Guide [Game mechanics] The importance of Weapon Skill

Deen

Core Raid Member
Joined
8th Aug 2019
Messages
373
Location
London
Class
Warrior
Hey guys. So we had a few discussions about it both on the forum and on Discord, so I thought I would make a thread to explain how incredibly important it is, and how it works, as it is an essential game mechanic in Vanilla. The guide is aimed at PVE content, as there is some slight difference with PvP.

This little guide is aimed at physical DPS primarily (Melee & ranged) but CASTER classes should be aware of it as it still affects them (Wands & mana regeneration) so magic people and frost bolt lovers, jump to section 1.5 !

Finally, the magic number given in section 1.4 is like 'ready to wear'. Will fit you roughly, quite well if you're lucky but it won't impress the girls & boys out there. Through understanding the mechanics behind weapon skill, you can understand what number is right for your specific class, race and gameplay, whether you wanna min-max, optimise or simply impress her/him with your incredible DPS. better than tinder.

WEAPON SKILL GUIDE

SUMMARY

TL;DR : If you just wanna know roughly how much weapon skill you need and/or think theorycrafting is booooring,, jump to section 1.4 and feast upon it's conciseness !

Intro - What is weapon skill and do I care ?



INTRO - What is 'Weapon skill' and do I care ?


In Vanilla WoW, you have a set of skills that needs to be improved as you play. It is mainly related to how good you get at stuff such as professions, weapons & defense. While hitting mobs with a specific type of weapon (axe, sword, wand, etc..), you will gain skill points which will allow you to increase your chance to hit (thus Damage/threat) and a few other meaningful things we will go over in this thread.

Short answer : Yes you do care. a lot!.

As an example, if you just obtained a dagger but have 0 skill point in dagger, then you will most likely miss all your attacks until you get to a skill level adequate with your enemy level. Weapon skill threshold is augmented by 5 every level, so at level 7 you have 35 skill points available, and at level 60, you can get 300 as a base. We will see that racials, talents and items can compliment this and why it is important.

Note: Intellect increases the rate at which you improve your weapon skill, meaning having some intellect gear on the side to use when you need to level a new weapon skill can be very handy. Even for Warriors, rogues and such !

weaponskill table.jpg



1.1 - Hit rating and How does 'Weapon skill' affect your HIT % ?

The hit rating relates to the chance you have to miss your attack on an enemy.
Meaning more Hit rating will reduce the chance to miss your attack rather than increase your chance to hit.​

  • Now there are two different types of attack : White (autoattack) and Yellow (Spells and Actions)

- The base chance to miss a white attack on an opponent with the same level than you is 5% for 2 Handed weapons. If you are dual-wielding, you get a 19% penatly and so it is 24%. Now for white attacks, your missing rate is calculated using the difference between the attacker's 'attack rating' (Weapon skills) and the defender's defense rating (defense skill)
- The base chance to miss a yellow attack is at a maximum of 5% (but debuff can make it worse) for a mob of same level. Dual wielders have no penalty applied to them for yellow attacks.

So what is important to remember is : It all depends on the difference between the mob's defense skill and your own weapon skill.
A mob defense skill relates directly to his level i.e.: Level 60 mob has 300 defense skill, level 63 mobs (raids and bosses) have 315 defense skills.

  • There are 2 formulas to calculate the Hit % soft cap you need. One or the other will depend on the difference between the defense skill of the mob you are attacking and your weapon skill. This assumes raid bosses (level 63) as it's what we really care about, and that you leveled your weapon skill to the maximum (i.e. 300 if no racials) and are ready to raid.

The defense skill of a mob is : Mob Level * 5
i.e. Level 63 raid boss has 63*5=315 defense rating

Your weapon skill is : (Your level*5) + enhancement [racials, gear, talent that gives weapon skills]
i.e. Level 60 Gnome Warrior has 60*5=300 weapon skill
i.e. Level 60 Human Warrior has (60*5)+ 5 racial weapon skill=305 weapon skill


Thus, to calculate that difference known as Delta :
Defense rating of 315 - weapon skill of 300 = 15
Defense rating of 315 - weapon skill of 305 = 10

1. If the Delta is EQUAL or INFERIOR to 10 ---> Formula 1 is : 5% + ((Defense skill - Weapon Skill) * 0.1)
2. If the Delta is SUPERIOR to 10 ---> Formula is 2 : 7% + ((Defense skill - Weapon Skill - 10) * 0.4)

(On many websites such as wowpedia or else, the formula 2 is using 6% and not 7%. This is a mistake from private servers that spreaded like a plague onto websites. It was clarified in june by a blue post in the official forum with the classic client as reference. It says that with a weapon skill of 300, you have automatically a +1% chance to miss. Meaning what was thought to be 8% cap is in fact 9% cap for 300 weapon skills. With 305 weapon skills or above, this restriction is lifted and formula 1 holds true. source here )

For our examples, this means :

  • Our Human warrior with 305 weapon skill, has a DELTA of 10. So he uses the formula 1 to find out how much hit % he needs to get :
5% + ((10)*0.1) = 5% + 1% = 6%

Our human warrior only needs 6% hit rating in order to avoid missing his yellow attacks, and his white attacks if 2H.
If dual wielding, he will still miss some white attacks (other formula, non essential and need testing after release) but not yellow attacks


  • Our cunning Gnome warrior with 300 weapon skill , has a DELTA of 15. So he uses the formula 2 to find out how much hit % he needs to get :
7% + ((15-10)*0.4) = 7% + 2% = 9%

Our gnome warrior needs 9% hit rating in order to avoid missing his yellow attacks, and his white attacks if 2H.
If dual wielding, he will still miss some white attacks (other formula, non essential and need testing after release) but not yellow attacks


Thus, Human warrior will have 3% more hit rating to start with at endgame than a gnome (or dwarf/elf/unicorn) warrior, because of it's racial +5 weapon skill

  • It is also worth noting that an item giving you +4 weapon skill (such as https://classic.wowhead.com/item=17754/infernal-trickster-leggings ) or less, is significantly less beneficial than +5 as you would need to use the second formula which is obviously less efficient, therefore there is a bigger gap between 304 and 305.
  • Also, if you go beyond 305 weapon skill, then you will only get 0.1% hit rating for each weapon skill point. i.e. 310 weapon skill would mean you gain only +0.5% hit rating, and 315 weapon skill, only 1%. Weapon skill beyond 305 is hard to get and therefore is not worth getting for the sole purpose of hit %

1.2 - What are glancing blows and How does Weapon skill affect them ?

  • Glancing blows only apply to auto-attacks (white attacks) and reduce the damage of your attacks by 35% (on a raid Boss). Obviously dual wielders are ever more concerned by that (Yes.. I am looking at you rogues, fury warriors and other show offs). Ranged weapon do not have glancing blows at all (gotta give hunters some hope too).

Melees have a default chance of landing a glancing blow of 40% while ranged dps (hunter) have a default 60% chance of landing a glancing blow (in melee). These cannot be changed and you can never reduce your chance to land a glancing blow. You can only reduce the damage reduction of a glancing blow, not the chance for it to occur... meaning you can only reduce those 35% damage reduction.(Datas have been collected on the classic Beta [source here] and until more data is collected at release, it will define the following section )
Note: There is no glancing blows in PvP, and a glancing blow CANNOT be a critical strike (as glancing blows comes before crit in the attack table. topic for another thread).

Glancing blows calculation is a bit more complicated than the HIT%. To calculate the damage reduction depending on your weapon skill (for melees), we use the following formulas wihich defines a low and high damage factor, which then lead to an average damage factor, being the value we are after :

Low damage factor = 1.3 - (0.05 * [Defense skill - Weapon Skill])
High damage factor = 1.2 - (0.03 * [Defense skill - Weapon Skill])

Thus, average damage reduction is : (1 - [(High + Low) / 2])*100 = % of damage reduction

It is a mouthful so let's have an example with our human warrior ! (with 300 weapon skill, the result is 35% reduction. It is the base)

  • Our human warrior has 305 weapon skill, the scary raid boss has 315 defense skill, so:
Low damage factor = 1.3 - (0.05*[315-305]) = 1.3 - 0.5 = 0.8
High damage factor = 1.2 - (0.03*[315-305]) = 1.2 - 0.3 = 0.9
  • Thus, average damage reduction is :
(1 - [ ( 0.9+0.8 ) / 2 ] ) *100 = ( 1 - [0.85] ) * 100 ) = 15% damage reduction with 305 weapon skill

If +20% dmg out of 40% of his white attacks might not sound like incredible, this makes a big difference for dual wielders, and is also significant for 2 handed weapon wielder as you only have those big slow hits and don't want them to get reduced!

Furthermore, 310 weapon skill would further reduce is to 5% which is a 30% increase on those 40%. So for the correct classes such as rogues, warrior, it is a significant increase and one should focus towards getting 305 as a minimum, but up to 308/310 as long as it does not sacrifice too many primary stats. Dummy testing is a good way to see if it is worth it !

On a side note, Hunters unfortunately do not benefit from any reduction, neither to the 60% chance of landing a glancing blow, nor to the 30% damage reduction inccured . This is sad and unfair and tears will be shed on the smelly fur of your pet, but that's how life works in Vanilla 🤷‍♂️.


Overall, 305 weapon skill would give you roughly 3% additional chance to hit + 20% damage reduction to the glancing blows effect, which is pretty neat!
3% chance to hit means a lot more damage and/or more threat.



1.3 - Where can I get more weapon skills ? Seems so OP !!! I WANT MORE !!!!

There are basically 3 ways to obtain additional weapon skills : Gear / Talents / Racials

  • Talents : You will see for yourself while reading your talent tree ;-)


  • Racial (alliance):
Dwarf : Gun specialisation : Gun weapon skill increased by 5 [worth noting that there is very few to none good end game guns, so this is not crazy useful end game]
Human : Sword specialisation : Sword & 2H sword weapon skill increased by 5​
Mace specialisation : Mace & 2H mace weapon skill increased by 5​
Gnome : No weapon skill increase but ... their intellect can make up for that lack of genetics.​

  • Gear (not all available in phase 1):
Swords (1 & 2H) :​
Maces (1 & 2H) :​
Axes (1 & 2H) :​
Daggers :​
Fist Weapons :​
Bows/Guns/Crossbows :​
Only Bows :​
Only Guns :​
Only Crossbows :​


1.4 - How much weapon skill do you really want in the end ?

The short answer is : As much as you can (almost)! Weapon skill is the most overpowered stat for a melee in Vanilla WoW. Hands down.

But as nothing is easy in life, nor in Vanilla, here's the longer one :

  • We established that 305 weapon skill is a big step compared to 300, and even to 304. It will gives you 3% hit which is far from being negligeable, in addition to that sweet reduction of glancing blows damage reduction.
So 305 is your main goal as it is overall providing immense increased power already without loss of efficiency.

  • Now, there are other things to consider with more specific cases and here are some examples (non-exhaustive list) :
- In general, weapon skill will help to increase your DPS/threat, but beyond 305 for most classes won't be worth if it means sacrificing a lot of primary stats !​
- Weapon skill reduces the penalty inflicted by glancing blows, meaning that a rogue who does a crazy amount of white attacks or Warriors would benefit greatly from having more than 305 ... say 308-310.​
- As stated, weapon skill never hurts, but having only +2 and sacrificing a significant amount of primary stats is not worth it. Now gimme +4 ..... in exchange for some main stats only, and my eyes might start lighting up. It is also a matter of testing on dummies for example and see the increase you might get from a +3/+4 and if it is worth the loss of some stats.​
- Hunters do not have glancing blows on ranged weapon but apparently, being human and having a sword as melee would mean that hunters gain the +3% hit rate. It has to be double-checked once the game releases but it is like this on most private servers and stated on some 'vanilla' website. So to keep in mind.​


1.5 - But I'm a Caster... I am classy and refined, and use fancy spells and BDSM pets to kill
mobs unlike you filthy melee peons ! what does it have to do with me ???

That is true, the spell casting is stylish ... but weapon skill is also affecting you a tiny bit. How ? simply by the use of your wand.

Now you might think : "Yeah...Sure.... I don't really DPS with my wand dude". That's mostly true you impertinent little whelp ... but .... :

- https://classic.wowhead.com/spell=20354/judgement-of-wisdom#see-also-other . This can be applied by the paladin on a boss or adds (sometimes in fast run, you can regen mana on adds and save the drinking time), and means that every attacks against the target will restore you a certain amount of Mana. This is useful when you are oom, or when the fight is long and the raid needs to get back mana during a transition phase. But in order to hit the boss, you need to use your wand.. therefore you need to have your weapon skill maxed out !

- During leveling, you can weave wand attacks and spells in order to increase your overall DPS, which makes it easier for Priest to level for example.

- It is your last stand against magic immune enemies and/or when you are out of mana.

Now, is it 100% essential for you stylish magical beings ? probably not
Is it useful, sometimes life-saver and a way to stay useful when you are out of mana in order to either DPS or regenerate your mana ? Definitely.

 
Last edited:

Nostrau

Retired Member
Joined
15th Feb 2016
Messages
633
Location
Sweden
Class
Druid
Awesome!

I have a noob question for you. While leveling should I buy all available weapon skills asap or is it more nuanced than that? Mostly asking as a druid but applicable to all classes.
 

Vikingstad

Quartermaster
Joined
17th Jan 2017
Messages
256
Unless you know what weapons you can learn to use, I say learn them all as soon as possible. That way you will at least see if you can equip the drop or quest item. If you have a good overview of what you can use and not, save your silvers and only get what you know you'll use and close to when you will use it.
 

Struckd

Casual Raid Member
Joined
5th Aug 2017
Messages
678
Location
Shazzrah
Class
Mage
Unless you know what weapons you can learn to use, I say learn them all as soon as possible. That way you will at least see if you can equip the drop or quest item. If you have a good overview of what you can use and not, save your silvers and only get what you know you'll use and close to when you will use it.
That goes for mages and the one-hand sword skill! I believe that mages do not start with the sword skill straight away and need to go to a trainer to buy it. Whilst not as critical, something to keep in mind.
 

Circus

Retired Member
Joined
22nd Jan 2016
Messages
1,157
Location
Austria
Class
Druid
Amazing, what a nice writeup!

According to wowhead Weapon Skill has no effect in battlegrounds.

Effects Against Players (PvP)
Weapon skills are maxed in PvP combat, so leveling a weapon skill for PvP is relatively unimportant. When attacking an enemy player, your weapon skill will always be considered to be your level times 5 (X*5), and your target's Defense will always be treated as their level times 5 (X*5) before any Defense rating from your target's gear is taken into account.

While weapon skill does not affect your chance to hit enemy players in battlegrounds, it still affects your hit chance against enemy players in world PvP or duels.
And I've read that 5 weaponskill in open world pvp equates to 1.3% hit and 0.2% crit, which isn't really that noticeable, compared to the utility you get from Stone Skin or Escape Artist. Can you / some confirm or elaborate on that please?

Thanks.
 

Iselore

Core Raid Member
Joined
16th Sep 2013
Messages
1,754
Location
Edinburgh
Class
Hunter
Amazing, what a nice writeup!

According to wowhead Weapon Skill has no effect in battlegrounds.



And I've read that 5 weaponskill in open world pvp equates to 1.3% hit and 0.2% crit, which isn't really that noticeable, compared to the utility you get from Stone Skin or Escape Artist. Can you / some confirm or elaborate on that please?

Thanks.

In PvE 1.3% chance to hit is quite significant.
 

Liono

Retired Member
Joined
13th Aug 2019
Messages
36
Class
Warrior
Also watched the Skarm stream and he explained it very well. You basically want between 305-308 weapon skill for a melee dps. Can come from racials, gear or talents.
 

Naz

Loot Council
Joined
11th Aug 2019
Messages
277
Location
London, UK
Class
Warrior
I'm glad you wrote this up, Deen! We had a great discussion on discord, it's good to share it with everyone as a reference, thank you.

I will update this if the values are found to be different once classic is released
Circus already linked to it, but this github page has a bunch of test data from the Classic closed beta, that shows the glancing blow values are more like:
ΔDefense/SkillGlancing blow damage penalty
1535%
1015%
75%
55%
So it seems: the first 5 weapon skill is a +20% damage increase on Glancing Blows (40% of your white hits).
It's insane.

Not only is the first 5 weapon skill massive, but also the next 3 weapon skill is a further +10% damage on all Glancing Blows.
This means Human Sword/Mace Rogues (+5 from talents, +5 from racial), and Human Sword Warriors with item=19351 (+5 from race, +4 from Maladath) will get almost all of the possible benefit - total +30% damage on glancing blows and +3% hit.

But yes, will be good to see more numbers at level 60.


- Weapon skill reduces the penalty inflicted by glancing blows, meaning that a rogue who does a crazy amount of white attacks would benefit greatly from having more than 305 ... say 310.
Rogues have a bit more white hit damage than Warriors for sure, but for both of them it's a lot of their dps. They'll both want 308-310 weapon skill asap:

For reference, here are some recent private server logs to show some upper/lower boundaries of 'how much of my damage is white hits'. They're all in MC - click on Magmadar in the top-left, as he's a single target boss:

Low gear, 'pre-raid BiS':
  • Rogues did white hits as 45-50% of their damage
  • Dual Wield Warriors did white hits as 40%-52% of their damage
  • 2h Warriors (not 100% sure of Dadoom, but looks 2h) did white hits as 32-34% of their damage
Mixed gear, mostly between pre-raid and AQ gear
Another mixed pre-raid to AQ gear

So yeah I think the answer is all dual wielders should head straight to 308/310 weapon skill ASAP.

In PvE 1.3% chance to hit is quite significant.
It is pretty good, but the 5% hit cap for pvp is relatively easy to come by on gear - so imo it's still better to be a gnome 😄
*edit: I just re-read what you said, I misunderstood. Yeah +1.3% hit chance in PvE would be significant, but it's more like +3% against level 63 mobs! In answer to Circus' question, you'd still want to find that +2% hit on gear, and use an OP racial like gnome/dwarf imo.
 
Last edited:

Deen

Core Raid Member
Joined
8th Aug 2019
Messages
373
Location
London
Class
Warrior
Hey Guys :) Thanks for all the useful comments !! Skarm posted his video jus a bit after I finished and posted the guide haha thanks @Circus for the link. It confirms what is known regarding the hit% so that's all good, and give some useful datas for glancing blows which I updated now !

And I've read that 5 weaponskill in open world pvp equates to 1.3% hit and 0.2% crit, which isn't really that noticeable, compared to the utility you get from Stone Skin or Escape Artist. Can you / some confirm or elaborate on that please?
Similarly I think it probably need some test and will be made clear after the release, but as other said, the racial provided are just too good to pass on for PvP and I would think 2% hit or so can be found fairly easily on gear if PvP gear specifically, other as you need more for PvE gear, you'd be fine.
Once we get some data for PvP, ill made a small PvP sections to the thread and update it ;-)

Not only is the first 5 weapon skill massive, but also the next 3 weapon skill is a further +10% damage on all Glancing Blows.
This means Human Sword/Mace Rogues (+5 from talents, +5 from racial), and Human Sword Warriors with Maladath, Runed Blade of the Black Flight (+5 from race, +4 from Maladath) will get almost all of the possible benefit - total +30% damage on glancing blows and +3% hit.

But yes, will be good to see more numbers at level 60.
Agreed, given the right class and spec, 308 or so is the most beneficial both on Hit & glancing blows account.

Also watched the Skarm stream and he explained it very well. You basically want between 305-308 weapon skill for a melee dps. Can come from racials, gear or talents.
So yeah I think the answer is all dual wielders should head straight to 308/310 weapon skill ASAP
Yep, 305-308 sounds about right. 305 being the good overall you wanna achieve and anything more until 308-310 is less efficient but still highly beneficial. Beyond that is mostly a waste.

I would though warrant the fact that without racial, 308-310 is difficult to obtain, and still can be with the racial, especially without good money or prime loots so I would say that above 305, it is both a consideration of your class/spec and what other stats you are losing to decide whether or not to get there.
Getting to 305 is a no brainer, to 308-310 can mostly be beneficial but can also find itself less efficient than some other gear, especially if that gear used to obtain 308-310 is in the 53-58 range. But that really depends and as long as one understands how it works, the choice should become clear ;-)
 
Last edited:

Circus

Retired Member
Joined
22nd Jan 2016
Messages
1,157
Location
Austria
Class
Druid
So that would be +hit gear and +weapon proficiency right?

I mean if you can only get 302 for what ever reason but on the other hand you have more pieces that give you +hit, does this make up for it?
 
Last edited:

Iselore

Core Raid Member
Joined
16th Sep 2013
Messages
1,754
Location
Edinburgh
Class
Hunter
So that would be +hit gear and +weapon proficiency right?

I mean if you can only get 302 for what ever reason but on the other hand you have more pieces that give you +hit, does this make up for it?
There's also talents to consider which contribute to +hit also
 

Deen

Core Raid Member
Joined
8th Aug 2019
Messages
373
Location
London
Class
Warrior
So that would be +hit gear and +weapon proficiency right?

I mean if you can only get 302 for what ever reason but on the other hand you have more pieces that give you +hit, does this make up for it?
In my opinion, It would not make up for it in the sense that Weapon skill gives you overall more beneficial effects. But having your Soft hit Cap is also a priority.

Ideally, One would try to get as much weapon skill first up to 305 and even 308-310 (reasonably as long as not losing too many primary stats or having to equip shitty gear) and then balance out the missing hit % with gear/talent to get to the soft hit cap.

But if One can not get more than 302 for some reason, then it can make up for part of it via +hit % on gear, but won't make up for the glancing blows reduction for instance.

I guess it's a process of elimination but getting to your hit cap in the early days is probably more realistic than getting tp 308-310 weapon skill (especially in phase 1 & 2). Then as the phases comes, as well as the loot, one can reconsider and max out his Weapon skill first and use flat +hit % as a filler. Now if you are a spoiled human, life is indeed easier for you as long as you wear sword and maces !
 
Last edited:
Top