PvE Arms Warrior DPS Guide

WoW Cata Arms Warrior Guide Overview

Azeroth. Burning with renewed rage after a tiresome campaign against the Lich King in Northrend, those battle-hardened veterans make a comeback with even fiercer techniques and mastery over arms that aim to quell any Old-God rebellion, be it Dragons, Elementals, or even Cultists.

This guide will teach you everything about playing an Arms Warrior in PvE, with a focus on raids. We will be covering everything from enchants and consumables, to talents, stats, reforging, rotations, macros, and addons. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will become a true force of reckoning, bringing justice to all who claim an evil path!

Arms Warrior in Cataclysm

Arms Warriors have generated quite a troublesome reputation during WotLK in the PvE scenery, with the community considering the specialization to be a “Troll Pick” that simply pales in comparison to what Fury Warriors could bring to the battle fold. As such, Arms Warriors were largely considered a PvP-only specialization, with some attempts being made to make the specialization viable. The specialization managed to generate decently high numbers in Icecrown Citadel, provided that the BiS gear was available to the player. However, this was not the case for most of the expansion, as Arms Warrior struggled throughout the majority of WotLK up until Ruby Sanctum and Icecrown Citadel.

The situation changes dramatically in Cataclysm, with Arms Warrior becoming the favored PvE Warrior specialization over Fury Warrior. While the specialization didn’t receive any major overhaul like other specializations did such as Hunters or Paladins, their overall play style was turned into a much more dynamic one, being entirely based on proc effects, rapid subsequent attacks, and devastating blows. With the removal of Armor Penetration from the game, Arms Warrior crushes any foe’s armor completely with a ravaging Colossus Smash while making sure that its target bleeds profusely by Rending it while also inflicting Deep Wounds. Mortal Strike and Overpower remain an Arms Warrior’s best friends, with the former now acting as a refresh tool for Rend and an activation tool for Wrecking Crew. Among the most impactful changes can be observed with Heroic Strike, Slam, and Cleave. The specialization also got its hands on new Offensive Cooldowns, granting it even more tools to generate powerful Burst Phases.

This guide will teach you everything about playing an Arms Warrior in PvE, with a focus on raids. We will be covering everything from enchants and consumables, to talents, stats, reforging, rotations, macros, and addons. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will become a true force of reckoning, bringing justice to all who claim an evil path!

Arms Warrior Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Dynamic gameplay based on proc effects
    While Arms Warrior’s gameplay remains mostly the same, Cataclysm emphasizes procs and ability resets, making Arms Warrior an even more interactive specialization than it previously was in WotLK. While most of the abilities and effects remain the same, with Overpower reset remaining one of the key components of the specialization, new talents that come with a reset mechanic such as Battle Trance and Sudden Death are also added into the mix. The most impactful change that affects Arms Warrior and changes the pace of the class is the added cooldown to abilities such as Cleave and Heroic Strike, with the latter change being extremely important as Warriors are now forced into prioritizing abilities even more than they were before.
  • Extraordinary Single-Target Damage
    Arms Warrior was previously treated as a meme specialization in WotLK, however, it completely overthrows Fury Warrior, climbing the ladder among the top-tier specializations. With its new talents and proc reset effects, Arms Warrior becomes one of the best Damage Dealer specializations in the expansion, bringing extraordinary Single-Target Damage throughout the entirety of the expansion. While it has a slow start at the beginning of the expansion until it gains the necessary equipment, Arms Warrior’s damage ramps up quickly, consistently delivering deadly blows in most encounters.
  • Great Cleave and AoE Damage
    Even with the Nerf that Cleave received, Arms Warrior deals consistent AoE and Cleave Damage as it received a plethora of other buffs. Most notably, Bladestorm now deals proper damage in PvE scenarios while Sweeping Strikes no longer has a limited number of attacks to which it applies.
  • Amazing Survivability
    All Warriors have access to amazing survivability tools! While Arms Warrior doesn’t receive a special defensive cooldown as Protection Warrior does or a self-healing component as Fury Warrior, it still benefits from the new Rallying Cry ability while also having access to Shield Wall and Spell Reflection. While the Rallying Cry doesn’t require any Shield to be equipped, both Shield Wall and Spell Reflection require you to swap to a Shield for them to be effective.
  • High Utility and Crowd Control
    Warrior brings multiple utility and crowd control components ranging from Slow effects, Damage Mitigation, Temporary Health Boost, Fear, Attack Speed Reduction, percent Damage Reduction, increased percent Physical Damage, increased percent Bleeding Damage, and a few other effects. While mainly serving as a raw Damage Dealer specialization, it is clear to everyone that Arms Warrior boasts a large amount of useful tools for any PvE encounter.


  • High loot competition
    Arms Warriors have the misfortune of sharing loot with two of the most popular classes in Cataclysm: Paladin and Death Knight. As such, gearing a Retribution Paladin can prove itself to be considerably more difficult than the other Damage Specializations. Given their gear dependency, Arms Warriors can fall short of the Damage Meters until they acquire proper equipment.
  • Rotation is prone to being easily messed up
    While it might seem like all Arms Warriors have to do is smash their face on the keyboard to achieve the highest possible damage output, that couldn’t be more far from the actual truth. Cataclysm has increased the number of procs that Arms Warriors have to manage while also adding cooldowns to Cleave and Heroic Strike. While it might not seem like a big deal, having multiple abilities with similar cooldowns can mess up the priority order that Arms Warriors have to follow. Furthermore, while Heroic Strike and Cleave can be chained together with other abilities through a Macro while consuming only one GCD, this can lead to a state of Rage Starvation, which further increases the risk of messing up your rotation.
  • Prone to Rage Starvation
    Due to the new proc-based play style and the increased number of abilities used in a fast sequence, Arms Warrior can quickly become prone to Rage Starvation states, interrupting its flow during an encounter. The new play style encourages players to keep track of their Rage more actively and not mindlessly spam their abilities.
  • Highly reliant on Gear
    Arms Warriors share the same plague as some of the other Melee Specializations, more specifically, a weak performance in the absence of proper equipment. While you might argue that this issue might be true for all specializations, this is much more apparent for Arms Warrior as it requires a decently high amount of Critical Strike Chance for some of its core mechanics.

Best Races

Wow Horde CrestHorde

The horde has the better races from a PvE point of view, with most of their racial abilities providing direct damage-enhancing effects. The biggest change in Cataclysm for the Horde is that Blood Elves can now also be Warriors, albeit their overall performance seems better suited for “Magic-based” classes.

Orcs are traditionally known as the best race for the Warrior class for the Horde faction, with Blood Fury being the strongest available offensive racial effect and Axe Specialization playing a decent role. They are followed by Trolls with Berserking and Regeneration, and Golbins with Rocket Barrage and Time is Money.

Races such as Tauren, Undead, and Blood Elf are more of an aesthetic choice for the Arms Warriors.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

The Alliance has stronger PvP racial effects than PvE racials, with most PvE racial effects being represented by passive effects. With the addition of the Worgen race, Humans are dethroned as the best race for the Warrior class thanks to Viciousness. While no longer the kings, Humans still provide powerful racial effects such as Sword Specialization, Mace Specialization, and Will to Survive, with the Expertise buff proving quite useful for Arms Warriors. Worgen and Human are closely followed by Draenei thanks to the Gift of the Naaru and Heroic Presence and Dwarf with the Mace Specialization and Stoneform racials.


We hope this guide has been able to help you decide if PvE Arms Warrior is the class/spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems etc., to get more information on how to improve your performance as an Arms Warrior in Cataclysm!


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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