Barb unfinished business: Raekor, Weapon Throw, Vile Charge

Yes, it’s me again. Time is growing short for this PTR. So, one last time, I figured I’d go over the “unfinished business” for Barb in this coming patch.


The Unfinished Business

  • No built-in mitigation
  • Overall power level unclear
  • Skular secondary limited to Boulder Toss

1) No built-in mitigation

Unlike most 6-7 piece class sets, this build has no built-in mitigation. I’ve seen mixed reactions to this here on the forum and on Reddit, but overall the feeling has been more negative than positive.

YES, it is certainly possible to play the build, even with low paragon, by simply stacking up a ton of extra defense.

BUT, this is going to introduce some extreme distortions into the leaderboards.

For instance, a player with 1000 paragon and some decent augs might have around 15000 Strength, while a player with 10000 paragon and full augs will have around 60000 Strength, 4x as much. In a “normal” situation, the high-paragon player has about +9 tiers worth of extra damage (1.17^9 = 4.10). But with this build, the high paragon player can also trade away a lot of defensive items and skills for offensive ones, which gives another 7-8 tiers worth of damage (I go over a list of the swaps here). So that’s more like a 16 tier spread between a high paragon player and a low paragon player, much more than normal.

The result is likely to be: a lot less people playing the build, and a lot more people complaining about the build.

The Fix: Add built-in mitigation.

The best way to do this would be a mechanism that increases your toughness more, the lower your health goes, since this will help players, especially lower paragon players, to take more advantage of the “missing life damage bonus” on the 4-piece.

It could be something like the Necromancer ring Lornelle’s Sunstone, which gives 0.75-0.95% mitigation for every 1% of missing life. Or, it could operate in bigger “blocks”, for instance, something like “you gain 25% stacking damage reduction when below 75%, 50%, and 25% life”. Or, something else of this sort.

2) Overall power level unclear

This one is kind of a conundrum. Some experienced players, myself included, feel that the build is probably pretty close to where it needs to be, in terms of overall power. But others feel that it is still somewhat weaker than it ought to be.

Evaluating its power level is difficult due to the changes to Greater Rifts implemented in 2.7.3, resulting in all rifts played with the new Raekor build having improved circumstances, on average, compared to clears on the live server with other builds. So it certainly is possible that when 2.7.3 goes live, and all builds see more play in the new Greater Rifts, these other builds will gain ground compared to Raekor, and Raekor will turn out to be underpowered.

On the other hand, the consequence for Raekor being too powerful is: all other Barb builds will seem crappy in comparison, and people will complain that their favorite build, which is about 85% certain not to be Raekor, is now underpowered.

The Fix: Add built-in mitigation.

Yes, you read that right. Not an accident, not a typo.

As I said in section 1, the need to stack a ton of extra defense costs lower paragon players a ton of offense (7-8 tiers worth). And, even for higher paragon players, this would provide some extra offensive power. The set seems like it was designed to take advantage of the Shi Mizu’s Haori power, but even players with over 10k paragon have been forced to use Parthans in the cube for the extra defense.

With some built-in defense, players might venture into using Shi Mizu’s, which would add a maximum of about +58% damage, about +3 tiers worth.

This is probably the best, safest way to split that difference between “not powerful enough” and “too powerful”.

3) Skular secondary limited to Boulder Toss

In brief: why?

What’s the point to having the secondary component of this bracer (“If your Ancient Spear - Boulder Toss hits 5 or fewer enemies, the damage is increased by 100%”) limited to only the Boulder Toss rune? It’s not as though any of the other runes would be OP if they benefitted from this effect.

The Fix: Let all runes benefit from the Skular’s secondary effect.

Nuff said.


The Unfinished Business

  • IK and LoD Weapon Throw builds are still too wimpy

1) IK and LoD Weapon Throw builds are still too wimpy

IK or LoD Weapon Throw, with the current buffs in 2.7.3, can probably clear into the low 120’s at around 3.5k paragon. That’s certainly better than before, but still fairly wimpy.

And: what’s the harm in adding some more damage? It’s not as though adding 10 extra tiers of dps would turn this build into some sort of overpowered monstrosity. Clearing in the low 130’s at 3.5k paragon is what I’d call barely acceptable.

The Fix: let Arreat’s Law and 300th Spear give “three times this amount” to Weapon Throw.

Just as Monk Fire allies currently get “5 times this amount”, currently, from the Binding of the Lesser Gods bracer, let Weapon Throw get “three times this amount” from the buffs on those two spears. That would give +600% and +600%, or a 7x and 7x multiplier, rather than 3x and 3x. So that’s 49 / 9 = 5.44x, or about +11 tiers worth of damage.

Or, if they don’t like the “x times this amount” model, they could just write it out: “Ancient Spear gets +200%, Weapon Throw gets +600%”.

What’s the downside here? That a modest number of people will have some additional fun while playing a B-tier build? Heaven forbid!


The Unfinished Business

  • It’s a classic, much-loved Barb build that’s been left behind

1) It’s a classic, much-loved Barb build that’s been left behind

This build has been left behind, damage-wise. Unlike Earthquake, Frenzy, Rend, Seismic Slam, and HOTA, all of which have seen one or more damage increases in the past couple of years, Charge has seen no increase to its damage potential.

The best clear with the build was GR 135, with 10k paragon, before the follower buff. That mark would be GR 138-139 today. In order to reach parity with Barb’s “second-string” builds (Leapquake, Frenzy, IK HOTA), Vile Charge would need to gain about 7-8 tiers of damage (a 3.0 - 3.5x multiplier). And in order to reach parity with Barb’s “first rate” builds (Rend, LoD HOTA, R6 Spear), it would need about 10-11 tiers of damage (a 5.0 - 6.0x multiplier).

The Fix: Increase the Charge damage on Raekor 4-piece.

Tripling this amount, from 1000% to 3000%, would make this build semi-competitive. Or, giving it 4000-5000% would make it fully competitive with the other top Barb builds.

And, a note: this build can, on occasion, have a few issues with damage mitigation. The addition of built-in mitigation to Raekor 4 would help here, as well.

This is the unfinished business for Barb in this patch. If this stuff gets addressed, I think this could be one of the best patches ever for our class. If not, 2.7.3 could be kind of a dud for many Barb players.


You again! :laughing:

Have I ever told you how much I appreciate your voice in the community?


I sincerly hope this come further than just the forum. I would love a charge bonus and some toughness to raekor… Boulder toss being the only rune to push with… Not great either


The expert has spoken, and Blizzard should listen. I couldn’t want more, than this to become reality.


I truely hope they do


Yeah, me too man. Fingers crossed.


I rarely agree with you Rage but this time Ill make an exception…

Rend buffs anyone?

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Skullgrasp says hello.

I so hope some dev reads Rage’s great posts about Barbarian and changes something

I’d love it if the 300th spear added some additional skill % bonus. I liked how some of the ethererals used to work, i.e- buff all secondary skills, or might, rage, whatever. It would help solve some problems barb have with boss fights in general.

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I’ve previously suggested that all it would take to make this desirable again would be to change it so that it doesn’t just give 400% to WW, but to also give 400% to Rend.

Yeah, something like, “when no enemy is within 15 yards of you, damage is increased by ××% versus elites”. Or you do double damage like H90, because in reality it’s pretty difficult to not be swarmed being a Barb.

Why should we kill an optional setup for WotW, instead of trying to save it and make it more viable? Just like we try to save Vile Charge for Raekor.

Why would the suggestion MB made kill a setup for WotW? I mean, it would be incredibly OP, but it wouldn’t kill any setups.

It would kill a pure ww setup where you don’t only use ww as a movement skill. I know ww needs more synergy items, so why destroy the only one?

He’s suggesting that SG buff both WW and Rend. WW wouldn’t be any weaker than it is now.

Man I shouldn’t read the forums early in the morning :sweat_smile::laughing: sorry.

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Well, the PTR has closed up shop, and there’s nothing to do now but wait. The ball is in the air, and in a few weeks, we’ll see if we hit a home run, or just flied out to left. Whatever ends up happening, I wanted to hand out some kudos to the members of this community for all they’ve put in over the last two weeks:

So, a hearty huzzah to Phoenix and DieHarder for their passion, to Bastich for his skepticism, to Apache and Arnosega for their thorough testing, to Blackarrows for his notes on Weapon Throw setups, to JustinFan for his extra pair of mathematical eyes, to GeSche for his high-level testing and insights, and to Free for his enduring presence, thoughtfulness, and advocacy.

And to everybody else who has supported this effort to improve Raekor, Weapon Throw, and Vile charge: thank you for your support. I, and the rest of the Barb community, very much appreciate it.


Thanks. I got a hunch the 2 piece will change. Maybe parts of the 4 also. Live notes should be interesting.


And a big back at you. It would be a shame to see your energy and work going to waste, if they don’t at least take some into consideration…


Barb fix is easy. We do see they implement some mechanisms fix this PTR. The remaining is just some number tweak. If they choose not to do it, they should have strong reason. Otherwise, I think the dev should reconsider the entire feedback process. Cuz that is really not efficient communication. It hurts the players. Hurt their money.

I think many players missed the time when JY talked to the players directly in the forum. The important thing here is, we never know what the dev think until their final decision. If the CM could deliver more info about their internal discussion, it will help direct players’ attention, and make more valuable contributions.