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Hello and welcome to the Tome of Blazek. This is the beginning of a fairly lengthy project I intend to complete within the coming weeks. This guide will be filled with knowledge of the 5 classes within the world of Diablo 3: Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Demon Hunter, and Witch Doctor. Further knowledge may be added or tweaked over time due to balancing or requests from the comments. My intent is to share with all of you personal experience I have had with each class, an understanding of each classes play style, itemization needed for all classes, and strategies to help you as a gamer to take on the challenges of Hell and Inferno, regardless of which class you choose to play. Throughout this guide I will provide builds to help get you started and continue through the game. Please note that all builds are generated from personal experience. Consider the fact that even the most common build in the game is only used by 0.7% of all players of a given class, thus your preference in runes and sometimes skills may vary. Chapter 1: The Barbarian From the shadow of Mount Arreat come the mighty barbarians. A barbarian uses a variety of large weapons, shields, and thick armor to plow their way through the battlefield. As a class the barbarian is a heavy melee fighter, using primarily strength and vitality to shrug off attacks while devastating the battlefield (literally). As a barbarian your main objective is to get into the fight, by either rushing in, leaping in, or pulling mobs to you, and attempting to keep them in range. If you are in a group you will likely be taking most of the aggression. It is also important to be aware of your team as ranged attackers cannot take as many hits as you can. Itemization: The Barbarian focuses on 2 primary stats: Strength, for both damage and armor, and Vitality, for health. When looking for replacement gear you should always consider these two stats as a priority. Beyond this you will be looking for a few other key stats to help increase your survivability. After completing Normal you will want to gain some items with life steal on hit and increased health from globe drops. While these should never take priority over stats, searching the Auction house for items with Strength + Life steal is a good idea. In higher difficulties, specifically Inferno, it will be equally important to invest into “resist all elements” gear. Barbarian Strategy: Normal- Nightmare: For the most part, you will not have many issues keeping your hp up and demolishing your opponents. Some champion mobs may give you some issues (such as teleporters, molten and wallers) but as long as you pay attention, then dodging abilities such as frozen and arcane will cause very few issues. Besides these rare occurrences, there is little reason for you to disengage, so go to town on mobs. For standard play, I would recommend the following builds: Under 20: http://us.battle.net...#bZXVYT!a!aaaaZ Under 30: http://us.battle.net...hXViT!aW!aaaaaZ End of Nightmare: http://us.battle.net...XViT!aWg!aYYaab Note: Whirlwind is a personal preference. If you feel more comfortable with Seismic Slam, then use it instead. Grouping In Nightmare: http://us.battle.net...XVik!aXg!aYYaab If you are working with a group of players (specifically without a monk) I would recommend switching Earthquake for Warcry. While you lose burst DPS every 2 minutes, you help the stability of your group and your own survivability when fighting larger packs. Dealing with Bosses: Sadly, bosses really aren’t much of a challenge for a barbarian in both normal and nightmare. Throughout normal you will likely just left click your way to victory; however here are some builds that you will likely want to use to lower the risk of actually dying in one of these fights. Normal 30 and below: http://us.battle.net...cRViT!acd!aZ.aa End of Nightmare: http://us.battle.net...RVik!acd!aZZaaZ Ignore Pain is a key ability for boss fights, as it will help you survive when standing in their AoE and burst attacks. Once you gain Wrath of the Berserker, it is pretty much downhill from there. Utilize Warcry for fury generation at the beginning of the fight and use WotB as soon as possible (for fights such as Belial and Diablo, I wait until they are on the last phase, as that is generally the one you want to burst through). Because you don’t use much fury, Berserker Rage is fairly useful. I keep Pound of Flesh as bosses will drop health globes mid fight, so with the increased drop chance +bonus healing helps to keep your HP up. Bash +clobber is somewhat of an easy way to beat bosses (yes you can stun lock bosses, probably the dumbest thing in Diablo 3) but you can switch out for frenzy +sidearm if you wish to increase your DPS. Hell and Beyond! When you get into Hell mode, you will notice that things hit you quite a bit harder, champion packs now have 3 affixes, and generally you will get destroyed if you try to continue at the pace you have been. HOWEVER, this does not mean barbarian is suddenly a useless class, only that you as a player will need to evolve your strategy to handle these new challenges. So… Sword and Board or Mace to the Face? It would seem that many barbarians and monks come to the realization that once in Hell, you need a ton of defense if you wish to survive even a few seconds against a larger pack. The most common logic points players to drop the heavy weaponry in favor of a nice big shield. While this can work in your favor you must remember, you are trading 30-50% of your weapon damage for said defense. While this isn’t going to ruin your day (and after stat and buff modifiers, you will still be doing decent damage) it does slow your killing speed, meaning you will be forced to combat enemies for longer durations. So just keep that in mind. If you are in a group setting however, you will likely take the roll of the tank. Your other choice? Change the way you play. At first you may be thinking “how the hell do you change the way a melee brawler plays?” And honestly this was the dilemma I started with as I enjoyed my big ol’ 2-handed mace. So instead of throwing in the towel I came up with a solution: Do it the same way a Ranged class does. Keep your distance and whittle down your opposition. 2-handed Hell Build: http://us.battle.net...XVik!agT!YZaaaY There are a few key points to this build, and it relies on the player utilizing a bit of strategy to execute. Seismic Slam is required as your primary AoE (yes, I was very sad to have to drop Whirlwind). Reason being is the range and damage it provides. With SS you are able to deal high damage from afar, a necessity when dealing with hell and inferno champions. Frenzy with smite is a nice primary as it gives fast attack rate and a chance to stun. I have noticed many end game Barbarians do not use leap, and I question why. Leap with Iron Impact gives the barb a 300% armor buff, it also provides you with an escape option which most other defensive abilities would not (due to being able to leap over walls and large packs of mobs). Iron Impact can be switched with Toppling Impact or Death from Above if you whatever reason you find it difficult to get out of danger even with leap. Furious Charge is another viable option, however it is one I have experimented with much less as, so far, leap has done the job I needed. Alternatives: Unfortunately you cannot just pop in this build and claim victory in every case. At times you may run into champions that give you serious trouble and cannot just be whittled down from afar. So let’s say you run into a Fast, Vampiric, Arcane, Extra Health… just for the hell of it. It is unlikely a standard build will cut it. For these kinds of mobs you will need to change your strategy to specifically accommodate this fight. In this case, you will need very heavy dps, and similarly you will need to keep the mob in close. So, you may choose a build like this: http://us.battle.net...RVgj!cUS!YYZaYa With this build you can deal out massive damage, pull your target in (hopefully to start a stun lock w/ frenzy) and pop ignore pain when the damage becomes excessive. This is of course just an example, however it is important to remember in higher difficulties, one size does not fit all. End Game: With level 60 comes the ability to gain the Nephalem Valor Buff, a stacking buff whenever you kill a rare or champion mob pack. With this you gain increased gold and magic find provided you continue to kill more champion mobs every 30 or so minutes and that you do not change your build. Because of this, you will need to create a build that has a good mix of single target, AoE, and defensive abilities. This can be difficult to come up with a solid build that works for you, so personal testing will be required, however here is the current build I am working with on my Barbarian which has proven fairly decent success. Blazek’s level 60 Build: http://us.battle.net...SViP!abg!aZZaaZ It is worth noting that Solo vs Group play will require you to change your build to synergize with the rest of your group. This build is more for solo play or as a melee DPS in a group. Final Thoughts: Barbarian is a strong class that can put a serious hurt on his opponents. They are one of the most resilient playable classes, due to high strength and vitality, and can be quite versatile within the right hands. Within Normal and Nightmare difficulties the Barbarian is a fairly easy class to learn and play, however Hell and beyond it will take quite a bit more from the person in control to make it work. There have been many complaints on the Blizzard forums that Barbarians are not a viable option at end game. Some players have even gone as far as to say that Hell, and even in some cases Nightmare, is too hard for a Barbarian. While I dislike elitism, I must say that those people are bad gamers. Nightmare is no tougher than normal, but yes you will need to pay more attention. Hell is quite a bit more difficult, however having already played through Hell in its entirety on my Barbarian I will tell you that no, it is not too hard. You need to understand the capabilities of your class and you will go very far. Barbarian is a very rewarding Melee class, and the select few who are able to understand and adapt to difficult situations will enjoy what this class has to offer. Chapter 2: The Monk
The Price of Progress #5 : The Evolution of the Thief First and foremost, I would like to apologize for the day late post, as I was feeling the funk this past day and could not gather the motivation to sit down and pour my ideas out into cyberspace. Regardless, I hope all of you had a wonderful competitive and casual experience in the latest Guild Wars 2 Beta, and it was a pleasure playing with the masses. That being said, the cloud has lifted and I'm looking forward to the next few paragraphs of depth seeking build deconstruction at its finest, in order to determine the aesthetics of our future "Nautilus" like build. The League is set, and off we go! Pre Beta #1 Speculation Weapon Choice Pre Beta #1 Speculation Post Beta #2 Speculation: With the second Guild Wars 2 in the past and the major kinks worked out in the newly revised trait system, it has come to my attention that the source of a Thief's damage can come from multiple places, with the replacement for Deadly Arts becoming the condition damage focused, but not entirely constricted to, Trickery tree. Because of this drastic change in traits and tiered skill selection, the amount of possible weapon combinations for the Thief has reached new heights, and viability across multiple platforms of ranged and melee weapons are now possible due to the lack of completely conditional traits in a given grouping. Let's move on to the all new traits! http://www.vvv-gamin...ass-discussion/ Trait Selection Psst.. Still with me? Pre Beta #1 Speculation: Post Beta #1 Speculation: Beta Weekend #2 Speculation: Fixing the tiered trait selection and respective bugs following this flawed system of selecting passive buffet, caused the entire metagame to be corrected in a very real and tangible way. One of the side effects of this massive revitalization to the system was the viability of alternate damage trees, as opposed to being drowned in a trough of swine food for not going 30/10/10/10/10. In order to take aim and even the iron sights on our ultimate goal of achieving maximum streamline and ultimately Ezio Auditore status, let's delve into the major behind the scenes overhaul that this new B2 build offers, and discover what new dynamics are knocking at the door of viability. NOTE: THIEVES GUILD SHOULD BE DAGGERSTORM, THE AI ON THIEVES GUILD WAS BROKEN WHEN USING PISTOLS AS OF BW2. The "Take Initiative" Build : http://gw2.luna-atra...u8p8u9m9njpjrjv 20 in Critical Strikes Critical strike chance increased by 5% when over 90% health Fury for 10 seconds when you reach 50% health Critical Strikes have a 10% chance to restore 1 initiative (1sec cd) 50% crit chance when in stealth 20 in Acrobatics Swiftness gained on dodge Gain Might whenever you dodge Dodging returns roughly 20% of endurance used on the dodge Gain 2 Initiative every 10 seconds 30 in Trickery Stealing gives you 3 initiative Leave behind caltrops when you dodge Increases maximum initiative by 3 When you steal, you and allies gain fury, might and swiftness Increases damage by 2% per initiative You recieve 4 initiave from using a healing skill I'm not even sure that I have to delve into the differences and advantages of the Trickery tree vs the Deadly Arts spec. Trickery gives us an unconditional pool of damage that is free form between both sets of our weapons, P/P and D/D, and it allows us to regenerate that saved up initiative instantaneously between the 4 per heal skill and 2 per 10 seconds. The change from Vanishing Stealth to Withdrawal allows us a 15 second cooldown to fuel our initiative regeneration engine, as well as giving us an awesome transition into pistols. This damage has no strings attached to it, and passively increases our sneaky bleeds and vulnerability debuffs respectively with the condition damage caused by being in the Trickery tree itself. Executing the "CC and Move" mentality in our build Pre Beta #1 Speculation: Post Beta #1 Speculation: Post Beta #2 Speculation: This builds execution is going to require a whole new dynamic, which could be broadly labeled as finesse, in the form of our pistol switching to D/D and vice versa at key points in a fight. Aside from some familiarity issues with the new play style, i would like to think i displayed this idea in some amount of clarity. The link to the BW #2 video can be found at the tail of this article, but to finish this week's blog off, let's get a vague idea of what we should be doing in particularly problematic match ups. Predicting movement inhibiting cool downs in the Guardian match up is key, try to fake out the healing skills with false pressure, via a switch to daggers from pistols, then back to pistols and evading out. Recognizing invulnerability cool downs and transitively trying to fake them out with key timings on our rolls, much like the baiting of defensive cooldowns. Evading as soon as warriors try to pressure with hundred blades, and evading again afterwards to avoid a punish on your first roll. Kill phantasms with pistols before going in on Mesmers and killing your self involuntarily. Stop trying to 1v1 Necros. Similar tactics to the Guardian matchup can be applied against rangers with the faking out of traps and pet attacks. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrhvx0_vvv-rinzler-guild-wars-2-beta-2-thief-pvp_videogames As we've learned, the versatility of this build is endless, and I fully intend on using it as much as possible and finding potential kinks in the armor. I challenge all of you reading this to please tear apart my video and get down to the nitty gritty, pointing out not so proper engagements and sub optimal cool down usage. On this same note, I would love to hear your ideas on particular match ups and any experiences you may have had in the beta that would result in you reaching such a conclusion. I'm here to be a resource and competitor, so use me to better your knowledge of any given match ups, and if you would like to run the 1v1 gauntlet contact me before the next beta. As per usual, I'm typing this at an absurd hour of the morning and can no longer feel my butt, so I'll skim this over in the morning. Thank you all for reading this, and as always, fight for the user. http://en.gw2codex.com/build/1532/show <-- Please go drop a comment and what not on this page. <3 Give me feedback minions! @vVvRinzler