After having played several ladders of D2 "on/off", e.g. playing, getting bored, quitting - I've decided to try something else than the regular oh-so-boring sorc and hammerdin mainstream builds.
That's when I decided to try out a barbarian, so far I've been using memememe's PvM Singer guide as a model for what I'm aiming for, originally I intended to do a pure maxdps singer (I've been following the ongoing thread about it), but now I'm wondering if it's possible to maintain ok'ish damage in 1-3 player hell games without fully synergized WC, and stuffing 20 points into Find Item for a chance of MFing with friends? Is there any guide describing this build / the itemization required, that I've missed?
I tend to grow bored at around 90-92 (it just takes horribly long to level those last 7-9 levels, doesn't it?), so I know that I'm looking at an incomplete build, but still.
Anyone out there who has a MF/singer?
I guess the skillpoint allocation would be something like 1 pt Leap, 1 pt Increased Stamina, Increased Speed (no, I don't own an enigma ><), Iron Skin, Natural Resistances, Find Potion, 20 pt Find Item, 1 pt Howl, 1 pt Shout, 20 pt BCry, 20 pt BO, 20 pt WC, 1 pt BC = 88 pts, with a good 20 points left for upping WC damage. For stats, I guess it's the usual
str/dex for gear, energy enough for instacasting WC and the rest into vita.
What I'm more curious about is the gear needed to pull this off - kill mobs in a timely manner, survive, and have enough mf/eg to find something of worth.
As I haven't played barbarian much, I really would like some advice here. For the time being, I'm using one SoJ, one rare fcr/resi/stats ring, Viper (will probably switch to a Myth once I get a decent armor, rare Skill / BO / misc skills / resi barb helm, Prismatic amulet for resistances, Frostburns, Silkweave, dual Spirits, Gloom's Trap.
My merc is using some rare eth armor and a Tal helm and spirit.
I quite recently started out again, but I've managed to gather tradables/runes of ~10 ists worth, so my question is: What would be sensible gear to get, if I want to try and build a MF/singer hybrid for soloing stuff in 1-3 player hell games, and for support/xp leech in 8player games? Advice on what charms you would use would not hurt either all advice very much appreciated!
Remember, singers are REALLY terrible at killing act bosses. Bosses just have too much health and phys resist for singers, even high dmg ones. That said, singers could do just fine as an area mfer, especially in earlier acts (like The Pit/AT). They are also excellent key runners.
I would rate "ok-ish damage" as anything above 1100, which means at lvl 90 and with your skill distribution as listed, you'll have to have at least +21 to skills. Not too hard I suppose, if you are able to do something ilke the following setup:
(2) enigma (in your case, maybe myth or viper)
(2) barb ammy
(3) wc skillers
(1) battle command
Just be aware, by adding points into find item instead of fully synergizing WC you are effectively losing out on about 550 damage with the item setup listed above. So you're doing about 2/3 of the damage you would normally do.
It might be a fun mfer, and with find item it'll be nice to hork the uniques and superuniques you run across. It certainly won't rival any similarly geared sorc/pally, but if you're looking for something fun and different, why not!
Enigma will revolutionize how you play the singer. If you cannot afford one (jah and ber are expensive nowadays!) then you'll have to make due with viper or myth. Also, it may be worth sacrificing a couple points in Find Item to get Increased Speed, if you won't be teleporting. Since you're operating off a somewhat low budget, maybe this setup would be better for you:
I put in viper instead of myth because with the fcr ring you have and the two spirits, be able to make the 105% fcr breakpoint if your spirits have decent fcr (65% total together). That will probably work fine for you for a budget barb, but you will be doing just over 1k damage - might not work well in later stages of hell.
I've more and more coming to realize barbs are quite gear dependent :] I hoped things would differ from warriors in WoW, but naye.. I've mostly planned to use this char as an area-MFer, perhaps get a stormlash for the occasional end-act boss kills to static/CB them down, might speed things up a bit?
Anyway, a question about Find Item: is it the combination with the slvl and mf that determines the drop? Does the mf from gear when you killed the monster matter? I've broken down some more currency, so I have roughly 20'ish ists to move around with now, Eni is getting closer..
What gear should I aim for for my merc? From what I've understood he'll be doing all the single-target damage.. A good eth insight is probably needed to maintain decent manareg I guess, but what else? eth Crown of thieves + eWealth/eStone?
I switched some gear from my sorc as well, so I'm currently wearing 2x soj, arach, mara's, hoto/spirit, viper, rare barb helm and 2 WC skillers, torch = 18 skillpoints.
I wouldn't have any problem getting plain WC skillers, but would it be a good idea to try and get hold of more currency as I'm not many ists from an Enigma? Cheers in advance, for any advice
Barbs are one of the most gear-dependent in the game, unfortunately. Singers sure are fun though! You can try the stormlash route but then you'd have to worry about AR, which you won't have much of on your singer equipment. It might work though, especially if you keep an angelic ring/ammy in your inventory. The switching would get annoying though, I would think. What might be a better solution is to deck your merc out with duress/guillame's, so he can CB the act bosses. I would suggest Obedience on him too, but you're gonna need that Insight to be able to cast wc effectively.
I'm far from a Find Item expert, in fact in all the years I've played D2 I've never bothered using it, so you'll have to search the forums for that info or wait for another poster to answer that question. You know, looking closer at the Find Item skill, the only listed variable is the % chance it will work (there may be hidden variables that affect the level of drop, but I don't know). With your 18+ extra +skills, if you only put 1 point in Find Item you get 50% chance. If you put all 20 points in, you only get 57% chance. An extra 7% chance to hork doesn't seem to be worth losing 33% of your damage. Unless there are hidden bonuses to hard points that I don't know about, it seems to me it would be much better for you to use Find Item as a 1-point wonder and use the rest to get your WC damage up. It would help immensely with area mfing.
Yes eth insight will be very important for mana reg. If you have several rune sets of insight, i'd reroll until you get a lvl 16 or 17 med - it will help tremendously. Here's how I'd gear my merc in your situation:
eth insight (any eth elite polearm)
That way he'll maintain decent damage and 50% of the all-important CB for boss fights.
Sounds like you're getting pretty close to that enigma! I'd definitely build your barb with it in mind and continue to work toward getting one (even if you end up scrapping this guy you'll definitely still use it on another char). It will not only help you get places faster to MF, but it helps a lot with grouping guys so you can wc more at once.
I think I'll go for eDuress, it sounds most reasonable. Currently rolling to get a high enough Meditation aura, and trying to ebug my own armors (2 last ones turned out with 1.1k def, but 1 socket =/).. I was fortunate doing Ubers and got some sweet profit, so I'm currently searching for a decent AP to write it in, and I think I will go for another Hoto as well as try to replace my low maras with a crafted WC amu.
I'm also trying to find more info on the mechanics on Find Item, my current idea of how it works is that only slvl affects the %chance of a second drop, while the MF that you wear while you hork will affect the quality of the drop - yet to be falsified or proven right, help from someone more versed in barb MF would be very much appreciated. However, looks as if my barb is slowly coming to completion, and even when area MF'ing so far with not-so-epic-gear has been very much fun. Pimping out my merc will also be a tremendous boost, I think.
A final update on my singer/mf project - I've managed to get my hands on an Enigma, double hoto's, double sojs (usually running with 2xDwarf star though), +2 barb caster amu... Only parts I'd really want now is a decent eDuress for my merc, rare frw/fhr/mana/eg/mf boots, a couple of wc/mana skillers + sc's with mana+eg/mf. Perhaps a better +2barb/caster amu with a 35%-high mana-spirit for more mana, it's pretty painful to reach the 2,7k'ish "sweetspot" and maintain a decent hp pool.
But as I'm not shy of drinking pots it's no bigger deal, and I find it really enjoyable and different - not quite as fast as playing my FO/FB sorc, but a lot more utility and survivability - overall it's a very fun spec to play.
After a few respecs I ended up using 1pt Find Item instead of maxed, because as you pointed out, the diminishing returns kill the value of those extra %'s chance of finding more goodies. Running my usual setup I have around 4k hp, 1.1k mana, 10k def and (when switched to dual Ali Baba's) some ~1.7k eg and ~470 mf (note that I use 2xDwarf Star - I very rarely bother to use my sojs) and doing around 1.4-1.5k WC dmg. I alternate weapons on my merc as well, depending on how much mana I will need - insight for anything but Travi, when doing Travi I usually switch to eBotD and just leap-lock the Council.
If someone else reads this and thinks of making one, I can really recommend it - although being more gear-dependant than sorcs and paladins, singers are so very different and fun to play, and also very potent MF/gold finders.