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    1.11 Dragoon Barbarian Guide by AUNAO

    Version: 1.10 | Updated: 01/21/06 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

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    (                                                 
                                                      Lord of Destruction
    
    1.11 'Dragoon' Barbarian Guide
    Version 1.10
    
    ***************************************************************************
    
    Written by: AUNAO
    
    
    
    
    Table of Contents
    --------------------------------
    I. Version History
    II. Introduction
    III. Skills
                   a) Warcries
                   b) Combat Masteries
                   c) Combat Skills
    IV. Recommended Skill Allocation
    V. Recommended Stat Distribution
    VI. Equipment
    VII. General Strategies
    VIII. Boss Strategies
    IX. Recognition
    X. Contact Information
    
    
    
    
    I. Version History
    
    v. 1.00 - 08/19/2005 - Initial Information
    v. 1.10 - 01/21/2006 - ASCII title added
    
    
    
    
    II. Introduction
    
    I think Leap Attack is cool. What more can I say. =D
    
    Every Barbarian you see lately is virtually identical, and
    the Dragoon is a little different. It's not as viable a 
    build to solo Hell difficulty with, but it's a hell of a lot
    of fun on it's own. Dragoons use Leap Attack as their primary
    mode of attack. It's a fun build with quite a lot of options.
    
    It'll be a challenging ride, but the Dragoon can be a realistic
    choice for someone looking for something a little different.
    
    
    
    
    III. Skills
    
    There are only two skills the Dragoon actually NEEDS to max,
    so that leaves you with over fifty points to use as you
    wish. I'll be outlining what I believe to be the best route,
    but feel free to change the build to suit your own needs.
    
    
    
    
    
    a) Warcries
    
    The heart and soul of most Barbarians. The Dragoon utilizes
    only a few Warcries, similar to other builds.
    
    
    
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Howl
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 1
    Description:
    
    When used, it'll send all enemies in a small radius running
    away in fear. This can be extremely useful for the Dragoon,
    as this build has a very powerful attack, but lacks sufficient
    crowd control. After using Howl, you can pick off stronger
    enemies one by one with Leap Attack.
    
    
    Final Decision: A single point will be sufficient.
    It's a great stand alone skill, and also a prerequisite
    for the other warcries we'll be using.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Find Potion
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 1
    Description:
    
    You can use it to search the body of a slain monster for a
    potion. It has a low percentage of working, and considering
    how easy it is to find potions, it's a pretty worthless skill.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points. If you want to use Grim Ward, a
    single point in this skill will suffice.
    
    ---------------------------------------------------------------- 
    Taunt
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 6
    Description:
    
    Causes a single monster to attack you, regardless of the
    situation. Also reduces the target's damage and attack rating
    by a negligible amount.
    
    This can be a useful skill to lure a tough Unique Monster's
    minions away and kill them off one by one. It's not something
    you'll need to rely on either, though.
    
    Final Decision: Either none or a single point, depending
    on your playing style.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shout
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 6
    Description:
    
    Doubles your defense for twenty seconds with a single point.
    More points will give a larger defense bonus and a longer
    duration. Handy, but not really need apart from being
    a prerequisite for Battle Orders.
    
    Final Decision: One point. If your Dragoon gets to the lofty
    heights of level 90+, you may want to put a few more points
    into this skill, as it is a synergy for Battle Orders. More
    points into Shout will give Battle Orders a longer duration.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Find Item
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 12
    Description:
    
    Similar to Find Potion, except it will find a random item with
    an even lower precentage of success. There are magic find
    Barbarians that utilize this skill to its utmost potential,
    but the Dragoon has no use for it.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points, or one if you want to use
    Grim Ward.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Battle Cry
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 18
    Description:
    
    Reduces the damage and defense of enemies in a small radius
    by a fairly decent amount. This isn't a bad skill by any means,
    but simply isn't as cost effective as other skills you could
    be putting points into.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Battle Orders
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 24
    Description:
    
    Raises your Health, Mana, and Stamina by a goodly amount
    for a short amount of time.
    
    This skill can be a godsend, and it's always nice to have
    when playing multiplayer. The duration is small, but can 
    be raised with its synergies, Shout and Battle Command.
    
    Final Decision: Max this skill.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Grim Ward
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 24
    Description:
    
    You can use this skill on a slain enemy to create a totem
    that will ward off enemies. It has a small radius, but some
    people absolutely swear by it. Grim Ward can be useful in
    areas that are swarming with powerful melee enemies.
    
    Final Decision: One point or none. Entirely up to you.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    War Cry
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 30
    Description:
    
    Damages and stuns enemies in a nearby radius.
    
    There are builds that center around this skill, but it's
    trivial for a Dragoon. 
    
    Final Decision: Ignore this skill.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Battle Command
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 30
    Description:
    
    Raises the skill levels of both your party and you.
    
    This is a pretty solid skill, and is deserving of at least
    one point.
    
    Battle Orders is a synergy of Battle Command, so this skill
    will last awhile even at level 1.
    
    Final Decision: A single point will do. More can be put into
    it at a higher level if you're interested in a longer 
    lasting Battle Orders.
    
    
    
    
    b) Combat Masteries
    
    This skill tree is completely passive. Once you put
    points into these skills, they'll always remain active.
    
    
    
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    The Six Weapon Masteries
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: Sword, Axe and Mace - 1
                    Polearm, Spear and Throwing - 6
    Description:
    
    Even before starting a Dragoon, you'll have to decide the 
    primary weapon of your particular Dragoon.
    
    It's all up to you, and depends on your own particular tastes
    and interests.
    
    My own Dragoon used the Spear, since it's more of a traditional
    weapon for a Lancer. 
    
    Swords, Maces, and Axes allow you to use a shield, which will
    make the build a little more viable. Again, it's up to you.
    
    Final Decision: Max whichever you choose.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Increased Stamina
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 12
    Description:
    
    This is a fantastic stand alone skill. One point increases
    your overall Stamina by 30%. You get it pretty early, so it'll
    save you time not having to pause and rest. Any more points
    into this skill is a waste, as the bonus is hardly noticed,
    and you'll have enough stamina later on anyway.
    
    Final Decision: A single point.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Iron Skin
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 18
    Description:
    
    In the same vein as Increased Stamina, a point into this skill
    raises your overall defense by 30%. More points will only raise
    your defense by a small amount, so one point will be all 
    you'll need.
    
    Final Decision: A single point.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Increased Speed
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 24
    Description:
    
    The first point will raise your run/walk by 13%.
    
    The bonus after that is a waste.
    
    All in all, it's not bad for only needing one point.
    
    Final Decision: A single point.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Natural Resistance
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 30
    Description:
    
    Increases your resistance level to the four elements by
    a small amount with each point.
    
    This can be extremely important in Hell, especially if your
    equipment is lacking. 
    
    Final Decision: A single point should be enough. If you find
    yourself struggling to keep your resistances up, you can
    put more points into it as needed.
    
    
    
    
    c) Combat Skills
    
    The Dragoon's main skills come from this tree. There are
    only several Combat Skills the Dragoon needs.
    
    
    
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Bash
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 1
    Description:
    
    Does a small amount of damage and knocks the enemy back.
    
    Essentially worthless for any build.
    
    Final Decision: Single point as a prerequisite.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Leap 
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 6
    Description:
    
    Allows your Barbarian to leap a distance over obstacles
    and enemies. When you land, you'll be given a small 'cushion'
    in the form of knockback, executed against all enemies
    near your landing point.
    
    Leap is a synergy of Leap Attack, and is essential to
    the Dragoon Build. Apart from raising Leap Attack's damage,
    you'll be able to leap quite a distance at higher levels.
    
    You'll also be able to leap through places with winding
    terrain, like the Arcane Sanctuary and the jungles of
    Act 3.
    
    
    Final Decision: Max this skill.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Double Swing
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 6
    Description:
    
    When equiped with two weapons, you can attack two enemies
    at once, or one enemy twice.
    
    Worthless skill for a Dragoon.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Stun
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 12
    Description:
    
    Stuns an enemy while increasing your attack rating.
    
    A decent skill, but can't keep up with others at higher
    levels.
    
    Final Decision: A single point as a prerequisite.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Double Throw
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 12
    Description:
    
    When equipped with two different throwing items, you can
    throw them both at the same time.
    
    Since the Dragoon doesn't utilize throwing weapons, you
    should ignore this skill entirely.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Leap Attack
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 18
    Description:
    
    The skill that makes the Dragoon a Dragoon.
    
    This lets you leap into the air, and strike an enemy when
    you land.
    
    Even though Leap Attack hits once, it's one of the highest
    raw damage skills the Barbarian has at his disposal. With
    both Leap and Leap Attack maxed, Leap Attack will do 870% your
    normal damage, as well as adding 335% to your attack rating. 
    All that for only 9 mana a pop. =D 
    
    With enough + to skills equipment, it wouldn't be unrealistic
    to have Leap Attack at 1000%+ damage.
    
    Final Decision: The essential skill of a Dragoon. Max it.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Concentrate
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 18
    Description:
    
    A great skill that doubles your defense while still doing
    a nice amount of damage.
    
    However, it isn't relevant to the Dragoon build itself,
    so we'll be using it as a prerequisite for Berserk only.
    
    Final Decision: A single point as a prerequisite.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Frenzy
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 24
    Description:
    
    A fun skill that lets you attack with two weapons at the
    same time, while raising your attack and movement speeds
    at the same time.
    
    It's out of place for the Dragoon, however.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Whirlwind
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 30
    Description:
    
    This is generally the most popular Barbarian skill, but it
    requires a lot of skill points for it to be usable.
    
    Final Decision: Zero points.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Berserk
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Required level: 30
    Description:
    
    Pretty much every Barbarian needs this skill to survive
    Hell difficulty.
    
    This skill uses magical damage instead of physical, and
    allows you to defeat Physical Immunes.
    
    Final Decision: One point is enough.
    
    
    
    
    IV. Recommended Skill Allocation
    
    There are two skills that absolutely must be maxed for the
    Dragoon - Leap, and Leap Attack. Everything else can be
    planned however you like. 
    
    I'll be listing the build I find most effective:
    
    20 points in Leap Attack
    20 points in Leap 
    20 points in Battle Orders
    20 points in the Mastery of your choice
    
    After these 80 points are spent, you can use the rest
    of the points however you like.
    
    Boosting Natural Resistance or the duration of your Battle
    Orders would probably be the best bet for you.
    
    
    
    
    V. Recommended Stat Distribution
    
    Thankfully, the Dragoon's stats are fairly easy.
    
    Strength should be just high enough to use your equipment.
    Anywhere from 100-170 should suffice, depending on the
    Mastery you chose, and the equipment you have at your
    disposal.
    
    Dexterity will be in a similar vein.
    Leap Attack gives a 335% bonus to attack rating at
    level 20, so you should only have to worry about
    having enough for your equipment.
    
    If you chose a Mastery that allows a shield, you'll
    also have Max Block to worry about. Anywhere
    from 100-200 should suffice.
    
    Vitality. Every point not spent in Strength or Dexterity
    goes here. It's quite simple.
    
    Energy will be ignored completely, as you'll never
    really have mana problems, especially later on.
    
    
    
    
    VI. Equipment
    
    Weapon:
    
    This will be tricky, as it depends entirely
    on the mastery you chose. Since the Dragoon reigns
    supreme mostly in Nightmare, most mid level uniques
    and runewords will be more than enough, especially
    coupled with a fully synergized Leap Attack's massive
    damage output.
    
    Shield:
    
    Also depends on whether you chose a weapon that allows
    the use of a shield. A Stormshield socketed with a Perfect
    Diamond is always a popular choice, considering it's not
    too expensive and fairly easy to acquire.
    
    The Sanctuary or Ancient's Pledge rune words can also
    do well if you're strapped for resistances.
    
    Helm:
    
    Arreat's Face would be ideal, especially upgraded to
    its elite form.
    
    A Delirium made in a Barbarian helm with +3 to Battle
    Orders is also a nice choice, as it'll give +2 to skills
    and a chance to cast several curses as you strike.
    
    Cheaper alternatives like Peasant Crown or even
    Duskdeep can work for you if you're low on funds.
    
    Armor:
    
    Enigma or Chains of Honor would be ideal, but many
    people aren't well off enough to get their hands 
    on one. 
    
    Stone, Gloom, and Smoke are also viable alternatives,
    using much cheaper runes and still being somewhat
    effective.
    
    Belt:
    
    Verdungo's Hearty Cord.
    
    Faster hit recovery, 10-15% damage reduction, and
    a hefty boost to vitality. Fairly easy to trade
    for as well.
    
    Gloves:
    
    Dracul's Grasp / Steelrends.
    
    Dracul's will give you a chance to cast Life Tap,
    25% chance of Open Wounds, and a nice amount
    of life leech.
    
    Rends will increase your overall damage by quite a bit,
    as well as adding 10% Crushing Blow and a small
    boost to Strength.
    
    Boots:
    
    Goreriders. Hopefully upgraded.
    
    Easy to acquire, and give Crushing Blow, Open
    Wounds, and Deadly Strike.
    
    They also don't require much strength to use.
    
    Rings:
    
    Lots of options here.
    
    Bul-Kathos' Wedding Band, Raven Frost, even
    Dwarf Star can work out.
    
    Rare rings with resists / dual leech are
    optimal as well.
    
    Amulet:
    
    Mara's Kaleidoscope would be ideal, but cheaper
    alternatives like Saracen's Chance can be great
    alternatives. Even a Nokozan Relic can help
    if you're in dire need of some fire resist.
    
    
    
    
    VII. General Strategies
    
    To be honest, the Dragoon's strategy is quite simple.
    
    Hit and run is the name of the game, especially later
    in the game when crowds become more and more common.
    
    Leap Attack has an enormous damage output, but hits 
    only a single opponent.
    
    You'll have to utilize both Leap and Leap Attack to
    their fullest to overcome some areas. Leap will let
    you get in and out of the fray, and knockback enemies
    to give you a chance to fly into Leap Attack.
    
    When you're in the air, nothing can hurt you, and
    you need to use that fact to your advantage.
    
    As long as you don't get mobbed, you should be able
    to hold your ground and get past most enemies.
    
    Skills like Howl and Taunt can allow you to 
    manipulate enemy movements and let you strike
    desired targets at will.
    
    
    
    
    VIII. Boss Strategies
    
    The name says it all
    
    We'll describe how to take on each boss with our Dragoon,
    with tips for each difficulty.
    
    
    
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 1 - Andariel
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    You won't have too much trouble with Andariel, especially
    early on. If you chose the Spear or Polearm Mastery, you'll
    take her down with normal attacks incredibly quickly. As long
    as you guzzle an Antidote before hand, her poison won't be 
    too bad.
    
    On higher difficulties, you'll have Leap Attack to make up
    for her increased capabilities. It'll be easy to use
    a mercenary to distract her while you clobber her health
    away with leap attack.
    
    If she starts damaging you too much, or your merc is killed,
    just TP back to town, health up / resurrect your merc, and
    jump back into the fray.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 2 - Duriel
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Pretty much every encounter with Duriel goes down the same way.
    
    His freezing ability combined with his high movement speed
    makes Leap Attack difficult to use properly, so you'll be
    left to fend for yourself.
    
    On Normal, normal attacks will be enough so long as you
    have average defenses. Heal when necessary, and he'll
    drop pretty quickly.
    
    On Nightmare / Hell, you'll have Berserk and a more useful
    Mercenary and better equipment. As long as you don't let him
    stunlock you, you should take the win easily.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 3 - The High Council
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Ugh.
    
    Normal and Nightmare Council won't trouble you too much; you 
    can use the same strategy as most characters and simply lure
    them away one by one and slaughter them with your strongest
    skills, in our case, Leap Attack. These guys are high on
    offense, but lacking in Health and defense, so your Leap
    Attack should make short work of them, provided you stay
    away from Hydra and getting ganged up on.
    
    Hell difficulty is another story. You'll have to try to
    lure them away, but their attacks are much more damaging.
    
    This isn't to say it's impossible, but you'd probably
    be best off getting some help from a friend or in
    a public game for this one.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 3 - Mephisto
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    The nice thing about encountering Mephisto with any Barbarian
    is that you can just leap across the moat and not have to deal
    with the Council members close by him.
    
    Provided you don't awaken any of the Blood Lords above Mephisto,
    he's a breeze for a good Dragoon on any difficulty.
    
    His Lightning attacks and Frost Ball are easy to leap around,
    and there is a lot of space to maneuver with Leap Attack.
    
    If he's damaging you too much, you can leap back across the moat,
    use Leap Attack from there, and then leap back to safety.
    
    It'll take awhile, but he'll succumb to the awesome might of your
    Leap Attack eventually.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 4 - Diablo
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    One of the easier bosses for a Dragoon to take care of.
    
    He's pretty much the same on every difficulty. 
    
    The only thing you really have to worry about is his massively
    powerful Lightning Hose. This will basically kill you in seconds
    on any difficulty. Luckily, it's easy to dodge, and can't hit you
    if you're in transit with Leap. =D 
    
    Stick to a combo of using Leap Attack to close the distance, and
    Berserk when he's not using his Lightning Hose. 
    
    One he gestures that he's going to use it, Leap away, and Leap
    Attack back in. He'll fall in no time.
    
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Act 5 - Baal
          
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Baal... well, he's still a joke. :O
    
    I'll never understand why Blizzard decided the last boss
    should be such a defensive one.
    
    Any build that moves around a lot really can't be killed by
    Baal, only annoyed.
    
    He'll knock you back, freeze you, and burn your mana away, but
    he'll never really be able to hurt you.
    
    You'll use a similar strategy to the one you used against Diablo,
    except you won't have to bother dodging any powerful attacks.
    
    The combo of Leap Attack and Berserk will take him out after awhile,
    provided you ignore the double he makes of himself and concentrate
    solely on the real Baal.
    
    
    
    
    IX. Recognition
    
    - El Sabotender, for being my special little guy
    
    - Diamond Angel99 ... you broke my heart, man, but whatever...
    
    - awksamurai <3 <3 <3 
    
    - Blizzard, of course, releasing patches even now to maximize 
    both our gaming and purchasing experience
    
    
    
    
    X. Contact Information
    
    If you find any errors, or have something to say, let me know at:
       AUNAOyo@gmail.com