Tuesday, October 19, 2010

[Cat] Current best in slot items for WotLK for cats

This was written by me over at EJ; figured it would be useful to folks here as well. Apologies for lack of linkages.

Since you can't gear for mastery, the only compromise you're making is whether or not you want haste, crit, expertise or hit. That's all. There is no other compromise to be made. The question then becomes what gear gives you the most potential mastery value while also giving you the most hit and expertise (up to the cap) and the most agility.

Doing something like this and evaluating 40% of the highest secondary stat as mastery (no matter what it was), I came up with the following values for gear. This was using 1.1 for agility, .6 for expertise and hit, .5 for haste and crit, 1.1 for mastery, 22 for each socket and assuming that the highest stat would always be converted to mastery.

shadowvault slayer's cloak back 228.12
sylvanas' cunning back 196.3

gloaming sark chest 416.28
ikfirus chest 431.86
T10277 chest 412.98

footpads of silence feet 289.6
frostbitten fur boots feet 297.6
taldaram's slippers feet 265.6

Endless Vengeance ring 209.66
bone colossus ring 232.5
frostbrood ring 228.12
saurfang ring 194.6
seal of many mouths ring 234.12
Signet of twilight ring 244.72

aldriana's hand 306.4
t10277 hand 297.2

discarded bag head 331.4
geistlord head 370.38
t10277 head 383.46

gangrenous legs 423.18
T10277 legs 423.58

sindragosa's cruel claw neck 228.12
baltharus' gift neck 216.56
precious neck 201.18
rimetooth neck 203.4

cultists shoulder 306.4
T10277 shoulder 297.2

Oathbinder weapon 434.58
Bloodfall weapon 422.18
distant land weapon 416.58
tainted twig weapon 380.86
hersir's weapon 328.32
shaft weapon 361.32

astrylian waist 297.6
soulthief waist 271.64
vengeful waist 283.2

umbrage wrist 247.02
toskk wrist 228.12
vambraces wrist 203.4

The highest non-tier piece is Ikfirus compared to any other. The gain is small but there. Another surprise is Seal of Many Mouths, which wins out over the other 277 rings due to the expertise. (note that this doesn't take into account the proc of Endless vengeance, but that shouldn't matter. Mouths, bone colossus, frostbrood, endless vengeance is the order for the 277s.

The head and legs for T10 were both superior to their non-offtier values. The shoulders are identical to the Aldriana's in terms of gain; you could use either T10 shoulders or hands as your offtier piece, if it suited you.

Based on this you would have the following gear set as a best in slot:
Cloak: Shadowvault's (40% of haste to mastery)
Chest: Ikfirus (40% of hit to mastery)
Feet: Frostbitten (40% of crit to mastery)
Rings: Signet of Twilight (40% of crit to mastery), Seal of many mouths (40% of crit to mastery)
Hand: T10 (40% of crit to mastery)
Head: T10 (40% of crit to mastery)
Legs: T10 (40% of crit to mastery)
Neck: Sindragosa (40% of crit to mastery)
Shoulder: T10 (40% of crit to mastery)
Weapon: Oathbinder (40% of haste to mastery)
Waist: Astrylian (40% of crit to mastery)
Wrist: Umbrage (40% of haste to mastery)

This naively would result in the following (including the idol slot)
agility: + 1799
crit: +753
expertise: +272
haste: +719
hit: +126
mastery: +482

This is clearly over the cap on expertise and under on hit, so you can simply reforge the ikfirus' expertise instead. Giving you 230 expertise and 171 hit. Not perfectly capped, but pretty close.

I believe this is the maximal value of mastery you could get currently. It also has 21 sockets.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

[Bear] FAQ for 4.0.1/Cataclysm

Gah! So busy. This needed to be up, like, yesterday.


Q: What's the point & purpose of this FAQ?
A: Short & simple answers for people who want a quick fix. You don't need to have followed the beta changes since day one. This is for those who didn't read everything on EJ, didn't pour over changes and just want to know what the heck is going on.

Q: You're wrong! My research says blah!
A: Maybe. And if so, point it out and I'll correct it. But I warn you - I do a lot of research and I'm good at it.

Q: But what about 5-mans? Or PvP?
A: I don't care. This is for bears who are MTing 10 and 25-man content, especially 25-man. It is probably suboptimal for other choices.

Q: You smell, and I hate you!
A: Enjoy the WoW forums then. I get flamed over there all the time too.

Q: You don't talk about trash mobs, enchants, or detailed gear selection!
A: Nope, this is quick and dirty. I've talked about professions, gear choices, various good stats and other things elsewhere.

Q: You're just repeating stuff on EJ, Tankspot, and Toskk's forums!
A: Largely yes. That's kind of the point - I do the reading so you don't have to.

Mechanics & play changes:

Q: What rotation do I use?
A@80: For single target it's mangle when it's available, lacerate if there is no lacerate on the target, swipe when it's available, pulverize to keep the buff up after 3 lacerates, lacerate otherwise. Faerie fire if you're in a low-rage situation. Maul if you're in a high rage situation. For multitarget it's largely the same, save that you should prioritize spreading lacerates around to proc more mangles if possible. And start the pull by thornsing yourself.
A@85: For single target it's mangle off CD, lacerate if there is no lacerate on the target, thrash off CD, swipe off CD, pulverize to keep the buff up and lacerate otherwise. Faerie fire when you're low on rage, and maul if you're in high rage or need a quick boost of threat. And start the pull by thornsing yourself. On multitarget, rotate between swipe and thrash and lacerate otherwise, throwing mangles and mauls in when you have the rage.

Q: Stack lacerate to 3? But I thought it stacked to 5?
A: Nope. Lacerate is only three stacks. And even better, the damage it does to start with is significantly better, and the dot is pretty weak. Which makes it quite spammable.

Q: Pulverize is that good?
A: Yep. Pulverize helps with more savage defense, helps with rage, and does a good amount of damage by itself.

Q: So the single target rotation uses both of our AoE abilities?
A: Yeah, at least right now; both do significantly large amounts of threat and damage.

Q: What's thrash?
A: Thrash is an ability learned at level 81. It's great threat and applies a bleed.

Q: So no more swipe spam?
A: Nope! Swipe has a 6-second CD, as does Thrash. You'll want to plan to use swipe based on the fight and make sure that it's up if adds spawn at a specific time.

Q: So no more faerie fire?
A: Faerie fire costs no rage but isn't that great in terms of threat any more, at least not compared to lacerate.

Q: Wait - so what happened to mangle? What's the new berserk thing?
A: Berserk now gives a 30% chance to your lacerate ticks to reset mangle's CD. There isn't an improved mangle any more - but the lacerate ticks mean that you have a good chance to get extra mangles if you're paying attention. That means lacerate should be up all the time (it should be the first thing you do after pulverize) and ideally you should pulverize only right after a lacerate tick.

Q: All my attacks had /cast maul associated with them - should I keep doing that?
A: No! Maul has a 3-second CD, is off the GCD (so you can use it whenever) and doesn't do nearly as much threat and damage as it used to. Plus it's a huge rage sink, and chances are you don't want to mess with your rotation too much to use it. It's better used in multitarget situations or at the start of a fight to get a good threat lead.

Q: So the magic number for defense was 156 defense rating or 103 resilience rating before. What is it now?
A: 0. Bear form & Thick Hide automatically take care of being uncrittable.

Q: What are the new cooldowns bears have?
A: Survival instincts has changed to be a true shield wall - 60% reduction every 5 minutes. Barkskin is unchanged. Frenzied Regeneration (with the glyph) is now sort of like the old survival instincts but doesn't increase your current health unless you're very low, but adds the guardian spirit ability. All are very strong.

Q: Okay, those are pretty big changes - what else has happened?
A: Skull Bash is your new interrupt. And it's a mini-charge too!

Q: Anything else?
A: Vengeance is pretty neat for bears. Especially since Vengeance combines with Savage Defense to make blocking kinda ridiculous at times.

Q: Wait, Savage Defense? Isn't that kind of a lame skill?
A: Not any more! With it being modified by mastery, increased via vengeance and being fairly large anyway it means big, big blocks quite often.

Q: So what other goodies am I getting come Cataclysm?
A: Not a lot, sadly. I mentioned thrash, which feels like an answer to a question that doesn't matter any more (how to tank lots of mobs easily, which you shouldn't be doing!). At 83 you get stampeding roar, which is somewhat neat but has such a small radius currently it's not super useful. Still, it's another dash and it's in bear form. And at 85, you get wild mushroom...which is essentially as useful as hurricane.

Q: What's with innervate?
A: It's horrible now for ferals; it gives back mana based on the caster's mana pool.

A: Yeah, it's a bad design. I hope it goes away soon.

Q: is there any good news?
A: well, you can use tranquility to heal anyone, sort of like a divine hymn, but unless you have nurturing instinct chances are it won't be useful.


Q: Where's all my extra armor?
A: On leather, extra armor is long gone. On nonleather there's a bug that removed a lot of it; it should return soon.

Q: So what, we're supposed to wear rogue leather?
A: Yep.

Q: That sucks!
A: Not really, not any more. Most leather pieces have as much stamina as plate pieces do. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be.

Q: What rogue leather is best then? It's got all these weird-ass stats...
A: The only stats that help mitigation/avoidance directly that are on rogue leather are agility, stamina and mastery. Crit somewhat helps make more savage defense procs, as does hit and expertise, but they aren't big deals. And agility is huge now.

Q: How is agility huge?
A: Well, for a bear it gives crit %, dodge %and 2 AP per agility point. It's quite the one-stop shop for the well-to-do bear. Note that it doesn't give armor any more. Yeah, I don't know either.

Q: Mastery?
A: It's a lame name, I know.

Q: Okay, but that wasn't the question. What does it do?
A: For bears, Mastery increases the size of your savage defense shields by 4% per mastery point. This sounds wimpy, but it ends up being quite substantial; each mastery point at 80 increases absorption by about 400-500 damage, and that increases quite a bit with vengeance.

Q: But doesn't that mean PvP gear has the best stats for tanking then?
A: Yep! At least it has the best mitigation/avoidance stats. The PvE gear is better for threat. Sadly this hasn't changed in 4 years either.

Q: So great...I have to pvp now, don't I?
A: Not really. It may give you a small advantage, but since you can't reforge resilience away it loses a lot of item budget.

Q: Reforge?
A: Yeah! This is the biggest thing for bears in a long time. You can convert 40% of a secondary stat (not agility or stamina or strength) into another secondary stat that isn't on the item. For bears, this means that you can convert haste (which is pretty weak for bears) or extra hit into dodge rating or mastery.

Q: So what you're telling me is...
A: Yes! Tanking leather is back! Sorta.

Q: What about the non-leather items?
A: This is sort of a tough one. On the one hand, the tanking non-leather items can have extra armor. On the other hand, the DPS ones have agility and more threat, which can give more boosts. I'd recommend taking the non-leather tanking pieces with + armor when they exist, take the tanking trinkets that give stamina and armor, but look for high-agility and high-mastery jewelry otherwise.

Q: So defense is gone...what does that mean for gear?
A: It means look for gear with armor, agility, mastery, and dodge. Strength is okay but not thrilling.

Q: How about gems?
A: Stamina is still the king. Agility is better than it was before, but avoidance still isn't thriling compared to the gains you get from stamina.

Q: You have mongoose on your tanking staff?
A: Sadly Mongoose is still the best bear enchant at 80. At 85 there are going to be better ones, at least.

Q: Okay...what about other enchants?
A: In general, go for stamina and agility, then avoidance.


Q: Wow. What happened to our tree?
A: It went boom. You now pick a specialization (feral) and then get talents roughly once every other level. The total talents that you can have at level 80 is 36, and at 85 is 41. And you can't get any talents from any tree other than feral until you've spent 31 points in feral.

Q: Survival of the fittest is gone! So is MANGLE? HOW IS I DON"T EVEN GAAARHRGHG
A: Relax. Both are baked into the feral specialization or part of Thick Hide.

Q: So what spec would you recommend?
A: At 80, you can't go deep into the resto tree - so I'd go with something like a 0/33/3 build.
A: at 85, you want to get perseverance and you might as well get master shapeshifter along the way, so you end up with a 0/32/9 build. There are a few options available for those points.

Q: There don't seem to be a lot of options for bears.
A: That's not a question, but yeah, you're right. Most of the talents that are somewhat situational are either completely suicidal (King of the Jungle) or just aren't useful for bears at all (like Nurturing Instinct). Your options come down to brutal impact, infected wounds or stampede, basically. Of those I'd recommend skipping stampede, as it's only useful at the start of a fight.

Q: What about natural shapeshifter/master shapeshifter?
A: Master shapeshifter would be good if it were only 2 points, but it's essentially 3. And natural shapeshifter is worthless. There's not a lot else to spend your points on, though.

Q: King of the Jungle?
A: One of the best cat talents, but only meh for bears. Nice for an early threat lead but not all that useful otherwise. And threat really isn't that big of a concern right now. Still, get it if you plan on doing any decent amount of kitty.

Other choices:

Q: What Inscriptions?
A: Mangle, Berserk, Lacerate, Frenzied Regeneration and Feral Charge. Also Challenging Roar. I'd recommend swapping between the rebirth and the thorns glyph for the third major.

Q: What professions?
A: Too early to tell, but my guess is jewelcrafting (since it's useful for all specs of druid) and either leatherworking or engineering.

Q: If I'm taking all these bear talents, how do I dps as a cat?
A: Much better than before. The main cat talent you don't have is King of the Jungle, but your shreds, rakes, and rips all hit fairly hard. You also are missing out on glyphs which hurts, but it's much better than it was before.

Q: Wow...you're a sexy theorycrafter. You're so smart when you explain things. Where can I find the places that you stole this from more information?
A: EJ forums on Cataclysm Feral druids - the big one.
Combat Ratings at 85, which talks about diminishing returns
Beta forums, which kind of suck right now
MMO Champion, which has the latest updates on specs and talents
Rawr, the best damn optimizer on the planet.

Plus a whole ton of places that I can't be bothered to mention.

Friday, October 8, 2010

[Cat] Cataclysm cats part 4: the case for haste

Previous posts here:

After a lot of digging on EJ, I found good evidence for the haste regeneration formula, and it roughly corresponds to my somewhat loose testing so it seems to make sense. The haste energy regeneration formula is as follows:

energy regeneration/second = 10*(1+ haste%)

In other words, if you have 20% haste, you regenerate 12 energy/second. If that sounds underwhelming...you're probably right. At 20% haste, in order to gain one extra shred you wait 20 seconds. That's helpful, don't get me wrong, but with the sorry state of damage on shreds this isn't nearly as impressive as you might think.

Furthermore, the relative percentages of damage aren't close to what they are now. With the loss of arpen and the loss of Feral AP, melee damage is significantly less. Ironically bleeds are significantly more than they were before (or perhaps they're the same, but as a relative level they went higher. I'm seeing reports of bleed damage being as high as 50-60% of overall damage at raid-buffed levels, and melee close to 25-30%.

With melee that low and with bleeds that high, haste only improves about 50% of your total damage. If you assume that shreds are 20% of your damage (which is actually a bit high) and melee is 30%, each percent of haste does the following:

1% haste increases your melee damage by 1%, which increases your overall dps by .3%.
Assume the rate of shreds per a fight is roughly constant. In a 40 second period I showed that you have about time to do 7 shreds. This means that each % of haste in a 40 second period gives you .1 shred, such that 10% haste gives you one extra shred in that time. This equates to 1/70 more shred damage per 1% haste, or:
1% haste = 1/70 * 20% = .28%

The total gain of dps for haste is thus about .6% directly. In addition more haste gives you more combo points, which is potentially a source of ferocious bites - but only a small one. You'll get haste%/70*crit rate more combo points per % of haste in a 40 second period, which at 50% crit rate is about .07 CP per haste%. Not thrilling.

Sadly, this is about as good as I'm going to get without a simulator, but it roughly confirms reports from others about how well haste scaling and haste conversion is compared to other stats. This disappoints me; I want haste to be an awesome ability because haste is fun. Being able to do more things is more fun. Hitting harder, bleeds doing more, critting more often - these don't directly impact the rotation and ability to do actions like haste does. Sadly, haste doesn't look to be that great.

Note that if haste made dots scale, haste would immediately be competitive with crit rate and likely close to agility. Which...is what blizzard wants, right? Sigh.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

[General] Raid Warning podcast

Just FYI to everyone - I'll be on the raid warning podcast October 12th, as part of a general druid roundtable. I'm really excited to be a part of it and getting to talk with folks like Astrylian, Graylo and Lissanna.

If you have questions that you'd like raised, please send them in! I'll do my best to answer them. You can submit questions by calling in or emailing raid warning.

I'm going to try and talk about the direction ferals are going in Cataclysm, the general lack of...anything about ferals in the beta so far and what I think that means, and some ideas for how to get started in 4.0.1 without killing yourself. If you'd like to know more, let me know!

Friday, October 1, 2010

[Druid] some groovy glyphs for ferals

Thanks to lissanna over at restokin, I have a better idea of what glyphs ferals are going to want come the 4.0.1 patch. Note that it's a very good idea to pick these up now if they're cheap, as if you learn them once you'll have them for the rest of your life. Note that I've not figured out exactly what is going to be best; I'm simply posting them to let you be aware of them. They are ranked in order of what I think will be best to worst.

Bear glyphs:

I don't think the faerie fire extension will be that critical, but it might be nice. And feral charge going from 15 to 14 seconds isn't that amazing of an ability unless they remove the dead zone and allow us to charge in and get the 15% haste.


5 prime possibilities are interesting. The reason Tiger's Fury is so high right now is that Tiger's Fury appears to be one of the things they'll want ferals to manage, as it adds 15% more damage for 6 seconds. Being able to do this ability every 27 seconds instead of every 30 means that you'll get 11% more TFs in a fight, potentially, which gives a 3.2% DPS increase. Furthermore, right now DoTs don't update with buffs like TF, so you'll want to time it so that your rips and rakes are refreshed when TF is up. This might lead to an optimal rotation where you have this, the Glyph of Shred and the Glyph of Rip and skip the Glyph of Savage Roar - because if you do this you can always update your rips with 15% more DPS, no matter what. More testing is required of course.

Glyph of the Wild is included because of its ability to trigger Omen of Clarity effects very easily. With feral mana regen fairly low, being able to do this more often will be a good thing.