Level 19 Warrior Changes in 4.0.1

Cynderblock readies her shield for an incoming attack in Darkshore.

The original title of this post was “What Is This I Don’t Even,” because the changes to Warriors are that extensive.

To say that Warriors have changed at level 19 is an understatement.  Everyone has changed in 4.0.1, don’t get me wrong, but Cynderblock is completely different now than she was in Wrath.

I mentioned this on the Gaming Worlds Collide blogcast, but the biggest difference is the influence of choosing your specialization at level 10. Before, one of the defining features of early play was that you weren’t specialized – Fire vs. Frost was the wrong question.  Twinks looked across the talent board, not down it.  You’d pick the best abilities suited for a particular job.

No longer.  Now you are a Frost Mage, a Destruction Warlock, a Subtlety Rogue, all starting at level 10.  And for Warriors, that opens up options we didn’t have before (Fury Dual Wielding!) but takes away some of the flexibility we enjoyed with hybrid talent builds.  Protection Warriors get Shield Slam, which is a great primary attack and buff dispeller all in one, but at level 19 it lacks the synergies it gets later on with Sword and Board.

But all of this comes at a cost.  Across all classes, abilities have been moved around, giving a better distribution as you level, but also removing a lot of the complexities I enjoyed with the Warrior class.  To sum up the changes to level 19 Warriors:

  • Battle Shout now requires level 20.  Not only do we lose the attack power buff, but shouts are the new way Warriors gain rage.
  • Shield Bash, our primary caster interrupt, also requires level 20.
  • Overpower now requires level 22.
  • Hamstring, one of our key PvP abilities, has been moved up to level 26, removing it from our repertoire.
  • Revenge has been moved way up to level 40, removing a key DPS ability from Defensive Stance.
  • Demoralizing Shout requires level 52, so there’s one of our three melee debuffs gone, and the other way to gain rage quickly gone.
  • Bloodrage, the primary way lowbie warriors used to generate rage, is gone from the game completely.
  • Mocking Blow is also gone.
  • Heroic Strike is no longer a On-Next-Swing ability, but instead is a normally activated attack.  It’s still a Rage hog, though.
  • Execute, a finishing move for when the target is below 20% health, has been added at level 16.  Will use a lot of Rage if you have it, though.
  • Sunder Armor only stacks 3 times, not 5, but each stack has a greater effect, so it’s all cool.
  • All Glyphs are gone, since they require level 25.

The specializations give some interesting abilities, don’t get me wrong.  But let’s just look at the above changes to see how the playstyle has been altered at level 19.

RAGE

The biggest single issue is Rage.  Warriors are supposed to generate Rage before a fight through their shouts (which no longer cost Rage), but those are not available at this level.  So what generates Rage?

  • Charge, which gives you 15 Rage, but can only be used out of combat.
  • Hitting things for white damage.
  • Getting hit.  Ouch.
  • Anger Management, the Arms special ability, gives you a steady stream of Rage in combat, and slows the loss of Rage out of combat.
  • The Blitz talent (Arms again) increases the Rage your Charge generates.
  • 1/3 Shield Specialization (Protection talent) generates 5 Rage when you block an attack.

Now, you do seem to gain more rage by just hitting things in combat than before. That’s the good news.  But unless you can get off a Charge, you’re not going to have enough Rage to unload burst damage in PvP.  You will gain Rage in combat at a decent rate, but forget the days of unloading Heroic Strikes, Thunder Claps and Revenge on targets.  You are going to have to manage your Rage very carefully.

The previous advice of binding Heroic Strike to everything?  Ditch it. Heroic Strike only to dump Rage.  That’s it.

Rage starvation is the single biggest issue you’re going to have to deal with on your lowbie warrior until you hit 20.  Get used to Charging and using your abilities sparingly.

THE LOST ABILITIES

Losing Hamstring hurts in PvP.  A tried and true Warrior tactic in WSG was to spam Hamstring on targets to proc your weapon’s enchant as well as slow people down. Hamstringing the FC was what you did.

Now, the Shamans and Druids have better speedy forms, and Warriors have no way to slow them down.  Forget taking out the FC now.

As a Protection Warrior, I loved having Revenge as my primary damage dealer.  It lit up all the time while tanking and PvPing, and I’d hit that button every chance I could. Like Overpower, it’s gone, and there’s no equivalent replacement.

Losing the Shouts means that we’ve lost both a buff and a debuff.  Demo Shout was very useful both for AoE tanking situations when TC was on cooldown, but also against melee classes in WSG.  You used to get Demo Shout up to slow down Rogues and the like against you, just like you’d put up Thunder Clap’s debuff.  No more.  The fact that Rage generation is now tied into these abilities is just icing on the cake.

I’m lost without Shield Bash.  I think this was what confused me the most when I tried to PvP on ‘block recently – I had no more interrupts.  I couldn’t stop level 10 Holy Paladins from casting, so they were invulnerable.  Interrupts are important!  Now those stupid Druids of the Fang will be able to run roughshod over the rest of my party with Sleep spells, and I have no way to stop  that.  Wailing Caverns runs are going to be hard without those interrupts.

THE NEW STUFF

Okay, so Warriors have lost a lot of their toolbox in 4.0.1.  What have they gained?

  • Increased health.  In most gear sets I’m over 2000 health now.
  • Execute.
  • Talent specializations.  Shield Slam is pretty cool while tanking, though in AoE situations it’s tough to choose between that and the Rend/Thunderclap combo when your Rage is low.
  • Resilience has been buffed.
  • Armor has been reduced.  Oh wait, that’s not a good thing.

I think the abilities you gain from choosing your spec are great for their respective roles; but when taken in the context of all the missing abilities, Warriors are hurting right now.

TANKING

I used to pride myself on my ability to tank low-level instances with Cynderblock.  She could roll through them like a freight train, a rock of aggro that made Deadmines look like Heroic UK to folks in HM ICC25 gear.

No more.  I’m superbly geared and struggling to hold aggro, which means low level LFD is going to suck for a while for normal tanks.  If equivalently-geared DPS starts up too soon, I can’t get aggro back.  If someone AoEs mobs before I’ve TC/Rended them, I will not have enough Rage to do anything to save you.  You’re going to see me slamming Taunt and Shield Slam in a frantic effort to save you, but it’s likely DPS is going to die.

This is a very different experience than I’m used to.  Perhaps it will get better with time; changes, dramatic changes, are coming to the low-level instances.

But right now, tanking has gone from an exercise in confidence to the same, frustrating experience I have tanking Heroics at level 80.  That’s not a good thing.

PVP

The 19 twink bracket of Warsong Gulch is a hot mess right now.  Rogues are doing huge, HUGE amounts of burst damage out of stealth.  Casters are also doing massive burst damage (see: Destro Locks and Fire Mages).  Hunters are still potent, with those freakin’ bats EVERYWHERE.

But it’s the level 10 Holy Paladins who are beating everyone in sight.

Level 10 twinking is not a new thing, but with recent buffs to Resilience and how abilities scale at level 10 and under, level 10 twinks are practically unkillable now. Damage mitigation is through the roof, which negates their smaller health totals, and the out of combat regeneration is amazing.  It’s like a free reset if they get OOC.

Making them is pretty straightforward:

And I don’t think this is going away anytime soon.  Level 10 characters are more resistant and scale better than level 19s, though level 19s have more abilities and health.  Both Psynister and I are trying out this brave new world, because nothing is worse than a level 10 Holy Pally in WSG right now.  Nothing.

CHANGE HAPPENS

Things don’t look very optimistic for Warriors right now in the level 19 PvP bracket or lowbie tanking.  Warriors have gone from being a very good class for both to average, or below average.  That’s okay.  There’s a lot of things changing in Azeroth in the next few weeks, and the low-level experience is definitely one of them.

Leveling is one of the not-so-subtle motivators used within Warcraft.  The game rewards it; more abilities, more power, more cool talents, more range.  Expecting to balance around crazy people like me who park at a given level is unreasonable.

But the way classes play at low levels is fundamentally different now.  My experience with Cynderblock (and talking to endgame warriors about her) shows just how different things can be.  I know that whatever leveling advice I could give you on Warlocks (my main’s class) is now invalid.  Things are very, very different.

It will just take some getting used to at level 19.

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About Cynwise

Warlock from Northshire. I write about the battlegrounds of Azeroth, warlockery, auction house tomfoolery, and assorted other Warcraft topics on my various blogs. I love the smell of seaforium in the morning.

14 thoughts on “Level 19 Warrior Changes in 4.0.1

  1. Hello. Just wanted to point out that Demoralizing Shout does not, in fact, grant Rage, but instead costs Rage.

    • Aha, thank you. I must have it confused with… Commanding Shout?

      Since ‘block is my highest level warrior, there are a lot of things about the later levels I miss out on completely.

  2. I’m working up a Rogue over there to try and run with you guys. But I don’t have a way to get the BoAs so I’m not sure how useful I will be. The lvl 10 twink idea appealed to me greatly though. Plus it gives me a way to learn Rogues to see what I think overall. Just not sure which spec to go.

    • As Psyn and I are finding out, if you don’t have those enchants level 10 twinking can be a bit of a grind. Level 19 rogues are doing really well, and nearly all of their gear needs can be handled without BoAs. I’d look up rogue twinks on Wowwiki or the twink-info forums for specific gear.

      The biggest challenge I think we’re all facing right now is a huge gear reset in addition to the changes in the talents, etc.. Tough to know what to do next given what’s coming.

  3. I think the Warriors got hit harder than any other class for 19s. The Warriors I see now are most often a joke that ends with, “..and then he gave me free honor.”

    I’ve only seen one warrior that played any significant role in the BG since 4.0.1. His best contribution though was his charge-stuns used to give the rogues time to close in for a kill. He hit pretty hard and was definitely a seasoned twink from his pathing and jumping skills, but while he had some solid hits he was otherwise pretty blah.

    • This makes me so, so sad. I didn’t see *any* other warriors in the match I played earlier. Not a one. I’m like… oh, no.

      It was bad. So, so bad.

  4. Druids got a huge change for the 19 PvP bracket with druids getting cat form (with all it’s abilities) at level 8 instead of level 20. Before, druids in the 19 bracket couldn’t be a cat druid at all. The other druid specs didn’t change all that much, tho.

    • Druids are crazy good now at level 19. Cat form fills the rolls Rogues used to fill, now that they’ve become super-powered Sub assassins. The problem is that those same Druids then shift into Bear to carry the flag without any problems! Or they heal everything in sight while spamming Wrath at you!

      It’s a good time to be a Druid.

  5. I might be blind but I don’t see you mentioning Victory Rush! Since everything else have been taken from us, this little skill has turned out to be rather useful, both when tanking and questing and can I imagine, pvping. And yeah, lowbie rogue burst is completely insane…

    • That’s a good point. Victory Rush gained a heal, which is great! I didn’t notice that until tonight – I’ve been soloing Deadmines as Fury and definitely have found Victory Rush to be awesome, one of my main abilities now.

      There are several changes that I missed – the self heal, that it can now be used in Defensive Stance… hopefully, they fixed the bug where it wasn’t working in groups. That was really irritating to stance-dance into Battle Stance to use VR, only to find that it was locked up.

      Thanks for pointing this out, I’d totally missed this!

      Since writing this post (and I admit, I was pretty down on the state of my Warrior when I penned it) I’ve rediscovered some of the great little tools they’ve got at level 19. I soloed Deadmines as Prot at first, which was ridiculously easy – I took no damage, did it all in Battle Stance – and then have switched to Fury to see how the DW-side lives.

      Looks like I need another post!

  6. While my warrior is not a twink by any stretch of the imagination I found how difficult things are in pvp for a low level warrior. My high levels do not include any warriors, which is why I decided to make one a long time ago.

    I figured I would check out the changes that blizzard made and wow… Tanking is a huge pain in the ass. If your group is any kind of retarded you’re screwed. The things that I see high level warriors doingjust can’t be done at all by a lowbie. Things like just getting into range are extremely painful. Being able to charge in defensive stance would be a great addition, but even more so being able to charge after someone engages you.

    In a WSG I had a warlock immediately DoT me no matter where I was to keep me in combat so that I could NEVER CLOSE on anyone. Forget stopping the FC, it’s not going to happen. The most valuable thing I could do was hide in a bush and judiciously charge to stun either their FC or the first guy behind our FC. If something doesn’t change and some of those abilities aren’t moved back into the teens area I doubt you’ll see any warriors below lvl 25 in WSG for a while. They just don’t bring much of anything.

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