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Frenzy Barb by Rousse

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Frenzy Barb
Frenzy Barb (Diablo II).gif
Game Diablo II
Class Barbarian
Primary Attack Frenzy
PvM/PvP PvM
Can Solo Hell? Yes
Creator Rousse (Forum Profile)
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The Barbarian is the classic melee archetype character, catering to those who enjoy the idea of wild and thrashing playstyle. The Frenzy Barbarian is the most offensively based build there is for the Barbarian. If you're interested in fast paced game-play with rapid attacks and even faster movement speeds, then the Frenzy Barb is what you're looking for.

This guide will focus on a version of the build that uses offense for defense, and is formatted for both single and muliplayer viability.

Contents

[edit] Basic Notes

This guide is written for Diablo II: Lord of Destruction in patch version 1.12. When patch 1.13 and subsequent versions are released various parts of the guide may become obsolete.

[edit] Overview

The Frenzy Barbarian is a melee-based juggernaut type character. As a dual wielding character you wont be using any shields and so must rely on defense and life stealing to survive. You also will not have access to a high level Battle Orders to increase your Life as you would with other Barbarian skill builds.

The Frenzy skill has properties that make it fairly unique in the Diablo universe. In order to play the class to the fullest you'll need to master some of the quirks of using the skill. First, it has a very high increase to your run/walk speed. This can make controlling your character in tight spaces a little tricky at first. Second it has a very short, 6 second duration. This means that you'll need a constant supply of enemies to feed your battle-lust to keep the run and attack speed bonuses going. Lastly, the Frenzy skill has a unique targeting function when in the right click position. It will auto-target monsters, even if you don't click on them. This actually makes playing the class much easier, but takes a little bit of getting used to. There is more information in the playing section.

In order to perform well in hell difficulty, the Frenzy Barbarian requires some very strong gear, namely high-end Rune Words. If you're looking at a first time character, then the Frenzy barb may not be best suited for your goals. However, if you already have an established feeder character then you can expect your barbarian to slaughter just about everything.

[edit] Stat Allotment

Your basic goal with stat planning is to get as much Strength as needed to equip your gear, enough Dexterity to equip your gear then putting every last point into Vitality. If you have the luxury of stat saving, you may choose to save 50 to 75 points for when your character nears your target level. I am comfortable with having about 75% Chance to hit against Pandemonium Event bosses, but you may want more. if you do, put some of those points into dexterity.


Stat Starting Amount Final Amount
Strength 30 138+
Dexterity 20 110-130
Vitality 25 300+
Energy 10 10


  • The amount of Strength that you need will depend largely on how much you need for the gear you have selected. An important note is that Arreat's Face is the ideal helm for the build, has a strength requirement of 118, and has + 20 strength on it. So when selecting an armor, anything requiring less than 138 will not require any more strength than what would otherwise get your to 118. Also recall that if you plan on using a Hellfire Torch and/or Annihilus that their strength bonuses apply without any gear. With those two charms, you may need as low as 78 base strength to equip your Arreat's.


  • The amount of Dexterity that you'll need is debatable. If you follow suggested gear routes you'll end up with + 70 to 100 dex from gear alone, and can probably make a successful character without putting any points into it at all. The only reason you would need to put some into it is if you are using a Phase Blade weapon or you find that your Attack Rating is too low.


  • Vitality increases your life and is one of the only defense mechanisms your character has. Since you don't need huge piles of strength or dexterity, you will end up with a massive stockpile of vitality. Every point that doesn't go into strength (Or dex) gets put into vitality. Barbarians have good returns on vitality into life and you will have a moderately leveled Battle Orders so you can expect to have in excess of 3000 to 4000 life quite easily.


  • Energy increases the mana pool of your barbarian. Frenzy costs only 3 mana, and you should have some mana stealing on at least one of your weapons. Do NOT put any points into energy, there is no debate.

[edit] Skill Points

Barbarianhistory.jpg

Your skills are what define your character. In order to create the crazy, thrashing and wild frenzy barbarian, his skills will need to focus on offense. Only the most minimal points will be spent on defense.


Combat Skills Points Combat Masteries points Warcries points
Bash 1 Weapon Mastery 20 Howl 1
Double Swing 20 Iron Skin 1 Shout 1
Stun 1 Natural Resistance 1 Taunt 13
Double Throw 1 Increased Stamina 1 Battle Cry 1
Concentrate 1 Increased Speed 1 Battle Orders 1
Frenzy 20 Battle Command 1
Berserk 15 War Cry 1
Required Level 91


[edit] Optional Skills

There are a few places where you can tweak the build to suit your own tastes. The first is whether or not to get Increased Stamina and Increased Speed. Getting these talents is useful for stretches where your Frenzy buff falls off.

The second, and probably more important decision, is how to split the points between Berserk and Taunt. This guide reccomends going with a fixed 15 in Berserk and the rest in taunt to give a reasonable balance of Berserk skill level and Frenzy synergy bounus, while leaving room for a few more points in taunt to boost the physical damage of frenzy.

[edit] Weapon Mastery Note

Pick your weapon mastery carefully. You'll ideally have your weapons picked out before you begin leveling your character, and so will know what to pick. Most will go with axes or swords as they can hold powerful Rune Words such as Death, Grief, and Breath of the Dying.

[edit] Gear Selection

[edit] Overview

Similar to your skill selection, the majority of your gear selection will be based on offensive powers. In order to maximize offensive power, you're going to be left with a fairly limited selection of gear in some slots. This guide covers what is considered to be "best in slot gear," but also discusses the individual merit of item mods.


+ skills

Increasing your skills is not a priority, but some of the mandatory gear has this mod on it, and it is welcome. You should expect 6 to 7 additional skill levels from gear Remember to buy "Shout sticks", two +3 to warcries weapons available as throwing weapons from nearly any hell vendor. Set them as your weapon swap to do your Shout, Battle Orders and Battle Command

Resistances

Resistances are a major part of increasing your survivability. You don't want to be standing toe-to-toe with Diablo only to have him one-shot you with lightning inferno. Get some resistance and live!

Attack mods

These are mods such as Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow and Open Wounds. These are very powerful mods, and should be sought after for your gear. Open wounds isn't extremely good, but it does disable monster health regeneration, so it does have its uses. Due to your fast attack speed, crushing blow is going to be very strong against bosses, and who wouldn't want deadly strikes doubling their damage every so often?

Life Leech

All there is to say about this can be said in two words: Get some! With no shield you'll be taking a pounding from every monster in the game, it is up to your life stealing capabilities to keep you alive; the more you can get, the better.

Defense

While your defense bonuses won't be huge, you will Shout and Iron Skin so get as much as you can. Every little chance you can get to not be hit by monsters should be warmly welcomed. Many items vary greatly in their own percent enhanced defense, so watch out for ones with low ED.

Faster hit recovery

You actually need zero FHR. Frenzy is an uninterpretable attack, so as long as you hold the button down, your character will continue attacking without interruption.

[edit] Amulet

Highlord's Wrath
Amulet
Amulet 2 (Diablo II).gif

Level Requirement: 65

+1 to All Skills
20% Increased Attack Speed
+0-37% Deadly Strike (+0.375 per Character Level)
Lightning Resist +35%
Adds 1-30 Lightning Damage
Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 15

(Only Spawns in Patch 1.09 or Later)

This amulet is exactly what fits the Frenzy Barbarian profile. The skills help, the increased attack speed is a great attribute, and the Deadly strike helps you keep plowing those fallen over.

[edit] Helm

Arreat's Face
Exceptional: Slayer Guard
Avenger Guard (Diablo II).gif

Defense: 302-363
Minimum Strength: 118
Durability: 55
Level Requirement: 42

+150-200% Enhanced Defense
30% Faster Hit Recovery
20% Bonus to Attack Rating
+2 to Barbarian Skill Levels
3-6% Life Stolen per Hit (varies)
All Resistances +30
+20 to Strength
+20 to Dexterity
+2 to Combat Skills (Barbarian Only)

(Only Spawns in Patch 1.09 or Later)

This one is pretty obvious. Easily the best all-around barbarian helm. Skills, resists, leech, and stats. It has everything a good barb needs. This will be your only item that has an open socket (Act 5, quest 1). It is recommended to put a 40% enhanced damage, 15% increased attack speed jewel in it if you can find one. The attack speed is the better bonus of the two, but there isn't a much better prefix than 40% ed.

[edit] Belt

Nosferatu's Coil
Vampirefang Belt
Light Belt (Diablo II).gif

Defense: 56-63
Potion Slots: 16
Minimum Strength: 50
Durability: 14
Level Requirement: 51

Slows Target By 10%
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
5-7% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
+15 To Strength
10% Increased Attack Speed
-3 To Light Radius

(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

You can also use a string of ears here. The strength, life leach and attack speed are strong stats, so many choose the coil over the string.

[edit] Gloves

Dracul's Grasp
Vampirebone Gloves
Dracul's Grasp (Diablo II).gif

Defense: 125-145
Minimum Strength: 50
Durability: 14
Level Requirement: 76

+90-120% Enhanced Defense (varies)
+10-15 To Strength (varies)
+5-10 Life After Each Kill (varies)
25% Chance of Open Wounds
7-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)
5% Chance to Cast Level 10 Life Tap on Striking

(Only Spawns In Patch 1.10 or later)

The beauty of these gloves is the 5% Life Tap proc. This is an incredibly powerful skill, and will allow your character to survive almost any onslaught. You can't beat the survivability these gloves throw into your thrashing frenzy build.

[edit] Boots

Gore Rider
War Boots
Greaves (Diablo II).gif

Defense: 140-162
Kick Damage: 39-80
Minimum Strength: 94
Durability: 34
Level Requirement: 47

+160-200% Enhanced Defense (varies)
30% Faster Run/Walk
10% Chance of Open Wounds
15% Chance of Crushing Blow
15% Deadly Strike
Requirements -25%
+20 to Maximum Stamina

(Only Spawns In Patch 1.09 or later)

These are probably the best all-around melee boots. Their high defense combined with crushing blow and deadly strike mods make them near perfect for the frenzy barbarian. There really isn't much of a choice for other boot. Goblin Toes are also an option but lack the defense, Deadly Strike, and Open Wounds provided by Gore Riders.

[edit] Rings

Raven Frost
Ring
Ring 5 (Diablo II).gif

Level Requirement: 45

+150-250 to Attack Rating (varies)
Adds 15-45 Cold Damage - 4 Second Duration
Cannot be Frozen
+15-20 to Dexterity (varies)
+40 to Mana
Cold Absorb 20%

(Only Spawns in Patch 1.09 or Later)

It is recommended to use two of this ring, because they increase your Attack Rating by substantial amounts. You may choose to use a different second ring, such as Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band but in my opinion the attack rating from two is near irreplaceable. Note that you will need at least 1 raven frost for the cannot be frozen mod unless you put a Cham in your Arreat's Face.

[edit] Armor

Fortitude
4 Socket Body Armor
Ancient Armor (Diablo II).gif

El • Sol • Dol • Lo
Level Requirement: 59

20% Chance To Cast Level 15 Chilling Armor when Struck
+25% Faster Cast Rate
+300% Enhanced Damage
+200% Enhanced Defense
+15 Defense
+X To Life (Based on Character Level)
Replenish Life +7
+5% To Maximum Lightning Resist
All Resistances +25-30 (varies)
Damage Reduced By 7
12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana
+1 To Light Radius

There really isn't much choice for armor. Your entire character is based around doing massive damage, and in that area Fortitude delivers like none other (Notice the bold 300% enhanced damage). Make it in whatever elite armor you want, but remember to keep your strength requirements in mind. Any armor close to 500 defense will get you a fortitude with 1500+ defense, so you shouldn't have to stray far from your min strength of 138. Keep in mind that elite armors vary greatly in armor range, you can get an Archon Plate with 410 to 524 defense, so go by defense, not by name. This armor is only available to be created on Ladder characters!!

[edit] Weapons

Choosing your weapons is the trickiest part of building your barbarian. As mentioned earlier, you want swords or axes for the best rune words, maces just don't cut it. Also recall that you will need two weapons of the same class, to utilize weapon mastery. There are many many rune words that are quite powerful, you should look through all of them either on the Rune Words page here, or on | the Arreat Summit Rune Word Page before you settle on what combination to use. I will show my recommendation; though I can't guarantee that it is THE best combination, I can guarantee that it will work quite well, able to solo the Pandemonium Event.


Breath of the Dying
6 Socket Weapons
War Axe (Diablo II).gif

Vex • Hel • El • Eld • Zod • Eth
Level Requirement: 69

50% Chance to Cast Level 20 Poison Nova When You Kill An Enemy
Indestructible
+60% Increased Attack Speed
+350-400% Enhanced Damage (varies)
+200% Damage to Undead
-25% Target Defense
+50 to Attack Rating
+50 to Attack Rating Against Undead
7% Mana Stolen Per Hit
12-15% Life Stolen Per hit (varies)
Prevent Monster Heal
+30 to All Attributes
+1 to Light Radius
Requirements -20%

Grief
5 Socket Axes/Swords
War Axe (Diablo II).gif

Eth • Tir • Lo • Mal • Ral
Level Requirement: 59

35% Chance To Cast Level 15 Venom On Striking
+30-40% Increased Attack Speed (varies)
Damage +340-400 (varies)
Ignore Target's Defense
-25% Target Defense
+1.875-185.625% Damage To Demons (+1.875% Per Character Level)
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
-20-25% To Enemy Poison Resistance (varies)
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
+10-15 Life After Each Kill (varies)

There are several combinations of weapons to choose from. This weapon combo is missing large amounts of Crushing Blow so you may choose to use Death or Last Wish in place of one of the weapons. Some people also choose to use two Grief or two Breath of The Dying weapons. If you have the wealth, play around and see what you like best, but this combination does work quite well, and is more than capable of soloing the Uber Tristram event.

[edit] Charms

Hellfire Torch
Large Charm
Hellfiretorch.png

Level Requirement: 75

5% Chance to Cast Level 10 Firestorm on Striking
+3 to (Random Character Class) Skills
+10-20 to All Attributes (varies)
All Resistances +10-20 (varies)
+8 to Light Radius
Level 30 Hydra (10 Charges)

(Only Spawns on Battle.net Servers)
(Only Spawns in Patch 1.11 or Later)

Annihilus
Small Charm
Annihilus (Diablo II).png

Level Requirement: 70

+1 to All Skills
+10-20 to All Attributes (varies)
All Resistances +10-20 (varies)
+5-10% to Experience Gained

(Only Spawns on Battle.net Servers)
(Only Spawns in Patch 1.10 or Later)

If you plan on playing your character to the max, you pretty much have to get the Hellfire Torch and Annihilus. They are irreplaceable. For the rest of your inventory space, you have the choice of pursuing either +Life charms, a +20 small charm being the best, or + Max damage & Attack rating charms, with +3 max + 20 AR small charms being the best. I went with getting life charms. You can get +34 life large charms for very cheap, and they're the equivalent of 2x +17 small charms, for cheaper. +Skill grand charms really don't do a whole lot for you, but if you can get Warcries charms with +40 life they are probably a good investment.


[edit] Playing with Frenzy

Playing your Frenzy Barbarian is about attacking all the time. There is little reason to run from anything as there is with say a Sorceress or Necromancer, as discussed earlier, your primary defense is your ability to steal life from the damage you dish out. Keep your 6 second Frenzy bonus up as much as possible. You'll be getting about 45% faster attacks, and somewhere around 175% faster run/walk from it.

Set your skills up so you have Berserk and Double swing available on the left mouse button, with Frenzy and War/Battle Cry on the right mouse button. The interesting thing about playing this build, is that it actually changes how you move. You want to move almost exclusively by holding down the right mouse button. With this held down, the Barbarian will attack any monster in range using frenzy, or move toward your cursor. You never have to actually "target" monsters as you do with other classes/skills. This takes a little getting used to, but after a while it becomes second nature and it is actually much easier than say using Zeal or even Whirlwind.

When facing large numbers of enemies, you can use your Battle Cry ability to lower their damage and defense, allowing you to tear them up with ease. You can also use War Cry to stun the enemies, but I find that Battle Cry lasts longer and is easier to use. Something to pay attention to is your Life Tap procs from the gloves. You don't want to use Battle Cry while this is active, because it will overwrite the curse. With Life Tap active on the monsters you will be healing yourself for so much that overwriting it with anything is a waste.

An interesting monster type to fight, is the Specters. They are physical immune and drain your mana. You will gain some mana back while fighting them from the "damage to mana" mod on Fortitude but sometimes you won't have enough mana to Frenzy or Berserk. Ideally you want to use Berserk against any physical immune monster, but remember to not let your frenzy bonus fall off! If you find yourself without mana fighting these monsters, you can use Double Swing as a left-click attack, it has a negative mana cost so using it actually refunds you mana. You can swing once or twice with it, use a Frenzy or Berserk, then repeat as needed until you have enough mana to continually use your prime skills.

That is about it. Just remember to keep the bonus up, and to be wary around physical immune monsters. Let your weapons do the talking and it is an easy but incredibly fun build to play.