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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Amplify, Multistrike, and Readiness

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.

You may be asking "What are you talking about with this Amplify, Multistrike and Readiness stuff?" and if you are, it's a fair point. These are the new secondary stats (note that I said secondary, not tertiary) coming with Warlords of Draenor to replace hit, expertise, dodge and parry. And we know this because Celestalon, technical game designer on WoW, explained them on twitter. So, what are these stats? Well, I'll let him explain.
  • X% Amplify means: +X% Crit Damage Multiplier and Multistrike Damage Multiplier, and +X% more Haste/Mastery/Readiness/Spirit/Armor from gear.
  • X% Multistrike means: Each ability has two separate (X/2)% chances to hit each target an additional time for 30% damage. Multistrikes count as hitting the same target twice with one cast, not multiple casts. (i.e. Mind Blast won't generate 2 shadow orbs) Multistrike is split into two (X/2)% chances, so that you can occasionally get a triple-hit (fun!), and the cap is 200%, not 100%.
  • X% Readiness increases the cooldown recovery rate (aka, divides the cooldown by (1+Readiness)) of *some* class abilities. The number of abilities affected by Readiness will vary by spec (will be listed in spellbook, like Mastery). Coefficient likely to vary too.
Celestalon via twitter
Amplify is basically the ability Thok's Tail Tip currently gives, Multistrike is similar to our arms mastery (or this Agi trinket), and Readiness is basically the Evil Eye of Galakras. Celestalon notes that Readiness won't be linked to the exact same abilities as the trinket, but the basic effect is the same - the more readiness you have, the more some of your cooldowns will be reduced. It's very important to realize these will be secondary stats, on the same statistical tier as Crit, Haste and Mastery are now.

These are interesting stats for a couple of reasons. The first is because, like Mastery, they have broader effects than just "hit faster/crit more" - Amplify in particular is a stat that magnifies other stats, so stacking Amplify affects a variety of other stats (the ones listed above that we would care about are Haste, Mastery, Readiness and Armor) as well as the damage of our critical hits and Multistrike extra attacks. This means that if Mastery was a big stat for warriors in Warlords, it might be very worthwhile to stack Amplify/Mastery gear.
Multistrike, meanwhile, since it is basically conceptually similar to how our arms mastery works, makes me wonder if we'll see that mastery redesigned - a Mastery/Multistrike set of gear could push things into ridiculous levels, especially if Multistrike procs can trigger our Mastery or vice versa. But I like the idea, and I'm interested that it doesn't count as separate attacks which makes me think that it won't, in fact, have multiple changes to proc our Strikes of Opportunity. With the damage increasing with Amplify it could become significant. Since we won't have reforging, though, I'm not sure how well we'll be able to stack any of the secondary stats.

The Readiness stat depends entirely on what of our abilities it ends up affecting - if it works on Shield Wall or Last Stand it becomes desirable for tanking, but if it works on Recklessness or Skull Banner then DPS warriors will want it, and the intent seems to be to balance it so that it aids survival and damage output. Since it will change based on spec, it (like Mastery and Amplification) seem to be useful for both DPS and tanking roles.

The interaction between these three stats and each other as well as our current secondary stats (Crit, Haste and Mastery) is where this will start to get interesting. With fewer gems and enchants and no ability to reforge our gear, I find myself wondering how we're going to fit all of these new stats. Right now, for instance, I go for hit and expertise to their caps, then forget them, but abilities like Amplify, Multistrike and Readiness won't cap as such (and it's too soon to even be thinking about what those caps will be) - how do I balance them against Crit or Mastery? As it stands, I'm actually glad Haste is such a meh stat for us - trying to balance six stats seems nightmarish. I find myself wondering if Amplify is itself the solution to this problem - since it affects how much Mastery, Haste and Readiness you have, you could look for pieces with Crit/Amplify or Multistrike/Amplify as your first priority, knowing the Amplify would itself boost your Mastery and Readiness to a degree. (It reminds me of how Defense worked back in BC and Wrath, adding not just to your chance not to be crit, but also increasing dodge, parry and block as well.)

With the gear squish coming, of course, we're not going to see the huge numbers we get on live. This might make the intense focus on every last shred of DPS less so - right now, a 5% difference in output can be 20k DPS easily in endgame raiding. So perhaps stat stacking won't be as desirable as it can be now. But I do wonder - with Amplify increasing Readiness, and Readiness resetting our cooldowns, will we see tanks stacking both for cooldown prioritization? Theoretically you could also look for gear with Cleave on it (since it's a tertiary stat) for more AoE/add control, or throw on some Multistrike for more single target DPS.

Clearly there will still be some customization and even potentially alternate sets depending on what a fight will be - I can imagine people switching into a Multistrike set for a single target fight, for example. With six stats to try and balance (Amplification, Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, Multistrike and Readiness) it seems inlikely that we'll be able to balance them all to our satisfaction, and frankly stats like Crit and Haste seem somewhat primitive in design compared to these new secondaries, with their wide-ranging affects. If you can stack Amplification and Readiness, and thus pop Recklessness often enough, do you even need crit? Without any sort of math, there's no way to really answer that question, but the fact that it's feasible to ask it shows you the ways the new system could complicate life for us warriors - perhaps in a good way.

Frankly, Mists of Pandaria hasn't had a lot of interesting stat decisions to make for warriors. Arms currently goes with Crit, then Haste/Mastery (I tend to go Mastery over Haste in my arms set so I can flip over to Fury with the same gear more or less.) Fury goes with Crit until it simply can't anymore, then Mastery and ignores Haste. Protection caps Hit/Expertise, then either Dodge/Parry or Mastery depending on your strategy. And none of it is interesting in any way - you just reforge and gem to stack the best possible stat, which is almost always Crit for DPS and is probably Mastery for prot. With the new secondary stats, combined with the item squish and less gear customization, there will simply be gear pieces we don't use, and which pieces those will be is completely up in the air. I can imagine a prot warrior with an Amplification/Readiness/Mastery strategy, and another with Multistrike and Crit. The new stats do more, and Amplification in particular does a lot more because it buffs so many other secondary stats as well as damage from Crit and Multistrike. It's a fascinating stat and one I really want to see in use.
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.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Warlords of Draenor

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