In general, there are two distinct sets of tactics for Barbarians. One for 2-handed or 2-Weapon fighters, and another for DR Tanks.
2-handed or 2-weapon fighting barbarians generally have one role in a party - dish out as much raw damage as possible while trying to not take too much themselves.
As such, there is really only a few things to keep in mind when playing the barbarian:
- Know your foes - Know which foes hit hardest, which cast damaging spells, which can heal other enemies. Try to learn to recognize most of the mobs by sight without having to tab over them and read their description.
- Prioritize the threats - Know which mobs have to be taken out first. In general, mobs should be killed in this order:
- Healers - Enemy spell casters have unlimited mana, and these guys can just keep throwing heals, undoing all the hard work you've been putting into damaging the other mobs. Get rid of these guys first.
- Arcane Casters - With barbarian hit points, you can laugh at a disintegration ray. But, not two of them. And fear can stop you completely in your tracks. Luckily, they are usually physically weak and go down quickly once you target them.
- Mobs that trip - Mobs seem to have an insanely easy time tripping players. And while a high balance score will get you back up quickly, it is best to not go down at all.
- Trash mobs - If there are 6 hobgoblins and one giant - Go for the trash mobs first. They can still get in a lucky strike and do some damage, but you can mow them down a lot quicker than the big mob. So knock them out quickly and then focus on the big guy
- Big melee mobs - Once you've got the majority of the distractions out of the way, the party can gang up him.
- Many players prefer to reverse number 5 and 4, and perhaps even make the big mob number 3. And, that is the correct order for the main tanks of the party (usually fighters and paladins). However, there are a couple advantages to the order listed above for the Barbarians.
- First thing you want to do is get rid of any mobs that can slow down your DPS. If you're commanded, feared, or tripped, your priorities don't matter - you aren't hitting anything
- Getting rid of the trash mobs first keeps them from straying over to the casters in the party and taking swings at them when they set up a firewall or throw some other spell to attract attention
- Having the Barbarian get rid of the trash mobs first also gives the party's main tanks time to engage the big mob and get its attention. They have more armor to withstand the attacks, so give them time to get the aggro before jumping in.
- Follow the tank - Ideally the party should have a main tank that is NOT the barbarian. Tanks are meant for drawing aggro and soaking damage. That is not the role of the damage-dealing barbarian. Let the tanks get aggro by whatever method they prefer - intimidation, going into a room first, getting a swing or two on a mob before anyone else, etc. Letting them get the aggro first will save greatly on party resources since they have the AC to avoid damage, you don't.
- This is assuming that the other tank is an AC tank, which are rather rare. Otherwise, your HP makes you better suited for tanking than most other tanks.
- Carry your own supplies - The Barbarian equipment page goes into details, but make sure you have a supply of healing potions, cure blindness potions, remove curse potions, lesser restoration potions, etc.
- Use your rage - You will deal a LOT more damage when raged than you will when not. Learn how to pace your rages and rate of movement so that you are raged for as many of the important fights as possible. Note: This does not mean hit the rage button and run as fast as possible into every mob you can find. Sometimes it is better to let your rage lapse if the party needs a moment to recover from the last fight.
All of the rules above for DPS barbarians apply to DR tanks, with a couple of additions.
- Prioritization of mobs is not nearly as important for you, especially after the casters are dead. Your intimidate will grab the aggro of everything around, regardless of their threat level.
- Your damage will be minimal compared to other barbarians. Do not worry about others commenting on your strategies or kill-count if they do not understand how a tank works. Your goal is to maximize the party dps, even if that means lowering your own personal dps.
- Remember that your damage reduction (DR) will not help against damage done by spells. Your intimidate can grab their attention, but nothing but other party members buffs will protect you from their damage. Make sure the rest of the party is going after them first.
- Try to get in amongst the mobs before they aggro on the rest of the party - gather as many of them around you as you can before intimidating. Intimidate has a limited range and you don't want to leave any out if possible.
- Any chokepoint for mobs is a good place as well, if you can get them bunched up in a doorway and then intimidate, you should get most of them. Odds are any you miss will be in the back of the crows and unable to reach the party anyways because they can't get by the ones in front.
- Let the party know their priorities should be casters, mobs that escaped intimidation, and then the usual order.
- You should be the primary tank, so make sure you're communicating with the party what you're planning on doing. Make sure to let them know what you would like them to be doing if it is something they may not normally do in the normal course of running their character.