@Chris @GingerLoaf (Combat Systems and Itemization are both part of this discussion and I believe you two are involved with the related teams) WARNING: You are now entering a math heavy thread (see bottom for TLDR) This post reflects my experiences as a melee damage based shield user, but should almost entirely translate to dual wielding players that don’t rely on magic for the majority of their damage. One-handed weapons are severely undermined by a difference in scaling found between offensive and defensive attributes in this game. I am going to overview my understanding in the systems for offensive calculation of melee damage, go into the factors that can impact this calculation and demonstrate how their differences impacts the viability of one-handed weapons. Calculating Outgoing Damage: Note: For the sake of simplicity I am going to be ignoring the archery skills, though they should be ruled by the same formula and modifiers. Total DPS is being used to account for multiple targets and attack speed rather than raw damage. The maximum number of targets is determined by one-handed versus two-handed weapons and weapon type. All 1h weapons hit at most 2 targets All 2h weapons except halberds hit at most 3 targets Halberds hit at most 4 targets Base Attackspeed is constant no matter what weapon is being used. The rate is slightly more than 1 auto attack per second. Attack speed is modified either through sword passive(Blade Speed), light armor active(Flurry) or through stances (- 20% on Densive Stance, -50% on Passive Stance and, increased with reckless stance) Critical Chance is an additive stat where all % bonuses are added together. There is a nondisplayed but very significant bonus from Dex(Train Dexterity, Air’s Embrace, and Moon Worship) bonus from Armor Weak Points(subterfuge), bonus from Vital Points(Blades) base value from weapons, bonus from copper/bronze weapon materials and bonus from supple leather armor materials. The damage from a critical strike is not published, but I worked out a rough approximation of an additional 130% damage. I don’t have a huge amount of confidence in the number, but won’t have better answers until I do some formal testing. The only way to increase weapon critical damage is through the use of bronze weapons 3.5% 1 handed or 7% two handed. This modifier might be multiplier for the normal bonus but I suspect it is simply addition. The base weapon damage is displayed on each weapon. This range appears to be x-3x from some number although the damage is displayed only as a whole number so an x of 7.5 will create a range of 7.5-22.5 which is actually displayed as 8-23. Bonus base damage is added to base weapon damage. I believe it actually may add to the x within base weapon damage but I don’t have raw proof of that. The sources for this attribute are Iron(and Iron Alloy) Weapons (+1/+2 and +.8/+1.6), as well as the skill Crusher(Bludgeon). The percent weapon damage attribute can be found in Weapon Proficiencies, Bronze armor, Hard leather armor, the skill Berserk(Bludgeon) and Maple weapon handles The Base Weapon Strength Damage Multiplier is actually a fractional value by which a player’s Strength is multiplied by in order to generate additional damage. This number corresponds with the Very Low, Low, Average, High and Very High “Strength Bonus” displayed on each weapon. There are artifacts of an SSD stat that can be found online, but I do not know if these values properly translate to the current system. Bonus weapon strength damage modifier comes from two locations, a Rock Maple handle or the skill Breaker(Bludgeon). I actually have no idea whether this is a multiplier for the base weapon strength damage multiplier or just a multiplier against strength. Strength is a stat. You can gain it through passive skills such as Bulwark of Earth(Earth Magic), Endurance (Heavy Armor) or Train Strength (Tactics), from active buffs such as Strength of Earth(Earth Magic), Inner Strength(Heavy Armor) or Berserker Stance(Tactics). How do one-handed and two handed weapons differ? Attack Speed is Constant, Stats(Dex/Str) don’t particularly change, and all of the offensive damage modifying skills are always available. That Leaves Critical Chance, (max) Number of Targets, Base Weapon Damage, Bonus Weapon Damage and Base Weapon Strength Modifier. Number of Targets: Max is 150% for two-handed versus one-handed. Base Weapon Damage: Two-handed base damage is ~150% that of one-handed weapons Bonus Weapon Damage: (excluding crusher) Two-Handed Bonus Weapon Damage is ~200% that of one handed (That depends on weapon materials – mutually exclusive with bonus crit from weapons) Base Weapon Strength Modifier: Without these numbers available we don’t know the details but Two-handed Weapons always have more. Critical Chance: Although, the base stats tend to have slightly more critical chance on one handed weapons, unless dual wielding the bonus critical chance from material bonuses from two-handed is significantly greater. I'm going to lump in the bonus critical modifier here because it is the only source for it and you have to give up crit chance for it. (Again – mutually exclusive with bonus weapon damage) What scales on those differences? EVERYTHING! Not only are all of these damage amounts worse at the low level for one handed weapons. Every source of % damage increase adds less for them (that includes items, buffs, proficiency), every point of strength adds less damage, critical strikes (which multiplies things based on the other bases) result in smaller increases and being able to hit one more target with most attacks again compounds all of these other differences. The only two bonuses which might not be severely crippled by the weapon differences are Crusher and Breaker (both in Bludgeon). Now, I understand that the natural response might be “one handed weapons SHOULD do less damage”. I can actually generally agree with the sentiment, but the question then becomes – what do one-handed weapons get in return? Dual Wielding advantages: 1. Conceptually “cool” 2. Minor % passive parrying 3. Extra attack glyph(with its own passive to boost it) 4. Increased synergy with the Parry skill So Dual Wielding might not lose out on the bonus crit difference, but it definitely does lose out on base damage, # of targets and strength damage. In return it gets a passive that does about as much as the 8% blocking on shields at GM, and an extra attack glyph that I’ve seen no indication of being superior to the weapon tree ones. (Weapon) and Board advantages: 1. Shields are stat sticks 2. Several Defensive Passives unlocked 3. 2 (maybe 3) decent defensive actives unlocked Shield items are pretty good. I mean 8% blocking 6% resistance and a couple avoidance is nothing to shrug at. The passives are also pretty good at GM (5% resistance, 5% avoidance and 35% stun resistance). Some of the actives are good (Deflect and Bolster Balance). The offensive ones (and Dig In) are all terrible due to being outclassed as gapclosers/CC by other skills and dealing no damage(or in Dig In’s case the fact that you are trading an entire party member for a small damage avoidance aura). However there are two important things to keep in mind for context: 1. Defensive Stats scale differently than offensive ones 2. Why use a melee weapon instead of magic? As I showed above, damage is a combinations of multipliers that are heavily reliant on certain base values. Defenses are not. The sum of Damage resistance is subtracted from incoming damage. Damage Avoidance, Parry, Dodging and Blocking all are a % chance based on the sum of their values to occur. This means that 2 handed weapon users can get decent defenses a lot easier than 1 handed weapon users get offense. There are defensive passives in other trees, and buffs to increase stats that boost health and dodging as well as armor that adds defensive values. In fact there are also good alternatives to the shield defensive actives. With decent attunement Shield of ice is almost as good as Deflect (and has a much longer duration). Defensive Stance is probably the best defensive active in the game (by itself it adds more damage resistance than the shield stats and passives combined). You can also use Knight’s Grace (or even jumping) to fill a similar purpose to Bolster Balance. You can mix and match shield defensive actives with external ones, but there is a point of diminishing returns. Try fitting a deck(in a way that you can draw everything) with 2 strength buffs, 1 dex buff, 3 defensive buffs, attack glyphs and a heal. It just isn’t too feasible. Deflect actually exacerbates this issue because it needs to be used quite frequently compared to most buffs. Overall, two-handed user can use defensive stance + Shield of ice with 2 stat buffs, and not be too badly off defensively compared to a shield user while having a huge offensive advantage. On the other hand there are mages. A mage with a shield fizzles slightly more often, but they gain all of the defensive advantages of a single-handed weapon user with a shield. There is little to no DPS sacrifice compared to what melee suffers. If you look at last night’s virtue league tournament, it shouldn’t surprise you that the final match (rematch of the week before too) was two shield wielding mages. Chris’ recent post about PVP/PVE totals also featured a shield mage (the winner last night) in the top slot for both farming and PVP. That is not to say that the individual is not a good player(@Kendric Darrow is a beast ), but I would say that it is a good indicator that the Shield Mage build is offensively effective at the same time that it gains the same defensive advantages as a one-handed weapon shield user. If you can opt for a build like that – why would you go melee one-handed if you want to be tanky? Potential Solutions: 1. Add physical damage actives(or change existing ones) to dual wielding/shield trees that are not worthless 2. Add offensive passives to the trees in question in order to have a “lever” to maintain better balance with 2h weapons 3. Rework the differences for 1h/2h weapons so that a 1h does not scale worse in every single multiplied factor. 4. Rebalance Defensive bonuses in ways that make 1h users better without buffing mages TLDR : In the current state of things, there is not much in the way of a reason to go for shield + 1h melee or dual wielding instead of a 2h melee or shield mage.