I've been playing a Barbarian in the Diablo III beta, and despite the disturbing lack of pants, he's been crackin' skulls and takin' names.

I'm wondering, however, if there would be any reason to not use Bash / Cleave / some other Fury generator. What's the advantage of using a normal attack? Is there perhaps a reason to do so with other classes?

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    Out of interest, why does your barbarian take names at all? Does he keep them in a little book so he doesn't forget them? Does he use this (presumably large) book as a threat to others? Is he just trying to get ideas for his new baby's name?
    – Alex
    Feb 3, 2012 at 15:18
  • Don't know, but just thinking of Diablo 2, it wouldn't surprise me that you'd eventually cease to ever use a normal attack action.
    – Grace Note
    Feb 3, 2012 at 15:23
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    @GraceNote In terms of Diablo 3, though, you would start with a rage builder, and never ever ever use anything else, ever. Hence the question. Feb 3, 2012 at 20:46

5 Answers 5


There is no reason to ever use a standard attack as a Barbarian, or any other character. The design philosophy that the team was aiming for was to allow people to use skills as much as possible, as that is the most satisfying way of taking out the baddies. Obviously this is somewhat limited by the resource systems set in place, but since the Barbarian, Monk and Demon Hunter all have resource generating skills, and the Witch Doctor and Wizard both have low to zero cost skills, it's obvious that Blizzard wanted people to use skills as their primary attacks, and not just swinging a weapon.

However, there is nothing stopping you from using a standard attack. Given that we've not seen content past Act 1 normal, there may be situations where killing multiple enemies at once is a bad choice, and if your default attack is bound to an AOE ability, (e.g. Cleave for the Barbarian, Crippling Wave for the Monk, etc.) you may be left to using a default attack.

  • It seems like you've contradicted your own first sentence.
    – jzn
    Apr 22, 2012 at 8:24
  • @jzn I'm not exactly sure how you mean? I've simply stated that currently, with the content provided, there is no reason. However, given that the content we have yet to see is pretty staggering, there MAY be a situation where it warrants it.
    – TheQ
    Apr 22, 2012 at 23:00
  • Sorry for being obtuse. I thought you were intimating that the beta section of the game is too easy for resource conservation to matter. And then you alluded to the AOE nature of many primary attacks. Occasionally, you may want to finish off one specific monster in a pack, without striking his lightning enchanted neighbor.
    – jzn
    Apr 24, 2012 at 3:52
  • and thats without even mentioning the inherent tactical value of a predictably vectored bowshot...
    – jzn
    Apr 24, 2012 at 4:00
  • @jzn Oh I understand a bit better now, thanks for clarifying. No doubt that resource generation/management is an important part of the game, which is only marginally tangential to the topic of default attacks vs. non. It's made almost even more moot by the point that most "spammable" skills have at least one AOE and one single target version, either by type or by rune.
    – TheQ
    Apr 24, 2012 at 5:13

There is at least ONE REASON to use a normal attack. There is an achievement called "Bashinishu". You must damage Bashiok with Rakinishus blade which has very low damage.

For example, take me, a wizard: I want this achievement, therefore I don't want to kill Bashiok with magic before I damage it with this sword.

I'm actually trying to do this right now.... I know before you could just drag skills from your hotbar to un-equip them and use a normal attack, but it's not working now... :(


This post is years late but it could be used to break a door open or barrier if you have a build with attack skills that all have cooldowns and can't wait 5 seconds for a cooldowns. Example hell tooth witch doctor.


reason to use a standard non skill based attack #1: breaking barrels without expending all your mana/hatred etc

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    Mana I'll grant, but the basic demon hunter abilities generate hatred, not use it. Apr 21, 2012 at 17:32

Here's a reason: You play a wizard and fight Magda. More than half of the time she's got her Spell shield on and you can't touch her with anything except weapon attack. It sucks that you can't force attack with your weapon. The only way is to run out of resource and use expensive spell.

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    Well, bad news: her shield is not only against spells. Melee damage won't work, either.
    – DrFish
    Jul 5, 2012 at 8:25

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