Attack Speed vs Damage in Path of Exile Builds

Generally, is it better to build damage or attack speed, and why?

Attack speed:

  • Attack speed affects all damage (physical or elemental)
  • Faster attack speed can apply Life on Hit faster
  • High attack speed will drain your mana quicker, so if you rely on mana leech at some point it may become unsustainable.
  • Attacking faster may apply critical strikes or elemental status effects quicker.
  • Not affected as much by enemy’s dodge/block

Damage:

  • If an attack hits for a lot of damage in one hit a part of monster’s armor is bypassed.
  • Damage scales better with Hatred if you’re using it.
  • High damage has a chance to stun.

Generally for your skill tree you should focus on both attack speed and damage equally. The more you invest into damage, attack speed becomes even better, and vice versa.

Attack speed also scales better if your weapons have high base speed. So for example if you’re going for a 2-Handed weapon stacking more physical damage might be more efficient for you, and a fast attacking dual-wield build can benefit more by going for increased attack speeds.

If you’re wondering whether to take attack speed or physical damage nodes in your skill tree, it should roughly be the same. But it depends on your build, equipment and other nodes as well, so the easiest way to find out whether you gain more damage with a 4% attack speed node or from a 12% physical damage node is to spend 2-3 Regrets and test it yourself.

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