Hello Guardians!

I wanted to take a few minutes and do a quick review of MSV 10man. A lot of you will probably know this stuff already, but whether you are just starting MSV or you’re stuck on a particular boss, you should find this useful. You’ll notice that I covered a lot of this content on the Team Waffle Podcast yesteday, but some of it should be new.

Please note that if I don’t specifically mention a talent, glyph, etc. then you should assume that usage of such things is up to your discretion based on group/personal preference/full moon.
 

Stone Guardians

The Rundown:

  • Trash: Make sure you (or your other tank) pulls the big dog out of the group so you can actually kill the trash. Don’t pull the two big patrolling dogs together.
  • Talents: FS, Incarnation, NV.
  • Glyphs: Maul. Stampeding Roar can be useful as well.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • If you start off by tanking 2 dogs, remember to pre-pot (Virmen’s Bite) and use Berserk on the pull for maximum threat and burst Rage.
  • Decide between you and your co-tank who will be calling swaps. Remember you want to swap the dog that is currently petrifying, because that is how you have to do it on heroic.
  • Don’t bother using Savage Defense at all. Use Frenzied Regeneration to heal yourself when you get down to around 50-60%.
  • You likely won’t have any excess Rage, but if you do dump it into Maul when tanking more than 1 dog for the extra cleave damage.
  • I found it helpful to have taunt macros for switching dogs. You may or may not feel the same way.

 

Feng

The Rundown:

  • Trash: Nothing special. Feel free to AoE tank it.
  • Talents: FS, Incarnation, NV.
  • Glyphs: Stampeding Roar.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • Use Savage Defense when tanking, Maul when not.
  • I found Shroud of Reversal really hard to use, especially with a DK co-tank when they don’t take damage from Lightning Fist. Probably easier for everyone if you just take Nullification Barrier.
  • There’s no burn phase or DPS buff, so feel free to use Incarnation / NV at the start of the fight.
  • Since Nullificaiton Barrier is a channel, you cannot attack while using it without cancelling the spell. So don’t do that.
  • Use Stampeding Roar to help your raid run from Epicenter and into Arcane Velocity if necessary.
  • You can use Tranquility during Epicenter or Arcane Velocity to help your healers out. Switch in a caster weapon for extra healzzz.

 

Gara’jal

The Rundown:

  • Trash: Trolls! Don’t stand in bombs.
  • Talents: FS, Incarnation, NV/HotW.
  • Glyphs: Anything you want.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • Pop your cooldown(s) at the start of the fight. If you go with Heart of the Wild you can get a full duration use off at the start of the fight.
  • Keep Savage Defense up as much as possible while tanking.
  • The Severer of Souls dies stupid easy, so don’t be afraid to hit a couple other spirits while you’re in the spirit realm.
  • Make sure you have Incarnation available for the burn phase since it’s incredibly important to keep SD up as much as possible.

 

Spirit Kings

The Rundown:

  • Trash: Make sure your raid stacks for the lizards.
  • Talents: FS, Incarnation, NV.
  • Glyphs: Anything you want.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • Pop your cooldown(s) at the start of the fight. Don’t bother using Savage Defense for Qiang since you will be getting AoE heals anyway. Just dump all of your Rage into Maul.
  • DO NOT EVER USE THRASH DURING MADDENING SHOUT.
  • As a Guardian you don’t care about Cowardice. Just keep attacking the boss.
  • Make liberal use of Skull Bash.
  • Use Savage Defense for Meng, Subetai, and Zian.

 

Elegon

The Rundown:

  • Trash: You can wipe the raid to the trash if you don’t tank it properly. Face the guys that throw stone slabs away from the raid so they don’t get smushed. You can powershift the debuff if necessary. Kite the Wardens by letting them punt you away, and then running until their buff falls off. Turn around, repeat until dead.
  • Talents: WC, Typhoon, Incarnation, UV, NV.
  • Glyphs: Stampeding Roar. Survival Instincts can be useful as well.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • Use Barkskin and/or Survival Instincts during a Total Annihilation when you’re at high stacks.
  • Make damn sure you reset your stacks when dragging the Guardian outside the ring.
  • Try and land a Thrash on everything during Draw Power.
  • Wild Charge back to the boss after your spark is dead for maximum uptime/dps.
  • Use Savage Defense when tanking the boss, but use Frenzied Regeneration to recover from a Breath/TA.
  • Spam FR during Draw Power so you don’t have to drop stacks.
  • Get aggro on the Sparks but don’t let them hit you. Use Typhoon / UV to keep them at a distance.
  • Use Tranquility as soon as you can in Phase 3.
  • Make sure you have NV, Incarnation, Potion, and Trinkets available for the burn. There’s no reason to reset your stacks.

 

Will

The Rundown:

  • Trash: You can wipe the raid to the trash if you don’t tank it properly. Face the guys that throw stone slabs away from the raid so they don’t get smushed.
  • Talents: FS, Incarnation, NV.
  • Glyphs: Stampeding Roar. Survival Instincts can be useful as well.
  • Gear: Consistent RPS (Hit/Exp > Crit > Haste).

Encounter Notes:

  • It might be tempting to try and help your raid out with Typhoon and UV. Don’t. You’ll just end up hurting or killing yourself.
  • Dancing is incredibly easy as long as you have Feline Swiftness. Don’t over-run any of them and don’t be afraid to take a second to make sure you’re travelling the right way.
  • Keep Savage Defense up 100% of the time when the boss is meleeing you.
  • Save cooldowns for Titan Gas. Alternate Incarnation and Berserk on Titan Gas phases.
  • Make sure you bind the “extra action button” to something or else you’ll miss Opportunistic Strike every time.
  • If you get caught in a stomp, use Stampeding Roar to give yourself enough speed to not get caught in a slash right afterwards.
  • Get aggro on the Sparks but don’t let them hit you. Use Typhoon / UV to keep them at a distance.
  • Make sure you zoom your camera out pretty far so you can see the boss during DDR phases.

 
What about you? Do you have any tips to share?

Introduction

I know it’s not Friday. I had planned initially to write this post on Friday, but then I went out and got drunk with some co-workers. Then I planned to write this yesterday, but I spent the whole day watching MLG Dallas. Now it’s Sunday night.

That’s what I get for being such a big e-sports fan I guess.

In any case what I wanted to do was take a look at how Guardians stack up against other tanks in terms of DPS in 10m normal MSV. Tank DPS is incredibly important in 10 mans on fights with DPS checks, so making sure Guardians are competitive with other classes in this regard is very important. Unfortunately there a number of things that can affect tank DPS which aren’t really under the player’s control:

  • Vengeance: Since Vengeance is gained via unmitigated damage, the encounter itself will overwhelmingly dictate how much damage you do.
  • Encounter Strategy: Things like deciding who gets Shroud of Reversal greatly influence the damage done.
  • Encounter RNG: Randomness in the encounter.
  • Gear: The better your gear gets, the more you can ignore your AM buttons in favour of extra damage.

However all of these things should in theory be negated by the sample size. It’s highly unlikely that no Guardians would be given Shroud of Reversal on Feng for example. So how does one achieve this comparison? By using a site called Raidbots. Raidbots is a tool that was written to aggregate World of Logs data into something that could be used for trend analysis. Like with any tool, you need to make sure you use it correctly in order to get accurate data. For reference these are the settings I used:

  • Data Set: All Parses
  • Timespan: 1 Month (I would have like to make it smaller, but this is the shortest it goes)
  • Sample Period: 1 Week (This is important)
  • Measure: Median

With regards to the sample period, I only looked a data that did not include any parses from before October 20th. If you follow patch notes at all, you’ll remember that Vengeance was hotfixed to prevent abuse of spike damage from boss abilities on October 19th. Since this was artificially inflating Tank DPS, it’s important to completely ignore any parses from that period.

But enough of the tehcnical nonsense.

The Stone Guards

Raidbots – 10m Normal Stone Guard

This may look bad at first glance, but the difference isn’t that significant. That being said, Guardians don’t have great cleave damage. The only ability that’s in a 2-target rotation that actually hits more than one target is Thrash. While Thrash actually does some pretty decent damage, it doesn’t compare with what Brewmasters or Death Knights can do. It is interesting that Warriors are so low though.

Feng the Accursed

Raidbots – 10m Normal Feng

We can clearly see here that Guardians are much closer to the top two (Brewmasters and Blood DKs again). So it’s clear Guardian’s single target DPS is pretty much in the right ballpark – or at least within an acceptable variance given the variables at hand.

Gara’jal the Spiritbinder

Raidbots – 10m Normal Gara’Jal

Again Guardians turn out to be pretty much smack in the middle, vithin variance. Monks are really high for some reason that completely escapes me. Then again I don’t follow Monks so it’s entirely possible there’s a completely valid reason for this.

Spirit Kings

Raidbots – 10m Normal Spirit Kings

We’re beginning to see a trend here. Guardians are definitely very much competitive with the other tank classes, although for some reason Monks are still way high.

Elegon

Raidbots – 10m Normal Elegon

Blood DKs move up a bit compared to Guardians on Elegon. This could be of their superior ability to handle the incoming damage as their debuff increases (ergo they stay in for longer). In any case, the margin is still not big enough to make or break the encounter assuming correct play. The trend of shield tanks being on the bottom also appears to continue.

Will of the Emperor

Raidbots – 10m Normal Will

Will is easily the best encounter to evaluate tank DPS. Both tanks have essentially identical mobs attacking them for identical amounts of time. This means that assuming proper execution all DPS should be extremely close. And, it is. Monks again are significantly higher.

Conclusions

After looking at the data after the Vengeance hotfixes it’s pretty clear that most tanks are mostly within an acceptable variance for DPS. Shield Tanks seem to be a bit low on swap or 1 tank fights, but on encounters where both tanks are exactly equal everyone within a very small range.

Throughout the analysis above I was noting that Brewmaster’s are consistently trending higher than other tanks – and then I realized a possible cause. World of Logs treats Stagger damage (Brewmaster’s primary mitigation mechanic), as damage the Monk actually deals and therefore counts it towards their DPS. I emailed the author of Raidbots, and they only receive the total damage done so it isn’t possible to strip out Stagger damage. If WoL eventually removes it then the numbers will make more sense.

Our only real problem is when we have to damage two targets at the same time. However that’s such a rare encounter mechanic that I’m not going to raise a fuss about it unless it becomes a major issue in the future.

What about you? Are you seeing different things? Let me know!

Happy Halloween Guardians!

Welcome to yet another installment of 25 Man WENSdays here at IncBear. This week we will be talking about our level 90 talents. For all intents and purposes I will be totally ignoring DoC, as it honestly has no practical benefit for us, and probably will not unless they allow it to affect Frenzied Regeneration heals. So when we cross out DoC, we are left with the difficult choice of HotW vs. NV.

General Information

HotW and NV are two very fundamentally different CDs and are optimal in very different situations. Heart of the Wild allows you to assume another combat role (healing, melee dpsing, or range dpsing) for 45 seconds out of every 6 minutes. It also gives you a passive 6% Stamina, Intellect, and Agility, as well as granting you the ability to cast Rejuvenation in any shapeshift form.. Nature’s Vigil, on the other hand, is a flat dps/healing bonus (20%) that also converts healing (but not FR healing) into damage and damage into healing at a rate of 20%. 30 second duration on a 3 minute CD.

Right away you should be able to tell that HotW is strongest when you can take advantage of the entire 45 second duration at least once (hopefully twice) throughout a fight. This is (almost always) true. HotW can be very powerful if you think of it as a small healing or dps CD in a time where otherwise you would just be attacking away with no vengeance.

Nature’s Vigil is very strong on farm fights, for the simple fact that you don’t need the extra stamina, and a dps CD is never a bad thing to make the fight go faster. NV also shines in encounter specific periods of high damage output/input.

Heart of the Wild Details/Subtleties/Tips

  • If you are using HotW as a healing CD, ALWAYS pair it with a Tranquility (and a Barkskin for no casting interruption).
  • In that same vein, when using as a healing CD (or range dps) always pair with a weapon swap to your best caster weapon.
  • If healing the raid, stay in bear form and use Rejuv on lower health targets. If healing the tank, then keep Rejuv on them and spam Healing Touch.
  • If using HotW as a dps CD, then cat dps tends to be a bit better than Wrath-spam, but only if you can pair it with Berserk (make sure to cast Berserk after you shift to cat form). If you cannot pair them, then go for a weapon swap and Wrath-spam.
  • For burst AOE dps, a weapon swap + Hurricane is obnoxiously powerful.
  • HotW can also be a semi-CD in the form of maintaining a Rejuv/spamming Rejuv on yourself while tanking. Not good in every situation, but very powerful in some.

Heart of the Wild Pros

  • 6% stamina and agility give a hefty chunk of EH and mitigation.
  • Powerful raid CD if used correctly in the encounter.
  • Much more flexibility in terms of application.

Heart of the WIld Cons

  • Requires a significant amount of tanking downtime to fully utilize (very encounter specific).
  • Requires a caster weapon to fully utilize.
  • Only a dps increase on certain fights.
  • Long CD and long duration makes for somewhat awkward usage.

Nature’s Vigil Details/Subtleties/Tips

  • Healing created by NV is smart healing, that means it rarely overheals and will usually be on yourself.
  • It cannot proc off of itself (the damage caused by healing done doesn’t proc more damage).
  • The 20% healing increase does affect FR, but it does not create extra damage.
  • Perfect time to use this is when you are both doing and taking a lot of damage at the same time. Fortunately, due to vengeance this happens a lot.
  • Pairing with a rage-gen CD like Berserk/Incarnation is very very powerful.

Nature’s Vigil Pros

  • Higher uptime with a shorter CD leads to more uses and more efficient usages over the course of a fight.
  • Much more reliable personal CD.
  • DPS increase if correctly timed with encounter mechanics/other abilities.
  • No need for a caster weapon.
  • No need for tanking downtime to fully utilize, in fact it works best WHILE tanking.

Nature’s Vigil Cons

  • Loss of EH/mitigation due to loss of passive 6% stats.
  • Your Tranquility is significantly weaker.
  • Less flexibility in terms of reacting to bad situations.

Fight Specifics – Which One Should You Use?

So now that we have all that information out of the way, we can talk about which one is optimal for which encounter. Remember, this is from a 25 man perspective, but some of it still applies to 10 man.

Mogu’shan Vaults

Stone Guard: NV all the way. Especially when tanking two of the Guardians, the combination of Berserk and NV is incredibly potent. Combine that with the fact that you will be using FR the entire fight and you have zero downtime, NV wins every time.

Feng the Accursed: HotW on progression. NV for farm kills. The extra passive stats are really beneficial when working on Feng, and you have lots of downtime during which you can utilize off spec roles. Once you outgear it a bit, go for NV and the extra dps output. If you are doing heroic mode, save NV for AOEing the shadow adds and watch your dps skyrocket. As a side bonus, NV also affects abilities granted by Shroud.

Gara’jal the Spritbinder: HotW wins every time. The name of the game is damage mitigation, so that extra agility is a godsend. Combine that with plenty of downtime and HotW is very strong on this fight. If you are struggling with the enrage on heroic, make sure you won’t be tanking during Bloodlust/Heroism and go nuts with Wrath for some pretty decent damage.

Sprit Kings: NV is best here. Since there is very little tank threatening damage, the extra stats aren’t that amazing. There is also zero tanking downtime, so use NV to help increase your dps and get through those bosses faster.

Elegon: Personally I am a big fan of HotW here, but NV is also super good. If your guild is struggling with Energy Charge damage, then go with NV and use that to help burn down some Charges. If not, then save HotW for AOEing down Cosmic Sparks (gogo Hurricane). No real wrong choice here.

Will of the Emperor: Another one where the choice is very close. NV has the added bonus of affecting Opportunistic Strikes, so it can dramatically increase your dps if timed correctly. However, if you notice that your health is spiking a lot, then HotW might be a better choice for you.

Heart of Fear

Imperial Vizier Zor’lok: I prefer HotW, as you can pair it with a Tranq to help counter a Force and Verve. That being said, NV could definitely be of use to help alleviate the spike damage of Exhale.

Blade Lord Ta’yak: Again I prefer HotW, because the extra stamina helps a bit with the Overwhelming Assaults. Also I found that popping it in the final tornado dodging phase helped because I could RJ the raid while moving and help the healers out a bit.

Garalon: Probably one of the best HotW fights there is. The stamina is great, but since you don’t deal much damage due to low vengeance, and you spend a lot of time out of range of the boss, the ability to spam RJ yourself and your co-tank/the raid is invaluable.

Wind Lord Mel’jarak: Actually one of the better NV fights. Use it once when tanking the big AOE pile at the beginning of the fight for massive dps and healing, and once again when Wind Lord is all buffed up at the end and taking/dealing more damage.

Amber Shaper Un’sok: Either ability is pretty strong here. NV is pretty nice for the final burn when he is taking a large amount of increased damage. But HotW is really nice for the extra passive stats. Another personal choice boss.

Grand Empress Shek’zeer: I haven’t actually seen this boss yet, so my gut instantly tells me that HotW is the better choice, and there is a tank swap you have time to utilize a quick HotW+Tranq to stabilize the raid, but NV could also have its uses to make the burn phase go faster and to burn down the P2 adds a little quicker. Probably another toss up fight.

Hello Guardians!

Welcome to the Monday Round-Up! We’ve had one pretty big thing drop on the PTR, plus a couple of smaller changes here and there. So what has happened in the past week?

Tooth and Claw!

A new ability appeared on the PTR in the last build called Tooth and Claw. Every auto attack has a 40% chance to grant a 10 second buff to the Guardian. This buff causes your next Maul to debuff the main target (extra target via glyph is unaffected), causing them to deal X less damage on their next autoattack where X = 0.4(MAX(2.5(AP – (2xAgility)), 2.5(Stamina))). More details on exactly how this functions are included in the links below:

TiB: Empowered Maul
Official PTR Forums: Tooth and Claw Feedback Thread

Thrash Nerf/Buff?

Another change datamined by MMO-Champion was a tooltip update of Thrash. The thread claims it’s a nerf, but it’s actually a buff to the base damage of Thrash. The AP coefficients have also finally been updated to match what is currently on live servers.

TiB an Official Resource!

On Wednesday of last week Zarhym posted a list of fansites and resources in a sticky on the offical General Discussion forums. I looked at it, and noticed that he had included a Priest site – How To Priest – in the list. So I tweeted him:

And the very next day, TiB was added to the list. This is obviously thanks in no small part to all of our fans and the theorycrafters upon which this site was built. <3<3<3

PS. I’ll be getting drunk with Zarhym next year at Blizzcon.

Hello Guardians!

I had originally meant to post this last night to replace the regular 10m content, but unfortunately I was stupid and forgot to fully download the PTR client :( – in any case, here’s everything you need to know about the new ability Guardians are gaining in 5.1: Empowered Maul

For reference I’ve included links to the tests performed below:

Control Test
Haste Test
Hit Test
Combat Test
Absorb Test

Proc Rate / ICD

In the brief testing I did last night, it didn’t feel like it had a PPM restriction or an ICD. However the real way to figure this out is with actual combat logs. Our “control” test was done at 0% Haste (2.5s Attack Speed) vs a lvl 60 target dummy, to remove any possibility of missing the target. Our 2nd test was done with as much Haste Rating as I could find with a premade. This got me to 18.39% Haste (2.11s Attack Speed). Both tests were conducted over a period of about 15 minutes and 15 seconds, give or take.

Control Results

The control test resulted in 369 melee attacks, generating 152 Empowered Maul procs. Simple math gives us a proc rate of ~0.412, which is basically the stated rate of 40%. The appropriate combat log information from the control test is included below.


Haste Test Results

The haste test resulted in 431 melee attacks, generating 178 Empowered Maul procs. Again with simple math we see the proc rate has not changed from the control test of ~0.412. If this ability had a PPM limit of any kind, we would expect that the number of procs would be unaffected by Haste. Clearly this is not the case. Combat log exerpts included below.


ICD

To check if there is an ICD – which seems fairly unlikely from the Haste test results – all we need to do is pull up WoL’s Expression Editor. By using the simple query sourcename=”Ariellee” and spell=”Tooth and Claw” we limit the results to only the procs we are interested in. Right on the front page we see that it can proc as fast as the melee attack speed I was able to get. Now it is possible there is an ICD of a lower value than the 2.11 attack speed I was able to achieve, but I think that’s unlikely.

Hit Test

The next test is to see what effect having to hit your target has on this new proc. To do so I took a character with 0% Hit and 0% Expertise, and let them smack a boss dummy. This resulted in a total of 282 attacks landing on the target, while 87 did not. Now if you are required to land a melee attack, we would expect that the number procs would go down from the control test. And they do. I ended up with a total of 113 procs for this test. Comparing this to the number of attacks that landed we find that the proc rate is essentially exactly 40%. We can conclude from this that you must hit your target with an auto attack (it can be blocked or be a glancing blow) in order to proc an Empowered Maul.


Glyph

It’s fairly easy to find out if it works with the glyph. Simply add the glyph, stand next to two targets, and see what happens. Unfortunately WoL is mean and won’t upload logs that are “too short”. However I’ve included a snippet of the appropriate log to show that the glyph does not allow you to debuff more than 1 target with 1 Maul.

Combat

The only remaining test is actual combat conditions. When is the damage reduced? How does it work with Savage Defense? To test this I took my level 90 premade out to fight a random neutral crane. The very first thing we see is that this acts like an absorption effect. If this was intended to reduce unmitigated damage, I would’ve taken some damage no matter how much the auto attack was reduced. However since the auto attack is reduced to 0, we know for a fact that it is calculated after standard mitigation like Armor and percentage damage reduction cooldowns.

But what happens if you dodge the next auto attack? The debuff stays on the target. As you can see in the combat log below, the crane is afflicted with Tooth and Claw right before I dodge its next autoattack. However the debuff does not fade, and it instead affects the next autoattack that hits me. This makes Empowered Maul incredibly powerful with Savage Defense.

Update – Absorb Test

Wens was able to download the PTR and help me out with testing the absorbs from Tooth and Claw. It turns out that the absorb stacks (although I don’t have a combat log of that) from multiple applications. However what I do have is a combat log to show that applications from one person will reduce the damage taken by another. I’ve included an excerpt of the combat log below.

As you can see the Tooth and Claw that I applied to the mob reduced the melee damage that Wens took. He died shortly thereafter (because he fails at dancing). But this is definitely one of the things I was worried about with regards to this ability. I have a feeling this will get fixed in short order because it’s ridiculously overpowered. So it stacking the absorption amount (for obvious reasons).

Conclusions

  • This is certainly a really neat way of making Maul more attractive than pooling Rage. It’s obviously not as powerful as either Frenzied Regeneration or Savage Defense, nor should it be. However it does become a better option than simply sitting on your butt with a full Rage bar waiting to take damage.
  • The value of Haste as a stat will increase dramatically with this change.
  • The desire to be Hit and Expertise capped is further reinforced.
  • This cannot affect damage taken by others. Otherwise we end up with exactly the same situation as Bearcat – something only we can do when not tanking. Easiest fix to this is to drop the floor off of it, and have it only be affected by Vengeance.