Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions: State of the Warriors



Welcome back to the second installment of the Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions series. This series will span the Battle for Azeroth Alpha and will cover multiple topics including but not limited to the state of a class, questing, dungeons, raids and Mythic+. We will focus on a specific topic every week and for this second week, we’ve decided to delve into the Warrior specs! Let us know what you think of this type of article in the comments.

We’ve invited some members of the community to give their thoughts and opinions on the current state of the Warrior specs on Alpha including, but not limited to some of the following topics:

  • New and replaced spells and talents
  • Losing artifact traits and legendaries
  • Feedback from Legion
  • The current state on Alpha
Please remember that these are opinions. You may not agree with the opinions stated in this article and you are welcome to your own opinion to the state of the class and spec. As this is our first time doing an article like this, we are starting out with a small number of community members. Please feel free to leave any feedback regarding this type of article in the comments.

Battle for Azeroth is currently in Alpha and things are subject to change at any point.

Numerous talent changes and reorganized baseline abilities, Overpower replaces Colossus Smash and Colossus Smash replaces Battle Cry, though the Legion play style remains the same.
Specialization

  • Arms Warrior   Apply Aura: Modifies Damage/Healing Done by 10% 0%.
  • REMOVED Recklessness   Lets loose a battle cry, granting 100% increased critical strike chance for 5 sec.
    Name changed from Battle Cry to Recklessness
    Specializations changed from Arms/Fury/Protection to Fury/Protection
  • REMOVED Cleave   Strikes all enemies in front of you with a sweeping attack for 90%(48.36% of Attack power} Physical damage, inflicting Deep Wounds.
    Cooldown changed from 6 to 12 sec
    Cost changed from 10 to 20 Rage
    Now a lvl 75 talent
  • REMOVED Cleave   For each target Cleave hits, up to 5, your next Whirlwind deals 20% more damage.
  • REMOVED Mastery: Colossal Might   Increases the damage of your Colossus Smash by 13%13.0%, and causes it to increase damage you deal to the target by an additional 13%13.0%.
  • REMOVED Mortal Strike   Mortal Strike’s damage is increased by 60%.
  • REMOVED Slam   Slam’s damage is increased by 60%.
  • NEW Mastery: Deep Wounds   Deep Wounds damage is increased by 8.0%, dealing (53.82% of Attack power) Bleed damage over 3 sec.
    Striking an enemy with Mortal Strike, Cleave, Execute, or Bladestorm inflicts Deep Wounds.
  • NEW Overpower   Overpower the enemy, causing 375%critically striking them for (38.688% * 2) Physical damage. Cannot be blocked, dodged, or parriedand has a 60% increased chance to critically strike. Your other melee abilities have a chance to activate Overpower. Increases the damage of your next Mortal Strike or Execute by 30%, stacking up to 2 times.
    Now baseline and requires Level 20, up from 15
    Cooldown changed from None to 12 sec recharge
  • NEW Sweeping Strikes   For 10 sec your Rend, Skullsplitter, Overpower, Mortal Strike, Colossus Smash, Slam, and Execute hit 1 additional target within 8 yds for 100% damage.
  • Bladestorm   Become an unstoppable storm of destructive force, striking all targets within 8 yards for (7 * 157%33.852%) Physical damage over 6 sec.
    You are immune to movement impairing and loss of control effects, but can use defensive abilities and can avoid attacks.
    Now requires Level 65, down from 100
  • Colossus Smash   Smashes the enemy’s armor, dealing 210%101.556% Physical damage, and increasing damage you deal to them by 15% for 8 sec.30% for 10 sec.
    Now requires Level 50, up from 20
    Cooldown changed from 20 sec cooldown to 45 sec cooldown
  • Execute   Attempts to finish off a foe, causing 202% Physical damage, and consuming up to =10 additional Rage to deal up to (202% * 10 / 10) additional damageup to (2.0 * 80.6%) Physical damage based on Rage spent. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
    If your foe survives, 30% of the Rage spent is refunded.
    Executioner’s Precision
    If your foe survives, they take 25% more damage from your next Mortal Strike. Stacks up to 2 times
    Cost changed from 10 Rage to 20 Rage
  • Hamstring   Maims the enemy for 105%16.926% Physical damage, reducing movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
  • Mortal Strike   A vicious strike that deals 274%87.048% Physical damage and reduces the effectiveness of healing on the target by 25% for 10 sec.
    Cost changed from 20 Rage to 30 Rage
  • Rallying Cry   Lets loose a commanding shoutrallying cry, granting all party or raid members within 30 yards 15% increased maximum health for 10 sec. After this effect expires, the health is lost.
    Name changed from Commanding Shout to Rallying Cry
  • Slam   Slams an opponent, causing 190%(55.614% of Attack power) Physical damage.
  • Tactician   You have a 0.75%0.90% chance per Rage spent on damaging abilities to reset the remaining cooldown on Colossus SmashOverpower and Mortal Strike.
  • Victory Rush   Strikes the target, causing (100% of Spell power + 200%32.76% of Attack power) damage and healing you for 30% of your maximum health.
    Only usable within 20 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor.
  • Whirlwind   Unleashes a whirlwind of steel, striking all enemies within 8 yards for (3 * 90%14.88%) Physical damage.

Talents

Removed

  • REMOVED Dauntless   Your abilities cost 10% less Rage.
  • REMOVED Deadly Calm   Battle Cry also reduces the Rage cost of your abilities by 75% for the duration.
  • REMOVED Focused Rage   Focus your rage on your next Mortal Strike, increasing its damage by 75%30%, stacking up to 03 times. Unaffected by the global cooldown.
  • REMOVED In For The Kill   Colossus Smash grants you 10% Haste for 8 sec.
  • REMOVED Mortal Combo   Mortal Strike now has a maximum of 2 charges.
  • REMOVED Opportunity Strikes   Your melee abilities have up to a 60% chance, based on the target’s missing health, to trigger an extra attack that deals 160%(48.36% of Attack power) Physical damage and generates 5 Rage.
  • REMOVED Overpower   Overpowers the enemy, causing 375% Physical damage. Cannot be blocked, dodged, or parried and has a 60% increased chance to critically strike. Your other melee abilities have a chance to activate Overpower.
    Now baseline
  • REMOVED Shockwave   Sends a wave of force in a frontal cone, causing (47.5%9.975% of Attack power) damage and stunning all enemies within 10 yards for 3 sec. Cooldown reduced by 20 sec if it strikes at least 3 targets2 sec.
    Now Protection only.
    Replaced with Impending Victory
  • REMOVED Sweeping Strikes   Mortal Strike and Execute hit 2 additional nearby target for 50% damage.
  • REMOVED Titanic Might   Increases the duration of Colossus Smash by 8 sec, and reduces its cooldown by 8 sec.

New

  • NEW Cleave   Strikes all enemies in front of you with a sweeping attack for 90%(48.36% of Attack power} Physical damage, inflicting Deep Wounds.
    Cooldown changed from 6 to 12 sec
    Cost changed from 10 to 20 Rage
    Now a talent
  • Coming Soon   Despite all our rage, this talent’s just NYI on the page.
    Tier 5 Talent, in place of Fervor of Battle
  • NEW Deadly Calm   Reduces the Rage cost of your abilities by 100% for 10 sec.
    Tier 6 Talent, in place of Focused Rage
  • NEW Dreadnaught   Overpower has 2 charges, and it increases the damage of your next Mortal Strike by an additional 10%.
    Tier 7 Talent, in place of Opportunity Strikes
  • NEW Mortal Combo   Mortal Strike increases the damage of your next Overpower, Slam, or Execute by 15%.
    Tier 6 Talent, in place of Deadly Calm
  • NEW Skullsplitter   Bash an enemy’s skull, dealing (67.704% of Attack Power) Physical damage.
    Generates 30 Rage.
    Tier 1 Talent, in place of Sweeping Strikes
  • NEW Sudden Death   Your damaging melee abilities have a chance to make your next Execute cost no Rage, be usable on any target regardless of their health, and deal damage as if you spent 40 Rage.
    Tier 1 Talent, in place of Overpower
    The legendary ring Ayala’s Stone Heart had its effects transferred into the talent Sudden Death.
  • NEW War Machine   Your auto attacks generate 10% more Rage. Killing an enemy instantly generates 20 Rage, and increases your movement speed by 30% for 15 sec.
    Tier 1 Talent, in place of Dauntless
  • NEW Warbreaker   Smash the ground and shatter the armor of all enemies within 8 yds, dealing (120.9% of Attack Power) Physical damage and increasing damage you deal to them by 30% for 10 sec.
    Tier 5 Talent, in place of Mortal Combo
    The artifact ability Warbreaker became the new talent Warbreaker.
  • Impending Victory   Instantly attack the target, causing (39.312% of Attack power) damage and healing you for 15% of your maximum health.
    Killing an enemy that yields experience or honor resets the cooldown of Impending Victory.
    Specializations changed from Protection to Arms/Fury/Protection
    Tier 2 Talent, in place of Shockwave

Swapped Position

Changed

  • Anger Management   Every 20 Rage you spend reduces the remaining cooldown on Battle CryWarbreaker, Colossus Smash and Bladestorm and Bladestorm by 1 sec.
  • Rend   Wounds the target, causing 150%(23.2128% of Attack power) Physical damage instantly and an additional (1000%81.12% of Attack power) Bleed damage over 8 sec.
    Ticks now scale with haste
  • Storm Bolt   Hurls your weapon at an enemy, causing (100%16.38% of Attack power) Physical damage and stunning for 4 sec.

Archimitros

Archimtiros is a longtime Warrior theorycrafter and guide author.

Despite the seemingly large number of changes, Arms retains its Legion play style very well, with enough QoL improvements to make the rotation both smoother and more interesting. Removing Mastery: Colossal Might allows Arms’ base damage to increase dramatically, creating very responsive gameplay that doesn’t need to go through multiple steps and maintain a debuff to actually deal damage, especially when multiple targets are involved. Meanwhile, Overpower and Execute retain the two most important gameplay aspects of the Artifact Weapon, Shattered Defenses and Executioner’s Precision.

While there are some notable departures from live, most importantly, Tactician no longer resetting Mortal Strike, they actually plays to the specs favor. Currently, in Legion, there’s very little thought process involved with the gameplay – it really boils down to fishing for Tactician, using Colossus Smash, following with Mortal Strike, and repeating without deviation. In the Alpha, however, keeping Mortal Strike on a strict cooldown makes it more methodical, as you juggle fillers, manage rage, and buff your upcoming attacks in between that 6 second period. This is especially prevalent when talenting Dreadnaught; since the Overpower buff can stack twice, Dreadnaught allows you to choose between buffing Mortal Strike more consistently, or pooling charges in order to create bigger burst, even more so when also paired with Execute.

Talents are still a mixed bag. While Dreadnaught and Arms’ version of War Machine are the stars of the show, Skullsplitter, Rend, Mortal Combo, and Deadly Calm feel lackluster, and unable to compete with their counterparts, being on both sides of Arms’ continual rage problems. While Arms isn’t meant to be GCD-locked like Fury, the talents which enhance rage generation don’t make a big enough difference, and the ones that spend rage cost too much to maintain the rest of the rotation. This problem is even more apparent when trying to AoE with Whirlwind, or during the Execute phase. Execute is particularly egregious, as the theme of the spec appears to be about buffing Mortal Strike damage, yet the ability eats so much rage, it becomes difficult to use the ability after applying buffs; if Execute is meant to also empower Mortal Strike, there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for it to be a high-rage damage dump any longer.

Despite those flaws, the spec is very enjoyable in general quest/leveling gameplay, being similar enough to Legion to feel familiar, yet with just enough change to feel new and exciting at the same time.

Artunias

Artunias is a mythic raider and moderator of the Warrior discord, Skyhold.

Arms has received a fair amount of changes in the BFA Alpha, but it’s important to note that while the names of some of the abilities have changed the core rotation is quite similar to what we have on live. Overpower has become Colossus Smash, and Colossus Smash has essentially replaced Recklessness. Sweeping Strikes is also back as a baseline, on use, ability!

We’ve had various talent changes. I won’t go through and list them all but one I’m happy to see returning to the spec is Sudden Death on the level 15 row. This is very similar to Ayala’s Stone Heart, which was inspired by Sudden Death before it. But I’m glad to see it back as an option for the spec.

The other big winner in my book is the new level 100 talent, Dreadnaught. Having two charges of Overpower (Colossus Smash on live) is something I often wished for in Legion, and I’m glad to see that option being presented here. While I do think the spec plays much better with this talent selected as opposed to its counterparts, the spec has a good foundation. Many reset/proc based mechanics simply work much better to me when it’s not based on a single charge system.

So, let’s talk about the rotation real quick. The biggest thing I’m happy to see is Colossus Smash becoming a cooldown, rather than being a required debuff to deal damage to a target. This will make target switching and AoE much more practical for arms, and is a welcome change for me to see. The base idea of using abilities to buff up to a big Mortal Strike is also pleasing. Who doesn’t like big numbers?! In general I think the spec works well, although it has a lot of mismatched cooldowns. Sweeping Strikes, Colossus Smash, Deadly Calm, and Ravager are all misaligned which is a little awkward.

My only complaint at the moment is rage starvation issues in Executioner’s Precision phase and AoE, or with Rend talented. The spec simply does not have even remotely close to enough resources to utilize its abilities in these situations. The recent buff to Tactician was a large improvement to the flow of the pre-execute single target rotation, especially with Dreadnaught. But the Execute and AoE rage models need some definite improvements.

As always, feel free to hop in the Skyhold discord to discuss and chat about all things warrior!

Corejo

Corejo is a contributor to the Arms Compendium, discord moderator, and youtuber.

The first Alpha builds brought a huge overhaul to the spec. But it still feels familiar.

Talents
The talent tree is a smaller concern. But specifically I’ll talk about the level 90 row which is the most problematic to me.

Mortal Combo is the best by far. Fervor of Battle seems weak due to missing rage reduction components to a rage hog spec on live servers. Deadly Calm may look good, but being a 2 minute cooldown really hurts. As it doesn’t naturally line up with Colossus Smash or Avatar.

Gameplay

The direction of the spec seems to revolve around Mortal Strike. Using Overpower and Execute to load as much damage into Mortal Strike. With Colossus Smash being your new cooldown, you’d want to maximize that window with as many large Mortal Strikes as possible; just like on live servers.

The rage cost of Mortal Strike and the minimum Execute cost were increased. And rage cost reductions such as Dauntless and Archavon’s Heavy Hand going away. Tactician saves the day by counteracting this with a higher proc chance to fill in globals with lower cost Overpower. The high rage cost on Execute however, is problematic without the rage refund. Spending all of your rage on Execute makes it harder to follow up with Mortal Strike after you apply 2 Executioner’s Precision stacks on the target.

Arms AoE and low cleave looks really weak even with War Machine and Ravager, if you can’t consistently kill targets. You’ll run out of rage really quickly. Not having Cleave, filling those low rage globals and buffing your next Whirlwind hurts in the long run.

The last thing I’m more concerned about is the new mastery Deep Wounds. If the damage done by Mortal Strike, Execute or Bladestorm amplified the bleed, I could see it being pretty fun to play around. But to me as it stands, it’s a boring mastery with no thought behind it. Just lackluster in general.

Artifact

Even without the Artifact weapon, Arms looks to play pretty similarly to Legion Arms. The only game changing traits were Shattered Defenses, which is now baked into Overpower. Executioner’s Precision is now baked into Execute, which is very nice.

I hope they add more exciting talents, tune AoE rage issues, and add some depth to the new mastery. Overall, I am pleased with most of the changes.

Fury has seen few changes so far.
Specialization

  • Fury Warrior   Apply Aura: Modifies Damage/Healing Done by 10% 0%.
  • Bloodthirst   Assault the target in a bloodthirsty craze, dealing * ((max(0, min(Level – 10, 10)) * 8 + 137) / 217)] Physical damage and restoring 4% of your health.
    Generates 10 Rage.
  • Enrage   Bloodthirst critical strikes will Enrage you, increasing your attack speed by 100%50% and damage you take by 20% for 46 sec.
  • Execute   Attempt to finish off a wounded foe, causing (400% + 400%)(65.7696% + 65.7696% of Attack Power) Physical damage. Only usable on enemies that have less than 20% health.
  • Furious Slash   Aggressively strike with your off-hand weapon for * ((max(0, min(Level – 10, 10)) * 10 + 171) / 271)] Physical damage.
    Increases your Bloodthirst critical strike chance by 15%20% until it next deals a critical strike, stacking up to 6 times.
  • Mastery: Unshackled Fury   Increases damage done while Enraged by 11%11.0%.
  • Raging Blow   A mighty blow with both weapons that deals a total of 165% + 165%27.0816% + 27.0816%) * ((max(0, min(Level – 13, 7)) * 4 + 118) / 146)] Physical damage. Only usable while Enraged.
    Generates 5 Rage.
  • Rallying Cry   Lets loose a commanding shoutrallying cry, granting all party or raid members within 30 yards 15% increased maximum health for 10 sec. After this effect expires, the health is lost.
    Name changed from Commanding Shout to Rallying Cry
  • Rampage   Enrages you and unleashes a series of 5 brutal strikes over 2 sec for a total of (57% + 172% + 114% + 345% + 201%0% + 0% + 0% + 0% + 0%% of Attack Power) Physical damage.
  • Recklessness   Lets loose a battle cry, granting 100% increased critical strike chance for 5 sec.
    Name changed from Battle Cry to Recklessness
  • Whirlwind   Unleashes a whirlwind of steel, striking all enemies within 8 yards for 45% + 45%)] Physical damage.5.8032% + 5.8032% of Attack Power)] Physical damage.
    Causes your next Bloodthirst or Rampage to strike up to 4 additional targets for 50%40% damage.
    Now affects Raging Blow instead of Bloodthirst

Talents

Removed

  • REMOVED Shockwave   Sends a wave of force in a frontal cone, causing (47.5%7.7805% of Attack power) damage and stunning all enemies within 10 yards for 3 sec. Cooldown reduced by 20 sec if it strikes at least 3 targets2 sec.
    Replaced with Impending Victory

Changed

  • Bladestorm   Become an unstoppable storm of destructive force, striking all targets within 8 yards for with both weapons for Physical damage) Physical damage over 6 sec.
    You are immune to movement impairing and loss of control effects, but can use defensive abilities and can avoid attacks.
  • Dragon Roar   Roar explosively, dealing (162%22.113% of Attack power) damage to all enemies within 8 yards and increasing all damage you deal by 16%15% for 6 sec. Dragon Roar ignores all armor and always critically strikes.
  • Inner Rage   Raging Blow no longer requires Enrage and deals 150%100% increased damage, but has a 4.5 sec cooldown.
  • Storm Bolt   Hurls your weapon at an enemy, causing (100%16.38% of Attack power) Physical damage and stunning for 4 sec.
  • Wrecking Ball   Your attacks have a chance to make your next Whirlwind deal 250%300% increased damage.

Archimtiros

Archimtiros is a longtime Warrior theorycrafter and guide author.

Having seen very few practical changes, it’s pretty clear that the focus has been on Arms so far, making it difficult to say too much about the state of the obviously incomplete spec. While Enrage has been buffed to 6 seconds, a welcome change following Legion, its attack speed bonus has also been reduced from 100% to 50% and in conjunction with the loss of legendaries and artifact rage generation, the rotation slows down to a crawl. One often overlooked bonus is Uncontrolled Rage, which is crucial to keeping the spec moving when not consistently opening with Recklessness, such as when questing. Being unable to cast Rampage and reliably gain Enrage severely limits the specs power, ironically putting it in a situation similar to that of early Legion Arms Colossus Smash.

Aside from rage generation, talents need of change. There’s an underwhelming talent on nearly every row, between Fresh Meat, Outburst, Furious Charge, Massacre, Frenzy, Dragon Roar, and Bladestorm. These talents went almost completely unused throughout Legion, with the exception of Massacre due to Soul of the Battlelord, and while Bladestorm may be redeemable if Odyn’s Fury doesn’t find its way into Battle for Azeroth, the rest are sorely in need of overhaul or replacement. There are a lot of Legion options to bring forward, whether making talents out of procs like Oathblood, Pulse of Battle, or Death and Glory, or reviving previously problematic abilities such as Juggernaut, Unrivaled Strength, or Odyn’s Fury, in more balanced forms. While a lot of players dislike the current power spike of Juggernaut, I wouldn’t be against a better working version than the one in Legion currently, though if Fury is supposed to have half of its damage done sub-20%, I would like to see some kind of defensive talent or bonus to actually keep them alive through what is typically the most dangerous part of most boss encounters.

Again, it’s hard to pass judgement on what is clearly an incomplete spec; it’s still very early in the testing process, with more than enough time to make improvement once Arms changes are locked down. What they’ll do is the real question at this point; while the core gameplay of Legion Fury is quite solid, it’s anyone’s ballgame at this point. They could simply fix up rage, overhaul a few talents and call it good the way they’ve done for Arms, or rebuild the spec entirely with all new abilities – only time will tell. Currently, it’s just hard to play on the Alpha, with the slow start due to the lack of rage generation, low damage due to the lack of reliable Enrage, and less burst due to the combination of longer a Recklessness cooldown and loss of Unrivaled Strength.

  • Best changes: 6 second Enrage, renaming Battle Cry and Commanding Shout back to Recklessness and Rallying Cry.
  • Biggest issues: Lack of artifact enhancements, low rage generation, dead talents, lack of synergy.

Artunias

Artunias is a mythic raider and moderator of the Warrior discord, Skyhold.

Fury has received very few changes on the Alpha, but we have lost artifacts/legendaries. While I’m pleased with Legion Fury in Antorus, and have been since the light rework in Nighthold, there are some key components we are losing that I think need to be addressed when they get around to looking at Fury.

Let’s look at some of the largest things we’re losing. Most notably we lose Convergence of Fates, Odyn’s Champion, and Helya’s Wrath. These three things take a 1-minute baseline Recklessness cooldown and turn it into a ~35 second cooldown, almost half the cooldown! I’ll get to this in a minute when I address my one concerns for the spec. The other notable loss is of course the artifact trait of Odyn’s Fury. Also, with the loss of legendaries, Ceann-Ar Charger and Valarjar Berserkers, you lose a decent chunk of your rage generation.

Where does this leave the rotation? As I mentioned at the start I’ve really enjoyed playing Fury in Legion with our best in slot legendaries. But when you lose the rage generation from legendaries, you lose auto attack rage generation, you double the cooldown on Recklessness that also generates rage from the talent Reckless Abandon and the synergy it has with Ceann-Ar Charger or Valarjar Berserkers and all of a sudden, the spec has lost a significant amount of rage generation. This slows the spec down quite drastically compared to what we have on live.

The other thing I want to touch on here is that Fury has lost the exciting moment that Recklessness currently provides on live. Even if you ignore the damage modifiers which make Recklessness the behemoth that it is on live you still have greatly enhanced rage generation while it’s active with our best legendaries, and the guaranteed crits ensure Enrage won’t fail during this time (unless you get parried RIP). Additionally, you have the powerful ability of Odyn’s Fury to pair with this cooldown fairly often to make it unique and different from your standard rotation. Fury loses all of this without the artifact, legendaries, and the cooldown is almost twice as long despite being MUCH weaker. It leaves the rotation feeling very stale, and I hope we see this addressed in future builds when Fury gets more changes to liven the spec back up.

As always, feel free to hop in the Skyhold discord to discuss and chat about all things warrior!

Ignore Pain has been changed to make incoming damage reduce your Rage instead.
Specialization

  • Protection Warrior   Apply Aura: Modifies Damage/Healing Done by 10% 0%.
  • REMOVED Ignore Pain   Fight through the pain, ignoring 90% of the next up to damage you take from any sources, based on Rage spent.
  • NEW Ignore Pain   Fight through the pain for the next 4 sec, causing 60% of damage taken to reduce your Rage instead.
  • Deep Wounds   Your Devastator, Devastate and Revenge also cause (525%75% of Attack power) Bleed damage over 15 sec.
  • Defensive Stance   A tanking combat stance that decreases damage taken by 0%, increases threat generation, and causes you to generate Rage from damage taken instead of dealt.increases Stamina by 30%, and reduces damage taken by 10%.
  • Demoralizing Shout Demoralizes all enemies within 10 yards, reducing the damage they do to you by 20% for 8 sec.
    Cooldown changed from 1.5 min cooldown to 1 min cooldown
  • Devastate   A direct strike, dealing * ((max(0, min(Level – 12, 8)) * 8.5 + 241) / 309)] Physical damage.
  • Intercept   Run at high speed toward an ally or enemy.
    When targeting an enemy, Intercept deals (70%11.466% of Attack power) Physical damage, roots the target for 1 sec and then reduces the target’s movement speed by 50% for 6 sec, but has a minimum range of 8 yds.
    When targeting an ally, Intercept will intercept the next melee or ranged attack against the ally within 10 sec while the target remains within 10 yards.
    Generates 15 Rage.
  • Mastery: Critical Block   Increases your chance to block by 4%4.0% and your chance to critically block (blocking twice the amount) by 12%.12.0%.
    Also increases your attack power by 8%8.0%.
  • Recklessness   Lets loose a battle cry, granting 100% increased critical strike chance for 5 sec.
    Name changed from Battle Cry to Recklessness
    Specializations changed from Arms/Fury/Protection to Fury/Protection
  • Revenge   Swing in a wide arc, dealing (350%45.864% of Attack power) damage to all enemies in front of you.
    Your successful dodges and parries cause your next Revenge to become free.
  • Shield Block   Raise your shield, blocking every melee attackall melee attacks against you for 6 sec4 sec.
    Protection (Level 78)
    These blocks can be critical blocks
    Increases Shield Slam damage by 30% while active.
    Cost changed from 15 Rage to 35 Rage
  • Shield Slam   Slams the target with your shield, causing (492.8%80.7206% of Attack power) Physical damage.
    Protection (Level 34)
    Devastate, Thunder Clap, and Revenge have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam
    Generates 20 Rage15 Rage.
  • Spell Reflection   Raise your shield, reflecting spells cast on you and reducing magical damage you take by 30%. Lasts 5 sec or until a spell is reflected.
    Now requires Level 70, down from 80
  • Thunder Clap   Blasts all enemies within 8 yards for (300%39.312% of Attack power) damage and reduces their movement speed by 50%20% for 10 sec.
    Generates 5 Rage.
  • Unwavering Sentinel   Your Defensive Stance provides several additional benefits.
    Increases your total Stamina by 30%.
    Reduces the chance you will be critically hit by melee attacks by 6%.
    Reduces the chance your attacks will be parried by 3%.
  • Victory Rush   Strikes the target, causing (100% of Spell power + 200%32.76% of Attack power) damage and healing you for 30% of your maximum health.
    Only usable within 20 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor.

Talents

Changed

  • Anger Management   Every 10 Rage you spend reduces the remaining cooldown on Battle CryRecklessness, Last Stand, Shield Wall, and Demoralizing Shout by 1 sec.
  • Devastator   Your auto attacks deal an additional * ((max(0, min(Level – 12, 8)) * 8.5 + 241) / 309)] Physical damage, generate 52 Rage, and have a 30% chance to reset the remaining cooldown on Shield Slam.
  • Impending Victory   Instantly attack the target, causing (240%39.312% of Attack power) damage and healing you for 15% of your maximum health.
    Killing an enemy that yields experience or honor resets the cooldown of Impending Victory.
  • Indomitable   Increases your maximum health by 20%and the maximum effect of Ignore Pain by 20%.
  • Never Surrender   Ignore Pain will ignore up to 100% more damage, based on your missing healthan additional 20% damage.
  • Shockwave   Sends a wave of force in a frontal cone, causing (47.5%7.7805% of Attack power) damage and stunning all enemies within 10 yards for 3 sec. Cooldown reduced by 20 sec if it strikes at least 3 targets.2 sec.
    Cooldown changed from 40 sec cooldown to 30 sec cooldown
  • Storm Bolt   Hurls your weapon at an enemy, causing (100%16.38% of Attack power) Physical damage and stunning for 4 sec.
  • Vengeance   Ignore PainShield Block reduces the Rage cost of your next Revenge by 35%33%, and Revenge reduces the Rage cost of your next Ignore Pain by 35%.Shield Block by 33%.
  • Victory Rush   Strikes the target, causing (100% of Spell power + 200%32.76% of Attack power) damage and healing you for 30% of your maximum health.
    Only usable within 20 sec after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor.
  • Warbringer Intercept now deals 0 damage to all enemies within 5 yds of(17.6904% of Attack power) additional damage to the target, and stuns them for until cancelled.

Akmandor

Akmandor has been a Protection Warrior theorycrafter since the beginning of Legion.

Initial Changes
The biggest changes Prot has seen so far are the rework of Ignore Pain to be a flat Percentage Damage Reduction for 4 seconds draining rage during that period on a 12sec CD, and the removal of the Rage for Damage Taken system.

Additionally Shield Block‘s duration has been reduced to 4 seconds (down from 6) and the Rage cost has been increased. Demoralizing Shout is also a 1 minute cooldown now alongside Recklessness making them easier to line in regards to the Booming Voice talent.

In terms of Raid Utility we regained Battle Shout, as well as Rallying Cry.

Gameplay and Talents
Rage generation has been significantly reduced across the board, Vengeance now affects Shield Block and Revenge.

This, with the changes mentioned before, make for a noticeable shift in how the spec feels to play right now, it is a lot slower compared to Live Servers with many empty Globals if you choose to play with Devastator which no longer generates Rage as well.

The reduction to Shield Block duration and change to Ignore Pain also leave noticeable gaps in Mitigation which are difficult to deal with, due to the removal of self-healing in the form of Legendary Bracers, and a (compared to other tanks) low health pool.

On the flip side however Prot is currently one of the only specs with actual Magic Mitigation since we got to keep Spell Reflect which is now back to 30% missing the artifact trait, and Ignore Pain affects all damage.

Notably Prot currently doesn’t have any visible Attack Power scaling in its defenses which many other tanks are now primarily scaling their effect over, if this is the final design or simply lack of development at this stage is hard to say.

Artifact and Legendary Effects
Currently none of the Artifact traits and Legendary effects have been moved into BFA design, if any at all will be made baseline is hard to say and might be done via the Artifact Necklace which we have no information about at this point in time.

Llarold

Llarold is the author of Wowhead’s Protection Warrior Guide.

Ignore Pain Redesign
Protection Warriors have received major changes to their defensive toolkit! Let’s start with the biggest and most important change: Ignore Pain has been completely redesigned. It is now a 12-second cooldown that reduces damage taken by 60% for 4 seconds and consumes Rage to do so. When testing it out in the world and in dungeons, it was surprisingly efficient, and I was easily able to remain Rage-positive while it was active. The eventual tuning of Ignore Pain may change, but at this point it’s very good!

Rage Generation
Rage generation is way down in BFA. Shield Slam generates 5 fewer Rage per cast. Rather than generating Rage proportional to damage taken, Protection Warriors now generate 3 Rage per hostile auto attack that hits you – period! Devastator generates 2 Rage per auto attack, down from 5. On top of this, Shield Block‘s Rage cost was more than doubled and its duration was reduced to 4 seconds. While this is a move to slow the class down to an extent (Legion Warrior is spammy!), it also compensates for far fewer Ignore Pain casts. The class feels unchanged offensively, and I never found myself Rage-starved when tanking mobs in dungeons, even when using all three Rage spenders aggressively.

Demoralizing Shout‘s cooldown was reduced by 30 seconds, which lines it up cleanly with Recklessness, and via Booming Voice makes it a more powerful Rage generation tool than it was in Legion (without Thundergod’s Vigor).

Problems
Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses in Warriorland! With the redesign to Ignore Pain, Warrior’s defensive Rage spenders are all on moderately long cooldowns. While Rage generation is more predictable, this will result in situations in which Warriors can sit near full Rage with zero defensive uses for Rage and no AM available. It happened to me several times when running dungeons. Yikes! Between Shield Block‘s shortened duration and increased cost, Blizzard will need to consider reducing or totally removing its recharge time.

The change to Ignore Pain removed almost all of Warrior’s defensive use for Strength (and Versatility, to a lesser extent). As Arielle pointed out in the Druid Community Opinions post, Guardian Druids spent the last two expansions in this position! It’s frustrating, to say the least, and will hopefully be fixed somehow.

Artifacts and Legendaries
As for the parting with the Artifact, (almost) nothing of value was lost. Neltharion’s Fury looked cool but was basically worthless, and the majority of artifact traits were just increases to damage/damage reduction/Stamina, non-interactive procs, and so on.

From Legendaries, the reduction to Demoralizing Shout‘s base cooldown helps compensate for losing Thundergod’s Vigor. Most of the other prominent Legendaries had no significant rotational influence on the class, and mechanically they will go unnoticed.

2/22/18 Class Update
Some damage coefficients were changed – not a big deal. Devastator‘s Rage generation was also removed from the tooltip. This is a big nerf, or rather, it would be, but Devastator still actually generates Rage! This feels like a setup to a redesign of Rage generation, but for now Rage generation works the same as it has all Alpha.

Marok

Marok is the owner of the Warrior discord, Skyhold.

While Protection Warriors aren’t receiving a significant overhaul in Battle for Azeroth, the few changes that have been made will have massive effects on Prot’s overall gameplay.

First and foremost, let’s talk rage. Rage From Damage Taken has been removed, and in its place we now gain 3 rage every time we are hit by a melee attack. (While the latest build has seemingly removed this, the effect in still in the game despite being removed from the tooltip). Right off the bat, this is a huge reduction in our rage generation. With this change, our rage no longer scales with the amount of damage we’re taking, and since rage from being attacked is only gained on melee attacks, things like large magic attacks or damage over time effects will no longer give us rage.

Shield Slam now generates 15 rage instead of 20, and Shield Block costs 35 rage instead of 15. Rage generation down, costs up. Currently in Legion, particularly with Tier 21 set bonuses and the right legendaries, we are absolutely swimming in rage. This allows for extremely low cooldowns via Anger Management, and overall the gameplay is very fast paced and “spammy”. In Battle for Azeroth, mainly due to the rage generation changes, Protection is going to feel a lot slower. Instead of worrying about capping rage and wasting it, we’ll have to worry about the opposite; saving rage for when we need it. This slowed down gameplay ties into the new Ignore Pain, which is probably the most significant change to Protection in the new expansion.

The current absorb-based Ignore Pain has been removed, and has been replaced by an Ignore Pain that reduces damage taken by 60% for the next 4 seconds on a 12 second cooldown. However, this comes with a catch. Instead of just taking 60% less damage, it instead drains our current rage. More testing needs to be done to figure out exactly at what rate our rage is drained. With it being on a 12 second cooldown, the days of Ignore Pain spam are over. Timing Ignore Pain with periods of heavy damage intake will be extremely important. That also applies to Shield Block as well. Not only does it cost more rage, it also only lasts for 4 seconds. Playing around any Active Mitigation checks in BfA and smoothing out damage on boss fights with good timing will be extremely important as well.

Overall, Protection is being slowed way down, and proper usage/timing of defensives is vastly more important. Some will likely enjoy this more precise gameplay, while other will miss the fast-pacedness of Legion Protection. Personally, I’m indifferent at the moment. We’ll have to see how things play out and feel as development for Battle for Azeroth continues.

In terms of what’s on each tier, our talents haven’t changed all that much. But because of the gameplay/rage changes, and because of some significant changes to a few talents, our “standard build” in BfA is going to be quite different compared to what most people are running in Legion at the moment.

A standard build would probably look something like: Avatar/Indomitable/Booming Voice/Heavy Repercussions.

Let’s quickly talk about what we’ll be losing going into BfA. In terms of our artifact, the only thing I think we’ll really miss is Gleaming Scales and Reflective Plating, which brings Spell Reflection‘s from 30% to 50% and allows an unlimited number of spells to be reflected for the duration. While there were quite a few legendaries with very nice effects, none of them were integral to Prot’s gameplay.

Finally, my wishlist.

  • Replace Ravager. It has never been and still won’t be worth picking in most situations.
  • Make Gleaming Scales and Reflective Plating baseline. i.e. Spell Reflection is a 50% magic DR instead of 30% and reflects and unlimited number of spells.
  • Rage generation is no longer high enough to support the Devastator playstyle. There are far too many empty GCDs. I would like to see Devastator reworked in someway as the gameplay when using it is subpar.
  • On the topic of Devastator, the rage generation has been removed in the latest build (again, it’s still in-game despite being removed from the tooltip). If it’s intended that it’s removed, I would like to see that reverted and have the change go in the opposite direction. That is, making Devastate generate 2 rage on cast and keeping the 2 rage on Devastator. This would make our filler much more rewarding to press, and would turn Devastator into the talent you pick if you want to make your filler passive (i.e. Devastate and Devastator do the “same” thing).
  • The complete lack of self-heals is a bit concerning, but whether or not this will be an issue is going to depend on overall tank design.

Salarissian

Salarissian is a Legion Protection theorycrafter, and admin in the Warrior discord, Skyhold.

A lot has changed in the Battle for Azeroth Alpha for us, even in the most recent build. Compared to Legion, the overall gameplay and playstyle is much slower and relaxed in comparison to the furious, button-mashing gameplay we have on live at the moment. Some will find this rather jarring, but it’s a consistent change across all of the tank classes; Blizzard seems to be pushing us in a direction where they want us to be largely reliant on healers, with focus on using Shield Block‘s and Ignore Pain‘s short timings around small-duration, high-damage windows.

Losing our artifact, the Scale of the Earth-Warder, has some extremely noticeable effects on our gameplay. One of the biggest losses is the artifact ability itself, which allowed us to guarantee critically blocking blockable damage; a few of the other noticeable losses are the Bastion of the Aspects trait, which increased our blocking damage reduction, Reflective Plating, which allowed us to reflect an infinite number of spells over Spell Reflection‘s entire duration, and Neltharion’s Thunder, which was a flat, stacking damage reduction applied by Thunder Clap.

Some of the minor traits are also something that can be felt, and feel weird to play with – Last Stand‘s health bonus is reduced since we no longer have Will to Survive, Rumbling Voice is gone and so is the extra duration it gave Demoralizing Shout, and Gleaming Scales is gone as well, which added another 20% magic damage reduction to Spell Reflection.

Overall, these losses to our base kit may or may not be added back in as talents or even just buffs or tweaks to the base spells, but it’s certainly noticeable when playing the Alpha for the first time. Hitting Last Stand and expecting to see your health double only for it to not do so is a bit jarring, but we are more than fine, defensively speaking.

On a different note, we have seen some massive gains to our personal kit in terms of utility. One of Protection’s biggest failings in Legion was our extreme lack of baseline crowd control and utility. Gaining Rallying Cry back is a good defensive raid cooldown, something that we sorely needed to be competitive with other tanks’ raid utility..

I wouldn’t mind seeing another utility tool like Mocking Banner added back as a talent, or some of the legendary effects added in as talents – a notable one would be Mannoroth’s Bloodletting Manacles, which is something that is very plainly felt now that it’s gone.

All-in-all, I’m stoked to see what the future holds for us. This is still early in the development cycle and we have seen some good changes overall. Some of the future changes should introduce some changes to capitalize on the Rage tuning we saw in the last build, so I’m very excited to see what’s to come.

Sense

Sense is the main tank of the acclaimed raiding guild Nurfed on US-Tichondrius.

As of alpha build 26095, Protection Warrior has seen pretty consistent changes in the same direction – less rage generation. Devastator no longer generates rage, Shield Slam gives 5 less rage, Rage from damage taken is gone, and 3 rage per melee hit was removed from the early implementation of Defensive stance.

The above, combined with higher rage cost on Shield Block and new iteration of Ignore Pain, leads to dramatically slower gameplay than live. This directly impacts our current go-to talent of Anger Management, which had become so strong because of the ‘spammy’ playstyle towards the end of Legion.

Defensively, I feel like we are actually pretty well off so far, compared to others – Spell Reflect still reduces magic damage, as well as the new Ignore Pain working on all damage gives us a slight edge on certain abilities. Shield Block being up less (due to its reduced duration and increased cost) will definitely sting a bit, but it helps to promote proper use of it instead of ‘100% active mit uptime’, something I’m quite fond of.

We haven’t retained anything from our artifact as of yet, and personally, the biggest thing I find myself missing so far when testing is Reflective Plating. The quality of life of that trait is largely felt in dungeons, a place where utility goes a long way. Rallying Cry coming back to us is a welcome change, giving us more group benefit than we currently have.

Overall, while the gameplay has definitely slowed down from Legion, I actually find myself starting to enjoy where protection warrior is going. I wouldn’t mind some talent changes more than what we’ve seen, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we gain (and maybe retain from artifact) in the new Azerite armor system.





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