The Warrior received many improvements during those last stress tests and the release that are worth the attention. Six of them are particularly notable: On My Mark, Berserker’s Power, Merciless Hammer, Quick Breathing, Healing Surge, Healing Signet and Battle Standard. Most of those abilities changes the way you play/build your Warrior.
Let see what role we can give them.
This is the brand new shout replacing “I Will Avenge You” that had few to no use. As a reminder, “I Will Avenge You” was supposed to revive nearby allies when you kill someone, which is a mechanic the game already uses, making this shout useless.
Rather than improving this shout, ArenaNet chose to give us a new utility with an offensive purpose. We first have to note that the 10 vulnerability are useful for your allies too. Rather than slowly building the vulnerability stacks, this utility skill instantly gives 10 stacks, which is very good to set up a burst on a 10-second time range (more if you have +condition duration bonuses). This utility also gives you a third shout with a low cooldown, giving us the possibility to take three low cooldown shouts and heal your group for around 9,500 health every 30 seconds (yes, this is a lot).
This is a skill that combines very well with other Warriors in your team (like every other Warrior skill) and especially if you have multiple On My Mark available. The choice to bring this shout is limited by the potency of your team to bring vulnerability and if you have enough room to take advantage of this shout for multiples power damage allies. In PvE, this skill becomes pretty much mandatory if no one in your group bring vulnerability, while it becomes useless if someone in your team is already able to bring 25 stacks of it. Note that this utility is very weak against strong condition removals.
Berserker’s Power is a trait that you can find in the first tier of the Strength trait line. The old version was a 2-5% damage increase depending on your adrenaline (2% if less than one stage, 3% at one stage, 4% at two, 5% if your bar was full). The new version is 3% at the first stage, 7% at the second stage and 12% at the last stage. This is a big damage increase for both PvE and PvP content. Those first 10 points in Strength become mandatory in PvE and very useful when you want to build a high burst character in PvP. This also leads to another way to build your Warrior: staying at a high adrenaline stage pretty much all the time while stacking both Berserker’s Power and Heightened Focus. This means that high adrenaline-generating traits that were already good before become even more effective now (Inspiring Shouts, Embrace the Pain, Berserker Stance, Signet of Fury, etc.). This simple trait improves the Strength trait line, which wasn’t that strong before. Right now with this improved trait, you can say that you like to take the first 10-15 points without necessarily wanting to commit more into this tree.
This is another trait that changes the way the Warrior works. This is very strong and pretty much mandatory if you want to deal damage with your hammer. It gives the hammer a breath of fresh air and pull it out of the dust.
The hammer was pretty much limited to its crowd control and bunker role. It now has – thanks to this trait – a damaging potency. It is a direct 25% damage increase with the hammer on disabled targets (it seems to be working on knocked down and stunned targets). Previously, you had to choose to combine the hammer with a weapon that helps you to deal damage or another one that helps you stay alive. Now that the hammer is at the same time a weapon with crowd control and damage, you can combine it with the weapon of your choice (damage, crowd control, survivability, mobility, etc). Note that you are still squishier with a hammer than a greatsword wearer.
We knew for a long time that this trait was coming but it was bugged. Now it works, giving us a new toy to play with: the warhorn. It was already a really good support tool for you and your allies. You now has access to a trait that gives at the same time a 20% decrease cooldown on the warhorn abilities and makes them convert a condition into a boon for each close member of your team/group. This is really strong.
I said in the past that the Warrior might be the only pure support role viable in structured PvP (balanced roles and pure glass cannons are always favored at the moment) and this might be confirmed now that this trait works. Note that having pure support is still not mandatory in a structured PvP game. The warrior has a group condition removal potency that exceeds every other profession in the game. This trait may also give you an almost permanent vigor buff (with boon duration bonuses). It also give you a good mobility boost.
Healing Surge was a 30-second heal for a moderate amount that was supposed to help build adrenaline. It is now the same thing, but it heals for more if you are high on adrenaline when you use it. Stage one is 5,880 healing, stage two is 6,840 and stage three is 8,440. This makes this healing skill become a high HPS heal with no other real purpose at the moment.
Healing Signet had a high cooldown of 40 seconds and heals for a high amount (which was actually a low amount considering the cooldown it has). It now has a 20-second cooldown with a 3,320 heal, keeping its 183 healing per second when not on cooldown. I still don’t like to use it outside of trying to build a high passive health regeneration on my Warrior (Healing Signet, Adrenal Health and Regeneration). Note that low cooldown healing spells work very well with Rune of the Flock, Rune of the Water and Rune of Dwayna.
The problem is always the same when it comes to healing skills: The best way to bring condition removal is found in Mending. We have plenty of skills that helps us to remove conditions (the warhorn with the trait, shouts with the runes, Signet of Stamina), but we don’t want to commit too much into those when we aren’t forced to do so and that such an easy way to bring condition removal with no cost/loss elsewhere is within easy reach.
This last is one of the biggest changes I have noticed (I am sure I missed some, feel free to ask about another change you noticed). Two modifications here: no more permanent stability, and the whirlwind has gone away. I am happy about the first change – the permanent stability was boring as hell and we don’t want those kind of things to be available so easily in the game.
It won’t be so easy to counter the opposing Warriors (or any profession/build that relies too much on crowd control). The whirlwind has sadly disappeared, and you have now a three seconds group stability instead. This gives the Signet of Rage and Rampage more arguments to pick them instead of the banner.
So what are your thoughts on these changes? Do you like them? Do you oppose them? Are there others you want to bring attention to? Let us know in the forums or in the comments below!