Tuesday, December 16, 2008

[Druid] Swipe is 50% more fun (UPDATED: less fun now)

Figured I'd go for the hat trick on a busy news day. According to ghostcrawler, swipe has been given a 50% threat increase from prior values:

We think we might try increasing threat by 50% because that is something easy to hotfix. That should buy you enough globals to do other things, and provide enough wiggle room if you get a target out of the area for one Swipe. We'll consider additional changes after we've had a chance to see how that plays out.
Avatar of Ghostcrawler
Re: Ghostcrawler, swipe is not fun.
The change for Swipe to generate an additional 50% threat is now live. Please let us know how it goes.
Yes, that's right - I kept the awesome avatar in there for no reason.

And it's not live on the PTR either - it's live, as in right now on the server.

Yes, it should mean that dealing with AoE tanking is better, and you can occasionally miss a swipe without the mob running off. I'm...well, I'm a bit skeptical; I think at best that you'll have enough threat to where most classes can go AoE hog wild but you'll still have to do it basically every GCD.

However - it also means that the best rotation for single target is also 'swipe'. With Naxx-level gear, bears were already at the point where the best threat rotation was to lacerate to 5 stacks, swipe, lacerate as little as possible to keep a stack up - and throw in faerie fire every time you could. Now? That's not true. It's simply mangle when up, swipe otherwise. That's it.

UPDATE: This is not really correct, as better math has shown. Swiping as much as you can is the best threat you can do, but it is about 5% better threat to make sure that you keep up a lacerate stack. I'll keep up the rest of this article for posterity's sake, but use the better math in the post linked above.

Here's the math for me in case you're interested. Feel free to play along at home with your own numbers to check things out.

Swipe damage: (AP * .063 + 108) * Naturalist bonus * feral instinct bonus * armor penalty * (1 + crit chance) * 4pT6 bonus
lacerate damage: (AP*.01+88)*Naturalist bonus * armor penalty * (1 + crit chance) * 2pt7 bonus
lacerate DOT damage: (AP*.01+64)*stack size * naturalist * mangle * 2pt7 bonus

Swipe DPS: swipe damage /1.5
lacerate DPS: lacerate damage / 1.5
lacerate DOT DPS: lacerate dot damage / 3.0

swipe TPS: swipe DPS * 29/14 * 1.5
lacerate TPS: 29/14*(lacerage damage+1031)/ (2* 1.5)
lacerate DOT TPS: lacerate DOT DPS * 29/14 / 2

Based on a 70% armor reduction from bosses, here are the results:

For AP 4735, crit 30%, no T6 and 2pT7 I get the following:
swipe TPS: 1095.2
lacerate TPS: 786.1
lacerate DOT TPS: 282.5
total lacerate TPS: 1076.045

The important thing to note here is that the swipe TPS - lacerate TPS is greater than the lacerate DOT (with 5 stacks) TPS, meaning that it's always better to let the stack fall off and swipe again. And that's for my own paltry numbers; as you get better gear, this will only increase in value. Add to this that swipe does a lot more DPS than lacerate, and it may be time to retire lacerate completely.

I honestly don't expect this to be the case for long; I think that they'll change it fairly soon once they see lacerate taken out entirely. And keep in mind that while my gear isn't optimal, it is Naxx-25 geared with a good staff, decent other pieces and fairly high level stuff; if you've got a worse staff (or really, worse than about 4500 AP and 30% crit) you're going to want to use some lacerate.

ETA: so there are some good points to be made here.

For starters, you should always have a bleed on your target to maximize maul damage via Rend & Tear. This doesn't mean it has to be your bleed - a warrior can put up deep wounds, for instance. It just needs to be some bleed. If you have that, you shouldn't lacerate. If you don't, you should. It's that simple. No matter how good swipe vs. lacerate is, at WotLK levels there will never be a point where losing 20% maul damage/threat beats never having a bleed.

So...make sure your warriors are doing that and go to town. :)

This also means that in 5-mans and most 10-mans you'll have to keep lacerating. Just do it as little as possible. :)

ETA2: it turns out that the lacerate bleed is actually pretty good DPS, and losing one swipe every 6 seconds to a lacerate is worth it if you can keep the 5-stack going for raw damage. And it's not paltry either - it's on the order of 10% more damage, even at high levels of gear. So strangely, you're left with this oddity: for max TPS, swipe. For max DPS, keep a lacerate stack up and swipe whenever you can.


Phil said...

What are you thought on a good fix would be? I've seen people say give t a cool down and make it act like thunder clap. I don't like that idea at all. I've even seen people say give demoralizing shout a damage effect so that it's like thunder clap. I'm not sure where the line would be to male our AoE tanking is like the other tanks.

Kalon said...

Hey, Phil -

I don't actually care that druid tanking isn't like other AoE tanking abilities. The 'mobs wandering behind us' thing isn't that much of a problem, honestly, and I like some of the positioning.

The big issue that I find is that it's just lame to spam swipe all day long. My solution would be to make a glyph which causes swipe to do a DOT with a high amount of threat, which does not stack. That high amount of threat would be equivalent to 6 seconds worth of swiping. Swipe would do no physical damage (or so little that it would not matter).

You could spam swipe if you wanted, but it wouldn't do you any good. The DoT wouldn't be refreshed, and it wouldn't do any extra damage.

You could use it on bosses, but there'd be no reason to spam it either; you should just refresh it.

The threat would not be frontloaded, so it wouldn't be like tclap. Nor would it hit 360 degrees around. Both would be fairly different. It sticks with the bleed notion for bears and would increase the damage that a R&T maul would do to a secondary target. It would be improved by mangle, and mangle + swipe + berserk would be a good way to build a lot of sustained threat on targets for a while. And the best part is that it'd be optional; if you didn't want to do it that way, there would be nothing that stopped you from taking something else.

Marino said...

I had always the toughest time at Gothik the Harvester. I even let the healer die in 10 man :S Luckily we are druids and I Battle ressed him while dps had threat on the one mob ;)

Anyway this is a solution, but looking at lore and stuff it would be strange to give a bear thunderclap. But what is preventing bears to do a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick. Reduce swipe to what it was before and add a roundhouse kick equal to swipe, turning around druid that hits everything (in front AND behind him) with a 10 second CD.

PS the patchnotes (EU here, so no patch installed yet) said mangle while berserking would only hit one target (no 3 targets anymore). Is that true?

Olvar said...

One use of lacerate is still valid though: Hold aggro of a single mob while everything else is CCed.
Pretty much every feral tank should have the glyph of maul, so the only skills to keep aggro of a single mob who is standing right among sheeps and shackles are: Mangle, FFF, and Lacerate. Of those three Lacerate is the only one that isn't on a cooldown. So the skill isn't useless, it will be just used less.

I feared that they would nerf the feature of Berserk letting you hit up to three targets with Mangle. I think it was a bit overpowered, but it also was the only way we could hold aggro of a 3-mob group like all the other tanks, meaning: one hit and then AoE can fire away.

One thing is strange though:
In the MMO-Champion talent calculator the talent text says "1 targets". I'm not sure if that's an error by MMOC or by Blizzard...
There is hope that the text is simply wrong, but I fear that they really nerfed Berserk.

Mitch said...

I think a good solution is to let swipe go back to the way it used to be and give a huge threat boost to demoralizing roar, but put it on a ten second cooldown or something.

Buxton said...

How about making Swipe an on next attack, i.e. multi-target maul. Frees up GCD and makes us different to other tanks.


Kalon said...

Buxton - that's an interesting notion. My gut feeling says no simply because I want more options with my GCDs, not less, but it does solve the issue of not having enough GCDs. It may be problematic with threat though; maul is a huge amount of threat on two targets (glyphed, of course) and it's tough to give up that threat to spread around other threat. Still, an interesting idea.

Mitch, hey. :) I personally don't want demo roar to do a ton of threat because...well, then it becomes tclap, and that's boring. It also has the problem that it might not work if a warrior with imp demo shout shouts, similar to the issues with imp FF and misery's buggy behavior. Demo roar could stand to have a lot more threat added.

Marino, Olvar, I think the patch notes are wrong, but I've not seen any definitive answer to this. I don't think berserk's three target issue is all that absurd. The amount of boss fights where popping berserk and hitting three targets matters is...what, Nexus? AK, maybe? AN? It's pretty small. And it doesn't really matter in PvP, so that's out. I hope that they don't change it because it's great soloing and great on annoying trash every 3 minutes, but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah anyone have any confirmed information on beserk's rumoured nerf? Saw no blue posts/warnings about this: I'd be surprised if they made such a big change to our rock star talent without even announcing it.

Kalon, in your calculations, whats the difference between dps & tps? I thought the change to swipe is purely tps, not dps. So when you say "best rotation for single target", do you mean for threat, or for damage? Surely we dont have an issue with single target threat, so we may as well max our dps on singles. Is that correct ?

Kalon said...

Anon - thanks for coming by.

Calculation-wise, there's clearly no change to DPS from before since, well, nothing is being changed. :) The difference between doing a swipe rotation only and a swipe-lacerate rotation is about 200-300 DPS depending on your gear level.

And yes, under most circumstances threat isn't an issue, so you should really maximize damage and keep your lacerate stack going. There are only a couple places where this may matter. The big one is Malygos. Threat is really crucial there, so any kind of threat boost you can give yourself is a godsend (and you won't likely be able to keep a lacerate stack up anyway). Something like Patchwerk is also a decent idea. Thaddius it may also become an issue, since lacerate's threat doesn't scale as well as swipe's does under the charge influence. Mostly, I think this will become something of an issue in Ulduar.

But it's always good to know what's best. :)

Mitch said...

I think the biggest problem is no matter what they do it will 'feel like [insert ability here]'. If they give us a big AoE threat generator on a cooldown it will feel like thunderclap. If they give us a pulsing AoE threat generator it will feel like consecration (that's basically your idea with a positioning limit . . don't get me wrong, I like the idea, but it still is consecration: aka set it and forget it until the DOT is up). If they buff swipe we may still spam it anyhow and may even be forced to use it on single targets for maximum threat making it less fun.

So I honestly have no idea what should be done without trying to mimic some other ability. I don't think anyone does. Everyone just agrees that spamming swipe/maul is no fun so I will welcome whatever change may come (assuming the swipe modifier is just a stop-gap for the moment . . . if not, I'll be unhappy!)

Maybe your super swipe idea will only work when you're enraged? I dunno, my head hurts, lol.

Kalon said...

Mitch -

I don't think it's quite the same as consecrate. You can move yourself (and the mobs) far away from where you initially swiped and still be causing the same threat, for instance. You have to reapply it to get any new mobs. And they still would have to be in a frontal arc. It does have a similar effect of creating threat over time without having to do it multiple times, but I think flavor wise it feels different to play with.

Still, you're right on a generic level; any ability at this point that gives similar capabilities to other tanks will have some kind of comparisons. Honestly, I'd like an entirely new ability that is only useful in the case of multiple targets, causes a lot of frontloaded threat and has a long cooldown. That, I think, is what's really missing from a bear's arsenal relative to paladins and warriors (and to a lesser extent, DKs). A trample or thrash that hits mobs for a lot of upfront threat would be great. Applying IW would also be good, but then it'd be tclap. Something to think about later.

Felkan said...

Can I now drop points out of Feral Instinct?

Kalon said...

Felkan - thanks for coming by.

I think that, if anything, you should make sure to have 3 points in feral instinct. It's probably not necessary if you're going to spam swipe all the time, but if you want to catch any breaks or stop swiping for a second you want to maximize how much threat each swipe does - and that means 30% more damage/threat is pretty tasty.

I'd say it this way - if you're not having issues with AoE threat right now and want to continue with things the way they are, you can drop those points. If you do have problems, want to push AoE threat more or want to have more flexibility when dealing with AoE, keep 'em.

Olvar said...

I'm not only using Berserk for bosses. Of course I spare it when I know that the group will reach the next boss in three minutes.
But if that isn't the case I activate Berserk basically for almost any trash group with exactly three mobs, which is especially useful when one or more of those is a healer.
A perfect example of that case is the pats consisting of one tree and two healing dryads in Nexus. Use Berserk and the healing is almost no problem anymore.

Just as I've learnt to use Barkskin to reduce my general damage taken (as long as the Swipe orgy gives me time to have a free GCD for it), I use Berserk every time it makes sense to me. In most cases I don't even care if it is active for a boss or not, since my single target threat never has been as much of an issue as is the threat on multiple ones.

Anonymous said...

I mentioned a desire before for an increased-range swipe, but I don't think that's what I was really wanting. Swipe already has a pretty good range.

Am I correct in remembering there was some talk about not having a target requirement for swipe? I think that's what I want. I am always, ALWAYS getting the 'out of range' error when trying to aoe. Normally it's just because mobs are running amok and I'm dashing hither and thither tab-targeting like a madwoman trying to get everything rounded up before the damage-happy squishies commit suicide.

I never felt that it was the amount of damage that was a problem, but being able to position yourself correctly and have the right mob selected so that you can actually USE swipe.

I have noticed a dramatic increase to my swipe damage. Yeah it's nice to see 700-damage crits popping up on 5+ mobs, but... it's just not really necessary! (similar to kitty-mode swipe, not needed, I don't care if I can't AoE)

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

My issue with swipe is that of positioning....it isn't always possible to get all the mobs in a pull in front of you. Especially if there's a wall involved.

Of course, my solution wouldn't have been to buff swipe anyway; it would have been to reduce the cooldown on Challenging Roar to 30 sec. That should be enough to pull any spares back long enough to tab-swipe through them to reestablish threat lead.

Haunau said...

Looks like they "fixed" these on PTR:

Handwraps of Preserved History
329 Armor
47 Agility
71 Stamina
76 Attack Power
38 Expertise Rating

Where do those move in the new cat/bear lists now?

LRNs said...

It comes down to the game we're actually playing. What is it? Is it going to continue to be this *yawn* AoE fest? Then fine, some continued adjustment to swipe could theoretically be warranted.

Or better yet, keep the 3.0 swipe and bring back a mix of CC and complexity. The old pre-wrath tanking was unbalanced. Some old BC instances were perhaps more work than necessary.

I don't want every pull be all CC. I don't want every pull to be all AoE. I don't want to just Swipe, Maul w/ Glyph, Swipe. But, I didn't need that ugly 6-pull every time at the end of MgT to prove my skills.

Give me variety. Don't give me an "easy button."

Haunau said...

Question: since I don't have Rend & Tear (I went with a heavy tank build and used those points for stuff like Primal Tenacity and Brutal Impact) is there really much point in Lacerate now?

Shamad said...

Haunau: No feral build of any kind should ever be without RnT, Maul is a huge part of any proper tanks damage and RnT increases said damage on bleeding targets by a truckload, it's one of the core talents of feral spec.

And yes, 5stack lacerate is still essential for good damage on a single target.

Anonymous said...

It's not that hard to keep your aggro if you swipe a few times during a fight with a single target.
lacerate, mangle, faerie fire, swipe, maul, etc.
I dont know why you guys are complaining.
We can gain aggro faster than DK's, Pally's and warriors. the dps can fight immediately when the fight starts; you can't take aggro away from druids' if you play them right.