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One DnD playtest shows new Barbarian still enrages fans

A poll on the latest One DnD playtest reveals the Barbarian is the class that needs the most work, as fans say its abilities lack impact.

One DnD playtest - art showing a barbarian warrior with flaming sword

The latest One DnD playtest has made extensive changes to five different classes, but there’s one that fans aren’t all too happy with: the 5e Barbarian. Dungeons and Dragons’ raging warrior was voted the DnD class still most in need of work by a social media poll, where it received 262 votes, more than any other class.

One of the most common complaints from users of the r/onednd subreddit, where the poll was placed, is that the Barbarian is strong at low levels but weak or unexciting at high levels. Traditionally this has been a common complaint about all melee classes like the Fighter 5e in Dungeons and Dragons, who get to hit things a little better as they level up, while watching the Wizard 5e ascend to godhood.

Wizards of the Coast has made some inroads at making sword and board fighters a bit more creative with the Weapon Mastery feature, and have even boosted the magic-casting Fighter subclasses. But while efforts have been made to improve the DnD Barbarian too throughout the playtesting process – including fixing its worst subclass, and most recently adding a versatile new one – it seems more adjustment could be required.

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As well as the general feeling that its abilities are lackluster, more specific problems with the Barbarian are that Brutal Critical, which lets Barbarians do extra damage on a critical hit, is rather rubbish – swingy and unreliable. Worse, three DnD level ups are wasted on marginally upgrading the feature. Fans also feel Barbarians are too shackled to their limited number of Rages, and the new Path of the World Tree subclass has received mixed feedback.

It’s worth noting that Wizards of the Coast made a lot of welcome changes in the newly released Playtest 7. A plurality of voters (425) selected None on the ‘choose the worst class’ poll, but as this option was also labeled ‘See Results’, little can be gleaned about the overall level of satisfaction with the playtest. Many will have clicked just wanting to see the votes, without extensively reading through the Unearthed Arcana document to make a judgment call of their own.

From the poll, the DnD Sorcerer is hot on the Barbarian’s heels, with 248 voters saying it’s the worst of the five, while the Wizard seems to be the most-liked class (or at any rate the least most-disliked), with only 59 people saying that it needs the most work. After the Sorcerer comes the Fighter, followed by the DnD Warlock.

If you’re making a new RPG character with the current 5e rules, you may need our guides to all the DnD races, as well as some advice on the best DnD character creators. Budding DMs, meanwhile, can check out these DnD settings for some worldbuilding inspiration.