Warriors In Cataclysm
You and your 3v3 partners have just queued up and entered the arena, and are now waiting for the game to begin. The gates open, and you and your teammates instantly spot an enemy warrior on their arena frames. You breathe a sigh of relief, well aware that warriors have long since fallen from their previously coveted position atop the arena class representation charts in earlier expansions to the point now of being steadily driven lower and lower until, finally, warriors have taken the place of hunters as the least represented class (at 1800 ratings and above) in 3v3 arenas today. Apart from early WotLK, warriors have never seen such a drastic decline in their arena representation. Why has cataclysm broken the consistent trend of warriors being able to hold their own as one of, if not the, top arena melee class?
There are many things that come into play when determining why mid-Cataclysm so negatively impacted warriors in arena. Warriors have been generally perceived as a strong, well-balanced arena class in the past, and while occasionally jumping to the top of the arena food chain due to either the rising popularity of a new FotM warrior comp or a recent update patch, warriors have had a collectively smooth ride as a more than viable (if you exclude the disaster of a season that season five turned out to be) yet rarely ‘overpowered’ class throughout WoW’s arena seasons – at least until the second season of Cata rolled around. Before season ten, though, warriors were doing more than fine –some may go as far as to say they were overpowered – throughout the entirety of season nine. They did great damage and had a large variety of viable comps to play and succeed with even at higher ratings, ranging from those that were fairly uncommon (such as warrior/mage/dpriest or warrior/enh sham/hpal) to those that became the most popular for warriors (such as warrior/hunter/healer or warrior/dk/hpal), which would also end up accounting for most eligible warriors’ s9 gladiator titles.
Nowadays, compared to that previous period of warrior success, is a much less encouraging time for the warrior class. A major strength for warriors during the days of season nine was the elasticity of team and comp selection due to the wide variety of comps available, which allowed them a much easier time finding a team to play, practice and push rating with, but unfortunately for warriors today the situation has become practically the opposite. People would arena with warriors in season nine for virtually one reason: their absurd damage, both burst and sustained. Teams benefited from having a warrior simply due to how much ridiculous damage they could dish out on nearly any target because of the (at the time) newly implemented skill colossus smash. Taking any healer and any DPS class and queuing with a warrior into arena just for fun would still almost always have a decent chance of success if your team could recognize and take advantage of the insane damage capability that came with having a warrior on your team. The same cannot be said for warriors’ depressing situation today. It is bleak and has been for months, with no signs of a reprieve on its way before the upcoming expansion launches, but there are several major issues that could potentially be resolved to help put warriors back on their feet and arena competitively once again.
Out of all the problems warriors are facing, one in particular stands out as the most crucial, which is how drastically a warrior’s effectiveness in arena diminishes the instant they become a target. Assuming it’s a decent team that knows what they’re doing the warrior will quickly be forced to go defensive, losing most of their damage output due to sitting in defensive stance with a shield. Even wearing full resilience doesn’t make a big enough difference to change most games, which leads to another huge warrior issue. Plate armor just doesn’t mean what it used to anymore, due to the many armor reducing/ignoring abilities and talents other melee have. This factor hurts warriors even more than other plate classes because of warriors’ lack of passive defensive abilities/talents on top of clunky, outdated defensive cooldowns that are unusable when stunned or otherwise cc’d (aka disarmed) which makes their armor even more important to them. Combined with the completely unnecessary 15 second increase on spell reflect’s cooldown, warriors are left at a disadvantage against both other melee and spellcasters by remaining extremely vulnerable to any spells cast against them even with spell reflection available as well as by being the only melee left with 100% of their damage done being physical, another factor that continues to keep warriors below other melee. When you add all of these factors up, it’s not difficult to see why warriors have been and continue to struggle throughout the remainder of the expansion.
Warriors enjoyed a brief period of success in Cataclysm but have now fallen into the worst state of decline that they have experienced thus far, and with the next expansion’s release drawing closer, there is little hope for a rekindling of the class’s arena representation. It is a very negative and depressing situation for many, some of whom who have stuck with and played warrior for years, throughout all of their ups and downs. Those who still enjoy the warrior class will continue to play and hope for the changes their class needs, even in face of the problems and frustrations that are more than likely to remain in place, at least until the release of the next expansion. Overall, while Cataclysm has not been the best for warriors (as they were viable and sought after for only one full season before sliding headfirst into last place on the arena representation charts), there remains good reason to believe that they can and will make a strong comeback in the upcoming expansion.