First off: the Zeal-Barb is NOT a power-build, and almost definitely NOT an overpowered PvP build. It is intended for those who enjoy playing Barbarians, and have tried all the major cookie-cutter builds and who feel like trying something different.
We all know and frequently use Barbarians using Whirlwind, Concentrate, Frenzy, Berserk, or even the Druid skill Feral Rage as their main attacking skills. Why not benefit from the Paladin's Zeal as well? 1.10 introduced the rune word "Passion," which aside from providing your main attacking skill, frees up many skill points, allowing you to complete your build at much earlier levels than most other builds.
- Added freedom of distribution of skill points
- An attack speed comparable to Frenzy
- The ability to use a shield, negating up to 75% of all physical attacks directed towards you
- An extremely low cost of accumulating endgame-capable items
- The opportunity to stack Crushing Blow and Deadly Strike
- Style points for not following "cookie-cutter" builds. :clap:
- Lowered efficiency in PvP
- The necessity of a bare minimum of +2 to all skills acquired from items; the last +1 skill to bring your Zeal to 5 hits can come from Battle Command.
- Limited weapon selection
- Relatively low damage without Crushing Blow or Deadly Strike triggering
- Inherent and unavoidable chance to cause monsters to flee.
~BREAKDOWN OF 'PASSION'
+25% Increased Attack Speed
+160-210% Enhanced Damage
50-80% Bonus To Attack Rating (varies)
+75% Damage To Undead
+50 To Attack Rating Against Undead
Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage
+1 To Berserk
+1 To Zeal
Hit Blinds Target +10
Hit Causes Monster To Flee 25%
75% Extra Gold From Monsters
Level 3 Heart of Wolverine (12 Charges)
a) Hit Blinds Target +10
The formula for calculating the actual percentage chance that you will blind your target is as follows:
Chance = 50 + (Attacker Level + (Bonus * 4) - Defender Level) * 5
When this triggers, it reduces the light radius of monsters greatly, making you invisible to them at certain distances. This is similar to the Necromancer Curse Dim Vision, or the Assassin Shadow Discipline Cloak of Shadows.
b) Hit Causes Monster to Flee 25%
This is similar to triggering the Barbarian Warcry Howl. Monsters will run away from you and in order to kill them, you will have to chase them down and hope this does not trigger again before they are dead. While generally it is annoying, it can also be a saving grace in overcrowded situations.
~BASE WEAPONS OF CHOICE
There are, in fact, very few good choices of base weapons in which a Zeal-Barb should create his 'Passion' rune word. These are the ideal weapons.
N.B.: The damage values on each weapon assume a perfect roll of 210% enhanced damage. This is by all means a melee Zeal-Barb guide; I will not discuss the use of ranged weapons (bows and crossbows). Heck, Zeal doesn't even work with bows.
- Phase Blade / 96 to 108 (102 average) / base speed -30
- Cryptic Sword / 15 to 238 (126 average) / base speed -10
- Conquest Sword / 114 to 164 (139 average) / base speed 0
- Balrog Blade / 46 to 232 (139 average) / base speed 0
- Colossus Blade / 77 to 201.5 (139 average) / base speed 5
- Colossus Sword / 80 to 217 (148 average) / base speed 10
- Ettin Axe / 102 to 204 (153 average) / base speed 10
- Berserker Axe / 74 to 220 (147.5 average) / base speed 0
- War Spike / 93 to 148 (120 average) / base speed -10
- Caduceus / 114 to 133 (123 average) / base speed -10
- Scourge / 9 to 247 (128 average) / base speed -10
- Legendary Mallet / 155 to 189 (172 average) / base speed 20
Required Increased Attack Speed IN ADDITION TO 'Passion's inherent 25% to reach certain speed breakpoints:
-30: 0% for 5fpa and 47% for 4fpa
-10: 42% for 5fpa and 142% 4fpa
0: 38% for 5 fpa
5: [as of yet, unkown]
10: [as of yet, unknown]
20: 29% for 6fpa and 100% for 5fpa
~ATTRIBUTES AND SKILLS
Attribute distribution is pretty much the same as for any other melee build. Your base attributes will depend on your final gear; gathering all endgame equipment before starting your Zeal-Barb (or at least spending Stat Points) is suggested.
Enough to wear your gear. Keep in mind the "Strength bug" when choosing a base Strength value.
If you're wearing a shield, then have enough Dexterity to achieve maximum block percentage, 75%. If you're a dual-weapon wielder, then Dexterity is only required to wear weapons that require it. Though Dexterity does give a bonus to Attack Rating and Defense, the amount of points required to see a sizeable increase in either is ridiculous. There are much, much better ways to boost AR and Defense (Metalgrid is a great example).
Put everything you can spare into Vitality. Barbarians gain 4 Health Points per Stat Point spent in Vitality; more life means you die less often, which is something you'll find is a good goal to aim for.
There is no need for Energy in this build. Zeal costs 2 Mana Points per attack, which can easily be leeched back, or even regenerated naturally if you don't have Mana Leech. Leave Energy at its base value.
You have a lot more freedom than many other builds in terms of Skill Point layout, because the use of Zeal frees up at least 20 points which would normally be spent on a Combat Skill and its prerequisite(s). You can thus finish your actual build at a much earlier level, closer to 75 or 80, compared to 90 or 95 from other builds.
Shout: 20 points. Extra Defense for you and your party is essential for melee viability. There is also a nice Synergy damage bonus to Berserk, which will make up for a low or no investment of real points in it.
Battle Orders: 20 points. Life, Mana, and Stamina are all boosted by ridiculous amounts when you cast this. There's little else to say but pour many points into this as soon as you can spend them. BO is the lifeblood of Barbarians, as far as I'm concerned.
Weapon Mastery: 20 points. You'll definitely need the Damage and AR boost from this. Critical Strike is a great asset to complement your damage as well.
Battle Command: 1 point. Any more in this is a waste; only duration is increased, which is pointless since its duration is already boosted by Synergies from BO and Shout.
Iron Skin: 1 point or more. Extra Defense is always good.
Natural Resistance: 1 point or more. Watch out if you intend on spending more than one point in this – NR suffers from diminishing returns, meaning that the more points you spend, the lower the gain from the previous level.
War Cry: 1 point or more. Useful for stunning enemies, making your job of killing them much easier. Extra points are mainly for the longer stun duration and not the damage. And when they are stunned they cant flee.
Taunt: 0-1 points. It's great for negating the chance to cause monsters to flee from 'Passion,' but if you're a dual-wielder and 'Passion' is not your main weapon, then it's unnecessary.
Battle Cry: 0-1 points. I find it's useful against bosses but against normal packs of enemies, casting it between attacks gets very annoying, even if it lowers their Defense and Damage.
Increased Speed: 0-1 points. It's really up to you whether you like to run faster or not.
In my opinion, the best choices for 'Passion' are Phase Blade, Balrog Blade, Scourge and Berserker Axe. HOWEVER, Caducei have the ability to spawn with an inherent bonus to Zeal (Paladin Only); when 'Passion' is made in such a Caduceus, the character class restriction is removed. The item will still say "Paladin Only" but you will, in fact, benefit from all the skill bonuses. This is the ONLY case in which there is a possibility of no need for additional +skills. The rarity of these Caducei makes it much more logical to aim for weapons such as a Berserker Axe, Phase Blade, Balrog Blade, or Scourge.
For Ladder characters, the new Rune Word 'Grief' makes an interesting possibility. A Barbarian's dual-wield capability can and should be exploited for a richer Zeal-Barb. Wearing the 'Grief' in the right hand, done by un-equipping both weapons, equipping 'Grief' in the right hand (left side of the Inventory screen), and then equipping the 'Passion' weapon in the left hand, opens up many possibilities. Though previously, Zeal-Barbs had to depend mainly on special damage mods such as Crushing Blow and Deadly Strike in order to deal sufficient damage, Grief requires no such accompanying equipment. The additional damage ("Damage +XXX") is applied BEFORE Enhanced Damage from either skills or other items, despite the fact that this additional damage is not shown on the Character screen. This makes the weapon quite independent and powerful. However, dual-wielding can pose some problems with Resists, due to the lack of a shield. 'Grief' and 'Passion' in Berserker Axes are my weapons of choice, but wielding two Phase Blades could save you a lot in terms of repair cost and gear which u need to sacrifice for ias.
For Non-Ladder players trying to imitate Grief's power, The Redeemer and Astreon's Iron Ward both provide "Damage +XX" mods, but are not suggested; the advantages of a shield outweigh the advantages of either of the two. (Side note: wearing Astreon's plus a 'Passion' Caduceus is extremely stylish.) A 'Beast' Berserker Axe can also be wielded as the primary weapon, mainly for its Fanaticism Aura; however, for Ladder players, a 'Faith' bow on a Rogue mercenary would most likely be more useful, in conjunction with a 'Grief'/'Passion' combo.
Guillaume's Face – This helm reigns king in terms of special damage sources. With a whopping +35% Crushing Blow and 15% Deadly Strike, this helm will definitely help the normally low Zeal damage. For Non-Ladder players, I would suggest this as an endgame helm. Its low, low price is a very fun bonus for players who are not extremely rich, or who don't feel like investing much in their Zeal-Barbs.
Arreat's Face – The tried and true, best overall PvM and PvP Barbarian helm. Extremely balanced in terms of defense, Resistances, skills, and other mods, it's also an extremely viable option for a Zeal-Barb. Suggested helm for special Caducei-wielders who don't require a bonus to All Skills, or 'Grief'/'Passion' combo wielders.
Andariel's Visage – Arguably the most underrated helm in the game. While many players dismiss it as "noob trash," it provides mods that are extremely important for melee builds – a bonus to All Skills, Life Leech, and even Strength. But it looks crap
Shako – If u need extra skill and already have ias, u can consider the standard headgear of 95% of b.net aka the cow scrotum aka the condom.
'Duress' – An extremely useful armor for a Crushing Blow build. Providing Crushing Blow, Resistances, FHR, and even some Damage mods, it's a well-balanced and relatively cheap option.
'Enigma' – No. Expensive and good for many other builds; don't waste on here. As far as a Zeal-Barb is concerned, the other mods can and should be obtained elsewhere.
Arkaine's Valor – A very nice, balanced armor, but it's easily outshined by 'Duress,' despite its bonus to All Skills. Not suggested due to its high level requirement.
'Chains of Honor' – Sweet chocolate Jesus :uhhuh: . With +2 to All Skills, +65 to All Resistances, DR, Strength… there's little more a Zeal-Barb can ask for. It remains my personal ideal choice for a Zeal-Barb. What it lacks in CB, it more than makes up for in Skills and Resists.
'Fortitude' – Ah yes, the unmistakable "it" RW of the new Ladder season. Suggested as a companion to a 'Grief'/'Passion' dual-wielder; the usability between this and CoH is a toss-up for personal preference.
'Stone' – The unmistakable king of Defensive capabilities. Massive Defense, FHR, and some resists make it a fun armor to mess around with, but Duress is a much more useful armor for Zeal-Barbs.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Skin of the Vipermagi, 'Smoke,' 'Lionheart,' Naj's Light Plate, pretty much anything with a combination of Skills/Resists/Defense.
Stormshield – The (almost) undisputed powerhouse of non-Paladin shields. However, it lacks in the Resistance department, and a socket with Um or a Perfect Diamond is suggested.
Gerke's Sanctuary – Good in terms of Resistances and Defense but otherwise not so great. Its green color isn't exactly great-looking, either – and style is what this build is all about. Although i (Jordy) think gerke’s looks great
'Sanctuary' – An extremely viable option. It is, by far, the only shield which really comes close to Stormshield for Barbarians. This is the ideal choice if your resists are sagging.
'Phoenix' – Not worth the runes. Wielding a shield requires you to use 'Passion' as your only weapon, and since the damage is bad on its own, wearing this will not help you out nearly as much as, say, Crushing Blow would. It would be better put on a more mainstream build and coupled with 'Grief' + 'Fortitude.'
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Nothing in particular; just look for a high Block Rate, Defense, and Resists; FBR is always a good companion as well.
Dracul's Grasp – The infamous Life Tap gloves. Wearing these will greatly aid your survival later on in the game; they're my recommended gloves, despite a lack of IAS.
Laying of Hands – Providing an important 20% IAS as well as bonus Damage to Demons and Fire Resist, these are a great pair of gloves to have. Low defense but great overall usability.
Lava Gout – With 20% IAS, decent Defense (the best of all the 20% IAS gloves), Fire Resist, and a highly underrated chance to cast Enchant (which will help your naturally low AR).
Magnus’s skin – With 20% ias, fire res and some straigt added AR these arent the worst gloves of em all. However u should only wear these in conjuction with Guillaume's face since they are part of the same set and give 35 extra life.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Rares, baby. Look for pairs with 20% IAS, Leech, Resists, Stat bonuses. Soul Drainer is great for Dual Leech but I'd look elsewhere for that, it's more of a toss-up between Life Tap and IAS as far as gloves go. DO NOT wear Steelrend – the damage increase is negligible while the Strength investment is too high. IK Gloves, coupled with the Belt, provide pretty nice bonuses as well – Strength, Dexterity, IAS, Resists, and nice Defense. Even sigons gloves + belt/boot is worth it – Life leech and 30 ias.
Verdungo's Hearty Cord – The obvious choice. With much-needed DR and a sizeable bonus to Vitality, in addition to great defense and other useful mods, this is by far one of (if not THE) best belt ever created for D2.
Thundergod's Vigor – With a very nice boost to Strength and Dexterity, TGod's is a viable option but not the best. When fighting Souls, however, this might be a good option.
String of Ears – The outdated but not useless favorite belt of 1.09. DR and Life Leech make it a good, cheap belt.
Nosferatu's Coil – Great for helping you reach a desired attack speed breakpoint when using medium or slow speed base weapons.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Credendum for Resistances, IK Belt coupled with Gloves (see above), Rares, Crafteds, anything.
Gore Rider – Another obvious choice. The special damage mods on these will go a long way to help your damage, whether or not you're a 'Grief' user.
Sandstorm Trek – Well-rounded and powerful boots. Though they lack in the special damage area, these boots more than make up for it with stat bonuses, FHR, and a Poison Resist bonus.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: IK Boots, Aldur Boots, Goblin Toe for lower-end builds; Rares with multiple resist bonuses, FRW and FHR are very nice as well. Tearhaunch can help with Resistances as well.
Mara's Kaleidoscope – My amulet of choice. This amulet will single-handedly get you to a level 4 Zeal along with a pretty nice Resistance bonus. The IAS from Highlord's can be sacrificed and made up for elsewhere (if you even need it).
Highlord's Wrath – Lacking in the Resistance department but nevertheless, a great amulet. The +Skill bonus, IAS and Deadly Strike could very well more than make up for the loss in Resistances.
Seraph's Hymn – Avoid at all costs but if it's all you have, then use it.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS: Eye of Etlich, Telling of Beads. Look for +All Skills and Resistances. Rares can't compare because they won't give bonuses to Zeal. Metalgrid isn't a bad choice either; the Attack Rating bonus is great, along with Defense and Resistances – a Metalgrid/Raven Frost/XX combo will be much more balanced in PvM than the Angelic combo. However, if you're PvPing, there is no other choice but the Angelic combo. For poorer players who are having trouble hitting even in PvM, then the Angelic combo should be considered.