May 142011
 

The preview of Tier 12 has been release; however, I do my best to hold off judgement until I have the set equipt on my toon.

Druid T12

Now that we have shoulders I really do have to say I’m digging the set. The helm for me will be turned off, but I’ll leave personal judgement up to the rest of you guys. The set with it’s different possible color combinations can be viewed here. However, since it is Firelands I do believe that the red set will be the one we receive first.

Set bonuses seems interesting, though are subject to change:

  • 2p Bonus- Your attacks with Mangle, Maul, and Shred deal 10% additional damage as Fire damage over 4 sec.
  • 4p Bonus- Your finishing moves have a 20% chance per combo point to extend the duration of Berserk by 2 sec.

The set bonuses have been a high topic of discussion. Yawning fears that if the fire damage proc works much like the old Ignite munching mechanic that it could end up being extremely lack luster in terms of dps gains. While at the same time the current purposed 4 set bonus has lead other feral theory crafters into the thought process that using less then 5 combo point finishers can potentially lead to a higher up time on our 4set bonus. The whole math process can be viewed here. Basically it comes down to statistics. Using less combo point finishers at a higher rate is more probable to increase our berserk longer then waiting for the 100% chance we would gain waiting for 5 cp’s.

Either way at this point the set bonus are subject to change as they have for our resto counter parts. In major glyph news the Furious Bite glyph now reads:

  • Glyph of Ferocious Bite has been redesigned. It now causes Ferocious Bite to heal the caster for 1% maximum health for each 10 energy used.

Considering how lack luster our major glyphs have been for feral so far in Cata it is awesome to finally have a reason to say that when it comes to specing feral this major glyph is one you should not be without.

As always I’m Qbear feel free to leave comment on what you think about the set look or the set bonuses announced thus far. There is a good thread going on our forums on all the patch 4.2 nonsense so be sure to go there and take a look. (Link at the top of this page.)

 Posted by at 1:04 am
May 112011
 

Almost three months ago,  I said that ferals needed “a slight damage bump, a quicker rotation ramp-up, a tweak to Ferocious Bite, and better AoE.”

Well, looks like we’re finally getting most of it. The AoE bit went live in 4.1 (hope everyone’s having fun causing their healers heart attacks with Berserked Swipe), and the damage buffs and the FB adjustment showed up in today’s notes. I’d still love a feral version of rogue Redirect, but I’m very happy that the big issues were looked at. (For what it’s worth, I’m confident that the damage increases will more than make up for the loss of DPS due to strength only being worth 1 AP. That’s a static loss in DPS; the ability increases will scale with gear.)

The set bonuses are very interesting but obviously still being tweaked; I’ll hold off discussion on those for another time. There’s some very interesting interactions between FB and Berserk; right now,  FB is horrible to use during Berserk because it drains energy, which prevents you from maximizing your Shreds. With the T12 4p bonus and the new version of FB, though, things are much less clear-cut. I imagine the numbers will still probably get tweaked, but just the fact they ARE getting tweaked makes me very happy.

As it stands, though, if what we have goes live in 4.2, I’ll be back to check things out, even with the crappy 128kbps connection I have here.

(Oh, and for those interested, so far my work in Iraq has mostly been like my work in the States; still coordinating to provide communications service for various units and customers, just now I have longer hours and get to take cover from indirect fire every couple days.)

 Posted by at 3:10 pm
May 102011
 

I end everyone of my post with a simple reminder that you can always comment or PM me with any questions that you have. Well people have been, and most of their questions are regarding raid strategies as a feral druid. I’ve been thinking for a long time that I should make guides on how to handle encounters as a feral; however, when it came down to sit down and write them I always was left thinking how would I go about this. You see the problem isn’t writing these guides, but writing them in away that they are easy to understand by everyone and easy to visualize what I’m talking about.

Thus the FluidDruid Youtube Channel is born.

Keep in mind I have not made a career for myself by selling books on tape. So while I do my best to narrate these videos in a way that keeps you engaged, there is the hump of me sitting in my room talking into a microphone for nine minutes at a time that I’ll have to get over. Though I do hope that these videos will remain a valuable learning tool for ferals that are trying to push further into content within their own guilds. Ferals that are currently farming 13/13 and ranking high on such tools as World of Logs won’t find much use for the channel. However, these are not my targeted audiance by any means.

The videos assume that your familiar with the basic fight mechanics. If your confused by anything I discuss in the encounters then please check out Learn to Raid for advance fight break down. The channel starts with one video for the raid week which is heroic Nef. (Sadly this was the only fight we had left up this week) So drop by and check it out. I will be adding a link to the Youtube channel on our official forums, as I update the site with new videos I will update the forums page and not the front page. As always feel free to leave comments or PM with any questions you may have. By leave comments I really do mean it, help me mold this channel into everything you would expect it to be from a site like this.

Sorry for lack of pictures I’m not a fan of the wall of text posts either =(

 

 Posted by at 5:47 am
May 052011
 

There’s a post about this on the forums, but with something as awesome as this I just had to make a front page post. As we know the next legendary to grace the WoW scene will be a caster staff. Now I know most of you are picking up your boomkin gear in hopes of being the first ones in your guild to obtain this sexy weapon. However, before you do let’s take a look at what is in store for feral cats.

test staff

Malevolence 2.0? Doesn’t sound that exciting now does it. However, for those of you who haven’t been catching up on all the latest gossip there was an article done here. The whole thing is a decent read, but you and I know the only important part was this.

  • This time around they have, however, resulting in some sexy Ragnaros-styled armor, a new non-legendary version of his mace, Sulfuros, and a druid staff that drops off one of raid’s other bosses that transforms the wielder into a molten cat.

There was a picture of a molten cat floating around MMO-Champion a while back.

Molten Cat

I got to say personally, keep your orange staff. I’ll take my orange kitty. On the official WoW Forums I actually found an awesome quote, which excited me because sadly I don’t find what most people say on the WoW Forums to be of any use. It was by a druid named Morality who said:

  • Well, Blizz did say they wanted to come up with a way for Feral Druids to upgrade their appearances based on raiding accomplishments, I suppose this staff could be them testing the waters.

Now I’m not actually sure if that’s something Blizzard said they wanted to do, or something we as a community have just been asking for, for years. (I think it’s the latter, unless someone can prove me wrong.) However, this is the first time we’ll ever be able tell a difference between an end game raiding cat vs a casual 5m heroic kitty. I got to say all in all I’m all about it and hope that in future content they do find some way to display a feral’s raid experience with their model.

With 4.2 changes being announced almost hourly I’m going to do my best not to just toss up useless info after useless info on the front page. Instead lets continue to use the FluidDruid Forums in order to get civil discussions going on what we see happening throughout the patch notes. As always feel free to comment, or PM me with questions. On a personal note I apologize for being away for awhile. With my triumphant return I make a movement to all dress up as cats and lay around outside of blizzard headquarters doing “cat stuff” until we get a stream of super buffs for 4.2!

(Just kidding about the “cat stuff” thing)

 Posted by at 1:35 pm
Apr 272011
 

Hey everyone, I would like to announce a new area over on our forums.  Sylv’s Snippets.  This is a new area I have started for smaller articles that aren’t enough for a full article.  These are WoW, feral, and off-topic articles meant to start conversation and get some good discussions going.  Think of it as sitting around in a bar and talking shop.  Please stop by and join in.

As always be sure to subscribe to the RSSfeed and use the forums. Are you on Twitter? I am, follow me @Sylvaneart. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have, but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.
Sylvaneart

Apr 262011
 

Just a quick note to let people know that the day cometh; I’ll be flying to Kuwait tomorrow, and moving on shortly thereafter. For those interested, my last WoW Insider column is here. Don’t try contacting me directly unless you like month-long response times. :) As always, the forum is the best place to go for advice on most things.

-Alaron/Chase (who’s really disappointed that he’s missing patch 4.1 AND Portal 2).

 Posted by at 2:56 am
Apr 222011
 

I feel like RSVs (Relative Stat values) are the theoretician’s equivalent to Archeology. No matter how much time you spend doing it, the return you get for your time spent is far less than doing just about anything else.

In his recent post about Mew and RSVs, Tangedyn wrote “Increasing the number of iterations by 100 times to 1million will reduce the Error by 10 times, to ~0.015 requiring 0.0212 difference in RSV, which is far more acceptable.” That is a lot of iterations. In this post, Tangedyn elaborated on the time involved in calculating RSVs: “Takes about 2 hours to test a profile with 1M iterations :/.”

In case you have never done it, download Mew, grab a profile, make sure that the model selected is “Simulator”, and then do two runs, one with RSVs enabled and one without RSVs. You will quickly get an appreciation for how time consuming it is to calculate RSVs. While most people would agree that anything that is extremely time consuming should have a decent return on investment, I hesitate to say that about WoW players who will spend hours upon hours farming for a rare pet. However, RSV calculations do not reward us with a pet. Do they reward us with increased understanding that will help us gear better and conquer the content faster?

Let’s do a few tests and see. First of all, I am not going to do tests with 1 million iterations. I will use 40k iterations (which is still pretty slow). My goal is not to calculate a set of RSVs that can used for my gearing. Rather it is to try several tests to see how how RSVs change as I move my secondary stats around and to draw some conclusions as to whether or not the RSVs can help increase my dps. In my previous post about the homogenization of the secondary stats in 4.06, I already took the position that the difference in the secondary stats is not that much since the 4.06 changes. That would argue against spending time worrying about RSV values. Lets see if that holds true or not.

The setup I am using is starting with a balanced stats profile – Weapon DPS: 703.5, Strength: 142, Agility: 5118, Attack Power: 887, Haste Rating: 936, Hit rating: 604, Crit Rating: 954, Expertise Rating: 188, and Mastery rating: 1987 (this is an ilvl 362 setup). The testing is based on the 4.1 Berserk along with the Berserk changes I covered in my last post. I am not going to make an effort to reforge to different setups, rather I will simply subtract and add to my secondary stats in multiples of 100. For example, I might lower haste rating by 500 and increase crit rating by 500 if I want to test a profile with more crit. The first and most important thing you need to understand about RSVs (other than it can take 2 hours to get numbers that have a high confidence level) is that RSVs are calculated in a small range – about 100 stat points (I move around 91 stat points when I reforge my ilvl 369 chest). If you reforge more than a single piece of gear, it is likely you are changing your stats around more than the RSV code has tested. Enough discussion  – let’s see how different things affect my RSV.

Does the type of fight affect my RSVs:

Fight Description DPS Str Agi AP Haste Crit Mastery Hit Exp Error
5:00 Patchwork 24090.3 2.31 3.04 1.10 .81 1.02 1.19 .99 .98 .08
5:00 Mid-Combat Ravage 25133.7 2.40 3.16 1.14 .86 1.05 1.19 1.03 1.02 .08
5:00 Atramedes 19900.9 1.89 2.50 .90 .61 .84 .97 .89 .89 .07

Across all thee fights, taking into account the error (.08 x sqrt(2) = .11 and .07 x sqrt(2) = .10) we can safely say that haste is the worst stat for my profile on all three fights. It looks like mastery is the best on all three fights, but on the Atramedes fight we cannot say so with a 95% confidence without doing more iterations. It also looks like hit and expertise improve relative to the other stats on Atramedes, but again, we need to do more iterations to have a 95% confidence interval. So fight type does seem to have some effect on the ordering of the RSVs – but not a lot (obviously a fight like Atramedes has a statistically significant impact on all of the RSVs due to lost combat time).

How about the length of the fight?

Fight Description DPS Str Agi AP Haste Crit Mastery Hit Exp Error
5:00 Patchwork 24090.3 2.31 3.04 1.10 .81 1.02 1.19 .99 .98 .08
3:00 Patchwork 24673.0 2.34 3.10 1.11 1.21 1.05 1.19 1.10 1.09 .11
7:00 Patchwork 23977.9 2.31 3.05 1.10 1.03 1.03 1.18 .98 .98 .07

Look at the variation in haste. Even with only 40k iterations per sim run, that is significant. Haste is clearly sensitive to fight length – and in a way that is not obvious without doing more tests. It looks like hit and expertise are more valuable on a short fight but we cannot say that with a 95% confidence – so more iterations are needed to validate that.

What happens if I switch to Glyph of Berserk in place of Glyph of Tiger’s Fury? The previous tests were run with GoTF. Lets try the three fights with GoB and see what happens:

Fight Description DPS Str Agi AP Haste Crit Mastery Hit Exp Error
5:00 Patchwork 24000.7 2.29 3.04 1.09 .90 1.03 1.16 1.04 1.03 .08
5:00 Mid-Combat Ravage 24878.5 2.37 3.12 1.13 .85 1.04 1.16 1.04 1.02 .08
5:00 Atramedes 19948.2 1.89 2.51 .90 .59 .85 .97 .81 .81 .07

Comparing the GoB numbers to the GoTF above, it looks like the difference is not that great – at least for these three fight scenarios.

What if I move around stat points, taking from the lowest and putting them in the highest? I am going to focus on the 5:00 Patchwork fight where Crit is clearly better than Haste – so I am going to shift points from Haste to Crit and see what happens. Technically, Mastery is the better than Crit, but in my actual reforging I am already maxed on on Mastery.

Fight Description DPS Str Agi AP Haste Crit Mastery Hit Exp Error
5:00 Patchwork 24090.3 2.31 3.04 1.10 .81 1.02 1.19 .99 .98 .08
5:00 Patchwork, move 100 24097.7 2.31 3.06 1.10 .95 1.03 1.19 .96 .95 .08
5:00 Patchwork, move 200 24096.1 2.31 3.06 1.10 1.04 1.02 1.20 .97 .96 .08
5:00 Patchwork, move 500 24083.8 2.31 3.04 1.10 .97 1.01 1.21 .92 .91 .08

Once again Haste seems to be more volatile than the other stats, with some movement from Hit and Expertise, although more iterations will be needed to say that at a 95% confidence. The main thing to look at is the DPS line. I shifted 500 stat points from Haste to Crit (ending up with 436 Haste Rating and 1454 Crit Rating) and along the way, the range of the DPS varies only 14 dps from the high to the low. So even if, after a two hour run we can safely say that Crit rating has a higher RSV than Haste, does the potential 7 dps gain from moving 100 stat points from haste to crit justify the time spent?

TLDR: To get valid RSV values takes hours of simulation work. RSV values are only meaningful in a range of 100 stat points. Haste seems to be the most volatile stat (quoting Tangedyn from this post: “I’ve seen Haste’s RSV fluctuate enough that there is probably more than meet the eye, but at the moment there is no real proof pointing to anything as a cause of the the fluctuation or a Haste breakpoint.“). Even large swings (500 stat points) in how you allocate your secondary stats will have very little impact on your overall dps.  Quoting myself from my Homogenization post “The secondary stats are so close in value now that you you can pretty much choose any combination of crit/haste/exp/hit without significantly impacting your dps.” Bottom line – RSV calculations may be valuable to theoreticians, but do not use them as a guide for how to reforge your gear. As always, your time will be much better spent focusing on the fight mechanics and your rotation.

Apr 202011
 

So with 4.1 having a release candidate finally hit the PTR it is a good time to talk about the upcoming changes. These changes are still subject to change but if they don’t we should be prepared. (OMG am going to get Illidan jokes for that?)

Druids
So what changed for all druids no matter your spec? Two things changed and IMHO they are both good.

  • All non-damaging interrupts off the global cooldown will now always hit the target. This includes Pummel, Kick, Mind Freeze, Rebuke, Skull Bash, Counterspell, Wind Shear, Solar Beam, Silencing Shot, and related player pet abilities.

 Skull Bash has gone from never miss to miss and now back to never miss. Not the greatest planning on Blizz’s part but a change I will gladly take. This will help cats that had to bring hit gear for interrupts on certain fights.  Skullbash is still stupid expensive but this is a nice start.

  • Druids now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Tranquility.
    This is nice. With Nurturing Instinct this is a viable raid heal we have and getting pushback on it was a pain.

Cats
Ah yes the cat changes. Some good, some great, and some…..

  • Prowl has a new icon.

Well thank god! Not what I was hoping for when asking for changes to be made.

  • Stampeding Roar’s duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40% and is no longer cancelled by cancelling shapeshift form.
  • Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used.

OK these 2 changes together make a nice buff. It is situational and many will see it as a PVP buff to make up for losing the shapeshift breakers, but I can live with this. Now they just need to make the range bigger.

  • Berserk is no longer on the global cooldown.

This wasn’t needed but it is helpful. I have hit Beserk early and wasted a GCD to hit it again.  To really see what this change means read Leafkiller’s post.

  • Swipe (Cat) damage has been doubled.

Ah the best for last. This very well might make us go from worst to 1st on AOE fights.  I personally can’t wait to stop tanking on Heroic Maloriak since my AoE is so bad. Our AoE is just plain embarrassing as it stands right now.

Bears
They’re big, they’re hairy, and they got some nice changes.

  • Lacerate bonus threat has been removed and replaced with increased initial damage done.

We complain about initial threat, and this is what they give us? It would have been nice to leave in the bonus threat.

  • Enrage no longer increases physical damage taken.

Speaking of initial threat, this is a nice boost. If we pick up KotJ with this new mechanic, we will have that initial threat. GG, Blizz, I like this one.

  • Savage Defense has been redesigned slightly. Instead of a single charge absorption, it now places an absorption effect on the druid absorbing up to 35% of the druid’s attack power (modified by mastery, if applicable) in damage and lasting 10 seconds. There are no longer any charges on the effect.

This was a needed change. Bear AoE threat was subpar but our AoE survival was worse. This doesn’t make us the best AoE tanks out there but it does expand what we can do.

  • Stampeding Roar’s duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40% and is no longer cancelled by cancelling shapeshift form.
  • Feral Swiftness now also causes Dash and Stampeding Roar to have a 50/100% chance to instantly remove all movement impairing effects from the affected targets when used.

Like with cats, these 2 changes together make a nice buff. It is situational and many will see it as a PVP buff but I can live with this. Now they just need to make the range bigger.

  • Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6, and is now on trainable at level 18 (training cost has been reduced). In addition, the bonus threat from this ability has been removed and replaced with increased damage done.

And there is the AoE threat to go with the survivability.

  • Thrash bonus threat has been removed and replaced with increased damage done.

Hmmm not bad, but not particularly good either.

  • Berserk is no longer on the global cooldown.

This isn’t as big a deal to bears. But it is a bear thing

Glyphs

  • Glyph of Rake is now Glyph of Pounce, which increases the range of Pounce by 3 yards.

PVP IMO.

Druid Bug Fixes

  • The Troll druid models for Flight Form and Swift Flight Form have slimmed down to be more in scale with other druid flight forms.

So you were fat.  Get over it.

So looking over the changes kind of made me happy-at first.  I saw an improvement to cat AOE damage and bear AOE threat.  I was so happy to see changes I jumped on all the changes at first.  But after re-reading and re-reading, I’m not real happy.  Feral AOE got a decent boost but not a good one.  Had they cut the cost of swipe in half it would have been better.  As it is, we will still swipe the same number of times but do double damage, run out of energy and be done in a matter of seconds just like before.  With the increase in damage all cats will need to watch their threat levels.  There was no attempt made to help us rampup our damage faster or make us better in fights with constent target switching.  The bear changes were all good ones.  So 4.1 is…………….disappointing.

On a personal note I am sorry I havn’t posted much as of late.  There simply isn’t much going on besides te patch and i didn’t want to post about it until closer to the release.  Then i got sick.  I mean really sick.  I am better now and can’t wait to discuss ferals with all of you. 

As always be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and use the forums.  Are you on Twitter?  I am, follow me @Sylvaneart.  Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have, but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.

Sylvaneart

Apr 172011
 

In my last post I discussed rotation modifications for dealing with Berserk in 4.1. In so doing, I also touched on the relative performance of the Glyph of Tiger’s Fury (GoTF) and the Glyph of Berserk(GoB) on different fights. As often happens, a fair amount of the commentary by people on that post has been on the relative value of the glyphs rather than on the changes to the rotation with Berserk no longer being on the GCD. Rather than continue to discuss the glyphs on that post, I decided to toss up this post as a place to begin a more in-depth discussion of GoTF and GoB. The tricky part about comparing GoB with GoTF is that either can be better depending on the fight mechanics and fight length. GoB is particularly sensitive to fight length due to the three minute cooldown and GoTF is particularly impacted on a fight like Atramedes where the repeating air phases are 31.5 seconds with no chance to cast TF while the GoB cooldown continues to tick down.

My feeling is that the choice of whether to use GoB or GoTF is dependent on both fight mechanics and raid needs. GoTF will provide more overall dps on fights where there is no interruption on attacks (Chimaeron is a good example) but GoB will provide more burst dps (which is also applicable to Chimaeron where burst is important in phase 3). It really depends on the role one is playing in the fight.

My goal of this post is not to say which glyph is better, but rather to help people gain some insight into how fight mechanics and fight length affect each of the glyphs. Atremedes is a really interesting fight to show that on due to the periodic air phases. Per DBM the timing in Atramedes is:

  1. Initial 90 second ground phase
  2. 31.5 second air phase
  3. 85 second ground phase
  4. 31.5 second air phase
  5. repeat the 85/31.5 second pattern until either Atremedes is dead or the enrage timer is hit

A couple of things to keep in mind. The dps script has not been optimized for this fight. It will try to cast Berserk as early and often as possible with the constraint that it will try not to delay the next TF. To optimize the script for this fight, there are likely times where it would be better to cast Berserk at a point where it will delay TF in order to get as much Berserk time as possible before the next air phase. Additionally, it is difficult to know what to set the Blood in the Water timing to so I am leaving it at 25% – which really impacts dps when Atramedes dies during or right after an air phase. I am going to test a series of fights that use the same profile, for both the GoB and the GoTF with the fight length increasing in 30 second intervals from 5:00 to 8:30. The setup I am using is a balanced stats profile – Weapon DPS: 703.5, Strength: 142, Agility: 5118, AttackPower: 887, Haste Rating: 936, Hit rating: 604, Crit Rating: 954, Expertise Rating: 188, and Mastery rating: 1987 (this is an ilvl 362 setup). The testing is based on the 4.1 Berserk along with the Berserk changes I covered in my last post.

So what does the data below tell us? First off, you should use GoB on Atramedes. At 6:30 and 7:00 you can see the impact of the Berserk logic waiting for TF to come  off of cooldown resulting in Berserk being clipped when using the GoTF. Putting in some additional fight specific logic to minimize clipping of Berserk right before an air phase,  I just got 19347 dps, 12.3 TFs, and 2.9 Berserks for the 6:30 GoTF fight and 19606 dps, 13.5 TFs and 2.9 Berserks for the 7:00 minute GoTF fight – so pushing off a TF in order to avoid clipping a Berserk can be a small dps up – but it is not that significant. Notice that the dps difference between GoTF and GoB goes from a low of 23dps on the 5:00 fights to a high of 292dps on the 7:00 fights which is a pretty big swing. You can see how much fight length and mechanics affect dps – which has a high of 20273 on the 5:00 GoB fight to a low of 18126 on the 8:00 GoTF fight.

Sometime soon, I will do a followup post comparing the two glyphs on a patchwork style fight at different fight lengths. That will favor GoTF and  will further illustrate how fight length and mechanics affect TF, Berserk, overall dps and the choice of which glyph to use, GoTF or GoB.

 

Glyph of Tiger’s Fury Glyph of Berserk
Fight Length DPS # of TFs # of Berserks DPS # of TFs # of Berserks
5:00 20250 10.2 2 20273 8 2
5:30 20068 10.6 2 20217 9 2
6:00 18261 11.5 2 18418 9.9 2
6:30 19348 12.5 2.7 19573 10.2 3
7:00 19561 13.6 2.8 19853 11.7 3
7:30 19319 13.9 3 19518 12 3
8:00 18126 14.8 3 18362 13 3
8:30 18841 15.9 3 19010 14 3
Apr 172011
 

April 12th, Yawning posts a new version of Mew with the known 4.1 changes included and a few hours later Blizzard posts new 4.1 feral changes that make this new version of Mew out of date. Personally I think it is a conspiracy.

Fast forward to April 15th. I chatted with Tangedyn last night and he told me that the change to Berserk was already checked into the Mew source tree. He also walked me through setting up my Eclipse environment so that I can compile Mew locally, which gives me access to the latest changes without having to bug Yawning to post a special version for me (he is retired from the game after all, although apparently he is bored and continues to make enhancements to Mew). So there I was, with a new Mew in hand (my version of a new toy) and the burning question, “what does the change to Berserk mean to the feral rotation?” More specifically, what does it look like when I model it in my Mew script and what changes will be needed in my feral Ovale script?

Taking Berserk off of the global cooldown makes it castable at the same time as Tiger’s Fury and the next GCD ability. The default 4.0.6 sim script constrains Berserk by ensuring there is an upper limit to how much energy you can have when casting it. This is to prevent energy loss during the GCD that Berserk currently triggers. In my 4.0.6 sim script, I also set a low bound – a minimum energy level for when to cast Berserk. This makes a very small difference with the Glyph of Tiger’s Fury (GoTF), and a larger difference with Glyph of Berserk (GoB). With the 4.1 changes, I removed the upper energy bound from Berserk and also synchronized it to not be cast during a GCD. The same rule applies to TF – you should wait for the previous GCD to be finished before casting TF to maximize the number of GCD abilities that can be cast during the TF. For the purposes of this post, I tested my rotation with three versions of Berserk code, the default 4.06 code, my 4.0.6 code and my new 4.1 code (which I revised while writing this post). I posted an updated version of my sim script which includes all three code snippets with two of them commented out – so anyone who wants to can easily compare all three.

For the testing, I decided to do a comparison test of all three methods using both GoB and GoTF with a single profile that has balanced stats – Weapon DPS: 703.5, Strength: 142, Agility: 5118, AttackPower: 887, Haste Rating: 936, Hit rating: 604, Crit Rating: 954, Expertise Rating: 188, and Mastery rating: 1987 (this is an ilvl 362 setup). I used the following five combat scenarios:

  1. A 5 minute patchwork style fight (“Patch”)
  2. A 5 minute patchwork style fight with in-combat Ravages with no travel time (“5 min. Ravage 0″)
  3. A 7 minute fight that emulates Atremedes (7min. Atramedes)
  4. A 5 minute fight that emulates Atremedes (5min. Atramedes)
  5. A 7 minute patchwork style fight with in-combat Ravages with no travel time (” 7min. Ravage 0″)

During the course of the testing I noticed that my 4.0.6 Berserk code worked slightly better than the default 4.06 code on the patchwork style fights, but significantly worse on the Atramedes fights. This led me to revise the new 4.1 Berserk code taking elements from both of the 4.0.6 Berserk codes. Now, if TF is up, the 4.1 Berserk code does not have a minimum energy level, but there is a minimum energy level if TF is not up. This code performs well for both GoB and GoTF. Since the Berserk code has no energy constraints during TF, it opens up the possibility of using a macro to cast both together when both are off of cooldown, energy is low enough to cast TF and it is at a time you want to cast both TF and Berserk. The new 4.1 Berserk code performs better than both of the 4.0.6 Berserk codes in all test scenarios. A simplified explanation of when to optimally cast Berserk in 4.1 is:

  1. If the Tiger’s Fury buff is up and you can cast Berserk, do so.
  2. If the Tiger’s Fury buff is not up and you have at least 65 energy and the next cast of Tiger’s Fury will not be delayed by Berserk, cast Berserk.
  3. If the Tiger’s Fury buff is not up but the fight (mob) will end before Berserk does if you wait for TF to be up, cast Berserk.

Obviously, these rules should be applied at a time when you want to use Berserk – which is fight dependent. For example you might find yourself casting Berserk on a key add phase knowing that it will delay TF.

Comparing GoTF to GoB, GoTF is consistently better on the patchwork tests, especially those that allow for melee range Feral Charge (think Chimaeron) and GoB is consistently better on the Atramedes tests. I did not do enough tests to make a thorough comparison of the two glyphs, but some patterns can be seen in the data. Unfortunately there are still a lot of combat scenarios that are not possible to model in Mew, especially add fights. I did have a chance to chat with Yawning today, and asked him to add a couple of new toggles to Mew that will make it possible to test some additional scenarios in the future.

GoTF GoB
4.06 Patch 24437 24336
4.06 5min. Ravage 0 25498 25205
4.06 7min. Ravage 0 25221 24942
4.06 7min. Atramedes 19532 19735
4.06 5min. Atramedes 20224 20201
4.06 Leaf Patch 24451 24362
4.06 Leaf 5min. Ravage 0 25514 25234
4.06 Leaf 7min. Ravage 0 25184 24913
4.06 Leaf 7min. Atramedes 19372 19594
4.06 Leaf 5min. Atramedes 20227 20198
4.1 Patch 24480 24398
4.1 5min. Ravage 0 25531 25279
4.1 7min. Ravage 0 25277 25014
4.1 7min. Atramedes 19561 19853
4.1 5min. Atramedes 20250 20273