June 19, 2011

What stats do I want as a DPS warrior?

What stats do I want as a DPS warrior?

Each DPS spec uses the same stats but has different targets for each. One of the nice changes Cataclysm has in store for you as a warrior is that the game automatically does the math for rating conversion on your character pane as you level, so you won't need to worry about exactly how much hit rating you'll need; it will tell you.

Hit Rating Arms has an easier time hitting its target than fury, but for either spec, hit is possibly the best DPS stat until you hit the cap. When looking at your character panel, you'll see exactly what your chance to miss an attack is with your current hit. You can adjust it via gemming, enchanting and gearing. In general, you should at least aim for the minimum amount of hit necessary to not miss special attacks, which is 8 percent. As we level to 85, boss-level mobs will go from level 83 to level 88, but the percentage of hit we'll need to hit them will remain fixed at 8 percent, unmodified by talents or racial abilities. The rating needed to get that much hit will increase with every level. As you can see in the screenshot above, hitting the 8 percent hit you'd need to be completely hit-capped on an arms warrior will be doable by the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Fury hit capping will be much, much more difficult.

Strength With the removal of ArP, strength is your go-to red gem of choice when socketing your gear; it is the main source of raw damage output for a warrior. While you definitely want to make sure your attacks hit, you also want to make sure they do some damage.
Expertise You need exactly 26 expertise to push a raid boss' chance to dodge your attacks off of the table. The parry cap is not worth considering, since it's fairly high and you aren't supposed to be attacking your target from in front, where it does all those nasty cleaves and special horrible attacks that we let the tanks soak up. Frankly, hitting the 26 expertise cap is not going to be much of a problem by the time you're in the first raid tier of gear. You may even have to start reforging it off at that point. I suggest hit, if you're a fury warrior. Arms will most likely move it to crit.

Haste With the changes to the rage mechanic (as discussed here and in numerous other places), haste, expertise and hit rating are now the only stats that increase a DPS warrior's rage generation. Expertise and hit work by reducing dodges and misses, since an attack that doesn't connect doesn't generate rage. Haste works by increasing the speed of your white swings, thus getting more swings in to generate more rage with. Since haste doesn't work on arms warrior's DoT damage, it's still a fairly lackluster stat for arms, but in tests I've run as fury, it can provide a fairly significant DPS boost. I'd rate it below the "must cap" stats and strength, but it is surprisingly close to critical strike rating in some situations for fury.
Critical strike rating Even in raid gear, your critical strike chance is going to plummet in Cataclysm. With stats that just have to be capped and agility almost useless for us (while it generates both attack power and crit for agility classes), you're going to most likely end up with much lower crit at 85 than at 80 for a good long while. Gear has to scale somehow. I'd prioritize crit below hit and around the same as haste or expertise, depending on your spec.
Mastery We've recently discussed mastery in detail. It's the "do whatever you do better" stat added just for Cataclysm. While it's a very good stat, it will probably benefit arms faster than fury, due to arms' having less punishing hit caps to reach.

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