The Warrior’s Charge: Warrior leveling to 110
Okay, so I’m not super fast at leveling. It took me until Wednesday to hit level 110 on the Warrior I chose to level first in Legion and here are some impressions. First off, Second Wind is the best leveling talent Warriors have ever had. It makes Arms a powerhouse leveling spec, especially compared to Fury. Protection is good, Ignore Pain and Impending Victory give it strong survival options as one would expect from a tank spec. But Arms combines Victory Rush, Die by the Sword and Second Wind into an almost unbeatable combination for leveling and soloing elites while you’re doing it.
Note that I said elites. Not just rares — you’ll find and subdue those as you level in Legion and they do tend to hit hard for their level — but actual elites that you’d ordinarily find unkillable. On at least three occasions I used Second Wind, Die by the Sword and Heroic Leap to essentially kite an elite until I’d healed up enough to go back in and fight them.
The Strength of Arms
The reason I recommend Arms as a Warrior leveling spec is the power of Second Wind. For starters, it allows you to never bother with food unless you want a buff. As soon as a fight ends and you mount up to head to the next objective, you’ll likely be healed to full. The condition on the talent (that it only works after you’ve stopped taking damage for five seconds) seems at first like a big deal. But let me tell you, there are a lot of situations while leveling up where you can do exactly that.
For example, take Die by the Sword. It increases your Parry chance by 100% for eight seconds. This means that if you are taking a beating, popping Die by the Sword will get you three tics of Second Wind, healing you for 6% each second. When combined with Shockwave, you can essentially almost heal to full. Use Shockwave, as soon as the stun wears off hit Die by the Sword and get seven seconds of Second Wind healing you for 6% each second. This is an incredibly powerful leveling talent.
It’s also useful in dungeons. There are a lot of bosses who do incidental damage that will almost kill you. As long as there is a five second gap between that damage and any further incoming damage Second Wind will basically have you back up to full in no time, meaning that healers will have to worry a lot less about you. They can throw one big heal on you to make sure you don’t die, and then go about their business.
When combined with Victory Rush, Arms has the best toolkit for AoE survival I’ve yet seen in all my years as a Warrior. I’ve routinely had six, seven, even ten mobs on me at one point during the leveling process and I walked out of it alive thanks to Victory Rush. If I can manage to Shockwave and Heroic Leap away and just run around for two or three seconds before the mobs get to me, all the better. In fact, I’m terrified it will get nerfed, because it utterly eclipses Fury.
Fury still does more damage, although I managed pretty solid DPS in dungeons while leveling as Arms. The one dungeon where I went in with a Prot Warrior tank and a Fury Warrior DPS — Halls of Valor — I was usually on par with the Fury Warrior. He’d pull ahead on single target, but our AoE was comparable — he had infinite Whirlwind so I’m pretty proud I managed to keep up. But he died something like four times and I never did, not even once. During the Hymdall fight we both got caught in the dragon breathing on the ground and Heroic Leaped out. But our healer was busy and couldn’t really do much for us, so he died. I healed up on my own.
Similarly, when I decided to do the other two Artifact quests, I did them both in Arms. This is actually funny because you can’t equip the other Artifacts when you’re in the wrong spec. So you get the big screen of you picking up said weapons and immediately get told you can’t once you’re out of the animation.
That’s right. I did both of the other two Artifact quests — the Fury and the Protection one alike — as Arms spec. Arms was a great deal easier than Fury for the Fury Artifacts, frankly. You get a lot of mobs coming at you in that one, and there’s not much time to eat and no other mechanic for Fury to get its health back up. There’s just Enraged Regeneration, which only heals you if you can actually get a Bloodthirst off and has a two minute cooldown. With Second Wind, I sailed through that scenario and claimed the Warblades before Helya really even knew I was coming.
The Protection one was harder, but not so much harder that I felt constrained by my spec choice. I had to spam taunt a lot, but the sheer power of my AoE — Bladestorm by default, Whirlwind, Shockwave, Cleave, the Artifact’s AoE Colossus Smash — made short work of the adds. I don’t think you could do that on a Fury Warrior. Maybe you could as Prot, I’m not sure, haven’t tried yet. I have five Warriors left to do these quests on, so I’ll try some experiments.
Well, the easiest solution would be to let Fury Warriors take Second Wind. That would make them a lot less fragile. But it also kind of affirms the talent’s potency, and basically argues that Warriors might as well not bother taking any other talents on that tier…which is the case. The most likely solution is that Blizzard nerfs Second Wind into almost uselessness. I base this on my 12 plus years of experience with how Blizzard deals with things when they finally give Warriors something good. This is a terrible idea, since without Second Wind I have no idea how well Arms would function as a leveling spec.
Another potential solution would be to give Victory Rush back to Fury, since it’s thematically similar to Bloodthirst. Or they could give Bloodthirst a buff that lasts for six seconds after you kill an opponent who grants experience or honor. One other idea that comes to mind is that instead of Enraged Regeneration being a two minute cooldown, it could be an ability that procs every time you kill someone. This would make your Bloodthirst heal for 20% and reduce the damage you take by 30% as well as giving you a cooldown to hit like Die by the Sword or similar. It’s not impossible to level as Fury now — I intend to do it on my next Warrior, in fact, he’s a Worgen and it just makes sense. But Arms is a lot better at staying alive right now.
By the time I write another Warrior column hopefully I’ll have gotten some raiding or serious Mythic dungeons in. I will let you know how that shakes out.
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