Level 100 Talent Comparison

September 30, 2014

Introduction

Hello Guardians!

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.
 

Assumptions

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.
 

Pulverize

We’ll start with the easiest (and by far the best) talent.


Pulverize Pulverize
Sim Results Sim Results

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.
 

Bristling Fur

And then we go all the way to the other end, to – arguably – the most passive talent.


BristlingFur BristlingFur
Sim Results Sim Results

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.
 

Guardian of Elune

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.


BristlingFur BristlingFur
Sim Results Sim Results

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.

GoERPS

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.
 

TLDR

  • 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.

Hello Guardians!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these. Primarily the only changes we’ve had thus far have been Alpha and/or Beta changes. Since they’ve been heavily subject to iteration and change, I didn’t feel that commenting on them would be particularly helpful. Now that we’re ~6 weeks away from the 6.0 pre-patch launch, it’s time to get a little more serious. You can definitely expect these posts to be regular from now on.

Build 18816

Bear Form Stamina bonus reduced to 20%.
Empowered Bear form reduced to an additional 10% Stamina.
Ursa Major now only lasts 25 seconds.

All three of these changes are a direct result of general tank tuning. Celestalon has made the comment last week on twitter.

All tanks. Current plans: Tweak the design of Resolve. Lower tank health. Lower tank mitigation. Lower boss damage.

It’s pretty clear that only the first objective made it into this build (that we know of). So we’ll have to wait and see for the hidden stuff (Resolve, Boss tuning), and the additional changes to tank mitigation.

CeleryTweet1

Basically the changes are fine and you shouldn’t worry about them. As long as bosses are tuned appropriately, it doesn’t matter what our HP is. I’ve included an updated EH graph below, which shows that the relative EH for different stats hasn’t really changed. Item Level is still going to be the primary driving factor – between Stamina and Armor – followed by Multistrike.

EH_Graph

Tooth and Claw now only reduces the damage of the primary victim.

This is just a tooltip correction. In previous incarnations it never included context for Glyph of Maul. So now the tooltip tells you what we already knew it did from day 1.

2t17 now reduces the cost of Maul by 10 Rage while Tooth and Claw is active.

Great change. Instead of offering a refund which could result in wasting Rage accidentally if you Mangle while using Maul and one and/or both Crit, it now just reduces the cost. The net change is 0, but I know it will feel much better to play with.

And that’s it for this build. I think it was done in the middle of the most recent round of tank tuning, so we have some changes out of context. Hopefully the next build will provide us with more information. I know that there are still a lot of “trap talent” problems (mostly thanks to Pulverize), and while there is definitely still time to address them I think we’re running out of runway.
 

How to Make Crit Cool

I put up a thread on the forums recently intending to prompt discussion on how to make Crit a cool and effective stat in Warlords. Currently it’s at the absolute bottom of the pile – similar to how Ferals feel about Haste – and that isn’t great for the spec. So I’d love to hear everyone’s ideas on how to make it an interesting and effective stat!

The most basic (and easiest) method is to rip-off Riposte. But that’s boring and uninteresting. Do you have any neat ideas? Tell us!
 

Sneak Peek

I wanted to let you in on posts for a couple of topics that I’ve been thinking about. The first is Mythic: A Conversion Journey (don’t worry I know I suck at titles). Our guild is going through the steps to convert to a Mythic guild from a 10m right now, and having a decent amount of success. I think it would be valuable to share that information with everyone else, since I’m sure there are others that are either going through the same thing, or are about to.

The second topic that I wanted to talk about – and have wanted for a while now – is Guardians: Outstanding Issues. The problem with a post like that is it requires some data in order to be able to do. If I know that data is going to change soon – like we know right now – then continuing to work on it with the current set of conditions is pointless. I definitely need to wait for the Resolve changes to be public before I can start on it, but hopefully at that point we’ll have another tuning pass done. Then I can really start gathering a lot of useful sim data.

That’s all for now!

10 Years 10 Questions

August 10, 2014

Introduction

So here I am, sitting at Sunnier’s dining room table, writing this blog post. I feel like this epitomizes one of the questions I’ll answer here in a second, but really I just thought it would be a fun thing to do. Plus hopefully I’ve convinced her to do it too (it takes a lot of prodding with that one). Anyway it’s 9pm here (only?!) and I felt like writing.

Plus Dayani did it too, so now I feel kind of obligated. Therefore here’s my version of 10 Years 10 Questions.
 

Why did you start playing Warcraft?

My brother told me in April of 2005 that he had found a new Warcraft game at Wal-Mart. Given that we lived in the boonies at the time (or pretty much anyway) I hadn’t heard a peep about this new game. However we had both played the ever-living-shit out of all of the previous Warcraft games – in fact I used to spend hours playing UMS games in War3 – and loved the lore and the universe the games were built on. So we were both pretty excited and started playing together. He had a Rogue, and I had a (Protection) Warrior.

These days he’s still a melee DPS, and I’m still a tank.
 

What was the first ever character you rolled?

The first character I rolled was a human Warrior on Suramar named Katarn. Bonus points if you get the reference. I levelled him to 60 as Protection (horrible, horrible idea at the time but I didn’t know better). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to start raiding until I started university, but I did do many a 5-man dungeon on my horrible dial-up connection. Rather well I might add.
 

Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

I can’t speak for my brother, but we did want to play together and neither of us really liked any of the orc characters from the previous games. So Alliance it was.
 

What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Singular most memorable moment in the game? This is going to sound silly, but probably when we killed Heroic Garrosh. It was the first time I had successfully cleared a tier while it was current – Dragon Soul doesn’t count – and I did it with some of my very best friends. While you don’t get that feeling every day, I hope to have more, similar moments in the next expansion.
 

What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Inside the game the obvious answer is raiding. The fact that I can connect with a bunch of my friends from across the continent and kill dargins is still so cool to me.

Outside the game there’s another obvious answer: Theorycrafting. I absolutely love it, and I’ve made even more friends through TCing than I otherwise would have if I had just stuck to raiding.
 

Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Not really, no. I mean I like to imagine that Ari hangs out in Stormwind a lot with her friends (Sunnier, Silanah, Thurne, and Lissanna), but there’s no special spot to me as a player.
 

How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

None of them have been continuous, although Ari has by far the longest continuous streak.

  • Arielle: 208 Days, 16 hours.
  • Katarn: 59 Days, 1 hour.
  • Mdnite: 50 Days, 10 hours.

Those are the top 3. Nothing else breaks 25 days. All told it’s probably close to a full year of continuous play.
 

Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Fuck no, are you kidding me? Well, at least not when I’m levelling Ari. On whatever my 2nd character is I usually will though, because by that time I can stop and smell the roses.
 

Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Not a one. I mean sometimes I think I could’ve spent my time more productively, but then I realize that the sheer amount of things that I now have means that I don’t think about it twice.
 

What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I figured the intro would’ve made this really obvious, but I’ve travelled to places that I wouldn’t have otherwise visited. This year alone I went to Colorado, Texas, and Toronto. All places I’ve never been to before. Why?

Because that’s where people that I met in the game live. They’re my friends and I wanted to visit them. So I did. Next year I might go to even more crazy places like New York, or Edmonton. All because of people that I’ve met through this game, and are now friends with.

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.