The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Hail and Farewell

Matthew Rossi
M. Rossi|01.31.15

Sponsored Links

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Hail and Farewell
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.

Eleven months ago I wrote this farewell. It says everything I wanted to say about this column - I'm not going to repeat it.But with WoW Insider as a whole in its last days, it felt right to bring back the longest running continuous class column to say something else - to take a look back at the class over the years, to say goodbye to the past and take a look forward into the future.

First off, let me say that for the most part, the redesign of warriors in Warlords of Draenor seems to be working out. Arms and fury DPS? Too low.l Arms in general doesn't feel good to play, and any arms warriors saying so are correct - the spec didn't get the overhaul it needed. Or more accurately, it got an overhaul, but it didn't need one, and now it feels like a once grand 1969 Shelby Mustang with half the options yanked off. Fury plays fine, if somewhat boring depending on your talent choices, but it's clear that it still lacks the bite it needs to be a competitive DPS spec. The buffs it received recently have helped, but in my opinion they haven't helped enough. What I'd like to see for DPS in the future is an arms spec that recaptures some of the fun and feeling of the Mists arms warrior, and simply put, more damage in a less spammy format for fury. A big, big hit instead of having to get off three Wild Strikes when they're free.

As for Gladiator Stance, it's the hit of the expansion. Everyone loves it. People are raiding as DPS using it, because for quite a while it was head and shoulders above any other DPS spec warriors had. Even after the fury buffs and the change to the talent, Gladiator specced prot warriors are a force to be reckoned with, and it's a huge proof of concept success for designing a tanking spec that can also perform as a DPS spec. So kudos to Blizzard there.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about warriors one last time.

I'm not one of those people who thinks warriors should have a fourth spec, because frankly four wouldn't be enough anyway. Right now, we have three viable DPS specs plus a tanking spec sharing space with one of those specs. If we were going to split that spec (protection) into two specs, we'd have three DPS specs and a tanking spec. For the class that invented tanking in WoW, one tank spec and three DPS specs isn't balanced. Other classes can tank, and tank well, but let us finally give up all pretense. Other classes can tank. Warriors are tanks. Even if you've never tanked a day on your warrior, its in your classes DNA, it's part and parcel of the way the class functions. And this is how it should be. Gladiator Stance is a great ability because it allows the protection warrior to maintain everything tanky about the class - weapon and shield, shield smashing - and gives it a new, more offensive edge.

Frankly, rather than seeing warriors get a new spec, I want to see the concept of Gladiator Stance expanded. A talent for arms and fury that did for them what Gladiator's Resolve does for protection, that lets them preserve their kit, their flavor, and apply it to tanking rather than DPSing. Instead of splitting off more DPS specs into their own, make all three warrior specs fully hybrid - so that however you want to play your warrior, it can tank or DPS in that style of engagement.

I argue for this not because I believe it would be trivial to accomplish. It would not. It would require a great deal of tweaking, the three specs would likely never be equal for every role, there would be much complaining and arguing. No, I argue for this because it fits the class conceptions. Arms as the disciplined master of arms, fury as the raging berserker, and protection as the armor-class dreadnaught. None of these conceptions needs to be strictly DPS or tank, there's room for more, and Gladiator's Resolve has done an amazing job of showing the potential glory of the class, of its flexibility and possibility.

I also think it would go a way towards making warriors more popular to play. One of the things that confuses new players is that they spent levels using a 2h, or two 1 or 2h weapons, only to suddenly need a shield around level 50 or so. Or they tank all the way to max level, end up not tanking for their guild, and have no idea how to play a DPS spec. Gladiator's Resolve solves that problem for prot warriors, and I believe very strongly that we should see similar effort into solving that issue for arms and fury warriors.

Okay. That's been said pretty well. Let's move on to a general goodbye.

This is a column about warriors, and as I said before, it already got as good a sendoff as I could give it last year. No, now I want to take a moment and just celebrate the class. Celebrate charging at my enemies, the glory of Titan's Grip, the excellence of the classes' ubiquity and the uniqueness of using the rage mechanic for everything. There was a lot I loved about playing a warrior. And I loved getting to write and talk about it all. Getting to write about the Burst Window, talking about how we scaled with armor penetration, about our reliance on crit, about how back in BC we were frankly terrible tanks for anything that wasn't a single boss... the warrior class has had ups and downs, and I've gotten to be here for most of them. I even got my own in-game item! And they had haste on them!

It's been a heck of a ride. One thing I tried to stay away from in my time here was class chauvinism. Everyone thinks their class is the best class, otherwise why would you play it? Well, that's not universally true, and I didn't want to offend or upset anyone needlessly, since I know full well my abrasive personality will take care of that for me. So I never blew the trumpet for us in that way, at least not as much as I could have. But it didn't mean I didn't love playing a warrior. Because I did.

I loved feeling like I was tanking in hard mode on fights like Dragonhawk in Zul'Aman, or the Hyjal trash waves. I loved knowing my class wasn't fancy, wasn't dependent on tricks or bells and whistles like holy magic or necromance or shapeshifting or whatever it is that monks do. I loved using two 2h weapons in a raid. I loved grinding on a prot warrior. I loved playing this class in vanilla, in BC, in Wrath, in Cata, and in Mists, and I love my draenei warrior now sitting in his garrison on Draenor. This is my favorite class. This is, as far as I'm concerned, the best a class can be.I never had this much fun on any of my alts, I never loved any of them this much. I still have my old Sulfuras in the bank.

That's probably as good a sign off as I could hope for, really. Here's a picture from the distant past, of my warrior fresh at the dawn of the game, in love with the world and smashing it with a giant orange hammer. Be excellent to each other. It's magic, it's tragic, it's a loss it's a win.

Dosvedanya, ladies and gentlemen.

We are the best class in the game.

At the center of the fury of battle stand the warriors: protection, arms and fury. This is where we used to have a whole list of promotional material to other posts about warriors. Today, it is where we bow our heads and wave goodbye. Thank you all.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget