Warlords of Draenor is set to bring a multitude of changes to the various classes of Azeroth, and Warriors are no exception. They’ll be having some skills removed, others merged and some buffed, depending on how you look at them. What matters (at least to me) is that they’ll still be crushing skulls and keeping the proud fighter tradition alive in World of Warcraft.
I won’t be going over PvP changes to Warrior because I don’t PvP much and cannot honestly say how they’ll affect the experience. Sorry!
- Battle Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Berserker Rage no longer generates Rage or increases Physical damage dealt.
- Berserker Stance has been removed.
- Cleave has been removed.
- Commanding Shout now lasts 1 hour and no longer generates Rage.
- Demoralizing Banner has been removed.
- Hamstring is now a passive ability that causes Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Revenge, and Raging Blow to also reduce the target’s movement speed by 50% for 15 seconds.
- Rallying Cry is no longer available to Protection Warriors.
- Recklessness is now available only to Fury and Arms Warriors.
- Skull Banner has been removed.
- Throw has been removed.
- Thunder Clap is no longer available to Fury Warriors.
- Whirlwind is now available only to Fury Warriors.
It seems sort of pointless to go over every single ability being removed, so instead I’ll hit on what I consider to be the big ones.
- Berserker Stance – While I’m all for this change, it’s also a bit sad. My original character in Warcraft was a Night Elf Warrior and I have fond memories of popping Berker Stance and going to town on trolls in Zul’Farrak while listening to the Advent Children version of One-Winged Angel. Alas, the price of progress. Two stances will simplify the stance situation for those new to the class. Are you tanking? Yes? Defensive Stance. Are you DPSing? Yes? Battle stance. Blizzard’s all about making the game easier, and this is an example of that philosophy at work.
- Skull Banner – The game needs less cooldowns and because of this I’m okay with Skull Banner going the way of the dinosaurs. It’s less we’ll need to worry about when it comes to optimizing our cooldowns. That might make me a casual, I’m not actually sure. Regardless, Skull Banner’s functionality is essentially being added to Recklessness, albeit on a lesser scale that only benefits the Warrior. Again, I’m fine with this.
- Cleave – Cleave, like Berserker Stance, has been around since Vanilla Warcraft and for that reason alone I’m sad to see it ago. That said, it’s an awkward ability that never found its way into the spotlight. It’s going to be put to pasture, but we won’t be receiving anything in exchange for it. Realistically, Warriors don’t need a replacement for a decidedly outdated, awkward skill like Cleave.
This is where things get more interesting. While we lament our fallen abilities, we have raid bosses to murder and that requires a better understanding of the tools we’ll still have to work with. It should be obvious, but it’s worth stating again. All of this information is based on alpha patch notes and could very much change as the alpha and eventual beta go forward.
We wanted to fix a few problems with Warriors. First, we still weren’t happy with Arms’ rotation (and neither were many players), so we’ve made some more changes, primarily through cutting abilities (see Ability Pruning above).
As with other classes, we wanted to reduce cooldown stacking. Cutting Skull Banner did a ton to help that across the whole game. But for Warriors specifically, we needed to make further changes, including merging some of the personal benefit of Skull Banner back into Recklessness. Also, to make up for Throw being removed, we modified Heroic Throw to be more frequently usable.
- Recklessness now increases Critical Strike chance by 15% (down from 30%) and increases Critical Strike damage by 10% (up from 0%).
- Shattering Throw no longer reduces the armor of the target; it only does damage and breaks immunities.
- It also is no longer learned via any specialization, but instead through a new Major Glyph, Glyph of Shattering Throw.
- Heroic Throw now has a 6-second cooldown (down from 30 seconds), but now has a 15 yard minimum range.
Haste has long been a problematic stat for Warriors, usually being of little value. As part of our commitment to ensuring all secondary stats are valuable (except Bonus Armor for non-tanks and Spirit for non-healers, of course), we’re making a significant change to Warriors, to ensure that Haste has strong, competitive value. We’re giving all Warriors a new passive, which lets haste affect their global cooldown, and the cooldowns of their very-short-cooldown rotational abilities.
- Headlong Rush is a new passive ability for Warriors:
- Headlong Rush: Haste reduces global cooldown and the cooldowns of Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam, and Thunder Clap.
Protection Warriors have received a few notable changes. First, we removed Dodge and Parry from gear, and expect Protection Warriors to value Haste and Crit as important secondary stats. In order to achieve that, we made Riposte give defensive value to Crits. The aforementioned Headlong Rush also helps for valuing Haste.
- Riposte has been redesigned.
- Riposte gives the Warrior +100% to Parry chance until they Parry an attack after getting a critical strike with an Auto Attack.
A few Warrior Talents also were in need of revision. First, Second Wind was problematic; it was sometimes too weak, and sometimes too strong. We chose to change it from a passive health regeneration effect to the new Leech effect, so that low-health Warriors have to maintain combat in order to benefit, instead of kiting, hiding, or otherwise playing defensively. For the level-60 and level-90 Talent rows, certain combinations were proving problematic. We decided that Stormbolt would better compete with Shockwave and Dragon Roar, and that Bladestorm would better compete with Avatar and Bloodbath, so swapped Stormbolt and Bladestorm’s positions.
- Second Wind no longer directly heals the Warrior while active. Instead, Second Wind grants the Warrior 10% Leech while active, which causes the Warrior to heal for 10% of all damage and healing done by the Warrior while active.
- Bladestorm is now a level-90 Talent, swapping places with Stormbolt.
- Bladestorm no longer allows use of Shouts while active. It does still allow the use of Taunt, Enraged Regeneration, Shield Wall, and Last Stand.
- Stormbolt is now a level-60 Talent, swapping places with Bladestorm.
Fury Warriors are receiving updates to spell alerts to improve usability.
- Bloodsurge’s spell alert has moved to the top slot instead of the left/right slots.
- Raging Blow now has a spell alert on the left and right slots.
With the introduction of one of the level-100 Warrior Talents, which deals Fire damage, we also expanded Enrage to affect all damage, not just Physical damage.
- Enrage now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).
- Mastery: Unshackled Fury (Fury) now increases all damage (up from only Physical damage).
We’re also making a change to the design of Deep Wounds, to try to limit is effectiveness in PvP, without hurting its effectiveness in PvE.
- Deep Wounds now lasts 15 seconds, or until the target is healed to full health.
- Recklessness – Mentioned earlier, Recklessness is inheriting some of Skull Banner’s utility. Instead of giving the entire raid +20% critical damage for 40 seconds, Recklessness will simply award the Warrior a bonus +10% crit damage during the duration of the ability. Recklessness will only boost critical hit chance by 15%, down from 30%. Additionally, it will also only be available to Fury and Arms warriors. That makes sense considering the changes to Vengeance Blizzard is rolling out. It appears they’re very set on tanks contributing to raid DPS as opposed to leading the meters. This change realistically means little, in the grand scheme of things. We’ll have one less cooldown to pop and Recklessness will be getting a bit of a sidegrade in the form of less critical chance, less critical bonus damage. I’m personally pretty ambivalent about this.
- Headlong Rush – Haste has long been an unimportant stat for most Warriors, but that’s going to change in Warlords. The short version of Headlong Rush is that it will allow Haste rating to reduce GCDs and the cooldowns on Mortal Strike, Bloodthirst, Shield Slam and Thunderclap, making it decidedly useful regardless of spec. This is another change I’m not totally sure how I feel about. I need to see it in action before I make any sort of personal judgment.
- Second Wind – Here’s a change I’m not high on. Second Wind will no longer act as a passive HoT below 35% health. Instead, it’ll essentially grant the Warrior 10% lifesteal. It’s absolutely a downgrade considering a Warrior can simply be stunned or kept out of attack range and then this ability is totally worthless. The developers apparently feel otherwise, however. The upcoming version will certainly have the potential to be more brutal if the Warrior in question can get on top of someone, but I sort of preferred the nice middle ground of the current incarnation.
- Bladestorm – The doom twirl is changing places with Stormbolt and will now be a level 90 talent. This is awful, at least for individuals leveling Warriors. Bladestorm is an amazing AoE clear talent and an essential part of the leveling experience. That said, the reason for this change is apparently problematic talent combinations, so we’ll see how this addresses that issue. If you’re going to level a Warrior, I definitely recommend doing it prior to Warlords.
Again, there are more, but I’m not going to go over ever single change. Refer to the log above for the full list.
I’d like to be able to give a neat summary explaining where I suspect Warriors will end up in Warlords, but it’s difficult to do without actually seeing the changes in action. Once access is granted, I’ll definitely be looking to do some videos and articles with a more in-depth look.