It’s easy to criticize, after all. I’ve gone on record as hating Colossus Smash and wanting it gone for fury. I’ve talked about how Fury’s mastery gets stronger and stronger with gear, and ironically links us ever more closely to crit because we need to push ourselves into Enrage as much as possible. Mastery becomes our number two, of course, and haste? Haste is meaningless. I clearly want this design changed for Warlords of Draenor, but that’s easy to say. The hard part is, what do I want it changed into?
First off, I’ll say this much – I believe now more than ever that we need to pick between SMF and TG and design going forward with that in mind. Trying to balance the two has just ended up with us seesawing between them this expansion, and last expansion it wasn’t even a contest – TG always won. Titan’s Grip is the only really distinctive, visually cool element warriors have gotten in years. SMF isn’t. I don’t even think there’s a contest to be had here – I know there are players who prefer SMF, but I can’t say I’m one of them or ever have been. It seems retrograde to me to go back to SMF now that we have TG. I’ve played both this expansion, but Single Minded Fury just completely failed to win my heart back – even back before TG existed, I always used a Slam fury 2h build. So my vote (not that I actually get 0ne) would be to scrap SMF from fury. (In fact, I’d also switch protection over to using 2h weapons with their shields and abandoned 1h’s entirely, if given my choice.) I think in order to balance fury, we need the big stats from those 2h’s.
So what else? Well, if we’re going to get rid of CS, what do we do for an attack rotation? Right now, fury is about spamming HS while using Raging Blow during Colossus Smash, and using Wild Strike when it procs between CS, using Heroic Strike to bleed off rage near cap. This is a design built around the idea of managing rage, using it only when it’s most advantageous to do so. And it’s wrong headed for the idea of a frenzied berserker. Instead, warriors should want to gather as much rage as possible and spend it as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to change the way we interact with Enrage. First off, our white attacks should generate more rage, and haste should make a more meaningful contribution to their rage generation – not only should haste speed up our attacks and thus indirectly speed up our rage generation, it should directly boost our rage generation the way it buffs resource generation for other classes. Since we don’t have any cast time spells/abilities, the only way haste is going to meaningfully contribute is for it to buff rage generation. Also, allowing haste to really buff warrior attack speed and rage generation gives those players who liked SMF a bit of why they liked it – swinging those big weapons faster, which is often listed as the reason people liked SMF.
Second up on my redesign parade is Wild Strike. Since we don’t have a Colossus Smash window to save rage for, we don’t need a filler ability anymore. So instead, hitting the Wild Strike button unleashes three attacks with your offhand simultaneously. It doesn’t take up three GCD’s (not even the sped up GCD) and you can only use it when Bloodsurge procs. No more ‘if you use this ability, you’ll bleed rage and do less damage’ because I don’t like traps in the rotation – excellent play should be through mastery of the mechanic, not in seeing through a design flaw that was deliberately engineered to be compensated for by a proc. Wild Strike will become a straight up damaging attack, because we’re going to need to spread damage out among the various abilities to make up for the loss of the armor penetration from Colossus Smash – making it a manually triggered series of three offhand attacks gives it more punch without making it a replacement for Raging Blow.
Raging Blow we can safely leave along, design wise – we might have to up its damage to compensate for the loss of CS, and we’ll probably have to give the Physical Vulnerability debuff that CS applies now to RB so that fury can still apply it. The synergy between Raging Blow and Whirlwind (both of which rely on glyphs at the moment) should continue as well.
Bloodthirst needs to do more damage. Right now, you hit it because you need the rage, and that’s fine – it’s a solid enough design. But prot hits Shield Slam because Shield Slam hurts, and that needs to be the case for fury as well – fury warriors need to be hitting that Bloodthirst key not because it had a high crit chance and will proc Enrage, but because it hits like a truck. Again, we’re having to move damage around because the CS buff is gone in this design, so putting more bite into Bloodthirst makes sense.
Finally, Heroic Strike – what do we do with it? Well, frankly, with both Raging Blow and Wild Strike as abilities that require another condition (Enrage and Bloodsurge) it’s time to make Heroic Strike do something useful, so that when we’re not using anything else we’re not just listlessly tapping HS. Heroic Strike should apply a stacking buff that increases the chance we’ll enter Flurry. Every time you hit HS, you have a chance to get a stack (if you really want to make haste worthwhile, the chance can stack with haste, so if you have 20% haste you’d have 29% chance to apply a stack of the buff) and when you get three stacks, you automatically enter Flurry. This is in addition to the normal Flurry mechanic, but it doesn’t mean you can double Flurry – it just means you can control how often you’re in a Flurry state more often. With enough haste (and perhaps haste should count double for HS’s chance to stack flurry, the way crit counts double for Bloodthirst) you could have significant Flurry uptime.
Fury’s AoE doesn’t really need much in the way of buffing. The various glyphs between Raging Blow and Whirlwind should remain (or even become baseline) and Cleave should have the same ability to stack Flurry as Heroic Strike. Both Cleave and HS should probably see a slight rage discount to 20 rage, in order to make them less painful to use. (This can be a fury only discount if that seems necessary for whatever reason.)
This makes for a faster paced Fury priority system than we have now, one that generates and spends more rage and lets players demonstrate mastery by the proper use of Heroic Strike to enter a Flurry state, making Flurry more important. Enrage and Flurry should be the means by which fury warriors do good damage, and haste should be to Flurry what mastery is to Enrage. This will keep us interested in haste. A fury warrior on the attack should be like a hurricane battering down weapon strikes on everything in her or his path.