I’ve written a few articles outlining my thoughts on various Warrior content on alpha, but without alpha access it was always the perspective of an outsider looking in. I’ve had the chance to play the alpha quite a bit this last week, and have new insight on many of the changes being done to various classes. I’ve given the majority of my time to a handful of specs in order to gain a deeper understanding for the changes being done and I plan on writing about them all, but we are starting with Fury. I’ll be speaking on the base rotation and how the class plays, the artifact and its traits, as well as the talents. Let’s begin!
I was actually quite apprehensive to start my alpha experience with Fury, due to me having seen the horror story unfold right before me from the sidelines. Still, Fury is my favorite spec in the entire game, so I started with it anyway and had some pleasant surprises. The single target rotation for Fury was not too terrible once I got the hang of it, and also specked a certain way. Bloodthirst having its bonus crit nerfed is definitely felt in a big way, but thankfully Rampage crits now Enrage you so that helped make the rotation smoother. Despite the Rampage change, however, the spec still plays like night and day in regards to whether you are enraged or not. The extra rage from the free attack speed Enrage gives you helps you fuel your Rampages, and I should hope so given the baseline 90 rage cost, but the fun train quickly comes to a halt when you are rage-starved and are not enraged. Rampage was introduced as a way to help Fury Warriors stop relying on enrage to have fun, but Rampage actually relies on the attack speed from Enrage to get the rage to even cast the ability, since it costs a retarded 90 rage. Furious Slash was introduced as a way to help combat those rage starved enrage-less moments, but the only thing it helps with is giving you a button to press since its rage generation and damage are both negligible. The ability feels forced and superfluous to the overall spec, since it fills a very niche use that will vanish into the 2nd tier of the expansion. If Blizzard is really worried about having filler, then I would rather just have Bloodthirst’s cooldown be 1.5 or 3 seconds shorter so I could use it more than to have this terrible ability exist.
The overall single target rotation felt smoother than I had anticipated, but Fury still very much lives and dies by enrage uptime, and I’ll speak on that in a bit. The AoE rotation, on the other hand, was a complete mess and I hated it. For the single target rotation, you could at least take rage generation talents to help make up for not having enrage, but there are no talents for AoE that can help you get more gcds during enrage. The rotation is painful because the entire thing revolves around Enrage, since Raging Blow is your bread and butter AoE damage dealer. After proccing enrage with Bloodthirst, you have three globals to use while its active. Your first two are entirely up to you, but your third global needs to be an enraging ability so Enrage does not fall off (this applies to both single target and aoe). Since you need to be enraged to use Raging Blow, you should be using Bloodthirst or Rampage on your third gcd(or Rampage on the other 2 gcds because it hits harder than Bloodthirst). This gives you two globals to use Raging Blow or Whirlwind, but when you factor in the abysmal uptime of Enrage (mandated by Blizzard, mind you) it becomes apparent you have very little time to actually AoE. Bladestorm and Dragon Roar further complicate the rotation, but I will speak on them more in the talents portion.
I’m going to give Enrage its own paragraph because it is cause of almost all Fury’s problems now. Many changes have been made to help steer Fury away from Enrage dependency, but the only thing these changes have done is make the spec worse the play because so many things in the Fury kit have not been changed and still rely on Enrage. Rampage does not lessen Enrage dependency greatly because it costs so much rage, which Enrage helps fuel due to the free attack speed. Our mastery is still only active while we are Enraged, so you want to be Enraged as much as possible because the only piece of your damage not affected by Enrage is Rampage. Raging Blow, which enables our AoE rotation, is only available during Enrage. The overarching problem with Fury and Enrage is that Blizzard tries to fix Enrage reliance by lessening the uptime of Enrage or its duration, and not by changing the mechanics and abilities that rely on it. Meat cleaving with Raging Blow was designed around a 6 sec Enrage that had frequent up-time due to a free 40% crit chance on Bloodthirst. The mastery was designed with the same parameters in mind. Rampage’s rage cost was hiked up to 90 because of all the free attack speed you get from Enrage (not even counting Berserking). Blizzard has not changed the overarching spec that was built around Enrage, they just nerfed enrage and then told everyone we were no longer reliant on it.
In regards to my overall feelings on the talents, I think it is all pretty bad. The talents themselves are almost all irrelevant, and the rows are thrown together with very little theme amongst them. However, there are some gems in here, which I am eager to get to. I’ll give my feedback on the talents on a row-by-row basis for the sake of simplicity.
First Row: Shockwave and Storm Bolt are entirely worthless and irrelevant. Storm Bolt barely hits harder than a Raging Blow, and finding a spot for it in your GCD-locked Enrage timer is a pain. Shockwave pales in comparison to Meat Grinder, which is still a powerhouse despite having its effect literally halved. As I mentioned about the AoE rotation being a mess, Meat Grinder helps remedy it ever so slightly. Fury does not have an AoE rage dump, so since Raging Blow is your primary source of AoE and it generates rage, you just end up spending that rage on Rampage, which normally has no AoE usage. Since Rampage is your second highest source of damage overall, and you are going to be spending that rage on it during AoE anyway, there is no good reason to not take the talent. Meat Grinder needs to either be made baseline or put into a tier with Bladestorm, so at least that way you can choose whether to take sustained AoE damage versus burst AoE damage.
Second Row: This tier seems to be centered around defenses, but Bounding Stride does not help with defenses outside of jumping out-of-the-way of mechanics in raids or running away from someone in PvP. Warpaint would probably be my favorite talent on this tier, as well as the best choice on it, if enrage uptime and duration were not so terrible. I still took it anyway since maximizing Enrage up-time is still the most optimal way to play, even after Blizzard’s terrible changes. I found Furious Charge interesting, because it actually encouraged you to alter the way you play to make greater use of it. Double Time, combined with Heroic Leap, makes Furious Charge a fun talent to use, even if it is undertuned. I hope they buff the numbers on the talent so it could be more viable, since mitigating heavy damage on yourself in a raid with ‘Heroic Charging’ using Double Time would be a great way for a skilled Warrior to distinguish himself from his peers.
Third Row: Kind of a strange tier. While I was leveling, I chose Endless Rage because it made my rage generation smoother, so much smoother in fact that the spec was almost enjoyable to play. In dungeons I switched to Avatar because using it during Execute phase or with Bladestorm is going to be incredibly hard for the other talents to beat. Other than that nothing much else to report on Avatar, since it’s the same as always. Overpower felt really bland and comes off as forced or token, since the ability itself just does not play well with Fury’s GCD locked playstyle. I would have liked to see Overpower retain its dodge/parry/block proc in addition to the normal proc, since at least then it could retain its old identity and be useful in PvP. Overall the tier feels a bit disjointed, but I hope Endless Rage becomes competitive with Avatar. I think Overpower should be an Arms exclusive talent since that spec has many more GCDs for use.
Fourth Row: Another tier that seems to be trying to have a theme, but does not quite deliver. Second Wind is interesting and I want to like it alot, but its use in raids will probably be hit or miss as five seconds is a long time. I would love to see Blizzard allow you to also manually force the healing too (on a cooldown, of course), since this would allow for skilled Warriors who know raid mechanics/timers well to get more mileage from the ability than amateur Warriors. Double Time is a weird black sheep here, not because its weak, but because it is way more useful for offensive use than defensive, although that changes with Furious Charge. The reason it has great offensive use is because Blizzard removed the rage penalty on Charge that would not allow it to generate rage when used on the same target within 15 seconds, so you can gain significant rage from ‘heroic charging’ again. Imposing Roar is a really cool talent that I cannot wait to test in raids, since it is basically like a better version of Vampiric Embrace. Until I can see more raids in Legion I cannot comment on the talent any further, sadly. Overall, this row has potential, and I hope they adjust it some.
Fifth Row: This row seems to have a dps theme, and is not entirely bad. Unquenchable Thirst could be ok for a single target talent if it did not have to compete with Frenzy, which is better in every way. I still like the idea behind this talent, so I would love for Blizzard to merge it with Endless Rage and make that new talent compete with other heavy DPS talents to make for interesting choices, but I will not hold my breath. Frenzy itself makes playing Fury a bit more bearable to play, due to the all the haste it gives and the various benefits you get from that haste. Actually using it is very painful, however. For questing, if mobs are not close together, you stand to drop your stacks if you are not quick to Heroic Leap. For dungeons, trying to fit in several Furious Slashes in your opener to front-load the Frenzy stacks feels like trying to fit a telephone pole into a gnat’s butt. I would love to see Frenzy go back to being its own attack rather than being tied to Furious Slash, and for Furious Slash to just be removed, but once again not holding my breath. Bladestorm is still here, but the various changes to Enrage has hurt it greatly. Enrage’s 4 sec duration means you can no longer get off fully Enraged Bladestorms, which hurts the talent. Enrage’s terrible uptime means you have to take Outburst to get the most Enrage time for Bladestorm (since Berserker Rage is off the gcd). Bladestorm is still an AoE powerhouse, and you will probably still take it for all such cases, but this once great beast becomes weaker in the face of all the enrage changes. The row is not that bad since you actually get to make a choice, even if it is just Frenzy vs Bladestorm.
Sixth Row: I hate this row, and it makes me angry just looking at it. First of all, what did they do to Heroic Strike? The poor thing has been butchered to death, and it won’t even be taken because our rage generation is dedicated entirely to being dumped on Rampage. Why would you ever need to ’empower’ Rampage instead of dedicating that rage to an entirely new Rampage? Would love to see Heroic Strike either reverted or removed entirely. Outburst is a such a slap in the face that I’m even angrier now for thinking about it than I was at the start of this paragraph. Not only did Blizzard nerf Berserker Rage by doubling its cooldown and then not allowing Fury to be Enraged by it, but they have the gall to give those functions back as a talent. I will not speak on it anymore because every angry Warrior with alpha already has, but I will say this talent will be the only choice of the row if Fury stays as it is now. The only competitor to outburst is Massacre, a talent that was literally only made because Blizzard made a oopsie with one of our artifact traits. Odyn’s Champion, an incredibly powerful proc effect on our artifact, only procs off Rampage, meaning you have no access to it during Execute phase without sub-optimally fishing for procs with Rampage. This is a huge problem, but I will discuss it in-depth in the artifact section. Terrible row overall, please re-do it.
Seventh Row: This tier has potential, but I have some hangups. Carnage, in a previous incarnation, was an optional talent that was really cool and allowed you to focus your playstyle heavily on Rampage if you wanted. In its current implementation, Carnage is a mandatory talent that makes Fury just a bit more bearable to play. Why should any spec have to wait until its resource bar is 90% full before spending any of it? Why is Rampage’s cost 90 rage baseline, and why does Carnage exist in its current form? I feel like Carnage could be a really fun talent if they returned it to consuming all rage and make Rampage cost 60 Rage baseline. That way, you can only get off one Rampage at a time but still have rage pooled for another if you are not specced Carnage, which would make the spec feel smoother to play due to the Rampage frequency. None of that will happen so I’ll just move on. Reckless Abandon is an interesting ability that would be fun to try out it if Carnage was not mandatory, since you could get some hilarious fun when combined with Odyn’s Champion. Sadly, I did not play with this talent very much, since for single target not using Carnage made the rotation even more horrible. I did test Dragon’s Roar extensively, however, and have some problems with it. The talent is powerful, but awkward. Roar’s appeal comes from its ability to deal good burst AoE damage and buff the damage of Bladestorm and Odyn’s Fury, but there is alot of gcd awkwardness there. You want to be enraged when roaring and using odyn’s fury, but you also want to have an entire Enrage duration dedicated to Bladestorm. Not only that, but since roar’s damage buff is only 6 sec that means you are wasting time using Odyn’s Fury because that takes time away from bladestorm. Roar could be strong, but either the duration of Bladestorm needs to be lowered to 3 or 4 sec, or the duration of Roar’s damage buff needs to go to 8 or 9 sec. Overall the tier has great potential, but needs work to reach that potential.
I’ll mainly focus on the traits I find the most useless or problematic, since most of the traits are fairly standard and to be expected. My biggest problems with the artifact weapons are with Berserking, the passive proc on the weapons themselves, and Odyn’s Champion, a trait within the artifact. Odyn’s Fury, the first trait you get with the weapons, would be a fine ability if not for the problems I described in my previous paragraph involving the duration of Enrage and Dragon Roar. Even if those timers were adjusted, you still would end up not using Odyn’s Fury before Bladestorm late into a tier, since low-health mass-spawned adds die quick and you want to dedicate as much time to Bladestorm as possible. Very awkward ability that does not fit well into the niche it was designed for with the current Fury talents/abilities. I would love to see this ability made into a massive single-target nuke, like Siegebreaker but actually good.
Rage of the Valarjar (which procs Berserking) is the trait I have the biggest beef with. Berserking is basically an RNG Blackrock Foundry-era Recklessness on horse steroids that gives wide swings in power that will make for a terrible raid experience. People who do not take raiding super seriously (nothing wrong with that) will not care, but it will drive parsers insane because getting a Berserking proc during Execute phase or for Bladestorm will literally make or break your parse. I know that the intent of procs is to boost dps, but to have this gigantic dps increased dictated entirely by RNG is ridiculous and is going too make competing on DPS meters infuriating for both the Fury Warrior and the DPS he competes with. Sudden Death and weapon enchants are good examples of RNG that either enhance your rotation or give an appropriate DPS boost while not making or breaking your damage. I would love to see the proc rate doubled and the effect re-tuned accordingly, since that bring it’s proc frequency closer to Sudden Death.
Odyn’s Champion has great potential, but it is held back greatly by triggering only from Rampage. Odyn’s Champion only triggering from Rampage means you cannot proc it during Execute phase, since your rage dump goes from Rampage to Execute. You cannot simply fish for a proc with Rampage sub 20% either, since Rampage hits for 400% total with your main hand and 300% total with your off-hand, while Execute hits for a whopping 625% with both main hand and off-hand while costing literally more than half the rage. Since Odyn’s Champion is such a gigantic boon to Execute spamming, Fury Warriors will be forced to spec into Massacre to gain access to one of their flagship traits, meaning one entire tier of talents becomes a non-question and the other two in the row are ignored. What is such a shame is that Odyn’s Champion is a really cool trait, but is greatly held back by its trappings. Odyn’s Champion should have been the baseline proc effect on the weapons and not Berserking, but at this point I will accept Execute activating Odyn’s Champion as compensation.
The other artifact traits are fairly standard, but I’d like to talk about some that I found interesting or problematic. I loved all the Execute related talents, such as Deathdealer, Sense Death, and Juggernaut. Fury has always been the Execute ‘spammer’ between the two specs, and these talents prop up that playstyle greatly and I love it. I wish Blizzard would return Execute to its 30 rage cost, but at this point I expect nothing and am disappointed. Bloodcraze is actually a trait I’m looking forward to picking up, as it will make soloing content so, so, so much easier, but I expect it will be useless for raiding. Unrivaled Strength is probably my favorite singular artifact trait of all of them, since you can level it up to 30% and then boost it even higher with relics. Combine that trait with Odyn’s Champion or Reckless Abandon and you have great potential for hilarious numbers.
I need to talk about the ‘problem children’ of the artifact for a bit, the traits that could have been great if not for some things. Focus in Chaos would have been a really fun trait, if Enrage’s up-time was not awful and its duration so short. Wrath and Fury would have been a strong trait, if Enrage’s uptime was not awful and its duration was so short. Raging Berserker, too, would have been a strong trait if Enrage’s up-time was not awful and its duration so short. Battle Scars would have had decent synergy with Bloodthirst if Enrage was up often and if you could spare the GCD during Enrage, but the trait is even worse than it already is because Enrage’s up-time is awful and its duration is so short. Are you noticing a pattern here?
Blizzard, please, address Enrage or the mechanics associated with it. If you have to nerf our mastery or the attack speed on Enrage so you can increase the duration of it then so be it, but something needs to be done. There are so many things in the fury rotation, talent tree, or artifact traits that are reliant on Enrage uptime or duration to work or be strong, and the entire spec is falling flat because those mechanics are not working with the new Enrage. Dual wielding two-handed weapons is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten to do in WoW, so please do not make me go Arms for the entire expansion of Legion.