Thursday, March 3, 2011

PTR 4.1 Warrior Changes

Having successfully avoided the nerf bat in 4.0.6, we Warriors have been riding pretty high on the hog. While we may not be the self-healers the Paladins or Blood Death Knights are nor are we as unique as the Feral Druids, we still hold the line as the quintessential tanking class in World of Warcraft - and we hold it with some style. Patch 4.1 has some interesting changes in place for us, some of which I am happy about, and at least one has had me QQing in guild chat ever since I saw it.

Let’s dive right in, shall we.

First, let’s talk Warriors in general. Patch 4.1 sees a moderate amount of changes to our arsenal, but not enough of a change to really nerf or buff us--just shifts some stuff around a little bit.

Let’s talk about mobility. Cataclysm as a whole has taught me a lot about Warrior mobility, so I am now constantly on the lookout for changes to our mobile abilities (Charge, Intercept, Intervene, and Heroic Leap). In patch 4.0.6, Blizzard decided to add Charge and Intercept to the abilities which add to the diminishing returns on stun effects. Apparently that did not work as intended, because in patch 4.1 Charge and Intercept have been removed from this list once again, returning them to their 4.0.3 usability - almost. One change that they did decide to make is to decrease the stun on Intercept, from 3 sec to 1.5 sec. This does initially sound like it might be a problem, except that 1.5 sec is the GCD, so you still can throw heavy hit out before the opponent has a chance to counter (make it a GOOD one).

Moving on to damage output, two abilities have had their usefulness increased. The first is Overpower and the second is Whirlwind. These two abilities have both been enhanced, but in different ways. Overpower has seen a straight-up buff to its damage output (up to 140 from 125%) allowing it to just flat out hit harder. Whirlwind was buffed up in a rather unique way. As it stands right now, the CD on Whirlwind is 10 seconds. In comes patch 4.1 to the rescue! Henceforth - until Blizzard changes it that is - whenever your Whirlwind strikes 4 or more targets, it will have its CD REDUCED by 6 sec (to a CD of 4 sec). Interesting call, Blizzard. Can't ever say I have seen (or at least not that I recall) a change to an ability like this. This should be worth keeping an eye on to see how this plays out.

On the subject of damage output though, one ability has seen a reduction in its "hard-hittingness". Colossus Smash will now ignore 70% of the opponents armor, instead of 100%. This is an ability I admittingly don’t think I have ever used, so I can't speak as to how this is going to work out. Although, from what I have caught from guild chat, Warrior damage output is pretty high right now, so this is undoubtedly a step to mitigate that.

Another CD that has changed is for Spell Reflection. This ability is one that IF I remember to use it, is actually pretty nifty. Throwing back a damaging spell to its caster can be beneficial -- ESPECIALLY if it’s a spell that adds a debuff (like a slow from a frost spell). Unfortunately for us though, the CD on this has been increased from 10 sec to a whopping 25 sec. OUCH! That being said though, the Glyph of Spell Reflection has also changed to reduce the CD on Spell Reflection by 5 sec, up from 1 sec.

Another minor change is that Inner Rage is now available from the trainer at 56. This ability has been modified by every post-cataclysm patch, so hopefully Blizzard will figure out just what they want it to do or will just get rid of it.

Now for Heroic Throw which is an ability that I use constantly and continuously in all encounters; very often in conjunction with a Charge macro. The change to this is actually very minor -- simply put it is available far earlier that is has been previously. It is now availably at level 20, adding to the snap aggro for baby tanks in their early dungeon encounters.

Now on to some disappointing news. Two of these changes go hand-in-hand, but are very disappointing in my humble opinion. The first part sounds good by itself, and it is that Pummel is now usable in any stance. Hooray, more tank interrupts, right? Wrong. Part two of this is that Shield Bash has been removed from the game.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

This interrupt has served me well since my first tanking experience against the crazy cat lady in Ulduar, but will sadly very soon be no mas.

QQ QQ QQ

As much as that last change has made me cry though, this next ability makes me rejoice. The Blizzard Gods have decided to give all Warriors now the "Oh Crap" button that currently only Protection Warriors have--but they have made it better. This new ability is called Rallying Cry, and is available from the trainer at level 83. What it does is temporarily grant the Warrior AND ALL PARTY/RAID MEMBERS WITHIN 30 YARDS 20% of their maximum health for 10 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost. This new ability will have no stance requirements, no rage costs, will be off the GCD and will have a 3 minute CD. The only downside is that it shares a CSD with Last Stand, so Protection Warriors will not have two of these buttons. (Although not putting a talent point into Last Stand will free it up to put it elsewhere--no need in having two buttons that you can only use 1 of at anytime.)

Arms Updates
  • Updates to the Arms tree see these DPS gurus gaining improvement again. Again, as I have said before I know little about Warrior DPS, so if I am wrong about any of this, I trust someone will let me know.
  • Improved Hamstring will reduce the GCD on Hamstring by up to 1 sec in addition to its current effects. I don't use Hamstring so much now, but I can remember when leveling this was a useful ability to use against those damn Murlocs (or anything else that would try and run when almost dead).
  • Improved Slam increases the damage done by Slam by up to 40%. Pretty cut and dry.
  • Juggernaut will no longer add to the stun of a charge, but will instead lower its CD by 2 sec.
  • Lambs to the Slaughter will now also cause Mortal Strike to refresh Rend on its target, in addition to its current effects. Speaking of Mortal Strike, its damage has also been increased to 175% of weapon damage. These changes again are boons to Arms DPS, making some of the best even better.

Fury Updates
  • These dual-wielding heroes have so far avoided the nerf bat yet again. Both currently posted changes to Fury have been nice buffs.
  • The haste bonus for Flurry has been doubled by up to 50%. Faster is better, after all.
  • Raging Blows has been slated for a restoration back to 120% of weapon damage. See Blizzard, sometimes it is good not to follow the Naval maintenance regime of "Fix it till it’s broke, paint it till it looks like new."
  • Precision has been changed to now increase regular auto-attack damage by 40% in addition to the increased hit it now provides. Since regular melee attacks account for a majority of the hits that a warrior will land, this is indeed a nice boon to our damage output.
Protection Updates
  • Protection Warrior changes can really only be described as housekeeping. Nothing is truly a buff or debuff, nothing game altering, and really nothing worth noting. But in the interest of thoroughness, here are the two changes:
  • Shield Mastery will no longer affect the cool down on Spell Reflection (starting to smell fix it till its broke again .......) BUT it will add protection to magic damage to Shield Block.
  • Gag Order will now only affect Heroic Throw. This makes sense....they are removing Shield Bash from the game. QQ QQ QQ
  • As always, I am sure that these will not be the only changes to be made, and I will keep everyone abreast of anything else Blizzard publishes as planned changes to Warriors.
May Your Blades Never Dull

Goreblades can be reached at goreblades@ferociousinspiration.net

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