Monday, June 15, 2009

Raiding 101: Boot Enchants

About a month ago Arawethion (aka Hamlet) started a new beginners guide on the Elitist Jerks forums. Most of it is pretty straight forward, but there is one line that I am sure has confused quite a few people:
Boots - Run speed/15 stam. Run speed/9 stam is a cheaper option until you need the HP.
Most new raiders would assume that Icewalker is the best Moonkin boot enchant. This is understandable because it provides two DPS stats and is very cheap.

I'm not trying to call anyone a noob here, because I used this enchant at one time also. When I pull up the armory profile of several prominent moonkin I see that some of them still use it as well. The benefits of the Icewalker enchant are clear and reasonable, but the Moonkin that use it are missing an opportunity to pick up a little utility that they can't really find many other places. So in this post I want to try and look at the benefits that each enchant provides so you can choose the enchant that makes sense for you.

First, lets look at what you gain from the Icewalker enchant. With this enchant you gain 12 Hit rating and 12 Crit rating. It's great for early raiding because you may not be at the cap yet, and raid bosses are a little simpler. However, if you think about it, you may realize it is a pretty weak enchant. Just look at the two stats it provides

Hit rating is a really good stat, but you need it in limited quantities. Many Moonkin I know are looking for ways do decrease their Hit rating since we get so much hit chance from talents and we have a lot on our tier gear. So, for many moonkin that extra 12 hit is useless. Even if you do need a little extra it is just as easy to socket a Veiled or Rigid gem instead.

Realistically it is impossible to cap Crit Chance, but Crit rating is one of the weakest stats for Moonkin and only gets weaker as your Crit Chance grows. An extra 12 Crit rating will have very little impact on your over all DPS.

Tuskar's Vitality:
The benefit of the 15 stam is obvious. The additional health is always helpful, but that is not the reason why you should consider this enchant. The 8% speed increase is a fairly unique quality that can have a significant impact on your raid performance in terms of survivability and DPS.

1. Survivability: Take a quick look at the raids in Ulduar and you will see many opportunities where a little extra speed could be helpful.

Flame Leviathan: Getting back to your vehicle if your a launchie.
Razorscale: Getting out of the fire.
XT-002 Deconstructor: Moving away from the group when you get Searing Light or Gravity Bomb.
Iron Councel: Avoiding Lightning Tendrils and/or Rune of Death.
Kologarn: Avoiding the Eye Beams.
Auriaya: Avoiding Void Zones and grouping back up after a fear.
Freya: Avoiding a lot of different damaging abilities.
Hodir: Avoiding Icicles and jumping on drifts.
Thorim: Avoiding Lightning Charge and more stuff in hard mode.
Mimiron: Tons of stuff to avoid in normal mode and more on hard mode.
General Vezax: Avoiding Shadow Crashes and Mark of the Faceless.
Yogg: Getting together for Brain Link or avoiding Death Ray.

That is 12 out of the 13 main bosses in Ulduar where a little extra speed can help you survive. I know that it is completely possible to survive these things without the speed boost, but none of us are perfect. We all have had that moment when things seem to be going a little crazy and you see the void zone spawn under you a little late. So it is possible to survive without it, but it will help you to recover from those small mistakes that we all make.

2. DPS: I'm not going to make a big list like I did for survivability, but there is a lot of movement in the Ulduar Boss fights. Unfortunately for Moonkin, there is very little we can do for DPS while we are moving. We don't have a lot of instants. We don't have an auto attack. Typically, if we are moving we are not DPSing. Therefore it is extremely important to get to our next spot as quickly as possible.

It is really hard to quantify how the extra speed will translate into DPS, cause it won't always mean you get an extra spell cast off, but there will be those times when you get a spell of right before you have to move that you wouldn't have gotten if you had gotten to that spot .2 seconds later.

Now that you know the benefits of a speed boost some of you may be asking "why do I have to sacrifice DPS stats to get it? Can't I get it another way?"

Yes, there are other ways to get a speed boost, but they have issues that make the Boot Enchant more attractive. First off, Unlike some other specs Moonkin don't have any talents that increase our run speed. If you want this buff you have to get it from gear or raid buffs. You could get it from Aspect of the Pack, but that has a down side of getting stunned and would seriously hurt your Hunter's DPS. You could also get it by gemming a [Tireless Skyflare Diamond], but picking up the speed boost this way would really hurt your DPS. Since the Icewalker Enchant is fairly weak comparatively then this is a perfect place to pickup the minor speed increase.

TL:DR Version:

Taking the Icewalker Enchant is not a bad way to go, but many high level raiders choose to go a different way. The DPS increases gained from the Icewalker Enchant are fairly small, and you could gain more survivability that is not really available without the Tuskar's Vitality boot enchant. There is so much damage to be avoided in Ulduar that a little extra speed can mean the difference between life and death, and a dead moonkin can't DPS.

P.S. Just in case anyone is wondering. The Greater Vitality enchant shouldn't even be considered in this debate. Mana is not a concern and 6 MP5 is very minor even if you do have mana issues.


Macbook said...

I might be wrong, but for some reason I was under the impression that the +speed meta gem didn't work while in moonkin form...I remember having it a long time ago when I was a noobkin and I noticed I only moved faster in caster form, and the speed benefit went away when I shifted to moonkin form.

Who knows.

At any rate, interesting point here, but I don't think I am ready to shift just yet. I am typically not one dying to boss mechanics anyways, and while +12 crit may be somewhat negligible (and the hit useless), I'm not sure I'm convinced just yet.

StaggerLee said...

Thanks for this.

I read the thread on EJ, and when I saw the recommended boot enchant I was a bit: "lolwut?".

I got the picture as I read along tho, but I think the OP could do the thread a favor by linking to this post.

Since I changed around and took healing as main-spec, I can not claim to have an easy time hitting the hit-requirement (get it? hitting the hit ... ), but I am now convinced that it will be the first enchant that gets changed.

Thanks again.

sonak said...

In WoW there's some trends, and this boot enchant thing is clearly a trend :).

I have changed my boots enchant on 3 of my characters (balance druid, DK tank and shaman heal) last weeks reaching the very same conclusion you reached.

I saw 2 days after a lots of discussion on elitistjerks aout the very same thing.

Anyway for me : icewalker is really better for low level raider (naxx) but tuskar is really better once you have your hit cap.

Like lots of DPS I am fighting AGAINST hit actually ! (on my hunter and on my druid)

Unknown said...

If you are more than 12 points above your hit-cap and can't switch a gem or item to lower you hit and otherwise improve your stats it might actually be a good idea to get this speed enchant.
Although I have to say it is not really as useful as described by you. There are only 3 or 4 fights that really benefit from this. Heigan, Hodir, Vezax and Yogg-Saron Phase 1 (to avoid the green clouds).
In every other fight in Ulduar it is really useles and doesn't benefit your dps or give you a real advantage. Casters still need a good boot enchant they can use. Icewalker still is the only option, although it is very weak

Anonymous said...

Coming from someone thats 80 points over the hit cap, Engineers Nitro Boosts grant 16 crit, and they're freaking rocket boots to boot. I run those and the parachute cloak enchant(18sp), the cloak has saved my life on FL, he tends to eject everyone with no parachute on death, everyone dies but me.

Bullkin US-Eitrigg

Slardar said...

I'm glad you made a topic about this, with the way our gear is built around Icewalker is close to useless, and the only other viable enchant is of course Tuskar.

@Grisan: Getting to the next possible "Safe-zone" in any fight or situation just equates to casting faster and actually doing Dps. There's alot of movement in majority of Ulduar fight's which don't favor us at all. Getting out of said Aoe/Debuff/Whatever all the faster regardless of your reaction time just end's up being golden. In any case our end-game Gear setup is just loaded with hit, losing 12 HR shouldn't phase you once you hit the higher bracket of gear, and 12CR is whatever. The transition from boot enchant is for high end-game geared Moonkins, otherwise you'll need IceW.

Maestro said...

I'm kinda with macbook on this. I use the Icewalker to reach my hit cap (and spill a little over). It feels to me like the speed boost enchant will only encourage people to try to cast that one last spell before moving which more often than not results in them not getting out of the way. I've found that, with the exception of Yogg brain link and FL where your driver might have his head lodged somewhere, every damage type listed there can be minimized or avoided by having more awareness. On a rune of death you might take one less tick, but it would be hard to say.

On the whole, I would say that if you can get ANY use out of the hit on Icewalker, that would be the enchant to use. Otherwise you're losing 12 crit rating and 10 SP per gem to regem for a hit/sp gem.

Tilde said...

I definitely see the point to dropping Icewalker once you're hit capped. Right now with my current configuration I'm sitting at 257 hit *with* Icewalker, so I can't afford to lose it.

At various times over the past few weeks though(I'm a new boomkin getting a sick number of upgrades, heh) I have found myself thinking that Icewalker wasn't so great. Twelve crit is almost nothing, and when you're sitting 20 or 30 over the cap it's almost insulting :P

But I never die to a lack of situational awareness. I always stop casting in favor of moving out of whatever effect is incoming because a dead boomkin does 0 DPS. I can see how the extra speed *could* equate to more DPS, but how much more than 12 crit?

Don't forget you have Barkskin too - that has a much better chance of saving your life than another 9 or 15 stamina.

Either way, the options are decidedly meh. Where is our spell power enchant? :P I appreciate your layout of the options, though. Many times experts just pass down something as a given when the reality is a lot more nuanced.

Anonymous said...

Keep Icewalker while PVEing. Extra run speed over any type of dps increase, regardless of how lame Icewalker is, is laughable.

Please stop giving knuckleheaded advice to the Boomkin Community.

Tuskar's, however, is awesome for PVP.

Tilde said...

I wouldn't exactly call more mobility 'laughable', especially when you're already stacked with crit and hit capped.

I've seen plenty of people get caught right at the edge of a snow pile during Hodir. If they were more mobile they'd have made it and averted a wipe.

If you know your situational awareness isn't the greatest, or if you have frame rate issues then maybe the extra mobility and health is more beneficial than another 2 or 3% crit rating.

Graylo said...


I hadn't heard that before, but the speed meta gem is such a massive waste of a meta gem slot that I don't think it really matters.

@Most of the commentors,

I understand where most of the disagreement comes from. Icewalker may be weak, but it is easy to measure. The value of Tuskar's is very situational. Some fights its great other fights like Patchwerk it is completely useless. When it does help it is hard to show that it helped. It would be difficult to point to a spell and say "I wouldn't have gotten that spell off if I didn't have the boot enchant," or to point to another point in a fight and say "I would have died there with out the boot enchant."

On top of that, nobody wants to admit that they make stupid mistakes at times or get caught napping. I've seen very skilled players eat a void zone because they were focused on something else for a split second. So, when I see comments like "I never eat a void zone" I'm very skeptical. Everyone makes mistakes even if they are rare.

If you don't think Tuskar's will help you that much, then don't use it. However, acting like it is useless is a bit stupid. When you have chance go look at the armory's of the top raiding guilds. Look at which one thier casters choose. I think you might be surprised by how many choose Tuskars.

Tilde said...

I agree with you for the most part Graylo - we all make mistakes. Although DBM and other such mods are getting better at the "Get ur chicken butt out of there before it's fried!" type messages. If you run a boss mod, you've got to be *really* zoned out (like staring at squawk and awe, hehe) to die from a lot of things these days.

I think discounting Tuskar's entirely is silly - at least you can make use of the entire enchant, unlike Icewalker.

Unknown said...

Very nice discussion. I think everyone has a valid point. Icewalker is a good enchant, the crit part is weak but the hit part is really helpful. Even with T8 level gear the enchant often helps to stay hitcapped while being able to wear a better ring, necklace, offhand etc.
It is of course true that the unique utility of tuskars vitality is worth taking if you don't need the hit-rating. However the biggest benefit the enchant gives you is saving a few seconds when running to the boss after a wipe. However thinking it will be a real dps gain is pretty naive. The dps gain will be lower than the normal devation caused by bad luck, latency, small distractions or a sack of rice falling over in china.
Also it might encourage plaayers to risky bahaviour because they think they can run faster now. Maestro pointed this out in his blog . He also gives a nice analysis of the dps impact both of the enchant might have.

Anonymous said...

Is there any reason why you aren't considering spirit enchant at all? I'd think that with recent improved moonkin boost 30% of spirit converted to sp along with mana regen might be nice. No?

Anonymous said...


I am hard-pressed to believe that a speed boost this slight (and let's face it, it is very tiny) would have any sort of effect in a fight that "Paying Attention"(tm) wouldn't be better for.

If you're hit-capped then fine. But I think you would get more out of a spirit chant than just having more stam and a tiny more run speed.

I guess I need proof that more than the merest split-second of a blink of your eyes would be made up for by the speed chant. Has anyone done a comparison or wws on having spirit over having speed yet? 18 spi adds 3 bonus healing in ToL form as well.

TL:DR in programming we (hopefully) learn to not optimize an algorithm until you choose the proper one first...this applies here. Until you are *absolutely* a PERFECT player then I believe this tiny speed boost will do nothing for your dps while raiding. More crit is *much* more useful in a measurable way!

Seurat said...

This debate has been around forever, and will continue to be, since there really is no way to plug 8% movement speed into a spreadsheet with any consistent accuracy.

Ultimately it comes down to how/when/how often you move. Obvious, I know. I break it down to two types of movement- major movements and minor movements. Major movements are the ones a lot of people are focusing on- covering the 5-10 yards during Heigan's safety dance, the 0-30 yards to get to a crash/green thing during Vezax, or to a snow mound on Hodir, etc. Or chasing the boss after the tank repositions him. These are the moments where moving has a direct and arguably measurable impact on your survivability or DPS. And is also where the 8% movement speed is, arguably, least noticeable/valuable. Because you've already stopped DPSing and you're going to move as far as you need to move, no matter how long it takes.

The second type of movement, what I'm calling a minor movement, is the little 'stolen' steps that you can (though not everybody does) take- during a GCD for instance, or inbetween nukes (latency allowing). I look at this as 'free' movement since it has no impact on DPS uptime. I use this free movement constantly- every IS, every Treant, every Moonfire. My view is that there's always a 'better' place that I could be standing as the fight evolves. Whether it's farther away from someone next to me, or closer to a healer, or closer to where the tank will be moving the boss, or farther out to max range, etc. It's the difference between DPSing then having to stop and run back into range (major movement, and a DPS loss) or already having 'cheated' my way into the new range, so that no major movement is needed.

It's on these minor movements where I can really feel the impact of having or not having a run speed enchant. You can even 'see' it in action yourself. Find a place with a grid on the ground and 'tap' a movement key for about a second. With speed boots on, and without. You'll see a noticeable difference in the distance travelled, or at least I do.

So what? So the more 'major' movements you can replace with free 'minor' movements, the more survivable you'll be, and the more DPS uptime you'll have. The run speed enchant increases the effectiveness of those minor movements, meaning the more of them you take, the more value you'll get from that enchant over the course of an encounter.

But if you're the type of player who basically sets down roots and doesn't move until you really have to (zero or few minor movements) then no, run speed enchants probably aren't worth it for you. That's a far cry from making them intrinsically 'worthless' though.

Anonymous said...

Hi all and hi Gray

Im Engi, and by this time you proly know what i will ask :) I have been running around with a speed ench for a while now. And it feels great, for me it works like a charm to have some extra speed. The thing is, im considering to put Nitro Boost on my PvE set. Any opinions on this? Think ill be running it annyways for a while and see how it feels...

Ipit, Lightbringer EU

Philipp Smirnov said...

Here are some math. If you move 4 sec per min you could do it in 3.7 sec per min with enchant. 0.3 sec per min of dps time is +0.5% dps increase i am to lazy to do math for icewalker but it shouldn't give you such dps. So Vitality is better.

Fayrmune said...

What about the spirit enchant? Wouldn't a bit more spellpower be more beneficial than stamina?

Ambermist said...

Everyone who knows me at all knows that math and I aren't friends. That being said, I do know numbers well enough to know that I've been over hit-capped for a while, and I felt very much like I was losing something by it. I've been thinking of replacing Icewalker with Tuskarr's for a while but couldn't quite go through with it.

I'm interested in how the Spirit vs. Tuskarr's discussion will turn out, but I'll definitely be changing my enchant in the meantime.