The dark days of The Burning Crusade The Burning Crusade was a hard time for me
as a warrior. Rage normalization in The Burning Crusade
didn't work. I went from tanking endgame in vanilla WoW
to barely even able to hold threat in starter dungeons because rage was so bad. Even after it was fixed, warriors simply didn't have the AoE tools other classes had, and so it was hard to get groups as a warrior tank. Since this was before the time of the modern Dungeon Finder with its group sorting and selection, it was up to you to make connections and assemble your own groups, and you saw a lot of "LFM Shattered Halls, need paladin tank and CC."
This left warriors out in the cold, since not only weren't we wanted as tanks, we didn't (and still don't) have any CC. Many a Shadow Labyrinth group only took me as a tank because they couldn't get a pally or druid. When I finally got into BC
raiding, I ended up tanking most bosses because warriors had the best toolkit to deal with them, which made the pally and druid tanks who were doing the lion's share of the tanking in heroic dungeons and for most of Karazhan angry. I can't say I blame them, although at the time I enjoyed their anger and frustration, because it was the exact same way I'd felt watching them thumb their noses at me with their superior group threat. After all, tanking Zul'Aman's dragonhawk boss or Hyjal trash as a prot warrior was excruciatingly painful.What prot needed
It was in writing for this site and getting exposed to other warriors that I started to really think and write about what protection warriors needed
. While the piece was colored by my bitterness, it still had some good points that Wrath of the Lich King
addressed. Making us able to use Thunder Clap in Defensive Stance (which actually happened in The Burning Crusade
because we just couldn't hack multiple targets), taking away its target limit, introducing Shockwave all helped our AoE threat. Concepts like Vigilance and Warbringer gave warriors an exciting new feel as tanks, an identity we'd lacked since late vanilla. I'm proud that so much of what I suggested prot warriors needed dovetailed into what we got
But more than that, I will have to admit that I learned a great deal about my class from seeing it through your eyes, arguing with you, debating with you. We didn't always agree, but the experience of having all those discussions, having to defend my ideas -- it made me a better tank and a better player, and it taught me how to let go of my class prejudice and tank with tanks of any class. Today, I really notice what class the other tank or tanks in a group are, and that's because of my working here and talking with you.Daring to DPS
I tanked for most of Wrath, converting from DPS in mid-Ulduar. It seems I don't ever really want
to get away from tanking. But I make sure to play as DPS (I even raided as DPS for most of Cataclysm
) because of the perspective I've developed writing this column. (Well, that and Titan's Grip
It's interesting to realize we've had TG for almost four years now. I remember the very last week or so of The Burning Crusade
, when we got all the new Wrath
talents. Tank threat shot up, and DPS? Oh, my word. Titan's Grip was a crazy revelation for me. I'd DPSed some in vanilla WoW
mostly because you often needed five or six tanks for trash and one or two tanks for bosses (Four Horsemen aside), but that was usually as an arms warrior, both because I had a good two-handed weapon and because back then, the main warrior raiding specs were a 31/5/15 spec heavily weighted toward arms or the 31/0/20 spec, which was considered a dedicated tanking spec. We had one tank back then who specced full prot, and he was an anomaly at the time.
Titan's Grip turned me from the guy who resisted putting on DPS gear to always being willing to go back to Stormwind or Orgrimmar and respec. Then, in patch 3.1, dual spec was introduced and finally, warriors actually were
the hybrids everyone always argued we had been. Before dual spec, I would argue that only paladins and druids were able to make any use of their hybrid abilities. Everyone else had a talent specialization that more or less made them as pure as any DPSer, since the time and cost of going to change your spec made it a huge pain in a raid or group situation. But with dual spec, that changed. Now, you just had to take five seconds to cast the spell switching your talents, throw on some DPS gear, and you could do credibly or better in your new role. Sure, you still had to learn
it -- but dual spec made that not only feasible, but it meant you were capable of being a tank or a DPS on a pull-by-pull basis.
I still remember how discussing DPS with you changed the way I viewed playing a warrior. Before Wrath of the Lich King
and the columns I wrote then, I always in my heart considered myself a tank and warriors a tanking class, first and foremost. It was the voices of DPS warriors asking me to talk more about their role, to discuss DPS and how the class went about it, that made me really think of DPS as something viable, something warriors should be good at
, something that benefits the class as a whole.Face first into PvP
It was also your influence that led me to repeatedly throwing myself face first into PvP against all those rogues and mages, so I guess I should be at least a little resentful. To be fair to you, I did a fair amount of PvP back in vanilla, enough to earn a PvP rank and realize how very much I hated the ladder and to convince myself I'd never do it again. And then there you were, and so I found myself PvPing again in The Burning Crusade
, and then again in Wrath
, and then again in Cataclysm
I did Arenas, Wintergrasp, Tol Barad, and rated BGs entirely because of some of you who emailed and tweeted and commented about it. I never really got any better than adequate at it, but I did it because so many of you were so interested in the subject. As I write this, I just got out of a Twin Peaks game where I held one flag for the entirety of the game. And they say prot PvP is dead. Mostly because it is.Invested in warriors
Writing for this site has probably kept me invested in my warriors more than any other factor -- specifically, getting to talk about the class, argue about it, experience it through new eyes as new people comment and communicate their view of it with me. You guys haven't always been the nicest
about it, but then again, neither have I. Maybe it's something about people who play warriors. Maybe some of that cantankerous nature rubs off on you, or maybe we're all born ornery. But whether it's been raiding heroic Dragon Soul, farming for transmog outfits, seeing if I could solo Naxxramas (not yet, but we'll see if I can do it in five levels) or twirling like a pretty ballerina of death in AV, I've enjoyed the ride in great part due to being able to share it here with you guys.
Thanks. Let's see if we can go another five.
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.