Last week, The Care and Feeding of Warriors covered loot in a new five man not ten minutes before the doors were ripped off of our new expansion. As we promised, this week Matthew Rossi goes gaga over all the new Cataclysm information for warriors.

So yeah, we learned a lot last week. We learned that we'll have two new races to play (both of which can be warriors), with new racial abilities to consider. We learned that Blood Elves will finally remember how to pick up something pointy and jam the aforementioned pointy end into someone without first siphoning the Holy Light from a rock candy alien, putting poison on it, or dying first. Heck, they might even decide to use two really big pointy things! (They can also settle for crushy or choppy things.) We also learned that our gear is going to be radically changing (and frankly, anything that makes me less likely to have to fire up a freaking spreadsheet... and yes, I use the spreadsheet, you know we all do... to figure out my gear options makes me happy) and streamlining.

We also learned that a really big (no, bigger than that... seriously, he's huge) dragon with an extreme hate-on for everything that lives is going to rampage across the surface of Azeroth. Frankly, though, speaking as a warrior they don't pay me to understand the motives and reasoning of giant scaly things. My purpose is to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield until pointy/blunt/choppy things have been introduced repeatedly to said giant scaly things.

It's a good system, and I don't see any reason to stop now. So now, without further ado, let's dance with the Cataclysm.
Blood Elves and Worgen and Goblins, oh my

We saw discussion of Blood Elf warriors here and I stand by what I said there. When they were first released, everyone thought that the Blood Elf racials were so good that if Warriors got them, they'd be unstoppable anti-caster weapons on the PvP battleground. (Then again, everyone always thinks of Warriors that way - be it Vanilla WoW with the cries of "Nerf Mortal Strike" or modern WoW with cries of "Nerf Bladestorm and Juggernaut" it doesn't matter how strong or weak the class is in PvP, really.) But now that we've had BE's since the launch of Burning Crusade, we've had time to get used to them and to see that in the current state their racial ability (Arcane Torrent) probably won't be all that unbalancing.

Likewise, we've got DK's now, so BE's no longer are forced to play a Paladin to tank. Combine this with the fact that there will now be two races able to play Paladins Horde side (Blood Elves and Tauren) and the reason for the restriction is effectively gone.

As interesting as the idea of Blood Elf Warriors is (Spellbreakers yay) I won't pretend that I'm all that interested in playing one myself. And with Worgen and Goblins coming into the game, how can you blame me? You can't!

I've always liked the mercenary archetype (I'm a big fan of Glen Cook) and man, Goblin Warriors are like the absolute distillation of that. Their racial abilities are both lore-perfect and ridiculously good, to the point where it's hard to look at those and wonder what all the fuss was about Arcane Torrent. Between the RP aspects (finally, a character it makes complete and total sense would go from fight to fight purely for monetary reward) and the racials I'd already be interested, but the fact that Goblins are also ridiculously insane means that I can finally level an engineer and play up the mad demolitionist aspect. (I will be amazed if Goblin and Worgen racials don't ultimately end up as models of how other races are going to be developed in Cataclysm.)

However, I won't be coy. My Goblin will be a side project to play with some friends I have Horde side. My main is going to be a Worgen.

Now, the Goblin racials are very cool, and might even be (taken as a whole) more potent than the Worgen ones. However, the Worgen 1% bonus damage and racial sprint are nothing to sneer at. Furthermore, I want to play a giant freaking werebeast. I have a minotaur Horde side that I plan to keep (I might even race change my BE pally to a Tauren) and by all that's dark and wolfy I'm going to have a freaking werewolf Alliance side. The best part is, with the rumored race change feature I could theoretically switch my human warrior over to Worgen (although there is some discussion of limiting that option and quite honestly, if they did, I might very well level a Worgen Warrior anyway).

Honestly, the reason I'm most excited about all these new racial options is that they also mean a return of Warriors as a class any race in the game can play. Up until BC launched, Warriors were seen as a default class because while not all races were masters of arcane or divine magic or suited to stealth, pretty much anybody (even a Gnome) could pick up a weapon and start hitting people with it. Frankly, this has always made the most sense to me. Warriors are an everyman class. No magic, no natural affinity, no divine power, no tricks of stealth and subtlety, no elementals harnessed or coaxed to your will, and certainly no pulling a bunch of dead things from the ground. Putting living things into the ground via good old fashioned brute force, however, that we're pretty comfortable with.

Gear and Stat Simplification

This in particular is a long time coming. I'm well known for sometimes disagreeing with Ghostcrawler on game issues (I'll never agree that Titan's Grip needed the savage nerfing it received) but I'm on board this time.I'm quite frankly a little tired of having to balance hit, crit, armor pen, expertise, haste, defense, etc etc on my gear. i started to feel leery of the sheer amount of stats I was expected to understand in order to play a video game with my friends when the armor penetration formulas were listed a few months back.

I in no way want the game to become easy mode. I enjoy hard modes like Firefighter or I Love The Smell Of Saronite In The Morning as much as anyone (and frankly, I'm one of the players most relied upon to be on time with my interrupts, to the point where people argue over having me in their interrupt group because they know I will not miss a Pummel) but I like my challenges in game to come from, say, overcoming and defeating a monster of some kind and not from deciding which pair of pants I should wear while I do it. Seriously, I recently spent twenty minutes completely revamping my outfit to balance my stats because I got a new set of bracers and suddenly I had way too much expertise. That's kind of ludicrous. Anything that does away with that kind of ridiculous fiddling is a good idea.

We already discussed how tanking is going to change this weekend, although we certainly don't have all the details yet. In general, the idea of block as a scaling damage reduction stat and the removal of the current Block Rating/Block Value divide seems like a good idea to me. I assume that we'll gain threat from Shield Slam/Damage Shield through a more direct method than the currently circuitous means of converting Block Value: a straightforward conversion of Strength to raw damage in both cases would seem fairly easily accomplished.

Finally, there's Mastery to consider. The complete redesign of the talent system promises to be very interesting, as does the idea of a stat on your gear that makes you better at what you've spent points to be good at. I'd love to see thinks like Mortal Strike and Titan's Grip removed from the talent trees and made into Mastery bonuses for spending points in their respective trees, allowing Warriors more flexibility when picking talents. Perhaps a tanking build based around 2h weapons? With Mastery on gear simultaneously increasing the benefits you get from specializing in certain talent trees as well as providing other bonuses, we're looking at the dawning of an age where a stat on gear can have entirely different effects depending on how you imagine your character and spend your points.

Further Customization Options

Reforging and Path of the Titans are still very much 'on the drawing board' but they'll certainly affect Warriors as much as any other class. Path of the Titans in particular is a brand new concept in WoW (not saying it hasn't been done in other games) of character development once you reach max level that is unlockable over time.

  • The feature is much more robust than this, but at a very conceptual level imagine that at level 85 you got a new talent point every week just for logging in. The rewards are slower than during the leveling period, but they are rewards that exist independent of gear. However on the other hand, you don't feel the need to race through them (in fact you can't) if you are focused on getting to max level and they don't bloat your spellbook with as many abilities as gaining actual whole levels (though they will add a few). Over time, the actual discussions about how to build a character will likely change and evolve in interesting ways. The new point might give you a reason to log in on non-raid nights or even if you've gotten a little burned out on raiding.
I love this idea. The idea that this non gear, non level progression has a built in limiter doesn't bother me at all because all character development does this already. If you want to increase your character's power and abilities, you need to play the game, get groups, PvP, do something even if it's go out and mine materials and make yourself gear. Since they haven't announced how this new system will interact and develop yet, it's impossible to know how limited it will feel but I very much like the idea of an unfolding set of abilities via the Ancient Glyphs and the chance to develop via identifying with a particular Titan's cult.

I especially love this for Warriors because man, we already have to suffer that whole "My gear is crap" phenomenon where we start out weaker than anyone else. Another grindy means to get stronger would just penalize us. The idea of your Dwarf Warrior identifying with Golganneth while my Worgen goes more for Agrammar the Avenger appeals to me as well. It's a way to have two max level Warriors, perhaps even of the same talent spec, different in more than a cosmetic way.

Basically a lot of this takes the sophistication that we were seeing on gear and puts it back into talent and character choices. We'll have to see how it all shakes out, but man, the possibility of Warriors being able to be more than just another cookie-cutter DPS or tanking spec has me giddy.

Next week, well, I have no idea. I have been tanking a lot lately, so I may be in a coma. Maybe I'll talk about Trial of the Crusader now that the final encounter will have unlocked.

Check out more strategies, tips and leveling guides for Warriors in Matthew Rossi's weekly class column: The Care and Feeding of Warriors.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.