Monday, May 4, 2009

[Druid]The net threat value of faerie fire

In the Bear FAQ, Bludge said this:

FF seems odd because of the fact that it's based off spell hit. I notice mine missing more than any other ability I have. So using it in a rotation seems like a bad idea except to refresh it. I might be able to imagine a bear that is melee hit capped, but a bear that is spell hit capped? Now you're smoking.

You bet I'm smoking! I'm smoking the sweet smell of awesome threat, baby. Let's go to the numbers and figure out whether I'm smoking, or he's listening to anecdotal evidence.

First off, the hit numbers: melee miss rate against a level 83 mob is 8%. Spell miss rate is 17%. So faerie fire misses more than twice as much as melee attacks. Making it even worse, the crit multiplier for spells is only 1.5, spell crit is typically much lower for ferals than melee crit, and for this test we're going to assume that you're totally expertise-capped too.

We'll take a typical AP value: 6000. A crit rate of 50% for melee, and 15% for spells (this is pretty correct when raid buffed). And let's go with 0 hit total. Not really realistic, but who cares - this is bold theorycrafting when smoking time.

So the value for various bear attacks in terms of damage is:
mangle: (base damage * 1.15 + 299)*naturalist * master shapeshifter * savage *armor *(2*crit rate + 1*(1-crit rate))* (1-melee miss rate)
swipe: (AP*.063+108)*naturalist*master*feral instinct*armor*(2*crit rate + 1*(1-crit rate))* (1-melee miss rate)

lacerate: (AP*.01 +88)*naturalist*master*armor*(2*crit rate + 1*(1-crit rate))* (1-melee miss rate)
Faerie fire: (AP*.15+1)*(1.5*spellcrit rate +1*(1-spellcritrate))*(1-spell miss rate)

After using 6k AP, 50% crit rate, 15% spell crit, and no hit - we get this:
mangle: 2239 damage
swipe: 698
lacerate: 163
FFF: 803

Okay, so mangle wins big on the damage - but FFF even with all of that is coming in second. Even with a 17% miss rate and a bad crit rate, it wins. But what about TPS?

Mangle TPS: Mangle damage * 29/14
swipe TPS: swipe damage * 29/14*1.5
lacerate TPS: 29/14*(damage+1031)/2
FFF TPS: 29/14*(damage+632)

So the final TPS is:
mangle: 4638
swipe: 2169
lacerate: 1237
FFF: 2974.

But wait! What about higher AP? Turns out that FFF wins at any level over swipe. Well, okay - at around 240,000AP, swipe beats FFF.

But what about a better armor reduction? After all, 30% armor is pretty high...right? Not really, but let's just take that out entirely. If your target has 0 armor, swipe will do about 120 more threat per application. But at 0 armor, your swipes are hitting for 722 damage each. I don't know about you, but that's not what mine hit for. And while you can get 0 armor as a cat under certain circumstances, chances are you'll never hit that as a bear.

What about higher crit? Even with an 80% crit rate, swipe still loses by a few hundred.

What about more hit? That's funny - because hit actually makes FFF stronger. Why? Because the hit rating to 1% hit conversion is 32.79 hit rating per 1% - but the spell hit rating only costs 26.3 hit rating per 1%. And remember - this assumed expertise capped, which means 14% reduced parry and dodge or 56 total expertise skill. Again, not really realistic; chances are against bosses you're going to have a lot less.

So for pretty much any numbers that you can think, faerie fire beats swipe, and it scales insanely well with AP. Also, if you don't have things like master shapeshifter or even naturalist, faerie fire does even better by comparison.

So yes, every time you can you should be faerie firing for maximum threat and for maximum damage. Mangle beats it, and keeping up a lacerate stack beats it - but lacerate by itself doesn't come close, nor does swipe.


Marino said...

True. Only realised that myself lately. I made some rotation calculations on iMangle or not iMangle. If yo wish check it out hereFFF is a need in any rotation. As to FF being a hit, rawr will tell you that average damage vs a hit (100% hit , 0% crit) for everything is up, except for FFF. The everage dps for FFF is lower while the average threat is only slightly higher.

PS I recently had a 3.4k FFF crit on Hodir if I remember correctly. I think I had some buff at that point. It was insane.

Karthis said...

Thanks for running the math to confirm my gut feel.

A few weeks ago I started training myself to use FFF every time it came off CD, and even rearranged my bars to make it more accessible.

I'm glad I wasn't smoking something funny when I did that.

amf said...

I'm lazy and i'll make a macro for FFF / swipe. =)

Elfkilla - Gorefiend/US

baseball said...

[i]PS I recently had a 3.4k FFF crit on Hodir if I remember correctly. I think I had some buff at that point. It was insane.

Hodir likely had a lot of singed debuffs on him. Fun, no? =)

This math reinforces what I've felt in my gut ever since 3.1 started. I've tried a few popular tanking builds, but what I've noticed is that regardless of my gear changes and spec changes, incorporating FFF into regular rotations gives me noticeable threat advantages.

Darksend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow amazing! Thanks for this analysis, I never new. I think I'll rearrage my action bars too (but I'd never create a macro, lol, bear tanking already has too few buttons to click, even if we now have one more!)

Darksend said...

Hey man, I actually sent you an email with a question about this very topic a few days ago but I guess you did not get it.

What makes FFF even better?

EVEN IN BEAR, it has a 1 second GCD.

(at least im 99% sure about this I only realized it 3 days ago so it is not taken into account in the below article)

I wrote something about this during the PTR,

with some additional math pretty much just confirming everything you just wrote

Kalon said...

Hey Marino - I read that and the Tarskin info, and I still don't find that iMangle's compelling even with the idol of the corruptor. 4% more damage for all abilities on a reliable basis speaks to me more than the rare lost uptime on mangles leading to a slightly lower overall dodge rate on a 6-second interval. Plus it makes the rotation much, much more friendly.

Karthis, I've been training myself on that too. It's tough, and I may have to rearrange my bars - or do another macro for swipe/lacerate instead. We'll see.

Amf - that's a good idea. My only problem with that is that swipe isn't always wanted to be used.

Darksend - yeah, I suck and haven't gotten back to email as much. It does have a 1 second GCD. In practice I'm not sure how useful this is, since either you're waiting on mangles or you're actually pushing out mangles in favor of another attack (which is bad). Plus, while it has a slower GCD, it still has a 6-second cooldown.

And I totally spaced on the math you did before. Sorry :(

Darksend said...

No worries, it is always nice to have a more credible source support something you write O.o

As for the 1 second GCD here is what i was thinking.

With imp mangle FF and mangle will line up eventually, when that happens if you prioritize the FF 1st it allows you to get the whole rotation sped up

Although it still pushes mangle back slightly, hrm going to have to think this one out more.

Anonymous said...

Without IMangle, FFF and Mangle will never clip (both 6 sec cd) and better rotation will give you better damage and threat. Mine is: Pull with FFF, Mangle-Lacerate-swipe-FFF and repeat. after 5 stacks of Lacerate I use swipe twice for 1 cycle and then Lacerate again...

No other tanks in my guild come close to me from a threat point of view.

Kalon thank you again for your great research! You are the man! Or should I say the bear ))

Darksend said...

@ annon

My guild runs a prot warrior and a frost DK so I do not need to spec into IW.

This gives me the (apparently) rare advantage of being able to have both Imangle and MSS.

As others have pointed out MSS > Imangle but if you can have both its better still.

Bludge said...

Hey, thanks a lot for answering my question. I will always use it now when the CD is up. I figured you had the math to back it up.

I used to spec into master shapeshifter before it was popular. My current spec does without it because I wanted to see how good the new primal gore talent was. Anecdotally I seem to be able to hold aggro better. I gave up iMangle a long ago, just not enough points around to get it. Perhaps when I finally dual spec cat I will able to make a more bear focused tree (i.e. no more king of the jungle), but at the moment I still keep a few cat friendly talents.

Anyways, thanks again for answering my question.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm sorry I don't really know where to post it but as a like the way you treat every aspect of bear tanking, I'm interest to know your opinion on Blood Draining enchant. Personnaly after looking at some WWS of my guild (a warrior has got this enchant on his new weapon), the enchant didn't seem very helpful and I still think mangoose is better.

What do you think?

Tarskin said...

FFF is pretty damn sexy now yeah :p

Monkeytree said...

Is there ever a situation where a bear might be blocked from using FFF because "a more powerful spell is active"?

Kalon said...

Bludge - happy to answer. The thing is - I didn't know what the answer would be. You might've been right. I hadn't seen any math that had included the penalty of hit/expertise in there, and it does miss an awful lot. A lot of people had made a similar conclusion, but I figured that it never hurts to validate it myself. :)

Anon - I don't have a good answer for you yet, because I've not been able to reliably test blood draining yet. The short answer is that in an ideal situation, it's worth about 200 stam. In a less-ideal situation it's worth 40 stam. In a typical situation it's worthless. But it's very hard to just say 'it'll always be good'. Basically, if you regularly go below 35% health, it'll be better for you. I'll try and have an article on it in the future. I think for the general case mongoose will win, just because more dodge and crit and haste is always valuable no matter what.

Monkeytree - I believe that this has finally, successfully been fixed in 3.1. Mostly because faerie fire is now a different spell in feral and non-feral forms. I guess the only way I could see is if a cat put it up beforehand or something, but even then it should be able to be overwritten unless that cat has improved FF. Which would be...bizarre.

I've not seen that stupid error yet. It's always worked for me.

Mellody said...

Talking about the blood draining enchant I noticed sometimes the heal is considered as overheal on recount or WWS... (25-30%) This should never happen considered it only procs when the tank is below 35% health...
It's probably a latency issue, the same as for SD

Torosso said...

I found a bug when making a /castsquence macro last night that included fff.

If you past 'Faerie Fire - (Feral)' straight from the spell book it will fail as it appears to be not a valid spell. while it is fine for the normal bars

To fix this you need to add an extra set of () after the spell. ie

'Faerie Fire - (Feral)()'

I think this a problem caused by the fact fff use to have ranks and in the current patch it no longer does.

For interests sake my new macro is-

/castsquence reset=3 Mangle, FFF

It seems to work nicely.

Bludge said...

If mangle is the our most threatening ability, what is the reason for NOT speccing into imangle? I just checked your armory and we have identical specs. I never thought the 3 points were worth it, but perhaps there are times it is.

Also, I use the idol from the grizzly hills venture bay vendor. I still have my idol of terror, but I never bother to equip it because I figure the additional maul damage is worth more as threat than the agi is worth as avoidance. Am I crazy here? It never seems that 65 agi occasionally would make or break it if I lived though an encounter.

Kalon said...

Torosso - that's good to know. :)

Bludge -
If mangle is the our most threatening ability, what is the reason for NOT speccing into imangle? I just checked your armory and we have identical specs. I never thought the 3 points were worth it, but perhaps there are times it is.Mangle isn't a bear's most threatening move; maul is, and it's not even close. That being said, mangle is a high-threat move. Why I don't spec into it is a bit complicated. I want to have more freedom doing cat damage while being able to tank, and mangle didn't make the cut. Mangle messes up your rotation for faerie fire too (as Tarskin and Marino have pointed out), and you end up not getting as much value as you could. From earlier calculations, 3 points in imangle is roughly 3% more threat, and that simply isn't worth it most of the time to me.

Really, while we talk about threat rotations this is the bare fact: as long as you're mauling as much as humanly possible while attacking with SOMETHING, your threat is almost certainly going to be fine.

Bludge said...

cool, cool, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Haha yes agreed. Maul is the king of threat & damage. Though I like your macros & addon Kalon re maul switching, i never used it in the end - still seem to have infinite rage all the time, so I just left maul macroed permanently.

Now, I have to macro it into FFF too! But thanks for all your work on this; I've noticed myself gaining a much bigger threat lead on our best ranged dps in the most ranged dps friendly fights, simply by FFFing every time its up. And for 0 rage in an infinite rage environment???? I mean, thats just even more OP.

Anonymous said...

New idea for a blog post: I was just reading a forum post about tanking hard mode thorim. How about a nice mathsy article about cheezing it up as a druid, using some ridiculous combination of resilience gear, polar gear, 4pc t8, glyph of barkskin and so on. Its gonna be like sarth3d in frost resist: totally cheesy, absolutely unintended, and by far a preferred method! Quick! before anyone else blogs up the idea. Then we'll get some more nice stamina nerfs in 3.3 (and hopefully DKs will to, lol)

Kalon said...

Anon (@Thorim Hard) - I was thinking exactly that same thing. I don't like writing articles without any concrete personal evidence, but it shouldn't be hard to show the gear, values and stats you might need to get to that point. It looks a lot like the Sarth3D FR gearing strategy, honestly.

And 56k health shouldn't be that hard to hit with a few Ulduar upgrades.

Anonymous said...

I know, hehe, it'll be a blast!
Call me sneaky, but I just love reading warriors saying "but why have a druid solo tank it when you can tank switch?"

"Hey, why have a warrior solo tank illidan when you can tank switch?Just have your warrior pick up after a shear for a few secs, then the druid can taunt back."

Like I said, I'm a sneaky bastard. Making the feral outperform what its designers intended is so much fun, and making warriors feel a little inadequate is also kind of fun.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I always have FFF handy on the F-buttons. Supposedly on cataclysm theyre gonna give bear a few new buttons to hit, but FFF is great when its single target, after you have a 5stacked lacerate and mangle on cd, and nothing else to hit but maul and FFF.