Succeeding While Being Inept
Monday Dec 7, 2021
Sometimes it just works as intended, just don’t get in the way of it working as intended.
With my rogue Tief joining the ever-expanding ranks of my Level 70 stable of alts (6 and counting), I had a choice of 3 remaining characters in their 60s. Slapnutz, my 66 Protection Paladin, was ready for tanking duties. Quinnd, my 62 Holy/Disc priest, patiently waited in Honor Hold to heal groups in Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Slave Pens or even Underbog.
The remaining toon is Nailer. He’d been sitting in Shattrath performing mailbox duties while waiting for me to pick up his struggle as a 62 Arms warrior. I’ve never been that proficient with warrior. Through the years I’ve learned how to Tank or DPS in both Arms and Fury spec, depending on the flavour of the day. I’d levelled him in Classic as Arms, after a couple very frustrating tries at Protection Tanking. I just can’t get the speed needed to keep a balance between available rage and beating dps to the punch. 3 mobs and I’m sunk. I can get aggro decently on the primary (skull) target, and something on the secondary (x) but the third one usually leaks away to the dps. So, I ended up questing my way through Classic as a DPS Arms spec and entered Hellfire at 60. The first couple levels went quickly with a fully rested xp bar, and once that was run out he headed to Shattrath.
Melee For Fun and Profit (XP)
I had a lot of fun on Tief the rogue, getting a good taste of melee DPS, and that made me want to continue. I logged in, checked his spec on both Wowhead and Icy Veins, and headed back to Hellfire Peninsula. Things went just fine, I had a ton of Runecloth bandages to keep me going, passed down from everyone else after they’d shifted to Netherweave. Plenty of potions as well, leftovers again from toons moving into Super Mana Potions. As usual, there was a lot of gear waiting in the mailbox, things found along the way of levelling every other toon.
I was fine while solo questing, a bit slower than other classes that either had range, or self-healing abilities or both. Those bandages were torn through, but I didn’t need to sit and eat very often, as the 1-minute debuff from first aid was usually cleared by the time I’d need to bandage again. Using my swing timer bar from Weak Auras, I tried timing my Mortal Strike and Slam so that I’d have enough rage to re-apply Mortal Strikes. I discovered that Execute was a complete waste of rage, especially before he was high enough to learn Victory rush.
While chatting with a guildmate about how I was playing Nailer, he pointed out that stance dancing after charging into battle just wasn’t worth it. Stay in Berserker Stance and use Intercept if you really need to. Otherwise, just run to the next mob, and keep using Bloodrage to keep the rage flowing to open up combat.
Relax Kid, You'll Break It
I started getting into the flow of it, but once I hit an Instance with a group, I found myself flailing at the keys, hoping to make this thing work outside of solo-play. Being rage starved, as I watched mob after mob fall before I could get in a second Mortal Strike, or even Slam once I had 2 points in Improved Slam to shorten the cast time. It just wasn’t working. Explaining this to my guildy, he suggested that instead of a huge, slow Two-Handed sword, maybe take two One-Handed weapons to increase the rage per second generation. This is absolutely NOT what they tell you to do on any How-To Warrior DPS guide, combining Arms spec with One-Handed weapons. It’s openly mocked, for the most part. Sometimes, though, it’s how you -feel- playing, the guides be damned.
That sort of worked, as I was able to build up rage faster, but the delivery came up short, as expected. Mortal strikes were hitting for about half or less with the One-Handed weapon. Sure, you’re hitting more buttons and feel just as engaged as a caster, but it feels like running in quicksand. All your flailing and button smashing doesn’t get you very far on the dps meters.
I’m not sure where it twigged, but I finally fell into a groove. I went back to the big, slow Two-Handed sword and took the perspective of being patient. I dropped recount off my screen to forget about it for a while and just see how it felt. Once the pull happened, I’d wait for the tank to establish aggro and then Victory Rush if it had procc’d or Bloodrage if I was at zero rage. After the first hit, there was enough for Sweeping Strikes then wait for Whirlwind to light up. Mortal Strike filling in the gaps between Whirlwind. It felt slow, almost glacial, waiting for the the rage buildup.
With A Little Patience...
However, when I finally looked at the damage meters, I was absolutely blown away that I was sitting on top by a wide margin (versus same level mage and rogue). Ok, it made sense when I thought about it, as my attacks were hitting for a large percentage of the time on multiple mobs. The white damage was piling up huge. The real proof would be in the pudding – boss fights. Same strategy but focusing on Mortal Strikes and Improved Slams. It was actually working! If I wasn’t on top of the meter, it was a very tight grouping. A huge improvement in metrics, with the added bonus of not feeling frantic or desperate for the next button to light up. Patience.
A quote from Top Gear popped into my head as I was examining the results. When they put a Star in a moderately priced car, Jeremy Clarkson will ask them how they did. Most are modest, almost embarrassed, at their performance. What occurs with surprising commonality is when a Star will say ‘that lap felt really slow” … and it turns out to be the fastest time. My dps with my warrior felt exactly that. Slow, but effective. Calm, but bigger hits. Patience pays off.
All of this is probably obvious to some, or most, people. Steady and sure wins the race. Frantic and spastic doesn’t. Yet here’s my argument, take it for what you will. When I’m on a ranged class, be it mage, elemental shaman, boomkin, warlock, shadow priest or hunter, I’m constantly clicking buttons until the mob dies. It’s that sense of not falling behind my casts and eagerly waiting for the last bit of a cast to begin the next one. Not a lot of sit back and wait. Even on my rogue, it’s a fairly manic approach in trying to build up combo points and deliver that finishing moves before the mob dies.
Nailer taught me something this weekend. Patience, young grasshopper, patience.