The Necessity of Focused Rage

My previous blog made a number of assertions regarding a talent specialization and what a warrior should be prioritising. The one talent, however, that is a little difficult to quantify is Focused Rage. In fact, I’ll rephrase; it’s not hard to quantify at all, just difficult to establish a necessity for it.

Point before starting: This is not a discussion on the rage mechanic, so please don’t mistake it for one. It is specifically about the comparative value of the Focused Rage talent and where it is best used.

I previously stated that any tank leaving out three points in Armored to the Teeth would attract my metaphorical ire because they’re essentially punishing their performance by not picking up passive threat from a stat that a tank would have a lot of whether they wanted it or not. Yet, that’s exactly what Focused Rage does, too – by lessening the rage cost of every ability you ever use, you can ship a considerable need for rage and increase your passive threat output.

I’ll defend my position first.

To start with, it’s worth looking at where you would sacrifice three talent points to pick up Focused Rage (assuming you go 3/3). In the cookie cutter I previously linked, you’re still running with a lot of essentially free points so you can go right ahead and put them into Focused Rage with impunity. However, most people have talents that they would no longer do without and a pretty settled spec, and picking up Focused Rage means a sacrifice elsewhere in their spec.

I’d imagine the choice is between Deep Wounds and Shield Specialization for your three points. In saying that, however, picking up Focused Rage implies a desire for more DPS/TPS, which would effectively invalidate leaving out Deep Wounds in the same spec. Therefore, do you choose to pick up a little more threat from Focused Rage or a little more mitigation from Shield Specialization?

For me, you pick up five rage when you block, dodge or parry and you get more if you take damage. You can also use the Glyph of Revenge to cut back on the rage cost of your Heroic Strike, as well as taking three points in the namesake talent. By picking up the extra 3% block you’re not just increasing your block chance, you’re decreasing the chance to be fully hit by a swing by a full 3% – you can’t get that anywhere else for three points and you’re lowering the pressure your healers feel when you get spiked.

If you’re picking Focused Rage, you are essentially saying that threat matters more than survival. You only need to take one point in Shield Specialization for the 5 rage on avoidance, and that will be in your spec regardless of what else you’ve chosen. The main plus point here is that you would have to be awfully unlucky to end up rage starved, and you’re accounting for the use of Cleave which isn’t covered by talents or a glyph in the same way Heroic Strike is.

So, am I implying that Shield Specialization is for progression content and Focused Rage is for farm content and/or heroics?

Well, yes and no.

A freshly dinged tank could expect to take more damage than a well geared one, therefore, having less use for Focused Rage seems clear. Yet while a new tank is learning their trade, you never want to run out of rage; heroic instances (particularly in a PuG) often demand a lot from a tank. It’s also worth remembering that far more of that instance will be trash, so you’ll be using Cleave an awful lot more.

With progression content, you can also expect to take more damage and pick up rage from that, but there is the very real threat of enrage timers – would you want your DPS to hold off to the extent they’re pushing this timer? Of course, the value of block is often questionable in progression content when Shield Block is considered.

Of course, all of this assumes an appreciation of unlucky stretches of avoidance that slow the flow of rage to a crawl.

So… Can I summarise?

I don’t think either Shield Specialization or Focused Rage qualify for “necessary” points in a cookie cutter talent specialization. However, the real question is whether or not I should be considering Armored to the Teeth in the same vein, as it’s also passive threat.

I admit it; no. There is no requirement to add Armored to the Teeth as a necessary choice in the cookie cutter.


I said it.

I was wrong.

Just don’t expect me to be removing Armored to the Teeth from my spec any time soon.


8 Responses to “The Necessity of Focused Rage”

  1. Dread Says:

    I wouldn't say you're wrong, I'd flame a tank for not maxing Armored to the Teeth.As far as the tossup between Focused Rage and Shield Specialization, here's another opinion:As far as mitigation, block sucks, especially for warriors. It's a fairly poorly designed stat anyway and even Blizzard admits it. It only stops a small amount of damage, and stacking it ahead of dodge or parry increases the damage we take. Additionally, block is further down the priority list on the combat table than dodge or parry, so even though you may have a high chance to block, your dodges, parries and misses are rolled first. As far as the 5 rage gained, Icecrown Citadel is home to the Chill of the Throne debuff, which allows mobs to ignore 20% of our dodge chance. I'm dodging less overall, I'm gaining less rage from avoidance, anyway. Drop the 3 points out, leave them in deep wounds and leave them in Focused Rage. I have advocated before that the flat reduction for all abilities more than trumps possibly gaining 5 on an avoidance, and to that notion, the 40% chance I have to gain this rage is plenty for me.

  2. Dread Says:

    Oh, I'd like to add 1 comment, as far as Shield Specialization uses. I'd use it for offtanking Anub'Arak to gain unhittability.

  3. Zellviren Says:

    Hi, Dread.As it turns out, I've always liked block despite it getting something of a rough ride in Wrath of the Lich King.However, Icecrown Citadel has numerous trash pulls where block can actually mitigate a lot of damage, and the key point about block isn't necessarily how much you're blocking from a boss swing; it's the "unhittable" state that lessens the spiky damage that makes warriors harder on healers.Anub'arak is a very specific fight, so I suppose I'm saying "block is still nice outside of a gimmick".I would expect to see Cataclysm bringing block back as a stat, though, judging on what we're hearing from the developers.I could claim I'm ahead of the curve. 😛

  4. Dread Says:

    TBH I don't remember how long you've been raid tanking, but block was broken from day 1, not just in Wrath. That said, to your other point. Trash mobs are called trash mobs for a reason, they don't matter.

  5. Zellviren Says:

    Well, no.Let me put it this way; back in the Burning Crusade days (my time), block VALUE was an extremely good statistic because warriors had 100% up time on it, pretty much. If you knew the encounter and knew what was coming, you could block every horrible attack that existed. For proof, read the "Shear" mechanic before the 3.0 alterations and remember why warriors were once the only tanks.This existed into the Burning Crusade. Even now, warriors remain the most versatile tank on new content because they have the ability to block everything on demand, in amongst all their other utility.It's not coincidence.Yes, paladins block more than warriors. Yes, they avoid and mitigate more at base. That's what you would expect from a beginner class aimed at children. But the reason the top guilds in the world have stuck with warriors is because they have all the tools when you have a player that knows how to use them.Block is part of that equation.Discount it at your peril.

  6. Dread Says:

    Block was great in Kara and ZA. Sucked in Gruul, and I believe that's as far as your BC experience lies, right? Sure it was a good gimick if your set was passively unhittable for Illidan's Shear (pre-nerf, and yes I was there for it). But move on to Sunwell, Brutallus. Here's a sample combat log to illustrate how useful block rating was on that fight:Brutallus attacks, you block.Zellviren dies.Regardless, it's become obvious to me that your own opinion is far more important to you than anyone else's which is fine. Opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one. But I believe you're too self-absorbed to take anyone's advice but your own, misguided ideas, therefore I bid you adieu and will be commenting no more.

  7. Aaesop Says:

    Yo, pre 3.0 illidan pally tank reporting in

  8. Zellviren Says:

    Dread,I was unaware that merely defending my opinion was to be considered self-absorbed – especially when your claim is proven demonstrably false in my earlier musings regarding Focused Rage and my change of opinion on that subject.

    I’m not arguing that block is a good statistic or one people should stack; I’m merely saying that content is always likely to see certain encounters that favour block strongly, so ignoring it would be a mistake.

    I’m sorry if you’ve taken offence at my views, or the way I present them because I’ve valued your intelligent input to my musings here. But you seem to be saying “you either agree with me, or you’re misguided and wrong”.

    That seems a bit off, to be honest. =/

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