Greetings. I'm a long time Diablo devotee and the Barbarian has always been my class of election, despite the excellent alternatives presented in both the D2 and the upcoming D3 games.
I haven't played the Beta yet (and should you argue that this post is a chance at nabbing one of those beta keys, you'd be right), but I've tinkered with multiple Barbarian builds in D2, with particular emphasis on tanking builds. Granted, there weren't many options in the previous game but as soon as the Skill calculators for D3 became available it was made clear that situation was being addressed, and it was with great rejoice that we witnessed how much of the experience gained from World of Warcraft reflects itself in so many of these new skills. As a long time WoW tank, i can't deny that i was thrilled.
I'm aware there are other Tank Builds threads out there, however some of them are either outdated from the current patch or simply not to my liking. Hence I'm posting my idea for a (hopefully) competent tank for the upper difficulty levels, despite the fact i haven't played it yet, so consider this a tentative idea at a build.
My build idea is definitely party oriented, but I've tried to add some solo survivability.
This build is intended to shine in the harder difficulties, as in Normal/Nightmare modes you'll most likely be able to blaze through content with a pure Damage build.
So, let's get right into it.
I. Active Skills and Runestones II. Passive Skills III. General Strategies
I. ACTIVE SKILLS
Slot 1 (available at level 1)
- Cleave (unlocked at level 4)
Your first Fury generating AoE ability. This should be spammed on every large group of mobs prior to anything else, as it will allow you to generate Fury to use your next ability aswel as focus the mobs on yourself.
- Runestone: Gathering Storm (Indigo)
This runestone will slow your enemies by 58% for 3 seconds, so long as Cleave makes contact. This will allow you not only to keep them away from your party members but also make it easier to gather separate groups. Considering Cleave as your spammable abitly, the slow debuff shouldn't fall from enemies that easily.
Slot 2 (available at level 1)
- Threatening Shout (unlocked at level 2)
Threatening Shout causes enemies within 25 yards to have their damage cut by half for 15 seconds. With no cooldown and a 20 Fury cost, you'll want to keep this up at all times.
- Runestone: Demoralize (Crimson)
Demoralize taunts every enemy affected by the shout, making them attack you for 6 seconds. Considering you'll be keeping the Shout debuff up at all times, it becomes twice as handy to have the enemies taunted to yourself.
Slot 3 (available at level 6)
- Ignore Pain (unlocked at level 5)
The first proper defensive cooldown. On a 30 second cooldown, Ignore Pain will reduce damage received by enemies by 65% for 3 seconds. Granted, the duration isn't very wide, but 65% damage reduction is a solid figure. Should be used on cooldown every time you're receiving damage from multiple mobs.
- Runestone: Iron Hide (Indigo)
The Indigo Runestone will extend the duration of Ignore Pain from 3 to 8 seconds.
This is a hard choice, and a very situational one. Both the Alabaster (converts 21% of damage done as life) and the Obsidian (extend the effect to nearby allies and increase the duration by 0.5 seconds) runestones seem attractive aswel. I'll chose Iron Hide for the simple fact that extended received damage decrease will grant you a better chance of staying alive rather then depending on damage caused to heal yourself granted by the Alabaster Runestone. The Obsidian one is also a solid choice for party gaming, wich will probably what you're focusing on.
Slot 4 (available at level 12)
- Revenge (unlocked at level 12)
Revenge is a proc based (15% chance to become active every time you are hit) ability that causes 220% weapon damage to ALL nearby enemies and will heal you for 5% of your maximum health. This is extremely usefull as a powerfull AoE ability, and the self healing aspect makes it attractive aswel. With no cooldown or Fury cost, Revenge should be used every time it procs.
- Runestone: Vengeance is Mine (Golden)
Vengeance is Mine causes your Revenge to generate 4 Fury every time it's used and improves the healing received to 7.5%. Considering that at this point Cleave will be your only main Fury generating ability, 4 Fury every time Revenge procs, wich i'm hoping it will be fairly frequent, considering you're the one getting constantly hit by enemies, will become quite useful. And of course, improved self healing is always a boon. Another solid choice is the Indigo Runestone, Provocation, wich increases the proc chance from 15% to 27%, making Revenge even more likely to be available.
Slot 5 (available at level 18)
- War Cry (unlocked at level 14)
On a 30 second cooldown, War Cry will increase the Armor of every party member within 30 yards (including yourself) by 100% for 30 seconds. You'll want to be using it as soon as it's off cooldown, as it will not only make sure the Armor Buff never falls, but also grant you 30 Fury every time you use it. Needless to say, 100% armor increase combined with a 30 Fury gain makes this skill Mandatory.
-Runestone: Hardened Wrath (Crimson)
Hardened Wrath will double the armor gain from War Cry. There are other viable choices for this runestone, and we'll get to them. Considering the Barbarian will be the only class with high armor values, this Runestone is definitely party oriented. A 200% percent armor increase is nothing to shun from when tanking, but it really becomes relevant for your low-armor allies.
As alternatives, the Alabaster, Indigo and Obsidian runestones will be effective aswel.
The first increases maximum life by 16% and grants a HoT that regenerates 890 life for every second that the shout is active, turning the shout into an effective defensive cooldown aswel as adding a healing element to it.
The second will grant 16% dodge chance. Damage avoided is better then damage received, so you'll want to consider this choice aswel.
The third grants you 50% elemental resistance while the shout is active. This is rather situational, but it can be life saving if your resistances happen to be low or you're facing a heavy elemental damage foe.
Slot 6 (available at level 24)
- Multiple Options!
Option 1: Ancient Spear + Grappling Hooks (Indigo Runestone) (unlocked at level 19)
This choice is based on the lack of mobilty this build presents. Without picking Spring or Leap Attack, wandering and out of reach mobs become a problem.
On a 10 second cooldown, Ancient Spear will pull back an enemy to you, while causing 145% weapon damage and slowing the enemy briefly by 50%.
The reason i took this over Sprint is that Ancient Spear is a Fury Generator and the added rune will allow me to range pull and slow up to 5 enemies with a singe attack, rather then spending Fury activating sprint and manually taunting the enemies, wich will cause the enemies i'm holding to follow me around. By using the Spear, i can pull wandering mobs to me without leaving my spot.
Option 2: Wrath of the Berserker + Mountainous Form (Obsidian Runestone) (unlocked at level 29)
Wrath of the Berseker is a situational skill that increases several stats for 15 seconds. The tanking relevant attributes would be Dodge and Attack Speed, wich raise by 20 and 45% respectively. The 20% movement speed added could also prove useful. While not a tanking ability per se, combined with the Obsidian Runestone (increases the Dodge chance granted to 45%), Wrath of the Berserker can become an attractive defensive cooldown, albeit at a high Fury cost (50 Fury to activate, no cooldown).
Option 3: Seismic Slam + Stagger (Obsidian Runestone) (unlocked at level 18)
Seismic Slam is a frontal cone attack that causes 230% weapon damage and knockbacks the opponents in a 45 yard arc. While scattering your enemies with the knockback is hardly a good strategy, the Obsidian Runestone adds a 70% chance to stun them for 30 seconds, and that is the only reason this talent becomes relevant in this build. Your runed Cleave will already slow your enemies down, but sometimes a Stun can really come in handy, albeit 70% chance is not a guarantee. I'd take this skill if your Fury generation is outweighing your Fury spending, or in very situational encounters in wich you'll be facing waves of enemies in a frontal cone area.
Option 4: Rend + Blood Lust (Golden Runestone) (unlocked at level 9)
Rend is a cleave attack that will apply a bleeding debuff on all your enemies, making them take 210% weapon damage for 3 seconds. The Golden runestone will convert 6% of that damage to health, making it a viable healing option so long as you keep the debuff active. Much like the previous option, this should be taken if you're generating more Fury then spending, as it costs 30 Fury points to apply the debuff.
II PASSIVE SKILLS
Seeing as there are only three passive skill slots (available at levels 10, 20 and 30), and so many passive skills that are useful to a Tank build, I'll present those wich you'll want to keep in mind when making this kind of build.
Pound of Flesh (unlocked at level 10)
Pound of Flesh increases the chance of finding health globes by 25% and increases the heal they give by 100%. At this point, i'm not aware of the relevance Health Globes will have in your total healing, however and seeing as there are no dedicated healing builds or classes, all self healing is well received, and as long as health globe healing doesn't become useless, it's a talent to keep in mind.
Nerves of Steeld (unlocked at level 12)
Nerves of Steel increases your amor by 25% of your vitality, meaning the more vitality you have, the more you'll benefit from armor. As a tank your vitality should be way up there, however in terms of armor as mitigation there are better passives in the table, it's all up to a personal choice.
Inspiring Presence (unlocked at level 15)
Inspiring Presence doubles the duration of your War Cry and Battle Rage aswel as providing a 2% maximum health regeneration for the duration of the Shout. A solid passive, as you'll always want to keep War Cry up, providing you with a HoT aswel. The only downfall would be less Fury generation, as you'll be using War Cry less frequently.
Bloodthirst (unlocked at level 18)
Bloodthirst converts 3% of all damage done into life. If self healing becomes a viable option, i'd take this passive in a hearbeat. Granted, as a tank your damage won't be way up there, hence 3% might not be enough to keep you standing, but so long as you keep hitting things, wich you should, you'll have an incoming heal active, wich is great.
Superstition (unlocked at level 20)
Superstition reduces all non-physical damage by 20%, aswel as granting a chance to generate 3 Fury for every elemental or ranged attack you take. A very situational passive, most of the damage you'll be taking should be physical, but as commonly seen in the previous Diablo games, the greater damage spikes will be from elemental source. Take it if you're expecting to face heavy magic damage dealing foes.
Tough As Nails (unlocked at level 22)
Tough as Nails is a plain 100% armor increase, aswel as granting a 100% damage increase from Thorns. I'd call this a mandatory talent, 100% armor increase plus the bonus received from War Cry is a brutal increase to your armor rating, nothing to shun from.
Relentless (unlocked at level 25)
Relentless reduces damage taken by 50% while below 20% health, aswel as cutting the Fury cost of every ability. If you're expecting heavy damage spikes or if for any reason your healing isn't cutting it and you find yourself below 20% health often, this could be a viable choice, as it will grant you a solid received damage reduction and allows you to use any skill free of charge.
Juggernaut (unlocked at level 28)
Juggernaut will reduce the duration of stuns/roots/slows/snares by 20% and whenever you become stunned, feared or charmed you'll get a chance to recover 15% of your maximum health. Some might find this a PvP talent, however, experience tells that a CC'd tank will drastically increase the chances that your group will wipe. At this point i'm not aware of the frequency this will happen, but in case it happens frequently, the 15% health recover becomes useful.
III GENERAL STRATEGIES
First of all, i'd like to remind you again that i HAVEN'T played the Beta yet, and this build and strategy post is made solely on previous Diablo gaming experience, RPG tanking experience and general ability to understand a tooltip and skill effect/usage. Hence, much of the presented above might not work as presented of be as effective as expected.
As for the general strategy, assuming that your two main Fury generators will be Cleave and War Cry, you should be opening with Cleave and spam it to both generate Fury and keep as many enemies close to you and afflicted by the speed debuff. Needless to say War Cry should be up at all times. Ancient Spear will also generate Fury should you take it, but it's a more situational skill that allows some a replacement for the lack of mobility, making the build not so stiff when it comes to picking up wandering or out of melee range mobs.
Should you take Rend, apply it as soon as possible to maximize the bleed effect aswel as the health received from it.
When it comes to spending Fury, priority should go to Threatening Shout, wich allows you taunt enemies to yourself aswel as benefitting from reduced damage income. Without a cooldown, this skill could very well drain your Fury orb rather rapidly, and taunting the same opponent twice has no effect, so be wary when to use it.
Revenge should be your main proc ability, and one you should be paying attention to. Not only will it work as a powerful AoE skill, it also has healing properties, something you shouldn't shun from.
Speaking of healing, Revenge, runed War Cry, runed Rend (should you take it), combined with the healing focused passives should increase your chances of keeping your Health stable, not shunning any exterior healing from party members and Health Orbs.
I'm aware my knowledge of the actual usage of these spells is limited if not non-existante, considering i haven't tested them first hand yet, hence i'm really hoping for some positive criticism and tips on improving this build. Hopefully, it will be competent as it is, atleast up to Hell difficulty, after with i expect some major tweaks to be needed.
Cheers and may the Heavens protect you from the horrors that are about to be unleashed...
Although Ignore Pain is clearly a "tanking skill", 3 secs is not worth it imo
Those are also good alternatives!
I'm aware of the life leech issue, hence the runestone on Revenge wich increases the life leeched amount, amd Ignore Pain can also be runed to increase it's duration to 8 seconds.
The runed Leap Attack is a good solution for the mobility issue, I chose Ancient Spear because i don't like hopping between mobs and without a proper Threat measurement system you never know if the mobs are actually focused on you or about to go kill someone else, so i thought the spear would be more useful, as i've already got plenty of armor buffs on the other spells!
This one seems kind of interesting. Just cobbled it together real quick. You spend your time jumping between groups of mobs, then charging back to the group you just jumped away from. And if you are unlucky enough to have them both on CD, you frenzy till your CD is done with.
I love a build something like this. For farming, really. Stack critical, and your HoTA and TS both give you increased chances for loot drops (assuming they stack, of course). Which means more chances for rares/legendaries.
Keep "cleaving" for constant 80% slow effect and spam "sprint" every 3 sec for the 12% dodge bonus and 40% movement speed. You should be able to keep those buffs active since it's the only real fury spender. The rune for war cry can be swapped depending which ones suits best.
The taunt effect is key here. Basically, if your allies get ganked, you can "sprint" towards them and agro the mobs. Since you got no fury spender, you can either keep up the "sprint" or "demo shout" buffs depending on the situation.
Definetly for team play. The damage output is crap but it as awesome survivability, mobility and crowd control. I can see this being a very valuable build for team inferno. Even tho people are convinced that this is not WOW and that you don't have a "job", having builds which complete each other with different purposes would still improve survivability and playability imo.
I definently like the idea of building super tanky, especially for inferno. One suggestions I have is actually for a passive that you didnt mention. Since alot of your survivability comes from regaining life from the damage you do, and since you will be running in and taunting enemies, using Brawler for an extra 30% damage would be a fairly effectice choice. Run in and throw out a few cleaves. Then when you start taking damage from the guys around you, throw out rends and revenge for a bunch of life gain.