A new look at level 100 warrior talents

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 I was going to talk about something else, but then there was this little press event and we got a look at new level 100 talents for warriors. And so, we're going to be talking about them for a bit. Because when you get a look at entire new talents you kind of have to discuss them. The most interesting thing to me is the departure of Blade Barrier and the change to Extreme Measures. I asked Celestalon about it, and here's what he had to say.

I won't say I'm sad to see Masochism gone - I never liked the idea of warriors getting what was basically a reworked form of Life Tap, trading big chunks of health for rage, especially with how squishy warriors can seem in raids. Ignite weapon is very interesting as the replacement for arms and fury warriors, although I admit I'm a little sad I won't be able to pick it up as protection. (I apologize for the image quality to follow, but I wanted to get the tooltip up for you to look at).

Ignite Weapon replaces Heroic Strike, meaning that it changes your rotation (something talents do fairly well) and it's an interesting direct damage choice. I'm curious if your autoattacks deal additional fire damage, or if they convert your white damage to fire damage (effectively ignoring armor) - the wording makes me think the latter, and that's very interesting. I'm concerned by the way the fire damage will interact with Enrage and our fury mastery (as stated, it probably won't) so that's a concern, but not one I'm willing to panic about yet.

According to Celestalon, protection will still be getting Gladiator Stance, so we're still going to be looking at a talent that protection warriors who are tanking can't take, but protection warriors who want to go out and do dailies or DPS a dungeon (maybe you have three tanks but you only need two and want to bring everyone to flex) can now just switch a talent and go. Or, if you like the shield and weapon aesthetic, but you want to DPS, you can design yourself around that idea from the start. I've been lukewarm on this talent purely because it takes a choice away from tanking prot warriors, but the idea is sound, and I'm interested to see how this goes.

The Anger Management talent really fascinates me in concept. For years, we've all talked about how the act of spending rage should have some sort of effect. And the idea of a passive talent that will directly reduce your Readiness affected cooldowns based on how much rage you spend is a very interesting one. We still don't know what those cooldowns will be, of course - a talent that reduces the cooldown on Recklessness is more valuable to a DPS warrior than one that reduces the cooldown on Shield Wall - but it's something that's worth trying out, and honestly it's possible that Anger Management will be the standout talent of the level 100 tier, the one everybody takes.

There's also some changes to talent placement to discuss. Specifically, Storm Bolt and Bladestorm have switched places so that Storm Bolt and Shockwave are on the same tier now, along with Dragon Roar (you can now consider that tier the 'stun tier') and this is going to have some significant effects on warriors. First off, it keeps PvP warriors from double stun talenting - no more arms warriors with Storm Bolt and Shockwave keeping people stunned for multiple seconds. It also means DPS warriors won't be able to take Bloodbath and Bladestorm, which will definitely tone down AoE damage for arms. However, it does mean that fury warriors will now no longer have to choose between Storm Bolt and Bloodbath (Storm Bolt is an excellent attack for fury since it hits with both weapons) and it's also possible for all warriors to now potentially spec Bladestorm and Shockwave, or Bladestorm and Dragon Roar. So in the end AoE damage may remain high, or even go up in certain situations - being able to Dragon Roar and Bladestorm in Heroic Spoils, for instance.

Right now, Anger Management seems the clear winner for level 100 talents. Prot warriors who want to tank and all DPS are going to take it unless Readiness doesn't work on our major cooldowns (and it almost assuredly will) - the idea of getting a benefit from spending rage, especially on abilities that we use to increase our damage, is just too compelling and in my own time as a warrior I've lost count of the times I wished Recklessness was up again but it still had ten seconds to go. Warrior burst is so cooldown dependent anything that can reset them is welcome, and the idea of getting to do that via active play? It's a really well conceived idea. Unless Ignite Weapon gets a buff of some sort (making your attacks do extra damage as fire rather than simply changing them to fire, for instance) it's just not going to be able to compete.

Still, it's interesting to see where they're going with talent choices. Not going to lie, I think they should have moved Shockwave up to Storm Bolt's tier, possibly in place of Avatar, because I'd really rather be able to take Bladestorm and Blood Bath. But we'll see how it all shakes out.

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.