Dual Wielding is a gameplay mechanic in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that allows to wield a one-handed weapon, spell, or staff in each hand. While dual wielding, the equipped items do not have to match.
Dual wielding weapons
When dual wielding weapons, the Dragonborn has four options of attack: attacking either with left or right weapon, attacking with both weapons simultaneously (by pressing both attack buttons at the same time) and performing a dual wielding power attack. All four attack types are affected by the Dual Flurry perk.
Attacking with both weapons simultaneously does not consume stamina and as such is an easy and effective way of increasing the damage output. The damage, reach, stagger and any enchantments are calculated separately for each weapon. The speed of the attack is based on (but not equal to) weapon speed held in the left hand, so it is advisable to always hold the faster weapon in the left hand. Note that you cannot move when performing the dual attack.
Dual wielding power attacks do 50% extra damage and the stamina cost is half of what is needed for a regular power attack. The dual wielding power attack hits three times however, for a total of 150% extra damage and 150% stamina cost. The stamina used for dual wielding power attack is based on the weight of the weapon in the right hand only.
Dual wielding daggers results in a special power attack animation in which the Dragonborn first flips the dagger held in the right hand before performing the actual attack. While visually appealing, the time it takes to flip the dagger on every power attack decreases overall damage output. This is especially noticeable when attack speed is improved, either by the Dual Flurry perk or by the Elemental Fury shout.
Dual wielding spells or staves
Dual wielding different spells works just as if the spells were cast in any other way. You can cast any combination of spells that require only one hand to cast.
Dual wielding the same spell can be improved if the Dual Casting perk of the appropriate school is unlocked. Dual casting a spell works just like dual attacking weapons - by pressing both left and right hand attack buttons simultaneously. The effect of dual cast depends on school - destruction spells deal more damage, conjuration spells last longer, restoration spells heal more, illusion spells work on higher level creatures and people, and so on. It also has a unique cast animation. Staves cannot be used for dual casting.
It should be noted that dual casting is only marginally more effective than casting independently with both hands(10% better spell effect) while at the same time being noticeably more magicka-intensive (40% higher magicka cost than when cast independently with both hands). As such, it should probably be avoided until enough magicka reserves(or casting cost reducing gear) is obtained, with the possible exception of Destruction Dual Casting, which is required to use the Impact perk.
Character dual wielding
Other characters can dual wield, but the conditions under which they will do so are very particular. Some, such as Jenassa, will dual wield any two weapons when in range of an enemy. Most others will only equip certain weapons in their left hand, specifically a pickaxe, or Forsworn sword or axe.
- When dual wielding, the weapon in the left hand does not have a sheath, nor is there an animation for taking the weapon out, or putting the weapon away.
- When dual wielding melee weapons, after a dual power attack one can get a second dual power attack for no stamina cost if a regular dual hit is used shortly after. With this one can do double the amount of power attacks and damage with no extra stamina cost if timed right, though it is unknown if this was an intended feature.confirmation needed
- There is a noticeable recovery period after a dual wielding attack, so it does not actually double your damage output. The damage increase is still significant however, especially with Dual Flurry perk.
- Because dual wielding does not allow for blocking, melee combat becomes much more challenging with a dual wielding character. Typically, the Dragonborn will have most success by physically dodging attacks.
- If a dagger is wielded in one hand, it can also be useful to use the dagger's very fast power attack to disrupt an opponent's attack animation. This takes practice and excellent reactions, but is rewarding and effective.
- Skyrim is the first game in the Elder Scrolls series to include dual-wielding. The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall allowed the player to hold a weapon in each hand, but only one weapon could be employed at a time, with the option of quick-swapping between the two with a single key press.
- When wearing Leather Armor and dual wielding a dagger in the left hand and a sword in the right, there is a sheath visible for the dagger as well as the sword equipped. (Seems to have been patched in an update, no longer happens, tested Xbox 360)
- The enchantment on the Deathbrand Gauntlets is only effective when dual-wielding.
- Ore can only be mined when the pick is in the right hand; the left hand does not affect mining.
- Dual wielding with a pickaxe in the right hand and another weapon in the left significantly speeds up mining.
If the controls are changed via the settings, dual wielding will almost be impossible. It is still possible to duel wield, which is done by having two of the same weapons in the inventory, add them to the favourites list and give them a number (by pressing a number key on the keyboard). You can then press the button corresponding with the number chosen to select the weapon, and then again to select the identical weapon.
- This does not work for weapons which have been upgraded at a grindstone.
- The Dual Flurry perk may cause a glitch which causes attacks to go at a slow speed. This can be fixed by removing one or both ranks of the perk. It is unknown if the perk can be safely added again after it is removed.
- Occasionally with enchanted weapons, a weapon in the left hand will not impart its effect on strike nor will it lose any charge. Instead, it may impart the enchantment of the weapon in the right hand. The issue can usually be resolved by fast travel or transition to another area.
- Sometimes when dual wielding identical weapons and using the Elemental Fury Shout, even after the effect has worn off, the right hand weapon will still swing at enhanced speed.