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
Apr 132011
 

From the latest PTR patchnotes:

  • Swipe (Cat) damage has been doubled.
  • Berserk is no longer on the global cooldown.

Our AOE needed a buff, but this is probably too much and is going to get reeled back in. If my mental Swipe DPE is correct, doubling its damage would only put it 10-20% behind Shred, and make it the automatic go-to for fights with multiple targets. (well, 3+ for certain, would have to figure up rolling dots on 2.) We’d go from worst to first on H Maloriak, that’s for sure. Someone chime in and tell me I’m seeing things.

Oh, and the Berserk change is nice for cats but very nice for bears.

(Back to planning IA policy. Yay for real work, boo for real work.)

 Posted by at 1:13 am
Apr 062011
 

Hey guys I know it’s been awhile but I promise you in my absence I have not been neglecting the blue announcements. This night I’d like to shift focus and look into the other side of the feral tree our brothers in fur, da bears! I’ve been a full time bear for a few weeks as one of our guilds MT’s had to step away from the game. For those of you who have to tank some, or all fights this post will be more directed for you.

4.1 has been pretty neglectful in the cat dps side of things so far, while there’s still hope for an announcement there has been some interesting things I’ve noticed thus far for our bear brethren.

First comes to very large assortment of bear damage increases coped with of course the change to savage defense we’ve been discussing on the forums

  • 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.
  • Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6, and is now 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.
  • Thrash bonus threat has been removed and replaced with increased damage done.

Let’s break this down into 2 topics. First the removal of the added threat and increase to damage done. Most of you remember the nerf to Mangle damage bears went through not so long ago. This nerf was largely due to the fact that we were destroying the other tanks on the damage meters. While Swipe isn’t in a single target tanking rotation, Thrash most certainly is. The change is nice and should, if done correctly, scale a lot better then the threat modifier in higher gear levels; however, I highly see this being a change that gets reverted once we see how this effects our damage output in a raid setting.

As for Savage Defense, the change is exactly what we needed. However, there’s been some ptr reports on it being pretty buggy. Blizzard tried to explain that tracking the shields with 3rd party addons like recount can cause misleading information in the combat logs:

  • There are two issues here.

    One is that the combat log is saying “refresh” in a confusing way when it’s really just applying damage to the shield (i.e. a new shield has not been created). We’re looking at some ways that might be fixed.

    The second issue has to do with our combat log (or third party logs) apparently disagreeing about what happened. Remember, our combat calculations are done on the realm side and then reported to the client, but the client only gets those reports periodically. The message has to travel a potentially long distance between your client and our realms. It’s important that the calculations are done realm-side though, to maintain gameplay integrity.

    Because of the latency inherent in client – realm communication, it can appear that a hit lands before the shield procs, yet still applies to the shield, leading to the mistaken impression that the proc isn’t occurring properly. In reality, the server is (probably) performing the steps correctly, but the client sometimes lags behind. For example, there’s a case where what actually happened is this sequence: 1) shield proc, 2) hit, 3) absorb, but the client is slightly behind and instead (incorrectly) shows 1) hit, 2) shield proc, 3) absorb in the combat log. Or it could appear that you lost shield points without actually taking less damage, when in reality either the shield or your health pool weren’t affected. Or it could appear that if you take multiple hits nearly simultaneously that the shield did nothing to the later hits, but in reality the shield was gone on the first hit and your client just hasn’t been notified of that fact yet. We will investigate this issue just to make sure, but we’re pretty confident that Savage Defense and Blood Shield are working correctly and are just sometimes getting misreported. With Savage Defense lasting longer in 4.1, you may see this kind of thing more often.

    The takeaway is that latency can in some cases cause combat log display issues like the one we’re seeing here. We understand that a lot of you use the combat log as a reporting tool to analyze a fight after the fight has concluded. The combat log as currently implemented is supposed to give you a data feed in real time. We’d like to redesign the combat log to fill that post-combat analysis role better (as Ghostcrawler alluded to in a recent Q&A) but that is a Very Big Task. Just delaying the current combat log so that it was in 100% parity with the server could cause serious issues with third party mods among other things, so we have to be careful not to turn a single screw and end up dismantling the whole machine, so to speak. Despite its limitations, it remains an accurate and useful tool in the vast majority of circumstances.

The change overall sounds awesome and sound help in a lot of aoe situations, but I think Felhoof on our forums said it best:

  • It actually helps a lot less than you think depending on how they implement it. Right now the problem isn’t dinky hits vs super big hits – it’s super big hits vs mostly big hits.

    Heroic mobs can hit for upwards of 10-20k depending. SD currently gets wasted on the 10k, but not as much as you’d think – close to 5-10k is wasted. That’ll help, but if that 10k gets refreshed by another crit (which is almost certainly going to happen with swipe) you’re not gaining anything if you wouldn’t have gotten hit in that time.

    Now if they allow SD to stack in damage absorption that would solve both issues and make the only problem that it doesn’t actually scale with incoming damage. Still, it would go a long, long way towards fixing most of the issues with SD and making it significantly stronger for bears.

I know a lot of tanking deathknights who in times of offtanking would simple deathstrike every 5 secs to roll a rather large shield on themselves. When they needed to finally taunt they’d have that up. Savage defense is powerful but a 50% chance on crit will always be 50% chance on crit no matter how you look at it. Until there’s away to get the absorb effect to stack on savage defense my suggestion is to remain placing shield tanks on add/multi-mob tanking duty.

As always let me know what you think, I know a bear article isn’t the norm here; however, I do get pm’s on the forums asking me how I handle tanking situations so I’m sure some, if not most, of the readers will appreciate. Feel free to post here or even better get topics up on the forums for discussion, if you have a very well thought out post like Felhoof I’ll be sure to include it in front page material.

Until Next Time

-Qbear

 Posted by at 9:31 pm
Mar 292011
 

The cat threads across the various forums are littered with people asking questions about what gems and enchants should be used, and how to reforge. The advice is varied and in many cases out of date as people have not fully embraced the changes that 4.06 made. The following three rules are all you need. If you spend more time thinking about gemming, enchanting and reforging than the amount of time it takes to read this post, you are spending your time on the wrong subject. You would be better suiting thinking about your rotation and the various boss encounters your guild is working on if you want to make significant improvements to your dps.

1. Always gem for agility. Agility is generally worth about three times the stat value of any of the secondary stats. Unless a socket bonus is worth 14+ agility for a single gem socket, ignore it. In the current content there are only a few items in the game where it is worthwhile to get the socket bonus (helms, tier chest, Sinestra belt). Everything else should be gemmed with agility (delicate). As it happens, in all three cases where it is worth getting the socket bonus, the socket color is blue – so you will be using agility/hit gems for the blue sockets in those items (glinting).

2. Use the known BiS enchants. The BiS enchants are well understood. Agility/haste for the helm; agility/mastery for the shoulders; agility for the back*, bracers, weapon and boots; stats for the chest; Attack power/crit for the legs; strength for the gloves. Don’t use any other enchants. * 65 crit is a viable alternative for the back.

3. Get mastery on every item. Mastery continues to be the best of the secondary stats and is generally worth about 20% more than the other secondary stats. If an item does not have mastery on it, reforge the highest available secondary stat to mastery. Per my post 4.06 – the Homogenization of Secondary Stats the difference in relative values of all of the secondary stats other than mastery are pretty close and varying them will have minimal impact on your dps. Once you have mastery on every item, then you can reforge selectively as needed (hit until 4.1 for interrupts) or desired (for example some people like to reforge to expertise on Al’akir). In general having haste and crit balanced provides good results, although some people prefer to reforge to hit/expertise in order to have a more stable rotation and consistent results on fights with target switching.

Mar 242011
 

(snarky reference to reuse of tired insert title title)

Anyway, now that’s that out of the way, a few notes:

  • First off,  I want to thank my guest authors for their work so far. I’ve seen links from other blogs for posts that all three have written; one site went so far to call it “Qbear’s Fluid Druid blog.” Heh. :)
  • I’ve added a section on the forum for UI/addon issues (since the kitty DPS forum was getting cluttered with non-DPS posts.) We may move a few threads around, so just a FYI. If you’d like to see another forum, let me know.
  • I’ll be driving to Texas on Monday, and I’m still heading for the desert in 4-6 weeks. My name’s not really a secret anymore (thanks, WoW Insider!) so if anybody would like to keep up with me personally via FB, I’m here (just make sure you indicate that you found me from the website, I usually reject random friend requests). I’ll make every effort to respond to emails/PMs/comments about the site while deployed, but no guarantees.
  • I also created a FB page for the blog here, not that I intend to do anything with it. Like it if you want, I guess.
 Posted by at 1:56 pm  Tagged with: