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    Barbarian Guide by Loranna

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 08/25/02 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Version 1.0, August 25 2002
    Written by Loranna (lorannapyrel@hotmail.com)
    *** Table of Contents ***
    Section 1:  Introduction
    Section 2:  Legal Notice and Contact Information
    Section 3:  Why Play as a Barbarian?
          Section 3.1:  What a Barbarian Cannot Do
         Section 3.2:  What a Barbarian Can Do
    Section 4:  The Barbarian's Individual Abilities
          Section 4.1:  Weapon Styles
                Section 4.1.1:  Weapon and Shield Style
                Section 4.1.2:  Dual Weapon Style
              Section 4.1.3:  Two Handed Weapon Style
          Section 4.2:  Stat Points
                Section 4.2.1:  Strength
                Section 4.2.1:  Dexterity
                Section 4.2.3:  Vitality
                Section 4.2.4:  Energy
              Section 4.2.5:  Suggestions for Stat Distribution
          Section 4.3:  Barbarian Skills 
                Section 4.3.1:  Combat Skills
                Section 4.3.2:  Combat Masteries
                Section 4.3.3:  Warcries
    Section 5:  Putting It All Together
          Section 5.1:  What a Barbarian Needs
                Section 5.1.1:  Crowd Control
                Section 5.1.2:  Powerful Attack and Physical Immune Killing
                Section 5.1.3:  Adequate Defenses
                Section 5.1.4:  Means of Healing
                Section 5.1.5:  Mobility
          Section 5.2:  A Suggested Skeleton Barbarian Skill Selection 
          Section 5.3:  Possible Builds Using the Skeleton Skill Selection 
    Section 6:  Hirelings
          Section 6:1:  The Rogue Hireling
    Section 7:  Closing Thoughts
    Section 8:  Revision History
    Section 9:  Credits
    *** Section 1:  Introduction ***
    Hello everyone, and thanks for looking at my Barbarian Guide for Diablo 
    2; this is my first ever attempt at making a guide for a video game, so 
    please bear with me as I offer my insights into the Barbarian class.
    Before we begin, I would like to say that this guide assumes the reader 
    has a basic familiarity with the game Diablo 2, LoD, and the terms and 
    conventions used in the game.  The guide is also written from a mostly 
    Single Player, Player versus Monster perspective.  I have only been 
    playing Diablo 2 for a few months at this point; I have never taken part 
    in any duels, and have only played some limited multiplayer games with 
    friends via TCP/IP.  I don't use Battle.Net, and consequently do not 
    have access to the sort of equipment one can find for sale from traders.  
    It is, in fact, for these reasons that I have decided to try writing a 
    guide for Diablo 2.
    Many of the other guides and FAQs I have seen for this game are written 
    by people who have played for a long time, who have accumulated riches 
    and ultra-powerful items over that time.  Their advice and character 
    builds, to me, reflect this experience and tend to assume an ability to 
    choose from the best items in the game for even newly-made characters. I 
    have no doubts that, for people with the resources to get the equipment 
    recommended, and maybe a rush to get their character up to high levels 
    in a day or two, the guides and FAQs I've read are very helpful.
    However, to me, not everyone has the luxuries afforded by playing on 
    Battle.Net, with the multitude of items for sale and the chance to get a 
    character rushed to high level quickly.  People like myself, who play 
    Single Player most of the time, don't necessarily have access to all the 
    wondrous items mentioned in these guides.  Also, newer players who are 
    just trying out a Barbarian for the first time, going by one of the 
    guides written by more experienced players, may not immediately realize 
    some of the unspoken things these guides do not mention; this is not to 
    say that the writers of the other guides were wrong in leaving out those 
    details - they've played the game a lot, and such things to them would 
    be so obvious as to not need mentioning.  And also, several of the 
    guides I have seen are built for specific types of playing styles - most 
    notably dueling, or magic find runs, both of which are popular styles of 
    play, but which might not be what a newer player is looking for ...
    I, as a newer player, feel I have a different perspective on the game 
    than people who have played for years by now; I don't have the uber-
    items at hand and am usually playing with only myself and my lone NPC 
    hireling to face the hordes of demons.  I am trying, through this guide, 
    to offer a different perspective than what other guides I have seen have 
    had; to speak to those players who, like myself, are relative newcomers 
    to the game and are wondering how they'll ever attain the demigod-like 
    power of some of Battle.Net's veterans.  I cannot offer tips on how to 
    make a Barbarian Godly - but I can offer my experiences in how to make 
    your Barbarian survive the rigors of the battles before him, making use 
    of what you can find simply by playing the game, without trading, and by 
    exploiting your Skills to good effect.  And if I say something that 
    makes a veteran look at the Barbarian with a new perspective - well, 
    then I'll know I wrote something good (^_^)
    *** Section 2:  Legal Notice and Contact Information ***
    This Guide is my work; GameFAQS Username Loranna, Copyright August 2002.  
    It is meant for personal use and it is not meant to be used to produce 
    revenue in any way.  Please do not publish or distribute this guide with 
    intent to sell; also please do not post it on your Web site without 
    first contacting me and getting my permission 
    (lorannapyrel@hotmail.com), and even with my permission, please do not 
    alter, edit, truncate, or otherwise change around my work - even if it's 
    a spelling mistake.  Current sites with permission to post my Guide are 
    www.GameFAQS.com; should you see this guide on any other site, please 
    inform me that proper action may be taken.
    Whenever I quote numerical data, such as percentage of a skill working, 
    etc, all such data has come from the Arreat Summit, at 
    People interested in more technical detail about various Skills and the 
    like - such as the exact progression of damage and attack rating bonuses 
    - are encouraged to go to the aforementioned website and read up on it 
    there; Blizzard has done a far better job of compiling that sort of 
    information than I could hope to do in this guide - plus, they have 
    screenshots too! (^_^)
    *** Section 3:  Why Play as a Barbarian? ***
    Barbarians are a powerful fighting class in Diablo 2, with many options 
    for customizing the sort of fighter you want.  Anything form a classic 
    sword and shield toting hero, to a berserker wielding two large axes, to 
    a dragoon style warrior who jumps in with a massive pike, to a 
    specialist in throwing knives, can easily be made with the Barbarian 
    class.  Barbarians also possess a mix of abilities that make them a good 
    choice for not only solo play, but also group play, with war cries which 
    can grant bonuses to party members as well as the Barbarian himself.
    Barbarians are also a relatively simple class to start off in, as their 
    primary means of taking down the legions of Hell are through force of 
    arms, which means that people can jump right into playing a Barbarian 
    with little effort.  Yet, Barbarians have a level of depth to them as 
    well beyond simple hack-and-slash; the number of skills devoted to 
    weapons and weapon use offer many options for different combat styles, 
    war cries provide ways for Barbarians to 'buff' allies and weaken 
    enemies, as well as control the ability of monsters to even get in close 
    enough to hit you.  Barbarians can be furious, all-out offensive killing 
    machines, powerful, nigh-unhittable tanks, marksmen who coolly dispatch 
    foes from a distance, or a mix of all three, and all while providing 
    backup support for a team taking on Diablo and his brothers.  Many of 
    the Barbarian's skills can prove useful even with only a single skill 
    point allocated to them, providing Barbarians with potentially a wealth 
    of options and tactics to play with, or one can choose to concentrate in 
    just a few skills and become a deadly specialist.
    *** Section 3.1:  What a Barbarian Cannot Do
    Before going into the list of things a Barbarian can do, let me briefly 
    sum up what they can not do - and then later I will explain how 
    Barbarians can compensate for these inabilities :)
    First off, Barbarians do not have many skills for inflicting magical or 
    elemental damage.  What magical damage they can inflict, is mostly form 
    skills like Berserk and maybe War Cry (if that skill does magic and not 
    physical damage) - and Berserk is a melee skill, while War Cry is a 
    short-range radius.  When it comes to striking down foes at a distance 
    with the power of the elements, Barbarians must look to other sources 
    than their natural skills; they are, in fact, the only class which lacks 
    any real elemental damage in their skill set (Sorceresses and Paladins 
    have ways to use ice, fire, and lightning; Necromancers have poison and 
    pure magic attacks, and Amazons, Druids, and Assassins all have some 
    ability to inflict all four elemental attacks, either in melee or in 
    ranged form)
    Second, Barbarians do not have the ability to summon minions - other 
    than their hireling and party members, the Barbarian faces the hordes of 
    Hell alone.  Only the Sorceress and the Paladin suffer from this lack, 
    and the Paladin has a skill that can temporarily convert monsters into 
    minions, offering the Paladin a way around this limitation.  Barbarians 
    can, however, create Grim Wards, which can be used to keep enemies off 
    of a Barbarian's back as effectively as a meat-shield summon, if not 
    somewhat more so in the proper circumstances.
    These are the Barbarian's most noticeable inabilities; lack of any real 
    elemental skills, and lack of minion summoning.  However, the list of 
    abilities a Barbarian does have more than makes up for these lacks.
    *** Section 3.2:  What a Barbarian Can Do
    This is just a short teaser list of the abilities available to a 
    Barbarian; later sections will go into more detail about each of these 
    abilities in turn.
    A Barbarian can ...
    - Specialize in almost any sort of melee or throwing weapon, doing 
    impressive damage
    - Control the distance between enemies and himself, thus controlling how 
    many monsters can get in close to hit him
    - 'Teleport' - or, rather, Leap, which is one of the better ways of 
    getting around in a tight jam as well as a useful attack
    - Wield two weapons, and use skills allowing for hitting multiple foes 
    at once
    - Use passive skills which improve defense, stamina, elemental 
    resistance, and walking/running speed
    - Use war cries to raise allies' defenses, life, mana, and stamina, 
    weaken enemy attacks and defenses, stun monsters, frighten off monsters, 
    or pull monsters to them (last three part of 'controlling the distance')
    - Use skills that can 'pop' corpses, preventing reviving monsters from 
    raising their dead comrades - and providing a chance to find more items 
    in the process, or frighten monsters away
    - Use combat skills that can inflict tons of damage, provide 
    uninterruptible attacks, knock enemies away, or stun enemies briefly
    *** Section 4:  The Barbarian's Individual Abilities ***
    With such an array of abilities from which to choose, deciding what 
    skills to take, and how many points to invest in each, can be a daunting 
    task.  In addition, there is the matter of stat points to distribute, 
    what weapons to use, etc - a possibly daunting array of choices for a 
    new Barbarian player.  So, how does one decide what abilities to go for?
    *** Section 4.1:  Weapon Styles
    Before deciding what skills to select or how to allocate your stat 
    points from leveling, first you should determine a few things about your 
    Barbarian's preferences for weapons - several of the Barbarian's skills 
    work best with certain weapon setups and not so good with others.  
    Example - Frenzy is a skill that requires wielding two weapons to use 
    it; if you're making a Barbarian who uses swords and shields, or pole 
    arms, Frenzy is not for you.
    The following is a brief description of weapon styles available to 
    Barbarians, with some suggestions as to the advantages and drawbacks to 
    each, and what skills each style might want to look into.  Note - these 
    styles are conventions I have made up and aren't actually part of the 
    game per se; if anything, I would attribute my choice of naming these 
    styles to Dungeons and Dragons (TM) and other such RPGs.
    * Section 4.1.1:  Weapon and Shield Style
    A classic fantasy staple, this style has the Barbarian swinging a weapon 
    in one hand and deflecting arrows and blows with his trusty shield.  
    Said weapon can be either a melee weapon, such as a sword, mace, or axe, 
    or even a throwing weapon - all of which can be used as melee weapons as 
    well, though most throwing weapons are much better used as ranged 
    With a shield, a Barbarian gains several advantages.  One is increased 
    defense from the shield; another is the chance to block incoming 
    physical attacks; a third is an increased chance for having good 
    resistances to elemental attacks - shields can be socketed with diamonds 
    and runes to provide better resistances than one might normally obtain 
    through other items.  
    Using a shield, however, does limit a Barbarian's offensive abilities - 
    he gives up the chance to swing two weapons at once, or the ability to 
    wield a weapon with two hands (two-handed weapons typically do 
    noticeably more damage than one-handed weapons).  This lack of damage 
    can be compensated for by getting powerful one-handed weapons, pumping 
    up a Barbarian's weapon mastery in the appropriate weapon, using combat 
    skills, and by increasing one's attack speed - but overall, a Barbarian 
    using weapon and shield will do less damage per attack or unit of time 
    than other Barbarians.  Weapon and shield is a defensive, resistance 
    minded style; the Barbarian is stressing his own safety over his death-
    dealing ability, confident that his defenses will keep him safe while he 
    chops down his foes.
    Weapon and Shield also presents one other potential problem - the chance 
    of getting caught in 'blockstun'; a barrage of attacks deflected by your 
    shield will cause the Barbarian to go into the blocking animation over 
    and over, preventing him form moving for a moment.  This can be annoying 
    when you're being fired upon by a dozen blowdart-wielding Flayers and 
    you just want to take a few steps to the left for some cover ...  
    Getting a faster block rate, however, can compensate for this problem, 
    and to my mind, all those attacks that are keeping me in a blocking 
    animation, had they hit, would likely have me gasping for a medic 
    anyway, so I prefer to be alive and wading through the fire then dying 
    and still having to wade through the fire (^_^)
    Barbarians going for shield usage have a lot of options available to 
    them; should they choose to pump up skills like Iron Skin and Shout 
    (both of which raise defense), and get their hands on a shield with good 
    blocking percentages, they can become formidable tanks, and by raising 
    Natural Resistance while using shields socketed with diamonds, they can 
    often walk into Hell difficulty with resistances near max even with the 
    steep penalties.  Combat-skill wise, only the skills dealing 
    specifically with two weapons are pointless for this fighter; weapon and 
    shield style can either use skills like Bash, Stun, Concentrate, and 
    Berserk to pick off enemies one by one, or else go for Whirlwind and 
    slice up foes with abandon - and the shield offers Barbarians using 
    Whirlwind and Berserk an additional layer of defense that they would 
    otherwise not have.  Alternatively, a Barbarian using throwing weapons 
    can use skills like Howl, War Cry, and Grim Ward to keep enemies at a 
    safe distance, while his shield gives him a chance to deflect arrows and 
    other ranged physical attacks while he picks his targets and whittles 
    the legions of Hell down with deft throws of his weapon.  
    I, myself, favor the use of the weapon and shield style, both for melee 
    and for ranged weapons - I use a sword and shield as one weapon 
    configuration, and a throwing axe and shield for the other.  Thus far, I 
    have found that this style of play suits my inclinations well, and even 
    if a player wishes to make a two-handed wielder or a dual-wielder, 
    weapon and shield is a good option to look into when you're just 
    starting off and have few skill points and good pieces of equipment to 
    play with.
    * Section 4.1.2:  Dual Weapon Style
    This Barbarian goes for a more offensive approach, wielding two weapons 
    to carve his foes into pieces.  Any one handed melee weapon, and any 
    sword be it one or two handed, can be used in a dual wielding style by a 
    Barbarian, as can dual throwing weapons.
    By sacrificing a shield in favor of another weapon, a Barbarian 
    increases the damage he can do per unit of time, and also opens up other 
    options - it can be hard early on to find a sword with both good life 
    leech and good mana leech, or with more than one elemental damage, but 
    by wielding two weapons, you double the options available to you.  Have 
    one sword that does great ice damage, but no leech?  Wield it with 
    another weapon with a bunch of skulls and leech all you want while 
    freezing your foes (^_^).   Of course, there are other ways to get extra 
    bonuses like this, such as charms, rings, amulets, etc - but having two 
    weapons gives you that many more options, especially in lower levels 
    when the really good charms and jewelry can be hard to come by.
    The downside to using two weapons is that you sacrifice the protection 
    of a shield in order to get it, and all the benefits a shield can 
    provide.  However, all the Barbarian's defense-raising skills can still 
    be used, so one can still make a fairly impressive tank with two 
    weapons.  And high-end weapons can often have bonuses to resists, which 
    can offset the lack of a shield with runes and diamonds to some degree 
    (or to a large degree, depending on what you get your hands on)
    Skill-wise, the Barbarian using two weapons, especially melee, has 
    several skills tailored for his style.  Frenzy is perhaps the most 
    notable, allowing a dual wielding Barbarian to increase his attack speed 
    and movement rate to truly frightening levels and cementing the dual 
    wielding Barbarian's reputation for being a blender on legs.  Whirlwind, 
    when used with two weapons, hits more often than with just one, as the 
    secondary weapon slices through the legions of Hell along with the 
    primary - thus increasing the damage that skill can offer over and above 
    what a weapon and shield wielder could hope for.  Throwing specialists 
    using two throwing weapons can strike down foes twice as fast using 
    Double Throw, and still can use all the same skills for keeping enemies 
    at safe distances that any other Barbarian can.
    My experiences with dual wielding are, admittedly, limited - having 
    grown comfortable with weapon and shield style, I tend to stick with it 
    - but I have tried both a dual sword wielding style and a dual throwing 
    style for comparison purposes.  My feeling is that dual wielding style 
    is a fast and furious, high-risk high-reward method of play - yes, you 
    hit the enemies twice as much, and with even lower levels of skills like 
    Frenzy, you can get noticeable increases to speed and movement, but 
    without a good investment in the defense-raising skills, you are leaving 
    yourself more open for attacks, particularly ranged attacks like arrows 
    and blowdarts (War Cry, however, offers a way to make melee range a lot 
    safer ^_^).  If you like playing very offensive-type characters, 
    however, dual wielding is an attractive option - just be mindful of 
    allocating skills to help compensate for your lack of a shield's 
    One last note on dual wielding; in the few times I used two weapons, I 
    found that skills like Bash, Concentrate, and Berserk still only attack 
    with one sword - the sword in your right hand (the hand that typically 
    wields a weapon if you're also using a shield).  If you intend on using 
    any of those skills with a two-weapon style (Berserk being the one most 
    likely, in my estimation, to be used by a dual wielding Barbarian 
    especially in Hell Difficulty), then it's a good idea to have your most 
    damaging weapon be in your right hand.  
    * Section 4.1.3:  Two Handed Weapon Style
    The Barbarian who decides to wield large, two-handed weapons can choose 
    from some of the hardest-hitting and longest-reaching melee weapons in 
    the game.  Sacrificing both a shield and some of the speed in attacking 
    that a dual wielder can attain, the two-handed weapon specialist gains 
    the ability to strike foes with devastating single blows, while 
    potentially keeping melee monsters at arm's length.  And when these 
    Barbarians Whirlwind, the added reach many two-handed weapons provide 
    gives their spinning dance of death a little more ability to hit more 
    enemies that a sword or mace wouldn't hit.
    Unlike the other two styles of combat, there is no real ranged version 
    of the two-handed weapon style; bows and crossbows are not among the 
    weapons Barbarians can take masteries in, and while nothing prevents a 
    Barbarian from stringing a bow or wielding a crossbow, their combat 
    skills are not geared for such weapons as they are for throwing weapons 
    and most melee weapons.  This is not to say a two-handed weapon using 
    Barbarian is without ranged options; with the ability to switch between 
    two sets of weapons and shields, a Barbarian wielding a halberd can whip 
    out a pair of throwing axes in a moment's notice, soften up the 
    encroaching hordes with a few well-placed axe tosses, then pull out the 
    halberd again and rain crushing blows upon those unlucky enough to have 
    gotten in close.
    The drawbacks to wielding a two-handed weapon are similar to wielding 
    dual weapons; namely, the sacrificing of a shield and all the related 
    benefits therein.  However, since the two-handed weapon style uses but 
    one weapon, they have fewer opprutunities to raise their resistances 
    through an extra piece of equipment that the dual wielder possesses, or 
    the extra options of using two weapons with varying special abilities 
    for double the woe for their enemies.  While two-handed weapon users can 
    strike quickly with the proper equipment, most two-handed weapons are 
    among the slower weapons in game, thus the style lends itself to a 
    slower, more deliberate, pace, keeping the enemies at bay with a large 
    stick and hewing them down with powerful blows - though it is still a 
    more offensively oriented style of play then, say, weapon and shield.
    Skill-wise, the only skills a two-handed weapon Barbarian will likely 
    avoid are the ones directly related to using two weapons at once.  
    Again, all the skills for raising defense and controlling the enemies' 
    distance from you are still viable.  Two-handed weapon users are also 
    more likely to make use of Leap Attack as part of their main offense, as 
    their choice of weapons, combined with the large bonuses to damage from 
    Leap Attack, make them more likely to fell even powerful foes with a 
    cleaving strike from the heavens.  Fans of the Dragoons from Final 
    Fantasy may with to give this style a look; be sure to wear an 
    aerodynamic helm when fighting though (^_^)
    Again, for comparison purposes, I tried wielding two-handed weapons a 
    few times, mostly pole arms and spears.  Pole arms for the most part are 
    noticeably slower than the swords I have come to love, and spears are as 
    well (though most spears are a bit faster than most pole arms), and 
    while I usually use Concentrate with a sword for the extra defense it 
    provides.  With pole arms and spears I found myself falling back more 
    and more on the Bash skill, to help compensate for the slower attack 
    speed by keeping the enemies at a safe distance.  For me, while I felt 
    more comfortable with the two-handed style than the two-weapon style, I 
    still felt somewhat awkward trying to use a large pole arm or spear to 
    finish off my foes, especially when in areas with lots of ranged 
    attackers supporting melee monsters.  However, in my estimation, a 
    Barbarian who is mindful of raising their defense-buffing skills and who 
    is good at playing a slow and steady, strike-once-strike-dead style of 
    play, will find two-handed weapons to be a good choice.  Such a 
    character may also wish to experiment with knockback from items to 
    further keep foes at arm's length, though in my experiments knockback 
    from items doesn't quite seem to work all the time ...
    Regardless of what weapon style a Barbarian chooses, many skills 
    (especially from the War Cries skill tab) will be universally helpful.  
    And with the weapon masteries, a Barbarian can get decent damage from 
    most any weapon type, so feel free to choose whatever weapon style you 
    feel most comfortable with - the legions of Hell should hopefully not 
    notice the difference (^_^)
    *** Section 4.2:  Stat Points
    Look at some other FAQs for Barbarians, and the advice you'll see for 
    stat raising often is much the same - enough Strength for 
    Stromshield/the highest Strength-requirement for the equipment listed as 
    part of the build, enough Dexterity for max block with your shield at 
    level 99 (or whatever level you plan on attaining for your Barbarian), 
    all other stat points into Vitality, and by Cain's Beard man, NEVER sink 
    even a Single Point into Energy! (^_^)
    ... Well, there is a certain logic to this advice; life is useful, and 
    you'll generally want as much as you can get, and once you meet your 
    stat requirements for whatever your Final Gear will be you don't really 
    need to put too many points into Strength or Dexterity - most of the 
    Uber-Equipment Suggestions suggest items and weapons with large damage 
    modifiers and high AR bonuses or else just Ignore Target Defense, and as 
    for mana ... well, mana leech anyone?
    However, for this guide, I'm not going to go by the usual suggestions 
    I've seen in other FAQs; the whole idea of this guide is that I'm 
    assuming you don't necessarily have access to all this Uber Equipment 
    and have to play through with what you can manage to find.  Therefore, 
    I'm going to look at each stat, see what it offers, and make suggestions 
    based on that information.
    * Section 4.2.1:  Strength
    The hallmark of Barbarians in fantasy literature and film, Strength is 
    used for a few things in Diablo 2:
    - Determining Melee Damage
    - Partially Determining Thrown Weapon Damage
    - Used as a requirement for many melee weapons and other gear (armor, 
    shields, etc)
    Barbarians being the type who like using weapons and strong armor, 
    Strength is important for Barbarians simply for the fact that most of 
    their favored gear has moderate to high Strength requirements.  From my 
    own experience, the increase in damage done via raising Strength does 
    not seem all that big at lower levels of Strength - there were times 
    when it took a good five points increase in Strength to see even a one 
    point increase in damage done - but at higher levels of Strength, the 
    increases in melee damage became more noticeable more quickly.  Raising 
    Strength to increase damage will pay off; however, also remember that 
    it's not just your Strength that raises damage, but also your equipment 
    and also your Skills - yet another good reason to invest in weapon 
    masteries (as if a Barbarian needed more reasons for that ^_^).
    * Section 4.2.2:  Dexterity
    Traditionally the hallmark of roguish types, Dexterity in Diablo 2 is 
    used for the following:
    - Determining Attack Rating
    - Partially Determining Thrown Weapon Damage
    - Determining Bow and Crossbow Damage
    - Determining Defense
    - Determining Chance to Block with a shield
    - Used as a requirement for some melee weapons and all throwing weapons, 
    bows, and crossbows.
    Dexterity is the stat that will affect how often you hit things, and how 
    well you avoid getting hit back by monsters.  When playing this game, 
    I've noticed that oftentimes, I'll be listed as having an 80% or 84% 
    chance to hit something, yet in actual play I seem to miss three times 
    out of four an annoying number of times - without the ability to Ignore 
    Target Defense, a Barbarian will want to up his attack rating as high as 
    possible, to be able to land any of those powerful blows of his.  Shield 
    users will want to try to get their blocking percentage as high as they 
    can - obviously, shields with higher blocking percentages are a plus, 
    but Dexterity plays a role in determining block percentage as well (the 
    formula I've seen listed for determining block percentage has often 
    confused me, as it seems to imply that higher level characters with the 
    same Dexterity as a character of lower level are less able to block 
    incoming attacks - somewhat counterintuitive, that.)  Throwing weapon 
    specialists will want higher Dexterity not only for attack and defense 
    reasons, but also for pumping up their damage, and because their favored 
    weapons all have dexterity requirements.
    * Section 4.2.3:  Vitality
    Barbarians in fantasy are traditionally hardy people, which would 
    translate into Vitality in game terms.  Vitality in this game actually 
    only determines a couple things:
    - Determining maximum stamina
    - Determining maximum Life Points
    The increasing of life points is the real draw of pumping up this stat 
    for many Barbarians, and Barbarians enjoy some natural advantages here - 
    with each level increase, they gain 2 Life and 1 Stamina naturally, and 
    every Vitality point adds 4 Life and 2 Stamina. With high Vitality and 
    using the Battle Orders Skill, Barbarians can have some rather hefty 
    Life Point totals.  Many Hardcore players, who can't afford to die at 
    all, are purportedly very enamored of the Vitality stat ... but even 
    Softcore players, who can die and simply suffer the bother of retrieving 
    their corpse, will want to have more life points, to make those corpse-
    retrieving trips fewer and farther between.
    * Section 4.2.4:  Energy
    More the providence of mighty wizards, foul sorcerers, and cryptic 
    mystics, the Energy stat as far as I can see affects but one thing in 
    Diablo 2:
    - Determining maximum mana
    Barbarians, sadly, do not enjoy much advantage in the mana department; 
    each level adds one mana naturally, and every point in Energy adds - one 
    additional mana, no more.  Not 1.5, for 3 mana per 2 energy, pure and 
    simple 1 to 1.  Still, Barbarians need mana as much as the next 
    character; you can't Bash and Howl for free, you know (^_^). 
    * Section 4.2.5:  Suggestions for Stat Distribution
    Having briefly looked at what each stat offers your Barbarian, I now 
    make the following suggestions when placing stat points:
    - A Barbarian can make due without putting points into Energy.  At low 
    levels, if you are feeling a pinch in the mana department, you can look 
    to socketing sapphires into helms and armor for mana bonuses, as well as 
    rings and amulets which offer additional mana.  Also look for items and 
    weapons that offer mana leech and points of mana for killing creatures.  
    While a Barbarian who invests points into Energy isn't doing anything 
    wrong - every little bit does help - this is still the stat I would 
    suggest a Barbarian not invest too heavily in, as the other three stats 
    offer more for points invested into them than Energy provides, and it is 
    possible even with the equipment most anyone can hope to find to 
    increase your mana total to higher levels.
    - Not taking the use of stats as requirements for gear into 
    consideration, I would suggest that Dexterity is as useful if not 
    slightly more so to raise for a Barbarian than Strength.  With a 
    Barbarian's skills, and with better weapons, damage can be raised even 
    with a slightly lower Strength, as can Attack Rating and Defense - but 
    if you can't make your blows land, you can't do any damage no matter how 
    powerful your attacks.  This doesn't mean I am suggesting neglecting 
    Strength; every little bit of damage helps too - I am merely saying, 
    that before you go to make your blows as powerful as a titan's fist, 
    that you make sure you can actually land your hits first.
    - Vitality is an important stat to raise; more life points = live 
    longer, especially in those situations where something goes awry and 
    you're suddenly trapped in a mob while Fire Walls spring up under your 
    feet.  However, do remember - the point of your armor, shield (if you 
    have one), resistances, etc is to prevent damage from occurring or 
    reduce damage taken, and that use of your Skills can help keep monsters 
    from hitting you too (more on skills in a bit).  Having an ungodly 
    amount of life points is a good thing; having a decent amount of life 
    points, good defenses and resistances, and the ability to avoid getting 
    hit through tactics is a better thing (^_^).
    - Don't forget that you can find items with pluses to various stats, 
    both gear and charms; if you can get an extra 30 points of Strength from 
    items without sacrificing something from your gear you feel you need, 
    then you can focus on raising other stats for a while and let Strength 
    be pumped up through your items.
    For myself, I have more or less raised my Strength, Dexterity, and 
    Vitality equally, devoting all five stat points per level raise to one 
    stat at a time.  Sometimes, though, I'll skip raising Strength for a few 
    levels in favor of just raising Dexterity and Vitality; I tend to do 
    this whenever I feel I'm more in need of Attack Rating than Raw Damage, 
    yet still want my Life Points to keep advancing steadily.  So far, in 
    Single Player, I've found that has been working tolerably well so far; 
    even in Act Four and starting of Act Five Nightmare, using a relatively 
    decent but hardly Uber Unique weapon (the Ripsaw, socketed with an Amn 
    Rune because I felt I needed some life leech), I can lay most enemies 
    low within a few swings.  If anything, I'm wishing I had put more points 
    in Dexterity than I have, so I don't miss quite so often ... but I'm 
    still hitting often enough to not be in trouble.  Except for Nightmare 
    Diablo, who insists that since he's the namesake villian of the game 
    that he be big, buff, and overall Better Than Me; I have a few 
    'councilling sessions' scheduled for later to disuade him from this 
    notion (^_^).
    *** Section 4.3:  Barbarian Skills
    The Barbarian's Skills are his metaphorical lifeblood; through these 
    Skills, he can attack his foes, defend himself and his allies, move 
    around the battlefield, in short do all the things he does in the game.  
    In this section, I will look at each Skill in as much detail as I can, 
    offering my own experiences with using the Skill as well as any ideas 
    and suggestions I can for making said Skill a useful part of the 
    Barbarian's repertoire - or, at least, my reasons for feeling a Skill is 
    a little less-than-useful.
    * Section 4.3.1:  Combat Skills
    These skills are the Barbarian's main form of attack.  Many of these 
    skills have low mana costs, making them ideally-suited for the often 
    mana-poor Barbarian - and once you find yourself some decent mana leech 
    and some additional mana from items and other sources, you'll likely 
    dispense with the plain old Attack command almost entirely.
    Several skills from this tree offer not only bonuses to attack rating 
    and/or damage, but also add some sort of additional effect to the 
    Barbarian's blows.  Bash, for example, adds knockback, Concentrate adds 
    defense, and Frenzy can add attack speed and increased movement rate.  
    Bash - Level One Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: 2
    Bash is the prerequisite for most of the other skills on this tree, so 
    even people who wish to harness the mighty Whirlwind attack must first 
    learn how to smack their foes around like rag dolls.  The Bash skill 
    adds Knockback to your melee attacks, as well as bonuses to AR and to 
    damage.  It is also, prior to Character Level 6, the only Combat Skill 
    you will have, so beginning Barbarians will likely want to use it when 
    they first explore the Den of Evil.
    Knockback can, in the proper circumstances, be a very powerful ability.  
    Even Champions and Uniques can fall victim to Knockback, and monsters 
    who suffer Knockback while pressed against a wall or other obstacle are 
    locked in hitstun, their heads snapping back in a most satisfying 
    manner.  If you can isolate a Unique from his horde of minions (the Howl 
    Skill from War Cries comes to mind) you can smack the unique around, 
    keeping him hitstunned or simply out of melee range (for uniques with 
    ranged attacks, Bashing them into a wall is usually better then simply 
    smacking them hither and yon), or even sending the hapless monster 
    further and further away from his pack of minions, to be slaughtered in 
    a nice quiet location of your choosing (this tactic works well with some 
    sort of way to keep the minions from following - Howl, Grim Ward, and 
    War Cry all come to mind).  Using the Bash Skill lets a Barbarian have 
    Knockback when he feels he needs it, while leaving him with the option 
    of not knocking back foes when he wishes to keep them in one place while 
    hewing them down.  Even in later parts of the game, I still use my one 
    point Bash to teach melee uniques why Barbarians are the chosen 
    defenders of Mount Arreat.
    One note on the hitstunning effect of knockback when an enemy is pinned; 
    generally, while faster weapons can keep a foe hitstunned with no time 
    to recover, a slower weapon like a pole arm (assuming you are lacking 
    any Increased Attack Speed) may not be fast enough to keep them pinned 
    to a wall without being able to strike back.  For people using slower 
    weapons who want to keep enemies unable to retaliate, try knocking them 
    back into the wall, but not actually following up in toe-to-toe range to 
    keep them stunned, instead standing just out of weapon range or so, and 
    giving them enough time to take a step or two forward.  This way, even 
    though they'll recover from the hitstun, they still won't be able to get 
    close enough to you before your next swing knocks them back into the 
    wall, so they'll be pinned between a rock and a sharp stick.
    Sadly, Act Bosses and Superuniques do not fall victim to Knockback, so 
    no Bashing Diablo around the Chaos Sanctuary for you (^_^).  
    Nonetheless, the option to add Knockback selectively to your melee 
    attacks is one I consider useful, and even with one point only invested 
    in this skill, it still has a permanent home on my hotkeys.  One of 
    these days, though, I swear I shall find the mythical Sword of 
    Smackdown, and beat the Act Bosses around their stages like rag dolls - 
    oh yes, someday ... mwa ha ha ha!
    Leap - Level Six Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: 2
    Leap!  Soar through the sky; put mere mortal athletes to shame with your 
    hang time!  ... Well, maybe not.  (^_^)
    The Leap Skill is one of two 'movement' type skills the Barbarian can 
    learn; using Leap can let you jump over enemies, small obstacles, and 
    other things impeding your path to the Slaying of Evil.  However, of the 
    two 'movement' skills (Leap and Leap Attack), Leap is somewhat the 
    lesser of the two for a number of reasons.
    Leap's range is based on the number of skill points invested; at lower 
    levels the range is rather - short.  As in, you can hope to Leap over 
    the lone Fallen standing between you and his Shaman, but that's about 
    it.  In order to have a decent range, you need to put a lot of points 
    into Leap - and even at maximum skill levels, the range Leap can achieve 
    is as far as what Leap Attack can offer - for one skill point.  Almost 
    anyone who has played Barbarians for any length will suggest that saving 
    your skill points, and putting a single point into Leap Attack at Level 
    18, is a far more economical way of getting a far-reaching movement 
    skill for your Barbarian.
    Leap causes a small radius of Knockback where you land, though it does 
    not cause any damage.  Again, compared to Leap Attack (which offers the 
    same knockback and a swing at an enemy with high bonus damage), Leap 
    seems to come up short here.  However, the knockback effect can offer 
    some limited crowd-clearing ability.  Don't try to rely too much on it, 
    though, as a form of crowd control ...
    This is not to say that Leap is useless; Leap costs a small amount of 
    mana per use, and can be helpful for escaping being surrounded, getting 
    past cannon fodder in narrow confines to get at bigger threats (like 
    Shamans and Greater Mummies), and for avoiding danger.  Prior to Level 
    18, it is not a bad idea to have Leap hotkeyed for such situations.  You 
    will, however, most likely not want to invest any points beyond one in 
    this skill, and when you get access to Leap Attack, Leap will likely be 
    retired in favor of it's more powerful cousin - however, if you find a 
    good Barbarian Helm that offers a few levels in Leap, you'll have a 
    decent Poor Man's Teleport Skill with short range, but for a paltry 2 
    mana, which will serve you well until you reach Level 18.
    Double Swing - Level 6 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Bash
    Mana Cost: 2
    Okay, it's not Whirlwind, nor is it Frenzy.  It is also a skill I tend 
    to not use much at all, since I favor a weapon and shield style.  
    However, it is a low-level skill which allows you to attack two enemies 
    at once in melee range, and the mana cost stays fixed at 2.  Double 
    swing makes your Barbarian swing the two weapons in his hands quickly, a 
    lot more quickly than just using the regular Attack command, and if two 
    enemies are next to you, you'll swing a weapon at both of them with the 
    increased speed this Skill offers.
    Sadly, this skill doesn't offer any damage bonus, only bonuses to AR - 
    and the bonuses offered start off at low percents, though they do grow 
    steadily.  However, the AR bonus from this skill will not, from what I 
    have seen, ever compare with what even a couple points in Frenzy can 
    offer. In addition, Frenzy is a fixed mana cost of 3, and Frenzy offers 
    everything Double Swing does, with additional bonuses for damage, attack 
    speed, and movement rate.  For these reasons, I would expect that, much 
    like Leap, a Barbarian will likely only invest one point into this 
    skill, and when the more powerful Frenzy becomes available, this skill 
    will be retired in favor of Frenzy.  Until Level 24, however - this 
    skill offers a Barbarian a chance to hit two enemies at once for damage, 
    something no other Barbarian Skill at a comparable level can do, and 
    offers some increased attacking speed - not true Increased Attack Speed 
    so much as just making your two sword swings happen in one action (which 
    is, effectively, doubling how quickly you get attacks off, but still is 
    technically not the same as IAS I believe).  While you're rising in 
    level, if you dual wield, you may wish to use this skill, as it's 
    available early on and is a prerequisite for the most powerful dual-
    wielding skill anyway.  And again, if you find a Barbarian Helm with 
    this skill on it, your one point investment will yield better returns.
    Stun - Level 12 Skill  
    Prerequisites:  Bash
    Mana Cost: 2
    "There's one; set for Stun."  (^_^)  This Skill sounds very useful in 
    theory; a successful strike will render a opponent helpless for a brief 
    time, letting you continue to rain blows on them while they stare 
    helplessly at the halo of stars over their head.  In practice, though, I 
    have found this Skill to be a bit less than useful, compared to other 
    skills a Barbarian can acquire.
    To its credit, Stun is another 2 mana flat rate Skill, and Stunning your 
    opponent can be a useful tactic.  The problems with Stun, however, are:
    1.  It only does base damage; the skill offers only a bonus to AR, and 
    not a great one at that compared to other skills.
    2.  The Stun length requires several points to be invested before it is 
    long enough to be useful as a way of keeping a single enemy helpless.
    3.  The advantages of Stunning an opponent with this skill can be 
    acquired either through the use of the Bash skill to knock an opponent 
    into hitstun, or else by use of the War Cry Skill at Level 30 - and War 
    Cry affects a radius around your Barbarian, allowing you to Stun several 
    opponents, while inflicting damage to them at the same time.
    In my experiences, for one point in Bash, I can keep a single opponent 
    helpless as effectively as if I had about 5 or more points in Stun, 
    especially if I can knock that opponent into a wall, and those 5 or more 
    points, invested into War cry, will allow me to stun multiple enemies 
    while inflicting some minor damage to all of them in one fell swoop.  
    Since I already had Bash by this point, and planned on investing in War 
    Cry down the road, and since this skill didn't offer any bonus damage, I 
    put a point into Stun as a prerequisite for the next two Skills down 
    this skill branch, but never made much use of it other than to test it 
    out.  However, I won't say this skill is totally useless, and you may 
    find Stun to be to your liking.
    Double Throw - Level 12 Skill  
    Prerequisites:  Double Swing
    Mana Cost: 2
    The ranged version of Double Swing, and another skill I have not used 
    all that much, but from all my time spent reading the GameFAQS Diablo 2 
    Message Boards and faqs, this would seem to be a bread-and-butter skill 
    of a pure Throwing Barbarain.  With this skill, your Barbarian throws 
    both throwing weapons in hand in a quick one-two combo, gaining a bonus 
    to AR while he's at it.  The Barbarian is the only character in the game 
    who can throw two weapons at once, and this is the Skill which allows 
    for that.
    From reading some of the faqs on Throwing Barbarians on GameFAQS, I was 
    led to believe that, at least for Normal difficulty, Double Throw is 
    best reserved for bosses and tougher opponents, as the normal throw 
    commands seem to be sufficient for taking out Fallen, Skeletons, and 
    other Cannon Fodder enemies.  Also from these faqs, I was led to believe 
    that investing points in this skill beyond a certain point is really 
    only recommended if you are finding it difficult to get through your 
    enemy's defense.  After managing to find myself a Horned Helm with a 
    couple levels in Double Throw, I set my sword and shield Barbarian off 
    to confirm these ideas, try out this Skill, and experiment with using 
    two throwing weapons in general.  (I also privately vowed afterwards 
    that from now on it's Jawbone Caps and Fanged Helms for me; I felt a bit 
    silly running around in a Horned Helm and don't get me started on 
    Assault Helmets ... ^_^)
    At first, I tried to pretend that Diablo 2 is Street Fighter 2 by 
    putting Throw on the left-click, Throw Left on the right-click, and 
    putting my old E. Honda Hundred Hand Slap skills to use by tapping both 
    in a continual rhythm.  Upon relating my experiences thus tomy friend 
    DragonKat, he suggested that I just assign both to the left-click, leave 
    the right-click open for Warcries, and simply switch hands when running 
    low on ammunition for one hand ...  I can now, though, say with some 
    confidence that even dual throwing Barbarians will not really feel a 
    need to try to throw both weapons in hand unless they are, in fact, 
    looking to use Double Throw.  Even if for no other reason than trying to 
    left-click, right-click, left-click etc is still slower than Double 
    Throw's throwing speed, makes it that much more difficult to get a lock 
    on a target, and ties up both mouse buttons for attacks when you'd be 
    better off having a Warcry ready for use in case of emergency.  (Thanks 
    to DragonKat for being the voice of reason for someone who does a lot of 
    Diablo 2 playing at three in the morning ^_^).
    Bouts of silliness aside, my estimation of this skill is that it really 
    only offers a Barbarian two things - better chance to hit from the AR 
    bonuses, and faster monster killing at the expense of burning through 
    both your sources of ammunition at once.  Given that a Barbarian can 
    deal with common grunt enemies by using Warcries to keep them at bay and 
    pick them off at their leisure, this Skill in my estimation is geared 
    more towards dealing with the tougher foes - Champions, Uniques, and 
    Superuniques - who aren't as easily kept at bay by a Barbarian's Skills.  
    There is, however, a certain fun to be had playing the Throwing 
    specialist's answer to a John Woo character ... (^_^).  Since the 
    primary benefit I see that this Skill offers is the chance to toss both 
    your throwing weapons in one action at an enemy, I tend to agree with 
    what I've read in other guides, that more points in this Skill are 
    really only needed if you feel you need the AR bonuses; if you've got 
    enough AR to get you through most situations, you probably don't need to 
    invest more points in this Skill.
    Leap Attack - Level 18 Skill  
    Prerequisites:  Leap
    Mana Cost: 9
    For those of you who have patiently waited since Level 6 to see your 
    Barbarian soar through the air like he had on jet thrusters in his 
    boots, your patience is rewarded.  For fans of Final Fantasy who wish to 
    recreate the Dragoon Class, your desires are met.  For anyone else, you 
    now have the chance to get one of the few 'Teleport' type moves in the 
    game - with a fixed mana cost of 9, a fixed maximum range even for one 
    skill point, and with an attack tacked on upon your landing, which even 
    at level 1 in the skill adds good bonuses to AR and damage.  It is good 
    to be a Barbarian (^_^)
    Leap Attack is just that - you leap, you land, you knock back opponents 
    like the Leap Skill and take a swipe at one of them in the process - or, 
    if you wish, you can simply Leap Attack to a spot on the ground by 
    holding down the Shift Key when using it, for leaping over rivers, up 
    and down elevated areas, into the fray and out of a dire situation.  
    While Leap Attacking, you are considered to be a ranged attack - plus, 
    you can't be hit while in the air (but you can be hit upon landing).  
    Even if you never use this skill to land an attack, the usefulness of it 
    as a means of moving around will make it well worth having it hotkeyed.  
    Barbarians with Throwing Mastery can pick their sites from which to 
    throw their weapons with impunity, always staying a step ahead of the 
    crowd; melee Barbarians can soar high over hordes of Cannon Fodder to 
    strike at more dangerous and annoying foes - like ranged attackers and 
    reviving monsters.
    As an actual attack, Leap Attack has a fair amount of power even at 
    lower levels - and putting extra points into this skill will increase 
    the damage dealt; fully maxed out, with a maxed out weapon mastery and a 
    nice high-damage weapon to back it up, Leap Attack can deal a lot of 
    damage with just one hit.  However, as an attack, Leap Attack suffers 
    from a lack of speed - you have to sail through the air, then land and 
    hit your foe, and many enemies can simply by moving dodge the incoming 
    Flying Barbarian of Doom.  Also, you cannot do a Leap Attack on someone 
    immediately adjacent to you - a regular attack comes out instead.  Thus, 
    you need to have at least some small amount of distance between you and 
    your target for the attack to come out.  The fact that enemies can move 
    away from the Leap Attack does tend to limit it's usefulness, and the 
    fact that you must leap, hit, then leap again to attack someone else (or 
    move a few steps away to leap for the same target) means that using this 
    skill as your primary means of killing will require patience.  However, 
    not all monsters move around all that much - Greater Mummies, for 
    example, tend to stand in place to shoot at you and heal/revive undead, 
    making them easy targets for Leap Attack.  And monsters can't always 
    move away form small hops - a short Leap Attack does the same amount of 
    damage as a long one, so people wishing to emulate Dragoons can still 
    hit things with their jumps, and stunning/slowing enemies also does 
    wonders for providing easy targets.
    One word of warning - while leaping into a cluster of monsters looks 
    cool, if you get attacked and stunlocked by the horde, escaping will not 
    be easy; would-be Dragoons may wish to pick away at the edges of a crowd 
    rather than jumping into the thick of things - unless they intend to 
    Whirlwind their way through the horde once they drop in (^_^)  Also, I 
    have found that 'leapfrogging' is a useful way to use Leap Attack - you 
    Leap Attack at one enemy on the edge of a group, then immediately Leap 
    Attack another enemy on another edge of the group, leapfrogging between 
    the two of them till one dies - or, alternatively, you can leapfrog 
    between more than two foes.  And while you're at it, no reason not to 
    toss a War Cry in after your initial assault; your enemies are busy 
    minions of evil, and should stop for a moment to reflect on the finer 
    things in life anyway - like the business end of your weapon (^_^)
    Concentrate - Level 18 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Bash; Stun
    Mana Cost: 2
    Even with just one point invested in this Skill, Concentrate is one of 
    my bread-and-butter attacks; when using this skill, your attack becomes 
    uninterruptible, you gain a bonus to defense, and you get a bonus to AR 
    and damage - all for 2 mana per swing.  About the only drawbacks to this 
    Skill, is that you can hit but one opponent at a time with it, and the 
    Skill doesn't in itself prevent the enemy from hitting you, merely 
    ensures that your swing will get through even if they do overcome your 
    heightened defense.
    At only 2 mana per swing, even modest amounts of mana leech will let you 
    build back your mana from using this Skill with decent damage output - 
    in fact, whenever I need to build back mana, I use this skill over 
    regular attack, even with the 2 mana cost; my mana ball never fails to 
    build back up when I use Concentrate for leeching, assuming I'm not 
    attacking a horde of Skeletons or the like.  With even a few pluses to 
    skills from items, even only one point spent on this skill will yield a 
    solid attack skill to fall back upon, should you wish to spend skill 
    points elsewhere, such as Whirlwind (which needs a major point 
    investment to reap major awards for damage bonuses).
    Again, however, Barbarians wielding two weapons will swing only their 
    right-hand one for Concentrate, so dual-wielders will not get the full 
    benefit of having two weapons for attack if they use this skill.  
    However, weapon and shield users, and two-handed weapon users, have no 
    such problems ...
    Frenzy - Level 24 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Double Swing; Double Throw
    Mana Cost: 3
    My first experience with this skill was when the Moon Lord enemies in 
    Act Five Normal used it on me; I was and still am thankful that the 
    computer does not seem as adept at using this skill as a human player 
    would be, however, as Moon Lords are fast and tough as it is - were they 
    to take full advantage of this Skill, I doubt I'd have made it to Baal 
    in one piece (^_^)
    Frenzy is the ultimate specific skill for dual-wielding Barbarians; when 
    using Frenzy, every successful double hit landed increases your 
    Barbarians movement rate and attack speed, up to the maximum bonuses 
    allowed per your skill level in Frenzy.  Each additional level in Frenzy 
    raises your AR and damage bonuses (which start off at decently good 
    levels and only get better as the skill level rises) as well as the 
    maximum bonuses to movement rate and attack speed.  Combined with the 
    Increased Speed skill Barbarians can get, one can, I hear, zip around 
    the screen like lightning at high enough levels of this skill.  With 
    some increased attack speed from items, naturally fast weapons, and high 
    levels in this skill, Barbarians can slice and dice with the best of 
    The drawbacks to Frenzy, however, are that while you gain lots of 
    increased speed and the like, you still have to hit your enemies one by 
    one - though, it is possible to use other skills while in a Frenzy, and 
    nowhere is it said you can't use War Cry, Howl, and other such skills to 
    convince your enemies to wait a few seconds while you chop them to 
    pieces.  However, the bonuses for Frenzy last but a few seconds, so make 
    it March as they say.  I've also read that, with high enough levels in 
    Frenzy, at some points your character can get so fast you start losing 
    control of him - before you realize it, you're halfway to next week 
    while your foes are staring mutely at the trail of dust and fire your 
    boots left (^_^)  (Incidentally, it's a shame we can't see images of 
    slack-jawed skeletons and greater mummies trying to comprehend how you 
    suddenly became faster than a greased Lightning Fury while you zip 
    around slashing away with gusto).  The short period of time during which 
    Frenzy lasts can be annoying too if you were hoping to charge up Frenzy, 
    then switch to, say, dual throwing weapons and try to emulate a machine 
    gun; while you may be able to finish off foes quickly like that, for 
    large hordes you may have to do a lot of switching between melee for 
    Frenzy charge ups, and Double Throw for mowing people down, and in my 
    experiences with using throwing weapons with my Barbarian, I've 
    generally wanted to stay out of melee range as much as possible when 
    relying on my throwing skills.
    Whirlwind: Level 30 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Bash; Leap; Stun; Leap Attack, Concentrate
    Mana Cost: 25 at level One, +1 Mana per Two levels thereafter (26 at 
    Level 3, 27 at level 5, etc)
    The main reason many people, from what I've read, decide to play 
    Barbarians, Whirlwind is touted by many as a staple for the Barbarian's 
    arsenal of crowd control and swift death dealing.  With this skill, the 
    Barbarian spins with weapons outstretched, slicing into any enemy 
    foolish enough to be caught in his path.  Dual wielding Barbarians will 
    hit 50% more often than single-weapon Barbarians, with the left-hand 
    weapon accounting for the extra hits, and longer reach weapons mean 
    slightly wider swaths of destruction when Whirlwinding.
    Whirlwind is also among the most mana-intensive of the Barbarian's 
    skills; Level one starts at 25 mana per pop, and every two levels in the 
    skill raises the mana cost by one.  Whirlwind also starts off with very 
    low damage; this is offset some by the chance for multiple hits, but the 
    skill requires a generous amount of points to be pumped into it before 
    it starts dealing damage bonuses comparable to, say, level one 
    Concentrate - and the AR bonuses for this skill are not all that high, 
    either.  And by generous amount of skill points, I mean something on the 
    order of 15 to 16 Skill points before a single hit from Whirlwind is on 
    par with a single hit from Level 1 Concentrate.  When Whirlwinding, you 
    are unable to use potions, can still be hit by monsters, and can still 
    block hits if you are using a shield - so you can sometimes end up more 
    chewed up than the enemies you just dashed through, if you're not 
    I have played around with Whirlwind some, having at one point raised the 
    skill up to level 10 or so.  For me, I found that Whilrwind ... wasn't 
    really what I had thought it to be.  To offset the danger of getting 
    killed while whirlwinding, I tried often to mix in a level 10 War Cry to 
    stun foes before whirlwinding through them a couple of times, but the 
    low AR bonuses and damage bonuses tended to mean that things often did 
    not die - and at 29 to 30 mana per whirlwind, on top of the cost for the 
    War Cry to keep everyone in place and docile, I tended to burn through 
    my mana like nothing no matter what.  Granted, my equipment at the time 
    was hardly the best - not that much mana leech, a sword with a max 
    damage of 25 or so (Single Player Normal was most unkind, and refused to 
    drop a 5 or 6 socket Flamberge or something for me to turn into a 
    Runeword like Honor or Silence - never mind I didn't even have half the 
    runes for Silence I don't think anyway ^_^)  Based on my own admittedly 
    somewhat limited experiences, and what I have read from the GameFAQS 
    boards on Diablo 2, I surmise that Whirlwind requires the following in 
    order to become the potent force of destruction I have heard it called:
    1.  Maxed out Whirlwind Skill
    2.  Maxed out Weapon Mastery
    3.  High-damage output weapon - something Exceptional or Elite, 
    preferably with a Cruel modifier
    4.  Decent to high levels of mana leech
    5.  (Optional)  Lots of pluses to skills from items, charms, etc.
    From my perspective, this is a very high level of investment, requiring 
    not only 40 points of skills just for this one attack, but also 
    equipment that I as a Single Player user will not hope to see until 
    sometime in Hell Difficulty - or which, people on Battle.net will have 
    to pony up a fair number of Stones of Jordan for if they're just 
    starting out (hope you brought a wheelbarrow for the chipped gems if 
    you're starting off ^_^).  Granted, most of the time a Barbarian would 
    likely want to max a Weapon Mastery and a Combat Skill to go along with 
    it, but that still leaves the matter of equipment needed to make the 
    Whirlwind viable.  All this, and there is also the matter of enemies 
    being able to hit you while you use the skill, unless you have some way 
    to ensure they are otherwise occupied - or, can do so much damage that 
    even in Hell, with the global 50% damage resistance, you can mow down 
    the legions of the Three before they can even get their attacks off.
    With all this taken into consideration, I have concluded that, while I 
    do think Whirlwind is a fun-looking and potentially devastating skill, 
    the amount of work I would need to make it remotely effective is not 
    worth it, until such time as I have access to the high-end equipment 
    that will let me use Whirlwind consistently, with little fear of getting 
    knocked out of it because I'm missing my foes and they're hitting me as 
    I pass by.  Until then, I might as well just pump up War Cry, toggle on 
    my trusty Concentrate Skill, and chop down foes one by one while they 
    stare at me helpless to resist - a strategy that works relatively well 
    with even modest mana leech, 10 to 12 levels of War cry, a minor amount 
    in Weapon Mastery, and a Level One Concentrate (plus the wisdom to know 
    when to fall back and thin out the hordes swarming after me, of course.)  
    If you are able to meet the equipment needs to make Whirlwind viable, 
    however, then you should have a powerful tool of mass destruction at 
    your command.  
    Berserk - Level 30 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Bash; Stun; Concentrate
    Mana Cost: 4
    This is the skill which Barbarians tend to use against Physical Immunes; 
    Berserk offers large bonuses to AR and damage, and the damage bonus is 
    all 'pure magic' damage, like Bone Spear or Spirit.  Maxed out, with 
    high-end equipment and Weapon Mastery, a Berserk swing can lay low many 
    foes in an amazingly short amount of time.
    However, such power carries with it several disadvantages; using Berserk 
    temporarily lowers one's defense to Zero, ensuring that an enemy will 
    hit unless you have a shield and manage to block the attack - a point in 
    favor of the weapon and shield style of fighting.  Berserk is also a 
    melee-only skill, requiring the Barbarian to get in close, and you 
    cannot leech life or mana from enemies when using it.  Fortunately, the 
    mana cost remains constant at 4, but for those Barbarians who pride 
    themselves in being pure throwing masters, that's rather small 
    Using Berserk while in a crowd is a Bad Idea, as I found out the hard 
    way - if a Unique is Physical Immune, make sure his minions are all dead 
    or elsewhere when you go running up to him in a berserk rage (^_^).  As 
    for crowds of Physical Immunes, should you be unlucky enough to meet 
    some - well, this is what Howl, War Cry, and Grim Ward are for; a 
    Berserker will want to render his enemies powerless to strike back while 
    he hews away.  All is fair in love and Smiting Evil, after all.
    Unlike many other Skills in this list, where I find even a single point 
    enough to make do, Berserk is a good skill to pump at least a few points 
    into even if it's not your main attack of choice; you want to finish off 
    fights using Berserk as quickly as possible to lower the chances of 
    retaliation from other enemies, and so you can go back and leech off of 
    something to build your mana back up (or drink a potion too, of course).  
    Still, most sources I have seen seem to advocate around 5 points as 
    being a good level of investment, assuming a high level in a Weapon 
    Mastery, and I currently see little wrong with those assessments.  
    However, if you are finding you are having problems killing Physical 
    Immunes fast enough, an extra point or two in Berserk is a good idea, or 
    else finding enough elemental damage from charms and items to make up 
    the slack.  And if you wish to max out Berserk and use skills like War 
    Cry to control crowds while smiting them, then you will be feared even 
    by Hell Difficulty monsters; this is a path I can see my own Barbarian 
    potentially developing into, given my love of War Cry.
    * Section 4.3.2:  Combat Masteries
    The majority of the Skills in this tree are passive skills devoted to 
    specific weapon types; the remainder are all passive skills that any 
    Barbarian can enjoy benefits from having - in fact, many other classes 
    would probably wish they had some of the passive skills a Barbarian is 
    privy to (^_^)
    The conventional wisdom that I have seen is that, for the weapon 
    masteries, one should pick a single weapon mastery and stick with it 
    exclusively, maxing it out or at least putting a good 10 or more points 
    in it.  Especially if one is using Whirlwind as their staple attack, 
    given my own estimations of that Skill, there is a fair amount of sense 
    to the conventional wisdom.  However, I have found that there is some 
    benefit to building up two different masteries, namely a melee weapon 
    mastery and throwing mastery.  Whereas other people would see this as 
    diluting a Barbarian's effectiveness by spreading his weapon skills and 
    supporting skills too thin, I have found that many of the Barbarian's 
    Warcries have applications for both melee fighting and ranged fighting, 
    and that several Warcries are still useful even with minimal 
    investments.  Therefore, I see branching into these two masteries as 
    making a melee Barbarian with a good ranged attack to fall back on.
    Since the six weapon masteries are functionally the same, only applying 
    to different weapons, I will clump them together in this section when 
    dealing with them.
    Sword Mastery, Axe Mastery, and Mace Mastery - Level 1 Skills
    Prerequisites; None
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    These are the three Weapon Masteries a Barbarian has immediate access to 
    (well, almost immediate - soon as he gets a single skill point, that 
    is).  All three of these weapon types come in both one handed and two 
    handed versions, though only swords may be wielded one-handed by 
    Barbarians despite them being two-handed weapons (two-handed axes and 
    mauls, for example, must be used with two hands even by the mighty 
    Generally, swords are faster weapons, though perhaps not as damaging as 
    axes and maces, axes are average speed and damage, and one-handed maces 
    are generally fast but not as powerful as a sword, whereas a two-handed 
    maul is slower than a sword but more powerful even compared to a two-
    handed sword.  Mace style weapons also gain 50% extra damage against 
    undead, which is useful in any Act in the game, though more so in Act 
    Two, which is littered with undead left and right.  
    Spear Mastery, Pole arm Mastery, Throwing Mastery - Level 6 Skills
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    These weapons are the long ranged options for a Barbarian - spears and 
    pole arms have the longest reach of any melee weapon, and throwing 
    weapons ... well, are meant for range (^_^).  Other than the throwing 
    weapons, however, the weapons in these masteries are all two-handed 
    weapons.  Weapon speeds tend towards average to slow for spears and pole 
    arms, and average to fast for throwing weapons.
    Increased Stamina - Level 12 Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    The first of the skills on this Skill Tab that do not focus on a 
    specific weapon, Increased Stamina does just that - it increases one's 
    effective stamina by a certain percentage, which rises as you put more 
    points into the Skill.  While Stamina is not the first thing I worry 
    about when putting together a Barbarian, extra stamina never hurts; even 
    at level one, this skill means I can run without pause 30% longer than I 
    would have otherwise, and recover from my marathon sessions a little 
    faster than others would.  The increase in percent of stamina raised 
    also is quite nice - a flat 15% increase per level.  While that still 
    did not entice me to spend more than a single point in this skill, it 
    did make me rather happy when I found that +2 to Combat Masteries amulet 
    ... between that and a couple other skill pluses from my meager 
    equipment, my stamina was nearly double normal, all for one Skill point 
    Given that Barbarians start with good stamina, get decent stamina for 
    every point of vitality, and that stamina-increasing items are not 
    uncommon, I do not think even the most dedicated sprinter in Diablo 2 
    will feel a need to pump this particular skill up beyond a few points - 
    with pluses to skills being available on equipment, and even just from 
    finding/buying Stamina potions, you can dash around all day with few 
    worries.  However, a point spent here, in addition to making Increased 
    Speed available, will also give you that much more stamina to play with 
    - a minimal investment which will yield rewards both immediately and 
    later, and which can grow even without additional points dumped into it.
    Iron Skin - Level 18 Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    Iron Skin is much like Increased Stamina, only for Defense instead of 
    Stamina; every point in Iron Skin increases your overall Defense stat by 
    a percentage, which while not growing nearly as fast as Increased 
    Stamina's percentage does, still nonetheless can get to impressive 
    numbers at high skill levels.  Maxed out, you will more than triple your 
    defense stat.
    About the only Barbarian that wouldn't benefit at all from this Skill is 
    the dedicated user of Berserk; Iron Skin does not stop Berserk from 
    dropping your defense to Zero.  However - even dedicated users of 
    Berserk may want to switch to some other attack skill when they feel a 
    need to leech life and mana from enemies, and at that point defense will 
    become important again.  Therefore, most anyone will want at least one 
    point in this skill, in my estimation.  From my own experiences, one 
    point plus whatever you get from pluses to skills is usually enough for 
    a shield-using Barbarian, as they have the luxury of blocking available 
    to them.  For the rest of the Barbarian population though, this is a 
    good Skill to look into investing several points in at least, along with 
    the Shout Warcry - and as I said before, if a weapon and shield user 
    wishes to become Arreat's Unhittable Tank, investing moderately to 
    heavily in this skill is something to consider.
    Increased Speed - Level 24 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Increased Stamina
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    For charging headlong into the fray, and for noble advances to the rear, 
    Barbarians often turn to Increased Speed.  This Skill works just like 
    the Faster Run/Walk mod that many magical footwear items possess - only, 
    a Barbarian can dump more skill points into this skill, or else use 
    pluses to skills, to get bonuses to run/walk over and above what his 
    equipment offers.
    Again, this is a good skill to invest at least one point in, especially 
    if you have items with pluses to skills to your name.  Wether you wish 
    to put more points into this skill beyond one will likely depend on what 
    equipment you can get your hands on and how much you find yourself 
    running around as part of your strategies.  I, personally, have found 
    myself quite happy with just one point so far - but I also have managed 
    to find rare and set item Boots with around 30 to 40% faster run/walk, 
    and have about +3 to +4 to combat skills overall from my usual gear, and 
    I tend to play at a slow and steady pace, walking rather than running, 
    taking time to investigate all the nooks and crannies, and generally not 
    minding if I spend a couple of hours on just one map - I can always go 
    back some other time, take the direct route to the next level, and move 
    onwards.  And I don't duel either, and thus don't often find myself 
    needing to outrun a volley of Guided Arrows or Bone Spirits, or flee the 
    path of a Whirlwind doing about 3,000 points of damage either (^_^)  
    Another factor to consider when looking into dumping points into this 
    skill is that it suffers from diminishing returns; after the first few 
    levels, additional levels start raising your speed by very small 
    incremements.  From level one to level 5, you'll go from 13% to 28% 
    increase; from level 5 to level 10, you'll go from 28% to 36%, and by 
    level 15 you'll barely be hitting 40% ... from just looking at these 
    numbers, I would suggest that even the most dedicated sprinters would 
    probably be better off putting no more than 5 or 6 points in this skill, 
    and relying on pluses to skills and items with bonuses to run/walk speed 
    for the remainder of their fleetness of foot.
    Natural Resistance - Level 30 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Iron Skin
    Mana Cost: None (Passive Skill)
    Every class, thanks to one of the Act Five quests, can develop a certain 
    amount of natural resistance to the four elemental forms of damage - 
    fire, cold, poison, and lightning.  And every class can find items that 
    raise their resistances to one or more of these elements.  And every 
    class, walking into Nightmare and Hell difficulty, will learn that their 
    resistances just took a stiff hit - up to -100% in Hell of what they had 
    in Normal.
    Fortunately, the Barbarian is able to raise his resistances through this 
    skill, and thus enjoy a higher level of protection from the four 
    elemental damages than he would otherwise be able to have.  Yes, other 
    classes can raise their resistances too - Paladins have auras which do 
    this, for example - but the Barbarian can do it through a passive skill.  
    And when in Hell Difficulty, when the undead monsters in the later 
    levels start raining meteors on your head, or when Andariel decides to 
    show off her funky poison spray attack, you'll be happy to have as much 
    resistance as you can get (^_^)
    Like Increased Speed, Natural Resistance suffers from diminishing 
    returns, though not quite as steeply as Increased Speed does to my 
    estimation.  Also, this skill does not offer any protection from pure 
    magic damage - so a Bone Spirit from an Oblivion Mage is still something 
    to fear.  Nonetheless, this is, in my estimation, a good place to 
    consider investing several points of skills.  How many skill points 
    you'll want to invest will depend on what equipment you're able to 
    procure, how capable you are at dodging elemental attacks, and how many 
    skill points you have free in your planned skill allocation for your 
    One good thing about Natural Resistance to consider, is that since you 
    can use it to increase your resistances, you will need that much less 
    resistance available from items and charms, potentially letting you take 
    advantage of other useful magic modifiers instead.  For this reason, 
    five or six points in my estimation is a good level of investment 
    overall for most any Barbarian, especially if you have pluses to skills 
    as part of your gear's bonuses.
    * Section 4.3.3:  Warcries
    Barbarians aren't just masters of hacking and slashing; they have a 
    selection of skills that can add positive status effects to themselves 
    and their allies, and induce negative status effects to their enemies.  
    Used properly, these skills can do a lot for increasing your Barbarian's 
    survival rate - a stunned or frightened enemy isn't trying to hit you, 
    an enemy with its defense and damage lowered is more likely to die more 
    quickly and is doing less damage to you, increasing your life and mana 
    levels lets you fight longer and live through more punishment, and 
    raising your defense never hurts.
    In addition to skills that give the Barbarian and his allies bonuses, 
    and give his enemies penalties, this skill tab includes a few skills for 
    'popping' enemy corpses, thus preventing monster resurrection - and, 
    also, offering a chance for a Barbarian to find some useful item or else 
    make said corpse into an temporary adjunct to the Barbarian's forces.  
    Howl - Level One Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: 4
    With a mighty bellow, the Barbarian causes monsters within a small 
    radius around him to run away in fear.  The greater the level of skill, 
    the longer and further the enemies will run away.
    This skill is among the earliest ones a Barbarian can have access to, 
    and it does have certain weaknesses.  Like many of the Warcries 
    available, this skill won't affect Champions, Uniques, or Super Uniques 
    - so, no, you can't make the Lord of Terror run away from you no matter 
    how fearsome your bellowing (^_^).  Also, in higher difficulties, I've 
    noticed that the skill stops working on certain classes of monsters 
    altogether - mummies and flayers are the ones I've noticed for right 
    now, and I'll update this section with any others I may discover later.
    Howl also suffers from a small problem which I believe is more a bug 
    than an actual intended drawback; should a frightened monster find its 
    immediate avenue of retreat blocked, they'll still be under the effects 
    of the Howl (and thus, apparently, not re-Howl-able until it wears off), 
    but will revert to their normal course of behavior. - A Barbarian who 
    lets his enemies get too tightly packed before Howling may thus discover 
    he's surrounded by a bunch of frightened, sniveling monsters ... who are 
    still hacking away at him, because they have nothing better to do until 
    someone shows them the exit.
    Despite these shortcomings, however, I consider Howl to be a useful part 
    of a Barbarian's repertoire, especially in his early levels.  Lacking 
    the spells and skills of the Amazon and Sorceress, which can easily hit 
    multiple targets for damage, and the ability to summon meat shields like 
    the Necromancer and Druid to do fighting for him, the Barbarian is left 
    with the matter of handling large crowds of enemies, many of which will 
    seek to damage him through melee blows.  A frightened enemy is running 
    away from the Barbarian, and consequently is not hurting the Barbarian 
    during that time.  Howl is a form of crowd control, letting the 
    Barbarian keep the hordes off his back while he picks a single target to 
    feel his wrath. Especially before learning the mighty Whirlwind or War 
    Cry, this is the skill for Barbarians who do not wish to become paste at 
    the hands of a unruly mob of beasts.  And if Champions or Uniques are 
    part of the crowd - a Barbarian can still scare off their minions, and 
    fall back, luring the champion away from his friends to be dealt with in 
    a place of the Barbarian's choosing (I usually choose near a rock - with 
    Bash as my left-click attack, and Howl on my right in case his cronies 
    decide to wander down to find their boss ^_^)
    Given the radius effect of Howl, starting at 'ground zero' and emanating 
    out from the Barbarian, I have found that it is useful to let off a Howl 
    before the enemies rushing towards me are actually within Howl range, so 
    that they run into the effect as I do it - the timing takes a little 
    practice but isn't too hard, in my experience, to learn.  This both 
    decreases the chance that my Howl will be interrupted by a monster's 
    attack, and makes it less likely that the monsters frightened off will 
    be cut off from all lines of retreat from the monsters behind them - 
    thus making it less likely I'll be swarmed by a bunch of frightened 
    monsters that aren't running away due to inability to shove their own 
    comrades in arms aside.  This also usually leaves the one or two 
    stragglers in the pack out of the Howl's radius of effect, so they don't 
    get frightened off - but that simply means they get to be the first to 
    taste the steel of my blade, and by the time they're dead, their 
    companions are usually ready to come back and suffer the same fate.  
    With care and cunning, I can usually avoid getting mobbed to death 
    through use of this skill in the early levels prior to getting the more 
    potent skills.
    Howl is a skill which, in my experience, is perfectly useful even with 
    one single point of skill invested in it; more levels simply add to the 
    length of time that the enemy runs away, and at the highest levels, you 
    could, possibly, frighten a foe off the map - well, actually, I don't 
    know if that's even possible, but still ... (^_^).  Howl is a fairly 
    common skill to find on a Barbarian-specific helm, so if you feel you 
    need a higher-level Howl for your early levels, you can probably find 
    yourself a helm to accommodate your needs - but for me, the great draw 
    of Howl is that it offers a useful ability for minimal skill point 
    investment, which will serve me well until I have access to higher-level 
    skills.  And, even once the 'better' skills are available, a Barbarian 
    can still find use for this first Warcry; just be aware that, at higher 
    difficulties, the skill seems to lose its punch against certain foes it 
    once affected.
    Find Potion - Level 1 Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: 2
    The first of the three skills a Barbarian can learn to affect corpses, 
    Find Potion is just that - you use it on a slain monster, and with luck 
    a potion will appear.  Essentially, you are trying for a second attempt 
    at getting an item drop from a monster, only with this skill the items 
    are limited to health, mana, and rejuvenation potions.  The percentage 
    chance of the Skill working rises with more points in the Skill, and the 
    quality of the potions you can find increases with the Act you are in - 
    lower quality in Act One and Two; better quality (full Rejuvination 
    potions and Greater Life/Mana potions) in later Acts.
    Although the percentage chance for this skill working is comparatively 
    low early on - just 15% at level one of finding a potion on any one 
    corpse - the skill is cheap to use, costing only 2 mana.  And, given the 
    number of monsters you'll slay even in the early parts of the game, the 
    odds of you finding enough potions to keep you stocked with life and 
    mana are fairly good - even with level one in this skill, I've had times 
    when I had so many potions found that I was selling them for cash - and 
    making decent money off of them (for Act One Normal prior to reaching 
    the Dark Wood, at least).  All you lose for an unsuccessful attempt is a 
    couple points of mana, which can be regained through leeching, drinking 
    a mana potion, or even just sitting back and waiting a moment.
    Other than its use as a potential supply of potions, this skill offers 
    one other, significant advantage in combat - corpses that have this 
    skill used on them cannot be raised.  If you're beset by hordes of 
    revivable minions and lots of reviving monsters to bring them back, it 
    can be difficult at times, especially at lower levels, to make your way 
    through the hordes and kill the reviving monsters first.  With this 
    skill, however, a Barbarian can prevent a corpse from being raised - 
    with patience, even the large hordes of Fallen and Fallen Shamans found 
    in the early parts of Act One can be whittled down to more managable 
    levels, and your Barbarian can move in to finish off the shamans without 
    worrying that the Fallen he just slew will get up and attack him again.  
    A word of caution, though - if you Find Potion at the same time a 
    shamman goes to revive the corpse you're using, more often than not, the 
    Shaman will beat you to it.  When there are a large number of shamanas 
    and other reviving beasts present, it's still a good idea to lead 
    monsters away from them for the kill, and then use this skill to ensure 
    that they stay down.
    Like the other two corpse-affecting skills, Find Potion will work on any 
    monster except for Super Uniques, such as the Act Bosses.  In my 
    experience, one point is all you'll ever really need in this skill; 
    there are always more corpses to be had, should you need them - though 
    you may have to kill some monsters to get those corpses.  Also, when 
    playing with others such as Necromancers (who have a lot of summons that 
    require corpses), try to avoid going wild with this skill - unless you 
    know he's not going to want that Oblivion Mage for his own undead army. 
    Taunt - Level 6 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Howl
    Mana Cost: 3
    Barbarians aren't just good at frightening monsters off; they can also 
    insult monsters better than anyone.  With the Taunt Skill, a Barbarian 
    makes a single monster stop whatever they were doing and rush over to 
    attack him in melee combat, causing the monster to also suffer a penalty 
    to damage-dealing and defense which starts off at very low levels, but 
    rises with additional skill levels.
    Like Howl, Taunt will not work on Champions, Uniques, or Super Uniques, 
    nor certain other beasts; I remember not seeming to be able to Taunt 
    Oblivion Mages last time I was in the Chaos Sanctuary, and Flayer 
    Shamans more often than not are too hyper to notice I'm insulting their 
    parentage, leaving me with egg on my face. Taunt also affects only one 
    monster at a time - either the monster you have highlighted with the 
    cursor (for Taunting a specific beast), or else the nearest one to you 
    (if you don't highlight any specific monster).  Taunt also seems to 
    suffer from the same bug as Howl - if something impedes the Taunted 
    monster's path to you or knocks them back on their way to you (such as a 
    knockback effect from Bash or a weapon, or just a bunch of lead-footed 
    monsters), then they'll still be 'Taunted', but will otherwise act 
    however they normally would.  Since Taunt doesn't wear off like other 
    Warcry effects, this 'bug' means you can't re-Taunt them (and make them 
    come back to you) unless you overwrite the Taunt effect with that of 
    Howl or Grim Ward.
    Despite the fact that Taunt suffers from these limitations and bug, and 
    that the damage and defense reduction is rather small unless you dump a 
    lot of points into this skill, Taunt is still a valuable part of a 
    Barbarian's arsenal.  A Taunted creature, assuming nothing bars its way, 
    will stop whatever it was doing and come over to attack you physically.  
    Skeleton archers will stop shooting their bows until they're within 
    reach of your sword; Fallen Shamans and Greater Mummies will stop 
    reviving monsters and shooting at you until they're close enough to hit 
    you with their hands or daggers.  And while they're running to you, 
    monsters don't stop to avoid incoming missile fire ... Taunt lets you 
    bring an enemy to you.  Melee Barbarians will like the fact that they 
    can stop missile-shooting enemies from taking potshots from afar and 
    make them come into range of their swords and axes; throwing Barbarians 
    can make a monster running around evasively instead come to them in a 
    mostly predictable line, making targeting much easier.
    Taunt's range is roughly a full screen from what I've seen, if not very 
    slightly longer; I've occasionally managed to Taunt enemies that were 
    mostly off-screen by pushing the cursor to the edge of the screen and 
    Taunting away.  This range makes Taunt somewhat useful as a scouting 
    tool, though from what I've seen you need line of sight in order to make 
    Taunt work, unless the monsters are just around a corner or to the side 
    of a doorway.
    Taunt works well in conjunction with Howl and Grim Ward; either of those 
    skills can be used to send packs of monsters running, and then Taunt can 
    be used to summon one specific monster back for a beatdown.  In fact, if 
    you have a Grim Ward up and are standing right behind it, you can Taunt 
    a foe, watch him run to you, let him get scared off by the Grim Ward, 
    then Taunt him again to run at you, all while anyone else around on your 
    side can take potshots at the poor hapless monster.  When using throwing 
    axes, I've found this to be a wonderfully fun way to keep the monsters 
    from ever really hitting me while letting my Rogue hireling and I plunk 
    away with impunity.
    Since Taunt's greatest value, in my estimation, lies not so much in the 
    negative damage and defense modifiers it applies to monsters (that's 
    basically icing on the cake), but rather in the fact that you can use it 
    to draw monsters to you selectively, and keep ranged attackers and 
    revivers from shooting at you or reviving while they come at you, I feel 
    a single point in this skill is all a Barbarian really needs to make 
    good use of the skill.  Though, at really high levels, the damage and 
    defense penalties inflicted on monsters through Taunt do become 
    noticeably high - up to 43% at level 20 - so a Barbarian who is looking 
    to focus primarily on using Warcries to support other party members 
    might want to look into investing some points here. For a patient party, 
    being able to lure a large nasty monster to its doom is a nice, safe way 
    of slaughtering the demonic hordes.
    Shout - Level 6 Skill  
    Prerequisites: None
    Mana Cost: 6
    Shout is the first Warcry a Barbarian can learn which allows him to 
    grant a positive effect for himself and his allies - namely, raising 
    their defense value for the duration of the Shout.  Even at level one, 
    Shout can double your effective defense for a few seconds, and both the 
    defensive bonus and the length of time it lasts rise steadily (albeit 
    slowly) with additional skill points invested.
    Shout, like Iron Skin, is one of the two skills a Barbarian can use to 
    add noticeable amounts to their defense.  Shout has the double advantage 
    of both being able to affect friendly units (which Iron Skin cannot), 
    and by having a better defensive bonus than Iron Skin provides - the 
    difference is most notable in the early levels of these skills, though 
    Iron Skin at higher levels makes valiant strides to catch up with Shout 
    in terms of defensive bonus.  Shout, however, costs mana, and can wear 
    off, whereas Iron Skin's bonuses will last all the time.  When facing 
    hordes of monsters, having your defense suddenly drop is a Bad Thing - 
    especially right before that Moon Lord brings his axes down at your head 
    As a weapon and shield using Barbarian, I've found that my shield's 
    defensive bonus and blocking ability, combined with my frequent use of 
    Concentrate, often provides me with adequate defense for most situations 
    - but when there's a boatload of ranged attackers like archers shooting 
    away at me from several angles, and a lot of monsters trying to mob me, 
    I've found that even a level one Shout's defensive bonus helps out - 
    even if it only makes me a few percent less likely to be hit, that few 
    percent can mean the difference between getting peppered badly while 
    falling back to more defensible ground, and being mostly hale and whole 
    when I find more solid cover from the ranged attackers.  When I 
    experimented with using pole arms and dual wielding swords, however, I 
    began to earnestly wish I had pumped a few more points into this skill 
    along with Iron Skin ...
    How many points you spend here will depend not only on your own 
    defensive needs, but also on whether you're playing a Barbarian in party 
    situations and feel your party could use the defensive bonuses this 
    skill provides.  Even Single Player Barbarians, however, can use 
    hirelings - and hirelings like the Town Guard and the Barbarian (second 
    cousin to your Barbarian, they tell me ^_^) tend to charge into the fray 
    and tend to not use shields; a Single Player wanting to take advantage 
    of the more offensive auras a Town Guard merc can provide may very well 
    want to invest a few points into Shout to make his hireling more likely 
    to not get killed when the hordes of demons show up.
    Find Item - Level 12 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Find Potion
    Mana Cost: 7
    Find Item is, for the most part, identical to Find Potion in function. 
    The major difference is that instead of only being able to make a corpse 
    'drop' a potion, any item that monster could have dropped in dying can 
    potentially appear  Potentially, you can find even rare items and Unique 
    Items using Find Item, but you can also find quivers of arrows and piles 
    of gold just as easily ...
    Again, the chance of finding an item with this skill is kind of low - 
    and even at higher levels, the chance of it succeeding doesn't really 
    get much better than 50%.  However, again, all you are gambling is a few 
    points of mana, and so long as some Necromancer wasn't planning on using 
    said monster to bolster his Loyal Minions, you lose nothing major for 
    failure ... at worst, a potential Grim Ward you could have set up to 
    help with crowd control.  As I have taken to saying though, "There are - 
    always - more corpses ..." (^_^)
    If you have managed to find a few pieces of equipment with magic find 
    modifiers on them, equipping them and going around looking for monsters 
    - especially Champions and Uniques - and using Find Item on every corpse 
    in sight, can oftentimes yield a fair bit of profit, even if it is all 
    just gold profit from selling off all the stuff you find (good for 
    supporting gambling habits at least).  The bonuses to magic find will 
    NOT increase the chance of the Find Item skill working; however, it WILL 
    improve the chances of any items found through the skill being magical 
    or better.  If you are finding yourself suffering problems dealing 
    sufficient damage to monsters in an area, or being able to weather their 
    attacks, it's not a bad idea to return to the last couple of areas where 
    you were doing fine in, and doing some item-hunting.  If nothing else, 
    you can use whatever gold profits you make from extensive slaying and 
    Find Item using to fund a gambling spree to further your chances of 
    finding something to help you out.
    All comments about Find Potion's uses in depriving reviving monsters of 
    bringing back their minions from the grave also apply to Find Item, 
    though Find Item does cost a bit more in mana and isn't as likely to 
    produce a healing item; in my experience, I tend to retire Find Potion 
    in favor of Find Item for my corpse-popping needs, but other Barbarians 
    may feel that Find Potion's lower mana cost makes it better for keeping 
    dead monsters dead.
    Battle Cry - Level 18 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Howl; Taunt
    Mana Cost: 5
    With another fearsome bellow, a Barbarian using this Skill imposes a 
    penalty to monster's Defense rating and damage dealing ability 
    simultaneously, making his foes easier to hit and weakening the power of 
    their strikes.  Battle Cry affects all monsters in a small radius, much 
    like Howl's radius of effect, and the effect wears off with time; the 
    penalties for enemy defense and damage, as well as the length of time 
    those penalties last, increase as this skill rises in level.
    Unlike many of the other Warcries, this skill CAN affect Champions, 
    Uniques, and Super Uniques; even the Prime Evils can be weakened through 
    this skill.  I am not sure if the damage weakening affects all damage, 
    or just physical damage, though I suspect it to be the latter - that, 
    combined with the fact that it is a short-range radius effect, makes 
    this skill somewhat less useful than one might hope.  However, consider 
    - even at level one, for a few seconds, you can not only halve the 
    defense of any monster near you (making them that much easier to hit), 
    you can impose a 25% damage penalty to their attacks - which is about as 
    helpful as having 25% damage reduction on in terms of taking less 
    damage, from those enemies for that period of time.  Should you have 
    actual damage reduction, although I doubt the effects would stack 
    directly, you can still reduce the damage a monster deals out - and that 
    means less damage for you to have to reduce, hence even less damage you 
    take in the end.  For those Barbarians who don't have Damage Reduction, 
    this skill offers a form of substitute; for those people with damage 
    reduction, this skill is a way to make it even more effective.
    Also, the effects of this skill, because they are targeted to monsters 
    within your radius of affect, can benefit party members as well; a 
    monster with lowered defenses is easier for everyone to hit, and a 
    monster with weaker attacks deals less damage to anyone caught in its 
    path.  If your Barbarian is the type to get in there toe-to-toe with 
    monsters, use of this skill can make you last longer and make you kill 
    things faster (or, at least, make your blows land effectively more 
    often).  Battle Cry also, from my experience, stacks with the effects of 
    Taunt, and is not erased by the effects of Howl and Grim Ward.
    How many points you should invest into this skill depends on how much of 
    a support role your Barbarian wants to play; for most Barbarians 
    favoring melee weapons and the classic Barbarian Smashes Things Good 
    philosophy, even one point in this skill is a decent enough investment - 
    if you're going to be in toe-to-toe range, especially with the likes of 
    Diablo, you might as well take advantage of what penalties you can 
    inflict upon your enemies, especially the tough ones.  For Barbarians 
    who wish to be a more support-oriented character in multiplayer games, 
    this skill is a good one to invest points in; between you and the 
    necromancer, you can keep a lot of enemies weakened (I don't know if 
    Battle Cry stacks with other Necromancer curses, but even if it doesn't, 
    two cursing types can keep even more enemies affected).  Barbarians who 
    wish to specialize in throwing weapons, since - in my experience - 
    they'll be keeping their distance more likely than not, may not find 
    much use for this skill; however, if a horde of monsters swarms you, and 
    you use War Cry to stun them, hitting them with Battle Cry before 
    leaping to an optimum throwing position will make your ranged attacks 
    that much more likely to hit.  Therefore, a single point here might not 
    be a bad investment for even a pure throwing Barbarian, and with pluses 
    to skills from items, even one point can yield decent levels of skill.
    Battle Orders - Level 24 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Howl; Shout
    Mana Cost: 5
    If there is one thing most Barbarian builds touted in current circles 
    can agree on, it's that Battle Orders is a skill that should be maxed 
    out, or nearly so, at some point in your Barbarian's career.  Some 
    people will advocate maxing this out early before maxing out bread and 
    butter attacks like Frenzy and Whirlwind; others will say max out your 
    other skills first, but as soon as your mastery and 
    Whirlwind/Frenzy/Beserk is maxed, start dumping all your free points 
    here ...
    Admittedly, this is a very potent skill, one useful for both solo 
    players and team members; quite simply, this skill lets you raise your 
    stamina, life, and mana maximums for a period of time.  The percentage 
    of maximum increase, as well as the time during which the skill lasts, 
    increases with more skill points - starting at around 35% bonuses for 30 
    seconds at level one, and hitting 92% bonuses for 144 seconds - almost 
    two and a half full minutes - at level 20.  It is very hard to argue 
    that almost doubling your effective life and mana isn't desirable, 
    especially when it's not just your life going up, but everyone's on your 
    There is one small caveat to this skill; it raises maximum but not 
    current life, stamina, and mana - you must either wait for your values 
    to replenish themselves, quaff a potion or three, or else rely on leech 
    in order to get the benefit of having higher maximums.  For people with 
    decent amounts of leech, this isn't that much of a problem, however - 
    and so long as you remember to periodically renew the Battle Orders 
    before the effects fade, you'll keep those extra points you gained, 
    though if the effects wear off, you'll have to build the extra points 
    back up again when you recast Battle Orders.  Those who make frequent 
    use of this skill are well advised to learn how to keep track of how 
    much time has passed even in the thick of battle to keep it active.
    So, how many points should one put into this skill?  Definitely, at 
    least one point as soon as you are able is not a bad idea - any 
    Barbarian can benefit from being able to raise their max life and mana 
    by 35% for tough situations, and pluses to skills from items will make 
    this one point investment go even further.  Oftentimes, I like to use 
    this skill prior to encountering an Act Boss or other Superunique I know 
    can give me trouble - I tend to alternate between this skill, Battle 
    Commands, and Battle Cry to keep my skills raised, my max life and mana 
    buffed up, and my enemy weakened, and use the fading of the Battle Cry 
    as my reminder to renew each skill (might as well play it safe, going by 
    one of the shorter times any of those skills' effects last.)  Unlike 
    many Barbarian players, however, I do not feel that this is an Absolute 
    Must Max Out Skill ...
    Yes, fully maxed, Battle Orders offers a lot of benefit, but with 
    careful tactics a Barbarian can control the ability of enemies to 
    actually get blows in on him to a fair extent.  Between my resists, my 
    blocking with a shield, my use of War Cry to keep enemies stunned, Taunt 
    to make ranged attackers come to me, and Leap Attack to simply get out 
    of the five blazing Firewalls, plus the 12 potions of full rejuvenation 
    I typically carry, I can with cunning and care avoid a lot of the damage 
    my foes would seek to deal out and heal quickly if I do take a beating; 
    the bonus afforded by Battle Orders, for my strategies, is useful but 
    not strictly necessary.  For large bosses, like Diablo - definitely, 
    I'll want it active; in those cases, no matter how much I try, if I want 
    to get in any blows to my enemy I'm going to have to risk taking some 
    substantial damage, and extra life then will often mean the difference 
    between being seriously hurt and being dead.  For the unruly mobs of 
    Hell's legions, however, I've found that I can - usually - get through 
    situations with just my normal maximums for life and mana, making Battle 
    Orders more of a Boss Strategy for me.
    On the other hand, Barbarians playing a support role will likely want to 
    max this skill out as much as possible - in 8 player games, with the 
    increased life and toughness of monsters especially in Hell difficulty 
    (and the ever-lurking specter of Lag Spikes and Random Disconnects), a 
    potent Battle Orders is a party's best friend.  And in Hardcore Mode, 
    where you get but one life for a character (and thus, every point of 
    life you can muster becomes precious) this skill takes on an even 
    greater importance.  My final advice to Barbarian players is this - feel 
    free to invest as many skill points into Battle Orders as you feel you 
    want or need, but do not feel this skill HAS to be maxed out in order to 
    let you survive; remember that cunning and patience are oftentimes as 
    effective in ensuring survival as an extra 500 hit points.
    Grim Ward - Level 24 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Find Potion; Find Item
    Mana Cost: 4
    The last of the Barbarian's corpse-affecting abilities, and the only 
    such Skill that doesn't offer a chance at getting some sort of item, 
    Grim Ward is the Barbarian's closest answer to the summons available to 
    the Necromancer or Druid.  By popping a monster corpse, a Barbarian 
    using this skill creates a small totem composed of his enemy's bones, 
    which has the effect of constantly casting a Howl-like effect capable of 
    affecting any non-Champion, Unique, or Superunique that wanders within 
    the radius of effect.  The radius at which the totem can affect monsters 
    increases with extra skill points, being somewhat small at level one, 
    but increasing steadily as skill level rises.  No matter how high the 
    skill, monsters will run for a few seconds only, and the totem will 
    remain standing for 40 seconds before collapsing.
    The totem itself, from what I can tell, does not offer any real hard 
    protection; attacks and players can pass through it, so it doesn't 
    really serve as a 'meat shield'.  Despite this drawback, Grim Ward does 
    effectively chase off any regular monster which gets too close - and 
    while it doesn't work on Champions, Uniques, and Superuniques, it DOES 
    from what I've seen work on those regular monsters which seem to gain 
    immunity to Howl in higher difficulties.  Properly used, a Grim Ward or 
    three can keep monsters off your back as well if not more so than any 
    summon designed to be a meat shield (like the Amazon's Decoy or the 
    Necromancer's Bone Wall), at least for the forty seconds that the totem 
    In my experiences, this skill is good for many styles of play a 
    Barbarian can employ, but really comes into its own when used in 
    conjunction with Taunt by a Barbarian using throwing weapons.  Once I've 
    killed a monster, I'll use Grim Ward to set up the totem, then stand 
    right next to the totem and fire away.  When enemies get too close, they 
    get frightened off - and I pick one to Taunt to lure him back, while I 
    and my rogue hireling pick him off.  As more enemies die, I set up more 
    wards, using corpses as cover to protect my advance, and thus can keep 
    my foes from getting within striking distance.  Should ranged attackers 
    be present, I'll Taunt them to come to me, then focus my efforts on 
    killing them next.
    This is not to say a melee Barbarian has no use for Grim Ward; luring a 
    Champion or Unique to one area near corpses, then setting up Grim Wards, 
    is a good way to ensure that you can hack away on the hapless monster in 
    privacy.  And, in confined areas with lots of revivable monsters and 
    their revivers, a Grim Ward or two in the midst of the legions of the 
    soon-to-be-revived dead can give you breathing room - nothing is as 
    funny as seeing a skeleton brought back to life only to immediately run 
    away in fright because he saw the remnants of one of his friends set up 
    like a demented Lego-ologist's latest creation (^_^)
    For the most part, I have found that one point invested in this skill to 
    be relatively sufficient - with my meager +2 or +3 to all Barbarian 
    skills afforded by my current equipment, this is enough to make my Grim 
    Ward's radius of effect large enough for me to work with.  If you 
    absolutely cannot find any pluses to skills on equipment for your 
    Barbarian, and find that Grim Ward is to your liking but the radius 
    isn't great enough for your needs, then an extra skill point or two 
    should be sufficient - but this is, in my estimation, yet another of the 
    Barbarian's skills where minimal investments are enough to yield 
    positive results.  Once I got Grim Ward, it replaced Howl on my hotkeys, 
    though there is no reason for a Barbarian to not employ both at once 
    should he feel Howl serves his purposes even in higher levels.
    War Cry - Level 30 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Howl; Taunt; Shout; Battle Cry; Battle Orders
    Mana Cost: 10 at Level 1; +1 Mana per additional skill level (11 at 
    Level 2; 12 at level 3, etc)
    The adulations and praise other Barbarians give to skills like Whirlwind 
    and Frenzy, I instead attribute to War Cry; to my method of play and way 
    of thinking, this is THE skill all Barbarians should be learning in 
    their quest to rid the lands of evil.  No other skill in the Barbarian's 
    arsenal has proven to me to be more effective in crowd control and horde 
    Ahem.  All obvious bias aside (and I will freely admit I am biased about 
    this skill's power and utility ^_^) War Cry is yet another radius affect 
    skill that affects enemies.  In this case, the effects are direct 
    damage, and inflicting stun status, leaving enemies helpless for a 
    period of time.
    Before going off again on how great this skill is, let me first mention 
    its drawbacks; once again, this is not a skill that really affects 
    Champions, Uniques, and Superuniques - they are immune to the effects of 
    stun from this skill, though they do take damage from it.  The damage 
    done, even at maxed out levels, is also not that potent compared to what 
    you can likely deal with your weapons - at most, this skill can inflict 
    160 points of damage at level 20, which will not exactly overwhelm the 
    minions of the Three on Hell Difficulty.  The stun length, also, is 
    rather short at low levels; a mere second at level one, and growing by 
    0.2 seconds every skill level thereafter.  Unless you have godlike 
    attacking speed, you need to pump points into this skill to make it be 
    effective.  And once again, this is a short-range effect; if you want 
    enemies to be stunned, then you will have to go over to them and stun 
    One other drawback to this skill that I have noticed is that enemies can 
    occasionally block or even avoid its effects entirely.  This is most 
    noticeable with the Cat People enemies found in Act Two - all of whom 
    seem to have the passive dodging skills of the Amazon class, and who 
    have given me many headaches as I try to stun a crowd of them only to 
    see some or all of them lean to the side to evade my bellowing roar.  
    Then, while I'm asking myself - how - the - heck - one dodges a shout at 
    close range, I get pelted until I finally do get the War cry to stun 
    them ... at which point said Cat People usually learn why you do not 
    provoke a Barbarian to a Berserk fury (^_^).  Still, the fact that some 
    enemies can nullify this attack's effects (along with dodging my melee 
    blows and axe tosses, and my hireling's arrows, and probably anything 
    else I could throw at them if I thought to bring an item with spell 
    charges ...) is a point against this skill - though, if I'm right and 
    those Cat People have the Evade Skill (which purportedly lets one dodge 
    even spell effects), then I feel somewhat better ...
    Having said all that, I now say - all the weakness of this Skill are 
    things that a Barbarian can comfortably not worry about, since the Skill 
    offers the ability to stun enemies.  Multiple enemies.  Multiple enemies 
    in melee range, where you can chop them down while they stare at you 
    helplessly.  And you can use War Cry over and over again, doing some 
    damage to the enemies each time and freezing them in place while you 
    pick them off at your leisure.  A stunned enemy cannot hit you, and stun 
    length is not decreased in higher difficulty levels, unlike 
    chill/freezing times. While that Whirlwinding Barbarian is slicing 
    through the hordes of monsters and hoping he doesn't get hit while 
    Whirlwinding, my Barbarian is quietly taking his time, alternating 
    between Berserk and Concentrate as the mana bills demand, and taking 
    heart in the fact that his devotion to the animal totems has made his 
    enemies' limbs weak and heavy, unable to be raised against him.  Some 
    may call that cowardly; I prefer to think of it as delivering Evil it's 
    Just Deserts - you know those monsters would terrorize the weak and 
    helpless if they could; now let them know the feeling of helplessness 
    they have instilled in innocents for so long before they are sent back 
    to their infernal pits - RAR!
    ... ^_^ Sorry; got a tad carried away there.  One too many D&D games as 
    a youth. ^_^ ...
    Back to more gameplay-related matters, War Cry is a skill that most any 
    Barbarian can find benefit in.  A melee Barbarian can keep all his 
    enemies nearby dazed and helpless, letting him attack with impunity.  A 
    ranged attacker being beset by a mob can stun the mob, fall back a few 
    yards, and proceed to pick away at them before they fully recover.  A 
    Barbarian who focuses on support Skills will find that stunning a large 
    mess of enemies is a great set up for hitting them all with Battle Cry 
    to weaken them, then taking a second or two to use party-friendly Skills 
    like Shout and Battle Commands to strengthen his friends before the 
    crowd wakes up - assuming, of course, the Barbarian lets them recover 
    and act instead of War Crying again. A Frenzy-based Barbarian can stun 
    enemies and slice them to bits before they can recover from even one or 
    two War Cries; a Berserking Barbarian has fewer worries about no defense 
    when his foes can't move to hit him.  Even the Whirlinding Barbarian, if 
    he can spare the points to raise War Cry to a useful level, will find 
    this skill helpful; those concerns about being hit by enemies while 
    Whirlwinding become moot if your foes simply stand there waiting to be 
    hit, no?  
    War Cry is a party-friendly skill as well - in it's own way.  Is the 
    Sorceress in the party trying to set up a Meteor or Firewall?  Hey 
    presto - the enemies can't move!  Does the Paladin really want to try to 
    get Conversion off?  Here he goes - a bunch of practice dummies just 
    waiting to be shown the Light!  Does the Druid wish to play Zombie 
    Bowling with his Molten Boulder?  Taunt a few fools - er, foes, towards 
    you, let loose with a War Cry, then Leap Attack to safety as yon Druid 
    friend shows off his Mad Candlepin Skillz - STRIKE! (^_^)
    Unlike some of the other Warcries, which can make do easily on but one 
    skill point, War Cry in my estimation needs at least a modest investment 
    of points to be effective.  I have found that level 10 to 12 in the 
    skill, where the enemy is stunned for three seconds give or take a fifth 
    of a second, is a good level of effectiveness - I can get about four or 
    five swings off in that period of time even with next to no increased 
    attack speed and still have a second to recast the effect - and with 
    decent mana leech, I can keep this up for as long I have to.  I 
    eventually plan on maxing War Cry since it's become my bread-and-butter 
    skill, but even builds which rely on other skills can benefit from a few 
    points here - and if you have a good amount of pluses to skills from 
    equipment, one or two points may be all you need here to get a Skill 
    capable of rendering your enemies helpless for a couple of seconds, 
    before you unleash your devastating main attack.
    Battle Commands - Level 30 Skill  
    Prerequisites: Howl; Shout; Battle Orders
    Mana Cost: 11
    The last of the Barbarian's party-buffing skills, Battle Commands raises 
    every friendly unit's skill levels - in skills they have at least a 
    point in - by one for a short period of time.  The amount of time the 
    skill increase lasts rises with higher levels of Battle Commands.  And 
    no, before you ask, you cannot use this skill multiple times to raise 
    your skills over and over - trust me; I tried (^_^).
    Compared to, say, Battle Orders, Battle Commands may sound a bit - 
    anticlimactic.  After all, when you have a level 24 skill which can 
    nearly double your life and mana at maximum levels, and then you go to a 
    level 30 skill which only adds one to your skill levels for a period of 
    time - a somewhat short period of time at that compared to said life and 
    mana doubling skill - one may wonder why Battle Commands wasn't the 
    level 24 skill and Battle Orders the level 30.  Then again - this skill 
    can theoretically add up to 30 temporary skill points to your character, 
    even if it's only one point per skill (and chances are you'll not use a 
    good five or six of those skills anyway, since most people tend to 
    ignore all masteries except the ones they've chosen to specialize in).  
    Looked at from that point of view, maybe this skill is the more 
    impressive one after all - especially since it can add those 30 
    theoretical skill points to each member of your whole party in a 
    multiplayer game.
    For Barbarians who play solo, this skill is still helpful for that 
    little extra bit of 'buffing' especially during boss fights - again, 
    when facing Act Bosses, I've found using Battle Commands, then Battle 
    Cry, then Battle Orders to be a helpful strategy.  For my needs, so far 
    as I have seen, a single point in this skill was enough to give me a 
    useful ability, even if the time it lasts is kind of short.  Barbarians 
    who wish to play a more support-oriented role may wish to invest a few 
    more points into this skill simply to increase the length of the effect 
    so they need not cast it again every 10 seconds or so.
    *** Section 5:  Putting It All Together ***
    Okay, so now that you've been regaled with descriptions of the style of 
    weapons a Barbarian can use, seen the advantages that raising each stat 
    can offer, and read discourses on most of the skills available to 
    Barbarians, the burning question is "How do I put together a Barbarian 
    from all this?"
    The answer is - however you wish.  However, even I admit that answer is 
    a cop out, so going into a bit more detail ...
    *** Section 5.1:  What a Barbarian Needs
    Rather than making any firm suggestions on specific skills/equipment, I 
    will attempt to suggest what general things a Barbarian should be 
    looking into:
    * Section 5.1.1:  Crowd Control
    The Three Prime Evils are powerful enemies that all Barbarians must 
    someday face - but to get to the Prime Evils, you'll need to wade 
    through countless hordes of monsters first.  Corrupted Rogues, Flayers, 
    Venom Lords - a lot of the monsters in Diablo 2 like to get in your face 
    before attacking, and without some way of handling the crowds, you'll 
    soon find yourself as one of those Corpses other players overturn hoping 
    for loot.
    There are a few ways a Barbarian can deal with managing crowds:
    - Freeze Them In Place: War Cry can stun crowds for a few seconds, 
    giving a Barbarian time to get out of the way or start hacking the mob 
    to pieces.  An Act Three Cold Merc can cast Cold Spells to freeze foes; 
    an Act Two Nightmare Difficulty Holy Freeze Merc can slow everyone down 
    to much more manageable speeds.
    - Make Them Run Away: Howl and Grim Ward can both scare off monsters, 
    keeping them from attacking you for a few seconds while you pick your 
    targets.  Weapons with Howling and Wailing modifiers can make enemies 
    run away as well - equipped on either you or your merc, these weapons 
    can substitute to some extent for an actual Howl.
    - Hit Them Lots:  If your unruly mobs die before they can deal out too 
    much damage, you're safe, no?  Whirlwind can hit multiple enemies; 
    Frenzy can offer enough movement and attack speed bonuses that you can 
    zip around the crowd and hit monsters left and right.
    * Section 5.1.2:  Powerful Attack and Physical Immune Killing
    Yes, kind of obvious, but the question of Physical Immunes is an 
    important one to Barbarians, since their primary attacks are physical.  
    Also, if your Barbarian doesn't have at least one nominally effective 
    attack, you'll be in for a very long haul ...
    As for ensuring a Barbarian does adequate damage, there are several 
    things he can do:
    - Pump up a Weapon Mastery:  For Barbarians who don't like to rely on a 
    single Combat Skill for fighting, but instead like to alternate between 
    Combat Skills for various situations, the obvious thing to do is to try 
    to put as many points into your chosen Weapon Mastery as possible; the 
    bonuses for your weapon mastery will make whatever Combat Skill you're 
    using at the moment that much more effective.
    - Concentrate on a Single Combat Skill:  If, on the other hand, you know 
    that you really want to use Leap Attack as part of your main combat 
    strategy, or that you plan on relying on Berserk to kill the hordes of 
    Hell, then by all means put as many points into that Combat Skill as you 
    can spare.  Combined with Weapon Mastery, the bonuses from a pumped up 
    Combat Skill will make your attacks that much more deadly.  This is, in 
    fact, the general philosophy behind many of the builds offered by other 
    FAQs, with the Whirlwind specialists being one of the most noticeable.
    - Raise AR, or get Ignore Target Defense:  Not so much a means of 
    increasing damage dealt as a way to insure that you'll be doing any 
    damage at all, raising your chance to hit monsters or getting weapons 
    that let you ignore the monsters defense stat will increase the number 
    of blows that will actually land, thus increasing the amount of damage 
    you do overall.
    - Raise Attack Speed:  Raising the power of an attack is one way to get 
    more damage; another is to simply swing a lot faster than normal, 
    relying on a multitude of blows to equal or surpass the damage dealt by 
    a single, more powerful strike.  The Frenzy Skill raises a Barbarian's 
    Attack Speed among other things, and various magical items can offer 
    bonuses to Attack Speed as well.
    There are a couple ways a Barbarian can deal with Physical Immune 
    - Use Berserk:  This skill was seemingly designed with Physical Immune 
    monsters in mind, and also includes a hefty damage bonus for the 
    Barbarian.  It does not, however, help out a Throwing Specialist much, 
    unless they don't mind getting in close ...
    - Use Items Which Offer Elemental Damage:  Weapons with elemental damage 
    modifiers, jewels which offer elemental damage, charms of elemental 
    damage - all these can be used by a Barbarian to get around Physical 
    Immunity, and for a Throwing Specialist Barbarian, allow for inflicting 
    damage to PI monsters at range.
    * Section 5.1.3:  Adequate Defenses
    Adequate defenses includes not only physical defense, but also elemental 
    resists as well - damage reduction would also fall under this category, 
    but on items, damage reduction is usually only found on the higher end 
    pieces of equipment.  Ways Barbarians can up their defenses are:
    - Pump Up Skills That Primarily Offer Defense Bonuses:  Natural 
    Resistance, Shout, and Iron Skin would be the three main skills to look 
    at when considering raising your defenses for your Barbarian.
    - Use Other Skills That Can Add Defensive Bonuses:  Concentrate adds a 
    defense bonus; if your damage is decent enough even in Hell with the 
    global damage resistance, using Concentrate is still viable.  Battle Cry 
    can lower the damage monsters do - which is another way of raising your 
    own defenses, effectively ...
    - Use Equipment With Good Defenses And Resists:  Shield users have some 
    advantages here, since a shield allows for blocking as well as adding 
    defense and potentially adding resists from socketed runes and diamonds.  
    Non-shield users will want to look into getting higher defense armor 
    than a shield wielder may feel he needs to survive, and bonuses to 
    defense and elemental resists are good mods to look for on both items 
    and charms.
    * Section 5.1.4:  Means of Healing
    Technically, a Barbarian can always run back to town when seriously 
    hurt, but a little more self-sufficiency would be nice ... (^_^)  There 
    are several ways a Barbarian can keep himself in one piece while in the 
    - Use of Life and Mana Leech:  The most popular method of self-healing 
    in Diablo 2, life and mana leech allow you to restore a percentage of 
    the damage you deal to monsters to your life and mana respectively.  The 
    greater the damage you deal, the greater the amount of life and/or mana 
    you can get back; the higher the percentage of life and/or mana leech 
    you possess, the greater the amount of damage you are dealing that gets 
    returned to you as healing becomes.  Ideally, you want high amounts of 
    damage as well as high amounts of life and mana leech - especially if 
    you use mana-intensive attacks such as Whirlwind.
    One caveat to life and mana leech, from what I've read and heard: the 
    amount of damage returned to you as healing for both leeches is 
    effectively halved in Nightmare Difficulty, and quartered in Hell 
    Difficulty, compared to what you would expect to see in Normal.  While I 
    cannot confirm those exact numbers with hard math (i.e., going around 
    with a calculator and testing first in Normal, then in higher 
    difficulties), I can confirm that, even with the same amount of leech in 
    Normal and Nightmare, and even slightly higher damage in Nightmare than 
    Normal, I was leeching noticeably less in Nightmare than Normal anyway.  
    All the more reason to try to get as much leech as you can (^_^)
    - Use of Life Replenish and Mana Regeneration:  Various items offer a 
    mod for Replenishing Life; the greater the total of your Life Replenish, 
    the faster your Life points will regenerate while playing - you start 
    with zero life replenish, but can get this mod on jewelry, on armor and 
    shields, and even by socketing Skulls into armor and helms, among other 
    ways.  While you would need a lot of Life Replenish to be able to heal 
    back the damage monsters deal in higher difficulties fast enough to be 
    'safe', life replenish is great for those moments of quiet while you're 
    walking around looking for your next foes.
    Mana Regeneration works a little differently than Life Replenish; Mana 
    Regen is expressed as a percentage, such as Regenerate Mana +20%.  
    Everyone regenerates mana naturally; from my experiences, it seems the 
    rate of natural mana regen is set so that, starting from no mana, you'll 
    refill your mana points after a few minutes of rest.  Mana Regen 
    shortens the time it takes for complete regeneration of mana: in the 
    above case, a Barbarian with +20% mana regen would completely refill his 
    mana from zero 20% faster than he would otherwise obtain - so if it took 
    10 minutes normally (just for example; I know it doesn't take nearly 
    that long, so Don't Panic ^_^), then having 20% mana regen would let you 
    recover all your mana in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds roughly, 100% 
    mana regen would let you recover completely in 5 minute, and 200% mana 
    regen would let you regenerate in less than 3 and a half minutes.  
    Because of the way mana regeneration works, the higher your mana total, 
    the faster you'll seem to get back points of mana - a Barbarian with 10 
    mana regains 2 points more slowly than a Barbarian with 100 mana, 
    because the rate of recovering all mana is the same for both, but the 
    second Barbarian's percentage of mana lost is a lot smaller than the 
    first's.  Therefore, another way to keep yourself in mana is - get more 
    mana (^_^)
    - Use Potions:  No one said you can't use what you find; health and mana 
    potions are relatively common items to find off of monsters - and 
    Barbarians have a Skill that lets them seek out potions specifically 
    from the bodies of the slain.  If you're low on leech and life/mana 
    replenish, and haven't been finding too many potions - might as well go 
    looking for some with your Skills (^_^).
    * Section 5.1.5:  Mobility
    Barbarians can be formidable tanks, yes - but even tanks occasionally 
    come into situations where they're not soaking up damage like they'd 
    like to be, and need to make a tactical withdrawal.  Also, when ranged 
    attackers are besieging you, it's nice to be able to get to them quickly 
    and dispatch them before you become a pincushion (^_^).  The Barbarian 
    has a couple ways to add to his mobility:
    - Use Leap or Leap Attack:  These Skills are the Barbarian's answer to 
    the Teleport spell; you're relatively safe for the second or two you're 
    in the air, and Leap Attack's range even at Level 1 is still pretty much 
    Full Screen.  Being beset by Flayers?  Leap over the stream and watch 
    them have to scramble for a bridge - or else just stare at you in mute 
    frustration from the other bank.  Be aware though, that your hirelings 
    are not bestowed with leaping ability - so you may end up leaving your 
    trusty companion behind by accident.
    - Increase Run/Walk Speed:  The Increased Speed Skill is made for making 
    your Barbarian more fleet of foot, and the Frenzy Skill's bonuses 
    include faster run/walk bonuses.  Also, various items, notably boots and 
    other footwear, come with bonuses to run/walk speed.
    *** Section 5.2:  A Suggested Skeleton Barbarian Skill Selection
    With the above points in mind, I will now make a suggestion for a 
    Barbarian Skill Point build - however, rather than a full build, I am 
    instead going to suggest a skeleton build, including things I feel 
    nearly any and all Barbarians will want to have, and leaving enough 
    skill points left that most any sort of Barbarian can then be designed 
    with these suggestions in mind.
    In no particular order, the Skills I suggest are:
    War Cry - at least a modest investment (5 points or more).  War Cry, in 
    my estimation, is the best Skill a Barbarian has for crowd control, and 
    virtually any strategy I can envision a Barbarian using can benefit from 
    having the enemies stunned for a couple of seconds.  Just to be on the 
    safe side, even assuming a Barbarian will find pluses to skills on 
    items, I am suggesting a modest investment here to give at least a 
    modestly decent stun length - I, myself, would feel more comfortable 
    with 10 points in this skill, but I'm trying to be 'stingy' with my 
    suggestions here to allow for more freedom in customizing later.
    At least one Weapon Mastery - as many points as you feel comfortable 
    with, moderate investments at least (10+ points).  I, myself, like using 
    two weapon masteries - sword and throwing, and am planning on raising 
    both to at least moderate levels (10+).  I would not advise trying to 
    get more than two weapon masteries, however, and instead looking to find 
    a single weapon type (or two weapon types, such as I did) which seem to 
    suit your fancy best, and concentrate on those.  Those weapons will be 
    your major means of dealing damage, and the masteries will be your major 
    way of increasing your damage from those weapons.
    Natural Resistance - at least a modest investment (5 points or more).  
    Elemental attacks will become increasingly more dangerous in later 
    difficulties, both from the monsters' increased stats and the resistance 
    penalties you'll suffer.  The Barbarian can raise his resistances 
    through a passive skill; in my estimation, a Barbarian should really 
    take advantage of this Skill's benefits rather than just leave his 
    resistances completely to his items.
    Increased Speed - minimal investment (1 point).  Walking and running 
    faster never hurts, especially when seeking to dodge the incoming 
    fireball.  At least one point here will let you take advantage of pluses 
    to skills from items, thus yielding more rewards for your investment, 
    and in any event even a single point will bolster your movement rate 
    over and above what your items provide.
    Leap Attack - minimal investment (1 point).  The mobility Leap Attack 
    offers is, in my estimation, too good to pass up - and the wait from 
    Level 6 to level 18 to upgrade from Leap to Leap Attack is worth holding 
    off on spending points into Leap to me as well.
    Berserk - at least minimal to modest investments (1 to 5 points+).  This 
    is the Skill that lets you have some attack which will affect Physical 
    Immunes irregardless of your equipment; it's worth including in your 
    repertoire for those situations.
    Find Potion - minimal investment (1 point).  For 'popping' corpses of 
    monsters that tend to get back up if nothing else, and for a little 
    extra chance to keep your healing supplies stocked up at all times.
    Battle Orders - at least minimal investment (1+ point).  If for no other 
    reason than to have some small life and mana upping ability for 
    protracted battles, like Boss fights.  I say at least minimal 
    investments, just because I'm trying to be 'stingy' with my assessments 
    in this section, but even still this is a good place to consider putting 
    Skill Points if you want to have even more life and mana available.
    Taking into account all the prerequisites for these Skills (prereqs get 
    one skill point), my suggested Barbarian Skeleton Skill Build looks 
    something like this:
    Warcries Tree
    - Howl:           1 point
    - Find Potion:    1 point
    - Taunt:          1 point
    - Shout:          1 point
    - Battle Cry:     1 point
    - Battle Orders:  1 point
    - War Cry:        5 points
    Total -------    11 points
    Combat Masteries Tree
    - One Weapon Mastery of Choice:  10 points
    - Increased Stamina:              1 point
    - Increased Speed:                1 point
    - Iron Skin:                      1 point
    - Natural Resistance:             5 points
    Total -------------              18 points
    Combat Skills Tree
    Bash:            1 point
    Stun:            1 point
    Concentrate:     1 point
    Berserk:         1 point
    Leap:            1 point
    Leap Attack:     1 point
    Total -------    6 points
    TOTAL POINTS ALLOCATED: 11 + 18 + 6 = 35 Skill Points
    Again, this build is not meant to be a complete build; these are merely 
    my suggestions for Skills practically every Barbarian can make good use 
    of, with a mention of places where I think more than one Skill Point is 
    a decent investment. With these Skills, a Barbarian has: some method of 
    Crowd Control, a decent attack with a specialized weapon, mobility, 
    extra defenses both physical and elemental, a way to deal with Physical 
    Immunes, and a way to both 'pop' enemy corpses and keep his healing 
    supplies stocked.  And that's using only 35 out of a possible 110 Skill 
    points earnable, leaving a lot of points free for customizing a 
    *** Section 5.3:  Possible Builds Using the Skeleton Skill Selection
    With the above build in mind, here are some ideas for ways to build a 
    Barbarian, based on concepts I've seen in other faqs:
    Using this basic template, a Barbarian wanting to specialize in 
    Whirlwind can get 10 more points in the Weapon Mastery, then 20 in 
    Whirlwind itself - so the points spent are now up to 65.  Another 19 to 
    pump up Battle Orders like many Barbarians like to do, and you've spent 
    84 Skill points - given that 12 Skill Points are obtainable from quests, 
    that's 72 Skill points needed from leveling - so by level 73 you'd have 
    your Whirlwind, your Weapon Mastery, and your Battle Orders all 
    potentially maxed, and still have from levels 74 on up to add Skill 
    points to other skills - like Shout or Iron Skin for defenses, or 
    Natural Resistances for resists, or Berserk for killing Physical Immunes 
    that much more quickly, or whatever you want.
    Again using this template, a Frenzy specialist will likely want 20 
    points in Frenzy, with 2 points needed for prerequisites - so the points 
    spent for this Barbarian would be 57 points.  With a mid-level weapon 
    mastery and maxed out Frenzy, you now still have up to 53 points to play 
    with; 19 for maxed out Battle Orders leaves you with 34 points still 
    free, and you can potentially get the template skills and your primary 
    attack plus Battle Orders to these levels by level 65, leaving time to 
    to pump up your defenses still - or, playing more cautiously, invest 
    points into Shout and Iron Skin at lower levels while you're levelling, 
    up to a point you feel comfortable with.  Or you can go all out offense, 
    pump up your Weapon Mastery, rely on pluses to skills to shore up your 
    defensive skills and other tricks should you have such items, and be a 
    blender on legs.
    A Berserk specialist will likely want maxed out weapon mastery - another 
    10 points bringing us up to 45 using the template, then 19 more in 
    Berserk for a really massive attack, and just for argument's sake let's 
    say maxed out War Cry for keeping everyone stunned.  45 + 19 + 15 = 79 
    points spent, leaving still potentially 31 points to spend to bolster 
    his abilities - maybe a few in Iron Skin and Shout for when he's trying 
    to leech back life, a point in Grim Ward for additional crowd control, 
    and of course Battle Orders ... 
    A Dragoon will be much like a Berserk specialist, except that instead of 
    maxing Berserk he'll max Leap Attack and may not necessarily feel he has 
    to max out War Cry since his defense still works (unless he Berserks a 
    lot while on the ground).  So, 35 points for the template, plus 10 for 
    maxed out mastery and 19 for maxed out Leap Attack is 64 Skill points, 
    and from there you have still 46 points to use to bolster your defenses, 
    resistances, crowd control, etc, in whatever manner you please.
    For a Throwing Barbarian, likely they'll want maxed out Throwing 
    Mastery, need at least one point in Double Swing, one in Frenzy, and say 
    at least 10 in Double Throw for AR bonuses ... that's only 57 points 
    before even looking to max out Battle Orders or raise other skills for 
    extra defense/speed/what have you ...
    All of these suggestions assume that a Barbarian will want to max out 
    whatever their primary attack is as much as possible.  However, a 
    Berserker may find 10 points in Berserk is enough to let him kill things 
    as fast as he feels he has to, especially if he has a decent weapon to 
    back his attacks up; a Dragoon may decide that 5 to 10 points in Leap 
    Attack is enough and focus on raising the skills used in their ground 
    game more; and Blizzard has never said that a Throwing Master, 
    Whirlwind, or Frenzy Barbarian - has - to max out Battle Orders 
    completely or else be unable to beat the game.
    *** Section 6:  Hirelings ***
    Even Single Player Barbarians don't have to go it alone; Diablo 2 offers 
    a choice of different Hirelings to aid your quest.  The Rogues of Act 
    One, with bows and elemental arrows, provide supporting fire; the Town 
    Guard of Act two provide auras like a Paladin's and a potent pole arm-
    wielding muscleman; the Iron Wolves of Act Three, with elemental spells 
    along with swords, offer some magical support; the Barbarians of Act 
    Five provide a powerful tank who can take damage and bash things almost 
    as well as you can. (^_^)
    In my own experiences, I have only used one mercenary so far - an Act 
    One Rogue, typically a Cold Arrow specialist.  Why her over the others?  
    Actually ... no real reason whatsoever; I just happen to like the Rogues 
    more than the other Mercenaries, and in other games Ice has always been 
    my favorite element.  Since she's the only Hireling I've had any 
    experience with, I'll offer what thoughts and ideas I can on using a 
    Rogue to bolster your fighting ability, and if I ever try another 
    Mercenary someday ... well, that's what updates are for (^_^).
    *** Section 6:1:  The Rogue Hireling
    Sister to the Rogue who bravely fought Diablo in the first Diablo game 
    (and who, apparently, didn't succeed as well as we could have hoped, 
    else we wouldn't be here to begin with ^_^), the Rogue Mercenary stands 
    ready to cut down your foes with her bow. 
    The Rogue has the basic Skills of Inner Sight, either Fire or Cold 
    Arrow, and possibly Critical Strike from the Amazon Skill lists - the 
    last one I'm not certain of, but I've seen a few cases of my rogue 
    getting the flash of a critical hit and doing extra damage, so I think 
    she does, in fact, have this skill (though it doesn't happen often, so 
    don't start thinking you'll have a Howitzer in leather boots working for 
    you just because I said the Rogue seems to have Critical Strike ^_^)  
    Rogues can equip any bows except Amazon-specific ones - but not 
    crossbows - and any non-class specific armor or helm that their stats 
    will allow them to wear.  Like all Hirelings, Rogues have infinite nama 
    and can use their Skills whenever they want, and have natural life 
    replenish that restores their health in blocks of Life points - every so 
    often, a Rogue will get back x number of Life points, as opposed to 
    getting them back one at a time like a PC would with life replenish.
    Important Note: Holding down Shift while hitting the key for any belt 
    slot will cause the potion therein to be used on your Hireling - even if 
    you're a full screen apart.  Hirelings are also healed when you drink 
    from wells - yet another reason to like fresh mineral water (^_^).
    AI-wise, the Rogue prefers to keep her distance, moving away from 
    monsters to pick them off with a steady stream of arrows, generally 
    aiming for whoever is closest to her.  She is not the most inclined to 
    act as a meat-shield for you, nor are her hit points really geared for 
    such duty.  This doesn't mean she can't take a few hits, but she's not 
    the sort of person who deals well with being mobbed ...
    Since the Rogue only equips bows, helms, and armors, her outfitting 
    options are a mite more limited than your Delux Wardrobe Set, complete 
    with gloves, boots, jewelry, and what have you.  In my experiences, I've 
    found that equipment that raises my Rogue's Dexterity (for better 
    defense and bow damage), Life points (for better death-tolerance), 
    elemental damage (for PI monsters) and life-leeching (for cutting down 
    on having to use my potions on her) tends to go a long way in helping my 
    rogue live longer and be a contributor to the Slaying of Evil.
    One note on equipping the Rogue - if you are able to equip her with an 
    item or bow which offers +1 to all skills or Amazon skills, she will be 
    able to use both cold arrows and fire arrows.  Having two levels in 
    skills from items seems to do nothing at all, and I hear at three levels 
    of skills from items, your Rogue thinks she's Opera Vectra from Star 
    Ocean, Second Story and starts blasting foes with a stream of lightning.  
    Soon as I find the spare equipment to test that, I intend to find out 
    for myself ... (^_^).
    Given that the Rogue likes to keep her distance, any strategies which 
    keep monsters safely at arm's reach will not only help her live longer, 
    but also give her more time to plunk arrows into monsters.  Some little 
    tricks I've developed to use my rogue to good advantage are:
    - Taunting Enemies Through Her Line of Fire:  Taunted foes will ignore 
    most anything other than getting over to you - though if an ally wanders 
    into their path, I've seen Taunted foes take a quick swipe at them 
    before continuing heading to me.  However, I've also found that letting 
    my Rogue pick a spot to stand and shoot from, then Taunting an enemy and 
    moving myself so the Taunted foe has to pass through my Rogue's firing 
    zone, is a most amusing way to lure monsters to their doom.  Why do all 
    the work when you can make the hired help pull their weight? (^_^)
    - Taunting With Grim Wards:  As I mentioned before, using Taunt in 
    conjunction with some Grim Wards is an excellent way to make the legions 
    of Hell act like hapless yo-yos - and because the Rogue prefers to hang 
    back and shoot from a distance, she's perfectly happy to stay with you 
    behind a Grim Ward and let you intice fleeing foes to come back for more 
    arrows in their gut.
    - Grim Warding a Doorway:  If most of the enemies in a room are melee 
    monsters, tossing up a Grim Ward right in the doorway will pretty much 
    seal the outside off from the monsters within - and your Rogue (and you 
    if you use ranged weapons) can fire into the room with impunity.
    - War Cry For Everyone:  When you stun the enemies with a War Cry, your 
    Rogue will generally pick one of the foes to shoot at a time; if you 
    want to finish off enemies more quickly, try to concentrate on attacking 
    the one she's shooting so it dies more quickly.  Or, you can leave her 
    to pick away at her victim while you tackle someone else.
    - Invisibility, Made Useless:  The Rogue's Inner Sight will illuminate 
    enemies, even in dark conditions and if they become invisible - making 
    it easier to keep track of who is around you and where.  Incidentally, 
    Barbarians making use of Warcries like Taunt and Battle Cry can 'tag' 
    invisible foes in much the same way - but the Rogue can also do it, and 
    having two people who can flag foes for future killing are better than 
    one, not to mention the Rogue doesn't have to worry about mana like you 
    do (^_^)
    - Message For You Sir!:  The Rogue's eyesight is keen; oftentimes when 
    you're wandering through a new area, she'll move on ahead a bit, and if 
    she sees enemies she'll stand firm and start shooting.  I've found this 
    to be helpful as advance warning to expect trouble around the next 
    corner, and because the Rogue attacks from a distance, she doesn't 
    usually get so close to the enemies that when I get there, she's in a 
    pool of her own blood.
    - Man, D2 Rogues Can't Jump ...:  Sadly, your Rogue will not take to the 
    skies when you start doing Leap Attacks; if you aren't careful you may 
    end up leaving her behind - which may be a good or bad thing depending 
    on the situation.  Also, when experimenting with Whirlwind, I've noticed 
    that when I start trying to Whirlwind through a horde of monsters, my 
    Rogue wants to follow - usually to her detriment as she's not spinning 
    with blades extended like I was ...
    Is the Rogue the best Hireling for a Barbarian?  That depends on the 
    individual player - I imagine a fair number of Barbarians would prefer 
    to use a Might Act Two Mercenary and reap huge damage bonuses from that 
    aura, or use the Holy Freeze Merc as part of crowd control, or what have 
    you.  My advice on this matter is this: choose a mercenary you think you 
    like, try working with them, and if they seem to offer your style of 
    play benefit, then stick with them, and learn how not only to make your 
    mercenary complement you with their powers, but also how you can 
    complement your mercenary's style of fighting for better survival of 
    both parties.
    *** Section 7:  Closing Thoughts ***
    And now a few general opinions of mine, on the Barbarian and playing the 
    game ...
    The most important thing to remember when playing a Barbarian in Diablo 
    2, is simply that - it's a game, it's your character, and don't be 
    afraid to do something that others might advise against if you will have 
    fun with it.  In my guide, I've tried to give a detailed idea of how all 
    the Barbarian's Skills work, and offer some suggestions for what sort of 
    things I feel all Barbarians can benefit from - but if you have an idea 
    of your own that you like playing, then go for it.  Do you like using 
    the Stun Skill, even though I said I felt it was not one of the 
    Barbarian's most effective Skills?  Then by all means pump it up with 
    Skill points as high as you like - if you like it and you have fun 
    playing the game using that Skill, then use it.  Make your Barbarian 
    suit your style of play.
    Also remember, that no one is saying you have to compete with other 
    players, especially if you're playing Single Player or Multiplayer 
    Player versus Monster; so what if the sorceress can do 7000 points of 
    damage a second with her Firewall and who knows how much with her Frozen 
    Orb?  If you can hold your own, you're doing fine. If that sorceress 
    feels you're holding her back because you're barely scraping the 1000 
    mark for damage, then chances are your playing styles aren't meshing 
    well anyway; don't feel you have to match or top everyone else you see 
    or hear about, and play the game to have fun.  With luck you'll meet 
    people who will enjoy playing with you if you play multiplayer and not 
    have to worry about competing with your own party, when the real enemy 
    is Diablo and his hordes.
    Though I know little of the sorts of scams, hacks, and other dangers 
    that can beset a person online, even I am aware that such things do 
    exist, unfortunately - have fun, but not at the expense of others, and 
    when online, please be careful.  Nothing can be as frustrating as having 
    all your hard work in making a character destroyed because someone 
    managed to hack your account and did What Have You to your character and 
    That's everything; I hope you found this guide helpful and informative, 
    or at least interesting to read (^_^).  If you have any questions, 
    comments, or the like, again I can be reached at 
    lorannapyrel@hotmail.com; please include in the subject heading that 
    your e-mail is about my Diablo 2 guide.  Helpful criticism and comments 
    are welcome; flames, 1337-laden messages, and the like will be summarily 
    ignored, and if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them
    *** Section 8:  Revision History ***
    Version 1.0; August 25, 2002: After a couple of weeks of planning, 
    typing, late-night playing, and discussing with a couple of friends, the 
    first version of this guide is done!  YAY!  Here's hoping it gets 
    accepted ...
     *** Section 9:  Credits ***
    Finally, credit where credit is due ...
    I give credit to Blizzard, for making this game that has so eaten up my 
    current free time.
    I give credit to Sega and Sonic Team for making Phantasy Star Online, 
    for that was the game which introduced me to online gaming to begin with 
    - which contributed to me looking into this game.
    I give credit to CJayC for creating GameFAQS, and the many FAQ writers 
    before me who have given me inspiration from reading their guides.
    I give credit to my friend DragonKat, a fellow GameFAQS user, for 
    offering to review my guide before I sent it out, and for offering his 
    advice on what he's seen other Barbarians do with some Skills I never 
    really used much prior to making this guide.
    I also give credit to myself for managing to put this guide together 
    despite my own laziness (^_^)
    August 25, 2002