Friday, September 17, 2010

[Cat] Cataclysm cats part 3: the case for crit

Following up on the previous articles:

Now it's time to dig into crit. And not just crit rating - but agility.

From the first article we know that crit rating and mastery rating are basically equal (at least right now) in terms of what they give, and the same amount of crit rating to give 1% crit is the same amount of mastery rating that gives 2.5% bleed damage. That's nice; it makes it very easy to equate them without going nuts.

In addition to that, agility gives crit% as well. It takes 1.8 points of agility to give the same amount of crit as 1 point of crit rating, if that helps.

How does crit help you?

Well, let's see. Crit gives you 200% damage on all critical strikes. This includes bleeds, melee, and any special attacks. The 220% boost on crits is either not implemented or purposely taken out at this point; my guess is the latter. Add the metagem into the mix, and your crits do 206% damage.

For every 1% crit you should in theory get 1% more damage, roughly. That's not exactly true. For starters, there is a cap on crit% for white attacks (76%). There's a soft cap for things like ferocious bite and ravage as well, though that doesn't often come into play. And mostly, it's a matter of degree; if you sit at 0% crit, 1% crit will increase your damage by 1%. If you're at 40% crit, the crit boost only increases your overall damage by .7% (since you can't make your crits...uh...crit again). That sounds awfully close to the mastery bonus in terms of damage potential - so are they equivalent?

Well, without knowing what the crit rates at 85 are going to be, it's hard to say. Chances are that a 40% crit rate is pretty high, actually. At level 80, assuming ICC gear you get absurd amounts of crit thanks to every bit of arpen converting to crit (almost) - but that crit decreases very fast. Instead, we'll look at median damage values for crit rates:

0%: 1% crit = 1% dps gain
20%: 1% crit = .83% dps gain
30%: 1% crit = .76% dps gain
40%: 1% crit= .71% dps gain
50%: 1% crit = .66% dps gain

Note that this is the case for bleed damage too - as your bleed damage multiplier increases, the overall damage increase each point does is less relative. The overall damage increase from a raw standpoint should the the same though, and note that in order for bleed damage to keep relative pace with crit%, bleed damage has to be around 40% of your overall damage.

Anyway, that's part of crit's success, but the neat part is when you talk about the extra combo points generated. Here's where we get more meaty bits.

The cycle in cataclysm is mostly unchanged from wotlk; you keep savage roar up, you keep rip up, and you keep rake up while shredding when you have spare energy. Rip always at 5 CP. SR when you can (and as I'll point out, it's actually a bit more efficient to SR early). The change comes from the endless carnage talent. Rake now will have a duration of 15 seconds (up from 9) and SR will add an additional 6 seconds to its duration regardless of combo points. Rip's duration is unchanged, and because the glyph of rip is being changed to a straight DPS boost instead of a duration boost, the maximum duration rip will have is 22 seconds.

This means in practice that you must generate 5 combo points every 22 seconds to keep rip up - and do three shreds in that time as well. In addition, you should be keeping Savage Roar up. For ease, I'm going to assume a 5CP savage roar, which means 40 seconds total. Realistically this means that you need to be generating 15 CP every 40 seconds or so just for the basic rotation.

That doesn't sound so bad until you look at the energy that takes. In 40 seconds you'll have 400 energy with zero haste, along with another 60 from at least one Tiger's Fury. You need energy for two rips (30 energy each, so 60 total)and a SR (25 energy) in that time, and we'll assume you're a pro at keeping rake up too - so you need energy for 2.6 rakes (90 energy). That leaves 285 energy for shreds, and shreds are 40 energy each currently.

In other words, 7 shreds. You have 2.6 rakes, 7 shreds, and you're needing to generate 15 CP in that time. The effective crit % required to keep that up is 56% if all you did was that. Now, you'll hopefully get at least one OoC proc - probably 2, so let's assume that. Even so, in that case and assuming no extra CP get wasted (going from 4 to 5) you need an effective crit rate of 30%.

So forget about ferocious biting; you won't have the CP generation. In fact, if you're below 40% crit rate, your rotation is going to be pretty horrible. Rake is the most efficient combo point generator you have, but you won't be raking that often compared to now (every 9 seconds or so vs Cataclysm's 15 seconds or so). What that implies to me is that crit is going to be very, very important early on.

Which makes sense; some of the basic advice from most ferals in the early and midtier of WotLK was to get crit at 50% at least before going for arpen, and the same advice applies here as well. Except we don't have anything like arpen in terms of boom or bust stat, so it's much more forgiving to go for.

One of the things I expect is some criticism for this post as I assumed 0% haste - which isn't realistic, not by a longshot. The point is to illustrate how important crit rate is for ferals (especially compared to mastery), not to devalue haste. I'll get into this in the next post, but as a teaser - the above assumed 0 haste. If you assume around 20% haste (which with stats and buffs is about right) you get 100 energy every 8 seconds. That means that in 40 seconds time instead of 460 energy, you get 560 energy, meaning that even in the worst case scenario (no OOC procs) you get 2.5 more shreds than the 0 hasted situation - which requires an effective rotation crit % of only 25%! if that sounds awesome, it's because it totally is. That it increases your OoC procs by 20% and increases your melee damage by 20% doesn't suck either. But like I said - we'll get into that next time.


Bez said...

So... in the current beta build, what do you think ferals would gem for?

if crit and mastery are relatively equal, would your gems be agi, straight crit, mastery or haste?

also given reforging, what would you convert into?

Asp said...

Any ideas on how racials are going to play into things now that we actually get a choice? I really, really don't want to be a troll, but has there been any indication that the tauren racials will be anything but really, really useless?

And presuming that we do get boned, how much of a difference would being a troll make as of today?

Doug said...

I'm guessing that for Cata we will be desiring crit, hit and exp.

SR only affecting white damage really pushes up the value of hit/exp. If things stay as they are I'll likely reforge to cap them and then get crit/haste to a place where the rotation is stale at the expense of mastery. With crit edging out haste if I had to choose.

Mastery will be the new ArP. As you want it but need to have other stats in a good place before it makes sense to gear for it.

If haste affects bleeds, /crossesfingers, this all changes and swings everything towards haste.

Zuggy said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Kalon,

Thank you for another great theocrafting post.

The post is mostly about crit but you also mention agility.
1.8 agility = 1 crit rating
1.8 agility = 3.6 AP (assuming 1 agility = 2 AP).

How does agility and crit rating compare? Is there a break point or is crit rating always better than agility (and how much better?)?

I do not know if it is possible to answer these question at present where the cataclysm mechanics is not final.

Kalon said...

Bez - I think that ferals are still going to go for hit/expertise caps, then likely agility or haste depending on their crit level. My gut feeling is that haste is going to beat agility thanks to how things scale, but I've not simulated it yet.

I'd reforge any mastery into hit/expertise assuming I wasn't capped, and I'd then go for haste. More haste never seems to be bad.

Asp, racials are so far not really touched - and from the looks of things they're not going to be. The tauren racials are still basically crap for druids right now, and troll racials are pretty awesome for cats and okay for bears. In terms of a difference, you get a 20% attack speed boost for 10 seconds every 180 seconds. Not huge, but pretty decent when combined with all the bonuses to white damage.

Anon, it's really hard to say without the final numbers being in what is 'best' between agility and crit rating. Given that agility's AP doesn't ever get 'worse' relative to your level, I'd be inclined to go with agility. Everything does scale with AP as well, so that's nice. My gut feeling is that you may need crit over agility when your gear is poor and your rotation is bogging down, but you'll want to get more agility as your crit % can support it.

Kostamojen said...

Kalon. Great article. Very insightful on the importance of crit% in the cat rotation.

Just saw that in the latest patch "Endless Carnage increases the duration of Savage Roar by 4/8 sec, up from 3/6 sec." This means that 1cpSR and Rip (/w Glyph of Shred) both have a duration of 22 sec. Which could make our rotation more streamlined.

I also did some rough calculations, and figured that a 1cpSR rotation actually requires fewer CPs to maintain, than the 5cpSR assumed in your article.

1cpSR Rotation
Requires 6cp/22sec (.27cp/sec)

5cpSR Rotation
Requires 15cp/42sec (.36cp/sec)

The 1cpSR does not require as many CPs to be gerenated over time, but might not leave much time to fit in an FB here and there.

Will be interesting to see which turns out to be more optimal. And, I suppose 'optimal' could change at different gear levels depending on Haste and Crit.

Kalon said...

Thanks for coming by, Kosta. I was thinking about posting the rotation for the 1/2CP SR->5CP rip; it was a bit more complex at the time due to the 20 second part, but more importantly I thought it would be a bit too energy inefficient. But it's definitely a better choice if we're going to be as crit-starved as I think we might. It also means that you must fit in three shreds in that time, making your rotation fairly static:
3 shreds
1.4 rakes
1 SR
1 rip
Which is close to the 200 energy that you get in that time. But it is at least a fairly simple rotation, and while not being perfectly energy efficient should be not too bad to maintain.