Sunday, August 31

Fury: The Fast and Furyous

What Kind of Warrior Should I Be?
Part 2 - The Fast and The Furyous

Intro - What Kind of Warrior Shall I Be
Part One - Arms: Lords (and Ladies) of PvP
Part Two - Fury: The Fast and The Furyious
Part Three - Protection: The Rock AND The Hard Place

You? You're mad, bad and dangerous. You're all kinds of contained wrath. Ya like it hard? Ya like it fast? Then maybe you're a Fury Warrior! But... you ask... Is it any good for PvE? What about the stigma of sucking for PvP? Will you ever get to raid? Why is that twinky gnome mage laughing at me???? Can I eat him for that?


I've spec'd to Fury a few times. And it's always a blast. I still respec to DW Fury to DPS in dungeons. So, our second look at "What kind of Warrior Should I Be?" is going to be at Fury and what you can expect if you go the way of the Zerker. This is the specialization that I've played the least so, as always, take it with a large does of skepticism until you've had a run at it yourself.

In fact, I'll take this opportunity to suggest you should try all three specs, in different builds, for a few weeks. It couldn't hurt and you may find some things you like. I never took Fury talents until I tried a new build. I always supplemented my Arms spec with Protection. I liked staying alive! But once I spec'd to Flurry, I couldn't live without some Fury in my spec. You may find, in your tryouts, that you like some chocolate in your peanut butter!

[Note: I didn't link or tooltip a lot of stuff in here yet. And there hasn't been much editing. I've just been sitting on this one so long I wanted to get it out. Like the others in this series... edits to come. :) -Fri]

You know That Guy. The one who just stands there after the tank pulls the mobs in a dungeon. He is probably jumping up and down and spinning in place. Then, finally, he goes zooming off! And for the next few minutes, it seems like he's all over the place. The weapons are flying like crazy, an angry dwarf keeps materializing above his head, and he seems to be shouting an awful lot.

And then, just as you're getting into the swing of the fight... everything is dead. And That Guy is standing over a big pile of bodies, jumping up and down and spinning in place again. Usually he's laughing in a disturbing manner, or eating a sandwich. That's a Fury Warrior.

They aren't ADHD, they're just practicing restrained enthusiasm. They can dish out such high and consistent DPS that they have to put a pause in occasionally to keep from pulling aggro. They zoom and twirl around the fight using Intercept and Whirlwind. Bloodthirst chops enemies to itty bitty pieces and Rampage just adds the icing to the oops-you're-dead cake. All the screaming is the Warrior popping some pretty devastating SFX. But they aren't just wailing around in there being a spaz.

It may look chaotic but a good Fury Warrior is a shining example of precision. Everything he does is aimed at systematically building his capabilities to kill stuff. Every strike is timed and short-term buffed to perfection. The more the Fury Warrior swings, the more deadly he gets. It's probably true of any Warrior, but this is the one they're talking about when they say "Get too close and he'll pwn your face." Hard.

Are You A Fury Warrior?

Fury Warriors love to deal damage. They're very good at it, too. Fury talents tend to be oriented toward making weapon strikes faster and more potent. Fury Talents feature dual wielding specialization and options for slicing up multiple opponents at once. In addition, all that screaming Fury Warriors do is because all the improvements to a Warrior's shouts are in this tree. If you like to kill mobs fast, and look good doing it, this is the spec!

The Fury Warrior an awesome adventurer. For going on epic quests, braving the wilds of Azeroth alone, or exploring a dank recess of Lower Blackrock with a party, the Fury Warrior is there, always ready to meet the next deadly challenge.

This Warrior isn't crazy, though. (Okay, some of them are...) They make tearing enemies into shreds an art form. It may look easy, but it requires a great deal of timing and precision. And, yes, for the truly great ones, a nice heap of talent as well. Those whirling blades of death, spinning and whirling through a fight with a gleam in your eye, cheerfully and methodically cutting down anything that gets in your way...

Sound like fun? You're a Fury Warrior.

The Good Stuff

* Fury Warriors are all about dealing damage. And then they get serious about dealing damage. And once they're properly serious, then they get to work and do some damage. With the right gear and the right rotation, Fury Warriors ARE the DPS of the Warrior Class.

* Some of the best Warrior abilities and enhancements are in the Fury tree. From Cruelty to Rampage there aren't really any "bad" Fury Talents. Might be some that are better than others, but they're all good.

* Fury Warriors are the toughest DPS class in the game, sans self-healing abilities (and yah, they have a little bit of that, too!). They wear plate, and they usually gear at least some Stamina. They're often jokingly referred to as Rogues In Plate (RIP), but when you look at the way WoW has progressed, it's really the other way around. This is the original tough-guy.

* Fury Warriors will be getting some exciting enhancements come Wrath, including Heroic Leap and Titan's Grip. Whether they work or not is one thing, but at the very least, they promised to bring even more fun to this spec.

The Bad Stuff

* Tough they may be, but they aren't as tough as Arms or Protection Warriors. Fury Warriors tend to gear Haste (to swing faster) rather than Resilience or Defense. The Fury Warrior isn't there to soak up damage, she's there to give it. She can take hit... but not for too long.

* Fury Warriors can tank, but they tend to be at the very bottom of the wish-list for that role. Building aggro will be very slow and the healing will have to be HoT and heavy. Sympathy is often given to the healer who has to keep a Fury Tank upright. :)

* Fury Warriors can attack multiple targets at once quite nicely, but they (like all Warriors) have limited crowd control. Fury Warriors do DPS. That's what they do. Kill it before it becomes a problem is the Fury Warrior way. That's appropriate sometimes... but many times, not so much.


Many people consider Fury to be the choice for leveling a Warrior (regardless of what the final spec will be). And it's true. Fury Warrior may spend more down time healing, but a solid amount of pots and high First Aid skill can help that along nicely. You do have to be pretty careful about taking on too much in one bite. Regardless, killing mobs fast is the way Fury Warriors do things and that makes leveling up a bit faster than the other two types of Warriors.

To start with, you'll want to go with a one-handed sword, axe, or mace and a shield. Most Fury Warriors duel wield, at least until they're much higher levels. Unless you specifically intend to do Fury with a two-hander, you'll want to get your one-handed skill up and keep it there.

At Level 10 you'll start filling in your talent tree. There's two lines of thought to this, and I'm not particular to either myself. I've tried it both ways and it works both ways.

Way #1. You start in Arms. You're going to be taking some of these talents eventually anyhow. Improved Heroic Strike is just terribly handy when it's the only main attack you have. So you start by filling it in.

Way #2. You go straight into Fury and start with Cruelty. This gives you a better chance to crit, but it's still low enough, and your damage output is low enough, that it will only make a difference every once and while. On the other hand, it also gets you on the path to some of the great stuff further down the tree. AND when your damage output does improve and you've got gear that helps your crit chance, you've already got Cruelty stacking on there and it's all kinds of win win win.

I really don't think you can go wrong either way. If your first ten levels were mostly in black and white, and you want to hit things harder, fill in IHS first. If you're doing fine and eager to get into the spec, start with Cruelty. Easy enough.

For this guide, I'm gonna assume you're committed (or should be) and we're going all Fury from the start. So Cruelty it is.

Next you'll take Unbridled Wrath. The extra rage this gives you is a godsend and you'll start noticing how, when you can pop your abilities more frequently, you kill stuff faster. You'll note I skipped the shout enhancements. You don't need those now. Nope. Sounds good, but nope.

Then you'll take Piercing Howl. This is like Hamstring done better. From now on you no longer have to run up and slice every enemy you want to slow down. Just yell at 'em. Bad mobs! Go sit in the corner! It works.

This will bring you to Level 20 and.... drum roll please... Dual Wield!!! This trainable skill is one all Warriors get, but it's the one Fury Warriors make their own. You now lose the shield (keep a good one handy, just in case) and paw two shiny instruments of destruction of your personal choosing. Fury just got really fun. :)

Then three points in Blood Craze and 1 point in Commanding Presence. (The latter is a hafta, because it's better than Improved Cleave and there's nowhere else to go with it.) We're now at level 24 and another decision.

At this point you can either load up Duel Wield specialization or Enrage. You're going to take all three on this tier, but you'll have to decide which to go first. Personally? I like Dual Wield Specialization first. Then Enrage. DWS is a sure thing. Enrage relies on a proc. I like sure things. You could, of course, alternate points in both for the next ten levels.

At level 30 you'll go to that special little island off the coast of the Barren, whoop some ass, and get Berserker Stance.

At level 34 you skip everything a load Flurry. You're now most of the way to official Fury Warrior. Flurry is a hallmark of this spec and once you see it in action, you'll love it. You've started doing some nice damage, now you'll do it faster!

Now you simply put one point each in Sweeping Strikes and then Bloodthirst. Ding, you've got all the tools to be a full blown Fury Warrior!

At this point, if you want to stay pure Fury, go back and fill in Weapon Mastery, Precision and three points in Improved Berserker Stance. This will open up Rampage at Level 50, which is all kinds of Fury fun. :)

You can finish off your Fury spec with filling in bits you like, or pick a spec (see below) and go nuts. You can always respec when you reach 70, of course. (You can do that before, but it might be cost prohibitive, what with mounts and gear and other bits you'll be spending your hard earned gold on.) But your basic Fury spec will serve you well all the way to 70 and beyond.


As mentioned, Fury is considered by many to be the "best" solo leveling spec. The ability to take most mobs down quickly, and to react to situations fast, helps a lot. Like all Warriors, Fury is still very much a stand, fight and either win or die class. With Fury it's mostly about "I get you, before you get me." Because of the talents you take in Fury, this actually works quite well.

Rotations in Fury tend to be pretty straight forward. The base Fury rotation is Bloodthirst, white hit, Whirlwind, white hit, Free, repeat. You can get by quite nicely just doing this and throwing in a Shout or Rampage now and then.

It's what you do with that Free time, though, that makes a huge difference. When you solo, you'll discover very quickly that you need to pull with a ranged weapon, so start leveling the weapon of your choice early. When you've got multiple targets you'll fight very differently than when you fight against one. You may need to Sweeping Strike, Cleave and Piercing Howl multiple mobs while at the same time keeping Thunderclap and Demoralizing Shout on them to limit damage. In this respect, Fury Warriors get more complex. Doing all this while keep Bloodthirst and Rampage up can wear your fingers out. This is where a great deal of the fun comes in for most Fury Warriors.

I've said it before... no Warrior is "Easy Mode."

Using a Fury spec is easy. Being really good at it is extremely challenging.

Groups (Questing/5-Mans)

In a group, the Fury Warrior is a support role. Your main job is chop everything up into itty bitty pieces as quickly as possible. In group questing, you'll get in there and DPS. You make a good puller too, because you can hit back AND survive aggro for more than a few a seconds.

For running instances, Fury Warriors make great Main Assist (MA). This is where everyone sets their assist macro (or manually uses /assist [player]) to one player and the unloads everything on that player's target. Because the Fury Warrior is right there in the thick of it, all you have to do is hit the Tab key to cycle through the targets, while everyone else hits their assist key, and burn mobs down in a nice systematic order. Of course, you make great DPS working with someone else being MA as well!

And yes, in a pinch, you can quickly switch to off tank. So keep that shield handy and updated, because eventually it'll happen. :)


Honestly, I've seen and read both ways on this one. On my Realm, raid guilds only want Fury Warriors. Others? Only want Arms. So, your mileage may vary somewhat. I think most raids want Fury Warriors for melee DPS. They're just better at it. Sometimes only slightly, but for raiders, slightly counts. Only the best make it. Fury is the best for that. So, yah, as a Fury Warrior, you've probably got as a good a shot as anyone to get a raid slot as Warrior. Only thing better would to be a really, really good tank. :)


Fury is no good for PvP. That's what you'll hear. Meadow muffins. Fury is fine for most PvP. It's not gonna cut it for Arena. Just too hard to heal. But for everything else, enjoy it. It's fun and quite functional and can add a lot to World PvP and Battlegrounds. The main thing to remember is that, in PvP, Fury is a support role. You're there to push as much DPS as you can, shout, slow, and generally wreck havok. If you get focused, you're toast. Rez and get back to work. It's a blast. :)

The "Types" of Fury

I'm a big believer in "the spec how you want" way of playing WoW. It's a shame that the talent trees are set up the way they are. It would be nice if there was no "perfect" spec. So the following, as I see it, are suggestions. There is a "top optimal spec" for Fury specifically for raiding and DPS. If you want to get do that pretty much exclusively, you pretty have to spec to this or one of its close variants. Otherwise, have fun with it.

Fury might be the most versatile spec as far as viable variations. Once you spec to Bloodthirst, you're already in great shape. You can easily go Arms or Protection from there and do quite well in a variety of roles.

No matter what spec you choose, you DO have to practice it. You have to use what talents you've taken to best advantage. I've thrown in a few thoughts on each specialization based on my experience.

Fury Gold - DW Fury 0/17/44

Two guys wrote a guide to Fury DPS that has pretty much become the standard for Warriors. If you plan to spec Fury, it is a must read. And this is the spec they recommend. It relies primarily on Bloodthirst and Whirlwind to heap the damage on a target. They call it "the gold standard" of Fury specs. I won't comment on that, but I will say it works. Very, very well. This is the one I use when I spec Fury and the damage is high and consistent. More importantly, it's controllable. You can boost your DPS nicely as the fight progresses, as opposed to an Arms Warrior who jumps in there and hits as hard as she can right at the start. If you try Fury, try this spec at least once. You will be pleased. :)

The Dungeon Runner - Fury Tank 0/30/31

This should probably be placed in the Protection Warrior guide. But to me it seems more Fury oriented despite having one extra point in Prot. Mainly because it specs to Flurry and not to Devestate. Tomato/Tomotoe. :) Regardless, if you spend a lot of time in regular dungeons AND spend a lot of time grinding rep and questing, you'll definately one to take a try at this spec. This is the "tank that can dps" spec. It's not The Best at either, but it can do both quite well. This is a great spec to use while you're a new 70 and grinding out that epic flyer and trying to build a tank and/or dps armor set.

The Survivalist - Fury Toughness 8/43/10

For general questing and leveling, it doesn't hurt to have a little extra. If you find yourself spending more time bandaging and eating than you do hittin' stuffs, this is a good way to go. It adds some Prot to boost you a little in the Toughness and mitigation department. This spec, or one of it's varients (look for Fury Leveling Specs) is probably the best way to level up a Fury Warrior to 70 and a little beyond.

There's a few others, but these base ones are great starting points. And some of the more interesting Fury builds, like Sweeping Stikes multi-mob killers, will be changing so radically soon that I haven't included them here. These are the base ones that you can work from and try stuff out with.

Don't be afraid to try different things to see what works for you. Sure, there's plenty of theory out there that shows this spec is better than that spec. But in normal every day play, it really doesn't make much difference, as long as you use what you've got to best advantage. Yes, spec for specific roles when you need to do them at the top of your game. But outside of those roles, spec for you!


Intro - What Kind of Warrior Shall I Be
Part One - Arms: Lords (and Ladies) of PvP
Part Two - Fury: The Fast and The Furyious
Part Three - Protection: The Rock AND The Hard Place

Sunday, August 24

Awesome AV!

Battlegrounds in Battlegroup Whirlwind have definitely been getting better. As long as you don't get in one going up against a pre-made. Horde or Alliance, Blizzard's lame queue system doesn't discriminate. I haven't tried the math yet, but I'm pretty sure that if you queue up in a pre-made, you have a great chance of fighting a PuG than you do another pre-made. But...

No QQ. No. No. No.

'Cause occasionally, you get one that's complete and utterly EPIC! And it makes all the pain and suffering worthwhile.

This one from last night was one of the best AVs I've fought in a loooooooong time. It started out simple enough. Rush to Gav/Belinda. Kill 'em. Move on. Lately I've been stopping at IBT right after Gav because the RH-Rushers tend to forget it, and of course the Horde back caps it. I would too.

A group had already cap'd it, though, so I went on to IBGY, which was already well defended, and on up to TP. Into TP and cap it and we start working on the guards. All pretty standard fare. Then the fight started...

Some doofus cap'd FWGY too early and, of course, the Horde players ended up in a forced turtle. Since the forward GYs hadn't capped, most of their team starts rez'ing at RH. That was facilitated by the massive battles at IBT and TP! What a fight! Up the towers, down the towers, in front of the towers, back up to the GY. It was nuts and so much fun!

The Horde managed to defend TP once, with us immediately retaking it. So we had to hold it for about seven minutes. And it was a long hard fought seven minutes. :)

Finally, both towers are burning and we all head up to join our O at FW. Cept so far they haven't even gotten through the choke point leading into the base. Now at that point, most of us are thinking, "Great we capped the towers, but they got our bunkers and now it going to be a slow grind with them way ahead. woopee!" But it didn't happen...

Our Warriors and Rogues and Pallys pushed forward, supported by Priests and Mages and Locks and Hunters. This went back and forth for a good 20 minutes. At some point, I was dotted up and couldn't get back under cover quick enough and ended up rez'ing at FWGY. So those of us of the dead ride back into FW. And there's like a bulge of blue dots all the way up the slope and into their base proper. They were getting pushed back, but it was the farthest progress so far!

Four of us make a mad dash into the South Tower and cap it quickly. Then we all huddle in the flag room and wait for the mass of Horde that'll be swarming up behind us. And they came. And we fought. And fought. And then fought some more. And at some point they weren't coming any more and I stuck my head out to find North swarming with green name tags. And the center just in front of the towers was holding as well! I couldn't belive it.

Soon, the towers cap and our Bunkers cap. And the score is like 105 to 89 in favor of the Horde. So we jump off the burning towers and the fight really heats up. We manage to push them all the way to the RH bridge, but stall there. It's a wicked nasty choke point when there's close to 30 players holding it and the GY right behing them!

The melee fighters are feignting forward, the healers are healing as they fall back, the range fighters and casters are pounding away. And the Horde was doing exactly the same. There was no slacking on either side. Both sides pounded the hell out of each other. Everybody, on both sides, did exactly what they were suppose to do. It was amazing.

And the score. Nailbiter city. It stayed with 5-10 points in favor of the horde until then 30s. Then it slighty shifted to Alliance by 3 points. Back and forth in a massive, epic battle. It was amazing. I wish I had thought to take screenshots, but I was too busy trying to stay alive! :D

And the final score?

Though they'll probably never see it... thanks to the entire Alliance and Horde teams. That was amazing guys. Do it more often!


Saturday, August 23

Hookers! Fishing and the Warrior

First things first. The latest WotLK Beta and Warriors. Yah, I OMG'd for a couple of hours. Arms obviously isn't done, but goodness. WoW! Of course, the Fury changes are even better. I know, I know. Most of that won't make it to the live realms. But... After Wrath goes live, there will be apporoximately 18 billion updates to balance things out and fix stuffs. Then we'll get to Week 2. So, a lot of this "gee that sounds crazy" stuff is going to be kept on the back shelf. And if it's needed, they can pull it out again later in some form or another. And if it's not, no harm. Just makes me drool for a beta key even more so I can play with some of it before it gets nerfed. :)

Just messing with the new talent calculator for fun produced this neat 66/5, almost all Arms, Overpower/MS/Bleed build. May or may not work, but it sure looks spiffy!

I'm not gonna run down the Beta changes because I have plenty of other stuff to write about. The temptation is there because Google says anytime I use Wrath of the Lich King Beta in a post my page views shoot through the roof. This post should get a good hit rate, but that's not the point of this blog. I also have WAY too much other stuff to write about, all of it in the, you know, game we're playing now.

Mathew Rossi does an excellent write up on the new patch notes for Warriors and the implications of the changes at WoW Insider. Read that, cause it's way better than anything I could come up with. The one thing I'll say about Arms and Fury is that it just got a LOT more complicated. If even half these changes stay to release, spec'ing out an Arms Warrior is going to be a lot of fun with plenty of great choices. With luck, it'll be awhile before the generic "best" specs show up again. I read one poster complaining that we're going back to World of Warriorcraft.

Hell yah! :)

Anyhoo . . .

I've been diligently keeping a list of "things to do before Wrath." That's a whole other post, but one of them is leveling up Fishing and Cooking. I started out strong on these two way back when. They fell to the wayside when dungeon runs, helping friends, gearing, rep grinding, and all that other stuff demanded more of my WoW time. Bag space was a part of it, as well. Yah, I need those extra slots that the pole and fishing gear take up! And running back to a fireplace to cook (or carrying Flint and Simple Wood... two more bag slots!) or back to the bank to get your cooking and fishing stuff is a pain.

So, when I'm sick of grinding rep or playing Battlegrounds, and I just can't stand the idea of another PuG, I'm fiding these other fun things to do. If you really make an effort at these two skills, you'll get to see a lot of Azeroth you might not have seen in awhile (or ever) and have some fun while you're at it.

Making it less of pain is easy enough. Just set aside the time to do it when there's nothing else to do. Initially, I tried the as-you-go appoach, but that became a PITA. Now when I set off to fish it's an expedition and I prepare for it the same way I'd prepare to run a dungeon or fight in the BGs. I get my fishing pole (get this, it's an easy quest from the little boy, Seth, in Shat's Lower City), my lures, my outfit (+Fishing Skill gear and my Drinking Hat), grab the daily and head on out.

I plan out my route and, if necessary, research where I need to go and what I need to do. I also pack my armor, because some fishing spots are a little dangerous, and one weapon. You won't need more than one weapon, really, because you're not going to be doing anything more than grinding for cooking mats and clearing out a quiet spot to fish. If you break a sword and have to repair in the middle of a fishing/cooking expedition, you're doing it wrong. ;)

Everything else I pretty much leave in the bank. You'll want plenty of bag space, particularly if you have a gathering profession. Many of locales you'll fish for mats will be low level. It's an excellent opportunity to grab some of those low level herbs, leathers and ores you usually just run to the AH and buy. If you don't use 'em, stick 'em in the Guild Bank for those lower level characters to use in leveling up their skills. (Or save them to become a multi-billionaire when everyone switches to Inscription in Wrath!) You'll also need space for big fat piles of fish, of course, and the various other mats you'll need for cooking. You won't need pots, extra ammo, scrolls, vanity pets (although I always carry one for company... right now the Clockwork Rocket Bot), bandages, piles of food and water, etc. Go light because the point of these expeditions is usually to load up.

I can't stress enough that making it an expedition is a big part of it for me. It's not just another grind. There's a definate goal when I set out and I keep my eye out for little mini-adventures (yet another post). That's why this method works, for me, better than the "oh, I'm waiting for the boat again so might as well grab a couple of fishing points" method. Or just picking some random spot and grinding out skill points. It's also a great time to catch up on guild chatter, chat with friends, and just kick back and enjoy WoW for WoW. There's always adventures along the way if you look for them.

Last night I finally achieved Artisan Fishing. I know, no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but for me it was awesome. Alliance players get the quest from good old Nat Pagel in Dustwallow Marsh. He's the fishing guy on an island out in Tide Fury Cove off the western coast of Theramore. He doesn't even like fishing. He just does it cause he gets to sit on his butt all day and drink (a playful poke at in-game anglers that get very serious about it). When you're in your 30s, he's also the psycho that covers you in stinky bait and has you test it out by swiming out and fighting Jaws. Crazy, bastard.

For the quest, Nat has you running all over old Azeroth. In one part you trot on over to Desolace, which is an area I've never really spent much time in. I had the southern part of the coast, but had never been to the northern sections. On the way to the fishing spot I filled is the rest of the map (another step toward the upcoming World Explorer Achievment!) and had to fend off some elite giants unexpectedly. Try fighting those dressed in shorts, a pirate T-shirt, and a fishing pole! There's also a run out to the coast of the Swamp of Sorrows. I didn't even know it HAD a coast. Ha! Never really thought to run out there. We only went to SoS to get to ST. Of course, I came in from Netherguard Keep, hung a quick right once I got to the Swamp and, not paying attention, aggro'd half the Horde base there as I rode through. Oopsie. :)

Of course, there's dangers along the way, often in unexpected places. Particularly if you're a dimwitted twit like me. :) At one point I had to get a particular fish to level cooking and pick up the Cooking book I need for the next level range. It's sold from a vendor in Ashenvale at Silverwing Refuge. (There's three Silverwing somethings in that area of southern Ashenvale, so ya gotta find the right one.) So I land in Astranaar and head that way. On the road I pass a couple of Horde 50-somethings harrassing anyone and anything they can. But I'm not really in the mood for PvP, which is kind of the point of the whole Fishing/Cooking thing, so I keep going.

I get the book and get to fishing and make great progress when the "Astranaar is under Attack!" message starts scrolling. I ignore it. It's nice and peaceful at this little lake and I'm enjoying myself. After I catch what I need I head back to Astranaar. Well, now these Hordies have actually made it into town and, instead of just harassing the guards, they are following low levels around and killing the quest givers and vendors when they try to use them. And they killed the vendor I needed! Grrrrr.

So of course, they're jumping around me and taunting and such. Gee, I've never seen that before guys. Such clever fellows. One's a Belf Pally and other's a Troll Hunter. Unfortunately, they kept getting right on top of me. Now, I rarely make this mistake anymore with griefers. The trick they'll use is to either stand directly on top of you or your target, so that when you right click to interact/attack something you click them instead. Which of course, sets off auto-attack and automatically flags you. So I mouse down to open my bags for my gear (yes, SHIFT-B would have been smarter, I know) and accidently click the Hunter's pet. Oops. Hee hee.

So I'm flagged with my shorts and T-shirt on, I'm holding a fishing poll, and my button bar is set to crafting/skills, not combat. I kinda just stand there shaking my head for a few seconds while they get up to speed pounding on me. I was dead meat, so for grins I beat the hell out of the Hunter's pet with my fishing pole. :)

By that time they had me down to about half health. For some reason I was in Defensive Stance, which is probably why I had time to wail on the pet the slow hard way. I take a moment to get my button bar back and switch out to the two-hander. Here's a great PvP lesson that reinforces the previous post. These guys weren't completely stupid. (Jerks, but not unaware of PvP princples.) The hunter imediately got range and kept me between him and the Pally. I wasn't going to be able to just turn around in a circle and smack both of them. I get a nice swing on the Pally and take a big chunk of his health before he goes all bubble-boy. While he heals up, I start trudging over to the Hunter. Again smart, he stayed inside Intercept range... or the wall behind him just facilitated it and he got lucky. Whichever. The Pally was on the ball, though, and instead of healing himself all the way up, he unloads his Seal on me while the Hunter goes all out DPS. And down I go.

PvP-Lesson-In-A-Fishing-Post #2. I'm just like anyone else. The first inclination in this situation is to rez and kick the crap out of the little buttholes. But being that I'd already screwed up once, I certainly wasn't giving the little twits another free HK. Limit one per customer, please. Ya have to remember that, while you're dead, if you can see them, they can see you as soon as you rez. And they're camping your body, so when it decomposes, they know you've rez'd and will find you very quickly. You can't rez at the GY cause then you're useless for ten minutes (-75% on everything). After running around I couldn't find a spot where I could rez and stay out of combat long enough to gear up and heal (you come back at only 25%, lets not forget). In this case, take the five minutes and unflag. On a PvP realm your options are even more limited, of course. If you can't fight 'em, you pretty much just have to stay dead until they get bored and go away, or wait for help to arrive.

I finally rez, get the armor out, bandage up and am ready to hurt something. By this time, though, the Pally had unflagged. Which was smart. The Hunter unassed the area as soon as he saw me coming. The Pally went and stood on the little dock out over the lake while I stood there waiting for the hunter to come back. He did, unflagged, and they both just stood there for awhile. I wish I could have tuned into their chat. :D I hate a staring contest and wasting time, so I flagged (bring it boys) and then made a campfire and started cooking my fish. Might as well do something useful. Made a ton of bandages also. I guess once I was in proper fighting shape they lost their nerve. After about another 10 minutes, the guards started popping and they both hearthed. I won't call that a win, but as I've said before, you take a moral victory where you can get one. At least the quest givers and vendors were back and everyone could get on with playing again. :)

The point is, as you run around doing these fishing and cooking things, there's also plenty of other adventures you'll stumble into. It doesn't have to be a horrible boring grind to get to the good stuff. I'll finish up this meandering post with some practical, focused thoughts. Why Fishing and Cooking are good skills to have for a Warrior (or any class for that matter):

First, the fun factor. For the daily fishing quests, the rewards aren't always terribly useful. But they're great anyways! I'd leveled my Fishing skill and aquired enough gear that I was able to do one of the Shat fishing dailies last night. When I was done, a grand total of 15 minutes, I got a little bag of goodies. It contained about 6 gold, two Motes of Water (I love motes!) and two Elixirs of Water Walking. What? I can honestly say I have no idea what I'd ever use those for, but being able to walk on water for 10 minutes like a Priest is one of the silly fun things that makes WoW great. :)

Second, money. Some of those rare and seasonal fish are worth a ton of gold. Even if you just stockpile them and sell them off occasionally, it's a nice little income boost.

Third, Cooking can provide some of the best buffs in the game. I've only skilled up enough to get some of the mid-range ones, but already can cook up a meal that gives a nice AP buff! From what I've read, some raids require certain Well Fed buffs from Cooking, so it's worth learning. I don't know what else is available and I'm not peeking yet. Discovering a new uber-buff is part of the fun.

Finally, it's relaxing. IRL, most of us need a little down time, and WoW is how we do it. But is it really down time if you're stressing the whole time? Warrior is a pivotal role in most aspects. Whether you're DPS or Tank, you've gotta be in top form and on your toes constantly. It's fun, but it's not really "down time." Doing something like fishing, or cooking, is a great way to get some in game. In fact, I'd say the game needs MORE things like this. Stuff that's fun and rewarding, but doesn't require top gear and flawless attention.

If you're loath to try fishing or cooking because you think it'll be boring, give it a shot. Fun and Adventure in Azeroth is all over the place. These two skills are a great way to find it!

For a great guild and reference to fishing try Els' Extreme Anglin' site. Great stuff!



Wednesday, August 20

Warriors! Grab a Sword . . . and Fight!!!

K, enough with QQ. I'm more a solutions type, anyhoo. :)

Whether you're fighting mobs or the other faction, you have to have a good strategy. If you're in a group, it's even more important, of course. But at some point, you have to be able to fight. You have to hit the right target, at the right time, with the right ability, in the right sequence. Just running around smacking crap won't get the job done, doesn't matter how well geared you are. Unless you're a Warlock, but we won't go there...

My military father calls this "tactics" but I call it "knowing your s... stuff." :)

For The Team

Sometimes you have to take one for the team. You have to do the right thing, even if you're going to eat it in the process. Yes, even if you're going to lose. For Warriors, this is how a lot of your time is spent in most fights. You're best when you use your abilities to get the job done. It IS part of teamwork, but just as important for the individual to react correctly to the situation.

So, in a dungeon, you might be DPSing your ass off. But at some point, Intercept or Intervene on that mob running at your healer, or popping your shouts to boost the Hunter's pet, or Thunderclap to help out the Tank, is just the right thing to do. Your personal DPS may drop, but the over all effect for the party is a win. I can't tell you how many dungeons I've run where I've heard something like "Yeah, we wiped but my DPS rocked... you suxor noobs lol" Sigh. Yah, well, if you hadn't pulled the boss' aggro three times the healer wouldn't have run out of mana and... well...

Example: I often play with a couple of mages. One recently switched to Frost, the other is Fire. These two pump out enough DPS to drop just about any mob in seconds. Assuming they have time to cast, of course. So I spend a lot of time letting them pull. Then I Charge the mob, Mortal Strike, Hamstring, and then dance to Zerker. If the mob is still moving after the frost and fire barrage that comes next, he's not moving very fast and I can Intercept, if needed. Very few mobs get the opportunity to strike or cast on my mages. That's NOT a proper Warrior DPS rotation. On the DPS meter, I'm not going to come out looking too sweet. But it's the correct sequence for a DPS Warrior when fighting with a Glass Cannon. Let them do the heavy work, you just keep everything away from them.

Yeah, that's working well within' a group. But it's also knowing HOW to fight as an individual. In a purely solo example, let's say I'm facing three mobs. I'm not going to be in Zerker and take massive damage from three sources at once. When the one I'm smacking bolts, I'm not gonna let him run. I'm gonna Hamstring his butt, or if that's not up, dance and Intercept ASAP. I'm certainly not going to let him go get help. If I have to reposition the mobs for some reason, I'm gonna switch to Defensive Stance first, Shield Block, move them where I want them, and then switch back to smasheminnaface mode. Again, my personal DPS isn't going to be stellar, but I'll live through the fight.

Experience VS Gear

Gear, schmear. Think it makes a difference? In the right hands, of course. But many times, it doesn't make one darn bit. In fact, it doesn't make a difference often enough that, if you fight properly, you can do a lot against a better geared opponent.

Most of the time, when you're facing an opponent with better gear, you're not going to win a 1-on-1 fight. But that doesn't mean you can't make it count. I was up against an S3 MS Warrior one time in WSG. Our first encounter was just embarrassing. I popped into Zerker Stance and started to wail on him. He popped to Battle Stance and calmly ripped me to pieces. Second round? He popped to Defensive Stance and a shield and took me, a Fury Warrior and a Mage. Solo. Ouch. Third round, I charged him and then immediately switched to Defensive Stance and shield. Then I just Shield Blocked him repeatedly. We both got help about the same time. He got a Warlock and I got a Druid. Because I was able to get a HoT, even with the DoTs on me, I was able to take him to 20%. We both Executed at the same time and both died. Some of my teammates were then able to take down the Lock. I didn't win... but I did better and, most important, was able to hang on. I learned the I-look-like-a-noob way.

Any time you loose a fight, you have to step back and look at it without taking it personally. Even if that Undead Rogue tea-bagged you... again. Figure out something else to try. And keep at it until you find something that works.

About a week ago I faced off against an S2/S3 MS Warrior. This guy could have pounded me to mush. We both Charge and, when it wears off, he switches to Zerker. As soon as he does, I run behind him and unload on him. He finally gets turned around, lands Mortal Strike and Whirlwind. Then he turns and tries to open distance so he can get Intercept off. I just Hamstring him and pound him from behind again. Down he goes. We did this like three times with the same result. Yah, friend, that massive amount of extra damage you're taking makes a HUGE difference. He should have stayed in Battle Stance. He also shouldn't have tried to put distance between us. He has the advantage up close. I was seriously ready to switch to Defensive Stance and just hang on as long as I could. Another thing . . . Why would he try to put distance between us to get an Intercept off? Does he think I don't have that ability as well? :)

My problem and this guy's problem was that we were trying to fight another MS Warrior, who already knows those tricks, like we would fight a clothie. My guess? Like me, he hadn't spent a lot of time fighting another Warrior. In Arena, the Warriors may exchange MS hits but then they're off again pounding the healer or Overpowering a Rogue. In BGs, you fight the biggest threat, or whoever is between you and your goal. You don't get to pick your fights very often.

Another example of experience over gear: I got into an exceptionally lame EotS a couple of nights ago. It was against PvE pre-made and they basically ran over us, three-capping very quickly and punishing our flag group into non-existence. It was obviously a Raid group slumming in the BGs for their Spirit of Competition dragons. (Cute little guys. Love 'em!) Most of my "teammates" eventually just stood at MT and waited for it to end. I hate that. I can see that FR is wide open, so head on over there. Might as well have a little fun, right?

Turns out there's one T5 geared Druid guarding. Ah well. So I lay into him. He starts that little heal trick Druids do and it turns into a "how fast cast I drain out your mana" fight. Then his buddy the Shammy (similar level gear) shows up. Now I'm fighting both of them, alternating between them quickly, slapping MS and Hamstring on them as fast as my rage will allow me. The Druid gets that Moonfire thingie off on me, but that's about all the damage I take. And I'm thinking "Why isn't the Shammy popping Totems and bashing the hell out of me??? And why isn't the Druid going all Kitty or Bear on me???"

Because they were PvErs, that's why. They were use to "stand in one place and heal/fight as mobs dictate" kind of battles. And once I realized this, I knew that they didn't know what to do about an MS Warrior that isn't going to die short of taking massive amounts of damage. They have to bleed off my health before I bleed their mana. Simple fight, they should win. Instead, they stood within 10 yards of each other, healing away even when they were only down to 80%. They were determined to stay topped off, just like in a PvE boss fight. Losing ANY health was a major concern for these guys. That made my job simple.

I got the Druid down to about 10% mana. While I worked on the Shaman, the Druid broke combat and tried to drink, sitting down less than 10 yards away in the middle of the road. :) After I Intercepted him and popped MS on him, he tried to run. Then one of their Warriors showed up and it got interesting. Unfortunately, the game ended a few seconds later. (Okay, okay... I was dead meat. :P)

What these guys should have done was put me in the middle. By going in opposite directions and getting me as close to max range as possible, one of them can heal and the other can damage and I'd be toast. If I'm on one of them, the other should be damaging me. As soon as I switch, they switch roles. This is pretty standard BG fare, and I've gotten my butt handed to me so many times, in this exact situation from players with a LOT less gear, that I know they should have destroyed me. Instead, their inexperience kept both of them tied up with me for 3 or 4 minutes! And the Druid was going down fast. If we had been ahead, that could have been a disaster for the opposing team.

Gear makes a difference. But being able to fight right makes an even bigger difference.

[Aside: Not poking fun at PvErs here. Honest. One of the best things you can do with a heavily geared PvEr in a BG fight is set 'em to guard duty and make them call out incoming. At the very least, their gear is going to let them slow down any enemy that comes near the node. An extremely important job. Also, I should note that PvPers are not necessarily very good at PvE. They have a tendency to jump in first thing and start smacking anything in thier way. That might work on mobs in the wild, but against Elites in a Heroic??? Disaster!]

I'm not tooting my own horn. Personal experience is the best example. I died a lot trying out that get-range-and-Intercept trick against Paladins (not good), Rogues (you won't get two steps), Frost Mages (they just Frost Nova and Blink), and other Warriors (they'll just Hamstring you or Intercept you first). I generally avoid MS Warriors, particularly those with better gear, because those fights turn into a slug fest that's pretty much going to go to whoever crits first. I've tried to toe-to-toe with other Warriors and it's about a 50/50. Most of the time there's something better I can be doing.

If I'm getting pounded on by an MS Warrior that significantly out gears me, there's two things I can do. First, I'm going to switch to Defensive Stance and a shield and Shield Block my ass off. All I'm doing is tying up that Warrior. One of us is going to get help, eventually. If it's him, I'm going to shout and hamstring everyone and everything I can get my sword on to delay them. Because there's DEFINITELY better things they can be doing than killing me. But if they're busy killing me, or trinketing my Intimidating Shout, that's less they'll be doing to win. If help doesn't arrive, I'm achieving the same result but keeping one of their heavy hitters occupied. If he's good and he out gears me, he's much more valuable to their team than I am to mine. My best option is to keep him out of play for as long as possible.

If it's a group fight, and he's gunning for me, I'm going to ignore him. I'm going to Intercept and disrupt his healer, mage, rogue, warlock, or anyone else I can get my hands on... while he chases me around trying to kill me. A good MS Warrior would break off and go after MY teammates. A bad one will follow. I always hope for the bad ones. :)

This situation often turns into a mini-Arena match! When that happens, you do exactly what you're suppose to do and bleed mana from healers and take hits and soak up cc. Then you unload on anyone silly enough to let you.

Do the Right Thing

It's tempting to give a list of what to do against any opponent or mob-type. I think some general tips would be more useful for most Warriors, though. So, in general, with a few specific examples, here's a top 10 things to do to fight better (there's plenty more, these are just the ones that come to mind while I write this...):

#1 Stance dancing is your friend. You have to know when to take damage and when to mitigate. Switching stances is the Warrior way to do this. Just like all martial fighting styles we have to know what stance to take against a particular opponent or in a specific situation. Certain abilities are only available in particular stances, as well. You need to have what's available in what stance memorized, and your little fingers should push those buttons automatically. For example, an MS Warrior has no slow down debuff in Defensive Stance. You have to switch to Battle or Zerker stance. Given that you're already in Defensive Stance for some reason (mitigating damage), chances are that Zerker is NOT the right choice. ;)

#2 Use Battle Stance against high avoidance targets like Rogues and Druids. This will pop Overpower, which negates a lot of their avoidance ability. (I'm not sure why Druids pop Overpower so much, but they do. Shrug.)

#3 Use Berserker Stance against soft targets. With your resilience, crits from your opponent will be few and far between. Max damage and the ability to slow them down and Intercept is more important when in close range with a clothie. The exception is when focused. See #6 below.

#4 Use Defensive Stance when you are being seriously out matched or against a caster at range. You should have a shield equipped when doing this. You need to be able to Spell Reflect and Shield Block in these situations.

#5 Use Berserker Stance or Defensive Stance against healers and other casters. Sundering down a healer is pretty much standard practice. Battle Stance does not have a proper interrupt unless you have a shield equipped. Most of the time, you'll have your macros set up to have a shield only in Defensive Stance. If you find yourself needing a shield frequently in Battle Stance, make a macro for that. Interrupting a caster takes practice, but is an absolutely essential skill. In PvP it can take a healer out of action at just the right time. In PvE it can save a lot of damage, mana and pain and suffering.

#6 When you're focused (most mobs, or enemy team members, have you targeted), you need to be in Battle Stance or Defensive Stance. The latter is better, if you can get away with it. Zerker Stance is literally a Death Wish in this situation. And your healers will hate you. :P

#7 After awhile you'll know when you're going to be cc'd in PvP. Sure you'll still get caught in a Frost Nova unaware, sheeped, or some sneaky chicken Rogue will Sap you, but generally you'll get a feel for when it's coming. You should be in Defensive Stance when this happens as much as possible.

#8 Knowing when to trinket is exceedingly important. You wouldn't trinket a Rogue's Sap, for example, unless he was sapping you to go after your healer. Otherwise, just sit there. He can't touch you without breaking the sap. And if you're an MS Warrior, you've got Second Wind and he's just giving you free health. Who says all Rogues are slimy bastards? :) Remember that a Rogue can't do much to you while he's got you in stun lock. The damage is minimal. Once he's build up enough points, then he can hurt you. But at that point, he can either keep stunning you OR do damage. The moment he starts to damage, you trinket and unload on him. He'll go down quick. It's just understanding the chain he's using against you. Same for fighting Frost Mages. It's Battle Stance, Charge, Hamstring, Frost Nova, Trinket, Blink, Zerker, Intercept, wait for cast, Pummel, unload on him. Rinse and repeat the last five steps until one of you is dead. It's a lot of work for the Warrior, but it'll tie up that annoying Frost Mage for quite a tick. If he gets ahead of you in this cycle, he wins. If you stay on top of him, you win. Tricky, but easy enough with practice.

#9 Spamstring is your friend. This works with Piercing Howl, as well. This is the practice of the Warrior spamming Hamstring over and over on the same target to keep them in range. Works nicely against Hunters. Works against Locks, but in general, they just suck. Go ahead and trinket the first Fear and start spamstring on them. Each fear afterward is less and less effective. But once he starts dotting you up, you have very little time to take him down. :( It's tricky but you have to get the Intercept in and a spell interrupt or you're a gonner.

#10 Keep your head. No matter what, stay calm and do what needs to be done. If you're fighting mobs, just hang in there. Think about how many times you've been down to almost nothing in health, you get one more swing off and the mob runs for it. If you'd have run, you'd be dead. :) Staying in there, it's amazing how things work out sometimes. One more example...

I'm in EotS and I'm assigned to the flag team. I hate being on the flag team. But ya do what ya gotta do, right? So we're doing great controlling the middle and we're keeping our two towers. We're ahead but it's close and can switch at any moment. We cap the flag and there's me and a Druid standing at the spawn point waiting for it. And more than half the Horde team comes running right at us.

Not much we can do and their FC grabs the flag right off. I get right on him, even though I'm focused by at least four people. (Might have been more, there was a lot of AoE dropping as well.) I'm spamstringing their FC and slapping Mortal Strike on him to keep the heals to a minimum. The Druid is obviously Feral, but he kept HoT on me the whole time. Bad move on their part. They should have taken the Druid first.

Instead they kept focus on me and I nailed their FC before he got to the crossroad. I grab the flag, switch to Def Stance and turn around to run the other way. Now a couple of our players are showing up. The other team is focusing me even harder and the Druid is just keeping HoTs on me and a light heal every now and then. I'm cc'd repeatedly, but this is the point of an MS Warrior. Yeah, we can dish it out, but with a little healing, we're almost impossible to take down. cc only keeps us from hitting stuff and, in this case, they were just giving me free heals courtesy of Second Wind. You have to take out an MS Warrior's healer first. They didn't.

This just kept going -- me getting cc'd, focused, healed, run forward a little, repeat. All the way back to MT with most of their team in tow. I capped and then we all went to work. We'd pulled them right into our main spawn point and they wiped rapidly.

This wasn't anything I did. I didn't have better gear and I didn't necessarily play smart. They had overwhelming firepower. One cc on the Druid would have done the job. I was able to cap, not because we did everything right, but because of a lack of experience by the other team. And because I didn't panic and try to fight, or fake 'em out, or something equally silly. Without heals, my only option would have been to get the flag back toward my team as far as possible (Shield Block) and keep them busy (Intimidating Shout). They just didn't realize the capabilities of an MS Warrior/Druid combo. Once that became apparent, all I had to do was put my head down and keep walking.

Fight! Fight! Win!

It's all about fighting. For a Warrior, fighting is about understanding what's going on around you and using your abilities to make the situation come out in your favor. Yah, sometimes that means you have to die to accomplish the goal. We're not called cannon fodder for nothin'. ;) Or you're not going to have the top DPS, or the highest damage or HKs on the chart, or whatever. Most of the time, though, if you fight properly, you'll make a huge difference in the outcome. It takes practice. But it's worth it.

Got any other examples? Share 'em in the comments below. Do you find dueling useful? Where are some good places to practice? I got better at slowing down opponents and dealing with healers by soloing SM over and over for cash for my Epic Mount. :) Know any other good gyms to work out in?


Friday, August 15

Whoa Be The Warrior


I'm not really gonna get into a lot of Wrath stuff today, because it's being done everywhere else much better. Just kinda gonna go into a Warrior issue that relates. Sorta.

Basically, Arms and Fury Warriors are not really getting a lotta love yet in the Beta. QQ. But then again, we haven't really seen a lot of love in a Very Long Time anyway. So nothing new. Pally's got some great upgrades. Druids got some great upgrades. Prot Warriors are looking better, but still need a bit more. So are we going to run into the same situation as BC where Bears, Rogues, Pallys, Hunters, and Warlock Pets can be better Warriors than Warriors?

Okay, I've gotten more cynical about this sort of thing. Which is not really me, so it bugs me a little. I really do think that Blizzard's designers have a love-on for hybrid classes, and don't give a crap about the "regular" classes. That's overstating, a bit, but look at the patch notes over the past two years. Mages get a lot of fixes (because they never have gotten that class right), and Warriors and Priests get... very little, compared to hybrids, either buff or nerf.

But in a way that's a good thing. The regular classes SHOULD be regular. They should be mainstays. Warriors should not have a cheap escape from combat, they should not be sneaky cowards, and they should not be able wiggle thier fingers in a prissy manner and magically heal themselves. (I love Rogues and Palladins. I kid because I care. :P)

On the other hand, they should be FAR tougher than they are currently. Taking down a proper Warrior should require several mobs/players working in conjunction. I have no problem biting it in a battleground when a Rogue, Palladin and Lock all tag team me, like last night in AB. (I have a problem with the dumbass Shammy standing right behind me trying to DPS and not bothering to slap a heal on himself, much less one on me. Dumbass Shammy.) I do, however, have a problem when a naked Undead Lock in WSG can fear kite me, dot me up and take me down in 15 seconds. Did I mention he was NAKED. As in, wearing his undies. No gear kinda naked. That's ridiculous. I'm thinking there might be a balance issue there. (He was funny, though. As the Horde planted the third flag, me, the lock and troll hunter danced in front of thier base until the end screen. If ya can't beat 'em, dance naked with 'em!)

Anyhoo... Arms and Fury might be getting a couple of new abilities, but so far they feel gimmicky. Titans Grip might be good, but no way to know for sure until the beta reaches Level 80 (it's at 77 as I write this). Bladestorm isn't getting any love at all so far. I'm still rooting for Rend in the Arms tree. A major dot would be an awesome addition to the Warrior class. A longer term stun would be neat too. Something like Knockout, Left Hook, our Roundhouse that knocks the target silly for 30 seconds or so (lot less in PvP, obviously). It should be melee oriented and require "refreshing" but it would give Warriors a little cc action.

As it stands right now, we Warriors go into an instance and there's always one butthead worriorphobe in the PuG. Every Warrior who's ever heard these (or some variation) raise your hand:

"Man, we need a Pally tank."
"I wish we had a Rogue/Hunter/Mage for DPS"
"We can't go in this configuration because we don't have enough cc..."

And so on... That ain't right.

In some creative, Warrior-like way, Bliz needs to add solid cc, stamina, and DPS to the Warrior class though Arms and Fury. All I'm thinking is... can they (and stay true to the class)? Do they want to? Do they even care?

Guess we'll find out soon.


Tuesday, August 12

Back to Arms, Purple Birdies, and Big ePeen Swords

I know there at least two people under 70 that read this blog. Maybe a few others, but they and everyone else, it seems, can't wait to get done with the leveling and hit the cap. Bad news. It just starts at 70. :)

Actually, you just level a little different. One way is gear. The difference between a new 70 Warrior who just ding'd and a T6 geared 70 is about the same as between 50 and 70. Okay, maybe not quite that much, but it's a HUGE difference. So gear is one way you'll measure your "level" after you've filled all your bubbles.

I have both of the S1 Glad one-handers, so I already passed the "got your weapon" gear check. But I decided to do it again, because I wanted to try the 45/5/11 MS Warrior spec out properly. Well... that... and it's a big freakin' honker of sword! :D So last night I got the sword after a couple of awesome AVs. And of course, I ran right across the hall and respec'd.

I already kinda miss Fury, though. It's a lot of fun. I think I mainly miss dual wielding, though. Two swords are just too wicked cool. There's no practical reason, of course. And I do LOVE the Great Sword. Fantastic damage, big freakin' hits, and lots and lots of epic win. Highly recommended, if you have the means.

Another way you'll measure your "level" at 70 is reputation with different factions. The faction you're working on will replace your XP bar. I finally got around to grinding/questing out Revered with the Aldor. Made some nice progress toward Exalted as well, though the rest is all grind. Blah!

Gold. Gold is another way you'll measure yourself as you progress at 70. Not how much you have (who cares?) but what you DO with it. You can buy a vanity title, but the big score is your mounts. The first one isn't too bad, but the epic flyer is 5000g. Yipes! That's a lot of dailies.

Last night, after finally breaking down and admitting I wanted it, I broke the 5000g mark, ran straight to Wildhammer Hold and got my epic flight training. The difference is... amazing! OMG! If you think the regular flyer will do ya, forget it. You WANT the epic flyer whether you know it or not. Now I have a nice pretty purple bird. No name for him yet. I'll think about it.

Now I can work toward getting a Netherdrake! :) More rep grinding. Woopee.

This is one thing I hope Bliz fixes a bit in WoW when Wrath releases. I'd rather quest for reputation. Even if meant piles and piles of quests. Or something more interesting than killing the same three types of demons over and over, ad naseum. Or running the same damn instance over and over, ad ... well, you get it. One idea that's being tossed around is faction tabards. Basically, when you wear a particular faction's tabard, you get xp AND rep with them. Okay, that'll work. :) Keep the fingers crossed (toes too!).

Now that I finally bought a large, two handed penis... er... sword (no batteries required! yah!), I decided to solo Gruul's Lair. Piece of cake!



PS Dance music added. Please /dance from now on when you read this blog. TY!

Sunday, August 10

The Random Post

Gonna do a random post today and take a break from the Warrior series, which is taking way longer than I thought. A few simple thoughts (I'm good at simple) just doesn't seem to be enough! Anyhoo...

Competition Goodness

The Spirit of Competition thing in the Battlegrounds, in honor of the Olympics, is brilliant! Even if you don't normally like BGs, this is a great time to get in on the fun. And you get the cool Chinese Dragon pet. :) (And an ugly tabard that doesn't go with anything... guess you could wear it naked.) What's great about it is that, at least on the first day here on the U.S. realms, there was really a lot of people doing their best to win! On Saturday it was still goign strong, with the War Room in SW on Fenris packed full of people and dragons. There was the usual pre-made influx for the weekend, but even those battles were great. In one AB we were up against two teams from Darrowmere (double pre-made... ouch!) and we still held them 200 points. And it wasn't for a lack of trying on the pre-made's part. Our PuG just fought better than usual.

More stuff like this, Bliz! More More MORE!

In Battlegroup Whirlwind, the Alliance players are finally catching on to the Horde strategy of back-capping an RH-Rush. Thank you Horde. The sooner the RH/AS Rush dies the better. The Alli response is not perfect, yet, but it's a much better fight. Either deal with the back-cap, or die, turtle and get whittled down on reinforcements. Looks like the Allis are finally getting it, and they're winning more because of it. Well, that and the BG is WAY more fun than standing around waiting for the towers to burn. Even a loss is worth playing these days. WAY. MORE. FUN.

Death of the Hard Core

I'll probably do a whole separate post on this at some point. By hard core I'm referring to the WoW player that only plays to "finish" the game. These are the same guys that sit in front of Playstation for days on end to get the high score on Tekken. Seriously. (Okay, I did that too, but...) They aren't playing for fun, they're playing for ePeen. That in contrast to the "serious" WoW player that does high level content for fun and for the experience. And of course, contrasted against the 11 million players that actually *play* the game.

There's a LOT of QQ going around about how the game is getting "dumbed down." This kind of player is always going to think accessible means easy. These people are getting belligerent in-game, too. As the high-end raiders get more selective as their player base dwindles pre-Wrath release (this happens... no big, everyone will be back, of course), the ePeeners are running out of things to do. So they're hitting Heroics and PuGing, which just makes PuGs agonizing when you get one of these morons. Accessibly cuts into the ePeen factor. Sooner they bolt for the Next Big Peen the better. Buh-bye.


This post:

I'd have responded on this guy's blog, but he requires registration and I just didn't want to fill out a form for an obvious troll. A good example of a common problem, though. Namely, class elitists that don't know... well, anything except their class.

I was in a PuG the other day helping two friends get their third Kara frag (the drunk Rogues from BF, actually!). The Pally healing was a Ret Pally who'd respec'd. I respec'd to tank. So not really an ideal set up. Still quite do'able. So we get to the first AoE fight and the Pally starts spam healing before the first cast. Of course he pulled aggro. He blames me for not holding aggo, of course.

After trying to ignore him for awhile, and him still pulling aggo, I ask him to turn on Omen to help control threat a little better. Now, this guy is in full badge/kara gear and I get "What's Omen? Who cares about threat? You need to hold aggro! What's your armor and defense?" So here we have a guy that got all that gear as a ret pally, doesn't understand threat, and can't use Inspect. Lovely.

Yah, he kept walking into or healing his way into aggro, and kept blaming me. First my gear (I have crap tank gear, but it's gotten better, and is way more than enough to tank Arc.) I even tanked the first boss against the wall so the death spots he dropped would line up nice and neat and I'd be the only one that had to avoid them. Yup, Pally ran right up to the boss, stepped in one and died. We wiped. Sigh. My fault for taking too much damage, apparently. :D

Another contrast: The mage who was there was seriously geared. Didn't recognize his stuff but he was doing massive Frost crits. First time he pulled aggro off me, he throttled back a bit. He outgeared the instance. Way out geared me. He adjusted accordingly and, after that first pull, maintined nice steady, appropriate DPS, AoE, and CC.

So the first Pally zones out, finally, and we get another to heal. This guy is a real Holy Pally decked out T5. He strolls on in with that "I could solo this shit" attitude, calm, cool and collected, and we start fighting. He's up on Omen. He's tossing out a heal now and then, but nothing major. Perfectly timed, of course. Never pulls. Get's into proper position. Pretty much flawless Healadin healing. The Rogues get their fragments. Done in 10 minutes.

But the MAIN difference was that the 2nd Pally knew how to work with a Warrior tank. He can't rely on AoE threat. He has to time his heals in concert with the Tank building aggro on each target. And because a Warrior tank can mitigate or flat out avoid much more damage than a Pally Tank, he heals less and didn't use top rank spam healing to get through it. That's knowing the classes you work with.

The post linked above is from the type of player like Pally #1. No clue, expects everything to be the way they like to play. Pally #2 understands that you don't always get what you want, but you better be able to get the job done with what you have. It's the difference between someone who plays a MMO with other people, and people who ePeen on Tekken.

Fury Love

I'm starting to get the hang of Fury. I'm getting much better DPS than I was at first. Still not THAT much higher than Arms, but very nice. And Rampage is the BEST in-combat human female emote ever. :D Bunch up the arms and legs, fire swirlies go flying about, and then burst out in a giant screaming temper tantrum! Love it! (The huge AP boost is nice, as well, I s'pose.)

Fury is fine in Battlegrounds. No, Arena isn't gonna work. But BGs are fine. Don't worry about it. You spend a lot more time working WITH other players rather than expecting them to work with you (as Arms). Arms is a lead role in PvP. Fury is an assist role. Go about it that way and it's very effective. Hell, stick with an Arms Warrior and DPS for him. It's great!

For more Fury love, check out this blog. Good stuff.


Friday, August 8

Arms: Lords (and Ladies) of PvP

So you wanna be an Arms Warrior? Not sure? Need to know what roles do they play in a party? What spec should you choose? Is it good for solo'ing? Can you raid? Can you PvP? Can I get through the game without people spitting on me???

In this first part I'm gonna give out all the advice I have about why you should spec Arms. Take it with a large grain of salt. I'm definitely not expert, so all this is based on my experience, what I've read, and what I've talked about with other Warriors. But if you really wanna know, read on.

[Note: This got a LOT longer than I planned. It will probably be revised numerous times. I just wanna move on to Fury and Protection, so here goes...]

Most players probably know that Warriors serious about PvP spec Arms. Well, mostly Arms. There's some Fury and, usually, Protection thrown in there as well. The main reason, though, is in the Arms talent tree.

Anyone who's ever played a casual BG knows there's nothing more intimidating that seeing that HUGE Tauren Warrior with the giant glow-in-the-dark sword and massive shoulders come lumbering up. It's an imposing sight. Intentionally. What's worse, it's not just looks. Suddenly this beast is looming over you, you're stunned, he swings and a quarter of your health bar disappears. That's white damage from a powerful and enchanted 2-hander. It's the warm-up. He's just building up a bit more Rage.

The stun from his Charge ends and you turn to run as the second swing comes down . . . and find yourself in black and white and staring at the Spirit Guide. Yah, you just got 2-shotted. That second swing was the main event, also known as Improved Mortal Strike. That's an MS Warrior.

He's spec'd Arms. He's spec'd specifically to do massive amounts of top-end burst damage. Since most PvP encounters are over in a few seconds, all that matters is how much damage he can get out right up front. And it's a LOT. Enemy healers hate these guys because keeping someone on their feet with this guy smacking 'em around sucks the mana right out. Mortal Strike also has a nasty side effect that cuts healing in half. Ouchie.

He's also geared to the gills with Resilience. Not only can he dish it out, hard core style, he can take it too. And if he's got a competent healer standing behind him, he's damn near invincible. If you like to spank the opposing faction in PvP, you won't go wrong as an MS Warrior.

Sound appealing? Then MS Warrior might be just the thing for you. MS Warrior is the king of the battlefield, and some players will insist there's nothing else. But there's a lot more to Arms than MS Warriors (though, honestly, these guys and gals tend to be the best at what they do).

Are You An Arms Warrior?

Arms warriors have a reputation for being top-end damage dealers. They are also, arguably, the most versatile style of Warrior. All the weapon specializations are in the Arms talent tree. So you can get bonuses for wielding a two-hander AND get a bonus for sword, mace, axe or polearm, depending on what strikes your fancy. Anyone can "Grab a sword and fight the Horde" but Arms Warriors do it particularly well and, I like to think, with a certain amount of style. I might be a little biased. :)

On the battlefield the Arms Warrior is center stage. Everyone on your side is relying on you to dish out death and take heaping spoonfuls of every type of damage. Every enemy player is studiously figuring out how to take you down. But it's not a rock star position.

On and off the battlegrounds you're the calm, cool, unassuming master. You know what's going on around you all the time. You never let them see you sweat. Taunts, insults, spitting and the occasional tea-bag don't bother you in the least. You're cool. You're in control. You take everything in stride and do your job quietly and unassuming. And you're a killing machine because of it. You are truly a Zen master of death and, in your disciplined paws, your weapon is a living instrument of destruction.

That you? You're an Arms Warrior.

The Good Stuff

* Arms is, obviously, an excellent PvP spec. Massive top-end damage and high survivability are the keys. The ability to take focus and live through it, while doing something useful at the same time, are the hallmarks of an Arms talent build.

* Arms is all about enhancing a Warrior's ability to fight head-to-head and at close range. You can do damage, you can take damage (with the right resilience gear), and you can debuff or slow opponents when necessary.

* Arms Warriors can fill multiple roles in a party and switch roles in the middle of battle very effectively. In a dungeon, you might be DPSing a mob, then suddenly need to slow one down, then switch into a temporary off-tank role, then quickly back to DPSing. This is child's play for an Arms Warrior and they're very effective at it.

* So far, in WotLK, it looks like Arms will at least be seeing the return of Sweeping Strikes. This ability moved to Fury awhile back. Prior, it was always an excellent talent for Arms because it built extra dps and gave the Warrior a little aggro boost on multiple targets. Bringing it back means an Arms Warrior that can dish out substantial damage against multiple mobs becomes viable again. Very Good Thing.

The Bad Stuff

* Arms does not do sustained DPS as effectively as Fury. The DPS is strong and consistent, but it's not quite as much and takes a little longer to get it going. This takes effect particularly at higher levels and with proper gearing. Under 60 there's not a huge difference. Some but not terrible. Over 70, past Kara, and properly geared, the difference is definitely there. So much that it could be a contributing factor in a particularly long and tough fight.

* Arms can tank most mobs, but not all. They just don't have the damage mitigation and threat generation tools that a proper Protection Warrior has. Resilience (protection against critical hits) is great for taking spell fire from multiple casters at once, and for staying upright while you Overpower some ADHD Rogue, but it's not as effective against mobs that'll squash you like a tin can on the first shot. Carry a good shield and some +DEF/+STAM Armor and tank when necessary, but you'll need to respec for the big fights.

* Like all Warriors, you have limited crowd control. You Ccan upgrade your abilities through Arms talents, specially mace specialization, Improved Hamstring and Improved Charge. But they are not really an effective form of cc because of the short duration. They can certainly help a fight when used properly, though.

* Like all Warriors, you also have limited Damage Over Time ability. The hope is this will be fixed, via Improved Rend and some add-on talents, in WotLK, but so far nothing terribly promising.


Leveling an Arms Warrior is pretty easy. No, it's not nearly as fast or easy as some other classes. You want effortless leveling? Then Warrior isn't for you, anyway. We work for a living, soldier! You have to pick your fights somewhat. Or at least approach them with some thought. Mostly you can go in there and smack things around, but you'll need to use your brain a bit, too.

Early on you'll want to switch to a 2-hander (if you don't start with one) and start leveling that skill as soon as possible. You have to keep up with your 1-hander skill as well, because you'll want to be able to switch to sword and board when needed. At this point it won't matter which 2-hander. If you like Axes, get an axe. Swords, Polearms, and Maces are available, so choose something you groove on. Many times it'll be whatever you can afford or drops first. You can change later, so no worries.

For damage output you'll start off with Improved Heroic Strike for 3 points. This is your main attack. After that, fill out Deflection which will greatly increase your ability to parry attacks. This is your first primary damage mitigation talent. It takes 5 points, which brings you up to Level 17.

Next you should fill in Iron Will on that second tier. This will let you resist Charm and Stun effects, which helps tremendously against... well, just about every other class because they can cc the crap out of us. Any mob that can stun or charm you will also be thwarted occasionally.

After the initial talents, you'll look at a general direction you want to go. I just find these, in particular, help early on. They kind of form a base to build the rest of your Talents.

On tier three, you want all of 'em. I recommend Anger Management first, because the extra rage is a nice luxury to have and the talent is only one point. Tier 4, the same. You need both 2-hander specialization (first) and then Impale. The latter is your first step toward that nasty burst damage. After that you'll pick your weapon specialization. Whatever strikes your fancy.

Then take Deathwish (soon to be Sweeping Strikes, which is better) followed up by Mortal Strike. This will bring you to Level 42 and you're now a real, honest to goodness Arms Warrior. Gratz!

By this point, you should also have completed the quests for Defensive Stance (at Level 10) and Berserker Stance (at Level 30). You should be practicing your stance dancing as much as possible. (Note: The link primarily refers to Prot Warriors. Dancing as Arms or Fury is a whole other post, but definitely worth learning, particularly for PvP. The abilities listed in the linked article are NOT the only reason you would want to switch stances. You'll want to switch stances to increase DPS or to mitigate damage in many situations.)

Take a look at the specs (see below) and pick one that you like. I generally take either Improved Intercept, which is very nice in PvP, or Second Wind which will save your ass in PvE frequently. Then I fill out Improved Mortal Strike. At Level 50, I start looking at the Fury talent tree starting with Cruelty.

Spec to your choice as you go. Don't worry if the early spec doesn't quite jive with the chosen spec. You can respec and clean it up a bit at Level 60 if you need too. The first respec is only 1g, but it goes up fast after that. So pick your spec carefully at 60 because you're probably going to use it until 70 and a bit after that. (Once you hit 70 and have a little gear, respec'ing is a half hour running daily quests to earn the g. No big.)


Arms is a great solo spec. Nice damage output, solid survivability. You'll need to learn, early on, to stance dance. Like all Warriors, once you're in the fight your chances of escape are pretty low. It's stand and win, or stand and die. Arms has many tools to help the former. And occasionally, even offers the opportunity for some creative escapes. For example, slap Hamstring on 'em, pop into Defensive Stance, and run like hell!

To solo well you'll want to take a ranged weapon as early as possible. Guns, crossbows and thrown weapons are available to Warriors. I like guns. Big guns. :) Engineers may want to take guns because you can make your own weapon and the ammunition for it. Blacksmith's will probably like thrown weapons early on because you can a) make some nice ones, and b) they don't run out of ammo. You'll need the ranged weapon to pull mobs to a safe place to dispatch them in an efficient manner. Without dying a lot. No you're not a Hunter or a Shammy, so you can't charge in and take out 20 mobs at once. Sorry. Warrior is not Easy Mode. (I exaggerate, of course. Hunters and Shammy can't really take 20 mobs at once. It's more like 18 or something.)

Beyond Level 50 the Arms Warrior becomes a wicked solo killing machine. At 70, it's about improving your stats to be an even better killing machine. At some point (probably around 1000 AP and 75 Hit) you start mowing down any regular mob you come across while looking around for more. You start chain pulling the mobs, just to move things along. And of course, your PvP adventures are just loads of laughs as you watch other classes scramble to get away from you. It's fun! :D

Groups (Questing/5-Mans)
Arms is excellent if you group a lot. The ability to DPS and tank is a nice balance. If you like the balance, then this spec is better than the other two. If you prefer one or the other, then you'll want to look at Fury or Prot. Arms Warriors, however, offer many advantages to groups, so don't be afraid to offer up your services for dungeon runs and group questing.

For questing, there's not much an Arms Warrior can't do in a group. Slap on a shield and dance into Def if you need to hold aggro a bit. Break out the 2-hander or dual wield if you need some extra DPS. Stay flexible and practice switching roles in combat. Use a stance macro or add-on to switch weapons/shield in mid-fight.

In a dungeon, you'll usually be tasked as either DPS or Tank. OT (Off Tank) roles for warriors in 5-mans isn't used much any more, but MA (Main Assist) is and this is a great role for an Arms Warrior. If you're MT (Main Tank) you'll need a very good Healer. A good healer is one that understands threat and how to time their heals for best effect. Spam healing won't work with a Protection Warrior or Feral Druid bear, it certainly won't work with an Arms Warrior, so avoid healers that do that. You'll also have to have DPS that understands threat and how to fight with a Warrior Tank. (That's whole other post.) Basically, your threat generation is going to be slower than a Prot Warrior or bear, and the party needs to understand how to deal with that.


Not a lot for an Arms Warrior here the way things stand. Fury or Protection for Raid level encounters, alas. An Arms Warrior can make a decent OT or MA in a Raid, but there's so many other options for those roles (Prot Warrior, Druid, Shaman, Palladin, Hunter, Rogue) that the slots in the Raid will be few, if not entirely non-existent. Arms Warriors may, potentially, find some use in the new 10-man and 25-man raids in WotLK, but that remains to be seen.


As said, there's no better Warrior spec for PvP. If you want to squash other players face-to-face, welcome to Arms. World PvP, Battlegrounds, or Arena, spec'ing Arms is the definition of Pwnage. :)

The "Types" of Arms

I'm a big believer in "the spec how you want" way of playing WoW. It's a shame that the talent trees are set up the way they are. It would be nice if there was no "perfect" spec. So the following, as I see it, are suggestions. Like I said in the first post in this series, there is a "top optimal spec" for Arms specifically for PvP and primarily for Arena combat. If you want to get on an Arena team, you have to spec to this or one of its close variants. Otherwise, have fun with it.

No matter what spec you choose, you DO have to practice it. You have to use what talents you've taken to best advantage. I've thrown in a few thoughts on each specialization based on my experience. Because this post isn't long enough . . .

Arena: Mortal Strike (45/5/11)

This is the standard spec for an MS Warrior. There's a few variations, but this is the cookie-cutter version. The whole point of this build is massive damage and reduced healing to the target with Improved Mortal Strike. You simply build up 50 points of Rage and smack the living crap out of someone. The other idea behind this spec is survivability. It includes Toughness and Last Stand from the Protection tree. For versatility, it also includes Tactical Mastery which enhances Mortal Strike and reduces the Rage loss from changing stances. MS Warriors can dance like John Travolta on Saturday night. This is all necessary because they are focused most of the time in Arena play and cc'd constantly. The bad part? Sustaining DPS is tough because some abilities are on long cooldowns. You also don't get the consistent burst of damage from Flurry that some builds get.

The Standard: Arms/Fury Hybrid (31/30) (AKA Arms Max)

While it's completely fallen out of favor with top-tier players, this is probably the best "do it all" Arms spec. It's still considered Arms because of Mortal Strike. You use your two-handed weapon of choice, so it's modified depending on what weapon you favor. (The example is Poleaxe, but anything works.) The main feature is Mortal Strike combined with Flurry. When it procs, you get extra rage from the extra attack when you use a big, slow two-handed weapon. Take Sword Specialization and you can proc yet another extra attack. If you're just starting out in Arms and mixing up PvP and PvE, questing, and running 5-mans, this is an excellent spec that can be customized for your preference. There's plenty of room to move some things around to make it yours.

Fun: DW Arms (31/30)

Dual Wield Arms use to be a fairly popular build, but has fallen out of favor for the most part. It's still a blast to play, though. And it's my personal favorite Arms spec. :) This is considered an Arms build (technically it's a hybrid) because it digs down into Mortal Strike instead of Blood Thirst. Thus, MS becomes this build's main attack, combined with Whirlwind and Improved Heroic Strike. Pre-Kara the difference in DPS between this and DW Furry is there but slight. This build tends to have more burst damage when everything procs, DW Fury tends to have better sustained DPS over time. This is a perfectly fine and fun build for questing and casual 5-man dungeon running. Other features include Improved Overpower (useful against those dodgy opponents and jumpy Rogues) and Death Wish, which is handy for escaping Fears in a pinch or for a nice damage boost when you're not focused. The downsides? Not nearly the top-end damage of some Arms builds, although the burst damage is certainly respectable. Survivability is lower because you don't take any of the Protection tree and you spend a lot of time in Zerker stance. You do NOT want to get caught in this stance when you're focused or have aggro! If you get cc'd while in Zerker stance with Death Wish up, you might as well be wearing cloth.

A Challenge: The Slammer (36/25)

If you really, really want to high DPS instances, here you go. I"ve tried this spec twice now and I hate it. :) It revolves around using a two-hander and Improved Slam/Mortal Strike to generate big, consistent damage. And it does it well. The problem is the rotation is very precise. Miss a Slam it throws the whole damage/rage generation off and dps goes to hell fast. To use this spec, you'll need to have battle text on and a swing meter installed. Then practice, practice, practice. This is the hardest spec to use, but it's also very effective when done right. If you like a challenge and are handy getting timing down, this is the spec for you.

Big Stick: The Stunner (35/5/21)

Finally, we have the stunner. Even with the recent nerf to Mace Specialization, this still works pretty well. The idea is to use your Mace to stun the crap out of opponents so they can't get away. I've never tried this one, but have seen it's effect. Pre-nerf it sucked bad to be on the receiving end of this attack, and it was customary to avoid any Warrior carrying a mace. Now it's not as bad, but it's still pretty devastating when the stun procs at the right time. This build is also a useful off-tank or light tanking build with several key Protection tree talents. If you like the idea of having your opponents cc'd long enough to smack 'em hard, this is a good way to go.

These are just examples, of course. Most of the builds above have at least a little room for customization. And you may decide after messing with them to use something completely different! Don't be afraid to try different things to see what works for you. Sure, there's plenty of theory out there that shows this spec is better than that spec. But in normal every day play, it really doesn't make much difference, as long as you use what you've got to best advantage. Yes, spec for specific roles when you need to do them. But outside of those roles, spec for you!

Arms is all about having some fun AND being a great Warrior. It's flexible, customizable and very effective. This is the "I enjoy being a warrior" spec. Enjoy it.