Say hello to the new DPS warrior or, more accurately, Retribution 2.0.
And that would be fine if Retribution was actually, you know, any fun to play. It’s not. Arms, in particular, has been robbed of a fast-paced, proc-enhanced priority queue and been granted a monotonous, cooldown-reliant rotation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; why on earth did Blizzard choose to overhaul one of the most universally successful melee specs and turn it into something that the vast majority of players hated?
Wait, Retribution 2.0?
Take a look at how Retribution currently plays. It’s essentially a proc-reliant static rotation built around a resource builder (Crusader Strike) and resource spender (Templar’s Verdict), where the player is continually fishing for filler procs (Judgement, Holy Wrath, Exorcism or even Consecration) to keep gaps out of said rotation. There’s also a DoT automatically applied in the form of Censure, something that is designed to keep down PvP burst while adding sustained PvE damage. There’s a maintenance buff to consider (Inquisition) as well as multiple damage cooldowns to burn through (Zealotry, Avenging Wrath and Guardian of Ancient Kings). Despite what looks like a slew of abilities to use, there are still continuous gaps found in this rotation because you simply can’t guarantee that you’ll always get a proc when you need one.
For me, this induces a dull and punitive playstyle that’s essentially reliant on mods. Every time you have nothing to hit you feel like you’ve made an error somewhere, and damage is tuned around those big, bursty cooldowns.
Now, let’s look at the 5.0 Arms warrior.
It’s essentially a proc-reliant static rotation built around a resource builder (Mortal Strike [Bloodthirst]) and resource spender (Slam [Wild Strike]), where the player is continually fishing for filler procs (Overpower [Raging Blow, Bloodsurge], Colossus Smash, shouts or talents) to keep gaps out of said rotation. There’s also a DoT automatically applied in the form of Deep Wounds, something that is designed to keep down PvP burst while adding sustained PvE damage. There’s a maintenance buff to consider (Enrage) as well as multiple damage cooldowns to burn through (Deadly Calm, Recklessness, Avatar/Bloodbath). Despite what looks like a slew of abilities to use, there are still continuous gaps found in this rotation because you simply can’t guarantee that you’ll always get a proc when you need one.
Does that paragraph look familiar?
Warriors are becoming a dull and punitive DPS class that’s reliant on mods and feels like you’ve made a mistake every time a gap appears in the rotation. Damage is tuned around those big, bursty cooldowns as well as an Execute that hits far too hard currently.
On top of all that, we’ll also be tuned against optimal Heroic Strike usage which (for Arms) shafts the very role the attack was designed to fill.
When Blizzard looks at Arms and Retribution throughout Cataclysm, did they REALLY conclude that Retribution was the superior spec in terms of design and enjoyment?
Now, folks, please understand that this isn’t me whaling on Retribution. I totally understand that many people love the way it plays these days, find it a million miles better than it was in WotLK or TBC and are looking forward to how it’s being expanded for 5.0. Honestly, that’s fine.
But I hate it.
It feels slow, clunky and nowhere near as interactive as Arms. And whether or not you agree with that assessment, it’s MY assessment; it’s why I don’t play Retribution and why I do play Arms. It’s why I play a warrior and not a paladin. Blizzard has GOT to understand that warriors are not paladins, paladins are not warriors and that the two should never be this close together in terms of design and playstyle. Arms evolved into what Tom Cruise would describe as “a blast”, and this redesign (which was completely unwarranted) is a massive retrograde step.
This is my suggestion:
The biggest problem with the new system is that it’s clunky and does a half-assed job of implementing what you seem to think works. Retribution, for example, can use its Holy Power on Templar’s Verdict (Slam/Wild Strike), but it also has the option of Word of Glory (Victory Rush, assuming you take it).
The problem is that pallies also burn Holy Power with Inquisition (Enrage), a maintenance buff that warriors have to manage via RNG, or a completely separate cooldown in Berserker Rage. Worse than that, we have two attacks (Slam/Wild Strike and Heroic Strike) that are competing for exactly the same role.
You’ve used Retribution for the new warrior DPS model, but only gone two thirds of the way and not fixed the scaling problem that is being re-introduced via higher Enrage uptimes later in the expansion. Why couldn’t Enrage be a more easily manageable buff by allowing you to spend rage on it, while making Slam free and keeping Heroic Strike as the attack you bleed rage off with when Enrage is already up?
Let me paint an example.
Let’s say that Mortal Strike/Bloodthirst, Overpower/Raging Blow and Slam/Wild Strike all build rage, but at a far lower rate than what they currently do – something like 8, 6 and 2 respectively, with auto-attacks granting one rage per swing. Colossus Smash is armour penetration, so it will remain free and build no rage; it’s a proc-enhanced buff to our other attacks. At thresholds of 30, 60 and 90, the warrior can use his rage to activate Enrage, a maintenance buff similar to Inquisition that increases attack speed and/or the damage of our main attacks. While Enrage is up, excess rage is spent on Heroic Strike or Cleave which can have as high a rage cost as you think it’s worth tuning for.
This does three things:
1) It stops Slam and Heroic Strike from competing with one another.
2) It allows Heroic Strike to be used more as the expansion goes on.
3) It removes the ugly gaps nobody wants, while keeping up the priority queue we’ve grown to love.
Added benefits allow you to revert Berserker Rage to a fear breaker and remove Deadly Calm entirely. Basically, because it’s crap.
But, we needn’t stop there. Warriors can also burn rage on their more defensive minded abilities such as Enraged Regeneration or Victory Rush. Rather than messing with the Protection toolkit for active mitigation, this can be used to add to it by providing tanks with a choice of an instant heal for a smaller rage cost, or a heal-over-time with a larger rage cost that could work similarly to Enrage.
That (in my opinion) would be more sophisticated design than what we’re stuck with, an absolute nightmare that’s no fun to play whatsoever and is, if you can believe it, a WORSE version of the Retribution model we’re being structured to imitate.
Please. I’m begging you, Ghostcrawler and the warrior development team. Don’t let this go live. It’s horrible. I’m absolutely desperate to stick with my warrior in MoP because it’s the class I’m known for playing, my whole online persona is built around it and leaving it behind would be an emotionally difficult thing to do, akin to an act of severe disloyalty.
But you’re giving me no choice. You’re destroying what I loved about my class and spec, and turning it into something I consider abject. Even if you think the design is perfectly good and you disagree with every conclusion I’ve drawn here, we already have this design with the Retribution paladin; we absolutely do not need another class to mirror it.
It’s not too late.