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Building Barbarian from scratch by _Alf_

BFE v.1.50 Barbarian

I write about Barbarian because I love to play this class though most BFE-specific details will be useful to any class, especially to melee ones. Of course, this entire article shows my personal point of view to the game.
Advices to beginners:
- read the mod documentation carefully;
- pay special attention to the following: this is BFE, not LOD. You should forget LOD stereotypes and builds and learn game from scratch.
There were many reports about great difficulties with playing a melee character from scratch without stash. Sure, playing styles for Necromancer and Barbarian are totally different. So if you can't play Barbarian then probably you should try Necromancer.

Barbarian, BFE v.1.50, without shared stash. Standard, 1 ppl.

Barbarian's skills obviously demonstrate importance of the new character stat named «Endurance». It is essential to keep alive. If you die often probably it would be better to create new character. For example, 1 RIP at 2nd level is acceptable, but 15 RIPs at 20th level are too much. +5 Endurance will give you 11% extra bonus to defense on 19 level when using Shout of 12th level. Battle Orders and Whirlwind also hardly depend on Endurance.

First steps (levels 1-8):
Increase Vitality, because Barbarians get 3 points of Life for every point of Vitality, that is very good in BFE. It is not necessary to rise up Strength and Dexterity in the beginning. The best weapon to start is javelin. You will get few levels and some GP by just running Blood Moor in your starting equipment. Then buy javelin from Charsi, go to Rogue Encampment Doom's group of Zombies (they will spawn right at the Encampment entrance unless the entrance is headed north or east) and throw javelins at them untill they all are dead. You can repeat it as many times as you like. You will get some good items and GP as a result and it is better save the money for Diamond Needles and Extractors.
Kill monsters in Blood Mood and probably a bit in Cold Plains until you get level 8. You can slay regular monsters with melee weapons (Axe, Sword, Club) but better use javelins for Champions and Minions. You should have at least 48 Strength to level 8 so you can equip the most simple 1-hand axe with 6 sockets available. Put the rest stat points to Vitality.

Beginning (up to level 18):
Once you reach level 8 you can hire a Mercenary. I strongly advise to hire her and not wait until you get her as a quest reward. Learn Shout and Double Swing. Buy Axe and 6 Diamond Needles from Charsi. Put it in Horadric Cube and get Socketed Axe. Collect gold and items suitable for extracting Souls. You will be able to insert them in your Socketed Axe later. It is better to choose items with "+ %chance to cast …" and "+ fire/lightning/cold damage" modifiers. Your physical damage is too weak, so any "mass" skills (firestorm, charged bolt, teeth) are strongly recommended. If you want to save some gold on repair in the future you can use Soul(s) with "repairs 1 durability in 33 seconds" modifier.
The best weapon for Mercenary is a javelin with this jewel:

And it would be even better if you get three jewels of this kind :)
If you can't find this type of jewels, you can insert chipped or flawed Gems in any regular Gloves.
Weapon like this will remain useful up to the level 19:

If you carry many charms giving fire, lightning, cold or poison damage in your inventory, you can kill almost any monster with one hit.
If you use Double Swing as a primary attack, you can get Mana issues. This problem can be resolved by either of two ways: put up to 8 skill points into Double Swing so it will not consume Mana or equip items with "+Mana after each kill" modifier. You can also use a single weapon with shield and regular attack as a primary one.
Get new levels and put skill point into Shout as you will not want to go without it anywhere. You can put one Skill Point into every Mastery.
It is right time to complete starting quests now. You should get experience, collect items and money and don't hurry or you can quickly get killed by a group of champions or minions or mini bosses which are very tough in BFE.

I highly advise you to gamble gloves and belt from Death's Disguise set (Cannot be Frozen, 60% Increased Attack Speed, All Resistances +30). If you a very lucky man, you can get it being about 12 – 13 level or even earlier. You can go rescue Cain after you get this equipment.
Then spend all money to gamble until you get the helmet and axe (requires 65 strength) from Berserker's Arsenal set.
You get some mana–leech, fire resistance and 200 (!!) Health Points. The rest of your armor is not very important so you can wear any items you find. Of course it is always good to have resistances, especially lightning (as you will get fire and poison resistances from set combos). The best rings you can get are "+15% chance to cast lvl 10 firestorm/charged bolt/teeth" and "+ mana after each kill".

Try to collect as many Runes as you can to level 19. In Catacombs level 4 you can find Broad Sword, which can be used as a container for this rune-word:

You can go after Andariel easily now. It is not difficult. Watch out for HP and drink enough potions.

Other bosses  don't cause problems.
Blood Raven – don't hurry. Kill all Skeleton Archers first. Then avoid Zombies and go after Raven.
Griswold – Don't let him to hit you. Trow javelins and watch out for mercenary as she can get killed easily. There is no space for a long run so town portal can be essential.
The Countess – The Tower itself is quite easy but there is a Ward of Might on level 5 that gives extra damage to monsters. So group of archers can kill you just a shot or two. Fortunately, archers don't spawn there every time. So you have two main ways to complete this quest: either Save and Exit if you see archers or drink Missile Avoidance, Defence and Vitality potions and clear out this level regardless of it's population.
The Smith – no problems. Drink potion of stamina and put mana potion to your belt. Hit with Double Swing and run away and heal if necessary.

About Charsi's Imbue reward I guess there are three major ways to use it:
1. Imbue Ring Mail and get DarkGlow. Fill sockets with bonuses to Health and resistances.
2. If you get Chain Boots in Catacombs level 4 or buy them from Akara, make Treads of Cthon.
3. Keep Imbue until Act 5 and create an unique item needed to make Malah's Charm after Anya's resque.