The Diablo 4 team just unveiled a series of changes designed to address player feedback from the recent beta. While many of the changes are significant, some of the most notable changes affect Diablo 4‘s worst class: the Barbarian.
The Barbarian looked promising in the early days of the Diablo 4 beta. It was a very beginner-friendly class that offered a simple melee playstyle, a lot of defensive tools, and a ton of stats. In Diablo 4′s opening stages, the Barbarian felt like one of your best overall class choices.
As you played more of the game, though, you probably realized Barbarians suffer from some pretty significant deficiencies. Most notably, their slow movement speeds and struggles with quickly closing gaps made many boss fights more difficult than they should be. Boss fights often left Barbarians stuck in damage zones with woefully ineffective ways to deal significant damage to single targets. Speccing your character into boss fights often forced you to suffer during other parts of the game that required you to battle larger groups of enemies, which isn’t a problem a lot of other classes had to quite the same degree.
Some fans argued that Barbarians would probably get better once more of their high-end Legendary gear and class-specific systems became available. That’s almost certainly true, but it seems the Diablo 4 team isn’t waiting that long to give Barbarians a little help.
The latest Diablo 4 update grants Barbarians a whopping 10% passive damage reduction effect regardless of build, skills, or gear. Some damage reduction passives have been reduced to make up for that change, but I doubt those bonuses would have been quite as powerful as that universal defensive buff.
It gets better. Barbarians’ Whirlwind skill now also deals “more damage and consumes more Fury.” The exact numbers haven’t been revealed, but don’t read too much into that downside. It was always fairly easy to generate Fury with Whirlwind, but generating damage (especially against single targets) was a bigger problem. Speaking of skills, Barbarian’s Double Swing Skill Enhancement now “refunds its full Fury cost when used on Stunned or Knocked Down enemies.” Given that some other changes improved the effectiveness of such abilities during fights, that could give Barbarians another way to stand up for themselves during Elite and Boss encounters.
Furthermore, the update notes that “Bosses such as T’chort, Malnok, Vhenard, and others were reevaluated for mele character difficulty, resulting in changes to attacks and fight mechanics” and that all classes should now “have access to sufficient skills that remove control impairing effects.” Those are both big buffs to Barbarians, even if the patch notes don’t describe them as such.
In other class news, Druids (another underperforming beta class) also got some massive buffs to their Companion Skills, Ultimates, and transformation abilities. Necromancers and Mages got hit pretty hard with the nerf hammer, as their most effective abilities (Corpse Explosion and Chain Lightning, respectively) are now way less effective. Rogues actually got a couple of nice buffs, which is interesting given that they were pretty powerful to begin with.
Regardless, these updates are encouraging. The Diablo 4 team seems to want you to play the game for quite a long time, and quick response updates like this one suggest they’re committed to addressing issues as they come up. At the very least, the choice of which class to play when Diablo 4 launches on June 6 just got a little more difficult.