It is confirmed that the male Barbarian is not the same Barbarian featured in Diablo II. The Barbarian is depicted as an aging old man with a white beard and graying locks, though possessing a trademark muscular structure typical of the Barbarian.
In addition to the male Barbarian, the players will be able to choose a female version of the character. She is depicted as a muscular woman with striking orange hair. Whether she has a similar backstory as the male Barbarian is not known at the moment.
In my journey to catalogue the various denizens, civilizations, and fauna of our world, I have traveled far and wide, but never before have I been struck with such dismay as when standing upon the ramparts of the ancient fortress of Bastion's Keep. I came to see firsthand the barbarians, those near-legendary, immense, relentless, dual-wielding furies of combat dwelling upon their sacred Mount Arreat.
Instead, I stand here looking at a mountain that has been torn asunder by some extraordinary force. The sight, I must confess, is incomprehensible. Yet what I see before me cannot be denied. What truly happened here? Where are those majestic warriors of old?
Though they were once misunderstood as simple, bloodthirsty invaders, the long and noble history of these proud people is now rightly acknowledged. And therein lies the greater tragedy here, for those of us familiar with the nobility of the barbarians remember too what they call their "vigil", the concept that lay at the very heart of their culture. The barbarians consider it their sworn duty to protect Mount Arreat and the mysterious object within. They believe that if they fail to uphold their duty to the great mount, or are not given a proper burial upon its slopes, they will be denied a true warrior's death, and their spirits shall roam the land without honor for all eternity. If there are any barbarians left alive, they must truly be without hope. Perhaps this is the genesis of the rumors of monstrous things reported to resemble the barbarians in size and ferocity, but that are in reality nothing more than unreasoning, inhuman beasts. Could the destruction of not only their home but also their very beliefs have actually brought this magnificent race so low? - Abd al-Hazir
The D3 Barbarian's skills are very similar to the Template:2 from Diablo II, only much more primal, savage and in a way spiritual. Some of the crowd-control skills like Grim Ward are still missing but it can be seen that the skill trees are divided into three distinct play-styles (read builds) with the Juggernaut being especially liked by the fanbase because of the overall coolness of the name as well as the great variety of all-purpose skills in the tree.
Unlike their previous incarnations, the Barbarian now uses Fury and Stamina (the Barbarian equivalent of Mana) for their skills. These new mechanics are detailed below.
The Barbarian's three skill trees are Berserker, Juggernaut, and Battlemaster. Only a few skills have been confirmed.
Skills seen as of Blizzcon09.
New Skill Mechanics
It may be noted that in the original gameplay video, the Barbarian had a different colored Mana orb in the interface when compared with the blue orb of the Witch Doctor's, which was the same color as the Diablo II orb. The Barbarian's orb was more greenish-blue than a perfect blue color. In BlizzCon, when player's actually got to play the Barbarian, it was found that the Barbarian's mana was in fact, Stamina, the new energy type that leads us to believe that different classes may have different energy sources, but the Witch Doctor has Mana as his energy source.
It may also be noted that the Diablo III Barbarian does not use Stamina for some of his more powerful skills, instead depending on another type of primal energy source called Template:3 as seen in the Skill descriptions. Fury, it seems, is very similar to Rage, the Warrior energy source from World of Warcraft. From BlizzCon's demo, it is clear that Stamina is the new Barbarian mana while Fury is a new expendable type of energy that increases as you kill monsters and rapidly decreases when the Barbarian is not killing anything. This brings a whole new dimension to gameplay that was introduced partially in the Assassin from Diablo II: Lord of Destruction in the form of Attack Charges that increased the power and effects of her Martial Arts. This has been greatly expanded so that some of the Barbarian's skills can only be used when he has gained enough Fury by decimating the opposition. And to decimate the opposition, the Barbarian kills monsters and with enough Fury, he invokes powerful Template:3s and goes into a Berserk rampage leading to more decimation which makes the Barbarian an exponentially powerful character in the game. It remains to be seen whether other classes have similar or different mechanics like this that make them unique with respect to each other.
The confirmed energy sources are:
- Barbarian - Fury
- Wizard - Arcane Energy
- Witch Doctor - Mana
- Monk - Spirit
- Demon Hunter - Hatred, Discipline