Since the release of the recent patch yesterday, there has been a significant outcry about the adjustments made to balance each class. Apart from general reductions in Damage and Defenses, many popular gameplay strategies have been significantly impacted. Among the classes affected by this update, Barbarians have suffered the consequences. With the rectification of bugs in the Hammer of the Ancient and the bleed build, Barbarians are expected to experience a notable decline in strength during this patch.
This class took the biggest hit due to some bug fixes, causing some builds to do some unintended damage. They received a few buffs to some underutilized skills and aspects, but the majority of the changes this patch hurt Barbarian drastically. With Hammer of the Ancients being the strongest build they had, the bug fix is going to pretty much kill this build. The developers took note of this, stating
Developer’s Note: We recognize this adjustment is a significant decrease to the Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian build, but we do not want its strength to be reliant on an underlying bug.
Hopefully, we see some buffs to even out the damage loss from this bug fix.
- Fixed an issue where the outer edge of the quakes granted to Hammer of the Ancients via the Aspect of Ancestral Echoes was dealing far more damage than intended.
- Fixed an issue where stacking the Aspect of Berserk Ripping, Skullbreaker's Aspect, and Aspect of Anemia aspects would allow the player to deal extreme amounts of damage.
Notable Balance Changes
Double Swing Barbarian
- Double Swing Vulnerable duration has been increased from 1 to 2 seconds. This build has been gaining some popularity recently, and due to Whirlwind nerfs in the past and the death of Hammer of the Ancients this patch, this build will likely be one of the strongest endgame builds for Barbarian.
Hammer of the Ancients Barbarian
- Due to the bug fix, this build has lost a ton of damage. The patch went live yesterday and after a bit of testing the build is struggling quite a bit. Hopefully, we see some buffs to HotA in the near future to compensate for this insane loss in damage.
- The Bleed build for Barbarian was broken due to an unintended interaction between some aspects. This build was capable of doing damage that could not even fit on the screen. This build was not used outside of people abusing this bug, so this won’t really change much about the game.
- Whirlwind Barbarian has seen many nerfs leading up to the new season. They received a little bit of love in this patch due to a small rework on Gohr’s Devastating Grips. This unique now explodes every 2 seconds or after it ends, and its hit cap has been removed. This build will still be strong for 50-100, but will fall off in higher Nightmare Dungeons.
- Due to Vulnerabile and Critical Strike Damage nerfs, this build is actually going to take over as one of the stronger builds for Nightmare Dungeon pushing. Since this build does not utilize Critical Strike Damage, they did not get hit that hard. Even though they did not get changed at all this patch, they have increased in strength relative to how much power other top builds have lost.
- Kratos Barbarian has got quite a nice buff in this patch. Furious Upheaval received a buff, increasing the damage bonus per stack from 3% to 5%.
- Enhanced Death Blow also received a nice buff, increasing its bonus damage to bosses from 100% to 150%.
- This build is great for leveling and pushing Nightmare Dungeons in the 80-90 range. We still recommend Thorns Barbarian or Double Swing for pushing higher Nightmare Dungeons.
Two iconic Barbarian builds had their time in the spotlight but have finally been dethroned. With countless nerfs to Whirlwind in the past and the current bug fix for Hammer of the Ancients, new builds are rising to the top. We expect Thorns and Double Swing Barbarian to take over the harder end game content while Kratos Barbarian will likely be the best build for leveling.