Does anyone know the mechanics behind two hand weapons? I have a gold quality two hander sitting around in beta that's only 11dps, and it seems to be that most two handers are right around that range in dps, while I've seen quite a few 12dps+ blue quality one handers. Is there a mechanic in place that makes these two handers viable as opposed to just equipping a shield?
There are 19.2 dps two handers on Beta. You have to craft them with blacksmithing, or get extremely lucky and find a rare one that good. I found that with a two handed weapon, I was killing things a lot faster than dual wield, or one hand and shield. They're all pretty decent though, and I assume, we'll be using one hand and shield a lot, in the later difficulties.
I've actually been looking into this, particularly for my barb - and you're clearly playing a different class if a shield is your offhand option, but this might help. From what I can see, on basic attacks, there is no difference between a 1h and a 2h's dps in terms of abilities used that are spammable. While the 2h undoubtedly hits harder, it has some drastic reductions on casting speeds, to the point where, on classes like the monk, it actually feels detrimental to the class to use 2h weapons, even if it may not be. In the long run, from that perspective, you make the choice based on higher dps. As for a weapon shield combo, with the exception of wizard and witch doctor, I don't particularly see a reason to opt for a 1h weapon and shield over 2h/dual wield - and even for wizard and wd, there are the orbs and wanga dolls for oh that probably positively effect your dps more.
However, comparing a 2h to either dw or one hand + offhand, I think where you need to make your decision in terms of comparing is in the resource spending skills and the long cd skills, and whether or not they use weapon damage range, or weapon dps to determine the damage the skill does. I know for a fact that my barb's seismic slam take weapon range damage as opposed to dps, and furthermore does not draw from the 2nd hand if I'm dual wielding, so I will always choose a 2h. This differs greatly from my monk, who, although I gain damage on my moves that expend spirit, I feel that the spirit regen is too slow and I'm using the moves too infrequently to justify a staff over a dual wielding setup, considering how slow it makes my spirit generating moves.
Also a note is that if your spammable skill has an impact on your repeated spamming, ala frenzy for the barb, it is probably enough to justify a different weapon composition. If I used frenzy for my fury generator it would seem that it would be optimal to dual wield with how ridiculously fast you can hit like that, compared to a 2h frenzy which almost gets to the speed of 1 1h weapon.
Yes for monks using a 2h is just bad. There is a passive that increase spirit regen while using 2h. That's for those who WANT to use 2h. Overall, go dw.
Now for barbs, i guess it depends on your skills and playstyle.
If you're hiting enemies only a few times but really fucking hard, go 2h i guess.
If you're hiting enemies a lot, go 1w.
If you need to generate a lot of rage with your primary skills, go dw.
If you're generating rage with other skills/pasives OR you don't need to generate that much but you need to hit hard when ou spend it, go 2h.
Thanks for all of the input guys. I guess it's a pretty basic concept of abilities based on weapon damage (not dps) hitting harder when used. This might actually make it a lot easier to wade through mobs if one Cleave, for example, can take out the weak stuff. I think I'll play around with 2 handers on beta and see how it feels.