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Frenzy vs. Whirlwind (simple tests comparing killspeed) if

Discussion in 'Barbarian' started by TheWorkingBoor, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. TheWorkingBoor

    TheWorkingBoor IncGamers Member

    Jan 12, 2012
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    Frenzy vs. Whirlwind (simple tests comparing killspeed)

    After reading through this thread - and particularly the "which does more damage" discussion later in the thread, I decided I wanted to form a more subjective opinion on my own. Fortunately with 1.13 adding respecs (and essences) to the game, that meant I could do it pretty easily without incorporating a bunch of editing, dupes or hacks (though I do use the SP mod for enabling ladder-only runewords).

    Testing Details:
    - level 89 barbarian
    - single-player, /players8, full-clears
    - resists for testing were maximized fire & lightning, about 50 for cold and poison
    - each different setup/build did 3 complete runs to help normalize run times
    - skillpoints were, for the most part, distributed towards maximum damage
    - equipment stayed (pretty much) the exact same for Whirlwind & Frenzy (details explained in the individual tests)

    2x Grief Phaseblades (low rolls)
    Arreat's Face (AR/IAS jewel)
    Highlords Wrath
    Fortitude / Enigma
    Laying of Hands
    String of Ears
    rare dual-leech/AR ring

    Sharp/Fine/Steel/resists charms
    Switch: Call to Arms + Heart of the Oak
    Merc = Might aura (eth Reapers with IAS jewel, Vampire Gaze with IAS jewel, Fortitude)

    Whirlwind Build:
    20 Sword Mastery
    20 Whirlwind
    20 Battle Orders
    20 Berserk
    1 point in Natural Resists, Increased Speed, Battle Command, Battle Cry and prerequisites
    remaining points in Shout

    Frenzy Build #1 (max damage):
    20 Frenzy
    20 Taunt
    20 Double Swing
    20 Sword Mastery
    1 Increased Speed, Natural Resists, prerequisites
    remaining points were spent in Berserk
    (Battle Orders & Battle Command were attained from a CtA on weapon switch)

    Frenzy Build #2 (standard):
    20 Frenzy
    20 Battle Orders
    20 Sword Mastery
    10 Double Swing
    10 Taunt
    1 Increased Speed, Natural Resists, Berserk, Battle Command, prerequisites
    remaining points were spent in Taunt & Double Swing

    As for the testing location, I chose the Outer Steppes in Act4 Hell difficulty. The reason was that all the monsters that spawn there are leechable, no monsters are particularly dangerous, none are inherently Physicial Immune, and three of the monsters that spawn there have high-life and/or decent physical resistances (Venom Lords, Flesh Spawners and the corpse-spitting guys). Adding all of that up, I figured that would all minimize the effect that some variables have (i.e. there's no such thing as a dangerous spawn with my gear, drops are generally poor enough to ignore so I shouldn't have one too much variation caused by me stopping to pick stuff up, with the high-life monsters I should need enough hits when doing a full-clear that variable-rolls like Deadly Strike & Crushing Blow will normalize moderately well, etc.)

    Test #1:  Whirlwind with Fortitude & (a few) Steel charms
    Comments:  I knew Frenzy would have an advantage in Attack
      Rating, so I initially changed 4 'Sharp' Grand Charms for
      4 'Steel' ones to see if that would make more sense for
      the times that the 'Ignore Target Defense' mod on Grief
      wouldn't work.
      So during this test my Whirler had ~8600 AR.
    Run (Times):
    1.  7:50
    2.  7:24
    3.  7:10
    AVG:  7:28
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  9
    Test #2:  Whirlwind with Fortitude & all Sharp charms
    Comments:  In this test I only swapped the 4 'Steel' Grand
      Charms for 4 'Sharp' ones.  All other stats/gear/skills
      were the same.  This dropped the Attack Rating down to
    Run (Times):
    1.  6:34
    2.  5:53
    3.  6:42
    AVG:  6:24
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  3
    Notes:  So it was obvious the extra +Maximum Damage on my 
      Sharp charms was far more important than the extra Attack
      Rating on the Steel charms... if the Grief runewords 
      didn't have 'Ignore Target Defense' that might have been
      a different result.
      From here on out, I stayed with all 'Sharp' charms
    Test #3:  Frenzy with Fortitude (max damage build)
    Comments:  My Attack Rating with Frenzy was 10.4k
    Run (Times):
    1.  6:15
    2.  6:20
    3.  6:20
    AVG:  6:18
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  2
    Test #4:  Frenzy with Fortitude (standard build)
    Run (Times):
    1.  5:50
    2.  7:42  (Flesh Spawners + Venom Lords + Corpse Spitters spawned)
    3.  6:24
    AVG:  6:42
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  2
    Notes:  This series really showed how slight variations in the
      monster spawn can have a significant effect on run times.  The
      third run was the only one that "felt" like it progressed at a
      "normal" rate.
    Test #5:  Whirlwind with Enigma
    Comments:  respec was used to lower strength appropriately for
      the difference between Fortitude and Enigma from here on out.
      Two 'Sharp' grand charms were traded out for 2 'Shimmering'
      grand charms to make up for lost resistances.
    Run (Times):
    1.  6:47
    2.  8:07  (cliff lurkers are elusive little buggers)
    3.  6:03
    AVG:  6:56
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  4
    Test #6:  Frenzy with Enigma (max damage build)
    Run (Times):
    1.  6:34
    2.  5:04
    3.  6:24
    AVG:  6:00
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  2
    Test #7:  Frenzy with Enigma (standard build)
    Run (Times):
    1.  6:46
    2.  6:31
    3.  6:50
    AVG:  6:42
    Total # of Physical Immunes Encountered:  8
    Notes:  Reached character level 90 shortly before completing
      the 2nd-last run.  I didn't distribute the extra skill and
      stat points.
    Miscellaneous Notes:
    - I didn't conduct the tests in the exact-same order I've presented them; that wouldn't have made sense.

    - I've often thought that when you have good enough equipment, it's unnecessary to invest 20 points into Battle Orders - afterall, when you have over 3000 life, how often do you actually need an additional ~1000+ hitpoints? Hence the max-damage Frenzy build... but, of course, 99% of Frenziers do have 20 in BO, and hence the standard Frenzy build too.

    - I've often been curious as to which has more benefit for most barbarians: the 300% off-weapon Enhanced Damage from Fortitude, or using Teleport to position the mercenary - and (hopefully) triggering a Decrepify curse much more often on the monster(s) you're attacking. This is especially true with Frenzy builds, since it's pretty easy to out-run your mercenary.

    - My tests ignored one of the significant differences between Frenzy and Whirlwind - namely Frenzy can trigger chance-to-cast effects, while Whirlwind cannot. I think my equipment choices are certainly defensible, and not too far from optimal, but it would still make sense to conduct some tests with things like Atma's Scarab and other top-end runewords (that I don't have).

    In all honesty I was expecting Whirlwind to be a clear winner. This showed that the difference can be much, much closer than my prejudice initially allowed. And this testing was, in the end, insufficient to get a clear answer. There are (at least) two shortcomings in the way I've conducted these tests that don't allow a clear answer:

    1. 3 runs per build/setup simply wasn't enough to gauge the overall differences. In reality I'd probably need closer to ~300 runs per setup/build to get reliable data. But since I'm not a BOT (and not willing to install one), that ain't gonna happen.

    2. Choosing to run only one area - especially one where the monsters aren't especially dangerous - limits the effectiveness of these tests. For example, Frenzy is interruptible, while Whirlwind is not; if this were in another area where the barbarian would get knocked around, that would probably have some benefit to the whirlwind build. Likewise, having a high-life boss in the runs could've given some advantage to Frenzy since you can more easily utilize chance-to-cast effects to your advantage.

    TL;DR Summary:
    Can't decide? Pick whichever you like better. The difference really isn't that big.

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  2. Aaron Eh

    Aaron Eh IncGamers Member

    Sep 22, 2008
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    Re: Frenzy vs. Whirlwind (simple tests comparing killspeed)

    Thanks for the data. I think your summary is pretty accurate -> Play what you enjoy playing :)
  3. crawlingdeadman

    crawlingdeadman IncGamers Member

    Jun 7, 2005
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    Re: Frenzy vs. Whirlwind (simple tests comparing killspeed)

    nice write up :thumbup:. sometimes the practical approach works out better than theorycrafting all day.

    this is why i pick Berserk :D


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