Tuesday, February 24, 2009

[Druid, 3.1] It's not even my birthday (3.1)

First off, I want to say congratulations and a fond farewell to Phae at Resto4Life. Her blog has been a pinnacle of the druid community for a long time - both as a healer and as someone who has been critical in making others aware of more blogs in the world. Her posts were always well-written, entertaining, and hugely useful. I'll miss ya but I'm very happy that you're leaving on such good news. :)

Sorry I've not been blogging as much recently. Part of it is my work schedule is limiting the time I have to write. Part is that...there really hasn't been much inspiration. I've gotten a couple emails that I'd like to write about - like my terribad UI and preliminary weightings and rankings of gear with SD - but it'll be in the future. I'll also try and respond to the comments a bit more.

As you've heard by now the patch notes and PTR are now available for 3.1 and Ulduar. Karthis has started to do some good analysis of what this is going to mean for folks, and I'm going to try and not step on his toes too much. Instead, I want to point out some basic things that are...well, more relevant to some of the things I brought up, like the antitank strategy. '

First off, the change to Savage Roar. This is going to be a buff - 30% more physical damage beats 40% more AP given how druids scale with AP. A corrolary is that strength is no longer going to be the best stat to stack - it's going to be agility. Which...is exactly the gearing strategy used in the antitank set. Hmm. Oh, blizzard, you shouldn't have! That makes the antitank strategy go from being slightly lower DPS than normal to being actually close to ideal.

And I didn't even have to change one gem. Aww, thanks, blizzard!

Second, the addition of Primal Gore. The crits from bleeds are currently only 150% of damage, not 200% like melee crits, but even so it's a big buff to cat damage. And if they can crit...that makes agility even more useful for overall damage, both for cat form and for bear form. Which...is exactly what the antitank set emphasizes. Aww, thanks Blizzard - that's so sweet. That's like another crit every 3 seconds for SD, making it even better (if, hopefully, it actually procs SD; not sure if it will yet since SD doesn't actually work right now).

Third, the change to improved Mark of the Wild - 2% more stats for 2 talent points. Some people liked furor, but I've gone with iMotW for a while now since Furor really isn't that much of a requirement. And now I get 2% more stats for my trouble without respeccing? Oh, blizzard, you're too nice!

And then there's a glyph for Savage Roar that just says 'get 6% more DPS, period'? Oh, Blizzard. I don't even have to theorycraft that to show how awesome it is. Really sweet of you.

Really, all they need to do is make the DPS gear even better for tanking than it is already, and I'll start thinking that Blizzard is trying to woo me. Though if they were, they could've had that stupid Peddlefeet drop.


Bob said...

Are you sure agi is going to be the better dps stat? I am at over 51% crit fully buffed on my character sheet (which comes to about 47% on a boss I think) and that is by actively avoiding agi and crit when I can. I will have to see the math done to be sure, but I am guessing this will make agi much better, but str will still be tops.

Kalon said...

Bob, thanks for replying. And yes, I'm sure.

First off, the value of crit went up. Since all attacks can now crit, you're looking at about a 10-15% boost in DPS just from primal gore - and that scales with crit. Strength doesn't come close to that.

Second, the value of strength basically went down by 40 due to savage roar decreasing. It no longer scales insanely, and that was a big reason why it did.

Third, the value of smooth cycles is only going to increase; it is absolutely vital to keep SR up at all times, which means more CP generation is key. Which again - more crit.

Fourth, agility and strength were already very close to each other in value for DPS. With a big nerf to strength's value and an increase in crit's value, agility becomes a lot better.

Toskk's forum has done more of the math, but it's not really difficult to see why; losing 40% of strength's contribution is just a huge hit.

Bob said...

I just found some interesting stuff over on Toskk's forum.


It confirms that the SR change is indeed a buff until we reach ridiculous amounts AP. Another post a little further down seems to imply that str will still be better. He doesn't show as much of that math on that as I would like, so I'm withholding final judgment for now. I guess I will see what else I can dig up.

Anonymous said...

Question: Does Predatory instincts (...increases your damage from MELEE critical strikes by 10%....) increase damage from dots (Rip and rake)?

Shamad said...

Seems 3.1 truely is the patch where my skepticism of your anti-tank set has to be put aside. I'll try and get some info going as my character copy for the PTR gets processed, hope to spend a good amount of time testing Ulduar and seeing how bears turn out.

Mitch said...

I hope AP and strength will still be competitive. If they can somewhat balance out the two that would be great (although ludicrously difficult). I was annoyed in BC when agility was king and I am annoyed in Wrath with Strength being king. I digress, lol.

Anyhow, it looks positive for PvE dps.

But it seems to have been given a PvP backhand for kitties. SR is now an enrage and can be taken away by huntards. The change to bears could be bad in PvP because if you have your 'bubble' up and it absorbs a poison DoT doing 500 damage and then you get hit with an bigger hit will suck >.> Though I guess it makes bear at least a little bit of sense against a caster now (assuming you're critting, lol).

My biggest annoyance is the 1k gold for dual specs. Even after paying for that I'll still be dropping 50g a couple times a week for respecs. I'm a druid dammit, I have a billion possibilities! lol. Right now I have four specs: Pure bear, pure pve kitty, pure pvp kitty, bear/kitty mix. I also have a good PvP resto set saved up and was going to start healing some BGs and re-familiarizing myself with resto. Haha. Oh well.

Shamad said...

SD is only physical, as I more or less expected the idea of getting a shield that would absorb magical damage was never going to happen, we'd be encroaching on DK's unrivalled superiority as magical tanks, which we weren't going to be allowed to do.

Marino said...

This has been blizzards goal all along I think. "how can we make rogue gear equal to tanking gear? ... one item to be best for dps and best for tanking..."

I can see more rogues thinking: Hey I'll bid minimum dkp because the other rogue has it and then me snatching it away in front of them... how angry they will be.

The trick to make dps gear look like tanking gear is to change the rogues. Strange how blizzard is moving us so far towards rogues while rogues pretty much stay where they are.

Btw Kalon you forget to mention dual spec. There is no need for a hybrid spec (well depends on how much Ulduar fights you need to tank AND dps) but when you have an inscriber with you there is no problem in having a dps spec (and gear) and a tanking spec (and gear). Thank god I am an inscriber. This kinda makes inscription a good tradeskill for druids.

Btw I'm looking forward to the new gear too. I hope they think of druids too and might wanna give rogues some more survivability. I have a lot of strength on my non leather gear. As well as defense rating. Those items currently are best in slot but I am sure hoping for some big stamina and agility neck with dodge instead of defense.

It has been hinted that if the dual spec works out, there will be more specs you can make. I think the 3rd will cost 2500 and the 4th 5000 (if implemented at all).
Also I hope they will put up a lexicon of power at the druid trainer in moonglade. If you want to respec 2 trees you will have to either go thunderbluff or go moonglade, heart back to a city (Dalaran) and then teleport to moonglade again.

My idea of blizzard is that they want tanks to be tanks. Any tank in any spot with equivalent gear and skill is as good as any other. DK's are best on tanking magic, but they nerfed that already a bit and I think they will continue and they will increase others to be a bit better. If a boss proves to be only really tankable by a DK they will nerf the magical damage from that boss and most likely increase the physical damage.
Having tanks of each kind in a guild will probably make the difference on heavy progress in Ulduar or lagging a bit behind.

Shamad said...

Actually Marino, latest news from the PTR says the regent for switching specs has been removed. And it was meant to be a normal non-binding reagent anyway, so you could have just picked it up from the AH.

Anonymous said...

Anyone actually see SD proc? I haven't seen it work once, I cant train it or spec into it... any thoughts?

And currently for dual spec, u can just click it back and forth no need to go anywhere, no cooldown, etc... oddly enough it zero's out your mana.

Phil Jackson said...

It looks like I'll be able to throw away some of that pvp gear I tank in now which is sort of nice. I like keeping my PvE character in PvE and my PvP warrior in PvP.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised by how generous this is looking for cat druids with the new talent and glyphs. Already I feel we are solidly in the middle of the pack in raid dps, in most cases the highest dps of all on trash mob pulls greater than 4, and they're still buffing us. WoW. I'm very happy, but I wonder when the nerf bat is going to swing.

As far as the AGI > STR as per Patch 3.1 goes, it's a huge relief since so few leather items have STR.

Anonymous said...

Quick question about Crit..

Ive seen the +2% meta gem recommend for bear tanks for a long time now. However im thinking with 3.1 coming very soon and us getting our shield from crits do you think that the meta gem that gives +3% crit is better?

My theory craft is aufull so i would wholeheartedly appreciate a recommendation on that one. Even if you just say that its swings and roundabouts.. thanks!

Marino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shamad said...

dfvanden; Nobody really cares about trash :/ And cat dps is squarely one of the worst atm on single targets, so the buffs are quite welcome.

Willowbear said...

So with this change in emphasis from str to agi does that nerf the Nobles deck with str?

I'm asking because I just finished gathering enough cards for 2 decks. I was going to get one of each str and agi, but it sounds like I would be better off with just agi and selling the second deck.

I would also be interested in your thoughts on metagem choice.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain in a bit more detail how we're now sure that agi>str for dps? A 30% increase in physical damage will also scale with str, wont it? Did someone already recalculate the models to prove that we should all start stacking agi now, and is there still a sweet spot straight line, where the 2 are equivalent?

Anyway, sounds like great news to me, its going to be a blast. Yes, a lot of feral love this time around. Cant wait to connect with the guildies on the ptr and go test it out.

Kalon said...

Anon1 - according to current testing, PI and the metagem both increase the DoT critical damage. It's of course unknown whether that'll make it to live, but it's a reasonable assumption.

Marino - dual spec doesn't actually change anything much. Sure, you can go full DPS for trash, then go to tanking for bear if you want. The true versatility of the antitank is that you can do it in the same gear, which means you can do it in combat. Personally I'm still aiming to go for a bear/cat spec for my first and a resto/moonkin spec for my second. We'll see; how good glyphs are will likely determine it.

Still, I dislike immensely the idea of being a really poor tank when it's really crucial that I not be.

Anon2 - SD currently isn't implemented on the PTR. It's not trainable, it's not seen. The only thing we do see is the armor nerf for druids.

Anon3 - I don't think the metagem that increases crit damage by 3% is that good for bears specifically for that. It's good because it's 21 agi, but it's not super amazing. In general crit% isn't going to outplay dodge or stamina as a stat; I need to actually figure out weightings though, and that's a pretty hefty exercise.

Willowbear - from the theorycrafting I've seen the result most people have reached is that strength and agi are about equivalent. Which means that darkmoon card: str is about as useful as the agility one. The thing is that only one can proc at a time, which makes the second one significantly worse. I'd probably sell it while I still can. :P

Anon4: strength was about 10% better than agility, give or take. With the 30% change strength still scales, but it scales at about 10% less of a rate than it did before - which makes strength and agility more inline. Furthermore, with DotS being able to crit, crit should be a lot more valuable. Toskk and Melthu at EJ have both worked on it some, but the math is premature right now. No matter what it seems like agility is going to be better; where the sweet spot is is unknown. I've seen 19k AP, and I've seen 4k AP.

Marino said...

Kalon I understand what anti tank is for and it sure is nice. But hybrid tanks are also getting a nerf in this patch. The thing is there is an extra glyph (SR) that is nearly an actual must for cat dps. That means you need to replace 1 glyph you currently have to be as compatitive as you are now in dps.

Kalon said...

Marino - that's not really a problem. I can replace Glyph of frenzied regeneration without too much issue; it's my least-used ohshit button and I can't rely on it to save me in a pinch. It certainly isn't a requirement the way maul, rip and the SR glyph would be.

Or I'll do about 6% less damage DPSing compared to other cats, which may not be that big a deal anyway.

My suspicion is that I'll be going cat/bear anyway mostly because there's no need for me to go healing, but it's probably a moot point in my case. And even if I do, chances are that my 'tanking' spec will be partially hybrid anyway, with worse glyphs for DPS.

Seleria said...

I have come to rely on your blog for gearing my druid alt. It's been very helpful and set me straight on a number of things. I'm currently in the process of gearing up for Naxx and such. I'm sitting on some nice pieces, some decent stats... and I feel very beastly in the meager gear I DO have.

However, the last thing I'd want to do is set myself up for a hard time come 3.1. I was wondering if you have any plans to take 3.1 changes and make a new gear list similar to what you've posted before?

Kalon said...

Seleria - thanks for coming by. And yes, I do plan on at least listing my loot rankings if not listing the actual loot you should be going for. One of the things I want to make sure that players are doing right now is to be aware of items that they might've passed on in the past that rock now thanks to SD.

By the way, the Rawr beta currently does have some 3.1-based SD info that you can play with if you're wanting a fix right now.

Shamad said...

Seeing as how more stats are becoming better for us, what's your take on 4p bonus from t7? Currently it's been pretty much standard for bears, but personally as barkskin really only is an oh-shit button, 3 seconds longer duration doesn't seem terribly important, if I'm in "danger" it's usually for a rather short period of time, and 20 or 23 seconds doesn't really matter to me.

Now 2p t7 seems likely to stick around for the rip bonus for cats, but otherwise I'd expect to see all of t7 to be replaced for bears once ulduar iLvl226 gear rolls in. Atm though there's only one tier-slot item of iLvl 226 and that's the pants, and seeing as how t7 head seems to trump exodus after the changes, we're looking at simply switching around which t7 we use to follow more the current practice of cats.

Willowbear said...

@Shamad - You need to re-think barkskin. It is not an oh-shit button. It is a straight up damage reduction tool just like any other piece of equipment you have. While you are tanking you should be mashing that every time the CD is up. Your true oh-shit button is survival instincts/frenzied regen.

@Kalon - I wasn't planning on equipping both cards in kitty. I was going to use the agi for bear and str for kitty. But given the 3.1 changes it sounds like I should just use agi for both.

Shamad said...

Willowbear; No, I shouldn't, because when I'm tanking normally I don't need it, because I'm not horribly undergeared. That's like reasoning a resto shaman should be using Nature's Swiftness(makes next cast-time spell instant) every time it's off cooldown to maximize output, but most often, that just means you overheal more. If your healers aren't having trouble keeping you up, then you're not doing any good slamming on barkskin, you're just causing more overheal.

Marino said...

I personally can't have enough oh-shit buttons (I consider barkskin to be one) It saved me from frost blast on KT last night.

Also without frenzied regeneration glyph I think that fight would have been a wipe. (Bit off topic, but I just have too tell this)
Started out DK ok KT, me and a pala waiting for adds. Then something fucked up and DK died. Both me and pala went for KT and the pala got him. I ressed the DK and we went to get the adds. Some more fuckups and the pala died. The DK got KT first. I knew he was not buffed so I started taunting the adds (we each ahd 2) off him. I had 3 on me and then he died again. I went to KT did some damage and started looking for the last add. Taunted him, swiped a few times and then noticed I had lost threat on KT (he was out of swipe range). Taunted him again and there I was Tanking KT + 4 adds with half the raid dead. 20% on KT to go. We got him down, but with a hybrid spec I would have definitely not made it.

PS everyone hated the fight because ppl screwed up and it was messy. I loved it! Sings: "Here I am to save the day...." (Watch Man on the moon if you don't get it)

Anonymous said...

Had a little deja vu reading this blog entry and comments, realizing how closely they parallel our PM discussion at EJ at roughly similar time frame, especially the Feb 25, 3:52 PM Kalon comment.

Again, thanks for your blog and the work you do shedding light for the rest of us ferals.

With the advent of dual spec, someone's going to have to write the "you've always been feral but now you'll do resto too" dummies' guide


Monix said...

Has anyone tested if SD has a built in proc cd?

In regards to the agi buff. I guess I missed the memo but ive been stacking agi for a while now and have always been in the top 3 dps in 25mans but with our precious kitty bleeds critting...Mmmm