Diablo® III

Barbarian Mechanics

6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697

This is aimed at theorycrafters. If that's not you, then feel free to move along.

This is a discussion of Barbarian mechanics. Much of this is still theory, and has not had vigorous in-game verification. This is as accurate as I can reasonably make it, but if in-game evidence suggests otherwise, go with in-game evidence.

This is also relatively abstract, and I make many simplifying assumptions mostly for my own sanity. "Real world" considerations such as AoE, mobility, and crowd control are valid issues that I will do my best to consider, but I'm only human.

Taking damage, using a fury generator or using an auto attack generates fury. However, you must actually hit something to get the fury. Leaping into nothing gets no fury. Environmental targets do count. Breaking the scenery will give you fury.

Fury does not immediately start generating. After hitting something, fury remains locked for about 5 seconds and then starts to degenerate. Again, hitting the scenery will keep the fury from degenerating.


To the best of my knowledge, damage is calculated as such:

(Weapon Damage + Static Modifiers) * (1 + %Str) * (Ability Modifier)

1 Strength = 1% additional damage.

For example, a sword hits for 8-12 at 1.0 attacks/second. The item will list 10 DPS. You have 50 strength. You hit something with Bash unglyphed.

Low Dmg = 8 * (1.50 Str) * (1.50 Bash) = 18
High Dmg = 8 * (1.50 Str) * (1.50 Bash) = 27
Avg = 22.5
Attack speed = 1.0 Attacks/Sec

In the future, I will always use average for simplicity.

Now let's say your sword now has +5 fire damage. +Dmg on other gear like a ring works the same way. The calculation is now
(10 base + 5 Fire)*(1.5 Str)*(1.5 Bash) = 33.75

What I don't know is how much of that damage is fire, and how much of that damage is physical. I currently assume it's 22.5 physical and 11.25 fire, matching the original proportions. This may be significant if monsters have elemental resistances and armor.

Now here's what I don't know, passive bonuses and % damage on items. In the previous example, lets glyph weapon mastery. We now deal 15% extra damage from swords.

There are 2 cases:
(10 Base + 5 Fire)*(1.5 Str)*(1.5 BasH + .15 Mastery) = 37.125
(10 Base + 5 Fire)*(1.5 Str)*(1.5 BasH)*(1.15 Mastery) = 38.8125

The first case is how Diablo 2 worked. The second case is what we hope is true. A similiar problem applies to %dmg on items. I'm not sure where the order of operation of that goes. There's probably different behavior if it's on the weapon or on something like a ring. I don't know if off-weapon % dmg exists in Diablo 3.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 5/22/2012 5:38 PM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
When dual wielding, your character gains 15% attack speed bonus, and alternates hands.

As a reminder, 15% attack speed means 15% more attacks, not 15% reduction in time of attacks. If you come from WoW, this is the same as haste. So 100% increased attack speed means 2x attacks, not 0 attack time. I think this is why Blizzard lists weapons as attacks per second instead of time per attack.

The 1.0 attacks/sec sword above would have 1.15 attacks/sec or an attack speed of 86.96 sec.

This alternating system of attacks only applies to Auto-Attack, Bash, Cleave, Frenzy, and Whirlwind. I'm not actually sure if WW alternates, but I'm pretty sure it does.

EDIT: Hammer of the ancients alternates. This may suggest that other abilities do as well.

This means your main hand should have the largest average damage, not the highest DPS.

It also means, if the better weapon is 35.3% stronger than the worse weapon, it's better to sword and shield even for damage purposes.

A = DPS of weapon 1
B = DPS of weapon 2
Dual Wield DPS = 1.15*(A+B)/2

Breakpoint when:
1.15*(A+B)/2 = A

Do Algebra

1.353*B = A

Or just, you know, equip either set and check your character sheet.


If a 2 Hander is exactly 15% more DPS than two identical 1 Handers dual wielded, single target sustained DPS is identical. For example, a barbarian cleaves 4 times then hits Hammer of the Ancients on a single stationary target (remember what I said about simplifying assumptions for sanity?)

Barbarian has 100 strength.
1H weapon - 10 Damage, 1.0 Attack/sec - 10 DPS, with Dual wield bonus, becomes 1.15 attack/sec
4 Cleaves, 1 Hammer of the Ancients
Total Dmg = 136
Total Time = 4.348 sec
Net DPS = 31.3

2Hander - 15 Damage, 0.767 Attack/Sec - 11.5 DPS
4 Cleaves, 1 Hammer of the Ancients
Total Dmg = 204
Total Time = 6.52 sec
Net DPS = 31.3

Now, are 2Handers exactly 15% better than 1Handers? While leveling, this is hard to say, since item tiers unlock at weird levels. At the top end, the Arch Axe (top tier white 1H axe) has an average dps of 280.45. The Decapitator (top tier white 2H axe) has an average DPS of 566. This would suggest that 2H has higher dps at end game.

Of course that doesn't mean jack squat since we're going to be using magic items anyways. A big chunk of dps on a weapon comes from magic modifiers. As far as I'm aware, 1H and 2H weapons have access to the same magical modifiers. So theoretically, dual wielding should give more stats.

Regarding itemization, items on a weapon that affect attack speed and damage directly, only apply to that weapon. I believe italso applies to any modifiers that are "On Hit". If the D2 system is still in place, this also includes life leech. This needs verification.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 6/12/2012 9:11 AM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697

Let's go back to the assumption that 2H weapons have 15% more dps than 1H, but are slower, so that DW and 2H are back in line for comparative purposes.

For many abilities, the attack animation is dependent on weapon speed. For WoW folk, this is being locked out by the GCD. In D3, this also relates to survivability. In general, we can't move while the attack animation is running. So a big slow 2H is going to be swinging Hammer of the Ancients, and unable to move, for longer than someone that DW.

I believe this applies to the following abilities:
Hammer of the Ancients
Seismic Slam
Weapon Throw
Whirlwind (more on this later)

Rend - This is a special case. Attack speed definitely affects the animation. I THINK, but this isn't confirmed that base weapon speed doesn't affect the damage. IAS however should increase the damage.

This doesn't cover all abilities. Other abilities seem to have a fixed attack animation, independent of weapon speed. They also tend to be limited by cooldown, not rage. Since the attack animations don't take weapon speed into account, we might as well hit as hard as possible. That's achieved by using a 2H.

I believes this applies to the following abilities:
Ground Stomp (if runed to deal dmg)
Ancient Spear
Furious Charge

I believe that Call of the Ancients has the same activation animation regardless of weapon, but I don't know how weapon speed affects how quickly the ancients themselves attack.

The following abilities can be activated at any time, even in the middle of an attack animation:
Battle Rage
War Cry
Wrath of the Berserker
Threatening Shout (I think)


In general, Bash has the best rage generation. Frenzy has the best single target DPS. Cleave has the best AoE DPS. Once cleave hits 2+ targets, it deals the most damage.

For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to assume that frenzy is running at 5 stacks. This may not be feasible while kiting. In such cases, bash or cleave become better.

For discussion purposes, I measure time in standard attack time. This is the time it would take to make an auto-attack. It makes things easy to talk about without going into the specifics of gear.

As a comparison:
Ability Fury/Standard Attack Time Damage/Standard Attack Time
Bash 6 150%
Cleave 5.25 120%
Frenzy 5 175%

There is a special case for comparing bash/frenzy, that's when trying to stunlock a single target with Bash/Clobber or Frenzy/Smite. Obviously, it's best to dual wield. This provides the most stuns/time. In general, it looks like from nightmare forward, bosses either are totally immune to Stun, or stun runs into some kind of diminishing return. The stun works once, then the boss is stunned for a shorter time the next time, then totally immune to stuns for a while, the susceptible to stuns some time later. This needs in game verification.

Statistically, both Bash/Clobber and Frenzy/Smite will have the same number of stuns/time.

Bash: .35 Stuns/Standard Attack Time

Frenzy: .2*1.75 = .35 Stuns/Standard Attack Time.

This in the end this means Bash will generate more Fury, but frenzy will deal more damage. Take your pick.

Fury generation can flip between bash and frenzy when Into the Fray is runed on Battle Rage. This run causes every crit generates 15 fury. Frenzy hits faster, so will crit more.

C = crit chance. Ex. 15% crit = 0.15

Bash Fury/Standard Attack Time
6 + C*15

Frenzy Fury/Standard Attack Time
(3 + C*15)*1.75 = 5.25 + 26.25C

6 + C*15 = 5.25 + 26.25*C

So under 6.667% crit, Bash continues to generate more fury. Above that Frenzy generates more fury. Again, this is under maximum frenzy stacks, and Battle Rage has Into the Fray runed.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 6/12/2012 9:13 AM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697

As best I understand, the way whirlwind works is as follows. In the time it would take to make a single attack, whirlwind will hit 3 times for a total of 110% damage. This will cost 16 fury. I believe WW alternates weapons, but I don't know for sure. It feels like it benefits from the 15% attack speed bonus of WW, but I'd have to record some movies of gameplay to verify.

This means that for straight, single target DPS, whirlwind is a loss of DPS. Cleave, bash and frenzy will all deal more dps. So when does whirlwind become useful?

AoE, mobility and procs/crits.

The AoE and mobility are relatively straight forward. You can move through mobs, and you have a large area of attack. I think 2H weapons cover a larger area than 1H weapons, even dual wielding, but I don't know for sure.

As far as I'm aware, there are no Barbarian abilities that proc, that have internal cooldowns. WW is consequently the fastest hitting Barbarian ability in game. This means more procs and more crits. This allows for synergy with things like Bloodshed/Into the Fray runes for Battle Rage and Slaughter/Thrive on Chaos runes for Wrath of the Berserker.

This includes +life on hit. Every hit will add life. However, life on hit is reduced to about 12-13% for whirlwind.

There are some minor quirks to abilities that aren't listed in the tooltips. I'm listing them here.

Frenzy's attack speed bonus only applies to Frenzy. I've brought my stacks up to 5, starting WWing and never noticed a change in the rate of attack after it fell off.

Frenzy's damage bonus from Maniac DOES apply to other abilities.

Does Birthright need to be a killing blow and a crit to proc? I'm not really sure.

It's not always clear what cliffs can and can't be leapt across. It seems like there needs to be a crack in the fencing around the edge and the cliff can't be very high.

Unlike Furious Charge, you cannot break the jail effect.

It's possible to yank foes up and down cliffs. "Big" enemies cannot be pulled.

The way rage flip works is it takes the distance from you to your target, and places the target the same distance behind you. This can be used to "fish" enemies out of large packs.

Furious charge can break the Jail debuff. Leap will not.

You will still take damage along your charge. Charging through fire, laser beams and poison will kill you. However, it looks like you will always complete the charge and THEN die. I don't know if this means its possible to make a last minute heal to survive.

Dread Bomb completely changes the way this ability works. There is a significantly longer animation and the flight path now arcs into the air. This means there is a delay in landing, and the projectile cannot be intercepted by mobs along the way.

Gangway does not allow for true movement through mobs like WW, but instead includes a knockback.

Under Wrath of the Berserker, you are immune to CC.

Regarding Thrive on Chaos, if you are rage capped, "gaining" additional rage will not extend the duration. You must dump your rage.

Using multiple shouts will not increase your life regeneration.

Stuff I think I know, but I'm not sure about
You can block and dodge any kind of attack, even standing in fire. I assume block damage reduction is calculated last, after all other damage reduction sources.

See this post for effective health calculations: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149150485
This discusses how Effective Health is linear with resistance and armor.

I assume all damage reduction sources multiply. For example 20% armor and 50% resistance means 40% damage taken. I assume superstition multiplies.

I also assume resistance is a flat damage reduction, not RNG reduction like WoW.


Is this is single throw hit table or double throw? Do we roll 1-100, remove dodge and block % to determine white hit chance? Or do we say dodge first, of the dodged attacks, and then block those? Multiply or add the %'s?

When dodging, it looks like there's a brief animation where barbarians sway to the side and can't do anything. I noticed this as a brief pause is my frenzy chain. Is this just me or is this like D2 where we can get dodge "stunned"? Do blocks have this same block animation?

Is there a movement penalty to dodge/block while moving like in Diablo 2? Or is this like WoW where movement doesn't matter?
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 6/12/2012 9:15 AM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
Frenzy must make at least 2 hits after reaching 5 stacks to beat Bash single target DPS.
x - weapon damage
t - base weapon attack speed in seconds
n - additional attacks once 5 stacks is reached

Baseline Frenzy DPS:
(5*1.1*x + n*x) / (t + t/1.15 + t/1.3 + t/1.45 + t/1.6 + n*t/1.75)

Baseline Bash DPS:

Solve for n
1.5*x/t = (5*1.1*x + 1.1*n*x) / (t + t/1.15 + t/1.3 + t/1.45 + t/1.6 + n*t/1.75)

Note that x/t drops out

1.5 = (5.5 + 1.1*n) / (3.9534 + 0.5714*n)
5.9301 + .85714n = 5.5 + 1.1*n
0.4301 = .24286 * n
n = 1.771

or n=2 attacks to do a bit better than break even

At max stacks, smite Frenzy has equal stun rate to clobber bash. But clobber doesn't have ramp up. See above for DPS comparison.
Bash Stuns/Attack Time = .35 / t
Frenzy @ 5 stacks = .20 / (t/1.75) = .35/t

Broadsweep cleave will always do more AoE damage.
2 targets:
Broad Sweep
1.56x/t * 2 = 3.12x/t

Sidearm max stacks:
(1.1 + .25*1.1)x / [t/(1.75)] = 2.40625x/t

For single target, Frenzy must make 3 attacks at max stacks to match broad sweep.
EDIT: Unfortunately, this math assumed that Sidearm could not hit the primary target. It occasionally does. This invalidates the math here.
1.53*x/t = (5*1.1*x + 1.1*n*x) / (t + t/1.15 + t/1.3 + t/1.45 + t/1.6 + n*t/1.75)
6.048702 + .87424n = 5.5 + 1.1n
.548702 = .22576n
n = 2.4305

For single target, Maniac must make 9 attacks at max stacks to beat Reverberation.
Reverberation vs. Maniac. Reverberation will hit harder than baseline Frenzy.
Reverberation DPS = (1.5+.22*2)x/t = 1.94x/t

Baseline Frenzy DPS @ 5 stacks = 1.925x/t

(1.1x + 1.1*1.04x + 1.1*1.08x + 1.1*1.12x + 1.1*1.16 + 1.2*1.1*n*x) / (t + t/1.15 + t/1.3 + t/1.45 + t/1.6 + n*t/1.75)
(5.94x + 1.32nx) / (3.9534 + 0.5714*n)t

1.94x/t = (5.94x + 1.32nx) / (3.9534 + 0.5714*n)t

7.669596 + 1.108516n = 5.94 + 1.32n
1.729596 = 0.211484 n
n = 8.17915106
n = 9 attacks
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 6/12/2012 9:03 AM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697

I'm not really sure where else to put this stuff, so it goes here.

The waller modifier is very interesting because it has some strange mechanics. First of all, you can melee THROUGH a wall, while enemies cannot. This can make waller a helpful modifier.

Next, mortars can NOT pass through walls. So mortar+waller creates interesting situations. Standing in melee, next to a wall, and with the mortar source on the same side of the wall as you will kill you. The monster will attempt to mortar far away, but the mortars will stop at the wall and fall on your head.

The reverse applies. While on the opposite side of the wall as the mortar, the mortar will stop at the wall and not hit you. You can punch through the wall at the monster completely safe.


Your attack range is significantly larger than expected. We can melee something about 1 body away. If you click on a monster to melee them, you will run right up to them and melee.

If you hold shift and attack, you will stay in position. The most obvious use for this is when a plague goes down. Run out a little bit and you can usually hit the monster in the middle with shift+attack.

I have not run a comparison of 2H vs 1H weapon range.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 6/12/2012 9:22 AM PDT
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
Correction: Dread Bomb on Weapon Throw is still affected by weapon speed.
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87 Worgen Hunter
Posts: 125
Do you know anything about how lifesteal works in Inferno, and how much % of the 'life on hit' effect contributes for each of these WW hits.
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Excellent thread, thank you for posting this!
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Posts: 2,482
Nice thread. To answer your question about armor "diminishing returns", read this (with graphs) : http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149150485

The "diminishing curve" is a fallacy because you're looking at vitality vs armor, but vitality/hp is not the same as "effective health" (how many hits you can take before you die).

The graph of armor/resists vs. effective health is linear, so keep stacking it.

We're not 100% sure of interaction armor:resists, but it's not additive.

So 50% dr + 50% resist = 75% total damage reduction (this is current thought).

From those graphs it looks like 80% dr/resists is when the graph starts slowing down a lot and at 90% dr/resists the graph goes flat because at that point your effective health skyrockets.

80% dr + 80% resists (if this is how it works) will yield a total of 96% damage reduction.

90% dr + 90% resists = 99% damage reduction but I don't think this is possible with in-game gear possibilities.
Edited by Mikhail#1367 on 5/23/2012 9:22 AM PDT
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Posts: 2
Great job, pal!
I love this thread!
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
Actually, it turns out that Hammer of the Ancients DOES alternate weapons when dual wielding. I did not expect this. Other abilities may alternate as well.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 5/23/2012 4:30 PM PDT
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Posts: 181
I think something you should keep in mind or mention, is that Two Handed weapons shine with the abilities that do %weapon damage. For example, Revenge does 220% weapon damage. Well, that means a 2 handed revenge is nearly twice as effective than a dual handed revenge. Or, Earthquake is EXTREMELY more effective.
(I think you know which weapon/builds I use)
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
Minor update regarding sprint mechanics. Can be activated at any time, and gangway doesn't seem to allow true movement through mobs like WW, but instead adds a knockback.
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"Dodge works on basically everything. You can dodge melee hits, missiles, spells, aoe hits, passive damage from environment, and so on."

Source: http://www.clicktoloot.com/p/combat.html
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Posts: 236
Love the post but a few errors (or at least my experience does not feel this way. hard to do statistical testing):

Frenzy's speed affects Weapon Throw and Siesmic Slam. I have never tried WW, but the other two become insane for the 2 seconds after Frenzy.

Frenzy's stunlock affects bosses that are small and medium sized (not sure if it affects them the same). There is no diminishing returns in repeatedly stunning them that I've noticed, but the stun time is heavily cut for elites in inferno. I cannot be 100% sure about this, but it sure feels that way.

Leap jumps over walls. It's obvious, but when you list Charge's effect on Jailer, I figure it's only fair to mention leap's advantage vs CC as well.
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I have a EHP problem to share, feel free to attempt:

It is known that to maximize EHP, one has to balance all the damage reduction stats; armor/resist/dodge/blocks. When it comes to damage calculation order, I believe it goes something like this:

1) Check for dodge -> if succesful = no dmg
2) Check for block -> if successful, apply all other DR before blocking
3) Apply all other DR, ie armor/resists

The question is this, does the mechanic work like WoW where dodge chance and block chance are additive. Say you have a listed 15% dodge (from char sheet) and total of 40% block, (stormshield + justice lantern), will it add up to 55% chance to either block/dodge.

Noting here that if the dmg is low enough for a full block, a block can be treated as a dodge, hence 55% dodge. Unlike many other dmg reduction stats armor/resist/+life%/%DR from melee, these are multiplicative effects, ie Armor*resist*life*%DR(melee)*HP

Additive effects are better than multiplicative effects? Why? If you take an extreme example, say a monk with 40% dodge and 40% block, additively he gets a 80%DR from it. A multiplicative effect only grants 64%DR. 80%DR is 500% compared to 278% from 64% and that difference is almost double.

Something to abuse on or what?
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6 Troll Shaman
Posts: 697
Frenzy's speed affects Weapon Throw and Siesmic Slam. I have never tried WW, but the other two become insane for the 2 seconds after Frenzy.

I just tested this in game, I did not notice any difference in speed. I tested this by getting a big 2H, since its the slowest and should have the biggest noticable difference. I ramped up to 5 stacks of frenzy and spammed the ability. The ability did not slow down after Frenzy fell off.

Can you check again? It would be interesting if there are abilities that Frenzy helps.

I'm not sure if D3 uses a single throw hit table like WoW, or a double throw. My gut is double throw, otherwise monks with shields could abuse the crap out of it. But it's hard to say.

My gut also says the block value is much higher than listed in the tooltip.


Also, since Resistance and Armor is linear with EH, it may be better to think in terms of increase in effective health instead of damage reduction.

Against lvl 63 mobs:
1 armor = .031746% Effective Health increase
1 resistance = .31746% Effective Health increase

And these effects multiply.
Edited by Dirack#1659 on 5/26/2012 7:11 AM PDT
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05/26/2012 07:07 AMPosted by Lylthe
Frenzy's speed affects Weapon Throw and Siesmic Slam. I have never tried WW, but the other two become insane for the 2 seconds after Frenzy.

I do not belive this is the case either.
If you look under your stats nothing changes if its just frenzy, speed is the same, dmg is the same.
If you rune the dmg on stack, stats does change.

Im pretty sure frenzy only buff's frenzy in speed.
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