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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Future Wishlist

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.

So this week we had the big Dev Q&A, and there were some things in there that got me thinking.

From the Q&A
Dread: Why do Warriors (Arms & Fury) still have moves that require Shields, and thus, macros? You think a master of arms or a raging berserker could hit a fire ball back like a baseball. (Link could do it!)

Ghostcrawler: Shields are cool. We'd like to do more with them, for paladins and shaman too. We agree that macros aren't an awesome way to handle shields. We'd rather do more with the base UI. Imagine you had a shield slot on your character pane even if you didn't have it "out" at the moment. Something along those lines.

The specific moves that require a shield for arms and fury warriors are abilities like Shield Wall and Spell Reflection. (Mass Spell Reflection does not require a shield.) The idea of a 'Shield Slot' rather than using shields as offhand items fascinates me, especially if it led to the possibility of protection warriors using a two-handed weapon and a shield to tank with (as many have asked for, since the old spear and shield was a big part of historical warfare).

This led me to wonder: what would my dream additions be to the warrior class? What do I want to see make it into the class' toolkit for the future?

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Future Wishlist SatSun
One of my immediate desires is to continue the process that the new talent system has begun towards making warriors feel like the various hero units from Warcraft games of the past. It was mentioned that with talents like Avatar, Bladestorm, and Shockwave that a warrior can feel like a Tauren Chieftain, a Mountain King or a Blademaster - let's keep that going.

One of the things I want to see is the Banner mechanic get expanded. I like the troika of Skull, Demoralizing and Mocking Banner okay, but two of those are just reworked versions of pre-banner abilities. Also, while I like that banners can be thrown down and then intervened to in combat, I'd also like to see wearable banners (again, like bladesmasters) that provided different abilities. A banner that made your attacks deal extra damage to a target that you taunted, for instance, which would make taunt useful for PvP for once. A banner that made all allies within range of you gain extra attack speed or haste, a movement speed banner. Things that revolved around the idea of the banner as an inspiration to your allies or a challenge to your enemies.

Going back to the idea of a separate 'shield slot' for a moment, I'd love to see protection warriors get to use polearms with shields. Perhaps the shield automatically equips when you go into Defensive Stance, or perhaps you could give protection abilities similar to SMF and Titan's Grip that made using a one handed weapon or a polearm equivalent in terms of DPS and/or stats to balance it out. I wouldn't mind protection getting to use 2h weapons of all stripes, but I admit that only polearms really have history backing them up as weapons used with shields. For that matter, you could balance the polearm/shield mechanic with dire shields, extremely large shields that needed TG to use and which would require you to use a 1h weapon.

Part of this is because I think the warrior has gotten away from its 'master of all weapons' feeling over the years. Pretty much everybody can use most weapons and there are weapons like fist weapons and swords and now axes that are often designed for agility classes. As the class that really just has weapons, yelling, and now flags as its main bag of tricks (also running and jumping - is it me, or are warriors kind of becoming the summer camp activities class?) and I'd like to see us get some of that feeling of being the class that can use anything. Well, except for wands. Can't work them. We get all confused, it's a stick, but it's too small to hit people with. In my heart I'd like to see all weapons intended for melee combat be useful for a warrior - either through more strength fist weapons, strength polearms, and what have you, or a mechanic that converts agility on weapons (and only weapons) to strength for warriors. I expect the first to be far more feasibly likely.

But what about new class abilities? What can we actually add to the class? Well, with abilities like Intervene already in place, I've always been a fan of a possible talent or ability that takes it one step further and allows you to 'castle' your target, as in the chess move. Although since we're not actually playing WoW on a chess board, you'd have to settle for simply switching locations with your target instead of moving exactly as the move would indicate. (If they could code it so you and your target could each move half-way and and up opposed like in the chess move, that'd be cool too.) It would give warriors a mobility based way to get other people out of danger, and put themselves into danger. And you could even make an offensive version - you target an enemy and swap positions with him/her/it, which could have all sorts of interesting applications in PvP and PvE. Typhooned off of a bridge in AV? Castle, and now you're on the bridge while the druid falls in your place.

Now that we're this far along in Mists of Pandaria you must be thinking of the future too. What's on your wish list for warriors?

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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