Diablo 3 Two-Handed Weapon Damage Bonus Buffed Again

Like this, but bigger. Art by VegasMike.

Like this, but bigger. Art by VegasMike.

Diablo 3 developer John Yang popped into the forums last week to revealed their plans to make two-handed weapons more viable. Check that post if you missed it and want the full story and theory, but basically the idea is to buff the damage of 2H weapons. Yes, bigger damage. As I often point out during podcast discussions, making video games is hard. The initial plan was 23-26% more damage, with related changes to the Crusader’s DiabloWikiHeavenly Strength skill.

Today brings more news. Newer news. Bigger news about two-handed weapons. Yep, you guessed it… BIGGER NUMB3RS!

Diablo 3 Two-Handed Weapon Damage Bonus Buffed Again:

I was going to roll a crusader on seasons. Now that the damage increase does not apply to items below 70, it’s actually harmful to use the heavenly strength passive. You’re better off going with a one hander and using the one hander passive instead.

So either buff two handers below lvl 70, or remove the damage reduction for crusader below lvl 70. Either one is fine with me.
Grimiku: We’re planning on expanding the level range for the retroactive damage buff to 2-handed weapons, so that it will include item levels 10-70 in patch 2.1. One of the benefits of this change is that it should help lower level Crusaders feel like Heavenly Strength is still a good choice. The percent of increased damage will still be based on the weapon speed, and not based on item level. So, lower level items will receive the same base percent damage increase as their higher level counterparts.

Additionally, we’re adjusting the amount of increased damage from 23-26% to 26-30%.

What about the 2H Bows and Xbows you forgot about the DH again we don’t need buf on the weapons just gonna plat sentries we have the M6… what if someone don’t have the set of don’t want to use it?!?
Grimiku: Currently the changes to increase baseline 2-handed weapon damage will only be for melee, since 2-handed ranged weapons are already performing the way we want them to.

John Yang: Currently, 2-Handed Crossbows/Bows are very competitive with 1-Handed Crossbows because Demon Hunters can use a quiver with any bow type and as a result, 2-Handed Crossbows/Bows do not require a rebalance.

Most of the comments you guys left on the two-handed buff news last week felt that the damage buff wasn’t big enough, and that just adding damage might *never* be enough to offset the loss of 4-6 additional primary affixes and maybe a second legendary affix that characters get from an off-hand or dual wielding. (Especially for Hardcore, because survival.) I don’t see 4% more damage changing that issue at all. Seems to me 2H weapons still need to jump up to 6 primary affixes, or get a second socket, or they’ll continue to be ignored aside in a very few mega-damage cases, such as DiabloWikiSkorn from D3v.

Will adding 26-30% more damage make 2H weapons viable in Reaper of Souls?

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  1. The killer will be legendary affixes that really need to be very good to offset that 130% crit dmg and 4 primary affixes on the other weapon. Base damage boost helps, but not enough. Or boost stat ranges for the affixes on 2h weapons to offset what you can get offhand/dual wield and/or 2 sockets!

  2. A fairly simple solution – let 2Hs get higher values from gems than 1Hs.

  3. D3 has shifted from dps-based to utility-based. I use the following stats on a lightning wizard:

    – Electrocute-Forked Lightning skill (charged bolt on crit).
    – Paralysis skill (stun).
    – Each stunned enemy within 25 yards reduces your damage taken.
    – Electrocute can chain to enemies that have already been hit.
    – Summons shadow clones to your aid when you stun an enemy.

    Even though my dps isn't that good, I was able to jump from T1 to T3 with this setup. Most monsters stay almost perma-stunned, even bosses. The magic sauce is in how you combine certain effects and attributes.

    I'm honestly surprised that Blizzard is throwing dps at this problem when they spent so much time and effort taking the focus off dps. What they really need to do is 'double it' and put down 12 affixes, 2 sockets and 2 enchants. Now THAT would compete with sword n board.

  4. I do hear 2H is becoming viable in PTR. The really good news is that Blizzard has finally acknowledged that they were lacklustre and are aiming to make them viable.

  5. I think they should take into account two-handed weapons on Monks as well as Crusaders and Barbs. Regarding the damage buff, if a fair quality 2400dps weapon gets a 25% buff, making it 3k dps, will that extra damage be enough? I’m worried about two-handers, because the weapon speed on faster two-hander’s will mean more DPS compared to slower two-handers but only a little more than one-handed weapons, it doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

  6. i think blizzard should make barbs able to use 2 handers as 1 handed like in diablo 2..its ridiculous that its impossible in diablo 3.. every character should have its own special style..barb was the ultimate 2hand monster wielding 2 x 2handers in each hand cleaning every act. now hes a puny little guy jumping around with fire damage gear? this is not the diablo i grew up with..please put back 2x 2 hand wield with barbs and increase the 2 hand damage so its in balance. im very tired of using dual wield with 1 handers..

    • I do not think that would be able to fix barbs. By doing a 2h buff like that for barbs, you would just make 99% of barbs exclusively use 2x 2hs. Now that is like enigma on hammerdins for many guys in D2.

  7. I think every trick and trial they've done will never "solve" the problem. They need to do an overhaul and dump the system they have. The only thing that seems to work right is bows/quivers. Why don't they make that for every class? Scabbards, mojos/orbs, etc. Don't have two-handed/one-handed, have slow yet powerful and fast yet slight. Then, since you'll always have two "weapons" you can balance affixes, gems, and other considerations instead of this haphazard goofiness that will always ebb and flow and never satisfy anyone.

  8. no damage buff will ever make me switch off my thunderfury even if they buffed it 100% i still prefer using 2 1h weapons as u get more crit damage and other nice bonuses from certain weapons.. 2h weapons are a joke as they are now.. and dont forget awful slow too.. they need to buff them alot more then they will probably do so unintersting for me..

  9. Ask any smart monks if this makes 2 handers viable and they will laugh hysterically in your face and say hell yes it is.

  10. What I'd like to know is, what the developers thoughts about not including an importance of different weapon lengths as part of the games design are nowadays.

    • They know it isn't the size that matters.

      • You're right: Uniformity is the solution to everything! Especially when aiming for meaningful differentiations. The girls have taught you well.

      • In hindsight I apologize for the jab made. I just don't like my interest in game developement being ridiculed through usage of such an unimaginative standard quip and thus overreacted a bit there.

        I still would like an evaluation by someone with experience in developement of merits gained against difficulties in implementation created by including this element into or leaving it out of a game. And some of the developers on the D3-team have hands on experience on both cases, which would make them ideal candidats for getting an elaborate answer there.

        • I didn't mean to ridicule you, so I apologize as well. It was simply meant as a stupid joke, nothing more.

          My guess is that they didn't bother implementing different weapon lengths because in the grand scheme of things they don't really matter in ARPGs, at least that's my opinion. Sure, when stat-wise two weapons are close you'd probably choose the longer one, but otherwise more damage will win. Did people really care about weapon length in D2 when they weren't playing a Whirlwind Barb? I sure as hell didn't.

  11. Interesting, perpahs they could introduce a new kind of off-hand item for barbs, like, say, a totem. it would technically take the off-hand slot, but it would not affect the dps, nor the AS, but it would merely be a stat stick, to balance 2-handers

  12. or they could redesign the weapon master passive, so that it would affect 1-h and DW in a different way than 2H

  13. ***warning*** Wall of text! ***warning***

    Adding an extra socket, increasing gem value, and even giving extra damage to 2handers is are all pretty decent options to explore, and they seem pretty easy to implement from a development standpoint. The problem I see with those options is getting the right balance, though. Especially with the introduction of the Crusader, and Heavenly Strength (although boosting the 1h crusader passive could help reduce the impact of those changes)

    Another option worth exploring is some sort of passive bonus to the more cumbersome of the weapon classes. Using the D2 playbook for certain weapons could also be pretty beneficial. Examples follow:

    1) Providing specific bonuses per specific stat (IE in D2 Strength granted extra damage to mace class weapons, was the base line for sword damage, whereas both strength and dexterity provided damage equally to javelin class weapons in melee range) Taking that idea, you could have 2H weapons roll certain niche attributes based on the primary stat of the class that rolled the weapon.

    IE: A 2H Combat Staff rolled by a monk would offer up a cooldown reduction based on dexterity points (just to pull numbers out of thin air: (Dex/500=X%) Whereas X% would = Cooldown Reduction; so a monk with 8k dex would have roughly 16% Cooldown reduction.) Tweaking would be needed, obviously, but you could run with any number of properties under this idea. A small splash damage bonus, dodge bonuses, armor bonuses, etc. Basically any type of utility stat.

    2) I know this is a very unpopular idea with Blizzard, but going the tradeoff route could also be a fairly simple solution. Again, from the D2 Playbook… Heavy armor classes reduced run/walk, but offered a much higher degree of armor. You could run the same on 2H Weapons, and even vary said tradeoff between item types.

    Example 1: A barb wielding a 2H Mace would drop overall run/walk, but gain a chance to cut an enemy's total HP X%. 2H polearms could reduce defense, but increase critical hit chance. 2H Axes could reduce defense and increase critical hit damage. Having a static increase to X property and decrease to Y across the board with 2H weapons would probably be more simple, but would add less diversity. You could put any number of bonus and penalty combinations together for virtually any stat, and adjust the bonus to outweigh the penalty enough to start making 2H weapons viable. This would require a LOT of testing, although it would be pretty easy to implement a fixed stat to certain item types from a coding standpoint.

    3) An increase in resource-spending skill damage for 2H weapons, which would match the game model for what 2H weapons are generally tuned for.

    There are a lot of options to explore, including the aforementioned options of just dropping a new socket, or increasing a gem's value for 2H weapons. Even mixing and matching certain options at decreased levels of power could make for some pretty interesting possibilities for all classes.


    I think just increasing the damage of 2H weapons is a pretty difficult way to balance them with their more nimble, less cumbersome counterparts. You'll either aim too low, and they'll continue to be ignored… or you'll aim too high, and everyone will use them. Even if you do manage to hit a sweet spot for most classes, there's still the chance that 2H will turn up to be the end-all be-all choice for one or two of your playable classes. It just seems like it would be so hard to tune without creating new problems this way.

    • err, excuse the poor excuse for organization. I should have proofread my proofreading and editing. I can't find the edit option, but everything should be pretty legible aside from the confusing numbering… lol

    • "Even if you do manage to hit a sweet spot for most classes, there's still the chance that 2H will turn up to be the end-all be-all choice for one or two of your playable classes."

      I don't think this would be that bad, if 1 or 2 classes used 2HWs a lot while others only use 1HWs. This would mean different classes looking for different things which is a good thing IMO.

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