So now that we've covered all of the boring stuff we can get to the real question: What should you do when you actually go to play your Guardian in MoP?Gear
There will be a separate thread for an actual pre-raid or T14 gear list going up sometime in the near future. However I can talk about the kinds of things you'll be looking for in your gear when levelling or running dungeons.
- Item Level - Armor is by far the most powerful stat for Guardians in Mists of Pandaria. To the level of approxmiately twice whatever the next closest stat is. Since Armor is only influenced by item level, typically the highest level piece of gear that has armor will be your best choice. There are potential differences - say you're hit/exp capped and your higher level piece is hit/exp vs your crit/mastery piec - but those will be dealt with inside a gear list itself.
- Rage Generation - Rage Generation stats are king regardless of the kind of content you're doing. Tanks value consistency above all else, and this definitely applies to Rage generation. While Crit and Haste will both provide more raw RPS, it won't be as consistent as if you cap both Hit and Expertise. For all Guardians I definitely recommend capping both Hit and Expertise and then devote extra points to Crit until you reach the softcap, then Haste.
- Sockets - Gear with sockets wins over anything at an equal item level, as long as it doesn't have Mastery. There's been a change to gems that means secondary stat gems are worth 100% more than primary stats (50% more than Stamina). This means that gemming any secondary stat is going to be superior to gemming Agility. Gemming Stamina for EH is considered a last resort.
The best way to reforge is for consistent RPS:
Max DPS/Consistent RPS: Hit=Exp (to caps) > Crit (to softcap) > Haste > Mastery > Dodge
This setup will work well for any type of content. If you want suggestions for a specific encounter, check out the Raiding and Dungeons
As previously mentioned there's been a pretty significant shift in terms of how gems operate in Mists of Pandaria. Instead of primary and secondary stats both providing the same amount, secondary stats now provide an additional 100% value over primary stats (50% over Stamina) on gems. This means that a gem like Dodge, Mastery, or Crit is suddenly worth more than any kind of Agility gem. That's all well and good, but what does it really mean in terms of what you do?
The first thing to remember is that gems are far more costly and time consuming to replace than simple reforges. So you want to pick something that will last you for the long haul as opposed to an individual fight. That is unless you can afford to switch every encounter somehow.
Here are some general guidelines to follow in terms of gemming:
- As with reforging, gem for consistent RPS.
- If you find you need extra Stamina (pertinent only to Heroic level raiding), consider gemming for Stamina as an absolute last resort.
That being said, here's a quick and dirty list of what you should put in each colour socket:
For your Meta gem there are two options. If you're doing any kind of Heroic progression raiding I definitely recommend going with Indomitable Primal Diamond
. At almost a 50% uptime, this gem is incredible for tanks. However you will definitely want to have a second helm with Capacitive Primal Diamond
for when it's time for funsies, or you need an extra DPS boost.Enchants
Enchanting follows pretty much the same philosophy as gemming with one exception. Always, always, always, always, always get a movement speed boot enchant. Always. There is no excuse for this. In any case, here's your list:Legendary Cloaks
I thought I'd make a note about this here. There are two cloak options Qian-Le, Courage of Niuzao
and Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen
. I generally recommend going for the "tanking" cloak primarily, because making up that missing 1000 Expertise is a huge
pain in the ass. However feel free to pick up the DPS cloak as well. Use the same sort of logic as you would for the Meta gems. Use the tanking cloak for progession, and the DPS cloak for funsies or you need the extra DPS.Professions
I wrote a blogpost about this previously. So instead of rehashing the entire thing I will introduce you to the wonders of copy&paste.
- Blacksmithing: 2 extra gem sockets. This totals to 640 secondary stats (Crit, Dodge, etc.), 320 Agility, or 480 Stamina. Value increases with epic gems.
- Herbalism: Lifeblood gives 2880 Haste Rating for 20 seconds. Lifeblood has a 2 minute cooldown. This averages around 480 Haste Rating - give or take depending on encounter length.
- Skinning: Master of Anatomy grants 480 Critical Strike Rating.
- Leatherworking: The Leatherworking only bracer enhancements grant an additional 330 Agility or 750 Stamina over the existing options.
- Jewelcrafting: The special Jewelcrafter gems grant 320 Primary or Secondary Stats, or 480 Stamina.
- Inscription: The Scriptionist (I made a word!) only shoulder enchant grants 320 Agility or 480 Stamina.
- Enchanting: Ring enchants grant 320 Agility or 480 Stamina.
- Alchemy: Since you will be using Armor + Crit or Mastery Elixirs, you will gain 480 Bonus Armor and 240 Mastery or Crit.
- Engineering: Synapse Springs grant 2940 of your highest primary stat (Agility/Str/Int) for 10 seconds. This averages to 490 - give or take depending on the encounter. Phase Fingers currently grant 20520 Dodge Rating, but this appears to be a typo.
- Mining: Toughness grants 480 Stamina.
Just from looking at the above, you can immediately see that Blacksmithing
is by far the biggest contributor at 640 stats, adding even more when epic gems come out. After that Skinning, Engineering, and Alchemy all look to be so close that there's no real disadvantage to taking one over the other. The rest of the professions kind of lag behind.
So if you're a total min-maxing kind of a player, you will want Blacksmithing. After that you can pick whatever suits your needs the best. For the rest of the Guardians out there, it won't really matter what professions you pick, but I'd stay away from Herbalism.Rotation / Ability Usage
I've written about this before, but I feel now is a good time for a quick recap. So what is the new ability "rotation"?
- Single Target: Mangle > Lacerate > Thrash Maintenance > Faerie Fire. The idea here is that you always press Mangle whenever it is available. The rest of your rotation is devoted to generating as many Mangles as possible, while maintaining your two debuffs - Weakened Blows and Sunder Armor. Since FFF does more damage than a simple impact hit of Thrash, you should use FFF whenever Thrash still has at least 6 seconds left and neither Mangle or Lacerate are available.
- AoE: Mangle > Thrash > Swipe. Pretty simple. The big difference here is that you always press Thrash whenever it is up and Mangle isn't. It actually does more damage with its initial hit than Swipe does, even on a bleeding target. Use Swipe to fill in the gaps.
As for how you spend your Rage once you generated it....
- Savage Defense increases your chance to Dodge by 45% for 6 seconds, costs 60 Rage. Savage Defense has 3 charges, and regenerates them at a rate of 1 charge per 9 seconds. This is your primary source of “Active Mitigation” against bosses.
- Frenzied Regeneration heals you for up to max(2.2*(AP-Agi*2), Sta*2.5) for a cost of 60 Rage. If you do not have 60 rage all available Rage will be consumed and you will be healed for a relative percentage of the maximum amount. Frenzied Regeneration will be your way of handling damage that cannot be Dodged (Magic, Bleeds, etc.).
- Maul deals 110% weapon damage and applies Tooth and Claw to your primary target when it is up. Costs 30 Rage. Despite the fact that there is now a mitigation component, it is still worse than both of your other mitigation oriented options. Use Maul when you are close to or at 100 Rage, Frenzied Regeneration would cause at least 50% overheal, and Savage Defense is not up. For new players I'd recommend ignoring this completely until you are comfortable with Savage Defense and Frenzied Regeneration.
- Tooth and Claw has a 40% chance to proc from an auto-attack that hits a target. When applied the target will be debuffed and will deal max(0.88*(AP-Agi*2), Sta*2.5). This amount stacks with multiple applications, and only expires when an auto-attack by the target hits you. So it works very well with Savage Defense. Applied to the target by using Maul.
Nowadays consumables only really come in three (3) varieties: Food, Elixirs/Flasks, and Potions. In Catalcysm it was pretty simple. GET ALL THE AGILITY - which made it very cheap for progression. Nowadays if you want to get the most out of your Guardian you will need ot invest a sizable amount more $$$.Bearcatting
One of the more obvious casualties Guardians will notice is that our DPS in Cat form has dropped substantially. In fact in any encounter where there is persistent AoE damage (which is most of them in Dragon Soul) you should just stay in Bear Form. During bosses with prolonged tank swaps, feel free to dump excess Rage into Maul when you aren't tanking something. Just make sure you keep yourself alive with Frenzied Regeneration, and you bank 100 Rage when it's your turn to tank.Addons
As some of you may or may not be aware, I recently took some time to redo my UI. I don't really recommend doing this in the middle of a progression raid tier, and it's definitely easiest during an expansion change. There are several different areas that as a Guardian you should focus on. I'll try to cover them individually and let you know what I've chosen for each particular need. Remember that as with any UI mod, the goal is to keep you focused on the action, instead of staring at the periphery of your screen to gather information.
- Boss Timers: This one is kinda self explanitory - and probably everyone knows what it means by now. The point here is to provide information in a better way than what the game does (and Blizzard actually assumes you have one of these by the way). There are different varieties - I think the most common ones are Bigwigs and DBM - and it doesn't really matter which one you pick to be honest. Just pick one.
- Unit Frames: Blizzard took a step in the right direction by allowing you to finally be able to move your character portraits in the default UI. However having a mod to give you that level of control (and so much more) is just better. I personally use Xperl because that's what I've had since ..... Vanilla? But there are tons of different ones. This isn't "required" per se, but will help you a lot.
- Action Bar: Lets be honest, the default Blizzard action bar is shit. You can't move it, it takes up too much room, and they're in random places on the screen. Action Bar mods allow you to fix all of that. I use Bartender, but again there are different ones available.
- Threat Mod: Blizzard doesn't actually have anything that allows you to track numerical threat values on a target. Get something that does that. Trust me. You'll want/need it for tank swaps in MoP. I use Omen, not sure what else there is.
- Nameplate Mod: Again - what seems to be a common theme here - the Blizzard nameplates are shit. I only recently installed Tidyplates, and oh-my-god-it's-the-most-amazing-thing-ever. I'm not even kidding. Get it, or another nameplate mod with similar functionality. You won't regret it.
- Cooldown Tracker / Auras: Again, the whole point is to keep your eyes on what you are doing, not staring at your action bars to figure out when you can use your abilities. The point of Auras or Cooldown Timers is to make that information readily available to you - so you don't have to go searching for it. Personally I use a combination of Droodfocus (essentially a collection of Auras tailored to Guardians and Ferals), and Forte Xorcist (I like their cooldown bar). However it's important to remember that the functionality of these bundled addons can be replicated in something like WeakAuras, which I know is also very popular. Regardless of what solution you go with, you should definitely have one.
- Random Stuff: There are other little things I have to make other parts of the game easier to manage. I have a bag mod (Bagnon), a chat mod (Prat), a reforge calculator (ReforgeLite), and maps (Atlas). Obviously this section is pretty much pick and choose what you think would be cool.
For reference there is an existing thread where other users from the forums have been posting their WeakAuras scripts. If you have some to share, or are looking for one to solve your problem(s) go check out this thread - http://theincbear.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=739
.Glossary / Acronyms
AM: Active mitigation
AMR: Ask Mr Robot
CD = cooldown
CDR = cooldown reducing trinket from SOO
CW: Cenarion Ward
DB: Displacer Beast
DoC: Dream of Cenarius
DPS: Damage per Second
DR: Diminishing Returns
DTPS: Damage Taken per Second
EH: Effective Health
FF: Faerie Fire
FoN: Force of Nature
FR: Frenzied Regeneration
FS: Faerie Swarm
GS: Guardian Spirit
HoF: Heart of Fear
HoP/BoP: Hand of Protection aka bubble
HoSac/Sac: Hand of Sacrifice
HotW: Heart of the Wild
HT: Healing Touch
IB: Ironbark (perhaps/Ice Block)
Inc = Incarnation (talent)
LMG: Legendary Meta Gem
LoTP: Leader of the Pack
LoS: Line of sight
MMO: MMO-Champion (normally) or Massively Multiplayer Online (a genre of games i.e. WoW)
MoTW: Mark of the Wild
MoU: Might of Ursoc
MSV: Mogu'shan Vaults
NS: Nature's Swiftness
NV: Nature's Vigil
PPM/RPPM: Procs per minute/Real procs per minute
PM: Passive Mitigation ~ rare
PS: Pain Suppression
RNG: Random Number Generator (or normally short hand for meaning just "Random")
RoRo, Rune, RoR: Rune of Reorigination
RPS: Rage per Second
SB: Skull Bash
SD: Savage Defense
SI: Survival Instincts
SoO: Siege of Orgrimmar
SotF: Soul of the Forest
SR, Roar: Stampeding Roar
TDR: Total Damage Reduced
TiB: the Inconspicuous Bear - your beloved guardian forum and blog
TMI: Theck Meloree Index
TnC, TC, T+C: Tooth and claw
TOES: Terrace of Endless Spring
ToT: Throne of Thunder
TPS: Threat per Second
TTL: Time to live
UV: Ursol's Vortex
WoL: World of Logs
YG: Ysera's Gift