Warriors in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft has established a rich history over the past 13 years, and along the way, Blizzard has also developed and made significant changes to almost every class in the game. That isn’t always an easy task, especially because players become very attached to their characters over time, and change is never easy. The warrior class has definitely experienced its fair share of tweaks. While they haven’t undergone a complete class overhaul in the same way as warlocks or hunters, warriors have had no shortage of changes come their way. Let’s look at how warriors have evolved since Vanilla.


Protection Warriors: The Standard of Vanilla Tanking

During the early years of WoW, most warriors you saw at level 60 were likely protection warriors, well-versed in saving their allies from the destructive capabilities of enemies. Due to their ability to use a sword and shield, they were also much more effective tanks than some other classes, as warriors were equipped with more defense, more armor, and a chance to block incoming melee attacks. They were also versatile due to the nature of their stances — which are battle, berserker, and defensive. While not tanking, they could drop out of defensive stance into battle stance and provide some, albeit not much, DPS assistance.


However, it was not all sunshine and rainbows for protection warriors, as they did have some major drawbacks during this time. For one, they lacked the ability to gain aggro on more than one or two targets at a time, and any fights that were high on magic damage were a struggle. Although we’ve seen no shortage of warrior tanks throughout the rest of WoW’s life, their role has certainly changed since these early days.


Warriors Unleash Rage on DPS Meters

As mentioned above, warriors have been consistently good tanks throughout the history of WoW, but what about their two DPS specs, Arms and Fury? While it’s true that these specs existed in Vanilla, they weren’t really seen very often. Part of the problem with Fury is that it required two pretty good one-handed weapons, and those were hard to come by in those days. While Arms didn’t have the restriction of gear, it just wasn’t strong enough for PVE — although it really prevailed in PVP. This all changed during Burning Crusade, around the release of the Black Temple. While warriors didn’t necessarily receive a large amount of buffs in the Black Temple 2.1.0 patch, one thing it did offer up was a third large raid and greater availability of one-handers, especially the Warglaives of Azzinoth.


With proper play and good gear from end raiding, warriors became a formidable DPS class, and their flexibility continued to be a great asset to most raids. Several encounters throughout BC required some sort of additional tanking, and DPS warriors had the ability to “stance dance” into defensive stance, throwing on a “sword and board” for encounters such as Akama in Black Temple.