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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: PvP is calling you home

Matthew Rossi

Zach covered my dereliction yesterday, so let's all peruse his analysis of the warrior changes currently on the PTR. I've tested things on the PTR when and where I could (haven't been on since the new patch, RL difficulties and in game commitments have kept me off) and I've discovered a bug with dual specs that allows a fury warrior to effectively ignore the TG nerf by simply having a second fury spec that doesn't have Titan's Grip in it at all. I'm assuming this will be fixed to unequip your weapons when you switch specs, because if it's not, I know a lot of fury warriors who will pay 1000g to avoid being nerfed. (And yes, I'm wearing leather gloves in that screenshot.)

I've been playing in arenas lately with a fully PvE oriented fury build and no resil gear whatsoever. My partner is a prot warrior. We actually win more than we lose, believe it or not, our only significant weak spot being if we hit a team that bursts me down before we can burst their DPS down. If I was to shift three talent points so I could get Heroic Fury and Furious Attacks, we'd probably win a lot more, so once dual specs go live I may go fury/fury instead of fury/prot like I'd originally planned. The fact is, I can count on one hand the amount of times I've not been able to find a tank for runs lately and have had to respec. Heck, I often just tank in my fury spec if it comes to that. So if the future starts to look better for warriors in PvP, I may just focus more on perfecting my fury PvP spec. On the other hand, there's always Arms to consider, especially if it gets more buffs in the future.

I've been playing my tauren as arms in PvE and while I still have some issues with the spec's reliance on RNG and the fact that Mortal Strike actually seems to hurt my DPS (which is of course not as good as my human, who is better geared all around anyway) I think the spec has the potential to be very strong in both PvE and PvP. I have to say, though, I can't see how they're going to make it as good as fury.

Yay, moocows!
Maybe they don't have to. I can see it being close, but gearing is a little harder without that second massive stat stick (it's the second weapon that really makes up for fury's overall weakness as a tree right now) and I think arms will always be behind fury as PvE DPS. Still, the tree is fun to play once you find your rhythm. Once I get a 3.6 speed weapon to replace my current Colossal Skull-Clad Cleaver, I'll be pretty happy with it.

Going back to yesterday's PvP changes in the light of both my fury and arms warriors, I think both will be pleased with them, especially my tauren. The change to Battle Stance (which he spends almost all of his time in now anyway due to Taste for Blood) is an incremental but still useful buff to the stance. 10% armor pen right off the top is pretty solid. But since the new Shattering Throw is a battle stance ability,my tauren won't even have to think about using it once a paladin or mage uses an immunity ability. My fury warrior had several bad moments this week during my first matches against mages using ice block, and I probably would have stance danced and burned a bloodrage to remove it, but for my tauren it wouldn't even require that much work.

The fact that Shattering Throw also has other benefits besides removing immunities is almost unimportant, especially if (as I suspect) the added armor pen and damage are only applied if there is no immunity effect to remove. Frankly, the ability could deal no damage at all and it would be worth having just for the immunity removal, and I wouldn't mind seeing the damage and armor pen heavily nerfed or even removed as long as the ability to finally, finally force a paladin to fight on more or less equal footing goes live. Seriously, I've lost count of the amount of times a paladin has attack me, taken me to half health before I could respond, then bubbled as soon as I began my counterattack. No more. From now on, paladins who attack warriors will have to do so knowing that they will get no free heals from inside a bubble, can no longer deal damage with impunity from inside one. Mages will no longer tear our faces off and then block up as soon as we try and counterattack.

Unless it gets nerfed to death or removed. Remember, count no chickens before they hatch. Personally, I'm hoping this makes it live, just for the potential of talking one of my priest friends onto a 3x3 team with myself and my prot warrior buddy.

As cool as this is, there are other changes to discuss. The changes to all three stances are buffs across the board: the Defensive Stance one in particular has me wondering if they're seeing a threat reduction on Devastate and Sunder Armor from the change to a flat percentage. If so, giving tanking warriors more damage in this manner might well balance that out. Honestly, I can't really come up with another reason to do it. It's not going to make a difference in PvP if a prot warrior does 5% more damage, really. But every ounce of threat is threat, and threat is always good to a tank, and more damage = more threat. 5% more threat for a tanking warrior is more than double the effect of the Armsman enchant on my tanking gloves, what's not to love?

The Berserker Stance change is aimed at PvP burst, but the benefit for PvE can't be ignored: for a warrior to be competitive DPS in raids, we've long had to accept taking 10% more damage at all times. The irony of the guy in the heaviest armor taking the most damage from all sources is still there, of course, but it's been cut in half and that's a good thing even if it's primary reasoning is to prevent the insta-gib effect.

Speaking as both an arms and a fury warrior, when I go into PvP I am usually the first target, so anything that reduces the burst damage I take is a good thing, although my arms warrior is switching stances a lot more to take advantage of those overpower procs from Taste for Blood... I'm probably in Battle more than Zerk on him. On my fury warrior, I'm almost always in Zerk, so this is an unmitigated if small buff for him in PvP and PvE.

The Intimidating Shout change? Buff. I use it every time it's up in PvP. Even a half-second of peel while people trinket or use racials can be a godsend for me.

Overall, I have hopes that these changes will make more warriors want to PvP again. I'll never pretend to be an expert at PvP, be it BG's or Wintergrasp or Arenas (although amazingly, right now if you made me pick one at gunpoint, I'd actually pick arenas which is freaking insane, it even makes me wonder what happened to the real Matt Rossi) but warriors have been a PvP staple for so long that seeing them pushed out entirely was so dispiriting to me that I think it's one of the reasons I accepted my friend's Arena team invite. Yes, I know, I ignored PvP for the whole time warriors were dominant and go rushing in headlong the second we're not. We all knew I was weird in the head.

Oh, and please, please Blizz: if you nerf TG this bad, at least let us equip Polearms with it. I'm still using a freaking Titansteel Destroyer here because I can't get that bloody sword to drop, meanwhile we're DE'ing polearms like crazy. Hunters and druids don't even want them anymore. Come on! Help me out here. Or at least get Kel'Thuzad to drop his axe instead of his staff. Just one week. Is that so much to ask?

Yeah, it probably is. Maybe I'll get lucky in Ulduar.

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