Though a lot has changed in Diablo 4‘s Season 2 update, the frustration of leveling a Barbarian remains as strong as ever. Barbarians can do some incredible things in Diablo 4‘s endgame, but getting them to that point has long been a painful process. Fortunately, there is at least one build out there which helps ease the suffering somewhat.
Before we dive into that, though, please note that this is a leveling build designed to get you from 1-50. It is not intended to help you push through endgame content. Furthermore, this build assumes you have the fewest resources possible available to you at that point in the game. That means that Renown Skill Points are not accounted for and all of the Legendary Aspect recommendations can be found in the Codex. If you happen to have access to additional resources, you’ll want to use them to enhance the fundamental things this build is trying to accomplish.
Diablo 4 Season 2: Best Barbarian Leveling Build – Upheaval Berserker
Skills: Lunging Strike, Upheaval, Rallying Cry, War Cry, Ground Stomp, Wrath of the Berserker
Key Legendary Aspects: Aspect of Echoing Fury, Edgemaster’s Aspect, Aspect of the Expectant, Aspect of Might, Relentless Berserker’s Aspect, Aspect of Berserk Ripping, Aspect of Unrelenting Fury
Full Skill Tree and Build
Leveling a Barbarian can still be a nightmare of a process, so I tried to focus on the very few areas in the recent update where leveling Barbarians got any love. That led me to Upheaval.
Upheval’s AoE power and respectable single-target damage potential already made it one of the more appealing Barbarian Core Skills for leveling. Well, not only did the base damage for Upheaval get a nice bump, but the Furious Upheaval ability got a major buff. Now, when you damage an enemy with a skill that isn’t Upheaval, your next Upheaval deals 12x as much damage. Mind you, that effect can stack up to six times. It turns an already pretty useful ability into an absolute monster. While the same can be true of other Barbarian abilities, they require more resources/time to really reach their potential. Upheaval reaches something closer to its full potential much sooner than that.
How do you build around Upheaval, though? Well, you have some options. I think that War Cry and Rallying Cry are musts in most Barbarian leveling builds, including this one. That also means you’re spending nine points on all of the accompanying Shout Passives. it’s not the most exciting way to play, but this package will help you survive and thrive early on.
You can take Challenging Shout as well, though I generally prefer to look elsewhere with this particular build. If you do go that route, sacrifice the Ultimate (and its associated Key Passive) instead of Ground Stomp.
Speaking of Ground Stomp, it proved to be a surprisingly effective part of this strategy. Though I tried playing with Death Blow instead, the synergy between Ground Stomp and Furious Upheaval was pretty hard to ignore. Use your Shouts, Ground Stomp a pack of enemies, hit them with Upheaval, and deal with what is left. It’s a remarkably simple and consistent way to deal with large packs of enemies while leveling. I’m also going for Ground Stomp’s cooldown reduction effect, though you may want to swap that based on your personal preferences.
Speaking of which, you’ll also notice that I’m going with the Wrath of the Bersker package in this build. Why? A lack of obviously better options, mostly, though don’t sleep on the Bersker package while leveling. It’s relatively easy to trigger the effect between our shouts, Ultimate, and Lunging Strike. Whenever it does trigger, you can a much-needed buff to movement speed and damage (two things that leveling Barbarians desperately need). It’s not nearly as flashy as your alternatives, but it is a little more consistent, and consistency is half the battle when leveling a Barbarian.
Unfortunately, this build does suffer during boss fights. It’s not terrible in those situations (and you’ll certainly be able to stay alive during those fights), but that’s not what this build is designed for. If you want more single-target damage as a Barbarian, you should focus on Death Blow and Bleed builds.
While I won’t say the relative lack of single-target damage doesn’t matter, I will say that it’s a little less important while leveling. If you skip the campaign, it’s relatively easy to ignore boss fights in dungeons that don’t have a necessary Legendary Aspect. AoE damage is your leveling fuel, and this build offers quite a lot of that. It’s also much faster than other leveling Barbarian builds, doesn’t struggle as much with resource generation, and still offers those high defenses Barbarians should crave. This is certainly not an endgame build, but it is (hopefully) optimized for the earliest parts of the game.
Finally, Legendary Aspects, Gear, and Vampiric Powers matter quite a lot for leveling Barbarians. You’ll need all the help you can get while leveling, and those are your best sources for help outside of Skill Points. Though I’d consider the Legendary Aspects above to be essential, you really want to start equipping Legendary Aspects as soon as possible. Of course, if you happen to get lucky with a non-Codex Legendary Aspect drop (especially a Shout-related Aspect), be sure to equip it ASAP. Just try to keep yourself as fully geared as possible as often as possible.