Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.
Tanking is what we've talked about for the past couple of weeks, so let's switch it back up. DPS warriors come in two varieties, arms and fury, and for the next couple of weeks (depending on if/when patch 4.0.6 comes out), we'll be talking about the talents of each of those DPS trees and what you can use them for. Fury's going first because I despise alphabetical order and all of its works. Do you hear me, alphabet? I do not fear you. Well, except for when I try and spell Cataclysm. I always get the Y and the S flipped around.
With some of the fights in Cataclysm being among the most unfriendly to melee DPS of any expansion, it's important to consider that taking survivability and mobility talents can be just as important for PvE as for PvP. So let's take a look at fury and its talents.
At this point in time, I don't think I can overemphasize mobility and survival talents. Why are they important? Because right now, most heroics and raids have tons of avoidable damage, and tons more area damage that often cannot be avoided. Being harder to kill and more able to escape said damage is crucial. In Wrath of the Lich King, there was a mentality that said that all talent choices should increase our DPS. This was at least in part because in Wrath, healers had enough mana to heal through just about anything up to and including stupid. In Cataclysm, it's often not at all the case. You're expected to avoid as much damage as you possibly can and to do at least something to help out with unavoidable damage.
This doesn't mean you're not expected to spec for more damage. You are, after all, a DPS warrior. The good news is you can usually pick up most if not all of the DPS talents with some room left for some utility/survivability/mobility talents.
Okay then. What are the talents in question?
- Blood Craze The downside of having played in the beta is that I remember when this talent was phenomenally good, instead of what it is now -- merely okay. It's still much better than it was in Wrath or indeed at any point before that. I don't recommend it wholeheartedly, but if you find yourself dying a lot in the close moments of a fight, you might want to pick this up. 3% of your total health over 5 seconds isn't world-shattering, but it can happen any time you take damage. Excellent for leveling and soloing and not awful for PvP.
- Battle Trance Yes, this is intended to be attractive to all three specs. But with rage normalization as it is and most warriors struggling to get enough rage due to very high hit caps, a 15% chance after every Bloodthirst to get a next yellow attack free is pretty attractive. If you're not feeling a need for Blood Craze, this is a good alternative for your first tier points.
- Cruelty An extra 10% chance to crit on Bloodthirst is an extra 10% chance to proc Flurry on every BT. Not terrible for two points.
- Booming Voice The second tier of fury talents is just chock full of good stuff, and Booming Voice might be the best talent of the lot. The amount of rage this works out to if you use either Battle or Commanding on cooldown is three times what you'd be able to generate using shouts without it. A 30-second cooldown for 30 rage a use vs. a 1-minute cooldown for 20 rage a use? That works out to 60 rage every minute with this talent vs. 20 rage a minute without it.
- Piercing Howl I get a lot of use out of this talent in PvE content. Any time something needs to be kited and burned down, if it can be snared or slowed, PH usually works on it. It's cheap, easy to apply, and doesn't cost much rage either. It's also good for PvP. You can justify leaving it out, but it does have good utility use.
- Executioner This talent made me love execute range again. It's bloody awesome. It may be slightly too good, to be frank.
- Rude Interruption I'm pretty solid on interrupting. With Pummel or Shield Bash being so important nowadays when anything that cuts down on anyone taking damage is good or abilities like Arcanotron's that just need to be interrupted, a talent that ups your damage for doing your job isn't a bad deal at all. If you know you're not going to be interrupting, don't take it; otherwise, at least consider it.
- Death Wish I wish this talent didn't increase the damage we take. Seems a holdover from when Berserker Stance did the same thing, and not typical of other classes' damage cooldowns at all. But it's an enrage effect (so it's boosted by the fury mastery) and it can be used at will, which is lovely for when you know you're going to want to output as much damage as possible. And it only costs a point. Really, no fury warrior should be without it.
- Flurry A mainstay of warrior DPS since vanilla. It's still really good.
- Enrage Considering we need to enter enraged states to use Raging Blow and get the full benefit of our mastery, Enrage is pretty much a must-have. It's also much better than when it required us to take damage, rather than deal it, to activate.
- Die by the Sword I wish I liked this talent. On paper, the sound of a talent that gives me 100% to parry when I fall below 20% health sounds like it would be a pretty hot survivability talent. Unfortunately, very rarely does a boss turn to me and start whaling on me for purely physical damage -- and when it does (like when I got overzealous during the raid tonight), at 130k health, I'm not going down to 20% health before the tank gets it back. No, what's killing me is either standing in something I shouldn't be or AoE damage at a bad time when the healers are already overstressed, and this talent wouldn't help with either of those.
- Heroic Fury This, on the other hand, removes any immobilization effects and refreshes the cooldown on Intercept. It's hot for PvP or PvE nowadays.
- Rampage 7% crit (and 5% crit for your party or raid). For one talent point, no less. Boring, but you'll take it.
- Raging Blow Solid enough damage and fills the spot that we used to Whirlwind for single targets, and because it is only usable when enraged, it inflates the value of all abilities that proc an enraged state. Since it is only usable during said enrages, it also gets more damage for every point of mastery.
- Furious Attacks The problem with this talent is the same as always. You can't guarantee it will be up, it may or may not apply on any auto-attack. Combining this weakness with the fact that it is a measly 10% healing debuffed, and it seems a pretty hard sell for me compared to putting those points elsewhere for more mobility or survivability. I'd rather have Die by the Sword for PvP than a Mortal Strike I can't even be sure will be up.
- Intensify Rage This lets you break fear more often and use both of your main DPS cooldowns more often and, of course, enter an enrage at will more often, which lets you using Raging Blow more often. It's good.
- Meat Cleaver This talent won't be as good in 4.0.6 because the base damage of Cleave is going down and it won't be included in talents like War Academy anymore. It will probably still be worth having for heavy trash when CC isn't needed or can't be used (it's awesome for parasites on Magmaw or poison on Omnotron), but it'll be less of an absolute must-have compared to right now.
- Skirmisher I unabashedly love this talent for both PvP and PvE. I love Heroic Leaping out of the area when something awful is being cast and then Intercepting right back in once it's safe. I love it even more combined with Heroic Fury, which means you can Intercept, Heroic Leap, reset and Intercept immediately. It's not strictly speaking necessary for PvE, but I love having it.
- Bloodsurge With the value of Slam going up in 4.0.6, you'll probably want this talent. Right now, even with all else being equal, you'll probably get more DPS out of a HS than an instant Slam. My current spec has this talent purely out of habit.
- Single-Minded Fury I've tried this talent out repeatedly, and while it does seem (using equal ilevel one-handers to my two-handers) to generate a smoother rage flow, it just doesn't seem to deliver the output that Titan's Grip does. It's a good, solid but unremarkable talent, and I don't think at present it's better than TG, but if you have a solid pair of 1H weapons and they're your best, you could definitely make good use of this talent.
- Titan's Grip Me trying to evaluate Titan's Grip fairly is a fool's errand. I've written two love letters to it on this site. Blizzard removed the damage penalty from the ability in Cataclysm, so... yeah. Titan's Grip is probably slightly ahead on damage and definitely looks amazingly awesome. You don't have to take my word for it, either -- just ask my cat Puck.
- War Academy (War Academy patch 4.0.6) Right now, War Academy does a lot to make Meat Cleaver good and, in general, props up a heavily Heroic Strike-oriented fury playstyle. In patch 4.0.6, the changes to it will emphasize Bloodsurge and Raging Blow in a fury DPS rotation more than now. EIther way, it's a must-have talent.
- Field Dressing Remember, you only have 10 talent points to spend outside of fury, but chances are good you're going to at least put two points into Deep Wounds. That means you'll need five in the first tier in arms, and this talent is a much better choice for you than Blitz.
- Deep Wounds You may max it out, or you may only take two points in it to go full Incite. Full Incite makes it a sure thing after an HS crit to be able to prolong flurry, which is why I usually go two in DW myself, but you'll see a lot of theorycrafting back and forth on the issue. You'll always want at least two ranks of this.
- Incite Pretty much the only prot tree talent for fury, but right now a heck of a good one. Once 4.0.6 comes around and HS damage decreased (and the ability loses even more damage from War Academy's change), the balance of DPS between this talent and Deep Wounds may shift. The ability to extend a flurry is hard to pass up, though.
At the center of the dury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, including Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors, a guide to new reputation gear for warriors, and a look back at six years of warrior trends.