• Bares mostly like the taste of fase!

Gearing

Intro

So the time has come to make my first post, I will be working on heroic videos over the weekend to start posting guides/tips next week, so look out for those.  However, my guild has reached Thock the Bloodthirsty on heroic 10 man, and it seems that one of the common strategies here is to use 1 tank (as to why this is the case, I will cover in a different article).  So it was time for me to dust off my offspec.

In Throne of Thunder, my offspec was initially feral, but towards the end and then when we started farm, it was balance, due to ranged being needed on Ra-Den to kill the orbs, and just generally being better for most of that instance.  Now though, feral is like stupid good, and my balance gear hasn’t gained many upgrades since ToT.  Not to mention that melee are actually pretty good on Thock.  Which brings me to:

Feral as a Guardian

Obviously the best way to optimize your gearing for feral is to completely re-gem, re-enchant and reforge for the spec, however, it turns out that you can get most of the way there with a much more cost-effective solution.  For reference, here is the simulation numbers on my own character for various set-ups:

Guardian Gear: Same gear exactly as I  use for Guardian with the only change being that I switched to RoRO and rentaki’s (I’m using vial and bloodlust at the moment for bear)

Guardian Gear Reforge Only: Same as above but attempted to reforge for mastery (in this case I couldn’t get enough mastery to change RoRO from procing crit

Fixed Gear: Changed headpiece and swapped out a couple of spare offpieces that don’t have crit and reforged (RoRO now proccing mastery :) wewt)

Optimal Gear: Basically what you get if you fully regem/respec/reforge for feral.

As you can see the differences are quite small, and indeed the difference between DoC and HoTW is quite small (although in reality this difference depends quite a lot on player skill with DoC)

Gearing

There are a few things that you need to really make this as pain-free as possible:

  • Basically mandatory: http://www.wowhead.com/item=96546/rune-of-re-origination  pretty much any version of the trinket works fine, obviously the higher ilvl the better.
  • Nice to have: a 2nd head piece, preferably of a similar ilvl to your normal headpiece, but even if it is last tier’s head or something similar it makes your life easier, as it means you can use the dps LMG without having to pay a ton of gold (and lots of flying around in pandaria) buying new ones every time you switch spec.  You can also get away with just not using the dps lmg for only a ~4% dps hit.
  • Might be needed, but may not: 1-2 pieces of gear that you don’t use for your guardian set that don’t have crit on them, or maybe a trinket with a ton of mastery (ebon detonator/bad juju)

The Process

1.  First, load your character up in http://www.askmrrobot.com

2.  Change your spec to feral

If you want to be able to import the profile to simcraft afterwards, make sure you choose the correct talents (for some reason amr defaults to SoTF)

3. Enable Reforge Only

4.  Enable optimizing for Rune of Re-Origination (Note: if you aren’t currently using RoRO as guardian, either equip it in game before logging out or equip it in ask mr robot before doing the next step.  You can do this by clicking the item, then selecting the appropriate trinket from the list)

5. Click the giant green optimize button and then check your stats to see if your gear has been reforged correctly:

If you click the “From Gear” check box you should be able to see your stat points for mastery, crit and haste.  If they are all close and mastery is the highest, then you could in theory say you are done and go do crazy deeps. However there is more that you could do to optimize your set-up, so keep reading if you are interested! (also keep reading if it hasn’t managed to optimise your gear for Rune yet, as we can fix that!)

6.  Start swapping in gear

This could be gear from a previous tier that you have since replaced, it could be some random offpieces that have dropped in the current tier that no one wanted and you don’t intend to use for guardian.  These pieces preferably shouldn’t have any crit on them as we are trying to lose a little crit to give AMR a chance to make mastery our highest stat.  For example I had RaDen legs with mastery haste in my bag that I could use, or I have a heroic chest with haste mastery that I am not using for guardian because I have a crit+haste piece with the same ilvl that is better and our rogue has heroic tier.  Equip these in AMR:

Remember here that even if it is lower ilvl than your other gear, if it allows rune to work properly, it is an upgrade. Obviously however, we want to try to lose as little ilvl as possible whilst doing this if we can.  Make sure that once you have selected the new piece of gear, you “unlock” the gems for this item (remember we enabled “Reforge-Only” )  and also double check the upgrade levels on the item, as it will default to having the same number of upgrade levels as the piece of gear it replaced.  Chances are that if it is a brand new piece of gear, you won’t have upgraded it, and probably won’t be doing so.  If it used to be part of your guardian set however, it probably is.

Once you have done this for a couple of pieces of gear (1-2 pieces is usually enough to make it work, do more if you like but remember the goal is not to drop too many ilvls)  you may want to also change your headpiece so that you can use the dps metagem.  Upon coming out of the equipping screen, when you are done, AMR will try to re-optimize your gear, so re-check your stats.  If you have done this correctly, your gear should now be happily optimized for RoRO.

7. If you choose you can export it to simc and see how you’ve done, or import it into the askMrRobot addon to let it guide you through setting your gear up in game.

If you use the in-game addon, just save a gearset for your dps gear and make sure that that gearset is gemmed/enchanted properly, then it should be the case that to switch between the specs, you simply have to equip your “dps set” in game then go to a reforger and let the addon do the rest.  (on a side note: AMR addon is brilliant at saving a whole setup for a particular spec, so even if you don’t use it to optimize your guardian gear, you can get it to save your profile so you can always get it back to how you like it)

Playing Cat

So… you have got your gear set up for cat and are all ready to go, except, you have no idea how to play cat perhaps? I mean, you’re pretty awesome at HoTW cat right??? this is a whole other ball game. Well, luckily there is a pretty simple way to get you playing pretty proficiently, pretty quickly.  Obviously if you are curious about the intricacies of feral, go here: http://fluiddruid.net/forum/

Alternatively, get this:

http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/ovale

and this:

http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/nerien-ovale-scripts

then, in game do /ovale code and select leafkiller’s script:

Then you should get a setup that looks like below (click the spell icons to bring up the side menu with all the options).

The middle box is what you should press now, or will be pressing soon (i.e. you could be pooling energy and therefore doing nothing). The right box is to try to figure out what you will be pressing after that, and the left 2 boxes are the “alternate prediction” boxes, which I have because I like them, but you can ignore them/remove them if you like.

Conclusion

The topic of this blog normally concerns purely guardian tanking, but given that this has been something I’ve been doing recently as we are solo tanking thock, I thought I would share some of this process with you.  I have actually had a ton of fun with it, as I used to mainspec feral a while ago.   I hope this has been useful for you, even if it is just that you are joining a flex/lfr as a dps, as I mentioned, I will hopefully be getting some heroic stuff out this coming week, so look out for that!  I may also revisit WoL or go over my UI at some point in the coming months.  Other than that, have a great weekend.

Hello Guardians!

Welcome to the 5.2 Patch Survival Guide. Below you will find a nice list of all of the things you need to know about 5.2. Obviously a lot of this is repeated on various sites around the interwebs, but here we only care about things that affect Guardians. I’ll take you through talent and spec changes, new factions, gear, and finish up with some…..PvP?

Talent Changes

  • Feline Swiftness will no longer stack wit hthe speed bonus from the PvP set. This doesn’t affect PvE at all, or RBGs (since they have a movement speed cap anyway), but it does affect regular PvP. No more zoom zoom flag caps for you.
  • Displacer Beast has been redesigned. A pretty irrelevant change from a PvE perspective, but could be interesting from a PvP perspective. I don’t know if the jump causes you to drop flags, if it does it’s pretty worthless. If not it could be neat to experiment with in PvP.
  • Cenarion Ward has had its healing done doubled. This is actually pretty incredible for Guardians on fights where you are taking constant damage (Tsulong, Will, Stone Guard, Garalon), or have very predictable burst (Elegon, Lei Shi). I already liked CW a lot, and this will make me love it more. Plus it’s even more incredible for soloing.
  • Faerie Swarm can now affect multiple targets. This seems really strong for Challenge Modes, as it gives you infinte kiting on up to 3 mobs. Doubt it’ll see much use in raids, and ME / Typhoon are much stronger in PvP.
  • Mass Entanglement has had its cooldown reduced to 30 seconds. This makes it a much stronger competitor to Typhoon in almost all situations. As always it will still depend on the encounter/map/etc.
  • Typhoon‘s cooldown is now 30 seconds. Obvious change is obvious so that Mass Entanglement doesn’t always straight up lose.
  • Force of Nature has had a bit of reworking done to it. Unfortunately it’s still awful and you should pretend it doesn’t exist. It might be useful situationally for some encounters, but you should never go out of your way to get it.
  • Soul of the Forest now grants 3 Rage instead of 2 per Mangle. Too bad it’s still completely shit compared to Incarnation. Don’t take. Ever.
  • Nature’s Vigil had its damage increase cut in half, but so did the cooldown. The “hybrid” nature of the talent remains at 25% though, which means it’s a straight buff for Guardians. You’ll still take HotW for DPS or pure off-role purposes, but Nature’s Vigil is definitely the default choice.

 

Ability Updates

  • Frenzied Regeneration now scales at a factor of 2.2*Vengeance. This is a 10% buff from where it was before. I’d definitely hold on to your 4pT14 for an even bigger bonus set just in case another fight like Garalon or Lei Shi pops up. Also makes the 2T15 much better.
  • Tooth and Claw also got a 10% buff to 1.1*Vengeance. There was some confusion earlier since datamining had done the automatic math incorrectly, but Rygarius confirmed earlier today that it is in fact a buff. Should be interesting to see how this shakes out now that we can take full advantage of it.
  • Our Mastery got buffed by 20% as well. It doesn’t really mean anything since RPS builds are generally better anyway, and we don’t have enough base RPS yet to make a Mastery build worth going for. That doesn’t make it “bad” per se, but it’s still not a good idea unless you can put 2 full sets of gear together.
  • Both Rip and Wrath received damage buffs this patch. I haven’t revisited the “I’m not tanking what’s the best DPS” problem yet for this patch, but that will be what I look at this weekend. Cat’s problem was pure combo-point generation and lack of AP, while Wrath spam was ridiculous as fuck in Heart of the Wild. I’ll do some tests and let you know how this shakes out.
  • And in clearly the most important change in this patch both Mark of the Wild and Revive have had their mana costs reduced by 55%. I CAN ACTUALLY REZ MORE THAN ONE PERSON NOW.

 

Factions & Rep

There are two new factions. The Shado-Pan Assault is attached to the new raid instance. Unfortunately none of the gear there is “Best in Slot” but that doesn’t mean you can’t find any upgrades on day 1. For example Flanker’s Battletags are actually not half bad, and you can get them at Neutral.

The Kirin Tor Offensive or Sunreaver Onslaught are the new “story” factions. Unfortunately all of their gear is 496 or lower, which makes it almost completely irrelevant. But it’s another rep to grind, so there’s that.
 

Gear

This is the part you all wanted, I know. I was originally going to put it here, but then I realized that would be a shit-ton of work. On a whim I tested the list on the forums (where the real item links are) and IT OMG WORKED.

So yeah you can get your BiS lists here.
 

PeeVeePee

In addition to all of the above, there have been a couple of changes that are straight buffs to Guardians in PvP. Since we’re already one of only two top-tier RBG tank specs, this just makes us even better.

  • Thick Hide now reduces the critical strike chance of all attacks, not just melee. This is an obvious PvP buff since we were weakest against spellcasters already.
  • We also received Guardian-specific bonuses on the PvP set. The glove bonus now increases the duration of Bear Hug by 1 second, which is an extra 10% of your HP in damage. That’s pretty big. Not to mention a longer stun. The 2pc bonus now increases the Crit reduction of Thick Hide to 20%, which is amazing. And finally the cooldown of Enrage resets on a successful interrupt.

That might just get even me into PvP.

And there you have it! I wish you much fun in the next patch :)

Nomnomnom.

Monday Roundup – February 19th, 2013

Hello Guardians!

Here’s your news and updates for the last week.
 

T15 RPS Trinket Analysis

I’ve promised this for a few days, but I’ve been waiting to confirm the math before posting any sort of results. As you know most of the new trinkets have been moved over to the new RPPM format. You’ll probably remember the RPPM idea from the weapon enchants. Both Hamlet and Theck have previously done work in this area, but there are two new things to consider:

  • Stacking buffs that refresh uptime.
  • Stacking buffs that refresh uptime and modify the proc rate with each stack.

Now, one thing you have to understand is that my area of expertise is limited to two (2) things: Practical Experience/Analysis (actual gameplay) and Basic Algebra (BEDMAS stuff). I’m absolute shit when it comes to calculus level math. This kind of thing is definitely in the calculus level math arena.

Thankfully I happen to be on good terms with two of the best math people available – the aforementioned Theck and Hamlet (that 2nd link is actually Hamlet & Perculia’s personal blog) – so I asked for some help. Both were more than happy to oblige, and I am very thankful for it. I’m not going to go into detail with the math here, but if you’re interested Theck made a nice PDF which explains the proofs I use in this analysis. You can get it under the “Maths” menu above, or just here.

Just like any other kind of evaluation you need a set of gear to generate the values required to determine what is “best”. I used what I’m tentatively naming my Normal T15 BiS list, which you can find below:

You’ll notice that I overwhelmingly favour RPS pieces. RPS is the best way to “handle” incoming damage, provided you are skilled enough to do so. Not only that, but Hit=Exp>Crit>Haste is the best DPS build, which as we progress through content is going to become more and more important. That’s not to say Mastery and Dodge are “bad” or anything, they’re actually quite good at what they do. I just like RPS better because it encourages the player to aim for a higher level of play.

That all being said, this is what the trinket results look like:

There’s two things you’ll notice immediately. The first is just how overwhelmingly fucking good Gaze of Twins is. What amounts to 8% passive Crit from a trinket?!? Are you kidding? That’s just plain fucking insanity. Obviously that makes the first trinket slot without even looking at anything else.

The second thing is that Rune of Re-Origination is missing from this list. There’s a good reason for that. When using a core RPS build, your stats are going to overwhelmingly be Haste and Crit. Both of these provide (relatively) equal amounts of RPS. Changing from one to the other is at best an RPS neutral change, which makes the proc effectively useless for RPS.

Ghostcrawler recently gave us an update about Gaze of Twins. Apparently it will not actually proc for Agility users:

Gaze of the Twins will only proc for Str users.

Which brings us to our second change:

We’re going to make some changes to this trinket based on testing and feedback. Our goal was to make it decent if you didn’t game it at all but offer some opportunities for enhanced benefits if you did. We’re going to try to meet that goal better with these changes:

- 10 sec duration (down from 20 sec) but with double the proc rate.
- Increase your highest secondary stat by 200% of the sum of your two lowest secondary stats. For example: you have 3500 mastery, 5000 crit, 7000 haste. Rune procs, and you get [-3500 mastery, -5000 crit, +17000 haste]. Same logic as before, just double the size of the buff to your highest stat.

Orly? As you can see above that makes Rune of Re-Origination an incredible DPS/RPS trinket. One thing to remember is that you can choose whether to have it proc Haste or Crit. The question is, which one is better?

In truth, the procs themselves provide relatively the same amount of RPS. The difference is whether you want more mitgation (via T&C) or more DPS. A Haste proc could take you down below 1 proc per 5 seconds. Whereas a Crit proc is a huge DPS increase. I suspect the overwhelming majority of people will take the DPS increase over the mitigation increase. In either case it’s still incredibly good.

But what about Mastery?

You need ~32000 Mastery to cap in 522 gear (when using the Legendary meta). Of that, you can get north of 12000 just from gear. With that big of a difference you should be able to arrange it so that you don’t go over the Mastery cap if the trinket procs by gemming and/or reforging for Hit or Expertise. However once we get up to 535 gear (or even 541) it becomes much more of a possibility that you will cap if using it as a Mastery proc.

That brings our second trinket slot to either Renataki’s Soul Charm or Talisman of Bloodlust. It’s not exactly clear which is “technically” the better choice, as there is some pretty significant variance in the stacking self-increasing proc rate model as the change increases. Theck was running some basic simulations earlier today which peg the model as under-estimating the actual benefit of changing its own proc rate by up to 20% at high deltas.

However since nobody else has even attempted this yet (as far as I can tell) I have nothing to compare to. For now, you can’t really go wrong with either trinket.

The one thing that remains to be seen is whether or not Gaze of Twins will be available to Guardians for Coin/LFR. I haven’t heard 100% from GC on this yet, but I’ll keep trying. I’ll definitely let you know when I do.
 

A look at “Defensive” Trinkets

Most of the stereotypical “tank” trinkets are pretty underwhelming compared to the RPS options. But here’s a quick glance at them anyway:

  • Steadfast Talsiman of the Shado-Pan Assault: Pretty decent as far as on-use trinkets go. Ideal for a huge hit that you really need to dodge. I’d definitely pick this up just to have it on you.
  • Ji-Kun’s Rising Winds: For Guardians this is completely terrible. Just use an FR, it’s not like we’re starved for Rage or anything.
  • Soul Barrier: I like this one, very useful for a Stamina trinket. Definitely grab it.
  • Fortitude of the Zandalari: This one could have its uses, especially as a supplement to Might of Ursoc when needed. I’d grab it just for the sake of having it.
  • Delicate Vial of the Sanguinaire: On paper this trinket looks cool, but in practice it would only be good for fights where there’s a high number of incoming attacks (ex. Windlord). Otherwise it’ll hardly ever actually proc. Pick it up to play with if nothing else (because nobody else will want it), but that’s all.
  • So what do you think? are you exicted about the new trinkets? Let me know!

The Art of Burst :: Feral PvP

February 6, 2012
by

Hello Inc Bear Readers!

This is my first time posting here.  For those who don’t know me, I’m Clay – the regular PvP contributor to the Team Waffle Podcast.  If you’ve been following the show at all, you may have heard me mention that I was doing some work investigating burst damage in PvP.   Well, the work is finished, and I got the green light from Reesi to post it here to the Inc. Bear.  Although this site has a definite PvE lean to it… more of a smell actually, I know that some of you are PvPers on the inside and might appreciate some theorycrafting to help you become leaner, meaner, fighting machine-ers.  Hmm… Maybe leanest, meanest, fighting machinists?  Whatever you become, I hope it’s really mean and grief-tastic!

I really really apologize for this being so long.  Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a lot of words to say something worthwhile.  As much as reading this might suck, trust me… writing it was pretty sucky too.

The aim of this post, as stated above, is to analyze burst damage in PvP.  It’s always been my philosophy to inform people as well as I can, so that they can make the best decision for themselves.  Hopefully, that’s what you will find here – information that helps you become more informed and better PvPers.  For the most part, I think this material is directed at more advanced PvPers.  Although, I’ll say a few words initially for beginners.

 

Acknowledgements:

I’d like to thank Yawning for modifying Mew, such that I was able to run some PvP-focused simulations.  I’d also like to thank Ellesime, Taswind, Yawning, and Datah for reading this and giving feedback.

Finally, if you’d like to hear more from me, you can come hear myself and other knowledgeable druids on the Team Waffle Podcast: teamwafflecast.com

 

Table of Contents

Section 1 :: For the Beginners

  • DPS
  • Burst Windows

Section 2 :: Burst Rotation “Derivations”

  • PvE Rotation & Resource Limits
  • Burst Rotation & Resource Limits
  • Burst Rotations

Section 3 :: Mew Rotation Results
Section 4 :: Applying These Ideas in Reality
Section 5 :: Haste as a Burst Stat?
Section 6 :: A Small Word about Crit
Section 7 :: Conclusion

 

 

 

 

 

For the Beginners :: DPS

PvP in this game has always been about resource management.  In that regard, the game is simple: When two groups  enter into a conflict, each team has a certain amount of resources at their disposal.  The team which runs out of a type of resource first, loses.

At the most basic level of play, you bash on the other team until the other team has run out of mana.  This introduces the first criterion of damage in a PvP setting.  You must do enough sustained DPS over the course of the fight such that:

  1. The enemy’s healing is depleted.
  2. It’s depleted faster than your own team’s healing.

If you can accomplish that goal, you will win the fight.  At this level of play, controlling the enemy healer serves more to force them into healing less efficiently when they are free of control – thus depleting their mana faster.  Likewise, controlling an enemy attacker is used more to slow down the other team’s DPS, allowing your healer to perform more efficiently, putting your team ahead in the fight.

Once you have the advantage in the fight, your team can ride that advantage to victory or leverage the advantage by having your healer contribute offensively – leading to a speedier win.

My first advice to beginners – master this style of play.

Feral damage is dependent on what we call: DPE or damage per energy.   To steal some numbers from the Fluid Druid Blog:

  • Rip ~               4200 DPE
  • Rake ~           2000 DPE
  • FB ~                 1000 DPE
  • Shred ~           600 DPE
  • Mangle ~       400 DPE

The basic recipe for doing solid DPS in any fight is just to have solid Bleed Uptime (You can clearly see Rip/Rake crushing the DPE numbers) and Spend Your Energy.  You regenerate roughly 10 energy every second.  Every second you sit at full energy, you’re wasting a minimum of 4000-6000 damage each second.

But Clay, “Top PvPers say to pool your energy!”

That’s right they do!  Firstly, that’s not for you.  You’re a noob, so you spend your energy!  Secondly, that’s not really what they say.  They say work with the upper 40% of your energy pool.  Finally, that’s still not *quite* the right thing to do anyway, and I’ll get to that later.

 

 

For the Beginners :: Burst Windows

When you get better at the game, you begin to realize that health and mana aren’t the only resources a team has which can be depleted.  Teams also have CC-breaks and defensive cooldowns.  All of which are limited.  If you can cause a team to deplete either of those resources, you can win the game.  Enter Burst Damage.

By doing enough damage in a short period of time, you can put the enemy team in a position where they must use a major cooldown or die.  If you can do this to the other team frequently enough, you will run them out of major cooldowns and your next round of burst damage will kill one of them.

This brings us to the second criterion of PvP damage.  Do enough damage in a short period of time such that:

  1. The other team must react defensively or die.
  2. Do it frequently enough such that they will run out of defenses.

Key to this style of play is coordination.  The more of your team’s resources you can coordinate and bring into these timing windows, the stronger the effect will be.  Since this is not a PvP guide, but rather a burst guide for ferals, I’m not going to even try to discuss the greater engine of coordination needed.  The answers down that path are highly composition/situation dependent.  Rather, I’m going to clarify for struggling intermediate players what your burst resources are.

Ferals have four major burst resources at their disposal.

  1.  We have Tiger’s Fury, every 30 seconds
  2.  We have a Free Ravage, from Feral Charge Cat, every 28 seconds
  3.  We have on-use trinkets, usually available every 2 minutes
  4.  We have Berserk available every 3 minutes

Since we know defensive cooldowns refresh on the order of 2-3 minute time scales, we can see immediately that Berserk and On-Use-Trinkets alone are not available frequently enough in order to deplete defensive cooldowns.  Especially if they’re paired together.  For example, if it’s your intention to use berserk to force a trinket, by the time your berserk is available again to push for a kill, the trinket will be available as a counter again.

What this means is that your bread and butter for forcing defensive cooldowns can only be:

  • Tiger’s Fury and Feral Charge Cat -> Ravage!

To put that more plainly: If you cannot force the use of a defensive cooldown by coordinating your Tiger’s Fury + Free Ravage, you cannot win the game by depleting their defensive cooldowns. (assuming equal contributions from your teammates)

My advice to intermediate players:

Sit down with your team, learn the timings of their short offensive cooldowns (1 min or less) and plan to coordinate them in burst windows.  At first, just throw the whole kitchen sink at the other team as often as possible.  As you climb to higher ratings, you will find teams which manage to thwart your kitchen sink strategy by introducing clever defenses.  In return, you will have to think about breaking your burst attempts into smaller ones (or more protected ones) – ideally using the minimum amount of cooldowns necessary to elicit a cooldown response from your opponent.  Such that you find yourself with a few offensive cooldowns left and they have none left to defend with.

What do you do with the TF/Ravage exactly?  Well that’s what the rest of this post is about.  It mostly boils down to trying to FB, without sacrificing too much of your Rip uptime.  Most beginners can probably get away with shred-spamming off of their TF.  Pocketing the combo points generated to refresh Rip.  It’s more important that you are remembering to leverage your TF/Ravage against the other team frequently and coordinating that attempt with your teammates.

 

Section 2 :: Burst Rotation “Derivations”

I’m going to attempt to ground most of what follows in math.  In order to hopefully inspire confidence in the relevance of my math, I’m going to start with something which is well codified and matches everyone’s expectations and build from there.  Hopefully, by seeing how the math agrees with your instincts in things which are already known, you will have faith to trust the math when it deviates from your instincts on more complex subjects.  Most of it is simple algebra and I’ll explain the ‘meaning’ of each conclusion as we go.  If you trust me (and you shouldn’t, because I’ notoriously careless), you can skip ahead to the Rotation Section.

Some important numbers:


Energy Costs

Maintaining Mangle Costs ~     0.5 energy per second

Maintaining Rip Costs ~            1.36 energy per second

Maintaining Rake Costs ~         2.33 energy per second         

Maintaining Savage Roar ~       0.5 energy per second

each FB per 30 seconds ~       0.833 -> 1.66 energy per second

 

Energy Gains

Base Energy Gains ~                10 energy per second

TF Energy Gains ~                    02 energy per second

Total Energy Gains ~                12 energy per second

 

Combo Point Costs

Maintaining Rip Costs ~               6.8 combo points every 30 seconds

Maintaining Savage Roar ~       3.3 combo points every 30 seconds

Each FB per 30 seconds ~           5.0 combo points every 30 seconds

 

Combo Point Gains

Maintaining Mangle Gives ~      .75 combo points per 30 seconds

Maintaining Rake Gives ~          3.0 combo points per 30 seconds

OOC Gives ~                                      2.6 combo points per 30 seconds

 

Section 2 :: Burst Rotation “Derivations” :: PvE Rotation & Resource Limits

A lot can be learned by analyzing the resources that we have to spend doing damage.  I’m going to start this out by investigating the energy budget of a basic PvE rotation… actually, I’m going to derive it.  This will give us a good idea of how much of our energy-resource is needed to maintain a backbone of DPS.  Following that, I’m going to extend that method to discover what is possible or not possible in the context of burst damage.  Experienced ferals have a rough idea of what we can accomplish with our energy budget.  For example, we KNOW we can’t do 10 ferocious bites in a minute, while keeping bleeds rolling.  It’s just not possible.  But what are the limits exactly?  Is it 3,4,5?  Let’s find out!

 

In a given 30 second interval, in the middle of our fight, we will have 360 energy to work with (this includes Tiger’s Fury).  Expressing this in terms of a regeneration rate, We have an energy budget of 12 energy per second.

With our knowledge of the DPE of the various moves, we know our highest priority is to apply RIP with the Bleed Debuff, so we do that at the cost of 1.86 e/sec.  This leaves us 10.14 e/sec left to spend.

However, we can’t apply Rip without building 5 combo points.  OOCs spent on Shred will generate a healthy 2.6 combo points for free.  Meanwhile, upkeep on the Mangle debuff generates 0.75 combo points every 30 seconds.  Those following along will notice, we still need to generate an additional 3.45 combo points before we can apply the Rip.

We can do this by Shredding 2.3 times at a cost of 3.06 e/sec.  I know we can’t actually Shred 2.3 times.  Think of that as an average.  Most of the time, it takes 2 shreds to generate 3 CPS, sometimes it takes us 3 Shreds.

After subtracting the cost of generating 5 combo points, we have 7.07 e/sec left in our energy budget.

The next most important DPS move we wish to add to our rotation is Rake.  Keeping Rake rolling costs us an additional 2.33 energy per second.  However, we expect it to give us 3 combo points to spend in our 30 second time-window.  Tabulating our leftover resources gives us:

4.74e/sec and 3.0 combo points

Our next highest DPE move on the list (unfortunately not listed on the fluid druid table – but trust me, it’s next!) is Savage Roar.  Buying it costs very little energy… just 0.5.  However, it will cost us 3.3 combo points every 30 seconds.  Since keeping Rake up generates 3 combo points, it almost balances out the cost of adding Savage Roar to our rotation.  Almost.

Once again, we have to generate the combo points to make up for the deficit.  It only takes .2 of a Shred in order to get .3 combo points.  The energy cost for that Shred is .266 energy per second.

Leaving us approximately 4e/sec.  At this point, the rotation matches pretty well with the beginning PvE rotation… but we still have energy left to spend.  So why don’t we see about adding some Ferocious Bites to the rotation.

The most energy efficient Ferocious Bite costs 1.66 energy and 5 combo points.  Let’s see if we have enough energy left in order to generate the 5 combo points we need.  We will have to Shred 3.33 times at a cost of 4.44 e/sec, in order to get 5 combo points.  That brings the total cost of Ferocious Bite up to 4.44+1.66 = 6.0 energy/second.  More than is in our 30 second window budget.

But Wait a Minute, we have an excess 4.0 e/second.  Can we just wait a little longer, bank that energy, and use FB?  Absolutely!  If we just wait about 15 seconds, we’ll have banked enough energy to Bite.

And now we have spent our entire energy budget.  Resulting in the following basic rotation:

We maintained: Rip/Rake/Mangle/SR

Shredded to generate combo points

Used TF on cooldown

And sneak a Ferocious bite in roughly once every 45 seconds.

Does this sound roughly like your basic PvE rotation?  It should.  In fact, that’s how it was originally derived by Toskk and Yawning.

Just for kicks, I’ve compared the analytical results to the results from running Mew:

Over the course of a 900 second fight, this would be:

19 Ferocious Bites

192 Shreds

41 Rips

60 Rakes

15 Mangles

20 Savage Roars

 

Compare that to a 900 second run in Mew (berserk disabled), it doesn’t look too far off the mark:

12 Ferocious Bites

240 Shreds

39 Rips

62 Rakes

16 Mangles

28 Savage Roars

With some basic algebra, you could have immediately jumped to the same conclusion by writing the two equations:

Energy = 0 = (12 – 1.36 – 2.33 -.5 -.5)t – 40NS – 50NB

CPS = 0 = (3 + .75 + 2.6 – 6.8 – 3.3)(t/30) + 1.5NS – 5NB

NS = number non-OOC shreds

NB = number of Ferocious Bites

and solving for NB(t)</code>


I went through the effort of building the same results, because I thought it would be more intuitive for non-math people to understand the idea behind the equations.

There are a few things I could do to improve upon this technique (estimate combo points lost due to over-running the cap, take into account bleed clipping time)… However, I don’t want you to lose the forest for the trees.  The big idea is – we can get a rough estimate of what rotation we should be using by analyzing the resources available to us.  For DPS, we expressed an energy budget, then spent it by choosing abilities that maximized our DPE usage.  In PvP we still basically want to keep ‘good’ sustained damage, so we want to keep the same basic structure… just modified to make it more bursty.  Maybe we can throw a few more ferocious bites in?  Let’s take a look at it.

 

Section 2 :: Burst Rotation “Derivations” :: Burst Rotation & Resource Limits

Energy

So first, let’s look at what’s clearly not possible to do.  We know that just maintaining 100% uptime on Rip/Rake/Mangle/Savage Roar uses up pretty much all of our available resources.  Getting a Ferocious Bite in every 45 seconds is pretty weak as far as burst goes.  This is before we even consider the added costs of kicking, maiming, or energy lost while in CC.  Clearly, we need to free up some resources.

Modification 1: Drop SR, Use Feral Charge Cat:

The first thing everyone cuts from the PvE rotation, because it’s the lowest DPE, move is Savage Roar. Under PvP circumstances, Savage Roar is actually lower DPE than FB, because you need 80% uptime for them to have equal DPE.  Cutting SR from our rotation nets us an additional .5 e/sec as well as 3.3 combo points every 30 seconds.  Also adding Feral Charge Cat into our rotation gets us about 2 combo points.  Immediately, we can see something nice has happened.

With a base DPS rotation of:

Maintaining Rip/Mangle/Rake

TF / Charge on cooldown

We now have: 4.5 e/sec and 5.3 combo points to spend.

Which means we can Ferocious Bite every 30 seconds and still have.

2.9 e/sec and 0.3 combo points to budget to other things… like kicks or occasional maims.

Maybe 1 Ferocious Bite every thirty seconds isn’t enough burst for you… Just how far are we away from a rotation with 2 ferocious bites?  Every 41 seconds you will have saved enough resources for a 2nd ferocious bite.  So roughly every other Burst period, at best, you can have a 2nd FB.  This of course assumes you haven’t “wasted” any energy on kicks or got caught in a hibernate… is it the waffles that we give each other that make us sleepy?

With this small modification to your rotation, you should see an increase to your overall PvP-DPS.  All you have to do is strive to push out a burst window every 30 seconds.  And every 2nd or 3rd burst opportunity, you should have excess resources available for a 2nd finisher.

Modification 2: Change some Shreds into Mangles:

It’s easy to see how we can do a small tweak to increase the impact of our burst windows.  Our kill attempts occur in a small time windows around our use of TF.  Outside of burst opportunities, mangle and shred compare ‘favorably’ in terms of DPE.  So if you exchange the shreds you use to maintain rip with Mangles, you will gain an additional .4 e/sec… which you can put toward your burst window… or consider it energy available for interrupts.  This puts us at 3.3 e/sec and .3 combo points excess every 30 seconds.  Or 39 seconds needed to save up for a 2nd Ferocious Bite.

Modification 3: Cut Rip uptime:

It would be nice to be able to stretch that a little further, so that under ideal circumstances we would be able to push 2 50-energy bites every 30 seconds.  However, this will cost us more significantly in terms of DPS.  We have to cut Rip uptime in order to free up the resources.  Dropping Rake uptime won’t help because the limiting resource is combo-point generation.  Any Rakes we drop from our rotation will have to be made up w/ Mangles.

The next step is a little more complicated, so I just did it.  I put some the equations into Mathematica to generate some data for you.  I’ve hardcoded the number of Shreds to be 3.33 – during the burst rotation:

Simplify[

Reduce[

{0 == (12 - 1.36*A - 2.33*B - .5)*t - 35*NA - 40*5.0/1.5 - 50*NB

&&  0 == (3*B + .75 + 2.6 - 6.8*A + 1.8)*(t/30) + 5.0 + 1.5*NA-5*NB

&& 0 <= t <= 30  && NB  == 2.0 && 0 <= A <=  1.0  && B == 1.0 && NA >= 0},

{A, B, NB, t, NA}

]]

A = Rip Uptime, B = Rake Uptime, NB = #FB, t = time, NA = #Mangles or Rakes

If you wish to sacrifice a little Rip uptime in order to get more bursty kill windows, this is how much Rip uptime you will have versus Ferocious Bites per 30 seconds:


FB        Rip Uptime

1.4       <100%

1.6       <91%

1.8       <74%

2.0       <57%

2.2       <41%

2.4       <24%

2.6       <7%

2.8+     — can’t be done (on Average)</code>

 So to quickly summarize the key conclusion of our analysis of the energetics:  If we’re attempting to push a burst window every 30 seconds with the TF/Ravage cooldowns, we only have two options.  We can do 1 ferocious bite, every thirty seconds, with resources to spare while keeping our bleeds up.  Or we can do two ferocious bites at a cost of roughly 50% of our Rip uptime.

 

Timing

I’m sure some of you will be complaining at this point, because assessing resource management isn’t actually enough information to tell us if we can do something.  Timing is also important.  Just because you save energy from the first 5 seconds of a fight, doesn’t mean that you can carry that energy over to the 30 second mark.  So some consideration for timing should be made.

In a way, we can carry energy forward in the fight – by saving combo points and OOCs.  Depending on how many combo points you have going into your burst phase, you’ll be able to accomplish more, faster.

Here’s a quick run-down of how long you will take to Ravage + 2 Ferocious Bites, assuming you enter with X number of combo points.


CPS Saved ——-> average time to do two 50 energy FBs

0 CPS —-> 13.2 seconds

1 CPS —-> 11 seconds

2 CPS —-> 8.7 seconds

3 CPS —-> 6.5 seconds

4 CPS —-> 5.8 seconds

5 CPS —-> 5.2 seconds

 

What if we don’t use FC-Cat to Ravage?


0 CPS —-> 17.2 seconds

1 CPS —-> 15 seconds

2 CPS —-> 12.7seconds

3 CPS —-> 10.5 seconds

4 CPS —-> 8.3 seconds

5 CPS —-> 6.1 seconds

What if you only do a single FB?  You can always do it in Shred time: between 4 and 8 seconds.

(Having OOC is like have 1.5 CPS banked)

Since we know our burst rotation should begin with full energy and TF, we expect that we will generally want to use at least two Shreds before we make use of Tiger’s Fury.  This means if we enter our burst phase with 3,4,5 combo points we will expect to finish our second ferocious bite before the 15% damage buff from Tiger’s Fury expires.

 Additionally, we also know that we want to use Rip/Rake at some time before we go into our burst phase such that both are on our target, while we are shredding/biting.  Assuming we only use those 2 moves and pool energy from zero, it would actually take us roughly 15 seconds to pool energy to full.  Assuming we leave our burst phase at 0 energy, with Rip soon to expire, we need to be able to build 5 combo points to spend on a rip, before the TF cooldown has 15 seconds left.  Which means, we need to begin building combo points for rip at the 25 second mark.

This tells us that our burst phase needs to end 5-6 seconds after TF in order for us to reliably be able to refresh Rip in order to be prepared for our next burst rotation… making the the 15% bonus damage from TF a good transition point.

So, when do we need to apply Rip and Rake?  Well, if we plan on ending our burst rotation 5-7 seconds after TF, we need Rip and Rake to last that long.  Rip has a duration of 22 seconds, so it needs to be used after you have 16-17 seconds left on your TF cooldown.  Rake on the other hand, has a shorter duration (15 seconds), so it needs to be used no sooner than the 10 second mark on the TF cooldown.  Since Rake’s duration fits evenly into your TF cooldown, it’s easy to maintain at the same times.

In the case of a double-bite, when we know that we will have to sacrifice Rip uptime, this leads naturally to the Rip downtime.  Your Rip will fall off approximately 5-7 seconds after you use TF, you’ll usually need to spend the energy you gain from the 25-15 second marks building combo points to re-apply Rip.

In the case of a single-bite rotation, the upkeep on Rip becomes more difficult, because the 22 second duration doesn’t fit cleanly into the 30 second cooldown of Tiger’s Fury.  Any time your TF cooldown falls within 3 seconds of the termination of your Rip, you’ll have to clip your Rip to prevent it from falling off for significant time frames.  This is really only troublesome if your Rip has been boosted by TF or a trinket use – in which case you’ll get the ‘a stronger effect is already in place’ error.

 

Things We’ve Learned 

All of the math above is all well and good, but it’s more of a big picture of what’s possible and isn’t so helpful in terms of actually applying burst in PvP.  Well, I am going to do my best to try to use this information to build some ‘priority’ systems or guidelines for us to use in PvP.  Once I have those in hand, I’ll run some simulations of those systems and we can compare and contrast how they perform.

So let’s quickly take some of the above math and distill it into things we’ve learned.  We’ve learned that we shouldn’t have too many problems attempting to do a Ferocious Bite every thirty seconds… and if we really push it, we can do two Ferocious Bites every thirty seconds.  We know that we can make small adjustments to our rotations… like swapping mangles for shreds, or letting Rip drop for a little bit, and it *should* cascade into a surplus of energy we can use when we’re ready to burst.  Of all the little changes we could make to our rotation, the one that doesn’t help us at all, is letting Rake drop off.  We should also know, that we always would prefer to spend our energy on Ferocious Bites over Shreds.  The same amount of energy does more damage when it’s spent on a FB than spent on a Shred.  The only exchange that really can hurt our DPS is letting Rip drop off… however, letting your rip slip off can pay dividends in terms of burst damage.

The ‘cascade of energy’ that we will be using in our burst window is stored in excess Combo Points and OOC procs that you have on hand, when your Tiger’s Fury becomes available.  Keep in mind, our calculations were done assuming an average number of OOC procs – somewhere between 1-2 procs every 30 seconds.  If you have gotten more than 2 OOC procs, you can probably expect your next burst rotation to be an extra strong one.

You’ll also be able to anticipate the strength of your upcoming burst, by the number of combo points you have when you begin pooling energy for it.  If you have 0 or 1 combo point, you probably will want to just do a single Ferocious Bite or Maim.  Anything more will not be ‘bursty’ and it will almost certainly cost you dps down the road.  If you have 2-3 combo points, the Free combo points from your ravage can be used to upgrade a single FB into a double Ferocious bite, so you don’t want to lose those combo points, if you can help it.  If you have 4 or 5 combo points in the bank, you’ll sail easily into a double Ferocious Bite finish.  You can save your charge for a swap… or ignore the combo point generation in favor of getting an early Ravage crit on a high HP target.

And in turn, you can anticipate whether or not you will have a surplus of combo points entering your next burst phase by the number of combo points that you had left-over in your previous phase.

For example:

If you reach the 25 second mark on your TF cooldown and you have 3 combo points left over, here are your options.  If you build to 5 combo points and Ferocious Bite once more, you will now have 0 energy and 0 combo points with roughly 7-8 seconds to build 5 more combo points.  Short of some lucky OOC procs, you will not have the energy to get to 5 combo points before you reach the 15 second mark.  So you are either delaying your burst phase, entering it with less energy, or bursting without Rip on your target.

Your other option is to build to five combo points, then pool your energy until the timer has less than 17 seconds remaining.  Apply/refresh Rip at that time.  After that, any time you reach full energy and have more than 3 seconds left on your TF cooldown, Mangle:  This has a very good chance of getting you into your next burst phase with 4-5 combo points in the bank.

 

 

Section 2 :: Burst Rotation “Derivations” :: Burst Rotations

With the basic idea in hand, it’s time to discuss some actual concrete plans for Bursting someone down.  First… I know it’s hard… we have to let go of the idea that we’re ALWAYS actively trying to kill someone or do as much damage as possible.  If you’re going down the path of bursting someone down in a controlled window, commit to that plan.  Embrace the fact that for most of the fight, doing as much damage as possible is not your highest priority.  Your priority (as far as DPS goes) is simply to ‘keep things rolling’ so that when it’s time, your pieces are in place and you can make your move.

Single Ferocious Bite Rotations.  (Can be done w/out Sacrificing Rip uptime/DPS)

Always Rake when your TF cooldown is between 10 and 3 seconds.  Otherwise, Rake when needed.

Rip when the TF cooldown is between 17 and 3 seconds.  Otherwise Rip when needed.  If you needed to Rip before the 17 second mark, you will have to clip your next Rip before TF is available.

Between the 25-15 second mark, spend energy freely to generate combo points.  I suggest Mangle.

Under the 15 second mark, only spend energy to prevent capping, to refresh Rake, or to refresh Rip.

At the 3 second mark, get distance for a cat-charge.  Charge when you reach full energy.

If the target is above 80% health, Ravage immediately. (otherwise, Ravage after TF)

Build to 5 CPS with Shred.  When you have 5 CPS + 50 or more energy, Ferocious Bite.  If you ever fall below 40 energy, Tiger’s Fury.

As long as you have the TF buff and energy remaining, Shred.

The ‘burst phase’ should end about when your TF buff wears off.

 

Double Ferocious Bite Rotations (or single bite + maim… exchanges DPS for Burst)

Always Rake when your TF cooldown is between 10 and 3 seconds.  Otherwise, Rake when needed.

Rip when the TF cooldown is between 17 and 3 seconds.

Between the 25-15 second mark, spend energy freely to generate combo points.  I suggest Mangle.

Under the 15 second mark, only spend energy to prevent capping, to refresh Rake, or to refresh Rip.

 

IF you have 0-2 combo points saved:

Do a single ferocious bite rotation, with an optional cat charge.

 

IF you have 3 saved:

Option 1: do a single ferocious bite rotation, with no cat charge.

Option 2: do a double ferocious bite rotation, using Ravage immediately

 

If you have 4 or 5 CPS saved:

Option 1: do a double FB combo, with no cat charge.

Option 2: do a double FB combo, using Ravage between bites.

 

Doing 2 Ferocious Bites will always cause your Rip to fall off.  If you Rip just before TF, you will not have enough combo points saved to quickly bite twice.  If you Rip well before TF, you will not have time to build CPS after your bites, before Rip falls off.

 

 

 Section 3 :: Mew Rotation Results

I took the above ‘rules’ and wrote some Mew Scripts to simulate the DPS curves we would get if we followed their guidelines.

First to get a baseline of comparison, I did a ‘standard’ mew simulation, using my character (with Berserk turned off.)

The simulations run for a 900 seconds, 10,000 times.

 

Standard Mew Run:

15.5k DPS, 2 ferocious bites, 99% Rake uptime, 94% Rip uptime, 3800 white DPS.

If we neglect white damage, that’s 11.7k DPS.

 

Single Ferocious Bite Rotations:

13.7k DPS, 25 ferocious Bites, 93% Rake uptime, 93% Rip uptime, 1800 white DPS.

neglecting the white damage, that’s 11.9k DPS.

 

Double Ferocious Bite Rotations:

12.8k DPS, 41 ferocious bites, 96% Rake uptime, 52% Rip uptime, 1800 white DPS.

neglecting the white damage, that’s 11.0k DPS

 

So aside from the fact that the default MEW script is clearly more efficient at keeping up Rake, we can see that some of our estimates from our energy and timing analysis have been borne out.  It’s important to consider the dps with the white-damage taken out, because limited uptime in PvP really reduces the contribution of white-damage to your DPS.  We also see that increasing the number ferocious bites comes at the cost of Rip uptime… which loses us roughly 1k DPS.  Unfortunately, we’re not getting quite so much bang for our buck in terms of Rip uptime -> extra ferocious bite conversions as we anticipated.  I’m not positive, but I think it’s because I neglected to account for combo points lost on crits as well as estimating the crit rate at 50%.  Anyway, those small details are the least of a PvP’ers concerns.  The big picture can be seen in the following <strong>DPS vs Time</strong> graph:

http://imgur.com/a/MGxzg#0

 

The graph is roughly a 200 second sample from the middle of the simulation runs.  The blue line is the basic Mew rotation.  It has the highest sustained DPS… however, as expected, the green graph has the highest burst dps.  The tallest of those green spikes represents roughly 220,000 damage done over a 6 second interval.  The tallest red and blue spikes represents roughly 150,000 damage over six seconds.

 

 

Section 4 :: Applying These Ideas in Reality

I think it’s pretty clear at this point, that the things I’ve outlined above are your burst options.  I don’t think it should need to be said… but I’m doing it anyway: I don’t expect anyone to be able to maintain any sort of rotation such as this in a PvP environment.  This is something for you to strive to do.  It’s an ideal on the horizon.  In reality, you won’t be able to burst on 30 second intervals.  Much of your time in PvP is spent doing things *other* than doing damage.  It’s my hope that by breaking  down your burst options and exactly what needs to happen for you to pull them off, players can practice and become comfortable at recognizing the opportunities they are given in a match.

The Opener 

The first real problem with our burst… is our opener.  You’ll notice that what we really want is to apply rake and rip BEFORE we go into TF rotations.  However, in our typical opener, we tend to apply Rip and Rake after TF.  Furthermore, we often apply them with trinkets making them difficult to clip.  I can’t emphasize enough how big of a pain in the butt this is.  If you have any hope of doing a double ferocious bite on your 2nd tiger’s fury, you better throw that hope away, plan on berserking off the opener, or delay your 2nd TF by about 15 seconds.

 

 A “Rotation” is not realistic – We Often Start From Scratch

I’ve found that when playing healer/feral against healer/xx, I’ve had no problems keeping a 2-bite-burst rotation similar to what I’ve outlined.  However, outside of that, keeping any sort of rotation really isn’t realistic.  What’s probably of more general use is starting from scratch.  So a question we might want to ask ourselves is, “How long will it take me to burst, if I start fresh.”

If we want to do a single bite:

We need 5 CPS to apply Rip.  That takes roughly 3 seconds.

Then we have to wait 10s to get full energy .

Then we want to Rake. 

Wait for full energy again (3 seconds).

Then Burst!

It will take 16 seconds to get a ‘full’ 1-bite-burst rotation on your target ready.

 

If we want to do a double bite rotation:

It’s exactly the same, except we need to enter our burst with at least 3 combo points stored.

It will take an additional 3 – 6 seconds… so, 19-22 seconds total.

 

Burn Tactics for Feral/Disc 

I mentioned that healer/dps VS healer/dps is about the only time where in practice I was able to keep anything remotely resembling a ‘rotation.’  Although technically not a burst tactic, it’s very easy to see how we can apply this knowledge to burn tactics in 2s.  While you’re applying a burn tactic, you’ll actually just be doing the single-FB rotation.   If your timing is good, your team should be able to maintain 100% uptime on your Rip, while still stunning the healer every 30 seconds for mana burns.

 

Swap Tactics 

Although it hasn’t been said, we’ve actually really narrowed down the possible ways of doing a swap, from the above information.

 

Hard Swaps for Kills:

If you’re entering your burst phase with 4-5 combo points, you can do a double finisher on your current target, then cat-charge swap to the new target.  There’s not too much ‘oomph’ to the swap, but you will get the free ravage, which will probably crit.

Alternatively, if you have 3 or more combo points, you can forgo your 2nd finisher on your current target and instead cat-charge and apply a quick FB to your swap target.  This would be a pretty good hard-swap for a kill.

 

Regular Swaps:

The most basic style that everyone uses is just to swap and burn useless CPS on Savage Roar.  Well, there’s another way.  No matter how many combo points you have going into your burst phase, you can save your Cat-Charge and assess whether or not you want to swap targets after you drop your first Ferocious Bite.  If the enemy team responds with a defensive cooldown, you should be able to easily swap targets and get full bleeds running on the swap target within a few seconds.

 

Minimizing Problems from Getting CC’d 

Since most of the time in PvP, you will be building to burst from scratch, we have a pretty clear idea when it really sucks to be CC’d.  In general, applying Rake will be the last thing you want to do, because it has the shortest duration.  Getting CC’d after you’ve applied Rake is the thing most likely to ruin your burst attempt.  So you’ll want to minimize that problem by:

Get full energy before applying Rip — you’re on the clock once you’ve Rip’d.

Immediately mangle to 2CPS. — if you get CC’d you want it to happen just after this.

Rake when you get full energy. — getting CC’d just after this, will ruin your rotation

Begin burst at full energy

So, the time you really want your team to CC the enemy peeler is just before you apply Rake.

 

Pooling Energy 

I mentioned that there was a period where I suggested that you spend energy as you get it.  This would be right after you’ve gone through a burst phase and are doing upkeep on your bleeds/building combo points for later on.  The advantages of doing this, is that if you get CC’d you’re less likely to waste energy by over-pooling it.  You also shouldn’t need energy in order to kick any healing, since you’re now in the part of the fight where your burst is over.

Also, you probably want to spend your energy immediately after applying Rip, when building to burst from scratch.

However, there are real strategic reasons to keep your energy pooled, besides simply being ready to burst.  Sure kicking a heal at that point in the fight may not really help you win at all, but you may need to kick CC’s or damaging abilities for defensive reasons.  If you keep yourself tapped on energy, you won’t be able to do that.  Also, positioning is a HUGE component to success in PvP.  Most Ferals pool energy, in part to take advantage of positioning errors that the other team makes.  Swapping to someone to attempt to burst them down, because they’re out of position is an important tactic to be able to apply.  If you do that, you’d simply not use Rip.  Swap, Rake, pool to full – apply burst.  That takes 5 seconds for a single bite or 9 seconds for a double bite.

A Note About Armor

Finally, under no armor circumstance are bleeds ever better burst than ferocious bite.  Likewise, it is never better to shred spam, than spend that same amount of energy in a 5-point FB.  Even if you’re facing Paladins or Protection specs, the most burst damage you can do involves the exact same rotations.  You may however, get more mileage replacing a bite with a maim.

The Most Damage you can do in X seconds 

What probably hasn’t been all that clear, is that the single-bite or double-bite rotations do almost the same damage regardless of whether it’s over 5,8, or 10 seconds.  It’s because it’s basically the same amount of energy being spent on damage, by the same moves.  So what you really want to look at is the time to apply damage.

So, if you play on a team which regularly CC’s healers for 10 seconds or more, you can probably do a double-finisher with only 1 combo point saved.  In which case, you may want to get into the habit of dropping a Rip, pooling, Rake, pooling and going directly into FBs.  The late Rip will last the duration of your CC and with 1-2 Combo points going into your burst phase, you’ll be able to get two bites out in the next 10 seconds.

 Timings While Using Berserk 

I’ve steered clear of talking about Berserk though most of this so far, but at the request of <strong>Ellesime</strong>, I’ve calculated how some of the timings change, assuming you’re using berserk.

2x Ferocious Bites, using Ravage, Berserking:

CPS Saved ——-> average time to do two 37.5 energy FBs

0 CPS —-> 8.4 seconds

1 CPS —-> 7.8 seconds

2 CPS —-> 7.1 seconds

3 CPS —-> 6.5 seconds

4 CPS —-> 5.8 seconds

5 CPS —-> 5.2 seconds


 

3x Ferocious Bites, using Ravage, Berserking:

CPS Saved ——-> average time to do two 37.5 energy FBs

0 CPS —-> 12.8 seconds

1 CPS —-> 12.1 seconds

2 CPS —-> 11.5 seconds

3 CPS —-> 10.8 seconds

4 CPS —-> 10.1 seconds

5 CPS —-> 9.4 seconds

 

Time to Burst from Scratch:

It takes 6 seconds to get 5 CPS and get full energy.

It takes 3 seconds to apply Rip and Rake and get Full Energy.

9 Seconds of setup + 1 second for every combo point + Tables above.

So, if I want to do a 3xFB finisher from scratch, it would take about:

9 + 5 + 9.4 = 23.4 seconds from start to finish.

 

 

Section 5 :: Haste as a Burst Stat?

For the most part, I think the effects of Mastery and Crit in PvP are well understood, this post is already getting far longer than I had originally planned, and I’m getting pretty tired of working on it, so I will not go into detail about those Stats… (I’m even shooting for brevity on Haste.)

However, how Haste might affect performance in PvP is really not understood well.  We avoid it because haste contributes to PvE-DPS ‘mostly’ through white damage.  And since uptime is limited in PvP, so too is white damage.

That’s not the only affect of Haste.  Haste also increases (by a small amount) energy regeneration.  This could have two very key effects on Burst Damage.  The first is that you could theoretically get enough haste such that, in any given time interval, you generate enough energy for 1 extra move.  So for example, you could shred x4 on a full energy bar instead of x3.  Converting from one stat (like mastery) into haste, would cost you damage until a break-point was reached and you gained an extra attack.  At which point, presumably, you’d do more damage in that same time window.

So, once again, since I’m getting tired of this :P … without further ado, the results:

Energy Regeneration Rate = 10(1 + (Haste/12805))

Haste Break needed to get 1 extra Shred, starting from full energy in this time frame:

w/out Berserk:

In 1 Energy Bar:         ~19250 haste

In 6 Seconds:              8536 haste

In 8 Seconds:              3201 haste

In 11 Seconds:             3492 haste

 

w/ Berserk:

In 1 Energy Bar                             1281 haste

In 6 Seconds:              Always get 6 attacks

In 8 Seconds:              Always get 8 attacks

In 11 Seconds:                                  1170 haste

 

Okay, so no… haste isn’t going to give us a useful breakpoint.  All of the non-berserk breakpoints are basically unobtainable.  While the only obtainable berserk breakpoints take place on time-scales of about 10-11 seconds.  Not exactly very bursty.  Although, if for some reason, shredding for 10 seconds continuously while in berserk is a part of your strategy, you *may* see a slight improvement from hitting the 1170 haste breakpoint.  I say *may* because I estimate for my character for that to be roughly a 2% increase in damage.  (Keep in mind, you are losing mastery or crit in exchange for this haste.)

 

The second way that I anticipate haste may affect burst damage is really because our burst focuses on using Ferocious Bite.  FB allows us to bypass the ‘break-point’ phenomenon with haste, because FB has a continuous energy to damage conversion rate.  If you gain 5 extra energy because of your haste, a Ferocious bite which would normally spend 25 energy will spend 30 energy and do more damage.

For this part, I threw character sheets with different amounts of Haste into Mew and looked at the results.

Haste really has a three-fold effect on burst rotations involving Ferocious Bite.  The first is what we were anticipating going into this test.  If you’re in the habit of using FB as soon as possible, excess energy from haste will go into your ferocious bite.

Here, I ran the double bite script, only I relaxed the condition requiring that the bite only occur with more than 50 energy.  So that the simulation bites as soon as possible.

http://imgur.com/a/MGxzg#1

 

I sampled data points every 200 haste, up to 2000… then I jumped to 3000 just to see if the behavior continued.  The general trend is that about 100 haste gets you about 100 damage added to each Bite.  Which is actually pretty good.  And no, the pattern doesn’t become a ‘straight line’… I just selected ‘connect the dots’ in excel.  So you’re seeing the connected dots between 2000 and 3000.

The second effect Haste has, is that you’re able bite more frequently.  Or rather, you reach the condition for a 2nd bite within your burst window more frequently.  As the number of bites in a 900 second fight increases with haste as well:

http://imgur.com/a/MGxzg#2

 

 

If I were to estimate a trend for this, I would estimate that you get roughly 5% more bites for every 1000 haste you get.

It’s worth noting that in the above case, I was allowing the simulation to bite as soon as 5 combo points were reached.  Enforcing the 50-energy bite requirement shows different results.  The maximum damage, while increasing, increases at a much slower pace (30 damage / 100 haste)… and it is not made up for by an increase in the number of bites at all.

And in both simulations for the data above, the script attempts to aggressively burst every 30 seconds.  To see the final effect of Haste on burst, I utilized an older/less efficient script, which was more flexible in terms of its burst timing.  In that case, we can see that the time between burst windows decreases as we increase the amount of haste we have:

http://imgur.com/a/MGxzg#4

 

For those who are curious, both the damage and number of bites in the final script increased with haste -  At approximately 50 dmg / 100 haste and 3% bites per 1000 haste.

It really seems like haste does its best for players who aren’t careful about their timings, it’s a little grease for the ole claws.  Which honestly, is probably needed by everyone in a real PvP environment.  However, let’s quickly look at how it compares to mastery in terms of contribution to overall burst damage.

If we have a 2-bite burst window, it lasts roughly 6 seconds.  Adding 2000 haste will increase your average bite damage by 2000.  So you will do on average 4000 more damage in that 6 second window by increasing your haste by 2000.

Reducing your mastery by 2000 will cause your Rip ticks to be reduced by about 2000 damage, as well.  With 3 ticks in a 6 second window, you would be reducing your damage over that time by roughly 6000, just from Rip!  In addition to that, you’d get 2 ticks of rake, which itself lost about 1500 damage.  So you can expect to lose around  9000 bleed damage in a 6 second window and only get 4000 bite damage in return.

If you look at max-potential damage from the bites (say both bites crit), 2000 haste roughly gives 3000 extra damage per bite.  So 6000 extra damage over-all.  Still less than the average return on bleeds.

 

 

Section 6 :: A Small Word about Crit

First, I didn’t do a more thorough comparison of Crit/Mastery, because the fits I anticipate that I’d need to do would take me a few more hours of work.  Frankly, I don’t care enough to do that.  With that out of the way:

You might expect that Crit would also have a strong effect on the number of double-bite opportunities you have over the course of a fight.  It does not.  Changing crit rating from 0 to 3000 only increased the number of bites from 40 to 42.  So haste is more helpful in terms of letting you get double-bite scenarios in simulation.  However, Crit has an effect on the average bite damage.  Since you’re more likely to crit.  

Every 100 points of crit rating increases your average bite damage by 130.  So 30% better than haste.  HOWEVER, haste actually increases max bite damage, while crit only increases likelihood of max damage.  So if you’re purely looking at the burst potential of FB, haste is a better stat.  Crit also affect bleed damage, so it’s better than haste for increasing your average damage.

The thing that makes crit a poor BURST damage stat, is that burst damage via crits is a result of compounding many stacking damages.  In any given burst window, you have roughly 4 dot ticks, 6 white damage hits, 3 shreds, 1 ravage, and 2 ferocious bites.  The odds of critting ALL OF THOSE THINGS is really small – roughly 1 in 100,000.  The thing you really want to do, in order to make your damage more bursty, is move damage away from multi-hitting abilities, like dots toward big hitting abilities like: FB.

In theory, Haste should be our best burst damage stat… It’s really our only stat that actually increases the burstiness of our delivery – by moving damage away from bleeds to Bites.  However, it sucks.  It increases burst damage by LESS than our other stats increase average damage, even over relatively short time windows.

The only case where I can see haste performing superior to Crit or Mastery, is cold burst swaps to fresh targets.  If you’re a player that often capitalizes on players out of position – going into burst rotations w/out Rip on your target, then you’ll get the most bang for your buck from Haste… by a large margin.

Finally, the last thing you’d expect crit to give you is a greater chance of getting critical strikes on the trifecta of FB, FB, Ravage.

From my mew statistics, my chance of critting on FB is roughly 65% and my chance of critting on Ravage is 40%

Odds all 3 of those crit: 17%

Odds two of those crit: 43%

Odds one of those crit: 32%

Odds none of those crit: 7%

You can see how these chances vary as we change our critical strike chances in the following chart:

http://imgur.com/a/MGxzg#3

 

 

 

You can see from the chart, that increasing your critical strike rating from 35% to 45% will increase your odds of doing ‘good burst’ from about 52% to 65%, seeing an 8% gain in your odds of a triple crit and a 5% gain in your odds of a double crit.

In fact, your total odds of ‘getting good burst’ increases pretty linearly with your critical strike chance (roughly 1.4 per crit chance).  Although, the rate does decline slightly once you have more than 50% chance to crit (roughly 1.1 per crit chance.)

To put that in easier to understand terms:  In your average 5 minute arena match, you’ll have roughly 8 burst attempts.  Of those 8, roughly 4 of them will probably be double bite opportunities.  If you have a 35% crit chance, you’d expect 2 of those to hit hard.  If you increase your crit chance by 10%, every other match, you will have 3 hit hard instead of 2.

 

 

Section 7 :: Conclusion

As far as rotation goes, the big picture that we get from all of this is that we really want to push ourselves into double-bite scenarios in PvP.  And in order to do this reliably, we need to bank 3+ combo points before we enter our burst rotation.  We also have learned that the last thing we want to do before we initiate our burst is apply Rake.

This means that the best/easiest recommendation I have for most of us will be to build 5 CPS, Pool Energy.  Rip, Manglex2, Pool Energy, Rake, Pool Energy, Begin Burst.  Although, I think there’s plenty of information above to tailor rotations to fit your specific team.

As for what stats are optimum

 

“CLAY JUST TELL HOW TO BURST!”

A: OKAY!

 

Burst if you’re REALLY IN A HURRY {like a hard swap}:

  1. Mangle (if not needed, skip)
  2.  Pool to 100 Energy
  3.  Rake
  4.  Get Distance
  5.  Cat Charge
  6.  Ravage
  7.  Shred to 5 CPS
  8.  Wait for 50+ Energy
  9.  Ferocious Bite

{Tiger’s Fury the first time you fall below 40 energy}

Total Time: about 5 seconds

Max Damage ~ 100k

 

More Burst, Less Hurry {still hard-swapping}:

  1.  Mangle
  2.  Pool to full
  3.  Rake
  4.  Get Distance
  5.  Charge
  6.  if HP > 80% Ravage
  7.  Shred to 5 CPS
  8.  Wait for 50+ energy
  9.  FB
  10.  Shred to 5 CPS, if you need to TF.  Ravage after TF, if you haven’t used it yet.
  11.  Wait for 50+ energy
  12.  FB

Total Time: about 9 seconds

Max Damage ~ 200k

 

Starting from Scratch {Maybe you were CC’d and bleeds dropped}:

  1.  Mangle to 5 CPS
  2.  Rip
  3.  Wait for 100 energy
  4.  Rake
  5.  Get Distance
  6.  Cat charge
  7.  Ravage
  8.  Shred to 5 CPS, TF when needed
  9.  Wait for 50+ energy
  10.  Ferocious Bite

Total Time: about 16 seconds

Burst Damage Roughly ~ 150k

 

Starting from Scratch MORE BURST:

  1. Mangle to 5 CPS
  2. Wait for 100 energy
  3. Rip
  4. Mangle to 2 CPS
  5. Wait for 100 energy
  6. Rake
  7. Get Distance
  8. Cat Charge
  9. Ravage
  10.  Shred to 5 CPS
  11. Wait for 50+ Energy
  12. FB
  13. Shred to 5 CPS, if needed TF
  14. Wait for 50+ Energy
  15. FB

Total Time: about 21 seconds

Burst Damage Roughly ~ 240k

 

 

Bursting as a part of a regular Rotation (Priority System):

Always Rake when your TF cooldown is between 10 and 3 seconds.  Otherwise, Rake when needed.

Rip when the TF cooldown is between 17 and 3 seconds.

Between the 25-15 second mark, spend energy freely to generate combo points.  I suggest Mangle.

Under the 15 second mark, only spend energy to prevent capping, to refresh Rake, or to refresh Rip.

 

IF you have 0-2 combo points saved:

Do a single ferocious bite rotation, with an optional cat charge.

 

IF you have 3 saved:

Option 1: do a single ferocious bite rotation, with no cat charge.

Option 2: do a double ferocious bite rotation, using Ravage immediately

 

If you have 4 or 5 CPS saved:

Option 1: do a double FB combo, with no cat charge.

Option 2: do a double FB combo, using Ravage between bites.

 

Any time you use two finisher moves, either FBx2 of Maim + FB, your Rip WILL DROP OFF.  That’s to be expected.  It’s the price of extra burst.

When it comes to gearing, there’s a lot of set parameters and rules that we should be following in order to optimize our characters.  It’s the type of stuff that says, “Lol! You’re such a baddie!” if you so much as sneeze in the wrong direction.  For years we’ve been taught and conditioned that it’s Cookie Cutter, or get out.  This mind set has been instilled in many, many players throughout expansions, guides, and math strongholds like Elitist Jerks.  For many classes and specs, it is still the normal and still accepted, because it’s still necessary to maximizing that specific character.  Flexibility in gearing has no place.  It’s the last thing we, as players, would even consider being and doing with our gear choices. However, the ability to be flexible is something that’s been cropping up since Cataclysm launch here and there, and to that I say, “It’s about damn time”.

I’ve never liked having to struggle to reach caps since I started raiding.  It seemed arbitrary, and yet I had to if I didn’t want to be labeled bad.  My first serious raiding character was my Enhance Shaman in Wrath.  I had to get 26 expertise on top of 17% spell hit because we had no talents to support spell hit, yet 50% of our damage came from spells.  It was asinine.  In comes feral DPS.  Ah, feral.  At first it was fantastic.  Hit?  Expertise?  Ha!  You don’t need that, have fun!  Then Armor Penetration happened.  Okay, I loved Armor Penetration.  The amount of DPS it could pump out per point was amazing. The amount of hoops I had to jump through just to keep it at the cap was not.  Near the end of the expansion, every new piece of gear meant regemming at least 5 gem slots so that I didn’t go over the cap, and in the process, get enough Hit and Expertise so that Crit Capping wasn’t an issue.  Again, asinine.  For tanking?  Forget it.  If you didn’t have stamina from every available source, good luck against Heroic LK and Halion.

Flexibility is still a foreign concept, and is certainly not a popular thing amongst theorycrafters.  It’s akin to pulling open the curtains in the middle of the day in a vampire’s lair.  They’ll either die from burning, kill you first, or turn you into one of their own.  The choice to freely play and gear your character however you want is practically non-existent in the raiding world.  Throughout the months of first-tier raiding, I’ve come to understand that there is a strong ability to be flexible without being burned at the stake for being a witch.

So why now, after so many years of “do this or die” mentality?  Is it a good thing or bad thing?  Is it even an intentional game design from Blizzard HQ?  We all know Cataclysm was meant to be the “do-over” expansion that removed many of the “obvious talent is obvious” choices, but did that also mean more freedom?  Feral Druids are the obvious example of “do whatever the hell you want and win” for gearing.  With 4.2, it doesn’t even matter how you choose to gear your Cat(though spirit and intellect won’t do you any favors).  You can gear to fit your playstyle and not suffer any crippling damage losses (yes, that even means not zerging haste, despite certain suggestions that it’s The Best™).  And Bears?  Well, I should think I’m an example of that.

If you were to go back and ask me when Cata launched if flexibility with Tank gearing was a good thing, I would have laughed at you until I cried.  I, like many others, refused to believe the possibility of there being any other way to do things other than the Mathematically correct way.  Stamina vs. Agi, Hit/Exp vs. Avoidance, X vs. Y stat.  Each side has its fanatics that will defend their way to the grave and back.  What I’ve come to realize is that there is a choice and the choice won’t make you keel over and die suddenly.  This is very good step in the right direction, and I hope it continues.

Despite having said that, there is a certain strength to be had with knowing what optimal gearing should be, and is, if ever it becomes necessary.  With everything in this game, there’s a time and place for everything, and admittedly, there is a point at which having too much freedom can be detrimental, so one has to be careful.

So how does that impact us as Bears?

Well, Bear stat allocation is incredibly unique.  Not just in that we use DPS gear, but every single stat we use helps our defense in some way, however minor it may be.  There is a hierarchy that needs to kept in mind, but it basically means we can change a couple stats around to get our desired effect.  I, personally, focus on Bear DPS, so I have more expertise.  Others are wanting to focus on their DPS in both forms, so their focus is mastery, expertise and crit. Both of these gearing strategies cater to different playstyles, yet don’t gimp us so much as to render us helpless.  Well, so long as your focus isn’t Haste.  Like I said… time and place.  Haste is neither here nor there for Bears. ;)

Those of you that are afraid to stray from the dodge paradigm, don’t be.  It won’t be the end of the world when you take more damage, and you will, because the increase will be quite minor.  Cataclysm tanking, while still about surviving, is more about reacting to the mechanics, using your CDs when you need to and learning the encounter.  It’s not at all the Wrath paradigm of “if you don’t have the HP to survive two hits, you’ll die”.  If this isn’t apparent, then just look at all the different tanks strewn across the progression front.  Every single boss has been killed by every single gearing strategy.  Full stam, some stam, full mitigation, full CTC (combat table coverage), full agi, and even full DPS gear for DKs and Druids.  Aside from the DPS gear part, all of those strategies will have been used during progression.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy this kind of freedom.  I like that I can have expertise and have it not be a hindrance to my survival.  I like that I will get called stupid for wanting expertise for not only DPS, but threat purposes as well.  I know I’m going to survive just fine with the ~2% dodge loss I took to get near the cap.  What means more to me is that my Fury warriors will survive and not pull threat after Tricks and MD wear off.  “But Vengeance!”  Yeah, yeah.  Vengeance trivializes it, assuming you’ve built enough and your attacks are hitting, which is where Exp comes in.  Plus I hate vengeance, and at some point I’ll likely rant about that as well.

With all this said, what I can’t express enough is the need to have the knowledge of what you’re bending before you bend it.  You need to know what you can and can’t get away with and go from there.  You need to know what your healers can handle, and how well you know the encounter, and when to CD.  You need to know the optimal way of gearing.

Knowledge is power, and if I ever have something to be proud of, it’s a Bear that knows his/her stuff that can then take it and move forward,  using it to their advantage as a player and a tank.