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.

Greetings Bears!

Welcome to the 2nd installment of 25 Man WENSdays! Today I will be discussing the use of SD and FR in 25 man raids. They are both very different abilities and shine in totally different situations. This will simply be a boss by boss guide of how to appropriately use your active mitigation tools to their maximum effectiveness. (Note, I will be referencing logs from my raids, however they are not public so you will just have to trust my numbers). Keep in mind this is from a 25 man point of view, so it will be very different for 10 man bears.

Stone Guard

The first question we have to ask ourselves is, what type of damage are we taking predominantly. Here’s a breakdown from my first normal mode kill:

75.5% Rend Flesh
18.0% Melee
6.5% Random Magic Damage (Mines, Jade Shards, etc)

Since Rend Flesh is a bleed, we cannot dodge it. Therefore over 80% of the damage you take in this encounter is not dodge-able. Therefore FR is the clear winner. You can’t avoid most of the damage so focus on healing it up. There are two methods you can use to do this. First, pool to high rage levels and use huge bomb heals when you get low on health. This method is very effective, but can often result in wasted healer mana. The second method (and I think better one), is to basically use FR on every GCD that you aren’t at full health. The result is a pretty powerful HoT on yourself. As long as you make sure to never cast it while you are at full you shouldn’t overheal much.

Feng the Accursed

Here’s the breakdown from my heroic kill this week:

36.0% Melee
22.1% Shadowburn
15.6% Flaming Spear
26.3 Random Magic Damage (Epicenter, Sprit Bolt, Arcane Velocity, etc).

At first glance this seems like another great fight for FR. Most of the damage appears to be magic based. However, let’s think a little more about the fight. That 26.3% random damage needs to be removed form the calculation, because none of it is sustained while tanking. Sure, you should be FRing to heal it back up, but we care a lot more about what we use WHILE we are tanking.

That leaves us with 36.0% Melee and 37.7% combined DoT damage. Again, seems like FR would be the winner. But we need to keep in mind two more things. First, I was using SD heavily on this kill, so what we are seeing is SD REDUCED damage. This artificially lowers melee damage on the logs, because if we were to go with a solely FR route, we would be taking much more melee damage. Second, the average melee hit taken is almost twice what the DoT average hit is (125k vs 66k). Assuming a 2 second swing timer and 2 second DoT tick, this means that you are far more likely to die from melee hits than DoT ticks.

Having thought about that, it becomes clear that SD is very important on this fight for overall damage mitigation. My advice is to shoot for maximum SD uptime and save the FRs for when you spike low as usual.

Gara’jal the Spritbinder

Here’s the breakdown from my first normal kill:

60.4% Melee
28.1% Shadow Attacks
11.5% Spiritual Grasp

Gara’jal is an easy one. All of his Shadowy Attacks can be dodged. Therefore SD is a total no-brainer on this fight. Almost 90% of damage taken can be dodged, so make sure to get maximum uptime on SD. Period.

Sprit Kings

Here’s the breakdown from my first normal kill:

82.4% Melee
8.0% Massive Attack
9.6% Random Magic Damage (Charged Shadows, Cowardice, etc)

Another classic SD fight. Keep SD up the whole fight (Massive Attacks CAN be dodged). Remember that you can game SD uptime around various boss abilities. When Meng does his Cowardice phase, save up your SD charges so you can have them all up for his high melee damage phase. Let your charges recharge when Subetai casts Pillage and Volley. This way you can get a much higher actual uptime on SD than the “cap”.

Elegon

Here’s the breakdown from my second normal kill:

53.3% Melee
14.2% Celestial Breath
15.9% Tanking Relevant Magic Damage (Total Annihilation, Radiating Energies)
16.6% Random Magic Damage (Discharge, Stability Flux)

Right away we can eliminate the Random Magic Damage, because it is not sustained while actively tanking. So we are left with 53.3% dodge-able attacks and 30.1% undodge-able. Looking pretty good for SD (keep in mind the artificial deflation since I used SD a lot on the kill). What really puts the nail in the coffin is how hard abilities hit. The Breath only hits for about 60k on average, whereas average melee is 93k. Total Annihilation proves to be the most deadly at 152k average.

What this tells us is that SD uptime is very important. The Breaths don’t hit hard enough to worry about. What is worth worrying about are the Annhilations, but since they don’t come very often and are predictable, just use a CD for every one.

My advice is to keep up SD as much as possible, use your small CDs for the Total Annihilations. If you spike low pop a FR but don’t sacrifice too much SD uptime for it.

Will of the Emperor

Here’s the breakdown for my first Will kill:

90.9% Melee
8.3% Titan Gas
0.8% Impeding Thrust

Hello SD. SD is your best friend on this fight. The Titan Gas is only a ~13k dps DoT at worst, and you have a CD up for it anyways because of the increased melee damage from the bosses. Guardians are actually very strong on this boss because we can stack SD massively in our favor. It’s very simply, during the dance phase recharge your SD charges, and use them all while tanking.

Conclusion

SD is very strong in Mogu’shan Vaults. 5/6 Bosses reward intelligent SD usage, and all of those fight have moments where you can game SD in your favor for increased uptime.

Remember though, that just because a fight is more SD oriented doesn’t mean you can’t FR yourself. Do you have excess rage? FR. Are you a split second from dying? FR.

Guardians!

Welcome to the Monday round-up.

Windsong

First up we have a bunch of clarification posts to details surrounding the Windsong enchant buff. There really isn’t anything too specific in there that we should worry about. Basically just remember that it’s by far the best RPS enchant available.

You can find all the details about the questions and answers here.

Live Hotfixes

There have been a couple of hotfixes made to live servers. They’re good ones, and ones we’ve been waiting a long time for.

Incarnation: Son of Ursoc
- Activating this ability now correctly resets the cooldown on Growl.
- Activating this ability will no longer incorrectly remove Might of Ursoc, Enrage, or Savage Defense.

While it is disapointing this was not fixed earlier, it’s a relief that it is now.

Patch 5.1

In case you missed it, Patch 5.1 is bringing some pretty sweet changes:

Enrage no longer requires Bear Form
Symbiosis:
- The cast time of Symbiosis has been reduced to 2 seconds.
- Survival Instincts is once again granted to Brewmaster Monks and now costs 2 Chi to use.
- Might of Ursoc is once again granted to Blood Death Knights, and now costs 30 Runic Power.
- Savage Defense is once again granted to Protection Warriors, but now only provides a 30% increase to dodge.
- Barkskin is once again granted to Protection Paladins, and now costs 1 Holy Power.
- The cooldown of Stampeding Shout provided by Symbiosis has been reduced to 5 minutes.
- The duration of Solar Beam provided by Symbiosis now displays correctly as 4 seconds.

I’m mainly excited about the 2 second cast time. Will make it much easier to use in PUGs and 5mans. Not really surprised about the Enrage change, it will probably auto-shift to Bear Form as well – although I haven’t tested this myself on the PTR yet.

Vengance Hotfix

Vengeance was hotfixed late last week. Ahanss did some preliminary testing with it, and dug up some of the details. Earlier today Daxxarri posted a clarification for us.

Vengeance was also reduced by 10% at the time that hotfix was noted. We apologize for that being missed in the patch notes. Vengeance now accrues at a rate of 1.8% of damage taken, down from 2.0%.

Based on the hits a tank takes, Vengeance attempts to predict what 50% of average Vengeance for that level of incoming damage will be, and bumps the tank straight to that level. However, it previously based that calculation on a 1.5 second attack speed. It now bases the calculation on the enemy’s auto attack speed for auto attacks, and a 60 second interval for special attacks.

Tanks will still get the expected amount of Vengeance from the damage taken. This change just means that the first hit from a slow-attacking boss will bump Vengeance straight up to the expected amount.

Basically this means Vengeance gains were adjusted to account for now granting Vengeance on avoided autoattacks. Further you can no longer abuse mechanics that deal a lot of damage (Massive Attack, Annihilate, Total Annilation) to gain huge amounts of Vengeance. As a result you’ll notice that your Frenzied Regeneration recovery is slightly smaller, but not that big of a deal.

If anything it just further reinforces that Savage Defense is meant to be used against damage that is avoidable, instead of recovering it by using FR.

That’s all this week! Be sure to tune in to the Team Waffle Podcast this Friday when we discuss all of the latest in Druiding!