Diablo® III

Guide: Sword vs Axe/Mace

So many people have been asking about which is better with the Weapon Master passive that I thought I'd write a little guide. Generally the higher the CC you have, the better the Sword is. The higher the CD you have, the better axe/mace is. Here are the breakpoints where they equalize:

CC CD
30 273
35 316
40 375
45 462
50 600
55 857
60 1500

Look up your CC without weapon master. If your CD is higher than the listed number, then axe/mace is better, otherwise sword is better. For example if you have 30 CC without weapon master, then you're better off with a sword if your CD is less than 273, otherwise you're better off with an axe/mace. As you can see, by the time you get to 50CC, sword is almost always going to be better.

Note that this is for damage only. For procs on certain barb skills, the higher CC might be better regardless of damage. OTOH, there are many barb skills such as OP Killing Spree or HotA where your in game CC is significantly better than your listed CC and sword becomes an even better option.
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I'm taking it that this assumes the same avg damage between the two weapons?

EDIT: The reason I ask is because with the 1.4 standard attack speed of swords, it is difficult to find one with comparable average damage as an axe unless its a godly roll.
Edited by Wayneold#1685 on 12/9/2012 8:49 PM PST
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Same listed dps number on weapon. So axe/mace will have higher base damage but lower attack speed compared to sword.

Basically the calc is only a comparison of 10% extra CC vs 15% flat damage, nothing more.
Edited by Celanian#1548 on 12/9/2012 8:58 PM PST
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Same listed dps number on weapon. So axe/mace will have higher base damage but lower attack speed compared to sword.

Basically the calc is only a comparison of 10% extra CC vs 15% flat damage, nothing more.


Hmph....well this guide is helpful for stat sheet DPS, but not very practical for WW/DT build then, am I right?

The reason I say this is because if you drop your average damage on your main hand by switching to a sword the crits on your sprint tornados will be smaller (then the weapons master passive will lift them up 15%, but their base damage will be lower before the 15% is factored in)

Also, the extra .1 aps from a sword gives you no guarantees to reach the next breakpoint, so you might be at the same breakpoint with smaller or about the same crits and now less crits....it would skew these numbers dramatically.
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Yep, just paper dps on the calc. If you run WW, then you need to consider a bunch of other factors.
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Would be nice if you provided a formula how you determined those numbers ;)

I guess it´s something like

(CC+0.1)*CD / (CC*CD) = 1.15*(CC*CD)

not sure how to derive the actual formula from that heh
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One other thing to factor in ... Strength swords are MUCH cheaper than Strength Axes/Maces and this may tilt your comparison.

Me, for example ... my Main Hand would have been at least 2X as expensive if it were a mace or axe and therefore totally unobtainable (I spent all I had as it was).

Therefore keep in mind you can get much better stats on a sword provided (as the OP says) you get your base crit chance high enough so you can live without the WM crit. I did this and I have no regrets.
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Would be nice if you provided a formula how you determined those numbers ;)

I guess it´s something like

(CC+0.1)*CD / (CC*CD) = 1.15*(CC*CD)

not sure how to derive the actual formula from that heh


It's actually simple algebra:

> (1+(cc+.1)*cd)/(1+cc*cd) = 1.15

> 1 + cc*cd + .1*cd = 1.15 + 1.15*cc*cd

> cd = 1.5 + 1.5*cc*cd

> cd*(1 - 1.5*cc) = 1.5

cd = 1.5/(1 - 1.5*cc)

Just plug your cc number into that last line and that tells you the break even point between the weapons.
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There´s another thing you didn´t take into account. Sword Weapons Master 15% damage bonus is in the same damage formula modifier cathegory as other skill damage bonuses: Battle Rage, Punish/Maniac stacks, Insanity, Berserker Rage, Brawler, Frenzy/Bash/Cleave belts...

http://www.diablofans.com/topic/65055-d3rawr-online-diablo3-dps-ehp-calculator-comparison-tool/#entry1081786

which means when these bonuses are active you won´t get a flat 15% damage bonus from Sword WM. Example Into The Fray is 15% + Sword WM 15% = 30% damage bonus instead of a 32.25% bonus.

Note that for some reason, No Escape +10% Weapon Throw/Ancient Spear damage is a separate modifier but Sword Weapons Master isn´t ._.
Edited by Nubtro#2147 on 12/10/2012 8:10 AM PST
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There´s another thing you didn´t take into account. Sword Weapons Master 15% damage bonus is in the same damage formula modifier cathegory as other skill damage bonuses: Battle Rage, Punish/Maniac stacks, Insanity, Berserker Rage, Brawler, Frenzy/Bash/Cleave belts...

http://www.diablofans.com/topic/65055-d3rawr-online-diablo3-dps-ehp-calculator-comparison-tool/#entry1081786

which means when these bonuses are active you won´t get a flat 15% damage bonus from Sword WM. Example Into The Fray is 15% + Sword WM 15% = 30% damage bonus instead of a 32.25% bonus.

Note that for some reason, No Escape +10% Weapon Throw/Ancient Spear damage is a separate modifier but Sword Weapons Master isn´t ._.


Cuz Ancient spear is a skill modifier which means it adjusts the skill damage. (same with bash: punish I assume)

Sword and Battle rage are overall damage modifiers.

even so. 2.25% is a difference that can be overlooked :P

Also Nubtro, something I've been meaning to look up (I wonder if its already been tested)

Does Bash: effects count into RLTW damage? I wonder if it's considered under the category of "Skill damage"

I would assume it does, but yeah. D: Not really sure.
Edited by Uberjager#6563 on 12/10/2012 8:17 AM PST
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Thanks for this information is was very useful to see the hard numbers.
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As I said, all of the Barb skills that boost damage are included in the same modifier cathegory as Battle Rage and they´re added up. This cathegory also includes Bash/Frenzy/Cleave belts (EDIT: and 300 spear).

Well, except for the No Escape bonus. That´s a separate modifier. No idea why. Also it doesn´t boost Dread Bomb damage. No idea why.

I´ve tested all of them. Yes Punish works exactly like Maniac but don´t ask me why they didn´t include a Punish effect icon yet ._.

2.25% difference is kind of misleadeing, because it only applies when BR is up (also instead of 15% you only get 13% here, 1.3/1.15 instead of 1.15*1.15/1.15), the difference is larger if you add other skills...let´s make an extreme example:

Bash belt = +14%
3xPunish stacks = +24%
5xManiac stacks = +20%
Marauder´s Rage = +30%
Insanity = +100%
Berserker Rage = +25%
Brawler = +30%
Sword Weapons Master = +15%

14+24+20+30+100+25+30+15 = 258%

Your Bash now does 3.58 times more damage. That´s just 4.37% more damage than without Sword WM :)
Edited by Nubtro#2147 on 12/10/2012 10:51 AM PST
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If you're talking extreme scenarios, then OP:KS/BR/WotB/HotA can get you to 100% CC even without Weapon Master in which case axe/mace gets 0 benefit.

We should be talking more realistic situations when conducting analysis.
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As I said, all of the Barb skills that boost damage are included in the same modifier cathegory as Battle Rage and they´re added up. This cathegory also includes Bash/Frenzy/Cleave belts (EDIT: and 300 spear).

Well, except for the No Escape bonus. That´s a separate modifier. No idea why. Also it doesn´t boost Dread Bomb damage. No idea why.

I´ve tested all of them. Yes Punish works exactly like Maniac but don´t ask me why they didn´t include a Punish effect icon yet ._.

2.25% difference is kind of misleadeing, because it only applies when BR is up (also instead of 15% you only get 13% here, 1.3/1.15 instead of 1.15*1.15/1.15), the difference is larger if you add other skills...let´s make an extreme example:

Bash belt = +14%
3xPunish stacks = +24%
5xManiac stacks = +20%
Marauder´s Rage = +30%
Insanity = +100%
Berserker Rage = +25%
Brawler = +30%
Sword Weapons Master = +15%

14+24+20+30+100+25+30+15 = 258%

Your Bash now does 3.58 times more damage. That´s just 4.37% more damage than without Sword WM :)


Wait. Overall damage modifiers and skill damage modifiers are additive not multiplicative? Damn you blizzard lol.
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I wouldn't give up the extra fury generation of 10%cc for a little bit of extra dps. Looks good in paper but you can't calculate the extra effective dps of having that extra fury at the right time
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12/10/2012 03:39 PMPosted by Pariah
I wouldn't give up the extra fury generation of 10%cc for a little bit of extra dps. Looks good in paper but you can't calculate the extra effective dps of having that extra fury at the right time

What if you had 48-50 CC w/o WM? We're talking high end gear I assume since that 10 CC is absolutely invaluable at lower gear levels.

The 15% increase, even though it is additive, sounds like a pretty nice damage bump on high end gear that doesn't necessarily need 10 more CC and would have plenty of CD to support all the additive increases from skills/passives.

Even if you did need the CC, you can use OP:KS provided you have the ehp to spare that skill slot.

Ofc I haven't tested this myself so it's all conjecture =)
Edited by Aracknid#1574 on 12/10/2012 4:16 PM PST
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Maybe this was mentioned before but the other thing to consider is that heavily used skills like HOTA use Weapon Damage and therefore a weapon with higher Weapon Damage will benefit those skills more. Sure, the faster attack speed will compensate for that somewhat. Personally since I am a SnB and use HOTA for most of my damage I was going for the highest Weapon Damage I could find that also had CD and IAS since I also want that high attack rate for my build.
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HotA actually benefits sword far more since you get absolutely crazy high CC at full fury which reduces the benefit of extra CC from WM with axe/mace compared to sword. That being said, these calcs are assuming all things being equal between the 2 weapons. If you have a 1200dps axe/mace, it's obviously going to be better than a 1100dps sword assuming equal str/cd. IOW, don't gimp yourself on a weapon just to get a little more damage from weapon master. Use this guide only if the weapons are reasonably close to each other.
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Celanian, sword won't give 15% dps. because everyone will use battlerage (+15%)

so try use 15% / (1+15%) = ~13%
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Celanian, sword won't give 15% dps. because everyone will use battlerage (+15%)

so try use 15% / (1+15%) = ~13%


BR also gives 3% extra CC, so it skews things even more. It's cleaner to leave out in game skills since there are so many skills that add damage or CC.
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