A recent blue post by Blizzard outlines the changes in the rage system that will occur in Cataclysm. It sounds like yet another complete overhaul and I can only guess if it will be for the better.
Basically, the problems with the current rage system are
a) Rage starvation – you have used up all your rage and have to wait for damage to be done by or to you in order to regain rage. This is especially hard if you’re an off tank who has to maintain a constant high threat level in order to be able to pick off a non-tauntable boss or soak up occasional threat-based damage from a special ability (think Patchwerk in Naxxramas).
b) Next-swing attacks that fail to coherently soak up rage when it is there – if you have Heroic Strike off cooldown and hit it for next swing, you might be out of rage by the time that next swing comes. In my DPS spec, I have this problem with my Fury rotation (Whirlwind, Bloodthirst, Slam if free CD, rinse&repeat) whenever I try to squeeze in an extra Heroic Strike or Cleave.
c) Infinite rage: Warriors, especially tanks, don’t need to manage rage in a boss fight, period. There is not a lot of possibilities to run out of rage if you are tanking a current-level Raid boss. I don’t think this is a problem per se, but I acknowlege the fact that this somehow trivializes gameplay and might be perceived as unfair by DKs (who run out of rune power) and mana classes.
Blizzard will address these problems with a number of mechanic changes.
- Generally, rage generation will be normalized.
- Rage starvation will be fought by new instant rage generation capabilities.
- Haste will improve rage generation. This will hopefully be reflected in loot itemization.
- Crits will generate twice the rage from a normal white attack, currently the factor is lower.
- The whole formula will be revamped to be easier to handle. The current formula, if I am not wrong, is “rage = damage / (30 + 7*weapon speed)” for main hand crits, with varying factors for main and offhand crits and non-crit damage.
Full blue post after the page break.