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A friend of mine who is a pretty hardcore gamer (halfway through Inferno now) dropped in a game just now to give some gear and some advice to my monk. I learned something kind of surprising that I didn't expect, and thought I should pass the information on.

If you play a class that can hold a weapon in each hand, you may want to think twice before you do so. In Warcraft and many other games, the damage of each weapon adds to your total output, with small penalties; i.e., you might get only 50% of the off-hand damage.

In Diablo 3, your damage is calculated as the AVERAGE of your two weapons. That means that if you are holding two weapons, your total damage will definitely be less than the damage of the best weapon. It's totally counter-intuitive, but I verified it for myself. You can try holding a weapon, then adding and removing a much lower off-hand, and see how your damage stat changes. Be aware, though, that if the off-hand weapon has a primary stat on it (like dexterity for a monk) you may still see your damage go up a bit, since the non-damage stats do get added.

In any case, apparently the best option for a monk without a 2-handed weapon is to use a shield in the off-hand. The shield doesn't affect your damage, but it does give you both stats and protection, so it's a win all around.

The other thing he wanted to tell me is that you should ALWAYS try to have a helm with a gem slot in it, and the helm should always contain the best possible red gem. Red gives you an XP bonus, and before 60 that will help you more than anything else in the game.
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