5.4 PVE Arms Warrior Guide
Since most raiding Warriors have not played Arms in some time, there are many questions about exactly what Arms does and how it performs in the coming tier. A group of active, Heroic raiding Warriors have come together to question, theorycraft and test all of these new changes.
This Guide is the result of many hours hard work and is our contribution to the Warrior community.
It is based on Collision Math™, extensive use of Simcraft, PTR testing and the input of many great Warriors on the WoW and MMO Champion forums. Supporting documentation and math behind the information listed here will be included, but the intent of this guide is to give a basic overview and re-familiarize Warriors with a spec that has not been seriously played since Dragon Soul.
List of Changes to help figure out what information has been updated:
- NEW! Advanced Section - Alternate two-piece Rotation revised, new picture to come
- Stat Priority
- Strength, Mastery and Haste definitions
- Talents - Safeguard
- Prime Glyphs - Glyph of Resonating Power
- AoE Rotation (last two bullets)
- Cooldowns - Shattering Throw
- Defensive Cooldowns - Rallying Cry & Demoralizing Banner
- Utility Abilities (following Cooldown & Defensive section)
- Advanced Section - Strikes of Opportunity
- Arms/Fury Comparison by Fight
Arms Raid Viability
5.4 has seen many improvements to Arms damage for both single and multi-target, and is now a competitive raiding spec.
Fury is still better for pure single target damage.
Arms cleave and sustained AoE damage however is far greater than Fury. Also unlike Fury, Arms AoE is easily sustainable without interrupting its normal single target rotation and very easy to pull off. This makes it the go to spec for many fights in the Siege of Orgrimmar.
Exp cap > Hit cap > Strength > Crit > Mastery > Haste
Reduces the chance of being Dodged and Parried.
Cap: 7.5% / 2550 rating
Orc (Axe) or Human (Sword/Mace): 2210 rating due to free 1% from specialization.
Any Expertise over the cap will continue to reduce your chance to be parried only when in front of bosses, however it is detrimental and a DPS loss to go over the cap. Excess Expertise should be reforged/gemmed out of whenever possible.
Reduces your chance to miss with yellow special attacks and white swings.
Cap: 7.5% / 2550 rating
Is the highest DPS gain per stat, each point of strength gives 2 attack power. Attack power increase the damage of AP based abilities such as Deep Wounds, Heroic Leap, Dragon Roar and Execute. Attack power also contributes to increasing weapon damage. More on Strength in the gemming section.
*Many people become confused by Strength and Crit. Strength is actually our best statistic, point for point. The reason we gem for Critical Strike however is because secondary statistics get double the amount on gems as primary statisics (such as strength).
Thus a pure Strength gem will have 160 Str, and a pure Crit gem will have 320, while Strength is worth more than 1 point of Crit; it is not as good as 2 points of Crit.
Crit is our highest DPS stat behind Strength. In addition to doubling the damage of any attack, Critical Hits with Mortal Strike and Colossus Smash proc Enrage, which increases all damage done by 10% for 6.5 seconds.
1% Crit is equal to 600 rating. Crit diminishes in value by 1% per level the target is above you, so against level 93 (raid bosses) your Critical Hit will be 3% lower than what is displayed on your character sheet. This is more than made up for with raid buffs and generally not worth worrying about.
Unlike Fury, there is no attainable cap and more Crit is always better.
Mastery increases our chance to proc Strikes of Opportunity; instant 55% damage melee hits. Strikes of Opportunity can proc off of almost any ability, to include most special attacks and trinkets. Because of this there is an interesting mechanic between Strikes of Opportunity and Sweeping Strikes. Strikes of Opportunity will proc a Sweeping Strike cleave, which in turn can proc a Strike of Opportunity, continuing to chain from there. This chain will continue until one or the other fails to proc.
With this mechanic, and some incredibly complicated math, Mastery has been proven to potentially deal incredible levels of damage. It is a progressive scale, in which Mastery will yield higher DPS as you get more of it. At a certain point it can actually become higher than Strength. Unfortunately any amount of time spent single target devalues it significantly, as does movement or other mechanics which will "break the chain". Both the circumstances and amount of Mastery required to reach 100% SoO/SS cleave are unfeasible, but the math is there.
Mastery yields more DPS per point than any other stat at 2+ targets until it plataeus (depending on gear and trinkets, roughly 17-20k) at which point is ceases to gain in damage per point. Mastery is also only really beneficial on 2+ targets, for these reasons we do not recommend stacking Mastery over Crit, Expertise or Hit; unless you plan to reforge and regem each fight, even if you are going to play Arms on every fight. This guide will continue to assume you are prioritizing Crit > Mastery > Haste.
Haste increases our auto attack speed. This both increases rage generation so we can fill more GCD’s with stronger abilities and gives us more attacks with which to proc our Mastery.
Attack speed is calculated by dividing weapon speed by Haste:
Haste and Mastery are very close for damage per point on single target, however in any situation with 2 or more targets Mastery's value scales progressively higher as you get more.weapon speed / (1+ haste rating)
Red Crafty Vermilion Onyx Inscribed Vermilion Onyx Blue Piercing Wild Jade Yellow Smooth Sun's Radiance Meta Capacitive Primal Diamond Reverberating Primal Diamond
Arms and Fury use the same gemming, so you should not have to change gems between specs.
Expertise/Crit gems should be used to help you meet the Expertise cap and instead reforge into a more useful stat.
Crit is weighted so high that it is at times worth gemming 320 Crit instead of the correct color and skipping the socket bonus.
This will have to be decided upon on your own, based off of your current stat weights and the socket bonus. A quick-guide table is in the works.
Reforge under the same priority as above.
Arms and Fury prioritize stats the same way, if you plan to respec between fights, you will only need to reforge if you cannot meet Hit/Expertise cap when dropping your Fury offhand weapon, or change other gear when swapping specs. If you are Titans Grip for Fury, try not to use Gar'tok, Strength of the Faithful in your Offhand to make the transition easier.
An addon such as ReforgeLite will help you easily reforge.
The best professions are still Blacksmithing and Engineering.
- Blacksmithing gives you an additional two sockets for an extra 640 Crit, the highest stat gain out of any profession.
- Engineering will give you 1920 strength for 10 seconds once every minute (Synapse Springs); this can be stacked with other cooldowns.
- Skinning is the third best profession with a 480 crit bonus.
Modifies your charge to increase mobility.
Juggernaut is only better than Double Time if you can constantly charge every 12-15 seconds, which is very rare.
*Double Time will allow you to charge twice in quick succession and cover a greater distance in a short amount of time; and is generally the best talent choice.
Warbringer provides no benefit in raids.
Healing Tier; pick whichever you like best or best suits your environment.
*Enraged Regeneration is the prime choice for on demand healing.
*Second Wind is still a powerful choice for any fight with constant high raid damage when you expect to be low on health often. It also has the benefit of being passive, requiring less management.
*Impending Victory is less useful than as Fury because Arms is much more GCD capped but it still sustains the highest healing if you can use it on cooldown.
Utility Tier; pick whichever talent best suits the encounter.
Staggering Shout will almost never be used in raids.
*Piercing How for kiting.
*Disrupting Shout for any interrupt duties.
*Bladestorm Is best if it can be used consistently on 2+ targets
Shockwave is not as strong a choice as Dragon Roar or Bladestorm but has great utility for stunning multiple targets if needed.
*Dragon Roar will be your normal Single Target talent of choice.
Mass Spell Reflection is rarely useful inside raids, but when it does work, can be absolutely game breaking. Currently there are no mechanics in T16 which make use of it.
Safeguard Can be situationally useful in rarer situations where a raid member is taking damage over time, or in direct damage; but should be avoid using on anyone Tanking or taking direct hits from a boss as it will usually get you killed.
*Vigilance has been buffed into a great external raid cooldown and will be the prime talent of choice for coordinated raiding. It no longer transfers damage to you and so should be used whenever possible on Tanks or other players who will be taking high damage.
Avatar is not as high damage as Bloodbath, due to much of the buff time being outside of Colossus Smash.
*Bloodbath will be the best talent choice for Arms for both Single Target and AoE damage.
Storm Bolt is not as high damage as Bloodbath due to the lack of an offhand.
*Glyph of Unending Rage - Due to the GCD capping playstyle of Arms, the extra rage threshold is not as useful as it is for Fury. Without the Tier 16 two-piece Arms may be rage limited, but with the set bonus, this glyph keeps its usefulness.
*Glyph of Sweeping Strikes - Helps offset the cost of Sweeping Strikes, while one rage per hit sounds insignificant it can offer a substantial amount of Rage over time and is the best glyph to use in any multi-target situation.
*Glyph of Resonating Power - Since Thunderclap is used to spread Deep Wounds roughly every 12-15 seconds, rather than on cooldown for damage, this glyph helps increase damage output, while the cooldown increase to 9 seconds does not effect our rotation.
*Glyph of Death from Above – The reduced Cooldown gives increased mobility and slight damage increase, though the damage is very slight, this glyph can easily be changed out
Glyph of Mortal Strike – The debuff should always be up and extra healing can be beneficial while raiding, even if minor.
Glyph of Rude Interruption – If you are assigned to continuous interrupt duties, this can be a noticeable dps increase. The buff lasts 20 seconds, long enough for most 2-3 person interrupt rotations to have near 100% uptime.
Glyph of Colossus Smash – If you have no other source of Sunder Armor/equivalent debuffs, this is an easy way to keep it up.
Glyph of the Subtle Defender – New to 5.4, it removes the bonus threat from Defensive Stance. Could be useful but you should never be hanging out in Defensive Stance while dealing continuous damage.
Glyph of Intimidating Shout – Can be useful in raiding anytime you may be mind controlled.
Glyph of Thunder Strike – Looks pretty cool
Unlike Fury who manages and stockpiles rage in preparation for a Colossus Smash, Sudden Death will proc often enough that Colossus Smash will come up approximately every 8-15 seconds. This can allow for near continuous Colossus Smash phases and makes it much more difficult to stockpile rage. The single target rotation consists of keeping Mortal Strike on cooldown and the Colossus Smash debuff up as much as possible.
There are alternate single target rotations once you obtain the two piece Tier 16 bonus. They will be covered in the Advanced section at the bottom of this guide.
Inside Colossus Smash
- Slam as much as possible.
- Mortal Strike when you can't.
- Try to fit 4 Slams or 3 Slams and 1 Mortal Strike inside CS.
- Overpower as a last resort.
Outside Colossus Smash
Even though Slam doubles the damage of Overpower, you will want to prioritize Overpower outside of CS both to lower the cooldown of Mortal Strike, and for additional chances to proc Sudden Death.
- Colossus Smash as soon as available.
- Mortal Strike on cooldown.
- Use Battle Shout or Heroic Throw as fillers when nothing else available.
- Slam only when capping Rage (~90-100).
- Only use while dealing Single Target damage.
- Try to fit 4 Executes or 3 Executes and 1 Mortal Strike inside CS.
- Execute will cause all Overpowers for the next 10 seconds to be free.
- Colossus Smash as soon as it is available.
- Mortal Strike on cooldown.
- Use Battle Shout or Heroic Throw as fillers when nothing else available.
- Only Execute when Rage capping (~80).
Sweeping Strikes: Will cause all of your abilities to deal 75% damage to a nearby target. It costs 30 rage, has a 10 second duration and 10 second cooldown, so you must spend 30 rage to refresh it every 10 seconds.
Slam-Cleave: During Sweeping Strikes Slam will hit all targets within TWO yards (basically on top of eachother).
- Keep up Sweeping Strikes.
- 2 Targets: Tab target Mortal Strike to spread Deep Wounds.
- 3+ Targets: Use Thunderclap only to keep Deep Wounds up. It should only be used approx. 12-15 seconds, just before Deep Wounds falls off.
- If targets are close enough together, prioritize spaming Slam over all else, use Mortal Strike, Overpower and Fillers when unable.
- Slam-Cleave is better than Execute if the targets are close enough.
- If the targets cannot be Slam-Cleaved, just keep up Sweeping Strikes and continue the normal single target rotations.
- With the Tier 16 Two-Piece bonus, Overpower may be dropped from the rotation entirely while adds are close enough for Slam-Cleaving. Rage generation should be high enough to use Colossus Smash > Slam > Mortal Strike.
- Another explanation:
In CS = Slam > MS (if you can't Slam or have <50 rage and need to refresh SS in <3 seconds) > filler
Out of CS = CS > MS > Slam (will cleave) > Slam (won't cleave, >70 rage) > OP (Slam won't cleave, >40-50 rage) > Shout > Empty
Doing high damage as a Warrior absolutely relies on stacking as many cooldowns as possible to multiply your damage to incredibly high levels. The ideal time to use your cooldowns is just before entering a Colossus Smash phase to take advantage of the increased damage. Care should be taken to stack them with potions, increased damage phases and other mechanics that may boost your damage.
Recklessness increases the chance to Critically Hit with ALL attacks by 30% for 12 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. It should be used as often as possible and aligned with other abilities whenever possible.
You should always try to time or delay your Recklessness so that it is available when a boss reaches 20% to use it during your Execute phase.
Skull Banner increases the entire raids critical hit damage by 20% for 10 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. Because it only effects Critical Hit damage, it should be used with Recklessness and Dragon Roar as much as possible.
Skull Banner effects not only you but the entire raid. For this reason, it can be considered a raid cooldown and may be more beneficial to use for the raid instead of solely for yourself, especially during Bloodlust. Few classes stack critical hit chance the way Warriors do, so the raid vs personal benefits will be determined by your raid group size, class makeup and your own damage comparative to the rest of the group. Consult your raid leader to determine the best time to use it.
Bloodbath is a stacking dot and considered a “rolling bleed” where the damage over time left on the current bleed is added to the new bleed and the timer resets.
For example if your Bloodbath starts off dealing 30K over 10 seconds, dealing damage every second; after 5 seconds it will have dealt 15k damage and have 15K left to go. If you then refresh it with another 30k bleed, Bloodbath will take the damage left on the previous bleed and add it to the new one, combining the two. This would give you one combined bleed (15k+30K) and that will tick for 45k over 10 seconds. This is why it doesn’t matter in which order you use abilities inside of Bloodbath. Also keep in mind that only special (yellow) hits add to Bloodbath’s damage and so as many special attacks as possible should be used while it is up.
Dragon Roar is a very high damage instant attack which ignores all Armor and always Critically Hits. Because it always Critically Hits, it does not gain from Recklessness but it does gain 20% increased damage from Skull Banner. It should always be used inside of Skull Banner, Bloodbath, Trinket buffs, Synapse Springs, Potion or any other damage increasing mechanics whenever possible.
Bladestorm deals impressive burst AoE damage with a low cooldown. For Arms, Bladestorm is not stronger than Dragon Roar on single target, but will be a DPS gain on 2+ targets and deal more damage as the amount of targets increases. Because you will be unable to use any ability except shouts and berserker rage while Bladestorming, making a /cancelaura Bladestorm macro will allow you to stop spinning and resume your normal rotation if needed (see Macros section).
Berserker Rage should be used to in the gaps where you are not Enraged during CS. Preferably planned to coincide with increased damage phases; or cooldowns such as Recklessness, Bloodbath, Dragon Roar, or Bladestorm.
Berserker Stance is not an actual DPS “cooldown”, but if used properly it can greatly increase your Rage generation. Berserker Stance gives you 1 rage per 1% health lost. Rage is only gained for actual health damage taken, damage absorbed or otherwise mitigated does not gain rage. However you will only gain half as much Rage from auto attacks as normal. So you do not want to sit in Berserker Stance unless you are taking damage that is equal to or greater than 2.5% of your health per second. While there aren’t many fights like Elegon, Will of the Emperor, Twin Consorts (Suen) or Ra-den where you take a constant high amount of damage; Berserker Stance is still useful for taking high amounts of burst damage such as Ji-kun’s Quills or Lei Shen’s Thunderstruck. High burst damage will also be a time where raid cds will be used and could make switching into Berserker Stance a DPS loss. You will hate Spirit Shell.
With the 5.4 change to Stances being on a 1.5 second GCD it is very easy to change stances quickly. This helps to quickly “Stance Dance” for instant high damaging attacks without staying in the Stance.
Figure out what damage is worth being in Berserker Stance for and plan ahead.
Shattering Throw was changed in 5.4 to no longer have a rage cost. This means that it can and should be used during the Pre-Pull countdown for increased raid damage.
While Shattering Throw does not help a Warrior due to Colossus Smash; it is a good damage increase on a pull, due to stacking with other raid members pre-pots, Bloodlust and personal cooldowns.
Good usage of Defensive Cooldowns can make the difference between a good Warrior and a dead Warrior. An old saying goes “dead DPS does none” unless you want to be known as the “World’s Best Warrior on the Floor.”
Die by the Sword
Die by the Sword (DbtS) not only reduces your damage taken by 20%, it also causes you to Parry all attacks for 8 seconds. While this can be powerful, unlike Hunter Deterrence or Rogues Cloak of Shadows, only direct physical attacks can be Parried, so it isn’t a get out of mechanics free card like other classes. Most magic and many special abilities cannot be parried and must be dealt with normally.
This ability is best used when a tank dies to allow you to hold threat and not get 1 shot while the tank is rezzed or another tank taunts.
Shield Wall has been buffed in 5.4 to no longer require having a Shield equipped. Shield Wall is now a very viable and powerful cooldown and no longer reduces your damage output. Bind it and familiarize yourself with using it on demand.
Rallying Cry is one of two Raid wide Defensive Cooldowns that Warriors of all specs bring to the table. While 20% health is not as powerful as some other abilities, it has a relatively low cooldown and synergizes well with mitigation abilities. Consult your raid leader to determine when the abilities should be used, as part of a group Cooldown rotation to maximize usage and minimize damage in raids.
Demoralizing Banner is the second Raid wide Defensive Cooldown brought by Warriors. It is also somewhat weak, and sometimes paired with Rallying Cry for this reason. Demo Banner also works in a abnormal fashion. Instead of decreasing the amount of damage players take. It instead decreases the amount of damage that enemies deal to the players. Because of this, certain mechanics are not subject to mitigation by the banner and any damage dealt not actually dealt by the boss will not be decreased. It is sometimes hard to tell, resources such as World of Logs, or Skada will generally tell you if the damage is dealt by a boss or "No One". General rule of thumb is that Environmental damage is not affected by the Banner.
Defensive Stance is an often forgotten “cooldown”, using it will give you a 25% reduction in damage taken. It’s major drawback is that you will not gain any rage from auto attacks, you will only gain Rage from Mortal Strike and 1 Rage/second while in Defensive. But with only a 1.5 second GCD between changing Stances, it can be powerful and used often.
You will have to make the decision whether to go into Defensive or Berserker Stance. Berserker will not mitigate damage, but will give you more rage and more damage. Defensive could keep you alive long enough to do that damage.
You should generally not sit in Defensive Stance, and use it for quick individual high damage hits, only sit in it during times when you will be without healing, or be taking damage but unable to deal any of your own; such as Lei Shen’s Transitions or Blade Lord Ta’yak’s Wind Tunnel running.
While a warrior has a few utility abilities, not all are usable in raids.
Pummel & Disrupting Shout
Should be pretty obvious, these abilities are used in raids as part of a Interrupt Rotation, keeping an enemy completely locked out of casting Spells. Pummel is usually enough, Disrupting Shout is a good filler, in case you get "trigger happy" and miss an interrupt. It is also good for interrupting multiple adds at once, interrupting from a distance, etc.
Generally 3 players are needed for an interrupt rotation in a 25m raid.
Spell Reflection and Mass Spell Reflection
Rarely useful in raids, most boss abilities can not be reflected, either to ignore or deal damage, however there have been a few times the ability has been useful. Generally any adds that do minor spell damage; such as caster adds during the Horridon encounter in ToT can be reflected. Rarely it will be useable on a boss, and can have significant implications on the fight, such as negating the Diffusion Chain ability on Lei Shen in ToT.
Hamstring & Piercing Howl
There are many other classes that slow better than Warriors, and when kiting is needed, it is usually done by a tank specced player.
That said, Warriors are more than capable and can be quite good at slowing & kiting mobs, combining their slows with stuns and good mobility using a combination of Charge, Intervene and Heroic Leap.
Taunt and Mocking Banner
Generally won't be touched in raids, Taunt can be useful when a tank dies to pick up a boss and using Die by the Sword, hold it long enough for a Battle Resurrection or taunt by an off-tank.
Mocking Banner will likely never be used by a DPS Warrior in raids, and I cannot think of a time in recent history where it has been used to much effect.
Never used on actual bosses, the Warriors iconic AoE Fear can be used on many adds that come out during a fight. While only situationally useful, since adds are usually tanked, and the fear breaks on damage, it can be rarely be used when a tank dies; or as an extra interrupt.
MacrosHere are some macros that improve the quality of life for a warrior.
Archi’s all in one Charge
Use the same key to Charge if an enemy is targeted, Intervene if an ally is targeted and Victory rush if an enemy is targeted and it is available. Will show the tooltip that is most appropriate. Also cancels Bladestorm. If you have Safeguard or Impending Victory, it will use those abilities and show their tooltips without any changes to the macro due to those abilities “replacing” the others.#showtooltip
/cast [harm] Charge; [help] Intervene
/cast Victory Rush
The name of the macro MUST match what is inside the first set of quotations in this line: ("ESL",IsUsableSpell("Execute")/run if not EoH then CreateFrame("Frame","EoH") EoH:SetScript("OnUpdate",function(s,e) s.t=(s.t or 0)+e if s.t>.1 then s.t=0 SetMacroSpell("ESL",IsUsableSpell("Execute") and "Execute" or "Slam") end end) end
Using this macro when changing specs or changing any part of the macro may require a /reload UI to display properly. If it works properly it will show Slam unless Execute is able to be used. Also works with the T16 4p bonus. Since Slam is only 25 rage now, it may show Slam instead of Execute if you do not have enough rage to use Execute. Requires separate key binding for Slam and Execute.
Will use your potion, shout if possible, and start the in game stopwatch. Remove that line if you do not want it, some raiders like keeping track of a fights duration.#showtooltip Potion of Mogu Power
/use Potion of Mogu Power
/cast Battle Shout
Bloodbath, Dragon Roar and Synapse Springs
Uses Engineering Synapse Springs, starts Bloodbath and casts Dragon Roar on one button press. Remember that Springs and BB are off of the GCD but Dragon Roar is not.#showtooltip
/cast Dragon Roar
The name of this macro must be equal the words in the quotations of the last line “T60” or it will not work. Will allow you to cast whatever Tier 60 talent you have selected and display the appropriate icon.#showtooltip
/cast Dragon Roar
/run local G=GetSpellInfo SetMacroSpell("T60", G"Bladestorm" or G"Shockwave" or "Dragon Roar")
Will interrupt your focus target if you have one, or your target if you do not. Advised to use an addon such as Quartz to show focus cast bars.#showtooltip Pummel
/cast [@focus, harm, exists][@target] Pummel
Cancel Bladestorm Marco
Lazy Mans Bladestorm Macro#showtooltip Mortal Strike
/cast Mortal Strike
/cast Skull Banner
/cast Blood Fury
/cast Berserker Rage
Enrage Procs off of Mortal Strike and Colossus Smash critical hits and increases damage done by 10% for 6 seconds. Unlike Bloodthirst which has a double chance to critically hit and thus gives Fury a very high uptime on Enrage, Arms Warriors can not expect to be Enraged nearly as often. Since Arms Mastery does not increase the damage bonus of Enrage the way Fury does, this is less detrimental and more than made up for by Arm's much higher Colossus Smash uptime.
Colossus Smash reduces the targets Armor by 100%. What is 100% armor reduction in terms or raw DPS gain? The formula for armor reduction is as follows:
The armor of a level 93 mob is 24,835 but with Sunder Armor it is 21,854.8.DamageReduction = TargetArmor / (TargetArmor + 4037.5*AttackerLevel – 317117.5)
This means the damage reduction from armor for a mob is 32.08% and is equal to a 47% damage increase for us.
Sudden Death is a major baseline of Arms damage. It causes auto attacks and Strikes of Opportunity to reset the cooldown of Colossus Smash. This gives Arms a much higher uptime on Colossus Smash and synergizes extremely well with the Tier 16 two-piece bonus. Because it can proc off of Strikes of Opportunity, almost any ability used carries a small chance to trigger this effect and is one reason for Arms more "spammy" playstyle and attempt to GCD lock itself. This plays a large roll in the Alternate Rotation listed below.
Strikes of Opportunity
Strikes of Opportunity (SoO, OS, Opportunity Strike) is Arms Mastery. It is an extra normal attack or "white hit" that causes 55% of normal damage. It can proc off of almost any ability, including normal auto attack swings, Sweeping Strikes cleave damage, and even some Trinket procs, but cannot proc off of itself. Due to the nature of Sweeping Strikes which will always proc off of Strikes of Opportunity; there is an interesting mechanic where with a high enough Mastery (or luck) Sweeping Strikes and Strikes of Opportunity will endlessly proc off of one another. OS will trigger Sweeping Strikes which in turn has a chance to proc another OS, which will then proc Sweeping Strikes and so forth. This chain will continue until Sweeping Strikes fails to proc OS, or the Sweeping Strikes buff wears off. It is currently unknown whether or not it is possible to refresh Sweeping Strikes quickly enough for the chain to continue endlessly, as it would require 100% mastery. Currently the highest obtainable is roughly 90% though this may change.
The attack, Opportunity Strike, is near instant in that there is about a .5 second delay before it goes off, and it can be seen by a character animation of an auto attack, even if the character has no target selected. When this chain occurs, your character will continue to make animations and attack on its own until the chain ends. Moving out of range will cause it to end prematurely.
After extensive math and testing, Strikes of Opportunity has been proven to be able to put out extremely high amounts of damage under specific circumstances. Unfortunately, there are very few times where you will actually be able to sustain 100% uptime on Sweeping Strikes and chain two or more targets without movement interruption or periods of single target damage. Because of this Mastery does not become our top statistic, but the benefit does make Mastery jump past Haste in our stat priority.
Sweeping Strikes, along with Deep Wounds are the major components of Arms heavy AoE and cleave damage. It causes all melee attacks, to include special abilities to hit an additional target for 75% damage. It will proc off of almost any direct attack except for Dragon Roar, Thunderclap, and Shockwave. It will proc off of Whirlwind and Bladestorm but will not proc multiple times for extra targets hit with AoE attacks. Bladestorm, since it "hits" 7 times over 6 seconds will proc a Sweeping Strike once every time the primary target is hit, up to 7 times or once per second.
Deep Wounds is a rolling bleed but instead of damage it rolls time. Unlike a typical rolling bleed (Bloodbath) Deep Wounds will not add the damage from the old bleed, but instead add the time it will take for the bleed to tick again and add that onto the new bleed.
For example: Deep Wounds is on the target with 2.5 seconds till the next tick, when you apply deep wounds again instead of being a 15 debuff it will now be a 17.5 second debuff. This was done so you can never clip Deep Wounds (reset the time between ticks so it misses dealing damage).
Remember that Deep Wounds only adds the time until the next tick, it does not combine the total time of the old debuff to the new one, so you cannot abuse the mechanic to give yourself minute+ bleeds.
Snapshotting Deep Wounds refers to using your Thunderclap while under the effects of a very powerful buff (trinket procs, increased damage phases, etc) and letting Deep Wounds run it’s full duration taking advantage of the increased damage. This is the only time where it is beneficial to use Thunderclap while the Deep Wounds debuff has time left on your targets; and the “snapshotted” Deep Wounds should not be overwritten until it is about to expire.
Tier 16 Two-Piece: Colossal Rage
Colossal Rage is the Tier 16 two-piece bonus. It is very powerful and has significant implications on the Arms Rotation.
This effect will give you 5 rage every time you use a special ability inside Colossus Smash, including the initial CS. This means, filling every GCD, you will gain 30 rage during every CS. Since Sudden Death resets the cooldown of CS, this can add up to a very large amount of rage over time.
Testing has shown that only direct, user triggered Special Attacks proc this effect.
The two piece bonus will make it much easier to maintain your rotations, and allow you to use more Slams due to extra rage income. It also makes it much harder to rage starve inside CS and introduces new rotations for single target damage (see below).
- The Legendary Cloak, Sweeping Strikes, Strikes of Opportunity (Arms Mastery) do not proc Colossal Rage.
- Dragon Roar, Shockwave, Thunder Clap and Whirlwind will only proc Colossal Rage once, regardless of number of targets hit.
- Bladestorm will proc Colossal Rage once per second due to the way it deals damage, but will not proc more often, regardless of the number of targets hit.
- Heroic Strike will proc Colossal Rage off the GCD, more on this in the Alternate Single Target Rotation below.
Tier 16 Four-Piece
Death Sentence is the T16 four-piece bonus. It is not a DPS increase for AoE vs using offset items, but is decent for Single Target. If you are using it, Execute procs simply take the place of Slam when not Slam-Cleaving.
Alternate Single Target Rotation
This only works with the T16 two-piece bonus.
The principle behind this rotation is to capitalize on Overpower’s rage efficiency, Colossus Smash and Strike of Opportunity procs, and using more special attacks inside of CS for more Colossal Rage refunds. It is not a large increase, but can give gains on pure single target damage.
You will want to use Mortal Strike, Overpower and only Slam when you have nothing else to do. The old version revolved around managing Overpower stacks, but now it is simpler than ever! Use those Overpower stacks as much as you can!
Inside CS you will prioritize Mortal Strike, Overpower and Heroic Strike when above 60 rage. You will only want to Slam when you can't use Mortal Strike or Overpower.
Outside CS you will do almost the exact same thing. MS > OP > Slam; but you do not want to use HS. If you are rage capping, use Slam once or twice to keep from overcapping before your next CS phase.
Note: Remember this is only for single target DPS and only works with the two piece.
Alternate Execute Rotation
Similar to the above; sub 20% you can see better results by using Execute only to proc free Overpowers. The rest of the rotation stays the same, prioritizing MS > Overpower with Execute replacing Slam as the dump and HS inside CS at 60+ rage. Similar to the above, the gains from this rotation only apply when doing purely single target damage.
Note: Remember this is only for single target DPS and only works with the two piece.
Proc and ICD Tracking
You should always track the Internal Cooldowns of Trinkets and other procs, and delay your abilities slightly to coincide with their procs if possible. This will allow you to stack cooldowns with large damage bonuses for even great damage done. You should not delay your abilities so much that it will cause you to miss a usage. Delaying CS more than 3-5 seconds is generally not worth it. Delaying Bloodbath, Dragon Roar, Recklessness should be evaluated on a case by case basis, aligning these cooldowns is generally more important than getting one extra use.
An addon such as Weak Auras can be configured to do this for you. More to come.
Assuming items are the same ilvl, the general guide to upgrading items as a Warrior is:
Weapons > Trinkets > Chest/Legs > Helm > Gloves/Belt > Shoulders > Boots > the rest.
Try to plan out your upgrades so that you upgrade the items that will give you the best benefit at the time. You should gain enough VP to upgrade two items twice each week, so unless you plan on getting more than two items a week, there is no reason to stockpile Valor.
Trinkets: Thok’s Tail Tip (Amp) and Evil Eye of Galakras (CDR).
Skeer’s Bloodsoaked Tailisman (Crit) is a very slight increase over CDR for single target damage only, but a large loss in any multi-target situation.
Fusion-Fire Core (Cleave) at 3+ targets can be a large DPS increase over Amp. The DPS gain gets progressively higher with each additional target; but any time spent with only 1-2 targets will have a sharp negative impact. The fight must have near constant AoE uptime and is not useful for any kind of seldom burst AoE such as in most ToT encounters. It is not currently recommended unless you are spending the majority of the fight hitting 3+ targets.
Special thanks to:
Collision, for hours of simcraft, testing and Collision Math™.
Oliria, for bringing our group together.
Xeek, for breaking our two-piece and constantly correcting me.
Warriorsarri, for more simcraft testing, ideas and math.
Darkfriend, for being a jerk.
Vaari, for not re-rolling Warlock.
Camthalion, for flying Bladestorm and pad king.
Rampage, for keeping Alliance alive.
Requiel, for shamelessly plagiarizing.
and all the great Warriors who contribute to both the WoW and MMO Champion forums.