(Warning: Long as hell)
I created a write up on this before, but it faded into obscurity due to many class outcry threads. I wanted to make a more detailed write up on this due to the state of the warrior in 1.5, the developer focus on tanking for 1.6, and lack of changes being added to the warrior dps survival power in PVP.
First of all, the warrior fails as a frontline class. As a melee dependent class, the warrior must break into the enemy's frontline in order to effectively make use of all of it's tools and utilities. Because the warrior is the only class unable to effectively self heal and the lack of powerful defensive cooldowns that the warrior lacks in comparison to the rogue, frontline warrior gameplay contributes very little to the team.
There are several reasons for this:
A.) The warrior is committed to frontline combat. Once the warrior uses it's first gap closing ability, the warrior must understand that he has no escape mechanics to vacate the frontline. Rogues have the ability to escape into stealth, put up powerful shields and escape with run abilities, or effectively deal warrior level damage from 35m. This makes the warrior's presence on the frontline detrimental to the team because the warrior puts a massive strain on the healers.
B.) The warrior lacks effective survival power to warrant it's position on the front and becomes a burden on the team. In order for warriors to increase survival power, they must pass on DPS talents and put points into raw tanking trees that cut the warrior's killing potential by a large margin. A warrior that is committed to a Riftblade build can deal decent damage, but it is nowhere near on par with a rogue that can more easily access the frontline, escape the frontline with cooldowns, and effectively deal more damage by putting support points into Riftstalker without hindering DPS. A rogue has more survival options on the front and puts less team strain on the healers. Because most survival warriors are too heavy invested into tank trees, the amount of pressure that they put on the frontline does not warrant them heal priority over other classes that are more effective at damage, or more independent. The sad truth is that Chlorolocks and RS/NBs make a more effective frontline than warriors.
C.) Stat weight hurts warriors due to Strength's lack of ability as a DPS stat and it's effectiveness as a tanking stat. Warrior gear is heavily strength stacked, causing the warrior to favor shield and sword oriented Riftblade builds. The lack of physical damage ability in comparison of to elemental damage gives the warrior only one DPS option: Riftblade sword and shield. Even while in this spec, with the lack of OGCDs and burst ability, a warrior not only fails at survival power but cannot kill effectively. This is evidenced by warriors wailing on P6+ wardens and posing no threat at all. While some utility talents are useful from the warrior lines, the lingering wounds debuff warrants to many points into a gimped physical damage tree to make it worth taking a warrior over a Marksman of fellblade's rogue, who can effectively apply the debuff faster, more effectively, and stay alive longer due to lifesteal.
D.) DPS warriors are henceforth known as "lemmings" who charge into the front with very little survival power, die while only putting a small dent in enemy forces, and respawn again to do the entire things over again.
CONCLUSION ON THE STATE OF THE WARRIOR:
After experimenting with many different DPS builds and trees, I could not find anything DPS based that contributes more to the team than a AoE Mage with high survival power or a rogue, who has immense killing power. The presence of lemmings are a hinderance to the team because they cause massive heal drain on the casters due to their lacking survival skills and the fact that they deal very little threat in comparison to other classes. Warriors that want to be effective in combat must move away from DPS as their primary focus and instead look to trees with powerful SUPPORT ABILITIES. The premier trees are VK and Warlord. Both 38 VK and deep warlord offer the warrior powerful support options that allow it to graduate from being a DPS lemming that is simply running to the front and being farmed to something much more important to the team.
*While the 38 VK build is not the focus if this guide, it is still a very viable spec for support purposes, which is the warrior mindset that this guide advocates.
For more information in how to not be a lemming and use VK properly, see thinking man's build here:
The ultimate facts are:
-lemmings are not threatening damage dealers unless they completely outgear the enemy and are backed by a strong healer, who contributes to the team more than the lemming. It can be argued that the healer has better things to do than heal the lemming, who isn't doing much in comparison to other classes. If you don't believe me you must be ignorant to chains of lemmings chasing P8 wardens who simply laugh at their attempts to get the healer under 50%. While lemmings were once able to heavily threaten healers, the addition of lingering wounds to a 35m marksman makes the lemming's key role in "softening" up healers a joke.
-The lemming lacks frontline survival and battlefield escape tools. The most a lemming can contribute to a team in 1.5 is maybe pressuring or killing 1-2 people before dying on the front. When a rogue can do this much more effectively and contribute more than a warrior can, pure DPS warrior "lemmings" are something that a team does not need. Warriors are better off doing other things. Once your in combat as a lemming, there is no out, and all you can do is deal as much damage as you can before going down, or before the healer either dies or warrants you as not being important enough to continue healing you. When faced with a choice on who to save, it is most beneficial to the team to abandon the DPS warror that is eating swarms of damage with no defenses and instead heal the frontline Chlorolock with crossheals to keep enemy fire focused on him instead of more important targets.
-Selfish builds or "Anti-rogue" specs are dependent on the warrior being hit and countering, smart teams can simply bypass this problem by not attacking the warrior (who poses little threat and contribution) and attack other more important teammates instead. Any teammate carries more team value than a DPS warrior if played by a compentent player.
OPTIMIZING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE WARRIOR AND MAKING IT A TEAM PLAYER:
After experimenting with many different builds and tactics, I came to a conclusion about the warrior in this meta. In order to optimize effectiveness, the warrior must move away from attempting to be a frontline combatant and instead rely on other more "team-oriented" builds and tactics in order to make a bigger impact on the battlefield. This leaves 38 VK and deep warlord as the only effective options for utilizing strong team contribution and utility while still preventing the warrior from degrating into lemming status in a warfront.
After many days of testing, tons of failed builds, and many lost WFs, I created a build that changes the role of the warrior in PvP from a lacking DPSer that strains the team into an important support unit that can be much more effective in team play.
I believe this build and mentality of playing a warrior will survive through 1.6 due to the ineffective warrior DPS trees not being radically changed and the developer focus on tanking trees, which will make this build and variations of it even more powerful in days to come.
To those wanting to try something new and trying to be a team player, this build is not about damage. As a lemming-based warrior, you naturally suck at any physical damage dealing, don't deal enough elemental damage to threaten healers, and have no survival power. This is something completely new that takes a totally different mindset to play. Basically I devised a build that turns the warrior into an unkillable support archon that tremendously changes the tides of games. While running this build I found myself winning more games than losing. I felt that this team support mentality and build contributes far more to the team than another lemming running into the front just to get focus fired and killed.
THE WARCHON (BUILD):
I call this build the warchon, while many would argue that the 38 VK is more effective, the VK variation only brings shockburst to the table and lacks in effective team support. The commands at the high end of the Warlord tree are absolutely vital for team success and warranting the warrior a key position within a good team. This build is subject to change in 1.6 IF SUBDUE IS FIXED.
After messing around with various talents spreads, I came to the conclusion on this:
The premise of the build is simply. The warrior stands at a 20m range, spams Reaver buffs to build AP and heal then dumps all of the built AP into warlord support abilities. The immense amount of healing that this build gains with figurehead, grisly works, reaver DoTs, and high amount of passive survival power makes the warrior an effective wall that stands between the enemy and the healing/caster backline.
-Against a swarm of enemies, Reaver DoT's spread along the enemy team as builders will heal the warrior immensely with figurehead.
-That shall which shall not kill me is among the most effective survival talents, when paired with figurehead, the warrior effectively mitigates 25% off all crit damage in healing and gains a healing bonus to this mitigation
-Entrench Caller buffs the warrior's passive mitigation by 8%, this stacked on to passive resistances gives the warrior very good survival power against all damage types as well as supports the team.
-Passive Reaver/WL tanking talents make the warrior extremely durable.
-Rally Command is an extremely powerful shout that can exponentially increase the survival power of both the Warlord and the entire raid.
-The weakness of this build is against snares, as the Reaver Break free only effects control abilities. With high valor the warrior can choose vindicator over VK as a 0 pt. soul for a strong CC removal option.
THE THE GOLDEN RULE OF A WARCHON:
There are very few Warfronts that don't involve team vs team zergs, the more players that clash, the stronger that the Warchon becomes. Multiple teammates and enemies give the Warchon multiple lifeleech targets and more teammates to buff the killing power of. There is one simple rule to the Warchon: NEVER EVER BE CAUGHT ALONE! You need a team to survive, the team needs you to feed them buffs and killing power. Never wander off by yourself, that is a rogue's job.
UNDERSTANDING FIELD COMPOSITION:
This is where melee clashes and the frontline units act as a wall to stop enemies from pouring into the mid and backlines. I say "a wall" because people are more enticed to attack the first target on the front (usually the first thing they can tab) and get stuck on it. Frontliners are there to draw an immense amount of fire from the enemy team while the mid and backlines bombard the enemy. Melee classes aim to break through the frontline or bypass it in order to hit higher priority targets, such as healers. The Warchon is best when alternating between the front and midline, as a Warchon it is important for you to know the composition of the battlefield and when to pressure the enemy. As a high survival class you want to stick out slightly at the 20m range to draw enemy fire, but retreat to mid when you are significantly threatened. While on the front it is important to know what classes are most effective on the frontline:
-Justicar Based Clerics or MASH builds
-Rogues with RS Buffs
All of the above are extremely hard to kill units that should probably not be prioritized as primary targets. Any melee based classes should be disarmed if they attempt to push through the front or if they teleport into the backline. As a frontliner you want to draw fire while supporting your team. If you are highest on damage taken and least on deaths, you are doing your job. You want the enemy to waste killing power on you while your team (hopefully) attacks the right targets.
This is simply the gap between the frontline and midline. The Warchon is charged with controlling this area.
This is where the primary AoE casters are, the fan out Marksmen, and the Primary Healers are. The Backline is comprised of a team's highest threat targets, backline targets should be regularly displaced and pulled out of the positioning by a Warchon using Sergeant's Order, then rooted. Backline targets are usually marked by good teams and should be the primary focus of a Warchon's Spotter's Order. Backline units that will be seen include the following:
-Doubelcast Locks (deep investment warlocks and doms that sHOULD NOT BE CONFUSED WITH CHLOROLOCK TANKS! THESE ARE EXTREMELY HIGH THREAT TARGETS THAT WILL DECIMATE YOUR TEAM WITH DEVOURING SHADOWS)
-Fan out Marksmen spreading vamp
-Bards (Bard/RS "invincibards")
THE PLAYSTYLE OF A WARCHON:
The first thing a Warchon needs to do is buff with the following:
-Binding of Affliction
-Aspect of the Fallen Hero
-Crest of the Abyss
Make sure to cast them in descending order, as the list goes from least important buff to most. First buff cast, first removed. In this casting order, Binding will be removed first and enraged last.
The Warchon can actually play a good role as a combat initiator at the frontline. The Warchon arms to stay at the 20m range and uses the following primary attack macro:
#Show Soul Sickness
cast Plague Bringer
cast Soul Sickness
cast Necrotic Wounds
This primary macro should target the largest clump of enemy players in order foster strong self-healing. This macro will build attack points extremely fast, the majority of the points should be dumped into the following buffbot macro:
#show call to entrench
cast call to entrench
cast call to battle
cast spotter's order
This will consistently keep the team at 5% damage reduction and add immense amounts of spellpower and attackpower to the raid.
When initiating combat for the first time, the first thing a Warchon should do is put up commands if the clash is large. Assault command goes up first, and with enranged esssence, this increased raid damage by 20%, which will decimate the enemy team. If the Warchon's team becomes heavily pressured and immediately is pushed back, Rally Command goes up next, then Aid. When players die the DEBUFF FROM THESE COMMANDS IS REMOVED! ALLOWING A PLAYER TO REGAIN THE BENEFITS OF A NEW COMMAND SHOUT ONCE THEY REJOIN COMBAT! This is very important to know, and you will likely be spamming commands on CD if your team is consistently losing players to deaths.
The Warchon also is charged with displacing enemy units from the backline to front. You want to catch healers first, then doublecasters (Deep Warlock enemies or Stormcallers), then marksmen.
The primary mode of displacement is the following macro:
#show Sergeant's Order
cast Sergeant's Order
cast Pin Target
This will pull the enemy into your frontline from their backline and usually result in a teamkill if you are able to get spotter's on them fast. You want to wait until three attack points then pull and IMMEDIATELY spotter's after pin target. Most of the time this will absolutely destroy the pulled target.
This is the single most terrifying debuff to put on an enemy player in the game. People have no idea how effective SO is in PvP. Having this stuck on you is worse than lingering wounds. If any more than 3 people with high damage focus fire hit a spotter's target, that target is absolutely 100% dead, even if they are a p8 healer. This is your primary tool for decimating enemies. Displace, spotter's, then watch them burn.
ALL MARKED TARGETS SHOULD BE HIT BY SPOTTERS!
A sound tactic is to first buff up your team with both calls, then mark up enemies with spotter's order and hit Assault command once the targets have been tagged by SO. Most of the time, the enemies' marked healers will immediately explode if focused or if standing in AoE. 20% extra damage to a target with spotter's is a guaranteed deathtrap. The enemy's most prominent healer or damage dealer (usually a stop caster) should be immediately pulled into the friendly frontline, rooted, then tagged with SO.
If you are in a premade, everyone should be assist targeting off you. The rate at which assist trained targets die when hit by SO and then focused is almost instant.
HOLDING THE LINE:
While the Warchon is responsible for buffing the team and marking key targets for death, the Warchon is also responsible for holding the line and preventing the enemy team from crushing the allied frontline. The Warchon does this by absorbing damage (if being healed), disarming enemy players that make it into the backline (aka blink rogues, and RS/NB 44/22s, and Lemmings). When the frontline is overrun, the Warchon can invoke the last man standing policy and burn Locked Down in order to freeze the enemy team and stop them from pushing. Enraged essence is also used for this purpose. This is useful when stopping an entire enemy team from catching a WF flag runner. However, this tactic is dangerous and I call it the last man standing because the Warchon remains behind to hold the line and disrupt the enemy, essentially sometimes becoming a sacrifice for the overpowered allied team to fall back and regroup.
GRADUATE FROM BEING A LEMMING:
In 1.5 and 1.6, tanking is the future of warriors until our horrible physical damage and PvP survival as a dps is fixed. A warrior that is a pure DPSer with no survival power (lemming) contributes very little to the team and dies over and over if not pocket healed. Even if they are pocket healed, their effectiveness is limited by just how good other damage dealing classes are. Warriors are much better off graduating from lemmings and playing a team support Warchon or a 38 Thinking Man's build with a mindset for team support. This metagame for warriors seems like it will continue into 1.5 and warriors attempting to be lemmings will find themselves simply overshadowed by other high damage classes (especially with mages being buffed), and turning into dogchow at the front when they are bombarded by high damage elemental attacks.
A Warchon, can supervise the frontline and still stay at safe 20m distance. Even with lemmings in the group, the lemmings help to temporarily draw fire while the Warchon megabuffs the team. Once rolling with grisly works, the Warchon becomes an effective wall into stopping and managing frontline assaults with a little bit of cross healing. A Warchon stays alive longer than other pure DPS builds, constantly contributes to the team by enhancing classes that are simply better than lemmings at killing targets, and 100% guarantees key target kills by displacing key targets and placing the most lethal debuff in the game (Spotter's Order) on priority targets.
Other than a 38 VK, which is highly effective at caster shutdown and is also a support, there are no other warrior builds that are lemming based that can be effective in this meta. A rogue or high damage mage, or chlorolock, or MASH will frontline better than you, sometimes deal more damage than you, and either slip away from combat, escape the frontline with high damage prevention shields, or simply self heal. You will lose every single time you are pitting in a frontline against these superior classes.
Don't be a lemming, embrace the support mentality and you will start raking in the favor and impacting the well being of your team.
As sad as it is, this is the stat of warriors, this is all we are good at now, and this is one of the few playstyles in which a warrior contributes significatly to an allied team.