First impressions of Warriors in the Battle for Azeroth alpha
The Battle for Azeroth alpha has been around for a little under a week, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking the expansion’s approach to Warriors for a spin. Below, you’ll find my thoughts on the whole ordeal thus far. However, mefore we even get started please remember a few caveats:
- This is an extremely early alpha build. A lot can — and presumably will — change before release.
- This is on a character in green-quality gear that is presumably at the minimum for starting these zones.
- There is an item squish in effect. Gear ilevel is below 200.
- At least one talent isn’t even complete.
This all being said, I’ve had time to run the beginning of both Nazmir (Horde) and Drustvar (Alliance), and have played around on all three specs. As a result, I have some impressions to report.
Life after Artifacts
First up, you are definitely going to feel weaker in Battle for Azeroth — because you are. The loss of the Artifact is noticeable. Abilities like Odyn’s Fury being gone definitely change things up. The spec that feels this the least, however, is Protection, which overall felt like the strongest leveling spec. I sailed through the trash with minimal loss of life, never felt like I had to stop to eat, and generally just murdered stuff. When I got adds, which was often, I barely even had to change my tactics. I just kept on keeping on.
For both Arms and Fury, you’ll need to readjust. If you’re used to Second Wind making you invulnerable, don’t be — you’ll do fine against a single target, but you’ll take more damage. And if you get adds, you’ll need to use a DPS cooldown like Recklessness to stay upright. Fury actually felt a little stronger despite the lack of Victory Rush, which Arms retains. Maybe it’s simply that whenever I got adds as Fury I had at least one DPS cooldown and enough AoE to burn through, but the change making Cleave and Warbreaker talents means you’ll need to adjust.
Don’t get me wrong — you absolutely can solo quite effectively as Arms. I spent a solid hour working through the quests in Nazmir and never did I feel like it was impossible in any spec. But I definitely felt like Protection did nearly the same damage while taking a lot less.
Talents still in flux
Looking at talents, these are obviously not complete but they’re further along than I expected for alpha — only one “Coming Soon” on the Arms and Fury talent pane and it was in the second talent on the level-30 tier for both. Warbreaker is now a talent that replaces Colossus Smash, which is nice for AoE burns– and combined with Whirlwind or Bladestorm, it’s very usefu. However, in general, CS and Warbreaker have a 45-second cooldown with no way to reset them (that I noticed) so it’s a lot less powerful than it used to be. Tactician now resets the cooldown on Mortal Strike and Overpower — abilities that are up often anyway — and Mastery buffs Deep Wounds damage, so Colossus Smash is relegated to a 30% damage increase once every minute or so.
Fury felt a lot more complete. The basics of Fury haven’t really changed at all — Bloodthirst to generate Rage, Furious Slash as a filler to buff Bloodthirst, Rampage and Raging Blow as bigger damage Rage spenders. The talents are different, but in practice it feels the most unchanged. Strangely, it also felt better in terms of survival than it does on live — perhaps its damage more easily burns down mobs before they do the same, but with proper cooldown management, when I got adds I was able to survive larger pulls than a starting 100 Fury in Legion would.
Tanking is the easiest path
Overall, while this isn’t finished yet, I would say that Protection feels the best for soloing and doing the leveling content, followed by Fury, which is followed by Arms. I still love Second Wind and Victory Rush, but even with them, Arms definitely felt diminished in comparison with Fury — and Protection outstripped them both. Neither Fury nor Protection got their big abilities from their Artifacts as a talent, although Arms did with Warbreaker. All three specs have the returned Battle Shout, which adds 100 to Strength and Agility for an hour for you and your party. Only Fury and Protection have Recklessness as a DPS cooldown — Arms does not. I have no idea why that is.
Considering that this is still early alpha, I’m hopeful this will feel better when it goes live. Although to be fair, I think both Prot and Fury feel pretty good right now — a few tweaks and they’ll be ready for the live game. Arms feels half-finished, like changes have been made but not fully considered yet. In terms of the pace of combat, I definitely felt like Fury and Protection were both strong in that regard, with Fury’s only stumbling block that it still doesn’t have Victory Rush. I’d like to see Arms get Recklessness and Fury get Victory Rush — both would feel a lot better that way.
I’ll be running dungeons in all three specs as soon as I can, so I’ll report more on how that feels once it happens. At present, I’d give the class as a whole a B, with Prot and Fury each getting a B+ and Arms a B-. They haven’t deviated so much from Legion that they feel badly designed, but the loss of the Artifact and all the bonuses it gave is very strongly felt, and Arms in particular feels like the first draft of a slight redesign they haven’t finished yet. I’m definitely watching the alpha with interest to see how it feels in a build or two.
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