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WoWFeb 20, 2015 5:00 pm CT

The Warriors’ Charge: Going from Pandaria to Draenor

Hi. It’s been a while since we warrior columned, hasn’t it? So I thought it would be appropriate to start off this first column covering how to get back into the swing of things. In a departure from the way I used to do things (can’t learn and grow if we never try new things) I’ll break down the basics and then go for more details. I’ll be talking mostly about leveling as DPS, because protection will likely get its own discussion soon, but I mention prot when it seems appropriate to do so.

When leveling from 90 to 100, keep the following in mind.

  • I’ve now leveled as prot, as arms and as fury. All three work for leveling. Fury feels the loss of crit as you level up the most and thus, you’ll go from feeling nigh invincible at level 90 – 91 to feeling fairly fragile around level 95 or higher. Arms has this same problem. If you like feeling hard to kill, stay prot for the full ten levels, but it’s definitely doable in any spec.
  • When constructing your Garrison, getting the Gladiator’s Sanctum helps for arms and fury warrior leveling. Also, the Dwarven Bunker/War Mill is very helpful when attempting to catch up to run Heroic Dungeons and LFR — using the upgrade items from Nagrand, I was at ilevel 616 and ready to run heroic dungeons within a few hours of hitting level 100.
  • Do every bonus objective in every zone as you level, especially if you have any rested bonus. The bonus objectives count as quests, and they reward as much as four or five quests in a zone. Using them, you can push your rested bonus out significantly. I never ran out of rested going from 90 to 100 using these.
  • While leveling, Impending Victory seems the clear winner for DPS warriors, but Second Wind came in handy a few times. Enraged Regeneration is my favorite for leveling as a tank.
  • You do not get Gladiator’s Resolve until level 100. So many people complained about this while I was leveling this alt, so I wanted to make sure you all knew. You will not be leveling as a Gladiator.

So let’s talk more in detail about the leveling experience, shall we?

DraenorwithmacesFirst off, arms is still not a lot of fun to play. There’s still something almost undefinable in the spec’s problem – you can end up waiting a very long time for something to happen, especially if you don’t take Slam or Sudden Death. A lot of Rending and waiting. Fury feels fine, a lot more fluid by comparison. If you take Sudden Death as fury, you basically base all of your actions around that free Execute, and if you take Unquenchable Thirst you basically hit Bloodthirst until you either get a Raging Blow proc or you’re close to full on rage, then you use Wild Strike to bleed it out. If you take Furious Strikes, I don’t really understand you.

As sad as it makes me, I recommend not bothering with dungeons until you’re max level. The amount of experience you get for a run through isn’t really competitive compared to just finishing off a zone and its objectives (especially those bonuses) and with the War Mill or Bunker, the gear you get ends up keeping apace just fine. I’m a little bothered by this, as I love dungeons, but considering wait times if you’re not a tank it’s not really worth it, and even if you are a tank dungeons just aren’t efficient. If you just love them and don’t care how fast you level, then by all means, give them a whirl. You can easily do every zone as prot and get gear for tanking dungeons, although I’ll admit now, if you’re looking for bonus armor on items questing isn’t going to do it for you.

If I had to rank a spec I enjoyed the most for leveling, it would be fury with the caveat that I took blacksmithing and mining, upgraded the mine and the forge as fast as I could, and made myself several pieces of crafted gear (the three you’re allowed) by level 92. Having a 630 weapon and two 640 pieces of armor helped a lot as a DPS. It slowed my leveling for those two levels, since I spent a lot of time just running around mining constantly and doing all the work orders at the mine and the forge. But once I had them, I not only had a significant boost while leveling through Draenor’s zones, I didn’t have to worry about those slots while trying to get up to ilvl 615 for LFR. And remember, if you don’t want to work on blacksmithing yourself, all of the Truesteel and Steelforged items are purchasable in the Auction House, if you’re flush with gold.

For a starting arms build I used this spec, for a few reasons. It’s a good toolkit approach — it’s got a cone stun AoE and Bladestorm for when you pull a lot of mobs, the Mortal Strike glyph will work on Impending Victory’s heals (as well as the other two healing tier talents), and Sudden Death Executes hit pretty hard overall. You need either SD or Slam while leveling as arms or you’ll just go nuts, in my opinion. The rage income from Taste for Blood is okay, but not enough to make the monotony of the spec without Sudden Death lighting up worth it. Slam is reliable, but in my opinion (sad as it is) it’s in second place behind SD.

For fury, I went with a different idea behind my spec. I know that arms uses Whirlwind as a rage dump, but frankly it still feels like it needs the AoE help of Bladestorm, whereas when I go fury Whirlwind and Raging Blow take care of that for me. So instead I went with Storm Bolt and Bloodbath for general damage and Unquenchable Thirst so I could generate rage quickly ala the Diablo III barbarian. Sudden Death is still a very viable talent, it’s just not how I chose to go. If you like those rage-free Executes instead of a no-cooldown Bloodthirst, feel free to go that route.

Next column, we’ll look at leveling as a protection warrior. And we’ll talk about the rise and slight fall of Gladiator Stance as a DPS option.

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