Friday, February 29, 2008

The Fury Equation

Tobold asked for some advice on a Solo/Quest spec for a warrior that also had some utility in raids and instances. My opinion on the state of the Fury warrior is not positive, but it’s still a very enjoyable spec to play. Tanking as Fury is not for the unskilled however and it takes a good player to make up for the shortcomings. Anyway, that being said, here were the thoughts I posted over at Tobold’s blog:

When min/maxing a DPS warrior, I believe the most important factor to consider is the speed of the weapon you will be using. Several talent choices make more sense with fast weapons, and others make more sense with slow weapons. Obviously, a 2H weapon is slow and you choose accordingly. This topic of which is better (fast or slow 1H) is heavily debated amongst warriors, but I find that both are very viable and only spec and playstyle make a difference. The primary reason that slow weapons are often preferred over fast weapons is because of how damage is calculated with certain instant attack abilities. Bloodthirst however, is based on AP and not weapon damage. For DW and even Protection builds, it’s very possible to spec for fast weapons and have the build be very viable.

They key talents in fast/fast spec are Improved Heroic Strike and Unbridled Wrath. Unbridled Wrath generates more rage the more often you hit, good for fast and bad for slow. Needless to say, that if you use slow weapons, then you want to AVOID these talents as they don’t provide nearly as much benefit.

Imp HS is not optional for fast/fast, it’s required. This is because Heroic Strike is the most efficient rage dump for a fast/fast Fury warrior. By “rage dump”, I mean – when you have in excess of 42 rage, use Heroic Strike. This also assumes that you already have your buffs (Battle Shout, Rampage) and debuffs (Sunder Armor) up for maximum benefit.

Heroic Strike (and to a lesser degree Cleave) are interesting skills in that they are based on “next attack” and are not impacted by the global cooldown. However, they come with a rage penalty in that they count as yellow damage and you only gain rage on white attacks. In white attacks only, a 2.8 slow 1H weapon with the same DPS as a 1.4 fast 1H weapon will generate identical rage. However, when Heroic Strike is used – the 2.8 attack will generate no rage while the 1.4 will generate 50% of the amount it normally would have gained over the same period of time (2.8 seconds). Also, if you have the excess rage for it, you could get in two Heroic Strikes.

This is also why a Fury warrior can still make a decent OT or 5-man Tank. Again, remember that Heroic Strike generates a lot of threat and isn’t on GCD. With enough rage it’s possible to spam Revenge, Sunder Armor, Shield Block and Heroic Strike. If the weapon is fast and you have Imp HS, then your threat per second is higher. You’ll need to master sundering multiple targets to maintain multi-target aggro, but macros can help. “/cast [target=mouseover] Sunder Armor” can be used to simply throw sunders on mobs without changing your current target. If you go deep into the Fury tree, you are going to struggle going deep in the protection tree, so you’ll need something like that macro to act as your Improved Taunt. If you mark well with the charms, even PUGs can figure out that they wipe when they don’t DPS the skull.

One area that is tough for the Prot minded Fury Warrior is Toughness vs. Shield Specialization. Since you aren’t going deep into the tree, you need to make a call between these two talents. Keep in mind that Blocks are not avoidance, so these are really two different types of mitigation. One provides better mitigation on trash and the other helps with crushing blows. Strictly speaking, Toughness is superior to Shield Spec for mitigation – however, Shield Spec provides access to Improved Shield Block. Improved Shield Block is nice for two reasons: an extra block to assist with crushing blows and an extra block that can proc Revenge. Note that Improved Parry is superior to both Toughness and Shield Spec in that it directly impacts avoidance. Parry also has the benefit of reducing the weapon speed on your next attack by 40%, which is pretty nice for a Fury Warrior.

The other advantage to fast/fast is consistent and more predictable rage generation. For sustained DPS, this is more helpful than the burst rage that comes with slow weapons. Keep in mind that dual wielding comes at a the price of a hefty miss chance and that even with a lot of +hit, you will still miss quite a bit and misses hurt more when you use a slow weapon. On average however, it’s similar rage per minute.

The disadvantage to fast/fast is that your Whirlwind will do less damage since it’s based on weapon damage. Likewise, Sweeping Strikes will gain less benefit since the extra free attacks are with weapons that do less damage. Cleave/Whirlwind + Sweeping Strikes does crazy AoE damage, so if you plan on doing this a lot in solo grinding, consider a slower weapon. Another minor disadvantage is that slow weapons are superior in PvP. Namely, because in order to gain maximum benefit – you always need to be in melee range. Other players rarely stand still for you and a slow weapon often has time to recharge for its burst attack when you get back in range. This is also why 2H weapons (with greater burst damage) are far superior in PvP.

The other “must-have” abilities for any Fury warrior spec are Cruelty, Imp Execute, Dual Wield Spec, Bloodthrist, Rampage, Imp Berserker Stance, and Flurry. Obviously some of those are “duh” talents, so I’ll only comment on the two more misunderstood or debatable ones.

First—Rampage. If you don’t take Rampage, then you don’t have a good understanding for how your Fury build works. Most damage is done through white attacks that are made even faster with Flurry. The damage calculated from your white attacks is derived from weapon damage and attack power. In other words, attack power complements your increased weapon speed from Flurry. For the very same reason, Battle Shout is still superior for a non-tanking Fury warrior over Commanding Shout. Secondly, Bloodthirst is AP based – so this ability also compliments your primary attack. Agreed, it’s a pain in the ass—but addons can make it less of a pain in the ass. My favorite is Power Auras which allows you to create a very visable timer on Rampage so that you can see when it is going to expire. Avion is another addon that has this type of functionality. Very helpful for managing your shouts and rampage. They key is to reapply it before it ever expires. This is another one of those areas that having fast/fast weapons and better sustained rage generation is helpful. In PvP however, it’s hard to get up quickly unless you are taking a bunch of damage and getting some heals. You are better off spamming Execute and Heroic Strike on low-health cloth.

Improved Execute. This is not optional. Contrary to how the tooltip for Execute is written, building up 100 rage and then popping Execute is rage inefficient. You actually want to spam this ability as often as possible for max DPS. The exception would be when Bloodthirst is up and you have 40+ rage. Then you should Bloodthirst, then Execute. Because Imp Execute lowers the amount of rage needed, you can use the ability more often for less rage. Consider that you can get in 3 improved executes for the cost of 2 normal executes. The mistake made when looking at this talent is the idea that since you are simply holding back rage for execute, the lowered rage cost effectively translates to only a marginal increase in damage. That’s only true if you hold back rage for Execute. If you dump it at 10 rage, it’s the most rage-to-dps efficient ability in your arsenal.

If you want a fast/fast Fury build that can OT decently, then I would suggest something like this build with a minor focus on threat and mitigation.

If you want a fast/fast Fury build that maximizes your DPS, then I would suggest something like this build with a very heavy emphasis on the Fury talents. Fury talents tend to make other Fury talents better, max DPS for Fury typically means going 50+ points into the tree.

Edit: I didn’t mention this in the original comment, but there are also schools of thought about using varying weapon speeds for manipulating the Flurry applications so that it procs more frequently on the Mainhand (since it does more damage the offhand). My personal take is that I would rather have two fast weapons and a crit rate upwards of 30% to ensure that Flurry is up often enough that the gain from this tactic is minimal.


Kinless said...

Nice. I'm going to have to respec and check this out. I'm the typical 17/44/0 cookie cutter Fury build at the moment. And I'm going to check out Power Auras. (I see it's "Outdated" but a recent comment on WoWInterface indicates it's still useable.)

Terroxian said...

TYVM for the detailed analysis of the fury spec. My wife recently asked me to lvl up her warrior for her while she took a break from WoW and since I'm already a 70 Boomkin, I agreed...but like you mention in another post, what the heck do I know about tanking and warriors? I've never played one. Your post helps clarify what I need to focus on for solo lvling.