Hello fellow barbarians. I'd like to talk about how I personally geared and specced to transition from Zoltun/Belial farming to 5 stack Siegebreaker. The aim of this discussion is to convince the average barb that it is indeed possible to buy gear suitable for act 3 farming without spending ridiculous amounts of money (on legendary items mostly).
1- My Background
Now I know that there are plenty of resources already available about how people geared their barbs up, but I believe my experience could better represent the struggle of the average barbarian player. I define myself as an average player because of the following points.
- Played the game as it was intended throughout the initial two weeks of the game instead of abusing chests/goblins and gold farm locations. Because I didn't do this, I obviously didn't experience the HUGE cash-in that helped to feed most early inferno barbs their game winning gear.
- I only have a couple of RL friends playing the game, thus being fed gear from other people was never in the realm of possibility.
The consequence of my actions has left me without the gold to purchase any of the so called mandatory items for barbarian progression: Stormshield, Justice Lantern, Helm of Command etc. Some people would claim that I should have farmed Belial for a few weeks (more like months) until I could afford these items, but that is not necessary.
2 - Gearing Aim
Now the conventional aim when gearing a barbarian tank has become maximising block %. Now while I present no argument for whether this is indeed the best mitigation strategy, I will say that going this route is incredibly expensive and simply out of reach for average players in a position like mine. Now talking numbers, I checked the AH today for reasonable legendary items and came up with the following prices for suitable items.
- Stormshield - At least 15 mil for a decent one
- Justice Lantern - At least 10 mil for a good one, 7 mil for baseline
- The Helm of Command - At least 5 mil for a decent one (w/socket)
Now that sum of (at least) 27million gold for three items is simply unacceptable in my mind, but then again I just like getting bargains .
With maximising block% out of the question, I opted for a gear set up that maximised the following stats:
- All Resistance
- Life on Hit (minimum 1000)
3 - Reasoning behind stat choices
The logic behind stacking these stats is quite simple. With the lack of block% stacking, it is important to make sure that attacks you take don't begin to threaten your life. I made up for the lack of block% by building my resists (with war cry+impunity) to approximately 1000 with roughly 1100 physical resist.
The second stat I cannot recommend enough is life on hit. While you will hardly notice the effect when ploughing through hordes of regular mobs keeping yourself topped with revenge, the effect becomes truly apparent when fighting champion/unique packs and bosses. Before I got gear with life on hit, I would often find myself dying to the last 1 or 2 mobs in a champion pack due to the drastic decrease in revenge healing and proc rate. I have around 1400 LoH on my current gear which is probably a bit overboard but I love it so much I refuse to lose it.
Now some people would probably raise their eyebrows at me holding strength as a top priority so I'll tell you why I do. First and foremost, with the recent Tyreal nerf if you do not put out enough damage you will simply die to enrage on any semi-difficult champion pack in act 3. Now the added benefit of gaining strength on your gear is not only increased damage, but increased armor effectively improving your offensive and defensive capability at the same time. Lastly, gear with high strength is often underpriced compared to gear with high vitality, so using the AH preferences to find gear with high strength and lower vitality could net you a great bargain.
Vitality is obviously a core stat for tank barbarians as it increases armour and hp pool, but I personally treat vitality and strength as if they had the same value, mostly because both give 1 amour per point.
4 - My gear and stats
Ok so here is my current gear and my stats (with both war cry w/impunity and my damage specced enchantress).
Gear - http://i.imgur.com/7DGN2.jpg
Stats - http://i.imgur.com/Wfgs2.jpg
5 - Gear cost
Here is the approximate amount of gold I paid for my items which were all bought within the last two weeks. I got some pretty good bargains because I tend to spend at least 25% of my time in Diablo just lurking the AH for good deals.
Weapon - 3.5m (including gem)
Shield - 50k (Total steal!! Very lucky to get this one)
Ring1 - 500k
Ring2 - 200k (Bargain)
Amulet - 1m
Belt - 1m
Chest - 1.5m
Pants - 1.5m
Helm - 800k (Bargain imo, because of high strength low vit)
Bracers - 400k
Boots - 2m
Gloves - 1m
Pants - 1.5m
Shoulders - 1m (Bargain)
So the estimated total cost of my gear is 16 million.
Now what I am trying to get across by going through this is a couple things. Firstly I want to make people aware that they can find great bargains if they play around with the preferences they're looking for. For example, belts and shoulders have a chance to double roll strength as an attribute. As most people don't think strength is that great, you can find really high strength shoulders and belts if you are willing to sacrifice some vitality.
The second thing I wanted to prove by going through this is that it is indeed possible to build a set capable of farming act 3 for far less than the cost of a single decent stormshield.
6 - Act 3 difficulty with my gear
Now after all this talk of gear I'd like to discuss how difficult it is for me to farm Siegebreaker with 5 stacks in this gear, and how I justify neglecting block % (you can see my very low 13 block%).
First things first, I by no means claim to be able to kill 100% of champion/unique possibilities in act 3, in fact probably not even 85%. On average I find myself being able to get 5 stacks in kill the seigebreaker within 30-50minutes depending on the difficulty of champ/uniques I find. Like most barbarians I should think, I struggle the most with the magic damage imposed by fire chains/molten combinations as well as tanky heavy hitting mobs (Golgors )
Now this is sort of important because this is how I justify neglecting block %. While blocking everything is great, I get the same effect by increasing my armour and resistances, which as a lot cheaper. In the end, block % could very well be the best way to mitigate damage, but I am here to find a method that is cheap and effective for me and wont take me months to farm.
At the lower gear levels you may enter act 3 and get killed by the physical attacks regular mobs do to you. The answer to this problem is increasing your physical resistance and armour, which is far cheaper than forking out ludicrous amounts of gold for block % items.
7 - Spec
Although this dicussion is not meant to really focus on spec, I think it is important to show that I am using a very defensive spec while farming act 3 and I will briefly explain how I go about using it.
Spec - http://us.battle.net...kRVX!beV!accZca
This build is very popular because it revolves around two very powerful damage reduction cooldowns which can be used in a chain to protect you for very long periods of time (Leap w/ Iron Impact and Ignore Pain w/ Iron Hide). On packs that hit you too hard, you follow this priority in engaging them.
Leap -> 4 seconds -> Ignore Pain -> 7 seconds -> Leap -> 4 seconds -> Retreat until Leap is up again.
A lot of people say Ignore Pain is inferior to Threatening Shout, while I do think threatening shout is a very powerful ability as well, I cannot even count the number of times Ignore Pain has saved my life during an unfortunate turn of events when fighting champ/unique packs.
8 - Conclusion (TLR)
The notion that the three block % legendarys are required for barbarians to farm act 3 and 4 inferno is evidently very false. I believe that the block % stack gearing method used by many popular barbarians is both inferior to stacking the core stats mentioned earlier depending on the individual item quality (All Resistance, Physical Resistance, Strength, Vitality, Life on Hit) and vastly more expensive.
Final note: I hope this thread helps some people that are in the same position I was in a couple of weeks ago. I was getting very depressed (pissed off) playing my barbarian because I thought that the unobtainable legendary items were my only ticket to progression from act 2 to 3.