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!

Hello Guardians!

In our first installment of 10m Fridays I wanted to talk about a few things that as a Guardian, you’ll want to pay attention to when tanking a 10m raid as opposed to a 25m raid. Some of these may seem fairly intuitive or obvious to many of you, but the goal here is to help people that are transitioning from 25m to 10m to perform well in the smaller raid size.

Combat Ressurection and You

Something you should know before you even start is that 10m raids only have 1 in-combat ressurection per attempt, as opposed to 3 for 25m. With the addition of new classes to the role of combat-ressurection (Warlock, Hunter, Death Knight) in MoP, and a Holy Paladin via Symbiosis it is now far less likely that a Guardian will be tasked with this role. However if you are the only person with a combat resurrection it’s not a complete loss. The talent Nature’s Swiftness allows you to instantly cast Rebirth, even in Bear form. It will still cost you a GCD, but you won’t have to wait until you stop tanking to bring a team member back to life.

Even if there are one or two other people with a combat-resurrection I’d still take Nature’s Swiftness unless there is a compelling reason not to. You never know who is going to derp out and die, requiring you to come charging to the rescue.

Geometry

One of the first things you’ll realize when stepping into a raid instance with only 9 other people is just how much fucking room there is! The extra space makes it much easier to handle mechanics where spreading out the entire raid is a necessity (think Majordomo in Cat Form). As a tank it may also be tempting to try and make sure you use all of the extra space, and that’s fine. However you have to remember to leave lanes of movement open for yourself (and others) and not to isolate huge sections of the room.

DPS

One of the things that will become very obvious, very quickly, is the significantly increased responsibility each individual has in order to make the team succeed. One of those areas where this is incredibly apparent is with DPS. In a 25m raid group you will have anywhere between 14 and 18 (sometimes even more) dedicated damage dealers. A typical 10m raid only has 5 or 6 (7 in very odd scenarios). This means that whenever you slack off in your DPS, each dedicated damage dealer has to perform 3x what they would in a 25m in order to make up the difference. With normal raiding heading back to actually being difficult (with some fairly tight enrage timers), the onus is on you to make sure your DPS is up to snuff.

So what can you do to make sure you’re dealing as much damage as you can?

  1. Agility Potions! – there’s no real reason to not have a ton of these in your inventory. They’re super cheap, and provide an amazing DPS burst when coupled with a cooldown (or two). Remember to pre-pot!
  2. DPS Stats! – All of our secondary stats that increase our DPS provide a very hefty survival gain as well. Don’t be afraid to cap Hit and Expertise if you think the extra damage will help your raid.
  3. Cooldowns – Use them early and often. If you’re in a 7 minute fight you should get 3 uses out of Incarnation, Berserk, and/or Nature’s Vigil.
  4. Troll World of Logs! – Don’t be afraid to research what other high-ranking Guardians are doing. Two that I’d recommend are Ahanss and Buraan. They’ve been part of the Guardian community for a long time (US and EU respectively) and really know their stuff.

Healing

While DPS is certainly one major things that becomes more amplified in a 10m group, healing is another. There are fewer healers to go around, and usually more targets per healer to be responsible for. In that vein you want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to survive, and keeping your healers from healing you when they do not have to.

For example on Elegon during P2, you can have your healers ignore you for the first ~30 seconds if you take Nature’s Vigil. The damage you deal will be way more than enough to not only keep you at 100%, but potentially 1-2 other people as well. The less mana your healers have to spend, the more they will have to keep you (and the group) alive later.

Also remember to communicate when you are using Frenzied Regeneration to recover from a big hit of damage. One FR will easily be enough to heal you from an Arcane Annihilation on Elegon. No need for your healers to spend mana doing that.

The Last Word

What about you? Do you have any tips new 10m Guardians should remember? Is there anything that’s helped you transition from 25m to 10m?

Greetings Bears!

As Arielle said recently, I will now be writing weekly articles having to do with 25 man raiding, and more specifically how guardians fit into it. Even if you don’t raid 25 mans, this will probably still be relevant to you in some way, shape or form (loldruidpun), so keep reading!

In this first episode of the newly named “25 Man WENSdays”, I will be talking about 25 man tanking in general, sort of a “this is probably really obvious, but you should know it anyways” quick and dirty guide. There are a lot of really simple things you can do as a tank in a 25 man to help your group kill more dragons.

Organization

One of the long-maligned aspects of 25 man raiding is the increased amount of organization required to run a raid. Whether you like it or not, getting 25 people to show up, follow mechanics, and generally work as a team is a lot of work. Ideally, your guild has a GM and Officers to take charge of these tasks, but as a tank you can still do your bit to make the raid run smoother. Here are some tips:

  1. Make a pull timer macro. As a tank you are almost always the one doing the pull. While a countdown in vent/mumble is helpful, it is not nearly as accurate as a timer or countdown in the game itself. Personally I use /dbm pull for an easy 10 second timer, but add-ons like OptiTaunt and RSA work as well. Being on top of ready checking and pulling will save your raid valuable time.
  2. Always talk with your hunters about MDs. Don’t waste your officer’s time with this. Talk to your hunters ahead of time about who needs MD on the pull or for spawning adds.
  3. If you know you will need externals at some point in time, tell your healers. Don’t wait until 5 seconds before you need them to call it out. Whisper your healers and those with external CDs far in advance so you have one less thing to worry about during the fight.
  4. Review strategy with your co-tank. When a dps makes a mistake, often it just means a dead dps. But when you mess up a tank swap it often means a wipe. ALWAYS ALWAYS be crystal clear about what exact duties you and your co-tank have, so that during the fight you don’t have to think about it, you can just do it. Bosses like Feng and Stone Guard are perfect examples of this. Take the extra minute before a boss to make sure you won’t have problems down the road.
  5. If the fight allows for it, let your raid leader know when you are available to Tranq. It doesn’t always heal much, but when combined with other raid CDs, every bit helps. The same applies to Innervates. Talk to your tank healers and ask them if they want your Vate. They probably do.
  6. If the raid leader calls a wipe, then wipe. Shift out of bear and sit there. Every second you spend wiping is a second wasted.

Communication

One of the hallmarks of a good tank is somebody who can communicate efficiently and clearly. In 25 mans where a lot is happening at the same time, you often don’t have much time to make the calls you need to. Focus on conveying as much information in as few words as possible, or if you don’t need to vocally call something out, then have another way of telling the raid.

  1. This probably goes without saying, but you really need a mic to tank. Your job is too important for you to be silent. Trying to type in the middle of an encounter is usually incredibly inefficient. You don’t have to say much to be effective, but you do need to talk a little.
  2. ALWAYS ALWAYS call out tank swaps. If you raid 25 mans, you will have noticed how hard some of the bosses hit. If you taunt the boss and don’t let your healers know, you can be in some serious trouble if they aren’t paying attention. What I always do is just say “Wens taunting in 3, 2, 1, taunting”. That way healers have time to get HoTs up on you and get ready to heal you.
  3. Either macro in or find an add-on to announce your CD usage. Even in 25 mans with a plethora of raid and single-target CDs, you always want to let your healers know when you use your Survival Instincts. For them, that could mean the difference between wasting an external on you, or even just the mana from casting a more efficient heal. Either way, you are helping your raid.
  4. If you are in charge of making encounter specific calls, keep them brief and to the point. An example: instead of saying “that jasper dude is empowered now, you can break chains if you get them”, say “jasper empowered, break chains now”. This is obviously a really small difference, but i can guarantee the clearer your vent/mumble is, the better your raiders will perform.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for an emergency CD. Between 5 healers and any number of dps, you will almost always have something available. If you think you need it, ask for it. Much better to waste a CD than die because you didn’t bother to ask.

Playing to Your Strengths

Everything I said up there is all nice and good, but it means nothing if you can’t physically perform. Here’s a little catch-phase of mine: “Always set yourself up to succeed. If you don’t think you can win, you probably won’t.” Preparation is half the battle. For raiding in general, not just 25 mans, there is so much you ca do before the raid even starts to help out your raid.

  1. Know the fights. Know the fights. Know the fights. Know the fights. See how I said that 4 times? Know the fights. Just know them. And not just your jobs. Know when the shadow pools on Spirit Kings are respawning so you can correctly position the boss. Know when the Rages on Will are spawning so you can throw an emergency Mass Root if needed. Know that on Stone Guard you can soak a Cobalt Mine with SI to clear space for your melee. The more you know, the better chance you have. There are so many sources of information, it is pretty stupid to not take advantage of them.
  2. Have a functional UI. There are four things every tank UI pretty much needs.
    a) Health/Resource tracking. You need to be super aware of your health/rage/SD status. Personally I think WeakAuras is the best for this, but it’s up to you.
    b) Raid Frames. Always know the health status of your raid and more importantly your co-tank.
    c) CD availability. Always know what you have up for when the bear poop hits the fan.
    d) Enough clear space to see the fight. If your UI is too crammed and you can’t see what is happening in the fight, you have a problem. You always have to know what is going on.
  3. Have a rudimentary knowledge of other classes, and more specifically the other tanking classes. Know how their AM works, and know their strengths and weaknesses as well as you know your own. Some tanks are better at some things than others. Prot pallies are really strong on Feng. Druids are wicked good at Will of the Emperor. If at all possible, try to build your strategy around those strengths and give yourself the best shot of succeeding.

All of these tips are relatively minor, but if you fit them all in, you can go from being the tank who gets brought to most of the raids to the tank who your RL will actively try to get in every single time. Our job is undeniably filled with stresses, but if you work to overcome them it is also undeniably rewarding. Always remember that the time and energy of 24 other people sometimes reside on your shoulders, so be confident and trust in yourself and your abilities and you will come out on top and hopefully enjoy yourself.

Hello Guardians!

I know we haven’t been doing that much in the way of blog posting in the past couple of months. I’d like to attribute this to a couple of things:

  • Guide Writing
  • World of Dailycraft
  • Many other awesome games to play
  • RL

However, now that most of that is out of the way, it’s time to settle down with some regular updates. I’ve talked this over with Wens, and we think we’ve come up with a schedule that will be pretty awesome for you as the readers.

  1. Mondays: Mondays are going to be your “News This Week” posts. I should usually have at least something to talk about, whether it’s news related or just fluff. This will usually be posted after my raid time, late at night (10pm+ PST).
  2. Wednesdays: With Reesi’s retirement from tanking (she main-switched to a Spriest), Wens will be taking up the 25m content. Every Wednesday he’ll be talking about something related to 25m raiding content for Guardians. I don’t know what his topics will be, but I’m confident he can think of something :)
  3. Fridays: Since I still raid 10m, I will be talking about 10m content on Fridays. On weeks that I record the Team Waffle Podcast this will probably go up later as opposed to earlier.
  4. Low Level Guardians: Reesi has kind of adopted low-level Guardian tanking as her pet-project, so I suspect we will see more from her in this regard as time goes on.
  5. Emergency Posts: This is mostly for patch notes, or something that is so drastic that you need to know about it RIGHT FUCKING NOW. These will happen ASAP when I determine it is necessary. Probably not that often though.

So since it is Monday, what is our news?

Windsong Enchant Hotfix

The Windsong weapon enchant (and Elemental Force, but who cares about that) has been hotfixed to, well, be better. The stat buff gained is still random, however the proc rate has been drastically changed. I’ve included a mathematical description from the post made by Daxxarri earlier today:

For example, if you have 22% Haste, it was 1.4sec since the last chance to proc, and you’ve got Windsong, then the chance to proc is 2(ppm) * 1.22(haste) * 1.4(time since last chance) / 60 (sec per min) = 5.693%.

Note the phrase “since the last chance to proc“. This means that the proc rate is dependant on the amount of time that has elapsed since eligible events have occured. No hard info yet whether or not this includes things like Frenzied Regeneration or a Nature’s Vigil heal – which could yield multiple proc events per second – or not. In any case this ends up being a net buff. Windsong is easily the best enchant now for RPS. Dancing steel is still better for overall TDR, but from my experience thus far – especially on Elegon – TDR doesn’t actually mean anything except against purely melee bosses.

This means that Windsong is likely to end up being your weapon enchant of choice for most of the expansion. I’ll be updating the guide to reflect this.

Heart of the Wild

So the thing that practically everyone had been saying would happen (including myself, Hamlet, Alaron, Tinderhoof, Lissanna etc.) will finally happen tomorrow. The gains you receive for switching to a DPS form while under Heart of the Wild will be cut substantially.

This shouldn’t be news to anyone, since it’s been public knowledge what their efficiency targets were for months now. After the round of changes late in the beta when HotW was significantly over-buffed it was only a matter of time until it got brought back down again.

As a Guardian, this should have little-to-no impact on whether or not you pick this talent. NV is better for survival and DPS anyway if timed correctly. Not only that, but the only fight with any significant downtime that I’ve done thus far is Gara’jal, and even that isn’t 45 seconds long. Full text of the nerf below:

The spell damage bonus that Heart of the Wild provides to Feral and Guardian Druids will soon be reduced from +500% to +320%.

The agility bonus that Heart of the Wild provides to Balance, Restoration, and Guardian Druids in Cat Form will soon be changed to +110%. It was previously +50% for Guardian Druids, and +200% for Balance and Restoration Druids.

DMF Ox Deck Buff

After being woefully useless for a couple of weeks, the DMF Ox (ie. tanking) deck is suddenly substantially more attractive. A bundle of Stamina was added to it, making it a very useful survival trinket on top of the on-use effect. While you will still replace it as a survival trinket with a VP or raid item, if you have the capability to pick it up now it would definitely help you in the short term.

Vengeance Hotfix

Vengeance was changed to now stack on avoided basic melee attacks. This means you no longer have to purposely not press Savage Defense in order to gain Vegeance. Full text below:

Vengeance should now ramp up more quickly. Avoidance will now grant Vengeance based on the average damage of the avoided NPC auto-attack, instead of just refreshing existing Vengeance. This does not apply to enemy special attacks.