Diablo 3 Barbarian Defensive Passives Analysis Guide

Diablo 3 Barbarian Defensive Passives Analysis Guide by Sei

So I thought I’d make a list of the Survival Passives available to Barbarians, as well as show any synergies with other skills/runes/passives/gear that I could find.

Hopefully this will spread some ideas around the community, give weight to some of the lesser talked about passives, and help us all survive just a little longer in inferno.

I’ll try to keep explanations simple. Will also keep a note/suggestion spot under each passive for any gameplay or usage tips we might come up with.

This thread is comprised of the most current information available. As more item information and affixes come to light, and as abilities are adjusted it’ll be easier to draw more conclusions.

The Passives I’ll be looking at are:

– Pound of Flesh
– Nerves of Steel
– Inspiring Presence
– Bloodthirst
– Superstition
– Tough as Nails
– Relentless
– Juggernaut
– Boon of Bul-Kathos

As a side note, there’s a lot to be said for ‘the best defense is a good offense’.

Some passives such as Bloodthirst help us survive more the more damage we’re doing…
other survival abilities benefit from extra crit…and on top of that, monsters just can’t do as
much damage to us if they don’t live as long.

The purpose of this thread isn’t to go into those facets though. If a survival passive benefits from an offensive stat, I’ll point that out, but not go into all the dozens of ways we can increase that chance.

However, if people like this guide or find it useful in any way, I’ll run through the same thing with offensive passives and rune guides for each of the different effects we may want to achieve. (ie, all stuns available to a barb, all crit modifiers, all self heals, etc).

I can also take a look at synergies with other classes as well for those of you with dedicated parties.

So, let me know if this helps, and if so I’ll keep with the writeups : )

P.S. If you notice any abilities I’ve overlooked or have any feedback / corrections, please point them out so I can keep this guide as useful as possible. (Formatting can be a weak point for me as well, so if anyone likes the information and wants to contribute in how it’s arranged, please let me know).

Think of this as a beginner’s guide. We’re all beginning at this point, and as we get to know more about the game, this guide can be refined and grow along with it.

– Pound of Flesh –

Increases the chance of finding a health globe by 25% and you gain 100%
additional Life from health globes.

Armor

* + Health from globes is available at all levels

+25 health from a globe from armor would be +50 health from a globe when combined with this passive

Skills/Passives

* Hammer of the Ancients – Birthright
Critical Hits have a 10% chance to cause enemies to drop treasure or health globes.
Synergy is possible with a wide variety of gear, skills and other passives to increase crit chance

* Battlerage – Swords to Ploughshares
While under the effects of Battle Rage, Critical Hits have up to a 5% chance to cause enemies to drop additional health globes

– Nerves of Steel –

Your armor is increased by 100% of your Vitality

Armor

* Vitality is readily available on Armor at all levels
Every point in vitality gives you 10 additional HP. With this passive, it now makes each of those HP last longer through reduced damage taken.

Skills/Passives

* Most skills/passives currently change health, not vitality itself.

Note

* Armor is always useful. No matter what, if you add more armor, you’ll take less damage. At certain points in the game though, you will likely gain more defensive benefit from equal amounts of other primary stats.

For example, it takes 100 dexterity to achieve 10% dodge. If you’re sitting at 5000 armor, another 100 armor will not reduce your damage taken by 10%.

It’s likely most of us will have a lot of Vitality on our preferred gear as Barbarians, and as mentioned before more armor will always mean more survivability. The actual value of each point of armor is more fluid than solid though, so at different points in gearing, this passive will have different worths (in addition to just the amount of Vitality you have being
converted).

– Inspiring Presence –

The duration of your shouts is doubled. After using a shout you regenerate 1% of your maximum life per second for 60 seconds.

* Unlikely that multiple shouts will stack this benefit, but it’s possible.

Armor

* The more health you have, the better this regen is.
Long story short, for every additional 10 Vitality you have, you’ll automatically regen an additional 1 HP per second.

Skills/Passives

* Warcry – Invigorate
+20% armor
+10% maximum life
+ Regens Life per second on it’s own.

Warcry is one of the shouts. Most of our survival builds will incorporate at least one, but it’s important to remember you need at least one to actually get benefit from Inspiring Presence.

Note
* Good for regenerating health outside of combat, while stunned, and just as a passive increase overall.

It looks to fall short, as far as output goes, of most other regen mechanics available to Barbarians. For example, Revenge – Vengeance is Mine, does instantly 8 seconds worth of healing for every enemy hit.

The real benefit is what’s listed above. It doesn’t matter what’s going on…whether your feared, stunned, flying through the air after being hit with a knockback…you’re getting a steady 1% of your max health every second. No fury needed, no button presses, it’s just there.

– Bloodthirst –

Gain 3% of all damage done as Life.

Armor

* Anything that increases the damage we do will add benefit to this passive.
Namely for Barbarians: Strength, Attack speed, Crit chance, etc.

One affix of note is thorns. Thorns damages any enemies that hit us. A lot of survival builds will focus on not being hit at all. At the same time, Thorns + Bloodthirst is a sort of damage mitigation in and of itself. It specifically helps us more with lower damage hits.

For example: If we do 100 thorns damage, we’ll be healed for 3 through Bloodthirst. In a way that means that every time we’re hit, the damage is reduced by a flat rate of 3.

So a 1 time hit for 100 damage will in turn only really damage us for 97. 1x(100-3)
A 10 damage attack that hits us 10 times will only damage us for 70. 10x(10-3)

Against certain monster types and affixes, this could be an incredible survival tool.

Skills/Passives

* Anything that increases the damage we do will add benefit to this passive.

Again, this is too broad a spectrum to really get into for the purposes of this thread. There are a couple options that aren’t obvious though.

* Passive – Tough as Nails –
+50% Thorns damage
(Benefit detailed above)

*Skill – Ignore Pain – Contempt for Weakness
Reflects 50% of ignored damage back at the enemy

65% is ignored, so 32.5% of all enemy damage directed to you in 5 seconds is done to them. Combined with Bloodthirst this equates to just under 1% of all damage headed your way being converted to healing for 5 seconds.

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much…more of a side benefit than anything else. And if we had 0 defenses, that would be true. (65% ignored +1% healing = 66% ignored damage).

As our defenses go up though, this value increases. Still not a game changer, but it’s enough to be of note.

Example 1: You have no damage mitigation (0 armor, 0 resist, 0 anything)
Enemy hits you with a 1000 damage attack
You ignore 650 damage.
You take 350 damage.
You hit enemy for 325 damage.
You’re healed for 9.75 hit points.

End result: You end up 340.25hp lower than you were before the hit.

Example 2: You have 40% damage mitigation.
Enemy hits you with a 1000 damage attack
You ignore 650 damage
You take 210 damage.
You hit enemy for 325 damage.
You’re healed for 9.75 hit points.

End result: You end up 200.25hp lower than you were before the hit.

In Example 1, you were healed for ~3% of the damage you took.
In Example 2, you were healed for ~5% of the damage you took.

– Superstition –

Reduces all non-Physical damage by 20%.
Whenever you take damage from a ranged or elemental attack, you have a chance to gain 3 fury.

Gear

Skills/Passives

Notes

Later in the game, Int and Resist will be important for our survival as Barbarians, and archers will be a pain in the butt.
We like to be up close, some enemies like to be far away.
We like to bash things with clubs, some enemies like to breath fire.

Armor is cool in Diablo 3 because it protects us from all damage sources. As I mentioned above though, sometimes you can get a lot more benefit from 100 Int or Dex than you can from 100 more armor because of the way diminishing returns works.

This is true for every defensive stat though.
At some point, every point in Resist is going to be worth less than the point before it was. Still useful, but not as useful.

The cool thing about this passive though, is it isn’t a set number, it’s a flat percentage. As such, no matter how high your resistance is stacked already, if you take this passive the next fireball, arrow, or clump of projectile demon vomit that smashes into you will always do an additional 20% less damage.

– Tough as Nails –

Increases Armor by 25%
Thorns damage dealt increased by 50%.

Gear

* Every point of armor, and every point of strength you have will now be worth 1.25 armor.
* Every 2 points of thorns is now worth 3 points of thorns.

Skills/Passives

Any skill or passive that increases your armor will work even better when combined with this passive.

Nerves of Steel
Leap – Iron Impact
Warcry – any rune (Hardened Wrath additional benefit)

– Relentless –

While below 20% Life, all skills cost no Fury and all damage taken is reduced by 50%

Gear

*Anything that increases your life just gets better with this passive.
Namely Vitality.

Skills/Passives

* Warcry – Invigorate
+10% maximum life

* Any spammable fury spender with a survival element.
Seismic Slam – Stagger
Hammer of the Ancients – Thunderstrike
Sprint – any rune
Weapon Throw – Throwing Hammer / Stupefy

* One of the main benefits of this passive is to know you will always have the fury you need for a survival cooldown.
Wrath of the Berserker – Striding Giant increases your dodge chance to 60%…very viable survival skill. Downside (besides the long cooldown) is that it costs 50 fury.

If I’m in a situation where I really need to blow everything I have to survive, the last thing I want is to realize I don’t have the resources to do that. Those exact situations will be rare, but I guarantee that throughout the life of Diablo 3, some people will lose high level HC chars because they didn’t have enough fury when they needed it.

Notes

There’s one important factor that determines what works with this passive, and how viable it is.

That is, does the damage reduction begin as soon as your health hits 20%, or does it begin after the blow that reduces you to below 20%

You have 1000 hp.
You get hit for 900 hp.

In the first case, you would be reduced to 150 hp (-800 to reach 20%, then 50% of the rest of the damage)
In the second case, you would be reduced to 100 hp (-900 hp, 50% reduction doesn’t kick in at all)

In either case, the health you have left is effectively doubled. If it’s the first case, it means this passive gives us an effective 20% increase in health. If it’s the second, then it’s a variable benefit, between 0-20%.

– Juggernaut –

The duration of control impairing effects on you are reduced by 20%.
In addition, whenever a Stun, Fear, Immobilize or Charm is cast on you, you have a chance to recover 15% of your maximum Life.

Gear

* It’s reasonable to assume that at some point we’ll have an affix on our gear that does a similar thing…reducing the duration of time when we’re not in control of our character. It remains to be seen how these effects would stack.
* Any increase in life would result in a larger heal

Skills/Passives

* Any increase in life would result in a larger heal

Notes

As we run into monsters with more and more affixes, the time we spend out of control will increase dramatically.

Since this is only going to happen in situations where our character is already in danger, then any time we can cut down on the effect is going to be of great worth.

The chance on the healing proc will help decide the worth of this passive.

(The reduction in time is already of tremendous benefit, and a 15% heal is huge…especially when you’re already in a situation where you can’t control your character. Relying on random procs can lead to a lot of trouble though. We’ll see if this is better, or if it’s better to take a different passive and blow some cooldowns when the effect wears off).

– Boon of Bul-Kathos –

The cooldown on your Earthquake, Call of the Ancients, and Wrath of the Berserker skills is reduced by 30 seconds.

Notes:

This is a tough one to quantify as a defensive passive, but I think it deserves note.

Wrath of the Berserker increases your dodge chance by 20% (60% with Striding Giant).

Earthquake – Aftershocks includes a knockback effect

Call of the Ancients is basically a pet effect (just don’t tell the ancients they were referred to as pets).

All three abilities related to this passive are very powerful, and can be used to save your life. Reducing their cooldown by 30 seconds just means you can take advantage of that much more often.

Related Articles

1 Response

  1. Rustanator says:

    Any updates on this would be great. Like if Juggernaut turn out to proc enough to make it worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.