Archive for July 22nd, 2008:
I’ve gone over tradeskills in the last post, now let’s roll our warrior and get rocking.
You start as a piddly level 1 warrior with your bread and butter skills: auto-attack and Heroic Strike. Until you get more interesting options, Heroic Strike will be your ‘yellow’ main attack form. It’s not too exciting, but also not too bad. It costs quite a bit of rage, and rage will be your most precious commodity. While leveling we will focus on getting very rage-friendly talents.
At level 2, you learn your first new skill, your first shout: Battle Shout. More attack power means more damage means mobs dead faster. Throughout your warrior career, keep Battle Shout up at all times. Level 4 finds you with one of the most defining warrior skills: Charge! This is usually the point where you first say ‘Zomg, this is awesome!’ At least I hope you do. Your playstyle will change from body-pulling to charging into mobs, for extra-rage. Be careful when you charge though, multiple mobs standing closely together make for a very dead promising warrior. You also get Rend, a very underwhelming DoT effect, but because you have nothing else, you’ll want to use it.
At level 6 you get Thunderclap, at level 8 Hamstring. Basic play-style at that point will be to Charge, Rend, Heroic Strike and if it’s a runner Hamstring. Use excess rage for refreshing Battle Shout after the mob is dead to keep it up on you. If you fight more than one mob, use Thunderclap to slow their pummeling of you down a bit.
At level 10, a new chapter in the life of your warrior begins: you will receive Defensive Stance, and all the tanking skills that come with it. It also means that at this time, you will be able to slap sword and board on and tank in groups. For solo-utility, you will continue to use Battle Stance, and the biggest 2-H weapon you can find. Warriors are very gear-dependent, so try to have max-damage weapons appropriate to your level. While you’re in the capital city of your choice, make sure to visit the weapon trainers and learn all weapons. You can learn all of them, and there will be a time you will find a use for them. Make sure that you know Thrown/Bows/Guns and get ammo if necessary, you will need to be able to pull. As much fun as Charge is, it can get lethal charging into groups.
Talents from 10-19:
10-14 Cruelty – the one talent that warriors of all specs have maxed. More crit = more damage = dead mobs.
15-19 Unbridled Wrath – A chance to get extra rage when hitting a mob. Every little point of rage matters.
While you will still learn a lot of new abilities on your road to 20, few of them have real solo-utility while leveling. Overpower can only be used when your mob dodges. If you miss too many Overpower situations, try using something like Scrolling Combat Text, which will pop up an Overpower message on your screen when it’s available. Use it, it’s nice when you get the opportunity to use it. You also learn Shield Bash. When fighting caster mobs, slap on a shield and bash them to interrupt casting. Every warrior should own Sword&Board, despite leveling Arms or Fury. Get used to lugging different sets of gear around. Demoralizing Shout is a helpful debuff, just like Thunderclap apply it in situations when you are facing multiple mobs, otherwise, save the rage for more offensive skills.
Talents from 20-29:
20-24 Commanding Presence – You want this for its AP boost for Battle Shout. Of course that’s only useful if you keep Battle Shout up at all times. You know you want to.
25-29 Enrage – A must talent as pre-req for Flurry. Again, it boosts your damage, because mobs will crit you while you’re on your own.
Level 20 is a real landmark for the leveling warrior. Dual-wield will become available! Toss out the slow 2-H weapon and get two weapons. Slow speed works better for one-hand weapons for fury warriors, but anything will do to start out with. Don’t be discouraged when DW doesn’t seem like a huge damage-boost right from the start, your miss rate will be fairly high. You will push the DPS once you get to the appropriate talent in the fury tree. More offensive goodies are Cleave, which replaces Heroic Strike when you’re fighting multiple mobs, Retaliation for those moments when you’re really desperate (30 minute cooldown). Intimidating Shout is another useful solo-skill for desperate moments. Got jumped by four mobs? Fear three of them, kill one, run away. Last but not least, you get Execute at 24, another of those skills you never want to be without again. Once the mob is under 20% health, you get to use all of your current rage in a very powerful attack that’s often enough to kill the mob.
Talents from 30-39:
30-34 – Dual Wield Specialization for a major boost of your offhand damage, a no-brainer for fury warriors
35-39 – Flurry is often considered the defining skill of a fury warrior. You will be very crit-heavy (even my prot warrior has over 30% crit), and crits will make you attack faster. Snag it!
Once you’ve made it through the dark and death-heavy 20s, a new dawn is ahead of you, the age of the berserker. At level 30 you will receive a fun quest that sends you to Fray Island off the Ratchet coast, where you will have to best a few fighters in a fight club style setting. As reward you will receive berserker stance. Also, you will receive the Whirlwind warrior weapon quest, which disappointingly favors the 2H weapon warriors, which if you use this leveling guide won’t be of any use to you.
All the new abilities you receive in your 30s are berserker stance abilities. Along with the stance you will receive Slam, the only warrior ability with a cast time. There are some powerful Arms/Fury builds out there that utilize a mix of Mortal Strike and Slam, but for DW-warriors, Slam is less interesting. I might be wrong on that account, I just never played around with it. You will also receive Intercept. Think of Charge but mid-fight, that’s what Intercept does. At level 32, you will learn Berserker Rage. It will make you generate more rage from damage, and you’re immune to fear et al. More rage is a good thing, and the fear immunity makes this very powerful for PvP. At level 36 you will receive Whirlwind, another bread and butter skill for any fury warrior. At level 38 you will receive Pummel which finally means you won’t need a shield for interrupts any longer.
Basic playstyle in your 30s: Charge, Thunderclap, Demoralizing Shout if necessary. Then you switch to Berserker Stance, Heroic Strike, Whirlwind whenever it’s up, all the good offensive abilities. This will get even easier in the 40s, but for now, it’s already quite the nice boost. Combat will feel more fast-paced. Just be careful. Fighting in berserker stance also means you take more damage.
Part III of this guide will cover levels 40-70. Don’t be shy with questions, comments or pointing out blatant misconceptions on my side.
That leveling guide page, it’s been taunting me. I promised I’d write this, and I have to start sometime. My original plan was to level a warrior alongside this guide, but I am full on characters on Bronzebeard and don’t feel like picking another realm. I have leveled three warriors, so I should be able to do this, right?
All the information I am posting here will be compiled on the guide page.
The premise: you want to level a warrior. Your endgame goal might be tanking or DPS or PvP, but you want to reach 70 the fastest you can.
A problem: warriors aren’t that easy to level. They have very few skills that make soloing easier. They have no pet, no stealth, no heals, no totems, nothing to drop aggro once they have it. All a warrior has is a weapon (or two), a relatively large health pool and bandages.
Tradeskills: First Aid is a no-brainer, you have to be on your road to trauma surgeon right from the start. Same for cooking. As warrior, you go through food like crazy, and you will appreciate buff-food from the get-go. As leveling cooking is easiest when combined with fishing, another no-brainer. Yes, I know, fishing is kinda dull, but it’s good free food. Okay, we’ve covered the secondary skills.
Primary trade skills are a bit tougher. At the moment I would totally recommend alchemy as the trade that has to offer a warrior the most. Health pots, guardian and battle elixirs, later flasks. Easy to max, invaluable while leveling. Blacksmithing might seem the logical choice, but in reality, you will not really use much of the gear BS can make until Outland. The top of the line weapons that axe/sword/hammer smiths get are awesome, as is the top-armor that armorsmiths can make (though totally not worth it for tanks). It’s excruciating and expensive to level past 350. If your endgame goal as warrior is DPS, being a weaponsmith can be beneficial. If you intend to be a tank, not worth it. Your mileage may vary.
Another option would be engineering. Free ammo, bombs, explosive sheep, and goggles. Everyone loves goggles. Also, at level 70 you get a roflcopter + ezmode mote farming. Not a bad option.