Berserker Class Guide
Written by Community Member minimind

Berserking: An Introduction

In the beginning, there were warriors and these warriors lived within a world of physical and mental discipline. They trained, they fought, and they died. It was this discipline that made the warriors great. And then there were others-- others that trained just as hard, but felt inside a fury they could not control. Inside, they harbored a rage and anger which they had hoped would be released by combat but, as Keras found out, would be all consuming. Keras, blinded by fury in a training exercise, killed his sparring partner. He was banished from home and eventually set off to find a way to control his rage.

Such is the story of the berserker. Berserkers are, in lore, warriors who become so emotionally involved in their combat that they forsake their defensive training and live entirely for the obliteration of their opponents. The Epic 1.0 quest is the story of how the berserker (you!) finally harnesses his rage through physical and mental discipline. This doesn't imply that they gain the defensive abilities of their warrior heritage, though. It just means that berserkers, having gone through the quest for Keras, will have learned when and when not to go "all in".

Life as a berserker can seem simple while leveling up (the berserker, obsessed with doing only massive amounts of damage is only ever allowed to wield 2-handed weapons—massive axes, great swords, hammers, giant spears, etc), but quickly turns moderately involved when you find out that the berserker integrates axe-throwing into his repertoire from a very early stage. Whereas a Rogue will throw knives from the shadows for a pin-point assassination attempt or a Ranger will pierce the heart of his enemy from beyond the range of vision with a single arrow, the berserker will hurl numerous throwing axes in a variety of ways to damage, incapacitate, or stun his enemy (all in the process of killing him!). The arms of a berserker do not stop until either he or his opponent is dead.

The Berserker's Place in Norrath

First and foremost, a berserker is a "DPS Class". That's to say that his or her main job in all of EQ is to hurt things. Sounds fun, doesn't it? But, aside from hitting a distracted mob, a berserker adequately geared, buffed, and with an appropriate group, can be an off-tank or even a main tank (though the gear and AA requirements increase significantly for berserkers who want to main tank).

Key Terms for Berserkers

  1. Aggro – Short for "Aggravation". Interpreted three ways and can be confusing if not given the appropriate context
    • (noun) The focus or attention of mob. "I have aggro and am getting hit, heal me."
    • (noun) A relative or quantified amount of "hate" and often used synonymously with "hate". "Don't attack until I have enough aggro."
    • (verb) The act of initially alerting a mob to your presence. "Wait here, I'm going to aggro one of the mobs."

  2. Hate – The quantified amount of ire that a mob has towards any particular player. One increases the amount of hate a mob towards him/her by harming the mob helping someone who has harmed the mob. Synonymous with the 2nd definition of "aggro".
  3. Hate List – The relative ranking of hate a mob has of all players who have harmed it or helped those who harm it. The person at the "top" of the hate list "has aggro" and will be the focus of the mob's attacks. This is normally, and preferably, the designated tank.
    • (Berserker Note) – Berserkers hurt mobs a great deal and will increase, or "build", the amount of hate from a mob very, very quickly. If the berserker builds too much hate too quickly, he/she risks overtaking the tank on the "hate list" and become the focus of the mob's attacks (also known as "ganking aggro". Most healers do not expect to have to heal anyone but the tank and thus will not often quickly assist the berserker stay alive while he has aggro. The solution: Don't get aggro. If you do, stop attacking, use your jolt ability, and back off a couple steps thus allowing the tank to regain aggro.

  4. DPS – Acronym for "Damage Per Second". This has a couple interpretations.
    • (noun) A measurement of the offensive effectiveness of a player obtained by dividing the amount of damage dealt by the player by the duration of the encounter. This statistic is typically only readable via a "Log Parser". "I did 3545 DPS on the last fight."
    • (noun) A designation of classes who primary or secondary purpose in EverQuest is to deal damage. "Send the DPS back in."
    • (verb) To attack or engage an enemy. "I was DPSing until the other mob joined the fight."

  5. Ratio – A measurement of the effectiveness and thus quality of a weapon. Found by dividing the weapon's damage by the weapon's ratio. The higher the ratio, the better.
    • (Berserker Note) – Typically, berserkers do not want a weapon that has less than 28 delay nor much more than 40 delay in addition to having a preferable ratio. This is because that a weapon's "damage bonus" is determined by its delay. The higher the delay, the higher the bonus. Moreover, a weapon with less than a 28 delay will contribute a much lower damage bonus. Weapons at or just above 28 and 40 delay will provide the best DPS via damage bonus.

Creating Your Berserker

The berserker class has the choice of 5 races when creating the character: Barbarian, Dwarf, Ogre, Troll, and Vah Shir. Each race has its positive and negative aspects.

BarbarianPopular, attractive model  Poor night vision
DwarfShort (no need to shrink in crowded areas)  Short (jokes)
OgreImmune to frontal melee stuns, highest melee stats  Eats more than smaller races
TrollRegeneration bonus  Eats more than smaller races
Vah ShirInnate Safe Fall and Sneak skills  Eats more than smaller races

Berserkers do not use mana, so investing in Intelligence or Wisdom would be a waste of starting points. It could be argued that charisma would be good for any starting character as it helps to reduce the cost of items at merchants and increase the returns of selling away loot, but a berserker is able to kill enough and bring in enough loot to make up for the minor difference in value that a higher charisma rating offers.

Instead, a berserker's most important attributes are Strength, Stamina, Dexterity, and to a lesser extent Agility. Strength and Dexterity affect the damage a berserker deals out. Stamina affects the amount of hit points and endurance a berserker has. Agility helps avoid and mitigate incoming melee damage. Invest your 25 starting points to best compliment your chosen race's shortcomings and support your berserker's needs. (Note: Berserker gear is packed with +strength and +stamina.)

RaceStrengthStaminaDexterityAgilityCharismaWisdomIntelligenceTotal Impt. Stats
Vah Shir100808090657065370

First Kill: Starting Out in Gloomingdeep

When you first come to your wits as a character in the expansive EverQuest Universe, you find that you've been taking prisoner by a bunch of Kobolds. A fellow prisoner has hatched a plan to escape and wants you to help out. Follow his instructions as they will help acclimate you to the controls and game play of EverQuest. Once you have completed his task and escaped from prison, you will be transported to the staging grounds of the Gloomingdeep Mines Resistance.

Here, former prisoners gather and regroup to strike back at the Kobolds for their actions. This is your time to explore and learn the basics of your class. Talk to the NPCs and complete their tasks, you will be adequately rewarded.

You will also learn that you have been given a weapon- Your First Axe! For the time being, you will be killing with only this axe and your foot (via the "kick" ability). When you have killed enough enemies and to fill your inventory, come back to the camp and sell off your loot. With the coin you have collected, you should have enough to buy a couple healing potions. You want to buy the "Potion(s) of Celestial Healing" as they are heals over time and will heal you more per coin spent than other potions that will give you one straight heal. Haste potions would be worth the investment, too. Lastly, make sure you buy the level-appropriate potions. These potions have tiered effectiveness and the more powerful potions are limited by the level of the user.

Level 6: Frenzy

As monks have their many kicks and rogues have "backstab", berserkers develop the ability to go into a controlled frenzy at level 6. Frenzy is usable every 12 seconds (quicker if you have a haste item or haste spell on you) and is effectively 3 extra swings at your opponent. At first, you will miss every time you frenzy but the accuracy of Frenzy improves as your skill improves. The skill improves slowly, but can only improve if you use it, so do so whenever it is available. Frenzy damage is attributed independent of the quality of your weapon so it's kind of an equalizer at lower levels. (Every level 12 berserker with a maximum frenzy skill will frenzy for the same kind of average damage.)

Tomes, Axes, and Combat Abilities

Once you feel as though you have had your fill of Gloomingdeep and think you're ready to tread off into the expansive wild of Norrath, head over to Arias and say to him, "Ready to leave." He will then port you to the Plane of Knowledge. There are a few things you'll want to do while here. First, sell off any spare loot you have in your bags. Second, head over to the Gnomish tinkering supply vendor in the northern trader building. Buy a couple toolboxes from him. These are great inventory containers as they're cheap (only a couple plat) and can hold up to 10 GIANT items/stacks of items.

Next, take one of the stairwells up to the Library. As you enter the door, you're presented with a fork in your path. Take the left path. When you exit that very short hallway, look to your left (east). You will see an Ogre and a Dwarf against the wall. Get to know these vendors well. They will sell you most of your discipline, combat ability, and axe tomes in addition to the three types of axe components required as reagents to summon stacks of axes.

Most of these tomes can also be found in your home town (likely near your home town berserker guild master), in Abysmal Sea (boat-zone full of tradeskill supplies), and even in the Commonlands near the Wayfarer's Camp.

Stun, Snare, Jolt, Summon Axes

This is where being a berserker gets a little confusing. Every few levels, you are eligible to train with a new combat ability (Allakhazaam and GoBerserker [2]) have great information on when you can train tomes). These abilities all cost "endurance" (or melee mana) to use. The endurance cost is different per the ability and will increase with upgraded abilities.

Each combat ability group (snare, stun, jolt) require specific, level-appropriate axes as reagents. For example, to use your Level X stun, snare, or jolt, you must have Axe of the "NAME" in your inventory. You will receive the appropriate summon: axe ability tome at the same time or before you get the corresponding stun, snare, and jolt. The four main and continually upgraded tomes allow you to:

Ability TypeEffectIn-Game Use
StunFreezes most enemies up to a certain level for 3 seconds. Consumes one throwing axe per use.To stop a caster from casting a spell (especially Gate!), stop a mob from hitting you for a bit
SnareSlows an enemy's runspeed. Consumes one throwing axe per use.To slow the speed of an incoming enemy so that you can throw more axes on its approach, completely stop an enemy that is running away due to low health.
JoltLowers the amount of hatred an enemy has for you. Consumes one throwing axe per use.To, hopefully, reduce the hate an enemy has for you enough so that he begins attacking someone else instead of you. Note: That "someone else" must have near the same amount of accrued hate as you for the ability to work. This can also be used as a preventative measure to make sure an enemy focuses on a group tank instead of taking particular note of your presence.
Summon AxeSummons 20 axes at the cost of one axe component.Use this *before* you need to throw axes or use the above combat abilities. Moreover, you probably want to summon a bunch before starting your 'zerking day.

Summoning Multiple Axes with Minimal Oversight

Many aged berserkers use the following macro to summon 100 axes with only one button press.

    MacroName: Summon 100
    /pause 80, /disc name of axe
    /pause 80, /disc name of axe
    /pause 80, /disc name of axe
    /pause 80, /disc name of axe
    /disc name of axe

This macro will automatically use the axe-summoning ability you designate five times and will take a bit less than one minute to complete. Do not move while this macro is active or it will likely interrupt at least one of the summoning attempts.

Note: You will have to edit and re-save your macro to summon new axes when you acquire new axe summoning abilities for the macro to continue to work. Just overwrite the old macro and save it with the same name and you will have no issues.

Throwing Axes with Minimal Oversight

You will quickly learn that throwing axes on a whim is a bit "click intensive." You have to put an axe in your ranged slot, put an axe in your ammo slot, and then hit "Ranged Attack" every time you want to throw one. In fact, to save some time, many young berserkers run around for many levels without a stat item in their ranged slot because they think that one needs to keep their axes loaded and ready to be used at all times. Not so. With a couple "bandolier" settings and a couple macros, throwing axes and swinging your weapon can become a fluid process.

    Step 1: Equip your normal weapon and ranged slot stat item.
    Step 2: Hit "B" to bring up the bandolier window.
    Step 3: Click on an open bandolier slot and click the "Add" button. Name the bandolier "Melee1"
    Step 4: Put away your ranged stat item and replace it with your highest level throwing axe. Also, put another of the same axe in the "ammo" slot.
    Step 5: Look back at the bandolier window, click in another open slot, hit "Add" and name the bandolier "Ranged1".
    Step 6: Make TWO macros with the following instructions:
      MacroName: Ranged
      /bandolier activate Ranged1

      MacroName: Melee
      /bandolier activate Melee1
    Step 7: Place the "Ranged" macro in the #2 slot of your first hotbar.
    Step 8: Place the "Melee" macro in the #1 slot of your first hotbar.

And there you have it. From now on, you when you hit "1" on your keyboard, you will automatically equip your main weapon and begin attacking. Hit it again and you will stop attacking. Hit "2" on your keyboard and you will automatically equip throwing axes and begin throwing axes and will not stop until you hit "2" again or hit "1" to equip your main weapon and attack.

Note: You will have to re-save your Ranged and Melee bandoliers to conform to new weapon sets and axes when you acquire them for the macros to continue to work. Just overwrite the old macro and save it with the same name and you will have no issues.

Final Note on Throwing Axes and Axe Abilities

The last thing you need to know in this subject area is that there will be times when your best (newest) throwing axe and the throwing axe needed to snare, stun, or jolt will not be the same because you get the abilities at different levels. This means that for the majority of the time as a growing berserker, you will need to have more than one (sometimes up to three) different types of axes summoned for all of your abilities to be usable at a moment's notice. Moreover, you may need to carry two of the three types of axe components so that you can summon your axes when necessary. This will level out at higher levels ranges (66-70, 71-75, 76-80, etc.) but will be particularly annoying in the 50s when some of the tomes you need for new abilities need to be looted instead of purchased.

To deal with this minor annoyance, try to keep all your axe components and axes in one box in your inventory. You will use jolt least, so you only really need to have one stack of 100 summoned at any time for that ability in particular. Snare and stun, however, are used very frequently while grouping and soloing, so make sure you have plenty of the appropriate axes to use those abilities and then some for throwing.

Leveling Up

Buffs: Which Do I Want?

At lower levels, there are only a couple buffs that will make a major impact on your slaughtering:

  1. Temperance (Cleric - HP/AC)
  2. Harnessing of Spirit (Shaman - HP/Str/Dex)
  3. Haste (Best you can get, potions will do just fine.)
  4. Spirit of Wolf or Spirit of Bih`li. (Shaman – runspeed boost. Bih`li also gives an attack bonus)

You can also ask a shaman for Agility and Stamina, but with the HP/AC you get from Temperance, you're not likely to notice much of a difference.

Leveling up: Soloing

The berserker solo game is arguably good. At higher levels, a berserker loses his ability to solo until he is sufficiently geared and has a significant number of Alternate Advancement abilities. Even then, unless he has a great deal of AAs and has a significant amount of level-appropriate raid gear, he will only be able to solo light blue con mobs (but will do so with great efficiency).

Where to Solo

Berserkers have no abilities to help them safely pull one mob from many, so when choosing a solo spot, make sure that the mobs are either non-social (will not assist each other), are spread far apart from one another, or that you can handle more than one mob at a time. With that in mind, a couple of the best places to hunt are current and former Hot Zones. Why former hot zones despite their lack of experience bonus? Because you need gear!

All former hot zones still have all their hot zone-specific drops and quests. This includes augments, weapons, and armor that better reflect the modern quality-inflation of gear than the expansion in which the hot zone is found. Pay particular attention to the Broken Watch quests and those to help Aiden Silverwing.

For more up to date suggestions on where to solo as a young berserker, visit the GoBerserker website and ask. They're a rather friendly bunch and are always will

Safely soloing with a Berserker:

  1. Choosing a safe target. Since berserkers do not get an ability to safely split one mob from a group of mobs, a berserker must wait for a safe opportunity to challenge his target. This is less important at lower levels as it is much easier, then, for a single player to overwhelm multiple enemies.
  2. Tag your target with a throwing axe and run away a bit. When the target is out of the range of his friends, snare him and continue to throw axes at him until he comes too close for your ranged attacks. Here, you can choose to back up and continue to "axe kite" him or to engage him in close combat.
  3. Once you decide to engage in close combat, stun your target (to prevent him from hitting you) and begin using your primary weapon. You will not ever be able to keep a target from hitting you by just stunning him. The stun lasts only 3 seconds and it takes 12 seconds to refresh the ability. Nonetheless, he'll eventually do only 75% the damage to you he would otherwise if you stun him at every chance you get.
    • In later levels, your enemies will get the same defensive abilities as you (Dodge, Parry, and Riposte) and even a couple you don't have (Block, Enrage). These are all ways for your target to avoid your attacks but they only take effect if you're fighting the target face-to-face. To minimize their defensive abilities, quickly strafe around to the back of your enemy right after you stun him and continue attacking. Since you'll be attacking him from the back, each of your hits will land without him having a chance to defend against your successful swings.

  4. Snare the enemies that run at low health and you will be able to finish them off without any danger to yourself.

Leveling Up: Grouping

Chances are that you will be soloing at least to level 30 or 35, though likely until your 50s unless you find some groups in Hot Zones or join a guild early on. Nonetheless, the quicker you learn a berserker's responsibilities, dangers, and capabilities in group combat, the more likely you are you get groups in the future.

    Group Responsibility #1: Hurt the bad guy until it dies.
      This may seem like a no-brainer, but a berserker's number one goal in life is to hurt things. Get in there, hit attack, and mash Frenzy (and eventually, Volley) whenever it's available.

    Group Responsibility #2: Snare the bad guy when or before he turns to run away.
      You can usually get away with snaring your group's kill just as he turns to run because it's an instant-cast ability. Just make sure it becomes a reflex.

    Group Responsibility #3: Stun the bad guy when your tank gets low on health.
      Berserker stuns, like their snares, are instant cast and can thus be used to stop a mob from completely destroying your tank just long enough for a heal to land. Your group mates will likely never know you do it, but you will be amazed at how many groups you save by making this a habit.

    Group Responsibility #4: If you're not supposed to be tanking, avoid excessive aggro wherever possible and drop aggro ASAP.
      Berserkers are built to deal major damage. To deal that major damage, we also must build a great deal of hate. Sometimes a berserker is doing his job so well that he out-aggros the tank and "ganks" the attention of the target mob and is suddenly taking damage. Berserkers may be built to take a couple hits (because the ganks are plentiful with the berserker), but the berserker is not intended to take major damage over a long period of time.

    Group Responsibility #5: If the tank is dead and no one else calls, "I'm tanking, heal me!" then you need to.
      After warriors, paladins, and shadow knights (standard tanks), rangers, monks, and berserkers are the heartiest classes in EverQuest. So, when there's no one else beefier than you, you need to step up and save your healer and as many others as possible. Burn disciplines, stun the mob – do whatever it takes to hold aggro on you and kill the mobs in camp so the group can recover.

Gearing Up – What to Look Out For

Berserkers aren't as gear-focused as tanks, but there are a few key stats or "mod2s" and melee focus that can make or break a berserker.

First, around level 60 or so, you should start looking for gear that adds to your ATTACK rating. The higher your attack rating, the more likely you are to land a hit on your target and the more likely those hits are to land for higher damage. There is a cap of 250 worn attack allowed. You can have more on your gear, but it will provide no effect unless you earn and spend AAs to increase the cap.

Later in levels, you'll find that you will have maxed out your 250 worn-attack limit and you'll have to start focusing on gathering as much ACCURACY on your gear as possible. The more accuracy you have, the more likely you are to land hits. There is a 100 worn accuracy cap that, unlike attack, cannot be increased with AAs.

Most of the other mod2 stats are defensive in purpose and thus do not directly cater to the berserker way, but one stat, AVOIDANCE, helps to keep a berserker alive more frequently than any other mod2. Get and wear +avoidance gear whenever you can, but, as a rule, never trade away accuracy or attack for avoidance unless you are over cap.

When you get to a high enough level, you'll start seeing items with "Ferocity" and "Cleave" focus on them. Ferocity (1-7) increases the chance that you will swing twice or more in a single round. Cleave (1-7) will increase the chance that your landed hits will be critical hits. You want the best version of both to do the best DPS you can. (Quick note: The new Defiant Elaborate Chain gear have these focus on the legs and arms. There is also a Ferocity 2 earring and Cleave 2 ring that drop in the revamped Split Paw. These are the easiest sources of Cleave and Ferocity in the game.)

Alternate Advancement

There has been a great deal of change in the AA system over the years. Most recently:

  1. AA lines have been consolidated into 3 main tabs (General, Archetype, and Class) instead of having them separated by expansion.
  2. AA experience is now determined by a mob's /con color to you with the light blue range being scaled so that the highest level light blue cons giving more experience than the lowest level light blue cons.
  3. Those with less than 750 AAs are given a decelerating bonus to AA experience earned for each kill. This helps your first AAs to come much quicker than ever before and tapers off when you near 750.
  4. AAs are gained at the same rate (percentage AA per kill) at any level.

When Should I Start Earning AAs?

With the change to how AAs are earned, the "hit max level, then get AAs" paradigm has been overthrown. Now, it is all up to you and how you want to play. If you are level 55 and have found a place where you can plow through mobs with relative ease, then plow away! Earning AAs early only makes the levels and AAs come easier!

However, if you're attempting to catch up with some friends who are level 80, then it's understandable that you would prefer to grind out to level 75 or so before committing to the improvement of your character via AA. Just make sure that you fully understand that will not be contributing your full and expected power until you have about 300 or more AAs in purely offensive AAs at level 75.

Which AAs Should I Get First?

This all depends on how you are playing and at what level you are earning the AAs (certain AAs are available to you only after you've reached key levels).

If you are playing as a standard berserker (someone else is tanking while you're hitting from the back), then you'll be focusing on doing as much DPS as possible while also avoiding "ganking" aggro from the tank. In this situation, you want to start off by getting any AA ability that will increase the chance of landing critical hits and also increase the damage done by critical hits (Combat Fury, Veteran's Wrath). The supplemental damage a critical hit gives you has no supplemental hate attached to it, so essentially you're hitting much harder more frequently but are not in any greater danger.

After you've purchased all the AA ranks you can that would augment your critical hits, you can begin working on the Ferocity line (which increases your chances to land double, triple, and quadruple hits). Also, in the same vein, you want to invest in the Punishing Blade and Flurry lines as they also increase your rate of hits-per-swing significantly.

Once you have completed those lines, it's time to buy some defensive abilities because all those extra hits are likely getting you some unwanted attention from your enemies. In defensives, you should first get as many ranks of Combat Agility (attack avoidance) and then Combat Stability (damage mitigation).

If you are a berserker who solos, duos, or tanks a lot, then you want to *start* with the defensives (Combat Agility and Stability) then move to Ferocity/Punishing Blade/Flurry (for DPS and aggro), and then Combat Fury and Veteran's Wrath to further augment your DPS abilities.

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