• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Gearing

Hello Guardians!

I used to be a little more prompt with these, but since I’m running a guild now that takes up the huge majority of my free time. In any case, 6.2 is here and of course I’m going to let you know what to be concerned about if you’re a Guardian!
 

Class Changes

Of course the thing that everyone wants to know about is “What has changed for Guardians?” Well, that’s why I’m here. Well, most of the reason I’m here.

Thrash now deals 10% more damage.

The long awaited buff to our AoE is here! It’s unfortunate that we had to wait until now, but even a small buff like this will be enough to address our AoE issues relative to other tanks. It’s also a welcome improvement for Challenge Modes.

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

It’s a very small buff. In the end it comes out to between 4% and 5% additional damage reduction which, while not totally ignorable, is pretty ignorable. In the end you won’t even notice the difference but hey, a buff is a buff.

Healing Touch no longer cancels Bear Form for Guardian Druids.

A quality-of-life improvement that eliminates the need for everyone to use a cancelaura macro for Healing Touch.

Savage Defense now also reduces physical damage taken by 20%.

The patch note says “25%” but it’s incorrect, the buff is a 20% reduction. This is the most significant out of all of the changes, as it boosts the minimum amount of damage prevented to 0.8 swings from 0 for Savage Defense. The median also increases to 2.24 swings, however there is also a reduction in the amount of damage prevented by Primal Tenactiy. This reduction isn’t anything that you’ll notice as a player, but it is there.

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

Another great quality-of-life change. I argued pretty vehemently for this during Beta, and it’s nice to see that the change has finally been implemented.

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

O-kay? Everyone knows what the issues with Treants are right now from a survival standpoint anyway, so a 100% damage bonus does nothing to address that. However the change does push it slightly ahead of SotF for overall DPS since it lines up nicely with cooldowns and trinkets. Not that anyone cares.

Guardian of Elune (Guardian) now also passively increases the Druid’s chance to dodge by 10%.

A required buff in order to keep GoE at least somewhat competitive with Pulverize. In a raid environment the talent is still relegated to “what can I cheese” status, but it is still the best talent for CMs.
 

Raid Gear

Of course with any new raid instance the question “what items do I want” arises! Well, there are lots of different things to shoot for this tier. And by “things” I mean “trinkets”.

  • 2 Piece Bonus: Our 2 piece bonus this tier is excellent. Boring, but excellent. You definitely want to grab this as soon as you can. You can also run 2pc/2pc with T17 Gloves/Shoulders and T18 Legs/Chest.
  • 4 Piece Bonus: Our 4 piece bonus is not particularly that great for raiding scenarios. You’re never going to be pooling 90 Rage to use Frenzied Regeneration after Savage Defense. However it is great for soloing, since you will often do precisely that.
  • Seed of Creation: This tier also re-introduces the idea of class-specific trinkets. Unfortunately ours is only strong for AoE situations or situations with lots of damage events. Also remember that it has a “thorns” effect where it will do damage equal to a percentage of your attack power. Note that this won’t be equal to the amount absorbed, as that is increased by Resolve.
  • Tyrant’s Decree: Great pure survival trinket. This is more valuable for Guardians because we have Ursa Major.
  • Warlord’s Unseeing Eye: Again, an amazing pure survival trinket. The secondary stat (Haste) is terrible, but the passive effect is very good. During PTR it scaled infinitely with incoming damage, and it’s not clear whether or not that has persisted onto live.
  • Anzu’s Cursed Plume: A great upgrade from Blast Furnace Door. Definitely get your hands on it.
  • Tablet of Turnbuckle Teamwork: Oddly enough, Tablet is still a great option because of the on-use Bonus Armor. However it won’t compete with higher difficulty HFC trinkets. Still a good one to have around though.
  • For the rest of your gear, there’s generally only one choice. That choice will either be the god combination of Multistrike/Mastery, or whatever piece of gear has the most of the stat you want – Mastery or Multistrike. Those of you doing Mythic raiding will probably trend towards Multistrike, and those doing mostly Heroic or Normal will likely trend towards Mastery.
  • If you’re looking for “stat weights” or something to that effect, I’m waiting until I have reliable damage information from Mythic HFC to post those. I have values from PTR, but it’s unclear what will have changed since then.

 

Guide Updates!

Just a really quick note that the Guardian guides that we maintain across the interwebs have all been updated for 6.2. These are:

Just a friendly reminder that if a guide is not on this list, I can’t vouch for its accuracy.

Additionally, I’ve decided that I won’t be doing any Mythic video guides for this or any subsequent tiers. The fact is that our guild just doesn’t clear Mythic fast enough for any information in them to be useful for anyone else, and Khaelyn’s written guides on Summonstone and our forums are more than enough to help anyone that’s looking for Mythic-specific information. I’m still going to do the heroic guides though, as they will continue help a large number of people.

Speaking of guides, Slootbag did a great video on HFC tanking earlier this week. You should check it out. I’ve embedded it below for easy-watching.

6.0 Patch Survival Guide

October 14, 2014

Introduction

Hello Guardians and welcome to the survival guide for the meaningless 4 weeks prior to Warlords! I may sound like I’m joking, but only partially. This won’t be a full “Warlords Guide” because Warlords isn’t done yet. The best I can do at this point is tell you what has changed thus-far, and maybe make some educated guesses as to what might happen once you hit level 100. If you’ve been paying attention to my twitter feed you probably know a lot of this already. Additionally if you have any experience on the PTR or Beta, you will already know all of this information. That means there’s no reason for you to read further.

For everyone else though, read on!
 

Resolve

The first and largest change to tanking in this patch (and next expansion), is the elimination of Vengeance. It has been replaced with a new ability called “Resolve” which functionally does the job – at least defensively – that Vengeance used to do. The difference is that it provides a multiplier on all self healing and absorption affects. Providing a technical description of how it works is going to be meaningless to most (but if you want one check out these three posts). All you really need to know is:

  • Just like Vengeance, you gain more Resolve the more damage you take in a 10s window.
  • Resolve no longer has diminishing returns in AoE situations, but it does diminish at higher and higher levels of damage.
  • Resolve does not affect percentage based abilities such as Ysera’s Gift.
  • Resolve is much more responsive to changes in damage intake than previously.

 

Stat Changes

As with any other expansion patch, there are a number of changes to both primary and secondary stats that you will probably want to be aware of. Before we get into that though you should be aware that all of the numbers you’re going to see in patch 6.0 will be a lot smaller than what you’ve been used to these past few expansions. It otherwise doesn’t mean much, but the “stat squish” may take a little getting used to for some people.

  • Agility now only grants 1 Attack Power per point, no longer grants increased Melee Critical Strike, and grants 80% of the Dodge Chance that it did in Mists.
  • Stamina now grants 60 health per point. “Base Health” has been removed, there is now only base Stamina.
  • Dodge, Parry, Hit, and Expertise ratings have all been removed. As a result of this change bosses will no longer Parry or Dodge attacks from the front.
  • Multistrike rating has been added. Multistrike is a chance to trigger an additional hit for 30% damage.
  • Versatility rating has been added. It provides a small boost to damage and healing, while providing an even smaller amount of damage reduction.
  • Bonus Armor has been re-added. It now also additionally provides one Attack Power per point.
  • Mastery now grants additional Attack Power.
  • Weapon DPS now increases at a rate of 1 for every 3.5AP.

There are some additional Guardian specific stat changes that I will cover a little bit later on.
 

Damage Patterns

One of the largest changes to tanks in this patch and the next expansion comes not to tanks themselves, but rather the things that will be hitting them. Throughout the past several expansions tanks have only really been threatened by “bursts”, or when a combination of melee hits and special abilities dealt a lot of damage to tanks in a short period of time. Common examples include a melee/impale combo from Heroic Beasts (ToC), and a Horridon “wombo-combo” of Melee+Triple Puncture+Dire Call. Blizzard has decided that they don’t enjoy the arms race of trying to kill tanks as quickly as possible, and then having to give tanks ways to prevent that from happening. Since Guardians lived through an entire patch cycle – really 1.5 patches since these problems existed in T14 too – I’m not too broken up about this. Further Guardians have always been one of the best tanks at reducing total DTPS, so this change can only be a good thing for us.
 

Movement Speed

A quick note on one of the under-represented changes in the next patch – movement speed. Previously in WoW all movement speed increases were multiplicative with each other (except those which were exclusive). In Mists a lot of speed boosts were made exclusive to each other to prevent people from reaching light speed. It made sense – sort of – but was really complicated and a lot of people didn’t understand what was exclusive with what.

In Warlords, movement speed has been streamlined (much like the rest of the game). All movement speed increases are now additive. This means that a boot enchant plus Feline Swiftness will give you a total of 18% increased movement speed (above whatever form you are in). Any further modifiers like Stampeding Roar are just added on top of that.
 

Ability Pruning

One of the biggest wholesale changes to this expansion is the number of abilities that have either been completely cut, or in some cases restricted to only certain specializations. I’ve included a quick list below of what has changed. It’s not in any particular order but I’ve separated them into New, Removed, and Changed. I’ve also left out abilities that have extremely niche use – such as Moonfire – which you may or may not end up binding.

New:

  • Critical Strikes (Passive) – Adds 10% Critical Strike chance. This is to at least partially make up for the loss of Critical Strike chance from Agility.
  • Mana Attunement (Passive) – Doubles mana regeneration. Added to make up for the mana regeneration loss from Leader of the Pack‘s removal.
  • Shred – Added because Mangle was made Bear-only.
  • Bladed Armor – Every point of Bonus Armor also grants 1 Attack Power. Added to give Bonus Armor an offensive function, and to keep it firmly as the #1 stat.
  • Resolve.
  • Survival of the Fittest (Passive) – Gain 5% more Mastery Rating from all sources. This is our “attunement” – meant to indicate what our primary stat should be, and it’s correct.
  • Ursa Major (Passive) – Auto Attack, Mangle, and Lacerate tick Multistrikes grant 2% temporary HP for 25 seconds. Recalculated every time a new event triggers (like Resolve).

Removed:

  • Rake – Made Cat-only.
  • Vengeance.
  • Bear Hug – Some will likely be sad about this – looking at you Lyfa, Ahanss, and Buraan – but the reality is it was too niche of an ability to be used all that often.
  • Rip – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Swipe – Combined into Thrash.
  • Pounce.
  • Track Humanoids – I *think* this was made baseline with Cat Form, but don’t quote me on that.
  • Hurricane – Restricted to Balance only.
  • Leader of the Pack – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Nature’s Grasp.
  • Innervate.
  • Ravage.
  • Hibernate.
  • Might of Ursoc – We were handily winning the “tank cooldown competition”, so something had to be removed.
  • Tranquility – Restricted to Restoration only.
  • Enrage – Never really did much, so removing it makes sense.
  • Maim – Restricted to Feral only.
  • Symbiosis – I’ve already commented that this is a good thing, but yay!

Changed:

  • Rejuvenation – Now heals for 228% of spell power. Only pertinent to questing or Heart of the Wild usage.
  • Bear Form – No longer increases Haste and Crit rating from items. Armor bonus reduced to 250%. Stamina bonus reduced to 20%. Haste now reduces the GCD and the cooldowns of Mangle and Maul.
  • Mangle – Now generates 10 Rage when used. Hits for 300% Weapon Damage. Cooldown reduced by Haste.
  • Maul – Now hits for 120% Weapon Damage. Cooldown reduced by Haste.
  • Savage Defense – Now has a 12s recharge. 2 charges.
  • Thick Hide – Now reduces magic damage by 10%. Reduces the chance to be parried by 3%.
  • Revive – Mana cost reduced to 4% of base mana.
  • Travel Form – Flight, Aquatic, and Travel forms have been combined into a single ability that automatically switches depending on what you are doing (jumping, swimming, etc.).
  • Thrash – Now deals 117% AP on hit, and 40% AP per tick. Generates 1 Rage every time it deals damage. No cooldown.
  • Faerie Fire – Now deals 32.5% AP.
  • Primal Fury (Passive) – Melee Critical Strikes now only generate 8 Rage.
  • Tooth and Claw (Passive) – You can now store up to 2 charges. Reduces the damage of the next auto attack by 240% AP.
  • Lacerate – Now deals 115% AP on hit, and 29.22% AP per tick per stack. Generates 2 Rage on impact. No cooldown.
  • Infected Wounds (Passive) – Now only triggers from Mangle.
  • Survival Instincts – Now lasts for 6 seconds. 2 Charges. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Mark of the Wild – Now also grants 3% Versatility.
  • Frenzied Regeneration – Now heals for 600% AP at 60 Rage.
  • Mastery: Primal Tenacity (Passive) – Our Mastery now generates a shield whenever we take physical damage equal to 1.5*Mastery percent. Some sources of damage (bleed, sonic) will not generate a shield. The value of this shield is not reduced by other absorption affects. If a shield is already active, receiving physical damage will not generate a new shield unless the current shield size is <= 20% of the size of the shield that would have been generated. Also increases Attack Power by 1*Mastery percent.

 

Talents and Glyphs

Very little has changed in the area of Talents and/or Glyphs. Other than the obvious – removing Glyphs for which abilities no longer exist – so this section will probably be a lot shorter than the others.

Talent Changes

  • Ysera’s Gift – Now heals for 2% HP every 5 seconds.
  • Renewal – Now heals for 22% HP when used.
  • Cenarion Ward – Now heals for 879.9% of spellpower over 6 seconds.
  • Typhoon – Range reduced to 15 yards.
  • Soul of the ForestMangle now generates 5 additional Rage.
  • Nature’s Vigil – Now heals a nearby friendly target for 40% of the damage done. Excludes Thrash, and obeys the new smart healing rules. That means there’s no guarantee it will heal you if you’re the most injured person.

Your obvious question is going to be “What talents should I take?” Well not much has really changed. What you’ve been taking for the past year (or more) is still decent. I’ll still make my recommendations though, which are in the short list below:

  • Level 15: Whatever you want. No changes to this tier, so continue to use whatever talent you prefer.
  • Level 30: Cenarion Ward has the highest throughput on this tier, but comes with the 30 second cooldown and the fact that it’s a HoT which means it might get sniped by your actual healers. Renewal is still pretty bad so you can safely ignore it unless you need an instant heal off the GCD.
  • Level 45: Nothing changes here. You basically just lock in Typhoon, even after the range nerf.
  • Level 60: Soul of the Forest. Force of Nature‘s previous “issues” still remain, which makes it an incredibly difficult talent to use. Incarnation is still a good burst talent, but for throughput over time it is very much inferior to Soul of the Forest as you’re no longer replacing 0-Rage GCDs with Mangles.
  • Level 75: Nothing changes here. You pick the same talent that you would have picked before.
  • Level 90: A sort-of minor change here. Nature’s Vigil is now horrible, and since Heart of the Wild has a very narrow niche (Do you need DPS/Healing when you’re not tanking?) your default talent here is now Dream of Cenarius. There is currently a bug where it is not scaling with Attack Power, but it still beats the pants off of Nature’s Vigil.

Glyphs

None of our glyphs have actually changed. However they have swapped around a little bit in terms of which glyphs you will want to have, and which ones have become niche. Since everyone should have the Glyph of Grace anyway, I’ve only listed the possible major glyph options below:

  • Survival Instincts – Now a niche glyph. A 3 second duration isn’t long enough to buy your healer any time to recover, but it is still most definitely enough time to handle many boss mechanics. Consider this an optional glyph.
  • Stampeding Roar – Mandatory. There’s no reason not to have this glyph. Not only is there nothing worth replacing it for, but the increased range is pretty mandatory in a raid scenario.
  • Maul – Might as well pick this up when you’re going to be hitting more than one target. Again, nothing better to have in this slot.
  • Fae Silence – This is the most interesting one. Now that Faerie Fire is out of our rotation – thanks to the removal of the cooldown on Lacerate – this glyph becomes very appetizing. Not only does it function as another interrupt, but gives you a way to move casters without having to rely on others to interrupt.

 

Rotation and Rage Generation

As you’ve probably noticed from the Ability Changes section, a lot of our Rage generation has shifted to being active – i.e. you have to press buttons – rather than the form it existed in Mists. I like this change as it gives you a greater degree of control over how you generate Rage and when. The best part is the actual rotation hasn’t changed at all. It’s still exactly the same as it was in Mists:

  1. Keep Mangle on cooldown.
  2. Keep Thrash up.
  3. Fill with Lacerate.

Easy as that. Of course the L30 and L90 talents can add some additional spice (Cenarion Ward and Dream of Cenarius respectively), but the real complexity doesn’t start until level 100 and you get access to Pulverize. For now though, you’ll just have to live with those three abilities. With the removal of Lacerate‘s cooldown Faerie Fire no longer has a place in the single-target rotation. It’s used for pulling (or possibly interrupting) only.

For AoE, just spam Thrash and keep Mangle on cooldown. Now what do you do once you’ve generated Rage? Well, the priority of your Active Mitigation abilities has changed a tiny bit.

  • For encounters with primarily avoidable damage – which is most of them – use Savage Defense as often as possible.
  • For encounters which feature auto-attack damage – again, most of them – use Tooth and Claw whenever you will not need to refresh Savage Defense shortly.
  • If you’re going to Rage cap and can heal, or are about to die, use Frenzied Regeneration.
  • It is no longer important to dump as much Rage as you can into DPS. Make sure you’re pooling Rage prior to executing a tank swap.
  • Use cooldowns as appropriate for the encounter. Using Barkskin on the pull is encouraged, as it gives you a bit of a buffer before you can generate enough Rage to start using AM abilities.
  • Berserk (and Incarnation I guess) should no longer be saved as DPS cooldowns. Use them as survival cooldowns instead.
  • Since Resolve only affects heals you do to yourself, try and avoid using Cenarion Ward or Healing Touch on others. Exceptions can obviously be made.

In other words you should be spending time attempting to train your brain to not be a damage bot anymore, but rather acting like an actual tank. Use your abilities to improve your own survival as much as possible. DPS is something that will be done purely as a by-product of being a good tank.
 

Stats and Gear

My general response to questions about gearing for a pre-expansion patch is “It’s only 4 weeks who gives a shit anyway.” That being said if you are the type of person that likes to min-max for meaningless content there’s a few things you will probably want to be aware of.

Remember that a full Warlords guide will be coming at launch. Hope this helps for now!

Intro

So the time has come to make my first post, I will be working on heroic videos over the weekend to start posting guides/tips next week, so look out for those.  However, my guild has reached Thock the Bloodthirsty on heroic 10 man, and it seems that one of the common strategies here is to use 1 tank (as to why this is the case, I will cover in a different article).  So it was time for me to dust off my offspec.

In Throne of Thunder, my offspec was initially feral, but towards the end and then when we started farm, it was balance, due to ranged being needed on Ra-Den to kill the orbs, and just generally being better for most of that instance.  Now though, feral is like stupid good, and my balance gear hasn’t gained many upgrades since ToT.  Not to mention that melee are actually pretty good on Thock.  Which brings me to:

Feral as a Guardian

Obviously the best way to optimize your gearing for feral is to completely re-gem, re-enchant and reforge for the spec, however, it turns out that you can get most of the way there with a much more cost-effective solution.  For reference, here is the simulation numbers on my own character for various set-ups:

Guardian Gear: Same gear exactly as I  use for Guardian with the only change being that I switched to RoRO and rentaki’s (I’m using vial and bloodlust at the moment for bear)

Guardian Gear Reforge Only: Same as above but attempted to reforge for mastery (in this case I couldn’t get enough mastery to change RoRO from procing crit

Fixed Gear: Changed headpiece and swapped out a couple of spare offpieces that don’t have crit and reforged (RoRO now proccing mastery :) wewt)

Optimal Gear: Basically what you get if you fully regem/respec/reforge for feral.

As you can see the differences are quite small, and indeed the difference between DoC and HoTW is quite small (although in reality this difference depends quite a lot on player skill with DoC)

Gearing

There are a few things that you need to really make this as pain-free as possible:

  • Basically mandatory: http://www.wowhead.com/item=96546/rune-of-re-origination  pretty much any version of the trinket works fine, obviously the higher ilvl the better.
  • Nice to have: a 2nd head piece, preferably of a similar ilvl to your normal headpiece, but even if it is last tier’s head or something similar it makes your life easier, as it means you can use the dps LMG without having to pay a ton of gold (and lots of flying around in pandaria) buying new ones every time you switch spec.  You can also get away with just not using the dps lmg for only a ~4% dps hit.
  • Might be needed, but may not: 1-2 pieces of gear that you don’t use for your guardian set that don’t have crit on them, or maybe a trinket with a ton of mastery (ebon detonator/bad juju)

The Process

1.  First, load your character up in http://www.askmrrobot.com

2.  Change your spec to feral

If you want to be able to import the profile to simcraft afterwards, make sure you choose the correct talents (for some reason amr defaults to SoTF)

3. Enable Reforge Only

4.  Enable optimizing for Rune of Re-Origination (Note: if you aren’t currently using RoRO as guardian, either equip it in game before logging out or equip it in ask mr robot before doing the next step.  You can do this by clicking the item, then selecting the appropriate trinket from the list)

5. Click the giant green optimize button and then check your stats to see if your gear has been reforged correctly:

If you click the “From Gear” check box you should be able to see your stat points for mastery, crit and haste.  If they are all close and mastery is the highest, then you could in theory say you are done and go do crazy deeps. However there is more that you could do to optimize your set-up, so keep reading if you are interested! (also keep reading if it hasn’t managed to optimise your gear for Rune yet, as we can fix that!)

6.  Start swapping in gear

This could be gear from a previous tier that you have since replaced, it could be some random offpieces that have dropped in the current tier that no one wanted and you don’t intend to use for guardian.  These pieces preferably shouldn’t have any crit on them as we are trying to lose a little crit to give AMR a chance to make mastery our highest stat.  For example I had RaDen legs with mastery haste in my bag that I could use, or I have a heroic chest with haste mastery that I am not using for guardian because I have a crit+haste piece with the same ilvl that is better and our rogue has heroic tier.  Equip these in AMR:

Remember here that even if it is lower ilvl than your other gear, if it allows rune to work properly, it is an upgrade. Obviously however, we want to try to lose as little ilvl as possible whilst doing this if we can.  Make sure that once you have selected the new piece of gear, you “unlock” the gems for this item (remember we enabled “Reforge-Only” )  and also double check the upgrade levels on the item, as it will default to having the same number of upgrade levels as the piece of gear it replaced.  Chances are that if it is a brand new piece of gear, you won’t have upgraded it, and probably won’t be doing so.  If it used to be part of your guardian set however, it probably is.

Once you have done this for a couple of pieces of gear (1-2 pieces is usually enough to make it work, do more if you like but remember the goal is not to drop too many ilvls)  you may want to also change your headpiece so that you can use the dps metagem.  Upon coming out of the equipping screen, when you are done, AMR will try to re-optimize your gear, so re-check your stats.  If you have done this correctly, your gear should now be happily optimized for RoRO.

7. If you choose you can export it to simc and see how you’ve done, or import it into the askMrRobot addon to let it guide you through setting your gear up in game.

If you use the in-game addon, just save a gearset for your dps gear and make sure that that gearset is gemmed/enchanted properly, then it should be the case that to switch between the specs, you simply have to equip your “dps set” in game then go to a reforger and let the addon do the rest.  (on a side note: AMR addon is brilliant at saving a whole setup for a particular spec, so even if you don’t use it to optimize your guardian gear, you can get it to save your profile so you can always get it back to how you like it)

Playing Cat

So… you have got your gear set up for cat and are all ready to go, except, you have no idea how to play cat perhaps? I mean, you’re pretty awesome at HoTW cat right??? this is a whole other ball game. Well, luckily there is a pretty simple way to get you playing pretty proficiently, pretty quickly.  Obviously if you are curious about the intricacies of feral, go here: http://fluiddruid.net/forum/

Alternatively, get this:

http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/ovale

and this:

http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/nerien-ovale-scripts

then, in game do /ovale code and select leafkiller’s script:

Then you should get a setup that looks like below (click the spell icons to bring up the side menu with all the options).

The middle box is what you should press now, or will be pressing soon (i.e. you could be pooling energy and therefore doing nothing). The right box is to try to figure out what you will be pressing after that, and the left 2 boxes are the “alternate prediction” boxes, which I have because I like them, but you can ignore them/remove them if you like.

Conclusion

The topic of this blog normally concerns purely guardian tanking, but given that this has been something I’ve been doing recently as we are solo tanking thock, I thought I would share some of this process with you.  I have actually had a ton of fun with it, as I used to mainspec feral a while ago.   I hope this has been useful for you, even if it is just that you are joining a flex/lfr as a dps, as I mentioned, I will hopefully be getting some heroic stuff out this coming week, so look out for that!  I may also revisit WoL or go over my UI at some point in the coming months.  Other than that, have a great weekend.

Hello Guardians!

Welcome to the 5.2 Patch Survival Guide. Below you will find a nice list of all of the things you need to know about 5.2. Obviously a lot of this is repeated on various sites around the interwebs, but here we only care about things that affect Guardians. I’ll take you through talent and spec changes, new factions, gear, and finish up with some…..PvP?

Talent Changes

  • Feline Swiftness will no longer stack wit hthe speed bonus from the PvP set. This doesn’t affect PvE at all, or RBGs (since they have a movement speed cap anyway), but it does affect regular PvP. No more zoom zoom flag caps for you.
  • Displacer Beast has been redesigned. A pretty irrelevant change from a PvE perspective, but could be interesting from a PvP perspective. I don’t know if the jump causes you to drop flags, if it does it’s pretty worthless. If not it could be neat to experiment with in PvP.
  • Cenarion Ward has had its healing done doubled. This is actually pretty incredible for Guardians on fights where you are taking constant damage (Tsulong, Will, Stone Guard, Garalon), or have very predictable burst (Elegon, Lei Shi). I already liked CW a lot, and this will make me love it more. Plus it’s even more incredible for soloing.
  • Faerie Swarm can now affect multiple targets. This seems really strong for Challenge Modes, as it gives you infinte kiting on up to 3 mobs. Doubt it’ll see much use in raids, and ME / Typhoon are much stronger in PvP.
  • Mass Entanglement has had its cooldown reduced to 30 seconds. This makes it a much stronger competitor to Typhoon in almost all situations. As always it will still depend on the encounter/map/etc.
  • Typhoon‘s cooldown is now 30 seconds. Obvious change is obvious so that Mass Entanglement doesn’t always straight up lose.
  • Force of Nature has had a bit of reworking done to it. Unfortunately it’s still awful and you should pretend it doesn’t exist. It might be useful situationally for some encounters, but you should never go out of your way to get it.
  • Soul of the Forest now grants 3 Rage instead of 2 per Mangle. Too bad it’s still completely shit compared to Incarnation. Don’t take. Ever.
  • Nature’s Vigil had its damage increase cut in half, but so did the cooldown. The “hybrid” nature of the talent remains at 25% though, which means it’s a straight buff for Guardians. You’ll still take HotW for DPS or pure off-role purposes, but Nature’s Vigil is definitely the default choice.

 

Ability Updates

  • Frenzied Regeneration now scales at a factor of 2.2*Vengeance. This is a 10% buff from where it was before. I’d definitely hold on to your 4pT14 for an even bigger bonus set just in case another fight like Garalon or Lei Shi pops up. Also makes the 2T15 much better.
  • Tooth and Claw also got a 10% buff to 1.1*Vengeance. There was some confusion earlier since datamining had done the automatic math incorrectly, but Rygarius confirmed earlier today that it is in fact a buff. Should be interesting to see how this shakes out now that we can take full advantage of it.
  • Our Mastery got buffed by 20% as well. It doesn’t really mean anything since RPS builds are generally better anyway, and we don’t have enough base RPS yet to make a Mastery build worth going for. That doesn’t make it “bad” per se, but it’s still not a good idea unless you can put 2 full sets of gear together.
  • Both Rip and Wrath received damage buffs this patch. I haven’t revisited the “I’m not tanking what’s the best DPS” problem yet for this patch, but that will be what I look at this weekend. Cat’s problem was pure combo-point generation and lack of AP, while Wrath spam was ridiculous as fuck in Heart of the Wild. I’ll do some tests and let you know how this shakes out.
  • And in clearly the most important change in this patch both Mark of the Wild and Revive have had their mana costs reduced by 55%. I CAN ACTUALLY REZ MORE THAN ONE PERSON NOW.

 

Factions & Rep

There are two new factions. The Shado-Pan Assault is attached to the new raid instance. Unfortunately none of the gear there is “Best in Slot” but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any upgrades on day 1. For example Flanker’s Battletags are actually not half bad, and you can get them at Neutral.

The Kirin Tor Offensive or Sunreaver Onslaught are the new “story” factions. Unfortunately all of their gear is 496 or lower, which makes it almost completely irrelevant. But it’s another rep to grind, so there’s that.
 

Gear

This is the part you all wanted, I know. I was originally going to put it here, but then I realized that would be a shit-ton of work. On a whim I tested the list on the forums (where the real item links are) and IT OMG WORKED.

So yeah you can get your BiS lists here.
 

PeeVeePee

In addition to all of the above, there have been a couple of changes that are straight buffs to Guardians in PvP. Since we’re already one of only two top-tier RBG tank specs, this just makes us even better.

  • Thick Hide now reduces the critical strike chance of all attacks, not just melee. This is an obvious PvP buff since we were weakest against spellcasters already.
  • We also received Guardian-specific bonuses on the PvP set. The glove bonus now increases the duration of Bear Hug by 1 second, which is an extra 10% of your HP in damage. That’s pretty big. Not to mention a longer stun. The 2pc bonus now increases the Crit reduction of Thick Hide to 20%, which is amazing. And finally the cooldown of Enrage resets on a successful interrupt.

That might just get even me into PvP.

And there you have it! I wish you much fun in the next patch :)

Nomnomnom.

Monday Roundup – February 19th, 2013

Hello Guardians!

Here’s your news and updates for the last week.
 

T15 RPS Trinket Analysis

I’ve promised this for a few days, but I’ve been waiting to confirm the math before posting any sort of results. As you know most of the new trinkets have been moved over to the new RPPM format. You’ll probably remember the RPPM idea from the weapon enchants. Both Hamlet and Theck have previously done work in this area, but there are two new things to consider:

  • Stacking buffs that refresh uptime.
  • Stacking buffs that refresh uptime and modify the proc rate with each stack.

Now, one thing you have to understand is that my area of expertise is limited to two (2) things: Practical Experience/Analysis (actual gameplay) and Basic Algebra (BEDMAS stuff). I’m absolute shit when it comes to calculus level math. This kind of thing is definitely in the calculus level math arena.

Thankfully I happen to be on good terms with two of the best math people available – the aforementioned Theck and Hamlet (that 2nd link is actually Hamlet & Perculia’s personal blog) – so I asked for some help. Both were more than happy to oblige, and I am very thankful for it. I’m not going to go into detail with the math here, but if you’re interested Theck made a nice PDF which explains the proofs I use in this analysis. You can get it under the “Maths” menu above, or just here.

Just like any other kind of evaluation you need a set of gear to generate the values required to determine what is “best”. I used what I’m tentatively naming my Normal T15 BiS list, which you can find below:

You’ll notice that I overwhelmingly favour RPS pieces. RPS is the best way to “handle” incoming damage, provided you are skilled enough to do so. Not only that, but Hit=Exp>Crit>Haste is the best DPS build, which as we progress through content is going to become more and more important. That’s not to say Mastery and Dodge are “bad” or anything, they’re actually quite good at what they do. I just like RPS better because it encourages the player to aim for a higher level of play.

That all being said, this is what the trinket results look like:

There’s two things you’ll notice immediately. The first is just how overwhelmingly fucking good Gaze of Twins is. What amounts to 8% passive Crit from a trinket?!? Are you kidding? That’s just plain fucking insanity. Obviously that makes the first trinket slot without even looking at anything else.

The second thing is that Rune of Re-Origination is missing from this list. There’s a good reason for that. When using a core RPS build, your stats are going to overwhelmingly be Haste and Crit. Both of these provide (relatively) equal amounts of RPS. Changing from one to the other is at best an RPS neutral change, which makes the proc effectively useless for RPS.

Ghostcrawler recently gave us an update about Gaze of Twins. Apparently it will not actually proc for Agility users:

Gaze of the Twins will only proc for Str users.

Which brings us to our second change:

We’re going to make some changes to this trinket based on testing and feedback. Our goal was to make it decent if you didn’t game it at all but offer some opportunities for enhanced benefits if you did. We’re going to try to meet that goal better with these changes:

- 10 sec duration (down from 20 sec) but with double the proc rate.
- Increase your highest secondary stat by 200% of the sum of your two lowest secondary stats. For example: you have 3500 mastery, 5000 crit, 7000 haste. Rune procs, and you get [-3500 mastery, -5000 crit, +17000 haste]. Same logic as before, just double the size of the buff to your highest stat.

Orly? As you can see above that makes Rune of Re-Origination an incredible DPS/RPS trinket. One thing to remember is that you can choose whether to have it proc Haste or Crit. The question is, which one is better?

In truth, the procs themselves provide relatively the same amount of RPS. The difference is whether you want more mitgation (via T&C) or more DPS. A Haste proc could take you down below 1 proc per 5 seconds. Whereas a Crit proc is a huge DPS increase. I suspect the overwhelming majority of people will take the DPS increase over the mitigation increase. In either case it’s still incredibly good.

But what about Mastery?

You need ~32000 Mastery to cap in 522 gear (when using the Legendary meta). Of that, you can get north of 12000 just from gear. With that big of a difference you should be able to arrange it so that you don’t go over the Mastery cap if the trinket procs by gemming and/or reforging for Hit or Expertise. However once we get up to 535 gear (or even 541) it becomes much more of a possibility that you will cap if using it as a Mastery proc.

That brings our second trinket slot to either Renataki’s Soul Charm or Talisman of Bloodlust. It’s not exactly clear which is “technically” the better choice, as there is some pretty significant variance in the stacking self-increasing proc rate model as the change increases. Theck was running some basic simulations earlier today which peg the model as under-estimating the actual benefit of changing its own proc rate by up to 20% at high deltas.

However since nobody else has even attempted this yet (as far as I can tell) I have nothing to compare to. For now, you can’t really go wrong with either trinket.

The one thing that remains to be seen is whether or not Gaze of Twins will be available to Guardians for Coin/LFR. I haven’t heard 100% from GC on this yet, but I’ll keep trying. I’ll definitely let you know when I do.
 

A look at “Defensive” Trinkets

Most of the stereotypical “tank” trinkets are pretty underwhelming compared to the RPS options. But here’s a quick glance at them anyway:

  • Steadfast Talsiman of the Shado-Pan Assault: Pretty decent as far as on-use trinkets go. Ideal for a huge hit that you really need to dodge. I’d definitely pick this up just to have it on you.
  • Ji-Kun’s Rising Winds: For Guardians this is completely terrible. Just use an FR, it’s not like we’re starved for Rage or anything.
  • Soul Barrier: I like this one, very useful for a Stamina trinket. Definitely grab it.
  • Fortitude of the Zandalari: This one could have its uses, especially as a supplement to Might of Ursoc when needed. I’d grab it just for the sake of having it.
  • Delicate Vial of the Sanguinaire: On paper this trinket looks cool, but in practice it would only be good for fights where there’s a high number of incoming attacks (ex. Windlord). Otherwise it’ll hardly ever actually proc. Pick it up to play with if nothing else (because nobody else will want it), but that’s all.
  • So what do you think? are you exicted about the new trinkets? Let me know!