Posted by: Kro | December 29, 2010

Time on Target: Fury Warrior

Circling back to a previous topic where I discussed going from good dps to great dps, I’d like to look specifically at a couple of shortcuts and pitfalls I’ve found with dpsing as a warrior.

Time on target is sort of my mantra for doing better dps than other people. Variation in damage occurs even with folks who share the same (or very similar to the point of statistically insignificance) class, spec, rotation, and gear.

The variation comes from the time on target or the number of attacks or spells casts compared to someone else. This could be from surviving damage with cooldowns, handling boss mechanics through avoidance or proper strategy, or even just using macros and hotkeys effectively to swap targets or move faster to different areas.

As far as warriors go, don’t take my advice without a grain of salt. I’ve officially been dpsing as a warrior for all of 3 weeks, and you can probably subtract 2 of those weeks because I’ve been tanking quite a lot as well. Even still I’d like to put what I have found down so it can help someone (or hopefully someone can say to me “you are doing it all wrong here is an even better way!”)

The first part was getting my abilities in a useful setup. I generally like to pair up abilities to the same macros. Spells I want to use in sequence or that can or cannot be used at the same time go pretty well on the same button. My first pair of abilities was Victory Rush and Cleave while leveling.  Victory Rush is only activated when you kill a target that rewards xp or honor. This button (F for me) will cast Victory Rush if it is available and if not will cast Cleave. I can cleave to my heart’s content before I’ve killed something and then because Cleave isn’t on th gcd it will cast both in rapid succession once V Rush has been activated. The macro isn’t fancy, it just reads:

/cast Victory Rush 

/cast Cleave

I also have cleave hotkeyed to shift+3 so I can see it light up or use it independently if there is a situation I don’t want toV-Rush.

I quickly found that you need a suitable solution to intercept/charge and the stances required for each. The solution I settled on was R for Berserker Stance and intercept, and shift + R for Battle Stance and Charge.

With this configuration I’m able to tap R twice if I am in any stance and it will intercept if rage is available. If I am already in zerker stance only one tap is necessary. If I want to charge into a fight I just hold shift and tap R twice, release shift and tap R again. This will swap to battle stance, charge, swap to zerker stance. I’m sure there is a better way to make this macro but for now I’m content with how it works because it also gives me a fast way to swap to battle or zerker for any other reason as well. I have my stances set to F1 F2 and F3 as well but I rarely use those.

In keeping with the pairing of abilities to one hotkey, my execute is also set to R. During execute spam I am already in zerker stance and I am to close to intercept, this means both original lines for R don’t .. well the word I want to use is execute as in they don’t work but that hardly is the best word to use. Essentially both “/cast Berserker Stance” and “/cast Intercept” dont execute. But R does “/cast Execute”.

Another macro I have used in the past is weapon swapping. (70 shaman arena – lol resilience enchanted bulwark of go ahead and focus the enhance shaman)  As a warrior I’ve found that using a dps shield wall is not as easy as a paladin or death knight. Obviously warriors require a shield be equipped and you be in defensive stance to “execute” (that is how I wanted to use that fantastic word earlier) this ability. My solution to this is to make another macro that reads:

/equipslot 17 Super Shield of the Pony

/cast defensive stance

/cast shield wall

This will leave my 2h in my main hand alone but toss my shield on. Another quick tap drops me to defensive stance and a third gets me my 40% damage reduction. The reason I put the shield on before the stance swap is that there are some instances where I just want the shield on, maybe just to spell reflect or to keep dpsing in zerker stance while tanking an add or something. I could also go as far as to add shield block to this macro as well. Once I’m in defensive stance though, it is easy enough to just hit 3 to shield block and I prefer that level of control.

It is also important to have a quick macro to get your 2h back in your off hand rather than searching through your bag while dodging fire.

/cast berzerker stance

/equipslot 17 Hammer of Great Justice

Our new ability Heroic Leap is a fantastic factor in adding time on target. (Thats right! it isn’t just for leap frog racing your priests (damnable frustration grip)/prot warrior (ha your heroic leap cooldown is longer!)/and worgen/rogues/druids (oh sprint how I envy thee) back to the buff spot after a wipe). Any time you need to move a long way such as the conclave of wind you can leap for your life up to 40 yards to be the first guy back on Anshal after dpsing Nezir during their ultimate. I use heroic leap on my Mouse thumb button (mouse button 5 for me) as I do with all ground targeted spells like blizzard or death and decay.

A final mobility utility is Intervene. I have a macro that reads:

/cast defense stance

/target Borsk

/cast Intervene

I can use this in a pinch to get out of melee and back to a healer (in this case our friendly shaman from Borsked.com) if I’m in danger. I can usually rely on Borsk to be in a safe spot and close enough to reach with Intervene. Then a quick tap on R drops me back to zerker stance and a 2nd tap of R intercepts me back to the boss. Using battle or commanding shout may be required to keep up with the rage consumption of stance dancing.

Using these hotkeys and macros I’m able to stay alive just a bit longer and get the most out of my abilities to keep on the boss just a bit longer.

Not that these allow me to surpass my guild mates who are masters of time on target, but competing against random dps in the dungeon queue I am able to off tank a boss if a tank is cc’d or gibbed and seamlessly slide back into dps when they are b’rezd or the boss shifts to an untankable phase. Quickly shifting to charge before a pull so intercept is ready 10 seconds later when the first mob/add dies rather than simply running to the next add  increases my time on the next target. Multiply this by thousands of gcds over a raid night and you are looking at an exponential amount of extra white swings just from the seconds you are shaving off.

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