Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Arms DPS

One's performance is pretty interestingly dependant on her/his subjective view. The commonly accepted or required values tend to be easily measured and are usually posed more out of the convenience rather than actual facts.

Take the GS for example: you can have completely wrong gearset which exceeds the actual requirement, but still doesn't improve your actual performance in the role you sign in. This is sadly pretty common, so now we can see more and more requirements for gear checks, dps checks and achievements.

My achilles heel has always been my lack of interest in the dps role of the warrior. However, this has to change if I'm to continue on the raiding path I'm trying to follow, and thus I have started to dig up information on Arms dps.

Before anyone starts telling me that Fury is by far better in delivering the overall dps I can say that I don't like Fury and I'm not going to change my view to please others. That would make me miserable, and you have seen what that looks like.

In the search it has become very clear that there is a lack of actual Warrior dps blogs out there: in fact, there is a certain lack of Warrior blogs in general, except the few excellent tanking blogs everyone is following. The only one remotely touching the subject of Arms dps is the blog of Pixelated Executioner, or Pix for short.

Now the main point of an Arms Warrior is that he's an utility to the group. Not only a valid dps cannon which really starts to shine at the final 20% of the boss fight, but as a valid buff source. Trauma, Mortal Strike and Rend are all very much appreciated in any party or raid an Arms warrior is part of.

The critical stats are almost the same for an Arms Warrior as they are to other melee classes:
  • 8% or 263 hit rating to soft cap the hit
  • soft cap on Expertise, meaning 16 Expertise with proper talents
  • Strength to give the hit some real punch
  • +Crit and +ArPen to cover the cake
I'm more inclined to go the way Pix has gone, and that is to gem for +STR rather than the overall consensus of going for +ArPen. This same route was also pointed out in, where the difference between the two routes was deemed to be very slight in PvE. ArPen might have more impact in the PvP setting due to the fact that you need to get through the armour anyhow. In PvE you as melee DPS are supposed to be standing BEHIND the boss, dealing damage as crazy. Also the point that ArPen is being removed in the event of Cataclysm, it's a safe bet to gem for +STR, too. Cheaper, at least.

Now the rotation of an Arms Warrior is pretty simple, and goes along the same ways as with warriors in general. Rather than being a rotation per se, its more a priority like Protection Warriors, being as:
  1. Rend has to be up all the time
  2. Overpower
  3. Mortal Strike
  4. Execute
  5. Slam
  6. Bladestorm
Well, the last one is an addition from Maxdps' priority list, but it's worth the mention in these AoE heroics days, as it is the most potent AoE attack Arms Warrior has. I take that back: combination of Sweeping Strikes and Cleave is the most potent, but the combination has gotten some tweaks since Pix made his excellent posts about Arms and I think it was nerfed quite a bit. Sure, Bladestorm is prone to be nerfed completely in a fight where the boss -or player- disarms you, but in a PvE boss fight the boss shouldn't even be hitting you, let alone disarming!

The main point is the same as with all the classes with DoTs: keep the DoTs up all times and don't clip them. So in general terms Arms Warrior pops up Berserker Rage and charges in on the footsteps of the tank, striking with the Rend as soon as he arrives to the combat. Followed by mandatory shout (Commanding as priority) as the Rage builds up (utility to the group first and foremost, dps as an added value is my view) its time to start using the rest of the skills which have a pretty limited window of execution because Overpower, Mortal Strike and Execute are available only on procs. This is the main reason for the priority list rather than rotation. Thankfully our Taste of Blood talent, Overpower also procs pretty decently over the fight and is almost interchangeable with Mortal Strike, with Slam as filler if neither is up. If you're lucky, you may land a Heroic Strike in there, too, but that shouldn't be prioritized.

If, and ONLY IF, the boss doesn't have adds you can use Bladestorm. On a boss like Saurfang it's an absolute no-no (as well as Thunderclap) only because of the Bloodbeasts. If you get hit by a boss or an add you are not supposed to attack, you have failed.

Like I mentioned earlier, Arms Warrior begins to shine at the last 20% of the bosses health, as then the Execute starts to proc constantly. The fight, especially with stationary bosses, turns into a one button smashing show, but the result is quite impressive.

In short, Arms Warrior will not currently top the damage meters, but s/e sure as hell fills her/his spot in the group by giving a good damage buff and an increase in overall dps.

Did I mention I've always liked the underdogs?