Dungeons & Dragons is testing a fix to two-weapon fighting, providing players with a way to live out their dual-wielding fantasies without suffering an immense mechanical setback. Earlier this week, Wizards of the Coast released a new One D&D playtest containing revisions to the Bard, Ranger, and Rogue classes as well as a number of feats and other rules. One rule buried in the playtest contained a small but important revision to Two-Weapon Fighting, which allows players to fight with a weapon in both hands, provided that both weapons are Light weapons. While players previously could only attack with their off-hand weapon by using a Bonus Action, the revised Two-Weapon fighting now states that players can attack with both weapons as part of the same Attack action.
This small change should have profound effects on many types of character builds. For instance, Rangers can now cast Hunter's Mark with their Bonus Action and then use both of their weapons to immediately attack their marked enemy. Similarly, a Rogue can now make two attacks with a pair of knives and still use their Cunning Action ability to disengage and get out of harm's way.
Several feats and other rule tweaks also improve Two-Weapon Fighting. For instance, Shortswords are now classified as Light Weapons, which means that players can wield two Shortswords and still benefit from Two-Weapon Fighting. This should help counterbalance a small nerf to the Dual Wielder feat, which now requires that at least one of a player's two weapons be a Light Weapon when dual wielding. Previously, the Dual Wielder feat allowed players to use any one-handed weapon when making a Dual Wielding attack.
If a Ranger chooses to take the Dual Wielder feat at Level 1, they can hypothetically deal out 1D8+3D6+their Strength Modifier with a single attack action provided they attack a creature with Hunter's Mark. That's a big burst of damage and makes the Ranger a lot stronger in combat from the outset.