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.


  • Skruff says:

    So to get Crit closer to Haste, how about something like Primal Fury generates 10 Rage on Crits of non-periodic YELLOW attacks and dodges. Obviously the amount of rage could vary, but it keeps the emphasis on the Crit while reducing a little on Haste by eliminating the auto-attack Crit. (Also, you mentioned that T&C generates rage when it Crits. I assume you mean the Maul generates rage when it Crits due to Primal Fury, correct?)

    Next, maybe T&C could proc from 100% of auto-attack Crits instead of 40% of auto-attacks. It may not push Haste down, but it should boost Crit up, no?

    • Ahanss says:

      Taking PF off melee swings actually makes crit worse relative to haste. It would mean haste increases rage gained from melee swings, while crit wouldn’t.

      If you play with the spreadsheet a little, that PF number needs to be ~20-25 rage per crit to break even with haste… which is ridiculous, and why the idea of crit doing something else as well is there. PF would need to be a huge portion of our rage, even at low crit rates, for crit to be a competitive stat, which would make us annoyingly crit dependent. We’ll have plenty of chances to proc PF so it should even out pretty well, but it still might be annoying.

      The T&C thing is just because regular mauls cost rage, so don’t really make sense to include in an RPS spreadsheet. Really I only brought that up because it’s a small thing that could benefit crit; makes it only about 4 times worse than haste instead of about 5 times worse, whee!

  • Okakeri says:

    The haste vs crit thing is also changed by the currently datamined values for next expansion at level 100(, haste is 80 rating for 1% haste, crit is 110 rating for 1% crit. Crit is thus quite a bit more expensive then haste. Not only that, but if our estimated rage gen value is so high without ANY stats (SD can be used on CD, and we can use a 60 rage FR once per 5 seconds), it will be better to go MS/Readiness/Mastery as a bear tank. (Readiness currently affects Might of Ursoc, Barkskin, Survival Instincts (Our primary defenisve CDs, as well as Berserk and Stampeding Roar. Berserk also translates into more rage, so CDR is also a rage-generation stat, although harder to quantify).

    Hopefully they will give us a version of Riposte, so that crit gives, maybe 75% of its value to dodge as well. That would probably be enough to bring its value up to Haste % for %, if not rating for rating.

    • Arielle Arielle says:

      Well, those are the values I used anyway :)

      A “reverse-riposte” would do a lot to make Crit more valuable. It even sorta thematically fits with a Guardian as well. That’s a pretty neat idea.

      Haste is incredibly valuable in its own right since it lowers the GCD, increases Rage generation, provides more mitigation via T&C, and increases MS uptime. Crit is just the one that loses completely compared to the other stats.

  • Panckes says:

    With haste vs crit being tabled until any future changes (haste clearly being better), I wonder how MS/mastery/readiness weigh in as far as mitigation and EH. I would love a haste/readiness build to be the ideal as it seems like the most engaging build personally. Although with the change to T&C and SI having two charges I feel like readiness will be underwhelming, we already have a significant number of options that are frequently available to us.

    What about a bonus armor/mastery/multistrike build? If we end up with a safe level of rage coming almost naturally do you see it being possible to bolster our dps along with our EH from ursa major/primal tenacity/armor?

    What I’d like to hear is your thoughts on a stat priority with our current set of information.


    • Arielle Arielle says:

      It’s impossible to tell really. Right now, we place almost no value on EH beyond what happens to be on our gear. I feel like the idea is that EH will be more valuable with the new healing paradigm, as it will give your healers more time to recover. With tank healing becoming a “thing” again (theoretically), that’s entirely a possibility.

      But we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Panckes says:

    I feel the same way. I think (hope) that we’ll be judged by our ability to reduce and heal our incoming damage. It seems so far blizz has done a decent job making each secondary beneficial to our survival. Unfortunately it does seem that self healing is going to trump mitigation as it scales with our resolve unlike the ursa major buff or any bonus armor. The mastery absorb being the only other ability that scales with content feels too spiky with a single target and worthless against a group or any magic damage. I’m just hoping we don’t see the same maintain SD and then FR when you take a hit.


  • Satrion says:

    I think the easier way to balance haste vs crit is to reduce the rage gain from mangle and lacerate. It lowers our base rage gen (which is likely too high) and devalues haste. Maybe a combination of that and increased rage from crit would work.

  • Drayen says:

    Honestly, I think with the new healing model… our self-heals will be used a lot more than just “ohshit im low hp”, which would make sense as to why we get so much more basic rage generation… Thus our AM is reduce as much damage as you can from SD + Maul procs, and heal yourself like crazy with the rest, making sure you dont waste rage that could go in SD.

    As for crit, i dont think its that good of a design to have two stats give rage generation.. though they could work in a synergy with eachother. purely making crit simialr to riposte would be bad becasue we have savage defense, unless its a seriously toned down version.. but then it would look bad, and i dont think blizzard wants that either.

    At any rate, i expect rage gen nerfs, but i wouldnt mind having a better basic rage generation.

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