Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

Time Warp

New member
Dec 15, 2009
Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

My untwinked level 69 Conc Barb managed to get through Nightmare with substandard gear with no real problems, but he's not having as much luck in Hell. Every unique zombie seems like NM Baal, especially since most of them are Physical Immune.

So I want you guys' opinion on equipment for him. Basically, what I want to know is: what should I wear, and where should I get it? Keep in mind that the best he can do right now are NM Baal runs, though I suppose I could work my way up to Hell Andy if necessary.

His skills (counting boosts from equipment and BC):
Concentrate - 22
Berserk - 3
Battle Orders - 24
Shout - 11
Battle Command - 5 (Actually, 4 since I use it before it boosts itself)
Battle Cry - 5
Sword Mastery - 18
Iron Skin - 3
Natural Resistance - 6

144 Strength, 140 Dex, 145 Vit, 10 Energy

Current Equipment:
Helm - IK Will with 2 P topazes
Armor - Skin of the Vipermagi (might replace with 'Smoke' once I get a Lum, but would that be a bad idea since I lose the +1 to all skills?)
Shield - 'Rhyme' Grim Shield
Weapon - Hellplague (I know, I know...but I haven't found a better sword yet. That's why I'm here, asking for help)
Gloves - Venom Grip
Boots - rare Demonhide Boots (49 defence, +5 max stamina, heal stamina 25%, 10% chance to cast level 3 nova when struck, 23% MF)
Amulet - (+2 strength, Replenish Life +4, CR 11%, LR 11%, PR 11%, FR 28%, damage reduced by 3, 10% MF)
Ring1 - (14% chance to cast level 5 charged bolt when struck, +14 to AR, CR 6%, PR 20%, damage reduced by 2)
Ring2 - (+50 poison damage over 3 seconds, +83 mana, +2 strength, 8% MF)
Belt - (17 defence, +14 to life, FR 11%, +10 mana, replenish life +5)

Sorry if that's all a little too cluttered. I'm not quite used to this yet.

In retrospect, I should probably have gone with Axe Mastery, or held off the mastery points till later, but that can't be helped now. So, any suggestions?
Re: Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

Note: most suggestions I make regarding runewords assume you are playing v1.10, or v1.11+ with the runeword mod. Be sure to check the runeword listings on the Arreat Summit before wasting your runes on something that might not work.

Grab a better weapon. It's not so much that Hellplague is crap, rather it's that it's not really designed for melee. It'll work okay at lower levels, sure, but it's mainly useful for the +2 fire skills, such as on a fire sorcy. Remember that it's a classic (as opposed to expansion) item, and those are generally underpowered compared to their expansion counterparts.

If you still hadn't picked a mastery, I'd probably have recommended maces instead of swords, but it's really just personal taste, as well as contingent on what items you have available. As it is, here are some sword suggestions:

Bloodletter- damage isn't too great, at least not for Hell, but it's very easy to get, and has some life leech. If you accept freebies, you shouldn't have any trouble finding someone willing to give one away. I know I can easily spare one.

Ginther's Rift- again, pretty easy to get. It's basically a baby Lightsabre. It offers a bit of magic damage, and has self-repair, so if you can get an ethereal one, it's actually quite good, especially upgraded.

Headstriker- scaling deadly strike and max damage makes this one a winner. Even without an upgrade, it can probably get you through Hell.

Frostwind- if you can find or trade for one of these, the cold damage and freeze will help you out. The downside is it's an elite sword (harder to get), and the cold/freeze obviously won't help against zombies, which are CI.

Crescent Moon (Shael Um Tir) runeword- not too expensive, and the ctc Static Field can help a bunch. It's also got ITD and a bit of IAS.

Oath (Shael Pul Mal Lum, requires runeword mod or a realm ladder character) runeword - this one's probably out of your price range, but with a good roll, the damage can be huge. Use an ethereal item for best results (the runeword grants the 'indestructible' mod).

Honor (Amn El Ith Tir Sol) runeword- the damage isn't that great (but still a fair bit better than Hellplague), and it offers no IAS, but it has life leech, +1 skills, a bit of replenish life, and deadly strike. Its best feature, though, is that it is very cheap. If you're in Hell and don't have the runes for this one, well. I dunno what to say.

You can also use the cube recipes to make socketed magic weapons. Three normal gems and a socketed weapon gets you a magic weapon of the same base type with one or two sockets. Three flawless gems and a magic weapon gets you a magic weapon with one or two sockets. Three chipped gems and a magic weapon gets you a magic weapon with one or two sockets. The item levels are 30 for the first two recipes, and 25 for the chippy one, so you won't get the higher-level affixes. Still, you might get something nice.

If you've got the gold, try shopping and/or gambling. Gambling can potentially net you a rare sword with good damage and a socket or two.

The rest of your gear is also somewhat lacking for Hell. Skin of the Vipermagi is great, with just one problem- it's not meant for melee. Don't worry about the skills; you should be more concerned with defense. The only thing that SotV has that's really good for you are the resists, but you can get these elsewhere. Lionheart (Hel Lum Fal) is an excellent choice for resists, but has no enhanced defense. If you have a Mal rune, Prudence (Mal Tir) in ethereal elite armor is bloody awesome. Even something like Iron Pelt can help, since it offers decent defense and damage reduction.

Gamble for some life leech jewelry. Consider crafting some blood gloves; these offer 5-10% crushing blow, a small amount of life leech, and possibly other good stuff, like IAS and resists.

What type of mercenary do you have, and what are they geared with? This can make a big difference in your play style and what weaknesses of your character are covered. I'd suggest four choices:

Might aura merc (Nightmare Act II offensive)- this guy's job is to boost your damage output. Give him a big hurty stick and good armor.

Prayer aura merc (Normal/Hell Act II combat)- this guy's job is to provide healing. Don't bother unless you're using the runeword mod, in which case give him an Insight (Ral Tir Tal Sol) polearm. The Meditation from Insight will get the bonus from Prayer, meaning he'll heal you right away, even before he turns on his own aura. Once he turns that on, he'll heal you at double the rate. Give him gear to keep him alive; he won't be killing anything you can't kill, except possibly dolls and such.

Cold Iron Wolf (Act III cold)- his damage will suck, but the slow and freeze effects he provides might help you out. He'll be a bit fragile, though, and the AI on these guys is pretty annoying. Stack all the +skills and FCR you can on this guy (Spirit runeword is awesome, if you have the runeword mod).

Fire rogue (Act I fire)- give her a badass bow, and she can provide fire support. If you're using the runeword mod, Harmony (Tir Ith Sol Ko) is probably your best choice. It offers good damage, lots of elemental damage, and a Vigor aura to let you run into (or away from!) combat.

Anyways, these are the suggestions I can think of. Without knowing more about what your weak points are, it's hard to be more helpful. Do you have a hard time hitting stuff? Level up, since the to-hit formula is level-dependent. Do monsters kill you too easily? Get more life, resists, and defense.
Re: Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

Nice post pharaoh. My only three contributions would be:

- Consider running Baal or Meph for a little while longer. Get another ~5 levels and it'll help your chance to hit and survivability in Hell, and maybe you'll get a lucky drop or two along the way.

- For a melee barbarian, I would say pick the hardest-hitting weapon you can find, and try to get as much leech as you can. With your high life, defensive skills, and warcries you can survive ok already, and increasing damage and leech will only improve that (and it'll improve your speed too).

- Taunt is an amazing skill, and well worth a point. Howl can work well too (though I seldom want monsters to flee from me, so I seldom use it). BattleCry is another one-point-wonder that can help a ton if you're having a hard time hitting things consistently. As you start encountering more and more dangerous monsters in hell, these skills can make a huge difference for you.
Re: Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

Thanks for the great suggestions! I didn't mention it because they're prereqs for Battle Cry, but I do have a point in Taunt and Howl, which translates to 5 in each after BC and +skills. Not that the added levels do much anyway, but I do use them often and they've saved me from death several times.

Once 1.13 comes out, I think I just might re-assign Sword Mastery points to Mace Mastery. The game keeps taunting me by giving me Unique mace class items like Dark Clan Crusher, The Gavel of Pain and Bloodtree Stump, with barely any Unique swords. Bloodtree Stump especially made me drool.

I've got an Act II might merc with Kelpie Snare, Hawkmail and Naj's Circlet. I know Hawkmail is low level armor, but he's useless when he gets frozen, and I can keep him alive with Howl and Taunt so I don't feel the defence is quite as necessary. I'm completely willing to accept other suggestions for gear for him, though.

I'm not having too much trouble surviving, it's just that it takes forever to kill some of the monsters in Hell.

I only use stuff I find myself, so that cuts down on options a bit. I'm just stubborn that way. Still, I think I'm going to try for a Headstriker, or Crescent Moon if I ever get an Um. I don't see myself getting the runes for Oath any time soon, and as for Honor, I'm having trouble finding a sword with the right amount of sockets. I might try cubing one if I can't get Headstriker.

As for armor, until I get the runes for Prudence or Lionheart, do you have any other suggestions? I was thinking of Smoke, since it'll get me a bit higher defence and resists.

Thanks again for the help!
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Re: Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

Just because you've invested into Sword Mastery doesn't mean you can't use maces. I bet if you equip that Bloodtree Stump that the damage will increase despite the difference in mastery, and if your attack rating doesn't plummet when it's equipped then it's definitely worth a look. Just try it, worst case is that you can't hit anything and go back to your Hellplague.

Equipping a two-handed weapon will mean you can't use your Rhyme shield, so maybe keep the bloodtree stump on the switch for bosses?

Smoke is awesome armour, and will solve or diminish any resistance problems you have, the only thing you need is a Lum rune. Two socketed armour is easy to find, as is a Nef. Your NM Hellforge wasn't Lum was it? Or higher? You can trade for lower runes if it's the case, or just offer some of your other gear for a Lum rune - they're pretty cheap.

I agree with the idea that you should run some Mephy. NM meph can drop Natalya's boots, a bunch of weapons, upgraded armour (duriel's shell, shaftstop), better belts (string of ears, bladebuckle).
Re: Mid(ish) level equipment for Conc Barb?

I did try out Bloodtree Stump for a bit - the temptation was too great to ignore. I loved the damage, which was about triple my damage with Hellplague despite the mastery difference. In the end I switched back to Hellplague because of 1)The lowered AR, which wasn't really that bad because it has built-in Mace Mastery but still lowered my chance to hit by about 5%, 2)The loss of blocking and CBF provided by Rhyme and 3)The slow attack speed, but I guess I could always Shael it.

I like your idea of keeping it on switch for bosses. I'll do that, for ones that don't freeze, anyway.

And now to run NM Meph till I faint. Thanks for the advice!
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