There’s only one piece of news that I’m here to talk about today.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Savage Defense: Used to mitigate avoidable damage, primarily melee attacks.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Khaelyn and I had the chance to be on Final Boss a little over a week ago. You can check out the VOD below.
Well, to be perfectly honest there hasn’t been much to talk about that required a blog post. That is to say, there were no announcements of changes or earth-shattering discoveries. Until the initial 6.1 patch notes were posted.
I suppose you could claim the great Thrash nerf was significant, but everyone knew it was coming. I’m extremely surprised it made out of beta tuned the way it was, especially for an ability that had no AoE cap. Anyways, that’s over and done with and now our AoE is actually somewhat sane.
But we’re really here to talk about…
Patch 6.1 Survival Guide
I’ll save the juiciest one for last. The rest are pretty pointless.
Bristling Fur (Guardian) now has a 30-second cooldown (down from 1 minute).
Sigh. This talent just isn’t going to work. Not only does it not affect your gameplay at all (whereas the other two do), but it performs a function that is better suited to (and is already provided by) a glyph. As long as Glyph of Survival Instincts exists, this talent will be 90% (or more – although arbitrary numbers are arbitrary) superfluous. It should really be replaced with a talent that changes Frenzied Regeneration in some manner.
To be fair, it’s entirely possible that new talents weren’t on the table for 6.1. In any case, this will continue to be an (almost) entirely dead talent for the foreseeable future.
Force of Nature’s Treants have been buffed with a 35% increase to their health and spellpower, and an 80% increase to their armor and attack power.
Normally I would completely pan any change to Force of Nature. However there’s an undocumented enhancement to the Guardian version that drastically improves its usability. Instead of taunting your target after losing aggro or its target dies, the tree will now either re-taunt its current target or find something else to attack. This is huge.
It also now taunts casters (so the caster mob will cast into the tree), and actually holds threat vs healers and DPS. It won’t hold off of you if you continue to attack into the same target, but that’s to be expected. It’s definitely now a fully viable talent in those situations where dangerous adds exist. Thogar maybe? Cinderwolves? Challenge Modes and Proving Grounds for sure, but it’ll be interesting to see where someone can otherwise find benefits.
Renewal now instantly heals for 30% of max health (up from 22%).
For Guardians this is an unbelievably meaningless buff. The core problem with this tier of talents is that Cenarion Ward is affected by Resolve. The other two talents aren’t. Until this is no longer the case everyone will just continue to use CW.
Guardian of Elune (Guardian) now also reduces the rage cost of Savage Defense by the Druid’s base dodge chance percentage.
This is the somewhat interesting one. As we talked about back in beta, the core problem with Guardian of Elune is the RPS cost increased as your gear improved, which made it impossible to use. Now that this is no longer the case, there is a definite choice between it and Pulverize. For a generic Mythic boss the TMI difference is in the area of 5%-7%, which is what was expected. It’s also a ~5% DPS increase over Pulverize, so it’s an example of trading defense for offense.
Unless the swing timer is between 2-3 seconds. There are a few of these in Foundry. Let’s take Kromog as an example. On Mythic he essentially melees for ~500k unmit (give or take) every 2 seconds on the active tank, which is avoidable. It’s split between two different abilities sure, but that’s still basically what happens. He also uses special abilities with cast times pretty often, which is free recharge time. So what exactly happens to the difference between regular Savage Defense and GoE once you reach that 2s timer? Well, this (approximately):
This is really the same as the original 1.5s graph. The only differences is that the gap between 1.5s and 2s is much larger, owing to the reduction of melee swings from 4 to 3 for Savage Defense. This reduces the number of average dodges from 1.8 to ~1.716. Not a huge difference when you first look at it. But it’s still a 5% increase to the number of dodges by GoE. This means GoE actually catches up to Pulverize in terms of TMI while providing a DPS increase.
Now lets look at what happens when you bump it up to a 2.5s swing timer. Something you find with Gruul for example.
GoE is actually surpassing Pulverize? What? Madness! It’s worth noting that these sims are both assuming that the only incoming damage is purely physical – and this is a technical limitation of the sim itself. There’s also the assumption that you are actually hitting GoE at points where you will actually dodge both of those melee swings. It’s very obvious that such an assumption requires a swing timer on the part of the player, but as long as you have one that works it’s perfectly valid.
It’s also worth noting that these sims were run using a Multistrike/Mastery build – which is quickly turning out to be the most effective stat cominbation for Mythic raiding. And a very plentiful one.
In any case, all I really wanted to show is that:
GoE is no longer “bad”.
If you’re raiding at the normal or heroic level, you can pick either GoE or Pulverize and be fine.
If you’re at the mythic level, there are ways you can abuse GoE to squeeze out extra DPS if you can manage swing timers properly, without adversely affecting survival. Even further there are some encounters where you can abuse the faster recharge as well.
GoE got a whole lot better for AoE – a general situation where using Pulverize is problematic to begin with (only really currently valid for CMs).
All rings, neck, cloak, and trinket items that can be acquired in Nagrand (A level 98+ zone) or later should now be better suited for the character’s loot specialization. This means tanks should no longer receive items with no bonus Armor and healers should no longer receive items with no Spirit from sources like item tokens, quests, or Personal loot mode in Dungeons and Raids for those item slots.
If I had a nickel…
Before I forget, one quick note about Tankcast. You can now find all of the episodes Here.. We aren’t on iTunes yet (waiting on a cover image), but soon maybe?