Gearing Your Barbarian
The importance of All Resist gear is exaggerated. The notion of “You can’t beat Act X unless you have Y All Resist” is one of the biggest misconceptions floating about the Barbarian community. While it’s not completely untrue and while All Resist is still a very important stat, it is only one of many stats. I see a ton of Barbarians going about it the wrong way, wearing bad pieces of gear with high Resistance stats for the purpose of reaching this imaginary All Resist threshold that apparently makes Act 2 suddenly possible. This is the wrong way to go about gearing your Barbarian for Inferno.
-Instead, “Effective Health” is a concept you should be familiar with. Effective Health represents how much damage your character can sustain. Any stat that contributes to Damage Mitigation or Life will also contribute to your Effective Health. This dispels any misconception of an “All Resist minimum”, as well as the misconception of a max Life threshold that is pointless to go past. You can never have too much Life.
-Basically, when improving your character, you’re either increasing your Effective Health or your Damage Output, and it’s really that simple.
Effective Health = Damage Mitigation x Life.
Damage Output = Damage x Strength x Attack Speed x Crit Chance & Crit Bonus.
Having more of one stat makes the other stats more valuable. For example, the higher your weapon damage, the more DPS each point of Strength will grant you. The more Strength you have, the more DPS each percent of Attack Speed will give you. Each stat supports the other stat.
-When it comes to “Which stat is more important? X or Y?” the answer is always “it depends”. How much of each stat are we talking about here? How much of each stat do you already have? How much of the supporting stats do you already have? “Stat Priority” lists are pretty dumb.
-In my opinion, the three most overlooked and under appreciated stats for a Barbarian: Attack Speed%, Armor, Life%.
-The quantities of Attack Speed% you can find on gear is insane. When Blizzard put this random stat on gear, I don’t think they really understood what 15% Increased Attack Speed really meant. Armor with Attack Speed bonuses should really only give about half of what they actually do. As it stands, this is a great way to improve your DPS.
-10 Armor = 1 All Resist. While All Resist is boosted by 50% (via War Cry Impunity), Armor is boosted by 45% (20% from War Cry + 25% from Tough as Nails). Armor also benefits from Enchantress’ Aura and Leap – Iron Impact. When evaluating gear upgrades, consider each 10 points it adds to your Armor as equal to 1 All Resist.
-Life%, like Attack Speed%, is a stat that is undervalued by Blizzard’s development team. It was probably tuned for classes that have 20-30k life, but Inferno Barbarians typically have more than that. It can be found on Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Belt, Shield and Jewellery. Helms without sockets are generally pretty bad, just because of the Life% boost. Don’t ignore this stat when searching for gear upgrades in the Auction House.
-For top-end gear (Act 3/4 & Whimsyshire), Life on Hit and Block% stats are very good. They’re not necessarily less important before Act 3/4, but the items that grant these stats are particularly expensive, and you’re better off allocating your budget towards other items before you start to build towards these stats.
-Block has been pretty amazing for damage reduction, but you need a very good Shield and those are expensive. It’s hard to explain mathematically why it’s good, but taking 4000 less damage from single-target attacks 35% of the time sounds pretty damn good to me. Despite having 150 less resists than I used to have, I find that I’m much harder to kill. Again, you need a very good Shield to to put Justice Lanterns and Helm of Command to optimal use. Until you have the money for a top-end Shield (Stormshield or other), don’t bother with Block.
-I’m not 100% sold on Melee damage reduction (ie. String of Ears). It’s obviously very good, but I find that melee damage isn’t typically what kills me anymore, and the Belt I have gives more Armor, Resistances and tons of Strength. I haven’t really tested it out enough to say for sure, but I have a feeling I’ll be going down this route again in the future.