Buckle up, Fury Warriors, your life is about to completely change
If you play a DPS Warrior, especially Fury spec, then it’s been a crazy month and Blizzard isn’t done with the changes. Fury Warriors are still being iterated on. The changes aren’t massive in some ways — Fury is still the spec where you use two gigantic weapons to rain devastation upon your next target — but they are fairly extensive and we need to discuss them in length.
The angry road ahead
Let’s go over some of the highlights. This is following a post Blizzard did last week, so we’ll talk about the redesign in terms of both posts. The post made three points I feel are very important.
- More tightly adjust/control Enrage uptime and Rage income (both of which heavily impact pacing, flow, and the feel of the spec) throughout the expansion, rather than letting both scale up dramatically as gearing happens.
- Reduce the amount of stacking damage bonuses on the spec that are available simultaneously, which reduces the desire/need to stack multiple at once, which now feels much worse to do now that virtually all of them are on the global cooldown.
- Figure out Furious Slash’s place on the spec.
The first point is being achieved by adjusting Enrage and rage generation so that they’re not going to start off weak and then get stronger and stronger in a near exponential way as you get better gear. This has always been one of Fury’s real problems — your DPS is low and you don’t contribute much until you get geared up and then you suddenly break a threshold and your gear puts you in constant Enrage and your rage generation gets so high you no longer have to pay attention to what you’re doing. The ‘scale up dramatically’ issue has been the bane and boon of Fury Warriors since I’ve been playing the spec, and that means it has literally always been the problem for endgame Fury.
Less stacking, more smacking
The changes to stacking damage is interesting because in many ways holding off until you could line up all your cooldowns has been this expansion’s Burst Window problem. The Burst Window is when a spec only does meaningful damage within a small window and so saves up everything for that window — one example is back in the day when Fury had Colossus Smash and thus, would constantly try and line up all its DPS output for that six seconds when the Colossus Smash debuff was on a target. With the change to putting DPS cooldowns on the GCD, this would have hobbled Fury — the class is very reliant currently on taking a cooldown talent and likely getting a cooldown trinket and macroing all three cooldowns together and using them whenever you could arrange for all three to be up, or at least two of them if their cooldowns didn’t synch well. Since Blizzard changed how these cooldowns work entirely to prevent this kind of stacking, Fury needs a redesign to remain relevant. In essence, it needs a new kind of Burst Window because its old one just got invalidated.
The change to Enrage making it a straightforward Haste buff means it will make all of your abilities cool down faster as well, meaning that you’ll be hitting more buttons during the Enrage period. This buffs the overall flow of the spec, if it works like it should.
As for Furious Slash, that requires more looking at the current talent situation. Blizzard’s most recent post solidifies what the design is going forward.
We’ve been iterating on Fury Warrior since last week, and the next Beta build will again be a slightly out-of-date version of Fury compared to we have internally at this moment.
To give an update: everything on the baseline spec described last week hasn’t changed. However, many talents have been adjusted, moved, or replaced to better fit together with the updates to the Fury spec.
Level 15, 30, 60 rows: No changes since last week/last Beta build.
Level 45 row: Inner Rage, Sudden Death, Furious Slash – this row speed up/adds to the rotation
Inner Rage is now -1 sec off the base cooldown of Raging Blow (which is now 8 sec base cooldown) and increases its damage. Simple and direct, and does the job of slightly speeding up/adding to the rotation.
Sudden Death is the same talent many know, adjusted for Fury – “Your attacks have a chance to reset the cooldown of Execute and make it usable on any target, regardless of their health.” It replaces Wrecking Ball in the talent tree, and fills the role of “occasionally inserts an ability into your rotation” better than Wrecking Ball does, because Whirlwind is now already used often as part of your single-target rotation. Additionally, now that Execute generates 20 Rage for Fury, this proc will also serve to slightly speed up the rotation, which is desirable on this talent row.
Furious Slash is the Furious Slash attack (from live) combined with Frenzy (the talent from live), as described last week, granting Haste per stack, stacking up to 3. It serves as the higher-complexity talent that add a brand new button to your rotation. The Haste granted has been reduced to a more appropriate level (2% per stack, pending playtesting/feedback/tuning) considering the spec now has 25% Haste baseline from Enrage, and with another talent (Frothing Berserker) also providing 10% Haste occasionally.
Level 75 row: Carnage, Massacre, Frothing Berserker
Massacre has been redesigned into “Execute is now usable on targets below 35% health”. Now that Execute has a cooldown and generates Rage, the live Legion version doesn’t make much sense anymore – it would’ve just amounted to a Rage proc on Execute. Additionally, Execute adds a significant amount to the rotation already when it’s available – any redesign that made that Execute window even more impacted by adding more resources or buttons to press didn’t seem to overall improve the Execute rotation. Instead, widening the window during which you can use Execute, made more sense.
On Execute’s cooldown, which is currently 6 sec (reduced by Haste, ending up at ~4.2 sec with Enrage up): Currently, there are no lack of buttons to press during Execute windows, with Execute being available on every 4th ability use (at a high priority), and pushing some other buttons out to make room for itself. We think Execute being any lower cooldown makes the Fury rotation more cramped during Execute, and not any better overall.
Carnage and Frothing Berserker are unchanged since last week.
Level 90 row: Meat Cleaver, Dragon Roar, Bladestorm – this row is primarily AOE
Whirlwind still has its baseline mechanic of making your next 2 attacks strike up to 4 additional targets for 40% damage (this mechanic/buff is called Meat Cleaver on live). That proc/buff has been renamed to simply “Whirlwind” because if anyone referred to Meat Cleaver when talking about Fury, it wasn’t possible to find those words anywhere in the spellbook, which made it harder to learn about the mechanic. Meat Cleaver, the new talent, uses that name, and gives Whirlwind a 10% chance to Enrage you and causes it to generate an additional 1 Rage per target hit (up to 3 additional Rage), pending tuning.
Dragon Roar’s cooldown has been increased to 40 sec (up from 25 sec), radius has been increased to 12 yds (up from 8 yds), damage increased significantly, and it now generates 10 Rage. The goal is to put it much closer to Odyn’s Fury in usage and damage impact (high cooldown, more one-hit damage). Generating a respectable amount of Rage allows it to be used during Recklessness without you feeling like you’re missing out on its potential Rage generation increase.
Bladestorm’s duration has been reduced to 3 sec (down from 6 sec), cooldown reduced to 1 min (down from 1.5 min), and now generates 20 Rage over the duration. Shortening the duration allows Bladestorm to fit into an Enrage window (without requiring extreme amounts of Haste) if used right after after gaining Enrage, and a shorter duration/cooldown Bladestorm feels more like Fury anyways.
Level 100 row: Reckless Abandon, Anger Management, Siegebreaker – this row modifies or adds damage bonuses
Reckless Abandon is a fine talent, no changes.
Anger Management has been added to Fury, reducing the cooldown of Recklessness by 1 sec for every 25 Rage you spend. Recklessness is cool, so why not have it more often?
When looking at the third talent slot on this row, we tried various version of Bloodbath or Avatar at different cooldowns, or with different mechanics, or with up-front damage, and even a version where the talent literally just cast both Avatar and Recklessness for 15 sec with a 1.5-2 min CD. In the end we concluded:
- Any version that was a separate self-buff damage cooldown button didn’t feel great to press consecutively with Recklessness, because you’re pressing two straight abilities which both feel more like self-buffs than attacks
- Any version that made Recklessness stronger (high damage/amplitude) or replaced Recklessness with an ability with a 1.5 min cooldown, felt too similar to Reckless Abandon
- Any version that made Recklessness shorter cooldown was Anger Management
- Any version that made Recklessness a longer cooldown or replaced it with a new spell with a longer cooldown, didn’t feel great because you were taking a talent that made Recklessness available less often
In the end, we’re going to try a cooldown attack that debuffs the target, increasing your damage done to them for a duration. This synergizes with Recklessness in a way that feels better – Recklessness first to buff yourself, then a heavy attack against the enemy. The intended gameplay is: Build up Rage -> Siegebreaker -> Rampage -> Rebuild Rage -> Rampage before Siegebreaker ends. Correct tuning on the duration will allow 2 Rampages to be doable during one Siegebreaker, but not trivial to do mindlessly. During Recklessness you should be able to get off three Rampages in the Siegebreaker window.
Siegebreaker (30 sec cooldown, Generates 15 Rage): Break the enemy’s defenses, dealing [120% AP] Physical damage, and increasing your damage done to the target by 20% for 10 sec.
- Outburst, Bloodbath, and Avatar have been removed from Fury.
- Auto attack damage, as a portion of your overall damage, has been reduced. This came from increasing the damage of most abilities on the spec. Our target for auto attack damage on Fury is currently much closer to 25% of your overall damage than 50%.
Thanks for the continued feedback here and everywhere else.
The New Fury
Looking over the changes a few things immediately stick out. The first is that all of the cooldowns that Fury would have taken to stack with Recklessness (Battle Cry on live) are gone from the spec. No Bloodbath, no Avatar. Since cooldowns were all going on the GCD anyway, the two most likely design options here were to make a talent tier that was ‘choose your own cooldown’ and then try and balance Recklessness, Avatar and Bloodbath so that they all felt different but were comparable DPS, or pick one and stick with it, and Recklessness is the original Warrior DPS cooldown going back to Vanilla so I’m not surprised we’re seeing it given the spotlight here. I know some Warriors will be upset at the loss of a cool ability (I personally enjoyed Bloodbath and I know a lot of Dwarves who will miss Avatar) but with cooldown stacking being designed away from this was practically inevitable.
The level 45 tier is very straightforward. If you want complexity, you’ll take Furious Slash. If you want it fire and forget, you’ll take Inner Rage. Sudden Death is for gamblers. Simple, easy to understand. Theorycrafters will work out which one is better DPS and everyone in raids will take that one, and the rest of us will take the one we like best.
Level 75 talents? It’s going to be Carnage. It’s always going to be Carnage. Unless Massacre and Execute get a lot more than a 20 rage bump, getting cheaper Rampages is always going to win. Always.
The level 90 talents, I’m cautiously excited about this. The idea of actually getting to choose between Dragon Roar and Whirlwind and have each be viable would be lovely. I’m not sure that the redesigned Meat Cleaver does the job Blizzard is looking for here — if I were in charge I’d at least suggest moving Siegebraker down to this tier instead. But we’ll see how it shakes out. If you’re the kind of player who wants to simply things, Meat Cleaver is a passive talent and thus one less thing to think about, whereas both Dragon Roar and Bladestorm will require you to keep track of their cooldowns and push more buttons.
Level 100 is where we see some more variation. With our cooldowns gone, both Reckless Abandon and Anger Management play around with Recklessness — Reckless Abandon just plain buffs the duration and fills up that rage bar to go whole hog during your Recklessness window, while Anger Management will allow you to go into Recklessness more often. Which one you prefer is up to you, depending on if you like predictability or not. Personally, I’m interested in Siegebreaker — it’s basically the return of Colossus Sash from the Cataclysm/Mists days, but as a talent, not a baseline ability. I’m curious to see if people end up liking it and players who can get the hang of synching it up with Rampage should see a serious DPS upgrade.
It’s an interesting time to be a Warrior. With the changes to tanking, I think Fury is going to end up being the most interesting spec for Warriors in Battle for Azeroth. If I weren’t already playing Fury most of the time, I’d likely switch.
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