UIs are a Pain

October 24, 2010

Which druid spent the past 4 1/2 hours redoing her UI?

This one.  Got a few requests to see what my UI looked like… and I didn’t really like what I had currently.  So?  Built from the ground up.  Woo. Hoo.  It took way longer than anticipated, but I believe I like the end result.  I just need to see combat functionality before I decide if I need to move some things around.

This is how it all started:


Frames and bars and buffs and everything everywhere. Madness.

Then? I had a breakthrough with my Unit Frame. I still have NO idea how I managed to get it to look like it does. I was pretty much sliding everything everywhere with random bars and Ooooh pretty picture! and different widths and heights and WHY IS THIS IMAGE OFF TO THE SIDE– Oh! OH HEY! I like that!


Position the unit frames juuuust right….


Finish off the cooldown monitors (luckily I still kind of like my power auras), and presto! Combat:

I’ll get up an in-raid screen shot when I get the chance. For now… I’m tired of staring at menus and sliders and trying to get just the right size and position.. Eeek.

Editing in what mods I’m using:

Shadowed Unit Frames
Satrina’s Buff Frames
Sexy Map
Prat – Chat mod
ButtonFacade: Caith
Forte Xorcist – Cooldown timer and spell timer
Power Auras – Pretty shiny things
ErrorFilter – That ability isn’t ready yet!
TidyPlates: Threat Plates
TipTac – Tooltip mod
Vengeance Status
RaidComp(can’t see) – Provides raid specs and who’s providing/can provide which buff
Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text
DXE (Deus Vox Encounters) – Boss mod

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Life after 4.0 Cont.

October 22, 2010

While I’m waiting for the Blizzcon stream to stop being bad, I’ll continue with discussing the changes bears received with 4.0.  The threat section is long.  I’m sorry. ;)

Rage Normalization

This is a change I’m not sure I like, but I don’t really hate it.  It’s a lot more noticeable in 5 mans and raids that I severely outgear.  Bears now get 16 rage per auto attack, and 32 rage per crit (+5 rage from talents) regardless of how much it hits for.  No more filling up a rage bar with a single auto attack crit, which is unfortunate.  Rage gain based on hits is calculated to your max HP and will calculate if an attack is dodged, misses, or is parried.  Not entirely positive how, but the reasoning for this is that you shouldn’t™ become rage starved when you’re tanking content you outgear.  Yeah.  Right.

Heroic ICC, I never run out of rage, even with spamming maul.  Anything below that in difficulty, even if I wear DPS gear, I just don’t seem to have the rage to do anything for a prolonged period of time.  It’s pretty rough.  Even with heroics, I have to be way more conservative with rage than I’ve ever had to be.  Swipe’s rage reduction will help in Cata, but it just doesn’t feel comfortable operating with limited resources.  It’s easily manageable by simply not hitting Maul unless I have excess rage, but most content now I just zone out and spam things until it dies.  Not the best way to do it, but, ya know… carried by gear. ;)

Threat and Threat Rotations

Threat changed almost drastically.  Yes please.  It was/is a very nice change from having a completely non-moving rotation.  With the addition of Berserk procs, it caused a priority system to occur.  I love this.  I absolutely do.  I now pay attention to what I’m doing as I’m tanking.

Pulverize needs some work.  Having Swipe do more threat than it is just plain silly.  While I do like the mechanic of it, it’s damage and threat needs to be raised a little bit.  Its soundfile needs help too.  Regardless, like I said, I enjoy its mechanic.  I enjoy the fact that there’s a penalty to using it(and maybe it IS best that it’s damage and threat is iffy, at best), and that working around that penalty is entirely possible through smarter usage and timing.

Berserk Procs and Lacerate.  H’oh boy.  Where to start here?  It makes for a more interesting rotation, but if you pay attention to the rotation and the proc timings for more than 30 seconds, you begin to notice a pattern and a fundamental flaw to this mechanic.  It tends to proc right after you start a GCD, making it nearly impossible react right away, like you are able to with Sword and Board (Warriors use GCD abilities to force a proc, rather than relying on a dot.  It’s much more controlled).

It’s rather frustrating hitting Pulverize and having Berserk proc at the same time, causing the biggest downtime Lacerate can have in a rotation.  You can either ignore the proc and put Lac back up (which is a threat loss) or you hit Mangle(yes) and have Lacerate down for 2 globals, with a new tick happening after 4 globals.  It’s fairly ugly and should be avoided… but RNG will screw you whenever it wants.

Now, I mentioned a way to work around with timing, at least initially.  I’ve found the best time, in regards to Lacerate ticks, to use Pulverize is the second GCD after a mangle.  So, Mangle > Something(1st GCD) > Pulverize(2nd GCD) > Lacerate(3rd GCD) >Mangle.  With this position in the rotation, Lacerate should tick after the Mangle, giving the potential for 2 Mangles in a row.  Of course, if the Pulverize buff is down, you’d want to use it on the 1st GCD to get it back up.  Doing it this way, however, will cause a Lacerate proc to happen when you’d be hitting Mangle anyway.

The whole thing is more than a little awkward.  Making Lacerate tick faster or slower most likely wouldn’t work to solve this.  If it ticked faster, you run the risk of having a chain of Berserk procs and then just doing nothing but keep Lac up 100% and spam mangle.  Slowing the ticks down *might* work, but it will obviously result in lower threat potential.

AoE threat, while completely do-able, is a pain.  Comparatively speaking, Bears have one of the stronger AoE attacks out of the 4 tanks.  Swipe hits hard.  The cooldown is completely fine because of this, and I’m used to it.  It’s just that we are missing our second AoE attack, which we get at 81.  It’s not the end of the world that we don’t have it, and I don’t mind.  It requires more attention and watching health bar cues and watching omen to see who’s creeping up.  Once Lacerate is spread around enough, you end up getting to tab-mangle between Swipes, which is pretty nice.  Thrash lessens the burden, but the method doesn’t change at 85.

All in all, Bear threat now requires much more attention.  I both like and dislike it.  I like it because I’m not falling asleep in my chair during raids.  I dislike it because I find myself paying more attention to my buffs and debuffs and procs than I do to the surroundings around me while tanking… and tanking what I tank… it can be pretty damn detrimental.

Life after 4.0

October 21, 2010

With all the crazy new shenanigans going down, now’s as good a time as any to get my thoughts sorted out about the whole thing.  It’s been a week and a half since 4.0 went live, and I’ve tanked the whole spectrum (heroics, raids and pugs).  There’s positive highlighting and negative highlighting, as with most major changes.

How survivable are we? Are we still good tanks?

Very and yes.

With the introduction of Mastery and the changes to Savage Defense, our survivability in raids has sky-rocketed, even with the decrease in armor and even with the increase in damage some of these bosses have gotten.  In addition, ICC has had its dodge debuff lifted, so the chances of getting a savage defense absorbed hit is inflated.

I, myself, am taking considerably less damage than I was before 4.0 came out.  Some of that is more dodging, yes, but a lot of that comes from large Savage Defense absorbs, which, by the way, IS affected by Vengeance.  The more damage I take, the more AP I have, the bigger my shields become.  It’s insane.  And it may or may not be causing me to “stand in fire” for vengeance.

Compare, for example, my logs from this week(and last week), to the week before 4.0 came out:  This week -   Pre-4.0 Keep in mind, that my avoidance was higher, and that the Pre 4.0 fight was slightly longer so I had 1, maybe 2 more soul reapers slapped on me, but… Overall, 2+ million less damage taken?  That’s not even fair!  And yet it’s so beautiful I could cry.

Bears are still very much excellent tanks.  Our single target threat has the potential to be off the charts(and by extension, our DPS), and our AoE threat is nothing to sneeze at.  I know plenty of you probably just gawked at that last comment.  I’m okay with this.

Vengeance – I’m in ur raid, stealin ur dps

Vengeance is… interesting.  I like it, but I hate it.  The mechanic itself feels very broken, and is incredibly overpowering at 85.  I have a feeling it’s going to be toned down or changed somehow.  No DPS likes being taken out by the tank on damage done.

However, that’s precisely why it’s so much fun and why I like it so much.  The amount of damage potential bears had pre 4.0 was pretty good, compared to the other tanks.  The amount of damage potential bears have now, with vengeance, is insane.  Seeing those huge numbers and my DPS creeping up the charts, bypassing all the BiS geared DPS, make me giggle like a little school girl.  In fact, the only thing that’s more giggle-inducing right now is tab-dotting SW:P on my Shadow Priest and running around like an idiot just so I can see an army of shadow clones create a wave of shadowy death and destruction. (Hide your kids.)

If vengeance is so fun, why do I hate it?  Well, several reasons.  For one, it’s starting to feel like a crutch and like I can’t operate or hold threat from my guild’s DPS without it.  Example?  I did an Ulduar 10 for random achievements (fork-in-eye).  The entire time I was struggling to keep my head above the DPS because I simply wasn’t taking enough damage, even in DPS gear, so my threat remained relatively low.  Vezax was terrible.  Like I said, you start to look for ways to take more damage so you can hold threat (or to see bigger numbers).  Something tells me that’s not the intent.

Another, while I understand why it happens, is it decays so quickly when you aren’t getting hit and when you’re out of combat.  One moment I could have 70% vengeance, a few seconds later, I could have dropped below 50%.  Dodge directly affects vengeance gain.  I believe, in combat, vengeance decays 5% every 2 seconds, regardless of whether or not you’re getting hit(10% out of combat).  If you get a string of dodges in a row, your vengeance will be dropping, though hopefully by then you’ll have a big enough threat lead that it shouldn’t matter.

Vengeance does not gain when an attack is fully absorbed and will only calculate the gain based on how much actual damage you took on a partial absorb.  This works against our Mastery.  The more Vengeance we have, the bigger our bubbles are.  The bigger our bubbles are, the less Vengeance we gain.  The more Mastery we have, the bigger our bubbles, the less our Vengeance.  See how this works against itself?  While I don’t see this as an issue now, or for the first few tiers of raiding in Cata, it could become an issue to the point where we may have to reforge out of mastery.


There will be more to come in the next few days; I had to break it up more than I thought.  Stay tuned. :)

4T10 Set Bonus

October 20, 2010

The set bonus is not broken.

While 4T10 is equipped, you will not take an extra 10% physical damage when Enrage is active, despite what that pesky buff tooltip says.  Guess what?  The old one said Enrage reduced armor.  4T10′s bonus text was not updated to reflect the change of Enrage.  Enraged Defense will always give you 12% damage reduction from all sources of damage, including physical.

There is a simple, very effective, test for this:  Have someone duel you and punch you with no weapons, trinkets, or AP increasing items(AV Rep ring) equipped.  Just let him keep punching you.  Take note of the amount of damage you were taking.  Take that amount and subtract 12% from it (or multiply the damaging amount by .12 and subtract that value from the original).  Use Enrage while getting punched.  The amount of damage you’re taking while under Enraged Defense should reflect the answer you received above, which is exactly 12% damage reduction.

I used a Hunter for this experiment.  I used his pet afterwards to confirm.  I was getting hit for 206, meaning a 12% damage reduction would be ~181.  I used Enrage, and I was getting hit for 180-182.

Again, the set bonus is not broken.  All it is is a case of un-updated tooltip, which Blizzard is notorious for.  You can relax, I promise.

The First of Many

October 20, 2010

Well, I’m getting it rolling here.  Little by little this Bear Blog should flesh out nicely.  The intent?  To provide more localized information on tanking.  I look everywhere for it so you don’t have to.  I’d like more information for raid tanking to be available and I will hopefully be providing boss strategies, tank strategies, and random tips and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way.

I also tank on the other three classes.  I am the Tank Captain for <Drow> and as such, I have to keep up-to-date with them as well, so the possibility of an added section (not nearly as in depth) for those three classes is there.

But for now?  Welcome.  I should hopefully find something to post about soon.

P.S.  Tell people. ;)