The Warrior’s Charge: Warriors in patch 7.1.5
It’s been a few days since patch 7.1.5 went live. It hasn’t exactly been a resounding success for us Warriors. I’m willing to argue that has a lot to do with how it changed other classes rather than what it did to us — save for a few tweaks and a reasonably large change to Protection, the patch didn’t do very much to us at all. And maybe that’s the problem. The 5% damage increase to most Arms and Fury abilities clearly didn’t do much of anything. I suppose we should be thankful we’re not Hunters.
So what now? And what about Protection, which sees talent shifts and other changes? I speculated on this back in November, but now it’s time to look at the reality.
Arms in patch 7.1.5
First up we’ll look at the changes to Arms.
- The damage done by most Arms abilities has been increased by 5%.
- Charge now reduces the movement speed of the target by 50% for 6 seconds.
- Charge now roots the target for 1 second (was 1.5 seconds).
- Fervor of Battle increases Whirlwind’s damage to the primary target by 45% (was 30%).
- Hamstring now deals 105% weapon damage (was 5%).
- In For The Kill refunds 30 Rage (was 20).
- Ravager damage increased by 25%.
- Rend costs 10 Rage (was 15), now deals 10% more periodic damage, and now deals upfront Bleed damage.
- Sweeping Strikes makes Mortal Strike and Execute hit 2 additional nearby targets (was 1).
- Titanic Might no longer reduces the effectiveness of Colossus Smash.
- Trauma causes Slam and Whirlwind to deal 25% damage as a DoT (was 20%).
It would be hard for me to argue that any of this is bad. A flat 5% buff to abilities followed up by several buffs to specific talents? The Titanic Might change in particular makes me very happy. But clearly, based on the data from raids, overall Arms is still low middle/top bottom of the pack. What happened? Clearly the buffs didn’t do much of anything compared to what other classes got, which is always kind of a weird thing to see. For years now, Blizzard has been very conservative when it comes to buffs to Warrior DPS and I think in this case it’s rooted in old mechanics that no longer apply. Warriors are no longer the crit-hungry endless rage machines of yesteryear. Both Arms and Fury like Haste (Fury more than Arms, I’d argue, but they both like it) and either way, I think it’s clear that a 5% buff didn’t do much to fix Arms’ standing.
But getting cake is always nice even if you’re still hungry afterwards, I suppose. At least it’s better than getting no cake. Standout changes here are Sweeping Strikes, Titanic Might, and Ravager (I’m still not going to take it, but 25% is 25%). Essentially, to be competitive, I think we need between another 5 and 10% damage across the board. If you look at the numbers that’s about how far down Arms is. Another 5% and we should be in the thick of it with other plate DPS.
Fury in patch 7.1.5
Arms and Fury are very close right now, with Arms ahead by a very small amount. That’s one silver lining here: they finally found a way to get these two DPS specs almost interchangeable, which means you can raid as whichever one appeals to you. Sadly, both are kind of in the basement at the moment.
- The damage done by most Fury abilities has been increased 5%.
- Dragon Roar increases your damage done by 16% (was 20%).
- Fresh Meat increases Bloodthirst’s critical strike chance by 60% (was 40%).
- Frothing Berserker increases damage done by 15% (was 10%).
- Outburst now also reduces the cooldown of Berserker Rage by 15 seconds (previously did not reduce the cooldown).
- Reckless Abandon now also increases the duration of Battle Cry by 2 seconds (previously did not increase the duration).
- War Machine lasts 15 seconds (was 10 seconds).
- Wrecking Ball increases the damage of your next Whirlwind by 250% (was 200%).
The change to Dragon Roar seems aimed at making it less of a default choice. I’m not sure it worked. I admit that I raid with Reckless Abandon but I’m always a stubborn cuss. Being able to increase your damage by 16% for 6 seconds every 25 seconds is still pretty good even on bosses and it’s amazing for AoE situations where you can hit Dragon Roar and follow it up with a couple of Whirlwinds. I don’t think Bladestorm can compete with that 1.5 minute cooldown and Fury already have rage free Whirlwind to spam in AoE situations. Honestly, as much as I love Bladestorm, I feel like we needed to let that go and give Fury something else in this tier.
The Fresh Meat change is good, but I’m sticking with Endless Rage. 30% more rage from autoattacks means I can hit Rampage more often. Hitting Rampage more often guarantees I’ll be enraged. It’s a no-brainer and fights quickly drop below that 80% health threshold.
Frothing Berserker got buffed, but I still like Carnage better for the same reason. Being able to hit Rampage more means more Enrages which will mean more damage without having to watch your rage and try and hoard it up to 100 to get Frothing’s effects. But if you’re into FB (and some players like that a full rage bar feels like a limit break) then this is a good change. In general, these changes are all good, they’re just not doing much to address Fury’s real problem, which is that we simply don’t hit hard enough until we can hit Rampage. Rampage has been too expensive this whole expansion, it still is, and there’s not much else to say. Until that changes, Fury will stay where it is: an underwhelming DPS spec. Which is a shame because it’s crazy fun to play, I’m raiding with it now and enjoying it.
Protection in patch 7.1.5
Protection sees the most changes. With the removal of Focused Rage and the change to Revenge, it’s not fair to say we’re looking at an entirely new spec, but it is pretty solidly different from what it was before patch 7.1.5.
- Anger Management also reduces the cooldown of Demoralizing Shout.
- Best Served Cold has been moved to Level 45: Revenge deals 5% more damage per target hit, up to five.
- Booming Voice generates 60 Rage (was 50 Rage), and increases damage you deal to affected enemies by 25% (was 20%).
- Crackling Thunder increases Thunder Clap’s radius by 50% (was 100%).
- New Talent: Devastator
- Passive. Replaces Devastate. Your auto-attacks deal additional damage, generate 5 Rage, and have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam.
- Focused Rage has been removed.
- Heavy Repercussions extends Shield Block by 1.0 seconds (was 1.5 seconds)
- Intercept now gives 15 Rage (was 10).
- Might of the Vrykul now affects Thunder Clap (was Revenge).
- Never Surrender ignores up to 100% more damage (was 75%).
- Ravager damage increased by 25%.
- Ravager increases your Parry chance by 35% (was 30%).
- Revenge damage increased by 29%, and now has a chance to reset Shield Slam’s cooldown.
- Revenge now has a 3 second cooldown, and costs 30 Rage. Dodge/Parry makes your next Revenge free.
- Safeguard now transfers 30% of damage (was 20%).
- Shield Block now costs 15 Rage.
- Thunder Clap now generates 5 Rage, and its damage has been increased by 100%.
- Ultimatum has been removed.
- Vengeance now affects Revenge (was Focused Rage).
- Warbringer now stuns for 2.5 seconds (was 1.5 seconds).
- Warlord’s Challenge also reduces the cooldown of Berserker Rage by 15 seconds.
What’s interesting here is that with the arrival of Devastator, you can choose to remove Devastate and shift its ability to reset Shield Slam to your auto attacks. Based on conversations I’ve had with other Warriors, this makes Haste a lot stronger (since the faster you autoattack, the more chances you have of resetting Shield Slam and generating more rage, plus the increased rage from the autoattacks themselves) which in turn alters your playstyle to an extent we rarely see in Prot Warrior talents. If you found hitting Devastate just for that Shield Slam reset annoying, this is a fascinating change.
The other real change is the removal of Focused Rage and the shift from Revenge as rage generation to rage dump. Focused Rage was fiddly and annoying and I didn’t much care for it, so I’m not surprised it’s gone. And with it gone, there was a need for an offensive rage dump. I’m not 100% sold on this one (30 rage for an offensive rage dump means it’s only useful when you’re taking almost no damage in my opinion) but with Thunder Clap taking the role of rage generator, you can either go with a Devastate/Shield Slam/Thunder Clap rotation and feel minimal change, or take Devastator and use a high Haste build to try and build up more rage to slip more Revenge in.
I like Shield Block at 15 rage. Generally I like most of these changes. I’m not necessarily going to go Devastator (I like both Never Surrender and Indomitable as survival talents, but I’m curious to see if Devastator and a lot of Haste could make rage flow freely enough to eclipse those talents) but the idea of being able to customize the Prot playstyle is one I like. In general, I never liked Focused Rage, so I’m not at all sad to see it go. Just be sure that if you decide to try Devastator out that you have some Haste gear waiting.
The Final Verdict
We don’t really know how Protection will shake out but the changes should make it a more streamlined spec, especially if you pick up Devastator. Both Arms and Fury need more baseline DPS. Buff their masteries, just flat out increase their damage, do something.
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