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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Weapons

Matthew Rossi

The Care and Feeding of Warriors, in the spirit of Christmas, decides this week to talk about all the wonderful toys available to the warrior class. Matthew Rossi misses his Sulfuras. Well, he doesn't miss it, exactly, he still has it, he just doesn't get to use it much anymore.

Warriors are the class who can bash, hack, slice, or even punch things. Rogues? They can't hack. Shaman's can't slice, hunters can't bash. Paladins can't use sticks for some reason. I've never gotten that one. There's a perfectly good stick right in front of you and you can't hit things with it? It's a stick! It's easier to use than a sword! But no weapon escapes the warrior and his or her relentless quest to find new things to bash, hack, slice or even punch with. The weapon can really define the warrior... to this day, the legacy of all those Arcanite Reapers can be felt in how people view the warrior class. Sure, paladins and hunters and shamans used them. But it doesn't matter. It's the fact that for many it was the signature warrior weapon, the choice for PvP, that to this day exerts a mystique over the way people talk about warriors. Warriors who have never seen a Reaper know what the weapon was and why it was so popular.

When the Eye of Sulfuras dropped for my old guild and I got it, I was beyond excited. When I crept into BRD with a paladin and my wife on her hunter, loaded down with the mats to make the Sulfuron Hammer, I literally was as jazzed as I had ever been as a player. My guild only ever saw the eye drop twice, and we only had two Thunderfury creations in the time before The Burning Crusade - even as we were rolling into Naxx, these were special moments that helped cement a love for the game. I'm sure every warrior who tanked before the expansion remembers when he or she got Quel'Serrar. Now, post-expansion, there are of course new weapons that fill these roles, and as you level you'll gain and abandon any number of weapons, some for tanking, some for DPS, some just because they're cool. Admit it, you took Ravager because it looked cool.

This week, we'll look at weapons from Deadmines to Black Temple. Some will be the best for their role for the level, others will be weapons that have managed to earn a place of prominence or in history, and some will just be cool or different. Because a warrior without a weapon is like a mage without magic.

Anyone who's run the Deadmines remembers hearing "You landlubbers are tougher than I thought! I'll have to improvise!" Even coming back literally years later to help a friend run it, my level 70 warrior gets to stand their stunned for a couple of seconds while Mr. Smite goes and switches weapons. And he drops some of the nicest weapons possible for his level, especially now that the green drops have been buffed into blues. But the one I was always looking for was Smite's Mighty Hammer, which was awesome even before the recent patch. Now, I've played a lot of warriors, and quite a few alts of other classes have run Deadmines as well.

I've never seen that hammer drop.

I know that it does... my wife's warrior alt had one. So I got to watch her little gnome run around whacking things with it. The hammer actually seemed to mock me. Sure, I was level 60, I had a better two hander by then, that's not the point. One of the greatest curses of random loot is that you outlevel drops you desperately wanted. The Barbarous Blade? Never got it. Ashkandi? Wouldn't have been fair after I got Sulf. Smite's was the first time I had that experience, and man, it never gets more fun to stare at a weapon you know you farmed fifteen, thirty, fifty or more times for and never got.
There are, of course, a plethora of weapons out there. Yeah, I just like using the word plethora, get over it, it's a fun word. There are weapons for PvP and weapons for DPS and weapons for tanking and weapons we're not supposed to be looking at, weapons with grody int on them or some other caster stat. Each weapon has stats more suitable to its intended role: a tanking weapon like the Brutalizer will be geared for that role, as opposed to a weapon intended to be used by a DPSer like the Syphon of the Nathrezim. Weapon speed, weapon procs or stats are tuned differently for weapons used in different roles. As you level you should work to recognize this so that you know when it is important that you take a weapon vs. when it is a bad idea. A main tank doesn't need a 2.6 speed proc weapon with no stats over a rogue in most cases. Likewise, it's important to know what weapons work best for a warrior: the way we dual wield is not the way a shaman dual wields. You can check out a detailed overview of Warrior dual wield DPS here, I personally like a fast MH/Slow OH or a slow/slow combo for dual wielding, but your tastes and ability rotation may dictate otherwise.

In short, know what you're looking for in a weapon. Nothing gets a warrior a reputation as greedy as rolling on or spending DKP on weapons that would benefit someone else more. Prot warriors shouldn't bid on the big 2h weapons over warriors who will use them in raids, as an example. DPS warriors shouldn't be going for the Mallet of the Tides before tanks. And this is etiquette you can start working on early, too: you don't want Ripsaw for tanking. In the same instance (albeit harder to get) Sang'Thraze is a far superior tanking weapon, with the parry on it. As always, the best advice is that you really look at the weapon and decide whether or not it's an actual upgrade: pass on sidegrades unless no one else wants.

Since I said we'd look at cool weapons from Deadmines to Black Temple, and while we've technically done that I can't imagine anyone being satisfied with what we have listen, I'll try and hit a smattering of weapons to cover the levels. Remember, there are always going to be weapons I have forgotten about: this is just to give you some eye candy, basically. Feel free to link a favorite like, say, the Butcher or Vibroaxe or the Might of Menethil in the comments, let's go nuts.

The Crescent of Forlorn Spirits
- a recently upgrade quest reward from a fun, lore heavy questline in Duskwood. I've always vendored it before, but now that it's been buffed it's actually a really nice weapon for the level.

Bashguuder - You won't see this much anymore, as it was a rare drop off of a rare spawn in LBRS, but I had it as a tanking weapon for a while and it was pretty nice.

Gressil, Dawn of Ruin
- This Naxxramas drop is only surpassed once you start getting drops from Heroic 70 instances or Karazhan. If you were lucky enough to get one, you used it all the way to 70 and only replaced it once raiding got serious. Congratulations if that was the case. That's a lot of use to get out of one weapon.

- It just looks cool. Technically, one could farm Zul'Farrak for Sul'thraze if you wanted an epic with that look, but it's a lot easier to just pick one up at the AH. I still have the first one I ever had, back when level 47 was new to me and this was a gift from a guildmate who died not too long ago. I doubt I'll ever vendor it.

Claw of Celebras
- Fist weapons are awesome. My NE warrior (who was an enchanter) dual-wielded this and the Vilerend Slicer forever, keeping them viable with two +15 agi enchants for when he was grinding.

The Sun-Eater
- I hate this sword because it's fast becoming one of those 'it won't drop' swords. I'll have a King's Defender before I get this. And yet, it is so beautiful.

Next week, who knows? I'm still recovering from my Christmas hangover and we're heading into New Years, so next week I may barely be coherent.

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