If you’ve read my blog for a while, or especially if you follow me on Twitter, then you’ll know that I have a long standing hatred for this class. Why do I hate Warriors? Because I (used to) suck at playing Warriors. Of all the different resource mechanics in WoW, Rage is the one that I hate the most and I could never grasp how to use it.
I don’t like starting with nothing, building my way up, and then having it all bleed out of me again when I’m done. It’s like building a sandcastle on the beach even though you know that wave’s going to come in any second now and completely destroy everything you just built.
Those people are you, the Warrior. That shapeless mound of sand in front of you was your full Rage bar, but your Rage just got owned by the Wave of Inactivity. If you’re not either taking or receiving damage, then you don’t have Rage. You, the player, might have rage at your character’s lack of Rage, but that won’t get you anywhere.
How do you fight a wave? With a big, friggin’ axe and the light of the Crusaders flowing through your veins, that’s how.
By using BoA weapons and taking advantage of the Enchanting profession of my main character, I’ve turned a class that I hate playing into one of the most enjoyable leveling experiences I’ve had in a long time. Interestingly enough, I also did it by using the traditional tanking tree as a DPS tree because of the way that it plays.
What Is a BoA Warrior?
When I’m talking about a BoA Warrior, I’m talking about a PvE Twink; a character that has very powerful gear for their level so that they’re able to achieve more than a player with normal gear for their level and situation. BoA of course refers specifically to heirloom gear which is part of that powerful gear that we’re giving them. It’s not just the gear by itself though, we’re also going to enchant that gear with the best enchants we can find for it and we may even throw in some extra buffs via potions and scrolls if we’re feeling especially power hungry.
As I said, I don’t like leveling Warriors because I think Rage sucks and I hate having to deal with it. When you power your Warrior above and beyond his level though, Rage isn’t an issue. With a normal Warrior just getting the gear that drops for me or that I start with, I want to hoard my Rage and never let it go. With a PvE twinked Warrior though I can go from empty to full in about 5 seconds, so I don’t mind unloading on a single mob because I know the one standing just a few yards away will fill me back up.
I’m using the term “twink” here which typically makes people who aren’t PvP-friendly cringe a bit. I’m not talking about doing full PvP twinking here though where you’re farming the AH for rare blues and leveling engineering for goggles, because we’re not looking for very specific gear for every single slot. A PvE twink is going to level, not stick to a certain level cap like a PvP twink, so we’re only looking at getting the best gear for certain key areas.
If you’re going to roll a BoA Warrior, then you need to know which items you’ll need and which enchants you need to put on them. If you want to look at basic enchanting for BoA items in general, or ones that aren’t Warrior-specific, then I’ll point you to my Enchanting Heirlooms post for details. But for now, we’re talking about specifics for your BoA Warrior.
Charmed Ancient Bone Bow: (ranged) Hit, Crit, Attack Power
The best way to generate a lot of rage is to deal a lot of damage. To do that, you’ll want a big weapon with which to bash mobs in the face. For this build and this play style, Crusader is the only enchant worth considering. Fiery Weapon may help you burn through mobs really fast in your first 10-15 levels, but Crusader not only procs for 200 Attack Power (100 Str), it also heals you. This build is going to be chain pulling mobs with a DPS spec from level 8 on, so that heal is extra helpful.
We don’t care about the enchant to our ranged weapon because we’re rarely (if ever) going to use the thing. We’re just interested in the stats that it gives us.
We do want health, but we’re not obsessed with it above all others. Because of that we want +4 Stats over +100 Health on our chest. In this case it’s better to get a decent amount of health and attack power from one enchant than just straight health.
The shoulder enchants aren’t super important because you’ll have to be at least level 70 before you can even benefit from them. I’m going to recommend the PvP enchant that costs 10,000 Honor because it’s easy to get, very helpful (once you can use it), and it’s the best option you’ve got until you hit level 80 or become an Inscriptionist.
If you have the ring, and you want to enchant it, then Assault is the one that you want. The ring is great if you have it, but don’t worry about it if you don’t. I don’t have one and I’m doing just fine.
Swift Hand of Justice: Haste, Heal per kill
There’s only one trinket worth considering here, and you want two of them if you can get them. The haste is great because we’re dealing with a big, slow weapon here. The faster we swing it, the more death and destruction we can leave behind. The real reason we’re using these though is the heal. Every time you kill something that rewards honor or experience you’ll heal yourself for 2% of your total health. If you’re using two of them, then you get 4% of your total health. Yes, the pair of these stack.
Extra Gear: Optional
There are some other gear options that you might want to consider and you might not. It’s gear that only someone like me would bother dealing with, and it’s what I call “Sparkley Whites”. Sparkley Whites are low level, white-quality items that you enchant to make your fresh toons more powerful. Since my main character is and always will be an enchanter, I have a full set of white gear to cover all non-BoA slots with the best enchants for each type of class.
You can either get ones with no level requirement at all, which can be purchased in the starting zone of each race for around 10 copper each, or you can get them with low level requirements for around 45-60 copper each. I personally go for the ones that require level 5 to use so those are the ones I’ll link you to below.
These boots are found in your secondary towns, the ones you’ll go to right after your initial starting zones; places like Brill or Goldshire, or sometimes they’ll be found in racial capitals such as Silvermoon City or Stormwind.
I suggest the Minor Run Speed enchant over a +7 Stamina enchant because of that stupid sand castle I talked about at the beginning of this article. Losing Rage sucks, and the best way to not lose it is to not waste it between battles because you’re moving so slow. You can go with either of those two enchants, I just personally like the movement speed and use it as the enchant on every type of armor that I do this for.
If this were a PvP twink then I would be suggesting +15 Agility instead of +7 Strength for the enchant, but we’re not looking for constant crits so much as we are constant, solid damage increases. While the Agility enchant would also give us some survivability, we’ll get more benefit from the Strength.
Again we’re going to go with a solid increase to our damage output over survivability. The +9 Stamina enchant is a really big chunk of health that we’re passing up, but the 9 Strength = 18 Attack Power, and with this build we’re going to subscribe to the belief that “the best defense is a strong offense.”
Important Spells and Abilities
There are a lot of abilities that we’re going to use with this build. Some of them can only be used when we’re in certain stances and others can be used all the time. I’ll go over all of the abilities in this section, noting which circumstances are required for you to use them. Numbers and details for each spell are taken from their highest available rank as of level 29, and are not modified by talent points, attributes, gear, or any other variables.
For now just get yourself familiar with what these abilities do. I’ll tell you how to actually put them to use for mass slayage in the next section.
Battle Stance: A balanced combat stance that increases the armor penetration of all of your attacks by 10%.
Defensive Stance: A defensive combat stance. Decreases damage taken by 10% and damage caused by 5%. Increases threat generated.
General Abilities (No Stance, or Both Stances)
Thunder Clap: (20 Rage, Battle or Defensive, Instant cast, 6 sec cooldown) Blasts nearby enemies increasing the time between their attacks by 10% for 18 seconds and doing 55 damage to them. Damage increased by attack power. This ability causes additional threat.
Battle Shout: (10 Rage, Any stance, Instant) The warrior shouts, increasing attack power of all raid and party members within 30 yards by 55. Lasts 2 minutes.
Bloodrage: (No Rage, Any stance, Instant, 1 minute cooldown) Generates 20 rage at the cost of health, and then generates an additional 10 rage over 10 seconds.
Battle Stance Only
Charge: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 15 sec cooldown) Charge an enemy, generate 12 rage, and stun it for 1.5 seconds. Cannot be used in combat.
Victory Rush: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant) Instantly attack the target causing damage. Can only be used within 20 seconds after you kill an enemy that yields experience or honor. Damage based on your Attack Power.
Overpower: (5 Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 second cooldown) Instantly overpower the enemy, causing weapon damage. Only usable after the target dodges. Overpower cannot be blocked, dodged or parried.
Retaliation: (No Rage, Battle Stance, Instant, 5 minute cooldown) Instantly counterattack any enemy that strikes you in melee for 12 seconds. Melee attacks made from behind cannot be counterattacked. A maximum of 20 attacks will cause retaliation.
Defensive Stance Only
Revenge: (5 Rage, Defensive Stance, Instant, 5 sec cooldown) Instantly counterattack an enemy for 145-177 damage. Revenge is only usable after the warrior blocks, dodges or parries an attack.
Leveling a BoA Warrior
Rotation: Charge, Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam), Thunder Clap, Victory Rush (spam)
You’ll also want to be sure your Battle Shout is on before rushing into combat if you can. If you don’t have any rage, and nothing to give you rage right away, then just charge in on the first mob and use the rage from the charge + auto-attack to cast it.
Your basic rotation is simple. Charge in to generate Rage, Heroic Strike to kill or seriously injure a mob to proc Victory Rush, Thunder Clap for AoE pull and damage, spam Victory Rush to kill all targets, Thunder Clap for additional AoE pulls or damage, spam Victory Rush and Thunder Clap until you’re done. If you use my macro suggestions down below you’ll also trigger your Overpower or Revenge abilities every time they become available as well.
When you’re doing solo questing, like clearing yeti caves and such, this simple rotation of TClap-Victory Rush kills almost everything straight away. When you get into instances things don’t die quite as easily, and since you’re not always going to get the killing blow your Victory Rush isn’t going to be available nearly as often. In cases like that, it’s best to build up as much rage as you can, and then unleash on single targets to try to get the killing blows. If you act like a PvP Rogue, killing off every target with low health, you can sometimes grab all of the killing blows from Victory Rushing the low targets one after another.
This is a Prot build, and you certainly can tank with this around level 20 even without a shield, but it’s also a DPS-focused build. If you’re not the tank, then you should cut back on your Thunderclaps so that you’re not the one with all the agro, but better you than one of the other DPS or the Healer.
Spec and Glyphs
Prot Spec Talents
Improved Thunder Clap 3/3: Reduces the cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 4 rage points and increases the damage by 30% and slowing effect by an additional 10%.
Improved Bloodrage 2/2: Increases the rage generated by your Bloodrage ability by 50%.
Incite 3/3: Increases the critical strike chance of your Heroic Strike, Thunder Clap, and Cleave abilities by 15%.
Anticipation 2/5: Increases your Dodge chance by 2%.
Improved Revenge 2/2: Increases damage of your Revenge ability by 60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
Shield Mastery 2/2: Increases your block value by 30% and reduces the cooldown of your Shield Block ability by 20 seconds.
Shield Specialization 3/5: Increases your chance to block attacks with a shield by 3% and has a 60% chance to generate 5 rage when a block, dodge, or parry occurs.
Anticipation +3 (5/5): Increases your Dodge chance by 5%.
Thunder Clap is your bread and butter AoE ability from level 6 on. You’ll have other abilities that can hit multiple targets (such as Revenge via our talent points, or Cleave/Sunder if we use their glyphs), but those only hit a couple of mobs while this one is an AoE, so both of our glyphs are going to go towards improving Thunder Clap.
Our Major glyph reduces the rage cost which will allow us to use it more often, and our Minor glyph increases its radius which is actually used more as a means of pulling additional mobs from further distances than it is for the AoE aspect of it since most mobs will be within melee range of you anyway.
Cleaving, Revenge, and Victory Rush are all acceptable substitutes for your Major glyph slot and Charge, Battle, and Enduring Victory are all acceptable substitutes for the Minor glyph slot.
There are a lot of macros that we can use for this build to make it easier to play, and all of them are fairly easy to write, use, and understand.
Normally when I write a macro I like to name it something relating to what it actually does. For the warrior though, I instead set the macro name to the rage cost of the primary ability associated with that macro. When you put a macro on your action bars it shows the name of it, so in this case it shows me rage costs instead. After using a Warrior for a while you’ll know all of the rage costs without even paying attention anymore, but while you’re still learning I think it helps to see that visibly without having to mouse-over the ability. For abilities that have no rage cost, I just name them what they are.
Important Note: I have had people comment on my macros before, suggesting that you use the exclamation mark in front of some abilities that don’t fire off right away to prevent a second use of that macro from turning the ability off like this: “/cast !Heroic Strike”. I have personally never had this problem with my macros. It might be that I have an addon that fixes the issue that I’m just not aware of, or who knows. If you experience that problem then add the exclamation, if not then forget it and go with what I suggest here.
/cast Heroic Strike
The above macro will target an enemy (if you don’t already have an enemy targeted) and activate your auto-attack on that target. It will then use your Charge ability and activate Herioc Strike. What that’s going to do is cause you to charge and immediately follow with Heroic Strike instead of an auto-attack. If you are too close or too far away from your enemy for Charge to work, or if Charge is on cooldown, then it will simply activate Heroic Strike so that it’s used in place of your next auto-attack.
Since I don’t like wasting Rage on Heroic Strike when it’s not necessary, this is the only macro that I tie HS into and the only macro that I do not tie Revenge/Overpower into, so that I’m not accidentally throwing Rage away on HS when it could be put to better use on other abilities.
/cast Victory Rush
At low level, and high power thanks to our enchanted heirlooms, Victory Rush is insanely strong. Basically, if you use it then your target dies instantly. If you don’t have all of the gear and enchants that I suggested then you may have to actually hit them with a Thunder Clap or a normal attack as well, but generally speaking you can just consider them dead.
This is the button that I spam when I’m in a large group so that I’m not having to pay attention to when Overpower or Revenge procs, and my Victory rushes get used right away. When you’re in a large pack of mobs, it’s not always easy to see that you’ve got Victory Rush available, so I’ll often be spamming this macro during combat.
I personally like to use a variation of this macro for every attack that I put on my primary action bar, simply replacing Victory Rush with whatever attack ability I’m using. Thunderclap, Rend, Shield Bash, Sunder Armor, Mocking Blow – whatever it is, if it’s on your action bar then use it in this macro so that you don’t waste your procs.
Gearing Up Your Warrior
There are only a couple of stats that you care about with this build and this concept: Strength (Attack Power), and Stamina.
Warriors get 2 AP for every 1 Str, and since AP is fairly rare on low level items you’ll mostly be looking for Strength as your source. Stamina is your source of health, of course, and since you’ll be pulling more than normal with this type of character you will need that health now and then in order to survive.
The purpose of this type of character is having fun, it’s not to rush to 80 and start raiding with it, so the professions I’m going to list here are the ones that will help you with this.
Herbalism provides you with the Lifebloom heal over time effect which can really be useful when you’re pulling very large groups of mobs and want to reduce your downtime while also increasing your survivability.
Skinning provides you with a bonus to your critical strike chance which is great since we’re basically playing a DPS version of a tanking spec. The more you crit, the harder you hit, and the harder you hit the more rage you get, and the more rage you get the faster things die.
Engineering provides a couple of benefits for us. First off being another form of AoE damage in the form of bombs and dynamite, and secondly by providing helms that will give you Stamina bonuses early on and eventually attack power bonuses as well once you get up around level 50. Starting off the big thing is the explosives as they can provide you both with the extra damage as well as a few seconds of AoE stun that you can use for a single healing tic from a bandage if you’re in serious trouble.
Mining is a decent benefit to you as well by providing a bonus to your Stamina. The extra health is good, though I wouldn’t consider it as good as any of the others listed above.
The other professions themselves aren’t particularly helpful for this, and the benefits they do provide come in the form of items that you can either purchase or make with an alt and then send them over. As far as those items go, potions or scrolls that provide Strength/Stamina/Agility are all good, as are any Armor bonuses you can find from consumables or armor kits made by leather workers.