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GerBarb was the first character to reach level 99 in Diablo II Classic (D2C). Leveling up that high seemed impossible in D2C, where even reaching Clvl 85 required a great deal of grinding the (dangerous) River of Flame and (more dangerous) Chaos Sanctuary. The teams running GerBarb and RussBarb showed that it could be done, by playing in large groups and using strategy. Each team employed a variety of specialized characters; Sorceresses and Amazons supported by Paladins with auras to clear out the Chaos Sanctuary and weaken Diablo. The main experience character would then step in and land the final hit on Diablo, in an 8 player game, since that was the only way to gain measurable amounts of experience once a character got into the highest levels.

Each team repeated this strategy hundreds (thousands?) of times in order to slowly level GerBarb or RussBarb towards 99, over a period of weeks. Diabloii.net conducted interviews with each of the teams during their ladder climb, a race in which GerBarb was ultimately the victor.

Since the content on this page was created in 2001, the links are long since dead and have been removed from this wiki page.

  • Read an interview with the team that controlled Archives: RussBarb for the other side of the story.

Contents

[edit] GerBarb

Ladder Rankings Race for the top!

GERBarb's home page. (Yes, it's in German.)

GERBarb is a team-played and assisted Barbarian on the European Realm. He was the first character to reach Clvl 96, 97, and now 99, and is currently the highest level character ever. (No longer visible on the ladder since the Jan 1, 2001 reset.)

[edit] What is he using and how is he set up?

[edit] Skills

GERBarb has +1 to all skills from the Eye of Etlich unique amulet.

  • Combat Mastery
    • Mace Mastery: 21
    • Increased Stamina: 2
    • Increased Speed: 2
    • Iron Skin: 21
    • Natural Resistance: 13
  • Warcries
    • Howl: 2
    • Shout: 14
    • Battle Orders: 14
    • Battle Command: 2
  • Combat Skills
    • Bash: 2
    • Leap: 2
    • Stun: 2
    • Leap Attack: 2
    • Concentrate: 2
    • Whirlwind: 21

[edit] Stats

All stats as of Clvl 96, equipped with the Martel, including equipment modifiers, not including any bonuses from Warcries, shrines, auras, etc.

  • Strength: 258
  • Dexterity: 118
  • Vitality: 280
  • Energy: 10
  • Whirlwind Damage: 1068-1759
  • Whirlwind Attack Rating: 3224
  • Defense: 4076
  • Hit Points: 1495
  • Mana: 141
  • Fire Resistance: Max
  • Cold Resistance: 29
  • Lightning Resistance: Max
  • Poison Resistance: 35

[edit] Equipment

He has a total of 5% mana steal and 11% life steal, wears one unique, the Eye of Etlich, and all other items are Rares, mostly exceptional items such as a 176-291 damage Martel De Fer, and 866 defense Ornate Plate. After Clvl 96 there was a switch to a Battle Hammer and shield, lowering the damage but upping the resistances and hit points, and of course adding blocking.

[edit] Interview with GERBARB

Here is an in-depth interview of the GERBarb team. Questions by Diabloii.net, answers in gold from the people who play GERBarb. Many thanks to Flatline, the team leader, for compiling and translating them all for us.

[edit] Gameplay and Teamwork

How long has this been going on? From the time the character was created until now. (Mid December 2000.)

GERBarb was born on November, 5th at 2:30 pm MET. So right now he is 43 days and about 18 hours old.

Was there a plan starting off? That he'd be part of a team and would get to an incredibly-high level?

Yes, he was planned as a team char. I very appreciated the concept of a national team char introduced by the Russian team. This put a whole new dimension to Diablo II. We wanted to build up a challenger to RUSSBarb and by naming and setting him up rather equal to RUSSBarb we wanted to set a sign to other nations to join the contest.

Did he start off with a lot of really good equipment and help, or was it more solo work until he got to a higher level and people started to help out more then?

He started out with a rather good equipment. Especially one of the founders had rather good stuff for GERBarb. But most of the others spent some items too. From the first hour GERBarb had a team behind him.

How many runs a day do you do, and what's the most ever in a day?

It greatly differs. We had some great weekends. One of them got us almost 300 million exp. So we made about 160-180 kills per day then. I guess if everything works absolutely perfect a team should be able to make up to 250 kills/ day.

About how long does a hell run take, from the other players starting to kill stuff on the way to the CS, to the time GERBarb comes in and kills Diablo?

This also varies quite a bit. A good Paladin/Amazon team is able to clean CS in about 5-7 minutes. If a third player finds an exp shrine in the meantime and the team char joins with other players directly after CS is ready, a complete game would take about 8-10 minutes. But since we have many simultaneous games that are prepared it's difficult to say. If all goes well we can make about 3 kills in 10 minutes.

Does GERBarb ever come in and help go through the Chaos, or just comes in to kill Diablo?

GERBarb went up like everybody else. Until the mid-80s he he made up his way from normal to hell, act1-4, killing Izual and clearing River of Flame. We just tried to make sure he could play in 8-player-games. Since then he switched completely to only kill Diablo.

How many people have actually controlled GERBarb, and how many do so on a regular basis?

We have about 15 people who played GERBarb since his "birth". About 5-6 play him regularly.

Are the people playing GERBarb and his support in contact in real life? Like in the same room, a gaming cafe or something like that?

No, most people got known to each other through the project. Some of use telephone to discuss the latest occurrences.

We've had people ask about the support team a lot, since it seems that they are doing most of the work at this point. Can you give an idea of what types of characters usually are helping to clear out the CS on hell/hell so quickly? Sorceress, Necromancers, etc?

Simple answer: every class :-)
Ama/Pala is best for clearing CS, Sorcs are great for helping GERBarb (static), Necros can prepare games completely alone etc. But regardless of special functions most of the time the only thing that counts is to prepare as much games as possible.

The support team is the same people usually? And are any of them in the top ranked players?

The support team can be divided into 2 groups: One consists of players who support very often. The other consists of people that show up for some days, helping out and disappearing as fast as they came. Sometimes we had top ranked players showing up in GERBarb games and even helping out. We had a lot of fun.

[edit] Leveling Progress

About how much experience do you get for killing Diablo past Clvl 95? I assume in a multi-player game, 6 or 8 people always.

Don't know exactly. Should be about 470k in an 8-player-game with exp-shrine since we reached lvl98.

How many times has GERBarb died? And what level was the last time?

Quite often :-) Almost everytime it occured due to lag. Last time was at the beginning of level 97.

Can you see anyone doing this sort of teamwork play technique with Hardcore characters, and getting a character to the mid 90's or higher?

The main problem would be finding enough supporters risking their HC chars :-) Also it would getting more and more difficult because every supporter death means one supporter less for the HC team char.

Can you see anyone getting to such a high level playing solo, just joining big MP games and doing the CS and killing Diablo w/o a support team?

To be honest: No. Two points:
a) Most open MP games are not completely filled longer than 1-2 minutes. People jump in and leave shortly thereafter.
b) getting killed in levels >95 is very hard for a team char. Many hours of work of many people is wasted. Getting killed with a solo char would mean to loose the work of weeks because he will never be able to get even close to a kill rate team chars have. I think at approximately level 95 there would be some sort a natural barrier for a solo char because he would loose the exp he got due to a lag death. Getting exp, loosing them, getting exp, loosing them etc.

Is it fun? Or bored of the endless Diablo kills and just going on to try and get to 99?

I would say it isn't playing a game anymore. It's kind of sport. Sometimes it's hard to motivate yourself and it really can be pain doing the same thing over and over again. But nevertheless it's still fun.

Do you think you'll make it to 99, or will you get too bored, or if GerBarb or someone else gets there first will you give up? [Note: They already have, from 97 the Friday we sent out the questions to 99 by the Tuesday we got them back and posted them.]

RUSSBarb or GERBarb. One of them will become the first level 99 char. Who of them will it make? No idea...With more then 3 billion exp points both chars are close to about 10 million exps. The last 3 days both lead the ladder for a while each day! If RUSSBarb wins, we will complete level 99 but I guess it would take more time them...the motivation would suffer.

[edit] Regarding RUSSBarb and other top players

There are rumors and accusations of people interfering with your games and with RUSSBarb's games. That people have been bothering or trying to PK the helpers and/or the big chars, or just slow them down. In forum posts people say that the GERBarb team is attacking RUSSBarb, and vice versa.

Have you had interference in your games at times? Have you heard of it in RUSSBarb's games? And if so, do you think either of the main teams for the characters is involved in sabotaging the other, or is it just various independent players who want to get involved or make a name for themselves?

There have been interferences. Neither team can control everything their supporters do, and there are definitely some guys on both sides who yet didn't understand the meaning of the whole competition. At the GERBarb team we are trying our best to make our point of view absolutely clear: We don't want anyone to spam, annoy or harm RUSSBarb and his supporters in any way.
There also have been some postings regarding this manner in the news of the GERBarb site. On the other hand I remember some words from RUSSBarb supporters saying if pking is possible then it is part of the game and the contest. I don't exactly know the official position of the RUSSBarb team to this topic. Plannings to PK GERBarb are (or have been) discussed publicly in RUSSBarb's message board.

Ever played in the same game with RUSSBarb?

Both chars never played for experience in the same game.

Would you consider a duel with GERBarb if you were both say lvl 98, and whoever won would have many hours advantage in level'ing up, from the exp loss for the other?

No, because it would mean to risk hours and hours of work of dozens of supporters.

Think any other team-played characters could appear now and move up quickly enough to catch either of you 2 on the way to 99?

Not any more. ot-sun of Asia ladder levelled extremely fast for a while but they seem to have trouble the last days. I highly doubt someone will be able to catch up now that both chars have reached level 98.

[edit] Equipment and strats

Has your equipment changed much over the higher levels? Or been using the same stuff for a long time?

Equipment has changed over the time...but not much. Most of the levels were played with the same equipment.

Did you find your equipment yourself, or is it mostly from helpers or support squad?

Almost all of the equipment is from helpers or the supporters (incl. players). Items Diablo drops are free to grab. It's some sort of reward for the supporters. Clearing CS in hell is not that easy and since most of the supporters are playing with chars around level 80 they are always risking much exp too loose whey dying. Teamplay, games with players who do not leave the game after 2 minutes and the items are the "advantages" we can offer them beside the ladder competition.

Use the character for gambling much, since you can get +2 amulets and other things lower level characters never can?

Rarely. Getting exp is more important :-)

Gotten anything really great from killing Diablo on hell so many times? +2 amulets or other such things?

Diablo drops crap ;-)
Perhaps one good item every 300 kills. Some nicer things we got were a 265 damage lance and a very good prismatic amulet with +18 str etc.

[edit] Follow Up Questions After Clvl 99

How did you get it? You guys were just 97 Friday I think, you decided that being 2 levels away and with RUSSBarb near you should play all weekend?

RUSSBarb regained the top of the ladder on Friday evening and also managed to become the first level 98 char on Saturday morning. We became quite nervous and knew we would have to play harder and more effective than ever before. So from then on GERBarb was played 24 hours a day. Quite a few players did not get much sleep the next days :-)

You say on your page that you played all weekend, is that literal? As in 48 hours straight with the team helping and everyone taking turns?

We still played in different shifts with some of the GERBarb players often play more than 10 hours at once. Whenever GERBarb players and/or supporters became to tired there were others to fill the gaps.

Do you think you'll ever play GERBarb again? Or got just to 99 and quit before you got lagged and died or something. ;)

GERBarb will still be played :-) But only as a fun char and for gambling. The EXP is frozen once you reach level 99 so you can't loose anything through dying except gold and your pride ;-) It's quite cool to run through the CS and laugh at the damned mages because they can't really harm you any more :-)

How was the mood when you got to 99? Everyone cheering and going wild?

It was unbelievable. It was like people lying in eachothers arms. Dozens and dozens of supporters spent so much time into the whole project for more than six weeks (43 days and 19 hours to be exactly) ... To see that we really made it and beat RUSSBarb although we started one month later was absolutely great.

Any plans for meeting in real life and celebrating now that you've made it?

Yes, there are plans. We have begun to disuss about a real life party and I really hope it will come true. The project has finally become more than a simple running for gold. I really already can say that friendships have been built up. Personally I have met a few guys with whom I telephone regularly in the meantime.

Heard from RUSSBarb?

No.

Was it worth it, now that you've done it? Would you do it again if you could go back in time?

Yes! :-)
Like I said before it has become more than a competition. We were able to build up an absolutely great community of players in a few weeks. Ever played in games where people you don't know risk their (character) life to save your body? Or where you can throw your stuff on the ground and show it to the others without to fear somebody could steal it? Or where e.g. a Sorc finds a very cool Paladin amulet and doesn't keep it for trading but gives it to the Paladin that is in the same game? This was quite common in GERBarb games. :-)

If you were doing it again, any changes in the character set up? Would you go with spear mastery and use a lance, or do more in some warcry, or more vit or more str or anything along those lines?

I think we did quite well in the stats. I can't even say that we would use a lance if we would do it again because GERBarb used a one-handed hammer with a shield the last levels. Surviving is much more important to a high level char than high damage. With the shield even lags in front of Diablo couldn't harm him anymore. Actually, since we switched to shield GERBarb never died again.

Did the game do anything special when you got to 99? I would assume not, but the screen didn't turn orange and rain rare amulets or anything? ;)

Hehe, unfortunately not. But I think it's a great idea for Diablo 3 ;-)

Thanks to the GERBarb team and to Flatline for translating and helping us get this interview done.