While it is possible to play a barb in 3-4 player groups, our role changes to more of a support/cc'er with moments of burst, and that is an entire different guide in itself. As we all know inferno mode is hard, debateably more so for barbarians, but with the right preparations you should be able to play through at leas the first two acts.
Most of this guide assumes that you are finished/finishing up hell mode, and looking to play through inferno act 1. you have either heard horror stories of what act 1-2 are like for fresh lvl 60 players, or you are experiencing this for yourself.
Some of the more experienced inferno players in act 2 can gain some insight into what gear and skills work for me, and test some new builds for themselves using this information.
Gearing up for act 1
When you kill diablo in hell mode and hit 60, you are able to enter inferno act 1. This does not mean you are geared for inferno act 1, and 9 in 10 barbs won't be. The earlier you start looking for the correct stats on your gear the sooner you will be able to get through inferno.
I will start by overviewing the permanent defensive abilities and why almost everyone picks them:
War Cry - Impunity
20% bonus armor to all nearby party members - 50% bonus to all resistances
- The bonus armor is very nice, the bonus resist all is amazing. this is probably the single largest commonality between all of the inferno barbarian builds. If you are in a party the bonus armor is a nice boost to party members as well.
Nerves of steel (passive)
gain armor equal to total vitality
- This has been included in pretty much all of the builds as well. Percentage based talents like this scale well with gear, making vitality very valuable.
Tough as Nails (passive)
armor increased by 25%, thorns dmg increased by 50%
- I have seen a few exceptionally gear players (often running burst builds) forgoing this talent, but at lower gear levels the bonus armor is essential.
The thorns portion of this talent is more or less irrelevant, but don't let that keep you from enjoying the armor boost.
So, with these three talents you gain
+Armor = Vitality (one armor per vitality)
50% resist all
The stat benchmarks I am setting below include these buffs.
Stat priority is as follows:
Resist All > Stamina > Strength > Armor > Individual resistances > utility stats.
To get into act 1 inferno and have a decent playthrough you want to meet the following baseline stats:
400+ resistance to all elements (this is 266+ raw resist all from gear)
Armor and resistances both work to reduce incoming damage taken, and both take more points to earn an additional 1% reduction as you get more of them (dimishing returns). given this you want to keep the reduction given by each roughly equal so that your overall dmg reduction is as high as possible. Here is a chart I have bookmarked on the value of each relative to the other:
(Thanks TBD; source: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149150485 )
The armor vs resistance chart shows the relative value of armor and resistance based on how much of each you have. you find your armor on the top, then go down in that column until you find your resistance. the number at the intersection is how many armor points give you the same benefit as 1 point in resist all. you will notice that the more resistance you have, the better armor becomes, and the more armor the better resistance is. if you keep them balanced you will see about 13 armor = 1 resist all.
Your DPS can be a bit of a tough spot. You want to get this as high as possible without losing out on too much defense. luckily we gain armor from strength, so while stacking offence we also get a bit of defense. unfortunately strength still falls behind vitality and resist all, which means most of our dps has to come from a high base dps weapon. at the time of writing this you should be able to pick up a weapon with about 750 damage for about 100k gold, which should get you well on your way to meeting this 6k dps goal.
The reason i reccomend the 100 dexterity has to do with diminishing returns. the first 100 points give significantly more dodge than all of the dexterity after that. Dodge is good for melee, since it avoids damage, and the first bit of dodge rating is well worth the stats that you put in to get it.However, dodge is not a great stat for barbarians, as we cannot proc revenge if we dodge an attack, and for this reason stacking past 100 dex is not encouraged.
Health is an interesting stat. obviously more health is always going to be a good thing, all else being equal; however all else is not equal when you are making gear descisions, and as a result your health pool is going to be balanced based on your other stats rather than stacked at all costs.
People like to describe health in terms of effective health, which simply means that your health goes further the more resistance/armor you have.
With this in mind having that 60k health pool that some people envision as awesome will almost certaintly be worse than having 30-40k health and a stronger set of resistances.
Here is a link to an awesome effective health tool which you can use to balance your health with your armor and resistances: http://www.diablofans.com/topic/43712-diablo3-effective-health-pool-calculator/
Farming the gear:
I found this video which outlines a good way to go about farming for drops in inferno act 1 without having the gear needed to clear champ packs.
your other main option is to farm hell act 3-4 for gold and take the money to the ah for upgrades. I did a bit of both, so try these two techniques and you will find a preference for gear farming.
Playing through act 1
Here is the spec that I use for soloing:
For details on elective mode go here (If you don't know what elective mode is click this video):
I went over my inclusion of war cry, tough as nails, and nerves of steel in the last section, I will now go over my other abilities and give a little bit of information about how i use them.
Frenzy - Sidearm
- I built my spec for killing bosses with stacks of nephalem valor up. If you intend to make a build to do this frenzy is almost certaintly going to be the only thing viable for both champion packs and bosses. I choose the sidearm rune as it gives a bit more aoe to the build,
and it is also a nice dps increase on single target as the extra attack will proc on the target if there is nothing else around, giving you a double strike
Frenzy with the stun rune is a decent boss killer option if you are having trouble getting hit too hard, however it is a pretty substantial dps loss vs sidearm. the dmg rune is also a viable option here, it is about the same dps as sidearm, but lacks the aoe potential. it really comes down to personal preference between sidearm and maniac as they are very close.
As far as other main attacks go there are two options, and I feel that neither are overly viable for a well rounded build. Bash can be quite good for bosses, and if you are progressing through a boss encounter for the first time you may not be able to keep your stacks of valor.
if this is the case you may want to try bash with the stun rune. however it doesn't pull quite as much dps as frenzy, nor does it have the aoe capabilities of the sidearm rune.
Cleave is a great ability for trash and champion packs, but it does significantly less dps on single targets (about 50-60% of frenzy). If you are having trouble with champion packs you may consider cleaving them down and dropping stacks of valor to change to bash for the bosses.
Revenge - Provocation
- This is how barbarians stay alive, it is also our main source of aoe dmg. Simply put this is one of, if not the best skill in all of D3.
Wrath of the Berserker - Insanity
- I have been using this for a while now. It is the source of most of my burst dmg, and allows me to build defensively but still put out enough dmg to kill things before the enrage timer. The key to this ability is to use it while your defensive skills are up,
or when you have another means of free attack time such as a boss mechanic or party member cc. You want to maximize your time on target while this is active since you don't do a tone of damage without it.
Leap - Iron Impact
- This is a key mobility spell, and the armor bonus is key to giving sustain while fighting in melee range. I like to initiate with this spell for the armor bonus. it can also be used as an escape mechanic later in the engage, and is great for kiting.
It is invaluable for skipping packs that you cannot seem to kill (which will definitely happen on your first few plays through)
Ignore Pain - Iron Hide
- This move allows me to stay in melee and fight the mobs while taking hits. Having a solid defensive rotation is essential for maximizing your time on target while wrath of the berserker is active, allowing you to burst down the first 1-2 champions and get the kill on the pack. I like to chain this right after my 3 second armor bonus from leap wears off.
- I am not totally sold on this skill. It seems to help reduce damage from most champion packs and some of the boss skills, but there may be other viable options here. Call me superstitious, but I just stick with this for now.
I have been playing around with Ruthless, Inspiring presence, and pound of flesh in this spot as well. pound of flesh has strong synergy well with any globe health boosts on gear, as they will heal you for a large portion of your health pool and they show up often. Inspiring presence gives decent sustain while kiting bosses/champs, but the regen rate seems a little underwhelming while in combat taking hits, making it a solid choice depending on play style. Rithless is a nice dps boost, however I haven't found myself having dps issues. still a nice pickup if you need a quick dps boost and have the defense available from your gear to afford an offensive passive.
How to fight using these talents:
- My goal in combat is to spend the first 15 seconds fighting with wrath of the berserker up. to ensure i can stay in melee I need to have my defensive spells active for this ammount of time. A trypical champion fight will go something like this:
Refresh War cry to generate fury. engage with a leap. use wrath of the berserker asap. leap goes on cooldown for 12 seconds, but its buff will cover the first three seconds of this time. I use Ignore pain for 7 seconds of defense while leap is on cd.
leap is 3 seconds, ignore pain is 7, for a total of only 2 seconds of unbuffed time during the first 12.
- For my second leap i usually stay in combat and keep fighting for another 3 seconds. this is a total of 13 seconds with crazy defensive buffs out of the first 15 seconds of an engagement. In this time I am usually able to kill 1-2 of the champions and continue fighting.
some of the time if the champs have sheilding, extra health, health link, or some other defensive move I will need to kite while I wait for my defensive cds to come back up. You will need to kite about 18 seconds for another leap-ignore pain-leap combo.
- If the pack is extremely sturdy you may have to kill one and then wait for wrath of the berserker to come back up to finish them off.
- You may have noticed I didn't include anything about revenge in here. you basically spam this the whole time during these fights. be careful not to pop it when you are getting kited and the enemy is out of range. aside from that you are pretty much using this every time it procs.
Transitioning to act 2
This is the phase that I am currently at. I have played through act 2 and I am currently stuck on the last boss of act 2.
If you look at your stat sheet you will notice that armor and resistances state that their damage reduction is effective against enemies your own level. In act 1 the enemies are lvl 60, so things are great. when you get to act II the enemies are now lvl 61, and the resistance you get form these stats goes down.
To make up for this you need to get more of all your key defensive stats to keep up. Enemies also have more health, so you will need more dps to get them down in a reasonable ammount of time.
My stats are as follows:
700 resist all (808 physical resistance, 804 fire, however these are only incidentaly higher as I do not stack for them specifically)
400 Dexterity (almost all of this is from the extra stats on my helm and boots, and I will drop this down when i can)
402 life on hit.
right now my stat priority is to gain some resist all and vitality, and I am looking to do so at the cost of dex/armor. A dps increase is always welcome, and a new weapon would be the main source of dps.
my weapon is a one hander with 700 dps and 386 life per hit, and my shield has 1012 armor with a 13% chance to block for 2800-3700 dmg.
I have just started using life per hit items, and I have been quite pleased with teh survivability increase. this will primarily come from your weapon, rings, and amulet.
my other pieces are prioritized for the stats the same way I outlined in the act I gearing section.
Playing through act 2
You will find that playing through act II is more or less the same as act I, however there will be more champion packs that take a few deaths to kill, there will be a few (more) that you may need to skip, and you will have to play more cautiously, kite more, ect.
The bugs are annoying, espescially the champion packs of bugs. I am experimenting with the aoe stun in act II to help keep these in place so that I can attack them, but I am having a hard time giving up any of my other abilities.
Zoltan khule takes a lot of kiting, you will want to use the Leap-Ignore pain- leap combo on the golems, then kite until it comes up again. always be careful of his aoes, and keep your leap available to dodge aoes.
I am currently stuck on belial, I feel like i need to gain a lot of dps to kill him, I have been experimenting with a 2h build for him, but no success yet. I have given up on this for now and gone back to farming gear before I attempt it again solo. I will update this guide once i get a kill. you can check out psystarcraft's kill here for now:
Looking towards act 3+ and Final thoughts
I have some work to do scaling this up to act three. As i get more comfortable with my gear in act 2, and have that more or less on farm mode I will push the boss solo and then get into act three. When I get there I will let you know what my numbers are like, any build changes I experiment with, ect.
Big Shout out to Kripparrian, rrowland, and psystarcraft for their great work with streams, videos, and posts.
A lot of what I have put into this guide has come from ideas these guys have been talking about.
Please post your thoughts, opinions, suggestions, and questions below. If you would like more detail in a given area of this guide, or want clarification, or have something for me to test or comment on I will do my best to update the guide.
Edit 1: got a new weapon with life on hit and some str/int. updated stats accordingly
Edit 2: added a small section on how to farm gear to transition into act 1
Edit 3: Added some formatting to the guide.
Edit 4: included the source of the armor vs resist chart thanks to a comment.