Suggestions for Character Class for Newish Party

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I’m looking for suggestions about the best character fit for a regular campaign group.  We are all new to intermediate players with characters 8th level and moderately optimized.  We currently have:


Half-Elf Chaos/Wild Sorcerer
Elf Bladesinger
Elf Centered Breath Monk
Changeling Ranged (Bow) Bard
Human Berserker (me)


I wanted to try something new with the Berserker but I find it a fairly poor defender and striker and am considering changing my class (with DM permission).  Staying Human would be preferable but I could possibly change my race so long as it remained something similar to human (Half-orc, Shifter, Half-elf for example).  I considered changing to straight Barbarian but that would leave no defender.  So I am considering a change to hybrid Cleric/Fighter or possibly straight Fighter.  I currently have Iron Armbands, +1 Bloodthread cloth armor (which I could change to another Level 4 or 5 armor) and +1 Battlecrazed Fullblade.  I also can upgrade up to a 10th level weapon, even Rare if I choose.


Do we really need a defender?  The party needs me to be durable and do good damage.  Good defenses would be helpful.  Any ideas and input is appreciated.  Thank you.

If you go with just a human fighter, and you'll instantly be a better defender/striker than the Berserker. You don't necessarily need a defender, but some synergies work better with one. In that group, I think a reliable fighter in the front line would be good.
Yes to upgrading if you can. Your current gear is roughly equivalent to what a level 5 character would get. You should have at least a +2 weapon and armor by 8th level. Make sure your DM is following the proper treasure distribution rules or using Inherent Bonuses. So many people run "low magic" campaigns without understanding the role magic items play in keeping up with game math.
Thanks for the replies.  Would straight Fighter or Hybrid Cleric/Fighter be better?  I'm leaning slightly toward hybrid since we could use a back-up healer and BCL would make it easier to to wield a 2-handed weapon and do slightly better damage (probably greatspear or gouge).  Any other suggestions for upgrading to level 10 weapon in terms of type or specific "name?"  Yes, I agree our items are a little behind.
Yes, Hybrid Fighter|Cleric would be perfectly fine too.

For weapon, it depends on how easily you get access to magic items. If you have a reasonable expectation of getting the gear you need in the future, now is not a bad time to get a frost weapon. But if your DM is stingy and you don't think you'll ever see a shard or gloves, then maybe focus on a weapon with some additional control. If you have access to dragonmark feats, a lightning weapon might be good. But there are lots of options, depending on the build and type of weapon.
Thanks for the replies.  Would straight Fighter or Hybrid Cleric/Fighter be better?  I'm leaning slightly toward hybrid since we could use a back-up healer and BCL would make it easier to to wield a 2-handed weapon and do slightly better damage (probably greatspear or gouge).  Any other suggestions for upgrading to level 10 weapon in terms of type or specific "name?"  Yes, I agree our items are a little behind.



Hybrid for Two-Handed Weapon+Pinning Challenge+Righteous Brand+Power of Skill is a really good combo. Someone violates your mark, you hit them with an MBA, and then they're immobilized and granting a +3 power bonus for one of your melee types. Then add some polearm momentum for granting a lot of +3 power bonuses...
i personally don't think that a berserker is a terrible choice for a low-mid op campaign.

instead of a complete character overhaul, you could perhaps go half-orc instead of human, then pick up immediate reactions like battle awareness, guardian theme, curtain of steel, etc.
If you want some level 8 builds to look through check these out:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...

That has several characters at level 8 that you can look through, each with an in-depth explanation of power choices and how to play them. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions.  Here's my build.  I’m basically trying to make a tough, durable, striker/defender since our group tends to spread damage around via AoE attacks.  I tweaked Drogo to make him a hybrid Fighter/Barbarian mainly for continuity.  I kept him human for now for continuity, but I also like the extra feat, defenses and Heroic Effort.  I also like getting the skills Perception and Acrobatics from Barbarian.
I went with Urgrosh to get the +1 AC bonus and also this weapon allows me to take Two-weapon Fighting and Defense.  I was originally looking at Chain and Scale Armor proficiency but then realized I could get the same AC without the speed penalty and +1 damage with this build.  I realize the Gouge is a little better offensive weapon.  I’m trying to get good defenses because the other characters in my party have good defenses also.
I considered hybrid Cleric/Fighter mainly to get BCL but I didn’t want the decreased HP.  I doubt I could get BCL with the Divine Healer feat.  It would nice if it was an option.
My theme is a toss-up between Elemental Initiate, Sohei and Ironwrought.  I have Elemental for now.
Magic Items are a little light but that’s what we’ve got for now.
I have Footwork Lure for the control/movement effects and like this but would consider changing to Dual Strike.
I can use the spear side of the Urgrosh for Rain of Blows, correct?  I recognize this is 1d6 damage rather than 1d12.  Would Axe Expertise bonus count for this attack since it’s the same weapon?
I’m considering Savage Growl over Shrug it Off at Level 2 Utility but that immediate save comes in handy, it saved me from being stunned recently.
I took Avenger MC mainly for Oath 1x/encounter, but also the Religion skill lets me take Level 6 Utility Deliverance of Faith for a healing surge of THP when needed.  Taking an Oath is consistent with this character also.
I’m a little torn on taking Curtain of Steel or Trip Up at Level 7.  They both give an “extra” attack and I figure 3W beat 1W so there you go.
Future plans are for Silvery Glow/Icy Heart, Improved Initiative and eventually Superior Will in Paragon (might have to adjust ability scores, will try to get at L12) 
Here’s the more detailed summary.  Any other wasy to improve defenses if I use a gouge?  Am I too defensive-oriented?  I would appreciate any feedback to help make him better.  Thanks again in advance 


Drogo, Level 8
Race: Human
Class: Fighter/Barbarian
Background: Auspicious Birth
Theme:  Elemental Initiate


Ability Scores, with racial adjustments:
Strength 20 (+1 at 4th and 8th level)
Constitution 11
Dexterity 18 (+1 at 4th and 8th level)
Intelligence 10
Wisdom 13
Charisma 8


AC: 24 (10 base, +3 Hide armor, +4 Dex, +4 levels, +1 enhancement, +1 Urgrosh, +1 TWD)
Fortitude: 23
Reflex: 21
Will: 17
HP: 77
Bloodied: 38 HP or less
Healing Surges: 8
Healing Surge Value: 19 HP
Initiative: +8
Speed: 6
Melee Attack Bonus :  +15
Melee Damage Bonus:  +10 


Racial Powers:
Heroic Effort 


At-Will Attack Powers
L1 - Howling Strike
L1 - Footwork Lure 


Encounter Attack Powers:
L1 – Vault the Fallen
L3 –Rain of Blows
L7 – Curtain of Steel 


Daily Attack Powers:
L1 –Life-Ending Strike
L5 - Rain of Steel 


Utility Powers:
L2 –Shrug It off
L6 – Deliverance of Faith 


Skills:
Acrobatics (+12)
Athletics (+13)
Endurance (+8)
Nature (+10)
Perception (+10)
Religion (+9) 


Feats:
L1 –Hybrid Talent (Fighter 2-handed weapon prof)
L1 – Weapon Proficiency (Urgrosh)
L2 – Axe Expertise
L4 – Disciple of Divine Wrath
L6 – Two Weapon Fighting
L8 – Two Weapon Defense


Magic Items (Expected GP = 32,000):
L8  Frost Brand Urgrosh
L6  Iron Armbands of Power
L5 +1 Hide Armor of Shared Suffering
L4 +1 Battlecrazed Javelin
L2 +1 Badge of the Berserker

it looks like you

a. went from trying to defend to trying to play a striker and
b. have the gist of it

 if that's the case:

>if you want to do the dps, switch to gouge and grab two-handed weapon expertise
>if you want to do the dps, you should pick up battlefury stance and savage growl. they're pretty considerable dps boosts
>if you want to lean on defending, pick up dual strike for multi-marking
>you should swap elemental initiate to ironwrought unless you plan to use a ki focus

keep curtain of steel
named after Frodo's dad?
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