Barbara is a 4-Star Hydro Catalyst character from Mondstadt. She can be obtained for free in the “Baptism of Song” event, which requires the player to defeat Dvalin in Act III of the Prologue. For all intents and purposes, she is the second obtainable healer in Genshin Impact after Noelle. Aside from jinxing my wishes across multiple banners, Barbara is a fully dedicated healer. She’ll generally contribute little to her team’s offense but she’ll most certainly keep them alive with her Talents.
Barbara primarily heals with her Elemental Skill, “Let the Show Begins”. Press the skill button and Barbara will surround herself and anyone who then takes her place on the field with a “Melody Loop”, a magical ring made out of water, that will periodically regenerate HP. After healing once for Barbara, the ring generally heals three more times for your active character before expiring. You can however get a fourth tick via Barbara’s A1 passive, which extends the ring’s duration by up to 5 seconds if you pick up an Energy particle. Alternatively, Barbara’s Normal/Charged Attacks can heal the whole team if Barbara’s is on the field while the Melody Loop is active. Her Charge Attacks will heal for quadruple the amount that her Normal Attcks would garner. Depending on Barbara’s ATK and CRIT stats and/or whether or not she has a teammate backing her up, going this route may result in a loss of DPS. Resort to this if you’re in dire need to heal multiple characters at once and/or Barbara doesn’t have her Elemental Burst up.
The Melody Loop created by “Let the Show Begin” has an additional property of applying Hydro on both you and any nearby enemies. While the loop does deal Hydro DMG upon activation, subsequent ticks only applies Hydro, much like how stepping into a body of water in the open world applies Hydro onto you. This Hydro application can be used for Elemental Reactions and those will deal actual DMG. However, unless she has high Elemental Mastery, the Reaction will be very weak if Barbara is the one triggering it. An exception to this is Frozen as it only immobilizes enemies and does not deal any additional damage. If you’re lacking options for a Hydro support in a Freeze comp with a melee carry, especially since Genshin currently offers so little to begin with, Barbara is not a bad choice to consider. Similarly, the Melody Loop applying Hydro onto you is whatever unless Cyro is involved. Should your active character get hit with Cyro while the ring is up, you will get Frozen. This makes Barbara a hilarious liability when fighting against Cyro enemies. For the open world, you best get good at dodging. Otherwise, if you know you’re about to do a challenge with a high concentration of Cyro enemies, save yourself the potential headache and bring a different healer such as Noelle.
Barbara can also heal her team with her Elemental Burst, “Shining Miracle”. Despite the colorful animation of Barbara splashing the area with water, the Burst neither deals DMG nor does it apply Hydro. It does however regenerate a substantial amount of HP to everyone in your team. Furthermore, you’re invincible while the animation plays, making the Burst a good way to avoid getting killed. Getting the Burst up is admittedly tricky as it has a high Energy cost of 80. Adding onto the difficulty is the fact that Barbara’s Skill does not generate any particles for her. However, this Burst is clearly meant to be a last resort. You shouldn’t be so reliant on it if Barbara is healing you well enough with her Skill.
Both of Barbara’s Talents scale their healing off of her Max HP. Building this stat shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. HP% is a very common main stat for Artifacts. For Barbara’s Circlet however, go with Healing Bonus for better healing. Barbara also has two very F2P-friendly weapon options with HP% as its secondary stat – the craftable 4-Star Prototype Amber and the gacha 3-Star Thrilling Tales of Dragon Slayers. Prototype Amber has a built-in heal and will regenerate some of Barbara’s Energy after she uses her Burst, slightly remedying her Energy issues. Thrilling Tales has lower stats but it is easier to refine because of how common 3-Star drops are in the gacha. It is also one of the few 3-Star weapons worth using because of its passive, giving a 48% ATK buff (at R5) to the next character you switch to in your rotation for 10 seconds.
Oddly enough, Barbara has an unusually high Charged Attack multiplier. At Lv. 6, the multiplier is at a whopping 232.74%. For some context, Mona, a 5-Star character of the same element and weapon type, has a 209.61% multiplier for her Lv. 6 Charged Attack. This is pretty much how Barbara can be built as a carry. Stack up her ATK, CRIT Rate, and CRIT DMG and maybe throw in some Hydro DMG Bonus and this Charged Attack will hit very hard, more so if it triggers a Reaction. That said, building towards this Charged Attack may result in neglecting Barbara’s HP and it will make her Talents less useful. This part of Barbara’s kit should be treated more as a bonus and less as its core, something that you enhance incidentally with some lucky Artifact sub-stats.
While 4-Star characters generally want Constellations to be competitive in the meta, Barbara is one of the few 4-Stars who doesn’t need any Constellations to fulfill her role as a healer. The only ones that directly improve her healing are her C3 and C5 which are the standard three level boost to a character’s Talents. C1 and C4 addresses Barbara’s Energy issues but not by much. She’ll get 1 Energy every 10s with her C1 while her C4 gives her up to 5 Energy if she hits something a Charged Attack. That’s nothing when you consider that her Burst costs 80 Energy. The only Constellations that I consider worthwhile are her C2 and C6. C2 reduces the CD of Barbara’s Skill by 15%, thus allowing Barbara to heal more often. C6 will revive your active character from death and with full HP once every fifteen minutes. The only other ability that revives is Qiqi’s C6 and that’s obviously more difficult to obtain since Qiqi is a standard 5-star character.
Barbara is arguably the most F2P-friendly healer in the game. Aside from being obtainable completely for free, she’s extremely easy to build, more so than her fellow F2P healer Noelle. She only needs HP to do her job and requires zero Constellations to do it well. As far as healers go, Barbara is as reliable as they can get. That said, there currently is little incentive to use a fully dedicated healer in Genshin. Supports such as Bennett and Diona are better in terms of investment, being sufficient enough at healing and doing more than just healing. Even Noelle has an advantage over Barbara in this regard as she can carry her team, thanks to her offense scaling off of the same stat as her utility. Barbara is still worth building early on, when you’re advancing in Adventurer Rank and you’re trying to build your roster with the gacha. Long term however, it depends on your preferences regarding support units and/or whether or not you’re like me and you choose to build Barbara because you’re waifu over meta.
Thanks for reading!