Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Odds and Ends

Patch 4.0.1 is a week old, and there seem to be lot of little things to talk about. The game is always a little frustrating after a big patch, but 4.0.1 was especially big and was particularly frustrating for me. I'll get more into that later, but lets take a look at the big topics of the week.

My Gear list:

I've said this a couple of places before, but I keep getting questions so I will say it again. No, I am not updating my gear list for patch 4.0.1.

I realize that the patch changed the way we gear quite a bit. However, I don't think it's worth the effort for several reasons. First, Cataclysm is going to be released in less then two months, and very little progression raiding will be done during that time. Second, it's not a simple matter of changing the weights and getting rid of the cloth gear. The stats on all of it changed to some extent, and would require a lot of data entry. Third, if you made the right choices before the patch most of your choices after the patch will be the same.

I realize that some of you like a clear and decisive list to go by, but I can't provide that to you at this time. Though here are a few simple rules you can follow that should help you make your choices along with the suggestions I made in my 4.0.1 guide.
  • No Cloth: Think of it this way. One piece of cloth is likely to cost you 75 to 100 Int if you have ICC level gear. Also, our gear was redesigned assuming we would have the Leather Specialization buff. Not having means we are weaker in some respects then we were before the patch. Using Cloth gear would only make sense if you were making big jumps in ilevel.

  • The Hit Cap: The new hit cap is 446 hit rating. It doesn't matter if you're Horde or Alliance. It doesn't matter what your raid comp is. The hit cap is 446 for every moonkin and I think every caster period.

    The hit cap is a lot higher then we are used to, but there is good news. We have a lot more tools now to try and get to the hit cap. First, Balance of Power converts Spirit to Hit Rating. Most of the leather gear we avoided now has a benefit to us. Also, Reforging is also a god send for hit capping. Our Blue Gem sockets are now more valuable and there are several enchants with Spirit that are helpful.

  • The Equation: When in doubt remember the stat equation:

    Int > Hit > Haste > SP > Crit > Mastery.

    If you are having a hard time choosing between two items, compare the stats in relation to the stat equation. If you do that you can't go too horribly wrong.
Moonkin Nerfs and Hamlet's post:

As most of you know, moonkin came out of 4.0.1 hugely overpowered. If you looked at the WoL rankings you saw several moonkin competing with fire mages and other specs for the top spot. While I'm sure this was fun for a lot of people, I don't think anyone expected it to last and blizzard soon responded with:

Balance Druids – we lowered the base points and coefficients of several Balance spells, especially Insect Swarm.
Hamlet then spent a good amount of time to test the changes and posted his analysis on his EJ blog.

As many people have noticed by now, a number of hotfixes went in after the first night or two of 4.0 raiding, to adjust the wildly disparate DPS values of some classes. I spent a long time last night retesting essentially all of the Balance spells to see how they'd been affected. Here are the results:

--Insect Swarm base damage and coefficient reduced by 50% (122 base damage per tick, 0.13 coefficient). This one many people noticed right away.
--The other big one: Moonfury is now giving only a 15% bonus to most spells. To every spell in fact, except for IS and the MF DoT.
--Also Moonfury is stacking additively with all other additive buffs (Glyph of IS, Glyph of MF, Gale Winds, Blessing of the Grove, probably Glyph of Wrath and Glyph of Focus as well). Not sure if this is new, I may have just missed it before.
--I heard reports of a Thorns nerf, but I'm not seeing any evidence of that. 0.421 coefficient seems fine. I think people were confusing this with the reported changes on the beta.
--Typhoon coefficient seems to be up to 0.126.
--Sunfire is now affected by haste, but is still on a 3 second base tick period.
--Sunfire does identical damage to Moonfire and is affected by the same buffs. I've a seen a lot of comments on this so I want to clarify.

You should be able to verify all these if you want, but they predict my damage on live perfectly. A new spreadsheet will be shortly attached to the guide which includes all of these changes.


I think if we can be honest with each other we would all admit that the Balance tree was overpowered right after 4.0.1 came out. Moonkin were all over the WoL rankings for almost every boss. I'm not saying Moonkin should be weak, but we shouldn't shoot to the top like that either. The question then becomes how should Blizzard ton Moonkin DPS down.

The first way is obvious. Insect Swarm needed a nerf, and I expect that it will never get as powerful as it was right after the patch. I realize that DoTs are supposed to be powerful, but Insect Swarm was easily 5 times as powerful as our nukes and that just seems out of wack to me.
The other nerfs seem fair. By just changing how Moonfury impacts our DPS they aren't changing the rotation at all. They are just toning down our DPS. What's nice about this is that it shows how easy it is to to adjust DPS now. If you assume that Blizzard has found a set of mechanics that they like then they can leave them untouched and adjust Moonfury to get our DPS where they want it to be. This is good news for the future because they can change it back if they find we are underpowered at level 85.

First impressions

I haven't raided since the patch, but I have tried to test/practice the new rotation on target dummies. Overall, I'm not real happy about having a 5th button in my rotation, and it's going to take some getting used to.

At the moment if feels awkward. Managing Eclipse and two DoTs requires a lot of attention. Adding a random proc on a cooldown spell like Starsurge just adds another thing to look at. I think I'm getting over it with the use of Power Auras, but I need to get into a raid to really test it out.

The other issue I'm having is DoTs. I've gotten used to not making them a priority. Getting back into the habit of watching timers is a little more difficult then I expected. I think this is really a function of not having my UI set up right yet. With Squawk and Awe, I had my DoT timer and my Eclipse bar all in one convenient spot. Which made it easy to watch all three. Right now they are a little spread out, I'll have to make some adjustments to see if that helps.

Changed Guilds

The other big news of the week for me is that I changed Guilds. I love my old guild Lords of Eternity, but I felt a need for a change and joined the guild Skunkworks on Balnazzar.

First and foremost, I recommend that you don't try and transfer any toons the day of a major patch like 4.0.1. I started the transfer Tuesday afternoon, but didn't get access to Graylo until Saturday afternoon due to a variety of issues. It was frustrating because I didn't get to experience the OPness of Moonkin while it lasted. I also couldn't get in and test.

The other big part of the change is that I am now a Horde toon on a PvP server. Having always played Alliance toons on a PvE server this is a pretty big change in my mind. In reality, it's probably not that big of a deal since Balnazzar is a low pop server that is Horde dominated. However, figuring out where things are is strange. I haven't walked into the wrong inn in Dalaran yet, but finding Auction Houses and target dummies took a little bit.

Anyway, I am excited by the change. Hopefully it will work out.

35 comments:

LXj said...

Welcome to the Horde. For Blood and Honor!

Hana said...

Hm... now that you're Horde, does that mean the banner graphic needs to be updated? :)

Good luck with your new guild!

Anonymous said...

A quick note about leather vs cloth. I had the 264 level cloth booties but with this patch I switched them out with my wrathful leather boots. This, of course, after I reforged the PVP boots to change spirit to haste. The benefits are quite large. 85 more SP and 30 more Haste. If you PVP, reforging PVP items is well worth getting rid of the cloth and much cheaper than trying to buy leather equivalent.

Wysi said...

Those rotation issues are the exact same ones I first felt.

I had to try and find another keybind that felt comfortable for Starsurge and I kept messing up my DoTs because I'm used to letting them drop.

Trust me- it gets easier. One thing that really helped me was doing a 2 man Molten Core run. The bosses have a lot of HP so you get a solid chance to settle in to your rotation but there aren't many tricky mechanics to worry about. Doing ICC the day after the patch was really tricky and dummies just don't feel right. I recommend spending some time trying to get your rotation right on an old-school raid instance.

voz said...

Frist, of all, grats on your new guild & server. Horde scum, but i'll still read your stuff.

Second, everyone I talked to on the PTR knew the nerf was comming. IS was HUGE, along with moonfire kiting (againts melee).

Adding the new spell to our rotation, and making sure our dots are up is whats going to seperate the bad druids from the good. Along with the fact that im sick of using only 2 main spells, 1 dot, and 2 long CD's

Lomein said...

I'm worried about a few things come cata though.

On beta servers the mage tree specalizations already got buffed(from 15% to 25%) but I didn't see them doing the same for moonkins. Knowing Blizzard they will forget to do it until Cata is out and we are clearly behind on damage already.

Mastery is our worst secondary stat. Looking at gear. Classes who have mastery as their best secondary stat will be at a clear advantage over classes who don't want mastery.

Any ideas on that? Can you confirm that moonfury is at 15% in the beta?

Villainus said...

We're still in an incredible place post-patch. I'm doing 21-22k on semi-standstill fights (Marrowgar, Saurfang, Rotface, Festergut) and 18-19k on movement heavy ones.
Personally I think IS was nerfed too hard and everything else should have taken a small reduction to compensate. My IS is now less than my MF/Sunfire damage by a significant portion.
It seriously scares me that Blizzard is trying to code in a new set of numbers to balance 80 AND 85. Why don't they just put a band-aid hotfix on classes that can be removed on December 7th? Then all their changes and methodology can remain intact for lvl85 balancing. It sounds like they're having to make design compensations (read holy pally and others) in reaction to 4.01 balancing... not a smart move.

Dreslav said...

I had many of the same concerns, but trust me when I say that you'll love the changes once you get a few raid nights under your belt. The rotation is much more dynamic and interesting. Most importantly, and like voz said above, there's a HUGE difference between good boomkin and bad boomkin now. The top 5 dps in my HLK25 guild are pretty consistently boomkin/mage/spriest with the shadowmourne DKs in some order... but we're not totally blowing the doors off all the other specs so it isn't screaming for a nerf.

Marc said...

This is a moot point when it comes to Moonkins, because druids can't be Draenei, but caster Draenei still get the racial hit buff. It is only an individual hit buff now, and is no longer shared with the party.

Eruantien said...

@ Graylo,

I was doing some testing on Live, and when I change out pieces that cause a net change in Spirit, I don't see the Hit level update in the character sheet.

I looked around on the forums but didn't see this issue addressed. I assume I didn't search well or overlooked it because someone would have said something by now.

I opened a ticket with Blizzard and they said "working as intended". Is this something you have encountered?

If so, are we just going to have to manually figure this out each time or have you seen a mod or something for this?

Thanks in advance,

Eru

Dreslav said...

@Eruantien

Make sure you're looking at spell hit and not melee hit. Our melee hit is not affected by spirit, just spell hit. It's lower on the character sheet, and it most definitely updates for spirit and no manual calculation is required. Of course, make sure that you have 2/2 Balance of Power or your spirit will not be converted.

Pewpewkitty said...

For the Horde!

But about the numbers that we are still putting out. I have a fellow moonkin in guild that we consistently compete on DPS on every fight. Since the patch I have been filling in for a resto druid that has gone MIA and therefore haven't tested DPS. He however is pulling around 20k on fights like DBS where before he was pulling around 15-16k. So our dps is slightly higher then it should be right now IMO.

Anonymous said...

Villainus do you have a link to your fights on WoL or somesuch?

Eruantien said...

@ Dreslav,

Perfect. I knew it was something simple. I should have looked a little harder.

Thanks!

Eruantien

mushu said...

My biggest worry is that Blizz will forget that we are NO LONGER just a utility spec, and will "balance" our dps way lower than "pures" just like they have always done. srsly. Now that every class has duplicate buffs from other classes, the only unique ability we have is a bres that is only good once per boss by one druid only. Now we better output the same dps as everyone else or I'll be very pissed.

Anonymous said...

Grats on Skunkworks. Great guild for progression. PVP's ok, you get use to running around more often in your resilience set. If you aren't expected to have another spec for raiding, it's worth picking up a pvp spec as a secondary.

Druit said...

Welcome to the good guys of the Horde Graylo!

Any chance you could post your Power Aura's code and a screen shot? Mine is still borked after the patch and if I'm going to have to rebuild it, I might as well check out yours.

Znheb said...

Regarding a tracker addon I've recently dismissed SaA for IceHud. I've added a bar for every spell we use (IS, MF/SuF, SSurge cooldown and instant proc), etc. Probably it's not the best addon but I find it really useful and configurable.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say - grats on going Horde<3

-Odem.

Tibbs said...

I'm loving the new rotation - as a previous poster said it's much more interactive and - dare I say it - fun!

I'm having as good a time as I did back when Affliction rotations were 'hard' before they merged corruption and syphon life.

I hadn't raided at all since the week BQL was launched, but with an average iLevel of 251 I dropped into a 25 man pug and was consistently gettting 10k even on movement fights and target switching. I had so much fun I've actaually reapplied to one of my old raiding guilds to get back into the raid way of life!

Anonymous said...

just to clear up any confusion some people might have, when you say:

Int > Hit > Haste > SP > Crit > Mastery

the SP=spellpower not spirit, correct?

might make it easier to write it like this, unless i'm wrong:

Int > Hit/Spirit > Haste > Spellpower > Crit > Mastery

Gonemadd said...

I've only been in ICC for 2 raids since nerf but I'm noticing a big threat problem on most fights. It seems once I drop FF, IS, MF then hit a nuke I'm right near the top. I have to back off and wait, and even then 2 nukes later I'm right back near the top. Is there any threat mitigation talents or abilities expected with the xpac?

Serrac said...

In a related question, has anyone found a strong addon to monitor the ICD on NG? I get a sense in my mind that this would be useful information to have, probably in a high movement scenario.

Xaktsaroth said...

@ Serrac

I´m not a pro on lua codes and the likes but I belive it should be possible to add a custom bar to saa tracking the ICD of NG.

Anonymous said...

Is there any Haste cap please?


Thanks for everything on your blog :-)

voz said...

For the person who asked about the haste cap, i've taken this directly from EJ's 4.0.1 moonkin post.

"Haste: Now that Wrath is a 2s base cast, it cannot run up against the 1s GCD minimum at any reasonable level of haste. There is a weak haste cap where the GCD hits 1.0s with Nature's Grace active. This requires 1.5/(1.05*1.15) - 1 = 24.22% haste, or 795 haste rating. There is another weak haste cap where the GCD hits 1.0s without Nature's Grace, at 1406 haste.

At certain levels of haste, our DoT's gain extra ticks. With 3/3 Genesis and Moonkin Form, and no Glyph of Starfire, they get an 11th tick at 365 haste rating, a 12th tick at 712, a 13th tick at 1059, and a 14th tick at 1406. When affected by Nature's Grace, the 13th tick comes at 493 rating, the 14th tick at 795, the 15th tick at 1097, and the 16th tick at 1398."

Cheers

Pucc said...

Gray just wanted to say welcomed to the cow side!

Orrak said...

Lok'tar Ogar!

I do find it sad that moonkin DPS reaching the point that mages have been at for months and months is a cause for concern. The hybrid tax brings me no end of frustration....

Spyra said...

Horde!!!

That makes me sad :(

Anonymous said...

I just opened a GM ticket and have been told it's okay to use hardware or software to bind multiple button presses to a single button. So if you use something like a G15 keyboard or software equivalent, you can assign one button to press hte button for Starsurge then the button for Wrath/Starfire. That way your rotation goes back to four buttons, since starsurge will be cast immediately when available in place of the next wrath or starfire.

Anonymous said...

Lok'tar!

Welcome to the Horde :)

Monkey said...

Pretty disappointed that you buy into the idea that a hybrid tax is still ok. We should be able to compete with everyone else on DPS.

Luthientin said...

If you getting hard times to track your Dots you can use always Druid Timer Bars.I was totally in panic cause i could not use Squawk (still not uptaded) but i found this addon very usefull.The best thing is that working in the same way with squawk but you can track more spells and cds than that:))

Volunsteer said...

I saw that you converted to horde and wanted to post on this sooner but I was too busy jerking off at our dps increase and thinking of you as a horde boomkin.

ANYWAY....

I have no real numbers to speak of but I got my shit shoved in on the meters by a boomer with almost 200 more haste than me and pushing 50% mastery. I know haste has always been huge for us but I would love to see some math on Crit vs Mastery as it would seem that mastery is a bigger upg than crit according to the meters i have seen even in my own tests. Prove me wrong? please. I have over 1300 haste so I am not haste poor but I fail to believe 5% crit > 23% mastery. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

@ Monkey,

If we are able to do equal or better DPS to any pure class in the game why would you play a mage or a lock? You'd essentially be nerfing yourself by not being able to switch and heal where needed.