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Tag: Rage

Legion Talent Review

July 3, 2016

Hello Guardians!

For a long time now there hasn’t been many details to talk about that weren’t totally subject to change, or simply easier to talk about on TankCast. However we’ve entered the tuning phase of talents now, and since most of them are mechanically fine it makes sense to finally examine them and see where they are in terms of effectiveness. Obviously some talents are more of a feel or playstyle choice, but there are definitely still informed decisions to be made. So let’s get started.

Level 15 Talents

We have one talent with a very defined offensive and defensive benefit in Brambles, and two talents that generate more Rage which can be used for both offense and defense in Blood Frenzy and Bristling Fur. The quesiton is how good are they at each? Since Brambles is obvious, we need to first figure out how much damage Rage contributes. Since the only way to convert Rage into damage is with Maul, we just determine how much damage one Rage is worth. To do that we follow some simple steps to find the damage-per-Rage (DPR) of Maul:

  • First we define how to calculate the desired value: DPR = (Melee * Multiplier * Versatility * Artifact) * (1 + (Crit+0.1))*(1 – Armor DR)/Rage Cost
  • Then we remove terms that duplicate for Brambles: DPR = (Melee*Multiplier)*(1+(Crit+0.1))*(1 – Armor DR) / Rage Cost
  • Since we know that the biggest difference the Maul Crit trait will cause is 9.1%, we can replace it with an additional constant: DPR = (Melee*Multiplier)*1.091*(1 – Armor DR) / Rage Cost
  • Fill in known constants: DPR = (Weapon DPS + (AP/3.5))*1.5*1.091*0.68/20
  • Simplify: DPR = 0.055641(Weapon DPS + (0.28571*AP))

So it really comes down to how much weapon DPS you have which determines your total Maul damage. The overall contribution from AP is only ~1.5897% per Rage, but how does that stack up for each of the talents? Blood Frenzy is 0.66 RPS per target (or 1 RPS per 1.5s melee), and since Brambles also scales with the number of targets attacking you that is never going to be enough Rage income to overtake Brambles. However Bristling Fur scales with incoming damage, so generally it will end up generating more Rage over time except in sustained AoE situations. Is it enough? The easy answer to that question is unsurprisingly, math.

  • Determine Rage needed to equal Brambles AP coefficient: 0.01589719011X = 0.24 = 15
  • Determine Rage needed per Bristling Fur use: 40*15/1.5 = 400

That tells us the absolute most you would need is to take 400% of your HP in damage when Bristling Fur is active and then spend all of that Rage on Maul. Reality is probably somewhere closer to half that value, which is ~200% of your hp in damage (to get 200 Rage) which is close to 40% per melee swing, which we’ve been told is not going to happen. Therefore we can draw the conclusion that neither Bristling Fur nor Blood Frenzy will ever be equal to Brambles for pure damage. But what about survival?

Let’s start at the other end. Blood Frenzy gives one extra use of either Ironfur or Mark of Ursol every 67.5s per target. The easiest way to look at it is in terms of EHP which simplified, is (HP / (1-%DR)). Using that we can determine how much of an increase in EHP one MoU gives:

  • %EHP Increase = (HP / (1-%DR2)) / (HP / (1-%DR1))
  • Add known Magic DR: %EHP Increase = (HP / 0.567) / (HP / 0.81)
  • Simplify: %EHP Increase = 0.81/0.567 = 1.4285714285714285714285714285714 or 42.857% more EHP for ~10 seconds or so after traits and talents

Unfortunately Ironfur isn’t so easy. We know that any equal percentage increase in Armor generates the same constant amount of EHP, which means the percentage increase in EHP decreases as Armor increases. Instead we’ll have to think about it slightly in the abstract. Consider that the EHP increase from one Ironfur is some value Y. We know that Brambles is esentially a flat EHP bonus since it applies to every damaging event you receive. Therefore in the case of Blood Frenzy, we’re looking at 45 melee swings at 0.24AP each, for a total of 10.8AP. Let’s use a real-world example to see if they’re comparable using a Beta 110 PvP Premade which has 2,296,297 Health, 5572 Armor, and 17,705 AP.

  • Using the values above we know that the you will gain ~1,202,296 EHP with each Ironfur application.
  • Since we would be adding HP for Brambles, we remove the DR to find that we need a total of 714,549 to match Ironfur.
  • 10.8 * 17,705 = 191214 which means Brambles will never come close to Blood Frenzy, or subsequently Bristling Fur.

Now, these assumptions ignore that Ironfur would only last ~10 seconds. However I believe that limitation is handily countered by the fact you can apply the Ironfur whenever you want within those 67.5 seconds, and that EHP has consistently been demonstrated to only valuable when you need it. We also know that HP scales a lot faster than AP making it impossible for Brambles to catch up from starting values this low. Thus while Brambles is clearly far and away the best DPS talent of the three, both Blood Frenzy and Bristling Fur handily defeat Brambles for pure survival.

On the topic of Bristling Fur vs Blood Frenzy, I think Blood Frenzy is a little bit too weak in comparison. There are almost never situations where 3-4 targets are active for long durations. Usually you only end up with 1, or possibly 2. Sometimes you have a large number of targets for 5-10 seconds, but that’s not enough to justify taking Frenzy for difficult content. There should still be a gap, but maybe one not quite so large. I’d suggest nerfing it to 0.75-0.8 Rage per % HP in damage taken.

Level 30 Talents

The only change for movement talents is that Guttural Roars replaces Feline Swiftness (which is now part of Feral Affinity). However there’s a new, additional problem for Displacer Beast. Legion introduces a new “shapeshifting cooldown” which is incurred every time you change forms. That means every time you use Displacer Beast you are prevented from using any damaging abilities for 3 seconds. You can still use cooldowns and trinkets, but that’s not much consolation. Unfortunately this change means that use of Displacer Beast is going to be further restricted to only those instances where a blink is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately I think this punishes Guardians the most out of everyone.

Guttural Roars will end up being the default talent for most raid scenarios since Stampeding Roar can function as both a personal and raidwide movement increase. Wild Charge is clearly great for solo, 5 person, and pvp content. I think Displacer Beast will be the odd one out for this set of talents.

Level 45 Talents

Here we have the new quasi-support “affinity” talents. We’ll set aside Restoration and the passive effects for now, and just look at the pure DPS output of Balance and Feral. To start with, Feral Affinity grants a 35% bonus to energy regenration which is multiplicitive with Haste. However we’ll start with a base value of 135 Energy per second (EPS) for now. Since we don’t have to worry about Primal Fury it’s easy to approximate ability usage.

In order to “accurately” (at least within a reasonable measure of error) we’ll define a cycle as 30 seconds, since that works for both Feral and Balance fairly well. Within that window for Feral we know there will be 1 Thrash, 1 Rip, and some number of Shreds. We also know that we’ll start with 100 Energy and gain 10*1.35*(1+Haste) energy every second. Combine all of that information and we can come up with a formula to approximate Feral Affinity DPS.

  • DPS = ((Melee + Shred)*Armor) + Rip + Thrash
  • Add unique variables: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(# Shreds*13.74/30*(Weapon Damage/2)*0.68+(AP*0.6186/30)+(AP*2.19/30)+(80*0.14*AP/30)
  • Determine Shreds: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(((20+(30*10*1.35*(1+Haste)))/40)*13.74/30*(Weapon Damage/2)*0.68+(AP*0.6186/30)+(AP*2.19/30)+(80*0.14*AP/30)
  • Simplify: DPS = ((1+Haste)*(Weapon Damage))*0.68+(((20+(405*(1+Haste)))/40)*0.31144*(Weapon Damage/2))+(AP*0.46695333333333333333333333333333)
  • Fill in Sample PvP Data: DPS = ((1+0.1033)*(12750))*0.68+(((20+(405*(1+0.1033)))/40)*0.31144*(6375))+(18450*0.46695333333333333333333333333333)
  • DPS = 9565.611+23171.7795+8615.288 = 41352.6785

It’s worth noting that I’ve excluded all multipliers which are common between both affinities. This includes Versatility, Crit, Mastery, and Artifact Traits. Haste is included because it impacts each of the specs very differently. Additionally I accounted for Cat Form’s doubled AA damage by dividing the Shred multiplier by 2, instead of doubling the AA damage. So, let’s move on to Balance.

Surpriingly Balance is much easier to calculate. All of the spells are purely based on AP, and the only ability that has a varying number of casts in a 30 second window is Solar Wrath. Everything else is fixed. There will be 3 Starsurges, which also means 3 empowered Lunar Strikes and 3 empowered Solar Wraths. There will also be 2 Moonfires and 3 Sunfires. All remaining time is spent on regular Solar Wraths, since its AP/Cast Time value is higher than a regular Lunar Strike. We then combine all of that information to again, come up with a formula to approximate Balance Affinity DPS.

  • DPS = (3*SS+3*ELS+3*ESW+2*MF+3*SF+((30-Total Cast Time)/(1.5/(1+Haste))*SW))/30*NI
  • Add unique variables: DPS = ((3*1.1*4.5*AP)+(1.2*3*3.5*AP)+(1.2*2.2*3*AP)+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(((30-(3*2/(1+Haste))-(3*2.5/(1+Haste))-(8*1.5/(1+Haste)))/(1.5/(1+Haste)))*2.2*AP))/30*1.2
  • Simplify: DPS = (35.37AP+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+Haste)))*AP)+(((30-(3*2/(1+Haste))-(3*2.5/(1+Haste))-(8*1.5/(1+Haste)))/(1.5/(1+Haste)))*2.2*AP))/30*1.2
  • Add sample data: DPS = (35.37*(18500)+(2*(0.45+(4*(1+0.1033)))*18500)+(3*(0.9+(3*(1+0.1033)))*18500)+(((30-(3*2/(1+0.1033))-(3*2.5/(1+0.1033))-(8*1.5/(1+0.1033)))/(1.5/(1+0.1033)))*2.2*18500))/30*1.2
  • DPS = (654345 + 179938.4 + 233649.45 + 206186.2)/30*1.2 = 50964.762

So we can clearly see that Balance pulls ahead of Feral pretty substantially. Interestingly enough it appears to be purely because of Nurturing Instinct granting an extra 20% spellpower. If that was reduced back to being equal, Balance and Feral would end up being pretty close together. However I don’t know what the consequences would be for the intended target of Resto, but that would be easy to solve by having Resto grant a healing bonus of some kind. But one remaining question is how does this compare to Guardian DPS?

  • DPS = (4WD*1.2*Mangles*1.15*Armor) + (2.4AP*Thrashes + 0.15AP)*1.15 + 1.2*(0.45AP*Moonfires + ((0.5/2)*Haste)) + (1-Mangles-Thrashes-Moonfires)*2WD*1.2*Armor + Melee*Armor + (Maul*WD*Armor)/3
  • Insert formulae and simplify: DPS = 1.9332857504WD*Haste + (0.4AP*Haste+0.15AP)*1.15 + 0.43AP*Haste + 1.632WD*(1-0.20889*Haste – 0.1666666666666667*Haste – (0.125/Haste))
  • Add sample data: DPS = 1.9332857504*(15937.5)*1.1033 + (0.4*18450*1.1033+0.15*18450)*1.15 + 0.43*18450*1.1033 + 1.632*15937.5*(1-0.20889*1.1033-0.1666667*1.1033 – (0.125/1.1033))
  • DPS = 33994.5945591351 + 12546.3321 + 8753.03055 + 13469.20634270108 = 68763.16355183618

So obviously Guardian DPS (on a single target) approximation beats the pants off of either Feral or Balance Affinity DPS. That’s clearly not the intention because you have no reason to ever shift except for resto, because there’s no benefit. Plus this doesn’t talents or cooldowns. Expect significant buffing of both in order to make them remotely viable beyond passives.

As for, Restoration, it ends up being the only affinity with a distinct survival benefit. This also means it will end up likely being the default selection for most people. I doubt many people will end up using Feral or Balance for actual DPS outside of Mythic raiding or possibly PvP, since those are generally the situations where maximizing DPS is of reasonably high importance. That’s fine, since it harkens back to the Bearcat era anyway.

Level 60 Talents

Here we have the new and consolidated crowd control talents. None of these have changed in function, which means Mass Entanglement is still effectively useless. You’re left with a choice between Mighty Bash and Typhoon, so you’ll end up picking whichever one is most appropriate for the situation. It’s quite a shame that Mighty Bash, out of all of the possible talented stuns for tanks, is by far the worst. Hopefully some tuning ends up being done. Maybe the Guardian version of Bash should be a cleave? I don’t know, but certainly something.

Level 75 Talents

These talents are all about active Rage generation, or generating additional Rage from rotational abilities. At least on paper anyway, in reality you end up with 3 talents that have varying levels of Rage generation and DPS benefit – which is what makes a good set of talents anyway. In any case Soul of the Forest is a good baseline to start with, so let’s look at its total Rage generation. Thankfully the formula remains (almost) unchanged from Warlords, so it’s pretty easy to evaluate.

  • RPS = ManglesPerSecond*Rage
  • Insert formula: RPS = 1/(1/((0.2*(1/(GCD*2))+(0.8*0.2)*(1/(GCD*3))+(0.8-(0.8)*0.2)*(1/(GCD*4)))))*5
  • Convert to Haste: RPS = 1/(1/((0.2*(1/((1.5/H)*2))+(0.8*0.2)*(1/((1.5/H)*3))+(0.8-(0.8)*0.2)*(1/((1.5/H)*4)))))*5
  • Simplify (<3 Wolframalpha): RPS = 1.044445H
  • Sample PvP Data: RPS = 1.044445 * 1.1143 = 1.1638250635

The reason I converted it to a simple equation based off of Haste (or rather, Wolframpalpha did) is because Galactic Guardian also scales from Haste, and I needed a common way to compare the two. In any case, the result is a reasonably simple and accurate equation for determining the tangible value of Soul of the Forest. If we’re to compare it to Galactic Guardian, we need to come up with a way of calculating the number of procs per second.

  • RPS = (Melee+GCD+Thrash DoT)*15
  • Convert to Time: RPS = ((0.1*(1/(2.5/H)))+(0.1*(1/(1.5/H)))+(0.1*1/3))*15
  • Simplify (<3 Wolframalpha): RPS = 1.600005*(H+0.3125)
  • Sample PvP Data: RPS = 1.600005*(1.1143+0.3125) = 2.2828

We can see from the start that Galactic Guardian is nearly twice as good as Soul of the Forest before even considering the fact that GG also scales with the number of targets since it triggers per damaging event. That’s a little unfortunate. GG should be better, but not that much better. But what about Incarnation?

We know that for Rage generation purposes all Incarnation does is remove the CD from Mangle. However that also means you don’t generate any Gore procs because you aren’t pressing buttons other than Mangle (in terms of the best case survival scenario). So at best we’re talking about ((30/(1.5/H))*6)/180 or 2/3H RPS. That’s…..pretty bad in comparison to either of the other two talents. However Incarnation definitely has a redeeming quality in that it allows us to do huge burst DPS for cleave or AoE situations. That fact alone means it will likely see huge amounts of play in Mythic+ dungeon content.

Level 90 Talents

The gut reaction to this set of talents is going to be “why on earth would I ever use Earthwarden“? Well we know that Earthwarden is bad for any situation where incoming damage is split between more than one source, because each charge cannot apply to more than one damaging event whereas GoE would apply to all of them within the 2 second extension. So what we need to is compare the 2 second extension on some number of Ironfurs (since if you’re extending Mark of Ursol then GoE automatically wins) to one charge of Earthwarden.

In a 2 second window at 1.5s attack speed we’ll assume that for the best case scenario Ironfur will affect two attacks. Which means GoE has an equivalent of a 15% EH increase spread over two attacks. We know from using our sample data earlier that we’ll end up with an extra 2 seconds of ~1.2mil EHP, while GoE would grant ~400k for the same period of time. However if you’re able to also have one Ironfur up at the same time (which isn’t that unreasonable with full talents) that value jumps to ~675k which turns out slightly better than the additional 2 seconds of Ironfur, and that doesn’t include the starting 3 charges or the fact you will generate them faster than you would a new Ironfur. What does it all mean?

Take GoE for tanking more than one target, dual wielding targets, magic damage, or where self-healing is important. Earthwarden will probably perform better for you against a standard 1.5s (or slower) swing boss. Survival of the Fittest is merely for more cooldowns, similar to where you would have taken the old Bristling Fur. However you might find that it also performs very well in Mythic+ 5 person content.

Level 100 Talents

So that leaves us with the last talent tier, which is really easy to evaluate. We know that Lunar Beam heals for 24*AP total, however that value is also multiplied by Versatility, Crit, and our Mastery bonus. Using the sample data, we can easily generate a total heal of ~691,465. Unfortunately that only happens every 90 seconds. Healing for ~30% of your HP is no small thing, however consider Rend and Tear over the same period. For R&T to equal that, you only have to take (100(691,465))/6 or 11,524,420 over 90 seconds which is ~128,049 DTPS. That’s a pretty trivial number to reach in any kind of content. In all honesty I’d probably cut the cooldown of Lunar Beam in half for it to be a midpoint between R&T and what Pulverize will end up sitting at.

Speaking of Pulverize, it’s a complete waste of a talent at 8%. It needs to be at least 12% for anyone to consider taking it over R&T.

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.


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!


You can clearly see that Haste is far and away beating Crit already, and we haven’t even put any gear on.


At something similar to dungeon levels of gear Haste is still far-and-away killing Crit.


I feel like I’m just repeating myself here, but this is what it looks like at 1000 Haste and Crit rating.


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.


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.


It’s been a while since I’ve done a legitimate theorycrafting post. We’ve had everything in MoP figured out for so long that there hasn’t been much incentive to do anything further. However now that we’ve started getting information about Warlords, there’s new things we can do! But first, a story.

A while ago I wrote a little story about how I got into theorycrafting. Normally this wouldn’t be pertinent, but part of this story was about making sure things are accurate and how to do that. One of those ways is of course, to ask for someone to look at your work. Kind-of like proof-reading.

Something that you may also not know (well some of you will) is that while I’m pretty decent at algebra, I’m really terrible at calculus. So I’ve had people review my stuff before, and did so again today. Thankfully both Theck and Ahanss made sure I wasn’t totally off my rocker. Theck may have also implicitly questioned my intelligence (he’s my friend, he’s allowed). I kid, I kid.

In any case, I’m here to talk to you today about Guardian Rage generation in Warlords of Draenor. At least, what we know about it from the alpha patch notes. Well, the first half of it anyway.

Spreadsheets and Simulations

In the current iteration of Guardian development, there are two different distinct possible rotations: With and without Pulverize. Today’s post is going to focus on the latter, more simple version of this rotation. Now, before we get into anything specific it’s important to understand that the most accurate way to investigate this kind of thing is through simulations which replicate gameplay. However it’s very possible – and usually much easier – to get most of the way there using a simple spreadsheet. Enough in any case, to pick up on any potential problems that might occur as gear improves throughout an expansion.

You may have seen me mention on Twitter that I want to get into working on SimC. I originally thought I would simply re-teach myself Java and build my own simulator, but Theck convinced me otherwise. Until I manage to teach myself C++ (or whatever they use) to a degree that I’m able to do anything productive, I will approximate situations using spreadsheets as best I can. That’s what I’ve done here. In order to do that though, I made a few assumptions.

Assumptions of Play

The results I will describe shortly are based on a set of assumptions of how a Guardian would play while tanking a boss. These are:

Fortunately I can prove all of these assumptions – with a reasonable degree of accuracy – using math. First, we know that Thrash‘s duration is 16 seconds. We also know that the chance of not getting a Mangle proc on 2 consecutive Lacerates is 75%*75% = 56.25%. Bare nekkid our GCD is 1.42857 seconds (5% Haste raid buff). That gives us 16 / 1.42857 = 11.2 GCDs every 16 seconds, or almost 12. That means the chance of not being able to use a Thrash on the 3rd GCD after a Mangle is only around 3% ((1-0.5625)^4).

Second, we know that the RPS to maintain 100% SD uptime (for 42 seconds) is only 6.6666~ if you bank 100 Rage before swapping. Since Mangle and Lacerate together generate at least 10 RPS without considering Mangle procs (60/6) or Haste, then that is definitely possible. I also assume around 10% base Dodge from Agility, which is about what we had at the start of the expansion after suppression.

My third assumption is pretty obvious, since Mangle does the most damage and generates the most Rage. As is by extension, the fourth. The actual formula for calculating the number of Mangles is something I re-purposed from Helistar by removing the “miss” and changing it to a variable GCD based on Haste. We know this formula is accurate to at least 3 sig-figs because of Tangedyn’s simulations during MoP Beta.

The fifth and final assumption is implied from the wording of Primal Fury although never confirmed.


The “TLDR” version of the results is that we’re going to be swimming in Rage, and Crit is worse than Haste in the current build until you reach GCD cap. The longer version has a bit of exposition along with visual aids. For example, this is what the graph looks like when you are completely naked and only have raid buffs.


We start at just over 18 RPS with this rotation. To provide a relative example, this is approximately the same amount of RPS we have now in heroic SoO gear. The obvious difference between the two examples is that Tooth and Claw is now free. This liberates an absolutely huge amount of our Rage for Frenzied Regeneration. But what happens when we add around 500 Crit and 500 Haste, an amount you might attain in Warlords dungeon gear?


Haste is still better, and our base generation has grown to 19.5 RPS. What about 1000 Crit and 1000 Haste, something you might see in the first raid tier?


We’re nearly hitting 21 RPS, and Haste is still clearly the superior stat. But what if we choose to purely stack Haste, since it’s clearly objectively better than Crit?


Over 21.5 RPS, and Haste still generates more Rage than Crit until the GCD cap.


There are two very clear conclusions visible.

  1. Crit is objectively worse than Haste until GCD cap. Even if the two generated similar amounts of Rage, Haste would still win because of the mitigation benefit from Tooth and Claw, and the increased uptime of Ursa Major.
  2. We are potentially generating too much Rage simply by executing our rotation.

In order to fix (1) Crit needs to either generate substantially more Rage than Haste, or also contribute to our survival in some other manner. However even if you simply increase Crit’s contribute to the Rage pool, I’m not convinced that the additional benefits of Haste won’t continue to outweigh it. Especially given how much base Rage generation we have.

(2) is something that is impossible to evaluate without knowing what Blizzard’s targets are. The concept makes sense from a high level though. The higher our base Rage generation is, the more incentive we will have to seek out secondary stats that do not contribute to Rage generation. I’m just really worried that our base generation will be too high, especially after Tooth and Claw becomes free.

If you want to play with the SS yourself, the link is available under “The Maths Corner” above.

I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the sorts of changes that I’d like to see happen to Guardians in Warlords of Draenor. Most of this was admittedly triggered by Theck’s Post on his blog. While I will never be as witty as Theck – which admittedly would be pretty much impossible – but I can be sort of blunt and endearing in my own way. Of course a thread got started on this topic before I had a chance to get my real thoughts out there, but what the hey. It’s my site (not really) and I’ll do what I want.

Basically this is going to be a thought vomit post. I have no real structure planned, more just covering topics as they appear in my brain. In any case, let’s get started!

Mastery and Damage Smoothing

Damage smoothing is one of those odd properties that’s never really been a problem in 10H, but has consistently been a problem in 25H until Siege of Orgrimmar. Guardians have always been the tank that scales the least as content increases, since we have no percentage based damage reduction beyond armor. We have really strong base mitigation, but preform poorly against encounters that either ignore it, or have some sort of mechanic that drastically increases incoming damage throughout the encounter. Solving this problem is approached from several directions:

  • Consolidation to 1 raid size (Mythic 20man).
  • New Mastery.
  • Adjustments to Tooth and Claw.

The first change is obviously already happening. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that we’re getting a new Mastery in Warlords. But what could this Mastery look like? First we should look at some of the requirements for a tank Mastery specifically:

  • Plays into active mitigation abilities.
  • Scales with content.
  • Physical damage reduction only.
  • Functions as a “damage smoothing” mechanic.
  • Guaranteed damage reduction.

The current +armor Mastery meets 4 of those requirements, but fails the “active mitigation” test. So how would we fix it? Having it affect Savage Defense and/or Frenzied Regen doesn’t meet all of those requirements so it would have to be something new. Well what about Tooth and Claw? What if some incarnation of it became our Mastery? Consider the following:

  • Tooth and Claw no longer triggers from outgoing melee attacks.
  • Tooth and Claw now procs when you take non-AoE physical damage.
  • When active, Tooth and Claw reduces the Rage cost of Maul to 0, and resets the CD on Maul. Lasts 15 seconds and expires when Maul is next used.
  • When Tooth and Claw is applied to a target it reduces single-target physical damage dealt by the target by Y% for X (probably 3) seconds, increased by Mastery.

Something like this solves multiple problems with one – admittedly large – stone. Obviously there are a number of possible permutations for a new Mastery, but this is just something that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while.

For what it’s worth Mastery will also have to increase our damage output in the new “Tanks are 75% of a DPS” paradigm. Easy way to do that? Make it increase bleed damage just like Feral. Done.

Rage Generation

There are a few items that fall under this umbrella. The first thing I want to discuss is how the overwhelming majority – more than 75% – of our RPS comes passively from autoattacks. That isn’t fun to me. Something like the Warrior model where you press buttons to generate Rage makes more sense. Pressing Mangle is exciting because you know when you’re going to get Rage. Unless you have an autoattack timer you’re really just buttclenching until more Rage shows up. So if we were to remove Rage generation from autoattacks, where would it go?

We also have these other pretty iconic Guardian bleeds – Lacerate and Thrash. Lacerate stacks to 3, for no real reason anymore other than damage. What if there was a more important benefit? What if it increased Rage generation somehow? What if bleed ticks generated Rage? While also being sort of passive, it also requires action on the part of the player rather than just making sure you have a target, that it’s in front of you, and within range.

This means that Thrash would likely need to go back to its original 6 second duration for Guardians, which is fine really. You already use it that often in AoE anyway, and it would make the single target rotation more interesting. An alternative is to bring back Pulverize in some form, although that may be drifting too far into the realm of “maintenancey buff” that players generally don’t like.

The second item that’s primarily Rage generation related is the purpose of Enrage. It just doesn’t feel important beyond the first raid tier of an expansion. Sure you use it sometimes but a fixed value Rage ability isn’t very fun. What if it instead increased Rage generation for a period of time? Basically I’m talking about changing it into the 4t15 set bonus, maybe even a direct replacement. It would make sense to take it off the GCD at that point – I mean heck it should be off the GCD already anyway.

Global Cooldown

Probably the change that I want the most is a normalization of the GCD to 1 second for all tanks. A 1.5s GCD as a tank is an eternity, and I’m always jealous of Protection Paladins and Brewmaster Monks and their short GCD. Having played Feral and a high-haste caster in the past, it just feels much more fluid to me. This would have a secondary effect of making Rage generation more granular, which would be great improvement to the very “blocky” implementation we have now especially at really high Crit levels.

Of course if we go down to a 1 second GCD, it goes without saying that the cooldowns on Lacerate, Maul, and Swipe would need to be removed.

Vengeance and Cat Form

This is kind of a braindead change, but since Vengenace will no longer grant Attack Power, there’s no reason to have it be cleared when you shift into Cat Form. This makes Displacer Beast substantially more attractive as a Guardian, not to mention things like Dash and HotW Cat DPS.


Dear god. Please, please, please, please, please fix Force of Nature. It’s a simple 2-step change:

  1. Make them scale off of weapon damage and attack power.
  2. Make them re-taunt their current target when they lose aggro instead of YOUR DAMN CURRENT TARGET. This has caused me no end in frustration.

Boom. Done. Force of Nature fixed.

What do you think? Anything in particular you want to see changed? Definitely check out the thread linked above for more detailed discussion.

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.