December 5, 2005

World of Warcraft - Warriors, Taunt, PvP

Originally, I slated this article to be a review of nearly all of the Warrior skills, talents, and the rage system. However, it was definitely apparent that the Warrior class is a sum of its parts and that debating the power of each part was an ineffective way to present my view on the balance of Warriors in WoW PvP.

Warriors are the tanks of World of Warcraft. They are the best damage absorption class in game. To the delight of most warriors, they are also quite capable of producing large amounts of damage. Offensively built and equipped warriors are a force to be reckoned with, and while defensive warriors will not achieve stellar damage numbers, they make up for it in sheer hit points, defense, and the melee advantage in regards to stats.

What is the melee advantage of stats? Basically, it is the simple fact that WoW melee classes benefit much more from each stat point when compared to the caster/hybrid classes. Casters essentially only gain benefits from one stat: intelligence. Melee classes derive an excess of benefits from every stat other than intelligence. Since stats in WoW are determined via gear, it makes sense that the essential melee class, the warrior, would derive the greatest benefit for gear. In essence, a warrior is more about the gear they wear than the skills, abilities, and talents they use.

Warriors are the melee class in World of Warcraft and are completely dependent on the gear they wear. When it is removed, their class skills do not pick up where their gear leaves off. The power of their skills, abilities, and talents are directly defined by the warriors’ gear. Almost every other class in WoW receives enhancements in their skills from the gear they wear, but are not dependent on it.

You take away the gear from a rogue, mage, or priest, and they are not completely destroyed. A warrior is not so fortunate. This concept is hard to grasp, but fortunately there has been a great video made that demonstrates the point. It focuses on the Rogue class, but it shows very well the concept of how classes other than warriors are carried by their skills and not their gear. The gear enhances these classes, truly making them better, but the foundation of the class is not the gear.

This is a departure from what I feel is good balance. Warriors that strive towards better gear are becoming terrors on the battlefield. Their skills scale upwards with their gear in a fashion that is greater than the rest of WoW classes. Over time, gear is only going to get better, and in essence, balance is at stake.

Warriors would have fared better if their PvP prowess was defined from their skills. I will use a clear example of what was missed for warriors. The taunt skill allows warriors to direct targets towards themselves to hopefully save fellow group members. However, in PvP it does nothing. This is a key skill that could have helped define warriors in PvP. However, it does not, and warriors are left chasing towards more power and damage through gear.

I will even go a step further and say that taunt would have defined warriors in PvP, if it worked to clear an enemy’s target box. A simple delay of 3-5 seconds before the enemy could re-acquire the removed target would have given warriors a defined roll in PvP. This in no way would of pigeon-holed all warriors into being taunt machines in PvP and nothing else. Warriors would still have the same choices they have now, but they would have had a much more obvious role in PvP, outside of being the person with the most hit points, armor, and damage.

Sadly, due to the lack of a defining role in PvP, warriors are delegated into just doing more damage and charging head-first into the enemy. While this is what many warriors may wish to do, there is a piece of that tank title that is lost when warriors are unable to get targets off of their support classes. Blizzard seems more than content to simply increase the power of gear with each and every patch/expansion, therefore further propelling warriors into a *must do more damage* mold. There were opportunities missed to make warriors less gear-dependent and offer the ability for every warrior to have a more clear and concise role in PvP.

Update: 6 Nov, 2006 - Removed post, but this will be kept as a placeholder for historical value.
This post originally linked to a (now defunct) article that I wrote about World of Warcraft warriors and their effects on PvP. Unfortunately no copies of the article were saved.
Update: 9 Feb, 2007 - Article has been saved from an old post on I will edit it sometime in the future.