A weapon is an item that can be equipped and used to cause damage. It must be equipped in the main hand, off hand, both hands (two-handed and dual wielding), or ranged weapon equipment slot. Each class has certain weapons it is allowed to use.
Devices which cause damage when used but are not equipped are not weapons in a game mechanic sense, being more akin to stored spells. So dynamite, bombs, grenades, and mortars are not weapon items, but are consumable explosive items.
- A weapon classified as "Main Hand" can only be used in the main hand slot.
- Every character can train to equip some main hand weapons.
- Weapons designated 'main hand' tend to be slow.
- This works to the character's advantage - slow means higher base damage, and main hand base damage is the value used to calculate damage for special melee abilities.
- A weapon classified as "Two-Handed" will appear in the main hand slot and prevent the off hand slot from being used.
- A weapon classified as "off hand" can only be used in the off hand slot.
- Only characters that can dual wield (only certain classes, some require a Specialization) can use the off hand slot.
- Weapons designated 'off hand' tend to be fast.
- A weapon classified as "one hand" can be used in either the main hand slot or the off hand slot (with dual wield ability).
- Weapons designated 'one hand' tend to be fast.
- A character that cannot wield an off hand weapon may carry an off hand object.
- These are considered to be an armor item (does no direct damage).
- Any character can carry one, but most have caster buffs.
- Stamina buffs, applicable to any class, can be found.
- The off-hand slot is also the shield slot, and characters that can use a shield will often be better off using a shield.
- All classes may elect to fight unarmed; a melee weapon is not required, but without a melee weapon, the damage is greatly reduced.
- A few Professional tools can also serve as melee weapons.
- These can be equipped by anybody with the proper profession(s), for use as a weapon.
- They do not need to be equipped for use within the profession, merely need to be in your inventory.
- The damage and other weapon characteristics are generally inadequate, so these are not generally used as weapons.
- These professional tools do not use the normal weapon skills, nor do they work with many class abilities.
- Unlike normal weapons, these tools have no durability and take no damage.
- There are normal weapons in WoW that function as these tools and can replace them.
- Other tools, such as the, the , and the are not weapons.
- There are also a few novelty weapons that can be used as professional tools, such as . Unlike professional tools, they DO have an associated weapon skill (in this case, the axe skill) and can be used with special abilities that require weapons. However, they are almost all poor quality and not generally actually used as weapons. Like professional tools, they merely need to be in your inventory, not equipped, to be used for a profession.
- Fishing poles are the tool used for fishing.
- Fishing poles are two-handed weapons.
- Unlike the other tools, fishing poles need to be equipped to be used for fishing.
- Fishing poles use the fishing skill as the weapon skill, and some do significant damage.
- Using a fishing pole in combat will not grant you fishing skill, unlike other weapons that do give skill increases to their governing skills.
- Fishing poles have durability and take damage.
- Fishing poles do not count to having a melee weapon equipped for skills that require it.
- Mages, priests, and warlocks can use wands.
- Death Knights, druids, paladins, and shamans cannot use ranged weapons.
Bows, crossbows, and guns
Hunters should take into consider their racial specialization when deciding on a ranged weapon; after all, if that weapon type is not their personal preference, it can always be transmogrified into one that is. In situations where it is known that there is a possibility that weapon durability can be broken (such as Nefarian's class-call outs in BWL), hunters should always carry a decent-quality backup weapon because they will do little DPS without it.
Before Patch 4.0.1, these ranged weapons required ammo to fire: bows and crossbows use arrows which could be stored in a quiver, while guns used bullets or shot, which could be stored in a ammo pouch. The ammo provided a damage bonus. Hunters were also allowed to use thrown weapons, but as they don't have any special abilities pertaining to them, it was recommended for them to use a non-thrown weapon as they would do far more dps with a bow, crossbow or gun anyway.
- A wand is a special type of ranged weapon by mage, priest, and warlock classes.
- A wand does not require ammo nor mana, and is not used up.
- A wand has a small cooldown, but is generally fast.
- Unlike other ranged weapons, a wand can be used in melee.
- Unlike any other weapon item, a wand does not do weapon damage, but only magical damage.
- Resistances to types of magic become significant, and these caster classes may choose to carry multiple wands with different damage types.
- Though magic, this is not casting a spell; the caster's spell casting buffs do not affect the wand's damage.
- Wands use the "shoot" action and the wand skill. While shooting it will keep using the wand every time it becomes available.
- Using shoot with a wand will trigger a global cooldown each time the wand is activated.
- Canceling the shoot sequence can be accomplished by moving, jumping, or pressing the shoot button again between cooldowns, which requires quick timing and is generally unpreferred if needing to stop quickly.
- Wands have higher DPS than other weapons of the same item level, but this is misleading as no stat or attribute increases their damage. They always do less damage than spellcasting.
- Weapons are generally selected for their buffs, rather than their damage per se.
- Melee weapons of uncommon quality or greater will have buffs.
- These buffs will tend to be for the classes that can use that type of weapon.
- Two-handed weapons tend to have buffs that are twice what a single hand weapon of comparable quality and level would have.
- Ranged weapons have buffs as well, but often do not at early levels, even among uncommon or rare items.
- Warriors can use any weapon type in the game, except wands.
- Almost any class, except paladins and death knights, can train to use daggers.
- Almost any class, except rogues, death knights, and paladins, can train to use staves.
- Rogues are the only class in the game that cannot use any two-handed weapon (except fishing poles).
- They start with the ability to dual wield, which mitigates the disadvantage.
Removed weapon types
- These are obviously thrown, not shot.
- Thrown weapons, knives and axes, are themselves treated like ammo.
- Thrown weapons tend to be fast, but always manually thrown, and do lighter damage per throw.
- Rogues and warriors can generally throw faster than they can shoot.
- PvP Rogues should always equip a thrown weapon rather than a bow, et all, for their ability , useful against fleeing targets.
- For Warriors that have not learned , using a thrown or ranged weapon can be to pull mobs at a distance or effectively perform a Line of Sight pull. Be careful though, as this generates low threat and only generates threat on one mob. Priest and Druids should be especially careful as even a single Prayer of Mending (initial cast, i.e. if it wore off before the pull or it was cast late), Shield, or HoT can pull off a warrior that has only the small amount of threat from throw or a ranged weapon.