Warrior Combat Basics
Playing a Warrior can be both fun and rewarding. Afterall playing an insane death bealing berserker and smashing through enemies can be insanely fun. In DPS spec a warrior is a force to be reconned with. While in tanking spec a Warrior is extremely rewarding to play since you will always be able to find a group to adventure with, and can start to learn the skills to lead a group. No matter your play style there are several key things that you wil need to know how to eitehr survive or cause damage.
While in combat as a DPS warrior you have several different rotations that you can use. The first choice comes based on your talent build, as Fury and Arms lead to some different attack possibilities. Next, the rotation you use will depend on the situation, is it a single target or a group of targets.
Lets start by looking at a Fury warrior's single target rotation. It will be something like Bloodthirst, Whirlwind, Slam, and then Heroic Strike. Once the target is below 20% health you can replace slam with Execute for even more damage.
Arms has a much more complicated and busy rotation with more abilities to use. However the attacks are more of a priority list than an exact sequence. If an earlier one in the list is off cooldown then it should be used first.
The rotation is to start with Rend and refresh it whenever nessessary. Once it is up use Mortal Strike and Slam as part of your regular rotation. Also use Execute, Overpower, and Bladestorm whenever they are either available of off cooldown.
When you are fighting large groups of enemies you can use Whirlwind, Sweeping Strikes (if you are fury), Cleave, and Bladestorm. Remeber to be careful in a group though as you will be hitting and causing threat against multiple enemies not just the tank's main target.
As a Warrior tank you are able to take quite a beating. With all that heavy plate armour, a shield, and your various skills and abilities you can last a while against anything. Even though you can last though, your party members can't. If they draw aggro from you they will most likely be killed in just a few hits. That makes your tanking rotation extremely important. You want to be able to generate as much threat as you possibly can as quickly as you can.
Against a single target the best threat rotation you can use is Shield Slam, Revenege, Concusion Blow, Shockwave, Devestate, while using Heroic Strike whenever it becomes active. Don't forget that you also need to keep Sunder Armor stacked on the target.
Against multiple targets all at once you want to make sure you mix in more shockwaves and cleaves to establish aggro on more targets. Also, you should make sure that you switch targets often to ensure you have threat on all of them.
Also something to consider while tanking is your cooldown abilities. They become a kind of management game. You want to use them, but want to make sure you have them available for when you need them. This takes some practice, but you will establish a feel for it over time.
When playing the game solo, you really only have 2 options. Both involve playing the game as DPS, so they are either going fury or arms. Both are viable for leveling as you cause a significant amount of damage. While you could level as Protection to help learn the abilities and be ready to tank once you start visiting instances, the damage you can cause is severly limited and leveling will take much longer.
For complete information on the best way to level and solo play check out our Warrior Leveling guide, it provides all the details.
If PvP is your thing and you are out to cause as much havok as possible, then your best bet is to check out the PvP Warrior Primer Guide. It covers all the basics that you will want to know about as a Warrior attempting to PvP in either battlegrounds or arenas.
Your role in a group as a Warrior really depends on what talent build you are. As an Arms or Fury warrior you role is to cause as much damage as possible while not drawing threat. That's isn't always a simple task given the amount of damage that you can cause. As a Tank in a group your role is to keep all of the enemies so pissed off at you that they ignore all of the other party memebers. While it sounds easy, it isn't and takes a lot of practice.
This is another very often overlooked skill that truly separates the good players from the rest. Many normal players get focused just on what they are doing and lose track of what else is going on. As a multi-purpose class you can not afford to do that, if you want to be great as a group PvE player. There are times you need to be able to switch from what you are doing to do something else.
Recognizing the times that you should switch roles and acting on them takes practice and can make all the difference in a group.This mainly applies to DPS warriors, but can apply to Tanks in raids when you get to a fight that only needs a single tank and your raid has more than one. This occurs many times in small groups when you join as a DPS player. Your tank goes down halfway through a big fight and the group is facing a wipe. You can quickly switch into defensive stance and keep the enemies on you instead of the healer or caster and try to save the group. It will not always work, but if done correctly can save your group from a wipe more times than you would think.
For longer changes it may mean carrying gear for different purposes and being skilled at using it. For instance many Warrior tanks carry full DPS sets for raids, so that when they are at a fight that requires less tanks than they have in the group they can switch gear and help out by causing damage. For these longer term switches you should have a secondary talent build ready to go.
These two abilities are so important, and useful in almost any situation that they get thier own section. They can be useful in PvP and PvE, no matter if you are tanking or DPSing.
Charge allows you to charge into a new opponent while out of combat from up to 25 yards away and stuns them for a short time. In addition it generates rage so that you can start attacking with other abilities shortly after. Intercept is like charge but causes a slightly longer stun and can be used while in combat. Without talents Charge can only be used in battle stance while intercept can only be used in berserker stance. However since you can switch between stances just before you use them it just takes practice.
Learning how to charge in to fight an enemy, switch to berserker to generate rage, then intercept to another enemy is a skill every warrior really needs to learn and practice. It makes every part of the game easier. In solo play while leveling you can get from one fight to the next faster. In group play you can get there quicker and have more time to cause damage. While tanking you can get back to defend another player that draws threat. Lastly in PvP you can either use it to catch a fleeing enemy or flee from one yourself by hitting another further away.