Friday, April 17, 2009

Holy and Disc Priests in 3.1

I'm going to try something out here, please do tell me if this is of any interest or any use to whomever still happens to have this bookmarked.

Now, as I suspect you know, I've moved on to raiding on my priest and so I've been working on healing specs for the patch. Especially Holy has changed quite a bit, and there's plenty of pitfalls where raidhealers may end up taking talents which don't support their raidhealing. Also, Disc has become a great tank-healing spec, and every 25man raid should include one, or look to recruit one.

Now, as I said Holy is ever more clearly the raid healer, and as such we've started eliminating everything that's not boosting your raidhealing and come up with this spec. There's a couple of talents most priests would gawk at, and most raid leaders too. Gheal has always been a staple of priest healing, and so people have always used talents such as Divine Fury and Improved Healing, but as we're specializing gheal is a spell that should be removed from the Holy Priest arsenal. Instead for spot-healing flash heal and renew are the tools to be used. But then why not take talents like Empowered Healing and Surge of Light? Because spot-healing still has a very low priority in raid healing. Both of these talents are optional, but you need to realize flash heal should be a rather small percentage of your healing done.

So then what's going to make up the larger part of your healing? Prayer of Healing is the new king being capable of putting out around 10k heal per target when glyphed, and should probably make up close to 40% of your healing done(preliminary numbers, depends on encounters also). Circle of healing is the quick-fix raidheal to be cast when off cooldown. Prayer of Mending should always be on cooldown as well. Renew is the fourth spell of choice, mainly for keeping up Holy Concentration.

A controversial choice is Spell Warding which serves to make your holy priests a bit less squishy on progression content. This is obviously something which can be dropped for farm content as is seen fit. The completely optional talents are as follows:
-Inspiration 3/3 which has some merit as it can proc off both PoH and CoH
-Healing Prayers if mana is an issue
-Surge of Light for some extra free spothealing with a good uptime since again it procs off your aoe-heals
-Lightwell which is situational although quite good if your raid knows how to use it
-Body and Soul an unconventional choice although with some potential synergy with the 4pT8 setbonus as well as some interesting uses f.ex. on XT-002 Light Bomb and Gravity Bomb
-Empowered Healing if you find yourself wanting to cast more Flash heals than you really should or using Binding Heal a lot(great ability, but way too situational to merit it).

Personally I'd probably pick up the last point of inspiration for progression content, healing prayers for mana longevity and lightwell to help with the healing when possible. Body and Soul may be a worthy option for one priest in the raid, though I don't see much reason for more than one healer to pick this up.

I'll hope to get some writing done on Disc spec soon to round this off.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A quick share

Seeing as how quite a few have been doubting my concerns for Druid tanking in Ulduar, here it is from Tun of Ensidia. My concerns do differ from his, although the lack of cooldowns was always an issue I was aware of it wasn't my primary concern. Figured I'd share the bad news incase someone still happened to read it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The end.

It's the end of the line for me as regards to this blog I think.

Our guilds current roster(4 excellent rogues and 2 feral druids) is  looking very heavy on leather users going into Ulduar. Additionally we'll be adding another feral druid to our ranks in the next few days, a close friend who will probably take over as primary bear druid. Myself I offered some weeks ago that incase of this going through I would be able to switch over to my alt(Priest) and create a layer of redundancy for us in terms of Shadow Priests. Therefore my attention will no longer primarily be on feral druids.

I'll prolly continue to play feral as a alt.

Thanks to whomever's been reading and commenting, good luck with future raids and content.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Of the Nightfall..again! :)

Mchester just got his first title, going straight from not having ran sarth with any adds on it to healing 10man S3D, quite a difference. Hardest part was getting used to combining spamhealing with watching out for the voidzones, but it worked out ok.

Sarth was tanked by Elumarom, feral druid. He eaven survived a mega-breath without a cooldown on him, just pom+shield and full HP. All in all, was a very fullfilling experience :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Common sense testing of SD

Savage Defense reads as follows:
Each time you deal a melee critical strike, you gain Savage Defense, reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack that strikes you by 25% of your attack power.

What does this not do?
-It does not mitigate magical damage.
-It does not proc if the target is immune to attacks.
-It can not proc while you are stunned or incapacitated.
-Scale with incoming damage.

What does this do?
-Crit% chance to proc a one-time damage reduction equal to 25% of AP.
-This works out to about 40% chance for current gear and around 1500-1700 damage reduced(equivalent to block for paladin or warrior).
-Our combined swingtimer of swipe+maul is about 8 attacks every 7.5 seconds before factoring in haste. This means we're dealing with a about 1.0 swingtimer when correcting for lag.
-It takes on average 2.5 seconds to get a crit against a single target based on these assumptions.
-1500/2.5=600 damage reduced per second on average.
-Multiple mobs will increase the uptime of SD, but never beyond our combined swingtimer, so at best it will reduce damage by 1500 per second.

When will it be good?
-Trash tanking when dealing with a relatively small amount of mobs. More mobs increases the uptime, but beyond having 2.5 mobs(2.5*0.4=1.00=100% chance to crit on atleast one mob every second) there is litle gain. Multiple mobs infact simply scale the unmitigated portion of attacks since when working properly, SD is only intended to block one such attack, regardless of size, for the given amount(1500 low end estimate).
-2.5 second swingtimer boss hitting for less than 37.5k(15k DPS)(based on assumption of 12% protector of the pack and 30k armor post-3.1 as opposed to 37k armor pre-3.1 vs. a lvl83 mob which is a reduction of mitigation from ~73% to ~69%).
-Faster swingtimer reduces the portion of attacks SD reduces, balancing out at 15k DPS for a 1.0 swingtimer being the highest 1.0 DPS for which SD is beneficial.
-Basicly, as long as the physical damage portion of the fight does not go beyond 15k DPS SD is a buff.

When will it not be good?
-Extremely fast swingtimer/multiple sources of very small(less than 4.8k unmitigated) physical attacks.
-Slow, hard hitting bosses.
-Bosses for which physical DPS portion is over 15k.

Logic. Pretty great isn't it?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rebuttal of "Exhaustive Tank Comparison"

This post is aimed at being a counter-point to Parris analysis of the state of tanks, which some have already pointed out quite aptly should have been renamed ”The problems of block scaling”. Firstly as has been noted, the analysis only deals with the mitigation of physical damage. This means the results say nothing about the current disparity in magic damage mitigation. The reason this is a problem is that he attacks druid health quite hard in the post, whilst conveniently bypassing the reason druids were given such large healthpools, namely their lack of magical mitigation. As he later points out, mitigation always scales superior to something which is essentially a fixed number, such as healthpools are, as they are dependent on gear in the same way that block is.

Parri states clearly that the reason high magical burst encounters are not included is that he considers them gimmicks. He instead opts for a 20k dps physical boss, starting with a 1.0 swingtimer and ending with a 2.5 swingtimer. This sounds quite reasonable, but upon closer inspection the swings have increases to 50k per hit by the time he reaches his 2.5 swingtimer. Furthermore he boosts the incoming damage to clarify the disparity, ending up with a boss hitting for pure physical damage at 75k per hit. That, my dear friends, is a gimmick fight that favours scaling mitigation and avoidance. Pure and simple, what at first seems a reasonable test has turned into a biased attack on high-armor classes.

A more reasonable approach is to assume a far lower amount of physical damage, as any purely physical boss, as has been shown, turns into a gimmick as the swingtimer increases(or, indeed, decreases, as block mitigates a larger and larger amount of ever more frequent hits). Therefore a more reasonable test of tanks physical damage capabilities would be a more restricted(1.0-2.0) swingtimer boss who's physical damage contribution is something in the range of 10-15k dps and where magic makes up for the rest of the damage. Now if we ignore the magical damage portion and focus on the physical portion, we'll find block fairing quite a bit better and I suspect overall the DTPS numbers would be within Blizzards guidelines of viability.

At this time I'll appoligize, I'm more theoretically inclined as opposed to empirical. However, I believe Parri's analysis provides enough proof for me to state that perhaps a more theoretical approach is overall better, as empirical evidence only tells us about specific circumstances which can easily be manipulated and influenced by personal bias.

As some have also pointed out, the analysis was made before the inclusion of recent DK/Druid nerfs, and these will change the outcome to some extent. In particular for druids as we've incurred two scaling nerfs, it is quite possible that our advantages on even the gimmick side of slow hard hitting bosses will have been cut quite a bit. Whilst I wouldn't argue this is unfair at this time, the coupling of armor and hp nerfs is in no way compensated by a mechanic such as SD, and furthermore we're in a very bad place now in terms of surviving high magic bursts. Needless to say that the polar set was a gimmick that is unlikely to be useful for any future fights, as it coupled high magic damage bursts with low physical damage and no requirements on TPS.

Furthermore whilst Parri shows off avoidance great ability to lower DTPS, no mention is given to the fact that druids are at a point where further scaling is hindered whilst the more diversified parry+dodge classes will still be able to continue scaling in T8 gear.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Screenshots? Whaddamahuh?

I realize I've been a bit quiet recently about the direction druids are taking on the PTR, barring a few posts in ThinkTank, it's still a bit hard to say what's going on, but my feelings aren't overly optimistic. However, my GL found this the other day, which may be of interest for those of us trying to figure out where we stand for the future. I'd point out that the test inherrently favours armour-heavy classes, so druid doing somewhat decently needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since that's supposed to the precisely the encounter we'd shine in.

Now, on to more pressing matters. I've been tagged.

Now, I've recently been playing around with my UI and most my screenshots are of just that, and I've decided to include a picture of that a bit further down, but the 6th picture requested turns out to be something quite different:

So that's Shamad standing on thin air. Techniqually I noticed you could just abuse the spear hanging over Dun Niffelem and by positioning the camera correctly get a pic in which the spear doesn't show at all. Sometimes it pays to fool around in the game, clearly.

And this is what my UI looks like at this time. Not too complicated, I'm still a bit iffy about the positioning of some elements of DBM as those are used only when needed. Also looking into prettying up the buttons on Bartdender, and maybe changing the look of my Pitbull bars. I recently also changed from using CT_viewport to Sunn Viewportart, just for the looks really. All in all, a very functional and clear UI, although I really do wish I could get the memory footprint down a bit.

This also brings back memories of when my gf was still playing(she played a druid), and as she had just gotten her bearform and was hanging out in Crossroads, there was another bear sitting at the entrance to the inn. Now, naturally I walked her bear over and sat myself next to the other, and called out into the notorious Barrens chat for another bear to come join us. I wonder how many people are aware that the entrance to Crossroads in is exactly the width of 3 bears sitting next to each other. Sadly, the screenshot has since been lost.

ps. I hope to get some time soon to go over some things to do with the coming major content patch and what you and your guild might want to consider doing, from a organisational standpoint, to prepare for Ulduar.

[Edit]A slight contribution that I stole off of my GL(hi rinku!)[/Edit]