What are Gladiators?
Gladiators are Protection Warriors using the talent Gladiator's Resolve and in Gladiator Stance. Upon entering the stance they lose all tanking benefits and become a full fledged DPS. They are unable to swap back into Defensive Stance during combat, making them completely unable to tank. This is the largest misconception regarding the class. A Gladiator is not a tank!
As the spiritual successor to 5.4 Fury, it is by far the most fluid and responsive Warrior spec. It's reliable rotation flows extremely well and keeps the player engaged with it's fast pace. The best thing about Gladiator is that it is simple and engaging, which makes it fun, and the response from players so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
Is it worth playing?
Yes. Even as of the most recent (11/25) round of hotfixes and nerfs, Gladiator is still an effective DPS spec which competes with Arms and Fury. Currently each spec excels in different areas, giving them each a place to shine.
Single Target: Gladiator >/= Arms > Fury
2 target Cleave: Arms > Gladiator > Fury
Burst AoE: Fury > Arms > Gladiator
Sustained AoE: Arms >/= Fury > Glad
Differences between Gladiator and Protection
Gladiator's lose Unwavering Sentinel meaning they can be Crit.
Gladiator's lose Resolve. The buff is still active, it just doesn't do anything.
Gladiator's lose Shield Block.
Gladiator's gain Shield Charge, which works similar to Colossus Smash.
Gladiator's gain a passive damage bonus.
Like Protection, Gladiators do not have access to any raid buffs or DPS cooldowns.
Juggernaut can be used if desired, generally inferior to Double Time.
Double Time offers the best on demand mobility.
Warbringer for PvP only.
Enraged Regeneration gives the best on demand healing.
Second Wind has little to no benefit in PvE.
Impending Victory requires too many GCDs to be useful for Gladiator.
Heavy Repercussions offers decent burst but lower DPS. Likely the best PvP talent.
Sudden Death requires too many GCDs to be good for Gladiator, Execute does not synergize with the spec at all.
Unyielding Strikes is the best sustained DPS talent. It creates a very spammy playstyle, see the advanced section for more information.
Storm Bolt requires too many GCDs.
Shockwave is only good for stunning, even against a high number of targets.
Dragon Roar offers the best DPS for Single Target or AoE (no longer splits damage).
Mass Spell Reflection is generally not usable in raid encounters.
Safeguard will often get you killed if used on a tank. Decent for encounters with DoTs.
Vigilance is a great external cooldown for both tanks and other raid members.
Avatar is only useful in specific burst situations, generally not as good as the other options.
Bloodbath is best in most situations. Align with Shield Charge.
Bladestorm is worth using against 4+ targets.
Gladiator's Resolve is required to play Gladiator.
Unending Rage is crucial to proper rage management.
Cleave is mandatory for any amount of cleave or AoE.
Rude Interruption if you will be interrupting.
Shield Slam anytime you can use it.
Wind and Thunder for any AoE situations where targets may be spread out.
Resonating Power good when using Thunder Clap sparingly, bad when needing to use it often.
Death from Above or Heroic Leap for mobility, choose the most appropriate for your situation.
Enraged Speed for a minor, mostly passive speed increase.
If no situational glyphs are appropriate for the situation, use whichever Filler glyph appeals the most.
Str > Bonus Armor > Crit > Haste > Multistrike > Versatility ~= Mastery
T17P (pre-raid gear)
T17N (normal raid gear)
T17P Haste vs Crit
T17N Haste vs Crit
In short, Haste does some weird shit. There is no easy answer, as it depends on how much of each stat you have, but when considering swapping out gear that may change the amount of Crit and Haste you have, you'll want to run your own plots to see where you sit and what the change will bring.
The commonly accepted breakpoint is around 330 Haste (with raid buffs) to allow for an extra GCD inside Shield Charge.
Remember that your mileage may vary depending on gear. If you are really concerned with min/maxing I encourage you to use SimulationCraft to find your own stat interaction.
Trinket list, courtesy of Manager (information subject to change randomly).
Item Enhancement & Consumables
Enchants Cheap Expensive Cloak Breath of Critical Strike Gift of Critical Strike Neck Breath of Critical Strike Gift of Critical Strike Rings Breath of Critical Strike Gift of Critical Strike Weapon Mark of the Shattered Hand* Mark of the Thunderlord Gems Critical Strike Taladite Greater Critical Strike Taladite Food Blackrock Ham Blackrock Barbecue Flask Draenic Strength Flask Greater Draenic Strength Flask Potion Draenic Armor Potion**
*Shattered Hand is very slightly stronger than Thunderlord on single target, but becomes progressively weaker with more targets.
Single Target: Bleed is ~90 DPS higher than Crit. Two Targets: Crit is ~120 DPS higher than Bleed, increasing with each additional target.
However, due to the overwhelming cost of the Crit enchant this early in expansion, I recommend using the Bleed enchant for the time being. If playing Gladiator for AoE content, consider changing to Thunderlord once you have a weapon worth keeping or the price drops.
**Although it is a slightly stronger stat, the Draenic Strength Potion only gives 1,000 Strength, making it weaker than the Armor Potion.
Gladiator DPS is reminiscent of 5.4 Fury, backed by Protections reliable rotation. Shield Charge works in the same manner as Colossus Smash did and our DPS revolves around maximizing damage done during the buff. The basic concept is simple, pool rage, apply the buff, and use as many Shield Slams and Heroic Strikes as possible.
- Shield Charge to maintain the buff. Instead of using back to back, delay slightly to so that Shield Slam can be used on the first GCD of the buff. See the Advanced Section for more information.
- Shield Slam on cooldown.
- Revenge on cooldown, inside Shield Charge when possible.
- Devastate during free GCDs, when unable to use Shield Slam or Revenge. This can proc a CD reset on Shield Slam.
- Heroic Strike should only be used outside of Shield Charge to keep from capping rage while pooling for Shield Charge. During Shield Charge, use as many times as possible (4-5 times).
- Align Bloodbath with Shield Charge, preferably with potions, trinkets or other damage increasing effects.
- If using Unyeilding Strikes, spam Heroic Strike inside and outside of Shield Charge. See the advanced section for more information.
- If using Heavy Repercussions, the rotation does not change.
- If using Dragon Roar or Storm Bolt, use outside of Shield Charge, preferably on the GCD before Shield Slam comes off cooldown.
Even when using Unyielding Strikes, don't hold off to try to build stacks. Depending on luck with SSlam resets/Enrage procs you'll probably only get 3 HS inside the first Shield Charge but by the time you chain to the second Shield Charge, you'll be maxing stacks.
Not accounting for Haste or Shield Slam resets your opener should look like;
0: Pot, Charge
1.5: Shield Charge + BB, Shield Slam
7.5: Shield Slam (due to Haste this will occur before SC wears off)
Delay next Shield Charge until SSlam comes off CD. Fill with Devastate until then.
The rotation for Gladiator doesn't change much for multi-target, since there is no inherent AoE ability like Whirlwind for Arms and Fury. The only real optimization comes from ensuring the Deep Wounds debuff is present on all targets via use of Thunder Clap.
- Thunder Clap to keep Deep Wounds up on all targets (every 10-15s, or when a new target appears). Tab target Devastate works as well at <4 targets.
- Dragon Roar when it can hit multiple targets, preferably outside of Shield Charge.
- Continue Single Target rotation.
- If >6 targets, use Thunder Clap on cooldown in place of Devastate.
- Bladestorm becomes useful at around 4 targets, depending on how long the targets are up.
Maximizing Shield Charge
Because Shield Charge operates on a 2 charge system instead of a single cooldown like Colossus Smash, it allows the buff to be extended and overlap cooldowns such as Bloodbath, trinket procs or increased damage phases.
In short, it works exactly like Double Time for Charge; two charges with a recharge timer. Only one can recharge at a time, this means you cannot use Shield Charge twice and have both charges come off cooldown together.
For best results, Shield Charge should be timed so that Shield Slam is used on the very first and last GCD during the buff (not counting CD resets via Devastate). Revenge should line up naturally with every other Shield Charge, though you may have to delay Shield Charge slightly to do so. Even when chaining the buff during cooldowns like Bloodbath, you should delay Shield Charge slightly for Shield Slam.
If not using Unyielding Strikes, make sure you pool ~60 rage prior to using Shield Charge so that you can fit 4 Heroic Strikes inside each buff.
Sub 20% Execute competes with Devastate for a GCD and Heroic Strike for rage. At the moment it is ~100 DPS loss to use Execute in place of the two unless you are outside of Shield Charge, high on rage and Shield Slam is <2s from coming off CD. If all those conditions are met, using Shield Charge is somewhere around a 100 DPS gain.
In short, using Execute is at best a minor DPS gain and can be a minor DPS loss. To me it isn't worth the extra keybind.
Currently the best talent for Gladiators, it creates a very fast paced playstyle, pushing the spec over 90 APM (actions per minute).
Using the talent is simple, Devastate refreshes the 5s buff, and each stack reduces the cost of Heroic Strike by 5 rage, making it free at 6 stacks. Due to the high uptime on the buff, there is no need to attempt to game it, or time it around other abilities; simply make sure the buff does not fall off by using Devastate (which only very rarely requires delaying other abilities) and spam Heroic Strike. The only time Heroic Strike shouldn't be spammed is outside of Shield Charge, while rage is low and US only has 1-2 stacks.
Be warned, the high APM can be very tiring, especially in long raids. If you have trouble keeping up, try binding Heroic Strike to something like a mouse wheel.
Almost entirely inconsequential to Gladiators, the Protection spec leveling perks are Improved Block, Improved Defensive Stance, Improved Heroic Throw and Improved Heroic Leap.
Only Heroic Throw offers even the slightest influence on Gladiator gameplay, by allowing it to be spammed when unable to get into melee range with a target for whatever reason.
Kargath: Gladiator if on the ground, Arms if assigned to the stands.
Butcher: Gladiator. Entirely single target.
Tectus: Variable. Irregular number of targets. Generally Arms will perform better.
Brackenspore: Arms. High 2 target cleave uptime, Gladiator loses slightly, but can still perform well.
Twin Ogron: Arms or Gladiator. Arms easily wins if tanked expertly. If regulated to complete single target, Gladiator would be better.
Ko'ragh: Gladiator. Mass AoE on adds is detrimental to the raid.
Imperator: Gladiator. Mass AoE on adds is detrimental to the raid.
Thanks to Collision, Requiel, WarriorSarri, Jakesterwars, Cyclonus and others for their testing and input.
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