your best damage option. Add Strangling Gas Potions to increase your damage output, and AoE clear.
  • Buy a Staff of Teleportation before Level 24.
  • After respecing, keep your buffs up at all times:
    • Battle Command
    • Battle Orders
  • War Cry is your main damage Skill after the respec.
  • Take your time to farm all the Runes from The Countess in Nightmare. It's worth it!
  • Switch to Crushing Blow gear to fight Act Bosses and the Ancients before shouting them to death.

Guide by Teo1904

We hope the Barbarian Leveling Guide helps you to get to your endgame build of choice. The Barbarian arguably has the hardest time leveling up by himself. This guide gives you the best options to get there.

Good luck!