Two-Handers vs Dual Wielding

#1 Posted by XTraFries (211 posts) -

I'm picking up Dragon Age this weekend and am most likely going to start with a warrior class first, then start a mage and play both until I figure out which I enjoy more.
 
However, I don't want to have my main be the tank of the group. I was planning on having one weapon set with sword and shield for the extra defense, and the other being either dual wielding or a two hander for damage (which I would use more often, ideally).
 
I guess my main question is which specialization is best for damage: two-handers of dual wielding? I get that using two-handers will be slower than dual wielding, but how do they stack up in terms of damage output in a fight.

#2 Edited by Galbrezu (126 posts) -

Both are perfectly viable, best bet would be to take a look at the skills you get for each specialization when you create your character and decide which set you feel looks better.
 
Edit: You get 2 2-handed specced warriors in your party when you play the game and 0 dual wielding warriors, which might affect your decision.

#3 Posted by Lowbrow (840 posts) -

If you're going to make a dual wielding warrior, the basic thing you need to remember is to start putting more points into whatever skill gets you more crit % (cant remember if its DEX or Cunning - I think its Dexterity)

#4 Posted by XTraFries (211 posts) -

Thanks for the information, it's looking like I'll be going dual wielding.
What kinds of weapons can be dual wielded? Is it limited to daggers and maces or can it be anything that isn't two-handed?

#5 Posted by Galbrezu (126 posts) -

You can put anything into your main hand, offhand is limited to daggers/one-handed weapons from what I've seen.

#6 Posted by Turambar (6714 posts) -
@Galbrezu: Any one-handed weapon can go in your main hand.  Your off hand has to be a dagger unless you have the "dual-wielding mastery" skill at which time it can be converted into anything as well.
#7 Posted by Feanor (1387 posts) -

If you want to dual wield go rogue.  2h weapons  do good damage and have some good stuns, and you don't have to worry about putting a ton of points into dex.  Since most of your armor(including dlc armor) requires a lot of str your going to want to stack it.

#8 Posted by XTraFries (211 posts) -
@Feanor: My only hesitations for going rogue are not being able to have a sword/shield secondary build for more defensive situations and not being able to wear the heaviest armor, to make up for the lack of a shield.
 
Actually that's another thing I was wondering: do rogues have armor restrictions or is it all based on having enough str to wear it (aside from mages, of course)?
#9 Posted by SuperBuster (175 posts) -

There is some equipment that can only we equipped by certain classes and specializations like the templar armor and the various elemental gloves you seem to find at every boss but for the most part any class can equip anything, as long as they have enough strength or dexterity or magic (in the case of Arcane Warriors).

#10 Posted by NoXious (1338 posts) -

You might want to look into going a rogue combined with the Duelist specialization. It's a leather based dual wielding damage dealer, but it adds defense so that one can go toe-to-toe with melee targets.

Mind you, no tank - so don't expect to take on 4 melee and walk away unharmed - but it's pretty powerful for a what a rogue usually is about in my head.

The bigger the armor (Light, Medium, Heavy, Massive) the more fatigue you get. Fatigue makes skills and abilities cost more mana/stamina. A warrior gets skills that'll reduce fatigue, but it wont remove it unfortunately.
I also don't know if warriors can backstab, but knowing from the rogue party member I have it adds to ones DPS hands down. Get the tank to taunt the entire pack of enemies, control the rogue and start picking off targets.

#11 Posted by Lies (3866 posts) -

I very much enjoyed playing as a two-hander, you can get some pretty beastly weapons, and combined with the Berserker specialization, you can deal out a lot of damage with each hit. However, for min-maxing, not sure which is best.

#12 Posted by Gunner612 (4338 posts) -

My advice is to give Alistar a sword and board and have him tank. Then go with a dual wield spec and try to get an even balance of strength and dexterity. 
 
Worked wonders for me when i had a second dps class and a healer in the party.

#13 Posted by Veektarius (4750 posts) -

Personally I think there's no point in going two-handed spec.  If you want to experience that, control Oghren & Sten, and personally I preferred my dual-weapon warrior. Sometimes my two-handed warriors would make short work of their target, but too often, their lower dex and slow swing speed would mean that they'd be on a pretty soft target way longer than they ought to.  My character could be depended on to get his man on the ground, even if it wasn't quite as fast as a two-hander potentially could.

#14 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@Feanor: To be honest one of the biggest problems 2h weapons have in this game is actually hitting the targets which dex helps with on dual wielding.  This makes having a champion in the group almost mandatory, and slipping into the stance that increases attack helps as well. 
 
Over all for a warrior I'd recommend going 2h but I'm sure dual wield wouldn't necessarily be terrible. 
 
I have to be honest though, in my opinion the best option for warriors is the shield line.  I just finished playing through the game for the first time on normal difficulty and after a rough start, my templar/champion shield warrior was nearly unkillable by the end of the game... even the final boss couldn't do significant damage to him.  It's a surprisingly fun way to play the game I found.  This time through I am taking Alistair as my tank and playing a 2h dps warrior, but trying to distribute stats in a similar way as I did for my tank to see if 2h is a viable tank build.
#15 Posted by XTraFries (211 posts) -
@Teran: I bought the game earlier today and am absolutely loving it. I have both a mage and a warrior at Lothering and have to make the tough choice for which one I will go through the game first with.
 
For the warrior I spent my first few points in the shield line, just to start, and it's much more fun than I had anticipated. I'm tanking without feeling like I'm completely useless offensively.
 
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
#16 Posted by Darkstar614 (1098 posts) -

I like the 2-hand spec better end-game for sure. Indomitable (Sustained ability that makes you immune to stuns and knockdowns) goes a LONG way against some of the bosses and such. Though dual-wield has it's place I guess too, I prefer the 2-hand. For warrior that is.. Obviously dual-wield is what you get as a rogue.

#17 Posted by Yukoei (1878 posts) -

Dual Wielding cause you look more epic.

#18 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -

In terms of raw dps, dual wielding is far superior even on a warrior but Darkstar has a good point in that you don't have a built in stun/knockdown immunity like you do with a shield or 2h warrior.

#19 Posted by KimChi4U (368 posts) -

I you want to go duel wielder, go rogue.  My rogue got cut off from the rest of the party during an encounter (some of you might know where I'm talking about) and she managed to kill 5 dudes (2 melee and 3 archers) before even having to drink a potion. Although there was an easy solution to bringing the rest of my party back into the fight, I didn't see it until after I killed the 5 guys. The rogue has some talents that go very well with duel wielding that I think compliment that style of fighting better than a warrior would.

#21 Edited by Teran (877 posts) -

@XtraFriesI have to amend my previous post. 
 
After some brief testing, dual wielding with the right group is *far* superior in terms of raw dps than the 2h talents could ever be.  Even if you didn't build your party around the intent of dual wielding it would still likely beat 2h in dps.  2h puts the warrior into almost a support role because of all the extra things his auto attacks do like having a chance to stun. 
 
The group I'm going to experiment with will be this: 
 
Protagonist:  Arcane Warrior / Blood mage.   Protagonist will be wearing heavy armor and be dual wielding.  This setup allows my mage to spend all her mana on sustained abilities because with blood magic active I use my own hp to cast spells as I would with mana.  Blood Magic, Rock Armor, Arcane Shield, Combat Magic, and Shimmering Shield.  This mage will also have flaming and frost weapons and switch between them should I come across a creature who is immune to one or the other.

 Alistair:  Templar / Champion.  This guy will spec into shields for assault and the improved shield wall (can't be knocked down while using a shield).  The rest of the talent points will go into dual wield for momentum (haste) and the passive buff line.  I desperately wish I could go berserker with him because the damage bonus (something like +8 per attack) while berserking is very nice and scales much better with dual wielding which hits 3-4 times per swing of a 2h... but the main flaw of my group is low accuracy so I need to get rally so my arcane warriors will land a hit once in a while.   Alistair will switch back to his sword and shield for most boss fights.
 
Celiana:  Bard/Assassin.  Bards may not come across as being as cool as assassins or duelists however in my opinion bard is by far the best subclass for a rogue to go.  She has excellent buffing songs (crit and attack or mana/stamina regen) and the final song in the bard tree is probably the best aoe crowd control in the game.  She will be going for a dual wield melee build once again trying to take advantage of flat non-scaling weapon damage modifiers from flaming/icy weapons. 
 
Wynne:  Spirit Healer / Arcane Warrior.  Wynne will function much the same way my protagonist mage does except she will not have as many passives up and running.  I hope to mitigate direct healing by keeping her aura up as much as possible.  She will be dual wielding as well however if we come to a boss fight she will don her robe and staff again to heal the tank.   Wynne will also have kinetic weapons which will always be active.
 
All weapons will be enchanted with runes that add X damage of an element to each hit, never more than one of the same element if I can help it in case of immunities.  
 
There is one massive flaw to this group though and that is dragons and other knockback happy bosses however I think this problem can be overcome by having superior dps. 
 
Sorry for the lengthy post :)

#22 Posted by Undeadpool (4921 posts) -
@NoXious said:
" You might want to look into going a rogue combined with the Duelist specialization. It's a leather based dual wielding damage dealer, but it adds defense so that one can go toe-to-toe with melee targets.

Mind you, no tank - so don't expect to take on 4 melee and walk away unharmed - but it's pretty powerful for a what a rogue usually is about in my head.

The bigger the armor (Light, Medium, Heavy, Massive) the more fatigue you get. Fatigue makes skills and abilities cost more mana/stamina. A warrior gets skills that'll reduce fatigue, but it wont remove it unfortunately.
I also don't know if warriors can backstab, but knowing from the rogue party member I have it adds to ones DPS hands down. Get the tank to taunt the entire pack of enemies, control the rogue and start picking off targets.

"
Where do you find the Duelist handbook (or character to teach you)? Sorry for the threadjack, but it's driving me up a wall since I'm almost to 14 and haven't found it. I cleared the Brecian Ruins, the Circle Tower and Redcliffe, I'm now in Denerim.
#23 Posted by Galbrezu (126 posts) -
@Undeadpool: At the Pearl in Denerim there's a person who will teach you.
#24 Posted by Undeadpool (4921 posts) -
@Galbrezu said:
" @Undeadpool: At the Pearl in Denerim there's a person who will teach you. "
*headslap*Of COURSE! The one place I hadn't traveled yet! It ALL MAKES SENSE!...thanks ;)
#25 Posted by SolemnOaf (535 posts) -

The real question is, of course, not dual-weilding vs. two-handers but instead daggers vs. fullsized.  The answer: daggers.
#26 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@SolemnOaf: Attack speed differences on these weapons doesn't seem significant enough to matter and because agility doesn't actually increase damage on daggers, full sized weapons are actually the winner in this case for warriors and probably rogues as well.
#27 Posted by Vision (796 posts) -

From scimming through the thread it seems like no one has suggested Arcane Warrior yet. 
 
Arcane Warrior is basically a mage in heavy armor (if you so desire) you could have a two handed set and a dual wielding set.  

#28 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@Vision: In my current "hard" difficulty play through I am experimenting with a two arcane warrior party build (I actually talk more in depth about it in a post above).  So far with only one arcane warrior dps is very high.  White creatures practically fall over dead the moment they reach melee range, yellows die very quickly.  Oranges tend to take a while but that is just the way it is on hard.  My average party level is 10 at this point.
 
There is however no reason to go 2h with an arcane warrior.  It is inferior in every way to dual wielding.
#29 Posted by SolemnOaf (535 posts) -
@Teran said:
" @SolemnOaf: Attack speed differences on these weapons doesn't seem significant enough to matter and because agility doesn't actually increase damage on daggers, full sized weapons are actually the winner in this case for warriors and probably rogues as well. "

You don't know what the hell you're talking about.
#30 Posted by Vision (796 posts) -
@Teran said:
" @Vision: In my current "hard" difficulty play through I am experimenting with a two arcane warrior party build (I actually talk more in depth about it in a post above).  So far with only one arcane warrior dps is very high.  White creatures practically fall over dead the moment they reach melee range, yellows die very quickly.  Oranges tend to take a while but that is just the way it is on hard.  My average party level is 10 at this point. There is however no reason to go 2h with an arcane warrior.  It is inferior in every way to dual wielding. "
I keep a two handed weapon in my second set just to be sure. (My friend is level 24 and does 150 damage per hit with his Arcane Warrior so at one point two handed can be useful).
#31 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@Vision: Hitting for 150 isn't bad by any means however in the time he swings a 2h weapon once, you've gotten 3 swings per weapon as a dual wielding arcane warrior.  If flaming weapons adds 15 damage per hit you've done 90 fire damage just from a single enchantment.  If you poison your weapons you'll do a large amount of nature damage as well, and if you have a second mage you're also getting icy weapons or even better, telekinetic weapons which increase armor penetration and is likely the best of the 3 mage weapon enchants. 
 
Flaming weapons and poison do not scale based on the weapon they are put on.  By that I mean flaming weapons on a dagger will hit for the same amount of fire damage as flaming weapons on a 2h sword.  Kinetic weapons scale better for the 2h but in terms of pure dps there is just no contest especially once you get weapons with 3 enchantment slots that you can stack +5 damage runes in.
#32 Posted by Vision (796 posts) -
@Teran: I agree with you.. I still like to keep a 2h around just in case though. :P
#33 Edited by SolemnOaf (535 posts) -

 

@Teran:
It's somewhat amusing to me that your argument about dual-weilding and two-handed weapons is essentially the same argument concerning daggers and full-sized weapons.  I can't speak for warriors, as I've never used one and don't ever plan on making one, mainly because the game gives you 5 warriors, but only two rogues and two mages.  With rogues, though, there is a rather significant difference in the backstab speed when weilding a dagger as opposed to a full-sized weapon, and that difference becomes even more drastic when haste or momentum is activated (but not both because for some reason they cancel each other out).  Try it, you might be suprised.
 

#34 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@SolemnOaf: Actually if momentum is a percentage increase the difference would become less drastic.  If dagger swing time is .8 seconds and a main hand sword swing time is 1 second and momentum was a flat bonus that increased melee attack speed by 100% you'd have daggers at .4 and swords at .5 and swords I guarantee you hit harder than daggers by a margin greater than 10%.  I do not have any data on dagger swing times versus swords right now except that my mage who has a sword in her mainhand and a dagger in her off swings one after the other more or less giving them the same delay.  I will try to find another dagger to test with however the difference is unlikely to be as significant as it is when comparing to a 2h weapon.
#35 Posted by SolemnOaf (535 posts) -
@Teran:
Attack speed isn't based on a per-second stat, though.  You may be able to translate attack speed into a given per-second stat, but that's not what the game is quantifying when it determines rate-of-attack.  There is a base animation speed, and the weapon attribute modifies that speed.  Daggers get a -.5 while swords recieve a -.1.  So in order to determine the haste bonus, you'd have to find that weapon's base animation speed, subtract the weapon modifier, and then multiply in order to get the real numbers.   
 
Attack speed isn't something that's measured with faster weapons having lower values, but instead higher attack speed values.  Even though the MM might say a -.5 modifier for daggers it's actually a -(-.5), becoming a positive value that adds to the attack speed variable.  Just using random numbers, say the attack speed of a dagger is 1.5, and a sword 1.1, with haste those numbers have even greater discrepancy, becoming an almost 3/2 attack ratio in favor of daggers.   
 
It's most noticeable with rogues and the backstab.  I find that the rogue is the most dynamic party member, being able to spot traps and also gaining the most benefit from flanking, while warriors and mages can run almost on auto-pilot if their tactics are set right.  I played an entire play-through with a dual-weilding rogue using full-sized weapons, and only in my most recent playthrough did I adapt Leliana into a dual-weilder, and since my character already had the best full-sized weapons she got stuck with the daggers and I noticed how much faster they were, and how much more damage daggers did on a character with high dexterity than using weapons where strength was the determining damage factor.  I doubt she'd be doing almost 50 pts of damage a pop with her measely 20 pts. of strength if that weren't true.   
 
It's all in the missing manual, anyways, I doubt a developer of the game would bother to pass along such information if it weren't true. 
 
http://dragonage.gulbsoft.org/doku.php/items/weapons     
 
http://dragonage.gulbsoft.org/doku.php/attributes/dexterity    
#36 Posted by basal1sk (53 posts) -

 
 
this
#37 Posted by Teran (877 posts) -
@SolemnOaf said: 
 
It's all in the missing manual, anyways, I doubt a developer of the game would bother to pass along such information if it weren't true. 
 
I see what you're saying about the attack speed modifiers, I will fool around with it and see what happens. 
 
Regarding agility though, it has no documented effect on damage.  A friend of mine and I have tested this quite a bit.  I was very surprised to learn this myself but I could not deny the evidence.  In my current play through I converted Leliana over to melee dual wielding and went from there.  Much later when I recruited Zevran I switched him out for Leliana thinking he was going to be higher dps because of his much higher agility.  This was not the case at all and in fact he did less damage because he had less cunning (both had lethality).  Str appears to be the only stat (aside from cunning/magic with their respective talents and specializations) that alters actual physical weapon damage, even for bows.  I do not know if this is a bug or simply an unupdated tooltip.   
 
Manuals are frequently incorrect.
#38 Posted by Bones8677 (3224 posts) -

I go with either two handed or dual wield in other games, but it depends solely on which ones make me look more bad ass. ;P

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