Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Warrior Cataclysm Changes

As I mentioned during my post on the Druid changes, I have shelved my Warrior. He was actually the 3rd toon I took to 80, and the Druid was the last. The reason that I shelved him was Heroic Strike. I couldn’t stand having to spam Heroic Strike to do decent Threat or DPS. But the larger reason was that I made him as sort of an insurance policy against the Devs continuing with the Burning Crusade design and making Warriors the premier tanking class. When they got serious about tanking equality in Wrath, and Paladins were buffed to stand toe to toe with any Tanking class, I shelved him. He’s my lone 80 on Alliance side since he didn’t make the trip over to Hordeside.
Inner Rage (Level 81): Whenever the character reaches a full 100 Rage, he or she will gain a buff that causes attacks to consume 50% more Rage and do 15% more damage for a short amount of time.
This is an interesting change. Warriors have been dealing with the issue of stuck on 100 for a long time. The Devs have said they will have to watch this carefully during Beta and we’ll have to see what the final version looks like, but at the very least they are trying creative solutions to long standing Warrior issues.
Gushing Wound (Level 83): This ability will apply a bleed effect to the target. If the target moves, the bleed gains an extra stack and refreshes its duration, up to a maximum of three stacks. The ability is currently planned to have no cooldown, cost 10 Rage, and have a 9-second duration. Gushing Wound is designed to be weaker than Rend with one stack, but better with three stacks, which will be reached when fighting a moving target.
This strikes me as a PVP ability to me because mobs in PVE, and especially bosses, tend to stand still. I could see this being extremely annoying for Rogues because they won’t be able to re-stealth the entire fight against a Warrior.
Heroic Leap (Level 85): This ability makes the character leap at their target and apply the Thunder Clap ability to all enemies in the area when they land. Heroic Leap will be usable in Battle Stance and shares a cooldown with Charge, but the Juggernaut and Warbringer talents will allow Heroic Leap to be used in any stance and possibly while in combat. The cooldown for this ability might be longer than the Charge ability, but it will also apply a stun effect so you can make sure the target will still be there when you land.
It’s baaaaaaaaaack. This was something that the Developers tried for Wrath of the Lich King but they couldn’t make it work. It will be interesting to see if it survives Beta better than the Wrath version did. It’s basically charge and thunderclap put together with a little stun thrown in for good measure. It’s a battle stance ability which is usually where an Arms warrior will be. It will also be available to Prot Warriors through Warbringer, further enhancing their battlefield mobility.
Heroic Strike will no longer be an "on next swing" attack, as we are removing this mechanic in Cataclysm. To keep the niche of Heroic Strike as a Rage dump, it will become an instant attack, but will cost between 10 and 30 Rage. This ability will not be usable until you have 10 Rage, but if you have more than 10, it will consume up to 30, adding additional damage for each point of Rage consumed above the base 10. Other abilities, such as Cleave, Execute, and Maul (for druids) will work similarly. The goal is to provide players with an option where if you can't afford the Rage, you don't push the button, but if you have excess Rage, you can push it a lot.
As I said in the opening Heroic Strike, or more accurately having to spam Heroic Strike was one of the big reason I retired my Warrior. This change combined with the Inner Rage change could help alleviate that, but the the last line scares me. “if you have excess Rage, you can push it a lot.” That sounds like spamming Heroic Strike again. This will also be how Cleave and Execute works. Warriors didn’t really start having to spam Heroic Strike until late Naxx, early Ulduar. With how Rage works and gear dependant Warriors can be, I wonder if we will get a good ‘read’ on this change until midway through Cataclysm.
Battle Shout, Commanding Shout, and possibly Demoralizing Shout will work more like the death knight's Horn of Winter ability. Specifically, these shouts will cost no resources, generate rage in addition to their current effects, and be on a short cooldown.
This is a nice improvement for Warriors major buffs. I’d like to see an increased duration on the buffs as well, but I couldn’t tell you how long Horn of Winter lasts.
Whirlwind will hit an unlimited number of targets, but only for 50% of weapon damage. The intent is for this ability to be used in multi-target scenarios and not on single targets.
It looks like the Devs want everyone, not just Paladins, to vary rotation from AoE to Single Targets.
Mortal Strike will reduce healing by only 20%. All equivalent debuffs, including the Shadow priest and Frost mage debuffs, will be for 20% less healing.
I assume Aimed Shot will also be getting reduced to 20% as well. This should help out PVP healers who, as I see things, are in for a much rougher time in Cataclysm than they have in Wrath. But anything that gets us away from the current game play of ‘blow them up in one global cooldown’ is a positive change in my books.
Sunder Armor will be reduced to three stacks instead of five, and still provide only a 4% reduction in armor per stack. We want to make this debuff easier to apply and less of a damage swing when it falls off.
Sunder remains a distinctive advantage that Warriors give to their raid, and specifically Warrior tanks as Prot has the easiest application of the Sunder debuff. It makes a difference in Raid DPS. With this being lowered, it should allow for Warrior threat and DPS to be balanced without reliance on the debuff being up at full strength, and should give Warriors a bit of breathing room on heavy movement fights.
The Furious Sundering talent in the Fury tree will make the Sunder Armor ability cause 25/50% weapon damage and reduce the threat generated by 50/100%.
This will give Fury a strong incentive to keep Sunder up if you have a Paladin/DK/Druid tanking the mob. It should also help Fury with Aggro management, but they still could use an aggro dump.
While we like how Titan's Grip plays, we recognize some warriors liked the Fury tree because of the really fast swings that dual-wielding one-handed weapons could provide. Therefore, we're planning to try out a talent called Single-Minded Fury that is parallel to Titan's Grip and will provide a large boost to the damage of a pair of one-handed weapons.
It will be interesting to see how the Theorycraft works on that. I wonder if they can make it competitive. I really enjoyed leveling as a Fury Warrior with two one handers, but for ‘cool’ factor, little can compete with dual wielding two handers.
The new Arms talent called Disarming Nature will make successful disarms cause the target to cower in fear for 5/10 seconds.
This will give Warriors another CC. I wonder if that will be more important in Cataclysm Raids and Dungeons or if this is just a PVP thing.
Arms Mastery: Bonus Swing: This is similar to the Sword Specialization talent that is currently in the game, but Bonus Swing will work on all attacks and with all weapons. You have a chance to proc a free, instant weapon swing that hits for 50% damage.
Sounds very cool for Arms.
Fury Mastery: Enrage Intensity: Every benefit of being enraged is increased. This includes doing more damage/healing/ etc. from abilities like Bloodrage, Death Wish, Enrage, Berserker Rage, and Enraged Regeneration.
Basically buffing the main Fury abilities. This is a nice mastery and fits with the theme of the tree.

Prot Mastery: Critical Block Chance: As we mentioned in the stat changes preview, block rating is changing to a chance to block 30% of a melee swing's damage. Protection warriors have a chance that the block will be a critical block and block for 60% of a melee swing's damage instead. There will likely be talents available to push the amount blocked even higher.
I’m very curious to see how this will be balanced. It’s basically a chance to proc Shield Wall on every attack. It’s hard to project into Cataclysm from our current reality because it promises to be so different, but this should make Warriors very strong tanks indeed.
This is about the best set of Masteries I’ve seen so far. Each one is exciting and very attractive. I expect Warriors and Death Knights to be very strong Tanks right out of the gate in Cataclysm. I’m basing this mostly on past history where Warriors and Death Knights started the last Expansion (and really the last two in the case of Warriors) in very good shape.
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