|Barbarian class extensive guide|
As i mentioned in previous parts of this article Barbarian is very resistant and flexible DPS class thanks to his big choice of skills for pretty much every situation.
There are downsides of learning to handle those skills, but after some practice you can get used to it. And of course there is a rule of two stances:
Barbarian can have only two stances active at a time, activating stance A, then B will result in both of them toggled on, but when you will activate stance C, stance A will be deactivated, then when you will activate stance D, you will toggle off stance B etc.
In conclusion, every time you want to toggle third stance you have to remember, that first stance activated previously will be deactivated.
Smart usage of Stances
You know now that stances drain increased mana every second, so knowing how long you can have given stance activated is pretty much key to succes.
Imagine you stand in group of Ninjas with Turtle stance active in UMF2 and you die... How? You haven't noticed that Turtle stance ended because lack of mana?
That can happen really often, that's why i recommend you playing defensively, always have in mind approximate time you can spent standing in given stance between the mobs and shorten it just to be safe. For example i tend to use Turtle only for 5-8 Frost Sword combos because i have to count additional time for escape etc etc.
Also remember, that on harder maps some stances can kill you instead of saving you. For example using Siphon Stance without Turtle when between spiders/ninjas can down you in an instant, many players are forgetting about it, and they are running around with Siphon on harder levels/difficulties not only with Siphon, but also with low resists on armor.
Lightning Stance ideas
Lightning Stance can have "useless" mark on it soon because players are not using it too often. It's true - it can drain your health really fast, especially with faster weapons, but still it can be used in some situations.
I can see two ways of using Lightning Stance for now. One is as Stance Dance finisher (more on that below), and second is Wizardry Challenge. Recently got idea to do Wizardry with Gas Traps, but before i tried i realised, that Barbarian can stun Wizards there with Lightning, and i was amazed with results. 2-4 Barbarians with Lightning Stance stunning all Wizards once in a while (even those that can't be killed).
Of course you have to check on your health really often, but mana usage won't be much of a problem because of lowest (along with Tornado) mana usage. It's in my opinion a good idea of using this stance, doing Wizardry solo with Gas Traps and Spikes help was extremaly easy with Barbarian.
After some tesing i saw that Tornado will decrease about 30% of Barbarian's DPS. One would say that it's huge penalty for running faster and jumping higher. But in my opinion it's not.
Why not? Because when we are talking about weaker mobs, even ninjas, you don't need maximum dps from your weapons, you won't even need half of it (well, maybe for ninjas). So running faster and and jumping higher is worth such damage loss.
Let's think of some upsides then:
- With Tornado active Siphon will heal you faster exposing you to higher damage for much shorter time
- With Tornado you will be hard to hit, even by ninjas, and hard to be slowed by spider web when running with high speed and jumping around
- With extreme speed and high jumps you will be able to get mana instantly and go back to your dedenses to upgrade them, often when i play barbarian i'm telling other group memebers with lower resists or health to stay at base for upgrading, while i'm running with genie around and while jumping over the base i'm dropping mana for others to upgrade. With such tactic upgrading to maximum will take really short time (2 or 3 waves of survival maybe).
And there is another upside, very important one: unlike other melee dps classes you can damage wyverns. For example in Magus Quarters survi you can just jump from base on top of wyverns and dps them there, sometimes you will stay in air because you will land on one of the wyvern.
Sometimes you will have to handle Ogre when defenses he is closing in to are in weak state to give the time for other players to repair them.
When Ogre is alone it's really easy, it's best to start with Turtle stance and get it's aggro, move him away from defenses by luring him, then you can turn off Turtle and just attack ogre while running to it's back every time he takes a swing, you can do it with Siphon active when needed.
Sometimes, on Surv it's necessary to hold off group of ogres when they spawn in bigger number in one place so they won't destroy blockades. Only way to do this is on Turtle stance. Of course you won't handle it on Turtle for whole time.
To do this properly you need to stand on ogre's way somewhere before blockades and fire off Turtle, soon before it's end you should toggle Siphon for short time. After that both stances will be disabled due to lack of mana, you should then move away, so ogres will try to chase you for some time.
Now you have two choices:
- run somewhere around and hit ogres from time to time, then when Turtle is ready to use again - activate it and repeat the process
- wait a while and return to base on Tornado if you think ogres now can be handled by defenses.
As finishing move before killing single ogre, or before backing up from group of oges you could use Hawk Stance. For example my Haw deals about 1mln dmg on Nightmare, so always when ogre have that much HP i'm using Hawk to finish him off.
When you will be backing up from group of ogres ans you want to use Hawk it's always good idea to toogle on Tornado stance before so in case of any danger you will be able to quickly run away.
I use my own technique for Djinn handling and it uses stance dance i called Genie Jump (click to see). It uses Hawk for one hitting Djinns. Iin later games, nightmare survivals especially, you might reconsider getting yourself set of two high damage hammers so you will be able to one-hit Genie (literally).
Even if you can't one-hit Djinn, remember that damaging him for 7,5% of his health (or more) in single hit, will interrupt his casting.
It's hard to say when using skills can be useful, but there are some ideas on that. First of all: Battle Leap and Battle Pound will cancel your stances - that is important thing to remember.
- Battle Leap: first rule i follow is not using Leap for jumping into dangerous group of monsters because you will have a little downtime after landing when you will be stripped of any stances without ability to activate them. Also there is great upside in Leap - activating it to jump on mob on higher or lower level, but you will have to feel it's possibilities so you won't fall off the map.
- Battle Pound: with fast weapons i find this skill usless as i can do more damage from Double Slice Combo than with that skill, but with slower weapons i think it can be good, not only it will do much better damage, but also Combo with Hammers will do similar or lower damage than Pound. Downside in this skill is that it will immobilize you for the duration.
- Hawk Stance: upside of great damage, and not cancelling stances is worth of considering, as you can stay in Turtle or Tornado while not being able to attack or cast, as well as you will be able to mobe during this 3 seconds. Of course there is a matter of damage and good skill scaling, with higher damage weapons Hawk will do massive damage, even with lower damage weapons it's a killer
So in conclusion - Hawk Stance will be best offensive skill you have, also Leap and Pound can be useful, but it's more situation dependant (i especially value Leap in PvP as you can change jump trajectory a little while in air).
Stance Dancing is term i used in, and took from WoW, it was used there for Warrior's stance changing (sometimes it had to be very often, that's why it was called Dancing).
On Barbarian you will have to change stances very often depending on situation, in most cases you will have to decide for yourself what stances should be used, on lower levels for example Siphon toggled on for short time to heal up will be better than tanking mobs on Turtle.
Still, regardless of situation i have some pre-defined "dances" i'm using everytime the same way.
Jump in, Jump out
This dance is great for harder levels, late survival waves, clearing bigger groups of mobs when they are too big of a threat to try to kill them without any backup.
- with Tornado jump into a group
- toogle Turtle right before or after landing, so no Spider will slow you, nor no ninja will kill you
- when you decide that Turtle will soon drain you of mana toogle on Siphon to heal up from all the damage you taken
- with full health toggle off Siphon to prepare for jumping away (remember to toggle off Siphon, without it Turtle will be deactivated with using Tornado)
- activate Tornado, toggle off Turtle then jump away in same instant, remember: jumping away will always be better than simple running when you have spiders somewhere around
- alternatively, if you feel safe and think you won't be slowed by spiders, instead of deactivating Turtle and toggling Tornado you can just activate both Lightning and Tornado stances at a time (Turtle will be deactivated) without stopping attacks, then jump away - you should then hit 2 or 3 times with Lightning active and stun remaining mobs.
This alternative is of course more dangerous, not only beause you will take some damage from mobs and Lightning, but also you can be slowed by spiders.
Back and Forth
This one is for running when your defenses need more time to kill mobs.
- with Tornado active all the time:
- activate Lightning and run from your defenses, through group of mobs
- turn off Lightning and toggle Siphon, with that run back to your defenses
- repeat 2 and 3
It's really short and simple dance, but requires fast usage of skills, it's created for one-hitting Djinns:
- toggle on Tornado, and jump towards Djinn.
- after jumping turn Tornado off so you won't have damage penalty.
- while still in air, when you are in melee range of nearby Djinn turn on Hawk Stance and attack before landing.
This dance is useful, i can one-hit Djinn on Nightmare with faster weapons (lower damage) up to certain level or survival wave. In later survival waves, when as DPS class you will become less and less useful and you won't be able to one-hit Djinn you should reconsider switching to two high damage Hammers.
Remember that damaging him for 7,5% of his health (or more) in single hit, will interrupt his casting, so even in later survivals, where Djinns will have 10x more health than your Hawk can do damage you will still be useful.
Final Stats choices
Again in topic of stats for Barbarian.
In first part of this article i showed you basic stat distribution, in second, Theorycrafting part, i showed you stat progression for stances, and finally here, in this part - how some of stances and skills can be used.
Now it's time to think of final stats choices based on this knowledge.
Slower weapons with higher damage (like Hammers) will always bring much more benefit for Leap, Pound and Hawk, also you will deal higher damage with Tornodo Stance.
But still there is main reason for choosing weapon speed (also mentioned before): with slow weapons like Hammers i'm not able to hit every mob when running, also between swings of Hammer Spider can cast his Web on me. Upside of using Hammers is better stunning with Lightning stance along with less damage taken by it, but then again - Siphon will heal you much less exposing you for increased damage for longer time.
Considering that all, also how often i use stances like Siphon or Turtle comparing to how little i use Lightning or offensive skills, my personal choices are fast weapons, Frost Blade, Katana, Rapier, with big size (for hitting more mobs at a time).
In weapons you should look in high upgrades and high base damage without negatives on crucial stats like hero dmg and hero hp, and ofcourse without negatives nerfing your casting time or hero speed. Every upgrade in weapon should be used on weapon damage.
Also there are two more things:
- elemental damage - it can be good for Easy-Hard difficulties (especially with two elements, different on each weapon), but later Physical damage getting benefit from constantly rising hero damage will be much better than elemental
- knockback - i personally don't like mobs running away from me, with Barbarian i have resources to stay alive, so i don't need knock back, i need to kill without so much running around (besides - Tornado Stance will increase your knockback)
Stances and skills stats Knowing how you can use each stance and how it will benefit from it's stat you can decide how many points you should have in each of those. Let's break it in points:
- Battle Leap and Battle Pound - in my opinion those skills, especially Leap will be used more for tactical reasons than for damage, that's why i'm not leveling it, if item have Ability #1 stat it's good, but i'm not looking for this in items.
- Hawk Stance - stat progression is great in this skill, but still it depends on your damage output, that's why i'm trying to keep this stat at at least 300, preferably 500.
- Tornado Stance - because leveling this will increase your run speed and knockback i prefer to keep it at reasonable 200-300 points simply because i don't like too much knocback, but when i got my hands on weapons with negative knockbacks and started playing later waves on survivals where mobs are more resistant to knockback i got some items with more Tornado stat, just for run speed increase
- Lightning Stance - i'm not using this stance too often, but in my opinion minimum in this skill for using it is 100, it will drain 1,5% of your health instead of 4% with this amount, also stun will be increased to 3+ seconds from two. If you plan on using Lightning more often you can get ~500 points in it so it will drain ~1% of your hp and stun will be increased to 3,5+ seconds.
- Siphon Stance - Minimum stat in this skill is 100 in my opinion, it will increase healing amount from 2,5% to 3%, but you can invest more in it to get about 3,5% healing, that requires about 650 points, but remember that it will always be better to increase stats in hero health than Siphon itself for better healing, and of course for better survability.
- Turtle Stance - Because putting points in that will only decrease run speed penalty slightly i don't recomment getting too much points in it if you have to sacrifice something else. With about 200 points in it you can move at reasonable speed. But again - if you can get more without nerfing other important stats - go for it.
All above and the rest
Now considering all informations we have i think we can get to reasonable stat choices for Barbarian.
Because there is many informations there i will simplify things and show you this on image:
As you can see i prefer ratio of health:dmg:casting of 4:5:2, that means i have 2000/2500/99+/1000 hero stats. But again - i strongly recommend you to max out your health if you can.
Ofcourse you can have higher Hero Speed, but it won't have any result, and also i recommend you to have MINIMUM 200 casting rate, but more is better if it won't nerf other stats.
When it comes to skills i'm not using Leap or Pound too much, maybe leap for jumping, so i don't put anything in Ability#1 stat unless it comes with good dmg/hp gear.
And stances... for long time i though that leveling Siphon or Turtle will result in some serious buffs to resists (in Turtle's case) or reduction of resists penalty (in Siphon's case). Oh how i was wrong... I was looking for items only with those stats high paired with good hp, dmg and casting, and as i see now - that was mistake.
In Tornado and Turtle case i don't recommend you to put anything in their stat unless it will be addition to good armor piece, pet or weapon, having 100-200 in those will be enough for sure, i have tested both, first having 100, then 200, later even 700 and i can tell you that speed increase is minimal after ~150 points. Only thing that would say to level up Tornado is knockback bonus, but as i stated earlier: personally i don't like running around after mobs so i always try to find good weapons with high negative knockback on them and i won't be leveling Tornado anymore for sure.
There is also Lightning and Siphon stance, having less HP eaten by lightning stance and longer stun time will surely be nice addition, so if you want to use it more often 100 points is absolute minimum, and when you are using it really often - get 500+ in it.
As for Siphon i have simple conclusion: get 100, and if you want more healing from it - level up hero health. Getting 650+ for ~3,5% healing will be waste of your mana and/or upgrades, but if you will drop or find cheap armor piece or weapon with good base stats and high Siphon stat i would say to get it, free stats are always useful.
And last, but most important: resists!
You should always have 90% generic resist on you. To get 90% on nightmare you have to get to 164% in tavern, unfortunatelly it won't show anything above 90%, so you'll have to count it yourself. As for other resists my recommendation is to get 70% for every element (about 127% in tavern for 70% in Nightmare).
I hope all parts of this article helped you to understand Barbarian class better. Remember that i've spend some hours to get some formulat and what every stance skill will get from upgrading, but still i'm only one person and i can be wrong. If you have any ideas, corrections or maybe new formulas - leave a comment. I'll be thankful for any feedback.