Regional FlagDPS warrior Starter + Endgame guideSource
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#0 - 2009/11/25 06:52:40 AM
In this thread, I will tell you the how, why, and how much of DPS warriors. I will focus exclusively on PvE. If you want PvP, look somewhere else.

This guide is for the dedicated but not 0.0001% number crunching world-leading guild DPS warrior. It is instead for that player who has access to reasonably desirable loot looking to improve himself as a knowledgeable player, with the performance to back it up.

Each area of a DPS warrior's field is discussed, starting with stats. Arms spec will be discussed first, Fury spec will be discussed in the following post.


263 hit rating - This is 8% chance to hit. It guarantees your swing(s) and your special(s) will hit the target. This is also called being ''Hit capped''.

26 expertise - This is 6.50% ( 214 rating ) chance to reduce the chance of being dodged. At 6.50% it will become impossible for your PvE target to dodge your attacks. This is also called being ''Dodge capped''.

These two stats are crucial for Arms spec. When both are capped, you can guarantee that your attacks will hit the target. This is where Arms gets it's advantage from over Fury spec. Another way to get expertise capped is to gather 4.50% or 5.50% expertise from gear, and spec into Weapon Mastery talents in order to be capped.

4.50% and 5.50% expertise are 18 and 22 expertise respectively.


Once you obtain the above stats, you can focus on the other stats, see below. Don't bother gathering other stats until you reach the hit and expertise benchmarks.

Crit rating : Both Fury and Arms work well when you are at 35% or higher crit rating, unbuffed, after Stance modifiers. (Assuming you are Arms spec, that's 35% in Battle Stance, and for Fury spec, that's 35% with Rampage up in Berserker Stance.) This includes Weapon specializations.

Armor Penetration* : More info on this stat at the bottom of this post.

Strength : More info on this stat at the bottom of this post.

Haste : Do not go out your way to gather this stat. Let raid buffs provide you with haste. More info on this stat in Post #4 on this page.

This is the highest potential DPS Arms Spec. The straightforward talents will not be discussed.

The first thing you might notice is why I don't choose to spec into Commanding Presence and Improved Execute. Here's why.

As your gear gets better and better, you will generate more and more rage from attacks which in turn gets to a point where you can't spend your rage quickly enough. To do so, you use Heroic Strike just to spend your abundant rage. In a 25man raid, this happens so often that Heroic Strike becomes a big part of your DPS toolbox. Combine that with Improved Bloodrage and you get so much rage that Heroic Strike becomes a top - 5 damaging ability on boss fights. Buff that with 15% (!!) crit rating and you have yourself a very powerful ability indeed.

As a result from the discussion present in this guide, as well as personal experience from trying it out, I can attest that it is indeed better to go for this Incite build than to spec for improving a proc. Try it out. You'll see why.

Note that Arms glyphs are also present in the above link.

DPS PRIORITY SYSTEM (not a rotation!)


You will be in Battle Stance 99.9% of the time.

In order of execution : Charge, Rend, Mortal Strike, Slam, Overpower proc, Bladestorm. Coming out of Bladestorm, have a Heroic Strike queued up, hit Overpower and an Execute if it procced. If not, hit Mortal Strike.

In another format :



Mortal Strike




Heroic Strike


Execute / Mortal Strike

Once Bladestorm is used, you can repeat this system minus Bladestorm to continue DPS.

In order of priority :

Rend must always be up.

Mortal Strike

Sudden death

Slam is used all the time when no procs are up, and Mortal Strike and Bladestorm on cooldown.

Execute procs are used whenever they proc. If both Overpower and Sudden death are procced, use Execute first, then Overpower. Since Sudden Death has a chance to proc on melee hits, there is a chance that using Overpower can proc another Sudden death.

Arms notes

Axe Specialization is THE best weapon specialization for PvE purposes. Should you find yourself with ( for example ) an axe similar to Edge of Ruin, you are running ToC and Edge of Agony drops, then use Edge of Agony because it has significantly higher weapon damage. Arms spec relies entirely on weapon damage and to a lesser extent, attack power.
Re-spec to match your new weapon accordingly. Truth remains that Axe Specialization trumps the other specializations should you have similar weapons of each type. An axe with 255 dps versus a sword with 255 dps at equal weapon speed means the axe wins.

Heroic Strike is used when you are at or above 80 rage.

Heroic throw is used when a Slam would otherwise be used - in between Execute, Overpower and Mortal strikes. It deals respectable damage and costs no rage.

Shattering throw must be used when Rend is ticking on the target and you have Mortal Strike ready. Typically used halfway through the fight, when trinkets are coming back up, and you are looking for a quick boost to your dps, provided you have enough rage for it. Using shattering throw resets your swing timer.

Recklessness can be used whenever additional mobs enter the fight that need to be taken out quick. Use the cooldown and Whirlwind the adds, then swap back to Battle stance, get Rend on a target, and activate Sweeping Strikes. Done correctly, you get four guaranteed crits, as well as ten strikes in the time frame of five. This is very high area of effect damage for a typically single target spec.

Retaliation can be used whenever damaging adds attack you that don't kill you quickly. Not used much in raids, nice in 5-man instances.

Sunder Armor is an extremely potent debuff and should be stacked to 5 by you, as soon as possible, if you are the only one in your group capable of delivering it. Weaving in a single Sunder Armor in the priority system is entirely possible every 30 seconds when you would otherwise use Slam without losing DPS. Just don't use it in a fight that's over in a minute.

Thunder Clap - Demoralizing shout must be delivered and kept up by you if you are the only one in the group capable of delivering it. Again, use these when you would otherwise use Slam.

Cleave is rarely used in your Arms spec, though still has it's place.


Using Heroic Throw resets your weapon swing timer. Therefor, do NOT use it when low on rage. You want to link abilities together to not miss a single global cooldown to deal damage. By using Heroic Throw when low on rage, you run the risk of not having enough rage to use a special and force yourself to wait for the next weapon swing to continue nuking.
Recklessness is, as of Patch 3.3, best used in the following order.

Cast Recklessness
Cast Mortal Strike
Cast Overpower / Execute / Slam
Cast Bladestorm / Whirlwind

By using Recklessness in this order, you use two charges for the first two special abilities, and saving your AOE ability for last, in order to get a guaranteed crit on every mob that gets hit by it.

Two guaranteed single target crits + up to four guaranteed AOE crits is the result.

Next part, Fury spec.

All info found in this guide is subject to change according to the current raid content.

*Armor Penetration : WARNING : This stat is very confusing.

Armor penetration allows you to ignore your opponent's armor. For us Warriors, who deal exclusively Physical damage ( in contrast to a Rogue, who uses poisons, a Death Knight using diseases with Frost or Shadow spell damage), Armor penetration is THE most powerful stat for us.

Open up your character sheet, then move your cursor on top of Hit rating. This is where you will find how much Armor Penetration you have. It is displayed in Rating, as well as in percentages. For example, 350 rating = 25%.

This illustration perfectly captures how Armor Penetration works. All jokes aside, this is the truth.

You might be thinking ''But I thought Strength was my main stat''. Well, traditionally speaking, it is indeed your main stat. Strength gives you a linear, fixed amount of DPS point per point. Armor Pen will, when above 50%, become more and more powerful. At 50% and higher, the benefits of more Armor Pen will outweight Strength. For this reason, it is a better choice to stack Armor Pen.

A few numbers to demonstrate things.

0 % = 0 rating.
10% = 140 rating.
20% = 280 rating.
30% = 420 rating.
40% = 560 rating.
50% = 700 rating.
60% = 840 rating.
70% = 980 rating.
80% = 1120 rating.
90% = 1260 rating.
100% = 1400 rating.

The 50% mark is called ''Soft-capping''. This is relevant with regards to using the following trinkets :
Grim Toll
Mjolnir Runestone
Needle-Encrusted Scorpion.

When these trinkets proc, they give you between 612 and 678 Armor Pen. That is roughly between 42% - 48% for 10 seconds. So, with you having 50% from gear, this proc will bring you very close to 100%. For those 10 seconds, you are a monster. You will witness incredible DPS. But only for 10 seconds.

Which brings me to my next point.

''Hard-capping'' Armor Penetration brings the best DPS in the game. It means gathering 1400 Armor pen rating through gear and gems (1260 for Arms spec since Battle Stance brings the last 10%). You'll see that your character sheet is telling you that you are ignoring the enemy's armor completely.

However, in reality, the target still has some armor left on him.

See the next post for more information

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#48 - 2009/12/08 01:02:01 PM
Nice guide! Added to the collection at the top of the Warrior forum.