Last week, we covered starting out and going from 1 to 30 as a warrior. This week, we'll finish off the Cataclysm-revamped content before heading to Outland. Some points to make before we get started:
- It's my opinion that the warrior class starts to open up in these levels, with several important class abilities like Deep Wounds, Titan's Grip and Single-Minded Fury, Shield Wall and other favorites. We also gain the last warrior stance, Berserker Stance, although with the revamp to stances with Mists of Pandaria it's not as important for leveling.
- Both tanking and DPSing become a lot more 'real' with these levels. Being the proper spec for your role is a lot more important, and by level 60 each spec feels like it will for the rest of your leveling. You'll still gain new abilities, but they'll supplement rather than define you compared to 31 to 60, which is where that definition comes in.
- PvP is, to my mind, more fun here than at lower levels. You just feel more like a warrior with certain abilities, after all.
- In past years, I would have advised a leveling warrior to get to Outland as soon as possible. Now, however, I advise that you wait until 60. There are some excellent quest chains in the revamped Winterspring, Burning Steppes and Blasted Lands that will get you to 60 painlessly, and once you head to Hellfire Peninsula you're heading into some of the oldest leveling content the game has. Delay that system shock if you can, I would argue.
Smashing people's faces in
Speaking of PvP, two new battlegrounds open up for warriors leveling through PvP in this range. The first is, surprisingly enough, Eye of the Storm at level 35. EotS is sort of a mixture of Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch, with elements of flag capture and base defense, and even though it was originally introduced in The Burning Crusade it has been made accessible for lower level characters, which is good news if you were sick of ping-ponging between WSG and AB.
The next accessible BG is Alterac Valley. AV becomes open at level 45, so that by mid way through these levels you can run up to four battlegrounds, making leveling through PvP a lot less monotonous. The positive aspects of leveling through PvP include getting access to honor points, which can be used to buy gear. The PvP gear accessible for you at level 60 through PvP is the original sets from vanilla, available from legacy weapon and armor quartermasters in both Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Stone Guard Zarg handles weapons and First Sergeant Hola'mahi sells legacy armor in Orgrimmar, while Lieutenant Jackspring sells weapons and Sergeant Major Clate sells armor in Stormwind.
The gear accessible (epic weapons like this one and epic armor like this set) will not be usable by you for transmogrification purposes (that requires that you have earned the old PvP rank that was necessary to buy them under the old system, which will not be possible for you until 5.2 opens up the system to Rated Battlegrounds, and even then you'll need to be max level to feasibly achieve it) but it's solid epic gear that doesn't have any resilience on it, meaning that running some battlegrounds from 31 to 60 will see you kitted out in gear that can easily last you until you can travel to Northrend. If you don't have heirlooms, it's definitely worth your time.
Talents, abilities, and specializations
Levels 31 to 40 see us gaining some classic and definitive warrior abilities like Deep Wounds at level 32, Berserker Stance at level 34, and Hamstring (a PvP staple) at level 36. Honestly, without the snare of Hamstring, I have a terrible time trying to PvP on a warrior. At level 38, protection warriors get Last Stand, a specialization ability, and fury warriors finally start to feel like fury warriors with the addition of Single-Minded Fury and Titan's Grip, allowing you to choose between dual wielding 1h or 2h weapons. Frankly, fury doesn't feel right to me anymore until I can dual wield pony sized weapons. Call me strange. One of the huge positive changes of Mists was moving both SMF and TG to baseline abilities and letting warriors have them sooner (you couldn't get them before level 68 in Cataclysm, a huge mistake in my opinion that Mists thankfully corrected) which really sets the spec up nicely.
If levels 31 through 40 start shaping warriors, the next levels continue the task. First off, warriors become able to equip plate at level 40. Then, at level 42, you'll gain Battle Shout, which is almost as iconic a warrior ability as Charge, and a nice extra piece of rage generation for you as you level. Level 44 adds Cleave, useful for high rage moments when you have multiple adds to kill. Level 45 is our third talent level (after 15 and 30) and the first one of this level bracket (followed by level 60) and we gain acess to one of the three talents. Disrupting Shout is an AoE interrupt, hitting everything within 10 yards with a four second lockout on the school of the spell beingterrupted. It has a 40 second cooldown. Piercing Howl is a 15 second 50% snare with a 15 yard range, and Staggering Shout roots all snared enemies within 15 yards for 5 seconds on a 40 second cooldown. I personally prefer Disrupting Shout at this level, an AoE interrupt is pretty sweet. But PH has the benefit of no cooldown, so if you need a snare, it's a nice one to have.
Following that, at level 46 arms and protection warriors get the specialization ability Blood and Thunder, allowing Thunder Clap to cause Deep Wounds. At level 48, all warriors gain access to Shield Wall, although its requiring a shield to use it means that really, only protection gets any real use outside of PvP macros. Level 50 is a pretty big level in terms of specialization abilities, with Bloodsurge for fury, Taste for Blood for arms, and Sword and Board for protection. (Keep in mind that Taste for Blood is dropping to a level 30 ability and being heavily revamped in patch 5.2) in addition each spec getting a separate plate specialization. The arms and fury ones are identical, but they have different spell ID's, the protection one is stamina instead of strength.
The next ten levels lead up to the level 60 talents, and serve to cement an already by now strong class identity. At level 52 we gain Intimidating Shout, useful when glyphed as a form of short term CC and unglyphed as a means to get some distance if you intend to try and run away or even Charge someone. Level 54 adds Berserker Rage, useful for breaking fear as well as forcing an Enrage. Sadly, its use to enter an enrage for the increased damage can leave you without it when you need it to break a fear, so be careful with its use. Level 56 sees protection warriors gain the useful anti-damage ability Demoralizing Shout, while arms and fury warriors get the mini-cooldown Die by the Sword. At level 58, protection warriors get Ultimatum (which makes your next HS or Cleave cost no rage, the only time you should use them) and fury warriors get Meat Cleaver, which causes your use of Whirlwind to increase the targets your Raging Blow will hit, stacking up to an additional three.
Level 60 is a talent tier level as well as a specialization ability level, packed with choices. First up we'll cover the three talents, Bladestorm, Shockwave and Dragon Roar. I personally prefer Shockwave for AoE tanking because of its much shorter cooldown (20 seconds), while Dragon Roar can be used for AoE or single target damage due to its ability to always crit and avoid armor. Bladestorm is fun if you know you'll have a lot of AoE needed and can plan for it, and I love it for PvP, but in the end Dragon Roar is probably the most attractive general purpose one for a DPS. In addition to these talents, level 60 provides Bastion of Defense for protection, Flurry for fury, and Sweeping Strikes for arms.
This covers the 31 to 60 game. Questing and LFD is roughly the same at these levels as it is explained in the previous column, so we won't cover that again. Next week, we move into the 61 through 90 experience, including Outland, Northrend, Cataclysm and Pandaria content. What do our last 30 levels have in store? You'll find out next week.
At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, from hot issues for today's warriors to Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors and our guide to reputation gear for warriors.