Final Fantasy’s Ninja job may be the reason I stick with the game for more than a month or two this time. I’m currently sitting at level 38 and hoping to be at 40 by the end of the night and just a week ago I was level 10. Part of what I find appealing are the roguish, duel dagger-wielding abilities with brilliant animations (all Rogue classes in every MMO should have an execute ability that has you leap on your opponent’s head) but the biggest draw for me is how the rotation is shaping up so far. I’ve not had this much fun with a class’s gameplay since I retired my Fury Warrior at the end of Mists of Pandaria.
Blizzard likes to change the way classes play between expansions and while I can appreciate some of their design philosophy in theory, in practice it’s just annoying. In preparation for Warlords of Draenor the studio did some ability pruning to all classes. It was necessary and never going to make everyone happy but for me the Warrior class got the worst of it. They removed the very thing I loved about playing Fury—Colossus Smash and the six second window of opportunity to fire off as many attacks as possible.
Colossus smash allowed the warrior to bypass all armor on their opponent for six seconds of every twenty. During this period of time you would try and execute as many Raging Blows as possible while also hammering away at as many Heroic Strikes as you could afford. Heroic Strike was on a separate global cool down which meant button mashing was fast and furious during that six seconds.
Playing a Fury Warrior required you to start out slow and methodical, careful not to waste any Rage while slowly letting it build for when Colossus Smash would come off cool down. Once it was ready you had six seconds to be precise and fast with Raging Blow, Heroic Strike, Raging Blow, Heroic Strike, Berserker Rage to enable another Raging Blow, then squeeze in another Heroic Strike. My memory may be a little rusty, but that was more or less the idea and all of that took place in a six second window—about .75 seconds between abilities. Then it was back to slow and steady. Patiently waiting for the next opportunity to unleash the fury.
When Colossus Smash and Heroic Strike were removed leaving the spec hollow I abandoned the class and focused on a Subtlety Rogue instead. While I have enjoyed my time in Warlords as a Rogue I am disappointed that I let my subscription lapse for several months before the expansion dropped because I missed out on the opportunity to get in a few more dungeons and raids as a Fury Warrior the way I loved to play it.
At level 38 the Ninja does not have a Colossus Smash ability and as far as I know it doesn’t get anything like that later on either. However what it does have are the Mudras and accompanying Ninjitsu abilities, all of which are on a separate GCD than the main rotation. That means while I’m slashing away with my daggers in steady, 2.5 second intervals every now and again I am flashing a series of hand gestures to unleash an elemental attack in between the whirling dagger strikes. I have no idea what the game play will be like at 50, but right now it is a nice mix of slow, methodic rotational abilities with the occasional series of short burst skills shoehorned in between. It doesn’t have the same cadence as Fury nor as many abilities to fire away in quick succession but the flavor is similar enough that I get a little taste of what I loved so much about my Warrior.