Warlords of Draenor: The evolution of the arms warrior

Matthew Rossi
M. Rossi|05.25.14

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Warlords of Draenor: The evolution of the arms warrior
Arms warriors have been the big dog in PvP throughout Mists of Pandaria while being a very lackluster spec in player vs. environment settings like raids - they were excellent DPS at the beginning of Siege, for instance, but they dropped in terms of their overall power when compared to the other melee. It's this 'super strong in PvP/weak to middling in PvE' status quo that we've seen all expansion that seems to be the target in Blizzard's sights. And with the latest Alpha patch notes, we have the first signs of what is really a remarkable amount of change for the spec overall.

With Overpower gone, Execute pulling double duty (basically baking in the Prehistoric Marauder 4pc set bonus) and Mortal Strike finally replacing Heroic Strike, we're looking at an interesting direction for arms in patch 6.0. In general, arms warriors will gain Execute as their big damage attack when at high rage above 20% health, and will use Slam as their low rage bread and butter attack. With Weapon Mastery increasing Slam, CS and Execute damage, the stage is set for a rotation built around proper use of those three abilities. No more trying to line up Overpower - instead of stacking and spamming in-between CS procs, you'll work to have enough rage for an Execute during that window. It's reminiscent of how arms worked in Wrath of the Lich King. I'm looking forward to getting to play with it myself and see how it feels.

The goal is to remove needless complexity while simultaneously adding more depth. As mentioned in the above section on Ability Pruning, Overpower and Heroic Strike have been removed for Arms Warriors. In their place, Slam now costs less Rage, and Execute has been revised to provide more dynamic gameplay throughout the whole fight while still retaining its identity of a low-health finisher.

In addition, we weren't satisfied with the Mastery for Arms. The intended flavor for Arms is about hitting with few, big, and heavy weapon strikes. Strikes of Opportunity actually went opposite of that, adding frequent little hits. We've replaced Strikes of Opportunity with a new Mastery which accentuates their intended design.
  • Mastery: Strikes of Opportunity has been removed, and replaced with a new ability, Mastery: Weapons Master.
    • Mastery: Weapons Master increases the damage of Colossus Smash, Slam, and Execute abilities by 20% (increasing with Mastery).
  • Executioner is a new passive ability for Arms Warriors.
    • Executioner causes the Warrior's auto attack hits to generate an additional 40 Rage against targets with less than 20% health remaining. Additionally, the Execute ability no longer requires the target to be below 20% health to use, but its Rage cost is increased by 100%.
  • Colossus Smash no longer increases the damage of Slam.
  • Mortal Strike now generates 20 Rage (up from 10 Rage).
  • Slam now costs 15 Rage (down from 25 Rage) and no longer has additional effects when Sweeping Strikes is active.

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