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How is listed DPS calculated when dual-wielding weapons?

When equipping weapon 1 below, i gain a great amount of damage. When equipping another weapon in the off hand (or the main hand) my damage DROPS.

How is the damage from your equipped weapons calculated? I have searched through this exchange for a few minutes now and have read over all of the formulas and calculations but did not see anything answering this particular case.

Why is my damage dropping when equipping another 1 handed weapon?

Damage 12780.17 with only weapon 1.

Damage 12401.22 with weapon 1 and weapon 2.

Weapon 1 (1hand axe):
435.5 dps
1.3 aps
+123-267 lightning damage
+84 strength
+62 intellect

Weapon 2 (1h spear):
247.8 dps
152-260 dmg
1.2 aps
+37-89 fire damage
+10% dmg
+83 strength
+211 intellect
+37% increased critical damage
+2.4% of damage dealt is converted to life
  • 1
    Basically, the damage on the second weapon is so much lower that the fact you use it on every other strike is lowering your overall damage despite the attack speed bonus and other attributes. – bwarner May 29 '12 at 1:18

Dual-wielding damage is calculated on an 'alternating swings' basis, so the net DPS is based on the sum of the weapon damages divided by the sum of their swing-times. This is always a DPS loss except when both weapons have the same individual DPS.

The only 'perk' dual-wielding gives you is a 15% increase to attack speed. However, because 2-handed DPS is usually higher (and often much higher), that 15% speed boost is usually not worth it compared to either using a heavy-hitting 2h weapon or a 1h+shield combo.

The dual-wield situation is even weirder for demon-hunters. Quivers come with at least a 10% attack speed boost, and can be used in the offhand slot even with a 2h weapon, so the case dual-wielding is even weaker.

It's a shame that Diablo3's implementation of dual-wielding is (currently) so underwhelming, and I'd actually be surprised if Blizzard didn't tweak it... you know... 'Soon'.


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