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Filed under: Warrior

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Changes coming for DPS warriors

Count nothing in the beta done until the beta is itself done. It's the modern equivalent of 'count no man happy before he is dead' (at least it when it comes to betas) and it's especially true for warriors this time around. Arms has seen huge changes, fury has seen a backlash over the loss of Heroic Strike, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Now we get to see what the intended direction for warriors is, thanks to a forum post from Celestalon.

So what's the haps? I'm glad you asked. The usual caveats (it's all still subject to change, it's the beta, don't get too worked up) apply, of course.

Celestalon - Fury Feedback
So, we don't often share our thoughts on upcoming changes this early, as plans can change very rapidly. Please keep in mind that none of the following is set in stone – it hasn't even been developed yet – and there's any number of issues that could cause us to decide to take a different approach. That said, we definitely agree that Arms feels a bit empty at the moment, and want to fill it out a bit more, and we want to add some talent choices to both Arms and Fury that provide options for more involved gameplay. Here's what we're thinking:
  • Rage generation increased by 25% for Arms.
  • Rend returns for Arms. Costs 10 Rage, deals damage over 18sec, with a burst of bleed damage at the end. Total damage is similar to a Mortal Strike.
  • Thunder Clap is usable in any stance. AoE damage and snares, 6sec cooldown. 30 Rage cost for Arms, free for Protection.
  • We're replace the level 45 talent row (Staggering Shout / Piercing Howl / Disrupting Shout) with:
  • Varies by spec:Arms –
    • Taste for Blood: Passive. Rend ticks grant 3 Rage.
    • Fury – Furious Strikes: Passive. Reduces the cost of Wild Strike by 10 Rage
    • Protection – Heavy Repercussions: Passive. Shield Slam deals 50% additional damage while Shield Block is active.
  • Sudden Death: Passive. Auto attacks have a chance to trigger Sudden Death, making your next Execute free and usable on targets above 20% health.
  • Varies by spec:
    • Arms – Slam: Active ability. Costs 10 Rage. Deals 100% weapon damage. Each consecutive use increases Slam's damage by 50% and Rage cost by 100%, stacking up to 5 times.
    • Fury – Unquenchable Thirst: Passive. Bloodthirst has no cooldown.
    • Protection – Unyielding Strikes: Passive. Devastate reduces the Rage cost of Heroic Strike by 6, stacking up to 5 times. Lasts 10 sec. No longer refreshes while at 5 stacks.

Again, this is all very much in the formative stages. Any or all of the above could end up changing in any number of ways. But we are listening, and are doing our best to make Warrior gameplay awesome in Warlords.

Some of this I don't expect to see last very long - Unquenchable Thirst in particular strikes me as an ability that will become wholly abused if it goes live. No cooldown on Bloodthirst? So, what, you just hit Bloodthirst constantly in-between Colossus Smashes? Now, I personally like that kind of rage generation option - it's very Barbarian from Diablo III really, constantly filling up the rage bar. But I don't expect to see it actually get implemented. Still, it's very interesting to see Slam as a talent (even if it is an Arms only talent - frankly I'd like to see fury get a bite of that apple).

Still, arms really is desperately in need of some more attacks, so overall I'm curious and interested.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor Alpha: Warrior changes

Okay, so we have the alpha patch notes, and they're a doozy. Warriors done got changed, and to my eyes, the changes aren't done - I expect fury to get a pass fairly soon, based on the changes to arms and protection. A lot of abilities were made spec specific or stance specific (the majority of these were protection or defensive stance/gladiator stance abilities) and arms saw an overhaul that completely changes the dynamic of the spec.

So what does it all mean? Well, for starters it all means that we're looking at alpha changes, which means by definition that they're not done yet. Panic is verboten. Take them as indicators of where Blizzard's design process is headed, by all means, but don't ever think of them as finalized. Until Blizzard says they're done, they're not done.

Looking over the changes, one thing that seems to be happening is that stance switching is being given some emphasis - making Rallying Cry defensive stance only, and then making it an arms/fury ability, means that there's a desire to get warriors back into using the stances. Whether or not this will actually work (I expect it will just force people to write macros again, like we did in the days of Wrath and before) is yet to be seen, but it's clearly on their minds. After the break we'll look at the changes in total as of the most recent alpha patch and discuss their impact on the class.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: The evolution of the arms warrior

Arms warriors have been the big dog in PvP throughout Mists of Pandaria while being a very lackluster spec in player vs. environment settings like raids - they were excellent DPS at the beginning of Siege, for instance, but they dropped in terms of their overall power when compared to the other melee. It's this 'super strong in PvP/weak to middling in PvE' status quo that we've seen all expansion that seems to be the target in Blizzard's sights. And with the latest Alpha patch notes, we have the first signs of what is really a remarkable amount of change for the spec overall.

With Overpower gone, Execute pulling double duty (basically baking in the Prehistoric Marauder 4pc set bonus) and Mortal Strike finally replacing Heroic Strike, we're looking at an interesting direction for arms in patch 6.0. In general, arms warriors will gain Execute as their big damage attack when at high rage above 20% health, and will use Slam as their low rage bread and butter attack. With Weapon Mastery increasing Slam, CS and Execute damage, the stage is set for a rotation built around proper use of those three abilities. No more trying to line up Overpower - instead of stacking and spamming in-between CS procs, you'll work to have enough rage for an Execute during that window. It's reminiscent of how arms worked in Wrath of the Lich King. I'm looking forward to getting to play with it myself and see how it feels.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Warlords of Draenor

What's going wrong with tanking in five player content?

Tanking is not always easy, mind you. But tanking can be an incredible amount of fun, and I hope that it'll make a real comeback in terms of popularity when Warlords of Draenor goes live. Right now, I feel like a few problems really keep tanking from being as universally popular as it could be.
  • Difficult to get starting gear - For most people, it's hard to get started as a tank. Gearing is an issue, because some tanks (DKs, warriors and paladins) need specific tanking gear, while even the leather tanks still generally use different stats to some degree, different enchants, different weapons for tanking than DPS or (especially) healing. This is a problem the gearing changes in Warlords should really help with.
  • Where can you learn it? - Tanking requires a different skill set from DPS or healing. While proving grounds exist, they don't really teach the most important part of being a tank - reacting to other players. It can be hard as a new tank to walk into a dungeon having never done it before. That leads into the third difficulty of picking up tanking.
  • Dungeons don't provide any sort of experience right now - With the wildly disparate gear levels on people running random dungeons, you can have a tank in 450 gear trying to hold aggro off of players in 580 gear. While it can be nice to be the tank in 580 gear, even you might have trouble when groups don't cooperate, run ahead of you, pull mobs half way across the zone, and generally simply refuse to act like any kind of groups at all. This is something I'm hoping the gear squish and ten levels will do away with - we'll all basically be on the same page when Warlords dungeons are being run.
While there are still a lot of places where tanking is both fun and rewarding - raiding (especially in a guild group, be it heroic, normal or flex), challenge modes, even in LFD or LFR if you get lucky - I do think it can be a lot to ask a new tank (whether or not she or he is a new player or just new to the role) to grow a thick skin fast enough to deal with the toxicity possible in the current random queue environment. Which is a real shame, because tanking is fun - it can be stressful, and oftentimes groups have an expectation of a tank doing the work of knowing how every fight works for them, but that's not always a negative.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

Warlords of Draenor: Vengeance is now Resolve

This is one of the bigger changes (and one closest to my heart now that I'm tanking again) - Vengeance is gone in Warlords of Draenor, replaced with Resolve. Resolve is basically Vengeance minus the stacking buff to attack power, because of the way Vengeance interacted on certain fights. To put it into perspective, last night was my first night seriously tanking, and I was number four on total DPS - it would have been far higher had I not forgotten I was tanking for the first fight. At present, with Vengeance and tank AoE for purposes of picking up threat (plus, I admit, some fairly beefy Shield Slams once Vengeance stacks all the way up) you can see some ridiculous tank DPS, easily surpassing dedicated DPS players.

The solution being implemented here is to overall increase tank DPS without an unreliable mechanic like Vengeance adding different attack power depending on how much damage the tank takes. This also removes the temptation for tanks to deliberately take more damage in order to get Vengeance stacked up faster. So Vengeance is gone, and Resolve is implemented. How does it work?
  • Resolve improves self-healing and absorbs done by the tank to the tank (so no, it won't buff priest bubbles) based on the damage taken (ignoring avoidance and mitigation, same as Vengeance now) within the last 10 seconds, and your Stamina. This means stuff like Death Strike, Shield Barrier, things of that nature. If you cast a heal on someone else, Resolve won't buff it.
  • Each tank class' tanking mastery will now add 12% attack power, and the amount of attack power will scale with mastery as well. This is in addition to current affects, not replacing it - your tanking mastery will do what you're used to it doing, it'll just also do more.
  • Brewmaster monks will no longer deal less damage. That 15% damage penalty? Gone.
The goal here is for tanking damage to remain meaningful without overshadowing dedicated DPS players, something I feel is profoundly fair. Whether or not it works out for all classes we'll see when we get a chance to test it out, but the basic principle is sound - with tanks now using crit and haste (and the new stats Readiness and Multistrike as well - see Blood Craze here for just one potential use of Multistrike for tanks) we're in a situation where tanking DPS will likely go up just because they're wearing the exact same gear as DPS players. The age of Vengeance's unpredictable scaling probably needed to end.

The section of the patch notes detailing the change is, as always, behind the jump.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Monk, Warlords of Draenor

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: This is the end

Yeah, goodbyes are hard.

I started this column on June 15th, 2007. It has run continuously, one column a week, since that time. No one else has ever written a single The Care and Feeding of Warriors but me, and I have never missed a week. That's because, when I started this job, I had one goal - to tell you all how much I love playing a warrior in World of Warcraft. How awesome warriors are.

It's 2014. A lot has changed in my life and in the game but one thing has not - I still love playing a warrior in World of Warcraft. I've loved the class through my days of PvP and through every raid in the game. I've loved them through being the least popular tank, through being underpowered and overpowered, through every mechanical change and system. I was here when Titan's Grip was announced. I was here when we got, and lost, and got Heroic Leap. I have played this class since 2004, and I have written about it since 2007.

I'm going to keep playing a warrior, of course - I have like five max level warriors at this point, I'm not likely to stop now. And I'll keep writing about warrior news as it comes up. But this column you're reading now will be the last weekly The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the last time I sit down and write what has been a part of my weekly routine for more than six years now. There were many ways I could have chosen to end it - we could have done a retrospective column, going over my favorites from the past several years. I could do a big "This is what I hope for the class in Warlords" post. (I expect I'll be doing that in a different format anyway.) But this is the end.

So I'm going to end it the way I started it - I'm going to tell you a story.

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Filed under: Warrior, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

A new look at level 100 warrior talents

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.

So I was going to talk about something else, but then there was this little press event and we got a look at new level 100 talents for warriors. And so, we're going to be talking about them for a bit. Because when you get a look at entire new talents you kind of have to discuss them. The most interesting thing to me is the departure of Blade Barrier and the change to Extreme Measures. I asked Celestalon about it, and here's what he had to say.

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

Warlords of Draenor: Character boost and Shadowmoon Valley gameplay footage

What we have here is video from today's Korean press event, showing footage of an orc warrior playing both on the Timeless Isle in the starter gear you get when boosting to level 90, followed at the four minute mark by a dwarf warrior running around Shadowmoon Valley on Warlords of Draenor's Draenor. We get to see the maps for several zones (most appear to be unfinished) as well as Draenor's position on the map next to Outland and Azeroth. We get to see several mobs, including a nether ray style mob, and the local draenei at the Temple of Karabor. Even better, we get extremely brief glimpses of new level 100 warrior talents!

All in all it's pretty tantalizing, and perhaps they're further along than I would have thought - it seems more likely to me now that a beta is a month or two away than it did before I saw the video.

Edited to add - The folks at MMO-Champion posted two more videos from the same source, Korean webzine Inven. You can watch them here and here.

Thanks to Mintie for the tip.

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Warlords of Draenor

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: We do transmog better than anyone

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.

I got to do some tanking in Heroic Siege this week - nothing major, just offtanking on Dark Shaman - and it was pretty fun all around. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy tanking in raids. It was fun to get to see the Warrior 2 piece Tier 16 tanking bonus in action in a current raid at the cutting edge of content, instead of in an LFR or using it to solo Cataclysm raids. It's a very solid set bonus, and I'm going to write more about it in the future - basically, I think it should be baked into the baseline Shield Block and Shield Barrier abilities, or perhaps be baked into Shield Slam in some way (so that, for ten seconds after a successful Shield Slam, you heal a percentage of your Shield Barrier absorb or Shield Block damage prevented, as one possible example) - but I'm not quite ready to write about that yet.

Now, as I said, I've been using my tank set and prot spec to solo Cataclysm raids, up to and including the first three bosses in 10 man Dragon Soul. It's not always easy, but it is possible, and the reason I've been doing this is because I freaking love transmogrification, and therefore, I've been pursuing it with a fevered dedication that has completely robbed me of bank, void storage and even bag space. I've wanted to write about transmog and warriors forever, but I felt such deep shame at letting Cable, the mutant son of Cyclops and Madeline Pryor, write about it first. I mean, I'm so in love with transmog that I started a tumblr about it.

So let's talk about transmog and warriors. (If you're not interested in transmog, you should probably come back next week.) Why do I argue that warriors do transmog better than anyone? Well, here's a few reasons.

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

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Courting Critical

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.

I'm going to tell you a story.

I recently spent a coin and got a pair of heroic warforged DPS shoulders. And yet, they are currently in my bank. Why is that? Because using them will cost me almost 2% critical strike chance, and I simply cannot afford it, instead sticking with the non heroic, non warforged shoulders that do have critical strike chance on them. And that, in a nutshell, is exactly what's wrong with warrior design right now.

See, I like crit. I think crit should be good. But it shouldn't be so good that nothing else can compare - that the heroic warforged pieces (a solid 19 ilevel better, when both are fully upgraded) simply cannot come close to competing. I current have two heroic 2h, but only one of them has crit. So I have to use a normal mode offhand rather than (again) a heroic upgrade. When you start to realize that all you're doing is piling crit on top of crit - and that something as seemingly simple as an upgrade can be massively higher in ilevel and still not be an actual upgrade - it starts to become maddening.

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

The Queue: An American Worgen in Azeroth

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your lycanthropic host today.

Sincerely, I love worgen. They're just behind draenei for Alliance races, and probably my third favorite overall after tauren. Sometimes I like them better that tauren, like after watching The Howling or An American Werewolf In London, two of my favorite movies. And yes, I am playing a worgen hunter with a worg pet and a worg pup. I also ride around on a worg mount sometimes. All worg, all the time.

BaronOfTheLake asks:
Q4TQ: How long do you think it'll be till we see what the new PVP gear will look like for the upcoming season?

The Alliance PvP gear for the new season looks like the Horde gear did this season, and vice versa. You can see it on the PTR right now.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, The Queue

Nerfs to Warriors' Charge and Warbringer reverted... for now

Blizzard Community Manager Lore has posted on the official forums about the reversion of a recent, controversial change to Warrior control against casters. While any class will likely complain about the removal of a CC ability, warriors were particularly vehement about their dislike of the change to take the stun off Charge on the patch 5.4.7 PTR. Warbringer was also altered to stun instead of rooting, so that if you were happy to sacrifice the tier's other talents, you could get the stun back.

Those nay-sayers will be happy to hear that this change has been reverted. Instead, Pummel will be on a shared 15-second cooldown with Disrupting Shout. So, if you Pummel, that will mean your Disrupting Shout is put on a 15-second cooldown, and if you use Disrupting Shout, your Pummel will be put on a 15-second cooldown. The purpose of this change is to make warriors less disruptive to casters -- the same as the purpose of the previous change to Charge, but Charge is a far more difficult ability to alter in the proposed way. Lore gives the example of Charge onto a target with Hand of Freedom active, and there are several other issues that may arise. While this change is superior for PvP, it might have a larger impact on PvE warriors than the previous Charge nerf.

With the changes to CC going forward, in Warlords, it would be no surprise to see this CC change return. But Lore says they don't have time right now... does this mean the new season and patch 5.4.7 are imminent?

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Filed under: Warrior, PvP

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: On reaching 90 and the basics - Fury

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.

Last week, I wrote about tanking as a new 90. The week before that, we discussed arms warriors. This week, I'm going to cover fury, the two weapon berserker spec. I was considering writing this column in character as an orc warrior, but let's be honest - orcs in World of Warcraft don't fit the stereotype of monosyllabic dullards that would be funny. Let's look at some classic orc warriors.
  1. Broxigar - dude could talk your ear off.
  2. Saurfang - even worse. Dude does whole speeches about honor and the cost of victory and it's all depressing and sad. It's been years since Saufang has said anything as cool as "I am he who watches they. I am the fist of retribution. That which does quell the recalcitrant. Dare you defy the Warchief? Dare you face my merciless judgement?" And even that is way too eloquent for the "me orc, me smash" stereotype.
  3. Garrosh Hellscream - that dude writes entire letters to people telling them exactly how much he hates them. I'm totally not kidding.
So, when I said I was going to write this column in character as an orc, I was right - it turns out every column I've ever written is in character as an orc. So hi! I'll be your orc this time out. Let's talk about how to play fury as a new level 90.

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

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: On reaching 90 and the basics - Protection

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.

Last week, we covered arms. This week, we're covering protection. Like last week, this article assumes you just leveled your first warrior to 90, but it can also be useful for someone who's played a warrior for a while but who never tried tanking on her. If you're unsure about giving tanking a try, I can understand why that would be - it's a lot of pressure, it's fairly gear dependent and you may not have it yet, and most of all it's often expected that a tank will be leading a dungeon run, which can be daunting if you're unfamiliar with a dungeon. Frankly, I always found raid tanking preferable to PuGging, but I still tanked PuG's and I had a few tricks for how to establish myself when doing so.
  1. It's okay to admit it's your first time or that you're new at something. Even experienced tanks don't always know the specific dungeon they're about to tank very well - if you're a new tank and you're feeling uncomfortable or unsure, go ahead and say so.
  2. Even if you're comfortable with your class abilities as a tank, but are unsure about boss strategies, see #1 - often someone in the dungeon will be happy to explain to you what you should or shouldn't do.
  3. Avoid the two extremes of 'tank megalomania' and 'tank doormat' - don't be an egotist who makes the tank run all about him or herself, and don't let yourself be walked over by players who deliberately make your life harder. Also, be cognizant of gear discrepancies when evaluating your own performance as a tank - if you're in 463 blues and the guy pulling threat is in Heroic Warforged gear, cut yourself some slack. You're simply not going to be able to do much against over one hundred ilevels in his favor.
  4. Be cognizant of the healer. I know that you want to run and pull more stuff while you have a full rage bar. Believe me, I know how it feels. But if your healer is undergeared and needs a break, let them have it. It's good to get in the habit of paying attention to your healer's mana - believe me, healers will tell you when you can run and pull like a fiend.
Also, one of my pet peeves as a DPS who knows how to tank is tanks who pull mobs, put no threat on them, then run down the hallway. No. I know you love chain pulling, but if you can't hold them, you're not chain pulling. You're just hitting mobs then running away and letting someone else tank them. Make sure you have solid threat before you decide to run away.

But let's get to the actual process of tanking - how do we play as protection?

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

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