May 252010
 

Successfully soloed Molten Core over the weekend; going to start working on some Northrend 5-mans, as I tried Magtheridon and got smacked down pretty good. Unfortunately, bear isn’t even close to Pallies or DK’s for solo ability; not enough self-healing. All I have is Imp. LOTP and Survival Instincts-boosted Frenzied Regen every 3 minutes.  My strategy’s pretty simple- I basically rely on gobs of avoidance and Savage Defense for most bosses, and kitty DPS with Predatory Strikes insta-heals + HoTs boosted by Nurturing Instinct for certain encounters. I’m going to start gearing my DK for solo tanking, I think. Something to do, while we struggle to make numbers to work on LK some more.

(Has anyone had problems with DBM not resetting properly? Occasionally after a LK wipe, I lose all my DBM timers/functionality. Sucks for Defile.)

 Posted by at 10:39 am
May 242010
 

As I promised in an earlier post, I’ve rewritten Furion/Leaf’s Ovale script to bring it more up-to-date. I’ve posted it in my forum here. Please provide any feedback either in comments or on the forum post. Info below. I’ll be posting it to EJ in a few days, but existing readers get the first shot. :)

# Version History
# v1.0:
# Full verification of action list against Simcraft.
# Corrected TF condition. Loosened Berserk condition (slight deviation from SC).
# Prioritized Rip/Mangle. Removed Manglebot option, no point anymore with 60s duration.
# Added options for OOC icon and Shred on OOC proc.
# Hopefully fixed bug with Rake being recommended even though it’s already on target.
# Added user-selectable logic for No FB/Few FB’s/Many FB’s. Default is no FB’s which is best for most players.
# (FB logic still needs some testing)
# Rewrote several lines to track Simcraft closer, to make user-editing easier.
# Added a few lines to catch bad situations (energy-cap, energy pooling while Rip is down).
 Posted by at 1:39 pm
May 202010
 

MMO-Champion’s got the loot list from Ruby Sanctum up, and there’s some good feral pieces there. Let’s take a look.

271 Neck Melee.DPS Neck Penumbra Pendant
271 Finger Phys.DPS Finger Signet of Twilight
271 Trinket Phys.DPS Trinket Sharpened Twilight Scale
271 Trinket Tanking Trinket Petrified Twilight Scale
258 Leather Phys.DPS Chest Gloaming Sark

EDIT: Changed links to wowhead since mmo-champ tooltips aren’t working on my site for some reason.

The big prize from RS-25 for feral DPS is the Sharpened Scale trinket. The massive chunk of ArPen makes it superior to any other trinket in the game, save Heroic DBW, and the ability to have two ArPen trinkets will make reaching the ArPen hardcap much easier. The Signet ring is very nice as well, and should be your choice for your 2nd ring slot (after your Exalted ICC repring), unless you have the Frostbrood Sapphire. (Heroic Frostbrood is clearly superior; normal is a tossup.) Finally, the Penumbra Pendant is decent, but it’s a strength item, so let your plate DPS have first dibs on it. If you’ve had bad luck on neck drops for some reason, it’s about equal to an ICC-10 neck. (Or you could just buy a Wodin’s, if you have the gold to spare.)

For bears, the Petrified Scale tank trinket is very nice as well, but it depends on your personal preference–it’s basically an upgraded Glyph of Indominability, with the same issues. Great mitigation trinket, but no extra HP to swallow burst.  I’d still prefer 2 of Organ/Fang/Key for progression, I think. Come Cataclysm, though, when healer HPS will be more limited, the ability of armor trinkets to reduce DTPS will be much more important. I could see this trinket lasting you until 85, easily.

Unfortunately, there’s not much from RS-10. (Yet another argument for gear equalization.) The loot list may still grow a bit. The Gloaming Sark is pretty terrible for feral DPS, but it’s an excellent tanking piece if you don’t have the badges for Shadowseeker’s or the cash for Ikfirus. There’s a strength ring, also, but it’s pretty bad. (The 245 EoT ring is better.)

We successfully got to Phase 3 once on LK25 with nobody dead on Tuesday, so high hopes for tonight. We’ve successfully kicked the Defile bug, happily. :) More to come on Simcraft/Ovale next week.

 Posted by at 3:41 pm
May 192010
 

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

A new version of the Alpha was pushed on 17 May with an updated feral tree, and information about the changes has already leaked. Allison’s latest Shifting Perspectives has covered some of the changes already, but here’s my take.

Tier 1:

Sharpened Claws: Increases the damage caused by your Claw, Rake, Mangle (Cat), Mangle (Bear), and Maul abilities by 10%/20%. (Previously Tier 3: increases your critical strike chance by 2%/4%/6%.) Renamed version of Savage Fury, a Tier 2 talent with the same description.

Ferocity: Unchanged.

Feral Aggression: Unchanged.

Tier 2:

Savage Fury: Removed. (Moved to Tier 1, renamed Sharpened Claws.)

Thick Hide: Removed. (Previously increased your Armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 4%/7%/10%.)

Feral Instinct: Unchanged.

Shredding Attacks: Reduces the energy cost of your Shred ability by 5/10 and the cost of your Lacerate by 1/2. (Previously Tier 4: Reduces the energy cost of your Shred ability by 9/18 and the rage cost of your Lacerate ability by 1/2.)

Endless Carnage[NYI]: Increases the duration of your Rake by 3/6 sec and your Savage Roar by 4/8 sec. (New talent.)

Tier 3:

Feral Swiftness: Unchanged.

Predatory Instincts: Moved here from Tier 8, unchanged otherwise.

Feral Charge: Moved here from Tier 5, unchanged otherwise.

Improved Feral Charge[NYI]: Increases the damage done by your next 3 attacks by 5/10% in Bear Form after you use Feral Charge (Bear), and Ravage will temporarily not require stealth for 3/6 sec after you use Feral Charge (Cat). (New talent.)

Tier 4:

Nurturing Instinct: Moved here from Tier 5, unchanged otherwise.

Predatory Strikes: Attack power boost removed. Finishing moves retain their 7%/13%/20% chance per combo point to proc an instant Nature spell. (Previously: Increases your melee attack power in Cat, Bear and Dire Bear Forms by 50%/100%/150% of your level and 7%/13%/20% of any attack power on your equipped weapon.)

Primal Fury: Unchanged.

Primal Precision: Removed. (Previously: Increases your expertise by 5/10, and you are refunded 40%/80% of the energy cost of a finishing move if it fails to land.)

Tier 5:

Brutal Impact: Unchanged.

Heart of the Wild: Moved here from Tier 6, unchanged otherwise.

Survival Instincts: Moved here from Tier 3, unchanged otherwise.

Tier 6:

Survival of the Fittest: Unchanged.

Natural Reaction: Removed.

Tier 7:

King of the Jungle: Moved here from Tier 9, unchanged otherwise.

Leader of the Pack: Unchanged.

Improved Leader of the Pack: Unchanged.

Primal Tenacity: Reduces the duration of fear effects by 10%/20%/30% and reduces all damage taken while stunned by 5%/10%/15% while in Cat Form. (Previously reduced damage taken while stunned by 10%/20%/30%.)

Tier 8:

Protector of the Pack: Unchanged.

Infected Wounds: Your Shred, Maul, and Mangle attacks cause an Infected Wound in the target. The Infected Wound reduces the movement speed of the target by 25%/50% and the attack speed by 10%/20%. Lasts 12 sec. (Previously reduced movement speed by 16%/34%/50% and attack speed by 7%/14%/20%.)

Tier 9:

Primal Madness[NYI]: Tiger’s Fury and Beserk also increases your maximum energy by 10/20 during its duration, and your Enrage and Berserk abilities instantly generates 6/12 rage. (New talent.)

Mangle: Unchanged.

Improved Mangle: Unchanged.

Tier 10:

Nom Nom Nom[NYI]: When you Ferocious Bite a target at or below 25%, you have a 50/100% chance to instantly refresh the duration of your Rip on the target. (New talent.)

Rend and Tear: Unchanged.

Pulverize: 15 rage. Instant. Melee Range. Requires Dire Bear Form.  Deals 252 bleed damage for each of your Lacerate applications on the target, and increases your total attack power by 2% for each Lacerate stack consumed. Lasts 10 sec.

Tier 11:

Berserk: Unchanged.

Misc info: Shred base energycost is now 50 (talented 40.) Maul base rage cost is 10 (talented 5), consumes an extra 5 rage for each 20 rage you have. (So, 1-20 rage, Maul costs 5, 21-40, Maul costs 10, etc.)

Definitely some interesting new talents  here. As Blizzard has previously stated, they like testing new talents via set bonuses, and apparently all our good ones made it in. :) Endless Carnage is a mashup of our Tier 8 4P and our Tier 9 2P, but better. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either the talent or Rake nerfed…upping a 9s DoT to 15s is pretty strong for a Tier 2 talent. Imp. Feral Charge is pretty interesting, but I see it as mostly a leveling/burst talent more than anything else. Ravage will hit harder than Shred, certainly, but not by enough to warrant major rotational changes.  I’d have to look to figure out its DPE…I haven’t used it in ages.

Primal Madness is pretty meh. Good ferals never energy cap to begin with, so having a higher top-end isn’t a big deal (though it makes using TF/Berserk easier, sure). Finally, Nom Nom Nom (best name ever) is huge. Rolling Rips and constant FBs! Sweet! (Of course, this means our regular damage will get a nerf to compensate. Bleh.)

Have some Balance/Resto info as well, but I’ll leave that for now. One tidbit: Innervate is now based on the caster’s max mana pool, not base. Goodbye feral Innervates. :(

 Posted by at 12:58 pm
May 182010
 

I’m working on a post detailing how Simulationcraft is, by far, your best friend when optimizing your rotation/gear for specific encounters. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of my current optimal priority list, given my current gear. It looks complicated…and it is, sorry, can’t sugarcoat it really, but just read from the top down and go line-by-line. (Yay for superfluous advice.) This may not be optimal for everyone; some will want to FB more (high ArPen folks), some less (ICC 10). More FB’s = less Rip/Rake uptime. This list assumes you never clip DoTs.

1. Feral Faerie Fire, if FF/FFF down.
2. Tiger’s Fury, if available. (Energy below 30.)
3. Berserk, if available. (Energy between 80 and 90.)
4. If SR is down, immediately SR with any CP.
5. Shred on Omen of Clarity proc.
6. Rip if you have 5 CP’s.
7. Mangle if Mangle debuff is down.
8. Fun one: If there is less then 9 seconds on SR and Rip will expire 3 seconds or less before SR, refresh SR if you have 3 or more CP’s. (Desyncs timers to give you time to rebuild CP’s to reapply Rip with little downtime. I’m still playing with the logic on this one to determine an optimal setting. If you relax the SR remaining condition or the sync condition, you’ll refresh SR more often, which leads to better Rip uptime but wasted CP’s and thus less FB’s.)
9. FB with 5 CP’s if Rip and SR have at least 12 seconds remaining or target will die in 5 seconds or less. (Another place to mess with timers to balance FB/Rip.)
10. If Rip has less than 4 seconds and you haven’t Shredded 3 times yet (Glyph of Shred), Shred, unless SR will expire within 3 seconds.
11. Rake.
12. Shred, if less than 4 CP’s or Rip has more than 1 second left, AND if Rake has more than 1 second left, AND if energy is greater then 80, or TF is within 3s of going off cooldown, or you’re berserked.
13. Shred if target will die within 10 seconds, or you have 0 CP’s and SR is about to expire/expired.
14. Otherwise wait to regain energy.

I’ll be rewriting an Ovale script to incorporate this logic, when I have the chance. I’ve posted the Simulationcraft actionlist in the forums if people would like to modify it for their own toon.

 Posted by at 12:21 am
May 162010
 

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

Every sign points to there being a HUGE gear reset for Cata. Check this combat rating table out: (gathered by Whitetooth, author of the Ratingbuster addon, so pretty credible)

60 70 80 81 82 83 84 85
melee hit 10 15.769 32.79 46.696 66.499 94.701 134.862 192.056
spell hit 8 12.615 26.232 37.357 53.199 75.76 107.89 153.645
crit 14 22.077 45.906 65.374 93.099 132.581 188.807 268.878
haste 10 15.769 32.79 46.696 66.499 94.701 134.862 192.056

Source: http://elitistjerks.com/f15/t29453-combat_ratings_level_80_a/p22/#post1639830

I’ll be talking about this more later, but yes, that’s 269 crit and 192 melee hit per 1%. Wow. If these ratings remain (and the penalties for attacking higher level mobs remain the same) then we’re looking at 1500ish hit for hitcap. My guess is that actually capping a stat will be exceedingly rare (which is in line with previous blue posts) With the ratings going stratospheric from 80-85, I could see DPS actually declining over those levels. I don’t think that’s Blizzard’s plan: they never want you to feel like you’re losing power, but they did want to rein in the rate of growth. In order to keep DPS relatively constant from 80-85, we’re going to need a lot of secondary stats on our gear.

Need more proof? How about the blue announcement that Dense Embersilk Bandages will heal 34,800 HP over 8s? Either bandages are going to be totally OP, or we’re looking at a dramatic increase in HP. (For comparison, Heavy Frostweave was 5,800 HP over 8 seconds.) Even accepting that dense bandages are a third tier of bandage not found in WOTLK, that’s still a significant bump. My guess is that they’re going to increase the amount of HP from +stam, probably to something like 20HP (instead of 10HP now). No clue as to actual numbers, but I’d say tanks at about 90K HP after the patch, with DPS around 60K, equalized between armor classes. At the end of Cata, tanks will be up to the 150K mark, with DPS at 100K or so.

For ferals, we’ll be back to the days of much slower CP generation, which eliminates FB from our rotations (yay) and decreases bleed uptime (boo). With our third mastery bonus being Bleed Damage increases, we may be in a spot where we have to look at other than 5-CP rips to maximize uptime. (Yes, this is handwavy.) Either way, ArPen stacking is dead. Of course, the whole archeology thing could change that up…hoping to see some more on that soon. As I’ve previously mentioned, I think movement is going to play a large role in Cata ( just like…Defile…oh god…), so we”ll be looking at a lot more focus on getting DoTs up quickly.

By the way, thanks to everyone who commented on my LK frustration post. The day after I posted that, the wow.com topic of the day was about people being stuck on LK…so I know we’re not alone. That’s the hidden downside of rolling a lockout, I suppose, especially if you get stuck in the same place. This reminds me a bit of Maly in my old guild, where we were consistently stuck on phase 3…it SUCKS to grind out the first few phases every time, to repeatedly die in P3. WoW needs a skip-forward button sometimes…a “hey, we’ve mastered this section, can we start the fight in P3?”

 Posted by at 6:04 pm
May 132010
 

It’s been almost a week since my last post. Obviously, I’ve been exceptionally uninspired to write. Why? Well, our guild has been wiping to the Defile boss/Infest boss on LK25 for the past few weeks now (been on him for a month this week), and I feel very powerless to affect the outcome. I’ve consistently been top3 in DPS on LK, I’ve gotten off my Maims on Valks when called…and that’s about it. I don’t know what else I can do. I feel like we’re missing something obvious when I see guilds one-shotting it, and we’ve seen phase 3 ONCE…but I really don’t know what to change. I’ve usually blogged on subjects that related to my current interest (hey, let’s be a feral tank! hey, let’s gear feral DPS!)…and right now, there’s not much in WoW to draw me. I haven’t touched my druid in a week. Once we get LK down, I’ll be taking a break for a while, I think.

Sorry for a bit of a downer post…but I’m trying to write something to break the writer’s block, so please bear with me. :) Apparently, my notification of new posts on the forum broke also, so if you’ve posted there in the past two weeks, I’m off to go read those over now. :P

 Posted by at 2:31 pm
May 072010
 

So, apparently the F&F alpha client got leaked (spoilers), and info from it is flowing out. I understand many people don’t want to be spoiled by the AMAZING changes in the feral tree, so feel free to leave now…otherwise scroll down.

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Ready?

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Here it is…

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PRIMAL PRECISION NO LONGER REFUNDS ENERGY ON A MISS!

Woo freakin hoo. :) See for yourself here. Obviously, they haven’t really gotten to the feral tree yet…and I wouldn’t count on it staying like that, either, as a talent that just boosts your expertise seems to be exactly the thing they’re trying to get away from. If they do permanently get rid of the energy refund on miss, though, then that will definitely increase the value of hit/exp relative to other stats.

I’m more interested (and somewhat bummed) about the changes in our sub-tree, resto. Naturalist got bumped down a tier…which means in order to get it, we’ll need to spend at least 15 points there (and you’ll definitely be spending 18, to pick up OOC and Master Shapeshifter). That doesn’t pose a lot of problems for cats, but it possibly will for bears, and it puts a very large crimp in any hybrid builds.

Of course, this is alpha, things will change, etc. Carry on. (Hey, I’m happy, we successfully reached Phase 3 on LK last night. Well, semi-successfully. He stopped casting Remorseless Winter before the last person died, anyway.) Now that we’ve moved away from the “stack up and then blame people who don’t run Defile away fast enough” strategy to the “spread out for Defile and then blame people who don’t run away from person with Defile strategy,” things have gotten much better. Now we have to figure out why our slows keep dropping off the Valkyrs. Yay.

 Posted by at 11:18 pm
May 032010
 

Still wiping on Defile. Move along (the right direction), please.

Oh, you want a feral tip? On LK, wait until he’s around 72%, and build and save your 5CP. When he runs off to start P1.5, run to the edge, wait a few secs, then hit Savage Roar as the Raging is spawning. You should only need to refresh it once (maybe twice.) I save Berserk for the second Valk spawn…Berserked Swipe (get off a 5cp SR on LK prior) can really help with DPS here, since it’s such a PITA. Spec IW.

Didn’t farm my eggs for cakes for Children’s Week this year…forgot about it, honestly. Eggs are somewhat difficult to farm (quickly) for Alliance. Best place is right outside Silvermoon. Happily, I just need to finish up these achievements for my VPD. I’ll probably solo Ymiron later in the week…I’ve soloed Skadi before, which was fairly difficult, but Ymiron should be…wait for it…cake.

 Posted by at 1:02 am
Apr 272010
 

Well, I was considering writing a post about soloing one boss in ZA this weekend, and picking up Mojo (sadly, bears don’t do well solo against bleeds or magic damage). I also considering writing a post about how our 25-man LK raid successfully killed the first Val’kyr spawn and dodged the first Defile with no deaths…once. (Now we’ve got to figure out how to handle healer positioning for Infest.) However, the raiding world changed today, as Blizzard announced dramatic new plans for raid structuring in Cataclysm. In brief:

  • 10’s and 25’s will share a lockout and drop the exact same gear. It may be possible for raidleaders to switch between 25-man and 10-man modes for different bosses.
  • 25’s will drop a higher proportion of gear to compensate for the logistical difficulties of forming them. Other 25-specific rewards are still TBD.
  • Achievements will be independent of raid size.
  • 10’s and 25’s will be much closer in difficulty.

Wow. Just wow. Blizz’s stated goal is they want people to go where they enjoy- they want people who like 10’s to do 10’s, they want people who like 25’s to do 25’s, and not feel shoehorned into the other type because of progression demands. Hypothetically, this will reduce burnout (less raiding + slower progression). So, what happens when they do this? Let’s look at some different player perspectives.

  • Casual-Raiding Carl will struggle at first, as there will be very few raiding PUG’s. (No more bored guild raiders pugging the opposite size.) However, he’ll probably be occupied in 5-man content for a while; and once he’s ready to raid, there should be many more earlier-tier PUG’s as people gear alts. These PUG’s will almost uniformly be 10-man; nobody will want to spend the extra time and effort for the same return.
  • Hardcore Harry will stick to 25’s at first, for the extra gear potential. If 10’s turn out easier, though? /wave.
  • Ten-Strict Tom will be ecstatic. Hopefully, his guild’s efforts will finally be seen as worthy.
  • Average 25=Man Raider Annie will stick it out for a while; however, when progression becomes difficult, and all the normal raider issues crop up (RL, Internet problems, etc.)…she’ll be mighty tempted to listen to calls to split the guild into two 10-man teams.
  • Officer Olivia will ask, seriously, if it’s worth the effort to field a full 25-man roster every raid night, when 2×10 offers much more flexibility. The temptation will be very strong to field a top 10 “A-Team” and a lesser “B-Team.”

Having raided (and recruited for) both 10 and 25-man, if you take the gear advantage away, I don’t see what 25-man has to offer. Is the “epic” feeling worth the logistical headaches, the multiplied organizational time, the reduced FPS, etc? It’s up to you.

That said, I HIGHLY doubt that Blizzard will be able to balance the difficulty of the two, without overly homogenizing classes or encounters. Void zones mechanics favor 10’s (more space to move…see Defile.) Raid composition mechanics can cause vast swings in difficulty (some mechanics become much easier with certain classes…see Disc Priests and Infest.)

Overall, though, I’m largely in favor of this change. Combined with the info about a new weekly cap on top-tier “badges” (points), this shows that Bliz is really trying to slow down content and reduce burnout…which is great in my book.