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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A Warrior's Bounty

Matthew Rossi

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is about tree sloths. Why do you do this to me? We all know it's about warriors as written by an extremely hairy man who crouches in a dark corner of his apartment muttering about block value vs block rating until his wife hits him with the hose. Matthew Rossi fears the hose.

Completely unrelated to anything even tangentially warrior in WoW: Dragon Skin Armor. We're one step closer to gigantic magical battle axes being viable in modern warfare.

Since it's a holiday in the States (which I'm from, although not currently residing in) and because I'll take any excuse to gorge myself on turkey flesh and loll around in a swollen food coma (like, say, last week, when I used the fact that I'd washed red clothing with white clothing and now have a lovely pair of bright pink underwear and I don't care if you know) I thought this week we could compile a list of things we, as warriors, can be grateful for. If it's really an issue for you, assume it's Pilgrim's Bounty of something.

Anyway, let's you and I get our best grateful faces on (that's me being grateful up there, in case you couldn't tell) and discuss things we as warriors can appreciate.

- I'm not sure what people in Azeroth actually pray to when they pray to the Light... it seems like an abstract benevolence slightly akin to the Force from the Star Wars series...but whatever it is, thanks for Charge and its iterations, boy howdy. No other ability can be seen to be as iconic and representative of a class (only Death Grip and Totems come close) as the warrior ability to get from point A to point B in order to put point C into something, or prevent point D from going into that helpful person in a leather miniskirt or what have you.

This particular trifecta of abilities (especially when talented with abilities like Warbringer or Juggernaut) have really grown on me over the years, and let me not pretend that Charge itself wasn't the ability that made me say "Yes, this is the class for me" after my brief dalliance with paladinhood. The ability to Charge in combat (or Intercept if you're fury) changes that "Haha, I slowed you and will now freeze you to death from over here" into a "Oh sweet Light why is a giant meat and metal thing whacking me in the face" situation that I find vastly more agreeable. And Intervene? Oh, sweet Intervene, thou makest me get out of the slowing field those stupid guys in TotC 5 cast, thou helpeth me past the bombs before Mimiron, thou help me get in front of the priest when the hunter pulls aggro and waits to feign too long. It's even good for PvP, if you can time it just right: I've used it to sheep the guy who was going to sheep my healer with a well times Intervene/Spell Reflect combo.

Seriously, I don't know how you could not love these guys. Thanks for everything.

Shield Slam - You know, when I first seriously specced heavy prot, back in Vanilla WoW, and got my first taste of Shield Slam, it was good, but not great, like destroying a scale replica of Monticello made entirely from toothpicks. (The best part of writing this column sometimes is waiting to see who gets the references.) Over the years they've beefed it up and made it a trainable ability instead of a talent and now it's a very solid damage ability as well as a superlative aggro generation tool (especially with Sword and Board procs for a tank). And it looks and sounds cool. You'll never get tired of hearing druids and paladins complain that none of their moves sound as cool as the Shield Slam "In the FACE KTHWANG" sound.

Arms - the Protection Tree overhaul gets a lot of praise from the people that overhauled it (well, to be fair, it's understandable that they're proud of what they accomplished) but while I myself am prot now, and will no doubt talk more about prot and tanking in the future, let us take a moment and be thankful for the Arms tree and its really elegant solution to the "Oh, crap, they can use two big two hand weapons over in fury now, how do we keep this interesting" scenario.

This is not to argue that Arms is perfect. At present it still falls behind in damage compared to fury at high levels of itemization, but man, it's astonishingly fun to play (especially in PvP, where arms has the mobility of Juggernaut and the once-every-1.25 minutes power of Bladestorm) and has become my DPS offspec of choice now that I raid as a tank. The numbers aren't quite as good, but it requires much less stringent gearing and it offers up a nice bag of tricks. Heck, just for being able to offer up the Mortal Strike debuff and avoiding the AoE DPS tax on Whirlwind arms is my favorite spec for Faction Champs. (By the way, if this was a list of things I'm not grateful for, Faction Champs would be on top of it.)

- One of the things we often forget as warriors is that our relationship with gear has its really positive moments as well as negatives. This occurred to me the other day when a DPS bow dropped in a 10 man run with a bunch of Death Knights. The bow was passed to me to shard when I realized it was better than the DPS gun I had. Since a shard's a shard, I sharded my old gun and kept the bow (I informed the run of this, as it seemed rude to simply take the bow, and no one objected) and then thought about this interesting extra trinket slot.

Warriors can use pretty much any weapon in the game (we can't use wands) although in practice we're not going to use most of them. It's possible to build a reasonably viable staff Arms spec if you really wanted to, and similarly if you're a total fist weapon junkie and the fist is just going to be sharded you can pick it up and bash things with it for fun.

Sure, warriors who want absolutely optimal performance are locked into certain gear choices (I think I'm up to five tanking sets now, and I don't even have a dedicated frost resist set) and we most likely always will be. But I think that's part of the fun of the class to some degree, as long as it doesn't get too nuts.

That seems like a good start. Now it's your turn, and your comments.

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

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