• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!


Legion Talent Review

July 3, 2016

Hello Guardians!

For a long time now there hasn’t been many details to talk about that weren’t totally subject to change, or simply easier to talk about on TankCast. However we’ve entered the tuning phase of talents now, and since most of them are mechanically fine it makes sense to finally examine them and see where they are in terms of effectiveness. Obviously some talents are more of a feel or playstyle choice, but there are definitely still informed decisions to be made. So let’s get started.

Level 15 Talents

We have one talent with a very defined offensive and defensive benefit in Brambles, and two talents that generate more Rage which can be used for both offense and defense in Blood Frenzy and Bristling Fur. The quesiton is how good are they at each? Since Brambles is obvious, we need to first figure out how much damage Rage contributes. Since the only way to convert Rage into damage is with Maul, we just determine how much damage one Rage is worth. To do that we follow some simple steps to find the damage-per-Rage (DPR) of Maul:

  • First we define how to calculate the desired value: DPR = (Melee * Multiplier * Versatility * Artifact) * (1 + (Crit+0.1))*(1 – Armor DR)/Rage Cost
  • Then we remove terms that duplicate for Brambles: DPR = (Melee*Multiplier)*(1+(Crit+0.1))*(1 – Armor DR) / Rage Cost
  • Since we know that the biggest difference the Maul Crit trait will cause is 9.1%, we can replace it with an additional constant: DPR = (Melee*Multiplier)*1.091*(1 – Armor DR) / Rage Cost
  • Fill in known constants: DPR = (Weapon DPS + (AP/3.5))*1.5*1.091*0.68/20
  • Simplify: DPR = 0.055641(Weapon DPS + (0.28571*AP))

So it really comes down to how much weapon DPS you have which determines your total Maul damage. The overall contribution from AP is only ~1.5897% per Rage, but how does that stack up for each of the talents? Blood Frenzy is 0.66 RPS per target (or 1 RPS per 1.5s melee), and since Brambles also scales with the number of targets attacking you that is never going to be enough Rage income to overtake Brambles. However Bristling Fur scales with incoming damage, so generally it will end up generating more Rage over time except in sustained AoE situations. Is it enough? The easy answer to that question is unsurprisingly, math.

  • Determine Rage needed to equal Brambles AP coefficient: 0.01589719011X = 0.24 = 15
  • Determine Rage needed per Bristling Fur use: 40*15/1.5 = 400

That tells us the absolute most you would need is to take 400% of your HP in damage when Bristling Fur is active and then spend all of that Rage on Maul. Reality is probably somewhere closer to half that value, which is ~200% of your hp in damage (to get 200 Rage) which is close to 40% per melee swing, which we’ve been told is not going to happen. Therefore we can draw the conclusion that neither Bristling Fur nor Blood Frenzy will ever be equal to Brambles for pure damage. But what about survival?

Let’s start at the other end. Blood Frenzy gives one extra use of either Ironfur or Mark of Ursol every 67.5s per target. The easiest way to look at it is in terms of EHP which simplified, is (HP / (1-%DR)). Using that we can determine how much of an increase in EHP one MoU gives:

  • %EHP Increase = (HP / (1-%DR2)) / (HP / (1-%DR1))
  • Add known Magic DR: %EHP Increase = (HP / 0.567) / (HP / 0.81)
  • Simplify: %EHP Increase = 0.81/0.567 = 1.4285714285714285714285714285714 or 42.857% more EHP for ~10 seconds or so after traits and talents

Unfortunately Ironfur isn’t so easy. We know that any equal percentage increase in Armor generates the same constant amount of EHP, which means the percentage increase in EHP decreases as Armor increases. Instead we’ll have to think about it slightly in the abstract. Consider that the EHP increase from one Ironfur is some value Y. We know that Brambles is esentially a flat EHP bonus since it applies to every damaging event you receive. Therefore in the case of Blood Frenzy, we’re looking at 45 melee swings at 0.24AP each, for a total of 10.8AP. Let’s use a real-world example to see if they’re comparable using a Beta 110 PvP Premade which has 2,296,297 Health, 5572 Armor, and 17,705 AP.

  • Using the values above we know that the you will gain ~1,202,296 EHP with each Ironfur application.
  • Since we would be adding HP for Brambles, we remove the DR to find that we need a total of 714,549 to match Ironfur.
  • 10.8 * 17,705 = 191214 which means Brambles will never come close to Blood Frenzy, or subsequently Bristling Fur.

Now, these assumptions ignore that Ironfur would only last ~10 seconds. However I believe that limitation is handily countered by the fact you can apply the Ironfur whenever you want within those 67.5 seconds, and that EHP has consistently been demonstrated to only valuable when you need it. We also know that HP scales a lot faster than AP making it impossible for Brambles to catch up from starting values this low. Thus while Brambles is clearly far and away the best DPS talent of the three, both Blood Frenzy and Bristling Fur handily defeat Brambles for pure survival.

On the topic of Bristling Fur vs Blood Frenzy, I think Blood Frenzy is a little bit too weak in comparison. There are almost never situations where 3-4 targets are active for long durations. Usually you only end up with 1, or possibly 2. Sometimes you have a large number of targets for 5-10 seconds, but that’s not enough to justify taking Frenzy for difficult content. There should still be a gap, but maybe one not quite so large. I’d suggest nerfing it to 0.75-0.8 Rage per % HP in damage taken.

Level 30 Talents

The only change for movement talents is that Guttural Roars replaces Feline Swiftness (which is now part of Feral Affinity). However there’s a new, additional problem for Displacer Beast. Legion introduces a new “shapeshifting cooldown” which is incurred every time you change forms. That means every time you use Displacer Beast you are prevented from using any damaging abilities for 3 seconds. You can still use cooldowns and trinkets, but that’s not much consolation. Unfortunately this change means that use of Displacer Beast is going to be further restricted to only those instances where a blink is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately I think this punishes Guardians the most out of everyone.

Guttural Roars will end up being the default talent for most raid scenarios since Stampeding Roar can function as both a personal and raidwide movement increase. Wild Charge is clearly great for solo, 5 person, and pvp content. I think Displacer Beast will be the odd one out for this set of talents.

Level 45 Talents

Here we have the new quasi-support “affinity” talents. We’ll set aside Restoration and the passive effects for now, and just look at the pure DPS output of Balance and Feral. To start with, Feral Affinity grants a 35% bonus to energy regenration which is multiplicitive with Haste. However we’ll start with a base value of 135 Energy per second (EPS) for now. Since we don’t have to worry about Primal Fury it’s easy to approximate ability usage.

In order to “accurately” (at least within a reasonable measure of error) we’ll define a cycle as 30 seconds, since that works for both Feral and Balance fairly well. Within that window for Feral we know there will be 1 Thrash, 1 Rip, and some number of Shreds. We also know that we’ll start with 100 Energy and gain 10*1.35*(1+Haste) energy every second. Combine all of that information and we can come up with a formula to approximate Feral Affinity DPS.

  • DPS = ((Melee + Shred)*Armor) + Rip + Thrash
  • Add unique variables: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(# Shreds*13.74/30*(Weapon Damage/2)*0.68+(AP*0.6186/30)+(AP*2.19/30)+(80*0.14*AP/30)
  • Determine Shreds: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(((20+(30*10*1.35*(1+Haste)))/40)*13.74/30*(Weapon Damage/2)*0.68+(AP*0.6186/30)+(AP*2.19/30)+(80*0.14*AP/30)
  • Simplify: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(((20+(405*(1+Haste)))/40)*0.31144*(Weapon Damage/2))+(AP*0.46695333333333333333333333333333)
  • Fill in Sample PvP Data: DPS = ((1+0.1033)*(12750))*0.68+(((20+(405*(1+0.1033)))/40)*0.31144*(6375))+(18450*0.46695333333333333333333333333333)
  • DPS = 9565.611+23171.7795+8615.288 = 41352.6785

It’s worth noting that I’ve excluded all multipliers which are common between both affinities. This includes Versatility, Crit, Mastery, and Artifact Traits. Haste is included because it impacts each of the specs very differently. Additionally I accounted for Cat Form’s doubled AA damage by dividing the Shred multiplier by 2, instead of doubling the AA damage. So, let’s move on to Balance.

Surpriingly Balance is much easier to calculate. All of the spells are purely based on AP, and the only ability that has a varying number of casts in a 30 second window is Solar Wrath. Everything else is fixed. There will be 3 Starsurges, which also means 3 empowered Lunar Strikes and 3 empowered Solar Wraths. There will also be 2 Moonfires and 3 Sunfires. All remaining time is spent on regular Solar Wraths, since its AP/Cast Time value is higher than a regular Lunar Strike. We then combine all of that information to again, come up with a formula to approximate Balance Affinity DPS.

  • DPS = (3*SS+3*ELS+3*ESW+2*MF+3*SF+((30-Total Cast Time)/(1.5/(1+Haste))*SW))/30*NI
  • Add unique variables: DPS = ((3*1.1*4.5*AP)+(1.2*3*3.5*AP)+(1.2*2.2*3*AP)+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(((30-(3*2/(1+Haste))-(3*2.5/(1+Haste))-(8*1.5/(1+Haste)))/(1.5/(1+Haste)))*2.2*AP))/30*1.2
  • Simplify: DPS = (35.37AP+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(((30-(3*2/(1+Haste))-(3*2.5/(1+Haste))-(8*1.5/(1+Haste)))/(1.5/(1+Haste)))*2.2*AP))/30*1.2
  • Add sample data: DPS = (35.37*(18500)+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+0.1033)))*18500)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+0.1033)))*18500)+(((30-(3*2/(1+0.1033))-(3*2.5/(1+0.1033))-(8*1.5/(1+0.1033)))/(1.5/(1+0.1033)))*2.2*18500))/30*1.2
  • DPS = (654345 + 179938.4 + 233649.45 + 206186.2)/30*1.2 = 50964.762

So we can clearly see that Balance pulls ahead of Feral pretty substantially. Interestingly enough it appears to be purely because of Nurturing Instinct granting an extra 20% spellpower. If that was reduced back to being equal, Balance and Feral would end up being pretty close together. However I don’t know what the consequences would be for the intended target of Resto, but that would be easy to solve by having Resto grant a healing bonus of some kind. But one remaining question is how does this compare to Guardian DPS?

  • DPS = (4WD*1.2*Mangles*1.15*Armor) + (2.4AP*Thrashes + 0.15AP)*1.15 + 1.2*(0.45AP*Moonfires + ((0.5/2)*Haste)) + (1-Mangles-Thrashes-Moonfires)*2WD*1.2*Armor + Melee*Armor + (Maul*WD*Armor)/3
  • Insert formulae and simplify: DPS = 1.9332857504WD*Haste + (0.4AP*Haste+0.15AP)*1.15 + 0.43AP*Haste + 1.632WD*(1-0.20889*Haste – 0.1666666666666667*Haste – (0.125/Haste))
  • Add sample data: DPS = 1.9332857504*(15937.5)*1.1033 + (0.4*18450*1.1033+0.15*18450)*1.15 + 0.43*18450*1.1033 + 1.632*15937.5*(1-0.20889*1.1033-0.1666667*1.1033 – (0.125/1.1033))
  • DPS = 33994.5945591351 + 12546.3321 + 8753.03055 + 13469.20634270108 = 68763.16355183618

So obviously Guardian DPS (on a single target) approximation beats the pants off of either Feral or Balance Affinity DPS. That’s clearly not the intention because you have no reason to ever shift except for resto, because there’s no benefit. Plus this doesn’t talents or cooldowns. Expect significant buffing of both in order to make them remotely viable beyond passives.

As for, Restoration, it ends up being the only affinity with a distinct survival benefit. This also means it will end up likely being the default selection for most people. I doubt many people will end up using Feral or Balance for actual DPS outside of Mythic raiding or possibly PvP, since those are generally the situations where maximizing DPS is of reasonably high importance. That’s fine, since it harkens back to the Bearcat era anyway.

Level 60 Talents

Here we have the new and consolidated crowd control talents. None of these have changed in function, which means Mass Entanglement is still effectively useless. You’re left with a choice between Mighty Bash and Typhoon, so you’ll end up picking whichever one is most appropriate for the situation. It’s quite a shame that Mighty Bash, out of all of the possible talented stuns for tanks, is by far the worst. Hopefully some tuning ends up being done. Maybe the Guardian version of Bash should be a cleave? I don’t know, but certainly something.

Level 75 Talents

These talents are all about active Rage generation, or generating additional Rage from rotational abilities. At least on paper anyway, in reality you end up with 3 talents that have varying levels of Rage generation and DPS benefit – which is what makes a good set of talents anyway. In any case Soul of the Forest is a good baseline to start with, so let’s look at its total Rage generation. Thankfully the formula remains (almost) unchanged from Warlords, so it’s pretty easy to evaluate.

  • RPS = ManglesPerSecond*Rage
  • Insert formula: RPS = 1/(1/((0.2*(1/(GCD*2))+(0.8*0.2)*(1/(GCD*3))+(0.8-(0.8)*0.2)*(1/(GCD*4)))))*5
  • Convert to Haste: RPS = 1/(1/((0.2*(1/((1.5/H)*2))+(0.8*0.2)*(1/((1.5/H)*3))+(0.8-(0.8)*0.2)*(1/((1.5/H)*4)))))*5
  • Simplify (<3 Wolframalpha): RPS = 1.044445H
  • Sample PvP Data: RPS = 1.044445 * 1.1143 = 1.1638250635

The reason I converted it to a simple equation based off of Haste (or rather, Wolframpalpha did) is because Galactic Guardian also scales from Haste, and I needed a common way to compare the two. In any case, the result is a reasonably simple and accurate equation for determining the tangible value of Soul of the Forest. If we’re to compare it to Galactic Guardian, we need to come up with a way of calculating the number of procs per second.

  • RPS = (Melee+GCD+Thrash DoT)*15
  • Convert to Time: RPS = ((0.1*(1/(2.5/H)))+(0.1*(1/(1.5/H)))+(0.1*1/3))*15
  • Simplify (<3 Wolframalpha): RPS = 1.600005*(H+0.3125)
  • Sample PvP Data: RPS = 1.600005*(1.1143+0.3125) = 2.2828

We can see from the start that Galactic Guardian is nearly twice as good as Soul of the Forest before even considering the fact that GG also scales with the number of targets since it triggers per damaging event. That’s a little unfortunate. GG should be better, but not that much better. But what about Incarnation?

We know that for Rage generation purposes all Incarnation does is remove the CD from Mangle. However that also means you don’t generate any Gore procs because you aren’t pressing buttons other than Mangle (in terms of the best case survival scenario). So at best we’re talking about ((30/(1.5/H))*6)/180 or 2/3H RPS. That’s…..pretty bad in comparison to either of the other two talents. However Incarnation definitely has a redeeming quality in that it allows us to do huge burst DPS for cleave or AoE situations. That fact alone means it will likely see huge amounts of play in Mythic+ dungeon content.

Level 90 Talents

The gut reaction to this set of talents is going to be “why on earth would I ever use Earthwarden“? Well we know that Earthwarden is bad for any situation where incoming damage is split between more than one source, because each charge cannot apply to more than one damaging event whereas GoE would apply to all of them within the 2 second extension. So what we need to is compare the 2 second extension on some number of Ironfurs (since if you’re extending Mark of Ursol then GoE automatically wins) to one charge of Earthwarden.

In a 2 second window at 1.5s attack speed we’ll assume that for the best case scenario Ironfur will affect two attacks. Which means GoE has an equivalent of a 15% EH increase spread over two attacks. We know from using our sample data earlier that we’ll end up with an extra 2 seconds of ~1.2mil EHP, while GoE would grant ~400k for the same period of time. However if you’re able to also have one Ironfur up at the same time (which isn’t that unreasonable with full talents) that value jumps to ~675k which turns out slightly better than the additional 2 seconds of Ironfur, and that doesn’t include the starting 3 charges or the fact you will generate them faster than you would a new Ironfur. What does it all mean?

Take GoE for tanking more than one target, dual wielding targets, magic damage, or where self-healing is important. Earthwarden will probably perform better for you against a standard 1.5s (or slower) swing boss. Survival of the Fittest is merely for more cooldowns, similar to where you would have taken the old Bristling Fur. However you might find that it also performs very well in Mythic+ 5 person content.

Level 100 Talents

So that leaves us with the last talent tier, which is really easy to evaluate. We know that Lunar Beam heals for 24*AP total, however that value is also multiplied by Versatility, Crit, and our Mastery bonus. Using the sample data, we can easily generate a total heal of ~691,465. Unfortunately that only happens every 90 seconds. Healing for ~30% of your HP is no small thing, however consider Rend and Tear over the same period. For R&T to equal that, you only have to take (100(691,465))/6 or 11,524,420 over 90 seconds which is ~128,049 DTPS. That’s a pretty trivial number to reach in any kind of content. In all honesty I’d probably cut the cooldown of Lunar Beam in half for it to be a midpoint between R&T and what Pulverize will end up sitting at.

Speaking of Pulverize, it’s a complete waste of a talent at 8%. It needs to be at least 12% for anyone to consider taking it over R&T.

Hello Guardians!

There’s only one piece of news that I’m here to talk about today.

Multistrike Nerf

Ursa Major now lasts 15 seconds (down from 25 seconds).

And let’s be honest, it was a needed nerf. Our HP was getting really out of control. Don’t believe me? Look at this:


So obviously that’s just outright broken. The question is does it change anything regarding our stat priorities? Nope. The value of certain stats has certainly shifted, but the overall priority remains the same. Something that is actually quite interesting is that the value of Haste actually decreases with the nerf. If you think about it, that kind of makes sense. I’ve previously described Haste as a “jack-of-all-trades” stat, so nerfing the potency of one of Haste’s effects will nerf Haste itself. Nobody really cares though, because Haste was already pretty bad compared to every other stat (except Crit).

Pre_Hotfix_Weights Post_Hotfix_Weights

You may notice another interesting piece in the changes above – item level is now even more important than it was before. I mean item level was already super important, sure, but now it’s even more important. So keep that in mind when looking at potential upgrades when transitioning between difficulties in HFC.


Another perhaps unanticipated change is the effectiveness of various trinkets. The hotfix obviously reduces the value of Tyrant’s Decree because of the decrease in the average HP multiplier. That means your HP will dip below the 60% threshold more often, negating the primary value of the trinket to begin with. That doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but less good than it was before.

On the other hand, it also greatly improves the value of Warlord’s Unseeing Eye because a greater percentage of you health will be missing, which means you’ll receive a greater damage reduction effect. Not only that but you can see from the charts below that Anzu’s Cursed Plume has also shot to the top of the list due to the increased value of Mastery.

Pre_Hotfix_Trinkets Post_Hotfix_Trinkets

The one I’m still dubious of is Seed of Creation. We know that Seed doesn’t really help with those situations where you’re taking huge hits at once, and is really only a pure damage reduction trinket. That being said it is probably worth experimenting with to see if it truly does hold any value or not.


To summarize:

  • No, the sky is not falling.
  • No, nothing has changed in terms of the kind of gear you like.
  • Yes, you stil want ALL THE TRINKETS.
  • Give Seed a try before you write it off completely.

Good luck in HFC!

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.

Hello Guardians!

I had planned to write this at some point, but in the latest 6.2 Patch Notes the buff that caused Frenzied Regen to refund any excess Rage has been reverted. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought the original buff itself didn’t really mean much. It’s not like it would change anything about how you played, right?

Turns out….not so much.


Prior to the buff originally appearing on PTR, each of our AM abilities had its own faily well defined role:

Everything has a very well defined role, and there are choices you can make between each ability in a given moment. Do I need healing? How much Rage do I have? Will I waste resources? These are all questions you should be asking yourself every time you’re going to press one of these three buttons. But everyone knows that, we’ve had this set of abilities since the start of Mists.


The single biggest point to remember is that with the refund Frenzied Regeneration became 100% Rage efficient. You would always receive the full benefit from it in either healing or refunded resources. Initially my reaction was “Nahhhh it doesn’t make a difference”. But I had to do my due diligence and find out what would happen in a situation resembling mythic T18. Special thanks to Grafarion for giving me the information I needed to run this.


Note that this set of sims was run with the following parameters:

  • Both 2t18 and 4t18 bonuses were enabled.
  • I used a set of gear that approximated a “BiS” set excluding trinkets.
  • I used a raid event to simulate tank healing. Note that this artificially devalues the 2t18 because it’s not actual healing.
  • Damage profile approximates what has been experienced during mythic HFC testing (thx Graf!).
  • The standard set of talents were used in both cases (CW, SotF, DoC, Pulverize).
  • The SD profile attempted to take advantage of the set bonuses as much as possible by spamming Frenzied Regen when SD was up.
  • The FR profile spammed FR on CD.

The results, as you can see, are a little odd. How is simply spamming Frenzied Regeneration reasonable for survival at any level of content, let alone mythic? How is FR able to make up that amount of difference in damage intake? Well, the answer is that it’s not only FR doing the job.

Consider for example what actually happens in a 12 second window when you do, or do not, press Savage Defense. Assume for the moment that you have ~17% Dodge (like our sim), and ~50% Mastery (a bit over the sim, but eh).

Frenzied Regeneration

  • Total avoided attacks: (12 / 1.5) * (0.2 – 0.045) = 8 * 0.155 = 1.24
  • Total attacks absorbed by Mastery: (8 – 1.24) * 0.5 * 0.5 = 6.76 * 0.5 * 0.5 = 1.69
  • Total hits: 5.07

Savage Defense

  • Total avoided attacks: (12 / 1.5) * (0.2 – 0.045) = 8 * 0.155 = 1.24 + 1.8 = 3.04
  • Total attacks absorbed by Mastery: ((4 – 0.62 – 1.8) * 0.8 * 0.5 * 0.5) + ((4 – 0.62) * 0.5 * 0.5) = ((1.58) * 0.8 * 0.5 * 0.5) + ((3.38) * 0.5 * 0.5) = 0.316 + 0.845 = 1.161
  • Additional reduced damage: (4-0.62-1.8)*0.2 = 1.52 * 0.2 = 0.316
  • Total hits: 3.483

As you can see it’s Primal Tenacity doing the real heavy lifting, cutting the difference between the two down to 1.587 melee swings. Not only that, but this is before the FR build has expended any Rage at all while the SD build has already used 60. Now, add to this the ability to spam FR without any regard for whether or not you would normally be wasting the Rage, and you can see how the constant stream of healing would fare better in terms of consistent survival than the irregular avoidance of SD.

Remember that this comparison is still valid without the refund, which is something that has been discussed on the forums to some extent. However the important difference is that you have to be very concious about when you would FR, rather than spamming it willy-nilly without a care in the world. The former promotes good decision making, while the latter is merely a “roll face on keyboard” level of engagement. You can argue that FR having a refund mechanic is a QOL improvement – I certainly did – but it turns out that it’s too good without reducing FR’s effectiveness somehow.


Nothing has changed. You still want to use SD primarily. However you will prefer FR over T&C when SD is up – making for some interesting on-the-fly decisions while tanking difficult content, especially mythic.

I do want to impress upon people that simply because interesting decisions are involved, that doesn’t negate the need for a useful Rage dump. Maul is quite simply too anaemic to fill that role currently. 20 Rage for less than 1/3 of a Mangle‘s damage? Don’t make me laugh.

It would be a nice change to have in the future, but for the current state of Guardian making FR refund Rage doesn’t make for good gameplay. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this revisited in 7.0.

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.


Mythic T17


Mythic T18 Guesstimate


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.

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.