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Cataclysm Beta: Warrior talents and specializations

Matthew Rossi

The Cataclysm beta has dropped a new talent build, and with it we have both the new talent specializations as well as the new talent trees. As you can see from the screenshot above:
  • Arms warriors get Mortal Strike, Anger Management and Two-Handed Weapon Specialization for picking arms as their talent specialization.
  • Fury warriors get Bloodthirst, Dual Wielding, Dual Wield Specialization and Precision.
  • Protection warriors get Shield Slam, Vitality and Vengeance.
What this means is that each tree will have a rigorous, defined role, and only that tree will make use of certain key abilities. As an example, only fury warriors will be able to dual wield at all. No more arms and prot dual wielding of any kind.

In addition, we can now look directly at each talent tree with the new redesign and look at what you'll be spending those 31 points in. However, just because it's in this beta patch doesn't mean it will make it to live; we already know Impending Victory is not likely to survive.

Right off the bat, of course, we know Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Dual Wield Specialization, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization, Precision and Vitality are all no longer talents at all. Furthermore, several talents are obviously not finalized yet, as they don't have icons. Still, we have quite a lot to discuss here.


Arms talents have seen a good amount of shifting around. The top tier of arms, despite the loss of Deflection, still contains talents that will be of interest to protection after spending its 31 points: Field Dressing, a new two-point talent will increase self healing (Enraged Regeneration, Blood Craze, Second Wind, Bloodthirst) by 10/20% and all healing taken by 3/6%. Meanwhile, Improved Rend (additional 15/30% damage to Rend) will be attractive to prot warriors with the talent Blood and Thunder (which we'll discuss later), and War Academy in the first tier will be attractive because it increases damage of Heroic Strike, Victory Rush and Slam by 5/10/15%.

On the second tier, Deep Wounds is unchanged, while Impale now specifically increases the critical strike damage of Mortal Strike, Slam and Execute by 10/20%. Blitz replaces Improved Charge and now stuns an additional target as well as increasing rage generated. At this point, we leave the realm of arms talents that can be picked up by fury and prot warriors.

The next two tiers of arms are all familiar talents. Tier 3 has Taste for Blood, Sweeping Strikes and Improved Overpower, while Tier 4 has Sudden Death, Endless Rage and Improved Slam -- all familiar talents. The next level, while presenting us with Juggernaut, Blood Frenzy and Second Wind, also gives us Lambs to the Slaughter. This interesting talent gives you 12/24/36% increased attack speed after dealing a mortal strike. It's actually more attack speed than Flurry grants, but it seems to only last for your next swing.

Old standby Wrecking Crew and new hotness Disarming Glare round out the next tier. Disarming Glare will cause the target of a disarm to cower in fear for 5/10 seconds. Finally, arms still ends the tree with Bladestorm, now the 31-point talent.


Fury, like arms, sees a first tier of talents aimed at interesting other trees. First off is the new Cruelty, which adds 5/10% critical strike chance for Bloodthirst, Mortal Strike or Shield Slam. Since each of these is now a talent specialization ability, the talent is clearly geared for cross-spec use. Unbridled Wrath is moved to the first tier and reduced to a three-point talent but is otherwise unchanged. Armored to the Teeth remains completely unchanged.

Improved Execute, now in the second tier, increases Execute damage by 10/20%. It's still fairly attractive to arms warriors with Sudden Death. Intensify Rage, although much more accessible in the second tier, is unchanged in point cost or effects. Blood Craze is significantly improved (and, one assumes, will benefit from Field Dressing), granting 10% to regenerate 2.5/5/7.5% of total health over 5 seconds.

Enrage now only costs two points for the same benefit that costs five on live, 30% chance to get 10% more damage for 12 seconds. Fury in the Blood increases all damage by 5/10% while Bloodrage or Berserker Rage are active. Piercing Howl is unchanged, but the new Impending Victory gives a 10/20% chance to proc Victory Rush when using Heroic Stike, Slam or Bloodthirst. I'll admit to being a trifle underwhelmed at Bloodsurge 2 here, but as I said before, it's already announced that it's going to be cut.

Flurry is unchanged, but the new Even the Odds increases Cleave and Whirlwind damage by 10/20%. (Frankly, this may push Whirlwind back up to being an every-cooldown attack, since we'll be waiting on Victory Rush and Slam procs anyway.) Booming Voice now grants 5/10 additional rage when using Battle Shout or Commanding Shout. (Remember, shouts generate rage instead of costing it in Cataclysm.)

Furious Attacks now has only one rank that reduces healing by 20%. Death Wish, Rampage and Heroic Fury are unchanged.

Bloodsurge is unchanged. Improved Intercept is replaced by Skirmisher, which includes Heroic Leap. At the final tier, Titan's Grip is unchanged and SIngle-Minded Fury resides next to it.


The first rank of protection talents sees Hold the Line introduced, aimed at making parry more engaging as well as making Mordin think you're a bit of a cloaca. It increases both critical strike and critical block chance following a parry by 10% for 2/4 seconds. (I'd like to see that time beefed up.) Toughness is a simple armor boost now, with three ranks granting 3/6/10% bonus armor and that's all. Incite is lower in the tree but unchanged.

Both Shield Specialization and Shield Mastery are altered significantly. Shield Spec now simply grants 5/10/15 rage on a successful block instead of having a chance to grant rage on a block, parry or dodge. Shield Mastery combines elements from the old Shield Mastery, Improved Disciplines and Improved Spell Reflection talents. Improved Revenge is unchanged.

Last Stand, Concussion Blow and Gag Order are unchanged, but Blood and Thunder is a new talent that seems interestingly aimed at AoE tanking considering we've been told AoE tanking will be downplayed in Cataclysm. Combined with Improved Rend in arms, two points in this talent gives you 100% chance to spread rend around to every target of your Thunder Clap spell after applying rend to a target. It's similar to the way current prot warriors try and get deep wounds stacked, but doesn't have to rely on crit chance at all. Slap on Rend, hit TC, everyone around gets Rend. I'm very interested to see if this talent stays around.

Devastate has been changed to increase its damage per Sunder, no doubt due to the change to Sunder, capping it at three stacks. Safeguard is unchanged. Improved Defensive Stance rolls crit immunity into the talent and removes the spell damage reduction but is otherwise unchanged.

Warbringer is unchanged from live. Vigilance is changed and not fully implemented yet, as the talent's threat transfer on live is replaced by granting you Vengeance as if you were the one being hit instead of your Vig target. That part is apparently not yet in the beta. Sweep and Clear seems another ability aimed at AoE tanking, granting 3 rage for every target of your damaging abilities, up to 9 rage.

Sword and Board is unchanged. Damage Shield now uses 10/20% of your AP instead of block value. Shockwave seems unchanged save that how it generates its damage is worded differently; it still uses a percentage of AP.

Overall, it's definitely a step towards ripping out the bloat for all three talent trees. Prot seems to have gotten some interesting AoE moves, which I didn't expect. There's definitely an effort to making first- and second-tier targets that will attract off spec and to make each tree more interesting early on.

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