One way of doing that has been the separation of individual spec abilities, and that’s been largely successful. Another way has been certain talents directly replacing baseline skills (also the case with abilities you get at later levels). That, too, has been successful in the main.
What’s not so great is the fact that there are still a lot of places where things can easily be culled without any real impact on gameplay.
Let me tell you what I mean.
But what is “bloat”?
I think it’s a definition that needs a bit of care, considering it means something different to different people and that many of my calls here are bound by subjective assessment. But for the sake of argument, let’s say “bloat” is defined as skills or abilities that aren’t compelling, see extremely situational use, are weak, tag onto a role already fulfilled or, worse, have no real role at all.
Despite the occasionally extreme changes to the class as things stand on beta, warriors are still being hampered by a significant amount of bloat that just doesn’t need to be there anymore. Personally, I’d rather it bit the dust and we just got on with the game as it stands today for certain other classes; a streamlined experience that’s easy to pick up, hard to master and fun to play.
So what’s bloating our bars right now?
It’s difficult to know where to start, so forgive this disjointed presentation.
- Recklessness and Deadly Calm
Recklessness currently retains its place as the game’s worst DPS cooldown, and the recently re-introduced Deadly Calm isn’t far ahead of it. Both are extremely underwhelming cooldowns on their own, and their dissimilar refresh times make them awkward to stack without planning an entire encounter out before hand.
Then you toss Avatar, Skull Banner and trinkets on top and warriors are sat with a needless number of personal cooldowns before even bothering to consider external DPS contributors such as Bloodlust or Time Warp.
Roll the effects of Deadly Calm into Recklessness, drop the cooldown to three minutes, and ditch Deadly Calm altogether.
- Demoralizing Shout, Die by the Sword and Disarm
I’m honestly not sure what to make of all this. Demoralizing Shout was brought back in to give Protection warriors an extra low-cost rotational cooldown, while Arms and Fury already had one in the shape of Die by the Sword. The fact that they’re essentially doing what Disarm could do if it worked on bosses makes both essentially pointless.
Now, it’s understood that the effects are different – Demoralizing Shout will affect the damage output of everything in range, Die by the Sword is a straight damage reduction buff to the warrior (with double the cooldown) and Disarm only works on a single-target, but we’re still looking at three cross-spec abilities that are essentially doing the same thing.
Once again, look over what else is available. All three specs have Shield Wall and all three can use Demoralizing Banner if they so wish. If we’re going to assume that Demoralizing Banner and Demoralizing Shout don’t stack (which I don’t think they will), then that devalues both for tanks.
I’d keep Disarm and ditch the other two.
Obviously, “Disarm” on its own wouldn’t provide the same benefit as two technically superior cooldowns, so turn it into a shout that hits everything in range and reduces the damage of everyone hearing it by 20%. Put this on a 60 second cooldown, give it a 30 yard range, make it work on bosses, and it’s good to go.
Ultimatum was slotted into the Protection toolkit as a means of making up for the loss of Sword and Board from Devastate. Basically, the fast-paced and reactive nature of Sword and Board was something the developers didn’t want to see the back of, so Ultimatum was born.
Now, Sword and Board is back on Devastate and Revenge has no cooldown. The rotation is as fast-paced as its ever been, so Ultimatum literally has no role. It’s a proc that does absolutely nothing, other than add damage to a spec that doesn’t value that damage whatsoever.
We don’t need the single-target help of Heroic Strike, and our AoE repertoire doesn’t need Cleave. I’d rather the damage from them was put into our other Protection-specific attacks and tanks were spared the need for Heroic Strike and Cleave entirely.
They’re not necessary and provide nothing in regards to defence.
- Last Stand and Rallying Cry
I know many people will dislike the suggestion of removing a warrior raid cooldown but, frankly, this is more of an overarching game change I’m suggesting here. Last Stand is a major cooldown for warriors, so I’d never suggest it be cut, but Rallying Cry is essentially a weaker version of it for the entire raid – and, all told, a pretty weak raid cooldown.
But why remove raid utility?
Because I think ONLY healers should have raid cooldowns.
At this point in the game, the number of raid cooldowns floating around is just too many and causes needless class favouritism. I’ve always said that the root cause of this for Cataclysm is Divine Guardian for Protection paladins and Tranquillity for all druids; in fact, the evidence for this could be seen by Paragon simply stacking druids in tiers 11 and 12 because of this awesomely powerful spell.
But protecting a raid group is surely the job of the healers.
If Divine Guardian was given to Holy paladins (and Aura Mastery ditched), Discipline priests would keep Power Word: Barrier, Holy priests would keep Divine Hymn, Restoration druids would retain Tranquillity and Restoration shamans would keep Spirit-Link Totem. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m not sure about monks yet.
In that world, warriors would have no need of Rallying Cry and encounters could be designed more freely. Pretty much every encounter in Cataclysm has called for raid cooldowns and it’s a trend I’d like to see nipped in the bud by curtailing the number of raid cooldowns in the game and making them more meaningful as a result.
- Avatar Vs War Banners
Truthfully, I dislike the War Banner idea and find it even more unpalatable that there are three options. For the same reason I dislike Balance druid Mushrooms, it’s just too many button clicks for my taste and it’s too much needless bloat.
Avatar, on the other hand, is awesome. Yes, it’s a warmed-through version of Deathwish, but it plugs the gap for a tanking damage cooldown as well as representing an iconic ability from Warcraft 3.
Therefore, I’d make Avatar the level 88 trained ability and make a banner tier of talents. If we go with a choice between the three banners already in existence it would be a start, but as talents (and only being able to get one) they are free to be buffed and become something far more exciting than the three anaemic options we’re currently running with. Skull Banner is probably okay, but the Mocking and Demoralizing options are really quite lacklustre.
And don’t forget, the Mocking Banner looks like something that’s just begging to be exploited.
So, yeah, that’s about it for now; this post is running most verbose. There are other tweaks and streamlines that I’d like to see the developers grapple with across classes other than just warriors, but we seem to be veering into a world of broken up specializations but no less bloat on our action bars.
That would be very odd indeed.