In this article, we will be telling you all you need to know about the Warrior class in WoW Classic.
We’ll start off with a quick overview of the class and then move on to discussing its skills and talents.
Afterwards, macros and gear are next on the menu before we move on to discussing Warrior playstyle in instances, raids and PvP.
Here’s a comprehensive Warrior guide in World of Warcraft Classic.
Warriors are one of the most complex and powerful classes of World of Warcraft Classic. Not only are they the chief tank class, they are also the only class that is able to excel at two roles: Tanking and Melee DPS.
This is a unique niche in WoW Classic – compare this to example to Druids, who can potentially fill four roles (Tank, Healer, Melee DPS, Ranged DPS), yet are not able to really stand out at any of these roles.
Meanwhile, Warriors can become one of, if not the best, melee DPS and their place as the preeminent tank of WoW Classic is indisputable. Despite oftentimes being shoehorned into the tank role, playing a Warrior thus offers you a certain degree of flexibility should you ever want to swap roles.
It also makes it possible to primarily play DPS and yet fill off-tanking duties in raids.
Warriors are generally not great in 1 v 1 PvP, but, given the right gear, talents and support, can be a force to be reckoned with in Battlegrounds and World PvP.
In all honesty, Warriors are one of the most skill-intensive classes to play and newcomers often find especially tanking to be daunting at first. PvP is no less complex with constant changing of stances and a variety of different builds.
Our main motivation in this article is to reduce the complexity for new players and and also to bring veterans back on track.
2. Character Creation
Your first (tough) choice when creating your first character is race. Warriors are unique in the fact that every single race in the game can select Warrior as a class.
So aside from subjective matters like looks, there’s also the unique racials to consider. In the following section we’ll be covering them and their particular effects on Warrior gameplay.
While racials seem minor at first, they can still have a big impact, most notably on PvP. It should be noted that all races start out with slightly different base stats, but the difference is so minor it hardly matters.
Diplomacy – All reputation gains increased by 10%.
While not directly affecting Warrior gameplay, this is still one of the best traits to have in the game. Reputation is important for a lot of different factions in the game.
The Human Spirit – Increases Spirit by 5%.
For a Warrior, this is useless.
Perception – Dramatically increases Stealth detection for 20 seconds (3 minutes cooldown). This is a good to great talent in PvP, especially if you’re on flag defense duty.
This isn’t something Warriors excel at, but it can still be a useful tool to have.
Mace/Sword specialization – Increases your skill with Maces/Swords by 1%. This is a great skill to have. There’s a somewhat complicated formula behind it.
This trait will increase your chance to hit with Swords/Maces in PvE and PvP. If there’s one reason to go human as a Warrior, it’s this one.
Overall, humans are the best race for a DPS warrior while being not overwhelmingly good for a tank.
Treasure Hunter – Allows you to search for treasure chests on your mini map.
Nice to have but not very relevant.
Frost Resistance – Increases Frost Resistance by 10.
Again, essentially a nice to have. Not too relevant vs Raid content in Classic.
Gun specialization – Increases Gun Skill by 5.
Since Warriors don’t use ranged weapons a lot, this is rather useless.
Stoneform – While active, grants immunity to Bleed, Poison and Disease effects. In addition, Armor is increased by 10%. Lasts 8 sec.
This is a minor defensive cooldown in PvE and a highly useful talent in PvP. Depending on where you want to take your Warrior, this can be the best choice for an Alliance Warrior.
Gnomes have a unique trait that doesn’t get talked about a lot: They are short. This matters in a few areas with shallow water where other races are allowed to stand but Gnomes already have to swim. On the other hand, it allows you to hide well in tall grass, whereas people would spot a Tauren from a mile away.
Arcane Resistance – Arcane Resistance increased. Not a lot of things do arcane damage in classic.
Expansive Mind – Intelligence increased by 5%.
This is mostly useless for Warriors. Increased intelligence allows you to learn weapon skills faster, but you’ll have those maxed out quickly anyway.
Engineering Specialization – Engineering skill increased by 15.
This is great if you plan on leveling Engineering. If you plan to engage in high level PvP, Engineering is the profession you’ll be forced to take up.
Escape Artist – Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
This is a strong racial, especially in PvP. Warriors suffer more from being rooted more than any other class.
2.1.5 Night Elves:
Nature Resistance – Nature Resistance increased.
This is one of the stronger resistance traits as some nature resistance is definitely required for the Temple of Ahn’Qiraq, a 40-man Raid instance.
Shadowmeld – Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Night Elf Rogues and Druids with Shadowmeld are more difficult to detect while stealthed or prowling.
Shadowmeld in Classic can only be triggered out of combat, so you can’t use it to escape when you pulled too many mobs. As such, its chief usage is in PvP when guarding flags.
Wisp Spirit – Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 50%.
This is just a nice to have when you have to run back to your corpse after wiping.
Quickness – Dodge chance increased by 1%.
As a lot of Warriors will be tanking, this is one of the best PvE racials in the game for Warriors.
Blood Fury – Increase base melee attack power by 25% for 15 sec and reduces healing
effects on your by 50% for 25 sec. 2 min cooldown.
This is a minor DPS cooldown, but not too impressive given that it only boosts base attack power. Tanks shouldn’t use this, obviously.
Hardiness – Chance to resist Stun effects increased by an additional 25%.
Decent in PvP, but mostly useless in PvE.
Command – Damage done by Hunter and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
This is obviously not useful for Warriors at all.
Axe Specialization – Skills with Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 5.
As already discussed, this is a good skill to have as it will reduce the chance to miss in PvP and PvE.
Berserking – Increased your casting and attack speed by 10% to 25%. At full health, the speed increase is 10% with a greater effect up to 25% if you are badly hurt when you activate Berserking. Lasts 10 sec. 3 min Cooldown.
Another minor DPS increase, this is generally considered less good than Blood Fury, but is usable for a tank.
Regeneration – Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
This is usually of such minor impact that it’s not really noticeable.
Throwing/Bow Specialization – Skill with Throwing/Bow Weapons increased by 5.
This is mostly useless for a Warrior.
Beast Slaying – Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
This is very good for leveling, decent in instances but largely useless for raids.
Taurens are by far the tallest race. The unique perk to this is that Taurens have an increased melee attack hitbox – in effect that means they can attack from further away.
This is a great advantage in PvP.
War Stomp – Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 sec. It comes with a 2 minute cooldown.
This is a great racial for PvP, but isn’t too shabby for PvE either.
Endurance – Total Health increased by 5%.
This is decent for tanks. Tanks in endgame gear can go up to 9000 HP, so this would increase HP by 450.
Cultivation – Herbalism skill increased by 15.
Herbalism isn’t a skill a lot of warriors will pick up, but if you go the Herbalism/Alchemy route, this is a nice little boost.
Nature Resistance – Nature Resistance increased by 10.
As mentioned before, Nature Resistance is probably the most useful of the Resistance talents.
Will of the Forsaken – Provides immunity to Charm, Fear and Sleep while active. May also be used while already afflicted by Charm, Fear or Sleep. Lasts 5 sec and has a 2 minute cooldown.
This might be the strongest PvP racial in the game. Fear is one of the strongest forms of Crowd Control in WoW Classic, and being able to avoid it is oftentimes the difference between life or death.
It should be noted that Warrior already has a similar ability in Berserker Rage, but Will of the Forsaken is still an amazing racial. It also has some uses in PvE, Onyxia and her AoE fear being one of the prime examples.
Cannibalize – When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 sec for 10 seconds. Only works on humanoid or undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
Cannibalize is highly useful while leveling and Warriors need all the help they can get during that stage.
Underwater Breathing – Underwater Breath lasts 300% longer than normal.
This is good to have for some of the underwater quests you will do throughout the game.
Shadow Resistance – Shadow Resistance increased by 10.
Shadow Damage is frequent throughout the game and as such, this is one of the better resistances to have.
For Alliance, the best race for tanking is Night Elf for the 1% dodge. If you’re playing DPS, Humans pull ahead thanks to their weapon specialization talents. Pick Gnomes for PvP.
On Horde, Taurens make for the best tanks thanks to their increased HP. Orcs are the best if you’re playing DPS and Undead are probably the best for PvP.
This section is split into two parts, leveling builds and raiding builds. The leveling builds section is rather brief, mostly because what you’ll skill heavily depends on your playstyle and weapons available.
Before we discuss the ideal builds for raiding, it needs to be mentioned that WoW Classic is in many ways an uneven game, much more so than modern WoW. In WoW Classic, not all builds are viable depending on the gear available to you.
Warriors are the best scaling DPS class in classic WoW because rage gain is not normalized in Classic. What does that mean, you ask? Well, in Classic, rage gain scales with your gear. The more damage you do, the more rage you will gain, and the more rage you gain, the more damage you will do.
This was how warriors used to work until WoW- Cataclysm. This infinite scaling mechanism is why Warriors tend to be very weak in weak gear and amazing with great gear.
Why mention this? Because the availability of WoW Classic raid instances is split into phases.
|Phase||Dungeons & Raids|
|1||Molten Core, Onyxia, Maraudon|
|2||Dire Maul, Azuregos, Kazzak|
|3||Blackwing Lair, Darkmoon Faire, Darkmoon Faire Cards|
|4||Zul Gurub, Green Dragons|
|5||Ahn’Qiraq, Dungeon Gear 0.5|
|6||Naxxramas, Scourge Invasion|
This means that, right out of the gate, the best gear you will have available to you will be gear that drops in Molten Core. It means you won’t be crafting Thunderfury, because Blackwing Lair won’t be available.
And it also means you won’t be starting the T 0.5 quest line because that only unlocks in Phase 5.
All in all, this means that, at least in Phases 2 and 3, Warriors aren’t amazing to bring as DPS classes. It definitely works, but you will be lagging behind your raid’s Rogues, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks.
The undisputed raid spot you do have is as a tank. Most raids will want at least two Warrior tanks and two other Warriors who are able to off tank when needed.
You should keep that in mind when applying for a raid spot.
3.1 Leveling Builds
First things first: In WoW Classic, it is not recommended to level as Protection. Your kill speed will slow down considerably and the extra sturdiness won’t prevent you from taking so much damage that eating becomes redundant.
That said, it’s perfectly viable to tank all five-man instances with an Arms/Prot hybrid build.
That leaves us with Arms and Fury for leveling and five-man instances, and both are viable.
The core talents in Arms are Improved Rend, Tactical Mastery/Anger Management and Mortal Strike. As long as you pick these up as quickly as possible, the rest of your talents don’t matter too much while leveling.
With Arms, you’ll want a weapon that’s as slow as possible for maximum Mortal Strike damage. Luckily, at level 30 you’ll be picking up the amazing Whirlwind Axe from a class quest.
After acquiring Mortal Strike, you’ll want to max out Cruelty, Booming Voice, Enrage and Improved Battle Shout from the Fury Tree.
If you decide to invest into the Fury tree fist, Death Wish, Flurry, Enrage and Bloodthirst are your core talents and you want to get to these as quickly as possible. Afterwards, you’ll want to put the rest of your points into the Arms tree to get to impale and Two-Handed Weapon specialization.
Fury’s damage tends to be more smooth than Arms damage that relies on heavy burst. There are multiple flavors of Fury builds, but it is generally recommended to play two-hand fury until you’re at least BWL geared.
Fury Warriors take extra damage and we thus recommend Arms. If you’re running with a healer all the time, feel tree to disregard this.
This build deserves mention because it allows you to do great damage while also preserving the ability to tank. This is a great build for a fresh level 60 character who still wants to do a lot of questing, yet also wants to start running the level 60 instances.
It is also a decent build for Warriors who need to do light off-tanking without constantly respec-ing. You can apply the points as needed, but it’s usually best to start off with leveling Arms first.
3.2 Raiding Builds
Now, let’s go over the relevant builds for raiding. Keep in mind that these builds tend to lock you into a role far more than the leveling builds and are usually less flexible. Arms is generally not very viable for PvE endgame.
It’s slightly better on Horde thanks to Windfury Totem, but it’s still not good enough to be considered for end game.
The Main Tank (8/5/38):
This build picks up all the relevant talents from the Protection tree. Cruelty is good for building threat.
This build is ideal if you’re tanking all the time. It is usually considered overkill for five man instances.
One-handed Fury (17/34/0):
This is the ideal spec for Fury Warriors using two one-handed weapons. It picks up all the essential talents in the Fury tree, combined with Deep Wounds and Impale from the Arms tree.
Two-handed Fury (20/31/0):
This is the ideal spec for Fury Warriors using one two-handed weapon. You will notice that it’s only a slight variation of the Fury leveling spec, skipping on talents like Piercing Howl that tend to be only of minor use in a raiding environment.
3.3 PvP builds
You’ll generally want to spec Arms for PvPing because the Mortal Strike debuff is just so valuable. A Protection Warrior has some use for Flag carrying, but in general, that niche is left to Feral Druids.
Cookie Cutter PvP (31/20/0):
This build is geared towards swords, as Sword Specialization is the generally considered the best one for PvP. Adjust depending on which weapon you’ll be using.
4. A word on Leveling
Warriors aren’t great at leveling in WoW Classic. Many of the quality of life tools that Warriors received later aren’t present in Classic, such as Victory Rush. To mitigate that as best as possible, you should definitely invest into Cooking and First Aid (more on that under Professions).
You should also aim to kill enemies that are ideally 2-3 levels lower than you are so you’re keeping your kill speed high and your down time low. Try to keep your gear as up to date as possible.
This should be reasonably easy through running some instances as Tanks always tend to be in short supply.
Ideally, of course, you would be grouping with another class. Shadow Priest and Warrior make a great team and are able to do most of the elite quests together.
The fastest route depends on a lot of different factors. If you have a lot of gold, you should just buy things and skip professions other than First Aid, as they will generally make you lose time.
5. Macros & Addons
Warriors are amongst the most complex class to play and some of that complexity can be mitigated by using macros and addons. This is a very broad topic which we won’t be able to cover exhaustively because it would really demand its own article.
Instead, we’ll provide a list of recommended addons and show you some examples of the WoW Macro Scripting engine and how you can use them to make your life easier.
The WoW community has been amazingly quick in porting a great number of Addons to WoW Classic.
Below, you will find a list of some of the most useful Addons:
Weapon Swing Timer (https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/weaponswingtimer):
Warriors tend to attack very slowly and keeping track of your auto attacks is vital, especially in PvP. Basically, if your Auto Attack is on cooldown and you have no special attack (e.g. Mortal Strike) ready, being in Melee Attack of an enemy is a waste.
This can be used with some advanced techniques like Hamstring Kiting (more on that later).
Warriors tend to keep at least two sets of equipment on them, sometimes more. As WoW Classic doesn’t have the easy equipment changing options of Retail, you should definitely use and Addon for quickly changing equips.
This can also be achieved with macros, but is considerably more work.
OmniCC is a cooldown tracker for your abilities. It replaces the standard cooldown tracking number with a more precise countdown.
Classic Aura Durations (https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/classicauradurations)
This is a very important addon that lets you track your debuffs on enemies. The standard Classic UI sadly doesn’t have this feature. You need this to know when to exactly refresh your rend.
This powerful addon lets you track all sorts of buffs and debuffs on yourself. Why is this important for a Warrior? A common technique for Warriors is called rage pooling, where you let your rage build up and then empty it when a certain proc (most often Crusader) occurs.
There are a lot more useful general purpose addons, like Bartender, Questie and Titan Panel that are definitely recommended to make your journey throughout Azeroth as joyful as possible. We suggest to not install these addons by hand, but rather use an addon manager like Twitch.
This allows you to easily keep your updates up to date. For Classic, this is especially important because a lot of Addons are still in constant development.
World of Warcraft comes with its own powerful scripting language. WoW Classic is based on the modern API, so any macros you had sitting on your HDD for 15 years will now be useless.
The API is supremely powerful any explaining it in detail would be way out of scope. However, it is also very easy to cobble together a few macros that will make life easier for you.
This will simply assign the skull raid target icon to your current target. You can make use of this frequently whenever you are competing for mobs with other players. Say the mob you’re searching for is called “Young Wetlands Crocolisk”:
/target Young Wetlands Crocolisk
This will instantly mark any Young Wetlands Crocolisk with a skull, allowing you (hopefully) to engage it before any other players.
Charge, one of the core abilities of your kit, is only available in Battle Stance. You will be in Berserker Stance usually, because it increases damage by 10%.
To quickly shift into Battle Stance and use Charge, you can use this macro:
/cast Battle Stance
/cast Berserker Stance
This Macro is rather self-explanatory. It will shift you to Battle Stance, cast Charge and then immediately swap you to Berserker Stance again. Similar macros can be made to equip Sword and Shield in Defensive Stance, or for usage with Shield Bash. Pressing this Macro without a target will also alternate between Battle Stance and Berserker Stance, which can be useful in a lot of scenarios.
6.1 Primary Professions
Professions can be highly useful in WoW Classic.
For a Warrior the archetypical profession combination is Blacksmithing. This will provide you with a multitude of highly useful items, among them several Pre-Raid best in slot items like Lionheart helmet and the fire resistance gear that’s needed for Tanks in Molten Core.
The drawback to Blacksmithing is that it’s very expensive to level. Look out for the Mithril Spurs recipe as that can save on a lot of materials. Blacksmithing is not a great money making profession and usually you will spend more than what you earn.
If you want to engage in high level PvP, there’s no way around Engineering, which is typically also paired with Mining. Many of the Engineering assets are so strong in PvP that you would be putting yourself at a considerable disadvantage by not having them.
Iron Bombs are perhaps the most notable Engineering tool available as they stun enemy players for a short amount of time. Engineering makes even less money than Blacksmithing, but is a lot less expensive to level.
Enchanting can be one of the most valuable professions, as there’s always demand for enchants. It is generally recommended to be level 60 when you start leveling Blacksmithing as that will allow you to easily clear a few of the lower level instances like the Deadmines and Ragefire Chasm for disenchantable items. Enchanting can be an amazing money maker if you put in the time and effort, but be prepared for a long ride to get there.
Alchemy, generally paired with Herbalism is just great. WoW Classic requires a lot of consumables like Flasks, Potions and Elixirs. Being able to make those on your own saves a lot of money. Alchemy can be a great money maker, especially if you like farming your own herbs.
Leatherworking/Tailoring only offer minor benefits like Armor kits and making your own bags. It is recommended to stay away from those.
6.2 Secondary Professions
First Aid is highly recommended for Warriors. Unlike Mages, you will definitely take some damage during every battle and being able to heal that up quickly is a great way of speeding up the leveling process.
This cuts into your profits, as you won’t be able to sell as much cloth, but it’s still worth it in the long run.
Cooking and Fishing oftentimes go hand, as Fishing makes leveling Cooking a lot easier. Both are highly recommended for Warriors. You won’t be able to heal yourself, so eating will be needed frequently throughout the leveling process.
As you will probably be already short on gold, being able to procure your own food is a must.
If you’re swimming in gold, Enchanting/Blacksmithing and all three secondary skills are an amazing combination for professions. If you’re just starting out, you might be better off with two gathering professions.
As you can’t track herbs and ores at the same time, you should make skinning one of them. Once you hit level 60, you can easily replace these professions with some that are better suited for Warriors.
7. Warrior basic techniques
Stance Dancing: Stance Dancing is one of the key techniques that define the Warrior class. Stance Dancing is required because some abilities are simply only available in particular stances.
As an example, the Charge ability is only available in Battle Stance, but is still highly useful for Tanks. That means that, whatever your role, changing Stances is not only recommended but downright necessary.
You should familiarize yourself what actions are available in which stances, and perhaps create macros to help you.
Pulling: Proper pulling of enemies is the single most important factor to make sure your instance group succeeds at its goal. It is, simply said, the major difference between a novice and an experienced tank.
There is no clear formula on how much you should pull – it depends on your group and gear level. As a tank, people expect a certain amount of leadership from you, which means you should try your best to memorize the instance.
Definitely make use of crowd control abilities if they’re available, especially if you’re undergeared. Always bring plenty of ammunition for your ranged weapon too.
Cooldown Usage: Aside from minor cooldowns like Shield Block, Warriors have access to three excellent, albeit rather long cooldowns in Recklessness, Retaliation, Shield Wall and Last Stand.
These abilities oftentimes mean the difference between success and failure and you should definitely utilize them to best effect.
8. Advanced Warrior techniques
In this section, we’ll be covering some techniques that might not be immediately obvious to novice players but can be highly useful to master.
Hamstring kiting: Hamstring slows the movement speed of a target by 40%. This can be abused to ensure you will only ever trade blows on a one to one basis with your target. As you will mostly use a very slow weapon, that means you will come out ahead of the trade considerably. Hamstring kiting is particularly useful vs very fast hitting enemies.
The way it’s done is to apply Hamstring, use an attack and strafe through the enemy out of attack range until your auto attack timer resets. Then you can repeat the procedure.
Rage pooling: Warrior damage scales directly with the amount of rage they have available. It is highly advisable to pool your rage and spend it during the time you have procs like the Crusader Enchant available.
9. A brief Tanking Guide for Novices
Tanking is usually one of the most challenging activities for new players. This is because Tanking is decidedly different from the way it works in Retail WoW.
This not only has an effect on yourself, but also the group needs to take this into account.
9.1 Defensive and Aggro-building abilities
Sunder Armor (All stances)
Sunder Armor is your major threat tool, especially at low levels. Two Sunders is good, three are better. In general, Sunder Armor should be the first thing you apply to enemies.
Taunt (Defensive Stance)
Taunt will guarantee you the attention of a particular enemy for three seconds. Taunt in Classic is a melee range ability.
Demoralizing Shout (All Stances)
Once you have secured aggro on an enemy group, your next priority is to reduce incoming damage. Demoralizing Shout decreases melee attack power of all enemies and is your chief tool of achieving that.
Thunderclap (Battle Stance)
Thunderclap increases the time between enemy attacks by 10%. If you have excess rage and are confident enough to leave Defensive Stance, Thunderclap is a great aggro dump that will further reduce incoming damage.
Revenge (Defensive Stance)
Revenge is your chief single target ability that produces a high amount of threat, but is only usable after you dodge, parry or block an attack.
Shield Block (Defensive Stance, requires shields)
Shield Block increases the chance to block by 75% for 5 seconds, but will only block 1 attack unless you’re specced into it. This should be used as much as possible, granted you have enough rage.
Shield Slam (Defensive Stance, requires shields)
Shield Slam is the 31 point talent in the defensive tree and generates an amazing amount of threat. It should be used on cooldown, given enough rage.
Mocking Blow (Battle Stance)
Mocking Blow is another threat generating tool, but is only available in Battle Stance. If you lost aggro, you should consider switching to Battle Stance to use Mocking Blow.
9.2 Tanking groups
Beginners usually struggle to properly tank groups in WoW Classic. The ideal way to do it is to charge in for some rage gain, then start applying sunders.
As soon as you feel you’ve built enough threat, apply Demoralizing Shout to reduce incoming damage.
Then, you can start using Cleave or Heroic Strike to help your group finish the enemy mobs quicker.
10. A brief DPS Guide for Novices
Warriors in WoW Classic don’t follow a set rotation, but rather a priority system that looks like this against a single target:
- Heroic Strike
If you’re up against multiple targets, the priority lists changes:
Both of these priorities are fairly simple to follow. Optimization kicks in once you get access to proccs (e.g. Crusader) and can support these further with pots. If you went the Engineering route, you can add grenades to your rotation when everything else is on cooldown.
We have given you an overview over nearly every aspect of Warrior gameplay. We hope you enjoyed our guide and that it might prove useful to become one of Azeroth’s greatest heroes.
This guide was composed by a veteran vanilla WoW player.