A fan posted a lengthy discourse on the issues regarding 1H vs. 2H vs. dual wielding weapons. Bashiok got into the game with a bunch of replies, but they were more about specific D3 stuff, rather than the more conceptual issues of weapon design and balance.
The general philosophy and intent for the differences between the three main melee types is to make them all viable, but with obvious trade offs. For dual-wield versus two hander, it’s currently balanced so that it’s essentially an aesthetic choice. If you think it looks cool to run around with a big two hander, do it, if you get two awesome one-handers, then use those. Obviously that comes down to tuning affixes and such as it’s one item versus two, but that’s the intent and how it is balanced and works in the game right now. Compared to using a shield it should be viable either way, but you’re obviously gaining some survivability with a shield. The drop in damage output should be accurately offset with a better chance to live, ability to take some greater risks, etc.
There are ways to improve your use of specific weapon types. And that’s all I have to say about that.
When you say aesthetic choice between dual wield and two handers, do you mean literally just the art, or also the “feel” of the weapons? Such as a fast, constant damage for dual wield and slower, high burst damage for two handers (balanced for similar KPM or DPS, natch)?
There’s obviously a difference in the way they play, yeah. Two-handers are bigger, slower, but feel more powerful. And dual-wield is much faster and bashier. What I meant was from a damage perspective they should be balanced so that no matter what you use, two hander or dual wield, you’re going through enemies at the same pace. One slow two-handed swing would equal a few bashes from dual wielding.
Will we be allowed to specialize in more than one type at the same time?
Good deal. Here’s to Barbarians dual wielding wands!
Barbs can’t use wands.
Going with a big two-handed weapon on a Barbarian was the best option in both Blizzcon builds, thus far. The Barb was tough enough to largely ignore enemy attacks, and dealing enough damage to put them down (and score health orbs) in one or two hits was a much better option than having to hit them multiple times. Plus, you’re always hurrying when playing on a show demo, so killing more things more quickly is much-desired. This tells us nothing about weapon choices in the final game, though.
I’ll also note that shots of characters using shields are, thus far, almost unknown in Act One or Act Two. There’s really just one clear image of a Barbarian with a shield, and none of Wizard, Witch Doctor, or Monks utilizing the item at all. Skeletons are the main proponents of shields thus far, in Diablo 3. This seems unlikely to change any time soon, with the fifth character widely-expected to be an archer.
What do you guys think? Diablo 3’s lack of a weapon switch hotkey means that your character is pretty well stuck with whatever weapons they choose, so you’ll have to pick weapons you can use all the time, and not count on using strategy to switch around between or during battles. Most high level characters in Diablo 2 use shields since blocking is so overpowered. If shields in D3 aren’t guaranteed to block 75% of enemy attacks, we should see more variety in end game character equipment; perhaps even some character using two-handed weapons? (What could be done to make 2H weapons more viable has been extensively debated in the past.)