Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The fury of Diablo 3

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.

The past week I have been doing two things in terms of my video game time. I have been tanking heroic Dragon Soul, and I have been playing a barbarian in Diablo III. And frankly, they bleed together, because although World of Warcraft's story draws directly from the Warcraft RTS and setting, WoW had Diablo in its DNA. Don't believe me? Roll a paladin in Diablo II, then go take a look at what paladin talent trees looked like when vanilla WoW launched.

So for the past week, as I contemplate the Mists of Pandaria revamp to talents and specializations, the huge rage redesign, and how the class is going to work, I keep casting covetous eyes onto the barbarian I keep rocking faces on. Now, Diablo III and World of Warcraft are different games with different design philosophies. WoW tries a lot harder for balance between competing classes because it has more classes. D3 has five classes, and no two of those classes does what it does the same way. The witch doctor and the wizard and demon hunter all fight from range, the barbarian and monk both fight in melee, but how they do these things is thoroughly different, and D3 doesn't have the tank/DPS/healer trinity to consider. You chug potions, you spec for survival, and you blow stuff up.

Still, there are things I really want to see Mists steal from Diablo III. Like, say, its version of Revenge. That thing is sweet.

As cool as Diablo's version of Revenge is, what really has me intrigued is how fury works. For starters, the frenetic pace of getting and spending fury, which you can modify by selecting what your fury gathering attack is versus your fury spenders, works really well by abandoning something we're fairly used to. We hear often that rage should be a resource you manage, that the design is to make you care about rage and how you spend it.

Fury flies right in the face of that wisdom and it's a glorious, awesome experience. After playing Diablo III for a week, I'm more convinced than ever that the last thing we need or should want is to have to manage our rage. We've seen design after design for rage generation over the past seven years try to curb rage's reckless, exponential growth, and I say it's time to stop fighting it and embrace it.

Let rage flow like water. Let us accumulate it easily and spend it like wanton drunkards. I'm sure that everyone working on the Mists of Pandaria development and especially the warrior redesign is going to play Diablo III, if for some strange reason they haven't been playing it in house. Well, when they do, I sincerely hope they pay attention to how natural the fury system feels. You'll deliberately smash items around you just to get some rage. Put destruction fodder in dungeons and the world, Blizz! Steal this idea from yourselves -- it's a blast.

There's never any sense of having to wait for fury to accumulate, never an annoying period of downtime because the fury gathering attack is on cooldown. When designing a system where certain attacks generate rage, having them have a cooldown longer than a couple of seconds ends up feeling bad, even if it works perfectly seamlessly. If warriors had a secondary resource like holy power, runes, combo points or chi, sure, let some attacks generate that secondary resource while others generate rage, and give both a cooldown.

But that's not what we're seeing with Mists of Pandaria. Now, granted, I am aware of the different styles of gameplay, as I said before. I'm aware this isn't a monster crawl bug hunt with solo and group play, that there are more classes to balance and more discrete roles. I think in terms of how stances will work in Mists, for example, the design is near perfection. I like that a tanking warrior can't just slap on a shield and go into defensive stance and be just as good as a tank who gears and specs for the role. (I won't lie, though, I'd love for warriors to TG dual wield or arms tank, but I'm not arguing for it here.) That being said, I've seen it argued that warriors are designed to be limited by their rage as the vision for the class.

Well, after playing a barbarian, that's going to be hard to swallow. The barbarian isn't limited by fury; the barbarian is liberated by it. The resource system doesn't feel like a pair of leg irons holding you back; it feels like your resources are what make you powerful and destructive. I don't want rage to be something I resent because I feel like I can't get enough of it or I have to wait to use an attack that generates it. I want rage to be a seething red mist that drives me onward, that goads me into reckless abandon, that is as much a reason for my success as my gigantic shield or massive two-handed weapon.

Another concept I really want you to steal is the idea of mighty weapons. I know it would mean designing weapons that only warriors could use (you know, like agility daggers for rogues or all that intellect plate for holy paladins) -- but imagine it, a weapon so massive that only a warrior could use it at all, and then only with TG. Redefine current in-game two-handed weapons as Mighty Weapons, and let paladins, DKs and druids use them exactly as they do now, while we could still dual wield them with Titan's Grip. Then add Mighty two-handed weapons, and let us use them exactly as we do normal two-handed weapons today. You'd have to let arms warriors access them as well, so perhaps simply make TG baseline but keep the dual wielding as part of the fury specialization. Frankly, I'd want to see this extended to protection, allowing warriors to finally feasibly tank with a two-handed weapon and a shield. The idea of massive weapons seems part and parcel of the warrior aesthetic, and I'd love to see it move to the fore. A warrior tank with a shield and a Gurthalak would tickle me.

Also, wow, I want that AoE version of Revenge with the big self heal when you hit a lot of mobs with it -- that would be freaking super sweet.

At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. Check out more strategies and tips especially for warriors, from hot issues for today's warriors to Cataclysm 101 for DPS warriors and our guide to reputation gear for warriors.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr