The second day of updates began with a list of changes for the Warrior class, arguably the tanking class most in need of improvements. It’s also arguable as to whether or not Cataclysm is going to deliver on that front. But, hey! New spells! You know the drill…
Unlike most of the other classes so far, the Warrior will get no new lower-level abilities, but they’ll have the customary post-80 stuff to play with. The first is Inner Rage, a passive skill that makes capping out on Rage less of a detriment by temporarily buffing the player. However, it’ll be under the microscope for the duration of the upcoming beta to determine whether or not people are purposefully capping Rage just to take advantage of it.
The second spell in the Warrior’s expanded arsenal is Gushing Wound, which is a new bleed-effect attack that stacks up to a max of three and applies every time the target moves. This will undoubtedly be beneficial for fights in which the boss or mob needs to be kited, and it can almost go unsaid how important it’ll figure into a PvP rotation.
Finally, we’ve got the triumphant return of Heroic Leap. If you’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a long time, then you’ll know this is an ability they tried to implement back in the beta for Wrath of the Lich King, but cut due to people messing about with it. Ultimately, it was too much of a pain in the ass for Blizzard to get it to work the way they wanted it to at the time, so it was removed from the game. It’s unclear whether or not Heroic Leap will work just as it did back then, but it does provide Warriors with a new means of initiating a fight (it shares a cooldown with Charge), casting Thunder Clap when they land.
Something else that should be noted is a new mechanic called Vengeance. This is the second Mastery stat that will appear in all tanking trees, so expect to see it have an effect on other classes, as well. Basically, every time the tank gets whacked by the enemy, they gain a stacking buff to their damage (and, subsequently, their threat generation). It’s a little complicated, but a more comprehensive explanation (as well as the rest of the Warrior changes) can be found beyond the cut.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring with it several changes to class talents and abilities. Here you will get a glimpse into some of the changes we have in store for the warrior. The information you’re about to read is not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview for some of the exciting new things to come.
New Warrior Abilities
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 a passive ability so it won’t need to be activated by the player. The goal for this ability is to provide a benefit for hitting max Rage instead of it feeling like a penalty. However, we also don’t want warriors to feel like they’re supposed to pool Rage and do nothing until they hit 100, so we’ll be closely monitoring how this plays out during the beta testing, and making adjustments as needed.
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.
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.
Changes to Abilities and Mechanics
In addition to learning new abilities, you’ll see changes to other abilities and mechanics with which you’re already familiar. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Overall, heals cast by players in Cataclysm will be a lower number relative to players’ health than the current game. So to make the Mortal Strike debuff less mandatory but still useful in PvP, 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. At the moment we aren’t considering giving this debuff to anyone else, though we will certainly consider PvP utility for historically under-represented specs that use other mechanics.
- 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.
New Talents and Talent Changes
- 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%.
- The Mace and Poleaxe Specialization talents in the Arms tree will be removed. These provided just passive stats, which are not the kinds of talents we want to design in the future. We will keep the Sword Specialization talent, but it will be changed to a talent that applies to all types of weapons.
- As a Fury talent, Booming Voice will increase the Rage generated by shouts.
- 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.
- Several talents that reduce the Rage cost of abilities will be changed to focus on increased damage for those abilities instead.
- The new Arms talent called Disarming Nature will make successful disarms cause the target to cower in fear for 5/10 seconds.
- Another new Arms talent called Blitz will make the Charge ability hit for extra damage. The amount will possibly vary depending on the distance travelled.
- Improved Pummel, a Fury talent, will cause a successful interrupt to generate 10/20 Rage.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Critical Block Chance
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.
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.
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.
Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Protection tree, so you won’t see Arms or Fury warriors running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is for all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.
We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.
Here are some follow ups based on what is being discussed.
Q: Will the rotation for a Fury Warrior just be Bloodthirst and Slam with Heroic Strike to burn off rage?
A: We think Fury is going to end up needing another attack in there for single-target fights. Furious Sundering was intended more as having to Sunder being less of a penalty, but at only 3 stacks, it may not end up being a big deal and we don’t want Fury to feel like they have to purchase a talent that they may not always use. We don’t want Whirlwind to be a good button against single targets however. It essentially gets “free” damage against groups of targets when it’s effective at using against single targets. It’s okay if warriors still do more damage in fights where they can use Cleave and similar attacks often, but right now it’s too extreme.
Q: Are one-handed Fury warriors going to be competing with rogues for one-handed weapons?
A: This is unlikely. Rogues and shaman will want one-handers with Agility, while warriors and death knights will want them with Strength. I won’t be surprised when one of these classes picks up the other’s weapon as it could be an upgrade simply based on the damage, but it won’t be optimal.
Q: Why are warriors not getting some kind of AoE tanking tool?
A: We think the newly buffed Thunder Clap plus Shockwave are sufficient abilities for AoE tanking. The design of Vengeance should make sure that threat generation doesn’t start to slip behind as the dps characters gear up. It’s not our intention that tanks face a constant struggle to generate enough threat, even in group situations, but we also don’t want threat to be totally irrelevant either. The danger for tanking too many creatures should also be tank death not threat management.
Q: Is only Sunder Armor being changed?
A: Rogue Expose Armor and other abilities that apply a similar debuff are being changed accordingly. They will all provide the same debuff at 12% armor reduction.
Q: What about rage loss when changing stances?
A: We still want the act of changing stances to require more consideration than just clicking two buttons to use the ability you want. One idea we are going to explore is that you don’t lose rage when you change stances, but you won’t gain additional rage for a short period of time after changing. This lets you say swap to do an Execute without losing your rage bar, but still keeps the idea that shifting constantly comes with inherent efficiency risks.
Q: Is the intent of Gushing Wound that warriors constantly ask for targets to be kited around?
A: No, it’s intended to be a bonus when you’re in an encounter where the target either moves around a lot (Ex. BONNNNE STORMMMM-ing Marrowgar) or just has to be moved around a lot (say Lich King). Warriors shouldn’t have the expectation of forcing every PvE opponent to move but it would be entertaining to watch this (from a third party perspective).