Dev Chat Update: While today's post is about fury, it's worth mentioning that in addition to nerfing Shield Block's contribution to Shield Slam, we will supposedly see a threat buff to the ability. Hopefully it's a scaling, and not a static, threat buff, something that adds X threat for every Y block value or something. They'd also supposedly like to add sustained damage to prot for PvE without PvP burstiness, which would be nice if it happened..
Lately I get plenty of tanking action in raids, to the point where I honestly don't want to do it in PuG's. When musing about it the other day I realized that I'm too used to hard modes and progression when tanking: I demand perfection of myself to such a degree that I get tense and stressed over the smallest error in execution. This is possibly admirable (when not taken too far) in a raid setting on a new boss where strategies are being tested and modified constantly and everything's on the razor's edge between being able to pass the checks inherent to the content.
It's not when you're PuGging Halls of Lightning for a couple of extra Emblems of Frost.
In fact, what can help you get past Rotface is downright madness causing when heading down to Loken. At this point, Loken holds no surprises, and neither does the trash. Being a tanking perfectionist just leads you to tend towards freaking the heck out over stupid crap bored people do, and that's turning the game from fun to a drag for yourself. (It probably does for them, too, but they can look out for themselves.) Lately, I've taken to running the random daily and any 10 mans I PuG on my own as DPS, just to get a break from my own self-imposed desire to try for flawless execution. (I'm not saying I ever accomplish that, by the way, just that I want to.)
And I have to say: fury got good again when I wasn't looking.
Part of it is that I finally went out and stacked the ArP I was resisting for so long. I knew it was good, mind you... I've been saying that they were going to make us want ArP since before Ulduar came out... but I resisted it myself because I have always liked stacking strength. It's kind of annoying to admit that to myself now. Then again, it's a lot easier to get a lot of passive ArP now: before a trinket I can be at an easy 75% ArP if I wear every piece I have (which I won't because it drops my expertise too low, mind you, but even at 26 exp I'm at 60% ArP right now).
Part of it is also the weapons. Current weapons have more raw DPS, better stat spreads, and in the case of Bryntroll an absolutely savage proc. (Now, I tank almost exclusively in 25 man raids so I'm not getting a Bryn until everyone who DPS's with a 2h gets one, mind you, but truth is truth and Bryn's proc is a solid 4% of a fury warrior's DPS.) Set pieces for DPS warriors seem pretty solid to me but it's really 2h's like Ramladni's and the Citadel's having really nice spreads that helps jump the DPS up quickly. (Upgrading from the Sharpened OEB and Reckoning to the two ICC 10 2h saw close to 700 DPS almost immediately.)
To be honest, some of the non-set plate has been underwhelming so far, at least in 10's. Comparing the Deathspeaker Zealot's Helm to the Helm of Thunderous Rampage is somewhat underwhelming for a fury warrior. (I know very little about ret paladins but I'm told the haste on the DZH is better for them than ArP.) It's certainly not a bad hat, mind you, but it doesn't stand out as astonishing the way the weapons do. Still, this isn't meant to be a gear list piece (I should do one of those, mind you) and for the most part a mixture of TotC/TotGC and ICC gear will serve a fury warrior just fine. For that matter, there's some very nice pieces in the new ICC 5 mans for those of us coming in late, so to speak: solid trinkets, good weapons, even solid DPS plate. And of course Emblems of Triumph (and Frost if you're raiding and/or doing the daily random) for tier and non-set pieces like the aforementioned Helm of Thunderous Rampage and its Horde equivalent, which my tauren is grinding for when I get the chance to run on him.
All of this is really beside the point, however, and deserves (and will get, I promise) a full column or more to really explicate. The point is simply that, at this point in the expansion's life cycle there's plenty of gear for you to equip your fury warrior in order to get serious about putting out DPS, with options to help you customize your stats without desperately waiting for Malygos 25 to drop a pair of boots he'll never drop. Up until TotGC I saw warriors still trying for those bloody Melancholy Sabatons, man. You can argue that the Grinning Skull's aren't quite as good (which is debatable depending on your other stats) but man, they're a lot easier to get.
You can get iLevel 232 or better gear just by sticking out the grind and move into raiding pretty easily, and in general the fights (especially the trash) in the new 5 mans and the ICC raid itself are pretty fury friendly. Well, okay, Deathwhisper's a PITA and Rotface makes you run all over the place, but fights like Deathbringer Saurfang and Festergut are pretty solid DPS fights for fury. You'll probably not be number 1 on the meter if you have a good solid rogue in your raid, but you can definitely contribute. As for heroics, a lot of that depends on how much threat your tank can put out, how much moving he or she does, how much AoE there is, etc etc but I'm not having any trouble as DPS in them so far. Threat's my only real limiter (I really, really wish I had a threat dump). How much of this is just the spec once again proving that it scales ridiculously well with the right gear and insanely poorly without it... well, there's always been that aspect to playing fury.
I'll also admit to dusting off one of my warrior alts I abandoned months ago on another server and occasionally PuGging with him just for giggles. He's level 77 now after a couple of days of dungeon finder madness, and while I'm hardly setting any DPS records on him in my mismatched blues and greens, it's been pretty fun so far.
Ironically, now that I'm a dedicated tank and pretty happy about it, DPS is finally fun again. I'm working on an arms set to play around with now that I have a decent axe and sword to compare against each other (you'll probably hear about that next week). I'm also contemplating writing about fury tanking some of these instances. No, I don't mean wearing tank gear, I mean in full DPS gear, in zerk stance, just going ballistic on everything in sight. It requires a tolerant, well geared healer, but it's not that hard to do at this point. (You can even slap on some PvP gear if you're worried about crits. I don't, but you can.) However, that does fall under the category of stupid warrior tricks and I don't want to encourage fresh 80's in quest gear to try it, so we'll see.
Also, yes, I avoided talking about prot PvP nerfs this week. Why? Well, because I'm waiting to see them in action, and also, I'm kind of torn between being afraid they wreck the class for tanking and hoping that they make prot warriors so incapable of doing anything but tanking bosses that we end up de facto main tanks because other classes are better for everything else. Rotface's oozes come to mind. Sure, a warrior can taunt spam one but with paladins and DK's having so much more options for ranged threat, why would you have the warrior do it? Put him on the boss.
Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.