Basic Barbarian Build Help

Crescens

Diabloii.Net Member
Basic Barbarian Build Help

Hey all, I'm new to the forums, and I'm going to be starting a brand spanking new game of D2 with probably about 2 other people. I played through the game with a barb once, but went all willy nilly with his stats, and he kinda sucked. I have already gone through the guides posted in the thread with the label (READ THIS BEFORE POSTING) and while somewhat helpful, I need a little more guidence.

I'm looking to build a barb thats primarily PvM, but can also be adapted for PvP is necessary (though he'll only be rarely used for that, just playing around with friends) I used two swords last time, but I was thinking about using a shield this time for the added defence, and maybe using an axe or sword in the other hand, however I'm not sure which would be better (any help in which area to specialize in would be great). I've found a few guides that were helpful, for point distribution, but anyone that can direct me to any more PvM barb guides which focus on a strong all around build, rather than say one which focuses primarily on or around frenzy, berserk, etc. (I'm planning on making my barb mostly use whirlwind in the higher levels, and focusing on leap attack during the first time through, with point in my weapon specilization, iron skin, and natural resistances.

Anyways, hopefully this isn't too n00b of a first post, and any help is appreciated. Thanks all.
 

calibansfury

Diabloii.Net Member
Crescens said:
Anyways, hopefully this isn't too n00b of a first post, and any help is appreciated. Thanks all.
I think any of the IK barb guides would be a fine start, and for what you're looking to do I think the IK magic find barb might be the best way to go (though you'll suck at pvm unless you secure a really fantastic hammer to use 1handed with a shield). IK is a decent and fun all around pvm gear, easy to get (other than the body armor, which still only costs um or something). That'd be the cheap way to go.

A titan build can also be fun for pvm, but honestly, at high levels like hell I feel that the barb is best played vs other players, rather than pvm. Between hammerdins and blizz sorcs and on and on, there's just too many good options for mass monster killing that are far more efficient and cheaper to build and repair than a good barb. But, assuming you want to go forward with a pvm/pvp barb anyway, it can be done, and in group play, can still be fun (your allies will love your amazing abilities as a meatshield). If I were you I'd have one set of gear for adventuring which would mostly focus on first and foremost magic find, followed by strong resists (IK set can be great for both), and another for going pvp. If you'll be adventuring alone or with a group, you need survivability, but you have to accept that you probably wont be the primary killing force in the group--you'll be the guy that stops the baddies from killing the fragile zons and sorcs behind you. The build that will have decent resists and high block could also make a decent duelist, probably most suited for melee as he'll lack the speed, high resists or mana capacity/teleporting ability to deal with teleporting casters. Versatility is what barbs are all about.

I dont know what your budget is, so I'll suggest some cheap stuff, but if you can spend a little in runes, then go for more elite gear. Here's my suggestions, as I enjoy pvm and pvp too.

Personally, I hate hell without a shield, so IK's out for me, and in hell you will probably need both the resists and the blocking necessity of dealing with dozens of enemies at a time (annoying kids, skellys, doom knights, venom lords, etc), so my barb build that was a fun pvmer was basically a sword/sheild barb, similar to Big Robs recent BvB guide in stat distribution (decent but not excessive strength, max block with stormshield, around 3000 vita after BO). Go with the greatest of all shields (okay, maybe a tie with HOZ), Stormshield, and socket with an um--or the poor man's um, a perfect diamond for added resists.

For a weapon, I prefer a eBOTD zerker or CB due to life leech, stat points, and the indestructibility (I hate expensive repairs). Also, something like IK gloves/belt or gloves/boots for the set bonuses (nice str and resists on that belt, leeching from the gloves) and 20/20 stats on the gloves, giving more str, better dex for blocking, and leaving more for vita (these as opposed to dracs, which you'd want to keep in the trunk for when you pvp). Stepping down from a botd, a grandfather is a fun sword, or a guardian naga, though in hell we're starting to talk about a challenge in killing really efficiently with these items. Your biggest investment should be in your weapon, as the available armors like Atma's, Corpsemourn, Leviathan, or many of the set piece armors (IK, Disciple, Orphans, Trangs) are easy to get, available, and viable for pvm play. For pvp, the ebotd would be fine if grief didn't exist. If your primary aim is pvm though, spend the runes on an ebotd is my advice.

For armor, I'd go with Fortitude armor if you can afford it for damage and resists (what else does a barb need?), which is great for either adventuring or dueling, but might run you up in repair bills. Alternatively, a duress mostly for pvp (again, you probably wont be the primary killer, so ow wont have time to take effect before meteors, hammers and blizzards finish your foes, typically), and it's cheap to make. Both ideal for pvp, fortitude the better choice for high level pvm.

If you dont want to spend much for pvm armor, then leviathan is an excellent high def armor that's also indestructible, which, when combined with max block on SS, you'll have little to worry about from physical attacks, and just keep the duress in the trunk for pvp. No resists on levi though (or its little brother, shaftstop) so you'll need to coordinate your other gear accordingly to get decent resists or decent absorb gear (preferably both) so you don't get cooked in hot areas like travs, chaos, or worldstone. As mentioned above, many of the set piece armor, particularly when combined with other pieces from the set can be a great asset for picking up heavy resists and decent mf. Something like atmas can even be a good choice with around 1k defense, fhr, and magic find.

For boots, war travs if you can afford it are I think best for pvm, with nice mods for str and vita and mf%. If you're not finding good/better gear, what exactly are you doing pvming anyway, right?

For helms, there's a ton of great choices for barbs when talking pvm. Arreats would be ideal due to the fantastic mods and great resists, and after you socket it with an um, its even better for pvm play. But, if this is out of your price range (you can find these for lem if you're patient, so it shouldnt' be), a tals mask for the leech is dirt cheap and easily acquired, and dont forget the two socket IK helm either. A fourth choice, if looking to up the mf% of your barb would be a shako with either um for resist or ptopaz for mf. Still get skills, magic, life and mana bonuses and damage reduction. Not bad.

The ideal pvm ammy would be maras for skills and resists, rings would be maybe a raven and a dwarf (wisp would be nice to have too, but pricey) for some sorb. I've never had an issue with AR when pvm, but you'll probably need a highlords+2ravens and/or the angelic set for pvp.

I'd either go with echoings on switch or babas (nice if you maxed sword mastery you can still do okay damage) if you're looking to up the mf. Sliver the boss then ww or zerk away with the babas. With a topaz shako, dual babas and decent travs you can approach 300%mf, easily surpassed with a few more tweaks from gear, or by blending in set pieces. You may not be the prettiest looking thing when you look at your setup in inventory, but the net effects can be really excellent.

That's my two cents. Had no idea I was going to write this much. Hope it helps!
 

Crescens

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for the info...I've read the really good axes become difficult to find later on in the game, and was beginning to wonder if Maces might not be a better choice, as it'll give me access to a large variety of weapons, plus it'll accentuate the Immortal King set should I choose to go that route. Are there any major negatives to focusing on the mace class?
 

Halciet

Diabloii.Net Member
Maces are short-ranged and slow, and none of the one-handed versions can be used in the better runewords (namely BotD). I would only go maces if I fully intended to make an IK barb.

I more or less concur with caliban, except on a few issues - Gore Riders are superior boots, all and all (though War Travs are nice), and I'd go with Highlord's over Mara's any day. Similarly, dwarf star is a pretty weak ring, but otherwise I think all of his advice is spot-on.

-Hal
 

calibansfury

Diabloii.Net Member
Crescens said:
Thanks for the info...I've read the really good axes become difficult to find later on in the game, and was beginning to wonder if Maces might not be a better choice, as it'll give me access to a large variety of weapons, plus it'll accentuate the Immortal King set should I choose to go that route. Are there any major negatives to focusing on the mace class?

Hal is right about maces. I made a mace barb and used nords, demon limb, even horazons tornado, but these were either prior to using IK maul, or for use when I wanted to wear a shield. They do lack in speed, and the damage is ok, but you'll feel the limitation in hell diff. The IK maul with the combined elemental damage is nice, and IK barbs do just fine in pvm hell (ww can get you out of about anything unless you're maidened). As hal said though, there isnt' a great runeword mace for 1h play, so the other option after the IK maul would be a ebotd thundermaul (which has so much damage I want to make a maul barb just so I can use it). Still have the same problems of it being slow though, and against almost any melee character you'll get owned pvp.

You're also right about great axes being hard to find at high levels, the best options being the runeword axes, which are fantastic for range, speed and damage. If your plan is to play with items you find, and not use runewords, I'd first decide if you're going to use a shield or not (generally advisable if you want to pvp as a barb unless you're dual wielding with runeword axes), then determine the item you'd most like to use/has the best options at high levels. If you want to go two handed, there's good axes like hellslayer at higher levels, or for one handed, the guardian naga, or the lovely and talented death cleaver. For swords you're probably going to cap out with grandfather, which you can use one or two handed, and is a solid sword for something you'd find in the game, or could trade for relatively cheaply. Mauls we covered, IK maul will probably be your best option, or you could go the polearm or spear route for things like a Cruel War Pike of Quickness, bonehew, or reapers toll. High damage and they look wicked when your'e carrying them.

My advice is to go with axe or sword mastery though so that when you do play long enough and acquire enough items/runes, you can start picking up the runewords.

Hal's probably right about gores, though I was thinking in terms of improving the survivability of the character and increasing your chances to find better items. This would be assuming your buddies do most of the killing though. If you're leading the attacks, then gores for more damage due to ow, cb and ds. I suggested maras if you're having a hard time due to resists (mine lets me max all in hell diff) though highlords all the way for pvp, or for damage if you're not having trouble resisting.

Good luck!
 
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