• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Hello Guardians!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Primarily the only changes we’ve had thus far have been Alpha and/or Beta changes. Since they’ve been heavily subject to iteration and change, I didn’t feel that commenting on them would be particularly helpful. Now that we’re ~6 weeks away from the 6.0 pre-patch launch, it’s time to get a little more serious. You can definitely expect these posts to be regular from now on.

Build 18816

Bear Form Stamina bonus reduced to 20%.
Empowered Bear form reduced to an additional 10% Stamina.
Ursa Major now only lasts 25 seconds.

All three of these changes are a direct result of general tank tuning. Celestalon has made the comment last week on twitter.

All tanks. Current plans: Tweak the design of Resolve. Lower tank health. Lower tank mitigation. Lower boss damage.

It’s pretty clear that only the first objective made it into this build (that we know of). So we’ll have to wait and see for the hidden stuff (Resolve, Boss tuning), and the additional changes to tank mitigation.

CeleryTweet1

Basically the changes are fine and you shouldn’t worry about them. As long as bosses are tuned appropriately, it doesn’t matter what our HP is. I’ve included an updated EH graph below, which shows that the relative EH for different stats hasn’t really changed. Item Level is still going to be the primary driving factor – between Stamina and Armor – followed by Multistrike.

EH_Graph

Tooth and Claw now only reduces the damage of the primary victim.

This is just a tooltip correction. In previous incarnations it never included context for Glyph of Maul. So now the tooltip tells you what we already knew it did from day 1.

2t17 now reduces the cost of Maul by 10 Rage while Tooth and Claw is active.

Great change. Instead of offering a refund which could result in wasting Rage accidentally if you Mangle while using Maul and one and/or both Crit, it now just reduces the cost. The net change is 0, but I know it will feel much better to play with.

And that’s it for this build. I think it was done in the middle of the most recent round of tank tuning, so we have some changes out of context. Hopefully the next build will provide us with more information. I know that there are still a lot of “trap talent” problems (mostly thanks to Pulverize), and while there is definitely still time to address them I think we’re running out of runway.
 

How to Make Crit Cool

I put up a thread on the forums recently intending to prompt discussion on how to make Crit a cool and effective stat in Warlords. Currently it’s at the absolute bottom of the pile – similar to how Ferals feel about Haste – and that isn’t great for the spec. So I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas on how to make it an interesting and effective stat!

The most basic (and easiest) method is to rip-off Riposte. But that’s boring and uninteresting. Do you have any neat ideas? Tell us!
 

Sneak Peek

I wanted to let you in on posts for a couple of topics that I’ve been thinking about. The first is Mythic: A Conversion Journey (don’t worry I know I suck at titles). Our guild is going through the steps to convert to a Mythic guild from a 10m right now, and having a decent amount of success. I think it would be valuable to share that information with everyone else, since I’m sure there are others that are either going through the same thing, or are about to.

The second topic that I wanted to talk about – and have wanted for a while now – is Guardians: Outstanding Issues. The problem with a post like that is it requires some data in order to be able to do. If I know that data is going to change soon – like we know right now – then continuing to work on it with the current set of conditions is pointless. I definitely need to wait for the Resolve changes to be public before I can start on it, but hopefully at that point we’ll have another tuning pass done. Then I can really start gathering a lot of useful sim data.

That’s all for now!

10 Years 10 Questions

August 10, 2014

Introduction

So here I am, sitting at Sunnier’s dining room table, writing this blog post. I feel like this epitomizes one of the questions I’ll answer here in a second, but really I just thought it would be a fun thing to do. Plus hopefully I’ve convinced her to do it too (it takes a lot of prodding with that one). Anyway it’s 9pm here (only?!) and I felt like writing.

Plus Dayani did it too, so now I feel kind of obligated. Therefore here’s my version of 10 Years 10 Questions.
 

Why did you start playing Warcraft?

My brother told me in April of 2005 that he had found a new Warcraft game at Wal-Mart. Given that we lived in the boonies at the time (or pretty much anyway) I hadn’t heard a peep about this new game. However we had both played the ever-living-shit out of all of the previous Warcraft games – in fact I used to spend hours playing UMS games in War3 – and loved the lore and the universe the games were built on. So we were both pretty excited and started playing together. He had a Rogue, and I had a (Protection) Warrior.

These days he’s still a melee DPS, and I’m still a tank.
 

What was the first ever character you rolled?

The first character I rolled was a human Warrior on Suramar named Katarn. Bonus points if you get the reference. I levelled him to 60 as Protection (horrible, horrible idea at the time but I didn’t know better). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to start raiding until I started university, but I did do many a 5-man dungeon on my horrible dial-up connection. Rather well I might add.
 

Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I can’t speak for my brother, but we did want to play together and neither of us really liked any of the orc characters from the previous games. So Alliance it was.
 

What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Singular most memorable moment in the game? This is going to sound silly, but probably when we killed Heroic Garrosh. It was the first time I had successfully cleared a tier while it was current – Dragon Soul doesn’t count – and I did it with some of my very best friends. While you don’t get that feeling every day, I hope to have more, similar moments in the next expansion.
 

What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Inside the game the obvious answer is raiding. The fact that I can connect with a bunch of my friends from across the continent and kill dargins is still so cool to me.

Outside the game there’s another obvious answer: Theorycrafting. I absolutely love it, and I’ve made even more friends through TCing than I otherwise would have if I had just stuck to raiding.
 

Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Not really, no. I mean I like to imagine that Ari hangs out in Stormwind a lot with her friends (Sunnier, Silanah, Thurne, and Lissanna), but there’s no special spot to me as a player.
 

How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

None of them have been continuous, although Ari has by far the longest continuous streak.

  • Arielle: 208 Days, 16 hours.
  • Katarn: 59 Days, 1 hour.
  • Mdnite: 50 Days, 10 hours.

Those are the top 3. Nothing else breaks 25 days. All told it’s probably close to a full year of continuous play.
 

Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Fuck no, are you kidding me? Well, at least not when I’m levelling Ari. On whatever my 2nd character is I usually will though, because by that time I can stop and smell the roses.
 

Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not a one. I mean sometimes I think I could’ve spent my time more productively, but then I realize that the sheer amount of things that I now have means that I don’t think about it twice.
 

What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I figured the intro would’ve made this really obvious, but I’ve travelled to places that I wouldn’t have otherwise visited. This year alone I went to Colorado, Texas, and Toronto. All places I’ve never been to before. Why?

Because that’s where people that I met in the game live. They’re my friends and I wanted to visit them. So I did. Next year I might go to even more crazy places like New York, or Edmonton. All because of people that I’ve met through this game, and are now friends with.

Lazy Bear is Lazy

I’ll be honest, I’ve been kind of – OK I’ll be honest, really – slacking on writing. There are a number of things I want to talk about, but just don’t have enough information to do any sort of detailed analysis yet. Specifically?

  • What happens when Mastery scales through raid tiers?
  • Will we armor cap again (maybe)?
  • Will TDR get to a point where EH becomes worthless?
  • What happens to Rage generation?
  • How do the L100 talents compare?

The problem is, I need more itemization (specifically about item levels) before I can attempt any of these. This means that in typical Arielle fashion I’ve been ignoring things I could talk about in favour of things I can’t. However watching my good friends Hamlet, Dayani, Sunnier, and Theck put up posts this week has made me feel guilty. So I’ve decided to come back to the topic I left with. Rotations and Rage generation.
 

Push Buttons, Victory?

Over the past month or so feedback has been rolling in from Beta to a number of different sources. There are Guardian specific threads on the Official Forums, MMOC, and of course right here at TIB. One of the items that I see mention repeatedly in all of these places is how simple the rotation is now that the cooldown has been lifted from both Lacerate and Thrash. If we’re looking at a standard rotation this is completely accurate. We lost Faerie Fire since it (a) no longer resets Mangle, and deals less damage than Lacerate. On the surface this is fine, and cements Faerie Fire‘s place as a pulling tool, rather than a rarely-used rotational ability.

However that means we also lost 25% of our rotational buttons.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is – probably – at least partially my fault. I campaigned long and hard to remove the cooldown from both Lacerate and Thrash. My intention was to move our rotation closer to what it was in Cataclysm, except without the stupidity of Demoralizing Roar and needing to maintain 3 stacks of Faerie Fire. Unfortunately with Thrash having such a long duration the “rotation” just devolves into Lacerate spam with a Mangle every 4th GCD. Yes, the button presses get “faster” thanks to us gaining Sanctity of Battle – and as an aside this is a good thing, since it allows you to customize how fast your GCD is with Haste – but it’s still effectively only two buttons. So how do we make it more fun to play, especially since the most common complaint is that Guardians are boring – even on live?
 

Enter Pulverize

I’ll be the first to admit that I thought the (re)-addition of Pulverize was a good thing. We had that 4th button we so desperately needed to keep our rotation interesting. Unfortunately the more I played with it on Beta, the more I came to agree with those that disliked it – like Ahanss (sorry buddy) – it’s really braindead. It turns out that all Pulverize really does is replace Thrash in your rotation, which doesn’t even remotely solve the problem. Actually, the problem gets worse:

  • Pulverize doesn’t synergize with Incarnation at all.
  • 10 seconds is way too short a duration to fit in anything other than what is required to maintain it.
  • It’s really just another version of Thrash, except with a bigger downside to not maintaining it, and a higher upkeep cost.

To me the answer seems obvious (admittedly after thinking about it for several hours). Why not make Pulverize almost a direct clone of Revenge, except maybe with some sort of bleed hook? Maybe it could do more damage against bleeding targets, or generate a bit more Rage against bleeding targets or something. This solves:

  • Getting us back to 4 rotational buttons.
  • Lets Pulverize interact positively with Incarnation.
  • Removes what could be considered a boring, maintenance-heavy buff.
  • Forces Blizzard to revamp our L100 talents.

I’m not really seeing a downside here.

What do you think? How do you find the rotation in Beta? Do you pine for the Cataclysm days like I do?

Part Deux

Hello Guardians!

I probably should have put this up last weekend, but I got distracted by Heroes of the Storm. In any case in my last post I talked about what kind of RPS levels we could expect in Warlords. As we found out it appears that our base Rage generation is going to be substantially higher than it was in Mists.

But what happens if a Guardian chooses to talent into Pulverize? Is there any kind of change to Rage generation? Let’s find out.
 

Assumptions of Play

As with the basic rotation, in order to come up with an estimate of the Rage generation for a Pulverize rotation you have to come up with a set of assumptions. Obviously being able to simulate the rotation will give the most accurate result, but we can’t do that yet.

  1. 1 Pulverize every 10 seconds.
  2. Given the previous assumption, at least 3 Lacerates every 10 seconds.
  3. The number of Mangles won’t be appreciably affected by when a Pulverize is used.
  4. Any remaining GCDs are filled with Lacerate.

The obvious question that follows these assumptions, is can they be proven? Well, not very easily it turns out. The first two are pretty obvious, in order to maintain the buff from Pulverize you need at least three Lacerates. Simple. For the second assumption however, it is not very likely that you will end up using Pulverize in the “free” (and by “free” I mean that it can’t reset Mangle) GCD. That means it’s pretty likely that it will negatively impact the number of times you can press Mangle within a 10 second window.

That being said, it’s really hard to quantify what that effect is within a spreadsheet. I know that the RPS of Mangle as it is represented in this version of the SS is actually a bit higher than it should be. But there isn’t enough of a possible discrepancy that it changes the results.

You’ll notice here that I didn’t mention Thrash anywhere. There’s a couple reasons for this. The first is that in order for Thrash to be Rage positive in a normal rotation – or at least enough of a difference that it’s worth using – it needs to be used during the “free” GCD mentioned earlier. The second is that in a Pulverize rotation, a Lacerate has extra benefit in that it pushes the next Pulverize forward. This also increases Rage generation beyond the original chance to reset Mangle.

At higher Haste levels we will have more of these “free” GCDs within a given 10s window. However this number won’t increase significantly enough to allow the use of Thrash in any amount that significantly affects Rage generation outside of an AoE scenario.
 

Results

These results will look familiar to anyone that read my previous post. The essential conclusion to be drawn from these results – just like the previous ones – is that if you choose Pulverize you will still be swimming in Rage. At best you will actually have more Rage than a regular rotation, and at worst you’ll have an about equal amount. Anyway time for pictures!

nekkid_2

You can clearly see that Haste is far and away beating Crit already, and we haven’t even put any gear on.

500stats_2

At something similar to dungeon levels of gear Haste is still far-and-away killing Crit.

1000stats_2

I feel like I’m just repeating myself here, but this is what it looks like at 1000 Haste and Crit rating.

2000haste_2

And here we can see the GCD cap causing Haste to level off. However it’s unlikely that we’ll approach that amount of Haste at all during the expansion, given the push for other secondary stats as well.
 

Conclusions

The conclusions here are identical to what we saw previously. Namely that Haste far, far, far outperforms Crit and we’re probably currently generating too much Rage. I expect we’ll see changes that address both of these issues in a future pass on the Guardian rotation.

Introduction

It’s been a while since I’ve done a legitimate theorycrafting post. We’ve had everything in MoP figured out for so long that there hasn’t been much incentive to do anything further. However now that we’ve started getting information about Warlords, there’s new things we can do! But first, a story.

A while ago I wrote a little story about how I got into theorycrafting. Normally this wouldn’t be pertinent, but part of this story was about making sure things are accurate and how to do that. One of those ways is of course, to ask for someone to look at your work. Kind-of like proof-reading.

Something that you may also not know (well some of you will) is that while I’m pretty decent at algebra, I’m really terrible at calculus. So I’ve had people review my stuff before, and did so again today. Thankfully both Theck and Ahanss made sure I wasn’t totally off my rocker. Theck may have also implicitly questioned my intelligence (he’s my friend, he’s allowed). I kid, I kid.

In any case, I’m here to talk to you today about Guardian Rage generation in Warlords of Draenor. At least, what we know about it from the alpha patch notes. Well, the first half of it anyway.
 

Spreadsheets and Simulations

In the current iteration of Guardian development, there are two different distinct possible rotations: With and without Pulverize. Today’s post is going to focus on the latter, more simple version of this rotation. Now, before we get into anything specific it’s important to understand that the most accurate way to investigate this kind of thing is through simulations which replicate gameplay. However it’s very possible – and usually much easier – to get most of the way there using a simple spreadsheet. Enough in any case, to pick up on any potential problems that might occur as gear improves throughout an expansion.

You may have seen me mention on Twitter that I want to get into working on SimC. I originally thought I would simply re-teach myself Java and build my own simulator, but Theck convinced me otherwise. Until I manage to teach myself C++ (or whatever they use) to a degree that I’m able to do anything productive, I will approximate situations using spreadsheets as best I can. That’s what I’ve done here. In order to do that though, I made a few assumptions.
 

Assumptions of Play

The results I will describe shortly are based on a set of assumptions of how a Guardian would play while tanking a boss. These are:

Fortunately I can prove all of these assumptions – with a reasonable degree of accuracy – using math. First, we know that Thrash‘s duration is 16 seconds. We also know that the chance of not getting a Mangle proc on 2 consecutive Lacerates is 75%*75% = 56.25%. Bare nekkid our GCD is 1.42857 seconds (5% Haste raid buff). That gives us 16 / 1.42857 = 11.2 GCDs every 16 seconds, or almost 12. That means the chance of not being able to use a Thrash on the 3rd GCD after a Mangle is only around 3% ((1-0.5625)^4).

Second, we know that the RPS to maintain 100% SD uptime (for 42 seconds) is only 6.6666~ if you bank 100 Rage before swapping. Since Mangle and Lacerate together generate at least 10 RPS without considering Mangle procs (60/6) or Haste, then that is definitely possible. I also assume around 10% base Dodge from Agility, which is about what we had at the start of the expansion after suppression.

My third assumption is pretty obvious, since Mangle does the most damage and generates the most Rage. As is by extension, the fourth. The actual formula for calculating the number of Mangles is something I re-purposed from Helistar by removing the “miss” and changing it to a variable GCD based on Haste. We know this formula is accurate to at least 3 sig-figs because of Tangedyn’s simulations during MoP Beta.

The fifth and final assumption is implied from the wording of Primal Fury although never confirmed.
 

Results

The “TLDR” version of the results is that we’re going to be swimming in Rage, and Crit is worse than Haste in the current build until you reach GCD cap. The longer version has a bit of exposition along with visual aids. For example, this is what the graph looks like when you are completely naked and only have raid buffs.

NekkidS

We start at just over 18 RPS with this rotation. To provide a relative example, this is approximately the same amount of RPS we have now in heroic SoO gear. The obvious difference between the two examples is that Tooth and Claw is now free. This liberates an absolutely huge amount of our Rage for Frenzied Regeneration. But what happens when we add around 500 Crit and 500 Haste, an amount you might attain in Warlords dungeon gear?

500stats

Haste is still better, and our base generation has grown to 19.5 RPS. What about 1000 Crit and 1000 Haste, something you might see in the first raid tier?

1000stats

We’re nearly hitting 21 RPS, and Haste is still clearly the superior stat. But what if we choose to purely stack Haste, since it’s clearly objectively better than Crit?

2000Haste

Over 21.5 RPS, and Haste still generates more Rage than Crit until the GCD cap.
 

Conclusions

There are two very clear conclusions visible.

  1. Crit is objectively worse than Haste until GCD cap. Even if the two generated similar amounts of Rage, Haste would still win because of the mitigation benefit from Tooth and Claw, and the increased uptime of Ursa Major.
  2. We are potentially generating too much Rage simply by executing our rotation.

In order to fix (1) Crit needs to either generate substantially more Rage than Haste, or also contribute to our survival in some other manner. However even if you simply increase Crit’s contribute to the Rage pool, I’m not convinced that the additional benefits of Haste won’t continue to outweigh it. Especially given how much base Rage generation we have.

(2) is something that is impossible to evaluate without knowing what Blizzard’s targets are. The concept makes sense from a high level though. The higher our base Rage generation is, the more incentive we will have to seek out secondary stats that do not contribute to Rage generation. I’m just really worried that our base generation will be too high, especially after Tooth and Claw becomes free.

If you want to play with the SS yourself, the link is available under “The Maths Corner” above.