2-Handed Weapons Buffed in Patch 2.1

A new PTR patch buffs 2-handed weapons, and resets the Leaderboards

Diablo III Public Test Realm
The next build for Diablo III Patch 2.1 is arriving on the Public Test Realm, and it includes a major boost in the power of two-handed weapons. The base damage will be increased for all 2-handed melee weapons by 23-26% across the board, and will retroactively apply to weapons already in the game. The developers also have other changes planned for a later PTR patch, that will fix the channeling cost of some Wizard skills.

Two-Handed Weapon Damage Buff
Developer John Yang provided details on the incoming buff to 2-handed weapons. Their damage is increasing across the board, along with a damage reduction in the Crusader passive skill Heavenly Strength. This will give a very slight buff to the damage for Crusaders wielding two-handed weapons, while making the weapons more useful for other classes. As seen when looking at the most popular Barbarian weapons or Wizard weapons, currently the non-Crusader classes rarely use 2-hand weapons; hopefully this change will make them more appealing.
We’ve been discussing 2-Hander buffs for a while now. Right now on live, 2-Handers are almost always less powerful than dual-wielding 1-Handers for a few different reasons, and we wanted to rebalance them for Patch 2.1. We had two options to address the issue:

    1) Make new 2-Hander passives and buff existing 2-Hander passives for Barbarian, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard.
    2) Buff all 2-Handed weapons baseline and adjust Heavenly Strength accordingly.

After trying both options out internally, we decided to go with option 2. This solution has two desirable benefits: 1) it’s immediately noticeable to all players when they pick up a 2-Hander and see the DPS number both significantly higher than a 1-Hander and higher than pre-Patch 2.1 2-Handers and 2) changing 1 passive is less of a jarring overall change for players than changing/adding 4 passives.

In the upcoming PTR patch, you should see the DPS of 2-Handed Melee Weapons increased by 23-26% across the board. The goal is to get the raw DPS of a 2H build to be close enough to the raw DPS of a Dual-Wield build that the weapon choice is mostly determined by the legendary powers on the item and by the build you are using. Some of the tradeoffs of 2-Handers vs. Dual-Wielding are that 2-Handers are intended to make more efficient use of resources and hit harder for skills with cooldowns while Dual-Wielding is intended to generate more procs, Life on Hit, and give more of certain stats. Currently, the raw DPS gap is large enough that Dual-Wielding feels like it is always the right answer.

To summarize the changes:
  • The DPS of 2-Handed Melee Weapons has been increased by 23-26% across the board.
  • This applies to the following weapon types:
    • 2-Handed Maces
    • 2-Handed Mighty Weapons
    • 2-Handed Axes
    • 2-Handed Flails
    • 2-Handed Staffs
    • 2-Handed Swords
    • Daibos
    • Polearms
  • In direct response, Heavenly Strength will now reduce damage done by 20%. With both changes, Crusaders using a 2-Hander should see a very small DPS increase.
  • This change is retroactive to existing live items.
  • This change only affects level 70 two-handed melee weapons.
  • This change affects two-handed melee weapons of all rarities.

  • We are still considering additional changes if needed but this should be a solid step towards making 2-Handers viable again for all classes.

    PTR Patch with Leaderboard Wipe
    The next patch 2.1.0 build is landing on the PTR right now. Along with the changes in the build, all the current leaderboard data on the PTR will be wiped (although it won't be a full PTR character wipe, like the previous PTR patch brought.) This is for testing purposes, since some bugs had previously allowed characters to make their way up to Greater Rift 100. PTR characters will be testing with the new build, and we'll see how far they get, with those bugs fixed.
    Hey all,

    We're in the process of preparing the next PTR patch for release. As part of this patch, we will be performing a Leaderboard wipe. This wipe will reset all PTR Leaderboards and Personal Best records (items, followers, artisans, clans, communities, gold, and Paragon levels, etc will not be affected).

    To facilitate this wipe and PTR patch, we will be performing maintenance on the PTR starting around 3:00 p.m. PDT. We expect this maintenance to last for approximately 3 to 4 hours, concluding sometime after 6:00 p.m. PDT.

    Please note that this wipe will not affect your characters in the live retail build.

    Thank you for helping us continue to test out and improve the content in our 2.1.0 PTR. We hope to see you back in there after maintenance has concluded!

    Edit: The PTR patch notes may not be immediately available after the next build is deployed. They’re currently in progress, and will be posted once they’re finalized.

    Channeled Skill Initial Cost
    The resource cost for channeling skills like Disintegrate and Ray of Frost have been changed in each of the PTR builds. Right now there is a bug that causes those skills to charge their channeling cost immediately on cast. That will be fixed in a future PTR patch, but not in the build that is arriving on the PTR right now.
    We've identified a bug with Ray of Frost, Disintegrate, and Arcane Torrent that's causing them to charge their channeling cost up front. These channeled abilities are not intended to have an up front cost, though, and the bug is being addressed. While we don't have an estimate on when this fix will be pushed to the PTR, we do know it will not be included in the next build. Thanks for the reports, everyone, and thank you for playing on the test realm!

    This patch will also include some major changes to the Legendary gems and Life on Hit. We'll have the updated Public Test Realm patch notes once they are available, for the new patch 2.1.0 build.
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