Thursday, February 24, 2011

[General]Site update, general thoughts

I've simply stopped posting much any more. Really, I've simply stopped writing much altogether about WoW.

This is mostly to do with me not raiding any more. Cataclysm hearkens back to the days where heroics were decently hard and raiding was challenging, and while that's awesome and everything I wanted improved, it's not nearly as easy to balance farming, rep grinding, valor point capping, and doing all the other things I like doing while also keeping a schedule of 4 hours where you do nothing else but play.

So raiding is done, at least as a srs bsns raider.

The theorycraft and news side of me has been...well, pretty down too. Part of it is that honestly, Alaron and Yawning were doing such a kickass job that anything I'd add would be largely irrelevant. With them taking up most of what was needed there just haven't been that many topics to discuss.

With them likely to be (or already) taking a hiatus, though, don't expect a lot more from me. The thing is that - and Yawning alluded to it - that feral has left me somewhat cold this expansion. Bears haven't grabbed me like I had hoped the dynamic rotation would have, and while it's not quite as boring as it used to be it's still not feeling like my abilities really...well, do much. And cats...well, I spent a lot of time on Alaron's blog talking about why I'm not really thrilled with ferals, but allow me to quote myself as I think this is the clearest indicator:

If you switched cata and wotlk in order, here are the buffs ferals would get:

-bleeds would be reduced in duration to increase the value of being on the target as well as making the rotation more potent.

Mastery changed to a scaling reduction of the opponents armor.

FB changed to use all available energy and do significantly more damage, buffed by bleeds and bleed modifiers.

Blood in the watermremoved to increase difficulty of rotation.

Swipe buffed by approx. 300%

Savage roar increases all damage instead of just autoattack, increasing it’s performance in the rotation and making the time on target more important

Berserk removes fear.

Shifting forms removes slows and snares

Fury swipes removed; it was not useful to have so much of the rotations damage on a noninteractive autoattack. This has been readers as damage to other abilities.

Instead of some attacks scaling with weapon damage all weapons have a ‘feral ap’ stat, allowing all feral attacks to scale with weapon damage naturally.

And that’s just off the top of my head. Yes, it’s nice to not be bound so much by arpen. Yes, skull bash is nice. The rest has been nerf after nerf, affecting either overall dps or simply the fun involved.

Add to this that ferals are underperforming both overall on DPS and in the melee group aside from one fight (Chimaeron) and you don't have the most compelling experience. At least I haven't. Things are easier, there's less to actually do, and it's not as fun for me. Other ferals differ, and that's awesome. But it's a good reason why I've been so malaise-y.

Then there's the 'we can't have nice things' function of PvP. It's amazing how much I miss removing snares by shifting. This was a really class-defining ability that really, really makes me sad to lose it. I don't pvp, and i don't care that much about pvp balance, so it's doubly sad for me; it's like I can't have nice things because out there, some other cat is thumbing his nose at people. Same thing with zerk removing fear; it's shocking how often I ended up using this in PvE. It's not something that's required, or something that's really awesome. It's just something that is nice, and you miss it when it's gone, and makes the class that much less fun to play.

But anyway, to answer some long-held questions that I seem to get all the time:

On weapon DPS: the weapon DPS is the best stat to 'stack' if you can for ferals; nothing comes close. But weapon speed or weapon damage don't matter in the slightest. All 200 DPS weapons are exactly the same as far as a feral is concerned. This is also why Unheeded Warning became so amazing for ferals.

On warstomp: sadly, it does have a cast time - and that means it can be pushed back on and (more importantly) you can't dodge while doing it. It's still very good for some things, but it's certainly not as great as you'd hope as a bear. It's actually a bit better as a cat, assuming you don't piss off the tank by doing so.

On stam vs. agility as a bear: stamina isn't nearly as awesomesauce as it was. Bears get roughly the same multiplier that other tanks do, so getting more doesn't help. Bears don't get a whole lot of gain from vengeance with that high stamina either; you get far more AP from agility. Most importantly, stamina marks in heroics are fairly small in terms of what you need to survive big hits. Longtime readers will remember that this was also the case for the Naxxramas era, and that didn't survive very long. I don't know whether or not stacking agility will be better in the long run, but if I had to bet on it I'd always bet on harder encounters having bigger hits to stress out everyone.

On capping hit/expertise as a bear: the only reason to do this now is for threat and to a lesser extent, skull bash (which is going away as a reason in 4.1). That being said, threat is kinda sketchy for bears and no other stats are remotely nice.

On capping hit/expertise for a cat: theoretically it is the least important thing to do. Realistically a lot of people have a much easier time with a rotation with high hit and expertise. Ultimately the difference between a hit and exp-capped feral vs a mastery/haste/crit feral is fairly small, so as long as you're stacking agility over everything else you'll be fine.

On the state of dps and ferals - yes, ferals are low. Yes, the simulators and the actual results agree. No, you probably won't see this as an issue if you're not in highly competitive raiding guilds. But statistically and mathematically this is entirely true: ferals are both doing poorly relative to overall DPS and to melee DPS (which is completely getting hosed so far this expansion). Any argument otherwise is essentially baking the numbers in a really quirky way. For instance, looking at the top 10 ferals and seeing that they are performing close to the top 250 overall (on a fight that favors ferals, no less) and thus declaring ferals are doing fine. That being said, it's not hard to fix ferals to be more competitive: give them much better AoE and give them more base damage from either white damage shreds, or make their startup cost a bit cheaper. It's really not that hard to fix and ferals aren't so broken that they require a complete change.

On blue posts and ferals: no, ferals aren't getting a lot of attention. I don't know why either. I do know that it's much, much faster to bring up an actual broken problem to a person who knows a dev than it is to bring it up on the forums. One has a chance of being fixed. Another...almost never does.

I'll still very rarely post, and if you do have something you'd like me to talk about I'll be happy to. Otherwise I wish you the best of luck in Cataclysm. :)