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Dual wield: Not that bad actually?

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by Sir Rechet, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    [​IMG] I finally got around to giving dual-wielding a whirl from the word go. My standard issue Rogue/Illusionist DG tank picked a level of Ranger early on to be able to wield two weapons effectively. And lo and behold, it actually worked pretty nicely. :)

    It's pretty much the same deal as with Rapid Shot. One extra attack is HUGE, especially if you go from one to two attacks per round.

    Compared to wielding a corresponding two-handed weapon, you lose a bit of weapon damage on your main hand. Typically from 12 max to 8 max, ie. 2 points of average damage. That's more than compensated by your off-hand weapon's base damage, typically 1d6 (short sword). You actually keep the 1.5 x STR bonus by dual-wielding since your main hand gets 1xSTR and off-hand 0.5xSTR bonus, at least until you get your second main hand attack.

    "OK, so it doesn't suck.. up to level 6. Am I supposed to be impressed now or what?"

    Often overlooked aspect of dual-wielding is that any sort of a direct damage bonus applies to your both hands. You know, plusses from enchanted weapons, Weapon Specialization, Power Attack, the 1st level Bard song and even mundane buffs such as Aid, Prayer and especially Emotion: Hope. At least some of these are (or at least should be if you're concerned about such things) common by the time your team members start receiving their second attacks.

    Therefore, the only thing a two-hander gets above and beyond dual-wielder's mainhand is about 2 pts of base damage and 0.5 x STR bonus for the second attack. That's only like 4-6 points of damage, even for the sturdiest raging Half-Orc Barbarian - easily bested even by a lowly Short Sword +1 in the off-hand. At least until you get your third main hand attack.

    "So okay, you need at least level 11 warrior class to be able to beat dual-wielding. Still not impressed."

    By this time the amount of direct damage buffs has (read: should have) risen to rather respectable levels. +3 at the bare minimum (Aid + EH), 8 to 10 being common (Power Attack, +3 weapons). Besides, you aren't seriously contending that a Warrior (of any type) would hold a candle against a corresponding battlecleric, with Holy Power and all, are you? ;)

    The two-hander gets three times the base damage advantage (i.e. 6) and twice the 0.5 x STR bonus for attacks #2 and #3. That's a total of up to 16, even for the most hardcore berserker. You know, the ones that are SUPPOSED to be much better off wielding a two-hander. That's still no more than about a tie for a corresponding extra offhand swipe by a Short Sword +3 with all the extra damage buffs included. So we're at least safe up to the fourth main hand attack per round.

    "Yes, that being the max. Same amount of attacks with a two-hander is surely better than a mix of swipes with one-handers, right?"

    Except that the only way to get a fifth attack per round with a two-hander is using some sort of a Haste effect, either from the spell or an item that grants such, Monk-only bracers from Yuan-ti temple being one. So you're comparing a +0 Base attack bonus swipe with a two-hander to a full BAB off-hand strike. That's a difference of 70% chance to hit at the very least, even after the dual-wield penalty. Ain't that kinda.. you know.. important difference? :p

    Therefore, I conclude that dual-wielding does, indeed, grant better or at least very similar dps output compared to using a two-handed weapon. Low STR dualwielders need not apply, just as no one would be using two-handers with such a character. And what are you doing beating monsters with high Damage Reduction for, switch into a method of attack that actually works. Try fire or blunt weaponry instead.

    C'mon people, I must have missed something obvious. Please? :cool:
     
    Blades of Vanatar likes this.
  2. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Good analysis, and my conclusion, is that I will still typically have at least one two handed weapon guy, and 1 dual wielder. :p

    One benefit that the two handed weapon guy gets is that larger amount of damage is more likely to get through damage reduction. More attacks that barely make it through damage reduction (if at all) don't ultimately provide a benefit. A big raging, power attacking half orc with a greataxe is going to do much better in this scenario.
     
  3. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Isn't the hasted BAB comparison (2-handed vs dualwielding with small blade in the off hand at base BAB 16) 16/16/11/6/1 vs 14/14/14/9/4 ?
     
  4. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Marceror, there usually is much better ways to bypass damage reduction than just whacking through it. Get a weapon with high enough enchantment, in some odd cases the right damage type (Crystal golems, anyone?) and some monsters were clearly designed to be killed by elemental damage (Slime Zombies in Shaengarne caves, most slimes). But yes, in the odd case where you actually need to do it, two-handers are the way to go.

    Kmonster, Haste appends attacks with zero BAB at the end instead of doubling your highest BAB. So a hasted two-hander with five attacks and 16 BAB gets 16/11/6/1/0 attack bonus, while the corresponding dual-wielder gets 14/14(off-hand)/9/4/-1, ie. the hasted attack is ignored since 5 is max. Other way to think about the difference is getting a -2 penalty on your first attacks and +3 bonus on the remaining ones (the very last one being a bit more wonky), just as with Rapid Shot.

    I didn't spesifically mention it, but of course you get more damage with two-handers once you get to five attacks per round AND can still expect to hit with all of your attacks, including the last +0 BAB one. That takes a while, though - certainly a consideration mostly for HOF mode.
     
  5. ljbtwsl Gems: 1/31
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    Dual wield build is awsome in many ways.
    A priest gets 4th attack at lv22(5attacks/r with haste)
    before that,duel wield is always a good choice--
    many priest spells boost damage instead of strength
    even after lv22, dual wield offhand attacks gets a high Attack Bonus even its not a light weapon.
    so use some weapon that has a certain boost in stats,buff,or special affects when hit would be nice. golden heart sword(haste&25hp),Valor foe(fear target on hit) ,etc.
    the better damage/enchantment/special effect/weapon skills can compensate the loss of 2 ab since its not "light".

    Mages,however, never get fifth attack unless tensor's transformation is cast(after lv16)。

    You may not want to use pure fighter/ranger/babarian/paladin as offensive berserker even they get better bab progress
    but if you do,don't duel wield---not worth it.


    Oh,and how many good two handed weapons you can surely get?Not random drop?
    Massive halberd of hate?Greatsword of souless?Widow through?
    Not many?
    So I recommend warhammers,they are 1d8 or 1d10,x3 crit(valor foe).
    THE best is Brutal impact which has keen effect and acid damge.no acid resistant monster in the game except the....
    THE berserker(not a barbarian but a drow priest of talos with fighter ranger mixed in) in my 6-char party who wields Brutal impact in mainhand Gets35% of the kills throughout Hof mode--More than the drow mage who wields Massive halberd of hate .

    By the way.quite a few monsters in Iwd2 are vulnerable against crushing damage type
    and there is simply No bludgeon two-handed weapon!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  6. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Let's do a comparison about damage at different levels, assuming every attack is a normal hit.

    BAB 2-5, 24 str, power attack +2 for the 2-hander without dualwielding penalty (although even more effective without PA)


    Two-handed sword 2-12 + 10 + 2 = 14-24 damage
    Long sword + short sword: 1-8 + 7 + 1-6 + 3 = 12-24 damage



    BAB 6-10, 25 str, +1 weapons, em:hope

    THS 2 * (3-13 + 10 + 2) = 2 * 15-25 = 30-50 damage (40 av)
    LS+SS 2 * (2-9 + 7 + 2) + 2-7 + 3 + 2 = 29-48 damage (38.5 av)
    (the THS also gets about +1,17 to hit average)


    BAB 11-15 (or 6-10 hasted), 26 str + em:hope, +3 weapons

    THS 3 * (5-15 + 12 + 2) = 3 * 19-29 = 57-87 damage (72 av)
    LS+SS 3 * (4-11 + 8 + 2) + 4-9 + 4 + 2 = 52-78 damage (65 av)
    (the THS also gets +0.75 to hit average)


    BAB 16-30 (or 11-15 hasted), 30 str, + 5 weapons, unbuffed

    THS: 4 * (7-17 + 15) = 4 * 22-32 = 88-128 damage (108 av)
    LS+SS: 4 * (6-13 + 10) + 6-11 + 5 = 75-103 damage (89 av)
    THS at BAB 16-30 hasted: 5*22-32 = 110-160 damage (135 av)

    So at BAB 16+ (11-15 hasted) we have to accumulate a total of +19 to damage per off-hand hit with buffs to get as good as with the 2-handed sword, when hasted even +46.

    Let's assume we have 20 BAB and also 20 AB.
    Average AB 2-handed S: (20+15+10+5)/4 =12.5
    Average AB 2 Weapons: (18+18+13+8+3)/5 =12, the more damaging main hand attacks get only 10.5 average
    Average AB 2h S hasted: (20+15+10+5+0) = 10

    I ignored the "aid" and "prayer" buffs since there are more important level 2+3 spells to cast for the party cleric. The dualwielder benefits more from the level 1 bard song, but the greatsword benefits more from the level 5 song.


    So dualwielding is almost as damaging but isn't superior to 2-handed weapons in any part of the game after the prologue even if we ignore DR.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
  7. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    The balance shifts to favor two-handers if you can't muster enough direct +damage bonus to utilize the extra attack to its fullest. Also, the higher the STR and the more you have attacks per round, the more you have to compensate for with your single off-hand swipe.

    I'm not sure what other super-important 2nd and 3rd level Cleric spells you're referring to so that you couldn't use Aid & Prayer liberally. After your basic Bull's Strength and Magic Circle Against Evil needs have been taken care of, of course. Or do you mean Animate Dead?

    For example, the second last bracket (BAB 15) with the same STR (26), but with added Aid & Prayer and Power Attack +5 on both suddenly looks like this:
    THS 3 * (5-15 + 12 + 4 + 5) = 3 * 26-36 = 78-108 damage (93 av, 15/10/5)
    LS+SS 3 * (4-11 + 8 + 4 + 5) + 4-9 + 4 + 4 + 5 = 78-106 damage (92 av, 13/13/8/3)
    Very similar now, and all we did was to give an increase to the direct +damage component. Add Gauntlets of Weapon Specialization, Holy Power and the 1st Bard song and the two-hander would be left in the dust. For now, at least.

    So.. your average berserker played by someone with a relaxed take on the spell buffs should pretty much stick to two-handers, while a tank character (where the level-up stat points go to something else besides STR) played by a meticulous buffer should probably give a nod to dual-wielding. Later on in HOF mode, two-handers > all just because of att/rnd the limitations and getting to the point where you pretty much hit all the time anyway.

    Edit: All I'm saying that it CAN actually be advantageous in some circumstances. Rather than just labeling it "dw sucks, ignore it" right off the bat.

    ljbtwsl, there IS a two-handed bludgeon weapon. It's called the Quarterstaff. Not quite the same thing as a Greataxe, sure, but don't underestimate it. (BTW, what is that nick of yours supposed to mean?)
     
  8. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Does dual-wielding provide more chances of interrupting spell-casting vs. Two-handers doing the same? W/out crunching the numbers, I would assume so. That in itself is another benefit. Let alone the possibility of dealing out a second negative status-effects/elemental damage/etc.. from the second weapon. Another obvious plus. Causing a little more damage by using Two-handers is only one way of "skinning the cat". It is effective(but not necessary) versus monsters that need to be taken down fast because they either deal tons of damage out themeselves or cause negative status effects to your party that can't be interrupted. I beat the game without using two-handers as my main melee weapons on numerous occassions.

    * I actually prefer W&S myself. I like having more protections. Though I sometimes will roll-over to dual wield or Two-handers if a weapon can supply a protection. Not because I think it's the "best" style, it's just the most entertaining for me.
     
  9. Alorekent Gems: 1/31
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    Rangers

    Get the feat at level one, didja know? lol
     
  10. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    I don't disagree. You can construct (In your BAB 15 comparison you omitted haste and the level 5 bard song, you guessed the level 2+3 cleric spells I prefer correctly btw.) and there are a few situations where dualwielding is better, but it isn't normally.
    I want to add that in the hasted BAB 16+ comparison dualwielding isn't as bad as it looks, with all buffs you should still be able to do about 80-90 percent of the 2-handed damage per round.

    The main reason why many players are disappointed with dualwielding is that they choose low strength builds with weapon finesse, not the weapon style.


    Reasons why I don't like dualwielding:

    - 2-handed weapons have long range so you can stand behind summons when attacking
    - rapid shot is a cheaper and more effective way to gain an additional attack per round
    - summons can tank just as good as party members and it doesn't matter if they die, the only thing summons can't do effectively is fighting monsters with high DR, for them you'll want to do as much damage per hit as possible
    - high damage numbers are fun
     
  11. ljbtwsl Gems: 1/31
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    I don't recall using a quarterstaff against any foe except the goblins in Targos,sorry for ignoring them.
    Are there actually nice quarterstaves in the game?
    My nickname is A Chinese abbreviation for A NICE GUY haha。



    -Tanks in a party are always going face-to-face with enemies,so doesn't matter 2-handed or duel-wield,especially cleric based tanks who boost WiS instead of STR.
    If they are closer to the enemies they actually can protect party menber who use 2 handed weapons better.
    (here's an example i used: Drow female xcleric/1pal/1helm/1monk/1rogue/1ranger/"1wizard/1fighter" not bane because i want to duel-wield Holy Avenger)
    -1lv as ranger can be counted cheap,right?
    -using too many summons makes the game dull.Besides, if tactics mod is used,summons die with blink of eye in hof.
    (btw,the author wumin is gonna update his mod after New year)
    -A well planned duel wield character can also cause quite high damage with hammers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2011
  12. DominionSeraph Gems: 3/31
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    Bastard Sword of Heroism + Know Thy Family.
     
  13. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    The biggest problem I have with dual wielding is the limitation of weapons. Early in the game, if you want to use anything other than a small blade in your off hand, you pay a hefty premium in BAB. Perhaps later with buffs this penalty could be overcome, but otherwise it renders the ability useless or near useless to me. I end up only using it for weapon finesse rangers with higher dexterity than strength.
     
  14. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    Combos of 1-handed weapons can easily augment eachother's effectiveness. 2-handers miss out on off-hand weapon effects. Unfortuately that's hard to translate into maths ;)
     
  15. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    The most obvious off-hander of them all, the Golden Heart of <CHARNAME>, suddenly became a bit more attractive, didn't it? Just put something with extra damage on the main hand and you're set. Especially if you have a deep gnome Illusionist(x)/Somethingelse(1) melee type wielding it, the extra attack from haste isn't going to cap out for a good while since the BAB progression of mages is so slow.

    Not that 1d8+5 is bad damage by any standards, there's so many weapons with something extra that it just feels awkwardly bland in comparison.
     
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