THIS IS ALL EARLY ALPHA NOTES. THINGS CAN AND WILL CHANGE IN MONTHS.
KEEP IN MIND A LOT OF THINGS MAY GO BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN NOW AND RELEASE AS INFORMATION AND DEVELOPER INTERVIEWS COME OUT.
Bearded fellows and honorary bearded women, the Warlords of Draenor alpha patch notes are finally upon us. If any of you have taken a look at the front page of MMO-Champion.com or Wowhead.com, it can be easy to get lost in all of the changes in the game, let alone the specific ones for the Warrior class. But, that’s alright, that’s what Lowmaine and myself are here for. We’ll be breaking down the changes for Warriors, explaining what may or may not be common knowledge over these changes and the reasoning behind them. We’ll start by looking at changes that affect all of the warrior specs, and proceed forward from there.
Now, on to the show. First, let’s start with Recklessness.
- Recklessness now increases the Critical Strike chance by 15% ( down from 30% ) and increases Critical Strike damage by 15% ( up from 0% )
Breaking these down one by one, let us take a moment of silence for Recklessness. What was a major DPS increase cooldown, a great burst threat opener tool, will be toned down. With a lot of knee jerk reactions coming out on the Warrior community forums and elsewhere, what is being lost in communication is that Blizzard is intending to significantly reduce the number of throughput-increasing cooldowns and procs from the class and the game. What this means is that even though we are having our favorite damage increasing cooldown tweaked down, it is NOT A NERF. What is happening is that Blizzard is bringing classes in line with fewer throughput increasing abilities, and this one happens to be ours to get tweaked. Recklessness being a damaging cooldown makes sense to tie it to the DPS specs. So I’m not TOO hurt by this as a tank. I’ve always used it as a burst threat opener. So to that end it served its purpose, but with this change, it won’t hurt terribly because threat isn’t something tanks need to worry about too much any more. To be frank, we need to worry about our active mitigation which Recklessness does not help us with. You may also be wondering why there is an increase to Critical Strike damage on Recklessness. That’s because Skull Banner is gone. Another moment of silence.
- Shattering Throw no longer reduces the armor of the target; it only does damage and breaks immunities.
- It is also no longer learned via any specialization, but instead through a new Major Glyph, Glyph of Shattering Throw.
What can we say about this? The use of this in PVE was kind of limited. I can only name off the top of my head a handful of times when it was useful in PVE; Heroic Spirit Council in Mogu’shan Vaults, and for a very brief time Heroic Hagara back in Dragon Soul. I’m not really disappointed by this change, nor am I excited for it. It’s one of those things that I can live with or without. One thing to note is that the armor reduction is being removed from the spell, which removes the slight raid DPS gain it provided, however it is also worth mention that all armor reduction debuffs are being removed. Yes, goodbye Sunder Armor. More on that later.
- Heroic Throw now has a 6-second cooldown ( down from 30 seconds ), but now has a 15 yard minimum range.
This is something I’m excited for. Now, let’s be realistic on two things: Heroic Throw was great for initiating pulls, and breaking CC to pull mobs. On the same token, how many times have we actually really needed CC outside of chain stunning mobs in Challenge Modes? For the use it brought, Heroic Throw felt hindered by the actual lack of utility spells throughout Mists of Pandaria. Assuming Blizzard manages to nail their intents for crowd control to be useful and important in PVE again, a six second CD on Heroic Throw will be great for pulling mobs safely. In addition to this change, we can expect a bigger change for Protection when we look at the perks received when leveling from 91 – 99. Oh yes, the cooldown will be removed from Heroic Throw completely. We’ll see more about that when we get to perks.
- Enrage now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).
- Mastery: Unshackled Fury (Fury) now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).
I add in the Unshackled Fury part because it goes hand in hand. On paper, it seems like one of those things where we go, “Well, yeah, it should be doing that anyway?” And where all Warriors would nod their heads in agreement, this required small change has everything to do with one of our new talent; Ignite Weapon (DPS only). If you remember, there was a brief time where Dragon Roar dealt Fire damage, so it seems we have our thematic elemental damage of choice. Combined with our cosmetic glyphs making us ignite in flames, our charge leaving a blazing trail of fire, and our eyebrows catching on fire it makes perfect sense. We’ll touch on that new talent later.
- Deep Wounds now lasts 15 seconds, or until the target is healed to full health.
What can we say, not everyone has their luffa(insert old item link here) for bleed damage, and if you still had it AND used it, well… PVE-wise this won’t change much for us as it’s a way for healers to handle and or remove our debuff from their team in PVP. The only time I see it hurting us in PVE would be on something like Paragons of the Klaxxi where for whatever reason you’re deciding to spread your Deep Wounds to pad the meters, and when the primary kill target dies the next target is at full health and Deep Wounds is removed. I’m not too concerned for this, really. Seems fair in the end because, well, bleeds had no real counter other than raw healing and absorbs. We’ll have to see how this plays out in PVP. And now, a pretty big change to the class. Just because I wanted people to read through to get here. Headlong Rush is a new passive ability for Warriors:
- Headlong Rush: Haste reduces global cooldown and the cooldowns of Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam, and Thunder Clap.
Let us all take a moment to rejoice in Haste giving some stronger worth to Warriors outside of just white damage. You may say Rage generation from that increased haste, but if you do, you’re forgetting that Rage generated from auto attacks is completely normalized and formulized based on weapon speed when you factor in swing times post-haste buffs. So, for now, Warriors are going to have their own Sanctity of Battle, and we’re going to have to see just how well this will scale for Warriors. There are concerns at the higher levels of haste will conflict with procs; specifically, Sword and Board IF it’s possible to achieve enough haste to make Shield Slam using every other GCD. That said, a lower CD on Thunderclap is going to make AOE situations hilariously strong for us. That is, assuming haste will be a completely viable change worth looking into. But, do not fret, change can be good and we have plenty of time to see how this will affect us. I like having more options in gearing as a tank, so this comes with some open arms.
- Charge now Roots the target (instead of stunning). The Root effect does not share a Diminishing Return with other Roots.
- Warbringer now causes Charge to stun the target for 1.5 sec instead of rooting it.
This change was known months ago, as a response to the sheer amount of control Warriors had on players in PVP. The Charge Stun, we can all admit, was great for trash mobs stuns and interrupts, and the occasional stunnable raid boss ( Looking at you, Sebutai ). I feel like it is a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the amount of stuns Warriors had at their disposal, but for PVE I don’t think this is TOO much of a major concern outside of relying on it for that last second clutch attempt an interrupt. It will be one of those small things that bump up the skill cap for the class. In the same vein as skill caps, Warrior CC is also being touched. But, not us alone, all crowd control spells are being reworked, revamped, or just removed. For us:
- Intimidating Shout now has a 6 sec duration in PvP (down from 8 sec).
- Disarm has been removed.
First, I want to just say that all disarms are being removed from the game. There, breathe for a second and remember that we are not being singled out here with disarm being taken away. Secondly, Intimidating Shout isn’t alone in being touched for PVP; Hunter’s Scare Beast, Paladin’s Turn Evil are also being pushed down to six seconds. This is just something to bring more CC spells in line with one another, so while it may look like we’re getting singled out, we’re not. These kinds of changes are happening across the board. Whew, long list of some major changes but we are going to get some quality of life bumps in our favor. And maybe some sadness here.
- Battle Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Commanding Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Berserker Rage no longer generates Rage or increases Physical damage dealt.
- Hamstring is now a passive ability that causes Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Revenge, and Raging Blow to also reduce the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.
First, three out of the four changes are pretty big going in the Rage generation category as, you can see, we are not going to get any from our Shouts and Berserker rage. This is just probably to get our group buffs in line with the other group buffs provided by other classes; that is, they’re just to buff our team, not to really provide a resource for more performance. Yes, Death Knights and Horn of Winter are getting the same treatment, however one typo I think there is, is that for Death Knights it has Horn of Winter listed with no cooldown, whereas Battle Shout and Commanding Shout do not. Could be nothing more than a typo, who knows. Berserker Rage is being moved to be a 100% utility tool for Fears, Saps, and Gouges. It’s going to affect some DPS areas in that Fury could sit on Berserker Rage as a minor cooldown going into a Colossus Smash, forcing a Raging Blow proc AND an Enrage effect. Pretty big both ways if for whatever reason you were falling behind in your game play. However, we may still need some clarification on whether or not it will still give a Raging Blow charge; It was mentioned by Celestalon in a recent interview that Berserker Rage may still have the enrage effect. Finally, Hamstring. How to approach this. Well, it’s one less keybind to worry about. Having a way to passively apply our snare is great, especially as prot since it’s on Revenge, our multi-hitting ability. Just looking at Hamstring requiring us to hit our target may be bad because if we miss with one of our skills we’re gonna be crippled; but don’t forget that Hit and Expertise are removed! That just means we have to worry about defensive cooldowns like Evasion and Die by the Sword, worrying about our own positioning against the player we’re looking to kill. Even then, we’ll have Piercing Howl’s snare to fall back on, unless you’re running a specific team composition for arenas; but even then, that’s the nature of the new talent and team synergy brought in by MOP: Mix and match your teams need. This is actually a buff for PVE, since, looking at what abilities apply Hamstring, it allows all specs to continue with their main DPS / TPS ( Yes, TPS still exists ) rotation priority without needing to have to monitor another debuff. Changing scopes from quality of life changes, now let’s touch on what’s being removed. Going to see some tears of sadness here for sure.
- Berserker Stance has been removed.
- Cleave has been removed.
- Demoralizing Banner has been removed.
- Skull Banner has been removed.
- Throw has been removed.
A moment of silence for Berserker Stance and Cleave; Saurfang will mourn this loss. Let’s think about why these are being removed. Berserker Stance, PVE-wise didn’t really require too much decision making on when to switch to it; you were either taking a LOT of damage to take advantage of the Rage gained ( I believe it was 1% life lost for 1 Rage gained ), or it was just negligible. Later parts of Thok’s Screeches, and Garrosh’s Iron Star explosions and Annihilate explosions are good examples to get to full rage for no effort. You just had to remember that Berserker stance gave you that rage for being damaged. Personally, I don’t know, it just felt like the times you were using it in PVE were few and far inbetween. As for Cleave, if I remember correctly, the damage gained in actually using it was very small and questioned the need to even have it bound over Heroic Strike. It was very unfortunate, and misleading; if you had the ability to hit two targets at once, you would think you wanted to, but in actual game play it didn’t yield a strong enough result. However! Fear not, we are getting the ability to Cleave multiple targets, but in the form of:
- Glyph of Cleave: Your Heroic Strike now hits 2 targets.
So Cleave isn’t completely removed from our tool set. We’ll just have to glyph for it. This may be the common trend with the ability pruning. Whatever we lose, we MIGHT just get back as a glyph. Demoralizing Banner and Skull Banner are put in the same chopping block, because of the new design to reduce cooldown stacking from the raid and players. We are going to see these two changed, if not removed. Skull Banner, as we saw, got removed BUT merged into Recklessness ( Remember, that is now 15% crit chance and 15% crit damage ). As for Demoralizing Banner, that is from the new philosophy that raid cooldowns to protect the raid should be brought in by the Healers because that is what they signed up for. This is the idea behind Tranquility, Devotion Aura, Demoralizing Banner, and those of similar raid utility being removed or tied directly to their healing specific role. However, do not fret too much, since offspecs will be providing raid cooldowns, albeit in a weaker role. Yes, we’re looking at you Rallying Cry, and we’ll get to you in just a minute. Last on the list of removals, Throw. Good bye. … Okay, in all fairness, I didn’t really use this much in PVE, the damage was garbage. And if you used it for the damage, well, good on you for trying to deal more damage to Thok while he was running away from you to eat some poor soul in your raid. Other than that, you wanted to use this to try and keep that one pesky Rogue in combat with you while he ran away to re-stealth. or keep a healer in combat to stop them from drinking. This removal going hand in hand with the Heroic Throw change to a six-second cooldown may work out in the end, however, beware that dreaded dead zone range from the Rogue trying to restealth. Don’t forget, Heroic Throw will have a 15 yard minimum requirement, so be careful about this Throw removal. We’re going to have to work a bit harder in PVP to keep melee in combat with us if we can’t afford to use our utility Shouts. Finally on our list of changes for this entry, we’re going to look at what abilities are going to be tied to specific specs for Warriors.
- Thunder Clap is no longer available to Fury Warriors.
- Whirlwind is now available only to Fury Warriors.
- Rallying Cry is no longer available to Protection Warriors.
- Shield Wall is only available to Protection Warriors.
Notice that Rallying Cry is being moved to Arms and Fury? Rallying Cry is going to fall under the category of raid utility that will be seeing a slight nerf due to it not being provided by a Healer role. Remember, Healers will be getting the strongest raid cooldowns, everyone else will be given a weaker version of what they have now; Rallying Cry, Smoke Bomb, are just examples of what to expect to get changed. As for Whirlwind and Thunderclap, I’m going to toss these under thematic changes. Arms had no real reason to hit Whirlwind when their AOE came from Thunderclap spreading Deep Wounds, Sweeping Strikes, and Slam’s cleave effect when Sweeping Strikes was active. For Fury it was pretty essential to Whirlwind as it gave the Meat Cleaver stacks to allow Raging Blow to hit multiple targets. Fury had no benefit from Thunderclap. Lastly, Protection didn’t use Whirlwind because our cleave came from Revenge, Thunderclap, and Deep Wounds Plus we didn’t have access to Whirlwind. Can’t say too much about the Shield Wall change, though it does help to work with some redundancy for DPS Warrior’s having Shield Wall and Die by the Sword; both being raw damage reduction cooldowns, the only difference between them is that one has 100% Parry chance to ward off melee attacks. One less defensive CD for Fury and Arms in the end, and nothing really changes for us Tanks. So for as these class ability and spec changes go, things are already looking to be super interesting as we look more into the changes that were presented. From this, I am looking forward to messing around with Haste in my Protection and Fury builds with Headlong Charge if nothing changes it. But if you already saw the list of changes on your favorite WoW resource website, you know there’s still more for us to touch and put together. When we’re done recapping these changes bit by bit, we’ll be putting together our concerns and hopes. Don’t worry, we already have expressed some to the developers and we’ll let you know what we get back. And for those of you that have seen this blog before, we welcome you to Die By The Sword 2: Electric Boogaloo.