Sunday, April 12
Fun with Warriors: Heroic Strike
In the Warrior world of late, there's been a lot of chattin' about Heroic Strike. Namely, that's it is a necessary pain in the ass. It is.
So, for our occasional look at Warrior abilities and how to use 'em (from a "casual" perspective?), I figured that it was a timely and useful topic to hit tonight.
I also retitled this "series" to Fun with Warriors . . . There's an excellent blog that now uses the Dummies moniker, so jump over there and check it out. My prattle will wait.
The very first ability a Warrior gets to hit stuffs with is Heroic Strike. I remember my first time playing Friday, my pinky finger hovering over the HS key like I was drinking tea from a posh China cup, and waiting and waiting for the perfect time to smash it. Oh look, my rage bar is full now! I should be safe to sneak in at least one HS. Smack. Better wait for the next one, though. Might need it in an emergency! Them kobalds look nasty!
Nope. Once you've got the Rage, go nuts on it.
This is one of the things that made me love the way Friday fights. Smack it and she jumps up in the air, spins around, and brings her sword down on some poor freak's head. Whap! Love it!
This is an ability you'll use from Level 1 to Level 80 pretty much FOR.EV.ER. Once your rage gets up, just tap HS every swing.
What it does is something every Warrior already knows, since we grow up with it. It hits the bad guy really, really hard. It scales up to Rank 13. Tanks love it because it also piles on a respectable amount of Threat. At Rank 10 (Level 66) it also does extra damage to dazed targets.
Wait? Every Swing?
'Spose I should explain a little better than that, eh?
First, in low Rage situations, you won't be using HS much. It overrides the normal damage from your swing (the stuff that shows up white, AKA a "white hit") and converts it into a special attack (the yellow damage). White = more rage. Yellow = no rage.
So when you use HS, you're burning rage and you're burning off your normal regular swing and converting it to a special attack. Hitting HS at the wrong time is the fastest way to Rage Starve yourself.
You have 20 Rage. You HS, which takes 15 (you can lower this but it's just an example.... sheesh!). You now have 5 Rage, your swing meter has reset and your Global Cooldown is ready. You can't Shield Slam! It needs 20 rage. So you have to wait for that next white hit to come in and give you more rage. Ooops. It only gave you 10 Rage. 'Nother wait. You're now 3 or more seconds in and you still haven't hit with your biggest shot. Your dps and threat are dropping like a stone as everyone around you is smashing bad guys with big hitting instant attacks! Threat WARNING! You look like a twit on Recount! Oh noes!
Rage starvation sucks. Misuse of HS is one of the ways to get there fast.
In my experience, I don't even start until around 50. Probably too conservative, but I despise it when Friday QQs "Not enough Rage!" She'll be bitchin' about being outta mana next... sheesh!
After you've hit your Rage sweet spot, though, you can't hit HS frequently enough. Watch your swing timer and keep HS lit at all times.
Won't that wear out my fingers?
Yes, it will. If you're not replacing your keyboard every few months because you've worn out your HS key, YNDIR. A warrior will usually come out of a dungeon physically exhausted. Or at the very least, with a hand cramp. It's one of the joys and pains of playing this class. :)
It's also the point of contention running among the WoW Warrior community at the moment. Namely that HS is a clunky mechanic that needs some Blizzard love. I disagree that HS is the problem, but the issue itself is certainly valid. One of the things that makes playing a warrior so interesting and entertaining is that you're managing a ton of abilities that have to be executed at just the right time to get good results. The problem is that, of late, it's a bit much. Adding in Heroic Strike makes it a lot much.
To manage it better, most Warriors use macros. You can find many useful ones at Tankspot and WoWwiki's Warrior macros pages.
A simple way is to either hot key HS conveniently, which is a lot of work hitting it every time, or macro it in combo with your basic rotation. For example, most Warriors tanks use Glyph of Revenge, which gives ya a Rage free HS after each Revenge strike. So we use a macro like this:
/cast Heroic Strike
As long as you have 15+ rage (sans Improved Heroic Strike), you'll do Revenge and then Heroic Strike back-to-back. Nice and simple, lots of threat, lots of damages. Fun!
Well, because I hate doing macros on account I'm kinda lazy that way...
When I need to start the HS spam I just keep taping Revenge.
The trick is that when Revenge is not up, the macro just lights up HS. When Revenge is up, it does both. Since I'm hitting that key on my swing timer every 1.6 seconds, I don't even have to monitor Revenge. It's gonna go if it's up, it won't if it's not. Either way I get my HS in.
It simplifies things a bit. You do have to put up with your toon whining "That's not ready yet!" constantly, but you can turn that off. :)
There's probably more efficient ways to do it, of course. With this one simple trick, though, I literally more than doubled the number of Heroic Strikes I get in during a fight. I'm sure there's ways to do even better. (See macro sites above.)
Regardless of how you go about it, learn to use HS in high Rage situations. It's your Heroic friend!