Budget WW barb weapon runeword?

Hey all ,

What would be the next best option on a WW barb if i can’t afford grief or death?

Don’t have a Lo, Vex, Gul, zod, cham

do have sur, mal, pul, lem, lum, um, ko, fal



See under “Gear Options”

If you have Sur and Mal you may be better off than you think.

Sur seems to be going for Ber on Traderie right now according to recent trades. Stuff is changing rapidly but Ber was going for 2 Lo not long ago. You should be able to trade your Sur for Lo + other stuff or maybe even 2 Lo. Once you have Lo and Mal, the rest of Grief is common runes Eth, Tir, and Ral.

I built my first Grief by finding Sur and trading for Lo + but that was pre-S1 so the economy has changed for sure.

Other cheap options for Barb before getting Grief in no particular order and depending on where you are some may be more useful than others:

  1. Oath - ideally in an ethereal elite base such as Conquest Sword, Cryptic Sword, Small Crescent. Barb can also use Balrog Blade and Highland Blade. Ettin Axe and Berserker Axe are also good options, but may be harder to get 4 OS on since Ettin can have 5 and BA 6. You want ethereal b/c Oath gives indestructible mod, and eth is 50% boost to base weapon damage that then gets multiplied by the %ED on Oath. Shael + Pul + Mal + Lum, assuming you have a Shael rune, you may be able to make this right away, but finding a good base might take a while - plus depending on your Mal situation, saving the Mal for Grief may make sense especially since you should be able to turn your Sur into Lo (plus other things).

  2. Unbending Will - new for S1, can now be made NL as well. 6 OS Swords. Fal + Io + Ith + Eld + El + Hel is pretty cheap and gets you decent ED, IAS, Leach, PMH, AR and some stats. Needing to use 6 OS sword is kind of a drag though in terms of finding a good base. For the price of the runes Executioner Sword always seemed like a reasonable option to me, that you could find before something like Phase Blade or Colossus Blade, but I never used UW personally since by the time it came to NL I already had better. Phase Blade can also have 6 OS but the relatively low base weapon damage means the 300-350% ED won’t have much to multiply against, which always feels bad, but no repair cost and fast weapon speed.

  3. Hustle - Still ladder only - 3 OS weapons - Shael + Ko + Eld - Gets you decent ED, IAS and lvl 1 Fant combined with chance to cast BoS.

  4. Law Bringer - The decrep proc doesn’t work with WW, but the Sanct Aura still makes undead die very fast, and breaks PI on Undead, of which most PI are undead. I like it in off hand paired with Oath or Grief.

  5. Kingslayer - Mal Um Gul Fal - getting kind of pricey and often seen as not worth the cost, but it has decent IAS, ED, AR and very nice CB, OW, and PMH.

  6. Patch 2.4 changes to WW IAS make this a worse option, but I used an Insight in a Partizan to get through all of NM into mid-Act 1 Hell in my D2R release progression.

  7. Butcher’s Pupil will also get you through NM pretty easily, and you could always upgrade it to a Small Crescent for more damage, but the Pul could likely be better used elsewhere, like Oath.

The above is not a fully inclusive list but just a few that pop up in my mind. If you let us know what your setup is now we can probably advise more.

Overall my recommendation to you would be to trade your Sur for 2x Lo or Lo Ohm or something along those lines, then make Grief.

Thanks for all the help!

With the Oath rune word. Do you happen to know if Bone spirit procs with Whirl wind?

also Would enchant proc with WhirlWind on obedience?


Whirl Wind doesn’t proc any “on hit” “on striking” “on attack” etc. type of effects, so no, unfortunately neither Bone Spirit on Oath or Enchant on Obedience will work with WW. Bone Spirit is a decent amount of damage, but not necessarily game changing.

Enchant is lvl 21 and has no Warmth Synergy and no Fire Mastery, so the fire damage it adds is rather lack luster, however the AR boost can be useful. I’ve heard of people running it and simply attacking with Concentrate until it procs, then switching to WW. 30% chance is probably not awful with that, however killing 3-4 enemies with the slow attack speed of a pole arm and conc may be worse than just whirling without it.

The other thing to note with Obedience that I sort of hinted to in my other post, was that Patch 2.4 changed the WW attack speed break points, and the overall effect was a nerf to 2 Handers. With enough weapon IAS, you used to be able to hit at 4 frames in between hit checks, but now the best you can do is 5. The “good” news is, off-weapon IAS now matters, when it didn’t before. If you use say, a Thresher to make Obedience, which is -10 base speed, you can hit 5 FPA with 63 additional IAS from other sources. Highlord’s Wrath is typically BiS for Barb amulets anyway, and provides 20. You can get 20 from Gloves like LoH or even IK (with 1 other IK piece worn), which gets you to 40, but you’d need another 23 from somewhere, and IAS jewels would likely be difficult to find a place to socket in, depending on what armor/helm you use. I suppose you could throw 2x plain 15% jewels in an IK helm, use IK gloves and Highlord’s and get 70 total IAS that way, but it’s not necessarily optimal.

Obedience is a cool option with the nice damage, CB, stats, res, FHR, and even some -enemy fire res to help with the enchant, but unfortunately with the way WW attack speed is, I’m not sure it’s worth it, especially since then you’d be putting points into Pole Arm weapon mastery, and there aren’t a lot of great Pole Arm options to move into. BotD Great Poleaxe would have been the natural progression, but you need 89 IAS to reach 5 frames, which is still a big damage loss from when it could hit 4 frames. BotD at least comes with 60 built in, so with Highlords and 20 from Gloves you’d get to 5 at least, but again, a lot less damage than when WW could get to 4 with BotD GPa.

Meanwhile an Oath in a Sword or 1H Axe is likely to be able to hit the last BP pretty easily since it uses the 1 H break points and comes with a healthy 50% IAS.

Grief has 30-40 IAS and in a PB is -30 base speed, so hits the last WW break point by default (any PB needs 13 for 4 frames and Grief always will have at least that much).

So since it seems like you could trade and be in a position to make Grief, that’s still my recommendation. If you think Grief is ultimately your goal (it probably should be) but just aren’t ready to commit to trading your Sur, then Oath in a sword base makes a lot of sense so you can be confident in committing skill points into Sword Mastery.


Hey thanks for all that information, alot to unpack and learn as a new d2r player. I did try obedience in a tresher (yeah i know…), but i can see what you mean about the IAS and breakpoints (only have 20% IAS at the moment), and although the WW damage is 600 - 5900 (level 78 barb act 4 hell), it just doesn’t hit enough times to be effective.

With respect to the breakpoints, is this because the game is natively running at 25fps? Is there a good resource for breakpoints for each class?

Thanks heaps

Yeah it’s a shame they messed with WW IAS BPs in 2.4 and left 2H so underwhelming and never went back to fix it since. At least that is probably a sweet Merc weapon, although it means you need LL from helm and/or armor.

You can try “small, tight whirls” since you do get some “free” hit checks at the start and end of WW, which will potentially give you extra hits. What is your AR and claimed chance to hit, btw? Were you using Conc or anything to try to proc Enchant before going ham with WW?

Essentially yes. I think I read somewhere that D2R is up to 60 FPS, but legacy D2 definitely ran at 25 FPS and that was why they introduced break points. So you’ll hear people mention frames, since the game runs at 25 fps, every action is tied to frames, or number of frames between checks or actions. So you’ll hear FPA, Frames Per Attack, mentioned a lot as well.

In terms of where to find info, you can google and find a lot of the BPs for things like FHR, FCR, FBR, etc., but attack speed is typically more complicated b/c it takes into account classes, skills, and weapon type as well. The best resource for that, IMO, is to use an IAS calculator, like this one: D2 IAS Calculator

Arreat summit has a lot of great info on WW mechanics and how it works in terms of frames between hit checks, on the skills page: The Arreat Summit - Skills: Barbarian Combat Skills but you have to be mindful that the actual break points they discuss were changed in Patch 2.4 of D2R and therefore are no longer valid. I have read that D2R also now averages the weapon IAS if you are using two weapons at once, rather than the alternating method described on the Arreat Summit article, so I’m not sure exactly how dual wielding works now, but put my trust in the calculators lol.

Ive just got 1 point in Berserk to deal with physical immunes, so yeah just using that to proc enchant, then switching back to WW. I did just find the immortal kings Maul doing E & S runs. Maybe i can use that instead?

Berserk is an awesome skill, especially against PIs, but the defense goes to zero modifier, and lack of leach (because it’s pure magic damage) might make it a less than ideal choice for proccing enchant, since you could be losing a lot of life before you really even start the fight. Concentrate might be a better option for this, as it lets you leach while attacking and also increases your defense. If you are still plenty topped off on HP by the time it procs though, keep using what’s working for you! Does it seem like your chance to hit is good, especially once enchant procs? Are you able to tell if you’re just plain not hitting very many times, or if you’re hitting but just missing? Enabling the miss icon in options can help with figuring this out.

When I was starting off on D2R with a barb, I used Insight Partizan to get through NM, then quickly ran out of damage for Hell. Eventually I found IK Maul and a few other pieces, and it was a game changer. I was able to beat Hell difficulty with 5 pieces of the IK set and Duress runeword armor, and used that spec to farm until I could trade for IK armor. I eventually found some runes and was able to build my Frenzy barb with the more common meta RW, but I’ve always found IK barb to be somewhat underrated. That said, IK Barb did get a nerf with the Patch 2.4 WW changes. You used to be able to get to 4 FPA WW by putting 30 IAS in the maul (either 2x Shael or 2x 15 IAS jewels). Now you need 125 IAS to hit 5 FPA (which is the fastest 2H can go), but off weapon IAS counts. You can get 80 total from Maul with 2 Shaels and 20 from Highlords and 25 from IK Gloves, so you can still get to 5 FPA, but as you’re learning with Obedience, it’s a big damage loss.

I’m mostly an NL player b/c I don’t have enough time to play to make it very far in a season, but for S3 I decided to make a run so I could try out some of the new S3 RW. I think I ended up using Butcher’s Pupil through all of NM but then come Hell, I once again found myself piecing together IK just b/c that’s how the drops went. Was still able to solo Hell with IK Barb, but it was slower going. Never had the runes/opportunity to make Unbending Will or Hustle until I was past the point of really wanting them.

So anyway, all that to say, IK Maul is probably a good option, especially if you double shael it, but pairing it with additional IK pieces will really help it shine. Not sure if you’re SSF or into trading, but you likely can get various IK pieces for a few PGems, if not free, this late in the economy.

I’d still say if you are open to trading that Sur rune, you could build your own Grief which will out perform IK maul by a considerable margin.

I always start with oath and crescent moon. Cheapest to start. Farm trav for upgrades.

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