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Seeking some advice for a Noob. I'm on my first run through PoE II, having gone all the way through PoE I once. I've just got Serafen as a companion and I spec'd him as a barbarian because my main character is a cipher. I can't work out how to make him do anything useful! I never played a barbarian in PoE I and that's probably part of the problem, but I'm pretty confused.


* He comes with a battle axe and a blunderbuss as his first set of weapons. When I try to send him into melee he just shoots the blunderbuss. What's up with that? How can you have a ranged weapon and a melee weapon in a dual-use setup?


* If I take the blunderbuss away and make him go into melee with the battle axe he seems really useless and gets flattened really fast. I could give him a shield and a suit of better armour but I read that barbarians are best without...


Any advice? How can I make him worth keeping around?

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On your first question, see this thread.


A good Barbarian build is all about the passives.  Thick Skinned, Bloodlust, One Stands Alone, Blood Thirst, etc., are great and what you want to be building around.  So, reading through their descriptions, you get an idea of what the character is going to be best at doing-- attacking grouped enemies and getting kills that accelerate into more kills.  The active abilities help this-- the Yells to soften the enemy (lowering their Deflection and PL), Wild Sprint and Leap to go around the enemy front-liners and get to the softer targets, Barbaric Blow as a finisher (it's a bit expensive to use a whole lot without the upgrade that makes it free if it kills). 


But, yeah, they can be tough to keep upright, especially early-on when you don't have a lot of tools in your bag (buffs, heals, equipment) to deal with their low inherent Deflection and Frenzy's further deflection malus.  Ultimately, you probably want them frenzied all the time, moving fast, and hitting hard, but early on you might need to make some compromises for survivability, such as using Frenzy only situationally, or wearing heavier armor and/or a shield.  Tactically, Barbarians are ideal Flankers (that is, try to hold back-- perhaps using the time to activate Frenzy and/or get a Yell in-- until the more defensive melee-types have engaged, then run the Barb around the outside to flank the enemy or engage their back line) but they can certainly be built sturdily enough to hold a line of battle, too, if your party setup needs that more. 


(Also, Barbarian Serafen is totally the right choice.  Wild Mind is an infuriating subclass.)

Edited by Enoch

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Grab a Morning Star and the thickest armor you can find (usually Patinated Plate), raise AR further with items and abilites like Thick Skinned. Pick Weapon Proficiency Morning Star (granting Body Blows), Frenzy, Bloodlust, Savage Defiance, Blood Thirst, Dragon Leap, Brute Force, Heart of Fury, Barbaric Retaliation among others.


If nobody else wants to use them, keep Serafen's mortars in your second weapon slot and use them for Heat of Fury. They also work with Barbaric Retaliation.


Barbaric Retaliation is also very good with Battle Axes and Bleeding Cuts.


It doesn't work against ranged attacks.

Edited by Boeroer
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