The Warrior’s Charge: The future of Gladiator’s Resolve
I was asked by a commenter on the Queue if I thought they’d ever move Gladiator’s Resolve/Gladiator Stance down a bit so it could be used by leveling warriors, and I said to myself, “Self, you’re talking to yourself as if you were someone else, and that’s not good, you shouldn’t do that.”
Then I sat there for a while and worried about myself and my sanity, because I often am concerned that the relentless and steady progression of time will cause me to lapse into a derelict state of mind and I’ll be unable to distinguish my own thoughts from those of someone else, in an inversion of the process described by Julian Jaynes in his The Origins of Consciousness In The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. As disturbing as this thought is, I eventually got around to actually thinking about the warrior class and how it’s designed right now, what makes sense to me and what doesn’t.
One of the big problems I have with Gladiator’s Resolve is that it is such a major change in how a spec functions — the DPS protection warrior is an entirely new paradigm, and we only get to play with it and learn how it best works once we’re level 100.
That’s understandable to an extent — Gladiator’s Resolve is a big deal talent. It makes sense that a change this radical would take place at level 100. It’s a reward for getting there. After all, it’s not like you can’t level just fine as a protection warrior right now — in fact, prot levels like a dream and has since Cataclysm, really. It’s much better than the slow, painful slog of prot leveling in classic WoW, or Burning Crusade, or even Wrath of the Lich King to a lesser extent.
So it’s not the case that prot needs Gladiator’s Resolve at, say, level 60. But on the other hand, compare Gladiator’s Resolve to Siegebreaker, or indeed any talent in the level 100 tier. No other talent available at that level — not Anger Management, not Ravager and certainly not Siegebreaker is even close to as big a game changer as Gladiator’s Resolve. Both arms and fury are thematically less interesting than protection with that talent, and as a prot warrior it’s very hard to justify taking Ravager or Anger Management over Gladiator’s Resolve.
We saw a similar change in fury when both Single-Minded Fury and Titan’s Grip became default for the spec instead of talents, and I think that was a good design choice, one that should be considered here as well. A sword and board combat style doesn’t logically require a special talent, and prot warrior shouldn’t have to lock themselves into not getting anything at level 100 while arms and fury are getting to pick from two attacks and a cooldown reduction ability. Gladiator’s Resolve is essentially at once too good to be a talent and too limited to be one.
This could be approached in various ways. The easiest way would be to simply pick a level (60 makes sense to me) and have all protection warriors get Gladiator’s Resolve at that level. Design a new talent for level 100, or let prot get Siegebreaker. This isn’t a terribly inventive solution — it’s essentially what they did with TG/SMF — but it would deal with the issue of the talent imbalance and it would let leveling prot warriors run around gladiatoring it up. That’s certainly not the only solution, however.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the design of the barbarian and crusader classes from Diablo 3 — it’s one of the reasons I enjoy Unquenchable Thirst so much, because it lets me hit BT and charge up a full rage bar at will, simulating the barbarian’s fury generation attacks. So looking at Gladiator’s Resolve and thinking about how to iterate on the design, one option comes to mind — make the talent available to all three specs.
For protection, it functions exactly as it does now. For arms and fury, it allows each spec to tank with a 2h weapon and shield, basically mimicking the crusader ability Heavenly Strength. If you wanted to differentiate between arms and fury, let arms go the 2h weapon and shield route (heck, maybe let protection do that, too) and make fury a parry tank with the offhand weapon’s strength and crit converting to parry at a higher than normal rate.
Ultimately I don’t expect that. I think it’s far more likely that we’ll see Gladiator’s Resolve either moved down the tree to the 60 or 75 tier, or made default for protection. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be good to see arms and fury get tanking options that don’t force them to either pick up a shield and be a third rate prot warrior or have their second spec as prot.
What I’d really like to see is an end to the unevenness of the level 100 talents for warriors. Anger Management is an excellent concept but it doesn’t really translate as well as one might hope, while Ravager and Siegebreaker are new attacks, and both are situational. You’d pick Ravager for AoE intensive fights or fights where you know a boss is going to remain stationary but you’ll be forced to move around — being able to throw an axe at him to do damage for ten seconds while you get knocked back or have to run away from fire trails is pretty nice. Siegebreaker is good if you’ll need a quick stun or another single target attack. They’re fine talents, but they don’t really work with a talent like Gladiator’s Resolve.
Next time, I finally have two decent weapons, so a discussion of Titan’s Grip.
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