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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Because they're awesome

Matthew Rossi

This week, The Care and Feeding of Warriors tells you warriors that you are awesome. Matthew Rossi has a Tauren, Orc, Human, Draenei and Night Elf warrior at level 70. So you know he means it. Seriously, the dude loves the warrior class. Don't make the mistake of mentioning it around him, because that guy will latch onto you like a facehugger and he won't stop until love for the warrior class has burst out of your chest and sprayed the acid blood of its delight all over the room.

He's also incredibly, incredibly bad at metaphors.

As we've seen a couple of times this week, I am an unabashed cheerleader for the warrior class.

Objectivity is a good thing, of course, and like sincerity if you can fake it you've got it made. Quipping aside, however, objectivity has its time and its place, but there's no way you could bring yourself to read (nor me to write) 38 columns about warriors written with total objectivity. In my admittedly, gloriously biased view, each class column here on WoW Insider should be written with a love for that class, aiming to promote it, to praise it, to help point out where it needs love and otherwise champion the women and men who play it. This is made easier for me because, frankly, I'm nearly totally insane when it comes to warriors.

I remember, after struggling to 30 or so on my first toon, rerolling warrior back in December of ought four. He was an orc, made mainly to test out the class. After five minutes and the arrival of level four, I was hooked. You see, you get an ability called Charge. It doesn't sound like much when you describe it... you zip over and stun a target for a second. Big whoop. But oh my word, does charge make a difference when you're actually playing that low level warrior! You feel like a god! At least until the first time you charge into six mobs and are promptly annihilated. It was in those first moments of play that my adoration for this class became manifest, and has kept me rolling along in WoW ever since. Some people feel more favoritism towards a specific class than others... some of my best friends in game like them all fairly equally, and while I was leveling five warriors and two shamans to 70, they were out there leveling a useful assortment of varying classes and gaining a very broad knowledge of the game.

But not me. I was dementedly leveling warrior after warrior, playing around with various specs (you know that guy who went 5 Arms/ 31 Fury/ 25 prot? That was me) skipping quests and zones that he'd already done too much just to find new ones and see how hard they were for a warrior to solo, starting up another warrior at 2 am because I was still awake and never played on that server before. I have a level 10 warrior on Zangamarsh in case I ever really want to play there.

I love warriors. I have ever since that December morning I first charged a boar in the Valley of Trials. It's a simple thing to catch someone's attention, but that's all it takes sometimes.

By now I've effectively played and raided and instanced and even PvP'd with every spec imaginable. I've been that one prot warrior who won't get off your flag carrier's back in EoTS, I've been the arms warrior charging out of a burning bunker to hit you as you try and ride past, I've been the fury warrior killing mobs in Shadowmoon Valley faster than you could (or sometimes slower, in the case of that one genius AoE farming mage). I've been the guy who tanked your entire Shadow Labs run in green gear and a fury spec and you never even realized it until near the end of the run because I flat out didn't talk at all. I was that warrior who managed to grab Nefarian after he killed the main tank and tanked him in my DPS gear long enough for you to res the tank, even though we all knew I was going to die as soon as Shield Wall wore off, and when Nef died I still passed on the Wrath breastplate for the MT. I am the warrior who dropped off of his mount and challenging shouted three mobs off of you when you were trying to do the escort quest in Skettis last night, tanked all three to death while you bandaged and then rode off on my mount to find more eggs to bomb even though you were Horde and I was Alliance. (By the way, it's because you were a Tauren.) I've PuGged and run with guilds. I've been DPS and a tank. I've won and lost Alterac Valley on both Horde and Alliance. It would be very, very easy to have become cynical and jaded at this point. And at times I am cynical and jaded, but I have to tell you: it is impossible to play this class and stay cynical or jaded for me. It is impossible for me to go charge into a Season 3 equipped warrior with a Stormherald and not grin savagely even if I know he's going to smash my face in, just for the thrill of warrior vs. warrior.

As I mentioned in another post, the other night I respecced fury and took myself to SSC for the night. I raid primarily as prot these days, and think primarily of myself as a tank first and a warrior second. But the fact is, being a warrior means you're always a warrior first, and you may well find yourself speccing DPS to fill a slot for your raid. The first lesson of that night was get better DPS gear, because I only managed to crack about #7 on raid DPS. But the second thing I learned was that I haven't forgotten how to do it, and that in fact I don't think that crazy, berserk grin you can sometimes feel cutting across your face ever really goes away. Timing your bloodthirsts and whirlwinds and heroic strikes, popping sweeping strikes on the murloc waves, it becomes a kind of music after a while. A delightful song of yellow clouds of numbers floating over your head while mobs die all around you and healers curse the very day you were born.

No class is for everyone, of course. Some people really prefer the stealthy, choose your fights carefully approach of a rogue or the ranged firepower of a mage or hunter. Some people love pet classes, or like a class with the variability of a hybrid, where if you decide to change your role later you can respec while still holding onto that same character. Some people like to heal. Warriors really only do two things well: we smash faces, and we tick monsters off. With better gear you can smash more faces or stay alive longer while ticking a monster off. So admittedly, compared to other classes there's not a lot of variety in the warrior class.

So why have I leveled five of them? Why are two of my most played characters right now a protection warrior and a farming fury warrior?

It's not because I learn new facets of the class every day playing one, although I do. It's not just because I like knowing that if I go play with different friends on a new server I'll have a class there I understand, although that's certainly true. It's not because the class, once geared up properly, performs very well in its assigned roles even though it does. It's not even because I enjoy seeing how well I can do questing on an undergeared green and crappy blue equipped draenei warrior just for the heck of it. (Seriously, his gear's awful, and he still kills things like a demon on crack. I'm very proud of him.)

There's a certain attitude to the class I've never been able to accurately convey to those who just don't get it. Something like the sound of stamping feet in a line, at once brutal and companionable. There's something of the spirit of the grunt from the original Warcraft RTS games in the battered looking plate warriors wear, often brutal and dented looking. You can be a render of flesh or a wall of steel blocking harm from your allies, and often the Blizzard art team decides you should be all the colors of the rainbow while doing these things. Everyone thinks we're the same, that every warrior hits 70 and has our Stormherald handed to us at the entrance to the battlegrounds, but I know just how different two warriors can be and it is endlessly fascinating to me.

I make it harder on myself than I have to, I suppose. I could have picked one warrior and stuck with him and put all my effort into that one warrior. It probably would have been cheaper in the long run, I'd have finished all of my rep grinds by now, who knows? Maybe it can't be explained why I would want to spend hours tanking on one warrior and then, to relax, log onto another warrior and grind on elementals for an hour. Why would I go PvP on my tauren warrior and then, after hours of that, log onto my night elf and PvP on him? Why do I have five warriors?

Because they're awesome. There are bugs and flaws in the class, and I see them. Some of them I really hate, because they obscure the true glory of the class, but they never make me want to stop playing. I have played a warrior for over three years now (closing in on four) and while I've come to love Shamans (because they are everything warriors aren't, flexible, mana using, healers and ranged DPS as well as melee, and never tanks... believe it or not, I don't personally want shamans to tank, not at all) it will always be a warrior that I play as a main. Whatever server I go to, whatever guild I am in, whatever content we're seeing, I'll be there as a warrior, because warriors are awesome.

I am not objective, although I try to be fair. I'm biased and frankly, I'd never want to write this column without that bias. I want to defend and champion warriors, obsess about them, ramble about them, discuss their tanking and DPS and how to PvP on them (next week is the big 'how to crush faces' post, I promise, unless I change my mind and jerk you poor guys around like I did on the fury piece. How many weeks did I promise fury would get some love? That was awful of me and I apologize) and even talking about ridiculous yet awesome quests. At times I am tempted to just write about the Arcanite Reaper.

That's right, an entire column about the Arcanite Reaper. Why not? That thing should be the emblem of the warrior class in tribute to the service it did us. Although I never had one myself. I was a swordsmith. Yeah, like I said, I like to make things harder on myself.

This has been my late Valentine to the warrior class. Because you're awesome. Next week, PvP. Specifically, how to stay alive in PvP long enough to get geared up.

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