Arms' upcoming bonuses are interesting, though underwhelming at this stage. The two piece is worth barely 2%, simply because Arms already starts to run out of rage by the end of Colossus Smash
, so increasing the duration doesn't add as much as it sounds like it should, and while the four piece is still being evaluated, its bonus ranges from a mere 1% to around 4% when maximizing the bonus every time, which simply isn't going to happen that often. Historically, tier bonuses have been worth approximately 4-6% each, with the first bonus being slightly weaker and the second slightly stronger, so given the variable nature of the 4p, both are pretty clearly undertuned.
This is an interesting conundrum, because although the four piece is fixable with tuning, there's no reasonable number that the two piece bonus could be buffed by that would push it up to the range typical of other tier bonuses - it would have to more than double the duration of Colossus Smash. The concepts are flawed in other ways as well; the four piece bonus is based on rage, which means Windfury Totem
becomes even more
important for the spec which already values it nearly twice as much
as any other specialization in the game (depending on setup and individual performance).
It hardly seems worth theorizing with such underwhelming bonuses, though there are a few considerations worth testing on the PTR:
- Increasing rage generation is key to maximizing the four piece bonus, which means that aside from Windfury Totem, things like charge-weaving, Skullsplitter, and even Ravager would be very important to maximizing its bonus with each Colossus Smash cycle. Unfortunately, the bonuses are so weak that the talent changes come at an overall loss.
- With a little luck, Venthyr can continually extend the duration of Colossus Smash with the Sinful Surge legendary, which could add some value to the four piece, though this isn't quite practical either, as Condemn is very undertuned and chaining the duration that way isn't reliable.
- It's unclear exactly how Enduring Blow will affect either bonus. Presumably neither will work with it, since the 2p would almost double the duration, while the four piece might even be detrimental if it caused Colossus Smash to trigger before spending even the minimum of 75 rage - potentially even overwriting an existing bonus in the process.
Overall it's an interesting concept which echoes Test of Might
, but while the Azerite trait started out strong and benefited from synergies which caused it to become unbelievably overpowered, the tier bonuses simply don't do enough to get excited about. Increasing Arms' burst damage is an idea which plays into the theme of the spec, but this doesn't feel like quite the best way of accomplishing it.
Fury's upcoming bonus looks quite attractive, universally useful in single target encounters as well as multitarget ones, while offering upwards 5% (2p), 8% (4p), and 13% (both) increased damage. Historically, tier bonuses have been worth approximately 4-6% each, with the first bonus being slightly weaker and the second slightly stronger, though this depends greatly on the class/spec and various interactions, so the Fury bonus appears on track. Rotationally, there's not a lot of impact, since Raging Blow
is already the most often used ability in the rotation, but this is also something of a strength, as the high frequency means triggering the set that much more often.
That isn't to say the set isn't without it's limitations though. Both of the bonuses are focused on throughput, so neither of them do much in burst damage situations, where Recklessness
is already active and the majority of damage comes from Rampage
. They also don't appreciably change talent setups, although which covenant will come out on top may depend on what tuning happens over the course of the PTR.
Although the bonuses are universally useful, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Venthyr get less out of the bonus than other covenants due to Sinful Surge already greatly increasing Recklessness uptime. This can be compensated for not using Depths of Insanity or dropping Anger Management in favor of Reckless Abandon, though it doesn't necessarily result in greater overall performance.
- Hack and Slash was buffed in 9.1.5, but becomes even better in 9.2 thanks to synergizing with the tier bonuses - in addition to capitalizing on the damage increase and chance to trigger Recklessness, it allows the normally ignored third charge of Raging Blow to be more relevant thanks to more frequent resets.
- Cruelty is already the general go-to talent for Fury Warriors, but the tier bonuses cement its role - you will never talent away from it.
- Raging Blow is typically used less in multitarget, as the rotation favors rotating Rampage, Whirlwind, and Bloodthirst (with Fresh Meat), though you will want to work it in more when using the tier set.
There are some questions left unanswered though, which won't be answered until we get a chance to actually test on the PTR.
- Will the four piece trigger Reckless Abandon rage generation? We've seen similar effects generate partial rage in the past, so there could actually be some synergy.
- Will Depths of Insanity increase the duration? The conduit does not affect Recklessness triggered from Unbridled Ferocity, although that could be due to the two being made an expansion apart. Considering that the conduit adds a percentage rather than a flat duration though, it would only extend the effect from 4 -> 5.3 seconds at max rank, which is certainly strong, but not too broken.
- Will the four piece trigger Signet of Tormented Kings? This is unlikely, since the legendary doesn't trigger the anima power or vice versa when both are used in Torghast. Considering how powerful the synergy would be, it have to trigger the abilities at a reduced rate, although it's unlikely the two are intended to work together.
Overall though, the tier bonuses are looking good and provide a strong benefit in virtually all forms of content. Not substantially altering the rotation or go-to talents could be either good or bad depending on your perspective, though Fury already has an engaging rotation that many players are very happy with. Tuning wise, it also appears right on target when compared to previous tier bonuses, although that will depend more on final tuning than anything else.
This set is great! Both bonuses add fun gameplay interactions, and gives you the control over whether you boost your offense or defense. The 2-piece grants a stacking buff every time you spend 30 Rage. Once you hit 8 stacks your next Shield Slam
, Thunder Clap
, or Ignore Pain
is empowered. Ignore Pain
just absorbs 50% more damage. Good, boring, fine. Shield Slam
and Thunder Clap
are more interesting, because they don’t just say they deal more damage, they say they are “200% MORE EFFECTIVE.” Presumably this means that they will deal triple damage, but also generate triple Rage, and Thunder Clap
will be a 10-second, 60% AoE slow, that goes up to a 90% AoE slow if you’re talented into Crackling Thunder
. We don’t yet know if this will interact with Heavy Repercussions
, but if it does, that would make Empowered Shield Slam
s grant 3 seconds of Shield Block
uptime and 9 extra Rage. That’s probably too complicated of an interaction to expect, but it’s a possibility, and worth requesting. The Thunder Clap
extra slow with Crackling Thunder
might be as well, but I think that’s a bit more likely. Even if it just adds an extra 10% onto the base of 60%, a 70%, 10-second AoE slow is potentially very useful. This is a good bonus. It gives you an occasional damage or defensive increase. It’s passive, but it’s a trackable buff. This means skilled players can monitor it and play accordingly, but even relative novices can make pretty good use of it. A great design job on Blizzard’s part.
The 4-piece bonus builds upon the successful design of 2-piece very nicely by making Avatar
instantly grant 8 stacks of the 2-piece buff, but it also adds direct offensive and defensive value onto Avatar
, in the form of 10% more damage output and 10% damage reduction while it’s active. The Warrior community has been crying out for a defensive component to Avatar
since the removal of Azerite armor with the end of BFA, and while 10% seems a bit low (I would prefer at least 15%), it’s still a great bonus. Anger Management
will definitely return to being the most popular talent in the final row, both in raiding and in Mythic+. RIP Heavy Repercussions
, we hardly knew ye. Avatar
uptime, especially with the benefit of the 2-piece and 4-piece generating big bursts of extra Rage, should be extremely high in Patch 9.2, easily over 50%. This is extremely promising.
In conjunction with the two-Legendary system, I think there’s a very real chance that Necrolord, yes, Necrolord, can be a competitive Covenant for Protection Warriors in Patch 9.2. The combination of Anger Management
and Necrolord, especially with the Necrolord Legendary, is very good. You get a major Rage generation cooldown from being Necrolord. That’s true of Kyrian and Night Fae Warriors, as well, but unlike the Kyrian and Night Fae Legendaries, which simply add more damage, the Necrolord Legendary (Glory
) massively increases the uptime on Conqueror's Banner
. The constant, steady trickle of extra Rage should result in substantially-reduced cooldowns on Avatar
. The synergy here is very, very high. You get big bursts of Rage generation as a reward for spending Rage thanks to the 2-piece, and you get more fuel for the fire out of the 4-piece. Kyrian is probably still going to be the most popular setup due to the simplicity and the easy burst damage it offers, but the Necrolord setup seems very, very interesting. The chief downside to it is that intermissions in raid encounters, and slow-pulling in Mythic+ really makes the wheels fall off. Regardless of Covenant choice, this tier set is great. The bonuses have a nice, all-around impact that will help increase resource generation and really improve the class offensively, defensively, and – most importantly – make it more fun to play.