Furious Cataclysm: Warrior Cataclysm Preview

The Warrior class preview was just released with some interesting additions to their arsenal of stuns, as well as some rage management mechanics. See below for the full text:

Warrior Class Preview

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will bring with it several changes to class talents and abilities. Here you will get a glimpse into some of the changes we have in store for the warrior. The information you’re about to read is not complete, and is only meant to act as a preview for some of the exciting new things to come.

New Warrior Abilities

Inner Rage (Level 81): Whenever the character reaches a full 100 Rage, he or she will gain a buff that causes attacks to consume 50% more Rage and do 15% more damage for a short amount of time. This is a passive ability so it won’t need to be activated by the player. The goal for this ability is to provide a benefit for hitting max Rage instead of it feeling like a penalty. However, we also don’t want warriors to feel like they’re supposed to pool Rage and do nothing until they hit 100, so we’ll be closely monitoring how this plays out during the beta testing, and making adjustments as needed.

Gushing Wound (Level 83): This ability will apply a bleed effect to the target. If the target moves, the bleed gains an extra stack and refreshes its duration, up to a maximum of three stacks. The ability is currently planned to have no cooldown, cost 10 Rage, and have a 9-second duration. Gushing Wound is designed to be weaker than Rend with one stack, but better with three stacks, which will be reached when fighting a moving target.

Heroic Leap (Level 85): This ability makes the character leap at their target and apply the Thunder Clap ability to all enemies in the area when they land. Heroic Leap will be usable in Battle Stance and shares a cooldown with Charge, but the Juggernaut and Warbringer talents will allow Heroic Leap to be used in any stance and possibly while in combat. The cooldown for this ability might be longer than the Charge ability, but it will also apply a stun effect so you can make sure the target will still be there when you land.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to learning new abilities, you’ll see changes to other abilities and mechanics with which you’re already familiar. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • Heroic Strike will no longer be an “on next swing” attack, as we are removing this mechanic in Cataclysm. To keep the niche of Heroic Strike as a Rage dump, it will become an instant attack, but will cost between 10 and 30 Rage. This ability will not be usable until you have 10 Rage, but if you have more than 10, it will consume up to 30, adding additional damage for each point of Rage consumed above the base 10. Other abilities, such as Cleave, Execute, and Maul (for druids) will work similarly. The goal is to provide players with an option where if you can’t afford the Rage, you don’t push the button, but if you have excess Rage, you can push it a lot.
  • Battle Shout, Commanding Shout, and possibly Demoralizing Shout will work more like the death knight’s Horn of Winter ability. Specifically, these shouts will cost no resources, generate rage in addition to their current effects, and be on a short cooldown.
  • Whirlwind will hit an unlimited number of targets, but only for 50% of weapon damage. The intent is for this ability to be used in multi-target scenarios and not on single targets.
  • Overall, heals cast by players in Cataclysm will be a lower number relative to players’ health than the current game. So to make the Mortal Strike debuff less mandatory but still useful in PvP, Mortal Strike will reduce healing by only 20%. All equivalent debuffs, including the Shadow priest and Frost mage debuffs, will be for 20% less healing. At the moment we aren’t considering giving this debuff to anyone else, though we will certainly consider PvP utility for historically under-represented specs that use other mechanics.
  • Sunder Armor will be reduced to three stacks instead of five, and still provide only a 4% reduction in armor per stack. We want to make this debuff easier to apply and less of a damage swing when it falls off.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • The Furious Sundering talent in the Fury tree will make the Sunder Armor ability cause 25/50% weapon damage and reduce the threat generated by 50/100%.
  • The Mace and Poleaxe Specialization talents in the Arms tree will be removed. These provided just passive stats, which are not the kinds of talents we want to design in the future. We will keep the Sword Specialization talent, but it will be changed to a talent that applies to all types of weapons.
  • As a Fury talent, Booming Voice will increase the Rage generated by shouts.
  • While we like how Titan’s Grip plays, we recognize some warriors liked the Fury tree because of the really fast swings that dual-wielding one-handed weapons could provide. Therefore, we’re planning to try out a talent called Single-Minded Fury that is parallel to Titan’s Grip and will provide a large boost to the damage of a pair of one-handed weapons.
  • Several talents that reduce the Rage cost of abilities will be changed to focus on increased damage for those abilities instead.
  • The new Arms talent called Disarming Nature will make successful disarms cause the target to cower in fear for 5/10 seconds.
  • Another new Arms talent called Blitz will make the Charge ability hit for extra damage. The amount will possibly vary depending on the distance travelled.
  • Improved Pummel, a Fury talent, will cause a successful interrupt to generate 10/20 Rage.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Arms

  • Melee Damage
  • Armor Penetration
  • Bonus Swing

Bonus Swing: This is similar to the Sword Specialization talent that is currently in the game, but Bonus Swing will work on all attacks and with all weapons. You have a chance to proc a free, instant weapon swing that hits for 50% damage.

Fury

  • Melee Damage
  • Melee Haste
  • Enrage Intensity

Enrage Intensity: Every benefit of being enraged is increased. This includes doing more damage/healing/ etc. from abilities like Bloodrage, Death Wish, Enrage, Berserker Rage, and Enraged Regeneration.

Protection

  • Damage Reduction
  • Vengeance
  • Critical Block Chance

Critical Block Chance: As we mentioned in the stat changes preview, block rating is changing to a chance to block 30% of a melee swing’s damage. Protection warriors have a chance that the block will be a critical block and block for 60% of a melee swing’s damage instead. There will likely be talents available to push the amount blocked even higher.

Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Protection tree, so you won’t see Arms or Fury warriors running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is for all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

“All equivalent debuffs” means if you have the debuff today, you will have it in Cataclysm, but at 20% healing received. To avoid further confusion, we are talking about Mortal Strike, Furious Strikes, Wound Poison, Aimed Shot, Permafrost and Improved Mind Blast.

We are also strongly considering having all of these effect cause the same debuff, called Mortal Wounds, which is a physical effect and therefore undispellable. This allows the behavior to be more consistent regardless of who is applying it and lets us consider things like how easy it should be to dispel poisons (since Mortal Wounds would not be affected).

Heals will be smaller and health pools will be larger in Cataclysm, so we don’t expect Mortal Wounds to feel as mandatory as it does today, but this is clearly the kind of thing that will require a lot of playtesting and feedback.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

Almost all dots will crit. The exception will be things like Deep Wounds and Ignite because those are already the product of a crit. Rend will crit.

We are really striving for scaling parity for the various specs and classes. This means that stats like haste and crit can’t be awesome for some characters and terrible for others. Most abilities need to benefit from haste and crit.

——————
Bornakk >>

Here are some follow ups based on what is being discussed.

Q: Will the rotation for a Fury Warrior just be Bloodthirst and Slam with Heroic Strike to burn off rage?
A: We think Fury is going to end up needing another attack in there for single-target fights. Furious Sundering was intended more as having to Sunder being less of a penalty, but at only 3 stacks, it may not end up being a big deal and we don’t want Fury to feel like they have to purchase a talent that they may not always use. We don’t want Whirlwind to be a good button against single targets however. It essentially gets “free” damage against groups of targets when it’s effective at using against single targets. It’s okay if warriors still do more damage in fights where they can use Cleave and similar attacks often, but right now it’s too extreme.

Q: Are one-handed Fury warriors going to be competing with rogues for one-handed weapons?
A: This is unlikely. Rogues and shaman will want one-handers with Agility, while warriors and death knights will want them with Strength. I won’t be surprised when one of these classes picks up the other’s weapon as it could be an upgrade simply based on the damage, but it won’t be optimal.

Q: Why are warriors not getting some kind of AoE tanking tool?
A: We think the newly buffed Thunder Clap plus Shockwave are sufficient abilities for AoE tanking. The design of Vengeance should make sure that threat generation doesn’t start to slip behind as the dps characters gear up. It’s not our intention that tanks face a constant struggle to generate enough threat, even in group situations, but we also don’t want threat to be totally irrelevant either. The danger for tanking too many creatures should also be tank death not threat management.

Q: Is only Sunder Armor being changed?
A: Rogue Expose Armor and other abilities that apply a similar debuff are being changed accordingly. They will all provide the same debuff at 12% armor reduction.

Q: What about rage loss when changing stances?
A: We still want the act of changing stances to require more consideration than just clicking two buttons to use the ability you want. One idea we are going to explore is that you don’t lose rage when you change stances, but you won’t gain additional rage for a short period of time after changing. This lets you say swap to do an Execute without losing your rage bar, but still keeps the idea that shifting constantly comes with inherent efficiency risks.

Q: Is the intent of Gushing Wound that warriors constantly ask for targets to be kited around?
A: No, it’s intended to be a bonus when you’re in an encounter where the target either moves around a lot (Ex. BONNNNE STORMMMM-ing Marrowgar) or just has to be moved around a lot (say Lich King). Warriors shouldn’t have the expectation of forcing every PvE opponent to move but it would be entertaining to watch this (from a third party perspective). 🙂

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

Are you talking about Arms vs. Fury? That’s not that hard. Arms can have a talent to let them generate more rage with a two-hander or require less rage for their attacks.

Are you talking about 2H Fury vs. 1H Fury? The Single-Minded Fury talent could literally say “Your one-handed weapons do damage as if they were two-handed weapons.” The talent gives us a dial and we can tune it up or down for whatever we need.

It’s much easier to make dual-wielding one-handers and dual-wielding two-handers do equitable damage than it is to make dual-wielding one-handers and using a single two-hander do equitable damage, if that makes sense.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

The kinds of talents we want to eliminate are the ones that say “You do 5% more damage.” Unending Fury is pretty close to that because it buffs the attacks Fury warriors use the most. On the other hand, Flurry is a pretty unambiguous dps increase, but it does it in a way that’s a little more interesting. A talent tree that didn’t buff damage of a dps spec at all would feel lame. We just want to free up enough talent points that you can get more of the fun utility ones.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

I understand the appeal of threat management from a logical sense, and your point about it being engaging to everyone is compelling, but in application we find that it’s one of those things that a lot of players just don’t find fun. The UI doesn’t do a great job of explaining threat, and even if we could build a UI to portray it in a more exciting way (which to be fair, we probably could) it’s still a pretty intangible concept compared to damage and healing so I’m not sure it would feel great even then.

Many DPS players don’t like the mechanic that there’s this higher level of damage they could achieve if only they weren’t constantly being throttled by this one dude up in front. It often ends up feeling not like the group is overcoming a challenge together, but that the dude in front needs to get his act together. It just makes tanks feel weak. When the raid dies because the boss hammered the tank, then that feels cooperative because it’s the raid vs. the boss. When the raid wipes because the warlock got aggro, then it feels like it’s the tank vs. the warlock (or maybe the raid vs. the warlock or the raid vs. the tank).

We always see a lot of negative feedback from tanks when they feel like they can’t hold aggro. To be sure some of that is relative when the warrior sees the paladin generate more threat, but it’s also a pretty constant source of friction for tanks when they feel like they don’t have the tools they need for the job. You can write that off as casuals who just want free epics, but I think we see “we can’t generate enough threat” feedback more than we see “please nerf this boss; he’s too hard” feedback.

Really, we’re talking about relative degrees though. No warrior tank should be able to Thunder Clap and then go get a beer because they’re going to then maintain aggro no matter what. In the situations where that happens today I think it’s because of overtuned abilities like Tricks or Misdirect (or sometimes tank abilities themselves).

Perhaps put more succinctly, a lot of tank players just seem to find the survival game more fun than the threat game.

I know that’s slightly off topic, but I respect Vontre’s opinions and wanted to go into a little more detail.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

I’m sure we’ll end up saying similar things several times this week, but if it helps, imagine that every number in the game either doubles or gets divided by half at random. In other words, you don’t know how much damage or even how much crit a (theoretical, since we’re curtting it) Poleaxe spec talent would provide you anymore. You don’t know whether cutting it is a buff or a nerf. Since you aren’t armed with that information, all you can really provide is whether the chance to get an extra swing is more fun than a talent that just increases your damage.

I can understand some of the confusion. When we do patches like 3.3 or even 3.3.3 then it makes sense to view everything through the lens of the current status quo. This isn’t one of those patches. You are gaining more levels. Stats are changing. Many things are changing. Don’t assume that numbers that we don’t strictly call out will stay at all the same. In fact, you can probably assume the opposite. 🙂

Mechanics probably will stay the same unless specified otherwise. For example, you don’t need to go as far as to say “Who knows if warriors will even use axes in Cataclysm?” They almost certainly will. But speculating on whether axe spec or sword spec would cause more damage in Cataclysm is fraught with risk.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

I think too many of you are focusing on the Thunder Clap portion of Heroic Leap.

Imagine instead the tooltip said “Leap into combat, crushing all enemies within the landing area for massive damage and slowing their attack speed for 10 sec.”

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

Inner Rage isn’t supposed to feel kiss / curse. It’s supposed to feel like a limit break or similar video game analogy. When I get to 100 rage, I go into overdrive mode and cause even more damage. Rather than hitting max rage being a problem (because I’m wasting resources I could be gaining) it’s something fun instead.

We put in some of that extra explanation because we don’t want warriors to feel like the right way to play is to do nothing until they have 100 rage and then start having fun. It’s supposed to feel like getting a string of crits or eating a big hit or something translate into higher damage for a short time.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

No, the whole point is to get to use the faster one-handed weapons. The talent just needs to boost the damage so that it feels competitive with Titan’s Grip.

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

No, it will do massive damage and apply the Thunder Clap debuff. That’s like saying Bladestorm is just Whirlwind with a little CC immunity thrown in, so why do we need another Whirlwind?

——————
Ghostcrawler >>

On the topic of Heroic Leap, understand that these are not patch notes. They’re previews. These abilities have not been extensively tested yet, and to be totally honest, several of them haven’t even been implemented yet. We wanted to share with you the direction we’re headed in while there was still plenty of time for feedback and iteration. While we like all of the new abilities we’re discussing, there’s certainly a chance not all of them will make it to ship.

If Heroic Leap needs to be used out of combat or in different stances or to not share a cooldown with Charge in order to be awesome, then that’s certainly the kind of thing we’re willing to try.

It’s a struggle with previews like this to provide enough context (things like limitations and even numbers) so you get the idea of where we’re going with a spell or mechanic without getting everyone over-focused on those details. (As another example, warriors dismissing Inner Rage because they think the numbers aren’t tuned perfectly.)

At the moment, we’re focused on making fun abilities. As the beta progresses, we’ll worry more about the tuning.

Some points that caught my eye, in respect to possible paladin changes:

Vengeance: This is a mechanic to ensure that tank damage (and therefore threat) doesn’t fall behind as damage-dealing classes improve their gear during the course of the expansion. All tanking specs will have Vengeance as their second talent tree passive bonus. Whenever a tank gets hit, Vengeance will give them a stacking attack power buff equal to 5% of the damage done, up to a maximum of 10% of the character’s un-buffed health. For boss encounters, we expect that tanks will always have the attack power bonus equal to 10% of their health. The 5% and 10% bonuses assume 51 talent points have been put into the Protection tree. These values will be smaller at lower levels. Remember, you only get this bonus if you have spent the most talent points in the Protection tree, so you won’t see Arms or Fury warriors running around with it. Vengeance will let us continue to make tank gear more or less the way we do today – there will be some damage-dealing stats, but mostly survival-oriented stats. Druids typically have more damage-dealing stats even on their tanking gear, so their Vengeance benefit may be smaller, but overall the goal is for all four tanks do about the same damage when tanking.

As I’m sure there will be some threat drop for Protection Paladins; however with this Vengeance mechanic being placed for “All tanking specs” it may be likely that Paladins will be getting something much the same.

Gushing Wound looks to be something that Blizzard will need to balance.  I’m sure there will be a good bit of this being spammed during PvP, and as such constant powerful bleed effects may not ever drop.  The reason I say this, is because the stacks increase after the target moves.  Well, if that target moves, increasing the bleed to 3 stacks, and is able to heal through it until it drops (9 sec), all the Warrior has to do is apply it again, as it has no cooldown.

Heroic Leap appears to be a fancy AoE stun charge.  I can see it being useful, but situational.

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One thought on “Furious Cataclysm: Warrior Cataclysm Preview

  1. Pingback: Class Previews « Illumination

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