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What is this Guide About?
There are a huge variety of weapons in EverQuest 2. There are so many, in fact, it can be very difficult to figure out what type of weapon is best for your character. Obviously, you want stats that are appropriate for your class. That part is obvious. You also want a high damage value. These parts are easy to compare because they are directly comparable between two weapons. The tough part is weapon speed because that is when the nitty gritty mechanics of combat come into play. This guide seeks to demystify the weapon speed mechanics in EverQuest 2 in a "Question and Answer" format.
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Does this guide pertain to crafted or dropped weapons?
This guide pertains to both. The weapon speeds for dropped weapons are really all over the place. Do not get sucked in by exciting looking stats on a legendary or fabled weapon that you find, as a bad weapon speed can basically ruin it (assuming you are not a pure caster). This is one of the reasons so many people use crafted weapons from level 1 to 70 (and sometimes all the way up to level 80 until they get a class specific weapon). By using crafted weapons you can get the exact weapon speed you want with the exact stats and procs you want.
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What are the mechanics behind weapon speeds? When do you want fast, when do you want slow?
You always want slow weapons. The slower the better in virtually all circumstances. The mechanics behind weapon speeds are fairly simple but the reasons why slow weapons are better are somewhat more complicated. To fully understand the answer to this question, you need to know a few things about how auto-attack works in conjunction with skills (Source: EverQuest 2 Forums and my own combat experience and data analysis).
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Effect of Combat Arts and Spells
Using a combat art or spell during a period in which an auto-attack swing should occur will cause the auto-attack to be delayed until the end of the combat art or spell's casting and recovery times. After this period is up the auto-attack will hit and the auto-attack swings will continue as normal (with the correct delay between all swings). Only one auto-attack swing for each hand can be delayed in this way, so if you have casting times that are longer than the weapon's delay (and are badly/unluckily timed) you will find that you lose swings with the weapon. As a result of this, slow weapons will get more uninterrupted auto-attack swings in any fight in which the wielder is using combat arts or spells.