I've had the experience of watching my wife learn to tank on a warrior over the past couple of weeks. Part of that experience is gleeful, because she's finally having to put up with DPS who act like she
acted when I
first started tanking all those years ago. (Sometimes I'm there on my hunter, and so, that terrible DPS player is me.) But part of it is also interesting because she's come to love the tanking role and specifically how the warrior class approaches it. Warrior tanking problems are in part style based - we've lost a step from our Cataclysm
heights of mobility - but in general, it's mostly about numbers. We take more damage, we deal less, we can't cheese raid encounters. None of that matters in a five man leveling dungeon, and it is in this laboratory that we can see the potential
of the warrior tank as the wrecking ball it was at its height. Watching her charge a pack of mobs, throw down a thunder clap and begin dealing out Shield Slams and Devastates in fools faces is
what a warrior tank should always be doing
and yes I bolded that on purpose. At its best, warrior tanking has an essentially visceral feel that no one else has ever matched. No one else seems to tank by using her or himself as
a battering ram. Paladins call on the Light, DK's defile entire areas with death magic, monks bob and weave and stagger about, and druids become a bear, lumbering and hirsuite. Warriors become missiles. The math may not be in our favor, but the aesthetics are perfect
To this day I still tank LFR groups at night to get my fix of bashing shields in people's faces. Style is something I really appreciate in warrior play, because the class drips with it.
I go on about Titan's Grip a lot, because it is something that is unique
to the warrior. Frankly, I think it should be more intrinsic to the class than it is, that our ability to use the absolutely largest weapons should be incorporated even more strongly. I'd love to see arms warriors using weapons so big no one else can even lift them, a whole new Great Weapon specialization exclusively for them. Seeing a warrior with two
Ashkandi just seems to say We're not like them
and its something that the warrior class needs more of - as much as I understand why some warriors like Single-Minded Fury as a concept, I'm not silly enough to think that people who are using it today are doing so because they're just that loyal to dual-wielding one hand weapons. Some clearly are, of course. But for most it's about DPS. I don't think we're going to see any surprising changes in 5.4 in terms of the relative power of TG vs. SMF - SMF will continue to win because it generates more rage, and can therefore spend it faster. On AoE fights, TG will continue to pull ahead due to how Whirlwind, Meat Cleave, Raging Blow all work together.
Titan's Grip still manages to just be,
a perfect little moment of coolness that endures. From the moment it was introduced in Wrath
it has maintained that, and in the days of transmogrification I still raid as TG because of just how much fun
it is. I often go to a city with a training dummy and just beat it up to take screenshots of my various warriors flipping out with those big two handers.
There are things I would like to see changed - I miss Slam as fury, for instance - but overall I really like the general toolkits of each spec. Heroic Leap and Charge are fun, and could benefit from being on lower cooldowns so we could use them more often. Our talents
often look awesome as well as feeling good to use - of the Bladestorm/Shockwave/Dragon Roar trio, there isn't one that can't bring a smile to my face when I hit the button. I may be rare but I even like our banners and wish we had more of them, our final tier of talents has two I love (Avatar and Bloodbath) and one I will love more in 5.4 (Storm Bolt is already my go-to talent for when I tank thanks to the reliable pull potential for most boss encounters). So basically, I'm not crying out for a massive redesign of the class, and I think that's an important distinction to make.
Numbers issues at high level are
important. They address the health of the class overall. Furthermore, there are issues with warriors and how they interact with stats that show up fairly early and stay true throughout - we have no meaningful stat choices, we're very limited by how rage is acquired, Berserker Stance is only useful in periods of extremely high incoming damage and in those periods we're often frantically popping cooldowns to stay alive rather than transforming that rage into damage output - but these are issues that can be addressed and fixed without gutting the warrior class. Our issues are tuning, not design, for the most part.
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.