Summon an Arcane Hydra that spits Arcane Orbs that explode on impact, dealing 111% weapon damage as Arcane to enemies near the explosion.

So it seems that fast hitting weapon don't make hydra hit higher. What other skills are affected by attack speed?

For example, in general, I presume that higher attack speed don't increase damage per attack but increase dps.

However, for skills like hydra, or earthquake, where the cooldown is the limiting factor anyway, it doesn't seem balanced to not taking into account attack speed.

So how does blizzard sort his out?

  • I had thought that the DPS number on the weapon was the "weapon damage" referenced in skills. A high speed weapon with low damage per hit could have the same DPS as a slow weapon with more damage, making the skills output the same damage.
    – Xantec
    Apr 4, 2014 at 17:18
  • In a pre-RoS gameplay stream one of the Blizzard employees was playing a triple-leap-earthquake barbarian. This build's main damage comes from the cooldown-restricted Leap, and they were mentioning that a two-hander is essential for this build. I am under the impression that skills still use weapon damage, not DPS, and heavier weapons are therefore better for cooldown skills.
    – Orc JMR
    Apr 5, 2014 at 12:02
  • I also don't see how slower weapons being better for some subset of skills breaks this quote-balance-unquote. :-)
    – Orc JMR
    Apr 5, 2014 at 12:04

2 Answers 2


Damage over time effects have a tick rate that is tied to your attack speed.

A hydra is kind of a hybrid: each shot does the listed damage, but it is out for a certain time like a DOT effect.

The listed damage is per projectile. Your attack speed dictates how often it fires a projectile.


In it's purest form, Attack speed is simply how often you can swing your primary weapon, or weapon(s) if you're dual wielding. Each weapon has a speed value, and any increase to your attack speed % is a direct deduction from that value. So if you have a weapon that swings every 2 seconds, and you have a 25% bonus to attack speed, it will instead swing every 1.5 seconds.

This means that an attack speed stat has a much greater effect on a weapon that would be a bit slower otherwise. As you are getting a greater "discount" from the normal swing speed, but getting the higher damage typically associated with slower weapons.

But to say that is the only effect of attack speed would not be the whole story. Classes have a resource that is generated by their "primary" attack, whether it be Fury, Spirit, Hatred, etc. So, hitting more often makes more of your resource available, which in turn increases DPS by making those skills available. Character sheet DPS can be very misleading. You should also consider that hitting faster affects how much healing you do from your +life on hit statistic, and any other crowd control effects triggered by your weapon.

  • Are you certain that's how % attack speed is calculated? I know it's calculated very differently than that in World of Warcraft. The WoW way, 100% bonus to attack speed doesn't mean infinite attacks, it means twice as fast as normal. Apr 4, 2014 at 22:41

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