Is is now clear that spell damage AND casting speed are both based on weapon damage and speed.

Let's take an example: Suppose I have a wizard and I want to calculate how much damage I can do with, say, meteor. For simplicity, let's assume that meteor does 200% weapon damage and costs 60 arcane power.

  • Scenario 1: I equip an sword with 100 damage and 1 attack per second. I can cast 1 meteor every second, each dealing 200 damage. I have a total damage output of 200dps for a cost of 60 arcane power per second.
  • Scenario 2: I equip a dagger with 50 damage and 2 attacks per second. I can cast 2 meteors every second, each dealing 100 damage. I have a total damage output of 200dps, but now at the cost of 120 arcane power per second.

My question is: is arcane power adjusted on the weapon speed? And side question: for channeling spells, will the damage output also be the same?

It seems clear to me that if you want to play channeling spells (like disintegration), slow weapons really look better because the arcane cost with a weapon half as fast will be half as much.

Edit: I've seen this post: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4662476854. There are a lot of strong arguments about why wizards should prefer slow weapons.


3 Answers 3


According to Bashiok:

...faster speed weapons consume more resource but may do more damage. Channeled skills might still be better with slower weapons though because on a channeled skill, you have as much mobility as you want, so the "mobility" and "overkill" advantages of faster weapons are eroded with channeled abilities, so all you’re left with is increased mana cost for increased damage.

So yes, a faster weapon will cause more skills to tick faster, resulting in you dealing more damage over time, but will result in you using up more resources as you are channeling faster.

Channeling mechanics

Let's use Ray of Frost as an example,

Cost: 20 Arcane Power

Effect: Channel a beam of frost that deals 215% weapon damage as Cold.

Since this is a channeled skill. The resource cost ticks by 10 and drains that much Arcane Power at twice the speed of your weapon. If your attack speed is 1 attack per second, instead of draining 20 Arcane Power once per second, it will drain 10 Arcane Power every half seconds.

Additionally, Since Ray of Frost is a channeled spell. It is broken down into many small attacks that deal a total of 215% weapon damage based on your attack speed. If your attack speed is 1 attack per second, it will deal a total of 215% weapon damage per second.

tl;dr: The faster the weapon attack speed, the faster the drain; slower the weapon attack speed, slower the drain.


Assuming two weapons have the same damage, the faster weapon will use up resources faster than the slower one when channeling, but the faster weapon will take less time to do full damage than the slower one.

  • An axe at 15 damage and 1.0 attack speed will drain slower. (15 DPS)

  • A wand at 15 damage and 1.5 attack speed will drain faster, but will do
    the same damage faster. (22.5 DPS)

  • In my example, if you replace casting meteor with a channeling tick, the same conclusion applies : a weapon twice as slow does the same amount of damage for half the arcane cost. Because in the second scenario, you tick twice as less, but each tick does twice as much for the same arcane cost. Commented May 3, 2012 at 16:12
  • I wasn't clear about that in my question, but I assume that you have the choice between 2 weapons with the same DPS, one with more attacks per second than the other. My assumption is that is you find a faster attacking weapon, you will also find a "harder" attacking weapon, for a given price. Commented May 3, 2012 at 16:16
  • @pinouchon APS affects the rate of the drain (the faster weapon, fast the drain), DPS will affect the overall damage of the channeled spell (per second).
    – Krazer
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 20:30
  • Bashiok's reply seems to suggest that the game may have been balanced with this dynamic in mind, i.e. that because faster weapons require more in the way of resources, they will also tend to have higher DPS. s Commented May 12, 2012 at 14:24

In your example, arcane power would NOT be adjusted in any way for the weapon speed. Slow weapons are more desirable for pure dps per arcane point.

However, there are reasons you might want to attack faster, instead of save mana. Maybe the monsters you are fighting each die to 50 damage. Maybe you want to try to trigger crit-effects more often.

Id even say that the resource management aspect of weapon speeds is the primary reason to scrutinize a weapons actual damage and speed, as opposed to the big DPS number.


Spell costs do not scale with weapon speed. An unruned Arcane Orb will always cost 35 arcane power, regardless of what weapon you're wielding.

The advantage of faster weapons, however, is that they let you attack more often, so you can spend that 35 arcane power more often than with a slow weapon (where this perception of cost scaling with speed is coming from).

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