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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Never mind about haste

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.

I actually got excited for a second that haste was going to become a viable stat for DPS warriors. I wrote an entire 1200 word column that you won't be seeing based on my PTR experiences, my testing out arms and fury with the 100% buff to haste. Fury didn't really see all that much improvement, ultimately, save for smoother rage flow and overall easier uptime on certain abilities - my raider dummy DPS on the PTR was about the same as TG fury. Arms actually saw a mild improvement, though, between changes to mastery and haste, and I was excited that warriors might have been moving away from the 'stack crit to the exception of everything else' gearing paradigm.

Luckily or unluckily, that won't be the case. Instead, with some of these changes being reverted and other changes coming in, both arms and fury are going to gear in 5.2 exactly like they do in 5.1, there's no exciting new paradigm and no thought needed about what stat you value. You will be stacking crit forever, even if they don't put any on the gear.

Ghostcrawler - PTR Class and Set Bonus issues
- We were concerned that our buffs to haste and mastery were enough to get Arms warriors to regem or be angry about passing on drops to say DKs. That's not the goal. We just wanted to make some of the stats better. We think the changes to Taste for Blood for Arms already make mastery slightly better for them, so we are reverting the change back to 55% for Strikes of Opportunity. (It was 75% in an earlier PTR build.) We also reduced the haste buff from +100% to +50%. It's still a big increase over live.
- Similarly, we were concerned that the changes to Taste for Blood devalued expertise too much for Arms. We changed the Overpower granted by dodge to 1 charge. It's still 2 for using Mortal Strike. However, we also reverted an earlier change that let Mortal Strike proc Overpower even if the Mortal Strike missed.

- Deadly Calm - has been removed. We added it in a weak moment - a perfect example of button bloat for limited gain. Our intentions, as always, were noble.
- Glyph of Incite - no longer procs from Deadly Calm. Now procs from Demoralizing Shout.
- Glyph of Overpower - now using Overpower during Die by the Sword increases the duration by 1 sec per use.

What this ultimately means is, while these stats will be slightly better for us, the emphasis is on slightly. We're not going to want them, we're not going to use them, and so I have to wonder, what's the point of changing them? So we won't complain about how poor itemization is on trinkets and gear we're sharing with DK's and paladins? Those exact same complaints are going to be heard, because mastery and haste are still going to lag well behind crit for us.

Now, I do understand that 50% better is objectively, well, better. The problem is, it's not better enough.

Questioning the change

I was excited about the haste change. The changes that have just been reverted actually made arms competitive with fury in PvE. Now? Well, I have some haste trinkets in my bags I don't really use, and when 5.2 drops, I still won't use them, or any other haste trinket, if there's any other option at all. If it's a use trinket, I'll macro it and forget it. If it's a proc trinket, I won't even put that much thought into it.

The big problem is that I got to experience the haste changes at 100% increase - had I not seen what that was like, I'd probably be able to sit here and say "Well, 50% increase over live is still pretty good" but sadly for me, I went on the PTR and saw what it was like at 100%, and it wasn't that it was tons more damage, because it wasn't. What it was and what I'm angry about was that it made both arms and fury feel like rage generation mattered, but more importantly, that you could gear for it. My fury DPS wasn't even significantly increased over live taking into account variance, but what it was that I'll lament losing was that it was fluid. If I spent rage after a Colossus Smash, I felt confident that I'd get more in a timely enough fashion to make use of it.

No longer calm

What's worse is, with Deadly Calm gone, arms now has one effective rage dump, and that's Slam, and that's it. You may hit Heroic Strike on occasion if you're just swimming in rage, but the days of hitting a Deadly Calm after a Colossus Smash and throwing off a couple of HS are pretty much dead, and that means the arms rotation is now even more metronomic than it had been. Colossus Smash when it's up, MS on cooldown, Overpower spam, Slam at high rage. Welcome to what you'll be doing over and over and over and over again. Any deviation (to use a Dragon Roar or Storm Bolt, using up a GCD) will leave you with more Overpowers to try and fit between MS and CS. Even hitting that Slam to bleed rage is going to end up with you madly hammering on the Overpower key trying to catch up.

With fury, what I was wondering about was, will haste actually become good once you hit that 100% Bloodthirst crit rate. The reason I wondered that is, it's not that far off. Before raid buffs, most fury warriors are sitting at 25 to 28% crit fairly easily (heroic gear can push that up to above 30%) and that means their BT crit rate is twice that. This means that Recklessness pushes your BT crit rate well above 100% (since it's 50% crit on specials, it easily gets you above 100% on Bloodthirst) and as a result as crit on gear improves, the Glyph of Recklessness becomes a DPS increase for fury warriors, since reducing the crit rate to 30% will still push you above 100% crit, and you'll stay enraged longer. Eventually this meant that crit would start to plateau for us, as soon as your raid buffed crit rate is above 50% you're guaranteed to enrage with every Bloodthirst anyway, and as a result haste could well have become a solid secondary stat for us. Now? Well, it's certainly buffed from live, and we'll see if it ends up surpassing my expectations.

Sadly, it will do almost nothing for tanking warriors, since we generate no rage from autoattacks and the haste isn't going to make our Shield Slams or Revenges any better. Sure, all warriors get the 100% increase, but like I said on Twitter, two times zero is still zero, and for prot warriors that's essentially what haste does, nothing.

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.

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