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I've been having a hard time deciding between dual wield and 2h for my barbarian. I've tried both and read a bit on these forums; seems to me that 2h is better when facing high DR opponents but dual wield is more effective against enemies with less DR. Basically I'm wondering if it is equally viable to get both weapon styles and switch weapons according to the situation, or to just get dual wield and vulnerable attack to deal with high DR. Does anyone have any thoughts as to which would be more effective, or if they are comparable?

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I would say that it depends on how many talents you're going to have to devote to each option, which depends on your choice of weapons and how many weapons sets you're going to want to use:

 

If you pick a weapon group that has a 2h weapon and also the weapons that you are going to dual wield then you can take just the one accuracy talent.  If your chosen 2h weapon and dual wield weapons are in different weapon groups then you'd need to take two accuracy talents.

 

If you're not going to give yourself a ranged combat option then you only need the two weapon sets to switch between, but if you also want to be able to switch to a ranged weapon then you'll need to spend a talent to get a third set if you plan to switch between 2h and dual wield (unless you are Island Aumaua).

 

If you don't switch between weapon sets and just dual wield then you don't have to worry about those factors, but you do end up taking vulnerable attack which might end up being the same (in terms of talent expenditure) as the alternative.

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Generally speaking, Dual Wield outscales 2handers as damage modifiers grow arbitrarily large. As DR is a flat damage reduction as it becomes a smaller portion of the damage dealt, the closer to the base case (0 DR) it becomes. At 0 DR: DW Fast > DW Average (Saber may bump this up) > 2H Slow. So if  the class you're playing has multiple strong damage modifiers, then dual wielding is preferable, Rogues are a particularly relevant example as they hit very high damage modifiers relatively easily.

 

For a barbarian I believe 2handers will be stronger, as Barbarians gain a 33% atk speed bonus and have relatively few % damage modifiers, especially ones that are not situational. Further, carnage reduces your damage by a percent, thus moving you even further from the base(ideal) case for dual wield.

Edited by SilchasRuin

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I've been having a hard time deciding between dual wield and 2h for my barbarian. I've tried both and read a bit on these forums; seems to me that 2h is better when facing high DR opponents but dual wield is more effective against enemies with less DR. Basically I'm wondering if it is equally viable to get both weapon styles and switch weapons according to the situation, or to just get dual wield and vulnerable attack to deal with high DR. Does anyone have any thoughts as to which would be more effective, or if they are comparable?

 

If just looking at base Carnage which is based off the Primary weapon only (i.e. not the off hand weapon) then 2 hander is considered the best as the ~60% dmg from your main attack will now be area via Carnage.  Arguably, a sabre can sort of keep up as the higher base dmg one handed weapon even factoring in DR.

 

Add in One Stands Alone (currently bugged) and you get +20 dmg to each hit, and that's when dual stilettos pull ahead due to the +increase on each hit.  Barbarian along with rogue are probably the only 2 viable dual wield classes due to this.  Though monk is also good with Torment's reach spam.

 

In the talent sense, there's a lot that goes into dual wielding.  Two weapon, vulnerable attack, and the focus itself.  Unlike 2 handers that start strong and remain so due to the alpha nature of most encounters in PoE.

Edited by MoxyWoo

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For pure single-target only and aiming specifically to excel in the late-game, dual-wield will pull ahead once you've got your enchanted weapons and gear.

 

But for overall damage and counting all the AoE hits you will deal from carnage, two-hander is better imo.

 

Already mentioned, but One Stands Alone (which I consider to be an exploit when used w/ dual-wield currently)  is being patched in 1.05, meaning two weapon style will be far weaker than it currently is once that's fixed. 

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