Jul 122012

So, our very own Tinderhoof (yeah, I claim him) is going to take over as the feral representative on the Team Waffle podcast! Go check out his first appearance! I feel proud, almost…like I’ve had a litter of kittens or something. :)

As for me, I’ve been playing detective. The military has this lovely thing where officers get appointed as investigators for incidences of wrongdoing. I’ve been interviewing witnesses, running down leads, dealing with paperwork, all kinds of fun. (On the positive? side, there haven’t been any beta builds recently, so not too much to talk about.) I just completed my ~70 page report, so I’ve got a bit more writing time available to me now. I’ll start writing up some spec guides for MoP over the next few weeks, since I think druids are pretty much done in terms of major mechanics changes (not balance changes; feral’s too weak, guardian’s too strong, don’t really have a feel for the other two).

Also, I now have a Galaxy S III, which is an amazing device. I now have more games I won’t have time to play. Yay?

 Posted by at 12:30 am
Jul 012012

My latest column is up over at WoWI on the latest changes for balance druids: Fae Empowerment and more Starsurge  procs. TLDR version: FE is decent, but it’s complicating the rotation for little benefit. (Kinda like FB for ferals back in early Wrath…you stood to gain a little or lose a lot, depending on how you timed it, and this is the same.) I like the extra Starsurge procs though, and I think both changes help smooth out the “turret” feel moonkin have.

I’ve also gone back and updated the Symbiosis page, which is now complete (yay!) though it may not be 100% accurate (boo!). If you see any mistakes, please let me know and I’ll correct them.

 Posted by at 9:06 pm
Jun 262012

So, I was going to cover the new posts in the Class Balance Analysis Thread (henceforth abbreviated as the CBAT, because bats are awesome, even those who were mediocre in school) but I’ve had quite a bit to do at work and other people have written it up better already. Link post? Link post.

  • Go see Sunfyre for info on the revamp to the balance rotation (stronger, more frequent Starsurge and a maintenance buff to keep up) Graylo will probably also have something bloggish to say about it soon, I’d wager.
  • Arielle over at TIB had two Guardian roundup posts (one/two) Really liking the part about how Rebirth’s CD might be reset on a wipe, and bearcats were “not” OP. Um, right. I disagree with GC here. I’m cool with “world firsts have to resort to unusual strategies” but bearcatting wasn’t unusual, it was fairly customary to my knowledge.
  • Reygahnci throws out some numbers as to why Incarnation really is that terrible currently, and why Wild Charge really is that OP.
  • Oh, right, and I summed up what I saw as the current issues for balance and feral (in the beta) on WoW Insider.


 Posted by at 11:10 pm
Jun 202012

There’s an amazingly good class balance analysis thread/discussion going on at the official forums. It’s being heavily moderated, so all the junk’s being filtered, and GC’s talking more than he has in months, which is great. (Here’s the MMO-Champion tracker, if you just want to read the blue posts.) I’m going to pull out the druid quotes so far: GC’s responses in italics.

Quote: I know that modeling totem pets like the Fire Elemental has been annoying for the various Shaman theorycrafters. They seem to perform some actions randomly and they have an unexplained long “start-up” time. Any information you can give on how these things function under the hood would be welcome.

I believe there is a known issue that we’re currently working on, where many guardians that auto-assist you take a few sec to start assisting you after they spawn. We’re working to fix that, as we know that it impacts the performance of spells that summon these guardians.

My take: Good; this should help with Force of Nature.

Quote: Will Detonate indeed not be affected by Solar Eclipse?

Correct. Mushrooms should not be affected by Solar.

My take: Confirmation of what we already knew. Solarcleave is dead; should never be prolonging an Eclipse now.

Quote: There was a post not too long ago telling the Moonkin players that you were looking into a way for us to play around with our Eclipse.

There may occasionally be times where it’s actually worth it to use AC rotationally, but they should be generally pretty rare. What it should let you do is more directly control your Eclipse cycle, so that you can ‘game’ Eclipse to line up with fight mechanics. 

My take: Bingo. Exactly the niche it should be in, as I discussed in this column.

Quote: Is Bloom intended to be used in AoE healing rotations? How will it affect Harmony?

It isn’t intended to be used rotationally, and may be too good at the moment. It is fine for it to affect Harmony as long as it doesn’t become a vehicle to keep Harmony up. If we can make it a small little bonus, that’s fine.

Quote: Spending a lot of our day trying to keep both Harmony and Lifebloom up (while trying to take advantage of all the new toys we got in MOP) is just too overwhelming even in MOP 5-mans.

Yes, we agree. Both of those durations could increase without much risk.

My take: I’m not sure how to parse the first quote, unless they plan on giving Bloom a minor effect that isn’t a refresh. Something like “Also extends your Harmony duration for 1 sec for each mushroom that blooms.” Of course, seeing as they might bump up the duration of Harmony and LB, it might not end up mattering.

Quote: Mastery – As of right now Mastery is going to be the stat to miss COMPLETELY. Only two (three with Incarnation) abilities will benefit from it, both of which are based on Attack Power ONLY. Even then in 483 PvP gear, with full raid buffs and ZERO Mastery, Rip is still hitting for 300k damage.

We’re currently modeling Mastery as roughly equal in value to Crit and Haste for Ferals, typically a couple % better. If you can provide any more detailed analysis, we’d be interested in seeing it.

My take: Stack mastery! Heard it here first! :) As always, the actual question is how well the secondary stats will scale relative to each other.

Quote: Incarnation – As of this point Incarnation is bad for Feral druids. Due to Ravage and Pounce’s 50 energy cost, there is just not enough energy to compensate normal shreds. based on my analysis you are looking at a 600 dps loss if you spec into Incarnation. If Ravage and Pounce cost 40 energy instead, then it would be a dps buff.

Incarnation should allow you to replace several Shreds with Ravages. Ravages are indeed more expensive, so the CP per energy will be lower (except above 80%, where it will be much higher). But, Ravage does ~50% more damage than Shred, for only 25% more energy. Is your modeling show that that’s not enough to be a sustained DPS increase? (Not to mention being a significant burst DPS increase.)

My take: Nothing to see here; Incarnation  fills the burst DPS role, as intended.

Quote: I’m still in the early stages for Guardian but as of this point bears will only need to gear for dodge > crit > hit/exp > haste > Mastery up to 6 rage per second. This allows for at least 1 stack of Savage Defense will be available at all time. Beyond 6 Rage Per Second you will get to 0 stacks at some point during the fight. Beyond 6 RPS, uptime on SD only grows minisculally beyond 60% (6.66 RPS – 61.16% uptime; 7.5 RPS – 61.33% uptime; 10 RPS – 61.6% uptime) For example, with 6.666 RPS, we can use Savage Defense every 9 seconds up to 3 minutes into the fight. Afterwards we can use it every 10 seconds.

While there is effectively a ‘cap’ on converting rage to Savage Defenses uptime (as you describe, that’s effectively 6.666 RPS to use it on charge cooldown), that should translate to a very ‘soft’ cap on hit/exp/crit, as streaks of rage gain and rage drought may occur. And, more importantly, Frenzied Regeneration should provide a very attractive value in bleeding off excess rage, which is effectively uncapped. Our current design is that against difficult content, Savage Defense provides more average damage mitigation than Frenzied Regeneration heals, but given that it is avoidance (and thus not necessarily reliable), you will sometimes resort to using Frenzied Regeneration to smooth over spikes when you feel you need to. The goal in terms of feeling is that you should ‘want’ to use Savage Defense as much as possible, but sometimes you ‘need’ to Frenzied Regeneration to respond to unexpected spikes in damage.

My take: This is about the only thing I dislike. Against “difficult content,” you have to keep up SD as close to max uptime as you can manage, because 45% dodge is HUGE. I go from 20% avoidance to 65%.  Boss damage intake is going to be tuned for that max uptime; you don’t have the flexibility to go “oh my health’s at 20% hit FR instead of SD this time around” because by the time you generate 60 more rage to get SD back up, you’ll be dead. Maybe bosses won’t hav that kind of damage output…but they’ve always had to pump that up previously to challenge healers. So. We’ll see what happens with that.  Dammit, if I’m tanking, I don’t want my healers to have to track Savage Defense on their Grid/Vuhdo/Healbot, but it’s shaping up that way. Death (knight) bears!

More math:

Odds of taking 4 consecutive unavoided  hits with 20% dodge:  40%. With 65% dodge: 1.5%. Think on that.

 Posted by at 2:28 pm
Jun 122012

(There ain’t much.)

So…yeah. You can now fail to reset a PvP encounter 2 minutes instead of every 3…and HOTW just became pretty mandatory for Guardians. (Think! Think! Say something else to make it long enough that you couldn’t have just covered it on Twitter!) Umm…I’m being lazy busy and waiting for level 90 premades, so I haven’t been on beta overmuch, but I have heard from a reliable source that Savage Roar is no longer dispellable as an enrage effect. If true, that + the glyph clears up one of the principle objections to the beta changes I had.

 Posted by at 11:54 pm
Jun 122012

If you missed the livestream, you can now download the podcast here. I have to work on breaking all my military communications discipline habits for these things; I always wait for the channel to clear so I can talk, and, well…

Either that, or Fasc and Sunfyre just talk way too damn much. :P

 Posted by at 8:40 am
Jun 112012

In my latest column over at WoW Insider, I talk about my thoughts on Astral Communion.


Good: Lets moonkin charge Eclipse out of combat. Weak enough that it won’t become part of the rotation, but could potentially be used for DPS-burst encounters. Helps out in PvP where freecasting isn’t the easiest.

Bad: Charges all the way to Eclipse; ideally, you’d want it to stop one away for PvE, to not waste Nature’s Grace. Channeled, so doesn’t help much with movement DPS problems. (Actually, a commenter brought that up, and it’s a good point.)

Oh, and I’m starting to rework my monk guides over on my other site, World of Monkcraft. If you’re interested in that at all, go check out my Windwalker guide (the other specs are there, but a bit out of date). You might see some monk stuff of mine start popping up over on WoWI as well, so look out for that.

 Posted by at 1:02 am
Jun 062012

(I know, I know, old news, but I’m catching up.) Hit up the modelviewer as well, since the human model doesn’t really do it justice. I definitely like it better than any of the Cataclysm sets, that’s for sure. Looks like there’s three different accent colors (theoretically, for feral/guardian, resto, and balance) and unfortunately, the agi specs will probably get stuck with the red accents, which I definitely dislike compared to the brown/green. This may even put me off vainly trying to find groups to do 25m Naxx for T7.5, which is the best-looking set currently available (IMO).

Jun 042012

So, I took a week off from blogging/WoW to play Diablo 3…and then things went crazy in real life. Yeowch. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but my wife had to be hospitalized, and what was supposed to be a short stay ended up taking over a week. I’ve barely even touched a computer in the past ten days or so, but will slowly be catching up with stuff (and writing about it!) over the next few weeks.

…if I’m not playing Xenoblade Chronicles. Damn friends and their capacity to pick great games to tempt me with. :) I’ve sunk about 50 hours into D3, enough to level a barbarian to 60 and get through Hell Diablo, and Inferno just really isn’t that appealing to me.

 Posted by at 11:35 pm