Warrior Basics

Updated Tue, Jan 12, 2010 by Messiah

Getting Started

It’s very important for any class to set the right foot forward when they begin the game. All race and class combinations within World of Warcraft are viable but many are not for everyone. It’s up to you to pick the right combination of both Race and Class to make the perfect character both visually and to suit your personal playstyle.

The first thing to do is consider whether the Warrior class is right for you. There are a lot of great things about the class, but not every class is right for everyone. Warriors are the down and dirty brawlers in World of Warcraft. They know how to fight with almost any weapon and have no hesitation about facing off against almost anything in the game. In fact more often than not they charge in with little regard to their own safety. To help you get a better idea about the class we have compiled a list of what makes up the class, what it's good at and what it's shortcomings are.

  • Warriors are a hybrid Melee DPS / Tank class
  • Warrior Tanks are in high demand to lead groups and raids, while as DPS you can put out some big damage.
  • Warriors can wear any kind of armour they choose and can equip shields. This gives them a great amount of choice and very high survivability in plate armour later in the game (past level 40).
  • Warriors in PvP combat are deadly due to their Mortal Strike ability, especially in small scale combat such as Arenas. In arenas, Warriors are in high demand due to their survivability, DPS output, intercepts, charges, and mortal strikes.
  • Warriors can taunt enemies off lesser armoured classes.
  • Warriors use Rage to power abilities and generate Rage by causing damage or taking it, meaning they are very rarely unable to use their abilities.

So in summary, the Warrior class can fulfill either a primary Tank or DPS role. If you like taking a beating or dishing one out, a Warrior may be for you. If you’re not sure that a Warrior is the class for you, the best thing to do is to try it out. The low levels don’t showcase everything about a class, but it’s a good way to get a basic idea of how a class will work.

Race Selection

There really is no perfect race combination for a Warrior and since every race can be one with the current exception of Blood Elves, the choice is really up to you. You can pick your race depending on the look you like or on the racial bonuses that you get. There are however benefits for selecting certain races depending on your play style. For example if you PvP then Undead or Human may be beneficial for their abilities. If you are planning on Tanking and are a Horde player you should Strongly Consider a Tauren due to their extra health.


  • Dwarf - Dwarves get bonus expertise with maces, which are a useful tanking weapon. They also get Stoneskin which is a great tanking ability as it reduces incoming damage and removes poisons.
  • Human - Humans are a great class to select as a Warrior, especially if you PvP. Humans get the "Every Man for Himself" ability which works like a PvP trinket to get them out of snares, fears, and other control removing abilities. Humans also receive a bonus to their expertise when using a sword or mace which are both viable weapons. Lastly Humans get a bonus to reputation earned which is great for any class.
  • Gnomes - Gnomes have the Escape artist ability that can help in PvP. Besides that they are much smaller than the other races, which can be a benefit as other players can either see over you in PvE or may miss you in PvP.
  • Draenei - As a Draenei you gain a small heal ability, but not a great one. More importantly Draenei grant themselves and everyone in their party an extra 1% to hit through their Heroic Presence ability. 1% doesn't sound like a big deal but in end game raids it allows players to focus more on other player stats.
  • Night Elves - Shadowmeld allows you to hide in solo of PvP situations which is a very nice ability. Also Quickness gives you a 2% chance to avoid being hit, which is great in a Tank or DPS role.


  • Orcs - Orcs gain expertise with Axes which allows them to save a bunch of itemization points later in the game if they end up using axes. They also have a racial that reduces stun duration and another that gives them a temporary boost to attack power, much like an on use trinket. This boost to attack power makes them a good DPS choice.
  • Trolls - Trolls have an amazing talent called Berserking which boosts their attack speed by 20% for 10 seconds. This is great for DPS and even better in PvP where you need to bust someone down quickly.
  • Undead - Undead have one of the best racial's, tied with the Humans "every man", that is called Will of the Forsaken. It removes any fear, charm, or sleep instantly, giving you a great ability to use in PvE or PvP. They also have cannibalize, which allows them to eat nearby dead bodies restoring health quickly and easily.
  • Tauren - Taurens are great tanks since they gain extra stamina and will have the highest health of any warrior tank. They also gain War Stomp which stuns all nearby enemies. Taurens are therefore your best tank choice if you are Horde.

If you are still unsure of what race to pick then check out our detailed list of races right here. In this list you’ll be able to see the various abilities each race has along with how they look.

Picking a Profession

While professions will not make or break any character there are some nice benefits to many of the professions that make them attractive to a Warrior. Some of the ones to consider are as follows.

  • Alchemy - This is a good profession for almost any class but especially a Warrior since you will be using a variety of potions and flasks in your various roles. Being a class that can not heal itself, the gold you save on health potions alone make this a great choice. Alchemy can also be used to make an assortment of extremely useful potions, elixirs, and flasks that can be sold for cash or used to make combat easier.
  • Blacksmithing - Many players find early on that creating your own weapons and armour can be very helpful compared to trying to obtain them through quests or the Auction House. The armour created through Blacksmithing can be very useful to a Warrior. Blacksmiths can also add extra gem sockets to their bracers and gloves at higher tiers.
  • Inscriptionist - Being an Inscriptionist gives you access to the best shoulder enchants in the game. This has the side benefit of letting you skip the long Sons of Hodir reputation grind.
  • Jewelcrafting - Being a Jewelcrafter grants you access to several jewelcrafting only items and access to better jewelcrafter only gems. These gems provide additional stats which is welcome no matter your spec.

Which profession you take is ultimately up to you. You should pick one that you enjoy and that works well with the talent build you choose. Which one is the absolute best changes from patch to patch, so don't get too worried if they change a bit over time.


Rage is to a Warrior what mana is to a spell caster or energy is to a rogue. It is the base resource that a Warrior consumes to be able to use their abilities. However in opposition to the other classes' consumable resource that starts full, a Warrior's Rage bar starts empty and must be built up while in combat.

After any length of time out of combat a Warrior will have 0 rage. Once in combat they can gain rage by using different abilities, causing damage, or receiving damage. As combat goes on rage will build up and can be consumed to pay for abilities.

Managing your rage is a very important thing for a Warrior to learn to do. Warriors will learn over time how to minimize their time out of combat so they go from one fight to the next with an almost full rage bar. This allows them to use more abilities in each fight.


A Warrior has 3 stances to choose from: Battle Stance, Defensive Stance and Berserker Stance. A warrior can switch between these stances at anytime. As they do the abilities they can use change. The stance itself also offers various bonuses and penalties.

  • Battle Stance is the most balanced stance with a good range of offensive and defensive abilities. While in battle stance you gain 10% armour Penetration and generate 20% less threat. This is also the only stance you where you can use Charge (without talents), Overpower, and Retaliation.
  • Berserker Stance is an all out offensive stance. While in it you gain +3% chance to critically hit an opponent but suffer 5% extra damage. This is the only stance you can use Intercept, Berserker Rage, Pummel, Recklessness, and Whirlwind in.
  • Defensive Stance is your tanking stance. While in it you suffer 10% less damage from all hits against you, generate substantially more threat, but cause 5% less damage. In addition while in defensive stance you can use Taunt, Shield Block, Shield Wall, Disarm, and Revenge. If you are a tank, you will spend 99% of your time in this stance, switching out only to use certain abilities.

No matter which stance you find yourself in most, you should learn about the other stances and make sure you can use them. Also when a Warrior switches stances their toolbar changes, so be aware of this and take the time to setup each stance's toolbar the way you like it.

Character Stats

Being a hybrid class Warriors rely on many statistics, the primary ones depend on what talent build you are working towards. If you are tanking then you are looking for Stamina and Strength. If you are going to DPS then Strength is your main focus and Agility can come into play while leveling.

In addition to these primary stats there are secondary stats to worry about as well. As a Tank you need to worry about Defense, Dodge, Parry, Block (and Block Value), Hit, and Expertise. As a DPS Warrior you need to worry about Hit, Expertise, and Critical Strike. If you PvP you will also need to worry about Reliance regardless of your build. The stats you should concern yourself with and their benefits are as follows.

Strength - Increases your Attack Power thereby increasing your damage. Strength also increases the damage that you can block with your shield.

Stamina - Increases your health points. This is critical for Warriors that are going to tank since you will take a beating.
1 Stamina = 10 Health points

Agility - Agility increases the following: attack power with ranged weapons, armour, critical hit chance and your chance to dodge attacks. The ranged weapon bonus doesn't mean a whole bunch as your use of ranged weapons is limited. The armour bonus is also relatively small for Warriors since we can use plate armour. The main reason to boost agility is for the critical hit %.

Defence - Defence is a key stat for Protection Warriors. The more you have the less chance an enemy will be able to critically hit you. At level 80 you need 540 defence to be able to tank without suffering critical hits.

Hit - Hit is critical for DPS Warriors, and important for Protection Warriors as well. At level 80 you need 263 Hit rating to ensure that you do not miss melee attacks with a single weapon. This number drops to 230 if you are a Draenei or have one in your party. Missing an attack means less damage or threat caused, hence its importance.

Expertise - This stat is another critical one for Warriors. You need 214 expertise at level 80 to reach the soft expertise cap or 460 to reach the hard expertise cap. The soft cap prevents your attacks from being dodged, while the hard cap prevents them from being parried as well. DPS Warriors only need to aim for the soft cap since they should be attacking enemies from behind, where they can not be parried anyway.

Critical Hit - This is important for DPS Warriors as it grants them a higher chance to cause critical hits and therefore more damage. The more chance you have to critically hit, the better.

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