Leap Attack Barbarian Guide
"The Flying Booyaka"

For Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, version 1.10(beta) or later.
Updated 1-14-2016

Update 1-14-2016 - If you're reading this - thank you! It warms my heart a great deal that people still stop by here. Ah, the sweet nostalgia for the good ole' days of d2! Good times. :)
Feel free to write rr@allofthisisforyou.com if you have any questions. Boo - ya - ka!!

Update 1-15-04 - Hmm. It seems that Iron Maiden will return leap attack damage now... (I swear I tested this in the beta). If there are any subsequent gravestones out there because of this, I offer my deepest apologies - your deeds of valor will be remembered.
...on the other hand, this just reinforces the importance of team play. Using the regular Leap-stun with a party is, I daresay, the most effective way to clear the Chaos Sanctuary unharmed. Happy jumpin'. =)

Update 12-02-03 - It has come to my attention, from the good people in the forums at the Amazon Basin that there is currently a bug involving leap & leap attack, where the unfortunate player can become 'stuck' in place, unable to do anything except leave the game and come back. This sucks... and... well, that's about it, it sucks. I'd like to do something, but I'm just a fan.
Its worth noting that the character is still do-able. My HC ladder version is @ level 35, and I've experienced the bug only once so far.

Still sucks though.

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- What the hell is a 'Booyaka'? - Click here.

- Recently I set out to build a barbarian who could do two things under the 1.10 skill changes: max Battle Orders, and do a ton of damage (after trying a few different routes I wasn't sure if it could be done). After a little testing, the Leap Attack Barb was born - this guide is the result.
My first choice was a combination of Shout, Battle Orders, and Concentrate, until I figured out that Concentrate, while potentially "better" than Leap Attack given the defense bonuses, was really kind of boring. Flying is more fun than concentrating.

- Leap attack Barbs are a whole lot of fun to play, and are surprisingly lethal. Its an interesting style and takes a little work to land hits, but when you do - BAM! My guy currently does 9,500 average damage per hit!

- Play style is similar to the Paladin 'Charger' in many ways - way more versatile though, certainly with parties.

Huh! - This leans toward Hardcore play with no starting items. If you play normal ("softcore", or "easy mode" >:D ) or you are blessed with juicy items, please adjust to your taste.

- If you happen to be using hacked items on the realms, please make a fist, look at it, and punch yourself in the face. Thanks.

Also note: you may not see the term "baba" anywhere in this text, aside from this sentence, so if you're a fan of this silly baby-talk, please take a long look here.

All set? Great! Moving on...

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The Barbarian is a natural master of strength and life. With this build, we're going a very straightforward route and taking these two to the limit, essentially forgetting about dexterity & energy. This allows two weapon classes to excel in - axes or maces - and lots of points for vitality. I'm a fan of vitality - life is good if your life is good.
The lack of dex brings up concerns with shield blocking and Attack Rating, I know. Well, The Booyaka Tribe considers the shield a sign of cowardess, so we won't be using one of those, and AR can be aquired from other sources. However, if you've managed to get your hands on a really sick weapon with dexterity requirements beyond the Barabarian's initial 20, you may want to throw some points in there (see "Range" for more about spears and polearms).

Ideally, strength should be pumped all the way up to about 250 (well, 253, if you'd like to use a Thunder Maul) - but that's a long way off yet, and the weapon choice is yours, anyway.*
...When playing and building your character, it should suffice to put 2 points into strength per level, before level 30 or so. After that, you'll have to calculate for yourself what you'll need in order to wield your weapon of choice, based on its requirements and what you can supplement from other equipment that gives +strength.

Stop. Hammer-time. *Two handed clubs are bad-ass, though. But its totally up to you... ...honestly.
I think you should use a maul though. If you want to.
Dammit, just use a maul.

Go with base 20. Keep this in mind as you adventure - pick up things that add to your Attack Rate or Dexterity.

We're creating a hulking, invincible beast who deals death from above, so sink as many points in here as possible - life is good. La vita è buona.
The 1.10 monsters hit hard, so you'll thank yourself for getting that red orb ripe and bulging. Barbs also benefit a LOT from equipment that adds to this attribute - wear it if you find some.

Energy shmenergy. Mana leech instead.

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To pay those proverbial bills...

Bash 1-5 points
I think an underrated skill. Use as a main attack until you can cause death from above at level 18 - and after that just keep right on using it. Bash stuns & knocks back - great for bosses. Its also great for the bash/leap combo (below).
Leap Attack 20 points
Duh. With 20 in here and 20 in Leap, you're granted 870% damage before any other bonuses what so ever. In case you missed that, I said 870. Percent.
Unfortunately, LA is no longer 'considered' ranged - watch out for *certain* curses. :P
Some more tips on using are listed below...
Howl 1+ points
Pre-req to battle orders, but great through the whole game. Good for clearing out a crew to get at a boss.
Shout 1 point
Defense doesn't hurt.
Weapon Mastery
Your choice - definitely 1 point and go for 20 points if you can. This one's tricky, because its only when you max out sword mastery that you find an incredible axe, or vice versa. For pure damage, investing in Leap is better.
Iron Skin 1 point
Defense doesn't hurt.
Natural Resistance 1+ points
Resists don't hurt none, needer.
Party Up Skills:

Damage is king, speed kills, and parties rock on with their bad selves. Whether or not you invest points in or use skills that beneift the group are up to you - pure damage oriented players may want to spend these points in their mastery instead.

Battle Orders 20 points
BO's is a big one. Staple skill. Keep in mind that this is probably the biggest reason why anyone wants to party up with a Barb - if all they need is a simple tank, they can hire one in Harragoth.
Taunt 1+ points
Fantastic skill. Lowers incoming damage, stops casters. When partied, its usefullness really comes into play when one of your buddies is cornered or lagging. Target whoever's smacking them around and call them over to you. Doesn't work on champs, bosses, or oblivion knights however...

Leap 20 points
'I said BOOGIE godammit.'
This amazing skill is what makes you the party guy.
Already a pre-req to all that juicy Leap Attack damage (synergy adds 10% damage per point) so the point investment is already a given. However, there's an added bonus that's pretty got-damn amazing. See, with 20 points into Leap, every time you land you KNOCKBACK and STUN EVERY ENEMY within a radius of 16.6 yards.
Since 16 yards is juuuust about the entire screen, this results in every single enemy you can see do the "Thriller-video-shuffle", as long as you keep on leaping.

*A great tactic is to do a rapid series of little hops (target your character's feet) until everything has been pegged against a wall, and just keep them there while your spellcasters & other teammates pound on them. You don't get to do any actual ass-whooping while executing this manuever, but why care if it turns entire boss-packs into stuttering wall ornaments?

Considerations here should be:
* Lighting-enchanted enemies - Leap will set them off, so be mindful of your team's resists...
* Teammates may have a tough time targeting monsters with you bouncing them all over the place - keep that communication open. Once they get used to the awkwardness of the tactic its *very* valuable.
* Some super unique bosses aren't affected by the stun (Big D, for instance...).

Other Skills
This is a matter or personal choice really... the skills above are spent on a relatively tight budget, but if you're a fan of something else by all means use it. Some more suggestions are:
Berzerk - 1+ points - Physical Immunes might prove to be a problem without this, especially if you don't have teammates to rely on.
Battle Cry - 1+ points - Lowers enemy defense drastically, even with a couple points. Great if AR is a problem, and it works on everything in the game.
War Cry - 1+ points - I really love this skill, but Leap is a decent substitute if you don't want to waste the points.

Needs & Equipment:
The release of the 1.10 ladder will have everyone starting fresh, without those cushy mule accounts to select twinking materials, so the equipment stuff here is intentionally vague. What you use will depend heavily on what you find, gamble, or trade for along the way. Don't worry though! If you survive all the way through Nightmare, I guarantee you'll have at least some great stuff by then, even without doing magic finding runs.
Also noteworthy is that treating other players with respect & kindness, aside from making everyone's playing experience more enjoyable, will yield an occasional gift. Karmalicious.

Some suggestions on what to look for:

+Life and Resists-
Get lots.
Damage Boosters-
The business. The crunch. The money maker. Anything that adds to damage is desirable. Look for 'damage enhanced by %' jewels to place in sockets - although seeking charms that add +to minimum / maximum damage are actually better, if the pursuit of smashy-smashy is what your'e really about.
* The reason for wanting to do this is slightly complicated... and, well... I'm a very lazy man, so you won't read about it here. Take my word for it :).
'Cannot be frozen'-
just about required. Unlike the paladin's Charge, being chilled does not seem to affect the Barbarian's actual leap speed. Still, being a popsicle sucks.
This bonus can only be found on special items such as "The Spirit Shroud" unique Ghost Armour, or the "Death's Guard" set sash. Keep yer eyes peeled.
Elemental damage is one step toward tackling the notorious Physical Immune monsters with this build, but teammates & Berzerk will prove more effective. Finding weapons and charms with lots of elemental damage is always a good thing though - you can never have enough as far as I'm concerned. Posion and cold damage are probably the most important - having lots of these helps even when not fighting PI's.
Weapon Speed
Now, soaring through the air doesn't require all that much weapon speed, since well - you're uh, soaring through the air. However, when you land, speed is factored in (er... I think) and it makes the times when you need to use Bash go a lot smoother. Not a neccessity, but I suggest strapping some on if you can manage.
So, you're using a maul, right? Sigh...
Well, if you must use another weapon, I suggest using one with good range. A pike or scythe admittedly does make it easier to hit with Leap Attack, since its more likely to hit an enemy who moves alot (when you land and strike, it will 'reach out' and catch them if they haven't gotten too far).
Ignore Target Defense-
This throws concerns about attack rate right out the window. Perfect for low dexterity characters. Doesn't work on act bosses however.
Prevent Monster Heal-
Good alternative to poison damage. In Hell difficulty, you'll need something to stop those monsters from healing.
and lastly
the Mercenary, the best item in the game -
Recommendation: Desert Warrior (A2). A Might or Blessed Aim. Blessed Aim's probably more valuble since with the slower fighting process of this character, you want every hit to connect.

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The "Alt" Button:

If you try to Leap Attack an enemy positioned right next to you, you'll only do a regular attack, and won't recieve any bonuses from the skill.

Please look down at your keyboard, and locate the "Alt" button, which is usually on either side of the space bar. See it? Awesome.
During game play, holding down the alt button effectively removes point & click targeting. If you hover your pointer over a monster, and hold down alt, you'll see that monster's name disappear from the top of the screen. This is a good thing, because now you can jump right on top of his monsterly bootox, even if he's directly adjacent to you.
A good, simple tactic is to hold down alt, and just repeatedly click L.A. at your character's feet, especially when he's surrounded - anything nearby gets "the business", because your character auto-targets when he lands. For me, this ended up being my main combat method.

*The drawback to this approach is that holding 'alt' also shows the text of any items on the ground, which can get confusing if the area is cluttered.
Alternatively, you can attack while holding down the 'shift' key. Although this still highlights your enemies, its great for short power-jumps.

Super Street Fighter Combos :

In order for these combination attacks to work, kids, those little fingers have to be agile.

The "bam-BAM"-
With the Bash skill assigned to one mouse button, and L.A. on t'other, you can pull off a quick one-two mega move that will pretty much kill anything (once your damage has matured) and they won't be able to do a whole hell of a lot about it.
Your target needs to be out in the open (not against a wall) so the inherent knockback in Bash will send them back a peg. Hit 'em with a Bash (pic#1), and then *very quickly* follow-up with the L.A. mouse button, effectively doing a tiny Leap Attack (pic#2). The target is stunned, and then dead - super duper.


The "Angry Frog"-
As mentioned above, the Leap skill can be an incredible stunning tool. Use the knockback property of leap to make a short distance between you and your assailants (pic#1), and then jump on them with L.A. while they're stunned (pic#2).
Quickly alternating between Leap, then L.A., then Leap again, and so on, will keep your enemies in an almost constant stun for you to attack pinball style. Slightly tedious, but hardly anything will touch you. Boing, crunch, boing, crunch, boing, crunch.

'omg im stunned lolz!!1' 'omfg im ded lolz!!1'

The... um... "Howl then jump into the path of the enemy ...special move."-
Cause enemies to run away in a straight line by casting Howl or Grim Ward, and aim Leap Attack where the monster will be. Takes a little practice to get right, but works well once you get it down.

The "Kung-fu Fighting Space Zombies"-
Sho-ryu-ken!Kung-fu Fighting Space Zombies doesn't have anything to do with Diablo II, but I think that someone should make a movie called Kung-fu Fighting Space Zombies, because if there ever was a movie called Kung-fu Fighting Space Zombies, I would see that crap like 400 times and I would totally dig it, and also I think that several chicks would dig it, and then I would take them to see Kung-fu Fighting Space Zombies like every single night for years and be all like, "Hey ladies, what's goin' on?"
Aw Hell yeah.



Final Bits:

- Leap & Leap Attack let you jump over most ranged attacks - use it to close the distance.
- Ya can't drink potions in air. This hurts a little bit.
- During testing, Leap Attack seemed to do only 1% listed damage in pvp (1000 avg damage did 8, 9, 10, 8, etc per hit). This was kind of a letdown. However - Leap, on the other hand, stuns hostile players so it does open up some possibilities.
- Booyakas use maces.
- The Simpsons are and always will be the pinnacle of human achievement.

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*Extra thanks to Occhidiangela, Casperi, and AtomicKitKat & others for editing help (*everyone's* feedback was awesome).

*Special thanks to constant friend & playing potner Renders , the good people at Lurkerlounge and the the Amazon Basin, all of you strat writers (I know now - its harder than it looks!) and BLIZZARD for the inspiring game.

A heartfelt thanks to CoonerTheRed and one more for the awesome entity that is the Amazon Basin. =]

Artwork (excluding screenshots) done by R.R..