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I'm playing a Warlock in World of Warcraft and I'm currently equipping a fairly nice staff. I got a few drops/quest rewards since then so I have the option of swapping the staff for a sword + an off-hand item.

Is there an easy way to compare the two short of writing down all the stats, doing the math, and comparing them manually?

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Typically a main hand/off-hand combination (of comparable iLvl) will be better due to higher stat values, but at the same time they are harder to collect due to having to collect two items instead of one. Usually staves look cooler and/or are more noticeable. – Krazer Oct 21 '12 at 22:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I use Pawn for this.

Pawn gives every equippable item a score based on stat weights for your spec (you can also specify your own weights, determined by tools like SimulationCraft). When you compare two items, it will annotate the score of the better item:

Tooltip of an item comparison using Pawn

But, by default, it will compare the combination of main hand and off hand to any two-handed weapon, so even if a dagger is worse than the staff, Pawn will mark it as better as long as the off hand item makes up the difference.

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You can try this tool by WoWhead.

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