Jun 152010
 

I thought this post from EJ by Rijndael on the Resto design for Cata was excellent, enough that I’m quoting it in its entirety here.

Blizzard is moving towards healer homogenization. As Ghostcrawler said, they are trying to walk a fine between keeping class identity distinct, and having raids be called because wrong healer classes are online. Right now healers are not homogenized enough — paladins are too good on tanks and not good enough on raid, disc are too good on LK, druids are not good enough on LK, etc.

It seems pretty clear to me that Nature’s Bounty + Efflorescence is broken and will change in some way. What’s interesting though, is what the designer intent is.

I think the designers are intending to nerf Rejuv and boost Regrowth so Rejuv will only be worth casting when you move, and Regrowth will be cast when you stand still. This accomplishes a few things:

(a) Diversifies the spells druids actually will use

(b) Forces druids to stand still more. This may seem bad, but Blizzard has been pretty consistent in making the movement/burst/cooldown tradeoff. In other words, a healing spell always has one of three disadvantages: it either forces you to stand still, or it heals over time, or has a cooldown. In encouraging druids to use a cast time spell, Blizzard is freeing themselves to buff druid burst, which is what we need to be a more well rounded healer. I suspect druids in Cata will be more like priests — good when forced to move but optimal when standing still.

(c) Make druids think about where they cast, rather than spam. This is the intent behind Nature’s Bounty interaction with Regrowth, and I think this idea is sound as long as they “smooth” it, and just give a bonus that scales with lower target hp.

I think this is absolutely true. Right now, Rejuv is our most used spell because its cheap, instant, heals fast (first tick in ~2s with GoRR) and heals hard (3kish per tick for a well-geared tree, pre-ICC buff, which is 10-15% of a DPS’ers health pool), and heals over time. It’s too powerful. I think they’ll make it significantly weaker and buff Regrowth, forcing a choice between the two.

Jun 142010
 

Note: Pretty busy with class this week, so posting will be light unless something juicy comes out.

There’s some interesting new information out there in regards to weapons enchants. It’s been a while since I examined them (and when I did, I just followed what EJ said, anyway), so I decided to crunch the numbers myself and came to some interesting conclusions. Let’s take a look.

(Note: several of the weapon enchants below are PPM procs. If you’re not clear on what that means, the proc chance is the PPM * 100 / number of autoattacks in a minute before haste, which for kitties is 60 due to baseline 1.0 attack speed. This means Mongoose(1 PPM), for example, has a 1.66% proc chance. While this may seem low, it can proc off specials as well, so you generally have over 100 attacks hitting each minute.)

The Old Guard

  • Mongoose (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +120 agi, +30 haste rating…NOT 2% haste as everybody thought)
  • Berserking (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +400AP, -5% armor)
  • Executioner (proc, 15s duration, 1PPM proc chance, proc of +120 ArP)
  • Massacre (static +110 AP)

These four have been the general focus of discussion for most of WOTLK. The general consensus in 3.0  was Berserking as your best choice, with Mongoose being a slightly inferior option for players who both tanked and dps’ed, and Massacre slightly worse than either. (Personally, I thought that Mongoose was a better overall DPS enchant.) In 3.1, however, ArPen received a huge buff when they changed the ratings to drastically raise the amount of ArPen you gained per point.. Well-geared ferals suddenly saw huge DPS increases from gemming ArPen with an ArPen trinket, and Executioner became popular. Blizzard eventually reversed course, nerfing the ArPen increase by 50% and putting in a hardcap. (Previously, you could actually stack enough ArPen via gems + trinket procs to cause a target to have negative armor.) Executioner lost popularity, and ferals went back to the other three and continue using one of these today. Unfortunately for Mongoose, someone finally realized that we’ve been quoting the wrong numbers all along; the 2% haste was actually 30 Haste Rating, or slightly more than 1%. This changes the numbers significantly. (See below.)

The New Breed

  • Scourgebane (static +140 AP)
  • Black Magic (proc, 10s duration, 35s CD, 35% proc chance on Mangle/Shred, +250 haste rating)

With the advent of ICC, Scourgebane became popular as a minmax choice. Unfortunately, it’s useless anywhere else and for certain fights in ICC. Black Magic, though, is very interesting. While its intended as a caster enchant, it still procs off Mangles and Shreds, for some reason. I don’t think this is intended behavior, but it makes it very usable for ferals.

The List

I decided to run the numbers twice; once with my gear, once with BIS gear, to see how the numbers change. (Rawr, as usual.)

Alarron:

  1. Scourgebane +132 DPS
  2. Berserking +110 DPS
  3. Executioner +104 DPS
  4. Massacre +104 DPS
  5. Mongoose +103 DPS
  6. Black Magic +97 DPS

BIS:

  1. Scourgebane +144 DPS
  2. Black Magic +123 DPS
  3. Berserking +116 DPS
  4. Massacre +112 DPS
  5. Mongoose +99 DPS
  6. Executioner: +0 DPS (ArPen capped)

Conclusion

Scourgebane is obviously your best bet, if you purely run ICC. If not, then Berserking is probably your best choice. Mongoose remains a decent option for hybrids, but its not a contender like it once was. (sigh, time to switch enchants.) If you really hate proc effects, for some reason, then Massacre is a good choice as well. The behavior of Black Magic is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant since it does not provide an upgrade over Scourgebane.

 Posted by at 8:30 am
Jun 102010
 

Well, I said I wouldn’t rehash my previous thoughts on the new talents…and I was wrong. :) I’ve seen some good writeups from other feral bloggers, and I’ve changed my mind on a few. I’ve linked the new talents to Wowhead, but they’re not in the database yet- check here for the text.

Overall, I’m very excited with the direction in which Feral is going right now. Bring on Cata already! :)

 Posted by at 11:58 pm
Jun 102010
 

Well, it’s good to see my source was accurate. :) The official current draft of the talent trees for Druid/Priest/Rogue/Shaman were publicly released yesterday. I’d previously discussed the new talents here and here, so i won’t rehash those; instead, I’ll look at a few potential feral builds. (These talent trees are nowhere near done; I expect Improved Mangle to be buffed/changed, SOTF is “supposed” to go away, and the Imp. FC/Pred. Strikes/Ravage synergy to be reworked. NS+MS could use a look as well. Primal Madness seems very underpowered.)

Cat: 0/53/18, 5 free points

Cat is pretty flexible. In its current incarnation, you have plenty of flex points; the 5 free ones I’ve indicated above, plus a few points that you have to put in to move down the tree. In this build, I’ve picked up all the survivability talents, leaving you to choose from Imp. Mangle/Feral Aggression for more DPS, Infected Wounds for backup debuff support, or bear talents for emergency tanking. At the moment, I’m considering Imp. FC/Pred Strikes to be PvP talents, so not taking those. The 18 points in Resto are pretty mandatory.

Bear: 0/53/21, 2 free points

Bear, in contrast, is much less flexible, due to taking 21 points in Resto. Until we see how heroics play out, I want to keep the 3 points in Feral Instinct to buff Swipe, so any flexibility (to buff Feral Aggresion, for example) will probably have to come from dropping NS+MS in Resto. Depending on how Rage works, OOC may be droppable; Lacerate will be used more (since we’re consuming them via Pulverize) so your 2 free points will either be used for Shredding Attacks or Imp. FC.

Hybrid: 0/60/16, 0 free points

Happily, a hybrid build still looks to be pretty viable, taking the Bear build and sacrificing the free points and NSS+MS to pick up Shredding Attacks/KOTJ/NomNomNom (heh).


 Posted by at 10:45 am
Jun 092010
 

I’m sure most of you read wow.com already, but if you don’t, please check out Allison’s latest Shifting Perspectives column on troubleshooting cat DPS. Some excellent advice there (of course, the linkback doesn’t hurt).

My addition:

Failure to energy pool. If all of your buffs/DoTs are up, it’s tempting to spam Shred as soon as you have the energy required. Don’t. Let that energy accumulate up to about 80 or so before firing off that Shred; this gives you a small reserve for when you DON’T want to wait (Rip down and need CP’s, etc.)

 Posted by at 9:26 am
Jun 092010
 

Let me get mathematical on you for a second. In any given boss fight, we have a potential maximum DPS, based on our stats (from gear and buffs), our skill (determining the best ability priority order to follow and then following it perfectly) and luck (crits, procs, etc.) Since luck is uncontrollable, we discuss how to maximize our stats and our skill.

With that in mind, let’s look at Ferocious Bite. Using my current gear (ICC25N level) as a rough measure in Simulationcraft and my current derived optimal rotation, I can pull 11402 DPS given perfect conditions (pre-ICC buff). If I eliminate FB from the rotation, my DPS drops to 11386, a 0.15% reduction. QQ. Even for a BiS feral, who has the gear to fully maximize FB, the DPS drop goes from 14104 to 13992, or a 0.8% reduction. Meh.

Here’s my postulate: For the vast majority of players, attempting to use Ferocious Bite as part of a DPS rotation (not counting target-about-to-die situations) will complicate the rotation more, which will lead to more errors in executing that rotation. This will lead to overall lower DPS.

Feel free to discuss in the comments. :)

 Posted by at 12:41 am
Jun 022010
 

This post incorporates material from the Cataclysm Alpha. If that bothers you, please stop reading now.

Resto:

The New Tree of Life

  • Tree of Life – 5 minute cooldown. 13% base mana. Shapeshift into the tree of life, increasing healing done by 15% and increasing your armor by 240% but reducing your movement speed by 50%. In addition, some of your spells are temporarly enhanced while shapeshifted. Lasts 45 sec. 5 minute cooldown. Enhanced spells: Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Thorns(NA), Wrath.
  • Lifebloom – While in Tree of Life form: Applies an additional application.
  • Regrowth – While in Tree of Life form: This spell is an instant cast.
  • Wild Growth – While in Tree of Life form: Affects an additional 2 targets.
  • Wrath – While in Tree of Life form: Cast time reduced by 50%, damage increased by 30%.
  • Entangling Roots – While in Tree of Life form: Damage increased by 200%. (Not sure if this is damage done, which is currently laughable and would remain so, or damage taken before breaking, which would be pretty sweet.)

Resto wanted a tank-saving cooldown like GS/PS; it didn’t get one, but hopefully, they won’t be as necessary under the new healing model. 4xLB and extra WG targets are a bit underwhelming, though a 4xLB sustained with Nourish could be pretty solid tank HPS. Now, +15% healing done with insta-Regrowths plus Efflorescence? Very nice. The movement debuff is back, though, and it greatly limits the utility of the cooldown.

Other changes

(Now that I look at it, most of the rest of the patch notes are the same as what was on mmo-champion, so I’ll just review the high points.)

  • Nature’s Bounty [NYI] – Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth spell by 10/20/30/40/50% on targets at or below 25% health, and you have a 20/40/60/80/100% chance when you critically heal with Healing Touch and Nourish to reduce the remaining cooldown of your Swiftmend spell by 0.5 sec.
  • Empowered Touch – Your Healing Touch spell gains an additional 10/20% of your bonus healing effects, and your Nourish spell has a 50/100% chance to refresh the duration of your Lifebloom on targets.
  • Gift of the Earthmother [NYI] – Increases the healing done by the bloom effect of your Lifebloom by 2/4/6/8/10%, and your Rejuvenation spell also instantly heals for 4/7/10/13/16% of the total periodic effect.

Nature’s Bounty- The improved crit chance on Regrowth is nice, but hopefully classes won’t be hanging around 25% too often. The cooldown reduction feels underpowered; 1 sec would be better. Feels like a PvP talent.
Empowered Touch- Nourish rolling Lifebloom is very nice; what do we do with the bloom portion of the spell, though?  I guess it can still be used as a form of raid-healing, and it’ll still shine for PvP. Hopefully blooms will be less overheal.
GOTEM- Our best set bonus got baked into a talent. Still meh about blooms.

Balance:

(Again, not totally familiar with what’s new in this build, so just hitting the high points.)

  • Typhoon – Daze time increased to 6 seconds from 3 seconds.
  • Solar Beam [NYI] – (Instant) You summon a beam of solar light over the enemy target’s location, interupting the enemy target and silencing all enemy targets under the beam within 10 yards while it is active. Solar Beam lasts for 10 sec.
  • Starsurge – You fuse the power of the moon and sun, launching a devastating blast of energy at the target. Causes X to X damage to the target and knocks them down.
  • Lunar Guidance – Increases the radius of your Solar Beam by 3/5/7 yds and your Starsurge instantly generates 6/11/16 Lunar or Solar Energy, whichever is greater.
  • Euphoria – When you critically hit with Wrath or Starfire, you instantly gain an additional 3/6 Lunar or 5/10 Solar Energy. When you reach a Solar or Lunar eclipse, you instantly are restored 7/14% of your total mana.
  • Wrath of Cenarius [NYI] – When you cast Moonfire, you gain Wrath of Cenarius. Wrath of Cenarius increases the damage done by your Moonfire by 3/6/9%, and reduces the mana cost by 10/20/30%. This effect is refreshed and amplified when you move, stacking up to 3 times. Effect lasts for 3 sec.
  • Improved Eclipse – Increases the amount of Lunar or Solar energy generated from your Starfire and Wrath by 31%, and when critically hit by a melee or ranged attack, you will instantly generate 7 Lunar or Solar Energy.
  • Fungal Growth [NYI] – When your Treants die or your Wild Mushrooms are triggered, you spawn a Fungal Growth at its wake covering the area within 8 yards, slowing all enemy targets by 70%. Lasts 10 sec.

Solar Beam/Lunar Guidance looks to be quite powerful. 17 yds is a pretty big radius; that’s an interrupt and at best a 2 second run time to get clear of it, assuming perfect reactions. I’m assuming mages can’t blink out? Ouch. Will NPC casters have AI to run out of the beam? Will they run to melee?
Starsurge/Wrath of Cenarius looks to be the solution for damage on the move. Moonfire spam FTW.
Likewise, Euphoria seems to be the solution for mana recovery, now that the mana regen talents are mostly gone.
Fungal Growth looks to be far too powerful, especially in combination with Solar Beam. I’d expect them to prevent them interacting somehow. (Let’s face it, a 5-6s AOE silence is OP.) Right now, boomkin look to be quite a force in PvP.