I said I’d have this up earlier than I actually ended up doing it, but I ran into a (seemingly) never-ending series of bugs in SimC. Fortunately with the help of Theck and Pawkets I’ve managed to kill most of them. As a result, it’s now in a place where reasonably accurate tests can be done with it. The first of these is a simple talent comparison. Of course the biggest question here is just how big is the difference when it comes to the level 100 talents?
I mean, besides the obvious answer. Clearly Pulverize is vastly superior to the other two choices. But by how much? That is what I will discuss here.
As with any simulation, you have to make a certain set of assumptions about how it should operate. Not only that, but there are also a couple of bugs that you will (probably) see in the results. They don’t affect the results at all, and have since been fixed, but they are worth noting.
I ran the simulation using two different kinds of bosses. One with a 300k melee swing, and one with a 200k melee swing plus a 100k magical DoT every 3 seconds. This gives me a variety of results to use for analysis. For any further details, you can easily check the results files and find what you’re looking for.
We’ll start with the easiest (and by far the best) talent.
In this context, there’s nothing particularly surprising. However it does serve as a kind of benchmark that the other two talents have to be “sort of” competitive with in order to be useful. Obviously as the most “active” talent Pulverize should be the best option, but the spread is what matters.
And then we go all the way to the other end, to – arguably – the most passive talent.
You can clearly see here that Bristling Fur is easily 15% behind Pulverize. Makes sense since they’re virtually the same sets of conditions. I didn’t include Bristling Fur in the usage of this APL since that’s not how you would use the talent in the first place. It’s not for reducing “everyday” damage, rather as a cooldown for a specific situation. Even so, it would never make up the existing difference between where it is now, and Pulverize. Since this is probably the most “passive” of the three talents, it should be empirically the weakest but not this weak. Again since it is a “passive” talent – sorta – tacking on a simple Armor increase of around an additional 40% to 50% or so (i.e. Bear Form now grants +300% Armor) would be enough to bring it to within a reasonable distance of Pulverize.
This is the real problem child. At first glance you might think this is actually a sorta-decent talent. But you would be wrong. It’s only just slightly better than Bristling Fur, as we can see below.
But how is that possible? How could a talent actually be only marginally superior to not picking a talent at all? It’s not as simple as it first might seem. The first thing we need to consider is what does Guardian of Elune actually do to Savage Defense? There are three very specific things:
- The dodge chance is increased.
- The duration is decreased.
- The recharge rate is decreased.
That means one (or more) of these changes has to be responsible for this talent’s problems. We can immediately throw out the increase in dodge chance since it’s not possible for that to be a problem. Which leaves us with two possibilities. Let’s examine the possibility of the duration decrease causing us the problem first. This is reasonably easy to do with math. Ahanss already went through it in the comments below, but I’ve re-listed the calculations here for clarity (note I use a Base Dodge value of 16.7% for all of these calculations – which is the amount from BiS Heroic T17 Raid gear). This is based on a 450s encounter, with a 1.5s swing timer.
Regular Savage Defense is a pretty simple calculation. Every activation gives you on average 1.8 dodges. So all you have left to do is determine the number of additional Dodges you would have gotten throughout the fight, and add that to the Savage Defense total.
- Savage Defense: 1.8*((450/12)+2) = 71.1
- Base Dodge: (0.167-0.045)*(450/1.5) = 36.6
- Total: 71.1 + 36.6 = 107.7.
Next we get the amount for Guardian of Elune. That is also pretty easy. There’s a couple of different ways to go about it, but we’ll go about it the easier way.
- Recharge Rate: 12*(1-0.167)=9.996
- Guardian of Elune: 2*(2+(450/9.996)) = 94
- Base Dodge: (0.167-0.045)*((450-141.05)/1.5) = 25.12
- Total: 119.12
That gives us an increase of around 10.5%. So clearly the effectiveness isn’t the actual issue. Something else has to be causing our problems. Since we’ve eliminated both the Dodge chance change and the duration, the only remaining possibility is the recharge rate somehow. But what does the recharge rate affect? RPS cost. The normal RPS cost of Savage Defense is 5 (60/12). But what does the RPS cost of Guardian of Elune look like? I’ve included a chart below.
Clearly the RPS cost of GoE gets rather out of control towards the end of an expansion. A talent essentially costing you 2+ RPS (although in the first tier that number is more like 1.25 or so) just for picking it is a bit nuts. For comparison, you can see how much Pulverize “costs” in the Sim results. A Bristling Fur build serves as the base (111133), which gives us a total RPS of 8.4. Compare this to the same build using Pulverize (111132), and we see a total RPS of 8.2. This is because Pulverize‘s RPS cost actually goes down as your gear improves since you’re more and more likely to sacrifice a Lacerate rather than a Mangle the higher your Haste is.
So we can see that the total RPS cost of GoE is far too high, which causes fewer Tooth and Claw applications, which drives DTPS up. Easy solution? Make GoE also reduce the Rage cost of Savage Defense at the same rate as the recharge time is reduced. Problem solved.
- Pulverize is too powerful relative to the other L100 talents.
- Given that Bristling Fur is a mostly passive talent, giving it a small armor increase makes sense to put it where it should be relative to Pulverize.
- Guardian of Elune‘s recharge rate makes it extremely lackluster compared to even not taking a talent thanks to the drastically increased Rage cost. Addressing this problem by adding a Rage cost reduction will maintain the feel of the talent while improving its value.
There’s plenty of time to address tuning concerns still, of which this is obviously one. It won’t change my own personal talent choices since I really like Pulverize, but others shouldn’t feel hamstrung because they don’t enjoy a particular playstyle.