LOTRO Champion Guide:
Massive Crits or Higher Speed...
The Duel-Wield Vs 2-Handed Weapons Dilemma

One of the first questions a LOTRO champion will likely have is whether to use a 2-handed weapon or two 1-handed weapons (duel-wielding). I remember playing with this early on in the game, around level 20 or so. The first thing I noticed was how slow and difficult using a 2-handed weapon seemed. I preferred the feel of duel-wielding and quickly swore off 2-handers for the time being.

Handango Inc. Once I reached max level, the issue came up for me again. I wondered which configuration would make my DPS (damage per second) output higher. This was mainly a question I had with regard to raiding where small increases in DPS add up in long fights. For example, an increase of 50 DPS over a 5 minute fight equals 15,000 damage. On a 200,000 morale boss, that's a significant increase - about 7.5% of the boss's health!

Hopefully this LOTRO champion guide will help you decide which to use.

When The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood was released the DPS and speed of weapons was changed. 1-handed weapons all have the same attack speed and DPS now. This made me wonder again about using 2-handers over duel-wield.

This issue is a huge point of debate... apparently many a LOTRO champion wonders about this topic... If you are into the forums check out this post titled 2h now beats dw (link opens new window). You'll notice that no one can agree on this issue... you'll also get a taste for the rudeness, trolls, and epeenary in the LOTRO forums. If you aren't familiar with what epeen is... well it's kind of like when someone tries to prove that he/she is smarter or more skilled than everyone else. You know... how big their "epeen" is!

Back to the point. There are as many different opinions on this subject as there are players. Many people, myself included, use software that tracks DPS. We run tests to see which weapon, skill, etc. works best. The problem is that depending on how you run the tests you get varied results. And you will never get anyone to agree on the results!

I have personally run DPS parsing tests in LOTRO and have come to my own conclusions. I suggest that anyone curious about which weapon type is best download the DPS parsing software CSTATS. It's a simple program that will give you interesting information.

I am not going to provide my data on this site since it is pointless. Not everyone will agree with what I have done or with my test methods. Instead I will give a general rundown of what I did and my conclusions. Let it be known, however, that I do hold a masters degree in engineering so I know very well how to perform experimental analysis and procedures...

Yep, that was a demonstration of epeen ;)

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The Test
For my test I used a level 65 LOTRO Champion with two comparable level 65 3rd Age legendary weapons. Each weapon was leveled to 60 and had the beleriand damage type. Each also had the +50% critical damage multiplier legacy, the +15% increased damage for relentless strike, and the +15% damage increase for brutal strikes. My champs traits were 4 in berserker line and 3 in the AOE line.

Now, many people do their tests in different ways. I prefer to do them in a "real life" scenario to see what really happens. I see no point in fighting solo-able mobs that take under 30 seconds to kill. It does not give realistic information in my opinion. For my tests I ran the Sword Halls in Dol Guldur 20 times. I did it 10 times with each weapon. This gave me a good min, max, and average for each weapon's DPS in a realistic boss fight.

The Results
The results were very clear to me - for the LOTRO champion duel-wielding is the best choice.

The average DPS for the duel-wielding style was much higher than the 2-hander. I hate to quote numbers for this, but I averaged about 30 - 50 DPS more for duel-wield. On the extreme ends, duel-wield was 90 DPS higher than using a 2-hander.

The 2-hander never did more DPS on any test. I mean not once... In fact the highest DPS for the 2-hander did not beat the lowest DPS for duel-wield from all runs. Shop Handango for the latest in mobile apps and games for your smartphone or PDA.

Also, the fight times were much lower in duel-wield. This just further shows the DPS increase in duel-wield. Generally the boss fights were 1-2 minutes shorter when duel-wielding.

Comments and Conclusions
For me, duel-wield is the hands down winner. Not only did the numbers show it, but the feel is better too. The 2-hander just feels slow and clunky to me.

This does not mean that you should only use duel-wield. In the end it is a matter of preference and what you enjoy most. If you like to see those big 3k - 6k crits, then go 2-hander. Also, there are situations that a 2-hander may just be better. For instance, running around in the Moors. Using a 2-hander to get the big crits may be a strong argument. On the other hand, raiding and large instances will likely warrant duel-wielding. In these situations you really need to put out as much DPS as possible or you risk the success of the entire group.

Another little factoid for you to think on... When Siege of Mirkwood came out the Firefoot server kinship Revelations was the first to complete the DN raid. Guess what all of their champs used??? Yes indeed, all duel-wield!

Please though, make your own decision. Don't just go duel-wield based on my results. Look at your weapons. If you have a great 2-hander and a crap 1-hander... the choice is obvious. Download a parsing program and make your own tests. Decide for yourself.

Remember, LOTRO is a game. It is supposed to be fun. Don't worry too much or get dogmatic about weapon choice. Unless you are a hardcore raider, enjoy The Lord of the Rings Online and do what feels best on your journey through Middle Earth!

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