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Dual Wield vs Sword and Shield

This question isnt just for Charname, but for npcs too. Are there cases where the shield is better than another offhand weapon? Do people here just go all out damage and forget shields?

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Comments

  • Dev6Dev6 Member Posts: 580
  • byrne20byrne20 Member Posts: 216
    I think it depends a lot on the class. Some classes I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) can only put one proficiency point in dual wielding. This gives you some major thaco penalties especially on the off hand. I just don't think it is worth it for these classes.

    jackjack
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,273
    I invariably play my fighters in pairs so I use a tank with shield up front and a dual/two-handed wielder behind, always attacking one target together before moving on to the next one.

  • Diomedes33Diomedes33 Member Posts: 144
    edited April 2016
    So.. heres my party right now. This looks ok?

    Me - Sorc
    Anomen - Sword and shield
    Viconia - Sword and shield
    Jahiera - Sword and shield
    Korgan - Dual wield
    Yoshi/Imoen - Ranged

    Edit: I was thinking of giving Jahiera a quarterstaff..?

    jackjackGozeta
  • ZeshinXZeshinX Member Posts: 63
    I find the general rule of thumb for many seems to be if you can put at least two slots into a respective weapon and two-weapon fighting, you dual wield. If neither of those apply, then you sword and board.

    I myself don't bother and go more with concept as opposed to sheer attacks/round and/or damage potential. Not to the point of creating a severely under-powered character mind you, just an effective concept.

    For some classes, it's pretty hard to ignore the allure of dual wielding though, Kensai especially, since they can't use shields anyway.

    lelag200
  • TenreccTenrecc Member Posts: 265
    The main issue with shields are that they are incredibly weak. Dual-wielding almost doubles your damage output through the entire game and allows you to use certain weapon with great bonuses but weak stats (Crom Faeyr, Belm etc) without missing out.

    In comparison, shields only gives you a lousy +1 AC at the start, all the way to +5 in ToB, but nowhere in the playthrough does that AC boost really make any difference. If an enemy can hit you, they can almost as easily hit you while using a shield.

    It's not really about going "all out damage," it's that going shields over dual-wield is giving up a lot of damage for a little defense.

    smeagolheart
  • abacusabacus Member Posts: 1,304
    Tenrecc said:

    The main issue with shields are that they are incredibly weak. Dual-wielding almost doubles your damage output through the entire game and allows you to use certain weapon with great bonuses but weak stats (Crom Faeyr, Belm etc) without missing out.

    In comparison, shields only gives you a lousy +1 AC at the start, all the way to +5 in ToB, but nowhere in the playthrough does that AC boost really make any difference. If an enemy can hit you, they can almost as easily hit you while using a shield.

    It's not really about going "all out damage," it's that going shields over dual-wield is giving up a lot of damage for a little defense.

    Add into this the number of one-handed weapons that give defensive bonuses (immunities/ resistances/ etc) and sword&board really gets the short end. Why couldn't the Defender of Easthaven's stats been applied to a nice shield? Rather than the current arrangement that encourages you to rock DoE & Flail of Ages together like some absurd Night Goblin Fanatic...

    I love sword & board... its a wonderfully heroic trope with the added bonus of having a lot more historical veracity... but I know that whenever I do it I'm hamstringing myself mechanically.

    Aerakarlostdragon05
  • TenreccTenrecc Member Posts: 265
    abacus said:

    Add into this the number of one-handed weapons that give defensive bonuses (immunities/ resistances/ etc) and sword&board really gets the short end. Why couldn't the Defender of Easthaven's stats been applied to a nice shield? Rather than the current arrangement that encourages you to rock DoE & Flail of Ages together like some absurd Night Goblin Fanatic...

    I love sword & board... its a wonderfully heroic trope with the added bonus of having a lot more historical veracity... but I know that whenever I do it I'm hamstringing myself mechanically.

    Exactly. Just consider such a thing as there not being any recipie for a shield in the game at all. Cespenar gives us one upgrade for every possible weapon type in the game, and like 3 helmets, but not a single shield.

    Instead we're supposed to have the lousy +4 alternatives that are in the game? 10% elemental resistance or 1 to all saving throws are really shit tier stats for being the ToB alternatives.

    Truth is, I hadn't even considered this an issue, but the most I think about it there's really a lot of diversity being lost thanks to the worthlessness of the shields in the game.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,247
    Crom Faeyr isn't a weapon I'd file under weak stats–golems beware!

  • Diomedes33Diomedes33 Member Posts: 144
    Ugh I guess with my 3 sword and board, I'm severely gimped?

  • QueegonQueegon Member Posts: 355
    Shields likely need some love, sword and shield style is worthless wasting pips on too. Feh, missile AC, It's what full plate is for. Even with weimer's item upgrade and making Anomen's shield +5 with elemental resistances, it's still better equipping him with dual blunts. I have Fyrus Khal shield on slinging Jaheira and that's it.
    Might be worth fiddling with NearInfinity to make shields viable. Change some of them to work like Defender of Easthaven and the like.

  • TenreccTenrecc Member Posts: 265
    edited April 2016
    jackjack said:

    Crom Faeyr isn't a weapon I'd file under weak stats–golems beware!

    Yeah my bad, I was under the impression it only counted as a normal warhammer in terms of thac0 and +3 in terms of damage, but it turns out it's a fully fledged +5 in terms of thac0 and some spefical variation of warhammer that's about equal to +5.

    So that's one of the few weapons that both has incredibly abilities and stats.

    jackjack
  • OtherguyOtherguy Member Posts: 157
    For SoA I would say that a solid shield reduces damage taken by a VERY large amount. Stacking AC buffs makes most SoA enemies hit only on a 20. Even late game in ToB a very low AC is useful, especially if you have some added buffs like bard song or impr haste. A tank with the lowest available AC is nothing to frown upon imho.

    Once you get GWW your damage is back where it belongs. FoA +5, Foebane and Crom are some of the more stellar weapons, for even more tankiness you can of course wield DoE since a +3 weapon actually allows you to hurt most enemies even in ToB.

    Even though the shields themselves are not that great, and sns style is a waste of 2 pips, actually using a shield can be a really solid choice.

    jackjack
  • QueegonQueegon Member Posts: 355
    Crom Faeyr also deals 2d4 instead of the usual 1d4. Why do some warhammers even deal as little?

    jackjackbooinyoureyes
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,247
    I've always wondered that as well.

    booinyoureyes
  • Diomedes33Diomedes33 Member Posts: 144
    You would take significantly more damage if you got hit with a Warhammer as opposed to being slashed or stabbed indirectly with a dagger once.

  • TenreccTenrecc Member Posts: 265
    edited April 2016

    Ugh I guess with my 3 sword and board, I'm severely gimped?

    No, not at all. In fact, since you seem fairly new to the game and doesn't know about all the items and spells, it won't make that much of a difference. You will still get a half bonus attack for level 7, another half on level 13, another half for weapon specialization and in case you're grand master, another half. All in all you will end up with 2.5(3) attacks compared to 3.5(4) for dual-wielding.

    The difference only shines once you get into powergaming territory, since you can build dual wielders to dish out insane amounts of damage that sword and board or 2handed really can't keep up with. But you shouldn't bother with such things on your first playthrough, you should just enjoy it for the experience it is. :)
    Queegon said:

    Crom Faeyr also deals 2d4 instead of the usual 1d4. Why do some warhammers even deal as little?

    It's not 1d4, it's 1d4+1 base, so pretty standard for a non-sword weapon.
    Otherguy said:

    Once you get GWW your damage is back where it belongs. FoA +5, Foebane and Crom are some of the more stellar weapons, for even more tankiness you can of course wield DoE since a +3 weapon actually allows you to hurt most enemies even in ToB.

    FoA's free action overrides all haste effects now though. So it's really not so stellar anymore. :/

    Dev6jackjackmf2112
  • Dev6Dev6 Member Posts: 580
    Queegon said:

    Crom Faeyr also deals 2d4 instead of the usual 1d4. Why do some warhammers even deal as little?

    Or why spears only deal 1d6...

    jackjack
  • OtherguyOtherguy Member Posts: 157
    @Tenrecc for general use FoA +5 might not be a very good weapon, losing haste for mobility and damage, but for ww it is still one of the best weapons in the game. You could wield DoE for general use and switch (with new and improved UI) to FoA for especially tough monsters. 19,5 dmg per hit and a decent chance to apply slow is still wonderful if you use ww.

    jackjack
  • RobertMcDuckRobertMcDuck Member Posts: 133

    So.. heres my party right now. This looks ok?

    Me - Sorc
    Anomen - Sword and shield
    Viconia - Sword and shield
    Jahiera - Sword and shield
    Korgan - Dual wield
    Yoshi/Imoen - Ranged

    Edit: I was thinking of giving Jahiera a quarterstaff..?

    Don't.

    mf2112
  • Diomedes33Diomedes33 Member Posts: 144
    Robert. Heres my dilemma with Jaheira. 1handers she can use are clubs and scimitars. I personally cant find any +2 scimitars and +3 I'm not even sure exist. Meanwhile there is an easy +4 quarterstaff from Copper Cornet I think it is.

  • AriusArius Member Posts: 92
    To me I look for off hand weapons that add ac so i can skip the shield and be protected and still deal nasty amounts of damage.

  • PteranPteran Member Posts: 388
    To answer the question you skirted around, giving Jaheira pips in Quarterstaff and at least one in Two-handed Weapon Style is a great way to go. I actually prefer her with staff. People will tell you dual wield with Belm in the off-hand for the bonus attack. That's fun and all, and a very viable option. I just think a lot of people underrate the effectiveness of two-handed weapons outside of two-handed swords.

    The nice thing about Sword & Shield is that you don't even need to put pips in the style to make it effective, meaning you've got extra pips for weapons. I think this needs to be reworked, but that's what we were dealt.

    The Item Revisions mod greatly changes weapons and armor. Someone mentioned warhammers having a low damage output, a 1d4 base. IR adjusts dice rolls for a lot of weapons, and reworks speed factor and THAC0 bonuses as well. I highly recommend this mod to everyone, especially in conjunction with Spell Revisions =)

    GoturalronaldoAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • TenreccTenrecc Member Posts: 265
    Gotural said:

    Shields are definitely underrated and I already posted huge walls of text explaining how AC works and why stacking AC is such a powerful strategy, which leads to making everyone including The Ravager missing you on anything except a critical hit.

    To sum it up, AC works like damage resistances in a way: the more you have, the better it becomes point per point.

    A Shield can in an optimal scenario increase your durability by 500% (yes) while dual wielding will never increase your damage output by 500%.

    Care to link it? Might be an interesting read.

    However, while that might be true, you're gearing one character to only defend the party against physical attacks. While it might be really good against the Ravager, how many pure physical dps challenges are there at that point in the game? Ravager, Balthazar, Yaga-Shura?

    That character will be pretty bad against Sendai, Abazigal, and Melissan both has summons and time stops for you. Same for the later levels of Watcher's Keep. It's a lot of specialization, and that 500% durability definitely doesn't translate into every, or even most of the major fights.
    Gotural said:

    In a powergaming party of 6, someone should use shields and stack AC.

    In a powergaming party, there's no way you'd spend one whole character on someone who is just a strong tank in some situations. Compare that to a fighter/mage who will tank everything, including spellcasters, while dual-wielding and not missing out on a single point of damage.
    Nuin said:

    Late game-wise, the simple fact is that anything with warrior HLAs now has access to GWW. Suddenly the two-hand/sword and shield styles are useful again. Combined with the sheer number of powerful magical items/abilities now available to you, you are now free to try and figure out the best combination of offense/defense that you think works best for you. Shields are definitely useful if you wish to go with the AC-stacking route.

    If you're using GWW you're not using anything else. And Dual-wielders can use the same HLAs/cds to have constant critical strikes, doubling their damage output again. While yes, GWW does indeed make 2hs and SnS more viable, it doesn't mean they're close to equal to IH DWs in terms of damage output.

  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited April 2016
    What's your point? If pure offense was all that mattered then we wouldn't be using spells like Stoneskin/PfMW/Timestop/etc. You are basically bashing one defensive strat (stacking AC) while glorifying another (using defensive spells), all the while claiming that damage output is all that matters in the end.

    Regardless, if your setup allows you to facetank enemies without needing to move/cast spells then you're looking at a significant damage output increase. That way your fighter/mage (AND everyone else) can just stand still and keep attacking/using offensive spells.
    Finally, you presume that just because it's using a shield then it MUST be a pure warrior or some variant or that it must have spent the last 80% of the game preparing itself for that role. Which is ridiculous. Stacking AC and using a shield only requires you cast some spells/use some items/move some gear around. Voila, high AC. This is BG2, not IWD2/NWN.
    As for GWW vs Critical Strike, that's a completely different argument that also basically boils down to "It depends".

    Post edited by Nuin on
    ithildurnewJarrakuljackjack
  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 81
    Nuin said:

    This is an interesting topic because the short answer is - it depends. On a lot of factors

    QFT

    Aewyrven
  • AewyrvenAewyrven Member Posts: 188
    edited April 2016
    I'll chime in on my limited experience. I'm playing core rules black guard on mobile. I don't have access to mods or a lot of the update changes so it's about as pure as it can get.

    What I found is I did start him off as a flail dual wielder. 2*/3* then threw his final point in axe.

    I used this simply because it boosts your apr. You chew mobs faster than they can really hurt you through the beginning stages. (Irenicus dungeon, Mae'var, and a few other quests)

    I knew right off the hop I was headed for d'arise stronghold so that's why I threw points in flail. The axe was to start the game since it's common. I caught a sweet magic disruption axe from the djinn and kept rolling with it. Put together the Foa got enough gold to get a defender easthaven for the Dr and continued chewing through quests.

    Granted I didn't do them in optimal order but I still managed fine. What I did find, is I was ending up using the shield of harmony from trademeet more and more than a dual Foa/doeh or Foa/balas. Heck I pretty much junked belm because against foas damage types and doeh reduction it wasn't worth the extra attack and I wasn't spec into scimitar anyways. Same deal with kudane. They're +2. Foa is +3 with elemental. Doeh is +3 with 20% off resists to counter my lack of shield when I do get hit. (So I lose 4 Ac, but I take 8 damage instead of 12 if they can break my -7 vs -10 and I get triple element damage)

    Add in armor faith if a paladin or barbarians natural resists and that drops to around 4 to 6 damage if they beat your Ac. All the while you're 4 attacks ish anyways.

    The reason I ended up using the shield is because it let me keep the balduran helm on. Ac save throw and thac0.

    This let me get away with 1* in axe. And even after I bumped that to 2* with plans to use the vorpal axe... then adding 1 to longswords scimitar, 2 hammer, and 1 bastard at current 24 (still chapter 2). I still find I'm using shield of harmony and wasting my 3 pips in dual wield.

    Reason being isn't the Ac or Dr from shield of harmony, it's the benefits it gives. They far outweigh what you're doing in a solo situation tan trying to dual wield your way through and reloading because you caught a confuse or Web and get clubbed to death over a 3 min period.

    Once I aquired my final priest spells, snagged a diva and started mashing gww it pretty much became game over for needing dual wield. You just mow everything down anyways. Swap the weapons and gear in and out for the fight style.

    THAT being said.

    If you're running a group... dual wield. Your mages and clerics can counter those deficiencies you lack (from the bonus of shield of harmony, or the fact that you're dual wielding) and if you set the group up properly you don't even need Ac, things die so fast it's silly. Your mages hasting you, clerics free action, protection evil for save bonus, ect.

    If you're running a group you don't really Bork yourself on what you choose for style since the group setup can cover anything you're lacking.

    The talk of dw vs 2hd vs this or that is more for solo runs, and I'm finding at present I actually prefer diva -> gww+foa+3+soh to trying to dual wield. Things just explode.

    And this is from a guy who's still chapter 2 and has cleared almost all of it to unlock the tob hla on a single run. (No run thru export import)

    Bottom line. If you're group playing do whatever you want. If you're trying to solo, it depends on how far you want to progress in certain areas and what your difficulty setting is.

    Edit: The only issue you will have is against gibberlings.... they will always destroy you.

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