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.
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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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%.
- 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.
- 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%.
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.
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.