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Untwinked Barb


Jul 19, 2005
Untwinked Barb

Hi everyone,

(You can skip to the bottom if you don't want to read my whole Diablo II life story)

Ok, I have read many of the barbarian guides in this forum as well as in the strategy compendium, and it seems like the biggest aspect of making a viable barb build is the equipment used. I really don't have a lot of time to play the game, as I can only play for at most 3-4 hours a week, mostly on the weekends. I started playing Diablo II again, after a long break, towards the end of 1.10, where I built a frost zealot paladin. He did pretty well, but I got bored of him at lvl 45, as I was only using two skills, and those two skills only. Then, I made a charged strike/lightning fury amazon, which I had a lot of fun with. I twinked a little from a paladin, giving my amazon a titans (long story). When my zon was 56, the ladder reset. After this, I started a meteorb sorc, which I got to level 10 and then realized that it wasn't catching my interest.

I originally wanted to start a barbarian but never did, thinking that you could only start a barbarian with good items. Now, I'm feeling determined enough to risk wasting my precious diablo hours making a useless char by starting a barbarian and playing untwinked.

Finally, down to my question, which barb works the best without good gear? I known whirlwind barbs are out of the question because of equipment requirements, and I'm pretty sure its difficult to make a frenzy barb without enigmas and what nots. However, I have heard it can be done....

Is it possible to make a viable concentrate barb? <- this is the one I'm most likely to try.

What I'm looking for is a build I can have fun with and not get stuck in any place in normal difficulty and as few places in nightmare as possible. Being able to manage in hell is also a factor.

Thanks a lot to anyone who replies, this means a lot to me.


Jun 26, 2003
Chapel Hill, NC
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Well, the problem with any barb is that the class itself is so very gear-dependent. Out of all the builds, conc barbs seem to make the best of what they find, since it's such a safe build in general. The only problem you'll have is this: Conc barbs are for patient players; they kill rather slowly. It's not that they dont' do any damage, as they actually do huge amounts of damage and can kill most enemies in just a few hits. The problem is that you have to stop and swing at each enemy independently, and that your swing speed is determined by the base speed of the weapon, unlike Whirlwind which has fixed breaks. So, 2h weapons are horribly, horribly slow with concentrate, as generally all have low base speeds and the wielder suffers a speed penalty due to the fact that it's a 2h weapon.

Now, throw in another factor: you have to use whatever weapons you can find. So, you're more than likely going to have something pretty weak, and since you won't know what you're using right off, you lose the benefit of a mastery (damage/ar/critical strike).

You can try and combat this later on by making some cheap runeword weapons. Cresent Moon is a really nice weapon with that static field and all, and you can make one fairly cheaply. Some of the mid-range, common uniques are pretty nice too, like the Butcher's Pupil. If you're playing ladder, you could upgrade something like that and use it for quite awhile.

You'll be fine once you get up around 65 or so, since then you can just run over to Larzuk or Halbu and shop for your weapon of choice in the Cruel variety. That's what I did, initially: used a Cruel Berserker Axe that I shopped off Halbu for several months.



Dec 27, 2003
Anchorage, Ak
I've been working on a frenzy barb for a little while now. In single player I have noticed that life steal is vital for the frenzy. BO is great but only goes so far. I have also noticed that natural resist and armor are highly useful but most guides will tell you to avoid these.

Playing on the previous ladder I twinked my frenzy barb with Sigons and made my way completely through nightmare using this cheap set. You lose some of the benefits without the shield but with the additional benefits it's more than useful until you can start trading for IK items.

With the new ladder I am recreating my frenzy barb with some mods. The first thing that I did is write down all of the low level runewords. Steel, stealth, nadir, etc. You'd be amazed at how much these simple words help and how easy they are to create. My biggest problem was actually finding the equipment to put the runes into, as opposed to finding the runes themselves.

Additionally these low runewords makes it a whole lot easier trading for the sigons items that can carry you through 2/3's of the game.

The build is pretty straight forward though. I find that I use frenzy and leap as my only two skills until I get BO and then that is substituted for leap. Even with the two skills the game itself is entertaining enough for me but not so involved that you start forgetting what keys are tied to what skill.

At this point in the ladder I've started dropping my low runewords for rares and my damage is starting to look up. I've hit level 30 and I've made the most of partial sets that I've picked up and rares that I've found along the way. Early in act 5 I've got my resistences maxed and only one sigons piece to work with, but I'm killing quickly with no real life steal to speak of.

So untwinked and effective, I would go with the frenzy, but I have not tried any of the other builds so I cannot comment on their effectiveness.