It’s safe to say that I’m absolutely enamored with Diablo 4, having easily put over 200 hours into it so far. Uncharacteristically, my main class to date has been the Druid, and for my build I’ve settled on being an Earth Bear, pounding enemies with rocky growths from afar before obliterating whole groups of them with the shockwaves caused by my powerful Pulverize ability. As much fun as it is, however, I knew I’d end up rolling a Barbarian at some point.
There’s nothing quite like going toe-to-toe with hordes of enemies as a Barbarian in the Diablo series, hacking and slashing until there’s just demonic corpses littering the floor. It was in Diablo 3, however, that I discovered the joy of the Whirlwind Barbarian build. Pair the Wrath of the Wastes and Bul Kathos’ Oath sets, and you were on your way to having a build that decimated your foes with ease. Add further items into the mix such as the legendary Skull Grasp rings and some choice Passives, and you had one of the best builds that Diablo 3 had to offer.
With your Fury automatically replenishing, you could pretty much keep Whirlwind up forever. Even better, its damage output was astonishing: you could tear anything apart in a matter of seconds, and dart between packs at considerable speed. And so of course, after levelling up my new Barbarian in Diablo 4 a bit, I just had to try and replicate the build so I could continue my wonderful spinning adventures. Imagine my disappointment, then, when I discovered that the whirlwind build in Diablo 4 is rather dull.
It’s not all that hard putting together a Whirlwind Barbarian in Diablo 4, but the payoff just isn’t quite there. The main trouble is that it’s much harder to keep your Fury topped up, and so you need to make use of as many Aspects, Paragon Board Glyphs and Legendary Nodes as you can that will boost your Fury generation. Even then, however, you can’t expect to Whirlwind across the map with reckless abandon. If there are no enemies around, you’ll wind come grinding to a halt eventually.
What’s worse, though, is just how slow you move when using Whirlwind – it makes the build just not as exciting as it should be. Pair that with an unimpressive damage output, and you have a build that has a lot of potential but is simply boring to use. Spinning around maps in Diablo 3 was pretty mindless, sure, but the reward was seeing everything melt with ease before you as you danced around like a whirling dervish. You just can’t recreate that in Diablo 4.
For now, then, I’ve put my days of being a Whirlwind Barbarian behind me. Instead, I’m having much more fun charging headfirst into groups of enemies with Frenzy, building up Fury before unleashing a mighty blow with Hammer of the Ancients. Even better, I can add some other skills into the mix, too, such as Leap, which you can’t do with the Whirlwind build thanks to it pretty much requiring you have all three shouts in your action bar. More importantly, I feel much more involved in the action – I’m not simply holding down the Whirlwind button and hoping for success.
Will I try the Whirlwind build again at some point? Maybe, once I’ve acquired yet more Paragon Points and can make the build pop even more. Especially so if new Aspects or Uniques are introduced that further tweak the build as well. Until then, however, while the Barbarian Whirlwind build is viable in Diablo 4, it’s just not exciting enough anymore to make it my priority.