Updated date:

Skyrim: Playstyles: Barbarian

Look at that swag.

Look at that swag.


So, you ask me what is a playstyle? Or maybe you didn't. No matter, I will introduce to you what is a playstyle.

A playstyle, is literally just the style of playing. How you use the character to interact with the world, how you utilise resources and equipment to your advantage and how you go about your tasks, quests and adventures in the gaming realm. A playstyle defines the build of the character. As I go in-depth on the types of playstyles, bear in mind the penta-point that I am going to use to assess the playstyles.

  1. Strengths
  2. Weaknesses
  3. Build
  4. Quests, adventures
  5. Conclusion

Let's start of by introducing today's playstyle: Barbarian.

Battle of Hastings 2 painting

Battle of Hastings 2 painting

Barbarian at first sight.

Barbarian at first sight.

Dragons are ponies.

Dragons are ponies.



Quick kills

What about quick kills? Barbarians utilise weapons to destroy fast. Anything that has a high damage output is their aim. They stain their weapons with the blood of their enemies within seconds, and decimate enemy lines with ease. They are fearsome in the frontline, and they have only one aim: last man standing being him...in the shortest amount of time possible.

Blood soup.

The amount of enemies the Barbarian decimates and decapitate is numerous. He's violent and brutal and he will destroy them in the most ruthless way possible. Be it chopping off the head with one slash of the axe or crushing the skull with one hammer of the mace: you name it. He kills so many enemies face-to-face he can make a soup of blood that can last him for a few years. For me, I like killing enemies as brutally as possible, so it is a pleasure.

Medium-sized cash-cow

Barbarians are willing to take on any adversary. They will accept any work that involves killing and blood. He does not care about the money earned, but he just wants the pleasure of killing legions of bandits and giant dragons. He treats everything like...dirt. Easily washed away with the use of good detergent. In a metaphorical sense of course.


With enemies hacking at him, he naturally grows a layer of muscle and fat that nullifies most attacks and resists heat and cold, shock and pain. He does not block, for blocking is for the pussies. He does not fight with fear of death, for he knows that he can not die so easily.

Light feet

Barbarians like to wear soft, comfortable armor for them to kill people in, so they prefer the pelts and fur of bears and sabre cats. They also prefer to use scales of dragon. They like to run fast and dodge fast. But mostly it happens to the enemy instead.


Death's best friend

Barbarians never shun from battle. As they are hacking and slashing away, axes and swords are all being sliced into his body. Pain. Damage. That is what Barbarian always feel. The Barbarian dies very easily if not careful, and so careful play is much needed for the simple-minded Barbarian.

Mages' prey

The Barbarian thinks Mages are pussies! He likes to hack and slash at them! Mages are just weak men that cannot hold swords without fumbling a few seconds later. Well, for the Barbarian mages are absolutely are tough adversary. Overtime, he realises that being a crazy axeman does him no good against the tricky and smarter mages. Fire burns him up quickly and the cold slow him down. He can get paralysed quickly and shocked to death rather quick. Barbarian detests mages, but mages love Barbarians.


Let's get out of the "Barbarian" here "Barbarian" there issue. Basically there are few thing sin mind that a Barbarian should have:

  • Primary skills: Two-handed/One-handed, Light Armor
  • Secondary skills: Smithing

Any other skills are by your own means, but these are the main focus of the Barbarian.

Focusing on your damage output. A Barbarian most likely dual-wields, or wields a two-handed weapon. It is up to your choice on your damage output style, but there are perks in it that are important.

Two-handed perks: Barbarian(5/5), Champion's Stance, Devastating Blow, Great Critical Charge, Sweep, Warmaster (any other specialised perks like limbsplitter for maces are not recommended).

One-handed perks: Armsman(5/5), Fighting Stance, Dual Flurry(1/2 or 2/2), Dual Savagery, Critical Charge, Savage Strike, Paralysing Strike

Light Armor perks: All if possible

Smithing: Towards the left, Steel -> Elven -> Advanced Armors -> Glass -> Dragon

Your Health to Stamina ratio should be kept as close to 3:2. Or 2:1 if you desire. But basically the main idea is to have enough health to expend as enemies attack you and also sufficient stamina to do power attacks to decimate enemy faster and harder.

Magicka? What Magicka?

Quests, Adventures

Accept anything that involves killing. Go to the Jarl's steward or the Hold's inn and ask for work. Help people in anyway that involves killing.

A warrior can also opt to be a werewolf. A werewolf is much more befitting for a hardy, strong and tough barbarian that likes to destroy bandits and dragons. Despite so, lycanthropy is entirely optional.

The best start is to do the Companions questline in Whiterun and complete it quickly. The Civil War questline is also a rather beneficial one as you face many enemies. The Dawnguard questline (if you installed the Dawnguard DLC) is also a nice experience for a Barbarian.


I like this gameplay. Quick kills, easy tank. But sometimes I see my health dwindling away as dragon shoot flames and mages freeze me down. Bandits hack me with axes and maces are very painful on high difficulties, and my light armor sometimes does not help at all. I expend a lot of stamina and kill people really quick with power attacks, but they were limited. I could not deal damage quickly and painfully at most times. There are times I wished I used a bow and arrow, but a Barbarian tries to limit that use.

Branches of Barbarian gameplay:

Barbarian Explorer: uses a bow and arrow, similar to the Hunter, but has a bigger ratio unit for the stamina:health.

Barbarian Warlord: dual wields or uses two-handed weapons, but is clad in heavy steel armor.


I conclude here. What are your opinions and my view of a Barbarian gameplay? Do you have a better Barbarian gameplay that you can offer to minimise the amount of deaths (and reloads)? If you have, do comment it on the comment section below!

I stress that this is not an exhaustive list but a guideline for newbie players, or players that seek to experience the game in different ways that they have never used. I started off as a sneaky assassin, but along the way, I wished I could just face the enemy without cutting their throats like a douche. Well, it all comes down to the way Skyrim was planned: the inability of have a over-powered, balanced superhero.

Thank you for reading this hub, and I hope that you have at least enjoyed reading it!


the atmoran on July 28, 2014:

I agree with the build until you said light armor, I think a badass barbarian should have heavy thick armor that absorbs lots of damage. don't you think?

cardinelli on June 27, 2014:

I like it! Describes very well what i think of a real barbarian!

Gauldur on October 30, 2013:

Really liked your article, found it both useful and entertaining haha

Related Articles