Monday, September 10, 2012

New Warrior levelling experience in WOW

I recently went back to WOW, in anticipation for Pet battles and the Mists of Pandaria expansion. It's been a real blast compared to TOR. My experience in TOR of late has been mostly pretty staid, I just log in normally to collect my slicing missions rewards and mail. It hasn't really gripped my attention as a whole despite the whole storyline MMO concept.

One of the few things that I really did not do in WOW was to level a warrior. With all said and done, I have at least played almost every class at some stage or the other. The Warrior and all it's 3 specs are the only classes that I have not tried at all to level properly. I did manage to play 2 warriors to level 20 in my trial account, but those were before the patch. Granted this probably means that my perception of warrior levelling is a bit colored but I did enjoy playing those characters of mine.

Before the patch, warriors could only gain rage via auto-attacking and taking damage. This meant that if you were playing a low level warrior tank, you almost always had a full rage bar. When you chose your specialization at level 10, you obtained a really hard hitting attack that could literally one shot equal level mobs. It was really glorious to hit your main attack, charge to the next mob and then use victory rush to kill it. I felt like the demon hunter in the diablo 3 trailer; "If they never stop coming, I will never stop killing". Low level tanking was a bit hard till you got thunderclap, and you did not have a starting attack like charge since you needed to use defensive stance for tanking.

Before the patch, if you were using Arms or Fury spec, it was also pretty glorious as well. This depended on using appropriate level gear, but I could still out do characters in 7 piece heirloom gear. The key was last hitting the mob in a pull, allowing me to use Victory rush on the next mob. Victory Rush used to hit for an astronomical amount on the low level warrior. It was not surprising to hit Victory rush, kill off one mob, only to use it to kill another mob in the pull.

After the patch, you could use charge in any stance. You also gained rage by using your main specialization attack. This made rage generation a bit smoother for Arms and Fury, but it made rage generation for Protection a bit slower. You obtain skills a bit slower than before I feel, with some crucial skills to the various specs out of reach in the low twenties. Protection in general suffers from this compared to the other specs. Revenge is an important ability in Protection's priority list as it helps make Protection's rage generation smoother. This will allow the player to use more abilities. Currently as it stands now Protection has little more to do than to hit shield slam, hope that it does a critical so you generate more rage, and pop shield block when you hit 60 rage. There's not even enough rage to use sunder armor or devastate.  While it does make you nigh unkillable on boss fights, it is pretty boring to only have to press 2 buttons.

Arms and Fury are still extremely fun to play however. If anything, the attacks seem to do more damage than before. Victory rush however has been seriously neutered, so you can't really use the last hit mob strategy to boost your damage per second up. Execute being available at a really low level however makes up for that. In my starting zone gear, I did about 400 damage for every execute. Bear in mind that in the starting zones, mobs were around 200-300 health only. It was really fun to see the big numbers fly up, but sad to realize that perhaps 3/4 of the damage was not used at all for calculation since the mob was already dead by then.

Overall, I like the new changes to the warrior levelling experience. I do wish that I could have thunderclap a bit earlier than level 20 though, since it made levelling as a tank via the dungeon finder a chore. Thankfully most of the guys in the dungeons then were using hierlooms so I didn't have to worry so much. It was extremely irritating to not be able to keep the entire pack of mobs attention on me however.

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