Weapon skill represents your proficiency with a particular Weapon. The basic formula for your maximum weapon skill at a particular level is (5 * level). The rate at which you gain them depends on your Intellect score and the speed of the weapon. It's typically better to use a fast weapon to train up your skills.
Contents
Effects of Weapon Skill
For each point that your weapon skill exceeds your opponent's defense, you gain the following:
- Your chance to miss decreases by 0.04%.
- Your chance to score a critical hit increases by 0.04%.
- Your opponent's chance to block your attack decreases by 0.04%.
- Your opponent's chance to parry your attack decreases by 0.04%.
- Your opponent's chance to dodge your attack decreases by 0.04%.
Effectively, you can consider weapon skill to be the inverse of the defense skill.
Glancing blows
Against mobs with defense roughly equal to or higher than your attack rating, you will have a chance to land a glancing blow instead of a normal hit. A glancing blow only occurs on white melee damage, cannot crit, and has a damage reduction proportional to the difference between the attacker's weapon skill and the target's defense. Weapon skill above your level * 5, as from gear or racial bonuses, reduces the severity of the damage reduction, but not your chance to land a glancing blow.
Glancing Blow chance
Players have a chance to perform a glancing blow against mobs equal to 10% plus 2% per point of difference between attack rating and defense. Non-melee classes level 30 and higher have a 60% chance to glancing blow. Non-melee classes from level 11 to level 29 have a (level - 10) * 3% chance of a glancing blow. As noted above, your maximum attack rating in this formula is 5 times your level. A mob's Defense skill is equal to its level * 5.
This formula means that, for a level 60 player with fully trained weapon skill, 30% of all white-damage melee attacks will be Glancing Blows against level 62 mobs, and 40% of all white-damage melee attacks will be Glancing Blows against level 63 mobs.
The presence of your weapon skill in this formula, rather than just your level, explains why training up a newly-acquired weapon skill against mobs close to your own level results in many, many Glancing Blows at first.
Glancing Blow damage reduction
The damage of a glancing blow is complicated. It starts by calculating the difference of Defense minus attack rating. This is then used to calculate a minimum and maximum damage factor. The actual damage factor is then randomized between these two values. The low value starts at 1.3 - 0.05 * rating difference. If the attacker is a caster then this is reduced by 0.7 more. The smaller value of this and 0.6 is kept as the low end. If the attacker is a melee class then instead the lower value of 0.91 and (1.3 - 0.05 * rating difference) is used for the low. Regardless, the low end will not go below 0.01.
The high end of the range starts at 1.2 - 0.03 * rating difference. Casters are reduced a further 0.3. The high value regardless of class is kept between 0.2 and 0.99.
The average reduction from a glancing blow is therefore (high + low) / 2 using the formulae above. This gives a level 60 player, with fully trained but otherwise unbuffed weapon skill, a 15% damage reduction with all Glancing Blows against level 62 mobs, and a 35% damage reduction with all Glancing Blows against level 63 mobs.
Unlike the chances of getting a glancing blow, the player's weapon skill is not capped at level * 5 in the damage reduction formula. With +5 weapon skill, a level 60 player attacking a level 63 NPC will see the same amount of glancing blows (40%), but only 15% damage reduction. With +10 weapon skill, the damage reduction becomes a negligible 5%.
Glancing Blow Implications
With + to weapon skill you will have the exact same percentage of glancing blows, but each glancing blow will land harder. With enough + to weapon skill, all your glancing blows will hit just as hard as your normal, non-glancing blows.
The fact that 40% of all white-damage melee attacks made against a Boss Mob will be Glancing Blows, no matter what you do, has serious implications when choosing how much +crit% gear to use. Due to the table-based nature of WoW's attack resolution system, Glancing Blows take precedence over critical hits. If your combined miss, dodge, parry, block, glancing blow, and crit chance against a mob is 100% or higher, you will never see a normal white-damage hit made against that mob (all your hits will be either glancing blows or critical hits). If it exceeds 100%, it is your critical hit chance that gets "pushed off the end" of the table. Any +crit% gear added past this point will not improve your critical hit chance with white-damage melee attacks at all. This is sometimes called the "Crit cap" (see below).
Instant attacks, and "yellow damage" on-next-swing attacks such as Heroic Strike, do not produce Glancing Blows. For these attacks, added +crit% gear beyond the "Crit cap" described above will improve your critical hit chance.
Ranged weapon attacks (Bows, guns and crossbows) do not have glancing blows at all, thus weapon skill does not affect this for them. It works the same for all classes that can use ranged weapons (hunters, rogues and warriors).
Glancing Blows in the Burning Crusade
According to the 2.0 patch notes, the following changes are occuring in WoW 2.0:
- Weapon skill will no longer reduce the percentage damage lost due to glancing.
- The player will gain 0.1% to their critical strike rating per weapon skill against monsters above their level.
Crit Cap
With no +skill/+hit gear on, attacks made by a dual wielder against a level 63 mob will have the following table from the front:
Result | Chance |
---|---|
Miss | 24.6% |
Dodge | 5.6% |
Parry | 5.6% |
Glancing Blow | 40.0% |
Block | 5.6% |
Combined hit + crit | 18.6% |
Attacks from the back are thought by many to prevent blocks and parries, but in fact they still occur against mobs but appear as MISS results instead. Players cannot dodge, parry, or block attacks from the back. Mobs that dodge display as a miss. Mobs that parry display miss but still get the haste increase provided by a parry. Blocks actually becomes a real miss, meaning all of the damage is avoided (instead of some of it getting through and only some being blocked).
It is not as bad if the same character attacks the same mob with a two-handed weapon:
Result | Chance |
---|---|
Miss | 5.6% |
Dodge | 5.6% |
Parry | 5.6% |
Glancing Blow | 40.0% |
Block | 5.6% |
Combined hit + crit | 37.6% |
This is a 37.6% + your +hit crit cap.
All these crit caps can be increased by increasing your +skill (.16% increase per point from the front) and by +hit (1% increase per point).
Dual wield full raid buffs (including mongoose and elemental sharpening stones) example from the front:
+0 hit +50% crit: 5.6% dodge, 5.6% parry, 24.6% miss, 5.6% block, 40% glancing blow, 18.6% crit = 31.4% of your crit rate did nothing +6 hit +40% crit: 5.6% dodge, 5.6% parry, 5.6% block, 18.6% miss, 40% glancing blow, 24.6% crit = 15.4% of your crit rate did nothing +15 hit +33% crit: 5.6% dodge, 5.6% parry, 5.6% block, 9.6% miss, 40% glancing blow, 33% crit, 0.8% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
Dual wield full raid buffs (including mongoose and elemental sharpening stones) example from the back:
+0 hit +50% crit: 5.6% dodge, 24.6% miss, 40% glancing blow, 29.8% crit = 20.2% of your crit rate did nothing +6 hit +40% crit: 5.6% dodge, 18.6% miss, 40% glancing blow, 35.8% crit = 4.2% of your crit rate did nothing +15hit +33% crit: 5.6% dodge, 9.6% miss, 40% glancing blow, 33% crit, 12% hit = no +crit was wasted in this example
DPS Implications
+skill and +hit both become much more important than previously believed due to the crit cap and glancing blow damage reduction. The following shows the difference in white damage between various stat options
Assuming 25.2% crit and 0% hit its 5.6% block for say 80% damage (depends on a lot of things) 18.6% crit for 200% damage (impale doesnt work!) 40% glancing blow for 70% damage 35.8% no damage per swing its an average of .056 * .8 + .186 *2 + .4 * .7 = 69.68% of your damage per swing
With +10 skill its 5.2% block for say 80% damage (depends on a lot of things) 20.2% crit for 200% damage (impale doesnt work!) 40% glancing blow for 100% damage 34.6% no damage so per swing its an average of .052 * .8 + .202 *2 + .4 * 1 = 84.56% of your damage per swing (84.56 - 69.68)/69.68 = 21.3% white damage increase with +10 skill
Assuming you have +5 hit, the numbers become... 5.6% block for say 80% damage (depends on a lot of things) 23.6% crit for 200% damage (impale doesnt work!) 40% glancing blow for 70% damage 30.8% no damage so per swing its an average of .056 * .8 + .236 *2 + .4 * .7 = 79.68% of your damage per swing
With +5 hit and +10 skill its 5.2% block for say 80% damage (depends on a lot of things) 25.2% crit for 200% damage (impale doesnt work!) 40% glancing blow for 100% damage 34.6% no damage so per swing its an average of .052 * .8 + .252 *2 + .4 * 1 = 94.56% of your damage per swing (94.56 - 79.68)/79.68 = 18.7% white damage increase with +10 skill
Itemization
Itemization for +weapon skill is extremely lacking. The following is a complete list of all items with +weapon skill
Item | + Skill | Slot | Type |
Daggers | |||
---|---|---|---|
Distracting Dagger | +6 | Offhand | Dagger |
Death's Sting | +3 | One-Hand | Dagger |
Skilled Fighting Blade | +4 | One-Hand | Dagger |
Aged Core Leather Gloves | +5 | Hands | Leather |
Circlet of Restless Dreams | +6 | Head | Leather |
Mugger's Belt | +5 | Waist | Leather |
Edgemaster's Handguards | +7 | Hands | |
Swords | |||
Maladath | +4 | One Handed | Sword |
The Twin Blades of Hakkari | +6 | Main + Offhand | Set Bonus |
Edgemaster's Handguards | +7 | Hands | |
The Hungering Cold | +6 | One Handed | Sword |
Axes | |||
Zulian Hacker | +2 | One Handed | Axe |
Expert Goldminer's Helmet | +7 | Head | Leather |
Edgemaster's Handguards | +7 | Hands | |
Maces | |||
Anubisath Warhammer | +4 | One Handed | Mace |
Sceptre of Smiting | +2 | One Handed | Mace |
2H Swords | |||
Obsidian Edged Blade | +8 | Two Handed | Sword |
2H Axes | |||
Huge Thorium Battleaxe | +10 | Two Handed | Axe |
Dwarven Tree Chopper | +2 | Two Handed | Axe |
2H Maces | |||
Servomechanic Sledgehammer | +8 | Two Handed | Mace |
Bows | |||
The Eye of Nerub | +4 | Two Handed | Polearm |
Infernal Trickster Leggings | +4 | Legs | |
Trueaim Gauntlets | +8 | Hands | |
Marksman Bands | +2 | Bracers | |
Sash of the Grand Hunt | +2 | Belt | |
Crossbows | |||
The Eye of Nerub | +4 | Two Handed | Polearm |
Stoneshatter | +4 | Ranged | Crossbow |
Trueaim Gauntlets | +8 | Hands | |
Marksman Bands | +2 | Bracers | |
Sash of the Grand Hunt | +2 | Belt | |
Guns | |||
The Eye of Nerub | +4 | Two Handed | Polearm |
Flawless Arcanite Rifle | +4 | Ranged | Gun |
Trueaim Gauntlets | +8 | Hands | |
Marksman Bands | +2 | Bracers | |
Sash of the Grand Hunt | +2 | Belt |
Talents
- Weapon Expertise talent increases skill with Swords, Fists and Daggers by 3 (rank 1) or by 5 (rank 2)
- Mace Specialization talent increases skill with Maces by 1 per talent point spent (max 5).
Racial Bonuses
- Humans: +5 sword skill, +5 mace skill, +5 two-handed sword skill, +5 two-handed mace skill
- Dwarves: +5 gun skill
- Orcs: +5 axe skill, +5 two-handed axe skill
- Trolls: +5 bow skill, +5 throwing weapon skill
Weapon Skills Under Change in Future
In PTR Patch Notes 2.0.1, weapon skill receive such changes
- Weapon Skill now does the following:
- Weapon skill will no longer reduce the percentage damage lost due to glancing.
- The player will gain 0.1% to their critical strike rating per weapon skill against monsters above their level.
Other effect yet to be determined.