OK, recovered from that little “site is down” snafu, let’s do some theorycrafting for a change.
So you’ve rolled a mighty Barbarian in Diablo 3. You power through Normal, Nightmare and most of Hell. You hit level 60 somewhere between Act 3 and 4 of Hell. With a massive 20-30k standard damage and tons of hitpoints, all is good in the world. Suddenly from nowhere a dreaded pack of Molten Chains Arcane Jailer elites stomps you to the ground. ‘Wait, this is not supposed to happen!” you say. “I’m way too awesome for this!” you wail.
Guess what! Welcome to the world of Inferno, where nothing is as it was anymore, and the mighty barbarian is relegated to the ranks of peon again. But fear not, there’s the ever-looming Auction House! Some more dps or hp will solve it all… or will it.
Well, in short, no it won’t. What you need is armor and resistances. No more one-shotting everything in your way, you’re going to nerf that damage to kingdom come and start outsurviving those pesky Monks. And to do that we’ll discuss two things: gear and skills. And because not every player has 200 million gold just lying around, we’re going to do this on a budget.
First off: Gear.
Forget strength (well, mostly, we’ll get to that later.). What you need is Resistance to all. Stack at least 300 to all unbuffed for Act 1, and 450+ for Act 2. Intelligence can also help, but please do not start stacking int! Getting 300 for Act 1 is pretty easy and not too expensive. Blue Chromatic rings (about 50-70 +all) with about 70 strength can be picked up for under 10k gold. Add 3 or 4 other items and you’re sorted. Try getting some on a shield too – yes, you’re going to switch to a 1hander with a shield for this exercise, because we’re also going to stack armor. Thankfully Strength also gives armor, but because you’ve just replaced half your awesome +strength items, you’ll need to get the extra armor a shield offers.
Remember to use the Auction House to the fullest. Search for ranges, include the stats you want and set your maximum buyout price as low as you can. With this you should have at least the resistances as above, while still keeping about 30k hitpoints minimum, 7000 armor (buffed is fine, we’ll get to that a bit further down too) and 7000+ white damage (let this slowly climb through Act 1, till you have about 10+ for Act 2). If you can get some life on hit, do so. 1000+ LoH is awesome for barbarians using fast 1handers.
Now the build, which I will break down into the different buttons:
Mouse1 – Frenzy. Here there is a toss-up between 2 runes. I prefer Maniac, because at this point with a low budget your damage is probably pretty low and you still have to burn down those elites somehow. Sidearm is the other option, giving you more aoe damage, but I still find focusing on one at a time is better.
Mouse2 – Seismic Slam. This is for the knockback, which you’ll need – a lot. When you need a breather from the 30 skeletons pounding you, or just need to get out of the corner you’re stuck in, use this and position yourself better. Couple with Shattered Ground for that extra “Oomph”.
1- Ignore Pain. This will save your ass more than you can ever imagine. 65% damage reduction for 5 seconds? Hell yeah! Now you can stand in the bad for that much longer as you whittle away at the enemy. Add Ignorance is Bliss for a bit of healing (actually quite good if you have decent damage), although all the runes can work. Play around and find the one that works for you.
2 – Revenge. Absolutely a must for every Barbarian build, not just this one. As it scales with the amount of creep hitting you, the more there are, the merrier. It fails a bit on single-target, but can still save you with that extra bit of health while your potion is on cooldown. Provocation is my preferred skill here – 30% more chance of proccing adds up to a whole lot more than the 8% extra healing of Vengeance is Mine. Once again, whatever works for you though.
3 – War Cry. Another given for this build. To achieve the amount of resistances and armor you need for Inferno, you can’t pass up on this, coupled with Impunity of course. Not only will you survive longer, whoever is in your party will too, with 20% more armor and 50% more resistances for all.
4 – Wrath of the Berserker – Hey, we gotta have some fun after nerfing ourselves to death, don’t we? Well, actually, there’s method to the madness. This baby boosts your dodge, crit, attack speed and movement speed. Awesome! But wait, there’s more. Tired of those elites freezing or fearing you? This also makes you immune to crowd control – and breaks any CC you’re affected by if you pop it. Add 100% increase to damage with the Insanity rune and you’ve got the solution to killing all but the toughest elites.
OK, that’s handled, now for the passive skills, which will be all survival, no fun again:
Nerves of Steel – Adds 100% of your vitality as armor. The more life you have, the more awesome you become. Pretty much a no-brainer hey? So yes, it does make sense to have at least that 30+k hp for the first two acts of Inferno, because every bit helps.
Tough as Nails – More of the same as Nerves of Steel really. On top of the armor you just gained from Nerves, add another 25% for more damage reduction greatness. The less damage you take, the longer you can give out the pain.
Relentless - Face it, you’re going to be on low HP – a LOT. This rune will make sure that when your screen starts flashing, you’re tougher than ever. When you’re below 20% HP, suddenly you take 50% less damage. Remember that if you’ve been following this guide, you’re already taking much less damage than before, and with Ignore Pain active at the same time, nothing is going to kill you. As an added bonus, there’s always that 50% decrease in the cost of abilities, so you can spam more while you’re on low health.
There we go, my first bit of theory in a long time. Here’s a link to the build on the Blizzard calculator. This was put together from various other guides out there when I struggled, as well as from personal experience. This is by no means the end-all to Barbarian builds, but it definitely made Inferno more doable for me. Once you start getting those ilvl 63 items dropping with your 5 Neph buffs, you can start customising and increasing your damage output – which is needed later on because the elites have insane hitpoints, and an enrage timer!. Remember that your resistances will have to scale for Act 3 and 4, up to a massive 1000+ to each, but with a bit of farming on Act 1 and 2, this is doable.