Stillman’s Slab #23: Barbarism Part III


The Barbarian is too much man to cover in just one write up. The third installment of Barbarism cuts deep into the inner workings of Blizzard’s favorite character while also making room for the female Barbarian. Don’t miss my latest developments on the Fury resource system for the female Barbarian…who is pregnant with Diablo’s baby even though you saw them both die in that car accident! Read the intro below, and click through for the entire story.

Barbarism Part III

Ah, demonic behavior: the grunting, wildness, uncontrolled rage, and of course, charging into battles without the slightest care of certain injury. It’s good old mindless, foolhardy, reckless idiot strategy that a wrecking ball might frown upon. Of course, we are talking about the Barbarian. What’s that? You were reminded of demons and possibly suicide bombers? No, this is about the Barbarian, the nature of his skills, his attitude, and his overall animal-like behavior. Coming from the Shadow Wolf, Bear, Crane, and Snake tribes, the Barbarian really is like an animal…except he can spit farther. The only problem is, how many girls do you know spit when they are mad at you?

But really, if the Barbarian was a bad guy (and he may as well be since he emulates his enemies in every way) then he would probably be the demon type as opposed to animal. My first two Barbarisms looked at how Blizzard favors this character over all others and how heavily he leans on popular fictional characters of the past. This week, I examine the wild and demonic nature of the Barbarian beast. We will also explore how all this male rage can possibly work out for female Barbarian. For now, I ask: are Barbarians too evil, or at least, too out of control and inhuman?

Let us consider some of the striking similarities between the Diablo 2 Barbarian and the demons he supposedly despises. First, he wears red and has horned helms as class specific items. Standing in fire (like a devil) is commonplace, made especially easy for the Barbarian with his Natural Resistances and huge life pool. His most popular skill, Whirlwind, is exactly what the Tasmanian Devil does, and some of you may have heard the expression ?whirling devil?. Whirlwind also kind of looks like a ?dust devil?. His Find Item skill rips apart corpses in the similar brutal fashion you see with the tortured bodies speckled everywhere. Then, there is the enraged demon-like Frenzy, spitting, shouting, fury, and so on. Death Lord demons even employ his Frenzy attack?or is it the Barbarian who is copying the Death Lords?  His Shout and Grim Ward cast Terror on enemies; meanwhile, his ultimate enemy is the Lord of Terror. Hmmm. 

He also has the passive skill Iron Skin which reminds me of demonhide armor. The Barbarian just doesn’t care if he gets hit which matches up with the demons’ AI of not responding to pain or danger. The Diablo 3 Barbarian even has Ignore Pain which describes exactly what demons do for a living even when they are down to 1 life point. I recall Jay Wilson saying, ?I don’t care if you hit me? when describing the Barbarian in action. And yes, I am positive he was speaking from a Barbarian’s perspective and not answering to the art controversy.

So the Barbarian is much like a demon or enraged animal. He may as well submit his resume and application forms to Diablo. The Barbarian is much like a sinister soap opera character who does horrible things?all the while thinking he is the good guy. Blizzard even threw away his mana orb and gave him a raging drunk Fury mechanic (surely to make him look even more out of control). A Fury orb makes really good sense for the male Barbarian, however. It is actually a good way to update the gameplay because Fury is macho, and mana is for girls. Oh wait.


What about his much much much younger niece, the female Barbarian, who is still practically in her Barbie pajamas? For crying out loud, will anyone be a positive role model for children? I guess they will have to use the Fury system too. Well, after staring at young girls for an entire week, I am no closer to finding an ounce of ?Fury? in them. I find girls only yell and scream for boy bands, and since Stillman has over half a dozen hair problems (that only get worse with age), all hope of getting in for a closer look is like a diminishing return formula. Stillman here won’t be finding any magic, but I may as well fall back on good old logic. I looked really hard, but I found that a ?furious? girl mechanic does not make any sense at all. Unless…

Ah, I have it right here. Ladies and gentlemen, the female Barbarian Fury orb should look something like this:

So the female Barbarian is at the mercy of these cyclic levels of various hormones. After a predictable amount of time has passed, a high concentration of estrogen is followed by a an LH surge at around midcycle. This stimulates ovulation; during this time the female Barbarian is vulnerable to attack. But the tables are turned a bit later in the Luteal Phase when progesterone levels begin to climb. This causes a transient rise in body temperature, and her Bad Temper skill gets a hefty boost the likes of which male Barbarians have never seen. An excess of estrogen and progesterone near the end of the cycle lead to swelling, headache, backache, depression, anxiety, irritability, and an array physical, emotional and behavioral changes. In Diablo terms, these might include killing and eating everything in sight, 500% louder and more damaging war cries, and hostility! 

Too complicated, I know. Well maybe we can come up with something else. Ladies and gentlemen, here it is. The female Barbarian Fury orb should look something like this:

 

So, um,  the old school orb shape there bounces around a lot and causes the females to scream and yell at the child-like party members running around before her. When the ?team? clusters together too much, her war cries of painfully loud encouraging remarks scatter them. At the peak of the orb bouncing, ?players? will feel embarrassed by the female Barbarian’s screaming unless they stop dropping the ball and get some results. Threats of chores are uttered, and she may even put some insubordinate performers in “time out.” When the orb stops bouncing for a while, the female singles out a player and makes impossible demands for more practice. 

Thus, there are ways for Blizzard to make the female Barbarians as wild and furious as the males. It requires different Orb mechanics for genders (which seems fine since Blizzard is hellbent on designing new Orbs; maybe Jay has brought in the sparkling disco ball from his prom to inspire the team). It sure does suck for the males, though, if they go with my idea. They already have to hang around waiting for their testosterone based orbs to sort themselves out. And now, the girls want to do everything at precise times. The soap opera in Sanctuary seems like an inevitable must-have. Veronica slaps Rod because he is apparently not fighting for their relationship, when really he is simply either not angry enough to use his skills or he is smartly waiting for Veronica to get into her snuggling mood and buff the damn party. What’s taking her so long?

Hell, even just males using their Fury orbs will sometimes be clicking one monster repeatedly to build up for bigger attacks, which is similar to just standing around awkwardly.  It will be like when Rod opens the door and Nik is standing there as though he was glaring through the burgundy wood eavesdropping and forgot to knock ten minutes ago. I’ll bet he wants to know why Victor was not at the funeral. So the door is thrown open, and they just kind of stare at each other for many long seconds, and then THERE IS A DAMN COMMERCIAL!!! SCREW THIS! I am off track. I just don’t see why females should have the same two balls on their screen as males.

There is, however, hope for players like me who would enjoy playing a highly disciplined (and less demonic) Barbarian. Before the whole Diablo 3 skill tree system got chopped down, the Barbarian had a Battlemaster tree and many passives. This implies a great deal of control and fine tuning will become available which might allow for a very focused, concentrating and calm fighter instead of a raging alcoholic type. Diablo 2 did have Concentrate and several weapon masteries, so maybe this sort of preference can carry over to the next game. I do not want to play as Dillon, who stops at nothing barging into conflict, pulling apart a couple so he can tell Valarie what a huge mistake she is making wanting to secretly date Rick against her step mother’s wishes…especially when Veronica is so entranced at the thought of a new baby. Oh well; I am certain whatever resource system Blizzard comes up with for our devilish heroes, it will fill up an orb-like thingy or change color like Vanessa’s pregnancy test until something ends with a with a bang, or just a period.
 


Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.

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