Alex’s Analysis – Diary of a Barbarian Assault Defender (and how YOU can play the part!)

posted by on 6th October 2008, at 8:13pm

I like to pride myself on being unique. Doing things that nobody else will or would want to do, being the sort of person that hardly anybody else is, and believing the impossible until proven otherwise with the faith that for once, I’m the only one who’s right. Doubt it’s ever going to happen, though, but I’m also well known for my ambition. When I start something, I always desire to see it through.

Take the RSF series, for instance. Once I start a movie, I usually finish it, even if I must sacrifice quality and humor to do so. I doubt anybody likes me for doing that, nor does anyone like me to taking so long to do these things, but at least I make the effort some time in my life. In the year. … OK, whatever it comes across my mind and I have nothing better to do at the time, and even that is hardly ever the case, but it’s done nevertheless. Don’t judge me!

Anyways, forget the RSF series for a moment (oh horrors!) and instead come back down to the virtual reality that is Runescape (run for it, he’s skeptic!). Everybody’s got a fletching cape nowadays, but I don’t. I hate fletching, and refuse to use it as an easy means to get a skill cape. Same with cooking. No, I train my construction with oak logs, save up for magic-training runes without resorting to high-alchemy, and spend most of my Runescape time just running around doing almost nothing if I can call it fun for whatever reason.

Let’s focus on Barbarian Assault – perhaps one of the only effective free ways to train magic, provided you can find 3 or 4 friends willing to watch you aimlessly waste spells and points for that free bit of experience (good luck). Even if you contribute, the attacker position is the only position that actually gets you experience, which i think is rather ridiculous. A little Herblore experience for healing; a little ranging experience for loading the egg cannon; a little crafting experience for fixing traps? Wouldn’t that make the game nicer? Ah, who cares, it’s fun regardless.

Defending is perhaps the easiest position in the whole of Barbarian Assault. You drop food, fix traps, call to the ever-important healer, and do a lot of running around. That’s pretty much it. However, because of the appearance of difficulty the role imposes and the level of consequence that befalls you as a defender should you fail makes this one of the most hated and undesired positions all around.

Not to mention one of the most handicapped. Runners only have 5 health! A couple of egg-shots and they’re history. The right food makes them follow the trail and the wrong food makes them run BACK from their destination, meaning there’s no consequence as to what you feed them! They won’t walk through a person, so anybody can just run over to the front of the cave and block them while you grab provisions! If that’s not handicap, you really need to get out more.

What I find usually scares people away from defending is the pressure. 3 points lost from everyone should a single runner escape – not to mention a hefty -6 altogether to yourself when it all adds up. It’s difficult to get defender points unless you’re able to trap every single runner without letting one through, which in itself is a bit of a challenge as the waves progress.

Fortunately, unlike healers, rangers, and fighters, there’s not that many runners to deal with. Starting at 2 on wave 1, runners only increment by one with every wave, making the maximum number to possibly have to deal with at once 10 at wave 9. There are only six at wave 10, but since the point count is fixed, there’s easily room for error so long as they all die before the queen appears (or else it really gets tricky).

Ah, but the beauty of being a defender is what doesn’t make a defender a horrible position (which really isn’t very much). First off, there’s always a constant demand for them. I can go onto world 144, enter wave 2, shout “I’ll defend”, and instantly get at least 3 calls to be on already assembled teams, preventing a very long wait. Second, once the runners are down, that’s it. Unlike the collector and healer, you’re free to roam around, checking over your teammates, or even applying your spare time to using the Horn of Glory and ever-popular egg cannons. Just remember to call out to the healer.

One of the abilities of a spare-time defender is the ability to barricade holes and prevent creatures from getting through. However, that’s only for either amateur defenders (block the third hole from the left; that’s where the runners appear), or an expert defender with a rather weak team (quickly throw a barricade up against the rangers/fighters to stem their flow and allow whatever got through to be taken care of first). However, at my level, all barricades do is waste time, so I don’t bother with them. I need the logs to repair traps.

Another little annoyance is the fixing of traps. Whoever constructed those things were sure slacking in quality control, because those feeble things can only take on a mere 2 runners before falling apart. Since I always direct the runners to the eastern trap, I always have to pick up the annoyingly out-of-the-way logs to fix them, sacrificing a few spaces and seconds.

However, over the many courses of defending, I’ve developed a few tips and tricks to the noble art of defending. I don’t want to sound extremist (or insane), but I’m going to tell you all how to properly defend so you’d no longer have to fear the horrid position.

But first, the diary of a defender:


A spare hour and nothing to do in Runescape. Hmm, perhaps I should pay the God Wars dungeon a visit? Nah, too annoying and boring. Anyone can shoot aviansies, and most likely, that’s the case. Perhaps train my magic level? Mm, I’d like to do that, but that would make my goal that much closer to completion, and once I complete something, I just stop altogether. Don’t want Runescape to get boring. Plus, I’ve only got an hour before class begins, so I think I’ll do something quick and easy.

A friend suggested I play Barbarian Assault with him. Yeah, good idea, maybe I will. … oh, my friend is requesting, not suggesting. OK, OK, I’m on my way! Hold on!

Such a desolate place! Not a soul to be found anywhere. That poor duo in the quick-start room is going to be waiting here a long time until another three people come. How am I supposed to play Barbarian Assault if not even my friend is here? … oh, he is? Then where is- ah. World 144. Of course. My mistake.

It’s amazing how something as simple as a world-hop can change an entire scene. At first, it was abandoned and scarce, but now it’s bustling and busy, with at least 4 teams-worth of people per room! How am I supposed to find my friend in this mess?!? “What wave?”, I shout. “Wave 1”, he proudly exclaims.

Hmph. Such a busy room. They really all should just go to the quick-start room. Common-sense, after all … ah, there he is. Hopefully he’s got a team assembled already. Yup, he does, and he’s only missing one member: a defender!

Behind the screen, I have a sigh of disappointment. I would like to get some collector points to get that penance torso everyone likes so much. But I type in “Sure thing!” anyways. I’m a good defender. I won’t disappoint.

He starts the game. I bid a quick “neener neener” behind the screen to those still looking for one. And now we’re in the cave; me supporting my impressive-looking blue-shield logo. Mmm, blue. Immediately, I shout the first order to the healer and stock up on food. Then, this being wave one, I ignore the logs and race north to find- there they are. 2 runners.

I take a walk towards the trap, dropping random food items as I go since the healer’s refusing to call to me. It doesn’t really matter what they eat – I don’t lose points for incorrect foods. i just want them nearby the trap as best as possible.

Like moths to the flame, they come on over. Luckily, what they chose to eat was the right food, and they kept on going. Standing directly on the trap, I proceeded to drop 2 of each type of food and shouted for the healer to call out. He does, and I remove all but the needed food, leaving the runners to hit the space, wonder where the food they originally targeted went, and then go for whatever’s there. Both eat at the same time, and they are both annihilated at once. I do a little dance – only took 45 seconds. I call for the healer again and just sit near the cannon until everyone else finishes.

The wave is done. Didn’t let any through, which means I only gain points. Only got about 12, but it’s not bad for a first wave. At least the collector calls for the attackers; they made hardly any mistakes. Doesn’t matter, though, I can operate without callings. 60 seconds later, we are at it again, with increased difficulty.

Since there are now three runners, I have to make a trip to the hammer and logs. I smile; the most important job for a defender is to not lose a runner, and they’re really not all that smart. in a diagonal line, from the trap to the logs, I drop a line of food to serve as a safety-net to keep the three runners in that certain area as I grab the hammer and logs that I so wish I started off with or could get from the machine. No matter, they are grabbed, and the runners are stuck hugging the wall of the cannon.

I shout for the healer, and what do you know? He shouts back! I drop 3 of the requested food on the trap and use one of another kind to lure them over. 2 will bite the bullet for sure, but I’d have to repair the trap quickly. Ah, but lo and behold, I stand over the trap and all three occupy the same space, just asking for the food on the trap. I remove myself, let them have it, and by surprise (and possibly glitch, but I already told Jagex ages ago), all 3 are wiped out in one trap! Sweet, I didn’t even need the logs this time. Only took a minute, and the others were still even getting through with their tasks, so I jumped onto the Horn of Glory and spared them all a task. 26 defender points this time.

The more runners that came against me, the more vicious I went against them. I would toss all my food around in a big safety net and continuously run for some more. Call me a waster, perhaps, but it all went for a good cause. 50 points, 70 points, even more than a hundred points after dishing out the pain in wave 9, taking out 3-4 at a time until they were all out and about.

Wave 10, in my opinion, will be the easiest for me. Only 6 runners to fend off compared to the earlier 10, and since there is no longer a cannon blocking the way, I merely have to make a net and drop all my food on the trap. A single call, some hasty grabbings, and all 6 could be down in a millisecond within each other. From there, I immediately rush over to the Horn of Glory to help everyone do their parts as fast as possible. The less that has to be done when the queen arrives, the easier it’ll be, I thought. Hopefully everyone in my team knew well enough to stay near the lake when she appeared, or this would be a short bout indeed.

Alas, she had appeared, and despite my teleporting to the base of the Horn automatically and rushing over, the majority of the team remained absent. Even though I prepared to run toward the nearby lava-pool to create the Omega Egg and hand it over to the collector, I knew we were dead a minute before the healer even died. One of the disappointed attackers left the team for Halo 3 instantly and left us stranded alone in the Wave 10 room.

I’m not much of a quitter. I usually try to see things through to the end. I called for some people in the hallway to join up, but they weren’t on Wave 10. Whoever did come already had a full team, and they immediately dived down without a second opinion as to our state. Unfortunately, 10 minutes later, there just wasn’t anything we could do, so I left as well.

A disappointing end to our victory spree, but at least I took in some pride (and about 400 defender points) of being perhaps the only defender there who never let a single runner through.


As with anything Barbarian Assault, there is no sure-fire way to do it. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t advise! And who wouldn’t want that?

– First off, don’t be afraid to drop inventories at a time and restock yourself full of food. The machine’s right next to the cave, so you can keep tabs on any runner getting too close and react accordingly (just drop food anywhere away from the cave nearby and regardless if it’s right or wrong, it’ll return towards the traps)
– Always use the eastern trap. In fact, completely forget there’s a western trap unless a runner “somehow” manages to get there. This way, you don’t spread out the runners and run the risk of them going through your traps.
– When I start, I always lay a diagonal strip of random food from the trap all the way to where the logs spawn. Since the runners ALWAYS spawn from the third cave, they will instantly and easily be drawn along the path. I always empty my inventory into making this strip, go and restock, and when I’m back, all the runners are in one general area nearby the trap for easy luring.
– First wave, ignore the logs. Second wave to 5th wave, grab the hammer and both logs. 6th to 9th, grab the logs, wait for the respawn, and grab the two again for a total of 4 logs. For wave 10, only grab the hammer and 2 logs without waiting for a respawn.
– NEVER barricade the caves. Waste of time on yours and everyone else’s part. Plus, it’s too distracting from your task at hand. Only barricade when you’ve killed all the runners.
– Runners only have 5 health. If everyone else is done, you just can’t get the runners on that trap because the healer won’t call for you, or there’s just too many of them, then pepper them with red or green eggs (2 reds will take one down and two greens will slowly [with a little risk] do the same). You won’t get the points for trapping it, but at least you’ll thin the population out a bit to a manageable state or speed things up so you can go to the next wave.
– If you’re the first one done, I highly advise you use the horn of glory. Otherwise, use the cannon. Just remember to never use green eggs on penance healers.
– Runners will actually stop if you get in their way. You can stop them from heading to the cave by getting in between them, dropping some food they hate (or a trail of food they like), taking one step away from it, and then letting them eat. If they hate it, they will actually walk away from the cave several steps which will give you lots of time to make a trail of food they do like toward the trap (or cannon).
– The method I used in my story really works. If you lay a trail out for the runners to follow, drop lots of food on the trap, and just stand there, you really can stack up runners, pick up the food they hate, and leave them to their doom. HOWEVER, do note that if the food liking changes, and they’re already trapped, then do NOT pick up all but the new food. They WILL eat the food they originally started liking. If they don’t immediately eat that food, though, then pick it up and drop their new preference.
– Only repair a trap if it’s at 0 unless you have a spare set of logs. You don’t want to have to go pick up more because it will distract you. If you absolutely must, however, drop just a patch or random placement of food around an area to keep the runners occupied. while you make the grab.
– Lastly, a tip for you collectors: using the egg exchanging machine does not diminish your egg count, so after filling the egg cannon, unleash your inventory on the egg converter and load up some more for extra points.

That’s it. Defending really is easier then it seems, even if you’re not a level 5 defender like I am. Heck, I always pretend I’m still level 1! Go get that penance top, you guys!

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  • Josh Says:
    28th December 2010, at 8:57pm

    Nice guide I can tell you spent alot of time on this it’s very impressive 😀