Comprehensive Warrior Talent Break Down and Spec Compilations


  • Warrior Alliance Partner

    Introduction

    The following write-up is aimed towards newer players and will attempt to analyze each talent as a stand alone choice. (Any talent which is a prerequisite for another talent is marked as "(required)" but will still be ranked independently, meaning an S rank talent may have a required talent ranked F (see: Impale and Improved Rend). I do not use "(required)" to mean the talent is mandatory to play the class/specified role effectively, as I do not believe such a thing exists beyond having any of the Tier 7 choices.)

    Each talent will be ranked in the following 6 categories:

    Leveling/Solo: For the purposes of this guide, "Solo" encompasses max level questing and max level grinding/farming
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: All Dungeons (caveat: defensive talents can go up a grade below level 52 as you are more likely to pull agro in leveling dungeons)
    PVE DPS - Raid: 20 and 40 man Raids
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: Arms/Fury: All Dungeons Prot: All Dungeons (caveat: Prot is generally only utilized for max level dungeons, starting with BRD and up)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: 20 and 40 man Raids
    PVP: Solo, World, and Instanced PVP

    The final sections will contain a compilation of plug and play Warrior builds for each spec. I know a few times going between Tank and PVP spec I wasted 50g putting 1 point in the wrong place, so it is nice to always have a reference to look at. That said, I encourage experimentation and personalization to find what works best for you and your friends/group/raid/guild. If you want to PVP as Deep Prot or tank 5 mans with a 2 hander (I CANNOT WAIT to do this again), try it out!

    (There is a discussion to be had about leveling as Prot, see Caperfin's guide on the viability of dungeon spam leveling, but as that falls outside the scope of this write-up, I have removed the "Leveling/Solo" ranking from all Prot talents to help guide newer players. I have also removed the "PVE DPS" rankings from Prot talents in Tiers 5/6/7 as you cannot reach them when specced into Mortal Strike or Bloodthirst.)

    Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12Xcubch-kU9aQsHfE3Fi-2KaQGA4MOjYjflIxx4XPfo/edit?usp=sharing

    TLDR in visual form.

    spreadsheet.PNG

    Talents

    Arms

    Tier 1

    Improved Heroic Strike

    3 Ranks
    Reduces the cost of your Heroic Strike ability by 1/2/3 rage points.

    Leveling/Solo: C
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: S/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: B
    PVP: D

    This talent suffers from Heroic Strike usage overall and the mechanics behind it. Heroic Strike's rage cost is a very misleading tooltip, as the actual cost is the listed cost PLUS the rage you are not getting from your next white swing, if Heroic Strike were an instant cast these would be very different, but it is not. Heroic Strike should really only be used when you already have 60+ rage.

    While leveling you want to get demo, rend, and a sunder or 2 up before you start HSing. In 5 mans you are cleaving and saving rage for WW as DPS or tab sundering and demoing as a Tank while also cleaving. Raids are about the only time you slam the Heroic Strike button, and even then it causes threat to possibly be an issue as DPS and rage starvation as a Tank. In PVP you need rage to adapt to various situations as well as stance dancing causing Rage issues. Slam spec does not use Heroic Strike at all I believe (hence the "/F").

    Deflection

    5 Ranks
    Increases your Parry chance by 1/2/3/4/5%

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: B

    Unlike Dodge, Parrying has a secondary effect of speeding up your swing timer, in addition to negating all physical damage from an attack, making this an offense talent in situations where you are taking melee attacks. The only time this is not a solid choice is if you are not going to take melee damage. Greatly reduces leveling downtime and can save your life while tanking. Unfortunately it does nothing against casters (NPCs and in PVP) and the offensive boost is relative to your swing timer and often negligible.

    Improved Rend

    3 Ranks
    Increases the bleed damage done by your Rend ability by 15/25/35%.

    Leveling/Solo: C (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F (required)
    PVP: F (required)

    Required for Deep Wounds and Impale.

    One of the unfortunate consequences of prerequisite talents as it is an outright bad talent on its own simply because Rend is not used much. In fact, the only time you actually use Rend is while leveling and against Rogues in PVP. It cannot be used in Raids due to the debuff limit and in Dungeons you are often hitting multiple targets and dotting all of them would be very inefficient.

    Tier 2

    Improved Charge

    2 Ranks
    Increases the amount of rage generated by your Charge ability by 3/6.

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: D
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: C

    Leveling is the only situation where you are going to get a charge consistently (caveat: charging will get you killed more often than not because you misjudged the argo range of the mobs around your target). Experienced tanks can charge then stance dance, but the talent required to do that is on the same tier as this, and in raids the entire raid enters combat on the pull so a DPS Warrior can never make use of it there. Could have a use in a niche 5-man dungeon only spec and is a possible filler for PVP specs but is wasted in long combats or if you get opened on. Assuming you are killing mobs in ~30 seconds (and the mobs are sufficiently spread out), it equates to roughly 1 Rage per 5 seconds.

    Tactical Mastery

    5 Ranks
    You retain up to 5/10/15/20/25 of your rage points when you change stances.

    Leveling/Solo: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S (required)
    PVP: S (required)

    Required for Anger Management.

    One of the best Warriors talents, period. Switching defensive it lets you disarm right away, can swap between Battle and Berserker without as much of a penalty, and as mentioned above it lets you retain your charge rage when you swap immediately on a pull. It just adds a level of versatility you wouldn't have and from personal experience in the Beta, while leveling as Fury not having this was quite painful.

    Improved Thunder Clap

    3 Ranks
    Reduces the cost of your Thunder Clap ability by 1/2/4 rage points.

    Leveling/Solo: F
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: F

    In Classic, Thunder Clap is only usable in Battle Stance. There are fringe cases for dungeon running where you may spec this along side improved charge for initial threat but that costs impale. This was changed in later expansions and I had been ignorantly trying to fit this into a buff-bot build but even for that it is not worth it in this state.

    Tier 3

    Improved Overpower

    2 Ranks
    Increases the critical strike chance of your Overpower ability by 25/50%.

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: A/C
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: S

    Overpower is only usable in Battle Stance so it is not a tanking tool.

    One of the first damaging instant attacks you get access too but it does require a trigger before it lights up. This talent makes it almost a guaranteed crit at end game and synergizes with Deep Wounds and Impale. Research is still inconclusive on if it is worth using in Raids as it requires stance dancing, but last I checked it did edge out sitting in Berserker as long as you are not wasting significant rage which can be turned into Heroic Strikes, which means it is almost certainly worth if you are having threat problems.

    Anger Management

    1 Rank
    Increases the time required for your rage to decay while out of combat by 30%.

    Note: The actual effect of this talent is it produces 1 rage every 3 seconds, in or out of combat.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: B
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: B
    PVP: A

    For 1 point it provides more range than 5 points in Unbridled Wrath, especially with a slow 2hander (comparable to 5 points worth when DWing). Likewise, it generates the same rage per time as 2 points in Improved Berserker Rage, but that is assuming you use it on CD while AM is passive and 1 point. Having rage left over after eating to full is quite nice as well.

    Deep Wounds

    3 Ranks
    Requires Melee Weapon
    Your critical strikes cause the opponent to bleed, dealing 20/40/60% of your melee weapon's average damage over 12 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: A (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: D (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: D (required)
    PVP: S (required)

    Required for Impale.

    Does significant damage while not requiring you to be in melee range. In Raids specifically it will likely be pushed off due to the 16 debuff limit which is why it is lower, but depending on how debuff priority works you may even be forced to spec out (which would really hurt Warrior DPS). I BELIEVE the 1.12 deep wounds "stacked"/"rolling" as well so each crit will increase the DoT. Passive damage is always nice so unlike Improved Rend you do not begrudge this being a requirement.

    Tier 4

    Two-Handed Weapon Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires Two-Handed Axes, Two-Handed Maces, Polearms, Two-Handed Swords, Staves
    Increases the damage you deal with two-handed melee weapons by 1/2/3/4/5%.

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A/F
    PVE DPS - Raid: A/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: A

    Flat damage increase, more useful for Horde in PVE as Alliance will be DWing in raids. No use for tanking. Fury will only be able to take 3 points in this at most. If you want to pick up utility talents lower in the tree this is the place most people will take out (see: PVE Arms build down below).

    Impale

    2 Ranks
    Increases the critical strike damage bonus of your abilities in Battle, Defensive, and Berserker stance by 10/20%.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    For those who are not aware, everyone has a base crit chance of 5% before gear and talents. A naked DPS Warrior therefore has 13% crit in Berserker Stance.

    Math time: with 33% crit, 2 points gives a 5% damage increase. Pre-Raid BIS is around 23-28% before MC in phase 1, at 25% EACH point gives a 2% damage increase. At 16% crit, EACH point is still a 1.375% damage increase. Finally, at 50% crit, EACH point gives a 3.33% damage increase.

    Weapon Specific Specializations

    For Leveling, Soloing, and PVP, whichever weapon you have, you should have 5/5 in that weapons specialization talent (see Polearm Specialization and Mace Specialization for Caveats), although for Leveling you may want to skip them all entirely so you are not constantly respecing and increasing the cost of future respecs and instead maximize your utility talents. For Raids, Mace Spec becomes not viable due to stun immune mobs, but actually can help significantly reduce the damage a tank is receiving while running Dungeons.

    Tier 5

    Axe Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires One-Handed Axes, Two-Handed Axes
    Increases your chance to get a critical strike with Axes by 1/2/3/4/5%.

    Leveling/Solo: A*
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A*
    PVE DPS - Raid: A*
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A*
    PVE Tanking - Raid: A*
    PVP: A*

    Cruelty for Axes only, not much more to say. The rating here is different than the spreadsheet to indicate my preference for Swords over Axes, and indicated as such with the *. For all intents and purposes, Axe spec should be S's across the board (especially for Orcs in PVE).

    Sweeping Strikes

    1 Rank
    30 Rage
    Instant cast 30 sec cooldown
    Requires Battle Stance
    Your next 5 melee attacks strike an additional nearby opponent.

    Leveling/Solo: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: D (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F (required)
    PVP: C (required)

    Required for Mortal Strike.

    If used with Cleave, you will hit 4 times. This speeds up leveling significantly and is one of the key arguments people use when recommending Arms for leveling. Another bonus is that while Arms tanking leveling dungeons it allows cleave to hold agro on groups of mobs with less hassle. Still viable in raids for clearing trash faster but not noticeably.

    Mace Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires One-Handed Maces, Two-Handed Maces
    Gives you a 1/2/3/4/6% chance to stun your target for 3 sec with a Mace.

    Leveling/Solo: B
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: B
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: S

    Useless for Raiding but has a place in a niche 5-man Dungeon only spec. Great in PVP considering the first Mace from MC also has an AOE knockdown then the Unstoppable Force stun once AV comes out. Even when PVPing, there is an argument for not maxing this out if doing so would mean Two Handed Specialization was not maxed, but I feel that is more for premade groups where teams are coordinating CC.

    Sword Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires One-Handed Swords, Two-Handed Swords
    Gives you a 1/2/3/4/5% chance to get an extra attack on the same target after dealing damage with your Sword.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    I prefer Sword Spec over Axe and Polearm, mathematically it does slightly less damage but each swing has an independent chance to crit as well as proc other abilities such as trinkets, plus I am playing Human.

    Tier 6

    Polearm Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires Polearms
    Increases your chance to get a critical strike with Polearms by 1/2/3/4/5%.

    Leveling/Solo: A*
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A*
    PVE DPS - Raid: A*
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: B

    Cruelty for Polearms. For PVE DPS, as with Axes, those are really S's but I put A's to show preference for Sword Spec. In PVP using a Polearm prohibits the use of that 1 point in Improved Hamstring hence the lower grade, but either choice (4/5 PS and 1/3 IHS or 5/5 PS and 0/3 IHS) is the correct one. Once AV is released everyone will have Polearms from 51-60.

    Improved Hamstring

    3 Ranks
    Gives your Hamstring ability a 5/10/15% chance to immobilize the target for 5 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: B
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: B

    Pure PVP talent, the low proc chance makes it to hard to justify as tool for reducing tank damage in dungeons. As long as you are not using a Polearm there is no reason not to put a few points into it while leveling (especially if you are ignoring all Weapons Specializations), but once AV is released everyone will have Polearms from 51-60.

    Tier 7

    Mortal Strike

    1 Rank
    30 Rage Melee Range
    Instant cast 6 sec cooldown
    Requires Melee Weapon
    A vicious strike that deals weapon damage plus 85 and wounds the target, reducing the effectiveness of any healing by 50% for 10 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A
    PVE DPS - Raid: B
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: C
    PVP: S

    One of the hardest hitting instant abilities in the game (outside of procs such a Windfury) but it makes Arms even more so dependent on a good weapon as it scales directly with weapon damage. Some PVE uses on mobs/bosses which heal.

    Fury

    Tier 1

    Booming Voice

    5 Ranks
    Increases the area of effect and duration of your Battle Shout and Demoralizing Shout by 10/20/30/40/50%.

    Leveling/Solo: B
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: D/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: D
    PVE Tanking - Raid: D/F
    PVP: D

    Only 1 Warrior per group does Battle Shout and only 1 Warrior per Raid does Demo shout. Mathematically, for just battle shout, it only saves 10 rage every 6 minutes, or 1 rage every 36 seconds. For Demo Shout it is 10 rage every 90 seconds, or 1 rage every 9 seconds so it is slightly better but if you are already Improved Demo you will probably not have the extra points to spend. In PVP the extra duration is usually wasted as you either wipe the enemy group or die. You cannot get all 3 shout talents (this, Imp Demo, Imp Battle) without serious sacrifice in other areas. This is often coupled with Imp Battle shout and 2 PC Battlegear of Wrath and buffed before the pull and then the gear is swapped out prior to getting in combat.

    Cruelty

    5 Ranks
    Requires Melee Weapon
    Increases your chance to get a critical strike with melee weapons by 1/2/3/4/5%.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    Every build should have as many points in this as possible, which is always 5 unless you are Shield Slam in which case you get 3.

    Tier 2

    Improved Demoralizing Shout

    5 Ranks
    Increases the melee attack power reduction of your Demoralizing Shout by 8/16/24/32/40%.

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S/F
    PVP: C

    Only need 1 Warrior per Raid with this but also MUST have 1 per Raid. You cannot get all 3 shout talents (this, Imp Demo, Imp Battle) without serious sacrifice in other areas, so the Imp Demo Shout Warrior generally does not pick up Booming Voice or Imp Battle, especially when DWing.

    Unbridled Wrath

    5 Ranks
    Requires Melee Weapon
    Gives you a 8/16/24/32/40% chance to generate an additional Rage point when you deal melee damage with a weapon.

    Leveling/Solo: F
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A/D
    PVE DPS - Raid: A/D
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: B/D
    PVE Tanking - Raid: B/D
    PVP: F

    A proc is only a single rage point, which happens 40% of the time for 5 talents, compared to Anger Management. Obviously DWing will get greater benefit than a slow 2H, which would average about 1 rage every 8 seconds without extra attack procs (Hand of Justice, Sword Spec, Windfury).

    Tier 3

    Improved Cleave

    3 Ranks
    Increases the bonus damage done by your Cleave ability by 40/80/120%.

    Note: This wording is overlooked and worse than people think, it only increases the bonus damage listed on the ability tooltip, not the damage of the entire swing, meaning with 3 points and rank 5 cleave this talent adds a flat 60 damage per target hit.

    cleave.PNG

    Leveling/Solo: C
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: B
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: B
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: F

    Much more effective in 5-mans than raids, and while it could be good for leveling you have to consider you are taking ~33-50% more damage by pulling a second mob thus increasing down time by more than the time you saved killing 2 mobs at once. Back in the day, Warriors with threat issues would spec into this since they could not use Heroic Strike without pulling agro.

    Piercing Howl

    1 Rank
    10 Rage
    Instant cast
    Causes all enemies near the warrior to be dazed, reducing movement speed by 50% for 6 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: S
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    Basically AOE Hamstring for a single point, that cannot be blocked, dodged, or parried, but note that it can be resisted and has a shorter duration.

    Blood Craze

    3 Ranks
    Regenerates 1/2/3% of your total Health over 6 sec after being the victim of a critical strike.

    Leveling/Solo: C
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: F

    The single worst talent in the entire game? Almost certainty (but Vanilla had some really bad talents for all classes so don't quote me).

    Math: If you have 5K health and get crit for 3K, you regen 150HP, over 6 seconds, and die before the heal even finishes when you get crit for 3K a second time.

    I also believe that it does not "roll" so if you get crit twice in a row the heal resets instead of adding to the tick.

    Improved Battle Shout

    5 Ranks
    Increases the melee attack power bonus of your Battle Shout by 5/10/15/20/25%.

    Leveling/Solo: C
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A
    PVE DPS - Raid: A/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: A/F
    PVP: B

    Again, only need 1 Warrior per group using Battle Shout. That said at max rank (not available till AQ20 from a book drop) it only adds 58 AP, or about 4.2 DPS to your auto attack. You cannot get all 3 shout talents (this, Imp Demo, Imp Battle) without serious sacrifice in other areas. This is often coupled with Booming Voice and 2 PC Battlegear of Wrath and buffed before the pull and then the gear is swapped out prior to getting in combat.

    Tier 4

    Dual Wield Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Increases the damage done by your offhand weapon by 5/10/15/20/25%.

    Leveling/Solo: F
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: A/F
    PVE DPS - Raid: A/F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: B/F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: B/F
    PVP: F/B

    Effects of DWing:
    Damage dealt by the weapon in the off-hand will be reduced by half.
    Chance to miss with auto-attacks in both hands is increased by 19%.

    Obviously F rank if you are using a 2 hander or Deep Prot (and skipping Impale).

    You need a certain amount of hit to make DW viable which cannot be achieved while leveling and until that point it remains F rank for all max level content. Once you are DWing it becomes a flat damage increase which also helps generate additional rage as that was not normalized until Cata.

    Improved Execute

    2 Ranks
    Reduces the Rage cost of your Execute ability by 2/5.

    Leveling/Solo: F
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: A

    Only usable on enemies that have 20% or less health. Converts all rage to additional damage, leaving you with 0 rage after hitting with it.

    Execute is only usable in Battle Stance and Berserker Stance so it is not a tanking tool.

    Unless you have to kill a mob before it kills you (which means you need to eat up after anyway) never use Execute, always pool rage for the next mob. The same rule applies to Dungeons and Raid trash mobs. That said, on Raid bosses and in PVP it should be smashed non stop once it lights up (unless you need rage to Pummel).

    Enrage

    5 Ranks
    Gives you a 5/10/15/20/25% melee damage bonus for 12 sec up to a maximum of 12 swings after being the victim of a critical strike.

    Leveling/Solo: A (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: B (required)
    PVP: S (required)

    Required for Flurry.

    /Sit does not work in WoW Classic to proc crit abilities.

    Private Server veterans feel free to chime in on ways this can be useful for PVE DPS now, but I feel like if it was not required for Flurry this taken would never be taken by DPS given what we learned. Crits are a little less deadly in Dungeons hence the slightly better rank but if you have this as a Tank it means you do not have Shield Slam and are getting Flurry as well. As I have stated earlier, you are more likely to pull agro in leveling dungeons so it can randomly proc from time to time while running them, if you survive the hit.

    Tier 5

    Improved Slam

    5 Ranks
    Decreases the casting time of your Slam ability by 0.1/0.2/0.3/0.4/0.5 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: F
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F/B
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: F

    Alliance 2 Handed Warriors are the only niche that even use slam from what I understand, but my information may be out dated.

    Death Wish

    1 Rank
    10 Rage
    Instant cast 3 min cooldown
    When activated, increases your physical damage by 20% and makes you immune to Fear effects, but lowers your armor and all resistances by 20%. Lasts 30 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S (required)
    PVP: S (required)

    Required for Bloodthirst.

    Pressing this button causes you to take more damage!

    On-demand damage buff. Fear break usable in all stances with a long fear immunity provides a lot of utility.

    Improved Intercept

    2 Ranks
    Reduces the cooldown of your Intercept ability by 5/10 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: D
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: S/A*

    SLIGHTLY better on Horde since they do not have access to Freedom from Paladins, but that is another Fake A* that is for all intent and purposes an S. Gap closer in PVE if you get out of melee due to a fight mechanic or in Dungeons if you want to run out and CC a mob to help save the tank or if a mob is running away. The problem is if you are doing that you probably wont be doing it every 20 seconds so the reduced cooldown is just wasted.

    Tier 6

    Improved Berserker Rage

    2 Ranks
    The Berserker Rage ability will generate 5/10 rage when used.

    Leveling/Solo: B
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: C
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: C
    PVP: C

    If used on CD, it is the same average rage as Anger Management, for 2 points instead of 1. Therefore, I cannot give it better rankings than AM.

    Flurry

    5 Ranks
    Increases your attack speed by 10/15/20/25/30% for your next 3 swings after dealing a melee critical strike.

    Leveling/Solo: A
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    The only reason for the A while leveling is because your crit will not be significant enough until late game. You are already stacking crit because of Impale so this is basically free haste.

    Tier 7

    Bloodthirst

    1 Rank
    30 Rage Melee Range
    Instant cast 6 sec cooldown
    Instantly attack the target causing damage equal to 45% of your attack power. In addition, the next 5 successful melee attacks will restore 10 health. This effect lasts 8 sec.

    Leveling/Solo: B
    PVE DPS - Dungeon: S
    PVE DPS - Raid: S
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: A
    PVP: C

    Main attack for DPS warriors and Fury/Prot tanks. The heal for leveling is nice but it will hit like a wet noodle in leveling gear and it gets disrespected in PVP because of the lack of the healing reduction debuff even though it can be made to work with the right gear.

    Prot

    Tier 1

    Shield Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Increases your chance to block attacks with a shield by 1/2/3/4/5% and has a 20/40/60/80/100% chance to generate 1 rage when a block occurs.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S (required)
    PVP: D (required)

    Required for Improved Shield Block.

    Rage starvation is a real concern for Deep Prot, this is essentially 2 Rage per 5 seconds when actively tanking.

    Anticipation

    5 Ranks
    Increases your Defense skill by 2/4/6/8/10.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: A
    PVP: D

    You need 440 Defense to be immune to crits, this talent directly reduces the amount of Defense you need from gear. You cannot be crit when you Block however making the likelihood of being crit even when below 440 defense negligible.

    Tier 2

    Improved Bloodrage

    2 Ranks
    Increases the instant Rage generated by your Bloodrage ability by 2/5.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F (required)
    PVE DPS - Raid: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F (required)
    PVP: F (required)

    Required for Last Stand.

    Another unfortunate casualty of talent requirements. If used on CD it generates an extra 1 rage every 12 seconds. (Despite the fact it increases the effectiveness of the ability by either 50% or 25% depending on how you look at it.) Unlike MS and BT, Shield Slam is only 20 rage, so you can use it on the pull even without this talent, and it does not provide enough Rage to Shield Block into a Shield Slam.

    Toughness

    5 Ranks
    Increases your armor value from items by 2/4/6/8/10%.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: B

    Armor makes your health pool more effective, also called Effective Health Pool or EHP. I have always been of the mind that EHP is the best way to gear for progression since you cannot quantify a bad luck string of no avoidance. Less effective as Fury/Prot due to not wearing a shield most of the time.

    Iron Will

    5 Ranks
    Increases your chance to resist Stun and Charm effects by an additional 3/6/9/12/15%.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: C
    PVE Tanking - Raid: D
    PVP: B

    Charm might be one of the least used mechanics but stuns are not that present in raids either, very niche talent if your guild gets stuck on a fight where one of these mechanics is present.

    Tier 3

    Last Stand

    1 Rank
    Instant 10 min cooldown
    When activated, this ability temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum hit points for 20 seconds. After the effect expires, the hit points are lost.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: C

    Your cooldowns in Classic Wow consist of Shield Wall (30 minute CD), and either a health/"Greater <insert> Protection Potion" or Stoneskin potion (2 minute CD). This adds a much needed reactionary ability to help keep yourself alive. Healing in Classic is more proactive than reactive due to down ranking so often you will die just before getting that big heal.

    Improved Shield Block

    Rank 1
    Allows your Shield Block ability to block an additional attack and increases the duration by 0.5 second.

    Rank 2
    Allows your Shield Block ability to block an additional attack and increases the duration by 1 second.

    Rank 3
    Allows your Shield Block ability to block an additional attack and increases the duration by 2 seconds.

    Rank 1

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: D

    Rank 2

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: F
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: F

    The "to block an additional attack" text on Ranks 2 and 3 are placeholders for lack of a better term. They are simply there to show that getting more ranks does not remove the effect. You only get 1 additional charge no matter if you have Rank 1 or Rank 2 or Rank 3.

    This is one of the only talents in the game for any class (with the exception of fillers to move to the next tier) where you do not take all ranks after getting the first. This talent is as close to mandatory as it gets if under 440 defense as it potentially provides more crit mitigation for 1 point than 5 points in Anticipation.

    Improved Revenge

    3 Ranks
    Gives your Revenge ability a 15/30/45% chance to stun the target for 3 sec.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: C

    Great for running Dungeons, but still limited by the 5 sec CD. Research is inconclusive but if Imp Revenge generates threat when it procs on stun immune targets it becomes on option in Raids as well. Could be good in PVP but Revenge only has the change to trigger if you are being attacked and by being Prot most melee will already avoid you.

    Defiance

    5 Ranks
    Requires Defensive Stance
    Increases the threat generated by your attacks by 3/6/9/12/15% while in Defensive Stance.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: F

    Universally, 1 point of damage does 1 point of threat, before class modifiers. With Defensive Stance that increases to 1 point of damage now does 1.3 threat and with Defiance it jumps to 1.495.

    Threat will always be the limiting factor and if people have to stop or even slow down DPS because they might pull (caveat: bosses with threat drop mechanics) then everyone's DPS is going down and healers have to heal longer. The fun thing about this talent is that it applies to all threat so Battle/Demo Shouts, Rage gains, self healing, and items like grenades and sappers.

    Tier 4

    Improved Sunder Armor

    3 Ranks
    Reduces the cost of your Sunder Armor ability by 1/2/3 rage points.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: D
    PVE DPS - Raid: D
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: C

    Half your GCDs are Sunder Armor, making this talent equal to 1 Rage per second.

    Improved Disarm

    3 Ranks
    Increases the duration of your Disarm ability by 1/2/3 secs.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: C
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: B
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: A

    A very small selection of enemies in dungeons even carry weapons, but in a few situations this could save a Tank's life. Would be great for Prot PVP for that added utility.

    Improved Taunt

    2 Ranks
    Reduces the cooldown of your Taunt ability by 1/2 sec.

    PVE DPS - Dungeon: F
    PVE DPS - Raid: F
    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: A
    PVE Tanking - Raid: D
    PVP: F

    After MC most bosses are immune to Taunt, and if you have to rely on taunt to get through dungeons unfortunately you need to just practice more as this talent would just be becoming a crutch. MAYBE the niche case of 4 Horsemen since a taunt resist can almost always lead to a wipe but that is the third to last boss of the entire game.

    Tier 5

    Improved Shield Wall

    2 Ranks
    Increases the effect duration of your Shield Wall ability by 3/5 secs.

    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: D
    PVE Tanking - Raid: C
    PVP: D

    This is such a hard talent to quantify since the ability it affects is on a 30 minute CD. It provides a 50% increase in duration, but a lot of tanks are so afraid of not having it when they need it they never press it at all. At the same time when you do press it you really need it so why not make your most powerful cooldown even strong? I am really conflicted on this one so ultimately I think it comes down to where would you take points out of to get this, leading people to skip it.

    Concussion Blow

    1 Rank
    15 Rage Melee Range
    Instant cast 45 sec cooldown
    Requires Melee Weapon
    Stuns the opponent for 5 sec.

    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S (required)
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F (required)
    PVP: S (required)

    Required for Shield Slam.

    Amazing in Dungeons but useless on Raid bosses. Works as an interrupt on stunable targets as well. One trick I love and I hear people talk about is stunning skull immediately and ignoring it because you know it will die before the stun ends, so by the time the DPS get to X you have a huge threat lead and are working on more non kill targets.

    Improved Shield Bash

    2 Ranks
    Gives your Shield Bash ability a 50/100% chance to silence the target for 3 sec.

    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: F
    PVP: S

    Amazing in Dungeons but useless on Raid bosses. Positioning is a huge issue in Dungeons so anything that lets you control casters better is never a bad thing. Failsafe in case you miss your interrupt the mob cannot immediately cast again.

    Tier 6

    One-Handed Weapon Specialization

    5 Ranks
    Requires One-Handed Axes, One-Handed Maces, One-Handed Swords, Fist Weapons, Daggers
    Increases the damage you deal with One-Handed Melee weapons by 2/4/6/8/10%.

    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: S

    Flat damage increase, more rage, more threat.

    Tier 7

    Shield Slam

    1 Rank
    20 Rage Melee Range
    Instant cast 6 sec cooldown
    Requires Shields
    Slam the target with your shield, causing 225 to 235 damage, modified by your shield block value, and has a 50% chance of dispelling 1 magic effect on the target. Also causes a high amount of threat.

    PVE Tanking - Dungeon: S
    PVE Tanking - Raid: S
    PVP: D

    Highest on-demand threat ability with the added utility of potentially dispelling the target. Requires a shield and since weapon swaps trigger a GCD you are locked into using a shield as Deep Prot. Additionally, as noted earlier, it costs 20 rage instead of the 30 that MS and BT cost.

    (The list of Block Value items in Classic is shocking small, but here is a full list of all items which will increase Shield Slam damage. 3 from BWL 6 from Naxx.)

    Compilation of Specs

    DISCLAIMER: Most of the below is just a compilation of builds people have already posted, as these are fairly unchanged since 2004, but I will be giving links and credit to everyone as we go. Please show the original authors the courtesy of watching/reading and commenting on their videos/threads.

    Wowhead Talent Calculator

    As with all specs, there is wiggle room here. I encourage you to try the calculator and make choices based on how you want to play the game or the situations you find yourself in. Play the game how you want or change a few things around to pick up tools your raid is missing (Off-tank vs Main tank, 1 person in the raid having improved demo shout, raiding as arms with a Nightfall so you can PVP and raid with the same spec). I will try to list a few specs for each section.

    Leveling Builds

    Please head over to Atacas's thread for all discussion on leveling builds and check out his video while over there.

    Video link

    Arms Builds

    PVP Arms

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/023050213525100011-05050104005

    Very interchangeable. I prefer Deflection over Imp Heroic Strike, Imp Charge and Imp Overpower somewhat interchangeable as well but Overpower is generally more useful, any weapon works except Polearm as that blocks the 1 point from being put into Imp Hamstring, some people even suggest taking points out of 2h specialization to fill out the various utility talents (see below).

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/023250213125100031-05050104005

    PVE Arms

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/3030502135201-3555000002

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/3030502135201-0505300502

    This is where lack of P-server knowledge comes in, but since Taunt->/sit will not work to proc enrage, I do not see how it can be worth the talents for a purely PVE build. I would love to hear people's thoughts on this. 1 person in each melee group will need improved battle shout but only 1 per raid will need improved demo shout. In general though arms is a weaker PVE spec once you start getting hit as Alliance and just in general as Horde due to Windfury.

    The final points are for the weapon specialization (which will change based on what you have) and Mortal Strike, but maces are generally the weakest talent in PVE.

    31/5/15

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/3530500132201-05-050500005

    This was DPS/Defiance before Fury/Prot was a thing and widely used before the Warrior class patch (1.6) in original release. Not sure how useful it will be but listed for nostalgia.

    The final points are for the weapon specialization (which will change based on what you have) and Mortal Strike, but maces are generally the weakest talent in PVE.

    Fury Builds

    DW Fury

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/A4MzMwUzA_xDQAA

    Please head over to Viv's guide for more explanation and discussion.

    2H Fury - Horde

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/BIMxecAFM4DPENAA

    Please head over to Viv's guide for more explanation and discussion.

    2H Fury - Slam

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/BCMxeMAFMwMPQ0AA

    Please head over to Viv's guide for more explanation and discussion.

    Fury/Prot

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/-05050105305010051-5023011053

    Please head over to Skarm's thread for all discussion on Fury/Prot and his channel for all things tanking.

    Video link

    My take on Fury/Prot with some added utility:

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/-05550105005010051-502401105

    Prot Builds

    Full Mitigation

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/05304000302-03-55250110500001051

    Highest possible damage reduction and avoidance without giving up Impale, see below for the non-impale spec. I highly recommend against this unless you are purely off-tanking and your guild is paying for your consumes and repairs as you will not be able to farm anything as the below spec.

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/05005-055-55250110500001051

    TPS

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/30305001302-03-52250110530001051

    The best threat build for lower geared characters. Research is inconclusive on if Imp Revenge generates threat when it procs on stun immune targets, but swapping Anticipation for it if that is confirmed is an option.

    Dungeons

    https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/warrior/03305001302-03-50250113500001251

    Picked up Revenge stun and Shield Bash silence for more 5-man utility. Additionally, the lower defense will help generate more rage in a historically low rage environment. Improved Taunt and Disarm may also be options instead of Shield Bash.

    Disclaimer

    The above rankings are all my opinion based on playing the original game back in 2004-2006. I have zero P-Server experience, and I understand that can influence how people will receive this information, as either "being out of date" or "free from inaccuracies that P-Servers got wrong" (Mandela Effect). I am by no means a Warrior expert, but my experience includes achieving Rank 11 on Arms Warrior, and clearing Rag/MC, Nefarian/BWL, and some AQ40 bosses, all as both Fury and Prot (in addition to my Priest healer which full cleared the entire game except for only getting 10/15 in Naxx).

    Contact Me

    Discord: @darks_end#0479


  • Warrior Alliance Partner

    Thanks for being patient while I got this done, I cannot tell you how many times I re-ranked things before feeling everything was accurate! I am really looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on this, especially things which may be out of date that became popular on P-Servers.


  • Founder Shaman Horde

    Great stuff!


  • Initiate

    Great comprehensive guide, it has been a big help for me to understand some talent choices. RIP bloodcraze, about which I always felt that any healing was good healing.