Help a Barb out


Diabloii.Net Member
I made an untwinked Barbarian yesterday, and boy is he (and I) struggling. He's level 24 now, with 1 point in Frenzy, and have been using Double Swing up until now. I don't even think I can enter NM at the moment, without getting my ass kicked.

Pindle runs take a minute each on P1, so no power leveling there :confused:

What am I doing wrong?

I don't use third party programs, so no read outs.


One point in all Preqs., working up to WW, and maybe Berserk.
One point in the one point wonders
Rest (12) in Sword Mastery


70 Str (Enough for Sigon boots)
50 Dex (Chance to hit random A5 monsters is around 70% with BA aura)
66 Vit
10 Eng.

300 Life
47 Mana


Broad Sword: 9 - 28 dmg, 5% ctc Amp, imbued from Charsi
Crystal Sword: 5 - 28, Magic

Rest of the gear is pretty standard I guess, being what you can scrape together up to Act 5.

Blessed Aim Merc, with a 29 - 69 dmg. rare Poleaxe


Diabloii.Net Member
Barb's kinda suck at first. I would say do some wsk or act 4 on the highest players you can manage. Once you get to level 30, grab the strongest pole you can find. Get as much leech as possible. You can do easy lk runs for leech ammy and rings. Get ias on gloves. You can make a smoke (nef lum) to help your resistances in nightmare. Don't forget about safety crafts as well, if your still dying.

For your current weapons, get as much crushing blow as possible. Strength (Amn tir) in two swords is dirt cheap and gives you 50% cb. Once you hit 30, get a good pole or make strength in one. Gtoes help as well with 25 cb.


Diabloii.Net Member
I think maybe level 24 untwinked is a bit low for act 5. Usualy my chars are 30-32 before act 5, so going back and level more might be a good idea.

I would consider improving the weapons (steel and strength runewords) before doing baal runs.


Diabloii.Net Member
Quick fix: At level 23 your merc can wield a Lochaber Axe, so use the Savage weapon recipe (staff+kris+belt+any diamond) until you get one. That should do you until level 41 when your merc can switch to a Partizan ... hopefully you will have the runes for Insight by then.

For your barb's weapons, you should have the runes for the Steel and Malice runewords by now. Getting some OW will help a lot against bosses, until you can find the runes for Strength and get some CB.

Gamble a circlet with good elemental damage, you can have up to 1-120 lightning damage, 25-60 fire damage, 9-30 cold damage and 50 poison over 5 secs. Get a second one for your merc. The elemental damage alone can see you through Normal.

Ultimately though, as mir mentioned, you need some more levels (which will improve your chance to hit, amongst other things). Nihilithak's Temple is a level 32 area so you are going to struggle. Level 24 areas include the Bloody Foothills (Act 5), Trav and Kurast Causeway + its temples (Act 3).

I'd work out where I could run at p8 and go back to there. p8 gives superior drops and XP, which is crucial to getting started untwinked. At level 24 i am usually still running around doing full clears in Act 2.
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Diabloii.Net Member
Yeah, lvl 24 was a bit too low for act 5. I've been leveling him in the false Tombs, up to 28 now, can wear Sanders gloves.

@GalaXyHaXz My merc has a pretty big ol' poleaxe, top dmg. at 68, so not too shabby, but It's slow speed. Is that useful for WW?

@mir I am working on my weapons at full speed, I just acquired Malice :)

@Dezrok I will try to gamble something, getting that high elemental dmg. from the headpiece would not be too shabby. Any suggestions as to what to do, when I get WW? Is it useless without a fast weapon?


Diabloii.Net Member
WW isn't entirely useless with a slow weapon. I had a Partizan with like 90% ed with my barb all the way until mid-Hell. Just get as much ias as you can. Shael runes, gloves, and maybe some ias jewels in armor. Leech is the biggest key to survival. That's why getting more damage then your doing now is important. Even 10%ll is enough to save you. You definitely want to keep leveling until about 35-40 before you enter nightmare. My barb was 43 in NM and didn't have problems.

If you can, do some blood runs to get a 2os Lochaber axe then make Strength with it. That will give you CB and LL. Get a strength for your merc as well, it will help keep him alive. Also, I'd recommend Prayer that early on, then once you hit NM get a Might merc.


Diabloii.Net Member
The ONLY IAS that counts for WW is on-weapon, so gloves, jewels in armor, etc won't work. A fast weapon is VERY important for WW, but as I recall, the first 2 hit checks happen at 4 & 8 frames, regardless of weapon speed, so if you must use a slow weapon, do very short whirls...this makes WW even more mana-intensive, however...

Ultimately, with WW, you will want a weapon that hits Last WW BreakPoint (LWWBP)
This is easier with 1handers than with 2handers, and again, ONLY uses on-weapon IAS... the formula is WSM - WIAS (Weapon Speed Modifier - Weapon Increased Attack Speed) and the breakpoints you want to hit are as follows:
               1Handed     |        2Handed
Rating     -10       -34   |    -10     -30     -59
FPA         6         4    |     8       6       4
At/Sec     4.1       6.2   |    3.1     4.1     6.2
A few examples:
Phase Blade (WSM -30) : Almost hits LWWBP by itself...ANY boost to WIAS will make it, even just 'of Readiness' (+10WIAS)
Flail (WSM -10) : hits the second last BP by itself...make 'Steel' RW in one to hit LWWBP VERY inexpensively
Scythe (WSM -10) : socketed w/Shael, hits second last BP, add 2xFervor jewels to hit LWWBP
Halberd (WSM 0) : needs 3xShael to hit LWWBP (or 'of Quickness (40IAS) + 1xShael)
The (in)famous Grief 'Zerker Axe (WSM 0) : needs 'Grief' to roll at least +34IAS or it WON'T hit LWWBP

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Diabloii.Net Member
I never knew that about WW. Good to know. So it's not a bad idea to find a big ED partizan or such, larzuk for 2os and stick 2xshael in there. Arghhh, when Blizzard made WW modded by weapon speed, they didn't even do it right. Don't forget you can use Frenzy to land a few hits to boost your speed as well.


Diabloii.Net Member
@GalaXyHaXz Blood runs? Never heard of that :)

@WoRG Thanks for clearing the speed up! I knew the weapon speed was the only factor for WW, but you say on-hand, that means only the Barb's left (His left hand, not left from where I am sitting) hand weapon? Say, I could use Greif 34% Ias Berserker Axe and Death? That sounds like a sweet combo, and not TOOO expensive for po' po' folks like me.


Diabloii.Net Member
Handedness, or which slot/side you place the weapon on, has NO effect on WW speed that I am aware of... For WW, EACH weapon is considered individually, and will hit a given WW BP based solely on its' own (WSM - WIAS) rating...however, EACH weapon will attack at its full rate when dual weilding, so using a slow second weapon will not slow down your primary weapon's hitrate.

To use your example of 34+IAS Grief BA & Death (assuming BA here as well...), you would get hitchecks for BOTH weapons at 4 and 8 frames, then the Grief would hitcheck every 4 frames after that, while the Death would hitcheck every 8 frames...

If you made the Death in a War Spike instead (still an axe for mastery, but WSM -10 instead of 0), then the Death would hitcheck every 6 frames... but the range would be shorter and you might have problems staying in range...



Diabloii.Net Member
At lvl 28ish I usually still rely on the merc to do the big damage in p8 games. Savage polearms have been mentioned, but gambling or shopping for a pike can work as well. To get money for this, cube wands, scepters and short staves (shopped) to get their staffmods going, and sell for 25k.

I'd also do WSK at this point, anything lvl 25 and up, since the level difference no longer matters.

As soon as you can, get to NM countess and see if you can't muster the runes for "honor", or even better, "insight", for your merc. BO and big damage goes a very long way for a merc.

Getting to around lvl 40, you should check out NM Andariel. She WILL kill your merc unless you have Venom Ward on him, and do the tanking yourself. However, she'll drop any normal unique or set, and she'll drop a few exceptional uniques which will help tremendously. Including, but not limited to:
- Bloodletter (decent damage, leech and big +skills)
- Spirit Shroud (CBF, skill)
- The Butcher's Pupil (great damage, and being an ax, may save a respec)
- String of Ears (you all know how awesome this one is)
- Rockstopper (%physical resist and big resists; allows merc to wear just about any armor and still have resists covered)

Also, due to her bug, you'll get a set or unique most every run. She has elevated odds for rings, and the best odds you'll ever get in the current patch to drop a SoJ. Not useful for barbs, but nice to have anyway. Also, 3piece Sigon (gloves, belt, boots) will net 50% MF, 10 str, 30%IAS (not for WW) and 10% leech, which isn't too shabby. At least a very useful MF combo when running her untwinked. She can also drop any set amulet, which again isn't useful untwinked, but is by far the quickest way of getting Tal Rasha's Adjudication. You'll also want The Eye of Etlich.


Diabloii.Net Member
Ahh, I loved the Butcher's Pupil. A great untwinked weapon, and questing weapon until some of the other big weapons come up.

Also, the Andy bug is simply that in all future games, Andariel will drop items from her "Quest drop" patterns. Normally, the Quest drop only occurs when you kill a boss for the first time for the quest, but after the quest drop, the boss will drop lower quality items.
To bug Andy, all you need to do is kill Andariel for the very first time for quest completion, and talk to Warriv in the same game. From then on, she will drop her Quest drop rewards, which tend to be higher quality, with no 'junk items.'
Andariel is the only boss that you can bug to only drop from her Quest drop patterns, and is irreversible. Most characters are already Andy bugged.


Diabloii.Net Member
@WoRG Ok, I hoped I could hit the last breakpoint with Greif+Death. I just wan't to put Death to good use, just for the name :)

@helvete I am in NM now, farming Countess to the limit, currently lvl 37. Think I will need more CB until I take on farming Andy, so farming for Steel, Honor, and Insight is on the menu at the moment. Any tips for where (and how with barb..?) to farm base weapons?

@Drystan Thanks for the Andy bug info :) Never knew how to activate the bug. Is it the same with Mephisto?


Diabloii.Net Member
Boss quest bug only works with Andy, but you can temp bug Duriel in MP games.

For farming bases, as I said blood runs (Bloody Foothills) or Cows are your best bet. Do them on p3-p5 with no MF and they will cough up what you need :)


Diabloii.Net Member
I agree with the others, 24 is far too low a level for an untwinked Barb in Act5. Mostly because it suggests you haven't explored enough to get decent gear, and barbs are almost entirely gear dependent. I would suggest doing complete clears of areas on /p8 for untwinked characters. This will get you to 24 easily in Act2 and provide a lot of potential equipment.

"Bloody runs" refer to a tactic players use to level quickly. There would be a series of games in which the same group of (ideally) 8 would clear the bloody foothills outside Harrogath. SP can of course just use the /players 8 command.

@WoRG : thanks for the WW explanation!


Diabloii.Net Member
For runeword bases, I'd be holding out for exceptional weapons at this stage.

Weapons need to be at least ilvl 26 to have a chance of getting 4 sockets and ilvl 41 to have a chance of getting 5+ sockets using the cube recipe. Don't waste a Larzuk reward on anything that isn't going to be part of your end game gear, those reward sockets are far too valuable in untwinked.

For your merc you want one of the bigger damage polearms - partizan, bec de corbin, or grim scythe. Partizan is ilvl 35, so Normal WSK or anywhere in NM. To make sure it is ilvl=41+, for a chance at 5 sockets for Honor, you need to be in the bottom 2 levels of the Tower or anywhere from the Jail (in NM). Bec de Corbins and Grim Scythes don't show up until Act 3.

For your own weapon, I'm assuming you're sticking with swords, seeing you have already made quite an investment in sword mastery.

If you want to make Honor (5os) then your exceptional sword options are a Dimensional Blade (ilvl=35) or a Zweihander (ilvl=49), or an Executioner Sword (ilvl=54). But you need at least ilvl=41+ to get a chance at 5os, so the bottom two levels of the Tower or anywhere from the Jail will give you a chance at the Dimensional Blade. For the other two swords you need to wait until Act 2 Tal's Tombs or Act 3.

For the Strength rw you only need 2os, so plenty more options in blades and where you can find them.

Clearing the bottom two levels of the Tower on your way to the Countess might be worthwhile, as it gives you a chance for everything that you need at the moment. Although PIs can be a problem?

Just a note that Normal Bloody Foothills is a level 24 area and Normal Cows is level 28. Neither of them is going to give you much in the way of useful exceptional weapons and any weapons you do find will have a maximum of 3 sockets in the Foothills and 4 sockets in Cows.


Diabloii.Net Member
Socket ilvl intervals are 1-24, 25-39, 40+ IIRC. Getting 4 sockets to drop directly is possible, even easy, in NM, however, 5-6 sockets cannot drop directly until hell, and thus must be cubed or larzuked.

The only PI monsters should be boss ghosts with stone skin, so just park those.

The runes for insight are cheap enough that I'd make a new one each time I found a better base.

Biggest problem is weapon for the barb himself. I'd beef up on levels a bit, then hit NM andy and see if she can't cough up a Headstriker or something.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for helping me out, all! :) I am at the moment trying to find an efficient way to farm Andy. Andy herself is not so bad, now I have dual Strength, but all those pesky monster around make the run a bit troublesome. Currently level 40.

I've acquired the runes for Insight, and a Eth 0 soc Patrizan, so I'm crossing fingers for 4 holes.

I don't wan't to go back to Normal, as It seems like a waste of time.

@Dezrok Funny, I found a Dimensional Blade in the bottom of the Tower :)

@helvete Clouded by my own stupidity, I threw a 4os Fuscina away to make room for a 0os Eth Patrizan, rather than just upgrading them along the way :rolleyes: Trying to farm Andy now for a decent weapon.


Diabloii.Net Member
The Fuscina wouldn't have worked for Insight, since it's spear type weapon. Insight only works in polearms (and staves).


Diabloii.Net Member
I thought that for whirlwind, both weapons hit at the same time, and the game alternates between their hitframes, so if you wield a 4 fpa weapon and a 6 fpa weapon, it will switch between the two every 4th and 6th frame, making it best to always hit the lwwbp on both weapons. I think with the attack speed calc, it ends up telling you 2 fpa, or 12.5 attacks per second, but I'm almost certain that booths weapons hit on the same frame. However I'm not sure how this impacts 'on hit' effects. I don't know if cb gets applied once or twice in one frame, or how poison damage gets applied (though I would guess it applies the same poison damage two times, effectively overriding the first application... Not like that matters, because once you hit, your poison damage is going to be ticking over x seconds anyways). Basically, you're still attacking with both weapons 6.25 times per second, but might lose out on some efficacy of landing hits every other frame. But it's still a ridiculously strong skill, so who cares?