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In-Depth SL Arms PvE Feedback

Content of the article: "In-Depth SL Arms PvE Feedback"

Hello there. I have been raiding at a CE equivalent level for essentially the entire existence of the game and am a moderator for the Warrior discord server Skyhold. This will be a longer post but I'd like to compile my thoughts on all things PvE Arms Warrior for the current Shadowlands design. I welcome all comments and feedback.

TLDR: The gameplay has nothing exciting to look forward to, is resource starved, mastery and cooldown design I believe have some fundamental flaws, and several tuning concerns.


The mastery redesign was a huge step for the spec, and making our abilities we press matter again. Unfortunately, that just exposed all the issues with the rotation that deep wounds was covering up when it was 30-45% of our damage. This also causes large problems with cleave and AoE due to lack of ability to spread the mastery reliably, and Bladestorm does awful damage due to how much of its damage in BfA came from Deep Wounds and has not been rebalanced. Tying into spec cooldowns Colossus Smash is also pretty lackluster as far as those goes. Even if you think Bladestorm is supposed to be our main cooldown they don't interact with the spec in anyway, they don't grant you more procs, they don't change your resource generation, they don't change how you use your abilities in anyway. These two cooldowns and how they feel are a smaller concern, but still a valid one.

  • One of my biggest issues with the spec is the core loop of abilities, and I want to compare it to Legion Arms and the Legion version of Tactician. The Legion version of tactician would reset what is now both OP and MS with every proc. Additionally on top of that overpower provided a much more substantial buff to mortal strike than what even a double stack of Overpower provides in BfA and Shadowlands. Sometimes it played out almost exactly like it does on live, and a lot of times it would chain proc back to back to have something exciting. I strongly believe this was a far more enjoyable core gameplay loop. Instead of right now you just fill with overpower, and even with a double stack buff your Mortal Strike still isn't very exciting. There's nothing that varies up the gameplay, you just fill with very weak abilities while you have nothing that impacts how Mortal Strike comes off cooldown. The other part of this is that Mortal Strike has been nerfed so heavily because apparently it's only purpose is to apply deep wounds. NEGATIVE, it is the signature ability of the spec and it has a cooldown. It needs to hit hard and be exciting to press.

  • Another huge gripe of mine with our base abilities is how Sweeping Strikes does not line up with Colossus Smash. Maybe sweeping just needs to be passive again for Arms, or something. But it not lining up with Colossus Smash feels like complete poop.


  • The removal of lucid dreams absolutely guts the resource generation for the spec. Both with the passive and active portions of it. Remember how arms was one of the worst 2-3 specs in the entire game for Battle of Dazaralor after they nerfed rage gen, fixed several bugs related to execute rage gen, and removed executioner's precision? Yeah that's because the spec played horribly because it had no resources and execute was hardly an increase over the normal rotation due to rage costs.

  • The spec must have more rage coming in from somewhere. If you adopted the Legion tactician suggestion above I think Overpower should generate 5-10 rage. This problem is far more noticeable when execute comes into play, but it's a problem for the entirety of the spec.

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  • Level 15 – This row is fine I think. Sudden Death at least does get to benefit from the new mastery design and execute damage compared to BfA to compete with Skullsplitter.

  • Level 25/35 – I still dislike these rows quite a lot. Double Time should be baseline, and these rows need to have more parity with each other. I would put Second Wind, Impending Victory, and D-Stance on the same row. I also strongly believe Second Wind should be redesigned to be more generally useful. It's worthless a huge majority of the time, and occasionally when you find something where it works it's arguably overpowered. I don't believe this is a good balance point for a talent. Storm Bolt, Bounding Stride, and some new movement/cc talent on the 35 row would also make more sense. These rows just need more parity, instead of being all over the place in segmenting aspects of the kit. In BfA I argued heavily for D-Stance to be baseline, but when you look at the buff to Die by the Sword, adding Spell Reflect and Ignore Pain I think it's going to be ok. However, I do think D-Stance needs to be less punishing to use in PvE. I understand and agree there needs to be some kind of downside, but a 10% reduction in damage? Nah, that's too much

  • Level 30 – I think the ideas on this row are mostly fine, but this row suffers GREATLY from the gutted resources of the spec. Both Fervor and Rend costing 30 rage comes with large opportunity cost. Rend is a DoT, that is the limitation. I strongly feel it should be heavily reduced in rage cost like we saw in past expansions. I might not like Fervor that much myself just spamming whirlwind all the time, but I also don't think there is anything wrong with it. If the execute resource model is fixed then of course massacre is fun.

  • Level 40 – wewlad. I almost want to make this its own section cuz this one is BAD. First of all, the spec MUST HAVE A WAY TO SPREAD MASTERY RELIABLY. I mean for real, is there a single other spec in the game that has to take a talent for their mastery to work with their aoe and cleaving toolkits? Tying into that on this same row is Warbreaker which is the only way to make our cooldown work on multi-target. Making Cleave baseline seems to be the easiest way to address the mastery issues. It's also just an outright crime that the current cleave talent removes sweeping strikes from the spec. IF we have that ability to spread Mastery baseline then Warbreaker might be fine as a choice here. However, I believe that both Colossus Smash and Warbreaker should do more damage. I would reference the Lord of War trait from BfA and the balance point of the abilities with a single instance of that trait. Collateral Damage is just way to niche, they completely removed the part that made sweeping itself feel better and more powerful to use and instead you just get a single whirlwind that hits hard at the end of it all without doing anything while sweeping is actually active. I would love to see a rage refund component added back to some degree, and even moreso I would like to see this talent make sweeping strikes affect ALL abilities like it did in the past if you have this talent. If Cleave is baseline I think the talent there should be when Cleave hits 3+ targets it will cause your next mortal strike to hit up to 5 targets.

  • Level 45 – Yeah, this one is fine. In for the Kill is pretty lackluster when resources are an issue. The new Deadly Calm works better, but a big part of me wants to see it further limited to only Execute/Mortal Strike while still leaving your fillers to operate normally. This would allow tactician to continue to work while the ability is active and guarantee you can press your strong abilities for a short period of time. Now that Avatar has been fixed to work with bleeds and our abilities have more impact I think it is fine.

  • Level 50 – This is also a good row. However, Ravager needs to apply Deep Wounds instantly when it's dropped. It takes 2 seconds to tick and won't apply mastery which feels awful. To add into my Legion Tactician suggestion if that route was taken Dreadnaught should simply enhance the buff provided instead of adding a second charge while still having the seismic wave component.

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I like a lot of the ideas I see for Arms, but many of them are tuned pretty terribly at the moment.

  • Enduring Blow – Mortal Strike has a chance to apply CS, yeah sure. Cool. Especially if Legion Tactician was reimplemented.

  • Battlelord – Slam has a chance to reset mortal strike. This is completely garbage. Not only do you struggle to have rage to hit slam reliably, but that just compounds even more if you're trying to hit Mortal Strike immediately after it if it resets. This is a terrible legendary and needs to be redesigned.

  • Exploiter – Why not just call it Executioner's Precision? Exploiter sounds stupid lol. However, I'm glad to see the idea of EP back. I think the buff should be increased, but it also suffers from what I mentioned earlier with how much Mortal Strike itself has been nerfed.

  • Unhinged – Our T20 bonus. Obviously it was super well liked at the time. However, Blizzard has given us the giga nerfed version here. Additionally Mortal Strike is nowhere near relatively as powerful in Shadowlands as it was during Legion. I think it should be buffed back to two MS during Ravager and 3 during Bladestorm. And Mortal Strike should still be buffed.

  • Sigent of Tormented Kings – I like this one. Some of the procs and such seem a bit wonky with their durations and effects atm due to them reduced effectiveness. Also the current tuning of Bladestorm makes that loss of control proc feel quite awful. But it's a cool idea, and I like this legendary.


  • Spear of Bastion – This is fine. Has some utility.

  • Condemn – Using execute more. In theory this should be cool, but the execute rotation suffers heavily from lack of resources. There's another aspect here for Arms specifically that due to the recent execute buff for arms only while Condemn is balanced at the class level. So the ability hits for basically the exact same as normal execute you just get to use it more for what is traditionally the shortest part of the encounter. This is way more fun for Fury because it actually makes execute hit harder in addition to the extra usage.

  • Conqueror's Banner – The recent redesign of this I think is fine and it was a good change. The tuning seems questionable still however.

  • Ancient Aftershock – I like the multiple knockdown change here. The area of effect I think will be hard to truly utilize very often though in both raid and dungeon content. The knockdown keeping it off diminishing returns still makes it an appealing pick though.

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And so we can see these are all pretty different things, and I'm going to reiterate again that these are going to feel bad as locked choices. Whether it's because of performance or just because you want a different tool at your disposal that day. Make them a talent pick just like the wowhead calculator currently shows them. People will still make choices, there are going to be different instances and group comps where one ability is still going to be more desirable than another for a certain person. #pulltheripcord

  • Ashen Juggernaut – The buff should last at least 10 seconds in my opinion, but it's a good idea. Short duration buffs with mechanics, forced movement and downtime these days are just hell to work with.

  • Crash the Ramparts – I don't like this one. You get a single gcd basically after Overpower to benefit from a fairly mediocre CS buff. I'm not sure what I'd suggest here besides maybe it needs to be longer duration? Or it needs to be redesigned entirely.

  • Merciless Bonegrinder – Nope, this is garbage. Many of the same issues with how little you can actually hit slam, then it has to crit. Then both Ravager and Bladestorm are pretty poorly tuned at the moment so using those abilities more doesn't accomplish much for us.

  • Mortal Combo – This one is fine. I'd like to see it have some interaction with overpower buffs and it currently does not function with the Unhinged legendary power. But unlike most of our others it at least works fine and more mortal strikes is always good.


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