The warrior class is the original melee attacker, using heavy armor to soak damage and strong weapons to dispatch of foes. While warriors may primarily be known for excelling as tanks, they also make for a fun and useful damage class. Mastering your DPS warrior is far from simple, but is very rewarding once you understand what makes the class work!
Welcome to our WoW Classic DPS warrior guide! Learning any class will take several hours of research, practice, and theorycrafting, but investing this time will surely make you much better at your class! Even if you feel like you know everything there is to know about a specific class, there’s often something you haven’t tried or thought of, making it useful just to take a second look!
This guide will cover everything you’ll need to excel at playing a DPS warrior. This includes picking your race, specialization, optimizing your character for maximum damage and survivability, and your rotation and other gameplay tips to help you become a better warrior!
The warrior class is a staple of WoW Classic, often remembered for charging all across the battlefield and wreaking havoc on low-health enemies with execute. While warriors might be a fantastic class at level 60, they’re fairly difficult to level because of how dependent they are on gear, specifically weapons. Without a good weapon, any warrior lacks the strength they need to eliminate their foes!
The warrior is the only class in WoW Classic that is actually playable by every race in the game. That’s right! All four Alliance races (dwarf, gnome, human, night elf) and Horde races (orc, tauren, troll, undead) are fair game for warriors. However, because of the way racial abilities work, each faction has a clear winner when it comes to deciding on a race. If you want a clear breakdown of each race and what abilities each offers, you can check them all out here!
Taking all factors into consideration, the best race for Alliance warriors is a human. Many Alliance racials are better suited for PvP purposes, which makes it tougher to decide a clear winner. None of the races stand out as amazing, but humans do have a passive boost to weapon skill when using a sword or mace. This gives them the slight edge over any other Alliance race, but a dwarf wouldn’t be a terrible alternative.
There are actually a couple decent choices when it comes to races for Horde warriors, meaning that you’ll have a much better selection as a Horde player. Tauren have the highest base strength skill in the game, while trolls have an excellent mixture of strength and agility to pair with a useful racial ability, Berserking.
Despite tauren and trolls being good choices, the clear standout winner is an orc. Not only do orcs have a passive weapon skill boost when using axes, but they also have one of the strongest racial damage abilities in the entire game, Blood Fury. Blood Fury is insanely powerful for warriors, boosting attack power by 25% for a whole 15 seconds at the cost of reduced healing. Even better, it has just a 2 minute cooldown. Hands down, you’ve got to be an orc if you really care about maximizing your DPS.
Even though warriors do have two DPS specializations, arms and fury, fury is highly favored amongst higher leveled players. Arms is primarily reserved for PvP and leveling, mainly because of the stat requirements to effectively deal damage as a fury warrior. While you’re still leveling, you don’t have the ability to pick and choose what stats you have, instead using any piece you can find.
Because of that, we will touch on both specs, but will focus on fury because you’ll likely spend most of your time using that playstyle.
Talent trees are the customizable feature that allows a warrior to flourish. When you gain new talents, especially ones that offer you new and iconic abilities, you’ll feel much stronger and it will add extra depth to your class. Within each class, spec helps distinguish between different players of that class. Even further, the talents you choose will help make you stand out from another player of the same class!
The great thing about talents is that everything is up to you! You’ll find a few recommended talent tree choices below, but feel free to move points around as you feel necessary. Depending upon the fighting situation you’re going into, you might want one set of talents over another. Take time to understand what your purpose is, which will help you decide what talents you’ll need to help achieve that.
Arms Warrior Talents
If you play arms all the way to level 60, then this is probably what your talent tree will look like. Depending upon what weapon type you use, you’ll want to switch points out of axe specialization to the weapon specialization type that you use. Axes and polearms are a little better, but swords aren’t too far behind. Maces aren’t very useful for PvE situations.
Fury Warrior Talents
For the standard, dual-wielding fury talent tree, you’ll actually place 34 points into the fury tree and just 17 into arms. This allows you to acquire both ranks of Impale in the arms tree, while maximizing any damage bonuses found in the fury tree. Options here include selecting Improved Cleave over Improved Battle Shout in situations needing more area of effect damage.
For most situations, a 17/34/0 build should suit you well. However, some players have found success while playing a two-handed fury playstyle. Fury is largely focused around dual-wielding, but Horde players can benefit from a shaman’s windfury totem. Windfury will allow a Horde warrior to potentially get a free auto attack in, which is crucial for damage output and rage generation.
Two handed fury is far less viable for Alliance players considering they don’t have access to shamans or Windfury. You’ll note that Improved Cleave is now standard, as you no longer need points in Dual Wield Specialization. You’ll also need to grab 3 points in Two-Handed Weapon Specialization found in the arms tree, the talent choice that really sets the build apart.
If you thought your job was done after reaching level 60 and filling out your talent tree, then you’re in for a big surprise! Hitting the level cap is just the first step, because now you’ll actually need to take the time to optimize your character. While a mail agility helm might have worked for leveling because it was all you could find, you’ll definitely want a plate one offering strength.
That same concept applies to all aspects of your character. While you may have made something work for leveling, you’ll now want to fine-tune it to get the most from your character. You might notice a distinct difference between a level 1 character and a level 60 character, but you’ll also be able to distinguish between a fresh level 60 warrior and a fully-optimized level 60 warrior. The optimized warrior will survive for much longer, and will deal far more DPS!
When it comes to gearing and picking enchants, you’ll need to understand stat priority. Stat priority refers to a concept in which specific stats are more important than others. Every single class has different stat priorities, as their abilities and attacks all scale differently. Warriors, especially dual-wielding fury warriors, have an even bigger importance when it comes to stat priority because there are stat requirements they must reach in order to consistently deal damage.
With that in mind, here are the stat priorities for DPS warriors:
- Hit Cap to 8% – The utmost priority lies with raising your hit cap to a minimum of 8%. If you’re dual-wielding, the hit cap is actually 27%, but that value is almost impossible to reach, especially if you’ve just reached level 60. With that in mind, your special abilities (think rotational abilities like Bloodthirst and Whirlwind) only require 8% to actually hit. This does mean that as a dual-wielding fury warrior, you will miss auto attacks, but all of your special abilities that consume rage will hit.
- Critical Strike – After reaching the soft hit cap of 8%, you’ll want to stack as much critical strike as possible! Critical strikes are helpful to any class, but warriors in particular benefit from talents that make crits even more important. 2 points in Impale will increase the damage of critical strikes by 20%, while 5 points in Flurry allow you to gain a 30% attack speed bonus to your next 3 swings after you’ve actually landed a crit.
- Strength/Attack Power – In addition to crit, you’ll also need strength and attack power to increase the magnitude of your hits. Almost all plate gear you’ll find will have strength on it, but some pieces will also have intellect. Make sure to prioritize equipment that offers more strength so all your abilities deal more damage.
- Agility – While agility doesn’t directly benefit your damage, it does boost your overall critical strike rating. It isn’t as impactful as actual critical strike rating, but will increase it by a small margin, meaning that you can benefit from gear with agility. This is especially useful because many pieces with strength also have agility.
- Anything Else – Any other stats aren’t as important to warriors. Stamina will help boost your health and survivability, but intellect and spirit won’t really do you any good.
Another thing you’ll need to optimize is your actual weapon skill level. For each type of weapon, you have skill level related to it, which is separated further into one and two handed weapon skills. While you don’t need weapon skill to equip a weapon, you will need it if you actually want to do any damage.
For each character level (up to 60), there will be 5 levels worth of weapon skill. This means that each different weapon skill requires 300 levels on a level 60 warrior. The reason why this matters is because of how glancing blows work on enemies. The basic concept behind weapon skill is that a higher weapon skill will result in less damage lost. With a lower weapon skill, your attacks have a chance of dealing reduced damage.
Anytime you get a new weapon, you’ll want to take the time and max out your weapon skill. This is as simple as going out and swinging your weapon at enemies. It will take several hits, but will be well worth it due to the bonuses you’ll earn with a maxed out weapon skill.
In addition to boosting your damage, each weapon skill point gives you:
- 0.04% reduced chance to miss.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent blocking attack.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent parrying attack.
- 0.04% reduced chance of opponent dodging attack.
- 0.04% increased critical strike chance.
Another way to enhance your character is through the aid of professions. You can certainly pick any profession as a warrior, but there are a few in particular that are actually beneficial, and a few others you still might enjoy.
Here are the professions you might find relevant as a warrior:
- Mining – You might find it odd to see a crafting profession in here, but warriors don’t actually require any professions to maximize their damage. Any crafted weapons or armor are tradeable, meaning that you can collect the raw materials yourself and have someone else make them for you. Mining doesn’t offer direct bonuses, but will make it easier (and cheaper) to acquire crafted weapons and armor.
- Blacksmithing – An obvious profession choice (especially if you chose mining) for warriors is blacksmithing. Blacksmithing entails the creation of plate armor and melee weapons, which are a warriors forte. While it is helpful to be able to make this equipment, you can have another high level blacksmith craft armor for you, which eliminates a need for blacksmithing, although it is useful.
- Engineering – A good alternative to blacksmithing is engineering. Use of bombs, dynamite, and other inventions can be quite useful in many situations. Mining is also helpful here to supply yourself with any needed materials.
- Enchanting – Another option for warriors is enchanting. Enchanting is a great choice for any class because of how simple it is to acquire materials. Whether you find someone else or learn enchanting yourself, you’ll need enchants to continue optimizing your warrior. This will make it easier for you to gather the materials needed for each enchant.
While enchants might seem like minor bonuses alone, when they are all combined, they add a significant boost to your character’s damage and survivability. It is can be quite expensive to fully enchant your gear, so make sure you’re only enchanting gear that you know you’ll be keeping for a while!
Here are all the enchants you’ll want to acquire:
- Helm – Arcanum of Rapidity, +1% Haste
- Cloak – Lesser Agility, +3 Agility or Greater Resistance, +5 All Resistances
- Chest – Greater Stats, +4 All Stats
- Bracers – Superior Strength, +9 Strength
- Gloves – Minor Haste, +1% Attack Speed
- Pants – Arcanum of Rapidity, +1% Haste
- Boots – Greater Agility, +7 Agility or Minor Speed, + Movement Speed
- Weapon(s) – Crusader, Chance on Hit to Give +100 Strength and a Minor Heal
Another important part of optimizing is collecting consumables to use during tougher encounters. Because of how expensive some of these items can be, you’ll probably want to reserve costlier items for raids. While consumables aren’t a requirement, they are another way of making your character even stronger. Taking the time to collect and use consumables shows other raiders that you are dedicated to performing at your best!
Here are the consumables you’ll want to stock up on as a DPS warrior:
- Elixirs – Elixirs are very important to maximizing your DPS. You’ll want Elixir of the Mongoose, which gives you +25 agility and +2% critical hit chance.
- Potions – Warriors specifically have a special need for potions. This is because they have access to the Mighty Rage Potion, which instantly adds a large amount of rage while also giving +60 strength for 20 seconds. This is great for fights that need burst damage in particular.
- Food – Food is also an important consumable, and offers a passive benefit much like elixirs. Warriors want Smoked Desert Dumplings, which give +20 strength for 15 minutes. If you don’t have access to these savory treats yet, you can also Blessed Sunfruit if you’re Revered with the Argent Dawn, which will give +10 strength.
- Juju – Another consumable that you’ll probably overlook is juju. Jujus can be collected from doing E’ko quests in Winterspring. As a warrior, you’ll want Juju Might (+40 Attack Power for 10 minutes), Juju Flurry (+3% Attack Speed for 20 seconds, 60 second cooldown), and Juju Power (+30 Strength for 30 minutes).
- Others – The consumables mentioned above are often considered essential. There are still other items you can acquire to optimize even further, but aren’t as important or impactful as the ones mentioned above. You can benefit from Scroll of Strength, which gives +17 Strength for 30 minutes, or Scroll of Agility, which gives the same amount of agility instead. These are random drops from enemies and chests, so farming them is unreliable.
You can also use Winterfall Firewater, which gives +35 Attack Power for 20 minutes, but these have a low drop rate from creatures in Winterspring, making them unreliable as well. The only other thing you might want is Dense Sharpening Stone, which does give +8 Weapon Damage.
Rotation & Gameplay Tips
Now that you know everything that goes into optimizing your character, you might be wondering how to actually play a DPS warrior. This will mostly cover the fury spec, but will briefly touch on abilities to use as an arms warrior.
As a warrior, you need to be up close and personal in order to deal damage. This puts you directly in harm’s way, so you’ll need to keep a close eye on your character to ensure your safety! Make sure to run out of fire on the ground, and never attack bosses from the front! This will allow them to dodge and parry your abilities, effectively reducing your DPS.
You’ll also need to become comfortable switching stances if you want to use Overpower, as this requires Battle Stance when you’ll primarily stay in Berserker Stance. Fortunately talents allow you to conserve energy when switching stances, which makes the use of overpower feasible if all your main abilities are on cooldown.
This also becomes important when it comes to learning the mobility of a warrior. While in Berserker Stance, you can use Intercept, but this does require rage to use. On the other hand, you can use Charge in Battle Stance, but it doesn’t require any rage. Effectively learning how to use both dashes is crucial to getting the most from your warrior.
Your main damage cooldown is Death Wish, which boosts your damage by 20% and gives you fear immunity at the expense of taking 20% more damage for 30 seconds. It has a 3 minute cooldown, so you’ll want to use it at times that’ll allow you to use it as many times in a fight as possible. Unless you specifically need to save damage cooldowns for a burst phase, you can use it at the beginning of a fight and on cooldown to maximize uptime.
The rotation for an arms warrior is quite simple. Keep Rend applied at all times on your primary target. After that, use Mortal Strike on cooldown. When MS is on cooldown, use Overpower as a filler ability. When MS and OP are on cooldown, use Heroic Strike or Cleave depending on the number of enemies. Even though you can play arms, you’d probably have a better time going two-handed fury if you’re dedicated to a two-hander.
Many warriors pick the class because of the allure of fury. There’s no denying it – fury warriors are a lot of fun to play. Much of this comes down to the rotation you’ll follow, something that is basic enough to quickly learn, but complex enough to keep you entertained and engaged.
Your top priority is to use Bloodthirst on cooldown. While BT is on cooldown, you’ll want to use Whirlwind. If you have BT coming off cooldown, don’t use WW unless you’ll still have enough for BT right as it comes off cooldown. When both BT and WW are on cooldown, you can use your rage dump abilities. For single target, you can use Heroic Strike, but you’ll want to use Cleave for more than one enemy. The final ability on the rotation is Overpower, which does require you to switch into Battle Stance. Because of this, you’ll only want to switch to Battle Stance to use OP when BT and WW are on cooldown and you have less than 50 rage. When an enemy reaches 20% health, your rotation becomes Execute and Execute alone.