I said I’d have this up earlier than I actually ended up doing it, but I ran into a (seemingly) never-ending series of bugs in SimC. Fortunately with the help of Theck and Pawkets I’ve managed to kill most of them. As a result, it’s now in a place where reasonably accurate tests can be done with it. The first of these is a simple talent comparison. Of course the biggest question here is just how big is the difference when it comes to the level 100 talents?
I mean, besides the obvious answer. Clearly Pulverize is vastly superior to the other two choices. But by how much? That is what I will discuss here.
As with any simulation, you have to make a certain set of assumptions about how it should operate. Not only that, but there are also a couple of bugs that you will (probably) see in the results. They don’t affect the results at all, and have since been fixed, but they are worth noting.
- Nature’s Vigil was triggering damage from Frenzied Regeneration.
- Thrash‘s damage was about 25% of what it should be.
- Savage Defense is recharging faster than it should be with Guardian of Elune.
I ran the simulation using two different kinds of bosses. One with a 300k melee swing, and one with a 200k melee swing plus a 100k magical DoT every 3 seconds. This gives me a variety of results to use for analysis. For any further details, you can easily check the results files and find what you’re looking for.
We’ll start with the easiest (and by far the best) talent.
|Sim Results||Sim Results|
In this context, there’s nothing particularly surprising. However it does serve as a kind of benchmark that the other two talents have to be “sort of” competitive with in order to be useful. Obviously as the most “active” talent Pulverize should be the best option, but the spread is what matters.
And then we go all the way to the other end, to – arguably – the most passive talent.
|Sim Results||Sim Results|
You can clearly see here that Bristling Fur is easily 15% behind Pulverize. Makes sense since they’re virtually the same sets of conditions. I didn’t include Bristling Fur in the usage of this APL since that’s not how you would use the talent in the first place. It’s not for reducing “everyday” damage, rather as a cooldown for a specific situation. Even so, it would never make up the existing difference between where it is now, and Pulverize. Since this is probably the most “passive” of the three talents, it should be empirically the weakest but not this weak. Again since it is a “passive” talent – sorta – tacking on a simple Armor increase of around an additional 40% to 50% or so (i.e. Bear Form now grants +300% Armor) would be enough to bring it to within a reasonable distance of Pulverize.
This is the real problem child. At first glance you might think this is actually a sorta-decent talent. But you would be wrong. It’s only just slightly better than Bristling Fur, as we can see below.
|Sim Results||Sim Results|
But how is that possible? How could a talent actually be only marginally superior to not picking a talent at all? Well, we have math for that. First, consider the average percentage chance that you would dodge an attack with the regular version of Savage Defense (note I use a Base Dodge value of 16.7% for all of these calculations – which is the amount from BiS Heroic T17 Raid gear):
- 0 Dodges: (1-[Base Dodge]-[Savage Defense Dodge]+[Suppression])^4 = (1-0.167-0.45+0.03)^4 = 2.9%
- 1 Dodge: 4*(([Base Dodge]+[Savage Defense Dodge]-[Suppression)*((1-[Base Dodge]-[Savage Defense Dodge]+[Suppression])^3)) = 4*((0.167+0.45-0.03)*((1-0.167-0.45+0.03)^3)) = 16.54%
- 2 Dodges: 6*((([Base Dodge]+[Savage Defense Dodge]-[Suppression)^2)*((1-[Base Dodge]-[Savage Defense Dodge]+[Suppression])^2)) = 6*(((0.167+0.45-0.03)^2)*((1-0.167-0.45+0.03)^2)) = 35.26%
- 3 Dodges: 4*((([Base Dodge]+[Savage Defense Dodge]-[Suppression)^3)*((1-[Base Dodge]-[Savage Defense Dodge]+[Suppression]))) = 4*(((0.167+0.45-0.03)^3)*((1-0.167-0.45+0.03))) = 33.41%
- 4 Dodges: ((([Base Dodge]+[Savage Defense Dodge]-[Suppression)^4)) = (((0.167+0.45-0.03)^4)) = 11.87%
And then, multiplying each percentage by the number of Savage Defense activations in a 450 second window ((2+(450/12)) = 39.5) – which is kind of being generous – and the number of dodges for each percentage and we get our total number Dodges:
Guardian of Elune is obviously a substantially more simple calculation, since you always dodge twice for each activation. All you need to know then is the number of activations and you get the total result. Since GoE uses a recharge formula similar to damage reduction (Recharge=12*(1-BaseDodge)) it’s also easy to calculate (12*(1-0.167)=9.996). Use the same calculation as previous to get the number of activations ((2+(450/9.996)) = 47.01), multiply by 2 dodged attacks per activation, and our grand total is 94.03.
Wait, what? It’s barely 1.3% better? How is that possible? Well, let’s look at how the number of dodged attacks for each kind of Savage Defense scales relative to our base dodge chance:
It’s pretty obvious here that GoE starts out pretty good relative to regular Savage Defense, but once you start acquiring raid gear it drops below the linear improvement of Savage Defense. It only starts getting better above 40% base dodge or so. Unfortunately if the current gear progression is any indication, we’re never going to reach that point. So the obvious question is, how do we fix it? Well, GoE should occupy a space somewhere between Bristling Fur and Pulverize. What happens if we change the recharge rate calculation to what it normally is….plus say some kind of coefficient? So (12/(1+(n*BaseDodge))). For an example, I picked n=2 for the graph below.
Suddenly GoE is performing slightly higher than 10% over regular Savage Defense. Of course the coefficient can easily be tuned according to whatever Blizzard desires. The end result is you end up with a talent that scales really well with gear in a linear fashion.
The one caveat to all of this is that I’m completely ignoring the intangible value of GoE allowing you to escape (most) damage for a continuous segment of time. However with the transition away from extremely spikey damage intake, that value is substantially diminished. Avoiding more damage on average over time is substantially more valuable than mitigating spike damage. Further, we have plenty of additional tools capable of doing that job already.
- Pulverize is too powerful relative to the other L100 talents.
- Given that Bristling Fur is a mostly passive talent, giving it a small armor increase makes sense to put it where it should be relative to Pulverize.
- Guardian of Elune‘s current recharge rate calculation makes it extremely lackluster compared to even not taking a talent. Addressing this problem will maintain the feel of the talent while improving its value.
There’s plenty of time to address tuning concerns still, of which this is obviously one. It won’t change my own personal talent choices since I really like Pulverize, but others shouldn’t feel hamstrung because they don’t enjoy a particular playstyle.