So after watching a few videos and reading some posts, I was inspired to fiddle with a Barbarian build based around ranged combat. It's working fine in act 1 Nightmare, which granted isn't particularly difficult. I've mostly been soloing with it, but I played with my brother and his buddy yesterday (also in A1 nightmare), where it performed fine. My barb's just shy of 37.
- Bash+Clobber is our melee ability. I've found that it's more useful, overall, than Frenzy+Sidearm for everything except really tanky bosses. The stun makes handling dangerous enemies easier for everyone. I expect Instigation will work out to be better once I can unlock it, simply because it results in faster Fury generation. Frenzy+Sidearm is definitely better for use against bosses with huge HP pools (Skeleton King, Butcher, etc.)
- Weapon Throw+Ricochet is our right-click Fury dump. I swap to Throwing Hammer against bosses that can be stunned, or Mighty Throw if they can't be stunned.
- Furious Charge+Merciless Assault is our mobility tool. Dreadnought is the eventual goal for use as an emergency heal, but Merciless Assault works fine until then. Furious Charge causes tons of damage and knocks enemies back, and with Merciless Assault you can literally charge non-stop against packs of enemies. I might actually swap to Sprint with Forced March for teamplay once I reach that level.
- Ancient Spear+Skirmish is our mouse4 ability (or I guess 2, if you didn't rebind your keys to something smoother.) It provides a decent nuke at 180% weapon damage, allows you to cherry-pick monsters out of a pack (fallen shamans, skeletal guardians, etc), and provides a sizable Fury boost.
- Battle Rage+Marauder's Rage is a no-brainer DPS boost.
- War Cry+Hardened Wrath is both for rage generation and for team use. I would probably go with Charge! if I were solo, for the extra Fury. War Cry guarantees you'll always have a Fury source to keep Battle Rage rolling and the armor boost is critical for helping everyone stay alive.
- No Escape is a no-brainer passive, providing substantial buffs for our ranged skills.
- Weapons Master is another no-brainer. While everything looks better with spears, No Escape's abilities hinge on crits, which means we're wanting an axe or a mace for the crit bonus.
- Our third passive is our only actual choice. I've taken Inspiring Presence with this build because the doubled shout durations means I can use War Cry for Fury more consistently, due to Battle Rage lasting longer, and the regen also helps me stay alive. Other options could include Animosity, Unforgiving, and Ruthless. If you're soloing or tapped to play as the meatshield for your group, you'll want Nerves of Steel.
The build can use any variety of weapons, though I would either go sword and board, or with a two-hander. Since you aren't spending a lot of time running in and swinging at things, dual wielding isn't ideal.
My general MO has been to generate Fury and then dump it all on Throw Weapon. If you've got a nice axe or mace for the crit bonus, you can throw for a surprising amount of time due to the Fury refunds on Throw Weapon crits. Use Ancient Spear to hook casters into punching range, or for Fury generation as needed. Always keep Battle Rage and War Cry up.
I personally don't think this build's more effective than traditional face-punching builds, but it's sure as hell a lot of fun