Friday Update:Class Preview - Barbarian

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Friday Updates Class Previews

Guardian - Barbarian - Conqueror - Dark Templar - Bear Shaman - Demonologist - Necromancer - Priest of Mitra

Some make bargains with dark things from damned corners of the world in pursuit of power. Some commune with nature, conjuring the powers of lightning and storms. Some see a problem and reach for the biggest weapon they can find. In the world of Hyboria, this is the Barbarian.

Masters of melee combat, barbarians aren't known for their subtlety. Their survival in the dangerous world of Hyboria relies on their abilities with a diverse array of weapons. Barbarians wield everything from the usual axes and clubs—two at a time, as no true barbarian cowers behind a shield—to mighty two-handed blades that Crom himself might struggle to lift. Barbarians with a little more guile about them may also learn the ways of the bow, or have a few throwing weapons tucked here and there for when things get dicey (or when someone makes the mistake of running, as running away from a barbarian is the surest way to die tired).

Magic doesn't enter into the vocabulary of these fierce fighters. Magic, to a barbarian, is seeing what happens when you hit someone really hard, and when they disappear in a red spray, that's magic. The barbarian's skills focus entirely on damage, and doing a lot of it to their enemies with all manner of sharp and blunt objects. The barbarian also favors light, or even cloth, armor, figuring there's no sense shuffling around in lots of heavy metal when you could be burying an axe in the other guy's face.

Barbarians that choose to dual wield gain abilities that focus on putting together a lot of hits, up to ten in a combo. In their Multihit line, a simple barrage of Reckless Blows grows with the warrior. The enterprising and persistent barbarian can learn to unleash a Flurry of Steel, and that flurry becomes an Avalanche of Steel as they grow more powerful. The most powerful dual-wielding barbarians unleash Chaos Incarnate, wrecking their foes with a blur of blows, ruining all that come near. Provoking a barbarian with a weapon in each hand is foolish enough, but they also gain the ability to go berserk, and what begins as a Savage Rage grows into a Destructive Rage that makes the already formidable barbarian nigh-unstoppable.

Those that continue to follow the dual-wielding path also gain the ability to Wreck their opponents' armor at Level 24, with outright Ruining of their finery coming later on, the better to rip and tear the tender flesh beneath. Higher-level barbarians do even more damage with nasty wounds that bleed over time, and with a lot of training and experience, level 32's simple Jagged Cut becomes a Whirlwind Cut, with the most powerful members of the profession wielding the mighty combo move known as “Bloodletter.”

There is another tack, however, best summarized as “speak softly and carry a big stick, or possibly an entire tree.” This style of barbarian favors one big weapon as opposed to two smaller ones, and specializes in hitting a wide area around them, the better to clear out the teeming sea of oncoming foes so common in Hyboria.

As early as level 20, these barbarians gain access to a stun combo. Stunning Punch, Stunning Clout, and, later, Stunning Strike set up the two-handers' hard hitting damage combos. Much like the barbarian, these combos aren't subtle, with delightful names like Butcher, Mangle, Slaughter, and for the most powerful and discriminating of barbarians, Annihilate. At level 24, they gain the ability to slam their opponents back and out of the way. From the basic Power Bash to the powerful Mighty Clobber, barbarians in need of a breather—or barbarians who like to watch their enemies flail backward helplessly—will be well-satisfied.

Even dodging won't work on the experienced barbarian, as the higher levels grant them combos that ruin their opponent's ability to evade damage. A Distracting Blow can be hard enough to deal with in a melee, but the Staggering Blow leaves opponents stumbling, easy prey for the cunning barbarian and his mighty arsenal of weapons.

The barbarian, in other words, is a specialist in melee combat that enjoys two major pastimes: killing people and breaking things in a variety of fun and creative ways.

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