First up, let's look at the complete patch notes.
Patch 4.1 PTR Patch Notes
- Charge and Intercept no longer have diminishing returns on their stun effects.
- Colossus Smash now ignores 70% of an opponent's armor, down from 100%.
- Inner Rage is now available at level 56.
- Intercept now has a 1.5-second stun, down from 3 seconds.
- Overpower damage has been increased to 140% weapon damage, up from 125%.
- Rallying Cry (new ability) is available from trainers at level 83. It temporarily grants the warrior and all party or raid members within 30 yards 20% of maximum health for 10 seconds. After the effect expires, the health is lost. It has no cost, no stance requirements, and is not on the global cooldown. It has a 3-minute cooldown, but also shares a cooldown with Last Stand.
- Whirlwind now has its cooldown reduced by 6 seconds when it deals damage to 4 or more targets. The Whirlwind effect caused by Bladestorm remains unchanged.
- Talent Specializations
- Improved Hamstring now reduces the global cooldown on Hamstring by 0.5/1 seconds in addition to its current effects.
- Improved Slam increases Slam damage by 20/40%, up from 10/20%.
- Juggernaut no longer adds 2 seconds to the Charge stun, but instead lowers the cooldown of Charge by 3 seconds (to 12 seconds total).
- Mortal Strike damage has been increased to 175% weapon damage, up from 150%.
Overall, it's kind of a mixed bag for warriors. Fury warriors are already kind of broken for AoE damage, especially in 5-mans, and being able to lean on WW to the extent I imagine is going to lead to some ridiculous numbers on trash. I pretty much already lead the pack on trash DPS even after Cleave got nerfed, and the ability to hit WW every 4 seconds on big trash pulls is only going to exaggerate that.
Losing Colossus Smash is a DPS hit, but it's only 6 seconds out of every 20, and arms will be compensated for the loss with more DPS across the board, so I call that a wash.
Rallying Cry interests me most of all. A party- or raid-wide Last Stand? As soon as the PTR gets downloaded, I intend to check that out and see if it's restricted to a spec or stance. A DPS warrior who could effectively give the whole group LS? That's utility, right there.Starting out on the PTR
Of course I wanted to test these changes out on the PTR, and so I quickly went to transfer my main over. He has yet to arrive. However, premades leapt over there with the greatest of ease, and I even got the chance to faction transfer, so I now have a worgen and blood elf warrior. The worgen is fury/prot and the blood elf is arms/prot. Sadly, on initial testing I found that both Skada and Recount were having major framerate issues (I have no idea why, could very easily be something I was doing wrong) and so I was forced to eyeball it, so to speak.
DPS for both arms and fury felt solid enough in the quick test run I managed. I took my worgen to Zul'Gurub and got some attempts in on Venoxis and did some pickup PvP on my blood elf. I noticed that Rallying Cry didn't seem to work right around the time we died after I used it. It's to be expected that there will be bugs and unforseen issues in a PTR, that's why we have them, after all. I can say that the gameplay for all three warrior specs seems relatively unchanged, even with the loss of stuns for PvP arms hits fairly hard and can snare more effectively now with Improved Hamstring. It's not perfect, but it worked in a few duels and the large Horde vs Alliance free for all that developed outside of Orgrimmar for some reason.
Sadly, with these expected bugs comes the difficulty in really understanding exactly what the changes are doing to the class. If Rallying Cry worked, it probably would have prevented a wipe. Since it didn't, I really can't evaluate it.
We'll see if these changes bring arms and fury to parity (they look promising for that) and how crazy fury DPS gets on trash pulls. I don't think the change to Imp Hamstring is going to make up for all that lost stun potential. It reminds me of the days of Stormherald all over again.
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