Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Barbarian Review and Guide

First I like to praise the changes in the landscapes and layouts of most areas I have been in. Level 37.5 so far. The redesign of most areas is a great improvment. SoBS so far seems to be the best. I only scouted the outside so far, which is quite extensive, but very nice. Cant wait to check inside.

My first time leveling a Barb was in Nov 2007. This is my second go around and will compare differences I have noticed.

My first time through Tortage on a Barbarian seemed quite easy. I had little trouble at any point through 20 on any daytime or night time quests. This time around I found it very difficult between level 8 and 14. I died quite often if I had more than a single mob to engage. Specificaly on the quest for the nobel woman whos salves escaped and became pirates. I could take only one at a time and survive, 2 = death. Probably died 4-5 times on that one trying to get it done. I felt as if the Barbarians got nerfed.

Later on in my teens it became easier for the simple fact of the stun attacks with 2H. And seems that like before this is still a requirement for the Barb to survive in most combat situations. DW might do slightly more damage but you cant take on more than a single enemy without the stuns. So, i got out of Tortage and began re-exploring the new world.

Levels 20 - 37
I decided to stick with 2H this time around again. At least for now, due to the lack of early level DW combos. I also decided this because it seems to me this time around the Barbarians seem to be taking more damage now than before. One plus is now the AE effects of 2H with stuns and knock downs are working much better and hit most mobs in your cone range. This made 20s much easier this time around. I considered this the trouble levels for the Barbarian last time and had a hard time getting through the lower 20s. This time around it was much easier.

However I do seem to think we take more damage now than before.

2H Stuns and Knockdowns
Barbarian is too depenedent on these attacks to win a fight. It is absolutely required, imop, if you have to take on more than a single mob. It is possible to survive a 2 on 1 with 2H if your stuns are in cooldown but it is hard and definetly requires potions. But in most cases, more than a single mob on you and you are out of stuns and knock downs usually means death. Which I see as a flaw in the character. Since at level 80 you get a single stun attack. Earlier level stuns stop working around level 72.

But being able to stund 3-4 mobs at a time is nice and if you can time it right with knock downs and damage combos you can take them all out. Run out of stuns though and you are dead.

Duel Wield
I did not spec with this for the reasons mentioned above. But I am going to switch out my butcher combos with some DW combos since Butcher always hits their shield sides and does little damage at the point.

2H Combos
I have noticed that most every mob and NPC I engage shields their left side (my right). I cant think of a single combo the Barb uses atm that attacks from any other angle. This greatly hampers the Barbarian's ability to do damage, forcing us to hit the shielded sides.

The Butcher combo seems terribly weak. And for the most part the reason because this combo and nearly all others attack mobs from the (my) right side.

So far most of the feats seem to be working. However Blood Rage does not seem to do much of anything. I see it making no difference in combat what so ever. I thought this would be a sort of a "frenzy stance" at least to some degree for the Barbarian but I do not see any increase in damage as the feat states.

Bleed Effects
The feats that add bleed effects are a bit useless right now. Lasting probably 2-3 seconds. I dont have time to click the icon to even find out what the effect is actualy doing.

Concusion and Roots
Like the bleed effects they last such a short time I cant tell if they do anything at all. Can not see any real use with them.

HP Bug or Graphic Glitch?
I have been in many fights where I would appear to have 1/3 to half my HPs and then drop dead suddenly. Checking the combat logs I would only see hits in the range of 40-70. Not nearly enough to kill you. I would assume some kind of HP bar graphic bug.

Zero Health Mobs
Seems this problem is becoming more of an issue. I would say every 2-3 fights I am in, one or more mobs gets that zero health bug. It caused me quite a few deaths. Seems you nearly have to do enough damage to them to kill them again before they die.

I would like to see Barbarians have their staminia greatly increased and their combos use less staminia.

Items and Loot
Still, the game is heavily itemized for soldiers and mages. Very little to the point of being almost nonexistant are items usable by Barbarians. Nearly every quest rewards is heavy/medium armor, daggers, polearms, cloth, or 2h blunts that can not be used with Barb combos. At 37 I am still getting drops usable to me that are level 20. Nothing in my level range drops. I did get a bow drop in conalls at 26, but I was unable to equip it till 36.

If it was like before, I can expect to get a half way decent chest item in FotD and then have to wait till im 75 to get my next chest piece from the Scorpion Caves in Kheshatta.

Conclusion for far
Going to 80 once and currently 37, there needs to be some kind of change that allows the Barb to bring something different to grouping. At high levels a Barb will fold in 1-2 hits from raid mobs. Barbs should not have to be so dependent on stunning a mob to win a fight. If not for those, I would consider the Barb an unplayable class. But hey, we can sneak pretty good.

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