Similar to my adventures in Wendle Mansion, my adventures in MacMillan Family Farm has been motivated by levelling a character. In this case I decided to level my first barbarian, my previous barbs being purchased for the purpose of runs.
Of course the largest challenge with barbarians is that they cannot use equipment that is magic, nor recite scrolls, brandish staves and so forth. They generally eschew magic, unless they’re quaffing potions by the hundred out of a gnomish potion container 😛 Nonetheless that means that a tremendous amount of gear, which is magical is not useful. For me that was the challenge. Conceptually I like the barbarians, I wish that they had damage mitigation/non magical healing that actually made them play differently than other classes but perhaps that would have been too much coding and/or too different for Realms.
So the Farm has a primary quest and a great number of craftable pieces of equipment particular to the barbarians. Given that this area presently the newest installed area it’s no surprise that some of these pieces plug a particular hole in builds. In particular, the spiked leather armguards of the tribesmen are useful into avatarhood and the stone-headed tomahawk named “windwalker” is a nice upgrade to a knobby club.
I managed to map out the area fairly straightforwardly, though a couple of the keywords were a little tough to get “just right”. The main difficulty becomes that some of the mobs do not appear every repop and the components they provide are pop items themselves. The armored baloth in particular hits hard, having a program that dings a piece of equipment nearly every round. Given the AC on levelling gear it’s just too easy to scrap stuff there, but you have to kill him, since he has two different pops that are used in the recipes. Oh well. Having done this on a barb, I see why people dedicate a level 44 Paladin to this job. The barbarian is uppercutting away where the paladin can shieldbash. If the barbarian had rend at this level then at least the fights would be hard but reasonable.
That sums up my feelings on the main quest as well. Brutus is just too hard to fight on a barbarian in any reasonable way. You can die/recall, repair, restock and run back to rejoin the fight, but uppercut just barely keeps up with his healing where shieldbash actually makes some headway. I like a challenge, but there’s some things I am just not doing more than once. It’s too bad that ancestral strike, which is generally considered underpowered at avatar, isn’t lower level because it would be a nice alternative here. About the only thing I can think to do is try armblocking the damage and bringing lots of extra armwear (can’t even cheat and recite quantum spike scrolls!!).
Overall a fun area with some good gear. A nice side adventure that will never be staked as a levelling area. Nice job Eisengrim.