Jun 102010
 

Well, I said I wouldn’t rehash my previous thoughts on the new talents…and I was wrong. :) I’ve seen some good writeups from other feral bloggers, and I’ve changed my mind on a few. I’ve linked the new talents to Wowhead, but they’re not in the database yet- check here for the text.

Overall, I’m very excited with the direction in which Feral is going right now. Bring on Cata already! :)

 Posted by at 11:58 pm
Jun 102010
 

Well, it’s good to see my source was accurate. :) The official current draft of the talent trees for Druid/Priest/Rogue/Shaman were publicly released yesterday. I’d previously discussed the new talents here and here, so i won’t rehash those; instead, I’ll look at a few potential feral builds. (These talent trees are nowhere near done; I expect Improved Mangle to be buffed/changed, SOTF is “supposed” to go away, and the Imp. FC/Pred. Strikes/Ravage synergy to be reworked. NS+MS could use a look as well. Primal Madness seems very underpowered.)

Cat: 0/53/18, 5 free points

Cat is pretty flexible. In its current incarnation, you have plenty of flex points; the 5 free ones I’ve indicated above, plus a few points that you have to put in to move down the tree. In this build, I’ve picked up all the survivability talents, leaving you to choose from Imp. Mangle/Feral Aggression for more DPS, Infected Wounds for backup debuff support, or bear talents for emergency tanking. At the moment, I’m considering Imp. FC/Pred Strikes to be PvP talents, so not taking those. The 18 points in Resto are pretty mandatory.

Bear: 0/53/21, 2 free points

Bear, in contrast, is much less flexible, due to taking 21 points in Resto. Until we see how heroics play out, I want to keep the 3 points in Feral Instinct to buff Swipe, so any flexibility (to buff Feral Aggresion, for example) will probably have to come from dropping NS+MS in Resto. Depending on how Rage works, OOC may be droppable; Lacerate will be used more (since we’re consuming them via Pulverize) so your 2 free points will either be used for Shredding Attacks or Imp. FC.

Hybrid: 0/60/16, 0 free points

Happily, a hybrid build still looks to be pretty viable, taking the Bear build and sacrificing the free points and NSS+MS to pick up Shredding Attacks/KOTJ/NomNomNom (heh).


 Posted by at 10:45 am
Jun 092010
 

I’m sure most of you read wow.com already, but if you don’t, please check out Allison’s latest Shifting Perspectives column on troubleshooting cat DPS. Some excellent advice there (of course, the linkback doesn’t hurt).

My addition:

Failure to energy pool. If all of your buffs/DoTs are up, it’s tempting to spam Shred as soon as you have the energy required. Don’t. Let that energy accumulate up to about 80 or so before firing off that Shred; this gives you a small reserve for when you DON’T want to wait (Rip down and need CP’s, etc.)

 Posted by at 9:26 am
Jun 092010
 

Let me get mathematical on you for a second. In any given boss fight, we have a potential maximum DPS, based on our stats (from gear and buffs), our skill (determining the best ability priority order to follow and then following it perfectly) and luck (crits, procs, etc.) Since luck is uncontrollable, we discuss how to maximize our stats and our skill.

With that in mind, let’s look at Ferocious Bite. Using my current gear (ICC25N level) as a rough measure in Simulationcraft and my current derived optimal rotation, I can pull 11402 DPS given perfect conditions (pre-ICC buff). If I eliminate FB from the rotation, my DPS drops to 11386, a 0.15% reduction. QQ. Even for a BiS feral, who has the gear to fully maximize FB, the DPS drop goes from 14104 to 13992, or a 0.8% reduction. Meh.

Here’s my postulate: For the vast majority of players, attempting to use Ferocious Bite as part of a DPS rotation (not counting target-about-to-die situations) will complicate the rotation more, which will lead to more errors in executing that rotation. This will lead to overall lower DPS.

Feel free to discuss in the comments. :)

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Jun 022010
 

This post incorporates material from the Cataclysm Alpha. If that bothers you, please stop reading now.

Resto:

The New Tree of Life

  • Tree of Life – 5 minute cooldown. 13% base mana. Shapeshift into the tree of life, increasing healing done by 15% and increasing your armor by 240% but reducing your movement speed by 50%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarly enhanced while shapeshifted. Lasts 45 sec. 5 minute cooldown. Enhanced spells: Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Thorns(NA), Wrath.
  • Lifebloom – While in Tree of Life form: Applies an additional application.
  • Regrowth – While in Tree of Life form: This spell is an instant cast.
  • Wild Growth – While in Tree of Life form: Affects an additional 2 targets.
  • Wrath – While in Tree of Life form: Cast time reduced by 50%, damage increased by 30%.
  • Entangling Roots – While in Tree of Life form: Damage increased by 200%. (Not sure if this is damage done, which is currently laughable and would remain so, or damage taken before breaking, which would be pretty sweet.)

Resto wanted a tank-saving cooldown like GS/PS; it didn’t get one, but hopefully, they won’t be as necessary under the new healing model. 4xLB and extra WG targets are a bit underwhelming, though a 4xLB sustained with Nourish could be pretty solid tank HPS. Now, +15% healing done with insta-Regrowths plus Efflorescence? Very nice. The movement debuff is back, though, and it greatly limits the utility of the cooldown.

Other changes

(Now that I look at it, most of the rest of the patch notes are the same as what was on mmo-champion, so I’ll just review the high points.)

  • Nature’s Bounty [NYI] – Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth spell by 10/20/30/40/50% on targets at or below 25% health, and you have a 20/40/60/80/100% chance when you critically heal with Healing Touch and Nourish to reduce the remaining cooldown of your Swiftmend spell by 0.5 sec.
  • Empowered Touch – Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 10/20% of your bonus healing effects, and your Nourish spell has a 50/100% chance to refresh the duration of your Lifebloom on targets.
  • Gift of the Earthmother [NYI] – Increases the healing done by the bloom effect of your Lifebloom by 2/4/6/8/10%, and your Rejuvenation spell also instantly heals for 4/7/10/13/16% of the total periodic effect.

Nature’s Bounty- The improved crit chance on Regrowth is nice, but hopefully classes won’t be hanging around 25% too often. The cooldown reduction feels underpowered; 1 sec would be better. Feels like a PvP talent.
Empowered Touch- Nourish rolling Lifebloom is very nice; what do we do with the bloom portion of the spell, though?  I guess it can still be used as a form of raid-healing, and it’ll still shine for PvP. Hopefully blooms will be less overheal.
GOTEM- Our best set bonus got baked into a talent. Still meh about blooms.

Balance:

(Again, not totally familiar with what’s new in this build, so just hitting the high points.)

  • Typhoon – Daze time increased to 6 seconds from 3 seconds.
  • Solar Beam [NYI] – (Instant) You summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target’s location, interupting the enemy target and silencing all enemy targets under the beam within 10 yards while it is active. Solar Beam lasts for 10 sec.
  • Starsurge – You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devastating blast of energy at the target. Causes X to X damage to the target and knocks them down.
  • Lunar Guidance – Increases the radius of your Solar Beam by 3/5/7 yds and your Starsurge instantly generates 6/11/16 Lunar or Solar Energy, whichever is greater.
  • Euphoria – When you critically hit with Wrath or Starfire, you instantly gain an additional 3/6 Lunar or 5/10 Solar Energy. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 7/14% of your total mana.
  • Wrath of Cenarius [NYI] – When you cast Moonfire, you gain Wrath of Cenarius. Wrath of Cenarius increases the damage done by your Moonfire by 3/6/9%, and reduces the mana cost by 10/20/30%. This effect is refreshed and amplified when you move, stacking up to 3 times. Effect lasts for 3 sec.
  • Improved Eclipse – Increases the amount of Lunar or Solar energy generated from your Starfire and Wrath by 31%, and when critically hit by a melee or ranged attack, you will instantly generate 7 Lunar or Solar Energy.
  • Fungal Growth [NYI] – When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 70%. Lasts 10 sec.

Solar Beam/Lunar Guidance looks to be quite powerful. 17 yds is a pretty big radius; that’s an interrupt and at best a 2 second run time to get clear of it, assuming perfect reactions. I’m assuming mages can’t blink out? Ouch. Will NPC casters have AI to run out of the beam? Will they run to melee?
Starsurge/Wrath of Cenarius looks to be the solution for damage on the move. Moonfire spam FTW.
Likewise, Euphoria seems to be the solution for mana recovery, now that the mana regen talents are mostly gone.
Fungal Growth looks to be far too powerful, especially in combination with Solar Beam. I’d expect them to prevent them interacting somehow. (Let’s face it, a 5-6s AOE silence is OP.) Right now, boomkin look to be quite a force in PvP.

    Jun 012010
     

    This post incorporates material from the Cataclysm Alpha. If that bothers you, please stop reading now.

    A new alpha build dropped a few days ago, and with it, a good chunk of feral changes. Let’s take a look.

    Ravage

    Unlike Rogues, who have more diversity in openers (Ambush/Garrote/Cheap Shot, all buffable with Premeditation), our opening move choices are Pounce and Ravage. Pounce has some good PvP utility, and putting up a bleed effect is necessary for all our other abilities, but its damage is pretty weak and doesn’t scale well. If the stun’s not useful, it’s probably better just to Rake.

    Ravage, like Ambush, is more of a leveling ability; it does decent burst damage when you get it, but it’s unaffected by most talents and is generally useless in max-level PvE content.

    …until now. (dum dum dum). Check out these changes:

    • Ravage – Ravage the target, causing 550% damage plus 236.93 to the target. Up from 385% and 165.98.
    • Shredding Attacks: Now reduces the energy cost of Ravage by the same amount as Shred (5/10).
    • Predatory Strikes: Now increases the critical strike chance of your Ravage by 25/50% on targets at or above 90% health, in addition to previous insta-nature spell ability.
    • Imp. Feral Charge: Ravage will not require stealth for 3/6 sec after using FC.

    Ravage still has the same disadvantages for PvE that it did previously (doesn’t get raid debuffs on the target), but with IFC, that problem is reduced (6s is more than enough time to apply a stack of FF, Mangle, and Rake). This will definitely give us more burst if needed…but threat could be a problem. :) Needless to say, proper opening of a fight will be a bit more complicated now; run in and start rotation is out.

    Interrupts

    Remember that we were promised a non-finisher interrupt? It’s here!

    • Skull Bash – 1 Rage/25 Energy, 8 yd range, Instant, 10 sec cooldown. You charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 5 sec.

    It’s basically Kick, with a bit of extra range. I’m not sure about the range/charge thing actually; I suppose it could be like FC with a min/max distance, but that seems really unwieldy for an interrupt that we’re expected to be able to use on command now. I also dislike the name, but I’ll get over it, I suppose. I like Bonk. :)

    Fury Swipes

    This new talent is interesting (not sure where in the tree it is right now):

    • Fury Swipes – When you auto-attack while in Cat form or Bear form, you have a 6/12% chance to gain an extra auto-attack on the same target. This effect cannot occur more than once every 6 sec.

    Oh, this’ll be fun to model. Basically, this is more on the theme of making the kitty rotation less punishing for less-skilled players; I’d imagine we’ll see the amount of white damage we do (as a %) going up.

    Bear Changes

    • Feral Aggression – Reduces the cooldown of Faerie Fire (Bear) by 1/2/3/4/5 sec, and increases the damage caused by your Ferocious Bite by 3/6/9/12/15%.
    • Faerie Fire (Bear) – Rage cost increased to 15. Decreases the armor of the target by 3% for 30 sec. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times. Deals [AP * 0.05 + 1.0] damage and additional threat. (Previously did AP * 0.15)
    • Savage Defense – Each time you deal a critical strike while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form, you have a 50% chance to gain Savage Defense, reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack that strikes you by 75% of your attack power. (Previously 100% chance for 25% of AP)

    Some significant changes here to FFF and SD. FFF’s damage is cut by two-thirds, but you have the option via talents to make it a spammable attack. Very interesting. This reduces FFF’s single-target damage below Swipe, which means either Swipe won’t be spammable without several mobs being on you, or it’s single-target damage will be reduced somehow. (Or maybe Mangle on CD+Lacerate+Pulverize will form the mainstay of the rotation now.) A spammable ranged attack, though, will help a LOT with keeping threat on casters.

    SD’s uptime gets cut in half, but its effectiveness triples. Overall, I’d see this as a net buff. For multi-target situations, multiple Swipe crits generally meant you were getting many wasted refreshes anyway. On a boss, you’ll definitely see a reduction in uptime, but face it, a 2k absorption wasn’t really all that significant with 50K+ HP and bosses hitting for 20K. 6K, however, will be very nice. It’ll make damage intake burstier, but that hopefully won’t be as much of a problem for Cata.

    Resto/Balance Changes (including the new Tree Form’s abilities!)

    Come back tomorrow. :)

    May 312010
     

    Now that I’m a Kingslayer (aside: it would be great if the title changed to X, Slayer of Kings, after you killed him twice. Or wait, we killed Ymiron in UP, didn’t we? Aren’t we already Kingslayers? /aside), I’m at a bit of a loss to find my next goal. I’ve already decided to cut back on the raiding a bit, and I’ve told my guild as such. Frankly, ICC hard-modes don’t look overly interesting…waltz through the first 6 or so, work a bit on the rest, then wipe on H LK for a few months until we abandon it for Cata. Yay. (Not to mention, my ever-patient wife deserves some couple time.) As such, I’m looking into some more solo pursuits.

    My Pre-Cataclysm To-Do List (In Pretentious Case):

    In-Game:

    • No more Alliance alts until Cata. :)
    • Level my DK’s blacksmithing/enchanting to 450 (currently 200ish/150ish) This gives me 6 max-level profs for Cata (currently have alch/LW on druid and mining/JC on pally). If I end up transferring my lock over from Cael, I’ll drop his enchanting and pick up herbalism/inscription to go with his tailoring.
    • Get some good badge tank gear for my DK to play around with some instance soloing.
    • Finish out World Explorer on my druid (Loremaster’s probably too much of a stretch). Maybe some other achievements…my achievement lust tends to come and go.
    • Maybe get into Arenas…have a mediocre resto PVP set put together.
    • Level my poor unloved Horde toon (belf mage) to check out Horde-side lore.
    • Have mats on all toons to prepare for the tidal wave of Cataclysm demand. (Which reminds me…guild bank for bank alt would be good, what with the online AH letting you list stuff out of your bank.)

    Blog/Forums/Other Out-Of-Game:

    • Keep working on the Ovale code for the feral DPS script. Play around with Simcraft to better set options.
    • Keep posting on feral topics; still have a lot to discuss. Got some hot new alpha info, a discussion on optimum FB usage, tanking in cat gear, and some other things.
    • Clean up the sidebar some, redo blogroll, etc.
    • Get rid of that silly Google Adsense thing. (FWIW, I’ve supposedly made $8.85, in the three months it’s been up, and I need to make $100 before I get a payment. Yay?)
    • Spend some time working on the forum. I know NOTHING about phpBB.

    Other:

    • Stop staying up until 3AM playing silly flash games on Kongregate. (Curse you Elements! And you too, Zubon, for leading me to it.)
     Posted by at 11:58 pm
    May 282010
     

    Finally. :) 20% really swung it for us…check this out:

    One-shot.

    Seriously. (Holy crap, I am so stoked right now.)

    No deaths leading into P3.

    I got to kill the Spirit Warden inside Frostmourne.

    I even got to play Hero Bear…we’d lost a few ranged, and at about 15%, three Vile Spirits started heading towards melee, and I went bear, popped everything (SI/Barkskin/Enrage) and took em all out. Unfortunately, there were actually 4, not 3. Oops. (EDIT: Wow…I didn’t realize, but our MT had gone down due to a missed Harvest Soul, and I took a LK melee hit as well after the second spirit!)

    AWESOME!

     Posted by at 12:29 am