All classes in Diablo 4 are unique, but Barbarians have their own special Arsenal mechanic, which allows you to wield four weapons at once (and swap between them on the fly). This is thematically pretty cool, but it also impacts the Barbarian playstyle. In fact, you can even assign certain skills to only use a certain weapon type, allowing you to take advantage of some unique passives and abilities.
In this Diablo 4 guide, we’ll teach you how to manually make skills switch weapons while using the Barbarian.
How to switch weapons as a Barbarian
Before we get into why you want to switch your Barbarians’ weapons, let’s get into how. This is one of those complex game systems that’s actually very easy to use ... as long as you stumble upon it and discover that it’s there, as it’s just as easy to miss.
When you go to the skill assignment menu (which you can get to via the skill tree), you’ll be able to move around any of the skills you’ve invested in on your bar. But when you hover over the skill you’re trying to assign, you’ll see a special, Barbarian-only window that tells you which of your weapons your attack will use: your bludgeoning two-hander, your slashing two-hander, or your dual-wielding one-handed weapons.
Normally, the game will do the math for you and automatically choose the weapon that would do the highest damage. But if you want to choose for yourself, you’ll see a prompt in the menu to “cycle weapon” (X on PlayStation and the mouse wheel on PC). When you do this, you should see your “Arsenal Selection” rotate between the three options.
This assignment will only affect the skill you changed it on and will stay that way until you change it back.
Why you’d want to switch weapons
Now if you’re sitting there thinking, If the game does the math for me, why would I ever change my weapon manually? we can’t really blame you. Blasting through enemies as efficiently as possible is kinda the point of Diablo 4. However, there are some passive skills that only work when using certain weapon types.
For example, very early in the Barbarian skill tree, you can invest in the Endless Fury passive, which reads: “Basic Skills generate more Fury [your resource] when using a two-handed weapon.”
Aha, now it’s all coming together. If you’re using a skill like Lunging Strike and you have two badass dual-wielding weapons that are better than the rest of your Arsenal, the game will automatically select those for your attack. And if you’ve invested in Endless Fury, you’d be wasting those skill points on a passive you weren’t using. By forcing Lunging Strike to instead use one of your two-handed weapons, you’ll be able to take advantage of Endless Fury despite your amazing dual-wielding weapon.
It’s worth noting here that some skills can also function with any kind of Arsenal weapon, but have unique effects depending on the weapon you’re using. Bash, for example, stuns an enemy for 1.25 seconds every four hits. But if you’re using a two-handed weapon, you’ll up that stun to two seconds.
Finally, it’s important to understand that you can’t cycle weapons for every skill. Abilities like Flay require a slashing weapon, while Hammer of the Ancients can only be used by your two-handed bludgeoning weapon. However, unless the skill specifically states that it requires a certain weapon type, you can always use the weapon cycle system to select the means of your enemy’s destruction.