For as long as war has raged, heroes from every race have aimed to master the art of battle. Warriors combine strength, leadership, and a vast knowledge of arms and armor to wreak havoc in glorious combat.
Warriors are melee fighters highly trained in the art of weaponry. Melee combat is the warrior's strongest skill. They are strong and quick on the battlefield. Depending on their specialization, a warrior can often deal very high damage or be tough to kill. Warrior abilities depend on rage generation. This is different to all but one melee class, the bear formdruid. Rage is generated through damage being dealt to and by the warrior and is capped at 100 (can be increased with Glyph of Unending Rage).
Warriors can change between three combat stances: [Battle Stance], [Defensive Stance], and, if you have chosen the level 100 talent Gladiators Resolve, [Gladiator Stance]. Stances give the class a fluid play style, allowing the player a variety of responses to any given PvE or PvP situation. Warriors wear plate, and at level 50 they receive [Plate Specialization]. They are able to use shields, wear a variety of armor, and wield any weapon with the exception of wands. Warrior is one of the two classes playable by all races, Hunter being the other.
As long as war is waged on Azeroth, there will be men and women who fight those wars. Warriors are no mere sword-swingers; they are skilled combatants, combining strength of arm, knowledge of weaponry, and practiced maneuvers to slice or bludgeon their foes into little red bits. Warriors are the most versatile of the combat classes, and they supplement their fighting prowess with the ability to rally their allies and spur them to victory. They charge into the heart of the battle and survive the most grievous of wounds. Warriors are common in dwarf, Forsaken, human, and orc societies, but many other species also fill their ranks with warriors. Masters of swords, spears, and weapons of all kinds, warriors share a common way of life on Azeroth. Using their abilities to deal pain and cause bloodshed, warriors are deadly adversaries and welcome friends in violent times (which seem to be all the time in recent decades). Anyone willing to take up arms to defend their people can be classed as a warrior. A knight is the warrior elite among humans.
Before the release of Cataclysm, blood elf players were the only race that could not be warriors. Blood elf warriors are a standard class for blood elves in the RPG. Some blood elves become warriors (or scouts or hunters) — especially those seeking to be spell breakers, demon hunters, and rangers. In addition, there were High Elf Swordsmen in the Undead campaign in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, so Elven warriors have technically always been justified.
With the release of Cataclysm, warriors are the first non-hero class to be available to all races.
Dwarves: [Stoneform] removes poison, disease, and bleed effects, and decreases damage taken by a short period of time. Both of these can be very useful in PvE and PvP fights. The additional [Frost Resistance] is always useful, as a warrior's sworn enemy is the frost mage. Increased expertise with [maces] provides additional threat generation when using them.
Gnomes: [Escape Artist] can be very useful, primarily in PvP situations, but also in PvE situations. Warriors, the prototypical tank, often have to lead mobs and bosses away from healers and ranged fighters, thus making Escape Artist very useful. Gnomes also benefit from increased [arcane resistance], which is always useful. Because of their small size, gnome warriors are useful in PvP environments, posing a difficulty to target. Inexperienced or careless opponents can be quickly hit before they have any idea as to what happened.
Humans: [Sword] and [Mace] specializations increase expertise with swords and maces by a small amount, which are two very popular warrior weapons. Humans also gain the "racial PvP trinket" – [Every Man for Himself] – effectively freeing up a trinket slot which warriors might find more useful.
Night elves: [Quickness] adds an extra layer of survivability to night elf warriors. The enhanced [nature resistance] is always nice. [Shadowmeld] provides an interesting element to night elves, allowing them to stealth to avoid mob detection (more useful for solo play), or to get out of combat when about to die. In PvP settings Shadowmeld can be devastating, for the night elf warrior can operate as a rogue, attacking from a stealthed position! An additional bonus to Shadowmeld is the ability to temporarily drop threat in combat.
Blood elves: Their racial abilities focus on magic and its disruption. Spell casters, especially healers, will learn to loathe the blood elf warrior. [Arcane Resistance] provides them defense against arcane-based attacks, while [Arcane Torrent] silences any spell caster within range.
Forsaken: The increased [shadow resistance] is always useful, as is [Cannibalize], which can rapidly increase your health, thereby saving your healer's mana. [Will of the Forsaken] is one of the best racials in game, and can be the difference between life and death in both PvP and PvE settings; it removes charm, fear, and sleep effects. Forsaken also have a passive [damaging ability] that strips health from the enemy.
Goblins: Tinkers at heart with an affinity for things that explode, goblin warriors fill a niche only an engineer could be jealous of. They use their rockets to not only [leap], but also to fire off a [barrage] into the faces of their enemies. And when they need to repair their armor, they always get the [Best Deals Anywhere]. Their [Time is Money] ability increases attack speed, helpful for any warrior.
Orcs: [Axe Specialization] increases expertise by a nominal amount when wielding an axe or fist weapon. This reduces players' chance to be dodged or parried. [Hardiness] reduces stun duration, which can save a warrior in PvP settings, or save their group in PvE settings. [Blood Fury] increases attack power.
Tauren: [War Stomp] is very important in providing an early stun to young warriors, especially useful against casters or other enemies that may have a long-cast attack. [Endurance] provides tauren with extra health, meaning tauren warriors can have the highest possible HP of any warrior. The additional [nature resistance] is always a plus.
Trolls: [Berserking] increases attack speed by 20% for 10 seconds, useful for all warriors. [Health regeneration] in combat can help keep you alive during PvP fights or boss battles, and the increased healing can reduce down time for soloing players. [Da Voodoo Shuffle] reduces the duration of movement impairing effects by 15%. [Beast Slaying] gives a small boost against beasts.
By default, a Warrior's rage bar is empty. Warriors can gain rage by being struck in combat, dealing damage, drinking rage potions, or using certain abilities. Most of their abilities require a certain amount of rage in order to be activated. When a Warrior exits combat, any left-over rage slowly decays until the bar returns to empty.
Warriors need to be in combat or use a rage-generating ability to generate rage. The longer the battle, the more rage a warrior can accumulate. A Warrior with a full rage bar can quickly unload a large amount of damage.
[Alchemy] and [Herbalism] can be useful for quick potion heals and various buffs from elixirs and flasks. Warriors also usually like the [Lifeblood] healing ability that comes with Herbalism. These professions are also good all around for making money and supplying guild runs.
[Cooking] is good for any non-healing class for non-combat health regeneration and provides good buff foods.
[First Aid] is good for any non-healing class for in-combat health regeneration and low downtime regeneration.
Warriors are a hybrid class capable of filling two major roles in groups or raids. They can specialize into Arms or Fury to focus on Damage or specialize into Protection to focus on survivability to tank.
Since Vanilla WoW, Warriors have been valued as tanks. Back then, protection warriors were considered the only class viable enough to tank high end raids. Nearly every raid, if not all, required a protection warrior to tank. As time went on, other classes have become viable enough to tank raids. This does not mean protection warriors have become less valued. Protection warriors and their high armor, damage reduction, and high block chance are always welcomed in any raid group.