Mists of Pandaria

Hello Guardians!

I haven’t done one of these in a couple of weeks. I blame being very, very busy. Or just wanting/needing a break. Not entirely sure which. In any case this is where I catch up on a couple of week’s worth of stuff.
 

PTR Updates

Or where I talk about things you probably already know because I’ve been lazy.

The Agility Tanking Cloak now has Expertise instead of Dodge.

In other words, we won. After some passionate pleas by tanks of many different stripes (including Llarold, Theck, Omegal, and Tyvl) Blizzard finally caved and nuked that awful avoidance stat off of our tanking cloak. So you no longer have to feel bad for taking it ;)

Apparently the swap cost is expensive, so you might as well hang on to the tank one until farm, and then go back to the DPS one.

The Glyph of Frenzied Regeneration now costs 50 Rage, down from 60.

Ehhhhhhh. I had initially posited that you could keep it up 100% of the time and instead use DoC for your emergency healing. However this is entirely dependant on DoC being off of the GCD, otherwise it just won’t work. It’s still theoretically possible, but I don’t know if it would happen at this point.

Even then, definitely not in 25m.

Savage Defense: Increases chance to dodge by 45% for 6 sec. Maximum 3 charges.

This is a tooltip update and nothing more.

Tier T16 Itemization:

Man that’s dead sexy itemization right there. Ohhhhhh baby.

One extra note: we will be buffing the Tank (Indomitable) meta gem in a future build. We’ll be removing the haste scaling from its proc chance, but increasing its base chance by 50%. That should make it activate much more regularly, even for tanks who stack haste, than the previous iteration.

We recognize that a lot of tanks are preferring the DPS meta gem at the moment, and we’d like to correct that, but we’d like to do it by making you like the tank gem, not by nerfing the DPS gem.

So what had basically happened is that DPS LMG had stopped proccing for tanks. Apparently this was just a bug and was fixed (I think in the latest build). However they also “buffed” the Tank LMG. You’ll see why I used quotation marks in a second.

Tank LMG Uptime (Current – 553): ~36.82%.
Tank LMG Uptime (New): ~40.84%.

I even confirmed the 2nd uptime with a combat log. So it’s about a 10% buff at 553 gear for Guardians. That’s pretty dismal, especially since the DPS LMG is going to continue to get exponentially better the more Crit, Haste, and Vengeance we have.
 

Proving Grounds Update

I did some more Proving Grounds testing last week as well. In my first try I managed to get to Wave 36 on endless before I royally fucked up on the large Mantid wave and the healer promptly died. Haven’t gone back since I would have to re-clear the first 35 waves and that’s just annoying. Have any of you done the Proving Grounds on the PTR? How far did you get? What did you think?
 

25m Guardians

In a strange twist I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Slootbag a lot recently, and one of the things he brought up was Guardians in 25m Heroic content. Apparently he’s been getting a lot of notes from guilds saying they’re plain avoiding bringing a Guardian to their 25m raids. This is strange to me since I haven’t heard anything since the start of ToT.

Now, I know this isn’t a problem in 10m. So what I’m trying to figure out is:

  1. Were you a Guardian in a 25m raid group? Were you asked/told to reroll?
  2. If you still play a Guardian in 25m, do you feel like you have EH issues? Do you feel like the Stamina buff will bandaid them enough until they can be addressed in the next expansion?

It’s much too late in the patch cycle to do a wholesale AM overhaul, but it would help me to know what you 25m Guardians think since I exclusively play 10m.

That’s all for this week, I look forward to your comments!

Monday Roundup – July 16th, 2013

Hello Guardians!

I was going to do this yesterday, but we got a new build on Monday afternoon which unlocked Proving Grounds. Since this is a pretty neat piece of content that I personally (and I know many of you) were excited for, I wanted to wait until I had a chance to play it. So here we are!
 

Proc Change

A change to the “tank” cloak was datamined, and also confirmed by GC in a tweet.

@IS_Kibu No, you’ll have to be a legit tank to benefit from the tank proc.

I mean we knew that was coming, but it’s nice to have official confirmation on it. It also shows up in the datamined tooltip as well.
 

Stamina Buff

So you know how I hint about things, and tell you to be patient? Yeah…..

Bear Form now increases armor contribution from cloth and leather items by 120% and Stamina by 40%, up from 20%.

I can’t really give anything away obviously. But this is something that Guardians, particularly in 25H content have been looking for since progression started in ToT. You may remember from our Guardian roundtable that both Fatsteak and Billy were talking about Dark Animus (specifically Explosive Slam), and how they had a very small window for swapping because Guardians don’t have enough Magical EH to survive more than 4 slams.

Hopefully this buff addresses that kind of problem. It also has the side-effect of drastically increasing our Vengeance cap for both types of content, not that hitting it was really a bad thing to begin with.
 

Proving Grounds

This is one of the main things I’ve been waiting for from the 5.4 patch. To start off, let me link you my stream VOD from yesterday. It should help you understand what I’m talking about.

Essentially there’s a monk standing in the middle of a bunch of barricades. This monk is responsible for healing you, and doing the overhwleming majority of the damage to the mobs that spawn. Different kinds of mobs spawn and will attack the monk unless you pick them up. Then you just need to stay alive.

I managed to get up to Wave 15 on the Endless difficulty before a disconnect bug kicked me out. I didn’t feel like starting again, so I stopped at that point. I mention this so that you understand what kind of experience I have with the content thus far.

I really enjoyed doing the Proving Grounds. I think they’re a really important thing that WoW has been missing for a long time, kind of like a “tutorial” if you will. The question is, how effective are they at doing that? Honestly, I think they’re just “okay”. I also feel like the fact that I’ve been tanking for at least 6 years has something to do with it. A lot of the skills they try to teach I already know by heart, so it’s hard for me to tell how effective they are.

What I can tell you, is that I hardly had to put any effort into clearing up to Gold difficulty. I think I used Berserk twice, and SI maybe once. That seems off to me. I don’t want to re-hash something others have already said (and probably better)….instead I’ll link you a very thorough post from the EU forums – http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/7805110837?page=2#28.

That being said, it is a great way to test out different talents. I ended up trying Force of Nature a little bit, and was really disappointed at the results. The treant would spawn, taunt the target, hit it a couple of times and then start bouncing back and forth between the target I spawned it on, and my current target. That’s obviously pretty worthless since it will promptly lose aggro on its target to the monk in the centre.

I also found it really hard to justify taking Dream of Cenarius. I constantly found that I always had a better button to push at any given point. It heals for a ton but finding a spare GCD to do so is almost impossible.

I definitely encourage everyone to get the PTR and try them out for themselves. I have a very specific lens through which I view content, and sometimes it’s hard to place yourself in different viewpoints. This is certainly true of Proving Grounds.

That’s all for now. I’ll definitely catch you all next week :)

Monday Roundup – July 9th, 2013

Hello Guardians!

We did in fact end up getting a new PTR build today, but there was only one Guardian change in it. Nevertheless here’s your roundup!
 

Set Bonus

As I’m sure everyone’s aware at this point, the Guardian 4pc bonus was changed from 10% HP/8 seconds to 25% AP/8 seconds. In the latest build it’s been buffed to 30% AP/8 seconds. Obviously it was woefully underpowered as it was, and I think this buff is just enough for it to be attractive. Granted itemization is going to play a big role as well, but from where we’re sitting now it’s about the same value as it was originally while actually tanking.
 

Talents

Force of Nature
Force of Nature received what could best be defined as a “Quality of Life” change. Melee swings taken by the trees will now translate Vengeance to the Guardian. Monks received a similar change to one of their talents as well. It doesn’t fix the core DPS problems of the talent, but one step at a time right?
 

Trinkets

I’ve been talking to both Buraan and Danish who have been doing raid testing on the PTR. They’ve both been testing the various trinkets available and have been findind some really strange things that probably shouldn’t be happening.

  • The procs on the Agility DPS trinkets are incredibly weak.
  • People are stacking two of the CDR trinkets. It’s unclear if this actually works or not.
  • The Amplification trinket works for non-casters. I don’t see how this could be intended.

We don’t have any public information on the trinkets yet, and I don’t think they’re tuned properly at this time. However there’s definitely a ton of wierdness going on.
 

Legendary Capes

There’s been a lot of talk about the legendary capes recently. It’s important to note that nothing has been publicly confirmed yet, so basically anything anyone says should be taken with a grain of speculation (or more than one). In any case there was some datamining suggesting that you must pick a certain cloak in order to receive the effect designed for your role.

Basically no tank is happy about that at all. I’ve talked to tanks of all specs, and none of them are thrilled about being forced into avoidance itemization to pick up a proc which is actually arguably pretty good. That being said some datamining done over at WoWDB suggests that the Agility tank cloak now has Expertise instead of Dodge. That’s cool, but since the datamines of other items (like the CDR trinkets) were obviously not accurate, I wouldn’t hold your breath quite yet.
 

Challenge Mode Guides

I’ve started producing a bit more video content lately. I actually just finished uploading another Gold Challenge Mode guide earlier today. The video gets a bit grainy at parts since I’m still learning how to work with OBS. That being said I hope the narration and the video itself still gets the point across.

httpv://youtu.be/tn3G2ZjOpNE

That’s it for this week! Let me know if you have any comments below :)

Monday Roundup – July 1st, 2013

Hello Guardians!

Happy Canada Day! It’s a holiday for me, but this isn’t the season to be hibernating so here’s another roundup :)
 

Talents

A couple of talents received updates in the latest PTR guild.

Dream of Cenarius has once again been updated. This time to a 45% chance on Mangle Crit. I’ve tested the latest build and unfortunately the buff is still only 10 seconds long, the Healing Touch is still on the GCD, and there’s still no damage bonus. I hope they get around to adding these soon.

Soul of the Forest got a 15% passive damage bonus to Mangle. This basically makes it a practical alternative to Incarnation now. Incarnation will still be much better for burst, but for sustain SotF is slightly better.
 

Abilities

The only change here is that Innervate has once again been updated. It now has a minimum mana return of 8% of the casting Druid’s mana. For us this will be 4800 mana total. This is a 20% nerf from live…apparently for the sake of Resto. I’m not too happy about this personally, but I don’t know what can really be done about it.
 

Trinkets

The big thing in the most recent PTR build are all of the trinkets that were datamined. These aren’t available for testing yet, nor are there any public details on how they work (proc rates, ICDs etc.). I suspect that info will be forthcoming at some point, however lets take a look at them anyway.

We’ll start with the Agility trinkets:

  • DPS Trinket 2: The first of two Agility based DPS trinkets that are interesting to Guardians. This one also doubles as a pretty hefty RPS trinket as well. Clocking in at ~6.9% Haste on a single item, definitely going to be worth picking up.
  • DPS Trinket 3: This trinket is again primarily a DPS trinket, however it also comes with a hefty ~5% passive Crit, which is a lot for a single slot. Again definitely worth getting for DPS and RPS.

There are a few other Agility DPS trinkets, but they’re pretty worthless in comparison since they feature Mastery or Agility stats and/or procs.

The “tank” trinkets are significanty more interesting:

  • Tank Trinket 1: Well hellloooooo there. This trinket is damned sexy. Wish I could have had this for Tortos :(
  • Tank Trinket 2: This one I don’t like so much. 2.66% of damage done translates into between 3300 and 4000k HPS (assuming DPS of 125-150k). I guess that’s not terrible, but you’ll see that when compared to some of the later trinkets why it feels kinda “meh”.
  • Tank Trinket 3: At first glance your instinct is going to be to go “WTF” to this trinket. I’ll talk about it more below, but it’s definitely more interesting than it appears.
  • Tank Trinket 4: Now this is a very attractive combination trinket. You get a bunch of Stamina, but also a nice Crit on-use boost. This will definitely be a staple trinket for any Guardian.
  • Tank Trinket 5: Another Stamina trinket, this time with a Dodge on-use. Not as attractive as the others, but still definitely a nice survival trinket.
  • Overall a much better job on the “tank” trinkets this tier. Most of these have me genuinely excited, but I wanted to take a close look at #3 real quick. There was some datamining done to get the abilities that it affects, but it seems incomplete. But before we get there, we should take a closer look at the wording. Note that it says “Increases the Cooldown recovery rate” not “Decreases the cooldown”. This means it works like a Haste effect. Look at the difference below:

    • Cooldown Reduction (CDR): 180 * 0.61 = 109.8
    • Recovery Rate: 180 / 1.39 = 129.5

    Very important distinction there. Now, what could it affect? There’s a very short list of abilities that have cooldowns that could possibly be affected by this trinket.

    • Bear Hug
    • Dash
    • Barkskin
    • Berserk
    • Nature’s Grasp
    • Innervate
    • Survival Instincts
    • Might of Ursoc
    • Tranquility
    • Enrage
    • Stampeding Roar

    Of that list, the obvious choices are Barkskin, Berserk, Survival Instincts, Might of Ursoc, Enrage and Stampeding Roar. Obviously you could also make an argument for Tranquility but recent comments from the dev team (such as the Icy Veins interview) suggest that they’re looking to rein in tank raid cooldowns, not give us more of them. In any case, still remains to be seen what will happen here.
     

    Legendary Capes

    The rewards for the (presumably) final step in the legendary quest chain were also datamined. There’s one for Caster, Tank, Physical DPS, and Healer. I’ll link the middle two below:

    We don’t really know when they will be available, although from the fansite interview that came out late last week it appears you should be able to get them early on in the last raid tier. We also know that they are enchants, which should mean you don’t have to pick up that yucky Dodge cloak in order to get the “tank” enchant. Unfortunately we don’t have anything more than that right now, but I assume more information will be forthcoming.

    That’s it for this week! Let me know if you have any comments below :)

    Hello Guardians!

    There’s been one PTR build and a set of patch notes issued since the last roundup. A bunch of those are PvP changes, so we’re just going to skip over those and just cover those changes which affect Guardians.
     

    Set Bonuses

    There’s been a change to our 4pc bonus. Instead of being 10% of our FP, it’s now 25% of our AP. This is about a 30% nerf assuming average Vengeance levels for content and gear. I understand why the change was made, since it would be ridiculous when not actually tanking otherwise. If it was buffed to around 35% AP the effect would be right where it needs to be. They aren’t tuned yet, so I expect it will be changed sometime soon.
     

    Talents

    Only one talent received any changes in the latest build.

    Dream of Cenarius has been updated to a 30% chance on Mangle Crit. It’s probably around where it needs to be in terms of healing, but the there’s still the DPS problem. I’ve been mulling this over and I think it would be better if the Healing Touch was off of the GCD and we got a small DPS boost from expending the charge. Otherwise we’d have to have somewhere around +100% damage to an ability (or 2x +50%). Not quite there yet but getting better.
     

    Abilities

    There’s been one pretty significant change in this area. Growl now grants you +200% Threat for 3 seconds when used. This pretty much solves one of the primary complaints since launch – how to hold threat from another tank with full Vengeance when you only start with half.

    Not much to write home about this time, but it’s still an ongoing process so stay tuned ;)