This post is a response to Darth Solo's post wondering how Diablo 3 skills work.
Take the Barbarian, Monk or Witch Doctor. They can equip either one of the following:
- 1H weapon + shield
- 2H weapon
- dual-wield 1H weapons
Actually all five classes can equip any of those weapon load-outs.
Edit: In patch 15 my Witch Doctor can't dual wield. Left hand is for offhand only (or half of a two-hander). No idea if it was like that before.
Most offensive spells and skills are based on weapon damage.
It says that but in practice it's not true. Ability damage is really based on your dps and it's dynamic. So if someone casts a group attack speed buff your nukes do more damage.
The detailed theorycraft is here.
Here are my questions:
How the hell is damage calculated for 2H weapon vs dual-wield 1H
weapons? I'm sure this has been explained at some point by the devs but I
missed it. It should be fairly obvious, yet I don't know what the
Dual wield dps is the average damage improved by a 15% attack speed bonus. So if you have a 10 dps weapon in one hand and a 12 dps weapon in the other hand your dps is (10+12)/2 * 1.15 = 12.65
To express this the other way round let's assume you can find a 20.2 dps two-hander fairly easily off the Beta auction house. To be better dps a pair of one-handers would have to average 20.2/1.15 = 17.56.
So you can throw away any one-handed weapon under 17.6 dps assuming you can buy or craft a 20.2 dps flamberge.
There's a very useful dps calculator here.
In which situations is it preferable to wear a 1H weapon + shield instead of 2H weapon or dual-wielding?
OK so with a shield you sacrifice 15% of your dps assuming equal 1H weapons. In return you get an item which can take 2 socket slots instead of just one. An item which gives you a block chance and adds some armour. And an item which will have different magical properties because it accesses a different affix pool with more defensive mods in it. For example you could get up to 80 resist all or +100% maximum life on a shield - there's no equivalent defensive mods for a sword.
Essentially shields do the obvious job - they make you harder to kill at the price of some offensive power.
If spells and skills are based on weapon damage, won't a spellcaster pick the hugest 2H weapon she can find?
It's an option but generally spellcasters will do better using special offhand items that are in the game for them. Wizards get wizard orbs, witch doctors get voodoo dolls. Just pick whatever displays the most dps on the character sheet.
this whole thing feels like lazy design to me
I'm looking under the hood more than you are and to me the system is absolutely fascinating because it throws up so many variables. It fulfills the part of the Blizzard mantra about Hard to Master.
It's certainly not lazy design. You may dislike it and are certainly entitled to if you choose. But there are real and quite clever choices underlying the system. In some ways it's quite elegant.
I will probably go with the highest DPS weapon combo I can find
Yup, do this. Unless you hit some higher level area and find yourself dying a lot then use a shield. Well done, you've solved the puzzle that is Diablo 3 gearing!