Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Dual spec for warriors

As I mentioned before, going dual spec on my holy priest was a huge success. In very short time I had a shadow spec, and spell rotation, and with just minimal changes to my raid healing gear I was easily doing 3k DPS with my second spec, both on a training dummy and then in a raid. So of course I tried to apply the same idea to my protection warrior: Follow Spink's guide of Fury for Beginners, slightly updated for a patch 3.2 fury build, use the Bloodthirst > Whirlwind > Heroic Strike rotation, and transform my tank into a damage machine. Unfortunately it didn't work out that way.

I had picked up over time some dps plate. But while my tank gear is universally iLevel 200, my dps gear is on average iLevel 187, with some iLevel 200 and some iLevel 174 pieces mixed in. But hey, everybody is telling me that "gear doesn't matter", and at least I had two good epic two-handed weapons, the smithed one, and the one you can buy for 25 Champion's Seals. So I set up Fury as second spec, my dps plate gear in the new equipment manager, and traveled to the training dummy in Orgrimmar to test how much damage I did as protection warrior in defensive stance, and how much I did as fury warrior in berserk stance. The result was a huge disappointment: On the heroic 80 dummy both of my specs produced nearly the same result, and that was less than 1k dps.

That appeared somewhat fishy, as I had previously done over 1.3k dps as tank in heroics when I wasn't even trying to maximize damage. Part of the answer of course was rage: As a tank I get hit a lot, which produces a lot of rage, powering all my abilities. But how is that supposed to work for a fury warrior, who as dps in a group shouldn't get hit at all, or very little?

I tried the two specs on regular level 80 mobs in Icecrown next. The results were better, but still there was only a small difference between the dps I did as fury, just about 10% more than I did as protection. And of course even at just over 1k dps, a regular level 80 mob dies in a few seconds, so it is hard to get a steady spell rotation going. I need an improved dummy with lots of health which hits back. Hmmm. Where do I find one of those?

A short trip to Molten Core later, I'm standing in front of two impressive molten giants. Those will do! First attempt in fury spec I'm getting my ass kicked, and need to run out, because the two giants both hit me at the same time. Second attempt as tank works a lot better. I could easily have soloed both giants, but stop before the second giant dies. Third attempt with fury again, this time against only one giant, and I'm doing fine. But the overall result is 1.6k dps in protection spec, defensive stance, and protection gear. And only 1.8k dps in fury spec, berserk stance, and dps gear. Given how much more vulnerable I am in dps gear, that appears hardly worth it.

Now I assume that if I had full iLevel 200 dps gear, I would do better, and there would be more of a difference between protection and fury. But either I'm completely missing something, or getting to 3k dps with a warrior is going to be rather hard in pre-raid gear, unless I'm farming heroics and battlegrounds for months. And then of course the question is why should I bother, if I already have a priest who can easily do dps if needed.

All in all the dual spec experience of my warrior was disappointing. Unlike the priest, where +spellpower is useful for both specs, the +defense, armor, and stamina I'm looking for my protection warrior's tanking gear is doing nothing for the dps of my fury spec. Thus a warrior needs two completely separate sets of gear to dual spec. And even when he got that, the difference in dps between tank spec and dps spec is smaller than the priests difference in dps between holy spec and shadow spec. For the moment I'm just staying in tank spec with my warrior for doing quests etc., and I'm certainly not joining any groups as dps, I'd be ashamed. I think I wasted 1,000 gold here, what do you think? Anyone got a successful tank/dps dual spec warrior going?
Gear matters immensely for Fury. I play a warrior who is the main tank in a small 10-man raiding guild where on occasion I've been called to fill in a DPS role. Both from what I've read and personal experience/training dummy testing I've found you won't pull decent DPS as a Fury warrior until you've managed to get mostly i219+ gear but as Arms you should do just fine (~2200+ unbuffed).

Keep a priority rotation of Rend->Overpower->Execute->Mortal Strike->Slam going and you'll find your DPS improve immensely.
Well i remember coming across that if your gear isn't at its best, its recommended that you go as arms spec instead. but then again i cannot verify that cause my warrior is stuck at level 69 =\

yea, listen to Matt! :)
besides personally i feel that Arms is more fun cause you have to pay attention in Arms as compared to Fury as you have more 'procs' to look out for
It feels like you are using Heroic Strike too much, and starving yourself of rage.

HS converts the next auto-attack to a yellow attack, meaning it doesn't generate rage in addition to costing you rage. Spink's guide doesn't even have HS in the basic rotation. My advice would be to see what your rage generation looks like without using Heroic Strike at all.
Good advice. I had seen the Heroic Strike listed in the rotation at another place (was it WoWWiki?), while Spinks rotation just says to use whatever else you have. Any suggestions what to use instead of heroic strike? Sunder?
No doubt gear will play a huge role in dual speccing a Warrior because the roles are so completely different.

Personally I think dual speccing is a fabulous addition to WoW but Blizzard should really consider lowering the cost to something more reasonable. The idea behind it is to increase flexibility and make grouping more viable and I feel that the high cost negates this.
I am seconding what other posters have said. Fury is very gear dependent and you won't see immediate success switching to the spec. I would recommend Arms as beginning dual spec until you have better gear to support fury.

A friend of mine was trying to make Fury work in heroics, and it just didn't cut it. His DPS got a huge boost when he switched to Arms.
How much hit-rating do you have? Especially for dual-wielding you'll want a hefty amount of hit. Dual-wield misses ~25% of white hits of BOTH weapons and ~5% of special attacks.
If you want to be hit-capped you'll need ~800 rating for white attacks and ~165 for specials.

And like Rohan says, don't use Heroic Strike at every opportunity or you'll be rage starved for the more potent attacks.
Tobold: This is the hardest thing with Fury. You must keep back enough rage for the regular rotation and sometimes that means do nothing in the gaps. You also probably want to keep enough back to be able to use the instant Slam when it comes up. I think I advised using Heroic Strike but only if you had a lot of rage.
If you're keeping Heroic Strike queued up all the time as Fury then that's the problem. HS should only be used when you are flush with Rage, ie above 50, and it should not be spammed. In the normal course of dps you should use Slam instead since it has the same base cost but not the hidden cost. Slam is a 1.5s cast and needs to be timed between WW and BT to be effective but it's better than HS most of the time. Having said all that, I'm gonna agree with the others who said to go Arms. It's a much more forgiving spec gear-wise and, surprisingly, you end up pushing more buttons than with Fury. Use the Titansteel Destroyer and go Mace Spec. Keep Rend up at all times and use: Overpower > MS > Execute > and Slam whenever the rest is on cooldown. You should almost never use HS as Arms.
Spinks Wrote:
It’s a very fun spec to play but Fury, due to scaling issues, only really takes off after you get a minimal level of gear.

So true. Due to the fact that you use 2 really slow weapons as a Fury Warrior (3.2 to 3.6) it is cruical that your Critrating is at least half decent so that there is at least a chance that you can hold up Flurry nearly all the time (like Spinks wrote).

Maybe you underestimated the minimum at around 30% crit rating you will see how a fury warrior begins to work and how much fun the specc can be.

Also you wrote that you used " Bloodthirst > Whirlwind > Heroic Strike rotation". I can't say how good your gear is because iLvL isn't all and there are dmg plate pieces in the game with iLevel 226+ and they are still crap for a fury build.
Heroic strike is tricky because it is a "on next hit" attack, replacing your regular "white hit". if you have rage generation problems leave HS out because it is the main reason for "dying on rage starvation" it is only used as rage dump when your bar is filled up and your offhand is generating enough rage to keep you going.

Also don't forget that you need at least 8% hit to make sure your mainhand strikes and your specials will hit the target.
also you shouldn't forget to sunder if you are alone. sunder armor (or a other major armor reduction) and a Shaman or DK Haste buff are the most important buffs for fury dmg.
You should not test dps in situations where mobs hit you - you don't expect them to hit you in heroics/raids.
I have a protection warrior with a fury dual spec, and one thing I have noticed is that it is rather dependent on having two decent weapons. Even our regular Fury warrior was quite low until he got two Ulduar25 two-handers. Easiest to reach "high level" weapon is the one from heroic TotChampion, Edge of Ruin.

When testing on a dummy, you can do the following things to improve the numbers:
- Stack sunders first, and then keep them up.
- Make sure to have Battle Shout active.
- Use WW and Bloodthirst whenever available.
- Very careful with Heroic (i.e. don't use it if you have less than 50 rage).
- and lastly, make sure to use Bloodrage (and Berserker Rage if specced for it) to gain rage.
I run Dps/Tank dual specs successfully. The first tip is that you *will* need two completely different sets of gear, there is no way to get around that.

At low gear levels, I would recommend Arms as it will produce better dps than Fury until you start to collect a set of full epics. Arms has a more complicated "rotation" - although some consider this to be more fun (me included).

As Arms with only 5 man content gear (normal/heroic ToC, emblem of conquest loot - and I haven't gotten all of this yet) I can manage just over 3k dps on the boss dummy, self buffed.

With Fury and the same gear, this seems to be around 2.5k, although I am not yet expertise capped with fury (easier to do this with Arms spec due to talents).

Hit cap (and expertise cap) is very important for both dps specs as missed white hits can equal no rage = no dps for several seconds.

As for Fury advice - I think you miss the point with heroic strike - you should absolutely use it (and glyph for it!). The point is you should always keep enough rage in reserve to use Bloodthirst and Whirlwind on cooldown. I spam the HS button when my rage is above 50, when it drops below 50 I stop using HS. So use HS, but only if you are generating the spare rage.

And if BT and WW are on cooldown and you dont have anything to press - then dont press anything! Fury has spare GCDs in its rotation, unlike tanking (or Arms spec). These spare GCDs will sometimes be used for Bloodsurge procced instant Slams (get EventAlert or similar mod to make sure you see this proc) or for shout refreshing etc.
Incidentally this is exactly where druids were in BC... 2 sets of gear needed for the difference in dps / tanking specs if you wanted to switch... they still haven't fixed it with warriors...
Coming from a warrior who raids as both prot and arms, so I know a lot about them.

Fury has massive scaling issues, they are junk at low gear and insane at high gear. Unfortunately, you have low gear.

Arms is the less gear reliant spec, I would STRONGLY recommend dropping fury for Arms.

If you want to stay with Fury, be warned it is a harder rotation than Arms because of the finesse required to properly use Heroic Strike, not enough and rage pools and your dps drops, too much and you're rage starved and your dps plummets as you can't maintain your rotation.

I don't do much as Fury but I'd probably recommend Heroic Strike at greater than 60 rage. Try a bit with the number, Heroic Strike less just before Whirlwind comes off of CD and more just after.
Yeah what Matt said - go arms to dps. Fury is really really really dependant on having great gear.

+ dont heroic strike
Heroic Strike be yer rage dump - if ya gots a lotta rage, use HS (or Cleave) ta dump it while waiting on cooldowns. If yer undergeared, though, I's bettin' ya ain't got a lotta +Hit, which means yer missin' a lot, which means ya ain't generating rage. So yer probably best off autoattacking, biulding up the rage, and saving it fer when yer big hits is available.

Arms is definitely more fergiving fer being undergeared. Much easier ta reach the hit cap, so much less missing, and more rage availables. Gives it a try! With me undergeared, sorta gemmed, missing enchants dps gear, I still has no trouble getting 1800 deeps on the dummies.
Fury is hugely gear dependent.

I tank 90% of the time, but recently upgraded my main hand fury weapon to Armageddon and easily added 400 DPS (bring me to 2400 or so in Naxx) to recount.

Warriors are always gear dependent. Barring prot warriors under 540 def, Fury is the most gear dependent. I was completely underwhelmed with Fury DPS with 2x 200 ilevel weapons.
HS is really more of a rage dump than something you use in general rotation. You should have enough rage to use WW and BT every time they're up, if you don't, you're HSing too much. If you find yourself sitting at max rage though, then you're free to HS a little since what else do you have to use it on?
FWIW, My wife plays a Troll Fury Warrior, as DPS. Ever since we hit 80 together, she'd been getting more and more depressed, as my Mage started hitting 2k DPS within only a couple weeks, and her Warrior was still stuck around 1.25k.

She did a lot of research, and just in the last week or so, found a spec that seems to have made all the difference. She said that it amounted to just switching three talent points. The net result? She's now hitting 2.5k DPS in HToC.

Gearing does matter a lot, too, but for whatever reason, those three points boosted her DPS by nearly 1k even with the same gear she'd had for over a month. She's thrilled, now, as she feels a little bit more like she's able to contribute to the raid.

Aside from that, I must say, I've been enjoying your blog since I found it late last year. Your commentary is interesting and informative.
I keep trying to go fury with my second spec... but it never seems to work out. I'll get a huge influx of gear and think NOW IS THE DAY!!! and then see my dps at 5-600 dps less then arms.

One thing I can say... Heroic strike is good if you pick up the glyph and use bloodrage and beserker rage on EVERY cd.

Outside of raids you want to try and get into H ToC 5 man for the edge of ruin and or marrowstrike.
Fury reaches par with Arms for DPS very late.

For Fury you need:
2x232 Ilevel weapons
14% Hit Chance,
500+ Armor Penatration rating
35% Crit chance
5K Attack power
26 Expertise.

You cannot reach those numbers until you have 3.1 best in slot gear from 25 man Ulduar.

Until you reach those numbers, Arms outperforms.
Everyone else Skill>gear

Fury warriors Gear>skill

Go Arms.

Arms has more "fun" play style too.
I second the comment about Hit rating. I have a level 80 paladin with decent tanking gear that I was converting to Ret. I had run ToC (heroic and normal) a number of times and had a bunch of gear around ilvl 219, but ToC plate gear doesn't have any hit rating on it. Once I started to get my hit up, even with ilvl 200 gear, I saw a huge boost in my overall DPS.
Fury is very gear dependent and you need tons of hit or you will constantly miss. Bloodthirst, Whirlwind are your main two. Look out for the free slam procs as well. They add up nicely. Heroic strike should be used only when you have more than half a bar of rage or else you will starve yourself.
I had the same problem with my Prot spec warrior when I dual spec'ed to Fury. I gave up on it and never use Fury and stick to tanking in Prot spec, assuming I did something wrong somewhere. Sounds like I either need better dps gear to use Fury or should switch to Arms instead.

Guess I'll be re-speccing to Arms.
Warriors are tricky because they don't scale linearly. Maybe no class is linear, but warriors are more polynomial than most.

A warrior's "white" melee hits give him rage, and he uses that rage for "yellow" special attacks. As a warrior gets better gear, his melee attacks hit harder.

Let's pretend that a warrior in crafted blue gear attacking a boss for 30 seconds might get enough rage from his white hits to use 10 special attacks. He'd do a certain amount of damage.

Now imagine that the warrior gets better gear, his melee attacks hit 50% harder. He'd now have enough rage to use 15 special attacks. He is scaling non-linearly; not only do the 10 original attacks hit harder, but he also has 5 extra attacks that he didn't have when he had poor gear.

If warrior performance vs gear is a curve and other classes' perfomance vs gear is more like a straight line, the game designer has a problem. The curve can't follow the line all the time, the curve will have to be higher at some point and lower at another point.

Fury happens to have a steeper performance curve than Arms does. The designers appear to have balanced Fury warriors somewhere around Ulduar-10 or Ulduar-25 level gear. Given the gear you describe, the game won't let you do well as Fury. I'd suggest trying out Arms, which feels very different but should work well for you.

(For what it's worth, the designers have acknowledged that the non-linear scaling of warriors causes problems, and they're trying to think of ways to make them scale more evenly.)
Yeah there's no way you'll get 3k dps with pre-raid gear. I have a dual spec prot/fury warrior as well and I'm at about 5k with Ulduar gear.

For fury, the rotation I've always used is Slam->Whirlwind->Blood Thirst->Heroic Strike.

Slam is first, but only when the fury talent procs so that it is free and instant. Heroic Strike should only be used if whirlwind and bloodthirst are on cool down and you have extra rage.
Tried Fury again on the heroic level 80 dummy, this time without heroic strike, and better rage management. Got up to 1k dps now.

Switched to Arms, same gear, same dummy, 1.5k dps. And Arms is more fun, as there are more possible buttons to press. That's a keeper, I'll stay protection/arms dual spec from now on.

The type of gear people say Fury becomes better with is completely out of my reach.
I have a protection warrior who averages 1000-1300 dps in tank spec raiding 10man naxx. I also use him to DPS 10man naxx and have on average 2600dps with lows at 1800 and peaks at 3200.

I use heroic strike. Anytime I'm over 60 rage that button is pressed as quickly as possible. Fury has basically 4 buttons to push. Whirlwind, bloodthirst, slam, heroic strike. And that's the priority list as well. Once the cooldowns start popping off its a surprisingly simple but fast paced system.

As stated in almost every other comment gear is important. But my ilvl is about the same as yours (I've got blue leather shoulders with +int on them because I have never got anything better). For gearing STR>AP as beserking stance adds more ap per point of str. Yes hit is important and the yellow soft cap is a must and hit is rated about 1/2 as useful after that cap. Crit and Arp are both next. The thing with all gearing is that each stat works in tandum with the others. More Arp makes your crits hit harder which gives you more rage and more crits gives you smaller rage gains but more of them. Your overall AP should be as high as you can make it all the time as it will always provide more dmg/rage. Despite being behind your target when ever possible don't neglect expertise. That can add an extra 5% to your swings hitting.

Every once in a while I do get rage starved and that is just bad luck on the hit tables. To counter those moments I use beserker rage and get in a quick 20 rage every 30sec if needed (found that to be very handy leveling). Also using my racial(orc)/trinket/deathwish all at the same time every 2 min really, really works wonders. Don't worry about sunder, rend or anything else.

4 buttons is all you need.
Heroic strike generates extra aggro, or used to. During my short stints as a fury warrior, I only used it when I was generating so much rage that I might as well use it.

Warriors are funky that way though; they are self-referencing loop. The more powerful you are, the more powerful you become. Gear generates dps, which generates rage, which generates DPS. There seems to be a tipping point; below a certain gear level you suck, above it you start shredding face.

Though as a warrior, you really should do your bad gear phase as a tank just out of courtesy.

P.S. All my info is a 18 mos out of date or so.
I've never played a warrior, but this is a fascinating and educational discussion. I guess when it comes to DPS warriors, "skill" involves knowing how to pick the right spec based on your gear level. Quite different from priests with their 1 primary raiding DPS spec.
At lower gear lvls arms will put out better dps. For fury try to reach hit cap of 164 (3% from talents) and 26 expertise. Then stack gem all strength.(arpen is a ball game you are not invited to yet)
your fury rotation is BT, WW. slam on bloodsurge procs, and when you have a lot of rage (siting at 75%+ alot) start to que HS in between strikes. When you are low on rage drop HS. When you are on a pack of mobs, trash mainly, que cleave when rage allows. That's about it. On bosses if there is no other warrior keep 5 sunders up to help your dps and that of the raid/group.
my warrior is dual spec-ed as Prot/Arms. Arms is less gear intensive than Fury, and pretty fun to play as well, with less rage starvation. In the end HS is a tanking ability, or one used only when with too much rage.
Pangoria Fallstar said..."In the end HS is a tanking ability, or one used only when with too much rage."

This might be a little off topic, but is there a problem with a warrior having too much rage? I always assumed that having a lot of rage was a good thing for a warrior. I've seen a few references now across different sites mentioning that warriors need to have a way to dump rage if it is too high. What am I missing here?
Do you have your weaponskills maxed out?

You can go to elitist jerks and get a dps warrior spreadsheet that will import your gear from the armory and tell you what your max potential is based on your gear and buffs.
Yes, all weaponskills maxed out, I spent a day in Dire Maul hitting a ghost to do that one day. So I'll try to find that spreadsheet.

This might be a little off topic, but is there a problem with a warrior having too much rage?

"Too much rage" only exists insofar as you feel that you are sitting on an unused resource there. I think that is more a problem of dps warriors, who are more likely to be rage-limited. A protection warrior in some situations has basically unlimited rage, due to the added rage from incoming hits, and is only limited by his global cooldowns.
[i]Tried Fury again on the heroic level 80 dummy, this time without heroic strike, and better rage management. Got up to 1k dps now.

Switched to Arms, same gear, same dummy, 1.5k dps. And Arms is more fun, as there are more possible buttons to press. That's a keeper, I'll stay protection/arms dual spec from now on.

The type of gear people say Fury becomes better with is completely out of my reach.[/i]

If I can make another sugguestion if you decide to stay arms, take poleaxe talenet if you have a decent axe. The +5 to crit AND the +5% to crit damage is a better bonus then the mace spec.

Also, gem for Arm penitration. Strength, crit, Attpwr you can get from your gear upgrades.

There's a really good (but slightly outdated) thread on how to dps as arms warrior here
Thanks for this article Tobold. I have been playing fury since BC and long for the days when i would monitor threat constantly as i was contributing TOO much dps. Now with real life obligations i'm no longer able to raid aside from the casual pug every so often and am saddened with the state of fury dps. I also have recently switched to Arms and am faring much better but tbh i am a fury warrior at heart and can't wait for fury to be "fixed".

On a side note i read that in Cataclysm fury warriors can once again dual wield 1H weapons if they so choose /cheer!
Better gear will help your rage generation and do not I repaeat do not use Heroic Strike. It's a rage dump and you will very quickly become rage starved which will affect your DPS dramatically.
Get one (or two) of this: it's very easily obtainable.

Also get Rawr if in doubt of what you'll need to improve, it's not perfect but saves a lot of your time anyway:
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