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Back in the mists of time, when I was still young and idealistic and PoE was still in beta, I looked at all the classes available in the game and decided I wanted to play a Barbarian. Upon release I promptly created a Barbarian and started playing the game and quickly got frustrated at how often I died and soon rerolled as a Cipher. Since then I've never really used a Barbarian. When Maneha was added in WM2 I tried her out, but she came so late in the game that she felt like a downgrade compared to all my existing companions and I didn't keep her around for long. With the changes to Barbarians in 3.03, I've decided it's time for a Barbaric Watcher play through.

 

The fact I have used the Barbarian less than any other class in the game means I am not really familiar with their abilities, and it's not clear to me what is good and what is not. As such I have a list of questions about them that I am hoping you guys can help me with.

 

(i) Frenzy seems very powerful, but also a little suicidal at lower levels. Would I be right in thinking it might be best to wait till later to pick it up?

(ii) Barbaric Yell vs. Barbaric Shout: so the latter is almost a complete upgrade on the former. The only downside is the fact it's per rest rather than per encounter. Should I take Yell then respec into Shout later (I don't usually like respeccing but I'd be willing to do it just for this change), keep both, take neither?

(iii) I can't work out whether Blooded is good or not. I don't know how often a Barbarian is going to be below 50% health and whether it's safe to stay there.

(iv) Savage Defiance on the other hand seems very good, particularly with the talent upgrade. Is this something all (most) Barbarians should take or just tankier ones?

(v) Bloodlust and Blood Thirst: I find it hard to judge how often these are likely to be up and therefore how good they are. Thoughts?

(vi) Is Thick-Skinned worth it?

(vii) Is Eye of the Storm worth it? I don't know how often a Barbarian needs to worry about being engaged?

(viii) Finally, with the changes to Echoing Shout, is it now considered good?

 

Additional information specific to the Barbarian build I am thinking of: I am probably going to go one-handed weapon and shield, eventually using the Dragon's Maw Shield because I am a sucker for soulbound items. 

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Frenzy is very good and not at all suicidal.

A difference of 10 deflection and hp will never matter but +4 CON will probably give you more survivability than you lose.

Can't help you with yell vs shout but I personally would probably keep per encounter since I hate to spam rest.

Blooded is very good on a barbarian since you can myx your endurance so below 50% will still be more than your other chars (unless you ahve a monk).

Savage Defiance is quite good but not a must take, depends whether you are confident in healing with potions since they are kinda bugged.

Bloodlust and Bloodthirst are awesome on barb as are all on kill effects since you do area damage.

I wouldn't take thick skin DR is pretty ****ty in this game and you only get +2 and only on physical damage.

Eye of the storm seems a waste to me since you can simply disengage.

Echoing shout seems like something I can't judge without having tried it, which I haven't but it seems a waste to me.

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I'm playing a Barbarian currently, so I'll share my thoughts:

 

(i) Frenzy is fine to take early, so long as you don't so something weird like dump Con so you're super fragile. The natural huge health and endurance of Barbarians means they can take a beating, so if you stick them in heavy armor and take Savage Defiance (which heals a ton and is per encounter) you shouldn't really have survivability issues. My Barbarian is Resolve 3 and I'm playing solo on PotD, so they have about the worst Deflection you can get, but they managed just fine - even being interrupted with that low Resolve isn't as much an issue as you'd imagine (I still haven't had to take a Spirit Shield potion and I've got to WM part I).

 

(ii) It's hard to say, it depends what you're looking for. An idea I came up with was to have a shield Barbarian so their Deflection would be much better (which sounds to be pretty much what you're looking for), then when you think about Frightened and Terrified they both debuff accuracy which in a way more or less makes them a 25 Deflection base class minimum with these effects (as well as assisting your entire party), especially when you add in the Daze from Dragon Leap. However if you're not looking to have high defences, you don't necessarily need either. Boeroer is currently developing the idea further, so hopefully you'll see a class build of it soon (Threatening Presence and the Executioner's Hood is another great way to keep enemies frightened, so you could always respec these out when you get that).

 

(iii) I much prefer One Stands Alone, it's much more consistent and pretty much entirely stops you being flanked. However, if you're trying for Vengeful Defeat, you're kind of looking to get low health anyway - so it really depends. There's many ways to build a Barbarian, so how much mileage you get from a particular ability varies.

 

(iv) I think pretty much all of them should take it. Even if you do a Vengeful Defeat build, you can use something like Second Chance to revive them and then get pretty much all your endurance back with Savage Defiance - or if you're going pure DPS it keeps you alive long enough to do heavy damage (it's pretty much instant cast).

 

(v) I've taken both, but honestly I think you could forgo Bloodlust and just use Deleterious Alacrity of Motion Potions or strap on the Sanguine Plate. Blood Thirst on the other hand I would say is one of the best Barbarian abilities - it literally makes encounters a blood bath. Most mobs consist of a few tougher guys and loads of weaker ones - if you concentrate on the tougher one the weaker ones will die from Carnage. Once you pick off the first weak enemy, you instantly attack again, making it very likely you'll pick off another weak enemy in the process (seeing as all the weak guys have similar health), and then another - before long you've landed about 6 consecutive hits on the tough enemy and all the little guys are dead. If you take one ability other than Heart of Fury, make it this one.

 

(vi) I wouldn't say so as Raven mentioned, Barbarians have high enough endurance that you don't really need to try and optimise their DR (though you are correct, it is now +3). Stick them in decent armour if you want DR, as mentioned with Blood Thirst you can often produce an extremely rapid succession of hits regardless of what armour you are in - so long as you are taking on a group.

 

(vii) It's not something I've ever taken, however Boeroer has mentioned previously it's a great means to get right to a caster as you don't get any disengagement attacks. Personally, I'd just use something like Dragon Leap to get there instead.

 

(viii) I guess you can take it if you need the extra CC, and the damage is good, but it is only 1 per encounter and you've got to wonder whether just taking talents to up damage has more worth at the level you can finally take it. It's pretty decent, but not exceptional.

 

I hope that was some help, and good luck with your Barb!

Edited by Jojobobo
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Very helpful, thanks Jojobobo. In particular, your conviction about Blood Thirst tells me it's a very good ability, which was hard to tell by just looking at the description.

 

One question, you mentioned Sanguine Plate. The proc doesn't stack with the Barbarian's own Frenzy right? I assume the advantage is just being able to get more than one Frenzy per fight. If it does stack that's... kinda insane.

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I played 3 walktrough with solo barbarians, these are my thoughts :

 

Some highlights:

- never go low with constitution (keep it at 10 or more)

- always go for 16+ int (so with food you reach 18, wich is a value that permits you to reliably hit ALL enemies AROUND you [yes, also behind] )

- you can go dual wield, 2 h or sword and shield, every version is very powerful but need a different build. There are already some builds around.

- the Spelltongue trick: that sword is able to prolong to all the duration of the fight your active buffs (frenzy, stalwart defence, potions, ecc). A very good weapon for dual wield.

- learn the art of good positioning + Heart of fury, you will be surpried

- when soloing  "one stand alone" is mandatory

- The best races to play barb are humans, moon godlike and fire godlike (need high constitution though) or amaua for the + 30 res vs prone or stun

- My main now is a Tidefall barbarian, max STR, 16 int, 18 dex, min resolve. Tidefall, sanguine plate. Frenzy, stalwart defence, hearth of fury, 2h style, weapon specialization, thick skinned, bloodlust... He's awesome

 

(i) Frenzy : Very powerful. If you take dual wield talent and use no armour you can reach 0 recovery from lvl 2 (but wear an armor is more important anyway at this stage). Anyway is a good ability, boost greatly your dps and don't forget it adds a total of +16 to fortitude too, very useful. A must take imho, also if you will not use anymore after you get sanguine plate ;)

 

(ii) Barbaric Yell vs. Barbaric Shout: Terrify in that massive AoE is very strong, i try to take it always if i have a free slot. The shout is pretty garbage unless you play some kind of defensive barbarian (sword&shield, fear/terrigy shouts, glittering gauntlets, ecc)

 

(iii)  Blooded : is strong if you put some points in constitution. I had a fire godlike with dumped dex& res, max str & con (& int), with his massive hitpoints you can stay below half life without any fear to die, while killing most enemies with fire retaliation from godlike racial and having good dmg from blooded. But if i had to play with a 10 con barb other skills are better.

 

(iv) Savage Defiance  : totally OP healing. While active it keeps you alive even in solo potd, unless you get completely surrounded.  Use it when you are at about 1/3 of your life, so you eventually get the bonus for be lower that 50% life for more time. The talent to boost it is useful but i always found better picks.

 

(v) Bloodlust and Blood Thirst: the 0 recovery "lust" is a obligatory pick if you use a 2h barbarian, and is anyway very strong. Is also fun if you want to use scroll, since after the 3 or 4 fan of flames or fireball someone will die and you have 0 recovery for the next scroll. And so on. If instaed you are playing some kind of dual wielder low armor barbarian you will be very near to 0 recovery anyway, so the +20% speed on kill becomes more useful (you use it to stay in the 0-recovery area when frenzy finish, or you can go for a better armour).

If you use only 2h weapon you can also pick both. 

 

(vi) Is Thick-Skinned worth it : usually yes, + 3 to all "non elemental" dmg type is pretty strong. If you go for knights talent too is a +5, which is huge.

 

(vii) Is Eye of the Storm : i thinks is worthless, much better the dragon leap, which you can use both as engage tool or "oh ****" button

 

(viii) Finally, with the changes to Echoing Shout, is it now considered good? : good in closed spaces, but other abilities you get at that lvl or slightly before are far more useful (barbaric retaliation, dragon leap, thick skinned)

Edited by Dr <3
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Very helpful, thanks Jojobobo. In particular, your conviction about Blood Thirst tells me it's a very good ability, which was hard to tell by just looking at the description.

 

One question, you mentioned Sanguine Plate. The proc doesn't stack with the Barbarian's own Frenzy right? I assume the advantage is just being able to get more than one Frenzy per fight. If it does stack that's... kinda insane.

As you say, it doesn't stack - it's the advantage of having at least two frenzies per encounter (though Sanguine Plate has two per encounter uses, I think the second normally procs while I'm already frenzied and so suppresses the first). As limaxophobiacq mentioned Bloodlust is probably better than Thirst if you're looking to have zero recovery, but Thirst is the bomb with a slow but damaging weapon (or if you want the heaviest armor, etc.).

Edited by Jojobobo
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Frenzy will not only give you a bit more damage and speed, it also boosts your fortitude by 16 points (even 24 with Greater Frenzy). That's a hidden gem. Who cares for -10 deflection. ;)

 

Bloodlust stacks with Frenzy, so it's not too bad - especially with a two hander. It speeds up any action, not just autoattacking. 

 

Blood Thirst also triggers when you kill with spells or retaliation. 0 recovery spell casting with AoE spells is pretty nice in hard encounters. Nobody else can do that. I killed Darzir's Gang with scrolls of Fan of Flames when I was soloing with a barb.

 

Both are good when you have HoF: after HoF both will be on - you will be able to add an attack right after HoF (Blood Thirst) - like Barbaric Blow - and then continue with +20% speed for the rest of the fight.

 

Fun fact: when you use Spelltongue with HoF you will not only have 15% attack speed from Spelltongue for a looong time, but also Bloodlust and Frenzy will have huge durations and will last until the rest of the fight - as well as the normally very short damage bonus of HoF (+20%) which gets prolonged a lot because of the man many hits you generate with HoF. All other things like Savage/Stalwart Defiance will also have ridiculous durations after HoF with Spelltongue. 

 

Blooded is nice when you want to have <=50% endurance or lower anyways. Like when you are a Fire Godlike and want to stack retaliations or when you want to abuse Vengeful Defeat. Blooded works with everything, also spells and leaps and shouts. Same as One Stands Alone, which is also good. Both stack. I don't use it if I don't plan to hit 50% endurance frequently.

 

I think Thick Skinned is not too bad when you take it early and later retrain for something else. With a Blunting Belt and Thick Skinned you can easily do with a much thinner armor at the beginning of the game. Later on it becomes less powerful. DR can't keep up with the damage output of enemies so it doesn't matter that much towards the end of the game.

 

Eye of the Dragon: I think it's one of the most useless abilites in the whole game if you have a party. I can imagine it's nice for soloing: You will be of higher level than most monsters most of the time and thus will have free movement and will suffer no disengangement attacks.

 

Echoing Shout works with Blooded and Blood Thirst and also triggers Bloodlust - it can be seen as a powerful spell - especially because it's range is so huge and it bounces. In close quarters it can be really devastating. It's also nice to have with a barb with high move speed, kiting a bit so that enemies follow you in a straight line and then turn around and shout.

 

Dragon Leap is great in combo with HoF. I love it!

 

edit: man, never got ninja'd so hard. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Actually I don't really know. It's hard to determine. But based on my experience it seems to me that something is not workig properly, because when I use Drawn in Spring vs. a simple exceptional sabre with HoF the sabre leads to better results (= more foes dead). Or maybe it's just because with high INT wounding DoT takes some time - but you want your foes dead at once with HoF - and not 10 secs later. ;)

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As far as I can tell using Tidefall, Wounding gets applied multiple times through HoF, causing huge DoT to anyone remaining alive.

 

If someone managed to Helwax Mold Drawn in Spring and dual wield them, I'd say pretty much any group will die as the Wounding itself would rack up probably a coupled of hundred damage itself. I'd say this is worth it in some ways than just dealing everyone a bit more damage with the initial attack, however it's worth mentioning that DoT effects don't trigger Blood Thirst when they down an enemy.

Edited by Jojobobo
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Well if you're dual-wielding durgan drawn-in-springs I think you'll be very near 0 recovery as long as you're in frenzy anyway, so Blood Thirst or Bloodlust wouldn't be worth it.

 

With Durgan weapons and full plate armor (and frenzy and two-weapon style) it should work out to 1.15*1.2*1.33 + 0.5 - 0.35 = 1.9854 so 1.46% recovery if I understand attack speed right, and if it's sanguine plate you should be in frenzy all the time.

 

OTOH if Unlabored Blade is actually fixed in 3.04 and you can trigger it multiple times on HoF it might be that no other weapon is even meaningfull for barbarian after that point against anything but fire-immune enemies. I should probably try 3.04 beta and test.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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Someone somewhere (MaxQuest or Kaylon I think, EDIT: found it here) mentioned that Dual Wielding actually provides two separate 0.5 duration recoveries instead of the standard 1.0.

 

So with Durganized Sanguine Plate and weapons, Two Weapon Style and Frenzy you have (1.15*1.2*1.33) - 1 = 83.5% recovery reduction vs. 0.5 + 0.35 = 85% recovery, so very nearly zero recovery I think.

 

What is worth mentioning is that Frenzy rarely activates twice with Sanguine Plate as I always find the second proc occurs when I'm already Frenzied (because of the Deflection debuff), so I think it's only dependable for achieving one additional Frenzy. In this way, Bloodlust is still likely worth it on a dual wielding character, Blood Thirst as you mentioned previously not so much because your recovery is already reasonably minimal.

 

Oh, that's good to know! Didn't use a wounding weapon with Blood Thirst that much and didn't realize this.

Yeah it's a bit of a bummer with Tidefall as you want Blood Thirst to be triggering as often as possible. Still, your largest damage is still from your attack so you usually do kill more enemies through attack damage and get Blood Thirst procs. I suppose it's a trade off between being able to easily take out enemies regardless of DR because of Wounding or just going for a different two hander where you always kill through attack damage like the Hours of St. Rumbalt.

Edited by Jojobobo
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I'm using a tidefall barbarian now, and i'm too confused about both things:

- after an hof there are for sure some wounding going on, but i can't understand if really the game applyes all the wounding that it should ( hof with 7 enemies around should be 7 wounding going on everyone ( about 100 dmg) but i usually see much less)

- i have seen sometimes a enemy dying for wounding and the list activate to give me 0 recovery, but is inconsinstent

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I'll have a look and see what I can see about the DoT tics, all I noticed was there was a lot of them - I wasn't really looking for specifics.

 

I still haven't seen an enemy trigger my Blood Thirst by Wounding death, I'll have a look out for it but if it does happen it much be incredibly inconsistent.

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Drawn in Spring works like it should, however it's not the best weapon for HoF. Drawn in Spring strength comes from a combination of damage and speed and for HoF the speed is irrelevant. For HoF you should pick the weapons with the highest damage per hit and the sabers are the best right now. The next patch however I'm expecting dual Drawn in Spring and dual Bittercuts or a combination of them to be the new top options.

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All kinds of DoTs sadly don't count as a kill or the maximum damaga for your char.

I always curse the statistics in this game, other games do that better, but it is worse than mere statistics if you want to get on kill effects.

Back when I soloed my cipher I always wondered why for ages my best kill was some random adragan or something, while I killed the sky dragon, until I realised I killed it with disintegration and PoE sadly doesn't credit the caster of a DoT with the kill.

 

As I said in another threead in my trio now it's extremely pparent that DoTs don't count even as damage done by the caster (except for the initial tick I guess) since my paladin is listed as highest damage overall, even tho dragon slashed did a lot between level 9 and 13.

 

So the same applies ofc for a wounding weapon and on kill effects will not trigger.

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From what I've seen the Tidefall Wounding does apply exactly as it should, you'll get one tic from the HoF main attack on target then additional tics per enemy surrounding you (from the Carnage from the main attacks on each of them).

 

Having a closer look deaths by Wounding only trigger Blood Thirst very rarely, so what I mentioned was mostly correct (I think it'll often say it has triggered in the log, but when you go to hit an enemy you won't actually have zero recovery).

Edited by Jojobobo
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I'm testing Unlabored Blade in 3.04, and after the deaths of many many crucible knights (a nice large group with decent hp who pose no chance of actually hurting me, sadly I dont have a save with a fully upgraded weapon and easy access to any notable encounters) I have some conclusions:

 

1: Firebug stops juming after it kills someone! This might be old news but I didn't know this.

 

2: It still doesn't seem like it can trigger more than once per HoF. Maybe this could be related to the crucible knights just dying but I don't think so. It triggers as often as one would expect on normal attacks with carnage.

 

3. The Firebug on the Unlabored Blade actually has higher base damage than the druid spell, 40-50 instead of 30-40. That's a lot of damage. An insane amount of damage if there was actually enough high-hp low-deflection enemies around that you'd get close to all 8 jumps.

 

Despite its less than spectacular performace with HoF its still pretty amazing. If you had weapons and kraken/dragon eyes to spare I guess you could HoF and then switch to Unlabored.

 

Considering Dual-Wielding it either with Spelltongue + Vulnerable Attack or Drawn in Spring (with no Vulnerable Attack). Both should have practically no recover with plate and frenzy when everything is durganized.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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For HoF it's best to use dual annihilating sabres (even in 3.04), The Merciless Hand, lashes, Vulnerable Attack and Frenzy as well as One Stands Alone and combine that with a Ring of Searing Flames. Before triggering HoF debuff the bunch of enemies so that crits become more likely. Everything that survives the HoF itself and is not immune to burn dies after a few seconds from the quadrizillion combusting wounds. At least that was the setup that worked best when I did the last PotD solo run with a dual wielding meatshield barb. As you said: you can just use the 2. weapon slot for this and use the other one for your auto attacks. Sabre + bash from Badgradr's or Dragon's Maw is also great. Their special effects work perfectly well woth HoF. 

 

The thing about Bloodlust is that that it usually starts working when Frenzy wears off - so I woudn't say that it's useless even if you can get to 0 recovery with dualwielding + Frenzy. And if that wears off Blood Thirst can kick in. But this is only really useful when you solo. In parties the fights are normally over while Frenzy is still on and it might be ok to skip both if you're already fast.

 

By the way: all jumping spells stop when the actual target dies. Mind Blades do it as well as Bounding Missiles and Chaotic Orb (as far as I know) - so Firebug is no exception. But even if it only hits one enemy the damage is quite good. With a burning lash in the other hand an Scion of Flame as well as decent MIG it shouldwork well. It should also wirk with Deathblows - now that might be a weapon that could make a rogue interesting again, since it's a way to deal kinda AoE damage. Steadfast + Unlabored Blade: Champion's Boon and Deathblows + Scion of Flame applied on Firebug. ;) Second Weapon set is dual Flames of Fair Rhian for 6 Fireballs... nice? :)

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