• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Hello Guardians!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. This is primarily due to a lack of things to talk about, but also because I’m just really busy with GM things. However the 6.2 patch notes came out this past week, which means there’s now a lot to comment on, and discuss. So let’s get started.

Patch 6.2 Changes

Frenzied Regeneration now refunds a proportional amount of excess healing dealt back to the Druid as Rage.

I tested this on the PTR and Frenzied Regeneration now returns an amount of rage proportional to the amount overhealed. If it’s 100% overheal then you get a 60 Rage refund, 90% overheal is 54 Rage, and so on.

Strictly speaking this is definitely a buff, but the more interesting part is what it does to our decision making. Since we no longer have to worry about wasting Rage to overhealing, we’re now more concerned (at least, more than before) about healing efficiency. That is, whether or not we’re going to heal something that would’ve been healed anyway or not. I don’t expect it to become a major part of any gameplay, but for min-maxing performance I think it’s something to consider.

Thrash now deals 10% more damage.

We knew that Guardian AoE was a little underpowered compared to other tanks. This is just a buff to address that issue. Nothing else to really discuss.

Bear Form now increases armor by 285% (up from 250%) for Guardian Druids.

A tiny armor buff. It’s just a 10% buff (350% – 385%) overall, which is about a 4% increase in damage reduction (~48% to ~50%) for me in my current gear. Nothing spectacular, but nothing horrible either.

Healing Touch no longer cancels Bear Form for Guardian Druids.

This is just a quality of life thing. It negates the need for a no-shift macro when using Dream of Cenarius. You still can’t “cast” Healing Touch while shapeshifted, but you should no longer have to worry about accidentally dropping form when using a DoC proc either.

Savage Defense now also reduces physical damage taken by 25%.

This buff is very strange. It’s only 20% on the PTR, but even that’s enough to cause some problems. Namely with Guardian of Elune. Since GoE already grants you 100% dodge, the extra physical damage reduction mostly goes to waste. There are situations like Gruul and Oregorger where it would be beneficial to reduce special attack damage. But that benefit is far outweighed by the loss from just taking Pulverize. I ran a few sims to confirm my suspicions.

PulvVGoE

Mythic T17

PulvVGoET18M

Mythic T18 Guesstimate

PulvVGoEPhysOnly

Mythic T18 Physical Only Guesstimate

We’re back to square one, with no use for GoE that involves physical melee swings. That’s a damn shame, since there are some people that legitimately enjoy the playstyle of GoE. So what can we do to fix it? Well, not with any kind of buffs to Savage Defense. Without a compensating change to GoE, any buff to Savage Defense is going to drastically reduce the usefulness of GoE possibly to the tune of irrelevancy. An easier thing to do would be buff T&C and/or FR. Or just increase our passive defenses.

Dream of Cenarius’ effect can now be stored for up to 40 seconds (up from 20 seconds) for Guardian Druids.

Another nice quality-of-life change. This makes it easier to hang on to a proc until you really need it.

Force of Nature’s summoned Treant now deals 100% more damage.

Meh? I mean, don’t get me wrong it’s nice to have the damage buff. But there still needs to be situations where taking them is a better idea than simply staying with SotF. Those don’t really exist right now other than proving grounds.
 

Datamined Items

There are also a couple of datamined items that I wanted to comment on, including the legendary ring!

Stalwart Guardian – All damage received is reduced by (Attack power * 15 / 100) (increased by Attack Power). This effect cannot absorb more than 90% of an attack.

This trinket can range from extremely good to average depending on the situation. For AoE situations or anything with a lot of damage events this trinket is insane. It should be noted that given other tank trinkets have some kind of offensive part to them, this one must as well. The design of the trinket seems to point towards some kind of damage reflection. We’ll have to wait and see though.

T18 4pc Bonus – Savage Defense also reduces the cost of Frenzied Regeneration and Tooth and Claw by 50%.

I’m definitely not a huge fan of this bonus, especially given the already existing buff to Savage Defense. Between the two it feels like we’re supposed to be almost impossible to kill while Savage Defense is up. But the moment it goes down, kersplat. I feel like there’s something missing here, possibly from the 2-pc bonus. I’ll refrain from any further judgements until we know what the 2pc bonus actually is.

Sanctus
Use: Activates the power of Sanctus. All Sanctus-wearing allies are empowered, reducing all damage taken by ( – 772 /- 100)%, and causing all damage and healing to be equally shared between them, for 15 sec. (2 min shared cooldown).

I actually kind of like the new ring. It’s essentially a tank cooldown that basically gives you access to the effective health of your co-tank for the duration. That’s pretty neat. Obviously th eencounter design will dictate how/when you should use it, but I still like the way it works.
 

Other Notes

A few other changes have also been noticed on the PTR.

  • Displacer Beast no longer shifts you from Bear to Cat form.
  • Dash is now usable while in Bear form.

Credit to Asakawa on the forums for finding these. The Displacer change especially is a nice quality-of-life thing. The loss of Rage from shifting is what primarily prevents it from being useful in more than niche situations.
 

Final Boss

Khaelyn and I had the chance to be on Final Boss a little over a week ago. You can check out the VOD below.

Guardian 6.1 Survival Guide

February 22, 2015

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

Well, to be perfectly honest there hasn’t been much to talk about that required a blog post. That is to say, there were no announcements of changes or earth-shattering discoveries. Until the initial 6.1 patch notes were posted.

I suppose you could claim the great Thrash nerf was significant, but everyone knew it was coming. I’m extremely surprised it made out of beta tuned the way it was, especially for an ability that had no AoE cap. Anyways, that’s over and done with and now our AoE is actually somewhat sane.

But we’re really here to talk about…
 

Patch 6.1 Survival Guide

I’ll save the juiciest one for last. The rest are pretty pointless.

Bristling Fur (Guardian) now has a 30-second cooldown (down from 1 minute).

Sigh. This talent just isn’t going to work. Not only does it not affect your gameplay at all (whereas the other two do), but it performs a function that is better suited to (and is already provided by) a glyph. As long as Glyph of Survival Instincts exists, this talent will be 90% (or more – although arbitrary numbers are arbitrary) superfluous. It should really be replaced with a talent that changes Frenzied Regeneration in some manner.

To be fair, it’s entirely possible that new talents weren’t on the table for 6.1. In any case, this will continue to be an (almost) entirely dead talent for the foreseeable future.

Force of Nature’s Treants have been buffed with a 35% increase to their health and spellpower, and an 80% increase to their armor and attack power.

Normally I would completely pan any change to Force of Nature. However there’s an undocumented enhancement to the Guardian version that drastically improves its usability. Instead of taunting your target after losing aggro or its target dies, the tree will now either re-taunt its current target or find something else to attack. This is huge.

It also now taunts casters (so the caster mob will cast into the tree), and actually holds threat vs healers and DPS. It won’t hold off of you if you continue to attack into the same target, but that’s to be expected. It’s definitely now a fully viable talent in those situations where dangerous adds exist. Thogar maybe? Cinderwolves? Challenge Modes and Proving Grounds for sure, but it’ll be interesting to see where someone can otherwise find benefits.

Renewal now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).

For Guardians this is an unbelievably meaningless buff. The core problem with this tier of talents is that Cenarion Ward is affected by Resolve. The other two talents aren’t. Until this is no longer the case everyone will just continue to use CW.

Guardian of Elune (Guardian) now also reduces the rage cost of Savage Defense by the Druid’s base dodge chance percentage.

This is the somewhat interesting one. As we talked about back in beta, the core problem with Guardian of Elune is the RPS cost increased as your gear improved, which made it impossible to use. Now that this is no longer the case, there is a definite choice between it and Pulverize. For a generic Mythic boss the TMI difference is in the area of 5%-7%, which is what was expected. It’s also a ~5% DPS increase over Pulverize, so it’s an example of trading defense for offense.

Unless the swing timer is between 2-3 seconds. There are a few of these in Foundry. Let’s take Kromog as an example. On Mythic he essentially melees for ~500k unmit (give or take) every 2 seconds on the active tank, which is avoidable. It’s split between two different abilities sure, but that’s still basically what happens. He also uses special abilities with cast times pretty often, which is free recharge time. So what exactly happens to the difference between regular Savage Defense and GoE once you reach that 2s timer? Well, this (approximately):

GoE2s

This is really the same as the original 1.5s graph. The only differences is that the gap between 1.5s and 2s is much larger, owing to the reduction of melee swings from 4 to 3 for Savage Defense. This reduces the number of average dodges from 1.8 to ~1.716. Not a huge difference when you first look at it. But it’s still a 5% increase to the number of dodges by GoE. This means GoE actually catches up to Pulverize in terms of TMI while providing a DPS increase.

TMI2s

Now lets look at what happens when you bump it up to a 2.5s swing timer. Something you find with Gruul for example.

TMI25s

GoE is actually surpassing Pulverize? What? Madness! It’s worth noting that these sims are both assuming that the only incoming damage is purely physical – and this is a technical limitation of the sim itself. There’s also the assumption that you are actually hitting GoE at points where you will actually dodge both of those melee swings. It’s very obvious that such an assumption requires a swing timer on the part of the player, but as long as you have one that works it’s perfectly valid.

It’s also worth noting that these sims were run using a Multistrike/Mastery build – which is quickly turning out to be the most effective stat cominbation for Mythic raiding. And a very plentiful one.

In any case, all I really wanted to show is that:

  • GoE is no longer “bad”.
  • If you’re raiding at the normal or heroic level, you can pick either GoE or Pulverize and be fine.
  • If you’re at the mythic level, there are ways you can abuse GoE to squeeze out extra DPS if you can manage swing timers properly, without adversely affecting survival. Even further there are some encounters where you can abuse the faster recharge as well.
  • GoE got a whole lot better for AoE – a general situation where using Pulverize is problematic to begin with (only really currently valid for CMs).

All rings, neck, cloak, and trinket items that can be acquired in Nagrand (A level 98+ zone) or later should now be better suited for the character’s loot specialization. This means tanks should no longer receive items with no bonus Armor and healers should no longer receive items with no Spirit from sources like item tokens, quests, or Personal loot mode in Dungeons and Raids for those item slots.

If I had a nickel…
 

Tankcast!

Before I forget, one quick note about Tankcast. You can now find all of the episodes Here.. We aren’t on iTunes yet (waiting on a cover image), but soon maybe?

Hello!

Here is episode 8 of Tankcast! Today Grafarion joins Theck and I to discuss Protection Warriors.

Download

0:20 – Tanking News
6:00 – Burst vs Sustained Tank DPS
8:20 – Active Mitigation
11:30 – Shield Barrier Weak?
20:40 – Rage for Warriors
24:30 – Secondary Stats
28:50 – Multistrike
37:30 – Strengths
39:45 – Weaknesses
41:10 – L100 Talents
45:00 – Tuning Existing Talents
48:00 – Q&A
52:15 – DEHRRPS Ranking

Hello!

Here is episode 7 of Tankcast! Today Reniat joins Theck and I to teach us the ways of the original “Active Mitigation” tank – Blood Death Knights.

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0:55 – Tanking News
18:15 – Blood DK AM
23:00 – Reactive vs Proactive AM
25:00 – Rune Tap Changes
27:30 – Blood Playstyle
31:00 – Death Strike
39:15 – Runes
46:00 – Survival vs Damage
50:45 – Runic Power
53:30 – Multistrike
1:01:15 – Strengths & Weaknesses
1:08:15 – AMS
1:11:00 – L100 Talents
1:15:30 – Talent Tuning
1:25:30 – Q&A

Hello!

Here is episode 6 of Tankcast! Today Sunnier joins Theck and I to teach us what Brewmasters are all about. Apparently they’re just really OP.

Download

1:22 Tank News
9:00 Brewmaster AM
13:00 Brewmaster Multistrike – Gift of the Ox
16:50 Guard
19:05 Keg Smash
20:35 Keg Toss
22:45 Movement
26:10 Weaknesses
30:00 Cooldowns
32:30 L100 Talents
40:55 Bad Talents
45:05 Set Bonuses
49:35 Ox Statue
52:15 Q&A