• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Raiding

Lazy Bear is Lazy

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

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

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

Push Buttons, Victory?

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

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

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

Enter Pulverize

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

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

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

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

I’m not really seeing a downside here.

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

Part Deux

Hello Guardians!

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

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

Assumptions of Play

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

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

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

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

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

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

Results

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

nekkid_2

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

500stats_2

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

1000stats_2

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

2000haste_2

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

Conclusions

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

Hello Guardians!

My guild has finally completed our relatively relaxed transition from a 10 man guild to a 25 man guild in preparation for Warlords of Draenor’s 20 man Mythic raiding.  Which means we now have a roster of slightly more than 25 people and I have now done all fights on 10 and 25 man on heroic as a guardian, and actually re-progressed some of the later fights in the instance as 25 man.  Thus I thought this would be a good time to discuss some of the changes that I faced as a tank and as a guardian as a result of moving between raid sizes.  Even if you aren’t going to be going to 25 man any time soon, or even if you are waiting for warlords then going to 20 man, I hope you find some of this useful.

Are there any gearing differences?

Well, yes and no.  If you are changing to 25 man at this point in SoO, you are probably largely overgeared for most of the encounters, even on 25 man, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about gearing differently than you would in a 10 man.  If you are worried however and feel like you aren’t so UBER geared, I would suggest putting on a stamina trinket like the Malkorok trinket until you feel more comfortable.

I personally just ran with the tanking cloak for the whole of the first raid along with the tanking metagem, which was partly because I was also having to deal with organizing 25 people instead of 10 and several of them hadn’t seen the fights before, not to mention I had to adjust the strategy slightly for 25 man. So for my own peace of mind, I went with an RPS build with tanking legionaries, I don’t actually have heroic Malk trinket, else I may have used that also.   I will say here also that, although a lot of people think that the tank cloak is relatively garbage, when you don’t know how hard stuff will hit, and you are doing something you haven’t done before, it can be really useful.  It allows you to push right to the edge and die, meaning you find your limits much quicker and you don’t cause a wipe to the raid in the process.  I will discuss this more in some future blog posts about ranking and dps.

All in all for gearing, the damage difference from 10 to 25 isn’t so amazingly great and with the gear should you have at this point you probably won’t see much trouble, but do feel free to play a little safer whilst you see it for yourself.

Are there any major differences to the bosses that a tank should be aware of?

Probably the best way to do this is boss by boss, so here goes:

Immerseus

Not really, this fight actually feels significantly easier on 25 man, the only thing to really think about is that because there are 50 stacks on the boss and 25 people (so the same stacks as there are on 10 man) the adds will basically all spawn at once.  This means that you’ll be tanking them all at the same time, instead of bit by bit in 10 man.  They will hit like a truck if you have all of them on your face at the same time, but realistically this shouldn’t cause you problems.   If this boss was tuned harder in general, there may be some things you’d want to optimize, but you should find this so simple as a tank.

Fallen Protectors

Fight is essentially identical to its 10 man version, bosses just have more health, so just go with what you usually do, if you normally get your tank to soak the mark or arrogance however, I’d probably suggest against it here, at least initially.  Besides, you have so many people in your raid, you should have some classes that can soak it with ease.

Norushen

The main thing here is that there are a lot of people in your raid to send down, we did 5 groups of 2 for the dps. Where the tanks just do their thing and healers go whenever as long as the healing is fine.  As a tank, the challenge phase isn’t really any different, there could be a little more damage on you, but if there was, it wasn’t hugely noticeable for me.  The real thing is that there are going to be more orbs more often because you will be sending more dps in, so the tanks job is to get through your trial asap and get out to soak whilst the other tank goes in. I guess you could 3 tank if you really had issues, just to have more orb soakability (ye that’s totally not a word).  I’d be a bit careful taking too many stacks from the boss, but I managed about 10 this week without to much issue (stacking it up on purpose).

Sha of Boring

So as a tank, you swap the same, move the same, do the same prison in the same way, and the boss still hits like a wet noodle.  If you were to say there was any change it is that adds are probably more problematic to get aggro on, as they’ll be all over the place.  Additionally, there are 2 large adds instead of 1, but we usually never tanked them, if you did however, you probably aren’t going to be able to. Don’t forget to soak rifts!!

Galakras

The only thing I found here really was that it is a little harder to make sure you have aggro on all of the down adds when they are active with so many people dpsing different things, and you only have so many taunts.  However, you probably have a hunter or two and maybe some rogues, so ToT and MD if you struggle.  Nothing really scary in this fight, you can still stand in for the skullcrack thing that the 2nd “boss” mob does and survive…your melee may thank you for moving out though so they can keep dpsing.  You will also have a billion stuns/grips/knocks for the adds so if you had issues with those on 10, you won’t (read: shouldn’t).

Iron Juggernat

There is a bit more damage going out, feel free to ask for the many available external cds, sacs/vigilances etc if you need them.  You can still basically spam click 3 mines and not die.  This fight is more about managing more people so there will be some stricter positioning for your ranged, which could mean that you may need help on a mine from time to time.  This is because you would probably have 2 people standing  out at range to get the sawblades, so if they get a mine on them, they’ll be quite far away.  Normally though they’d be classes that could soak the mine if it spawned on them anyway, so just make sure to communicate if you can’t get to it and I’m sure they’ll take it for you.

Dark Shaman

Here, we went with 2 tanks up the side and 1 in the middle part, the nice thing here is that you can have all of your melee dps join the 2 tanks up the side, which means that you will have no melee around you causing problems when the blobs spawn, so that aspect of the fight is easier.   The only thing to watch is around the explosion of the meteor if there are blobs spawning, just pop a minor cd to survive.  With regards to the tanking up the side, it is really not complicated or hard, I haven’t done that part on 10, but in 25 it was so simple I couldn’t really imagine you would have any issues if you have done it before.  You could go with the strategy of having ONLY 2 tanks take haoramm, but just be aware that you will have a lot of melees near the other boss when the blobs are spawning, so make sure to move away so that you don’t kill them.

General Nazgrim

We 2 tanked this on 10 man, but went with 3 for our first few kills on 25 man, and to be perfectly honest, I almost fell asleep.  If you 3 tank, have 2 on the boss near the door to malkorok, and the 3rd tank just stands near the add spawn and tanks all the adds.  If you choose to 2 tank it, it is still doable, you just may need to help tank some of the adds, and keep an eye on the execute timer, but in reality you can still take one to the face as a bear and live if you are at full hp.

Malkorok

There’s not much to this one either, main thing is the adds, there are now 3 which means you can’t just taunt them all (except for when you have incarnation up).  Melees can help you taunt adds in, dks especially with grip.  I tend to try to hit 1 or 2 with thrash or swipe and taunt the extra, which works most of the time. The other thing about this fight is the blood rage phase, which if you are planning on soaking, you’ll need a LOT of cooldowns on you, if we were at a disadvantage compared to other tank classes for this mechanic on 10 man, 25 man is a whole other ballgame.  It is still doable, but you aren’t ideal for it.  Just make good use of your plethora of external cds.

Spoils of Pandaria

Basically no change for you. GL HF  oh and if you thought the brewmaster buff hit hard on 10 man…..ye, I’ll let you figure that out yourself.

Thock

Here we went for a simpler kiting pattern on 25 man (so just up and down instead of in a circle and THEN up and down) it just made things easier for new people to learn.  We still solo tanked it (even though I played tank still) and I just took the bats when they spawned, so that they can be in range of the melee dps, and also provide a backup tank if something went wrong.  You can basically do any thock strat here, so you could actually 1 tank properly, or 2 tank or whatever really. …and you can still sometimes be the only people left alive when the boss dies (yep we 2 manned the last ~20 million or something)

Siegecrafter Blackfuse

This is where things get a little more interesting, that little bit harder that the boss hits can gib you when he gains the haste when the belt is finished.  The shredders have a little more hp, so you need to put slightly more effort into killing them.  We stayed with the same strategy we had for our 10 man kill, with the exception of 1 of the belts, picking mines instead of missiles.  This is something that you will have to figure out for yourself,  whatever works for your guild is best, you can probably get away with the same strategy as your 10 man kill, but it could be advisable to avoid the missiles on 25 man.  Particularly as you should have a lot of add control for the mines.  For the stacks we don’t go for any crazy stacks, (the most I take is 5) I am however working on a strategy where I basically never drop stacks and dps every single add….more on that some other time however.  In short this is a fight where you have to manage your dps cds well to kill the shredders, and manage your defensive cds, both personal and external.  If you have killed this on 10 man though, you won’t have too much of a hard time, just have patience whilst the rest of your raid learns the fight (yeah, I know).

Paragons of the Klaxxi

These bosses hit hard….like proper hard, they did on 10 man but holy crap man. Just ensure that towards the end of the fight you have some defensive cds available.  The main thing here is using the scorpion buff to the best of your ability to help your raid.  Here is the dps meter from our most recent kill, I messed up a little at the end, but you get the idea:

The fight is a bit of a cluserf**k on 25 man as there are people everywhere, additionally, you have to be more particular about who dpses what and when.  As a tank however, just make sure you stay alive, don’t position the bosses badly, and zerg the crap out of the boss in the scorpion (make sure you get externals whilst you are in it).

Garrosh Hellscream

To be perfectly honest, this guy is quite fun on 25 man, he does do a little more damage to you, so be prepared for that, but if you play properly, you can pretty much 1 tank this boss.  The adjustments we made for 25 man were basically positioning related, and also vengeance sharing when you have 3 tanks (if you go for a monk kiting strategy for the adds).   Be careful with thrash around when the mind controls come up.   Other than overarching strategy changes for this boss however, there’s not much different for tanks.  The only thing I can t hink of at the moment is that in p1 the adds which will fixate on people will do a little more damage, so they can be quite dangerous if  you leave them beating on the raid.  This just means it is important to control them well, but you should have been doing this on 10 man also.  Lastly…you’re still the best person to kite the iron star….  /cry

General 25 man things

So apart from gearing and strategy things, there are several aspects to raiding 25 man that felt different to me.

The first of these is that OMG the cooldowns, wow.  There are so many cooldowns available for you to use if you need them, so figure out how to communicate with your raid to let them know when you need them.  Make sure you track them, and definitely don’t be afraid to ask for them.

The second thing I felt was that although even in 10 man, the tank is relatively prominent person in the raid, and it is important that you play perfectly, on 25 man it feels almost doubly important, as there are many more people who rely on you being consistant.  Many more melee to yell if you spin the boss in an odd way, or people to get annoyed when you die.  Just be ready for a little more pressure and take extra care of your surroundings, maybe even modify your UI a little if it helps you. I will probably be redoing my own in the coming weeks and I will post about it when I do.

The third thing was the lag, larger raid means more people, more spells, and a much busier combat log.  We actually have a guy who is having to buy a new graphics card to try to handle 25 man raids.  So be sure to check your graphics settings, and don’t be afraid to turn them down a little.

The last thing is for 25 man, you need a little more patience.  You now have 25 people who can mess up, who can dc or lag out, go afk randomly.  25 people to mess up at mechanics on a boss.  Obviously you want as tight a raid as possible, but whilst your guild gets itself together for the next expansion, you are going to have to deal with sub-par players, or pcs that can’t handle the larger raid until your roster is fully set for WoD.  If you are the officer in your guild, this is your responsibility to make sure that people pull their socks up, and sort their stuff out.  If you’re not, you are just going to have to be patient, and ensure that you aren’t one of the people causing the problems.  Make sure you have looked over the fights on the new raid size, if you want you can watch some of the VoDs from my stream: twitch.tv/buraan, or even hop on live and feel free to ask questions.

Ok, one last last last thing, voice comms on 25 man can be a lot busier than your 10man, so make sure you communicate in the most efficient way possible when asking for cooldowns or coordinating with your co-tank, so that the raid leader can get the most clear air time possible.

Finally

This transition has been quite long and arduous for us.  Right when you would normally be able to chill and relax after progression we had to keep right at it, even when guild members move on to their new homes for Warlords of Draenor and we have to replace them.  To be perfectly honest, we considered going 25 man back in Throne of Thunder because of warforged loot, but the task seemed way too daunting to really be feasible.  Having been forced into transitioning was quite tough at first, but I think in all, it hasn’t been maybe as bad as it could have been.  I’m sure there are guilds either better or worse off than us.  So to those of you still going through the transition, and those of you who haven’t even started yet, best of luck in your raiding and preparation for Warlords of Draenor and I hope you find a great home for the next expansion, so we can all enjoy face mauling together.

Until the next time:

Buraan

 

Hello Bear Fronds!

There’s not much to talk about this week, but I did want to mention a couple things.
 

Dev Watercooler Part 2

There was a second part in the latest Watercooler series, this time focusing more strictly on healing. There isn’t anything that specifically relates to tanking here, but you can make some implications, even for Guardians specifcally. With the shift more towards better decision making with healing it’s far, far, more likely that we’ll see tanks being prized for their ability to stay alive on their own. That’s a change I’m fine with really, since it’s more “tanky” and seems in line with the previously announced change of de-coupling Vengeance from offense.

For Guardians specifically this blog post all but confirms that we’ll be seeing changes to Ysera’s Gift, Nature’s Vigil, and possibly Tranquility. Although it’s not really clear whether or not we’ll even still have Tranquility in Warlords. Only time will tell.

If you’re interested Ashunera wrote up a very good analysis of the changes, which you can read here. Jasyla also wrote something slightly more snarky which I enjoyed.
 

Realm Maintenance

Rho from Realm Maintenance interviewed me for this week’s episode of Realm Maintenance. It was a lot of fun to be on a show that wasn’t my own, and I wish I got to do it more. Go check it out, as he puts a lot of work into this show and it really pays off.
 

Final Boss

In case you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that Buraan and I will be on Final Boss this Sunday! I’m really excited since both Bay and Ana are friends of mine, and I’ve been a fan of their show since day 1. Don’t worry, Buraan and I are already planning some shenanigans. :D

You should come watch! 1pm PST (4pm EST) this Sunday the 16th of March over at their twitch stream.

Hello Bears!

We haven’t had one of these in a while since there hasn’t really been anything to talk about. But on Thursday Celestalon posted a developer blog and followed it up with a bunch of tweets. I’ll cover whatever pieces of the Guardians might care about, but it isn’t much.
 

Dev Watercooler

There really isn’t much here honestly. We already knew that the stat-squish was coming, even though I haven’t mentioned it specifically. It doesn’t really impact any specific class overall, it’s just a change for the overall improvement of the game.

However all of the base damage modifiers are being removed, of which we have a ton. Our abilities don’t scale as well as other classes’ – most notably Monks and Warriors – but have higher base damage. Ideally this won’t be a problem in Warlords, and the damage of all tanks will scale at somewhat the same rate.

The next part of the watercooler talked about Racials. Since Worgen racials remain unchanged (1% Crit, Darkflight), the other three Druid races become the following:

  • Night Elf: 1% Crit during the day, 1% Haste at night. Quickness now also grants 2% movement speed.
  • Tauren: 2% Critical Damage/Healing, Stamina bonus that scales with level.
  • Troll: Berserking now grants 15% Haste instead of 20%. Has +20% Experience from Beasts instead of damage.

Of these Night Elf and Tauren are the obvious choices for tanking, purely for the extra survivability.

I’m not really worried about the pruning of abilities. Druids in general don’t really have any “extra” abilities that can be removed without causing any problems. Of course there are things like Innervate which should just be outright removed from Guardians, but taking away abilities from the spec that we don’t need is perfectly fine.

The changes to crowd control aren’t really that interesting for Guardians. Heck, Blizzard doesn’t even know what they want to do with tanks in PvP yet.
 

Blue Tweets

That wasn’t even the biggest piece of news either. Most of the interesting stuff was passed on through Twitter after the blogpost went live. I’ve summarized the most interesting and relevant information below.

Might annoy some specs that benefit from one stat but not another (e.g. feral druids benefit from crit, but not haste)

We’re making sure that everyone benefits from them.

Normally things like this doesn’t really interest me. However there could be an interesting implication here. Consider that Feral really doesn’t like Haste other than what it does for Rune. At first glance the only real way to make Haste attractive to Feral is if bleeds were to scale with Haste like other DoT effects do. Now consider Guardians. Haste is basically a negligible DPS increase for us, we only get it for the increase in T&C procs and better Rage generation.

What if our bleeds also scaled with haste? That would be kinda cool.

Wait, the ONLY offensive cooldown will be Hero/BL/etc? Every other one is gone?

No, only *raid-wide* offensive cooldown is Bloodlust. I’m referring to removing Stormlash and Skull Banner.

Well that was kind of a no-brainer. This shouldn’t surprise anybody.

What of the Raid Wide CDs, other than Bloodlust, like devotion aura?

Defensive cooldowns stay. May tweak them of course, but as a concept they stay. Only offensive one will be Bloodlust (etc).

This tells me that their minds aren’t 100% made up on what to do about non-healer raid cooldowns. We know for a fact that something is going to change about them, but it’s not clear exactly what yet. Given how annoying Tranquility is to arrange for Guardians already, it will either become easier to use or get axed entirely from our spellbook. I don’t particuarly care which way they go, but the latter is definitely easier to do.

When are we getting those changed from Haste to Amp? Makes much better sense as raid cooldown

Based on our experiments with the SoO trinkets, we’re holding off on doing Amp and Cleave as stats, at least for now.

Again, surprising nobody.

That’s everything that qualifies as “news” at this point. Everything else has long-since been confirmed, and is just Celery re-answering the same questions over-and-over again. Assuming no new crazy things come out in the next week, my next post should be about simming Heart of the Wild DPS as a Guardian!