Diablo® III

Main hand VS Off hand

I've been looking around for a long time (including asking around in general/trade discussion) and I can never find a definate answer. Most of the time, I just get the same answer - but nobody really seems to know why.

So here goes,
1.) What should you look for in a MH/OH?
2.) Why?

I'm not sure 100% how game mechanics work but wouldn't it be better to be looking for the same stats in both hands (high watk, dps, crit damage, ...)
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main hand is your attack weapon the offhand doesnt give you any dps other than the stats that are on it unless your offhand has higher dps then your main hand. So if you have a 900 dps crit damage vita dex fist with a socket and an offhand fist with 200dps with the same stats as your main hand it would still be better then a 800 dps offhand with lesser stats.

Basically what your looking for is a high dps main hand weapon with decent stats and an offhand weapon with amazing stats for example.

Main hand - Hallowed Storm - 913 dps
27% damage
367-549 holy damage
65 dexterity
54 vitality
54% crit damage
has a socket

Off hand - Any random weapon - dps anything
150+ dex
150+ vita
60-70+ crit damage
has socket
Attack speed if possible
Edited by Helixio#1795 on 9/19/2012 9:14 PM PDT
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Dual-Wielding and Two-Handed Weapons
When choosing skills to complement your equipment (or gear to complement your skills), you’ll often find yourself faced with a fundamental choice: should you use a two-handed weapon, a weapon and off-hand item, or (if you’re a Barbarian, Monk, or Demon Hunter) wield two weapons? The answer comes down to your preferred play style and build.

If you need help making up your mind, consider the following, and tailor your strategy appropriately:




Wielding two weapons provides a flat +15% bonus to your attack speed. This bonus increases your damage per second.
When you’re wielding two weapons, you alternate the weapon you swing with. Your damage is based off of the weapon you hit your foe with, NOT a combination of both weapons. Your base damage while dual-wielding will tend to be lower than a comparable two-handed weapon for this reason.
Equipping two weapons means that you can receive bonuses from both items (for example, +20 Strength and +22 Strength from a pair of swords, for a total of +42 Strength). You’ll often receive more statistical bonuses (and have more space to socket gems) while dual-wielding.
Dual weapons generally have faster attack speeds, which can afford you quicker resource generation than two-handed weapons.
Two-handed weapons have higher damage values per hit than comparable one-handed weapons. Skills with significant weapon damage values (like 200% weapon damage) will hit (and critical hit) for high damage, allowing you to down enemies with a great deal of Life in fewer swings than comparable one-handed weapons.
In general, dual-wielding aids fast attacks, resource generation, abilities that have a chance to trigger on hit, attribute bonuses, and gem socketing. Two-handed weapons empower high weapon damage attacks, critical hits and area of effect attacks.

From the game guide...
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What i have learned so far, Is that your off hand should be fast with LOH. Like a dagger.
When i can i will change some weapons out on my barb, and maybe my monk. But my monk uses fist weapons so a dagger will not be that much faster but some.
Edited by Kookymunster#1239 on 9/19/2012 9:22 PM PDT
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main hand is your attack weapon the offhand doesnt give you any dps other than the stats that are on it unless your offhand has higher dps then your main hand. So if you have a 900 dps crit damage vita dex fist with a socket and an offhand fist with 200dps with the same stats as your main hand it would still be better then a 800 dps offhand with lesser stats.

Basically what your looking for is a high dps main hand weapon with decent stats and an offhand weapon with amazing stats for example.

Main hand - Hallowed Storm - 913 dps
27% damage
367-549 holy damage
65 dexterity
54 vitality
54% crit damage
has a socket

Off hand - Any random weapon - dps anything
150+ dex
150+ vita
60-70+ crit damage
has socket
Attack speed if possible


Ummm, no... Welcome to Diablo 3.

In the vast majority of cases, the game alternates which weapon it strikes with. In doing so, it alternates which weapon's DPS to pull as the base damage.

A handful of skills that don't alternate per hit are Whirlwind, Nadoes, Sweeping Wind (currently, this particular skill is supposedly getting changed in a future patch). These skills instead, take a "screenshot", if you will, of your current "up-weapon's" damage. Your "up-weapon" being the one you didn't swing last with.

People have been exploiting this "screenshot" mechanism for some time now with Sweeping Wind (by wielding a hard hitting Two-Hander while casting it and then switching to a DW setup; note that Sweeping wind always ticks at the same rate regardless of your attack speed). Alternatively, high DPS barbs wield a low damage very fast weapon in their offhand to kite away from mobs with Nadoes that land more crits, return more LoH, and kill the mobs slower resulting in more Fury Generation while still being able to switch to their high Damage Weapon in their mainhand to WW/Nado down Elites faster (note that Whirlwind and Nadoes both tick at a multiplicative of your "screenshot" attack speed). Usually, a Fury Generator is used to swap which weapon is in your "up-hand", and this playstyle adds a whole new level of micro to playing a WW Barb.
Edited by Bobert13#1406 on 9/19/2012 9:45 PM PDT
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main hand is your attack weapon the offhand doesnt give you any dps other than the stats that are on it unless your offhand has higher dps then your main hand. So if you have a 900 dps crit damage vita dex fist with a socket and an offhand fist with 200dps with the same stats as your main hand it would still be better then a 800 dps offhand with lesser stats.

Basically what your looking for is a high dps main hand weapon with decent stats and an offhand weapon with amazing stats for example.

Main hand - Hallowed Storm - 913 dps
27% damage
367-549 holy damage
65 dexterity
54 vitality
54% crit damage
has a socket

Off hand - Any random weapon - dps anything
150+ dex
150+ vita
60-70+ crit damage
has socket
Attack speed if possible


Ummm, no... Welcome to Diablo 3.

In the vast majority of cases, the game alternates which weapon it strikes with. In doing so, it alternates which weapon's DPS to pull as the base damage.

A handful of skills that don't alternate per hit are Whirlwind, Nadoes, Sweeping Wind (currently, this particular skill is supposedly getting changed in a future patch). This skills instead, take a "screenshot", if you will, of your current "up-weapon's" damage. Your "up-weapon" being the one you didn't swing last with.

People have been exploiting this "screenshot" mechanism for some time now with Sweeping Wind (by wielding a hard hitting Two-Hander while casting it and then switching to a DW setup; note that Sweeping wind always ticks at the same rate regardless of your attack speed). Alternatively, high DPS barbs wiled a low damage very fast weapon in there offhand to kite away from mobs with Nadoes that land more crits, return more LoH, and kill the mobs slower resulting in more Fury Generation (note that Whirlwind and Nadoes both tick at a multiplicative of your "screenshot" attack speed).


Was just about to respond to this guys incorrect response. Since the OP plays Monk.. your offhand weapon DPS will matter you don't want a weak offhand with just stats on it. On your weapons you want to have ( socket / dex ) after you have those add in the following for more sustain or more damage( crit dam / life steal / loh ) .

Most monks use sweeping winds... and depending which weapon you are about to swing will determine how much dmg it does when its cast.
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how cool would double swing be?

even cooler if you could set up some high chance to stun and bleed on each hand.. that would be cool and real dirty fight technique
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One question, I believe Earthquake also uses this "screenshot" mechanism?

That means if I just loaded a new game, or if my next hit is to be on the main/right hand higher DPS weapon, that's the time to fire Earthquake?
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One question, I believe Earthquake also uses this "screenshot" mechanism?

That means if I just loaded a new game, or if my next hit is to be on the main/right hand higher DPS weapon, that's the time to fire Earthquake?


Haven't tested it, but it would logically use the screenshot mechanism solely based on how the skill functions. I do know that Earthquake is independent of your Attack Speed though (and always ticks 5 times a second). So really, you want your highest DPH weapon to be up when casting it. You could alternately switch to a two-hander before casting it and then switch back, but this could be pretty difficult to pull off in the heat of battle.

Another exploitable facet of the screenshot mechanism is the fact that it also screenshots your current LoH and LS% so having LS% on that theoretical two-hander would probably net you a ton of life back if you could get to where you could pull this sort of thing off (LoH does nothing for Earthquake due to it having zero for a proc coefficient). I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get patched to update on the fly in the future though (like they already plan to do with Sweeping Wind).
Edited by Bobert13#1406 on 9/19/2012 10:15 PM PDT
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