On considering a second build for my warrior

1st July 2009 – 5.36 pm

In the midst of the Azerothian midsummer celebrations a guild friend invites me in to a group that is heading to the Slave Pens, where Ahune the Frost Lord awaits. As we get coordinated and ready to fight it is interesting to find myself at odds again because of my preferred rôle, like when I felt I had to steal tanking duties from a shieldless warrior. I travel to the Slave Pens to be the tank, maintaining high threat and soaking up damage as others deal the damage, so am a little nonplussed when the strategy is announced that the warlock's Felguard will tank Ahune.

It is my own expectations to blame for my confusion. Despite being an experienced protection-build tanking warrior I am far from renowned as one. I am also joining a rather tight-knit group and they clearly have a certain way of achieving their goals, one that no doubt works quite well for them. It must be difficult to shift in to a different way of approaching familiar situations, in the same way that I find myself almost lost when asked to do anything but tank. But after some clarification and volunteering we get an effective dynamic working, and Ahune is as efficiently defeated as a 70th level world event boss should be by five 80th level characters.

The low difficulty of the encounter means that however I approach the fight we will be in little danger of failing, but my concern is more that the specific mechanic of my chosen rôle is to generate threat and that mechanic simply does not transfer well to a more general situation. I have even trained myself in the single rôle to the point where I don't know any high-damage attacks that also do not generate large amounts of threat. I find I cannot modify my combat so that I am not automatically causing singificant threat without simultaneously being close to useless. This is when I realise I finally have a good reason to consider training in dual-builds for my warrior.

When the option of dual-builds for characters was released I thought it might be a good idea to have both a tanking build and a DPS build for both of my characters, warrior and death knight. But the more I thought about it the less it seemed necessary, as I would call on my warrior if I wanted to tank, my death knight to DPS. Whilst I could no doubt crank out some higher damage with a specific DPS build for my warrior I have no problem fighting in defensive stance when outside of a group, enjoying the disruptive options available to me fighting with a one-handed weapon and shield.

A dual-build is even less attractive to my death knight, even with a frost talent build. The switch between presences is much more flexible than a warrior's stances and Gnomesblight can become an effective tank, with more armour and threat generation, simply by changing to frost presence, whilst attacking in blood presence produces excellent DPS without excess threat. Whilst my death knight can happily fulfil the dual rôles of tank and DPS with a single talent selection and simple change of presence, my warrior doesn't have the benefit of being a class as polished as one introduced with the second expansion. A second talent build is required for my warrior to have the extra proficiency endowed by talent-specific abilities for both tanking and DPS, which will give me the versatility for convenient grouping outside of my small circle of friends.

It is time to revisit the arms or fury talent trees and devise a suitable build that would complement my tanking abilities. It won't be straightforwards, though. Just as switching rôles with a frosty death knight is a simple matter of changing presences the spell rotation also only needs minor adjustments, but a DPS warrior and protection warrior will be quite different in nearly every aspect. The process of creating a second build will be educational and involve some training time. Looking on the positive side, at least it is not an urgent requirement, so I can take my time learning the ropes, and I have the gold to spare to pay for the dual-build training, now that I have my swift flying mount and cold-weather flying paid for.

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