Diablo® III

Monk Skill Mechanics, Main v Offhand, CC/CD

Updated 3/13/13

Which skills use mainhand only vs. alternate mainhand/offhand vs. other (paper dps formula, etc.) for damage?

Also of interest: which skills don't care about crit damage?

I'm hoping that by understanding this better, monks will have a better idea when they are likely to get benefit from a ruby vs. emerald in mainhand. I don't feel as though the threads out there for ruby vs. emerald and paper dps are that helpful.

Definition Mainhand/Offhand Mainhand is the weapon on the left as you look at your character on the screen. Offhand is the weapon on the right.

Definition Active Hand When dual wielding, your active hand is the weapon with its attack speed shown on your character sheet. The attack speed shown corresponds to the weapon just activated and not the weapon that is expected to strike next. Some skills use only mainhand and thus will frequently set your active hand to the mainhand. Many skills check your active hand for damage calcs (e.g., backlash, sweeping wind). When you join a game, your mainhand will be active (its APS will be shown on character sheet).

Skill List:

1. All spirit generators
Alternates MH/OH dmg. Benefits fully from CC/CD.

2. Wave of Light
Uses MH dmg only regardless of active weapon. Benefits fully from CC/CD. Activation speed likely functions like Cyclone Strike (see below). For most(?) runes, single skill activation yields several separate strikes. (?Each crit separately?)

3. Lashing Tail Kick
Alternates MH/OH dmg at each activation. Benefits fully from CC/CD.

4. Dashing Strike
Alternates MH/OH dmg at each activation. Benefits fully from CC/CD.

5. Cyclone Strike
Uses MH dmg only regardless of active weapon (see testing ~p2 this thread). Activation speed based only on mainhand APS (and thus activates faster if offhand possess + APS; e.g., Echoing Fury, Sledge Fist). Benefits fully from CC/CD.

6. Mystic Ally
Samples active hand continuously. Changes damage as active hand changes. Benefits from CC but not CD (but has innate 50CD; see Vrkhyz posts).

7. Tempest Rush
Alternates between MH/OH as it is channeled. (Snapshot buffs like BW/Frenzy shrine?) Benefits fully from CC/CD.

8. Seven-Sided Strike
Alternate between MH/OH weapon dmg (i.e., each of the 7 strikes in one activation alternate). Benefits fully from CC/CD.

9. MOE Backlash
Samples active hand continuously. Changes damage as active hand changes. (Attack speed changes displayed %weapon damage?) (Benefits fully from CC/CD?).

10. MOC Submission
Averages MH and OH. Benefits fully from CC/CD (works as averaged out increase in dmg; see Druin post).

11. Sweeping winds
Samples active hand continuously (and no longer snapshots as it did in 1.06). Changes damage as active hand changes. Same happens with cyclones spawned by cyclone rune. Benefits fully from CC/CD (more than fully in case of cyclone rune and CC).

12. Exploding Palm
Uses MH dmg only regardless of active weapon. DOT Damage is always the average damage of your MH multiplied by all the usual mods (dex, +% damage, etc.). DOT benefits fully from CC/CD. If a crit lands, damage is locked in for remaining ticks. Overawe sampled only once when hit first lands. Neighbor mobs damaged by explosion receive more damage if Overawe, The Flesh is Weak run are active. Explosion does not benefit from CC/CD. In multiplayer, explosion % damage scaled back to single-player-mob-hp equivalent (?).

Some questions still unanswered.
All contributions appreciated!!!
Edited by Vox#1186 on 3/13/2013 11:34 AM PDT
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I am very interested in answers to this.

Specifically, I want to know if foregoing crit damage/ crit chance will work at all. Going all out +attack speed items, very high +dex, and fast weapons with nice ruby's in them.

Not looking for a 200k dps monk, but more something around 90-120k that doesn't cost billions of gold, as the items needed are undervalued at the moment.
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Confirmed this evening that cyclone strike uses only mainhand.

I'm currently trying a build that runs cyclone strike as main damage source. Not sure yet if ruby would be best for that, but it seems promising given that ~90% of my damage would be based on my mainhand weapon damage.

No one has any answers for any of the other skills?
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I am very interested in answers to this.

Specifically, I want to know if foregoing crit damage/ crit chance will work at all. Going all out +attack speed items, very high +dex, and fast weapons with nice ruby's in them.

Not looking for a 200k dps monk, but more something around 90-120k that doesn't cost billions of gold, as the items needed are undervalued at the moment.


Unless a skill/rune is discovered that does good damage even though unaffected by CC/CD, i don't think you will have much luck. CC/CD just adds waaay too much edps.

Perhaps newly buffed mystic ally if spammed? Still need to go back to the 'under the hood' thread to find out how ally dps is calc, and even then, it's possible it changed with 1.07.
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done some testing..

WoL only takes count for mainhand dmg
SW only takes count for mainhand dmg

Backlash only takes count for mainhand dmg.
I have only tested this with backlash but ias seems to play no part in dmg. Nor does weapon dmg. It does however take advantage of dex/CD/ChC/etc.
Dmg is dependant on mainhand dmg and does not seem to be effected by APS. This means it works better with 2h weapons.

I'll post some more later... if i can
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Cyclone Strike and WoL were the only MH-only skills in 1.0.6, as I recall, and I believe they are still the only ones in 1.0.7. Mystic Ally ignores CHD over 50%, so it will work better with rubies, just not necessarily better than socketing an emerald anyway.
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02/14/2013 09:15 PMPosted by Vrkhyz
Cyclone Strike and WoL were the only MH-only skills in 1.0.6, as I recall, and I believe they are still the only ones in 1.0.7. Mystic Ally ignores CHD over 50%, so it will work better with rubies, just not necessarily better than socketing an emerald anyway.

I just tested 5mins b4 i posted.
Sweeping Wind, Wave of Light and Backlash do not alternate atks and only count your mainhand weapons dmg.
I tested with my normal weapon and a very low lvl blue weapon. The damage was consistently high or low depending on which weapon was held in the mainhand.
I didnt test how offhand atk speed effected how often you can cast. It would probably be quite hard to test.
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Thanks for feedback guys. I will edit main post to reflect when i get a chance.

TL;DR
Another example of "marquise ruby sucks" even under favorable circumstances!.


Did some testing w Cyclone Strike tonight after having established that it uses mainhand dmg only regardless of which hand is "active" (you can tell which is active by using a spirit generator and looking at you APS. Higher APS will show up when your faster weapon is "active").

I was interested in ruby vs. emerald and cyclone strike dps mechanics. Results may be relevant for some of the other skills just mentioned that use only mainhand dmg.

I ran tests in a semi-realistic setting against Ghom, MP 4 (total hps 18,384,322) while varying ONLY mainhand socket (100 CD rad star emerald vs. 160/160 marquise ruby). My only sources of damage were Cyclone Strike reduced cost rune (-19 cost from gear) and 2 rounds (always 2 rounds) of FOT quickening to regen spirit to full, each lasting about 2-3 seconds. I'm pretty confident that cyclone strike was roughly 98% of my dps. With the testing set-up, i could hold down cyclone strike for ~13 seconds and it would activate 35 times before out of spirit.

Relevant factors that did not vary include:
Total regen per sec = 12.04 (I used templar, no weapon, no proc'ing ring, for increased spirit regen
only. I saw him hitting ghom for 5 and 6 damage, so safe to say he did not contribute signficantly).
CC = 41.5
Dex = 2188

Offhand stats (I think only CD matters here? Maybe aps?)
Rare spear, 1.20 aps
Dmg = 448-905 (incl 235-588 holy)
DPS 811.8
CD = 177

I varied only the following:
Mainhand (emerald 100 cd)
Echoing fury +0.22 aps, +9% ias =1.53 aps
Dmg = 612-1156
+min = 280
+max = 391
%dmg = 39%
DPS = 1350.8
CD = 100

TOTAL CD = 422
PDPS = 105,196

Replace socket with 160/160 marquise ruby (ouch my wallet!)
Echoing fury +0.22 aps, +9% ias =1.53 aps
Dmg = 834-1379
+min = 280 (+160 more)
+max = 391 (+160 more)
%dmg = 39%
DPS = 1690.6 (!!!)
CD = 0

TOTAL CD = 322
PDPS = 102,007

Results:
Ran 13 runs with emerald and 10 runs with ruby.

Avg time to kill MP 4 Ghom w emerald 34.4s (min 31s, max 40s);
edps = 534,000

Avg time to kill MP 4 Ghom w marquise ruby = 35.6s (min30s, max 40s)
edps = 516,000

What does this mean?
Well, for starters, my dual wield cyclone strike set-up probably does not benefit from marquise ruby over even a 100 CD emerald. (I say probably because there are other factors such as other skills that could interact positively with high mainhand dmg... like mystic ally... maybe sweeping winds...). This was somewhat contrary to my expectation that ruby would win when 98% of my damage was tied to mainhand damage only and i was upgrading from the radiant star emerald. I had good CC/CD to start with (exceptional CC considering build with -19 cyclone strike). It could have been my high CC and moderate CD that led to the difference in edps (staying out of that math for as long as I can!).

Other results:
While testing, i tried an offhand sledge fist for kicks. I couldn't do quality testing because my survivability dropped too low for Ghom MP 4 (what good is stun when you are standing in a giant fart?). HOWEVER, I did find that the +0.17 aps on my trusty sledge mallet modified the attackspeed of mainhand (i guess you should expect that). This made me able to spam Cyclone Strike even faster at same similar damage level (lost some CD since sledge fist can only go to 140... 150 with marq emerald). I went from 35 activations in ~13s to 33 activations in ~12s when i used +0.17 aps sledge.

A lot mixed in there, sorry if I rambled!
Edited by Vox#1186 on 2/14/2013 11:01 PM PST
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02/14/2013 09:32 PMPosted by MyCondolence
I didnt test how offhand atk speed effected how often you can cast. It would probably be quite hard to test.


I tested (see end of my last post for more deets).

For cyclone strike, activations per second is based only on mainhand APS. If you equip an offhand w 1.20 aps or 1.80 aps, cyclone strike activations per second will not change.

HOWEVER, +0.15-17 aps on offhand sledge fist will modify and increase activations per second for Cyclone Strike because it modifies mainhand APS. I expect similar skills to behave same, but they will need testing.
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According to the results so far this could make for some very interesting builds if people can come up with ways to counter spirit generation.
As i see more and more results it's seeming that all skill dmg is mainhand only which means that if monks can find a way to make their main atk a skill, they can have their offhands with high end stats but low dps. eg 300dex 90%CD OS LS etc but only 200-300dps in which wouldnt effect skill dmg.

Been trying to find a way to keep up HoY with DW but atm its unsustainable for long periods of time. On the other hand Cyclone strike might be doable but havent looked much into it.
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02/14/2013 09:32 PMPosted by MyCondolence
Sweeping Wind, Wave of Light and Backlash do not alternate atks and only count your mainhand weapons dmg.

Sweeping Wind definitely uses the active weapon, not MH-only. I just tested with a white club and Sever.

  • Vortex damage when club was active: Anywhere between 119 and 142
  • Vortex damage when Sever was active: Four figures

This is how SW worked on the PTR, too. Tornado damage is also dynamic--in fact, each zap will deliver damage based on the active weapon at the time, so zap damage varies for each tornado during the course of a typical combat.

Backlash damage depends on the active weapon as well. Using the same setup, here's what I saw:

  • Backlash damage when club was active: 450 and 484, 939 on a crit
  • Backlash damage when Sever was active: 5,000–7,000

Clearly, Backlash damage depends on the active weapon. Given that Blizzard didn't say anything about changing damage sources in the patch and that Cyclone Strike and Wave of Light were the only MH-only skills in 1.0.6, I think they're probably still the only two such skills.

Edited for formatting fail.
Edited by Vrkhyz#1472 on 2/15/2013 4:59 AM PST
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@Vrkhyz
Just tested again and your right.
It appeared to only take into account mainhand dmg bc i didnt see SW alternate weapons.
Since i was sitting there and not atking my active weapon remained the same so SW did consistent dmg with what i assumed was mainhand.
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Yeah, I figured it was that, or maybe we weren't on the same page regarding the definition of "main hand."
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I have done extensive testing on MoC:Submission so I will weigh in on that one:
1. It is affected by every single DPS increasing stat.
This means that if you increase your paperdoll DPS by 10% (via anything at all) Submission will do 10% more damage per tick.

2. It does not crit but it DOES increase in damage via CHC.
This means that the tick will always be for the same amount. It simply averages out your CHC and CHD and does that average damage each tick.

3. It has an odd chance to do 20% more damage.
It is possible this is based on your CHC, but I couldn't figure out any way to make it happen reliably. Sometimes the VERY static and easily calculated number would tick for 20% more. It was always 20% more whether I had my full dps gear on or a min=max lvl10 white dagger equipped.

Also, I tested LTK quite a bit and it definitely switches based on active hand and is therefore not able to be abused.

-Druin, the happy monk
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Nice post, thanks :)
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with regards to SW i take it then as it alternates between active weapons, that this will be the case with Life Steal if only on 1 weapon, that healing will come and go on SW between hits?
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Posts: 22
Interesting - what about life on hit and lifesteal modifiers? If those are in your off-hand, do you get them with your spell damage as well?

I've heard that +AS modifiers on a weapon effect both, e.g. in the case of EF, I'm not sure about other damage modifiers
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Good post. That means bell spammers can look to equip high-end DPS spear / mace / EF as their main hand, and pack all the life sustain in the off-hand. I wonder if AH has begun to react?
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