I haven't played Diablo 3 in about month or more. I'm very far behind when it comes to gear and overall wealth in the game.
I had a level 56 barbarian, so I leveled him up and I got him to Belial over the weekend. I had a level 60 Demon Hunter and Wizard, but I'm not really all that interested in playing these characters now... Wizard is underpowered unless you are rich it seems, and demon hunter doesn't play anywhere near as well compared to when I last played her, so all of my gear is shot.
This is my current barb's gear. I just got budget stuff on the AH to get me through act 1 and 2 inferno, although I did find the weapon and one of the rings myself. I can't beat Belial though - his enrage timer kicks in when he's at 5% health. I am not doing enough DPS it seems.
How can I improve my gear assuming extremely limited funds?
I am using the basic tank setup, since it's safe and I only die like once or twice in a day. I don't think I can use a whirlwind barb for regular play - I don't have any crit % and crit damage gear at all, and it's much more expensive to get that type of gear with all of the above mods as well.
What skills should I use against belial to avoid the enrage timer?
As for gear upgrades, I'd like to get one or two pieces that would give me the best bang for the buck. I know the gear I am using is budget gear, but there is not much sense in spending 500k - or even 2 million - on something that is only 5-10% better. I want to get something that will make the biggest difference. I am thinking weapon, but anything I think would be a noticeable upgrade for me is 800-850k, which pretty much takes my gold down to 0. I'll keep looking for deals.
The gear I nabbed from the AH is actually pretty damn good for the price I paid for each piece. It is usually 5% worse than a piece that might sell for 800k or 1million (like the chest armor), but I remember getting it for less than 100k because I snipped it A lot of the pieces are like that. Please don't think I have the gold to make 2 million gold purchases - I don't have it.
If you're using a cookie cutter tank setup, for Belial you could consider dropping Iron Skin and add Earthquake (The Mountain's Call). Or drop a defensive passive and add Berserker Rage.
I think you could upgrade a lot of that stuff for a lot less than 800k. For example, there are a lot of good shoulder armors for sale at much less than 800k, since your shoulder armor only has good strength, fairly moderate all res, and no vitality. You can get something with similar str, allres, physical/fire res, and 70+ vitality (~2.5k more hp) for 200k or so. Your gloves are much the same; they have terrific strength (uncommon on gloves), but no vitality whatsoever and no other offensive mods. Str+vit+allres gloves should be quite cheap right now since since most people want to have crit chance, crit damage, or attack speed on them. Your bracers also have very good strength but no vitality. Between those three you could easily pick up ~7k hp before hp multipliers, while not losing significant dps. If, of course, you're staying alive just fine-don't bother; you could consider other options. Same with your boots; great strength, no vitality whatsoever, no movement speed.
At this point, vitality hasn't been a major concern. I got most of those pieces for 10k, 20k, or 50k I value Vitality and Strength equally right now - and that might change when I get to Act 3... I don't know yet. I calculated that resists+armor was better than vitality, which is why I was focusing on Strength as my main stat - and dps is still a problem even despite the fact that I did that.
I figured if I could get a piece of gear with 150 strength rather than a 75 str/75 vit split for much less gold, it would probably be in my best interest to do that. I was face-rolling act 1 and 2 with this setup, and I spent very little gold on all of these items. I calculated that Strength + Physical Resist + All resist + Armor was the more important combination than something with more Vitality, and I think that's a calculated bet that paid off quite well. The most expensive piece was the amulet, which I got for 100k. I was really building this barb on the cheap, exploiting stats the best I could I think Vitality can be sacrificed if you get the stats I got, assuming limited funds. Of course, if you have more funds than I have, these items should also have Vitality.
Since the problem is DPS though, and not defensive, I need to boost that first. I could use brawler for belial. I will try that. I still think I need 3-4k more damage though.
Also, when I mentioned 800k, I was referring to the chest armor. You can't find a better one than that for 200-800k. You can for about 1.5-2million, and it's only 5-10% better.
I just checked shoulders, and I cannot find one that is better for 200k.
I did find this one:
This looks better on the surface, but if you calculate the math, it's only about 3-4% better. Not worth spending 300k on it. Of course it has much better defenses, but that's a massive amount of dps that is taking a hit. If you use something like zrave's point calculator, they are basically equal in usefulness unless you have reached 14k dps or 50k life (and I have not reached either milestone).
Unless I can make up the loss in strength somewhere else, I should not do this shoulder upgrade.
Anything significantly better (like 125 strength and 80 vitality with 75-ish Resist All) was selling for 400k, 500k, 700k or 800k. Even still, I doubt I would notice a real meaningful difference, and then I'd have no gold for anything else.
I think I need a better weapon, but 1 million gold in the coffers doesn't seem like it's going to cut it.
Well, it seems clear to me that we have very different opinions on gear strategy. I think you'll want to increase your fire res for A3 either way but I also think you might need more potential to absorb bursts of damage (the cheapest way to do this usually being more hp) as there are lots of ranged mobs with attacks that are quite nasty and difficult to avoid while you're in melee and some monsters with relatively slow but very high-damage attacks. If you didn't have 100 of your vitality on your weapon, I think it would be much easier to find an upgrade; I think it is a sub-par place to get vitality as it is, on a weapon, quite expensive but is very easy/cheap to obtain when divided amongst your 12 other gear slots.
Hmm... with a high armor/res strategy, you might consider buying an ilvl 63 shield (sacred shield?); one could block almost twice as much damage per hit and you would see more blocked attacks doing 0 damage. Blocking 2-2.5k damage per attack could become pretty minor in A3.
Keep in mind that the more expensive your gear gets, the more you'll pay for each decreasingly significant gear upgrade. You'll eventually have to either pull out a credit card or get used to spending most/all of your gold to buy single slot upgrades. I can make a significant upgrade to my worst (and least important) gear slots only by spending ~20m+ gold.
I think you're right about the weapon. I don't want to lose that much vitality, and you're correct in pointing out that this is a problem. That weapon was a great roll for an act 1 drop - it's been pretty good to me so far. It's just missing 150-200 dps and 300-400 life on hit. Otherwise, it would be fine.
I found a weapon for almost a million, but I am a bit hesitant to buy it. It has less vitality, but I actually get a strength and overall dps upgrade, and it has 550-ish life to hit.
I can't imagine buying 1-2% upgrades for 20 million in difference. That's crazy to me (right now). I'm just trying to make do with the gold I have. I'm sure there's a way to squeek out some big % points still.
How can I calculate how much actual damage my character will have if they equip the weapon? Is there a way? Dps is one thing, but I want to know just how much the strength factors into my other stats. Maybe it makes sense to get a weapon without strength but higher dps and vitality.
I dug really deep on the AH and got a 610dps weapon that is better than mine every way for 80k It didn't have life on hit, but it had a socket like my old weapon, so I got it that way. I managed just to kill Belial when the enrage timer kicked in, which is a good sign that it made the difference. I made no other changes to the build, just to test to see how much going from 530 to 610dps would help in real game play terms.
Act 3 is a totally different story compared to act 2 though. I got destroyed during the first elite pack. I think I need to get 50k life asap and perhaps stack some more resists asap. Kripp had around the same resists as me and he managed to do it, but I have a 13k less life than he does, so that's probably one of the reasons why I'm having a bit of trouble. He also plays better than me too I think a better shield is required as well, like you said.
Regarding your concern over small upgrades, we all agree that we don't want to waste gold. I hate upgrading for less then a 5% increase in either dps or survival(I like to use the EHP calculator). I'll even take 2% dps and 3% EHP increase. But remember that a 5-6% increase on 3 different items adds up, each bit helps.
Each gear slot does not need every stat. A lot of your gear has 2 good mods but nothing else. I'd really try to get 3-4 mod good mod on each piece. Belts, Chests, Helms, Shoulders can have % Life. Gloves, Rings, Ammys, Bracers can have Crit Hit. Shoulders and Belts can have 300 Str, etc... Just do your best to search for 3 key stats and sneak a bonus stat in if you can. I really think you are to the point where you will need to spend 100k to 200k per slot, if you want 5+% upgrades and progress into act 3 and 4 without beating your head on a wall.
I'm not sure how much gold you can farm in an hour, but I would suggest doing some ACT 1 MF/GF runs. I used to be able to get almost 100k gold per hour, more with a lucky find that I could sell on the AH. Remember disenchant 61,62,63 items that vendor for less then 650g as the essences sell for more on the ah then that. I would suggest upgrading 1 item slot at a time for 100k to 200k per slot. My feeling is that you will need to do this to continue into Act3/4.
Even as a defensive build I would try to add in some crit hit as you can, it is fairly cheap on gloves, rings, and amulets. It will help your dps alot.
For defensive builds I'd say you need either a lot of Life/Vitality or LoH, a good combination of both is even better. More life makes revenge heal for more, LoH continually heals you as your in combat. Because you cannot burn things down that fast, they help keep you up while you burn things down.
I saw on your original weapon you had life steal, remember on inferno it has an 80% penalty. That is why more people go for LoH in inferno.