Barbarian DPS Guide for Mod 22
Last update: 17/03/2022 “I will only be updating when there are major changes buff/nerfs to the Barbarian class. This isn’t a copy and paste build.”
A guide for Barbies
I would like to start by mentioning the great GWF’s of the past: Queen Lia Knowless, Unforgiven/Northside and WickedDuck. You guys took the time to write guides and provide us with builds and the necessary information to become better GWF’s. Your contributions have been invaluable to us, for this I thank you!
With the introduction of Mod 16 everything we knew and loved about GWF’s changed and was replaced with the “Barbarian”. Our damage was low compared to other DPS classes and later we learned why. It seems that the way the Damage Formula worked was different for some classes. With the release of Mod 17 Barbarians had to adapt and turn into a Tank class to be able to run TOMM “Tower of the Mad Mage”, because our damage was not enough to be viable. With the updated Damage Formula, released 10/10/2019, DPS Barbarians still didn’t get invites to TOMM farming groups. Wizards, Rangers and Rogues still produced more damage, but the gap was much smaller than it used to be. Then Mod 18 came along and Clerics took the top DPS spot, leaving all other far behind. Mod 19 was released and finally the Barbarian was a force to be reckoned with again.
This guide was originally intended to help make DPS Barbarians viable again. Now it will help you guys maximize your damage in dungeons and trials. If anything is unclear or if you simply want to discuss the guide please feel free to contact me either in-game or on Discord (Andiemus#0752)
Some information about myself: I was fortunate enough to be part of the Mod 17, 19 and 22 beta testing groups on the Owlbear server. I have been running TOMM, Master Zariel and Crown of Keldegonn “Master” with 7 different classes, sorry I don’t play a Warlock or Bard. I have spent a lot of time doing testing on both Preview and Live. Barbarian has been my main character for close to 7 years now. I do not know everything or have all the answers, but I try to learn as the game changes, luckily I know some clever individuals. Be sure to check these out:
Understanding how to improve your DPS
I liked the previous system of Stats and Counter stats. It made perfect sense to me, but for some it didn’t. We now have a new Stat system which I will try to explain a bit and also how it impacts a DPS character. I won’t go into details about how the damage formula work, but basically there are a few things we need to keep in mind if we want to do decent damage. Higher Item Level does improve damage as everybody knows, more buffs does this also and so does your stats. Using the damage calculator link above really helps a lot by showing which of those 3 sources will increase your damage the most. Reaching the perfect balance between high Item Level, lots of buffs and good stats is what we aim for. Since there isn’t a number on optimal Item Level or amount of buffs, I’ll explain the optimal Stats.
Stats are split up in 2, in other words we can get stat rating from certain sources like enchantments and we can get the % from other sources like companions. If we have 75000 Item Level, we can get 50% of a stat by reaching 75000 rating. Your rating will turn green when reaching this, if you have more than 76000 it will turn orange. So in other words, by having your ratings equal to your Item level will cap it at 50% and it will turn green while 1000 stats points more than your Item Level the rating will show orange. Any stat rating that is more than your Item Level has no effect. Ideally we want to reach 90% on our stats, so we use other sources that gives % gains. Prioritizing certain stats also gives more benefit because of the way they work. Power and Combat Advantage gives the biggest benefit and should be your focus to reach 90% or as close as possible. Critical Strike and Critical Severity gives a slightly smaller benefit, but still bigger than Accuracy. Only the Accuracy Rating is important for Barbarians, but that I will explain a bit later.
Choosing a Race
My pick would be the Gith. Here are some of the reasons why as well as other alternatives if you don’t have it unlocked:
Gith – You gain 5% Combat Advantage. You regenerate Stamina 5% faster.
Attribute choice: +2 DEX and +2 STR or INT
Other good alternatives:
Metallic Dragonborn – You gain 3% Critical strike and 3% Power . You receive 3% more healing from all spells and abilities. Your maximum Hit Points are increased by 3%.
Attribute choice: +2 on 2 attributes
Dragonborn – You gain 3 Critical strike and 3% Power. You receive 5% more healing from all spells and abilities.
Attribute choice: +2 on 2 attributes
Tiefling – You deal an additional 5% damage to targets below 50% health. Whenever you are hit, you have a 10% chance to lower the damage of the attacker by 2.5% for 5 seconds.
Attribute choice: +2 CHA and +2 CON or INT
There are only 3 real options here:
For every 4 points of STR you get 1% Physical damage boost and for every 2 points you get 1% Stamina Regen.
For every 2 points of DEX you get 1% Crit Sev and for every 4 points you get 1% Movement Speed.
For every 2 points of CHA you get 1% Forte and for every 4 points you get 1% Recharge Speed
Crown of Keldegonn build with Batiri + Minsc + Neverwinter Knight:
Crown of Keldegonn build with Batiri + Minsc
Some equipment pieces have damage bonuses on them these days, some of these bonuses stack while others don’t. Here is a short summary of the bonuses that stacks:
Swordman’s Perk: +3% damage buff for Melee Powers: stacks only twice
Sniper’s Perk: +3% damage buff for Ranged Powers: stacks only twice
There are a lot choices for equipment these days. Higher Item Level plays a factor, but some of the older gear are still much better because of their bonusses. I’ll just briefly mention my top picks:
Goristro’s Horns: +10% Critical Strike – Needs time to stack up to 10
Alliance Soldier’s Helmet: +7.5% Accuracy – Stamina needs to be over 75% “Don’t waste Stamina!”
Bone Devil’s Ribcage: +12.5% Critical Strike, +12.5% Critical Severity
Alliance Soldier’s Cuirass: +7500 Power when in party of 5
Order Mercenary’s Breastplate: +7500 Power when in party of 5
Midnight Cuirass: +3% damage when attacking from behind
Wristguards of Precipitation: +375 Power on every attack. Stacks 20 times and drops off 10 seconds after reaching 20 stacks. By using Bloodletter we damage ourselves and take away one of those stacks, thus refreshing the timer. This allows a good uptime for the buff
Spiked Defender Vambrace: +5% Damage. We use Bloodletter to damage ourselves and active the 5% damage buff. This allows a good uptime for the buff
Lion Guard Raid/Ward Vambraces: +250 Power on every attack. Stacks 20 times and drops off after 10 seconds
Templar of the Twilight’s Bracers: +3% damage buff for Encounters
Sentinel of the Star’s Bracers: +3% damage buff for At-Wills
Choosing a weapon set can be tricky. Some sets perform better on different scenarios.
Scalebreaker’s Wrath Set: After using 6 encounters or daily you 7.5% Outgoing Damage for 30 seconds. Also some Recharge Speed and Action Points when using encounters while busy stacking your Scalebreaker’s Ire. When entering a boss fight I animation cancel casting Frenzy to get some of those stacks before even attacking the boss.
Mirage Set: Summons 3 copies of yourself for 10 seconds with 30 second cooldown
Celestial Set: After using 5 encounters or daily you get +7.5% Outgoing Damage for 30 seconds. When entering a boss fight I animation cancel casting Frenzy to get some of those stacks before even attacking the boss.
Lionheart Set: Increases damage dealt and outgoing healing by up to 7.5% whenever your stamina is full. Effect decreases as stamina decreases. Decreases damage received by up to 7.5% whenever your stamina is empty. Effect decreases as Stamina increases
Set of the Watcher: At the start of combat your Power, Critical Severity, Critical Strike and Defense is increased by 1%. For every 5 seconds your are in combat, these increase by 1%. “Max 5% increase”
Masterwork Set: +2% Outgoing Damage, Outgoing Healing and -2% Incoming Damage for each party member that has Masterwork weapons. 10% on those bonusses with a full party using them
Primal Weapons should be on this list because of the 10% buff to damage they give, but sadly they aren’t available anymore
Wasteland Wanderers: +5% Combat Advantage
Forest Guardian’s Raid/Ward Greaves: +7500 Combat Advantage when stamina over 75%
Rusted Iron Leggings: +5% damage buff, -25% Incoming Healing
Primal Raid/Assault Lapulapus: +3% Action points for each enemy killed
Heart’s Twine: Part of the set Demogorgon’s Wrath
Mythallar Shard: Part of the set Mythallar
Starshard Choker: Part of the set Star
Band of Air: 10% chance to do extra damage on attacks. This ring never gets swapped out. “Took me over 500 completions for VOS HC to make this ring”
Choosing the second ring depends on a few things like types of enemies or stats needed. Here are a few options:
The Queen’s Golden Opal Ring: +3% Melee Damage buff
The Red Eye’s Glare: +5% Power, +2.5% Accuracy
Red Eye’s Stare: +10% damage buff vs Undead
The Queen’s Silver Leafed Ring: +10% damage buff vs Constructs
The Sky’s Peaking Light: +5500 Accuracy
Striking Ring of the Veteran/Master: +3% Melee Damage buff “If you cannot run Vault of the Stars yet, i suggest using 2x these rings”
Sinuous Chord: Part of the set Demogorgon’s Wrath
Mythallar Piece: Part of the set Mythallar
Twinkle of the Star: Part of the set Star
Corroded Shirt of the Dragon Cult: +5% Combat Advantage
Upper Pact Brands of the Blaze Bond / Upper Pact Brands of the Inferno: +5000 Power when Stamina is over 75%
Ebony Stained Shirt: +3% damage buff when Stamina is over 75%
The Ebony Shirt has different versions, with different combinations of stats which might help with stat balancing.
Shirts from Vault of the Stars Hardcore 3rd Mini Boss with 1525 Item Level are another option. They have a 10% chance to reduce your cooldowns by 1 second every 5 seconds whenever your powers does a critical strike.
Pants / Trousers
Velvet Trousers/Pants +1: +690 Accuracy, +1035 Critical Strike or Combat Advantage and a 10% chance to gain 25 Action Points on a critical hit. 5 second internal cooldown
I’m using these purely for the Offensive stats. I won’t be providing any alternatives for this reason.
Envenomed Storyteller’s Journal:
+5% damage buff
20 Action Points per second for 16 seconds “tooltip says 15 seconds”
It also stuns mobs for 4 seconds.
Decanter of Atropal Essence:
Up to 10% damage buff for roughly 30 seconds, sometimes even longer
Soul Sight Crystal: +25% damage buff against a single target for 10 seconds
There are a lot of options for secondary artifact, again I will mention my picks and some alternatives
This is needed to complete the Demogorgon’s Wrath set. +5% damage buff
Choose 2 of the following to complete your artifacts:
Frozen Storyteller’s Journal
Flayed Storyteller’s Journal
Darkened Storyteller’s Journal
I use the Storyteller’s Journals because of the wonderful multiple set bonuses they currently have.
Alternatives Artifact sets:
This is needed to complete the Mythallar set. This set is only good on boss fights since its an extra hit on Combat Advantage hits. Using it with the Band of Air makes is almost or maybe even better than the Demogorgon’s Set.
Sparkling Fey Emblem:
This is needed to complete the Star set. Still a very good artifact set if you cannot get the other 2 options.
Alternative Secondary Artifacts:
Jewel of the North
There are too many options to mention all, I’m mentioning these since they have 1200 Item Level compared to others with 600.
Relentless slash is our only AOE at-will that we can use for clearing mobs. It also applies a 5% damage buff, active for 12 seconds.
Relentless Slash has a two fold attack mechanic, each dealing 55 magnitude damage with an “Avatar” doing the second hit. This makes killing mobs extremely light work when in battlerage.
“Avatar” – The mirror image of your character that spawns on the other side of your target.
Brash Strike has been buffed a few times since its release in Mod 16 to the point that it’s the only viable option for single target fights. Every hit does 140 magnitude damage.
Mighty Leap has a magnitude of 325. The feat Mightier Leap increases that to 780. “Tool tip is bugged” How to use this will be discussed under Rotations, a bit further down.
Not so Fast has a magnitude of 235 and slows enemies for 6 seconds. This is used to proc Trample of the Fallen, which will give both the 5% for 10 seconds and 10% for 6 seconds buffs.
Bloodletter has a magnitude of 520. The feat Bloodspiller increases that to 920. This is our second hardest hitting encounter and should never leave your bar.
Punishing Charge has a magnitude of 650 and procs Trample of the Fallen. It also helps closing the gap between you and your target.
Frenzy has a magnitude of 1275. This is your hardest hitting encounter. The cooldown has been reduced even further with mod 19, so now everybody has finally seen the light and started using this skill.
Bloodletter has a magnitude of 520. The feat Bloodspiller increases that to 920. This is our second hardest hitting encounter and should never leave your bar. Yes, it does a little damage to yourself, but you can always blame the healer for not keeping your Hit Points full all the time.
Alternative to Punishing Charge:
Indomitable Strike has a magnitude of 750 and a shorter cooldown than the other hard hitting encounters. DO NOT use the Indomitable Rage feat that increases it to 1050. The reason for that is, your rage has to be full to hit with 1050 magnitude. There is also a bug currently with feat explained under the “Feats” section.
Avalanche of Steel + the feat Steel Slam might be the most amazing Daily ever! It’s a must have for Mob fights.
For Boss fights I prefer Savage Advance over Crescendo. Crescendo channels for three seconds while doing a multi-hit combo. Savage Advance has a one second cast time with one big hit.
Trample of the Fallen has two different damage buffs. The first part gives a 5% buff for 10 seconds after casting a Control Power, like “Not so Fast” “Punishing Charge” “Roar” “Savage Advance” “Crescendo” “Avalanche of Steel”. The second part gives a 10% buff while the target is controlled. That means on Mobs and Bosses that are controllable you could have a total of 15% damage buff for however long the control effect is active. Sadly, the second part of the buff does not work on Control immune targets, basically most of the bosses we face. The Swarm Mount Power however does put a slow effect on bosses which allows the 10% damage bonus to work during Artifact calls.
Steel Blitz does between 5 – 6% of my total damage.
Using any other Class Features will surely cause the bosses to die of old age.
Mightier Leap upgrades Mighty Leap to a Mob killer. From 250 magnitude to 780. Mobs just melt when using this correctly.
Since mobs die so quickly and we do not use Not so Fast on Bosses, we do not need the feat Relentless Speed.
Bloodspiller upgrades Bloodletter from 520 magnitude to 920 and reduces the cooldown by 3 seconds. Also it causes Bloodletter to do damage to yourself equal to 20% of the hit mitigated by your Defensive stats.
Indomitable Rage actually increases the magnitude by up to 400, but it also decreases the base damage of IBS to 650 from 750, another bug sadly. So max damage is 1050 in the end in both ways.
Overpenetration gives you a 5% Damage buff when your Power and Accuracy Rating is capped. This means if you have 75000 Item Level, the buff will be active when you have more than 75000 Power and Accuracy. This buff seems to be only working for At-Wills, Encounters and Daily powers.
Choosing Brutal Critical increases Rage by 2 for every critical attack. This option isn’t terrible if you simply cannot get your Power/Accuracy ratings capped. It does actually increase rage on the rage bar, but its only visual and it doesn’t actually extend the duration. So it only works out of Battlerage.
Steel Slam upgrades Avalanche of Steel to probably the best AOE daily and certainly the best looking in my opinion. This is not 250 magnitude dot, its 325 magnitude and during 12 sec duration it procs 5 times, making this feat 1625 magnitude AOE dot damage plus 900 magnitude from daily itself. When timed correctly you’ll be like the Mafia and just make all the mobs disappear. “Get Marduk to read this in his Italian accent”
Unstoppable Spin has no use since nobody should be using Spinning Strike.
Relentless Battlerage helps you build Rage twice as fast, but Battlerage only increases damage by 14% instead of 20%. Rage builds really slow without this feat, it’s still not lightning speed with the feat but a lot faster. Maybe someday we won’t need to select this feat at all, but surely we aren’t selecting Escalating Rage. Who wants to be stunned for 3 seconds, waiting for all those red areas to kill you?
When running up to a group of Mobs, identifying if they have any control abilities such as interrupt, stun or knock back is very important. If you aren’t sure rather play it safe and assume they can, for this I would recommend starting the fight this way:
Mobs that could possibly control you:
Use Mighty Leap and aim for a safe spot, be sure not to hit any targets. This procs your Mightier Leap Feat, increasing the next jump to 780 magnitude. Try aiming this to hit as many mobs as possible. If there are mobs that survived, use Not so Fast to proc the 15% buff from Trample of the Fallen. Spam Relentless Slash and activate Battlerage while still spamming Relentless Slash. If any mobs still survive, use Not so Fast when it comes off cooldown for the 15% buff while still spamming Relentless Slash.
If you know the dungeon well and know the next group of mobs does not have control abilities, I recommend starting the fight this way:
Mobs that cannot control you:
Use Mighty Leap and aim for a safe spot, be sure not to hit any targets. This procs your Mightier Leap Feat, increasing the next jump to 780 magnitude. Run into the middle of the mobs, Use Relentless Slash for the 5% buff, followed up by Not so Fast for the 15% buff and then use your second Mighty Leap and aim it on the same spot you are standing. This should melt away almost any group of mobs. Spam Relentless Slash and activate Battlerage while still spamming Relentless Slash. If any mobs still survive, use Not so Fast when it comes off cooldown for the 15% buff while still spamming Relentless Slash.
For both situations: Use Bloodletter to finish off any surviving mobs. Usually there is at least one elite mob that might be too stubborn to accept defeat.
When starting a Boss fight, always wait for the tank to grab aggro and position the boss. Never stand on the tank’s side. Sometimes they turn him around, other times you have to run to get behind the Boss. You want to fight the boss while having someone on the opposite side of him, this way you gain Combat Advantage which is very important.
So you start with a Relentless Slash for the 5% buff, followed up by Punishing Charge, Frenzy and Bloodletter. This will put your Rage high enough to activate Battlerage. I basically use those encounters to gain Rage because using At Wills takes too long to gain Rage. When activating Battlerage you want to spam Brash Strike until Battlerage runs out. Remember to use Relentless Slash once every 12 seconds. Bloodletter can be used while Battlerage is active because of its low cooldown, but not when its about to run out. Then rather wait and use all the encounters again to build Rage.
For an “artifact call” in a Trial or Dungeon it’s important to have your encounters off cooldown and ready. Everybody is usually assigned a debuff artifact, so when the call comes I do the following:
Use artifact, Relentless Slash, Punishing Charge, Frenzy, Bloodletter, activate Battlerage, start using Brash Strike and use Savage Advance + Toad/Tunnel Vision. Continute spamming Brash Strike until Battlerage has run out. Start with the rotation again as explained above.
Boons doesn’t make a big difference most of the time, but since we have them we might as well use them wisely.
Running dungeons, using the Revive sickness boon is the best option.
The Mount Speed Bonus boon is really nice for just general play and questing.
Since Batiri is only good vs Bosses, be sure to swap it out for something else on Mob fights.
Since Summoned companions have been getting nerfs like Xuna, Cold Iron Warrior and Air Archon the Augments have been the better option since the major boost in stats they give. Some Summoned companions can still be better than Augments in certain scenarios, but it comes down to how much damage they do vs the damage increase you get from the stats gained by using an Augment.
Owlbear Cub – Augment Enhancement: 2250 Accuracy/Combat Advantage/Critical Severity
The Owlbear Cub is the only available Augment that has 3x Offensive stat Enhancements. Augment Enhancement are extra stats that Augment companions have.
Acute Sense has a chance to increase your Combat Advantage with 7.5% for 15 seconds.
Selecting companions for these 5 slots all comes down to what bonus or stat they give. Some bonusses are superior to stats depending on how much bonusses you already have since they are an additive bonus.
My top picks:
Batiri: 11% damage buff against Bosses
Minsc: 5.6% – 8.6% damage buff “This bonus works on enemies with 3 star and above”
Neverwinter Knight: 7.5% damage buff
Golden Cat: 7.5% Combat Advantage
Staldorf: 7.5% Combat Advantage
Phase Spider: 3.8% Combat Advantage, 3.8% Critical Strike
Alchemist Experimenter: 3.8% Combat Advantage, 3.8% Critical Strike
All stats shown are at Mythic quality.
These are my personal choices, but it all depends on which stats you need to get them balanced.
This is used to proc the Band of Air more frequently. Seeing as I dont need any more stat ratings…
There are a few different powers like this with the same 3000 Magnitude hit on a single target: Giant Toad Tongue Lash, Tunnel Vision, Golden Touch
I recommend using Dominance, Brutality and Skill insignias.
Reduces cooldowns by 2 seconds after using an Artifact.
I feel the NEED………………………………………………………………………… For SPEED !
Who doesn’t like being fast?
I’m using 2x Gladiator’s Guile so that I don’t have to spend stamina all the time getting out of red areas and back to the fight.
Adds 2500 Combat Advantage, should help to reach some of the high stat caps. Unfortunately some of my Control Powers does not proc this bonus against some bosses. This might have been fixed, bugged again… I cant keep track.
Decrease Defensive stats by 1000 and increases Offensive stats by 1000
Using multiple Insignia bonusses does stack, but with 50% less with every stack. Artificer’s Persuasion does not stack.
I’m using the following:
Sturdy Barbed Collar: At-will Powers do more damage
Wayfaring Barbed Collar: Critical Severity is increased
Unified Crescent Collar: Movement Speed is increased
Supportive Crescent Collar: Stamina Gain is increased
Practical Regal Collar: Rough Astral Diamond Drops are increased
Poisoned Thorn enchant seems to be the best since there aren’t many to choose from. It does about 3% of my total damage.
These all depend on which stats you need
Amethyst enchansments would be the best in my opinion to boost your Awareness stat.
Garnet enchantments add Forte. I believe there are no real other choices here.
Recharge bonus or Movement bonus would be my choices here.
Rage of Flames:
+5% damage buff
+5% Critical Strike, +5% Accuracy
Corrupt Black Ice/Lethal/Piercing:
Chance to give 800 Power/Critical Strike/Critical Severity and 1.25% AP gain for 8 seconds. Different ones does stack
Undread/Dragon Slayer Overloads from the Stronghold are great when doing Crown of Keldegonn. +5%/10% Damage vs Undead/Dragon type enemies.
For consumables you want to buff your stats as much as possible. You are only allowed to use one of each of the following groups:
- Event Food
- Stronghold Food – Sadly nerfed into the ground and not very useful these days except maybe 1
These are my choices:
Sunlord’s Gift Elixir grants 2000 Accuracy and 5% Combat Advantage
Crafter Potion of Accuracy Rank 4, +1 grants 3600 Accuracy
Watermelon Sorbet grants 10% Power and Accuracy
Sambocade grants 1429 HP + 5% Movement Speed
There are many different Elixirs, Potions and Event foods to choose from. You need to figure out which stats you need from them to reach 90% in a certain stat or get as close as possible.
Event foods does not persist through death.
I would like to thank the Academy, err wait this ain’t the Oscars…
There are a few I would like to thank:
- My South African group of guys putting up with my dry sense of humor.
- Puggernaut err i mean Juggernaut for proofreading and supplying some extra info about some game “features”. Also for always being available to chat and discuss Barbarian stuff.
- Janne for making a few suggestions and for hosting this guide on her website.
- Everybody for taking the time to read it all the way. Hopefully the guide ended better than Game of Thrones: Arya went West, Drogon went East, Jon went North and the writing went South…