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WoWNov 11, 2015 3:00 pm CT

The Warrior’s Charge: Warriors in Legion

Okay, first the good news — we’re getting to keep Titan’s Grip. The Fury Artifact weapons will be two handers. I still hold out hope for them resizing somehow for both SMF and TG, but we know for sure that TG survives due to its visual distinction from other classes, which I think is a good thing.

Okay, now to talk about the recent Warrior class preview. I find the emphasis on talents to create distinctiveness between specs an interesting one, so it will be the first thing I talk about.

Arms vs. Fury

The problem with two melee DPS specs in a class is always going to be making them stand out. (At least we’re not Rogues, who have three.) Blizzard seems to be taking the approach of simplifying specs on their baseline levels so that talent choices can be how a player adds complexity and depth, as well as uniqueness, to their character.

Granted, that’s in response to a question about DK’s, but it’s a viable note when considering this Warrior preview. In both the Arms and Fury cases, what you have listed is pretty basic on purpose. Still, looking over the Arms rotation, I’d say it’s not really particularly reduced. The only glaring omission is Rend, and Slam is listed as baseline, so that’s not really all that much of a simplification. You’ve got Mortal Strike, Slam, Colossus Smash, and Execute, with Whirlwind mentioned under the Tactician passive as a means to reset the Colossus Smash cooldown. You’re going to want to reset it, because the new CS cooldown is a staggering 45 seconds — essentially not only is Slam your rage dump, it’s your single target Colossus Smash reset button and you’re going to be hitting it every time Mortal Strike is on cooldown. The rotation would therefore be Colossus Smash when up > Mortal Strike > Slam, at least outside of Execute range. Execute looks likely to jump ahead of Mortal Strike when it’s available.


But all of this is premature, because we don’t have the talents yet.

One notable goal we have for Warriors in Legion is to significantly expand their customizability through talents, especially for Arms and Fury. If the below core abilities seem sparse, it’s to leave room for more from talents than ever before. Both specs now have five rows of core throughput talents (mostly different between Arms and Fury, too), with a strong mix of active rotational abilities, passives, procs, cooldowns, and other interesting effects. You’ll find old favorites like Overpower, Heroic Strike, and Opportunity Strikes, returning classics like Avatar, Dragon Roar, and Storm Bolt, along with a host of brand new talents. We look forward to seeing the combinations that you put together.

Keeping in mind that this does make discussing the two specs a little more difficult, I think what we can safely say is that Arms is all about that Colossus Smash cooldown. You want to reset it, which means in AOE situations you’re going to want to hit Whirlwind a lot because it has a 20% reset chance per target hit. If there’s six things to hit, you get six chances to reset the cooldown. (Keep in mind that the chance remains 20%, you just get more chances rather than a guaranteed cooldown reset.) Fury, on the other hand? Fury is about Enrage and Rampage.

Looking over the Fury changes, I feel secure in saying that Wild Strike is gone. Rampage definitely feels like the big rage spender for this specialization, and with the change to Enrage adding 100% attack speed for 6 seconds, it’s all about generating rage faster. Enrage no longer buffs damage dealt across the board: it makes your auto attacks faster, increasing white damage and rage generation while Unshacked Fury still buffs your damage while Enraged. This is based on me assuming that Enrage isn’t currently a typo in the preview. If it is, then Enrage is even better than that and it’s a great ability.

Bloodthirst critical strikes or activating Berserker Rage will Enrage you, increasing attack speed by 100% and damage taken by 30% for 6 sec.

On the other hand, if Enrage seriously increases our damage taken by 30%, well… that’s very bad. People are not going to want to bring Warriors to their raids if we take 30% more damage. This is a concern for me, and I think for any Fury Warrior.

Overall, it’s basically the old Enrage and Flurry playstyle again, with Fury hitting BT for rage generation and that all-important Enrage buff, or even using Berserker Rage to get it in order to generate enough rage to hit that Rampage button. Honestly, I’m not sure where Raging Blow falls in this scheme anymore — you can only use it when you’re Enraged, it hits with both weapons, it only costs 10 rage so you’d think it would be very attractive, but with Rampage having no cooldown I’m not sure if you’re supposed to bank rage for that or not. Since Rampage hits as if you were Enraged, it’ll get the damage boost from Unshackled Fury anyway, so maybe you’re better off hitting Raging Blow when Enrage is up and then using Rampage when it isn’t.


Looking at the signature talent of Frenzy, a lot depends on if the Haste stacks up to 25% — another attack that just adds 5% haste doesn’t really seem worth picking up. Fury’s problem isn’t a lack of attacks with Bloodthirst, Raging Blow, Rampage, and Whirlwind.

Overall I’m interested in the new Fury, especially in getting to see how Rampage works. It’s five attacks over two seconds, so it could be a problem if we hit Rampage and things can then just move away, wasting our attacks. If Rampage hits even if the target moves away from us, then that’s fine, but if we’re constantly hitting Rampage and then watching targets dance out of range the attack will become painfully frustrating really fast.

Without actually seeing those talents, I think we’ve managed to achieve a sense of distinction between Arms and Fury here. Sure, neither is terribly complex sans talents, but they both play differently, with Arms working on resetting that Colossus Smash cooldown while Fury builds rage for an offensive explosion. That said, let’s take a look at Protection.

Protection: Are we gladiators?

I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get an answer in this preview to the question of whether or not Gladiator’s Resolve will remain in some form. That does not mean it won’t, just that it doesn’t say. To quote CM Nethaera:

So for now I’ll be focusing my discussion on what we actually saw, not what we didn’t see or weren’t told.

The first standout for me is the return of rage from damage taken for Protection. It makes sense as a tanking mechanic, although I do worry that it will limit Protection compared to tanks who don’t have to take a lot of damage to get their resources. I also worry about if the new Ignore Pain mechanic will nerf our rage income while it’s active. A 90% damage decrease is awesome, but a 90% rage decrease is terrible. I hope this isn’t the case.

First up, all attacks generate less rage in Legion, not a surprise given the change to rage generation mentioned above. Revenge generates 4 rage, Shield Slam 6. This may make Protection weaker for soloing, especially on older content which doesn’t hit very hard. I’m concerned that as Protection gets better at taking less damage we’ll be looking at rage starvation, and I hope attention is paid to this.

Aside from this, however, Protection seems to be about the same. Devastate is exactly as it is now, the attack you hit when you want to reset Shield Slam and/or don’t have anything better. Revenge now hits everything in front of you on a nine second cooldown which resets on a successful dodge or parry. You’ll use it as you do now. Deep Wounds works with Devastate and Revenge, so you’ll still use it for AOE tanking to some degree, but it’s definitely less powerful now than it would be if it worked with Thunder Clap. TC itself is unchanged, but being decoupled from Deep Wounds hurts it a touch. Shield Slam is still our big single target ability and it generates more rage than Revenge. And Heroic Strike still costs 30 rage and does about what it does now, including being off the GCD, so when you’re swimming in rage you could bleed some off with this.

The Warrior’s Charge: Gladiator’s Resolve and the future of combat stances

However, with the change to Shield Block (10 rage cost and also boosts Shield Slam damage innately) and the introduction of Ignore Pain, I’m not sure in what situation you’d use Heroic Strike.

Ignore Pain
40 Rage, Instant
Fight through the pain, ignoring 90% of the next massive amount (based on maximum health) of damage you take.

You’ll note there’s no listed cooldown. In other words, in any situation where you’re generating enough rage (and thus taking a lot of damage) to make Heroic Strike usable, you’re probably going to want to keep Ignore Pain up. Ignore Pain has no duration and it’s not an absorb, so it may be that it works on whatever the next attack that hits you is, meaning that if you’re taking a pounding from many small attacks Shield Block is your winner, while if you’re getting pancaked by huge slow attacks then Ignore Pain wins, but either way since rage is directly tied to incoming damage I’m not sure why I’d ever use HS. Perhaps if I’d used Shield Block and I knew my incoming damage was all going to be from fast attacks.

Spell Reflection is now a ‘aah, magic damage’ button with a 30% reduction in damage from magic, which is a nice change.

Overall, despite my concern about rage and damage taken (it needs to be watched carefully so that getting stronger as a tank doesn’t mean getting weaker as a Warrior) I like the concept of Protection. Without the talents, all we can really do is wait and see if we get Gladiator and what the other options are.

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