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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Fury demolishes entire cities in 4.0.1

Matthew Rossi

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Forget Deathwing. After the horrible start fury got in 4.0.1, it saw some buffs that have made it an extremely beefy DPS spec again. While we may not be topping the meters in all fights, we're certainly putting out some very solid DPS numbers. "Solid" depends on your gear, of course, but my mixed-geared night elf can easily push out 9-11k in a heroic, and my much better-geared draenei can easily put out more if the boss stays alive long enough. With the ICC buff, fury is once again competitive for the top spot (although much less likely to own it) and is no longer a hindrance to your raid. And if you're not a raiding fury warrior, with the change to the justice point system and the removal of ratings on PvP gear, it's never been easier to get solid DPS gear (like I did for my night elf, above).

The gearing requirements are different now, the rotation has changed and we have new glyphs to consider, so while the damage is solid again, there are some real differences to consider.

To gear a fury redux

One thing to note for fury DPS in this last month of Wrath of the Lich King is that certain truths that have held for the entire expansion do so no longer. Not only is armor penetration dead, but hit rating, a formerly despised stat, is now a very welcome one. With the removal of the old Heroic Strike, you want to get as close to 27 percent hit as possible, which is 738 hit rating for a fury warrior (we get 3 percent free from our talent specialization Precision; otherwise, it would be 830 hit rating) in order to ensure your attacks land. Even with rage normalization, a white attack has to land in order for you to generate rage from it; the amount is just fixed and can't go up with a crit or more damage dealt.

As our hit rating needs are now far more stringent, a lot of DPS plate that once looked pretty substandard will now start to look a lot better. Landsoul's Horned Greathelm, for instance, is a very attractive offset piece. In fact, if you don't have four-piece tier 10 for whatever reason, the two-piece T10 bonus is so worthless for us fury warriors that you might as well not worry about wearing any for set bonuses, making off-set pieces like Gendarme's Cuirass and the Raging Behemoth's Shoulderplates far more attractive. However, the four-piece set bonus, a flat 5 percent more damage dealt, is very attractive -- so much so that my draenei, who has a full set of off-set i277 DPS pieces, still wears four of the 264 Ymirjar for that 5 percent boost, and then uses the i277 pieces for other slots.

Those glittering gems

Frankly, with all the old armor pen gems converting to crit, I found crit the easiest stat to reforge off of my gear for hit or mastery. If I'd been inclined to entirely regem my gear, I probably would have stacked strength or mastery gems and reforged more haste along with crit for hit, but either way seems to work. (My draenei has more standing-around money, so he went with more strength gems than my night elf, who is instead relying more on reforging.) Either way, once you have enough hit to ensure steady rage generation and a handle on the rotation, high DPS once again becomes possible, even likely.
The rotation itself is, to be kind to it, not terribly interesting. Some people have reported binding it to their mouse wheel with macros and putting out high DPS with it. I suspect this would work on a dummy, but not as well in a dungeon or raid where you have to move around. Nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that as of right now, you spend a lot of time hitting Bloodthirst or Heroic Strike while waiting for either Raging Blow or Slam to light up, and that can get kind of monotonous. I'd personally rather have a boring rotation that works than an exciting one that doesn't, but I'd prefer an exciting one that works to either of those, so we'll see how things look once we can slide in an occasional Colossus Smash at 81+. Without the ability arms has to reset its CS, fury will need to learn how to time it for maximum use of that 6-second window, but for now, this is not a concern.

Engraved on our hearts

Glyph choices for fury are relatively simple. The build and glyphs I'm currently using for level 80 more or less hit the highlights. I unfortunately find myself in agreement with Sleutel's analysis from last week, after taking my 1H weapons for a spin with a SMF build this week. While her assessment of the lack of strength on most ICC weapons is part of the issue, I also feel that the SMF damage buff doesn't quite overcome the raw statistics available through dual wielding 2H weapons yet. Still, if the best weapons you have are a Black Bruise and Keleseth's Seducer (better than what I have, an Abomination's Knuckles and Scourgeborn Waraxe), you may see better results. Furthermore, while SMF isn't performing as well as TG, that doesn't mean it is bad in any way, shape or form. It's just not as good as TG given equivalent gear. If your 1H weapons are i264 and your 2H are i245, obviously, go with SMF.
To sum it all up: Fury is performing very well, better in 5-mans than it did before 4.0.1 and the adjustments. It's not as good in raids as it was, but we expected that. It's still very, very gear-dependent with a very high hit cap, and you'll probably need to do some reforging or regemming to get the stats you need. Your glyph choices are fairly boring. The rotation itself is reasonably boring but effective. And it's pretty easy to get an i264 weapon or two to test out with the changes to PvP gear, if you're interested in playing with the spec.

Next week, how did tanking come through, and is Mortal Strike (and all other healing debuffs) really being reduced to a 10 percent healing debuff on the beta? (Yes, it is.) If so, what's the point of even having healing debuffs? (None.) Why not just take them all out and give us some more damage? (No idea.)

Check out more strategies and tips for warriors of all specs in Matthew Rossi's weekly class column, The Care and Feeding of Warriors.

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