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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: It's my birthday, give warriors some presents

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.

Believe it or not, I really try and restrain my warrior partisanship around here. I don't like to get ridiculous in terms of how I advocate for the class or hyperbolic in the rhetorical "Best Class Ever" sort of way - I leave it to other classes to brag about how great they are, because, well, they must feel insecure or something, and since they're not playing warriors I figure they probably need the help.

But today is my birthday, and I've been writing for WoW Insider on the subject of warriors for six years now, so I've decided to just write about what I would like to see warriors get in Warlords of Draenor today. These are purely blue sky musings - as far as I know, we're not going to get any of this stuff, and some of it might even be bad for class balance. I don't really care for this article, though - this is a wish list, meant to engender discussion and see if anything cool shakes out.

So here we go. What would I most like to see warriors get in the upcoming expansion?

Combination or chain attacks

This is something that WoW's combat engine doesn't really do much, but warriors already have something like this to a limited extent now - arms warriors can hit Overpower after using Mortal Strike, fury can proc Raging Blow off of a Bloodthirst or Colossus Smash crit, arms can reset Shield Slam or get a Revenge proc. So what I'm saying I'd like to see is an extension of this - a system where a warriors attacks chain together to allow a devastating finishing move with a solid animation and significant damage. I know that in order to be balanced this finisher would have to be something that didn't happen easily or often, but I've recently been playing a few console games (I've been sick) and both Diablo III and Kingdoms of Amalur put me in mind of how cool executing a proper series of attacks and getting a big boom off at the end really is. I've always felt that Diablo III did the 'get and spend' mechanic a lot more interestingly than WoW has managed - one way to fix that would be to give warriors a 'super-attack' that relied on a properly executed chain of attacks to unleash it.

I keep imagining a prot warrior building up a chain of shield slams and shield blocks until hitting the proper sequence and unleashing a Shield Charge move that crashes forward with an explosion of light and sound, an arms warrior suddenly pulling some limit break style weapon throw that sees the equipped weapon grow massive as it spins through the air, or a fury warrior literally hulking out and exploding into a frenzy of attacks. Whole crowds of adds blowing apart like dust after a bomb blast. I definitely think it could spice up how we work with our attacks.

And speaking of spicing things up...

Unique weapons and armor

I'm not just talking about class sets here. The fact is, warriors are restricted in terms of our toolkit - there's a lot of yelling and hitting, and now we plant standards in the ground, which is a cool and underutilized ability which I will be talking about shortly. But one of the things about the warrior class is that we wear the heaviest armor and wield the heaviest weapons. I'm sure that trying to actually make a new category of armor and weapons just for warriors (Heavy Plate and Mighty Weapons) would be a lot of work for a small portion of the player base, but what is possible is giving warriors the option to look like we're wearing heavier, more massive stuff than anyone else. We're not the classes that use holy magic or necromancy, it's all about weapons and armor for us, so let us do more with that.

A few weapons with unique warrior only models, or the ability to unlock variant colors and skins for a few weapons and armor pieces, and a few quests for unique models useful for transmog would be pretty awesome for the warrior class. Entire class quests have been created to give one class unique spell animations, or to let specific classes have unique class only mounts - I think a quest chain for a unique, super-heavy looking set of armor and a gigantic weapon and/or shield that only warriors could get and use would be pretty cool. We are the weaponmasters. We are the shock troops. Let us look like it.

And while I'm on the subject, some players might prefer invisible armor, if they're going for a swashbuckler or Conan look. (I'll point out now that Conan and Kull always wore the heaviest armor they could get their hands on in Howard's actual stories - if Conan was half naked in a story, it wasn't by his choice, it was because he couldn't get better.) Why not let warriors just plain turn off more slots, like shoulders and chest, if they want to?

Do more with Banners

The banner mechanic introduced in Mists of Pandaria was the first major deviation from the established warrior toolkit of yelling and smashing we've seen in the nine years of the game's existence. Many warriors disdained it as totems-lite, and to be fair the mechanics are similar. And that's why I've been dreaming for this entire expansion that something, anything else would be added to the banner arsenal. For starters, I want the classic Blademaster-style Sashimono banners brought into the game and given abilities. Frankly, I think these should provide small-scale aura buffs, less like a stance and more like a group benefit. Imagine a Steadfast Banner that gives all allies in 45 yards a small buff to Readiness, or a Celerity Banner that could be used to increase everyone's Multistrike or Haste.

I also want to see more done with banners that we drop, even though I accept that it's basically just the totem mechanic - lots of classes have stolen Execute from us over the years, it's time we get to steal something from one of them. In addition to the banners we already have I'd definitely like to see a banner or two that had more interesting applications, like a banner that caused a warriors' enrages to buff everyone else around them with the enrage damage bonus too, or one that caused a warrior tank to grow in size and generate additional rage and threat while it was down.

A new mechanic

This is the trickiest present idea because, frankly, people are out there complaining about ability bloat and talking about paring classes down and I'm here arguing that warriors need some updating, but hear me out. Warriors (especially warrior tanks) used to be known and feared for their mobility, but while that's still true in some cases (PvP combat, for instance) the warrior mobility system is primarily based on charge and intervene, both of which require you to have a target. As a result, warriors have fallen woefully behind as mobility tanks. When it comes to simply getting around, we have Heroic Leap, but as a targeted ability it's simply too difficult to use in a lot of situations (for example, it can easily decide that it simply doesn't want to go to an area because of terrain or LoS issues) and if it does decide not to work you often don't find out until after you use it.

Similarly, we've been doing the same basic things for nine years now. As tanks, we have two active mitigation abilities that basically are Shield Block type moves, and our tanking kits other moves are basically variations of whacking with a shield or whacking with a weapon. We do a lot of yelling and getting angry. While I love warriors, let's not pretend that we're not feeling the strain of being a class designed before 2004 that hasn't seen a lot of innovation in its core design since.

I don't know what the new mechanic should be - I've seen stuff come in that I thought was brilliant, like a damage shield for tanks, that got yanked out shortly thereafter. And I've seen mechanics I hoped would be brilliant that ended up not really doing what I wanted, like Heroic Leap, which has honestly been kind of a disappointment since it was introduced with all of its targeting issues. So far, Titan's Grip was probably the best one and it was introduced back in Wrath of the Lich King. And while I'd love to see Titan's Grip extended to Protection so all three warrior specs just used 2h weapons, I doubt that'll happen and at any rate, it wouldn't be a new mechanic.

Warriors definitely need some tricks we haven't had before. An ability to do something new, maybe even something a little too good that other classes outright envy. Something that actually makes warrior players gasp in shock. No pressure, Blizzard. Just dazzle us, that's all I ask.

Now I'm gonna go have a happy birthday.
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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