Diablo® III

The definitive answer to 2x1H VS 2H+Quiver

Many, many people are trying to determine what's best for themselves to use: 2 Hand Crossbows, or a Bow/Crossbow + a quiver. I'll help you decide what to use by talking about what factors contribute to each setup being better or worse than the other.

First, let me start off by saying the most important deciding factor is personal taste. If you love using one over the other, don't change your configuration and enjoy playing the game less.

Additionally, weapon DPS the ultimate deciding factor. Thus, this guide assumes comparing weapons with the same DPS.

With that out of the way, let's look at the various properties we need to consider.

Special Mechanics to consider
  • Equipping 2xHand Crossbows passively increases your attack speed by 15%
  • Most quivers increase attack speed by around 10%, but some have seen +12% quivers. /li]
    The damage spread on Hand Crossbows is larger than the damage spread on Bows or Crossbows, on the order of a 50% damage spread VS a 25% damage spread.

    Generic Weapon Properties
  • Weapon properties can be broken into the following broad categories:
  • Static property - e.g. Dexterity. Such properties are 'always on' and give constant benefit.
  • Bonus Damage - e.g. +10-20 Lightning damage. Typically adds additional DPS to a weapon.
  • Proc on Hit - e.g. 'Chance to Fear on Hit'. Such properties only activate when striking an enemy.
  • Proc on Enemy Death - e.g. 'Life after Kill'. Such properties only activate when killing an enemy.
  • Demon Hunter specific properties
    These properties are only found on hand crossbows and Quivers; Crossbows and Bows do not have these properties.*
  • Hatred regeneration - e.g. 'Increases hatred regeneration by 0.80 per second'. Self explanatory.
  • Max Discipline - e.g. '+10 Maximum Discipline'. Self explanatory.
  • It is important to note that Quivers do not receive a larger bonus than Hand Crossbows. Therefore, 2x Hand Crossbows with Demon Hunter specific properties will always have higher stats than a single Quiver will ever offer.
    *Note: Some legendaries, such as the Windforce level 60 bow, do have +Hatred Regen. Given the rarity of this item and the lack of lesser Rares and Magic items with DH specific stats, we will continue to use this assumption.
    Passive Skill Choices
    See this post on how figure the Archery passive into this decision making process:
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149149294#1

    Given the above, we can make the following conclusions.
    2xHand Crossbows is superior when:
  • 1. You want more Hatred regeneration
  • 2. You want more Max Discipline
  • 3. The weapons you are using have proc on hit properties
  • 2H+Quiver is superior when:
  • 1. You want more consistent damage, with less random 'low end of the damage spread' instances
  • 2. You want your abilities to, in general, hit harder.
  • 3. You are using the Archery passive and do not have at least 150% +crit damage or 15% crit, and have a 2H Bow available to use.
  • 4. You have a Quiver that gives greater than +15% increased attack speed.
  • Due to the faster speed and the lower damage range of hand crossbows, your skills will do less damage, but you'll use them more often. In other words, you'll need to spend more hatred to kill a mob, but you'll also generate hatred faster.

    It's worth considering the Time To Kill metric of most enemies; consider the following example: A mob's health is reduced by 50% when struck with a hand crossbow. It's reduced by 90% when struck by a regular bow. The bow did more damage, but both weapons will need to fire an additional shot to deliver the killing blow.

    Additionally, the faster a weapon the faster the recovery time of firing it. Therefore, if you need to use vault or whatever a tenth of a second faster after firing your weapon then faster weapons come out on top.

    Furthermore, using 2x1H weapons means sockets on both weapons count as a 'weapon' slot. A 2H weapon + quiver counts as a 'weapon' slot and an 'other' slot for the purposes of socketing gems.

    Finally, abilities like Bola Shot + Impale have a higher chance to keep a boss stun-locked when using the faster 2xHand Crossbows setup.

    TL;DR:
    In conclusion, if you can find the correct stats on Hand Crossbows (proc on hit, +hatred regen and + max disc), then Hand Crossbows are better than 2H bows and crossbows.

    Edits:
  • Formatting and conclusion. Fixed the title.
  • Added section on Archery passive skill (Thanks, Windchimes).
  • [li]Added note about quivers that grant more than +15% attack speed (Thanks Haela).
    Edited by Xentch#1754 on 5/22/2012 2:39 PM PDT
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    Can Quivers get as much +Dexterity on them end game as 1HXbows?

    To me it seems that as long as you can get the same +Dex out of 1 hander that you would out of a Quiver, the DPS is going to be higher by dual wielding just through the extra attack speed. Of course, that's assuming you come across 2-1 handers with close enough to the exact same dps.
    Reply Quote
    Posts: 229
    Nice guide! Very informative.

    Seems like 2h+quiver is usually the more attractive option, which is odd considering the class was designed to dual-wield.

    Actually, for me, 1 1hand crossbow+quiver sounds attractive, unless I'm misunderstanding.
    Edited by Starshayd#1450 on 5/20/2012 12:25 PM PDT
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    Hm, its sad two 1h xbows aren't that good. Looks so much cooler.
    Reply Quote
    What..about the bow? You know, that wood thing that came before the cross bows.

    Archery gives 15% damage.
    Edited by Windchimes#1153 on 5/20/2012 3:16 PM PDT
    Reply Quote
    I mistakenly said '2x1H VS 1H+Quiver instead of 2H+Quiver. Mistake corrected.

    As far as I can tell, Quivers and Hand Crossbows can have nearly the same stats, so yes they can have the same amount of dex.

    1xHand Crossbow + Quiver is less optimal than 2xHand crossbows, but is probably OK to use while leveling if you have no alternatives.
    Reply Quote
    What..about the bow? You know, that wood thing that came before the cross bows.

    Archery gives 15% damage.


    Archery gives 15% increased damage to bows, 50% increased critical hit damage to crossbows, and 10% critical hit chance to hand crossbows.

    The base crit damage bonus is 50% (e.g. 100 damage ability crits for 150). This means if you use archery with hand crossbows, you'll get about a 5% damage boost assuming base crit rate.

    Thus, if you use archery you get the biggest bang for your buck with a bow, until you get better stats (Crit and crit damage).
    Reply Quote
    What..about the bow? You know, that wood thing that came before the cross bows.

    Archery gives 15% damage.


    Archery gives 15% increased damage to bows, 50% increased critical hit damage to crossbows, and 10% critical hit chance to hand crossbows.

    The base crit damage bonus is 50% (e.g. 100 damage ability crits for 150). This means if you use archery with hand crossbows, you'll get about a 5% damage boost assuming base crit rate.

    Thus, if you use archery you get the biggest bang for your buck with a bow, until you get better stats (Crit and crit damage).


    You should also add that in. The only time the Crossbow or the Handcrossbows will out perform the Bow is when you have enough crit rating (Assuming it's the same damage). Sharpshooter excluded. Having a base 5% crit won't help at all if you decide to chose a Crossbow over Bow.
    Edited by Windchimes#1153 on 5/20/2012 3:26 PM PDT
    Reply Quote


    Archery gives 15% increased damage to bows, 50% increased critical hit damage to crossbows, and 10% critical hit chance to hand crossbows.

    The base crit damage bonus is 50% (e.g. 100 damage ability crits for 150). This means if you use archery with hand crossbows, you'll get about a 5% damage boost assuming base crit rate.

    Thus, if you use archery you get the biggest bang for your buck with a bow, until you get better stats (Crit and crit damage).


    You should also add that in. The only time the Crossbow or the Handcrossbows will out perform the Bow is when you have enough crit rating (Assuming it's the same damage). Sharpshooter excluded. Having a base 5% crit won't help at all if you decide to chose a Crossbow over Bow.


    Done. Also added the math for people who want to know when the other bonuses start to beat out the bow bonus.
    Reply Quote
    What about people who use a 1h and a shield? Is there any thing that is better to using a shield that an quiver?
    Reply Quote
    05/20/2012 04:22 PMPosted by SheathBreath
    What about people who use a 1h and a shield? Is there any thing that is better to using a shield that an quiver?


    Shields are terrible for Demon Hunters. We have no skills or passives which boost using a shield, and we don't have the passive damage resistance to melee like Monks or Barbarians to help us survive.

    Shields will not have +Max Discipline or +Hatred Regeneration either. They can, however, have +Dex.

    That being said, they are full of awesome stats like +Elemental Resist, -Damage taken from projectiles, and can randomly have skill boosts on them as well.

    I'd say if you are dying enough that a shield seems useful, you aren't using Smoke Screen enough :)
    Reply Quote
    I have a rare level 60 quiver that gives 14% ias. There's a legendary quiver deadman's legacy that gives ~20%.

    Once you get enough max discipline and crit chance combined with night hunter, you can chain smoke screen indefinitely (until you screw up or get unlucky with crits with leeway depending on how much max discipline and crit chance you have.) This gives preference for survival towards using hand crossbows (faster attack speed, archery gives 10% crit chance, max discipline) for survival.
    Edited by Haela#1854 on 5/20/2012 5:04 PM PDT
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    Posts: 1,591
    05/20/2012 04:12 PMPosted by Xentch
    Done. Also added the math for people who want to know when the other bonuses start to beat out the bow bonus.


    That math isn't necessarily correct. It's not a flat number where bows get beat out by hand crossbows or 2h crossbows because of the diminishing effectiveness, or the asymptotic effects, of having crit and crit damage. If you want the true mathematical formula for what % damage bonus the three archery choices give you, I wrote a post about it a week or two ago:

    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4916881738

    The bow buff itself (although it says 15% increased damage) actually fluctuates as well because of its diminished effectiveness if you have steady aim / cull the weak
    Edited by LtShaft#1108 on 5/20/2012 5:22 PM PDT
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    Nice writeups, Li and Xen both, really appreciate the work you put into it.

    @ the Lt - based on your math, crit in itself seems to diminish over time. at what point do you think its better to switch (i.e. go from 2x1h to 2hBow).

    Also, what your math on the DR for the 15% damage buff? and is there a crossover plateau? In other words, is there a certain point where % damage increase will net less of a return point for point then %crit increase, and vice versa?

    Think I just made my brain hurt. but the thread piqued my curiosity.
    Edited by Elyx#1465 on 5/20/2012 6:08 PM PDT
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    So dual wield 1h xbow is better than anything else?
    Reply Quote
    Personally, I'lll go with 2x 1hXBow, the reason: you gem both of them (if they have sockets, obv) with +crit dmg or +life on impact, and the drawbacks (less dmg than bows) is not as big as I thought it would be
    Reply Quote
    ^ what do you mean? Can explain in a simpler way? Thanks
    Reply Quote
    When you dual wield, you alternate shots with each 1hXBow, so the damage you do uses the damage of each weapon alternatively, you can average the damage to the average of the two.
    So here's the choice:
    1. Faster weapons with +15% increased attack speed
    2. Slower weapon with quiver (+10-12% attack speed)

    If 1 and 2 weapons have the same damage, the choice is 1, so you can fire faster, but usually slower weapons have more damage than 1hXBows.
    From what I've seen in the AH, 60lvl bows adn 2hXbows have more damage than 1hxbows, so they offset the increased speed, it comes to personal choice.
    So, my choice is to pick two socketed 1hXBows and profit them by socketing +life on hit (since they fire faster) or +crit damage(since I think it's additive between both weapons)
    Reply Quote
    Nice writeups, Li and Xen both, really appreciate the work you put into it.

    @ the Lt - based on your math, crit in itself seems to diminish over time. at what point do you think its better to switch (i.e. go from 2x1h to 2hBow).

    Also, what your math on the DR for the 15% damage buff? and is there a crossover plateau? In other words, is there a certain point where % damage increase will net less of a return point for point then %crit increase, and vice versa?

    Think I just made my brain hurt. but the thread piqued my curiosity.


    Damage formula, in case people were wondering Thanks Lt, I spent a bunch of time in Excel figuring this stuff out). If anyone knows of a way to host these spreadsheets so others can view this stuff, let me know.

    Variables:
    Base Damage - Damage per attack
    Damage Modifier - Modifier to base damage, e.g. +15% Archery w/ bow
    Number of Attacks
    Base Crit - Base crit rate. Assumed to be 5%
    Bonus Crit - Additional crit, from items or Archery w/Hand Crossbows.
    Base Crit Damage - Damage on crit. Assumed to be 150% of base damage.
    Bonus Crit Damage - Additional damage on crit, from socketed Emeralds or Archery w/Xbows.

    (Base Damage * Damage Modifier * Number of Non-Crit Attacks) + (Base Damage * (Base Crit + Bonus Crit)) * (Base Damage * Damage Modifier * (Base Crit Damage + Bonus Crit Damage))) = Total Damage done.

    I ran 2 sets of calculations across multiple base sets.

    Base Sets
    A) Base damage
    B) Archery w/Bow (+15% damage modifier)
    C) Archery w/Xbow (+50% bonus crit damage)
    D) Archery w/Hand.Xbow (+10% bonus crit)

    Calculations
    1. Scale Bonus Crit by 1% each iteration, capping at 20%. Exception is Hand.Xbow, which capped at 30%
    2. Scale Bonus Crit damage by 10%, capping at 200%. Exception is Xbow, which capped at 250%.

    Conclusions
    Each calculation is compared to equivalent base damage, e.g. +20% bonus crit for Bows was compared to +20% bonus damage for Base. Exception made for xbow bonus damage, and hand crossbow crit, since they had a higher starting point.

    Archery w/Bow does a constant +15% damage over base damage, for both 1 & 2.
    Archery w/Xbow:
    1. With scaling bonus crit, never outpaces the Bow bonus (each point of crit yielded about 0.5% damage bonus).
    2. With scaling bonus crit damage, never outpaces the Bow bonus (each point of bonus crit damage yielded diminishing gains, with base closing the gap for each point of crit damage bonus gained).

    Archery w/Hand Crossbow
    1. With scaling bonus crit, never outpaced +15% damage over base. Similar diminishing returns as above.
    2. With scaling bonus crit damage, outpaced +15% damage over base at +120% bonus crit damage, for a total of 270% bonus crit damage to beat archery with a bow (150% base, 120% from items).

    Combining the two scaling models outpaced the +15% archery bonus at 21% crit (10% from Archery, 6% from items, 5% base) and +210% bonus crit damage (150% base + 60% bonus)

    TL;DR
    Therefore, the Hand Crossbow bonus is better at higher gear levels, as it will scale well beyond a mere 15% damage bonus as long as your gear supports the +Crit and +Bonus crit damage necessary to do so.

    Edit: Started a new thread with all this awesome maths.
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149149294#1
    Edited by Xentch#1754 on 5/20/2012 7:09 PM PDT
    Reply Quote
    05/20/2012 04:38 PMPosted by Xentch
    What about people who use a 1h and a shield? Is there any thing that is better to using a shield that an quiver?


    Shields are terrible for Demon Hunters. We have no skills or passives which boost using a shield, and we don't have the passive damage resistance to melee like Monks or Barbarians to help us survive.

    Shields will not have +Max Discipline or +Hatred Regeneration either. They can, however, have +Dex.

    That being said, they are full of awesome stats like +Elemental Resist, -Damage taken from projectiles, and can randomly have skill boosts on them as well.

    I'd say if you are dying enough that a shield seems useful, you aren't using Smoke Screen enough :)


    Yeah I realized what I was doing wrong and just went 1h and quiver.
    Reply Quote

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