Jun 202010
 

A short note: I’ll be working on the site and forums some over the next week (upgrading to wordpress 3.0, fixing some phpBB stuff, moving guides from the blog to the forums to make them easier to find (though I may change my mind on this and just make them static pages like Keeva did), updating plugins, updating side-bar, etc.) If you see anything broken (or you want me to implement something), please post a comment and let me know. (Also, I apparently like parentheses.)

 Posted by at 12:52 pm  Tagged with:
Apr 062010
 

It looks like a LOT of Cataclysm info is about to drop this week, and I’ll be here to kick it around a bit. While we wait for the first Druid class info post on 9 April, let’s discuss the two mechanics changes that have been proposed so far – rage normalization and dispels.

Rage (full post on mmo-champion. It’s pretty long, so I’ll paraphrase.)

Problems:

Problem 1: Currently, rage is generated (mainly) by two things- damage done by white attacks, and damage taken. Because the amounts of damage outgoing (and incoming, for tanks) scale as you progress, Blizzard is forced to either balance for early content and then nerf rage generation later, or balance for later content and force new endgame warriors/bears to be underpowered.

Problem 2: For fights that require two tanks on the same boss, or for tanks that are overgeared for the content, a rage-based offtank has large problems generating rage/threat, due to doing/receiving little damage (“rage starvation”).

Problem 3: Heroic Strike/Maul are designed as high-rage-cost inefficient abilities, to use excess rage. Due to Problem 1, however, they never get used in early content, and are overused to the point of irrelevancy in later content (mine are macroed in with my main abilities). They are also clunky and cause RSI.

Solutions:

Solution 1: Each hit  generates a fixed amount of rage, based on weapon swing speed. Crits will cause that attack to generate double rage, and off-hand weapons (for fury warriors) will generate half the rage of the mainhand.

Solution 2: Rage from damage taken will no longer be based on an arbitrary constant but will be based on the health of the tank. The calculation will ignore mitigation and avoidance effects.

Solution 3: HS/Maul will no longer replace melee attacks; instead, they will become instants, burning a scaling amount of rage based on your current rage level. (Theoretically, a maul might burn 30 rage and do 30k damage at full rage, or burn 3 rage and do 3k damage with 10 rage.)

Solution 4: Additional methods for instant rage generation and dumping are being discussed.

Analysis:

IMO, these proposed changes are excellent, and do a great job of solving the current problems. Rage generation via attacks, instead of damage, will make gear much less important and rage generation more consistent. DPS warriors will not go through a constant UP/OP rollercoaster (as much). Second, having rage scale based on tank health will solve the “infinite rage” issue for tanks, which will make Bear tanking much more interesting (1. Macro Maul to Swipe 2. *snore*). Rage starvation for content you overgear will still be an issue, but not as significant an issue as today. (Quickly looking back, a tank in T7 content had about half the health of a tank in T10 content, so you’d be generating about 50% less rage from damage taken.)

Dispel Changes (paraphrased again: full post on mmo-champion)

The developers feel that dispelling was too trivial and unbalanced in favor of certain classes for WOTLK. Essentially, as part of their “give healers non-trivial choice” campaign, they want healers to have to make a decision between throwing a heal  or throwing a dispel.

  • Dispels will be more expensive, less smart (you can waste mana and a GCD by casting when a debuff isn’t present) and less automatic (no more Cleansing Totem, Abolish Disease, or Abolish Poison).
  • All healing classes will have a talented friendly-only magic dispel (except for Priests, who will have it baseline) and the ability to remove two other effects. Druids—Curse/Poison; Paladins—Disease/Poison; Priests—Hostile Dispel/Disease; Shamans-Hostile Dispel/Curse.
  • Prot/Ret pallies will no longer be able to magic dispel; Shamans will lose abolish disease/poison; all other dispel abilities will remain.

Analysis:

This feels like a change driven by PvP that will have PvE implications. I’m mostly withholding judgment until we see the new class designs; however, my gut feeling is that I dislike anything that removes dispel utility from DPS. DPS shamans, especially, will take a hit from this. I’m really hoping that shamans get some love in Cata, as they’ve gotten the short end for WOTLK.  (Oh, and resto druids will be OP in PvP again. Good luck catching one.)

 Posted by at 8:27 pm  Tagged with:
Mar 232010
 

The official 3.3.3 patchnotes have been released. (wow.com) Ability-wise, there’s no change from the PTR changes previously discussed, but let’s look at some bugfixes.

  • Cower: This ability can no longer trigger effects on items that trigger from melee weapon attacks.

Yay, the world’s most useless ability now became even more useless.

  • Frenzied Regeneration: This ability is no longer noted as Rank 1 (it has no subsequent ranks).
  • Hurricane: If a druid begins casting this spell while in Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Cat Form, the spell will now cast as normal instead of immediately canceling the channel.

Not sure why you’d cast Hurricane out of a feral form. (BG’s maybe to proc the 20% melee swing debuff?) My question is, did they fix the casting of it out of tree form, which is much more likely?

  • Lifebloom: The final bloom heal from this spell can no longer trigger talents, trinkets, and set bonuses for the player being healed.
  • Rake: This ability will now always land. It will no longer sometimes give a “more powerful spell” error message.

YES. Now, refreshing Rake early is generally bad…but trying to refresh Rake early because you have to leave the target and not being able to sucked.

  • Tier-10 Balance 4-Piece Set Bonus: Corrected a grammatical error in tooltip.
  • Tier-10 Restoration 4-Piece Set Bonus: The Rejuvenation effect caused by this set bonus can now be overwritten by the druid’s own Rejuvenation spell casts. In addition, the combat log tooltip for this Rejuvenation effect no longer spuriously claims it requires Tree of Life Form.
  • Tranquility: The combat log tooltip for this ability will no longer spuriously claim a range of 100 yards.
  • Tree of Life Form: Corrected a misspelling in the tooltip.
  • Typhoon: Lower ranks of this spell displayed incorrect damage information on tooltips.

A few other notable fixes:

This one made me laugh just a little bit. They’re really trying to get people to use it (I don’t think it’ll be successful, but who knows). I predict 3.3.4′s patchnotes will say “Lightwell: Redesigned. Any friendly player who use the Lightwell will now receive a [Tasty Cookie] in addition to the healing effect.”

  • Shattering Throw: This ability can now be a critical strike.

This is a good as time as any to point out that this warrior PvP ability is a decent rDPS buff, especially during Hero/BL, as it stacks with Sunder. (Sunder reduces enemy armor to 80%, which is then modified by character ArPen; Sunder + Shatter reduces this to 60% pre-ArPen.)

Mar 172010
 

After long hours of tweaking, I’m happy to announce that the new website is ready for your viewing pleasure. Please visit http://fluiddruid.net for continued shapeshifty goodness!

If you subscribe to this blog via RSS, the new feed address is http://feeds.feedburner.com/fluiddruid (or click the large orange button on the new website!) Please update your feedreaders, as I will not be posting to the old feed from now on.

New Features:

  • Forums! This is the part I’m most excited about. Blogs are great for one-way conversations, but they tend to be lacking for in-depth discussion. I hope to build a good-sized community of fellow WoW players here who are interested in developing their skills. (Of course, if you just want to post lolcats, that’s totally cool too.) Please let me know what you think, either via comments or on the forum. I’m still working on the forum themes…it took me 3 hours tonight to figure out why my theme wasn’t displaying any buttons. Finally realized that the board language was set to American English (enUS) but the theme images were set up for British English (en). Bah.
  • Wowhead tooltips! All those kitty gear guides that I posted previously? Now Powered by Wowhead (TM).
  • Kickin’ styles! Well, sort of. This will be my first site, so I’ve taught myself bits of CSS, PHP, and phpBB over the past few days. I now know enough to be overconfident. :)

About the Ads:

You will quickly notice a small Google Adsense box on the new website, so I’ll address that now. This is up here primarily to appease my significant other, who wants to know why I waste so much time on some silly blog. :) I get a lot of traffic from search engines from people who come here for one of my guides and disappear–this is who I am targeting these ads at. Most of my regular visitors have some sort of adblock tool installed anyway, from what I understand, so hopefully this is not an issue. The forums and RSS feed will remain ad-free. (Unless someone offers me like three figures. Yeah, I’m cheap.)

To Come:

Now that the site coding/design work is at a lull (for now), I’ve got several topics that I hope to knock out posts on soon.

  • Cat Gearing Guide, Part 4 (ICC-25): Let’s get to the good stuff.
  • Kitty Trinket Analysis: Should I use the Deathbringer’s Needle-Encrusted War Token, or the Whispering Verdict of Victory? We’ll figure it out!
  • PanzerKitty: What to Do When the Boss Likes You
  • Advanced Feline Concepts: A few tips on how to eke out extra bits of DPS on each encounter.
  • Auto John F’ing Madden: How to use Ovale to maximize your DPS
  • Why Hunters Must Die for Stealing our Weapons…err, okay, that’s enough for one day.

I’ll be adding many more sites to the blogroll…please post if I’d already talked to you, as I’ve got a lot going on right now. Enjoy the new site!

 Posted by at 11:00 pm  Tagged with:
Jan 042010
 

Just poking around some random combat logs on the Internet at work (no WWS/WMO/WOL, so I’m trolling guild websites and such) and found this gem. Mr. Rogue’s ability rotation consists of: Sinister Strike to 5 cps; refresh Slice and Dice  if down or less than 10s left; otherwise Eviscerate. Use Adrenaline Rush, Blade Flurry, and Killing Spree on cooldown. The muti rogue’s not much better: Mutilate to 5 cps, Rupture, muti to 5 cps, Envenom, repeat, use long-CD skills when up.

Done. 8k DPS for both Rogues, top of the charts. (Yes, small sample size is small.)

I understand they’re a pure DPS class…but I look at the optimal Feral rotation in comparison and cry on the inside a little bit. Blizz: I love you guys, really I do, but if your mechanics cause a formerly core part of a DPS rotation to be dropped completely (Rupture for Combat, Arcane Missiles, probably some others I can’t think of), then you probably need a few more hotfixes.

Also, I may roll a Rogue alt. :)

Nov 272009
 

Guess what? I am a World Top 25 feral druid, as ranked by World of Logs…

See here for proof.

As such, there’s going to be a change in attitude around here. Now that I’m leet and all, I will require full acknowledgement of my epic status before providing help to anyone…and much bowing and scraping will be required.

(Aren’t small sample sizes fun?) :)

Nov 082009
 

I am absolutely stunned and devastated by the recent shootings at Fort Hood. (For those that don’t know, I am currently a U.S. Army officer serving in Korea.) One of the soldiers killed was SSG Justin Decrow, who was very briefly one of my soldiers (I was reassigned to a different unit shortly after his assignment to Korea). I won’t use this blog as a political forum, and I urge commenters not to do so either. However, I’d like to suggest Soldiers’ Angels as an eminently worthwhile charity, if you are so included. I’m particularly proud of their Valour-IT program, which purchases voice-controlled laptops for disabled soldiers.

May God remember the fallen.

 Posted by at 2:16 pm  Tagged with:
Oct 092009
 

So, I woke up this morning, saw that the T10 set bonuses had been released (including a VERY puzzling Resto bonus), and hit my usual blogs expecting some informed discussion.

Guess what? Apparently, nobody cares about the bonuses, and what they mean for upcoming fights, etc., etc., they’d rather complain about how hideous the T10 Resto Druid helm looks. Confession time: I have honestly no idea what most of my armor pieces look like…I’ve had my helm turned off ever since I got the gimp mask (better known as the Titan-Forged Leather Helm from WG). Anyway, now that we know what really motivates our beloved resto druid bloggers, let’s take a look at the druid set bonii.

Bear 2P Bonus – Your Swipe (Bear) and Lacerate abilities deal 20% additional damage.

This is a decent bonus. The extra damage on Swipe is nice for AOE tanking, obviously, and since every tank class got an AOE ability buffed with the 2p, I’d imagine that we’ll have a good bit of that in Icecrown. (Not to mention that our AOE range on Swipe was increased.) Lacerate only accounts for about 10% of our damage, so it’s not as good a bonus as it is for, say, the prot warriors, who got their 20% buff on Shockwave and Shield Slam.

Bear 4P Bonus – Your Enrage ability no longer decreases your armor and instead decreases all damage taken by 12%.

This is a VERY nice bonus. (of course, all the tanks got something like this for their 4p). 12% mitigation every 10s works out to an extra 2% mitigation overall; of course, with something like this, you may very well end up chaining it with Barkskin for a 32% mitigation effect every minute. Can’t wait to see the boss that these cooldowns were built for.

Cat 2P Bonus – The cost of your Rip ability is reduced by 10 energy.

This is pretty bad. Let’s do some quick mental math. With the Glyphs of Rip and Shred, a Rip lasts 22 seconds (12s + 4s for Rip glyph + 3*2s for Shred glyph) Assuming you can keep 100% Rip uptime, the set bonus saves you 10 energy every 22s, or roughly 27 energy per minute. That’s about half of one Shred…so you get an extra Shred every minute and a half or so. That puts it around 80 extra dps, assuming an average Shred hits for 7k damage.
However, you’re not going to be able to keep a 100% Rip uptime. It’ll certainly be boss dependent, but I’d probably cut calculated dps values for the set bonus by a third to a half for single-target fights, depending on movement/phases/etc. Add fights are a more interesting case, though, since you’ll be able to Rip a second earlier then usual. For comparison’s sake, I’d say the 2pT9 bonus is worth double this.

Cat 4P Bonus – The periodic damage done by your Rake ability can now be a critical strike.

This sounds great! The theorycrafters are going to have to give the final word on this one, but our crit rates are going to be through the roof, so a 6-7% DPS increase seems about right. We’ll have to see what the stats look like on the Tier gear to know whether this signals the death of ArPen stacking…the crit from agi now benefits an additional ability, but the agi cap’s getting mighty close, as I predicted in my ArPen FAQ.

Restoration 2P Bonus – The healing granted by your Wild Growth spell reduces 0% less over time.

As I mentioned in the comments to my previous post, this is pretty good, but not game-changing. If I remember my WG numbers right, it hits for about 800 to start, then 760, 720, etc., ending at 560. 4760 total per target. If they remove the cost reduction, that’ll jump to 800*7=5600. That’s a very nice increase, about 17%. Unfortunately, due to the mechanics of the spell, the last few ticks (which gain the most from the set bonus) usually get overhealed. Lisanna thinks (and I agree) that the 0% is a placeholder, and that they’ll eventually settle on a partial cost reduction, but not total. 50% sounds about right to me.

Restoration 4P Bonus – Each time your Rejuvenation spell heals a target, it has a 2% chance to jump to a new target at full duration.

Wow. Ok, let’s break this down. There’s several big unknowns here:
1. Does it “jump” (ala PoM) or copy? If it “jumps,” (i.e. Rejuv falls off current target, starts fresh on second target) then I’d call the set bonus harmful, not beneficial. I can’t believe Blizz would do that, so let’s call it a copy (i.e. every Rejuv tick has a 2% chance to create a Rejuv on another player)
2. How is the target picked? Smart targeting makes this more useful; random targeting, not so much. Will it jump to a target that already has Rejuv? If so, will it just refresh the HOT or add a full duration of time? Does it have a range limitation? I’ll assume random targeting/refreshing/all players in range.
3. Is the new HOT affected by Nature’s Splendor (does it get the 3 extra seconds?). Is it Swiftmendable? Let’s say yes/yes.

Basically, it boils down to this. In 3.2, you could roll Rejuv on 15 targets (while keeping WG on CD.) Now, you can keep it up on 12. Each Rejuv has a 10% total to proc another Rejuv, so we’ll end up with slightly over 13 targets having it, if the heal is smart. If not, we’re looking at 12.5, since half those Rejuvs will be wasted on people who already have it. Someone explain to me how this is a good set bonus, as currently written?

Balance 2P Bonus – When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 seconds.

I’m not as familiar with Moonkin as I am with other specs, so I can’t do any math on this, but it sounds fairly weak. OOC generally procs about 2x/min or so for moonkin, so you’re looking at 12 seconds of buff time per minute, for a theoretical 3% damage bonus. Unfortunately, you’re going to lose some of that due to spells not perfectly matching the buff duration. I also have no idea how it stacks with Eclipse or other stuff, which would make it better.

Balance 4P Bonus – Your critical strikes from Starfire and Wrath cause the target languish for an additional 5% of your spell’s damage over 4 seconds.

That’s it? A 5% damage boost, but only on crits, and only on SF and Wrath, drops it to like 2% (assuming the DOT’s don’t overwrite, which would REALLY suck). That’s horrible (considering the Feral DPS 4p)