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Steveharris

WotLK talent Preview/Discussion

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It seems that there is no dearth of threads regarding other class abilities and talents in Wrath of the Lich King, and that so far warriors have gone unrepresented and cluttered up other threads with speculation and theorycraft. I'd like to try and grab everything and consolidate it in one place for people to add new info, discussion, and bickering about the direction, role, and general future of the warrior class in WotLK.

At this point in time warriors can generally be broken down into two types: the ones that deal damage, and the ones that take damage. Blizzard has recently (at the WWI) indicated that they would like to homogenize the specs a bit so that the warriors who spec Arms/Fury can tank, and warriors who spec Protection can put out a bit more DPS. Stat consolidation (hit rating, crit rating, spellpower) also could mean that traditional DPS stats like agility and strength may become more viable for tanking, effectively doing away with pure tanking plate. That said, it doesn't seem like the current tree paradigm will change all that much (PvPers will still go Arms, etc.)

Only a couple new skills have been leaked:

Shield Break - Break down the enemy's defenses, disarming any shield they have equipped or reducing the chance the enemy will block by 3% for 10 sec.

This seems more of a PvP skill; unless mobs gain massive amounts of blocking in WotLK, I doubt this will be used as anything more than a "Ooh, I have rage; I'll press this button" ability in a PvE context unless it gets an incredibly high threat component.

Bloodbath - Wound up to 5 enemy targets within 8 yards, causing 244 to 256 damage and causing them to Bleed for 250 damage over 15 seconds. If the target becomes Enraged, the Bloodbath bleed effect causes four times the normal damage.

I don't like the looks of this skill because it screams "I break CC". I can imagine it being useful on Hyjal trash, and a couple select boss fights with adds, but not knowing the rage cost/CD (if any) makes it difficult to determine if it will be useful on single target fights. It's almost a guarantee of uslessness in arena due to the bleed effect. The specification that it does 4x damage on enraged targets suggests that enrage mechanics will become more prevalent in WotLK.

Here's the newest version of Warrior talents for those who haven't seen them: Yarr! Tools :: Warrior 8472

Two large changes to current trees include the switching (again) of Sweeping Strikes and Deathwish, and the removal of Shield Slam (to be made trainable).

Arms:

PvP warriors have finally gotten an anti-snare/CC ability 51 points deep into Arms in the form of Bladestorm. This along with the other utility talents on the way should make full arms all but required for competitive PvP. The PvE viability of the tree more or less still ends at Blood Frenzy, and possibly Trauma depending on how prevalent bleeds become. It's unlikely that those talents will outpreform the DPS gains of Flurry, Precision (an indirect gain by allowing less focus on gearing for hit), Imp WW, 3/5 Imp Zerker Stance, and Deathwish from Fury for PvE.

Fury:

It's been talked about in dark corners since TBC alpha talents were leaked, but Blizzard has finally made Titan's Grip an acutal talent, allowing warriors to DW two handed weapons. The good news is that it'll look fuckin badass dual-wielding two-handed weapons. The bad news is that, currently, it doesn't seem like it'll offer much, if any, DPS gain. This post by Moogle illustrates as much: http://elitistjerks.com/f15/t14903-wrath_lich_king_stuff_blizzcon_thread/p170/#post778886 The math may be a bit fuzzy, but I think overall it's safe to say that Titan's Grip is not yet finalized, though Blizz has stated they really want it in there.

This really needs to work, because aside from Bloodsurge (which will be useless if it resets your swing timer) Titan's Grip is really the only DPS talent Fury warriors get beyond Rampage. PvP will still be difficult, though Heroic Leap might be trying to aid that with more mobility.

Protection:

Arguably the most changed tree, Protection has had it's 31 point talent taken and made trainable. In it's place, Vigilance has made taking multiple prot warriors less of a burden on a raid for encounters they're not really needed on. The change to Shield Block and Shield Specialization, along with the addition of the Critical Block talent indicates that blocking with a shield will be more a form of mitigation, and less of an ability to just push crushing blows off the table. Shockwave will do damage based on AP, which should help a little bit when not tanking, but the currently longish CD and high threat component may make it hard to use effectively.

Summary:

It looks like warriors in general will remain pretty similar to how they are now in WotLK. Arms warriors will still be at home in arenas/BG's, Fury warriors will be competing for top DPS spots in raids, and Prot warriors will continue to be the premier single target tank. Some homogenization is looking to be made in allowing DPS warriors more tanking viability, and tanking warriors more damage potential.

If anyone has different opinions, new facts, or wants to up their post count, feel free to chip in here.

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There is one thing about Titan's Grip that everyone seems to be discounting, and that's the fact that it means you get double the stats out of the best stat-giving slots. So long as the fury warrior is hit and expertise capped (not hard, compared to what most melee has to go through), gaining the extra Str/Agi/AP/Crit will MORE than make up the difference, and it also makes Haste a far more valuable stat that it already is (and that's saying something). Fury getting to Deep Wound off 2H weapons also bears thinking on. Adding Intensify Rage to the mix will make things even more entertaining (I don't know high-end Fury that well, do you tend to be more rage-starved or rage-capped in BT/Sunwell?)

This is not even counting the PvP effects, where dual-wielding a combination of, say, [iTEM]Stormherald[/iTEM] and [iTEM]Deep Thunder[/iTEM] will make things rather sick rather quick. Procs on 2H weapons are designed with the fact that there will only be one of them swinging, not 2, and this will likely not change by all that much.

I don't know too much about the Prot and Arms side of things, but the Vigilance talent is overwhelmingly powerful in any multitank fight. Imagine setting Vigilance on, say, one of the other add tanks on M'uru and giving him 5% extra Dodge. Well, we also need to see just exactly how Blocking has changed, since it looks like stacking talents will be able to soak stupid amounts off of single blocks, almost to the point of negating a boss autoattack entirely.

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It's worth mentioning the changes to Shield Block, because the implications are rather large for tanking in general. Probably larger for prot paladin gearing than warriors, but still:

Shield Block now increases block chance, and amount, by 100%, but only has one charge and a 30-second cooldown. The talent decreases the cooldown to 20 seconds.

With this change, it's quite impossible to become crush-immune without being passively crush-immune, under TBC mechanics. This means one of two things: either crushing blows won't occur in raiding one way or another (possibly the defense cap again), or they'll be unavoidable but you're supposed to take them rather than avoid them.

This also means that the Block mechanic is going to have to stand on its own as a form of damage mitigation. It's reasonable to expect block values to go up considerably in the expansion, especially with abilities like Shield Block and Critical Block to leverage them. Either that, or block becomes useless in general for warriors. Take your pick. I don't quite know how they can make block value good for raiding warriors without trivializing the damage in heroic 5-mans, but if they can ride that knife-edge, more power to them. Block value may only provide useful amounts of mitigation in lower-end instances, possibly up to and including 10-man raids. Personally I would be a fan.

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I'm wondering, if they don't move Blood Frenzy, will Mortal Strike, Bloodthrist, Whirlwind rotations become the new first warrior PvE Spec? It seems like it would have enough rage dumps to not require slam, and it would be a much easier to play.

Something like:

Yarr! Tools :: Warrior 8472

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The other thing titans grip will do is provide increased flurry uptime. You will have many more instants per white swing rotations. This will mean more chances to crit vs the number of white swings eating flurry charges. With two very slow weapons and a decent crit rate you'll be looking at a very large flurry uptime.

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This really needs to work, because aside from Bloodsurge (which will be useless if it resets your swing timer)

If casting time is removed it shouldn't reset your swing timer any more right? Think about it: WW and instant slams with titan grip will be a huge dps increase.

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That would depend on if the swing reset property of Slam is built into Slam itself or is a byproduct of having a cast timer.

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Regarding the protection tree, I have the sensation that blizzard in on the way to change the crush mechanic. Shield block seems slightly different now (not sure I 'm liking this simplification).

Anyway, the return of the attack power in a lot of abilities may be reflected in the new equipment balance, (an maybe this will be a full part of the threat generation, this time).

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I assumed the change to shield block was by way of making tank gear more homogenous, as they have done with casters (all caster specs getting the same amount of +hit, and relatively the same benefit from spirit).

As it stands, theres a huge difference between prot warrior and prot paladin gear. The trends for other classes has been to make the gear work more between various specs/classes of that role. I see no reason why warriors shouldn't also come under that change.

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That would depend on if the swing reset property of Slam is built into Slam itself or is a byproduct of having a cast timer.

I'm hoping that whatever fix they're working on for Steady Shot (that was mentioned at WWI) gets brought over to Slam as well.

Titan's Grip + Slam not resetting the swing timer + Bloodsurge is something I'm looking forward to.

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As it stands, theres a huge difference between prot warrior and prot paladin gear. The trends for other classes has been to make the gear work more between various specs/classes of that role. I see no reason why warriors shouldn't also come under that change.

You are probably right. Apparently Blizzard wants more "shareable" items between classes and spe, maybe it's a reason.

I only hope that all these changes will not make the tanking theorycraft too light or too poor.

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I like how they put in 5% dodge. And they moved 5% block into block special and added the 2 rage mentioned below into that, very very cool. On top of making this a tier one ability. And they added in the slight of hand, called 50% more rage generation instead of the current set number. Wonder what they did with keeping rage per stance dance, although with the 'Anger Management' tooltip being removed of out of combat rage generation. This might not be so needed anymore. I think that change will be SIGNIFICENT for a warriors ability to generation agro, do burst damage up front, ALL sorts of things come to mind. BUT remember "PVE will not change in 'Wrath of the Lich King'"

I was nervous about removing the +defense talents. As getting into kara for the first time, or heroics and needing that 490 defense was quite the feat, without this talent. I hope they stay true to their word about not needing a prot warrior to tank things for a change. However I don't think they would beable to redo all the old instances, so it sorta leaves a path of destruction behind them. I imagine they are more creative then they are not sharing right now, however I still wonder.

I for one think Paladin tanking is pretty cool right now, and would like to see the warrior match that, as oposed to nerfing the paladin. With better gear, things should get easier, and not harder. I think with the increased rage generation from the shield specialization to 2 instead of 1 is a start., this is also including the 2 rage, from parry and dodge, that would be 2 rage every 20% or more.

Although one of the moves I am watching the most will be intervene. I always thought it was dumb intervene did nothing, I mean a charge taunt would have been sweet, and still hoping, however reducing the damage 60% for 6 secs, and removing all inparing effects would make for an interesting test in pvp. Giving though the high price and long cooldowns, although if they made to match the cooldown reduction of say intercept; have that be the same for all three that would be quite something, realizing of course charge is a out of combat move. Although I still wonder if we we get a change away move, sorta put us out of warrior dead zone range, and then put us in intercept range, although not sure how complicated that could get.

warrior out of pvp is just not cool, although with dual specs you may not need to respec as often for pvp, depending on what you go with for your dual, or how its implemented. I could see a tank/ dmg-pve spec be my two, and switch as the fight calls for, depending on more information they hopefully will give soon. However with the ammount of damage I am gimped for when I am prot its signficent, which calls for based on attack power, what were they thinking. I imagine its a call to even out the stats, instead of stacking stamina, however everyone will probably still do it. Plus too it would be underbalanced for other gear. If it was too high I could just get 3k attack power and go insane, vs the average I'm seeing of 300 strength and barely 1k attack power, but that is mostly my gear progression for tanking items at this point. Point of the matter is, this could be interesting with scaling attack power, but how will you avoid stacking 3-4k for warriors, although nothing more than theorycraft.

But then what else are we doing here.

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Hmm, about Titan grip. When you DW 2H with it will normalised attacks use 1h or 2h speed? While speed decrease affects white damage and by rage also specials i am guessing, instants will not. So if they use 2h speed then whirlwind going to hurt a lot for example giving you more burst.

Concerning timed spells made instant -- as far as i know all them reset your swing timer. I so wish they will change that personally :P Only instant spells by default dont reset it -- like shocks for example.

I think slam will still reset swing timer, its different from the steady shot as in the latter does not reset it normally. Clipping is not same as reseting swing timer.

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I think slam will still reset swing timer, its different from the steady shot as in the latter does not reset it normally. Clipping is not same as reseting swing timer.

The reason I was hoping for a change is that Kalgan mentioned how Steady Shot actually lowering your DPS if used the wrong way is counter intuitive and they want to fix that. An Autoshot timing mod and deep knowledge of shot mechanics shouldn't be needed just to perform at an acceptable level.

I think the current state of Slam rotations and swing timing mods is fairly comparable and if they're adding more talents that revolve around the usage of Slam there is a larger chance we might finally see the ability "fixed".

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I was nervous about removing the +defense talents. As getting into kara for the first time, or heroics and needing that 490 defense was quite the feat, without this talent.

I was thinking the same thing, not really about the earlier dungeons, but mainly because, when I have to wear a Resist gear, the defense score is really low, (I remember, I was really close to 490, with the talent, when I was tanking Hydross in RN gear). But it seems that DK will be more specialised in this kind of tanking, so maybe warrior will be radicalized in Cac/Physical tanking.

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Someone might be able to do a basic test using the 2piece feral t5 by shifting, auto attacking and casting a regrowth.

Edit: This is in relation to an instant slam resetting swing timer. Such a test wouldn't really be conclusive, but I'd still love to know what happens.

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If casting time is removed it shouldn't reset your swing timer any more right? Think about it: WW and instant slams with titan grip will be a huge dps increase.
Currently other temporary effects which make abilities instant that normally aren't still reset swing timers. If a Shaman makes a spell instant with [Nature's Swiftness] or with the proc from [item]30185[/item] casting such spells will still reset the swing timer.

Only Hunters are really excempt from this rule, but that's most likely because their entire mechanics are based on interweaving a shot with a cast time in between their auto-attacks without delaying their auto-attack.

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That would depend on if the swing reset property of Slam is built into Slam itself or is a byproduct of having a cast timer.

Someone might be able to do a basic test using the 2piece feral t5 by shifting, auto attacking and casting a regrowth.

Edit: This is in relation to an instant slam resetting swing timer. Such a test wouldn't really be conclusive, but I'd still love to know what happens.

Instant cast spells will always reset your swing timer for all classes except Paladins and Shaman.

That is, a Fireblast will reset a Mage's swing timer, as will a Moonfire resetting a Druid's. A Shaman casting Earth Shock or a Paladin casting Exorcism will NOT get a swing timer reset, however.

Spells with a casting time will also always reset your swing timer, even for Shaman and Paladins.

Specifically for Shaman, you will still get a swing timer reset even if you use Nature's Swiftness to turn a spell into an instant cast. That is, an Earth Shock will NOT reset your swing timer, but an NS'ed Healing Wave/Lightning Bolt will.

At least, that is how current casting/swing timer mechanics worked.

I would not be surprised in the least if Blizzard makes a specific exception for Blood Surge - even if it turns Slam into an instant cast, a swing timer reset would still put it on the level of current Steady Shot-esque obtuse mechanics, which they have indicated a desire to steer away from.

EDIT: Beaten, in a way. Are there any Shaman/Paladin talents that turn a cast spell permanently instant?

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Ok, answered just while I was posting.

Anyways I do agree with above posters that blizz might wanna change the mechanics if they realized the problem with hunter mechanics already, so bloodsurge becomes a viable talent to pick that far up in the tree. I can't imagine a pure fury build outperforming 33/38 otherwise, unless MS and BT inherit the same cooldown (and assuming rage supply is sufficient with proper gear).

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For those of you that was wondering about what impact the new Shield Block will have on crushing blow immunity, the answer will be none. Because afaik crushing blows will be totally removed from the game in WorLK

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Everyone seems to assume that you would dual wield 2x 2H using Titan grip... Personally I'm thinking that a 2H mainhand + fast 1H offhand would work well combined with Sword Spec.

Sadly the talent are far apart enough that you could only get 1 point in Titan Grip to take 5 points in Sword Spec.

However to compair;

Assuming 2x 2H (5/5 Titans Grip) with a 3.5s weapon;

1/(3.5/0.8) = 0.228 swing/sec

Assuming 2H (MH) 3.5s with 1H (OH) with 1.4 s, and 1/5 Titans Grip, 5/5 Sword Spec;

The OH will swing at swing/sec... at a 5% proc rate this is 1 proc every 28sec (or 0.036 extra swings a second)

The MH will therefore have = (1/(3.5/0.72))+0.036 = 0.241 swings/sec

This will give the main hand a 5.6% improved MH swing speed.

Note: The above takes no account of Sword Spec proccing from WW or the MH so is conservative... a quick check also shows that the 5.6% difference in swing speed remains constant with haste.

Whether this will give better overall DPS is not clear to me as many other factors are beyond my theorycrafting skills, such as the effect of having more even rage generation and slightly more spikey DPS... and I haven't checked to see if this improved swing speed will outwiegh the loses incured on WW.

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I'm wondering, if they don't move Blood Frenzy, will Mortal Strike, Bloodthrist, Whirlwind rotations become the new first warrior PvE Spec? It seems like it would have enough rage dumps to not require slam, and it would be a much easier to play.

I've wondered the same thing. I've heard speculation that MS & BT share a cooldown, but I've seen no confirmation of that as of yet.

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One thing I am concerned about when it comes to the prot tree is the fact that "Defiance" seems to have been removed.

This talent gave "15% more threat generated from attacks while in defensive stance and 6 expertise".

The 6 expertise I'm not overly bothered about, but 15% threat removal kind of destroys tanking for us.

Anyone any ideas if this will be put in somewhere else? I.e. When you are in defensive stance you just generate more threat without having to talent for it?

Or if it will be trainable tor something?

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For those of you that was wondering about what impact the new Shield Block will have on crushing blow immunity, the answer will be none. Because afaik crushing blows will be totally removed from the game in WorLK

Aaah well... I think warrior will need a big boost in defense skill then, because if crushing blow are'nt there anymore, druids will be far superior for high end physical tanking. Crushing avoidance was a big part of the warrior tanking skill, and, even, a part of the fun (at least for me).

Well, we will see, its only alpha after all.

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Anyone any ideas if this will be put in somewhere else? I.e. When you are in defensive stance you just generate more threat without having to talent for it?

Yes, it is in fact exactly how you suggested it - it has been rolled into Defensive stance (untalented), which is now +45% threat rather tha +30%. Along with trainable shield slam, non-prot warriors will be able to put out a lot more threat when tanking.

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