In Diablo 3 there are two main ways of casting offensive attacks: holding down the mouse button or spam-clicking. Rapid clicking results in increased attack animations, but it’s debatable as to whether or not spam-clicking in itself increases DPS by a reasonable amount. Increasing the attack animation may not necessarily translate into increased attacks, as it may just be a visual bug.
Diablo 3 doesn’t provide players with a way to measure DPS, so it’s difficult to tell if spam-clicking provides a direct boost to DPS over simply holding down the attack button. I always feel that the best way to test things like this is to try it and see. Whichever method has mobs dying quicker – then that would be the better one to use. 😉
Spam-Click or Hold-Down?
I ran a few crude tests which involved my Barbarian vs the Skeleton King. I actually found that holding the attack button down worked better for me, as in each test he went down quicker using this method. I attribute this to the fact that it’s easier to keep him targeted when he teleports.
The tests were pretty inconclusive, but as I’d mentioned, I think you need to use whichever method works best for you in a particular encounter – based on which class you are playing. Holding down the mouse button can be pretty effective for single targets, but you’ll typically find that spam clicking is the best way to chop down groups of mobs, as you’re generally having to re-target quickly anyway.
Many players have mentioned the fact that spam-clicking seems to increase attack rate, but again…it’s uncertain whether or not this is just a visual bug or if it does indeed provide a direct DPS advantage over simply holding down the mouse button. In a recent forum post pertaining to this interesting attack mechanic – where a player posted a link to a video demonstrating the difference – a blue offered up this…
Quote from Vasadan
Thanks guys, we are aware of this bug.
In his response, the Blue refers to this as a bug, so who knows… It could mean that it is a visual bug – that does not actually increase DPS – or it could mean that spam-clicking does increase DPS and Blizz intends to fix it. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In addition to either holding down the mouse button or spam-clicking, there is a third mechanic that can be used to increase attack rate even more. This technique involves the use of the SHIFT key while moving & attacking, and I do believe it results in a direct increase to DPS. This is the method I have been using with the most success.
The reason this method is so effective is that it actually cancels the finishing animation of the attack and resets the swing timer. With effective timing of this technique, you can actually increase your attack frequency by a fairly substantial amount.
Each time a character attacks with an ability (that has no cooldown) there are three components to the animation:
- Start-up phase where the character is preparing the attack
- Delivery phase where the character is doing the actual damage
- Recovery phase where the character is finishing the attack animation
By using this animation canceling technique, you can actually skip the 3rd phase almost entirely. The idea is to disallow phase 3 from happening, so that right after your character has damaged their foe(s), they’re beginning the next attack.
The following video demonstrates this technique very well, and offers some actual evidence proving that this technique does greatly increase attack frequency.
Animation Canceling Demo Video – Demon Hunter
As you can see, by moving ever so slightly, the player is able to restart the attack sequence much quicker. This technique is achieved by using well timed movement just after a mouse click, followed by shift+click to begin the next attack. Since mobs need not be targeted in order to be damaged (they just need to be in your attack’s frontal cone area), the best way to use this attack style is to click an area in the direction you want to attack, but past the hostile target(s). This will ensure that you’re able to stutter step a small amount in order to cancel the third phase of the animation.
If you test this practice out in-game, you’ll see what I mean. Try it out in town… Hold the shift key and cast your attack…you’ll see the entire animation. Now try moving just after you’ve clicked your mouse – you’ll see that the animation ends prematurely.
Now, hold shift+attack, then move, then shift+attack again – in rapid succession. With a little practice you’ll see that you can get attacks off a bit quicker this way, and it does in fact increase DPS.
Blizzard is well aware of this stutter step attack technique, and it sounds as if they might support it. The following are a few Blue responses from last October, and as you know, this attack mechanic has not been adjusted since.
Quote from Bashiok
It’s an intentional mechanic, not an exploit or bug. Our intent is simply to make combat feel good and responsive, but the implementation to hit that goal in the closed beta build is actually quite old. It’s likely you’ll see changes within some future beta push that reflect more what we’re testing now internally, but of course it’s possible that won’t be the final implementation either. (Source)
Quote from Bashiok
Posted by Jacka
bashiok is saying that they want people to be casting 2+ spells in the same timespan as 1.
No, that’s not what I’m saying. That’s not the intent.
I’m saying we’re looking for ways to make combat feel responsive and “good”. Those are both rather subjective things, and the early prototype to try to achieve those goals (which is what you can see in the beta) has already been replaced by something else. (Source)
Based on Bashiok’s responses, it sounds like Blizzard may be alright with players using game mechanics in this way. If Diablo 3 ends up allowing for this style of play (which is likely the case), it will definitely offer an advantage for those players who are practiced up with this technique.