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Where have all the warriors gone?

By Michael 'Zechs' Radford
Mar 24, 2009 15:01


ImageWoTLK certainly turned class and spec balance on its head, but have warriors been the biggest victim? The Zechs Files wonders whether 3.1 will be enough to save the arena warrior from extinction.

Many moons ago – probably during in season three – I claimed that WoW was balanced around warriors. Not that they were the best class (although at the time, they were pretty close) but that they were the cornerstone of WoW balance; every class was judged against warriors.

Oh, how things have changed since then! If my claim was true then they are no longer the cornerstone but more of a bottom rung in a kind of “balance ladder.”
"Warriors are no longer the cornerstone but more of a bottom rung in a kind of balance ladder."

Warrior was always my favourite class deep down. Even now that it’s stuck at 77 because I see no point in using it, I still long for the day that I can bring it out of retirement. Watching Peacheadzlol’s movie yesterday gave me hope that I won’t have to wait forever, but one good MS movie (and it is the only one since WoTLK that I’ve seen) doesn’t suddenly mean the class is back to its glory days.

But this isn’t just another forum post whine about my crappy my class is (I started playing a holy paladin, so I can’t really complain). The evidence is there, and not just the usual anecdotal “class x beat class y in a duel” nonsense. Look at the top ten teams on the tournament realms – the cream of the crop in terms of online WoW. In America: zero warriors; in Europe: zero warriors.

It’s no surprise that druids, the warrior’s best friend back in TBC, are also doing so badly. But at least they have some representation in the SK100. Of the top 300 players in the world, two are warriors. That’s less than one percent, boys and girls. How the might have fallen, indeed.

But reasons for the warrior’s fall are much harder to back up with facts. Bladestorm, though fairly easy to avoid, is a devastating ability when used correctly. Fury got buffed exponentially in WoTLK and is the spec of choice for most PvP warriors, yet it still lags behind other DPS classes in arena.
"Fury got buffed exponentially in WoTLK and is the spec of choice for most PvP warriors, yet it still lags behind other DPS classes in arena."

My own opinion is that the class just doesn’t offer anything unique now. Deathknights are more durable and do more damage. Hunters have what used to be the warrior’s biggest asset: Mortal Strike, and, what’s more, theirs is ranged. Then there was the removal of mace stun while hunters got TNT. Survivability, despite being in plate, has never been so low for warriors. In the movie I linked above, you’ll notice that he spends at least half of his time running around with a shield out trying not to die. And this is supposed to be a durable, heavy-armored tank class?

3.1 may be the light at the end of the warrior’s tunnel. Being able to charge in combat is huge. Not game-breakingly huge but it’s a massive buff. Blizzard’s usual approach to class balance via patches is “if it’s broke, fix it hard.” From the top to the bottom and then back again is a common journey for most classes in WoW – just ask a warlock.

The world's first weekly esports column, The Zechs Files, returns next Tuesday.


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