Barbarian Balance Requests for 2.7.1 (?)

Introduction

In Patch 2.6.7a, Barbarians received several noteworthy buffs, and our most popular build, Whirlwind, became a Rend build and got a whole heck of a lot stronger! But while Zodiac Rend has risen to sit among the strongest in the game, our other builds and sets, including our brand new set, Horde of the Ninety Savages, lag far behind in terms of Greater Rift clear potential, speed, and efficiency. Players who prefer HOTA, Fire EQ, or Furious Charge can still play those builds, but compared with Rend, they will clear far lower and farm much less efficiently, even with significantly more Paragon and better gear.

Recently, the Barbarian community has discussed what can be done. The result is this thread, posted in General Discussion for visibility, and to help other class communities in the generation of productive discourse with CMs and developers.

This thread is a community effort, but I want to thank my co-author, Rage, for providing the numerical data and many of the internal arguments on how balance should be achieved.


Goal

The goal of this proposal is to achieve better parity between Zodiac Rend and our other 5 major builds at similar Paragon levels. To better understand the builds for which we are requesting buffs and their relationship to Greater Rift conditions, here’s a brief breakdown followed by explanations:

Build Set Build/Skill-Specific Supporting Legendaries Fishing Required
Pro Slam Might of the Earth Fjord Cutter, Bracers of Destruction Medium
Fire EQ Might of the Earth Blade of Tribes, Girdle of Giants, Lut Socks High
HOTA Immortal King’s Call Gavel of Judgment, Bracers of the First Men, Fury of the Ancients, Remorseless Medium
Vile Charge Immortal King’s Call + Legacy of Raekor Standoff, Vile Wards High
H90 Frenzy Horde of the Ninety Savages Bastion’s Revered, Undisputed Champion, Oathkeeper Low

The relationship between builds, sets, and supporting legendaries is obvious. Outside of Legacy of Dreams/Nightmares builds, sets determine builds. Less obvious is the relationship between a build and the necessary investment in fishing required to successfully push end-game Greater Rifts, here labeled as “Fishing Required.”

A build’s required level of fishing is determined by its interaction with Greater Rift conditions. Builds with a high level of fishing required must hunt for very specific conditions (maps, mob types, elite affixes, and specific Rift Guardians) in order to achieve a successful clear, while builds with low fishing requirements can achieve success with more varying rift conditions.

A different way to put it is this: Builds with low fishing requirements are able to adapt to a large variet of rift conditions, while builds with high fishing requirements require the rift conditions to be tailored to their strengths.

Fishing and Clear Potential

Builds with high fishing requirements require a much greater investment in time and resources (GR keys) than builds with low fishing requirements. As a result, we want to see high fishing builds be capable of achieving higher maximum clears, and low fishing builds be capable of higher average clears. This allows our builds to excel at different game activities (speed-farming, bounties, and group play) while also being competitive for solo Greater Rift pushing. In other words, each and every build will feel powerful and rewarding to play, and each and every build will also feel uniquely suited to better average play or better fishing.

But, in order to know how much of a buff is needed, we need to know what level these builds can clear now. So let’s walk through the numbers, build by build.


Build Breakdowns

The following information presents the highest known clears by build by prominent, highly skilled and experienced Barbarian players, and suggests a buff based on a projected desired goal. All of this is weighed against Zodiac Rend’s current best clear at GR 148. In each breakdown, we offer the simplest and most direct suggestion for buffing a build’s damage output. Complications for certain builds are discussed in more detail.

It is important to note that the current highest clears documented here are not necessarily indicative of the absolute ceiling for a build, but all of these top clears took a lot of high quality gear, gem levels, time, and fishing, and thus represent the very best that most players could ever hope to achieve given between 7-10k Paragon. This also means that our estimates–that a build needs +10 GRs of damage, for example–must be taken as estimates, albeit ones about which we are very confident represent a true buff scenario for the vast majority of players.

H90 Frenzy

  • Current highest clear: 139
  • Target clear: 143-145
  • Buff required: +4 GRs / +2x damage (1.17^4 = 1.87)

H90 Frenzy is a strong and versatile build, and requires little in the way of buffs. The +4 GRs / 2x damage needed by this build can come through a buff to H90(6).

Current H90(6) multiplier of 101x * 2.0 = 202x, i.e. H90(6) increased from 10000% to 20000%. This is crucial since the gear and stat requirements of the build are extremely specific, and many players struggle to meet even the basic requirements of the build.

This gives H90 Frenzy the +4 GRs it needs.

Many players also feel that H90 Frenzy lacks enough damage reduction to keep up with its potential damage output, especially in off-meta groups. We suggest bumping the H90(4) damage reduction bonus from 6% to 6.5-8% (from 60% to 65-80% when all 10 Frenzy stacks are acquired). This will make the build more durable in higher Greater Rifts and far less frustrating to play (and much more welcoming for Hardcore players).


Pro Slam

  • Current highest clear: 138
  • Target clear: 144-146
  • Buff required: +6 GRs / +2.5x damage (1.17^6 = 2.56)

Buffs for this build are addressed by the increased damage of MOTE(6) discussed in the Fire EQ section below.


Fire EQ

  • Current highest clear: 140
  • Target clear: 145-148
  • Buff required: +6 GRs / +2.5x damage (1.17^6 = 2.56)

The +6 GRs / 2.5x damage can come from a direct buff to MOTE(6), as this will solve the issues of Pro-Slam as well.

Current MOTE(6) multiplier of 201x * 2.5 = 502.5, i.e. MOTE(6) increased from 20000% to 50000%.


IK HOTA

  • Current highest clear: 133
  • Target clear: 143-145
  • Buff required: +10 GRs / +5x damage (1.17^10 = 4.81)

The first +2 GRs this build needs are addressed by the increased damage of IK(6) discussed in the Vile Charge section below.

The remaining +8 GRs needed can come in the form of a buff to Remorseless.

Current Remorseless multiplier of 3.5x * 1.17^8 = 12.29, i.e. Remorseless needs a bonus of +1100%

This will give IK HOTA the full +10 GRs it needs.


Vile Charge

  • Current highest clear: 135
  • Target clear: 145-148
  • Buff required: +12 GRs / +6.5x damage (1.17^12 = 6.58)

The first +2 GRs worth of damage can come from a direct buff to IK(6), as this applies some needed buffing to IK HOTA as well.

Current IK(6) multiplier of 41x * 1.17^2 = 56x, i.e. IK(6) increased from 4000% to 5500%.

Vile Charge still needs another +10 GRs, which can come in the form of a large buff to Standoff.

This item currently gives a bonus of about 550% damage (500% of bonus move speed * 110%, the amount VC Barbs generally operate with).

So we need to get from 650 to (650 * (1.17^10)) = 3124

Meaning Standoff needs to give a bonus of about +3000% damage, i.e 2700% of bonus movement speed (27 * 110 = 2970).

This gives Vile Charge the full +12 GRs it needs.


Summary of Buffs

  • MOTE(6): increased from 20000% to 50000%.

  • IK(6): increased from 4000% to 5500%.

  • H90(6): increased from 10000% to 20000%.

  • Blade of the Tribes: Legendary power made extractable in the cube, made a separate multiplier, and increased from +200% to +800%.

  • Standoff: multiplier increased from “500% of bonus movement speed” to “2700% of bonus movement speed”.

  • Remorseless: multiplier increased from +250% to +1100%.


Supporting Legendaries

Many Barbarian-specific supporting legendaries remain outdated and useless at every level of play. We request buffs to the following items to make them more attractive to players who seek to play builds that deviate from traditional set-based skill and item designations.

  • Dread Iron
  • The Three Hundredth Spear
  • Skular’s Salvation
  • Blade of the Warlord
  • Dishonored Legacy
  • Arreat’s Law
  • Saffron Wrap
  • Skull Grasp
  • Madawc’s Sorrow

While we acknowledge that buffs to these items are not as crucial as the ones discussed in detail above, they do represent a significant and long-standing community desire to incorporate these items in useful and meaningful ways, particularly for Legacy of Dreams (LOD) builds. Barbs have only one poweful, semi-viable LOD build (LOD HOTA), but others could be made viable (GR 130 @ 5k Paragon or better) with significant increases to their damage multipliers. In particular, substantial buffs to Boulder Toss items may go a long way toward fixing the problem with our most complicated and broken set, the Legacy of Raekor, and this is discussed in detail below.


Raekor: A Legacy of Problems

Out of all our sets, only the Legacy of Raekor is unable to create a pure (all 6 set pieces equipped, no Ring of Royal Grandeur) build. The only pure-Raekor build that has ever achieved notable success was R6 HOTA, a HOTA-based build that exploited wall-charging to deal large amounts of burst damage in a very small window of time. While popular for a brief time, this build was not well received due to its fickle play style and for the way it made obsolete IK HOTA, a build much beloved in the Barbarian community.

The problems with the Legacy of Raekor set are two-fold:

  • On its own, its 4-piece bonus cannot make Furious Charge a meaningful damage-dealing skill (hence why Vile Charge relies on IK6’s damage multiplier)
  • Its 6-piece bonus is a global multiplier for Fury-spending attacks

The second point above is noteworthy; buffing Raekor’s damage multiplier threatens to make it the best set for every and any Fury-spending attack (commonly referred to as spenders), but buffing the 4-piece bonus could, when combined with the IK set, make Vile Charge ludicrously powerful and unbalanced.

Right now, the Legacy of Raekor has no distinct identity, and thus no distinct build. It is for these reasons that we ask for either a set overhaul or for buffs to various supporting legendaries in order to make a pure Raekor build fun, powerful, and viable. A popular suggestion in the Barbarian community, one that also seems to align with the original intent for the set, is for substantial buffs to Skular’s Salvation and The Three Hundredth Spear to make Boulder Toss into a powerful nuke–a skill that deals a single instance of massive damage. This could also be achieved by changing the 6-piece set multiplier from all Fury-spending attacks to Boulder Toss; in combination with large buffs to Skular’s and Three Hundredth, a powerful Charge+Boulder Toss build could become viable.


Conclusion

We hope that the requests outlined above lead to better parity between major Barbarian builds, and we hope that many more players find fun and exciting ways to enjoy the class’s unique skill set. :crossed_swords:

49 Likes

Overall, the ideas in the initial post have merit. I will reiterate my concern over the numbers.

Edit due to multiple edits of first post.

The comments below are from when the target GR clear + GR bump did not add up to target GR clear, due to the fact that Rage in the barbarian forum had made estimates of what the current top clear would be as in at least 2 cases the “current” top clear was from 2019. One of which was a PTR clear in 2019.

Old post #2 prior to edits of the first post.
Depending on the build, the “current highest clear” + GR buff is 1-3 GRs short of the target GR.

For example:

Build Stated Current Highest GR Clear Stated buff Request Sum of Current GR + Requested Buff Stated Target GR
H90 Frenzy 139 4 143 145
Pro Slam 138 6 144 146
Fire EQ 130 15 145 148
IK HOTA 133 10 143 146
Vile Charge 135 12 147 148

As an example in your post:

I would make a note about the known “current highest clear” and why this was not used. In the IK-HOTA case, I think a GR 133 clear during PTR patch 2.6.7 in October 2019 by a ~6K paragon player is being extrapolated to GR 136.* There is an inherent difficult in determining the current top solo baseline where weak non-meta builds ae not pushed aggressively, leading to underestimates of a build’s strength. Inspection of the worldwide non-season top 9,000-10,000 paragon player versus top 6,000-7,000 players shows that the difference is usually 6-7 GRs, highlighting one example of an underestimate.

1 Like

I believe Rend needs to be tuned down. I would also like to see:

-A SS IK6 alternative.
-A way for 90S to reduce WOTB cd.
-A non-frenzy use for 90S.
-Something similar to your R6 change.
-A viable use of WotW for WW rather than Rend.

I think simply upping numbers to make the other sets as broken as Rend is a mistake. If we can get to a place where we have a Charge-Spear Set, a Generator Set, a WW Set, an Earthquake/Avalanche Set, and a Generic Second Skills Set, life would be good. I wouldnt mind seeing Rend moved to IK as a cast skill rather than parceled with WW on WotW.

4 Likes

Nope.

We already have a set that directly buffs Slam–the MOTE set. You can use Slam with the IK set (along with Fjord), but trying to make it a distinct and viable build is redundant.

This is oft requested, and I completely understand why. Your point is well noted, but I actually like that H90 Frenzy doesn’t rely on Wrath (except in emergencies or or for burst). I think it’s good that some of our builds move away from perma-Wrath, because I think it helps to give them more distinct identities.

Both of these are interesting (and good) suggestions, but that would ultimately require far more work than we’re likely to get in terms of re-designing sets, supporting legs, etc.

Rend isn’t broken. It’s strong–very strong–and it does ridiculously well in super-dense rifts with the Season themes, but it’s far from “broken” in the way folks applied that term to other builds. Rend is one of the strongest builds in the game, and it does a lot of things efficiently, but that doesn’t make it broken.

Ehh . . . nah. Rend was always a part of the Wastes set, and it finally works.

We’re leaving Rend and the Wastes set alone. That build doesn’t need anything.

17 Likes

You’re still pushing the narrative of some builds being more worth than others.

Instead of aiming for that, aim for treating all builds equal. Let people push with what they want. Equal as in as equal as you could get.

Or else you’d have to nerf whirlrend because it’s so good at so many things.

2 Likes

With this proposal, the fishy builds will have a higher potential for those that put in the time to get them, they are rewarded for their efforts. For those that don’t want to fish, even with a lower max potential, they will be able to clear as high or higher on average since they are less susceptible to rift variation. Makes sense to me.

4 Likes

I do not agree that it “works.” It is auto-applied, overtaking WW completely, while effectively negative the need for attack speed. The other overpowered builds (AoV, SB, Chant, Bazooka) have been nerfed, and many put RendWW as the best build in D3.

I do hear you about the possible lack of effort by Blizzard into developing more supporting legendaries.

I think MotE is not a set designed around spamming a right-click skill. It is an AOE set meant to obvious long cooldowns on Quake and Ava. For that reason, the build does not work well.

1 Like

It doesn’t make sense. You should be able to get top 1 with any build you want, and if one build requires less fishing, well so be it. I personally heavily dislike single target builds, even though they are less fish heavy (because AoE builds can fish for Saxtris / hamelin on boss and get higher clears that way). It doesn’t mean someone who likes playing single target skills should be at a disadvantage.
It’s also better if single target builds are “stronger” (as in, able to clear higher on average) because those can’t really devolve into 4p meta degenerate builds, which can lead to things like Necro poison scythe & WD spirit bomb. At worst you kill the boss faster, and killing the boss is the most boring part of the rift anyway.

(as a side note, I won’t reiterate over why, but I think rend barbs should be nerfed by 2-3 grifts levels. However, I think the proposed changes are fair and WW/Rend is not mentionned for anything but a baseline grift value to aim for so it is not really the point of the thread)

The only thing I am a bit worried about is the buff to remorseless, I don’t really like single items being worth that much, 1100% is a LOT of damage. I think it should be somehow split into maybe two different item buffs to make it less “mandatory for the build to work”.

5 Likes

Exactly. Very well-put.

The bottom line is making sure none of our major builds are left far behind in terms of clear potential. The ranges and buffs posted above leave room for error–a player might push the build just a bit further given optimal conditions and 10K Paragon, but for most players, the differences between, say, Rend and Fire EQ according to our buffs are going to feel minimal, and potentially non-existent.

I wasn’t a fan of the auto-application at first because I felt it took away some of the skill involved manually casting Rend. Turns out that didn’t go away at all. As for attack speed, it doesn’t interact with Rend the way it does WW, so it’s not a useful stat, and WW becomes a mobility skill; if you remember all the problems that revolved around balancing and fine-tuning WW over the years, and if you understand how the skill works and how it interacts with AD, you’ll understand why this change is 100% for the better. WW is never going to be a dominant damage-dealer.

Agree to disagree, I guess. I think it works great–arguably better than any other set. It’s not really about AOEs and long cooldowns; it’s about rhythm, and spreading AOE across either a wide area or in concentrated stacks. Can’t speak for everyone, but I love it. It just needs MOAR DAMAGE.

And if it is, that’s okay. Rend is fine. Let’s put that to bed because the devs clearly have.

They’re not. Most RGs are better for single-target strikers, and at least 70% of the most common rift layouts are also better for single-target damage. But STSs are also capable of loading up on AD and clearing heaps of trash, a la H90 Frenzy.

It makes sense; it’s a clearly articulated approach to design, even if it’s not one you agree with, and it takes into account the systems and interactions present in the game at present.

1 Like

They are if by design your single target builds are aimed towards 143 and your AoE builds are aimed towards 145. By definition.

2 Likes

1-3 tiers is hardly an issue for 99.999999% of players.

If that’s your concern, I hate to tell you that a little game called Diablo 3 exists . . .

2 Likes

“If you turn a single target build into an AoE build they can fish harder and clear higher so my grift target is fine”
Why not just take into consideration the best way to build the build, say for example that the best way to build a frenzy barb is using AD on gear and do AoE damage, and doing that you can get to your proposed gr target +X, and therefor your real projected gr target is “target +X” from the get go ?

As such, we should nerf whirlrend by your standard because it’s an easy build to push with. Maybe it was hard to build for before, but that changed a lot when they moved the damage to rend.

The build is clearly superior in pushing since it’s one of the few that does consistent aoe damage, has great grouping potential and could fit flavor of time to boost pylons. Clearly easier than others that needs to hunt big packs and have a hard time gathering mobs.

3 Likes

I, and most others, are not willing to put it to bed, and I suspect a nerf is coming just by process of elimination.

1 Like

But buffing builds until they are in a 3-10 grift level difference is easy even for the devs team, they’ve shown they were able to do that in the past when they actually focused on overall balance (as opposed to focus on new builds). It’s these little adjustments that are important for the end game of players, so that nobody feels cheated playing the builds they enjoy because they have to do 5 grift level less than what they could be doing with that other more powerful build.

2 Likes

This goes to show that you can put together a well-reasoned, well-written proposal, and the Fun Police will still show up to pee in someone’s lemonade. I’m SMDH so hard it threatens to come off.

13 Likes

No, this goes to show that people don’t always agree with you, and sometimes your suggestions aren’t the best in everyone’s eyes.

Be ready for criticism if you want to dish it out yourself.

You are getting pushback because we don’t agree with everything you said, and you decide to call us fun police, again.

3 Likes

It’s funny because for once the “fun police” asked for buffs (yes, if you reread, you’ll see that I asked for equity on STDPS vs AoEDPS), and even tried to steer away that discussion from that by talking about a specific item buff, and you completely ignored it and decided to focus on this in the end minor issue - minor in the sense that it’s not up to the community to decide whether ST builds should be stronger or weaker than AoE builds.

5 Likes

Not a good way to deal with critique, I agree.

Zodiac Rend still requires stacking massive AD and pulling enough density to make it do damage, so it is very fishy. So getting the max clear potential isn’t easy, even if it’s more RNG than skill. That said the push variant of the build is pretty engaging to play and far from hold right click and win. That stops working before you get to push levels.

With the mobility of WW it’s always going to be great at farming, but this proposal means that builds like IK HotA and H90 Frenzy will likely have higher average clears due to lack of fishing. This makes up for being less efficient at speed run difficulties.

2 Likes