Hey All,

I’ve been kind of “afk from internets” this week as I had a pretty big software deployment happening at work that I was handling. Thankfully that all went pretty well, and now that I’m not stressing about that I can look at posts and changes from the past couple of weeks.

“GC, just a quick clarification. The new Armor Damage Reduction formula used for 86+ characters: Armor / (Armor + 4,037.5 * Level – 31,7117.5)
Does this continue on to level 93, similarly how the current Cata formula worked to 88 until this expansion? or is there another formula for level 91 and beyond?”

It continues on to level 93. Just to clarify to make sure there are no misunderstandings, adding denotation for which variables are of the target and which are of the attacker: DamageReduction = TargetArmor / (TargetArmor + 4037.5*AttackerLevel – 317117.5)..

This won’t mean anything to you unless you’re a mathy type. Basically just a confirmation of the damage reduction formula that Armor uses. The obvious follow-up question to this is “Will Guardians ever Armor cap?” The short answer is “no”. I have a post planned that will have a longer answer in the next few days.

To provide an update on tanking mechanics, I want to comment on Mastery for Guardians and Brewmasters. This is somewhat of an over-generalization, but tanks typically care about 4 things when gearing in decreasing order of importance:

  1. Survive the maximum burst damage of the encounter (aka Effective Health)
  2. Minimize healing needed (aka Damage Reduction + Self Healing)
  3. Hold aggro on whatever you’re needed to hold aggro on (aka TPS)
  4. Maximize damage dealt (aka DPS)

#4 is generally much less important than #1-3, and overlaps with #3 heavily when considering gear. And #3 is relatively easy these days anyway. So, usually it just comes down to #1 and #2.

Stamina primarily helps with #1. Dodge primarily helps with #2. Most other stats help with resource generation, which typically translate into #2. Mastery for Guardians and Brewmasters is in the somewhat unusual place of helping with both #1 and #2 significantly.

If you compare Mastery to Dodge for a Brewmaster, as a few theorycrafters here have done, you can see that, purely in terms of how much they reduce your damage taken, Dodge wins by a considerable margin. We balanced it that way, because we give value to how much it helps with #1 as well. Obviously, helping with #1 has some value, because you care about Stamina. We see Mastery for Guardians and Brewmasters as sort of a hybrid between Stamina and Avoidance, in terms of how it helps improve your character.

It’s easy to objectively compare the value of two stats in terms of how much they help with #1, or how much they help with #2. But comparing some amount of help with #1 to some amount of help with #2 is much more complex and subjective. It’s an interesting choice that tanks have to make all the time, and one of the most successful choices in gearing that the game provides (Stamina vs. Avoidance being the primary way that choice is expressed). So, that means balancing a stat that provides a mix of both can be complex and subjective as well. After much deliberation, we’re going to try valuing the effective health benefits of Mastery for Brewmasters and Guardians significantly lower than the damage reduction benefits, and adjusting the Mastery conversion rates to reflect that.

Hopefully this provides a bit of background and perspective about the complexities underlying even the simplest of changes: In the next build, you’ll find Mastery for Guardians providing 1.25% Armor per Mastery (up from 0.65%), and for Brewmasters providing 0.5% Stagger per Mastery (up from 0.3%).

I didn’t want to cherry pick lines out of that since it was too important of a post. Essentially Blizzard had placed a much higher value on something we like to call “Effective Health” or “EH”. This is really just a different way of looking at unmitigated damage vs your health pool. Using EH allows you to easily derive values for how long you will live given a certain set of circumstances. This is called “Time to Live” or “TTL”. EH is calculated like this:

YourHP / (Total Percentage Damage Taken)

For Guardians we can expand this a little further to:

YourHP / ((1 – Armor Damage Reduction) * (1 – 0.1))

The “0.1″ above refers to the Weakened Blows debuff you put up by pressing Thrash. The reason EH is important is because each fight as some sort of “uber combo” which is the maximum amount of damage you can receive in any interval. On Madness it is Impale + Melee Swing, Haggara is Focussed Assault, etc. As a tank you must have enough EH to survive this predetermined amount of damage. However you not only have to consider the amount of incoming damage, but how quick/efficient your healers are at reacting to incoming damage. If you have really awesome healers then you will not need anything over barely achieving the “EH threshold”. However if your healers are kind of average you might want a little more. This is usually what the whole “Agi vs Stam” debate comes down to.

Everyone knows I’m always on the side of forcing your healers to play the game better, but I digress.

In any case Blizzard appears to have come around to what we’ve been preaching since the start of Cataclysm: That total damage reduction (TDR) is a far more valuable number over the course of an entire fight than pure EH. As a result our Mastery has been doubled in effectiveness. It now increases our armor (including Bonus armor, but more on that in a later post) by 0.0125% per point of Mastery. This effectively puts Mastery right behind Dodge in terms of TDR – after you reach the necessary RPS to maintain Savage Defense (again, more on that in a later post).

This is a good thing.

“Is it intended that secondary stats now have twice the itemization budget of primary stats in terms of gems”

Yes. With the possible exception of Spirit, there is little decision in choosing red gems in the live game. Secondary stats are often more interesting in general because there are break points, hard caps, and personal preferences. Any Agi user who eschews Agi is doing it wrong.

This makes sense. In Cataclysm we saw the overwhelming predominance of the Red gem, even for Bears. You only ever used other colours to meet socket bonuses and/or activate Metas. I like that they’re trying to better balance out the effectiveness of gemming your Primary vs Secondary stats. The awesome thing for Guardians is that this means Crit gems are your best friend ever. There are other side effects (like Blacksmithing now being way more valuable than a lot of other professions), but hopefully those will be ironed out in future builds.

“Is it intended that Bonus Armor is affected by Guardian Mastery? For example the Mantid Elixir which provides +2250 Armor is multiplied by the Guardian Mastery for a bonus of 2475 armor (before gear and buffs).”

Yes, this is intended. Guardian Mastery should be a final multiplier on all armor.

While we had observed this happening from Day 1 of Beta thanks to Kiril, we didn’t have confirmation that it was intentional or that it was supposed to apply to Elixirs as well. Another tidbit is that it also applies to the Armor Potion. So you’ll want to have a bunch of those, especially for progression fights. This actually makes Mastery way cooler that it ever was in the past.

Item – Druid T14 Guardian 2P Bonus Reduces the cooldown of your Might of Ursoc ability by 60 sec, up from 30 sec.

This is a straight up buff. The 2pc bonus was absolute shit before. It’s still not that great now, but at least it isn’t terribad.

Frenzied Regeneration instantly converts up to 60 Rage into up to (max(((AP * AP) * 186) / 10,000,000 + (47000% of AP / 100,002.5) * STA) * 1) health.

This is just adding the 2.5*Stamina floor GC talked about in a prior Class Analysis post. Nothing to see here.

Rebirth now gives 60% health, up from 20%.

Single best change ever. Glyph of Rebirth is no longer Mandatory. Win.

Ravage is now Feral & Guardian spec, rather than just Feral.

I don’t even. I literally cannot think of a single reason to use Ravage. Ever. The only thing I can think of is a way to prop up Displacer Beast. But Guardians will never ever take Displacer Beast anyway. So I’ve got nothing. The best thing you can do is go on pretending it doesn’t exist.

Item – Druid T14 Guardian 4P Bonus Increases the healing received from your Frenzied Regeneration by 10% (was 20%) and increases the dodge granted by your Savage Defense by 10%.

I like this. Now our 4pc affects both Savage Defense and Frenzied Regeneration. Big buff for Savage Defense. Good change imo.

Dream of Cenarius now works with instant casts. Now increases the damage done by your next 2 Moonfire or Sunfire casts by 100% or by your next 2 melee abilities by 30%, rather than your next damaging spell by 70% or by your next melee ability by 30%.

As a Guardian……..big whoop. We’re still never taking it. It’s interesting for other specs (Tinderhoof in particular has some interesting stuff for Feral) but still worthless for Guardian.

I think I got everything that’s happened in recent weeks. As always please post in the comments if I missed something or you have questions!

I mentioned yesterday on Twitter that I would be taking some looks at Guardian DPS today. I did just that and here are my results.

Please note that all tests were conducted under the following conditions:

  • Using ungemmed, unenchanted 483 PvP gear.
  • Using Soul of the Forest and Heart of the Wild for max DPS.
  • Not using any cooldowns (Berserk, Enrage, etc.) since they are now actually defensive cooldowns.
  • Attacking the boss target dummy in Stormwind while fully armor debuffed.

0 Vengenace Bear

Here’s the 0 Vengeance Bear “control” parse. Please note that his parse was done while dumping all Rage to Maul. A rotation of Mangle > Lacerate > Thrash Upkeep > FFF was used. Considering my previous Guardian 0 Vengeance parses were in the neighbourhood of 25k, this seems much more reasonable for a tank. Damage is also much more evenly distributed across the top 3 abilities (Mangle, Lacerate, Melee).

Guardian Cat

Here’s the Guardian Cat “control” parse. Note that very few (if any) Ferocious Bites were actually used. Due to the terrible combo-point generation in this gear, a huge portion of the potential DPS is sacked in favour of maintaining Rip uptime. Once our Haste and Crit improves, it’s very likely that Guardian Cat DPS will see a sudden jump once we can reliably generate enough combo-points to throw in a Ferocious Bite every Rip cycle.

In any case you can clearly see from the parse that Guardian Cat DPS is currently about 20% higher than 0 Vengeance Bear. This means that once you dip below say 30% Vengeance on a tank swap, you’ll want to jump into Cat form for the highest DPS. Of course this will vary from encounter to encounter. Fights with very quick tank swaps (like Ultraxion) there won’t be any point since you’ll have to taunt right back in 7 seconds or less anyway. Additionally fights with large amounts of raid damage (Spine, Madness) will keep your Vengeance high enough when not actively being melee attacked.

In order to optimize your DPS as a Guardian, having a mod that keeps track of your Vengeance is going to be almost essential. If you can find one that will let you set warnings at certain values, that’s even better. I don’t know if such a thing exists though. If it does please tell me.

Heart of the Wild: Guardian -> Cat

Unsurprisingly nothing has really changed with Heart of the Wild. I ran 5 individual parses, all linked below. In each parse I edited the combat log such that the first entry was activating Heart of the Wild, and the last was it fading. This was done to skew the results in favour of HotW as much as possible.

Max DPS: 31,470
Min DPS: 27,807
Avg DPS: 29,212

As you can see this is well below an average Feral’s DPS. Tinderhoof ran some Feral parses and his average as around 41k (and I even think that is way low compared to other DPS classes). So at best HotW Guardian -> Cat is ~30% below a pure Feral. Based on what I know of the goals for Heart of the Wild, that is far short of the target.

I keep expecting Heart of the Wild to get fixed, but it keeps not happening.

Sorry guys, was super busy with the Guardian Round Table and didn’t have a chance to keep up with the Beta Class Analysis thread. I’ll link the podcast at the bottom of this post, but here’s what we’ve learned over the past week or so.

“I don’t know if it’s something new to level 86+ players but to me it seems like there is a new, unforeseen formula when calculating the Agility to Dodge variable. On my level 85 Worgen Druid on the beta, I can easily get the 243.58281085 Agility to Dodge conversion working. It does appear that Base Agility is now being affected by the Agility to Dodge (whereas on live it is not).”

All Agility (base and bonus) grants dodge at a rate of 951.158596 to 1% at level 90. However, dodge from bonus Agility and dodge rating is affected by diminishing returns. “Bonus” Agility refers to all Agility beyond what you have with no gear/buffs (for example, a level 90 troll Druid has 97 base Agility and all other Agility is Bonus).

Awesome. Basically it was the tooltip applying the diminishing returns on Agility and not on Dodge that was throwing everything off. With that, we should have better evaluations from the Guardian community.

Yeah, we will try to add dodge from Agi to the Agi and dodge tooltips. Currently they’re just included in the title of each of those tooltips, which are final values after summing all of the sources and applying DR. The “(before diminishing returns)” line in the dodge tooltip, refers just to the “dodge of X adds Y% dodge” line, not the total. It’s somewhat confusing right now. All of this goes for Strength / parry as well.

This is one of those things that won’t mean much unless you’re a Mathy type.

We were having trouble trying to figure out the diminishing returns on Dodge from both Dodge Rating and Agility because the tooltip for the Dodge stat in the character screen is behaving funny. It turns out the tooltip was automatically calculating the diminishing returns on Agility but not Dodge Rating. Thankfully GC took pity on us and told us how it really works. It’s helped us to make our models more accurate. It looks like GC will try and get to the tooltip for this as well as Parry fixed to make more sense.

I did some extensive mathematics on warrior tankiing, more precisely, Shield Block vs. Shield Barrier.

Short Version: There is currently nearly no reason for any warrior to use Shield Block. The amount of physical damage done by a boss melee swing to be high enough that the 30%/60% block outshines the absorb puts it out of reach of the vast majority of the playerbase. Obviously, this is even more true with non-blockable or magic damage, but even with the kind of attacks that can be blocked, Shield Barrier is just plain better for everything other than non-nerfed 25H bosses who use debuffs on the tank.

Thanks for the great analysis.

The scaling we chose for Shield Barrier was to keep it competitive with Shield Block with very high end gear (beyond even the gear available in the first tier). The problem is this is one of those situations where linear AP scaling can’t really fit the curve nicely. Shield Barrier (and by extension Frenzied Regen) will either be too good at low gear levels or too weak at high gear levels. We could use a more complex curve, such as squaring attack power as long as that doesn’t prove confusing. For sake of argument, imagine that Shield Barrier (and Frenzied Regen) is roughly half as strong as it is on beta when you’re in greens, but scales up in strength about 50% faster than it currently does.

While the original post was specifically about Protection Warriors and Shield Barrier vs Shield Block it also directly relates to Savage Defense vs Frenzied Regeneration. It’s also entirely 100% accurate. I’ve used similar terminology to describe the problems of the live version of Savage Defense vs a Block Tank. It’s basically the reason we had to keep receiving buffs all along this expansion. Basically the linear line was too far above the curve that represents damage reduction from Savage Defense and/or Shield Block. Turning it into a curve itself is definitely the best solution. However as you’ll see below the curve ends up being too shallow.

Now that FR has been reworked, I have some new numbers. Nothing has changed.

Your current build doesn’t have the changes to Frenzied Regeneration and Shield Barrier yet. If you’d like to get a head start on theorycrafting their value, the current formula for their heal/absorb is: 18.6 * (AP/1000)^2 – 0.047 * AP.

Another Guardian had posted some math that drew the same conclusions we already knew, and GC responded with the new FR formula. Fasc and Hinalover both posted math that came to the same conclusion: The formula is too shallow. Essentially there would be no reason to ever use FR, except in cases of magic damage recovery.

For reference you can find Fasc’s post here, and Hinalover’s post here.

Other than that, I’ll be doing some new parses (probably tomorrow) comparing various forms of Guardian damage including Heart of the Wild to see if there have been any relative improvements.

Also! We recorded the Guardian Roundtable last Friday with Fasc, Hinalover, Wenselaas and Buraan. You can find it here.

My CTC is…..

WTF EVER I’M A BEAR LOL

<3 Reesi.

There have been a couple Guardian oriented replies over the last two days. I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about them.

“If this is the prefered design why do Guardians have to spend rage for Maul? It has been stated a few times that Maul would never be used except to solo things (an only if the damage comes up).”

Maul is still a DPS button. It may not be one you use often, but there will be times when you don’t care about surviving (when the boss needs to die NOW, or even when you’re solo or running a scenario perhaps). We may eventually end up adding a proc or something (hopefully not exactly like Ultimatum), but we’re not sure it’s needed. At the moment Guardian damage is too high, so encouraging more Mauls isn’t super high priority. :).

?

Your logic failure betraaayyyyssssss you!

I understand that they may have more pressing matters to attend to than making something that is 100% functional simply more fun to play. That is a perfectly valid answer. However repeating the claim that Maul is fine as a DPS button that you never push (something we have actually proven is the case) doesn’t make any sense. What makes this even more confusing is that GC has said exactly the opposite thing about Heroic Strike earlier in the thread:

The idea is that we can’t ask Prot warriors to spend Rage on offensive attacks if we are also asking them to spend resources on defensive abilities — the defenses will just always win. The Ultimatum proc is there to let you use Heroic Strike and Cleave for free sometimes. When you aren’t tanking (like you are solo or off-tanking) or when survival isn’t a question (you’re running an easier dungeon perhaps) then you can Heroic Strike instead of Shield Block or Barrier. As you point out, you can use Heroic Strike and Devastate at the same moment since they aren’t on the same cooldown.

The two abilities fill exactly the same role for both class. They’re a Rage->Damage dump. His description of how Heroic Strike/Cleave would be used is actually bang on. That’s identical to how Guardians are going to use Maul. Only once we reach some insane number of RPS (rage-per-second) which isn’t actually practically obtainable do we start having excess Rage for Maul. So it only makes sense to give us some sort of mechanic to let us press it when we would rather spend our Rage on survival.

Wenselaas got an answer about Guardian DPS as well:

“Issue #1. Guardian dps seems to be EXTREMELY skewed towards mangle.

Issue #2. Guardian dps is pretty overpowered.”

You are probably right on both counts. We’ll look into it.

This means that most of the evaluations I’ve done thus far on Heart of the Wild and Guardian Cat DPS are likely wildly inaccurate. I’m not surprised. I’ve long maintained that Guardian DPS was too high so this is not news to me. Once the Mangle nerf comes in I’ll re-evaluate all of them and see where we stand.

Tinderhoof has long believed that Feral DPS is just terrible right now, so that probably isn’t helping things either.

One last bit of news. The Team Waffle Podcast: Guardian Round Table #2 is going to be broadcasting live this Friday the 13th of July at 7pm PST. If you have any questions feel free to go to the TWP website and post them for us to answer!

Nomnomnom.

TLDR:

  1. There are tens of thousands of Linux/Wine Diablo 3 players.
  2. Only 4 of them were banned.
  3. Whatever they were banned for is completely unrelated to Linux or Wine
  4. They were either cheaters or ran something else that turned up false positive by Warden.
  5. If they were innocent, then they are pretty much screwed without possible help.

I’ve been wondering what the fuss is all about since I’ve been playing Diablo 3 everyday on Linux using Wine (except for a 3 day vacation break in Phuket), and I have not yet been banned.

There’s been forum posts going around alleging that Blizzard has been banning Linux users using Wine to play Diablo 3. Since it’s posted in the Diablo 3 General forums and a Blue has responded to it, the thread has naturally became filled with trolls and retards. Amongst all the rubbish there are some accurate information which I will summarize here together with my experience and analysis as a Linux user that has been using Wine to play World of Warcraft and Diablo 3.

The forum post had links to various new sites that alleges that Blizzard has been banning Linux users, and pointed to the Diablo 3 Winehq appdb page as their source. Winehq appdb is a database of Windows application which have been tested against Wine. Users user appdb collaboratively to report if their Windows application work with wine, issues they faced, solutions to work around the issues. Developers also use appdb (and the associated issue tracker) to debug issues with Wine and to fix the issues for future versions of Wine.

The appdb page for Diablo has a thread where the Blizzard ban has been discussed, and 3 users have reported that they were banned. They are william, Marcus Meng and Mitch. I looked around for other cases of Linux users being banned and the only other one I’ve found was a PlayOnLinux user on this thread where fabioshot (and Mitch, presumably the same one from winehq appdb) claims to also have been banned.

PlayOnLinux is a software that includes Wine and automatically configures Wine to work with specific games that need tweaking to work well with Wine. For Diablo 3, this will presumably mean PlayOnLinux will include a version of Wine with the AcceptEx and the Direct3D modechange bugfixes as well as the setarch workaround the Warden issue with >4GB RAM and the taskset workaround for microstutters.

Now we need to look into context of the number of Linux users playing Diablo 3 on Wine. PlayOnLinux claims that there are at least 30000 users using PlayOnLinux to play Diablo 3. PlayOnLinux users are of course only a subset of Wine users use PlayOnLinux, so we can safely assume that the number of Linux users playing Diablo 3 on wine should number in the TENS OF THOUSANDS. This is only a small percentage of the millions of Diablo 3 players, but still a significant number of players.

Only 4 confirmed cases of Linux/Wine Diablo 3 players being banned out of tens of thousands of Linux/Wine Diablo 3 players should pretty much make it obvious that not only are Linux/Wine users are not being targetted for bans, there is no false positive issues where Linux/Wine gets falsely identified as a cheat. These 4 cases are definitely isolated cases unrelated to Linux/Wine, which can only mean 2 things:

1. These players were cheaters, and were either lying about using Linux/Wine or were running a cheat program on Linux/Wine
2. These players were running some other application/services/processes on Linux/Wine which has been falsely identified by Warden as a cheat

I’m not going to judge which of the above is true, it’s really Blizzard’s word against the players, and it could go either way. If the first one is true, then the players got what they deserve, and I wish all the worst for them for stirring up all these crap in the first place. Unfortunately, if the second is true, there is probably nothing that can be done to save these players.

Several years ago, World of Warcraft players using the Cedega variant of Wine to play the game in Linux all found themselves banned.  Blizzard initially claimed that they were cheats, but after being contacted by Transgaming (the company that made Cedega) and doing further investigation, they found that they were actually false positive, and reversed the ban and crediting the banned accounts with 20 days of game time.

In this case, there were thousands of banned users that were backed by a company. What chance would 4 isolated individuals have? It doesn’t help that he can’t really find out more about why these 4 were banned. Bashiok writes:

“It’s company policy not to discuss account actions with anyone but the account holder, or their legal guardian if applicable. It’s an issue between us and them. Trust me, it’d be much easier on me to just post exactly what they did, but we feel it’s important to honor the privacy of our customers, and that’s a policy I personally agree with.”

Now, I agree with this privacy policy, but the truth is the affected customers themselves do not have access to the reasons why they were banned beyond being accused of using a cheat. What would definitely help against false positive is Blizzard providing the customers with the name of the process that was detected and what cheat program Warden thinks that process was. This would allow innocent players to find correlation with other falsely banned players to identify the particular software that has been falsely identified as a cheat, possibly allowing the owner of the software to contact Blizzard (like Transgaming did) to help right the wrongs.

Of course, from Blizzard’s point of view, doing this will likely give the cheat writers an advantage against Warden that can and will be exploited. So really, if these players were innocent, I’m pretty confident that they are totally screwed.