8 - Barbarian Gameplay Report - Apr/25/2000
Charis hits #1 in
the Beta Ladder for Barbarian!! (cough) Well, ok, for the USEast Realm,
just added yesterday along with the established BetaWest realm. I was
amongst the first players there, and Bar is least common (cough) Actually,
#3 position overall in USEast, with other AOH members up in the top slots,
including Hel-Raiser's Paladin. Anyway, this gives me the chance to post
a Barbarian gameplay report...
Sparta was summoned to the East to investigate horror stories about Tristram.
He wanted to learn a few cries, master a weapon or two and learn some
new spells (in other words, spread himself out more than he should). He
waited on the Mastery until he found his first really good weapon, and
picked up Bash and Howl right away. Bash is good for extra damage, and
it also stuns briefly, but there are two rawbacks. For the mana-deficient
Bar, ANY attack that uses mana is rough early on, before a mana-steal
item is found. Second, it knocksback, which as D1 players know can be
nice vs tough bosses but frequently annoying.
Luck truly rained down on Sparta's head in the Stony Plains. At clvl 3
vs a pair of bosses, he found a Deadly Trident of Quality. Doing base
3-22 or so, add in a bash, and this was _monstrous_ damage for his lvl.
In fact, at clvl 15 he STILL wields the same weapon. He also found the
Artic Binding, a set belt. +30 (!) Defense and some resistance, his 'Armor
Class' skyrocketed. These two items saw him breezing through around clvl
10-12. One problem on that belt though... they 'fixed' the item repair
cost to ignore caps, and so the first time he looked to see how much to
repair 3 points of damage, it was 22,000 gold (!!). Yikes! Needless to
say, I passed, and now at clvl 15 the belt is on its last legs, with dur
2 of 28 and costing 99,700 to repair. This needs to be 'unfixed', badly.
So with his new Trident (Spear class) he put a skill pt or two into Spear
Mastery, and another to Bash. Over the next few levels he also added Shout
(doubles DR, very handy when you have no shield). [Note on Shout or Defiance.
Getting good DR armor, in Act I, Ring Mail, is key with this skill. You
go from Monster Chew Toy to not-quite-unhittable when you pair up the
best armor and a +DR skill]
Toss in 2 points of Find Health Potion (1 is 15%, too low for my tasts),
Leap (wish I had more mana), and double swing. Then at the Voila-lvl 12
point, added Stun and Find item. Taunt, which draws monsters to you, doesn't
excite me. (Although in D1 I DO wish my Warrior could taunt witches :)
Find Item was disappointing, is could be called - "Weak chance at finding
junk". 86% of the time wasted mana, and the rest of the time you get gold,
a scroll, a mana pot, a cracked buckler. Once in a game where i used it
constantly I found one magic skull cap - Lizard. I suppose to be balanced
it can't do more, but this is not a spell I'll continue to invest in.
I need to pump some more Spear Mastery :) With the Trident, Blood Raven
was a joke, and the Countess was also easy. Andariel was done coop - precast
Shout, put Stun on the left button and Howl on the right (in case any
other monsters wanted to interfere). If the Pal didn't have Defiance you
can rest assure he didn't have cleansing, BUT he did have around lvl 9
Might :) With that, his Sacrifice, and a newly-clvl-12 Sorceress casting
an Ice Blast and Static Field, we pulverized her in seconds. (This crew
was slightly overpowered for Andy - clvl 12, 14, 15) The "Sir" title was
nice when I left game to see the ladder results. (I never check these,
and had to be told by someone I was #3 in USEast). By tomorrow no doubt
I'll be dropped out of top 50, but it's nice for that moment at the top
Howl - was the sleeper spell for me. I ended up using it LOTS more
than I expected. What's nice is that most creatures run off scared with
a little green flagella (oops, "wiggly") over their head, but one or two
seem to like to stay, or else return immediately. It basically changes
the situation from a mob overrun to a very manageable battle. Four cases
so far where it absolutely saved a life.
i) I got lagged entering a portal and was ambushed. Down to 1/4 health
and mobbed, I howled, drank, ran and recovered.
ii) My poor NPC rogue was being slaughtered, her health bar was a sliver
of red. "Awoooooo!" Portal cast, up to town, and Akara tended to her wounds.
Still alive, she returned the favor a moment later and saved me with a
well-timed frost arrow.
iii) Party Paladin (hi Hel!) got surrounded, and he saw fit to not learn
defiance, and was about to die. I kept howling until the situation was
iv) I hear a female "Help cry" (vocal hotkeys! Amazing, much nice than
the old text) - jump into the next room where she was being pounded by
Night Clan, and Howl. As soon as they flee away they get Ice Blasts in
I have an odd feeling that it added to the party confusion - mind you,
all your targets are scurrying around like crazy, but, I do know that
it saved them several times - this was not a defense-minded party I was
Shout - As I mentioned before, team up Shout with decent armor,
and it doubles your DR. For me it's a "must-cast" before entering any
portal, in case there is lag or an ambush awaiting me. It does share with
the rest of the party, so be a friendly Bar and learn (and use) shout.
I wanted to test to see if it stacks with Defiance, but the Pal did not
know this spell :P I doubt it, but if so, would show us what "autohit"
was! The downside to shout seems to be a limited duration - I needed to
Leap - is the most amusing skill a Bar can have. I still remember
Bolty's first Barbarian who learned this - it was like a kid in a candy
store. If you're in a party with door clogging Necro minions, don't leave
home without Leap.