After finally being able to get back onto the beta last night without crashing as soon as I saw the ground, I thought it was time to spend a bit of time with Fury; the red-headed warrior spec as far as concerns me, and the spec I’ve pretty much always hated. I didn’t like it in either WotLK or Cataclysm, largely because of its reliance on Heroic Strike in the former and reliance on procs in the latter.
I was also anxious to see how the changes to Battle Stance affected the rage generation of my white swings, as that was another big problem I always had with Fury – rage starvation. Now, I’m totally comfortable with the fact that my problems stemmed from my own inability to play the spec well, so whinging about that isn’t a route I’ll go down. But given the fact I was going to mess with a spec that I’d disliked since picking up World of Warcraft, as well as a warrior development team that’s floundered with warriors in general in recent times, I wasn’t expecting much.
I’m happy to admit that I was proven wrong.
It didn’t get off to a great start, though. The first thing I noticed was that Bloodthirst had upped its cooldown to a whopping six seconds, meaning I had to find two fillers for every Bloodthirst. With Wild Strike effectively replacing Slam and not much else seemingly changing, was that going to be fun? Nay! But it turns out that there are a couple of ways that this is dealt with:
1) Wild Strike has no cast time, meaning that it can be used as a filler assuming you have the rage. This wasn’t the case with Slam.
2) On a Bloodsurge proc, fitting in the three Wild Strikes makes the proc itself line up perfectly with Bloodthirst coming off cooldown.
In other words, Bloodsurge is the reason for the Bloodthirst cooldown increase, while simultaneously avoiding an overlap with it. This is tidy design, and changes Fury (for me, anyway) from being a proc-reliant and frustrating mess of a spec to a proc-enhanced priority system with lots of options. Anyone playing a Vengeance Sith warrior (or Jedi counterpart) in the Old Republic will be familiar with this, using Sundering Assault as your metronome and finding two fillers for every SA cooldown. And if you’re lucky enough to get a Bloodsurge proc, you’ll find Wild Strike to be a FILLER WITH FEELING, BABY, YEAH.
The point I’m trying to make is that Bloodsurge procs “feel” furious, as you try and zerk in three swings rather than two. The other options include our old friends Raging Blow, Colossus Smash and Battle/Commanding Shout, but stance restrictions biting the dust also mean that things such as Thunderclap can be slotted in if you’re lacking the rage for the standard fillers. The real magic of the new Fury, however, is that Wild Strike itself can be a filler, whether Bloodsurge has procced or not.
All told, I really like this direction because there’s always an option outside of Bloodthirst. The only thing that could have messed this up would have been rage income being low enough to hamstring your options, but that’s blessedly not the case at the moment either. In fact, if anything, I’d say the new version of Battle Stance is a little too generous with rage and will likely cause the dreaded Heroic Strike spam which we’ve been trying to get away from unsuccessfully for years.
At time of writing, the only real misgiving I have is the availability of Raging Blow due to low uptime of enrage. I pretty much had to have Berserker Rage permanently on cooldown just to get an enrage going, thanks to low innate critical strike rating. This is frustrating, but it also makes the nasty spectre of high gear inflation waltz onto the horizon. As gear improves and Fury warriors reforge as much into critical strike rating as they can in order to improve enrage uptime, lower geared warriors will end up hammered, yet again, as their geared fellows get their damage reined back in.
I’d probably prefer a Raging Blow model that isn’t tied to enrage, but I don’t have enough of a feel for the spec yet to really idealise how that might work.
All told, there’s a lot to like with this as things stand. If you’re a long-term Fury warrior there isn’t enough change to make the spec feel alien, but if you’ve shunned dual-wielding to this point I’d recommend giving the new Fury a go because I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Naturally, I’m really interested in hearing from longer term Fury warriors and getting their view on the subject – particularly those who’ve tried it on beta or done a bit of external assessment.
You might like it.