Diablo 2 Guide: WW barb

INTRO:

Whirlwind- fun, passion, debate, misconceptions, nerfdom. These are all the words one can think of that often get associated with the skill. Whirlwind has come a long way from the days of six emerald pikes to the shael shael eth cbs & now the botds. Some things have gone, some changed & some made a comeback but the thirst for squeezing the max out of it always remains.

“Whirlwind- ‘a fierce spinning attack that cuts your path through the legions of your enemies’ nerfed fiercely by Blizzard. But whirlwind has steadily grown in complexity all through the patches. One thing it has never been is “simple”. Its still manages to be the prime skill of barbs in terms of damage over time & barb’s only real means in general pvp. Whirlwind as put by some in rpgforums is “something which many do wrong but few do right”. Some even go as far as to compare it with the three letter word cheesy  which is quite accurate infact-‘The more you do it,the better you get at it”.

The cut in popularity of whirlwind after the release of 1.10 has less to do with changes with whirlwind itself but more to do with the boosting of all other combat skill with synergies & the death of the eth & mastery bugs which ww had capitalized on,it got by with low ar & less damage earlier.

This guide is intended to teach all those who need to know the basics,workings,choices,tricks & how amazingly complex yet simple & effective a whirlwind barb is.

About Razgriz/rikstaker : Real name Syed, management student. I am a long time gaming addict,had the habbit since atari & all through subsequent systems, Diablo classic was the first game I played on my p.c so quite naturally its special *Took me a week to figure out(by accident) that you need to click on monsters to attack them*  . I took the warrior class & beat diablo after dying dozens of deaths to the butcher. On to D2..I got hold of the demo in a p.c magazine & the barb class just took control over me completely. I bought the game & built my first barb- 6 sword mastery,2 mace mastery, 4bash-10 double swing, I never got past hephasto. Gradually I learnt the trade & it was just pure pleasure,the hack & slash always makes me come back, I enjoy talking & discussing about the game, PS2 seduces me once in a while with games like mgs,gt but the forum has managed to chain me to the game.To be honest,many a times I had the thought about giving up the guide project & going back to my consoles, besides there is pressure on my studies as I embark on advanced modules, but it was a promise & I had to keep it & I have no intention of leaving the game or forum anytime soon. Whirlwind has always been my favourite skill, I was reluctant at frist with the due to the mana cost & low ed% & never even bothered to try it out,until the fatefullday I found bloodletter in the ruined temple….

OBJECTIVE & TERMINOLOGY:

This is a guide-treat it like one. It is not meant to be followed word by word. Remember it’s a game. You bought the game & its your personal choice how to play it. The objective of this guide is to precisely classify whirlwind features, provide easy to follow templates on various builds & grade all ww weapons which will enable easy and accurate comparisons among their type. You won’t however see a 2handed weapon being rated against 1handers. You won’t see comparison of dualwielding/2handed/weapon shield since they are in a class of their own. They have their own advantages & disadvantages, some can handle particular roles & situations better than the others.

The intention of basing the format & ‘feel’ of the guide on military aircraft is justified on many grounds though it looks tad cheesy. The real advantage with that has to do with the classification of the mechanics of whirlwind. It gives a much clearer picture on how distinct yet so dependent & important all whirlwind features & mechanics are. It also prevents any unintentional rating of one feature from one category to another of a different category. For e.g. damage vs attack rating or range vs crushing blow. These properties are distinct, their categories are distinct.

Coming back to the format, the big plus here is not just the apparent relevancy you might have noticed but the convenient classification. You’ll understand it when you start reading the basics section.  Plus there is this similarity of barbs & machines. Each part is distinct yet integrated & they all work seemlesly together, perform their own function & ahh.. yes, barbs are a tad complex.

Basics

1.PAYLOAD

a. WEAPON DAMAGE

If your barb is going to be anywhere near effective, he must wield a powerful weapon. Weapon damage is the prime source of damage. Relish that fact. All enhanced damage you get from skills, strength, ed jewels & mods like deadly strike & critical strike is dependent. It is entirely based on your weapon damage. Think of them as upping the air intake after installing a turbo kit. The higher the weapon damage the more fruitful the bonuses of other sources. So finding & equipping your barb with a powerful & fast enough (later on that) weapon is the basic requirement of building an effective killing machine. Damage not only improves a ww barb’s killing capability, it improves his survival rate as well. As a matter of fact, the reason why some ww barbs fail to do well even with high defense & life is because of their offensive limitation. They must kill to live. ‘Damage is ’ .Check out the Mid whirl refueling section for more info.

A simple description of damage application process – relevant to Barbs.

  • Base damage: Base normal damage of the weapon. Ethreal property pre-boosts it by 50% before it is taken to the next stage
  • Weapon Damage: Takes base Damage (pre-boosted-if ethreal) & boosts/adds it by ed%, ed% max/min and +max/min damage ON weapon & adds +max of weapon.
  • Total Damage: Takes weapon damage & boosts it by ed% from skill, strength multiplier, ed% off weapon, ed% to x monsters & adds elemental damage.
  • Final Damage: Takes total damage (excluding elemental) & multiplies it by 2 only if a critical or deadly strike occurs & adds back the elemental damage. If using berserk, physical damage is converted into magic damage at this stage after cs/ds checks.

As you can see, the initial levels of damage levy heavily on the final damage. Since only ethreal items can pre-boost base damage, it is therefore safe to say that one must give priority to the immediate next. So find a bad azz weapon folks!!!

Applications: Universal – PVM & PVP.

b. SKILL DAMAGE

WHIRLWIND:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost2525262627272828292930303131323233333434
Damage %-50-42-34-26-18-10-2+6+14+22+30+38+46+54+62+70+78+86+94+102
Attack +%0+5+10+15+20+25+30+35+40+45+50+55+60+65+70+75+80+85+90+95

Needless to say, the build revolves around this skill. This will be your multi-role attack, with occasional switching to berserk. It doesn’t seem too impressive with the damage & ar, but the sheer break-neck speed more than overcomes that, when using the right weapon. The skill is just the reflection of the weapon you use. This guide is geared towards building a pure whirlwind barb. It is highly recommended that you max this skill regardless of your build.

Whirlwind starts of with -50% Ed. It seems daunting at first, but speed manages to overcome that initially, more so with a lwbp weapon. So new players: Don’t be scared, stick to your guns, get a high damage weapon or dualwield and get about 5% mana leech as you are putting more points into it, it will deliver. But endgame is a different story. Keep reading.

ED per skill point: 8%, AR per skill point: 5%

Applications: Universal- PVM & PVP.

WEAPON MASTERY:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Damage +%283338434853586368737883889398103108113118123
Attack +%283644526068768492100108116124132140148156164172180
Chance for Critical Strike %3691112131415161717181819192020202021

What’s a ww barb that doesn’t choose his mastery?. People got by with 1 point in it in 1.09 due to the mastery bug & the eth bug. Those who cared to boost damage further still invested in it. But 1.10 is a different story. Monster defense & life has been beefed up. You will need decent attack rating to kill efficiently in PVM. The importance of it in PVP more so in BVB cannot be stressed enough.All builds must pick a mastery (except throwing) based on their planned endgame weapon. People who play untwinked should delay their points in mastery until they find a weapon decent enough to solo hell with. Gives critical strike bonus (more on that below), ar & damage boost. All of which are attractive, you get all of them bundled. So forget about the glory days of sure shot double damage & cherish all the three great mods you get from just 20 points.

ED per skill point: 5%, AR per skill point: 8%

Note: Polearms and spears start off from 30% ar with the initial point, but receive the same bonus as other weapon classes, each point.

Applications: Universal- PVM & PVP. Untwinked-delay till finding deent weapon.

c. BONUS DAMAGE

CRITICAL STRIKE:
Critical strike is a chance to do double damage. Weapon mastery provides that for barbs. As said above critical strike is added at the final stage of damage-so it is entirely dependent on the values of initial stages. A high damage weapon is still a necessity.However, with a high damage weapon, the chance to score double damage, even if it is a chance must be taken whenever possible. So mastery is very much a basic necessity.

DEADLY STRIKE:
Found as a mod on gear, delivers identical effects of critical strike & applied at the same stage, BUT only either of them is applied. The chance to score them however doesn’t stack, since, though their effects are identical, they are different mods. They exclude each other in the calculation. Critical strike is checked first & deadly is kept out & if it fails deadly strike is checked & critical is kept out. The net chance to score double damage isn’t therefore critical strike + deadly strike e.g. 66% DS + 22% CS = 88% -wrong!!! It is done this way:

=CS + (DS/100)*(100-CS)

E.g. Death cleaver has 66% chance of deadly strike, lets assume you have 22% critical strike from a high level mastery. The chance to do double damage is:

= 22 + (66/100)*(100-22)
= 22 + (.66)*(78)
= 22 + 51.48
= 73.48% chance of doing double damage.

Remeber,Critical strike is applied after all ed% from skill & strength etc,so it is that much more effective.

Applications: Universal- PVM & PVP.(Chance to deal double damage-who doesn’t want that)

d. STRENGTH

Strength has been the subject of debate. Some argue that it should be seen as a requirement for equipping items, others think of it as a damage boost. How one should perceive this stat depends heavily on his specialization. Remember each point in strength means a point less in vitality. In other words due to the high life buffer requirements of PVP, it is highly recommended that one puts as much as necessary into strength, dare I say it ‘enough for gear’ & if you are a dualwielder in pvm you should follow the same rule as well.

But in PVM(2h only), there is a ‘comfort zone’ of life, depending on the gear, above which excess life isn’t actually required. With defense, leech & decent gear since, only ironmaiden can kill you if you play well, with preemptive & clever warcries usage. So don’t think of strength as a pushover if you are PVM. You can place more than what is required for gear in strength for ‘upping the air intake’=>more damage(recommended for 2h only).Moreover, since leech isn’t as ineffective here, you will leech more life with more damage, which also means better survivability, though marginal. Strength gives a better deal with higher damage weapons, since it too is based on weapon damage. Check out the build guides for info on the recommended stat placement & comfort’ zones.

ED% per point: 1% for all weapons except warhammer, maul & great maul & their exceptional & elite versions which get 1.1%ed.

Application: Varies – check builds section.

e. SPECIAL DAMAGE

CRUSHING BLOW:

Crushing blow removes x% of the remaining life of a target immediately after a successful ar check & before the final damage is dealt on the target. The percentage of life removed depends on the nature of the target:

Default: 1/4th
-vs. Players: 1/10th
-vs. Hirelings: 1/10th
-vs. Champions, Uniques, Bosses: 1/8th.

Crushing blow is available on weapons/gear & the chances stack. Higher chance however doesn’t mean higher percentage of life removed, it means higher chance of removing a percentage of remaining life. So don’t get confused with the % chance of crushing blow you see on weapons & gear. Crushing blow is applied as a physical damage, positive physical resists reduce its effectiveness. Subsequent cb trigger reduce the effectiveness,since it is applied on the remaiing life,so you cant kill with it alone,just like statiic -yep thats a good example-the static field for ww barbs.

Application:

PVM-The new age special payload. Crushing blow works a lot better than before,since now it is applied before your damage. It greatly increases your offensive capability & cuts down on long fights. Bottom line,since its a trigger it works perfectly for a high frequency skill like ww. Pack up on this mod wherever possible. This is especially the case when you aren’t wielding a power tool,geting this isnt hard.But remember you cant kill by it alone,it cant replace weapon damage.Goblin toes is highly recommended for 2hander builds for the added base runwalk benefit & the runeword armor duress which is also a favourite. Check squigis item bonuses document. <= Gui..link here.

PVP-  Marginal.Not worth active seeking.1/10th life removed & reduced by DR.

OPEN WOUNDS:

Open wounds causes a target to loose health at a fixed rate for the duration of 8 seconds or 200 frames. The rate is based on the clvl of the attacker & the nature of the target. Open wounds is a standalone damage dealer. It isn’t effected by physical or any resists, nor can its duration be reduced by skills like fade. It is extremely popular in PVP, BVB in particular.

Character LevelDamage per Frame*Damage Per Second*Duration
1-15(9*clvl + 31) / 2560.88*clvl + 3.038 seconds
16-30(18*clvl – 104) / 2561.76*clvl – 10.168 seconds
31-45(27*clvl – 374) / 2562.64*clvl – 36.528 seconds
46-60(36*clvl – 779) / 2563.52*clvl – 76.078 seconds
61-99(45*clvl – 1319) / 2564.39*clvl – 128.818 seconds

Note:The damage is divided by 4 in PVP & by 2 against bosses & champions.*

e.g:
Clvl 70: 178.8 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 1430.5 damage.
Clvl 90: 266.7 per sec over 8 seconds for a total of 2133.6 damage.

Application:

PVM-Dont rely on it to do the killing, hardly useful here,monster life is too high & you should kill by pure damage & crushing blow-thats designed for pvm, use it.

PVP- yep, the cat is out of the bag. The mod has turned pvp arena,bvb in particular on it head. Ow is  cut by just1/4 in pvp instead of the standard 1/6th or (*.17). Besides, it cant be reduced by dr like physical damage. At level 90,one hit & 8 seconds slashes away at ~533 hp.This has shook the BVB arena to its core,you dont hit often here due to obscene defense & 75% block,plus a maxed damage reduction to boot.The actual damage dealt numbers even with botds are pretty lame,ironically ow has come as a saviour & fights dont drag on endlessly now.Some complain but let them, they must move with the change & its not a bug or glitch, it actually makes BVB more fun & envokes a sense of tension/urgency.

ELEMENTAL:

This is one thing barbs don’t get from any skill. They get magical damage from berserk but not ele. Found on various items including charms. Cold damage is the most desirable for barbs (in most situations). Chills enemies, slowing down their movement & attack. However, one shouldn’t actively seek this form of damage as the main damage dealer. It is not boosted by skill, strength and critical/deadly strike. Neither is your leech calculated on it. However, poison charms have managed to cause quite a stir in pvp arena,they are considered BM & aren’t allowed in most duels as a result.

Application: PVM & PVP: Varies/marginal.

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2.DELIVERY (pay attention-the most important chapter!!!)

Before we move further, you’d like to understand what I’ve termed as the ‘forgotten factor’ of ww. It is the precise reason why whirlwind demands wias & range so much. It is quite simple actually. It’s what makes whirlwind so special & unique, compared to other attacks. Many know this but can’t understand its implications very well.

Whirlwind is attacking while moving. You are constantly on the move when attacking. Apart from the advantages of being an uninterruptible attack, and ability to out-maneuver your targets, attack & move away to safety, there are certain disadvantages with it:

  • Since you are on the move at a fast pace when whirling-you can’t execute sustained attacks on the same target, like all other combat skills.
  • Moving means, moving in relation to a point (theory of relativity-A. Einstein.:) you are moving with reference to your target(s), either closer or away from them. It is a ‘dynamic’ attack. Your position is changing all the time. Target(s) are coming in & going out of your attacking range continuously. The target(s) moreover, are also dynamic in most cases, i.e. they too are on the move.

Hitting the lwbp allowes you to get more attacks on targets, therfore delivering similar performance of sustained atacks of other combat skills. Longer range enables you to handle target distance & dynamism (movement) mid-whirl,since you can’t adjust your attack like other combat skills & also allows targets to be in range longer for more hits.

To sum up,the factors of wias & range bear a heavy influence on the disadvantages. They significantly reduce the extent to which these disadvantages affect whirlwind’s performance. Quite simply: they cut down the extent of their role & tune the performance of whirlwind from a crude state to deliver the combined goodness of a finished-uninterruptible, sustained & a dynamic (moving) attack.

a. WIAS

Weapon-Increased Attack Speed. IAS for ww is calculated in a different way from other skills. It is a straight linear increase but only the ias on-weapon is taken into account. Hence the term wias. The increase in hits however is allotted at what are know as breakpoints (bp) , which are like speed checkpoints, hitting them will allot more attacks per second. There is a cap however after which, excess wias doesn’t result in more attacks. The cap is known as the last ww breakpoint or lwbp. Here is a table to help you out:

     For all 1 handed weapons & 2handed swords:    For all 2-handed weapons-except swords.
WIAS-BP-10-35(-34)-10-30-60(-59)
Attacks per sec/Check frequency*-cf4.16.23.14.16.2
Frames per attack64864

NOTE;1 second =24 frames-so 4 frames=1/6th of a second.

e.g.:
IK Maul : 2 open sockets- (did you expect something else?)
Base weapon speed: 10
40% ias on weapon-effective speed: 10-40 = -30
As u can see it is currently at the second last ww bp, to get those 2 more checks/sec, it has to hit lwbp of -60.
To get there u need another 30% ias,so 2 x ias jewels or 2 x shael runes or a combo of both gets the job done.

Note: the bps of 2h swords remain the same as all 1handed weapons whether they are held 1handed or2 handed.

FACTS WORTH NOTING:

  • Wias/bp only effects the value of check frequency, no other factor is involved in deciding how often a weapon checks for target(s).The other factors have to do with the duration of checks, we’ll explore them later.Also see differentiation of checks,attack,hits now.
  • The first check of ww with all weapons lwbp/non lwbp occurs at the 4th frame & the second occurs at the 8th,then the wias/bp factor kicks in & the check frequency is set to what is alloted at the weapon breakpoint that is a check every 4 frame with a lwbp weapon or a check every 6th or 8th depending on the weapon/bp.


As a ww barb your aim should be to use weapon that is already at the lwbp (shown in red) or can reach lwbp with shael runes or IAS jewels in socket. The difference in performance is considerable.You get 2 extra checks per second at lwbp. Since whirlwind isn’t a high damage attack & relies more on speed, even a difference of 2 hits per second has a huge bearing on your performance in terms of damage over time & staying power with leech. Plus, whirlwind movement speed is now affected by your faster runwalk% speed, & the rate at which u move while in whirl has been increased. You now shimmy across target(s) faster than in earlier patches, giving you less time to unleash those blows. So making the most out of whirlwind simply involves using a weapon that is lwbp compatible.All weapons you see mentioned & graded in the build guides are all lwbp compatible.

Application: Universal:

PVM: The more hits you land the more damage you deal, the more damage you deal,the more you kill & the more life & mana you leech, the more life & mana you leech, the longer you can fight,to land more hits. To elaborate-the higher damage of certain nonlwbp weapons doesnt quite pay off,lwbp weapons will grant you more hits & they endup doing more damage over time due to the higher frequency,which is quite important in pvm now. As an icing, crushing blow effectiveness is directly proportional to your hit frequency ask a kickassin & she’ll tell you & crushing blow is one sweet payload feature that seems to be tailormade for ww barbs.

PVP: It’s all about upping your performance by bits & pieces. The extra checks you get at lwbp are much more than just bits & pieces. PVP environment is extreme. You get far less chances to get close (BVC), less chance of breaking through block & defense (BVB). So all in all, to significantly reduce the effects of these extreme conditions, it is best to stick to lwbp weapons, since more attacks translate into more chances of breaking through.
Though as mcm suggests,using high damage but non-lwbp is an alternative against certain casters,since when tele whirling those two free checks at 4th & 8th frame can be taken advantage of. But you will lose support mods like resists from a shield or wizzy(mana/fcr./resists) or aura & dmg boost from beast if you whirl with a two hander like thunder maul & you are also limiting yourself,mace mastery isnt the ideal route for pvp,axes offer much more variety & let you be more versatile, you can fight more characters,Grief/beast is just plain superior against most classes.

b. RANGE

Range is the effective range of the weapon. It varies from range 1 to range 5. Range has a bearing on the distance from which you can attack a target: (Attack Radius*) & the length of time a target is in range for attacks: (Attacks Duration*) What it doesn’t affect directly is Check frequency. WIAS alone, determines the Check Frequency.

Differentiation of Check,Attacks & Hits: (Crucial)

Checks: This refers to the game mechanism checking for the presence of target(s) in a 5 tile radius (check radius*) at the check interval (depending on the wias/breakpoint) in order to intiate the attack phase. This is the true & definable ww frequency & only wias/bp effects its value. Hence you should always say check frequency or cf instead of attacks per second/frames per attack. A lwbp weapon gives you a 4 frame check frequncey or 6.2 cps (checks per second)

Attacks: With the target in check radius,it must also be in weapon range (attack radius*) then, the weapon proceeds to attack the target i.e a chance to hit check is carried out on the target.If it is out of weapon range the attack is skipped.

Hits: When the chance to hit check is sucessfull, attack is converted into a hit,resulting in the target taking damage.

!!!New Terms!!!

*CHECK RADIUS; The 5 tile (game distance unit) radius in which the game checks for target at due check-regardless of weapon range..

*ATTACK RADIUS: It is the distance from which target(s) can be attacked. Weapon range determines this value. The longer the range of the weapon, the longer the distance from which a target can be attacked. Attack radius & Attack duration are semi-correlated:

ATTACK DURATION: It is the effective duration between the point of time a target enters your Attack radius to the point where it exits the radius. In other words: It is the time you have, while in whirlwind-, to get your attacks off on the target, since it will get out of range sooner or later, due to your dynamic attack. Pay attention-crucial point coming up: A larger radius(longer weapon range) would cause a target to enter your range early & exit late, thereby increasing the time it is in range for you to get more attacks on it.

In simple words: Target stays in range longer, giving you a good chance of an extra hit or two. Apart from weapon range your Whirl Velocity(effective runwak speed) & chill/slow factor affects Check Duration- see Maneuverability.

Note: This is applies to the general target behavior: A target (PVM & PVP) tends to either; remain stationary or move in the opposite direction, or move at a lesser pace in your same direction, meaning either way it is generally always bound to get out of range, very rarely does a target move in your direction & matches your speed & heading, allowing infinite attacks on it.

SUMMARY:

FACTOR                             VARIABLE EFFECTING (+increasing effect -decreasing effect)

Check Frequency                   Wias/bp

Attack Radius                         Weapon Range +

Attack Duration                       Weapon Range +
Final whirl speed based on run/walk speed including heavyarmor/shield factor &/or being slowed/chilled factor-(minus)
Target size* +
Target status-stationary/moving-movement speed & direction:dynamic variable*

*Final whirl speed is inversely proptional to Attack duration,the slower you move due to wearing heavy armor/shield & having base runwalk &/or being frozen the longer the check duration. I’d like to address a misconception on being frozen in pvp under meanuverability, be sure to scheck it out.

*Target size- there are three targets sizes-large,normal,small-bosses etc.. are big,players are normal & monsters like flayers etc..are small.Larger targets occupy more tile units(game distance units) therefore they stay in range longer allowing more hits on them.

*Target status: The most attacks possible are on target(s) that are moving in your whirl direction,they stay in range longer, next come stationary targets,the fewest attacks occur on target(s) moving in your opposite direction-e.g; (BVB)

Application:

PVM: Using a decent range weapon helps your efficiency. It reduces your killing time & fewer whirls are required to finish off packs.Target stays in range longer, allowing you more attacks. It allows you to attack targets from a longer distance, you can use it as a strategic advantage as well. Check whirl techs in builds section on how to take advantage of range.Monsters movement & AI behavior in 1.10 is more aggressive than ever, they move fast & make quicker decisions, when u whirl across them, u must be capable of handling their rapid movement by using a decent range weapon – 3(+) to make sure fewer attacks are wasted due to targets moving out of range of short weapons.To maximize efficiency in pvm you should seek to adjust the variables(that are in your control) that efect check radius & check duration Using a decent range weapon & if possible having baserunwalk is one way.

PVP: Though the difference here is marginal, but the demands of dueling are extreme & won on lost on margin. You must make every chance count, most duelers you go against will have 75% block rates, barbs & pallies have insane defense as well. Using low range weapons will significantly reduce the two variables of Attack radius & Attack duration. Casters have tele, barbs attack while moving just like you,The variances are huge & the chances you get against them are minimal, Range allows more tries, therefore giving  more chances. To make the most out of it, always use range 3 weapons and shields or secondary weapon, depending on the build. Sure range 5 weapons are attractive, but with a compromise in defense & versatility though they can be used against certain classes like smiters.

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3.GUIDANCE SYSTEMS

What’s a million dollar fighter/bomber that isn’t capable of hitting its targets?

a. ATTACK RATING

AR-The death of the eth bug in 1.10 has bought about the ar-attack rating revolution. It is something which is actively sought from weapons & gear. Attack rating or ar is your say in the calculation of chance to hit your target apart from your level. It is something ww barbs must pay attention to. WW doesn’t provide high ar boost % in comparison to other skills. One must note that ar and ar% bonus you get on combat skills & gear is different. Items that give direct ar like angelics jewelry & charms contribute to the ‘base pool’ of ar. Then weapon such as fury (20%) & gear such as arreats face (20%) & ar% from skills like ww & mastery boost that base pool to high levels with their combined total percentage.

Application: Universal.

PVM: Monster defense in just another thing whipped up in 1.10. You no longer get sure shot hits with eth. You still need high ar to break through. If u don’t hit often enough-it will affect your killing efficiency & survivability. Thankfully Blizzard has provided items which contribute to the base ar pool, like angelics jewelry or if you are rich some good ar charms. Check out the builds section for more info.

PVP: BVB in particular, high defense ethreal armors are highly valued. Half the battle in BVB arena is won & lost with the factors of ar & defense alone. It is more like a vicious circle. Since earlier,due to the eth bug-there could be sure shot hits on you(excluding block) people never cared about defense, now that eth bug is gone & ar/def checks are much more meaningful, defense is sought after. Defense standards have increased as a result, therefore placing even more burden on ar to keep up, since ar is harder to boost in comparison to defense-for barbs at-least, they have two skills in shout & iron skin which can up defense by a whopping 500% with just 20/20. Ar,ar & more ar is the new BVB motto,you need high ar to tear through those ‘spinning fortress’ (eth bugged armors) barbs you’ll meet in your career.

b. DEFENSE CUT

Reduces the defense of the target that is being attacked, by a certain percentage. The chance to hit the target is calculated on the reduced defense value. It is applicable to all targets, uniques, champions, bosses & other players, but at a different rate*. The eth rune gives this (25%), so does the property on weapons like Death cleaver (33%). It however doesn’t mean that you’ll net 25% or 33% better chance to hit the target, since there are other variables in the chance to hit calculation as well.

Defense cut against normal monsters: e.g = -25%:eth rune and -33% death cleaver:(Unique berserker axe)
Defense cut against uniques, champs, bosses & other players= -12.5%:eth rune and -16.5%:death cleaver(halved)
The defense cut a non-normal monster & other players receive from any defense cutting item is reduced by 50%.

For e.g.:
Defense of a normal x monster(with no enhanced defense%): 5000
Reduced defense from eth rune in weapon: 5000*(-25%) = 3750.

Final Defense of x player/non normal monster: 5000
Reduced defense from eth rune in weapon: 5000*(-12.5%) = 5000*(-12.5%) = 4375

Note:The defense cut on any targets with enhanced defense% like barbs is also applied on the final defense. Previously it was believed it applied to enhanced defense%,but this has been proven wrong by simple tests by Dahmer & TTP & defense cut does apply to base defense or final defense(same thing).

Applications:

PVM: A great mod to have,allows you to get by with lower ar.
PVP: Pretty useful,Having a 25% defense cut weapon in pvp is like having 80% more ar. A nifty mod,wielding a defense cut weapon in BVB is an edge.

c. IGNORE TARGET DEFENSE

Reduces the defense of the target* that is being checked to 0. Therefore, effectively giving you 95% chance to hit (max).However, not all targets* are awarded that treatment.

*Targets: Applies only to normal monsters. So uniques, champions, bosses & other players are still at their full defense.

Application: PVM-Sureshot hit on all normal monsters,thats great,forget about ar,& just use battlecry when coming across anything above normal.

CHANCE TO HIT-CHECK:

There are 4 variables which are taken into account when calculating the chance to hit.

* Attack rating of the attacker.
* Defense Rating of the defender
* Attacker’s level
* Defender’s level.

The formula:

100*AR/(AR+DR) *2* ALVL/(Alvl+Dlvl)
e.g.

AR: 17000 – Attacker’s Attack rating
DR: 24000 – Defender’s Defend rating
ALVL:82    – Attacker level
DLVL: 92   – Defender level

lets separate it:

a.100*AR/(AR+DR)

=100*17000/(17000+24000)
=1700000/41000
=41.46341(a)

b.(2)

c.ALVL/(AlVl+DLVL)

= 82/(82+92)
= 82/174
= 0.471264 (c)

Your chance to hit him = a*b*c
= 41.46341 * 2 * 0.471264
= 39% chance to hit the target.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

4.ARMOR

Your ww barb will have to get real close to deal damage. He must be in enemy range to deliver the payload. So he must be capable of withstanding whatever is thrown at him in any situations by any means necessary.

a. LIFE

Self explanatory. I knew this would be the hardest part. Not much to say, except for the fact that, this is directly proportional to your survivability in all conditions.

SOURCES:
Barbs get +2 to life every level & each point into vitality gives the 4 life. But the real up comes from:

BATTLE ORDERS:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost: 5
Duration (seconds)35455565758595105115125135145155165175185195205215225
Stamina/Life/Mana Increase %3538414447505356596265687174778083868992

It doubles your base life, mana & stamina for a long long time. If you are building a barb-NE barb, and you don’t max this, then you are building an expensive dominoe.

SYNERGIES:
Shout: +5 second duration per level (mutual synergy)
Battle command: +5 seconds per level (mutual synergy)

Apart from that it synergizes Concentrate- 10% ed per point- So with just 1 point conc you get a +270% damage backup skill (70% conc:level-1+200% BO level:20).You will rely on it as an occasional backup.

Back to life, Life is best boosted by placing points into vitality since BO will double it. However + to life items like charms also does the trick. But one must note that not all items get their life doubled:

Life not doubled:
+ to vitality/all stats items: you’ll simply net the vitality x 4 life.(verdungoes)
+ to life per character level.

Application:

PVM: Indeed, you need high life monster hit hard now, now doubt about that. So vitality should be the favourite for most builds. 2handers can take a different toute,since their higher damage makes strength attractive. They can halt at the survivability level & balance out both stats or if they are daring & thirsty for some fun,go all out titan for insane damage.

PVP: Quite simply, as much as possible-place enough into str for your gear, dex enough for block(wherever applicable) & rest goes into vitality.

b. DEFENSE

You might have seen a preview of it in the Guidance systems. Defense reduces your chance of being hit. It is your say in the calculation of enemy’s chance to hit you, apart from your level. Just like ar & ar %, Defense has base defense & enhanced defense%. Base defense is provided by armor & other gear, charms etc. The ‘base defense pool’ is then enriched by Shout, iron skin & defiance (if using defiance merc-not recommended) with their combined total percentage, all in one step.

For e.g.:
Base defense: 2000
Enhanced defense: Iron skin 220%, Shout 290%,
Total Enhanced defense % = 510
Final defense after casting shout = 2000*(+510%) = 12200.

SHOUT:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost: 6
Defense Bonus %100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290
Duration (seconds)2030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210

It takes some guts saying it-but for a ww barb-Shout is by far the dearest skill. Yes. I know ww barb can’t be a ww barb without ww or a barb without battle orders. I am talking-love here. It gives insane defense-which is extremely useful particularly in BVB & generally in pvm it helps a LOT since u will always allow numerous attacks being aimed at u simultaneously due to your messy fighting. But the added value you get is with Berserk damage. It gives 200% ed when maxed to a skill, which you will be investing just 1 point in, & relying on that 1-pointer,occasionally against high physical resist monsters. Want more? It gives mutual synergy to battle orders & battle command. All in all it comes in a nice attractive package. I love this skill. For non shield users-Defense is the only preemptive savior. If they keep breaking through-it all comes down to your life. So having a high defense is a great advantage in general whirlwind use. So max this out-regardless of your build

Application:

PVM: They hit a lot more often now, especially in late acts, you’ll find a tough challenge against frenzy minos & other melee types. Defense is crucial to survival in general gameplay. Always have shout active, it helps you, your party & merc of course. I cant imagine life without shout. My love for it is well justified.

PVP: Barbs are the real test. Defense is hot favourite here. Half the battle is won & lost between defense & ar as factors.So find some high defense plates & make them pay. ‘Spinning fortress’ builds(BVB) can obtain some insane defense numbers when using eth plates & obscene prebuffing.

IRON SKIN:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Increase Defense Rating %30405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220

The good thing about iron skin is that its passive-the bad thing is, your allies & merc don’t get anything from it. Since shout gives more defense, to allies as well, synergizes zerk, increases battle orders & battle commands duration, it deserves the preference. I see no reason why one should pump skin in place of shout. However, iron skin is the best candidate for placing all your left over points after the big four you must max: WW, Mastery, BO & Shout.Hence WMBS.

Application: PVM,PVP; Rest after spending in big four.

c.BLOCKING

Another great component of ww machinery. When having block rate at max-75% => 75% of all physical attacks that manage to breakthrough your defense will be negated by the blocking from the shield. What’s really cool is, u don’t need to pay attention to block speed since while in ww, it doesn’t matter, since your attack is uninterruptible. That’s great-but what’s the catch?

The catch here is, you’ll be restricted to using a 1handed weapon. Now: 1handed lwbp weapons that do decent damage are generally more expensive & hard to find than the 2handers. Apart from that you have an addition in a decent-high block shield in you ww shopping list. So it’s advisable to use shields only if you are PVP. Plus, you’ll have to invest in Dexterity to up your block-which will mean lower life. But you can get by with that since you have 75% block. Remember-using shield means a compromise on payload=>damage.

Application:

PVM: You are better of if you dualwield weapons(for faster attack) or use 2 handed ones for the added damage,range & affordability. However dual wielders have an edge over 2handers,since they can switch to a wep/shield setup at leisure in “pain zones” see builds section,but swords nullify that argument due to their unique versatility. However with decent gear, resists, defense, life & clever crowd control, 2handers too can overcome anything that is thrown at them.

PVP: Barbs first-if you go up against barbs without a shield-expect to be creamed in seconds. Always use a shield against them. Against other classes- it depends. See the builds section.

Blocking must be maintained at 75%. Use shields that give a block rate of around 75%,they can have more. But the final block rate is maxed at 75%. You will notice, as you gain levels, your Block rate suffers, It can be kept at 75% with investment in Dexterity & yes that’s exactly what & all it is supposed to be looked as. Dexterity improves blocking, the ar you get as a result is the toy that comes with the meal, you dont buy the meal for the toy right?-so you should never seek to increase dexterity to improve your ar. Upping block rate is what it is meant for.

Dexterity = [(Total Blocking * Character Level * 2) / Blocking] + 15
Dexterity = [(Total Blocking * Character Level * 2) / Blocking] + 15

Dexterity required for maxblock = [(75 * Character Level * 2) / Shield block] + 15

d. DAMAGE REDUCTION

This is a must have. It reduces the physical damage you receive by a straight percentage. So, obviously one must look to rope this into their gear to improve survivability. It is capped however at 50%, so anything over that is a waste of gear slot. Comes as a mod on quality equipment like Storm shield Monarch-35%, Leviathan-Kraken Shell: 25%, Shaftstop:30%. Shaft in particular is quite cheap & a good option if you can’t afford runewords & high defense ethreal plates. Belts like String of ears(15%) & Verdungoes (15%) provide it as well.

Application:

PVM: You need it even if you can manage a low percentage, it must be there somewhere.
PVP: You’ll have to max it-50% against all physical attackers you go up against, survivability is everything here.

e. RESISTANCE

Delivers the same effect as damage reduction, but for elemental damage types. This becomes a basic necessity, as only it stands between an elemental attack & your life, you cant block elemental attacks, neither is your defense going to help. So having high resistance for all roles is one of the basics of ww barb survival. Quality shields,armor gloves etc..provide decent resistance, charms are a good source as well, if you have other plans with your gear slots.

NATURAL RESISTANCE:

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Increase All Resistances %1221283540444749525456586061626464656667

The best part about this skill that its passive, whats even better is that it needs just 1 point.  Notice how the benefits drop with more skill points. Don’t waste too many here.  Just 1 point with even marginal plus to skills is enough. Since what you get after level 6 with more points can be easily achieved from something like charms. Moreover, it can be temporarily upped with battle commands as well. So 1 point it is.

Applications: Universal-pvp & pvm-always good to have high resists.

f. ABSORB:

It’s a mod found on some gear & weapons that converts a fixed amount of elemental damage to life. Yes. But if you look it the other way, it is in-effect reducing elemental damage by 200% of the value stated on the weapon. For e.g if you have 10% cold absorb,10% of the cold damage you take after reduction by resistance is healed, which in effect means reducing cold damage by 20% or 20% extra cold resistance . Note you’ll still take damage, but some of it will be healed, which is the same as taking less damage.

Application:

PVM: It is good to have some you’ll need it against gloams, but its not mandatory. You can get by without it.

PVP: Its imperative that you have these items, especially when dueling casters. There are limits however in dueling games, you are allowed 1 or 2 items depending on local rules you absolutely must abide by them. But my argument is against facets they increase their FINAL elemental skill damage by 5% and reduce your resistance by the same amount-which means you’ll take 10% more punishment. Isn’t that bad manners? Most casters use such items. So thats my rant for you.
———————————————————————————————————————————

5.MID WHIRL REFUELING

To sustain your attack, you need to heal yourself & replenish your mana fuel supply at the same time.

a. LIFE LEECH

Another crucial component. A percentage of damage you deal is rewarded to you in lifepoints-you are healed.

Whirlwind is so full of perils. You will literally dive into danger zones-many shots will be taken at you, some of those will break through. You absolutely must have life leech gear in your eq.

Leech in Normal: 100% of actual
Leech in Nightmare; 50% or 1/2 of actual
Leech leech in hell: 33% or 1/3rd of actual

Leech wont work on some monster though,like skellies or others with low leech efectiveness(a monsters stat that determines how much actual life should be compensated to player)

For e.g: You deal 4500 damage on target x & your leech in hell is 5%(actual-15)-so the calculated leech is 4500*5%=225-The leech effectiveness is applied at this stage: for e.g. a monster with 75% leech effectiveness-225*75%=169 life stolen on hit.Unleechbles have a leech effectiveness of 0-thats why they are unleechables.

Application:

PVM: You will get hit, because of your messy fighting, you’ll be taking them all at the same time unlike other combat skills. You’ll be in midst of packs, elemental enchanted monsters & what not. What makes life leech mandatory is that you can’t drink potions while in whirlwind. Whirlwind is a premeditated attack, you know where you will stop, but you can’t bet your tail on whether you’ll make it there in your current condition. Since monsters can damage you in whirlwind, it is essential that you pack the ability to heal yourself in whirlwind. Even moderate life leech of about 10% should be enough in hell depending on the damage of the weapon. If you are a whirlwind barb, life leech is your best buddy in pvm.

PVP: Bad news indeed, It will always be tough without leech in pvp. Blizzard nerfed it bad-so swap those leech gear for gear which gives higher life & other useful pvp mods.

b.REPLENISH LIFE

This ,mod gives marginal benefit. The life you get per second form Replenish life items is far too less.


!!!new term!!!

STAYING POWER: Ability to sustain whirlwind for lengthened periods of time or ability to execute more whirls with Mana leech, Large pool/generation or Damage to mana, with either one or combo of these depending on the application(PVP or PVM)

c. MANA LEECH

Whirlwind requires the most mana of all combat skills. You must use ways to replenish your mana while fighting to continue fighting,mana leech is the best & the most efficient way,but it doesnt work in all situations,so you have to supplement it with something else, or you’ll run out of mana when whirling unlechables*. They are far more numerous & common in 1.10 now they appear as guest monsters in act v & there is always the hordes in act 2.

*Some monsters cant be leeched from (see life leech above) & some burn your supply, but Mr. Farty Pants has other tricks up his shorts.

Application: PVM-essential. PVP(no longer effective)

d. DAMAGE TO MANA

This is one neat trick. Items that give %dmg to mana convert some of the damage you receive into mana. You’ll still lose life, but you will be compensated by an increase in mana. This is a must have for ww barbs.What it does is, remove the speed breakers when ww barbs hit areas with lots of unleechables. How many times has it happedned in act 2 that you are forced to switch to concentrate when skellies swarm you thereby cutting down your killing time by a third. Forget all that since with just 35% dmg to mana you can clear those hordes without drinking a pot or switching to conc. Expect some low down times,non-stop whirling & faster clearing times.

Getting 35% is easy as hell. Angelics jewelry which is highly recommended for all builds except for defensecut/itd weapon gives 20% or a carrion wind 10%. An ith rune anywhere-15% will get you there.Sure there are items like naj’s plate 45% or nightsmoke belt 50% but it will mean sacrificing the gear on these slots which carry more desired mods. Besides 35% is both minimum & plenty.

With 35% damage to mana-in hell:
Avg monsters can heal upto 40 mana points per hit!!
Vipers, temptresses & gloams can heal upto 90!!

Here are details:

Damage that goes to mana:

All physical attacks-from players or monsters including flayer darts
Normal/fire/cold/ice/magic arrow-from all archers(demon rogues & skellies)
Fire/Lightning/Ice bolt-Horror/skelly mage
Bone spear from Necros/vipers
Fire spear from demon imps
Bright orange/red magic ball thing from temptress
Gloam Lightning..(lightning attack only-melee attack is manaburn)

Damage that doesnt go to mana:
Hydra- sorcs/council members
Blizzard-sorcs/heirophant
Firewall-sorcs/lords
Meteor-sorcs/lords
Lightning-sorcs/heirophant
Inferno-sorcs/shamans,venom lords
Arctic blast-druids/frozen scourges
Fireball-sorcs/Ghoul lords (Arcane,durance)
W. keep suicide minions.

A generel rule of thumb is: All physical & magical attacks get converted to mana. In addition all elemental attacks except for area of effect spells & timed damage gets converted.

Damage to mana increases your staying power. In hell you are going to take damage as you fight,monster ar & damage has been beefed up & there is a wider distribution of elemental monsters which replenish your mana easily since ele damage doesnt have to go through the cth check.You can continue to execute whirls non-stop which wont be possible otherwise when you come across unleechables. Damage to mana- translates into more damage over time indirectly.

Applications:

PVM: 35% is top-notch. You are choosing efficeincy, in effect you are reducing things which ww cant handle,unleechables is a major obstacle removed in terms of numbers.Not recommended for shield users.

PVP: You are anticipating hits…. Thats a negative mindframe that wont bode well for you against hammerdins & necros since their hits hurt though you’d get your mana back big time. Dont have that at the back of your mind. It helps of course against barbs since you are in attacking range of each other & getting hit or not is upto the cth factor. I strongly recommend an ith rune in areats, ed% from a jewel turns out lame numbers after *0.17 pvp penalty & 50% damage reduction.But dont rely completely on dtm. Try to use efficient whirls,spend mana conservatively-ow builds have an edge due to their fighting tactics of delay attack. Use wizzy against casters, dtm wont work since blizzards & fireball wont heal your mana.

e. MANA REGENERATE / MORE MANA

You’ll need a large mana supply in pvp-more so against casters, since teleport will be executed followed by whirls, causing a further drain. Its a good idea to use items like wizardspike against casters. Never ever should one place points into energy. Battle orders doubles your mana as well.

Applications: PVM-not required-leech & dtm take care of all your needs.,PVP- an advantage against casters for tele-whiling(wizzy)
——————————————————————————————————————————–
5.RADAR,EMP & RADAR JAMMERS.

The barb has some really high tech electronic warfare systems. Using these gives you a strategic edge over the enemy, there is one for every situation.

HOWL:

 

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost: 4
Enemy Runs (yards)1619.322.62629.332.63639.342.64649.352.65659.362.66669.372.67679.3
Enemy runs (seconds)345678910111213141516171819202122

This thing is high on utility, there are certain situations in which you’d want to avoid/delay fighting certain monsters for x reasons.(more in pain zones). Howl comes in handy in those situations. It can be used to strategically negate certain threats.Upon casting it all normal monsters flee away as long as their path isn’t blocked by other monsters/you/obstruction. However the real utility of this skill comes out when used in conjunction with taunt. 1 point is enough with plus to skills,higher level adds more radius(hidden bonus-wider cry) & chance to flee,but keep it at 1,even with minmum + to skills it works well unless you rush:

Chance to flee: (a)slvl + clvl + 1 <=> monster level(b) (if a is greater,monster flees,if b is it doesnt)

Note: It is a curse & can be overriden by other warcry(except warcry) or any necro curse.

Applications:

PVM: 1 point & some minimum + to skills is enough for any situation
PVP: 1 point as a prequisite only, other players dont flee but summons do-so you can use it against minion stackers, but dont place more than 1.

TAUNT:

 

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost: 3
Target’s Damage Decrease %5791113151719212325272931333537394143
Target’s Attack Rating Decrease %5791113151719212325272931333537394143

The emp-electro magnetic pulse that barbs can use. An extremely effective skill to use a against range attacker. Once you taunt a normal foe,it immidiately stops its attack & tries to get in melee range. wooot! Take it as a time & trouble saver-without it you’d have to take your time to run to range monsters & while getting there take some cheap shots,cool. As a bonus any monster cursed with it takes a damage & attack rating penalty.1 point is enough,the curse is of unlimited duration,more points add more damage & ar reduction,but you are mainly after that emp effect. Works only on normal monsters & doesnt work on special monsters like oblivion mages,uniques & above.

Note: It is a curse & can be overriden by other warcry(except warcry) or any necro curse.

Applications:

PVM: 1 point is enough for any situation
PVP: You can avoid this if you are hardcore pvp.

BATTLE CRY:

 

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost: 5
Duration (seconds)1214.416.819.221.62426.428.831.233.63638.440.843.245.64850.452.855.257.6
Target Defense -%5052545658606264666870727476788082848688
Target Damage -%2526272829303132333435363738394041424344

A fantastically fantastic skill that should be heavily relied upon for untwinked play.It can allow you to delay investment in mastery points until you find a decent weapon, for the defense reduction it gives you.

Onto the usage,its universal(not just meant for untwinked)-everything is effected by it,even bosses & other players. You abolutely must use this in endgame battles with frenzy minos, lister & co, regardless of your build.A great utility for titans for the damage reduction it gives,making fights against powerful & hardy foes easier & safer. Always use this against bosses or a powerful physical damage pack that you come across. However one must note that the defense reduction% works in the same way as the eth rune against enemies with enhanced defense.The reduction is on the enhanced defense% the enemy has(if any) & not the total final defense number.The reduction is straight on generic defense enemies just like eth rune.

Similarly for damage on enemies with enhanced damage%:

The damage reduction will be on the enhanced damage %.For eg an enemy with 300% enhanced total damage,a level 6 battlecry would reduce it by: 300-30=270% enhanced damage for the enemy. The benefit therefore is marginal against such enemies,but it is still worthwile to use it in pvm.

Note: It is a curse & can be overriden by other warcry(except warcry) or any necro curse.

Applications:

PVM: 1 point ,~5 if untwinked.
PVP: Not much use here,almost all melee enemies you go against have high enhanced damage & defense. No point for serious pvp.

WARCRY:

 

Level1234567891011121314151617181920
Mana Cost1011121314151617181920212223242526272829
Damage23-3530-4237-4944-5651-6359-7066-7773-8481-9389-10197-109106-118114-126122-134130-142139-151148-160158-169167-179177-188
Stun Length (seconds)11.21.41.61.822.22.42.62.833.23.43.63.844.24.44.64.8

Stunning!
The ultimate safety skill,but unfortunately is of limited use to a ww barb due to the low radius of the cry & the nature of ww. It cannot be used as a core skill,ww attack is dynamic/moving, you’ll waste a lot of the stun duration,whirling back & forth. It is best suited for sustained attack combat skills like berserk & frenzy. Best left at 1 point for handling some rare ugly situations you manage to get yourself into.

Applications:

PVM: 1 point.
PVP: 1 point can be helpful against minion stackers,avoid for BVB.

7. MANEUVERABILITY

Slow or fast????

Those who have played combat flight sims like Ace combat,would easily understand.Notice how you have to slow down when attacking ground targets. Slow speed allows you more time to lock on targets. But you need to be fast when going against enemy planes,.execute quick turns, evade saam……

Back to Barbs……

Whirl speed is now based on your final runwalk speed,which takes into account faster run walk% from items & skill including the heavy armor/shield factor. This is a slight disadvantage for whirlwind.Since the faster you move while in whirl,the faster the targets get out of range,thereby giving less time for attacks. But what about pvp-what is one supposed to do?

The answer is,it depends. Being slow increases the value of Check Duration-allowing targets to remain in range longer for more attacks. But being slow is a serious disadvantage in pvp. Imagine your barb in a slow misdirected whirl,with Blizzards raining down on him or hammers slamming into his chest. Not a pretty sight. Besides there will be some chasing involved & the big guy must be fast to avoid taking shots.

Applications:

PVM: Its good to have a slow speed,you’ll clean up targets faster that way, the difference is evident in the reduction of number of whirls required to take out packs.

1.Do not invest any in increased stamina/speed.
2.Try & use medium/heavy armors.
3.Use boots with base r/w like Goblin toes.

Besides base runwalk, goblintoes have an edge over gores due to the higher crushing blow. Yes gores give deadly but check back the actual increase in double damage is lower & openwounds is useless in pvm. Crushing blow on the other hand is a stand alone damage dealer & not dependent on your weapon like deadly,instead it is a scaled damage, It is extremely effective in comparison & boss fights become quick as well.

I will also cover the other side here, being slow also means you will be in range longer of the monsters,so you’ll take a few extra shots but its a profitable trade in the end, the benefits in the extra hits you manage is greater which also means you are fully capable of repairing that extra damage through more leech. However,if you like to stick to gores,then yes please do use them,there is very little to choose between them.

PVP: You need speed here. I cant emphasize that enough.

Against Casters: You cant  rely on teleport totally..You’ll have to evade,chase on foot at times.Faster runwalk,makes it difficult for the opponent to guess your position to be-which is the judgement many characters like blizz sorcs rely on.Expect some frustation on their faces. With regard to offense, speed is again a great advantage.Having a faster r/w can cause panick in their minds,they’d be guessing all the time. Moreover, here the sooner you regain control of your barb in ww the better,faster runwalk lets you do that.So place a point in increased speed & stamina & let + to skills boost it,.the diminishing returns are steep.

Against barbs:Doesnt matter much here, a no factor I should say. Save those points for ironskin.Gores give enough to cater to your maneuvering needs. Why no investment or why no goblin toes? Well, you are a ww barb & he is a ww barb,when you whirl past each other it doesnt matter what your individual speeds are or whether which one is frozen, since it evens out, since you will have him in range as long as he has you in range, get me?..please get me.. Thats also my partial explanation on why you should still have cbf in BVB. Check CBF for the rest of it.

1. Invest just 1 point each in increased stamina & increased speed,it suffers from diminishing returns,let + to skills up it.(Casters only..BVB-no investment.)
2. Use light armors for casters,for Barbs defense should be your focus,it is best to ignore this factor,use the one that suits your stat setup.Archons/krakens.
3. Use gore riders.there are no better boots for pvp.BVB too,CB doesnt work well in pvp remember so goblins arent attractive.

CBF

Cannot be frozen mod, doesnt blue/slow you when hit with cold damage, found as mod on items like raven frost or on the cham rune.

PVM: It is true that being frozen grants you more attacks as it slows you down allowing targets to stay in range. Thats correct but it isnt such a big deal, not all uniques are cold enchanted so the benefit isnt as permanant as having base runwalk,besides ravenfrost is a fantastic ring for the dexterity & ar it gives & you have to accept cbf either way.

PVP: This is debated so I’ll just state my preference: i reckon its necesssary to pack this mod.If you are BVB cham stormshield,since you are going to need the ar from dual angelics. CBF is desirable since if you go of in a misdirected whirl while frozen it is that much easier for him to evade & counter you at the spot where you come to halt.Besides when out of mana,you’ll have to deploy conc/zerk,then being frozen is a pain.Against casters,,the use depends on the character you duel  you must pack it against anything that deals in cold whether as a skill like blizzard or through charms..
———————————————————————————————————————————

8. SUPPORT SYSTEMS

What else is good to have?

Its good to have some support gear. Thewy work passively, upping your performance. So what are they?

a. + TO SKILL

Barbs have points spread out in all three trees.So they do net many upgrades with + to skill gear. Plus to warcries means more life,defense. Combat skills means more damage & ar. Matsery means damage,ar,resists & defense. So all in all you get a quality upgrade with these items. But remember, all this depends on your base values like a high damage weapon,high base defense,base ar pool,high base life. So it is still very much dependant on your gear & base stats. Always try & up those first, add the icing later.

Applications: Universal-nice to have these for all roles..explained above & in all previous sections where relevant skills were covered.

b. + TO LIFE/AR/DAMAGE ETC.

These are more precious than + to skill.Since barbs skills already have the potential to boost your stats like, life, defense,ar,damage,so having these on charms/eq can surely improve performance.These are the mods you must seek in charms. Some charms might be expensive/duped,like those which give damage,ar & life all in one.

Applications: Universal,Affordabilty is the only limitation.

c. PREBUFFING

Ahh..yes…Having weapon(s) on switch that allow you to go in with higher stats. They are extremely usefule for those who’d like to take that extra care. And why not..all barbs should take that extra care.

+ TO WARCRY WEAPONS:

These weapons contain the mod +3 to warcries skill..So equiping any dual 1h weapon or 2handed swords can potentially increase all your warcries level for higher life/defense & longer duration of all your cries. Basically with +6, you are after the 60% enhanced defense and 18% more life & who doesnt want that.

Just start shopping for these items starting act III hell,act IV & V have better turnouts I believe.

Applications: PVP: Imperative,Can make the difference between winning & loosing, 60% defense & 18% life is a significnt number for the barb class. PVM: Good to have, but not imperative.

ENCHANT-DEMON LIMB:

 

Demon Limb

Unique
Tyrant club

One Hand Damage:(92-108) – (165-194)
Durability:65
Required Strength:133
Required Level:63
Base Weapon Speed:[0] +(180-230)% Enhanced Damage
Fire Resist +(15-20)%
(7-13)% Life Stolen per Hit
+123% Damage to Demon
Adds 222-333 Fire Damage
Repairs 1 Durability in 20 Seconds
Level-23 Enchant (20 Charges)
+150% Damage to Undead

Level 23 Enchant: 218% ar boost for 672 seconds-11 minutes!!!. This is one neat trick & kudos to the folk who suggested this. The enchant charge on the weapon boosts your ar temporarily & a long temorary at that. A great tool for bvb duels to boost your hit chance & aslo for pvm,overall a nice kit to store in your stash.

Applications:PVP-BVB(must have),PVM an advantage.

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9. ESCORT

Might merecenary is the only mercenary ww barbs should consider. He ups your damage which is welcome at all times,he can stay alive,tank anything,even clean up the leftrovers for you. Its just the matter of equipping him well.Barbs have an easier job of keeping any mercenary alive,due to their high level battleorders & shout,which means more than 100% better survival rate for them,compared to other characters.

He can be hired from nightmare act 2 (Ofensive). Any decent polearm/spear with damage & leech,a high defense armor, helmet with resists or dr,can keep him alive. Try & find ethreal weapons & armor for him,since mercenaries dont break those. Here is what I feel is the ideal setup for him.

a. WEAPON

Reapers Toll

Unique
Thresher

Two-Hand Damage: (34-40) To (408-479) (221-259.5 Avg)
Ethreal Damage: (52-61) To (613-719)
Required Level: 75
Required Strength: 114
Required Dexterity: 89
Durability: 65
Base Weapon Speed: [-10] +190-240% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Ignore Target’s Defense
Adds 4-44 Cold Damage
11-15% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
33% Deadly Strike
33% Chance To Cast Level 1 Decrepify On Striking
Requirements -25%
(Ladder Only)
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

This is the best weapon you can arm your mercenary with. It got all the great mods. Decripify lowers physical resistance, so monsters take more damage. It also reduces their damage & slows them down by 50%. Thats the prime use of the weapon. Apart from that it has deadly strike,ITD which means he hits & triggers often against normal monsters,cold damage which means the monster he is attacking rarely has time to hit back. High life leech,which is enough to keep him alive and tank anything.

OTHER WEAPONS: Of course, if you cant afford reapers, there are other choices as well. Damage is the most important criteria & leech comes next. A bonehew with amn runes or any high damage rare with leech should work just as well. You can also use crecent moon polearm for static trigger. Doom runeword is expensive, but just as effective since it slows down targets with holy freeze, but doesnt cut damage & physical resistance. So reapers is the best choice overall.

b. ARMOR: Go for damage reduction & defense. An upgraded shaftstop or leviathan should work well. Resists wont be a problem,since he gets quite high on that when he hits high levels. He wont break ethreal armors, so use anything with high defense,damage reduction & other useful mods you get on him.

c. HEAD GEAR: You are looking for some neat mods like resists & plus to skill etc. Damage reduction is important,vampire gaze is a good  choice gives leech & damage recution, so is Guillaume’s face for the crushing blow & deadly.. Andariels visage is another excellent helmet as Hal recommends.

d. USE HIM WELL

You paid for him right & you pay for his equipment, let him work for you.He is more than willing. So when you have just tackled a large pack & there are few left standing, he’ll gladly go after them & clean up your job. So dont race him to them & throw the kitchensink at it. Rest, pick up some items, you think are useful, heal, while he is at it, instead of going with him & coming back again. Saves time right? heal him when he is low on health.Dont wait till it goes red. Use ww intelligently & tackle one pack at a time. Fight the monsters he is having difficulty with, use howl when you come across dangerous aura enchants like fana. Check out the strategy section in PVM for more info on that.

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