January 8, 2013

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Titan's Grip

So as I predicted, I did not get a second weapon for SMF. I've decided this is the universe telling me that my fury spec is to forever be Titan's Grip, and I'm okay with that. What with the holidays raiding itself was slow over the past two weeks, so I jumped onto the beta and messed around with some older content to test out my theory about Second Wind, and I was right - it's a significant kick in the teeth to our ability to solo older content. Granted, it mostly means we need help with Wrath era raids, but if you were feeling cocky about being able to solo, as an example, Trial of the Crusader 10, adjust your expectations.
So far in Mists raiding, TG seems to be on par with SMF for the most part. I've had days where I handily beat the SMF warriors in our raids, and days where they beat me just as easily. I raided with Shockwave instead of my customary Bladestorm/Dragon Roar last night and it worked out fine, but in the end I switched back to Dragon Roar for its being useful both as a single-target and a multi-target ability. In general, I feel fairly confident in saying that fury warriors can raid with either TG or SMF, depending entirely on the combination of personal preference and what drops for you. That being said, four piece tier 14 is pretty much essential for parity as a DPS warrior, and even more so for fury with its desperate need to crit on pretty much every Bloodthirst. Since TG swings on average a full second slower than SMF, it seems exaggerated.

Keep in mind that SMF sims better at present, so all things being equal it might be the best possible choice for a DPS warrior min-maxing obsessively.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Titan's Grip Saturday
Of course TG rewards the best possible weapons, which at this stage of the game is whatever flavor of Shin'ka is available to you. There's no maces at all this tier of raiding and only one sword, so if you're raiding you're either using Shin'ka or trying to get one. (For players running heroics, there are several 2h weapons available in heroic dungeons and a crafted axe at the same ilevel) There's really not much else to be said about weapons for TG - there are two of them, and Shin'ka is by far the better option.

Right now, in terms of itemization, once you get hit and expertise in the right general ballpark of 7.5% apiece, get crit. Crit crit crit as much as you can get. All fury, indeed all DPS warriors love crit, but TG loves crit like a mouse loves a teddy bear. (Trust me, mice love teddy bears.) You should be gemming for crit unless you need to gem for hit/crit to make a cap, you should be slapping the crit enchant on your cloak, you should be reforging for crit or choosing crit gear whenever possible. We talked before about how crit interacts with Bloodthirst, so I'll just summarize it - your critical hit chance is doubled for Bloodthirst, so if you're looking at your character pane and seeing a 31% crit rate, what that means is that you have a 62% chance to get enraged every BT. Since enrage gives a 10% damage buff for 6 seconds, the more crit the better until you hit 50% raid buffed. Since you can hit BT every 4.5 seconds, the higher your crit rate, the closer you can get to being enraged more or less constantly and getting a flat 10% damage buff.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Titan's Grip Saturday

I really can't say enough how good the four piece set bonus is. Beingh able to use Recklessness every two and a half minutes is huge for fury, since it will push you very close to 100% crit on Bloodthirst while it's active.

After crit, most sources will tell you mastery over haste. This is in part because of how bad haste is for us, and in part because mastery has good synergy with crit because of how our mastery works. The closer you get to that complete uptime for the Enrage damage buff, the more mastery does to increase that damage buff. Mastery is a distant second to crit, it's absolutely true, and you'll want to get hit and expertise around those soft caps first. I'd put strength ahead of mastery as well, although behind crit (I'd recommend gemming for crit over strength for TG warriors). As for weapon enchants, Dancing Steel if you've got the money or mats for it, with Windsong as the backup enchant.

I personally love Bladestorm, but unless you're expecting to really need AoE damage (say, the adds that get summoned by Heroic Feng's shield throw or during Shek'zeer) Dragon Roar and Shockwave are probably better. Shockwave is annoying for DPS due to its 20 second cooldown (to become 40 seconds in 5.2 unless adds are up) which means that for me Dragon Roar is the talent I take for bosses. For level 90 I tend to prefer Bloodbath due to its low cooldown. It's easy to use Bloodbath both in conjuction with other cooldowns and by itself to increase overall DPS, while Avatar seems lackluster in comparison. Is the 20% damage increase of Avatar over 24 seconds worth losing the 30% extra damage over 36 seconds you'll get with three Bloodbaths? Storm Bolt can be used every 30 seconds, but the admittedly impressive extra damage it does to targets that can't be stunned doesn't really make up for the ability to pop Bloodbath and have it buff everything you do for 12 seconds.

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Titan's Grip Saturday

Rotationally, you're going to want to hit Colossus Smash so that you can follow it with a Bloodthirst and a Raging Blow if possible. Prioritize Bloodthirst to proc Raging Blow, which is your highest damage strike, and Raging Blow over anything while it's lit up, but keep in mind that Raging Blow consumes your Enrage so you may want to delay it if you get a Wild Strike proc to keep your Enrage. Hitting Raging Blow just before your next Bloodthirst gives you a better chance to try and keep Enrage up as long as possible. So in terms of priority it's Colossus Smash, then Bloodthirst, then Raging Blow, then Wild Strike after a Bloodsurge proc, with HS and Cleave as rage spenders. Keep in mind that the Glyph of Raging Wind means that in AoE situations your Raging Blow will hit multiple targets after you use Whirlwind.

That should cover the basics of Titan's Grip right now. Here's hoping I get something for SMF for next week, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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