So, you're thinking of playing a Warrior? This page is intended to give a short overview of what to do over the first 10 levels or so, just to get you started on the right path. If you're looking for more of an overview of the class's abilities, see the main warrior page. For more advanced topics, see the Warrior Tactics.
If you like action, Warriors are at the front line of battle, either tanking or dealing DPS. However, they are a very gear-dependent class, and don't have many survivability skills to help with solo leveling. When soloing, expect to rely heavily on healing items such as potions, bandages and food as you level (in raids, the healers will top you off). Many first time players have expressed frustration with the warrior class due to their frequent death rate early on.
If you do choose to be a Warrior it is likely you will do some tanking. Keep this in mind: Protection specced Warriors do much less damage than Arms/Fury specced Warriors, but can take far more damage. This becomes vital as PvE becomes more and more challenging at the end-game. Your main job as a tank is to make all the enemies focus their attention on you (and survive), not to kill them! If you want the glory of the big kill and bragging rights to high raid DPS, Protection Warriors are not for you! On the other hand, Arms/Fury Warriors can dish out as much DPS as any other class. If you want to be in large part responsible for pacing the raid and managing aggro appropriately to keep the raid alive, then as a Warrior tank you can become very popular!
For tanking, as for DPS, gear is crucial, but more than perhaps any other party role tanking requires skill. If you want to tank end-game content, consider running low-level instances as you level. Doing so will give you invaluable practice in managing aggro, especially in large packs full of casters.
Warriors use Rage to fuel their abilities. By taking or giving damage, warriors accumulate rage to activate their abilities. You will accumulate a great deal of rage from tanking because you are being hit by multiple mobs. You will also accumulate rage from DPS as dealing damage gives rage as well.
If you're a power-player, you'll want to consider the various Racial Traits when choosing what race to play. You might also consider the racial stats, but after the first 20 levels or so these become largely irrelevant, as the items you've gained will far outstrip any racial bonuses.
For more casual gamers, there's really no major difference between the races — choose the race that you want to play, whether for its looks, its voice, or because its simply good fun!
Below is a quick overview of Races from the warrior's perspective — see the Races page for more detailed information which isn't of specific interest to warriors, and the Racial Traits for more detailed explanations of the traits mentioned below.
- Dwarves — Stoneform is handy in PvP and many PvE encounters. Mace Specialization is useful if you like maces.
- Gnomes — The instant cast Escape Artist means this race will be a good option versus Mages in particular as well as most other classes. Overall Gnomes tend to be very popular for PvP, mostly due to their difficult to notice small size.
- Humans — Diplomacy's Reputation bonus makes all Human classes worthy, and Sword and Mace specializations make Human warriors better at dealing damage with those weapons. Perception helps to see stealthed players/NPCs. Every Man for Himself is very useful in PvP, and saves you from having to equip a PvP trinket.
- Night Elves — Most notable ability is Shadowmeld, a very handy ability for both PvP and PvE. Wisp Spirit minimizes downtime after death. Quickness is very useful for tanking.
- Orcs — Axe Specialization, Blood Fury, and Hardiness make orc warriors a force to be reckoned with.
- Tauren — War Stomp (AoE stun), Nature Resistance, and Endurance (5% base Health boost) make Tauren the best tanks for the Horde, even though it is only a small difference.
- Trolls — Notable racials are Berserking, which briefly increases attack speed, Regeneration, which allows 10% of health regeneration even in combat, and Da Voodoo Shuffle, which reduces the duration of movement slowing effects. Beast Slaying adds a 5% damage bonus to Beasts, which may be useful depending which quests and instances you do.
- Forsaken — Will of the Forsaken makes Forsaken warriors warlock- and priest-killers (as well as being able to seriously threaten other Fear users) as well as being invaluable in PvE encounters where charm, sleep or fear is a factor. Cannibalize is very handy in reducing downtime in solo play and after PvP combat, but is generally ineffective in PvE groups where a healer is present.
In Cataclysm, all races will be available for warrior.
Note that beginning racial stats (Draenei having more strength than Gnomes, or Orcs having more stamina than Forsaken, for example) have practically no effect once you reach mid-level (30+), and only minimal effect before then.
The easiest way to progress through the early levels is to simply do any and all quests you can find. Not only will you breeze through the first 5 to 10 levels, but you'll get useful gear and precious money. Money is particularly important so you can purchase new abilities and equipment.
You will spend levels 1 to 5 in your starting town. Make sure you get all the abilities you can from your trainer. Between level 5 and 6 you'll find yourself heading off to your second town and a new trainer who can teach you various things. At the second town, repeat the process — do each and every quest you can find. It's important to keep up with your abilities and your gear. Now is also an appropriate time to start training in your chosen professions.
For more advanced information see the Warrior Tactics page.
Levels 1 - 3
Initially, you're equipped with a melee auto-attack and one melee enhancement, Strike. Engage mobs from melee range with auto-attack, and use Strike whenever available. If you have enough rage for the next mob, open combat with Strike.
At level 3, you can learn Charge. This will be a very useful move throughout the whole game. Use it whenever starting combat.
Levels 4 -5
At level 6, you can learn Victory Rush, Thunder Clap and Parry. Parry is a passive, so it does not require any sort of activation. Thunder Clap does moderate damage, reduces the damage you take, and at lower levels is a more efficient use of rage than Heroic Strike. Victory Rush is very strong and should be used whenever possible.
Notable Early Quests
The intention is to link into the Quests page here with a few low-level quests once they are added, with particular emphasis on including quests with nice rewards for the class; especially any class-specific quests. Wondering if this section should be moved to a separate page of its own as it may get quite long? I won't take offense if someone moves it!
The following lists are not intended to be comprehensive, but cover a selection of the best quests in the starting areas from levels 1 to 10.
The only quest that you really need to do is your level 10 quest to get Defensive Stance - it's the only way to get that ability.
On Soloing and Grouping
Warriors rely on rage, so it helps if you can move quickly from one mob to the next. In the first 5 levels or so, you shouldn't really need to stop killing. Later on you may find your health starts getting low - then you will have to stop and rest, and perhaps eat some food until you're ready again.
Grouping isn't all that different from soloing. At these levels any class can pretty much look after itself, but be ready to help out a weaker caster class if you see them under attack—always protect your healer!
Ask your group to "assist" you to ensure you focus your party's firepower on one mob. They can do this by selecting you (use the F1-F5 keys to target group members) and then pressing "F". This way, mobs will die faster. Another way to do this, and one which avoids the problem that a warrior sometimes needs to switch targets to keep aggro, is to be the group leader, and bind a hotkey to the skull Raid Target Icon. For instance, you could bind Ctrl-K (K = Kill = sKull), and use this key to identify the "kill target". In most high-level dungeon parties, the main tank is group leader for this purpose, and marking is a useful skill for a tank to learn. Other marks have common meanings, such as the star for Sap or Sheep, and blue square for Freezing Trap. The use of these marks should be established at the start of an instance run.
The warrior can benefit directly and indirectly from many of the professions available.
- By far the best option to take if you don't have a higher-level character or a rich friend to help you out. Skin every mob you kill, mine/herb every node you detect, and sell what you get on the Auction House. This will give you more than enough money to buy good gear - including those made by the other professions. Mining is useful for tanking at high levels, since it gives you a boost to your stamina.
- A very popular combination for warriors. Mining allows you to get the resources required for blacksmithing. Note that nearly everything made by blacksmithing is BoE; it's usually possible to buy it on the Auction House no matter what professions you have. Blacksmithing is one of the strongest professions at top level.
- Engineering is also pretty useful—you can make yourself some dynamite and a number of other handy gadgets. Best coupled with mining as it is heavily reliant on metals, although some take another profession and buy materials from the auction house. However, most engineering items require engineering skill to use so you're less likely to make lots of money from this trade. Guns and scopes are the notable exception to this.
- You do not have to be a caster to be an enchanter. Enchanting allows you to enchant your own equipment. Find a much better magic sword then the one you are using? Disenchant the old one, and use the results to make the new sword even more powerful. It is near-impossible to make money enchanting before top level, but you can make money disenchanting. You will get a great deal of bind on pickup quest rewards that you won't have any use for. Disenchanting them and selling the materials you get on the auction house will usually get you more money then just selling those items to a vendor.
- Herbalism and alchemy are useful for any class, and warriors are no exception. Herbalism allows the gathering of herbs that the alchemy profession then converts into various potions for use. Healing potions are one of the best ways to heal yourself while soloing, and are useful for your friends too. You can stack a Battle and a Guardian elixir, having multiple active at one time (never underestimate what using an Agility and a Defense potion will do for you while questing).
- All classes wear necklaces and rings and place gems in socketed equipment, and some jewelcrafting recipes are especially for warriors. Gems are a good source of money, and you can usually sell the metal you don't use to craft things. There are only a few jewelcrafting items that you can't just buy on the auction house, however. It is one of the strongest professions at top level, though.
- Inscription / Herbalism
- While the cost of most glyphs is usually negligible, inscription does give you a convenient source of stamina, strength and agility scrolls, which is good if your group lacks classes to provide those buffs. At high levels there are some shoulder enhancements available, including some for a heavy melee class such as yourself.
Start your profession early at level 5, or if not, before you reach level 10 if possible. It's not too expensive to start, and you want to ensure that the gear you create with your skills is applicable to your level. If you've waited until after level 10 to start, you may want to spend some time improving your profession skills until you can make items that are appropriate for your level.
As a Warrior you have four ways to heal: time, eating, potions, and First Aid. Fishing is useful in that it provides you with something to cook. Cooking lets you make better food and when "Well Fed," you gain a boost to stamina and spirit for fifteen minutes (more powerful bonuses are available at higher level). More stamina equals more hitpoints.
First Aid is indispensable to a Warrior as it can really reduce your down-time between fights when soloing as well as removing those nasty poison effects with Antivenom. You will also level faster with First Aid as you have less downtime. If your gear is on Par for your level, you should be able to fight several enemies before needing to bandage up again. By the time you kill the enemies, your debuff should have finished, allowing for another quick 6-10 second bandage up, and off you go again!
The warrior is a very gear-dependent class. Different situations will call for different items to equip. Many warriors find themselves collecting several entire suits of armor and many different weapons to use in a variety of situations. Try to ensure you're always using the best equipment for the job that is available for your level and budget.
Since the gear you have is often dependent on how much money you have, focus on earning money from an early level. Don't be afraid to be stingy. If you spend money frivolously, you might not be able to afford the things you need down the road.
Make sure you keep your armor repaired, as you'll be taking a lot of hits as the main tank in a group. If you go into an instance with your armor at only 50% durability, you could inconvenience the entire group as you run to repair a broken item. As a warrior you don't spend money on poisons or reagents, but you do have a responsibility to spend money on repairing your items.
Deciding where you want to go with your Warrior Talents early will make a big difference. Do you want to be more defensive (Protection and Arms) or offensive (Arms and Fury) oriented? Many warriors choose Fury talents to level quickly, then respec into Protection to tank in endgame instances. Others choose Arms and spend their time PvPing, or go Protection right away and focus on tanking in PvE instances with their friends in order to level. Remember that talents are never set in stone, but it does cost money to unlearn them. Many warriors end up finding themselves spending dozens of gold uncomfortably often as they switch between roles.
See Warrior Tactics for more advanced information on Warriors, taking you beyond the first 10 levels.