When I made my barbarian, I knew that I wanted to have a giant, beefy, two handed weapon, and smash things up with it. To me, that’s what the Barbarian class is all about, and that’s what it should be. I was discouraged by much of the stuff I read on the forums, people saying inferno was impossible without a shield, you never got to stand in melee and had to spend all your time frantically kiting, only able to attack in very small windows when your disables are off cooldown.
When I first showed up on inferno difficulty, freshly level 60, I got totally thrashed by pretty much any elite pack that so much as glanced at me. I took so much damage, I was defeated in mere seconds even by basic, non-elite trash mobs (if I got surrounded with no cooldowns up and was unlucky with revenge procs, I even died to these packs!). I was already running heavy vitality gear, and thought for sure it was because 2 handed builds weren’t viable. Nearly resigned to hanging up my warhammer for life, I discussed with my friend how he dealt with inferno damage on his monk, he explained that he just used the monk passive that grants all resistances from one stat, to get extremely high resistance.
Now, barbarians unfortunately do not have the benefit of such a talent, but I searched on the auction house for the prices of resist all gear and noticed that blue quality gear drops on hell and can be purchased for rather cheaply on the auction house that has + to all resistances.
What barbarians DO have, however, is a rune on war cry that increases all our resistances by 50%, which means that as long as we can afford passable resistance gear, we can have extremely high resistance stats.
And you know what I found? It really isn’t all that hard! I searched for blues with the resist all stat. With a bit of searching, it is not difficult to find a decent level 58-60 blue that has 40 or 50 resist all and a decent chunk of vitality or strength for under 30k on the auction house. Putting cheap gear like this on made my other stats fall. A lot. This worried me. I went from 36k life and 14.3k dps to 24k life and 5.4k dps. A big drop.
And inferno difficulty became MASSIVELY easier! Who needs to equip a shield when your resistances are so high an unblocked hit does a measly 1k damage?
I have now been using this build with success to easily farm my way through quick clears. Yes, you still have to drink potions, and yes if you run into a champion mob with ridiculous ability combinations you’ll still have to get creative, but this is much more what inferno should be like than trying to do some kiting shenanigans with a melee class.
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Check out my videos (I had my itunes on while I was recording with fraps and didn't bother to edit it out, I apologize if anybody doesn't like my music.):
My stats in the videos are as follows:
5102 armor (With War Cry)
543 all resistances (With War Cry)
610 physical resistance (I have one piece with +physical)
I have better gear now than when I started. I was able to do this before I bought a few gigantic upgrades and my dps was more like 5.5k. It looked basically the same as the videos, it just takes longer until you get better gear. I also only had around 24k hp the first time I killed the butcher with this build.
Bash/Instigation: I find this is pretty necessary to any 2 handed build if you want to generate fury at any reasonable pace. It’s worth noting that you can also run a cleave build, but I find that it’s easier to be in an aoe spot with bash than it is to try and fight a boss or a champion with cleave.
Seismic Slam/Shattered Ground: This move is too good to pass up, in my mind. Lots of aoe damage, and a good form of crowd control that can be used without cooldown. I tried using cracking rift instead of shattered ground for a while, but preferred the versatility of the better knockback to the extra damage.
Ground Stomp/Wrenching smash: Pulling enemies in groups them up for your other AOE abilities. The increased range also allows you to stun enemies you normally couldn’t, because you’re jailed or they’re standing in something that would damage you or whatever.
Revenge/Provocation: AOE damage and healing, pretty essential to staying alive. Double proc rate is the best rune for it by far.
War Cry/Impunity: 50% increased resistances are absolutely critical in order to survive using this build.
Call of the Ancients/Duty to the Clan: I know many people argue WOTB is better, and while that certainly enables you to deal more damage, I have always been a big advocate for call of the ancients, purely because when you run into a rare or champion pack they distract mobs and tank for you for 20 seconds. This can be invaluable time to take out minions or pull the group back to a more open area, etc. If you like WOTB, you can totally use that one too.
Superstition: 20% less magic damage, enough said.
Toughness OR Nerves of steel: If you’re in really cheap resist gear, your vitality will be pretty low. It’s likely that a 25% increase will be more armor than just adding your vitality, but make sure to check! Thorns is useless, just pick whichever of these gives you more armor.
Juggernaut OR Inspiring presence: Every time I die is either because I did something stupid and it was my own fault, or because I got stunned or CCed in some way. Juggernaut gets you able to defend yourself faster, and the heal procs frequently. This saves my life often!
The alternative, inspiring presence, is a very valuable heal effect for giving you some regen between revenges, or when you’ve got to deal with waller enemies or anything with abilities that force you to run/kite. This ability is more recommended for if you haven’t got enough gear to survive in melee yet (i.e. just getting started and you only have like 250-300 resist). Much less relevant if you use the templar follower, his heals are all you need if you’re doing it right.
I am currently working on Act 2, where I am able to kill elite packs that have easy ability combinations, but not so much with harder combinations (which we all know happens quite frequently in a land of 4 special powers per mob!). Tweaking the build and making sure I just don’t need better gear, I hope to post new insights and videos for Act 2 soon!