Okay, it’s now a few days after day zero and much of the hubbub over BlizzCon has subsided enough for a few things to sink in. One of the biggest announcements was the talent revamp, so I suppose it’s worth going over what these talents mean for tanks and which ones will be the best choices in PvE content that matters; namely, boss encounters.
Please remember this is all subject to change, and in any number of ways, so what is posted here might not remain relevant all that long.
To whit then, let’s start with tier 1:
Double Time: You can use Charge twice before incurring its cooldown.
The way this is touted to work is just so awkward that it’s not worth it. After the first Charge, you get eight seconds to Charge again before the net result is a longer Charge cooldown than if you pick Juggernaut. Even if you do, it’s another interminable 20 second wait before you can use it again. Very poor.
Warbringer: Your Charge also roots a target for 5 sec.
Very unlikely to go live in this state as it would be overpowered when coupled with other talents such as Throwdown and Shockwave in PvP, and it’s next to useless in PvE as it won’t work on bosses and you rarely want to stun trash for long when you’re trying to position it. Skip it.
Juggernaut: You can Charge every 12 sec instead of every 20 sec.
It’s painful having to use a talent point for something we already have at baseline. That said, due to the inherent weaknesses in the other two talents, this would be your tier one choice for PvE and it’s a no-brainer. I daresay PvP warriors will view this similarly, and across all three specs.
Enraged Regeneration: You regenerate 30% of your total health over 10 sec. Can only be used while Enraged.
Like Juggernaut, having to spend a talent point to get something we already have at baseline is galling. This talent has another two snags, though; it’s weaker than Impending Victory and STILL retains the ugly requirement to be enraged before you can use it. To be viable, the cooldown would need to change.
Second Wind: Whenever you are struck by a Stun or Immobilize effect you generate 20 Rage and 5% of your total health over 10 sec. Whenever you take direct damage, you have a 10% chance to regenerate 3% of your total health over 5 sec.
A PvP talent only, really, as you won’t spend a lot of time stunned or immobilized while playing PvE content. Further, a 10% chance to proc a weak self-heal means one in 10 swings from the average boss and goodness knows what uptime it would have if you play a DPS spec. Ignore it.
Impending Victory: You can use a Victory Rush at any time, but with a 30 sec cooldown and at a 20 rage cost.
Here’s your easy winner. It’s statistically returning more health than Enraged Regeneration, while also not requiring an Enrage or being a Heal over Time (HoT) effect. It also fills the painful self-healing gap warriors have had in their arsenal for so long. All told, a very strong talent for everyone.
Cripple: Your autoattack hits and Rend ticks main your target, reducing movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
PvP warriors have wanted to see this for a considerable amount of time now, making it a great choice to help them dish out damage without wasting GCD’s by spamming Hamstring. For PvE? Pretty close to useless as there’s no way it’ll work on bosses.
Throwdown: Knocks the target to the ground and stuns it for 5 sec.
Again, part of your PvP repertoire but of limited use to those of us doing raid content as it doesn’t work on bosses. I would also expect to see some “rebalancing” if flag carriers attempt to take this, Warbringer and Shockwave considering Pummel and Concussion Blow will be baseline for tanks.
Piercing Howl: Causes all enemies within 10 yards to be Dazed, reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.
Yet again, almost solely for PvP; very little practical use for any warriors in PvE. The problem is that the other talents are so weak in meaningful raid content, that this is probably the best choice for the potentially interesting implications it could have on the odd encounter. Probably the best from a bad bunch.
Disrupting Shout: Interrupts all spellcasting within 10 yards and prevents any spell in that school from being cast for 4 sec.
This talent will be pretty good when grouping trash packs with multiple casters, but there won’t be many of those, as the other tanks don’t have equivalent options. Clearly of benefit in PvP (particularly BG’s with casters grouped) but, yet again, of absolutely no use if you’re working on a boss.
Gag Order: Your Pummel and Heroic Throw have a 100% chance to silence the target for 3 sec.
Won’t work on bosses, which is making me sound like a broken record. 2’s arena, which is not actively balanced properly, might see this talent do well and it’ll be good on trash packs with one or two casters… But otherwise pretty weak.
Rude Interruption: Successfully interrupting a spell with Pummel increases your damage by 5% for 30 sec.
This is the only talent in the tier that will work on bosses, so it’s the winner by default. Good luck wrestling for interrupt-rights with the other warriors in your raid, though, and it’s still very situational. How many bosses needed interrupting in the Firelands?
Bull Rush: Your Charge and Intervene Enrage you for 6 sec.
I’m not really sure what to say about this – it’s awful. Fury warriors will have other ways to get enraged, and they’re the ones who stand to benefit the most from this talent. Coupled with Warbringer and Throwdown it will lead to some extra burst in PvP but for those of us who like raids, ignore this.
Death Wish: You attack with reckless abandon for the next 10 sec, which Enrages you and causes you to generate additional rage from damage received. While under the effects of Death Wish, you take 5% additional damage.
Maybe there’s something missing and it’s hard to objectively judge what “Enrage” will actually do for warriors or how high an uptime it’ll passively have, but this looks like a rage cooldown for tanks and not much else. The problem is, tanks won’t take it either if the Minor glyph doesn’t make the cut.
Deadly Calm: You enter a battle stance, causing your next 3 Heroic Strike or Cleave attacks to cost no rage. Lasts 15 sec.
I honestly hoped this cooldown would be removed for MoP, yet here it is as the best choice for warriors taking on bosses despite it being weaker than its current incarnation. This is purely by virtue of the other two talents being so poor, not because this is any good. In PvP… Sure, it’s got use. But not much.
Bladestorm: You become a whirling storm of destructive force, instantly striking all nearby targets for 150% weapon damage and continuing to strike all nearby targets every 1 sec for 6 sec. During a Bladestorm, you are immune to movement impairing and loss of control effects, but can be Disarmed, and you can only perform shout abilities.
Relegated to a pure trash-burst talent for DPS warriors. The fact is that, in this form, Shockwave beats it for sustained AoE damage and Avatar beats it hands-down for absolutely everything else. Once you’ve outgrown the novelty of Titan’s Grip or Protection warriors looking good, this becomes the wrong choice.
Avatar: You transform into an unstoppable colossus for 10 sec, which increases your damage dealt by 20% and causes your attacks to generate extra rage. While transformed you are immune to movement impairing effects.
This is a lovely cooldown that will have an undoubtedly lovely graphical effect to accompany it. DPS warriors in PvE and PvP will be picking this up, as will boss tanks. This talent, along with probably Impending Victory, are the beacons of light in an otherwise abnormally poor set of choices. As a tank, however, it’s probably not going to be what you pick up.
Shockwave: Sends a wave of force in front of you, causing 497 damage and stunning all enemy targets within 10 yards in a frontal cone for 4 sec.
Tanks will be taking Shockwave. It’s very likely that it will remain a strong part of our single-target rotation, but it’s a necessity if we’re ever tanking anything else because our AoE repertoire is just too weak otherwise if we skip it. If you solely tank bosses, you can take Avatar – for everything else, it’s Shockwave.
So there you have it. If you are a raiding warrior, your choices will look like this and any deviation will require an awful lot of explaining:
Tier 1: Juggernaut.
Tier 2: Impending Victory.
Tier 3: Piercing Howl (possibly Throwdown).
Tier 4: Rude Interruption.
Tier 5: Deadly Calm.
Tier 6: Shockwave/Avatar (Protection/DPS).
Now of course, some people will disagree with me and that’s fine. I know these talents are only a first pass, I know you can switch talents out of combat, I know PvP has to be considered too, and I know they want rid of cookie cutter specs. The problem is that a cookie cutter is exactly what we’ve got with regards to PvE content because too many talents are either hopelessly situational on boss encounters, or completely and utterly useless.
In fact, we’ve ended up taking those bad talents because the alternatives are so poor.
The idea for the talent revamp is good. The implementation for warriors is dreadful.