The Whirlwind Barbarian

The Whirlwind Barbarian is the most popular Barbarian build at max level. There are two very good reasons for that: it does the most damage and it isn’t that hard to gear for. The basic idea is to utilize high critical hit chance and the high tick rate of Whirlwind to proc the Into the Fray skill rune. That gives infinite Fury, allowing Whirlwind to be used constantly and making the Wrath of the Berserker buff permanently active.
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The Critical Mass / Wicked Wind Wizard

The Critical Mass / Wicked Wind Wizard is the current max DPS Wizard build. It is commonly abbreviated as CM/WW. The build combines high critical hit chance and the high tick rate of Energy Twister’s Wicked Wind rune to proc the Critical Mass passive skill. Several powerful skills then have no cooldowns, which makes them spammable for massive damage and other nice perks.
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Dual-wielding and Skill Damage in Diablo 3

I had not really looked into this yet but just happened to see a thread asking about optimal dual-wield weapons for Sweeping Wind builds. I did some searching and found a good answer on Arqade (StackExchange) referring to these forum posts. It turns out that most skills only use the main-hand damage. I knew that the Primary skills alternated between weapons. I just assumed the other skills would average the damage between the weapons. That is not true.

Skills with cooldowns will get optimal damage when using a slow main-hand with high damage and a fast off-hand with similar DPS. For example, the following three weapons:

  1. 500 DPS,1.2 Speed, One-Hand Mace
  2. 500 DPS 1.4 Speed, One-Hand Fist Weapon
  3. 500 DPS 1.4 Speed, One-Hand Fist Weapon

Dual-wielding weapons 1 & 2 will be better damage using cooldown skills than Weapons 2 & 3. They all have the same DPS, but since cooldown skills only use main-hand damage, the mace will give you more damage. What this means for gearing is if your dual-wield build depends on lots of skills with cooldowns, you should use a slow and fast set of weapons.

Note that only skills with cooldowns are affected by this. While other skills, such as Wave of Light, also use only main-hand damage, they don’t have cooldowns. Two fast weapons will generate “resource” (Hatred/Spirit/Fury) faster, and you can use the skill faster. It evens out. The only time it doesn’t even out is with cooldown skills and a few other special cases (Sweeping Wind).

After reading about this I thought back to my fast dual-wielding Monk build. In that build, none of the skills have a cooldown, so any combination of weapon speeds for dual-wielding should have equivalent DPS. I will definitely keep this in mind for my future builds though. I believe this also affects the ranged classes, but I don’t have enough experience with them yet to know if they dual-wield all that much.