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Analysis of Warriors changes in 3.1

Matthew Rossi
Hello, my fellow warriors. Change is at hand. How does it affect us, you may ask? Well, let us break down the changes.

  • Changing stances now has a much reduced cost: you lose a maximum of 20 rage (10 with Tactical Mastery). For example, if you have 100 rage and change stances, you will have 80 rage remaining. If you have 10 rage and change stances, all of your rage is lost. In addition, we may change the penalties associated with some stances.
  • You now gain rage when damage done to you is absorbed, such as through a Power Word: Shield.
  • Blood Frenzy now causes 2/4% physical damage done.
  • Sunder Armor (and similar debuffs) now reduces armor by 4% per application, and is now a single rank. Creature armor has been globally reduced so that debuffed targets should take about the same damage from physical attacks that they did before this change. The net effect should be that this debuff is slightly less mandatory in PvE and is not disproportionately more powerful against cloth targets in PvP.
  • We are also adding increased damage to Arms, possibly through Overpower or Slam.
  • We are also looking at granting rage when the warrior blocks, dodges or parries.

We talked about stance penalties this week, and frankly, this one change is the biggest and best news for warriors in quite some time. The rest of the changes are either positive or sort of neutral.

The change to Sunder Armor (specifically the way it is worded here) is a small PvP nerf. Since mob armor is reduced to compensate, the only real concern for a warrior is how it will affect Devastate threat, if at all. If the threat from Devastate is drastically lowered by this change (it shouldn't be, but with the kind of math that calculating threat behind the scenes, I can't say with certainty) then this is a bad nerf, but that's a huge if. If threat stays the same (and I again point out, it should) then this merely reduces Sunder in PvP, where it is already rarely used save by prot warriors using Devastate.

The Blood Frenzy change is a buff and one that means they're probably going to have to buff Savage Combat, or perhaps that the Arms ability is going to be considered the superior debuff. Not sure how this is going to work, but I'm still happy to see a buff to arms, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else they have in store for the spec in PvE. I don't imagine they'll actually go with increased damage to Arms via Slam unless it's through Improved Slam or some other talent that Fury can't get, as right now Fury uses Slam a lot thanks to Bloodsurge. Overpower seems a much more likely candidate to me.

Gaining rage through shields and other absorbed attacks? Yay! Now just give me rage when my attacks are absorbed and I'll love you forever.

Finally, the idea of getting rage when I block, dodge or parry? That sound you hear is protection spec warriors going insane with joy. If that happens, I promise you, warriors will be dancing in the streets and kissing random Death Knights as they pass on the street.

Overall, arms sees a buff with the promise of more buffs on the way, protection gets a slight PvP nerf (if it works out to be worse I'll say so, but at present we have no reason to believe it will) and all warriors see stance penalties relaxed significantly, plus rage even when shielded. Not too bad so far.

Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.