Barbarian WW Dual-Wielding: Use a Toothbrush

It’s pretty well known that some skills in Diablo III, when used while dual-wielding, only take their damage from the main hand weapon. One of the most prominent is the little tornadoes left behind by DiabloWikiSprint: DiabloWikiRun like the Wind, and thus when using that skill for a main attack, players are able to avoid the classic problem of dual wielding builds; the fact that it’s harder to find two good weapons than one.

You almost feel sorry for Azmodan.
While most players know that the Sprint tornadoes don’t check the off-hand weapon, there’s a lot of debate about whether or not Whirlwind does. Some players insist that the DPS or attack speed (or both) of your off-hand weapon is a major factor, and others say it doesn’t matter at all. How about someone tests it out, then?

Happily, Hansenvi did and shared his results in a short guide posted in our Barbarian strategy forum.

The test is simple but fair; he took on Inferno Azmodan, on Monster Power 10, three times, while changing nothing but his off-hand weapon. All of the off-hand weapons had a socket and 100% Critical Damage, but none of them had any strength or other stats, and their DPS and speed varied widely. What was the result? Take a look; here are the weapons with their DPS, attack speed, the listed damage in the character window, and how long the total battle took.

  • Heft Revenge, 1059.6DPS + 1.3AS. DPS display: 205k start, 294k WotB. Kill time: 1m54s.
  • Whisper Gambit – 225.6DPS + 1.66AS. DPS display: 143k start, 206k WotB. Kill time: 1m53s.
  • Rakanishu’s Blade – 14.4DPS + 1.44AS. DPS display: 121k start, 173k WotB. Kill time: 1m56s.
  • Yes, that’s correct. The time to kill is identical, or at least within the margin for error of the test, despite the fact that the DPS listed is hugely different depending on the weapon. From this it seems pretty clear that if you’re going to dual wield in the popular and over-powered Barbarian WW/Sprint build, you don’t need to worry a bit about damage on your off-hand weapon. Just go for crit and stats and enjoy the slaughter, while saving up your every penny for the best main-hand weapon you can possibly afford, since it’s what really matters.

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    30 thoughts on “Barbarian WW Dual-Wielding: Use a Toothbrush

    1. I both like and dislike this.

      On one hand it can potentially make a pretty crappy weapon to be extremely useful and powerful anyway which is kind of neat. I don’t know if there is any unique weapon that has very good stats but not so high dmg. That weapon could potentially be worth it’s weight in gold now.

      On the other hand it feel like a bad design. Also it’s very hidden to the player. I mean, it took 6 months with the most common build for the community to figure this out.

      They should add this info to the skill tooltip. “Dmg based on main hand weapon only”

    2. Big strength vitality and socket with high crit damage – no use for DPS or IAS. But then surely if you are a WW barb you knew this already…

      I sold a dagger last week for 15 million with the stats above despite it being 200dps, so some people already knew!

    3. That’s just flat out ignorant development.

      Not just because the WW barbs clearly own all other barb builds (and all other characters for that matter) but from a quality control standpoint.

      It’s increasingly clear how poorly this game was play tested by people who are both GOOD at the game and intelligent enough to spot problems of this nature.

      • Couldn’t agree more with you Aug. Recommend button doesn’t work in internet explorer 9 otherwise i would have just clicked that on your post.

    4. Does weapon speed matter in the offhand, to get as many proccs as possible from the whirlwinds after sprint? If so, I guess a fast dagger with str, socket and critdmg should be the best to use?

      • Look at the test. Offhands varied from 1.3 to 1.66 attacks per second. Kill time did not significantly vary at all.

    5. I feel a little sorry for what i’m about to say but i’ve waited JUST for a post like this…

      this class is totally OP

      • With the absolute best gear for your class and good game/skill mechanics, I would agree. However, that’s not what we have. What we have is retarded/broken, completely ridiculous. Melee/Tank that kills everything while running around or away from it, that cannot actually melee/tank. Spell caster that kills everything while it’s perma-frozen. Who designed this crap. Well, we all know who.

    6. Exactly why Barbs are flat out broken/overpowered/poorly-designed. They kill best with broken/overpowered skill mechanics, while running around in circles and/or away from everything like big wussies, and cannot tank worth a crap and/or stand toe-to-toe with anything without the little dust-devils proc’ing effects/life-return from everything on the screen.

      And while I’m here, the broken/overpowered/poorly-designed Wizard is just as bad with its perma CC/defensive spam via critical mass.

      It’s sad the only viable/efficient builds for these two classes are completely retarded/broken/overpowered.

      • While I agree with you, what would you have blizzard do? Just completely remove them? Then what? Barbs just start being revenge tanks, I can understand wizards endless CC, but these builds are alot of fun, and I think the fact that their OP is kind of what makes them fun, knowan wants to go back to just doing nothing. I personally think they should just tone these builds down a bit, and add more viable ones, because if they got rid of the barb and wizard builds completely, I would quit, no hesitation. I go on d3 to have fun, not spend 300+ hours on a character just to struggle for another 300+ hours using a build I don’t even like because its slow, bland, and involves me just clicking a bunch defensive skills and a single or two offensive ones.

        • I really don’t know that answer. Blizzard messed up. I would say it’s now to late for Blizzard to remove these builds. As you said, you find them fun. Even I found them fun for a few hours each, but after that, I quit playing them due to the reasons I stated in my posts above.

          Again, as you said, about the only thing Blizzard could do is tone these builds down a bit and add more viable ones via skill and/or monster defensive tweaks.

    7. What the heck?! The barb attacks with both weapons in the whirlwind animation. Why wouldn’t the game check damage on both weapons?

      • because they don’t put a lick of thought into their design and they are biased as fuck about “our game philosophy”.
        maybe they are also lazy on top of incompetent.

        because apparently they don’t like to make minimal balance changes.

        eg look at stuff like Thunderclap, Overawe , SW: Cyclone.
        these skills are clearly overpowered when compared with the alternatives of similar purpose. even on their own they are clearly an anomaly in power even if you do not consider synergy.

        yet blizzard wouldn’t dare touch these skills and mechanics or skills and mechanics which are similarly broken.
        because that would enrage the player base – it wouldn’t really solve the problem with the build diversity – because they have no fucking clue what they are doing anyway.

        they also don’t seem to have any conception of synergy whatsoever or they are incredibly bias with their class design.

        i tell if Blizzard would let Riotgames (League of Legends) touch up Numbers on Diablo 3’s Skills, ( not even new art assets ).
        Diablo 3’s Class Balance would be closer to an equilibrium in 2 weeks than Blizzard Irvine could manage in 1 year.

        and that despite dumbed down MMORPG Itemization which makes the evaluation and assessment of theses skills incredibly easy.

    8. This is really interesting, yet also further saddening as it puts another piece into the “barbs or OP relative to other classes” puzzle.

      Can either of the other DW classes completely disregard their off-hand weapons and funnel those funds into a better mainhand weapon? my monk certainly cannot.

    9. I wonder what his time would be if he did not whirlwind at all.

      Also, did he ever check his weapon speed while actually killing things?

      I tested out cheap off hand weapon for demon hunter and it didn’t work so well.

    10. There’s a possible major flaw in the test. Look up how Sweeping Wind:Cyclone works for monks. It “alternates” between mh and oh but by taking a snapshot at the moment you activate SW. So whichever hand you were going to swing with Sweeping Wind uses that as the base weapon damage to calculate from, and keeps it that way for the duration of the buff.

      If WW behaves that way – which I think it does – the test is flawed because you don’t know which hand ww damage was using (the first test you notice he swung once at Azmodan; second test he did not).

    11. The conclusions people are drawing from this ‘test’ just aren’t really correct–partially because of the build and also just because of the gear. Offhand weapon DPS does play a role in overall DPS output of a whirlwind barb. A very similar test was performed by Moldran if anybody is interested (the life steal and loh part is clearly outdated but the whirlwind skill mechanics have not changed):

      As to reasoning why it didn’t make a ton of difference on this barb: It IS true that the tornadoes only draw from mainhand dmg while the attack speeds change. However whirlwind skill itself DOES alternate between weapons. Some important things to note would be:

      1) This barb uses a suboptimal DPS build that puts extra emphasis on tornado damage- Instead of war cry he should be using frenzy:maniac for the damage buff. Obviously maintaining 5 stacks of frenzy means you’re going to have a fair few frenzy swings, so offhand dps does come into play here.

      2) The mighty weapon (despite being so high dps) is at a GROSS disadvantage over the other 2 weapons as far as tornadoes go (and we have already established that his build emphasizes tornado DPS)-so it is not surprising to me that the time has not changed much. However, it IS important to note that the difference in DPS makes up for a considerable loss in attack speed for ‘offhand tornadoes.’

      3) The dagger and the sword are at pretty negligeable differences in DPS when compared to his mainhand (1200 dps Echoing Fury). Now the main reason that the differences in time aren’t particularly significant to how his tornadoes work in this case: Tornadoes function on a ‘ticks/second’ basis that works by breakpoints. Achieving a higher breakpoint will increase the ticks/second but you can’t get half of a tick so the increase is more of a step function (not exactly linear with attack speed increases). For those interested in the tick/second breakpoint, here’s a useful thread:
      His Echoing Fury provides an additional 0.23 APS (unlike attack speed % on weapons, this applies to BOTH weapons). As you move higher in APS (boosted considerably by the Echoing Fury), the breakpoints become harder to achieve-so the difference in speed between sword and dagger becomes negligeable. If this character had less attack speed from gear (note the andariel’s, inna’s pants, etc.), breakpoints would be more easily achieved and the speed difference would matter more weapon-wise.

      tl;dr: Does offhand weapon dps matter for the whirlwind skill? Yes. Given this particular barb’s build choices (suboptimal ones) and gearset is it making a considerable difference in his dps? Not particularly. While the logic of the the way attack speed alternates for tornadoes while whirlwinding can certainly be argued–it allows for different gearing goals. For barb that would rather use more defensive pants than Inna’s or has less attack speed than this one (maybe a frenzy damage SOJ instead of an attack speed ring), getting an attack speed dagger is FAR more important. There are still strict requirements, just not the same ones as other classes…diversity is good.

      • A series of imperceptible differences adding up to a big total difference was my initial assumption, but when you look at the DPS, and 294k with a fast weapon and 173k with a slower weapon = exactly the same total DPS, that’s just freakish. And yes, the Sprint tornadoes are just 1H damage, and Azmodan is a huge target so all the tornadoes hit every click, etc.

        All that said, imagine you’re the char with the lower DPS, and you scrape and save and upgrade to get 50% more DPS and a faster attack… and your killing speed is exactly the same. That’s going to confuse you and piss you off, which is why this sort of thing is an issue that needs to be publicized.

        • I agree and I think you’ve pointed out what would be my biggest complaint (if it wasn’t obvious I play a ww barb myself) of the build: a complete lack of transparency/intuitiveness on how the build functions. Obviously I’ve done a fair bit of theorycrafting and min/maxing, including writing my own spreadsheet to model how DPS functions for this build–but that shouldn’t be a necessity. The ‘paper doll dps’ on your character sheet is completely useless, which really limits people from developing their characters even within the build itself. (i.e. I easily outdps a 350k+dps wizard despite my character sheet never showing that amount-I know I do more due to my excel modeling, but that really limits logical development of your character within the build or even compared to other builds to those that want to invest in this kind of theorycrafting/forum reading, which is a real problem.)

    12. Couldn’t you test with a weapon that has a proc effect. If WW never uses offhand, then your offhand should never proc. If it does then you know WW is using both weapons.

      • Excellent idea, and it has been tested this way. If you put echoing fury in the offhand, you will never see fear effects from tornadoes only. You will see fear effects once you start to whirl. Swapping weapons will result in fear procs very often.

        Similarly, cold damage on an offhand only gets applied during ww, not from tornadoes.

    13. Test is flawed against a single target. WW does alternate weapons for damage, but it is an aoe skill. In a generic cobat situatuion against a pack of monsters, more of your damage comes from WW. Against a single target with a huge hitbox that doesn’t move, tornadoes will do most of the damage because you can stack 4 of them at once (240 wpn damage vs 145 that alternates between hands). So the test is showing that tornado damage is not changing much.

      Low dps stat stick is viable if you play at lower mp where tornadoes kill everything. At higher mp, or if you want to run a different spec, you are screwed.

      In any case, I still think sprint is broken the way it works now. I expect we have not seen the last nerf to this build or the way battle rage:into the fray works.

    14. You guys understand that the kill time is the same because the tornadoes and WW are hitting the same amount right?

      There are lots of situations where this cannot be the case, for example you fight against a pack that always runs away. Majority of the damage is done my whirlwind and cannot be compensated by tornadoes, so if you have a really bad offhand, killing those guys will take forever.

      Another example is when you WW through a monster and keep on going without stopping. Most of the time in those cases the tornado only lands one or two hits before it disappears (as the monster chases after you), and so the real damage dealer was the two WW hits that you get from the initial spinning through them.

      This “don’t need damage on offhand” is only for sustained DPS, not for burst.

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