Anyway, here’s what Mr. Street has said recently:
”I'd say that when you use cooldowns (even things like Battle Shout and Storm Bolt), it's fine to use every GCD, but that means there are times when you don't fill every GCD either.Now, in amongst some pretty confusing comments, this is actually good news.
We also don't have a problem with warriors eventually filling every GCD when they have the maximum amounts of haste and crit possible in the final tier of gear. But that needs to be an eventual destination, not where everyone starts in quest blues.
We don't want Arms to stand around waiting for 2-3 Mortal Strikes before being able to afford a Slam, even in quest blues. (We also don't think that's happening.) Once you have enough Rage to Slam regularly, then the only thing to spend Rage on is Heroic Strikes. Once you're able to hit Heroic Strike almost on cooldown, then there is no little room for warriors to scale with haste and crit (you'll get the extra damage of course, which is always nice, but you won't have the rage). We don't want to reach that point anytime soon.”
What, precisely, is the problem?
The problem with Arms, right at the moment, is the role of Slam in regards to Heroic Strike, particularly because Taste for Blood now buffs the latter rather than the former. What I’m basically saying is that Slam loses its place as primary rage dump in the Arms rotation because Heroic Strike will ALWAYS be a better button to use when buffed by Overpower (which is free). What this means is that the priority queue, though grossly simplified to make the point, looks a bit like this:
Mortal Strike > Colossus Smash > Overpower > Heroic Strike.
Now, the erudite will have noticed that this inserts gaps into the Arms rotation unless you’re picking up Stormbolt and using shouts, which you probably should be for PvE. The gap is introduced because Heroic Strike directly replaces Slam, but isn’t on the GCD and warriors won’t have the rage for Slam if they choose Heroic Strike. That’s something of a problem, particularly when even the in-game guide is telling you to use Slam and that Heroic Strike is purely for excess rage moments. Unfortunately, the rage gain isn’t fast enough for that to be the case so it’s simply better stacking up Taste for Blood as best as you can and then dumping everything into the meatiest Heroic Strike you can muster.
“Clunky” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Alas, I’ve waxed lyrically about GCD gaps before and I don’t wish to go over old ground. Why the developers are happy with that, when the players hate it, escapes me. But the real meat and potatoes of this post is found in the design intent for haste and the role of Slam.
So come on, Einstein, spell it out.
I heard you love quotes, so I’m going to re-quote a quote from my quote.
” We also don't have a problem with warriors eventually filling every GCD when they have the maximum amounts of haste and crit possible in the final tier of gear.”
There are three things to draw from this comment, really.
1) This is going to lead to double-dipping in later tiers, a prime cause of damage inflation that’ll need nerfed.
2) Haste might actually be a good stat for us prior to higher tiers with decent critical strike rating.
3) Are talents going to fluctuate in value depending on the gear you’re wearing? Is that a good thing?
I must admit that point one worries me greatly because it implies that the developers just don’t understand why warriors in high end gear scale the way they do. Not only does the higher strength or weapon damage from gear make everything hit harder, but our rageflow increases to the point where we can use Heroic Strike practically on cooldown. In fact, there’s going to be a TRIPLE-dip with the way this is going thanks to the higher Enrage uptime from critical strikes, higher haste rating meaning more rage from white damage (and higher baseline white damage) and all attacks simply hitting harder.
It’s all very well saying that it’s okay for that to be a destination and not the norm for the journey, but any warrior who’s played the class longer than a couple of years will know, precisely, how that turns out. Maybe the fact they’re planning for it to happen gives Blizzard confidence they can tune it correctly, but I’m comfortable guaranteeing that we’re going to see another expansion of continual nerfs.
Secondly, is haste finally going to move away from the naughty step? I’m honestly not sure. It wholly depends on how much it takes to see a noticeable difference in rage generation and whether or not the trade off in other statistics is worth it. But if the goal is maximizing rage gain, it’s going to be interesting to find out which route is best to take; the extra strikes from mastery, the higher Enrage uptime from critical strike rating, or the higher white attacks from haste. One thing is for sure, however – if all of them are doing essentially the same thing, which they pretty much are, the superior choice will be mathed out and we’ll all be stacking it.
The last point about this whole merry-go-round is the value of certain talents depending on the gear you’re in. It’s already been suggested that, actually, PvE damage on bosses will be maximised by warriors taking Stormbolt over Avatar or Bloodbath. As disappointing as it might be not to get to use Avatar, that doesn’t mean this is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could make the final tier talents much more of a “choice” than previously thought, assuming low-geared warriors are picking up Stormbolt in order to fill GCD’s and maximise PvE damage. Once you reach a stage where rage is coming in quickly enough to Slam whenever there’s a gap, the damage value of Stormbolt drops dramatically and will be overtaken by Avatar or Bloodbath. Also don’t forget other gear considerations such as one-use trinkets or weapons/enchants that proc. Stacking up as many cooldowns as possible is never a bad idea, so something that lines up nicely with the level 90 damage cooldowns could be more beneficial.
The key here, however, is design intent.
Truthfully, though, not much of that matters as much as the final part of Ghostcrawler’s post. He’s making it pretty clear that substituting Heroic Strike for Slam as the primary rage dump simply isn’t what the developers want Arms warriors to do. Read it again:
” We don't want Arms to stand around waiting for 2-3 Mortal Strikes before being able to afford a Slam, even in quest blues. (We also don't think that's happening.) Once you have enough Rage to Slam regularly, then the only thing to spend Rage on is Heroic Strikes.”
As ugly as the design is, we’re still looking at Slam being the rage dump of choice while Heroic Strike will simply be used when there’s more rage than you can handle. This means that we shouldn’t end up having to deal with a hole every 3rd GCD thanks to Heroic Strike simply being the better button, and Taste for Blood is there to buff up Heroic Strike so that you can game it for steady damage or perhaps build up the stack for that extra bit of burst during Colossus Smash. This is important because it means that it’s fair to assume that either Slam will be buffed or (more likely) Heroic Strike will be nerfed to ensure that warriors aren’t routinely subbing out Slam to hit Heroic Strike more often.
Unfortunately, there is a potential problem with this, despite my positivity. The way Slam works now, it jumps a place in our priority list; we essentially want to be going for Mortal Strike, Colossus Smash and THEN Slam. It comes before Overpower, which is now our filler. This is more akin to the model back during The Burning Crusade, but does imply that the only reason we would NOT use Slam is if we don’t have the rage for it. Hitting it back to back, assuming no delay to Mortal Strike or Colossus Smash, is absolutely the way to play. So… When are we going to have spare rage for Heroic Strike if we’re spending it on Slam as soon as we have it? If that’s why Taste for Blood was altered, it’s a very ugly solution to the problem and doesn’t really solve it. Sure, I can see the point in making Heroic Strike a competitive button to hit thanks to the detrimental desire of the developers to keep the attack in the game with this rage model. But it’s not achieving anything compelling as of this point in the beta because theory will dictate at what stack of Taste for Blood Heroic Strike beats Slam as a use of rage.
I’m going to wrap this up now because, as usual, I’m starting to ramble and have already gone on long enough. Suffice it to say, the new rage model has more kinks in it than I think the developers realised (or most other commentators, it must be said) and ironing them out has GOT to take priority. Fudging with the odd number here or there will only lead to a repeat of Cataclysm where hundreds of gold was tossed down the reforgers pit thanks to a series of buffs, nerfs and hotfixes that never let us settle. The current iteration of the Arms priority system just doesn’t feel intuitive and, frankly, is a bit of a nuisance to play.
Let’s hope a decent solution is found, and found soon. Starting a new expansion weaker than when you finished the last isn’t fun, and having a solid, interactive ability system replaced with a clunky and mod-reliant one will be extremely hard to take.