- I'm a no namer (so Clamnesia could feel free to skip the whole reply);
- Although I'm a scrub (won't deny my highest in arena has been 1700 maybe, can't check it as of now) I tend to be as fair as possible;
- I played Arms since the end of s4 and skipped Cata almost completely;
- I kind of hate Prot PvP.
Not in the same place. And not because we aren't viable anymore, but due to the fact that it's not the same class, at all.
Or kind of, as you prefer.
Arms Warriors in their previous incarnation have been moved to Fury.
Fury plays almost as MoP Arms. Ironically, Arms plays akin to the previous version of Fury.
So how about Arms? I reckon that's the most "felt" spec out of all three we have at our disposal.
Q: How is Arms now? What is Arms now?
A: Awkwardly cleavy.
When patch launched I kept playing Arms as I did, as most of us did. And of course complained.
Arms has blatant issues that cannot be denied, because as far as a game goes its current incarnation is not fun per se.
However, adaptation was in order. And in this Pinka and Clamnesia have proved - to me - way precious than any guide.
I fiddled with the other two specs, most in dismay due to both the uneasiness to play something that I didn't really like (I rolled Warrior to play Arms and still enjoy Arms only) and the heavy pruning we faced.
So after a week or so of playing Fury (both TG and SMF) and Prot, I returned to Arms because I don't know best.
I started playing a game of pooling Rage and dumping it into the Colossus Window when I know I (or my team) can lead the target under 20%. Which, as I stated, was the playstyle of MoP Fury.
Q: Is this an interesting playstyle?
A: Yes, it is, but it has issues bound to the spec.
First of all, Arms is totally reliant on Rage.
Which, mind you, is a good thing per se since our resource is technically unlimited.
But problems start to arise when a snare or a root hardcounter all the pressure you can put through: if you get devoid of Rage and get back to your target, you may find yourself unable to do anything.
Charge + Bull Rush gives 30 Rage and something, which is a Mortal Strike + Hamstring. + maybe a Rend.
From there, you're dependant on a 3s white swing.
Our new defensive mechanic, which is horribly undertuned, burns copious amounts of Rage.
Given that Shield Barrier is hardly pressed regardless, it's clear that Arms is made to spend Rage but has no "on demand" generators.
Q: But aren't other specs dependant on Rage aswell?
A: Not entirely.
Fury has its main ability, Bloodthirst, that's only restricted by a cooldown and unlocks the other two, plus it offers survivability, has +30% increased crit strike chance, and its crits Enrage the Warrior, which is the main mechanic of the spec.
If a Fury Warrior is peeled off an engage, he can jump back into the fray and use Rage to get uptime since damage isn't tied to it.
Prot has no need for Rage other than Shield Barrier and Hamstring.
And by guts alone it has more mobility and uptime than both Fury and Arms.
I won't even name the fact that this spec is the only one that kept Heroic Strike, THE Rage dump.
Moreso, Arms has been moved away from any Enrage mechanic (aside from Berserker Rage), which was a trademark of the class.
This leads me to my next point: Arms has probably been hit the hardest by questionable pruning and design decisions.
Q: But haven't all classes and specs been hit by pruning?
A: Yes (not really tbh, but that's just me).
Still, although MoP Arms was undeniably bloated by buttons, we saw the removal of trademark moves and the comeback of stuff we didn't need or like, and that are not tied in any way to the theme of the spec.
What do I mean with this:
Fury has the whole Enrage theme: if you crit you are enraged, if you are enraged not only you hit harder, but you can move faster (with a glyph, that's pretty much mandatory when you PvP as Fury) and have access to some abilities.
All of this is tied to Bloodthirst, Bloodthirst allows the use of Wild Strike and Raging Blow.
Protection has the "Shield" theme: you hit stuff with your shield, and the shield is used for both offense and defense.
If you block stuff with your shield or manage to avoid an attack, you gain access to other attacks. Plus, you can increase your melee avoidance and hit harder with the very same shield you use to protect yourself.
All of this is tied to a neat weave of thematical moves, and has a way to reliably enrage itself so that the glyph of Enraged Speed can be used aswell.
Arms has damage.
If Arms was the master of the situational combat, now it's not.
Overpower, probably the most iconic of our moves (although its uniqueness has been made nil by MoP spamminess), has been removed in favor of Rend, that does literally nothing in terms of theme.
It's a dot subject to avoidance that needs to be clipped in order to be effective. To those that are not familiar with the term, clipping is the n.1 thing you had to avoid in the past if you were a dot class in order to not gimp your damage output.
It's a button that we got back randomly, it feels like it has no place in the current Arms' theme.
What's the current theme?
As I stated,
You have to put damage into a window and pray to god you window does not get screwed by avoidance.
As I said, that was what Fury PvErs loved. But still Fury had an off the global ability that helped dumping the Rage, something we don't have anymore.
Since I touched the "avoidance" topic, I'll take the chance and tackle the mobility issue aswell.
Arms' mobility is bad. Not bad in the sense that it sucks, it's arguably the best in combat mobility.
But as it was in Cata, uptime is severely lacking.
Q: HURR DURR WERRIER MEBELETEH OP U STOOPID?
This is the most common blueprinted answer I get when discussing the issue.
Still it's true: once we get to a target, the target walks away or prevents the closing altogether since Charge is now a root and not a stun, and we can be controlled while moving.
Is this an issue? It depends on the target you charge and the situation.
However being able to get a reliable ministun to get some damage going was important back when all we did was tied to whether the target would avoid the damage or not, and it is now that Freedoms and Burst of Speed-esque abilities are getting more and more common.
To boot, Arms has no way to properly use Enraged Speed (6s every 30s is not a good investment for a glyph), so an Arms Warrior kinda has to waddle.
Q: Can you stop whining and tell us what did you do to adapt?
A: Of course.
I defined the spec as "awkwardly cleavy", and I feel it is.
I got some suggestions from this forum, tried various setups and came to a conclusion.
Disclaimer 2: EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS STEMS FROM PERSONAL OPINIONS.
Arms has locked selections for glyphs.
Wind and Thunder* is mandatory. Losing Piercing Howl hits our mobility and the deadzone kite is back, so we need range on our now-slowing Thunder Clap.
For personal preferences, I feel Bull Rush is a must have, and Unending Rage is needed to manage your damage window.
In this, not having to use Enraged Speed is kind of a blessing, I wouldn't know where to put it.
Arms has locked selections for talents.
Taste for Blood is really the only thing you can take in the 45lv tier.
Slam doesn't compare to Whirlwind at all, and Sudden Death, while fun to have, is way too unreliable to have it: you can't gamble a 3+ sec swing timer for a 10% chance to proc an Execute.
Taste for Blood gives you Rage, and you need Rage.
In arena, you may want to consider Shockwave, and even then maybe only in 3s or against some 2s beast/ petspam cleaves.
In any other situation, Storm Bolt takes the candle. It solves the avoidance problem altogether and ensures you can use your damage window.
Nothing frustrates me more than having Colossus dodged or parried.
This little thingy * is here to remember me I mentioned Wind and Thunder, and thus we lead to my final point before the epilogue: Whirlwind.
An aoe filler is really bad, since its usage is situational to what ccs we have around and thus acts as a limiter to what comps we can play.
On the upper side, its damage is plain stupid.
Whirlwind + Wind and Thunder turns Arms into an insane cleave machine.
Coupled with Sweeping Strikes, I found myself doing more AoE damage that I can pull off with my Unholy Death Knight.
Q: So all in all is Arms still playable?
A: Yes, if you can cope with a lack of an enjoyable theme and general clunkiness.
As I said, the removal of 1s cd/gcd Overpower and Heroic Strike did nothing but hurt the fact that our actual theme of controlled dump is tied to avoidance and long-ass global cooldowns.
The spec is tied together by choices you have to make via mandatory options to make it work, whilst the othert two specs can make real choices to affect their gameplay.
I don't feel I have any choice as Arms, it's either that or other unneeded clunkiness or flat out inability to play the spec, and I know it's my limit.
I understand the point of Warrior detractors, but to be honest we didn't have any banners prior to september 2012, and no Rallying Cry before Cataclysm hit. We can manage.
We are not simply crying because we have no utility left, we cry because the only redeeming feature of a spec cannot be ridiculous numbers.
I refuse to be told to be silent, only to see my tools pruned to be able to unleash damage and damage alone, and seeing Hunters keeping
Utility leads to creative play, and creative play ultimately leads to skill. Since I still enjoy the game to an extent, I refuse to have my swan song à la Buddhist and surrender to see the game taken away from me.
We had utility, utility that has been mostly kept by Protection Warriors.
And as Gforce stated, kids all whined until Blizzard forced us all to turn into Gladstance.
Now we will gladly be retardedly overpowered in a spec we don't enjoy.
There's much to be said about defenses and how I feel we stack against other classes, but this textwall is as aggressive as it gets, and I don't feel like I want to bother you all.