It would be somehow unfair to compare these two classes without having a look at their most popular builds first. For the Barbarian these are:
- Whirlwind Barbarian (WW Barb): It relies on the Whirlwind skill of the character’s ‘Combat Skills’ tree. It’s powerful versus large groups of monsters due to its high health and AoE (Area of Effect) damage. Also, it has the ability to act as a tank and a great support damage output, resulting in a perfect member for every party.
- Frenzy Barbarian: Wielding two weapons at once, this build excels in dealing massive amounts of damage at a single enemy. Thus, it’s a great Boss killer and one of the most solid builds in the game. Frenzy Barb is popular for his rapid movement speed as well.
- Immortal King Barbarian: Well, this might not be a very popular build, but it’s one of the most powerful builds for late game. It depends on the bonus granted by the Immortal King set.
The Amazon is much more flexible in terms of skills and equipment, allowing even for hybrid builds. The most common builds though are:
- Bowazon: The title refers to every Amazon wielding a Bow or a Crossbow for her main weapon. This build depends mostly on the ‘hit-and-run’ tactics. While it has great damage output when being supported by a party, it’s not the most effective choice for solo. In the hands of a fast and skillful player, it can be a powerful build for PvP.
- Javazon: It describes the characters that use a Javelin as a weapon and focus on the ‘Javelin and Spear’ skill tree. They specialize in dealing excessive amounts of damage on both single enemies and large groups of monsters
- Lightning Javazon: This build focuses on the Lightning skills of the class such as Lightning Fury and Lightning Strike. Lightning Javazons are among the best crowd killers in the game. In addition, they can fight well without the best possible gear.
You can find more information and in-depth guides for these classes on our blog!
Now that we have an overview of their most popular builds, let’s dive deeper.
Player versus Environment (PvE):
A common Barbarian shouldn’t face any problems from the start of the game until the hardest Hell-difficulty areas. Even when he’s fighting versus enemies with physical immunity, he can take advantage of his Berserk skill to convert his damage to magical.
However, some types of Amazon such as the Lightning Amazons or some hybrid builds can kill large groups of monsters faster than a Barbarian. At the same time, they can be very durable. Their amazing damage output results in some of the fastest runs in Diablo 2.
Player versus Player (PvP):
If you have experienced even if for a short time, PvP fights in Diablo 2, you will know already that the most important factor is the equipment. The items are more significant than the build itself or the points spent on your skills.
This is the reason why a lot of players are struggling to find the items they need, especially for the most popular classes. Many of them prefer to purchase the gear on the web since they can find Diablo 2 items at really cheap prices. This way they save a lot of time in gameplay. Note that it’s not a pay-to-win situation but mere impatience at getting the items required faster. If you’re interested you should have a look at our shop!
The vast majority of Diablo 2 community agrees that Barbarians are among the top classes for PvP. They have the highest sustainability in the game. If they are built properly, they inflict great damage as well. However, the Frenzy Barbarian’s rapid speed is hard to control with precision.
In contrast, most Amazon builds aren’t very effective in PvP fights. An exception is the Bowazon. She can be quite deadly, but she’s hard to master. She relies on ‘hit-and-run’ tactics and requires a lot of skill and speed by the player. Also, the Bowazon is one of the most fun-to-play builds for PvP.
One of the character’s advantages is the fact that is not item-dependant at early stages of the game. This makes Barbarian an ideal choice for a new ladder or when a new player doesn’t have many items or gold.
He’s also one of the most useful classes for Magic Finding or Gold Farming because it excels without the need for powerful items and runes. This allows you to play with a set full of items that boost Magic or Gold Finding, so you can gear up your Barbarian or your other characters.
Regarding the Amazon, the Lightning Javazon can serve the same purpose. She can fight really well even in Hell mode with mediocre gear. This doesn’t apply to all Amazon builds though.
Barbarian builds are some of the most stable for fighting against monsters. They have high defense, a large life pool, and decent damage. This is the reason many hardcore players favor this class.
Amazons can be very durable too, as they have the Decoy and Valkyrie summons at their arsenal. A high-level Valkyrie is acting as a very healthy tank, protecting its mistress.
In Hardcore mode though, you want to minimize the risk of death. The Barbarian is very durable even in the most difficult Hell levels, so it’s a safer choice.
For Magic Finding and Hardcore mode the safest option seems to be the Barbarian, especially if you’re new to the game.
For a rapid crowd killing (PvE) experience, our pick is the Amazon (Lightning Amazons or a hybrid build).
Regarding PvP fights, if you want to invest in a long-term overall strong character, then the Barbarian should be your choice. It’s kind of repetitive playstyle though and it may seem boring to some players. In the case you’re searching for a more fun-to-play build or you want to challenge yourself, the Bowazon may surprise you!
For more Diablo 2 information and character face-off, stay tuned! Meanwhile, feel free to read more blogs on our blog or to visit our store!