Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A Few Wishes

Every week Matthew Rossi writes The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column that understands that yes, sometimes gear has good enough stats to get you to wear it even if you end up looking like the above picture when you do. Nothing says 'fearsome, powerful, deadly armed combatant' quite like pink goggles, I think you'll have to agree.

Playing a warrior can be exciting, satisfying and fun. The combination of heavy armor, rage, and the various options the class has for weapons (since warriors can equip anything but a wand) and talent spec means, with the effort put in, you can have a warrior who is ideally suited to keeping the mobs bashing away at him, or one who channels his rage into a blinding fury of attacks, or one who swings a sword as big as he is at your head. Nothing is perfect, of course - for some reason, gnomes in dresses are capable of surviving multiple blows from an axe as big as a tauren just by waving their hands and can burn through 9000 health before you get to swing your weapon twice - but no class is expected to be able to do everything.

Still, everyone always has ideas for how to improve on things, and I'm no different.

Something that's always bothered me is that speccing protection seems to be saying "I will be playing an alt outside of instances and raids". Now, warriors are hardly alone in this, as any holy priest can tell you, but it still seems unfair that a player finds herself or himself, after having leveled to 70, unable to do simple cash grinds or farm for crafting without it taking four times longer than it would outside that spec. While I agree that we don't want prot warriors out DPSing Arms or Fury warriors, there has to be a tool we can add to their arsenal that helps move farming and soloing/questing a few notches up the scale from 'awful' to 'tolerable'. Having Revenge do more damage was a nice first step, but I'd like to see something more.

One of the ideas I had was for a reflexive damage shield based on rage. Give it a 30 second duration, have it cost 30 rage to use, and have it do damage comparable to Thorns or Lightning Shield. The catch is, the more damage the warrior takes, the more damage the shield does to those hitting her or him. In effect, the mobs would be killing themselves on the warrior's damage shield. This keeps prot warriors from suddenly running around with insane damage that they can direct at will, and allows them to grind mobs (who are going to be hitting them anyway) faster. It could also be used while tanking to help with multi-mob pulls, which is currently where some warriors find themselves having trouble in the new instances.

Now that I've made a suggestion for prot spec, why not give a little imaginary love to fury warriors? I don't currently have a fury war at 70 (my fury warrior is my night elf, currently parked at level 69 and not going anywhere) but I have always enjoyed the spec, especially when playing around with new variations for unconventional builds that were a lot less practical than they could have been. (I still remember my 25/26 Arms/Fury build and how I refused to believe it wasn't working no matter how many corpse runs I had to make.) What I would really like to see for fury is a talent that helps them become the berserker archetype they're supposed to be, something that makes them harder to kill the closer they are to being dead. I was inspired by the changes to Aspect of the Viper in the upcoming patch, which improves mana regen as the Hunter's mana drops below 50%. Imagine a talent that increased a warrior's damage resistance or resilience as his health dropped, so that by the time he was down to 20% health he was almost uncrittable? Maybe increasing his stun resistance too? You'd have to balance it carefully but I'd like to see less warriors standing stock still, unable to fight and critted to death in permanent stunlock.

My most played warrior, my tauren, is now 42 Arms/ 5 Fury/ 14 Prot and I'll probably spec out of prot eventually, but either way I really enjoy arms personally and I always have. It's touted as a PvP spec but I've found it has talents like Second Wind and Improved Disciplines which I enjoy for tanking. Having a Shield Wall more often is never a bad thing for tanking. So what would I like to see added to arms? Honestly, arms is a pretty strong tree right now, the only thing I'd like to see added would be a talent that allowed arms warriors, the supposed masters of weapons, to temporarily add 100 or so to their weapon skill, not to exceed the weapon's max skill level for that character. So a level 60 arms warrior could temporarily take a weapon he or she isn't skilled in and add up to their maximum possible skill with that weapon, or +100 to their current skill, whichever is less. Basically, the idea would be that arms warriors are so skilled with weapons that they can familiarize themselves with them quickly - this means that an arms warrior could equip and use a weapon without worrying as much if she or he has been using, say, a mace for the past few levels.

Okay, it's your turn. What do you want to see added to the warrior?

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