### Gearing: Regulars to Heroics to Raiding

January 8, 2011

Well, we (“we” being myself, Lissanna, and Arielle) just finished recording our second installment of the Team Waffle Podcast Friday night.  Whee. ^_^  I think it went well, and certainly better than the 1st.  We got over 5,000 hits on our first episode, which literally just blows my mind.  Thank you so much for the support!  Now that vacations and holidays are over, we’ll be able to record with a more regular schedule.

And, now that vacations and holidays are over, I can stop procrastinating hardcore about writing up a blog post.  Believe me, I feel bad that it’s taken me this long to do it.

Now, I know the Patch Notes for 4.0.6 came out recently, and I’m sure you’re all jonesing for a post about those.  This is not that post.  We did address most of it in our Podcast, so I’m just gonna dangle that in front of you for a little while longer.  Yes, I am mean.  No, it doesn’t bother me. ;)

Down to the real nitty gritty, here.  Gearing.  Gear progression.  What stats do you need for this, what stats do you need for that, are you ready for this or that… There is a lot of that going around, and hopefully I can clear those questions up for a lot of people.

Ding, 85!  Well… Now What?

Chances are you are not ready to start into heroics upon level capping.  To be able to queue for them, you need to have an average iLvl of 329.  To check what your iLvl is, open up your character sheet, tab out the stats addition and look under the “General” area.  That’s where you’ll find it.

It is quite possible to cheese the queue system.  Blizzard has the dungeon finder scan not only what you’re wearing, but what’s in your bags and your bank as well.  You can also use PvP gear to cheese it.

Unless you’re running into heroics with an all-guild group and your healer is very good, DO NOT DO THIS.  Cheating the system will only make your life hell.  You will be taking a ridiculous amount of damage and get destroyed faster than a bucket of icecream in a room full of hormonally imbalanced women.  Yeah.  It’s that bad and scary.

So where does that leave you?

###### (Aside from rocking back and forth in the fetal position in the corner of a dark room from the above scenario…)

Well, if you were proactive while leveling up, got the right rep, got tabards, did daily random dungeons and their quests, did the good quest chains in Uldum/TH… you’re probably in a very good spot and only need a bit more oomph to push you over into heroic land.

For the rest of you, there’s quite a few options.  First things first, you want to upgrade whatever you can immediately upgrade.  Even if it’s not ideal stats (crit/mastery), an upgrade is an upgrade.

• Look at the rep vendors.  Most of your rep should be at honored, and there should be a few things you can pick up from them.  Guardians of Hyjal, for example, has a really amazing chest that you can get at level 83 and honored.
• After rep, look through the AH.  If you can afford to, there’s a decent amount of BoE blues that can be used.  Just avoid the PvP gear.  I know it looks tasty, but again, it’s only going to cause you trouble.  Not only can Resilience not be reforged, it’s also causing you to lose valuable stats.
• Another valuable source of gear is the gear from Justice Points.  If you have them at your disposal early, use them.  Personally, I bought the Legs and Belt immediately after dinging 85, then while not optimal, the Helm and Shoulders after.
• Lastly, run normal dungeons.  Do the quests for Lost City, Vortex Pinnacle and Grim Batol.  I don’t know off the top of my head, but at least one of those has a good bear reward.

Your goal for the transition from regulars to heroics is to get most of your slots to 333 item slots.  A few 325′s-ish here and there, some 346′s from crafting and Justice points.. and you’ll be golden.  You can get in with less, so long as you have a good healer and make use of CC.  Now, when you get to that point… Gem, enchant, and reforge your gear. Cheap gems, cheap enchants, reforging into Dodge via haste, crit, hit and exp.  Doing so will go a long way and help you immensely.

But what kind of stats do I need for Heroics?  For Raiding?

This is not something I want to answer, as it will probably be regurgitated back in absolutes some way or another.  However… I will.  With this disclaimer(though I fully know that no matter what I say, it’s going to backfire anyway):

The following stats are not absolutes.  They are incredibly rough estimates.  If you are in the appropriate level of gear, what you have is enough.

For Heroics -

Dodge: Above 25%
Crit: Around 25%
Health: Around 120k
Armor: Around 28k
Mastery: Around 15
Hit: Doesn’t Matter
Exp: Doesn’t Matter
AP: Doesn’t Matter

For Raiding -

Dodge: Around or Above 30% (going to regret that one)
Crit: Around 28-30%
Health: Around 130k
Armor: Around 30k
Mastery: Around 18
Hit: Doesn’t Matter
Exp: Doesn’t Matter
AP: Doesn’t Matter

Heroics are so last week.  I want to know about raiding!

For the best pre-raid gear, visit my tanking guide on the forums here, or visit Arielle’s post here.  The transition from heroics into raiding is more or less getting all the gear you can out of heroics, rep, and craftables.  A few pieces can obviously lag behind since RNG sucks, but the goal is to get mostly 346′s.  However, you also have a second goal, and that is to hunt down and keep trying for the most optimal pieces that have mastery on them.  Because dodge is better than Mastery at this time, you will absolutely want as much mastery from gear as possible.  All the time.

Yes, this means your Hit and Expertise will suffer.  No, it doesn’t matter because Vengeance is silly.  Yes, even with Skull Bash able to miss.

That’s pretty much it as far as gear progression goes.  It’s just one step of the ladder to the next.

The important part to remember is to use Crowd Control while you’re still gearing through heroics.  That will greatly reduce the intake of damage you’re experiencing, and… you’re a druid.  You have Roots and Hibernate available to you, though they are 30 seconds instead of 1 minute.

Good luck!

### Dodge ‘Diminishing Returns’

December 22, 2010

With the healing and tanking mechanism changes in Cataclysm, Dodge is becoming the stat that attracts the attention of Bears. What a lot of bears seem to worry about is the Dodge “Diminishing Returns” introduced back in 3.0, and start to believe that after a certain point, Dodge becomes in effective to gem or reforge for because of the “Diminishing Returns”. They couldn’t be more wrong, and this article will explain why we should not worry too much about the “Diminishing Returns”.

Back in The Burning Crusades, players were able to achieve very high levels of avoidance – up to the 102.4% required to make a raid boss completely unable to hit you at all. The problem with the pre-3.0 model of Dodge (and Parry, and Magic Resistance) where a fixed amount of Rating points give a fixed amount of Dodge% is that they do not take into account that the effect of Avoidance is magnified the more you have of it. The more avoidance you already have, the more valuable each 1% of dodge you can get will be.

To illustrate this, imagine that you currently have 20% dodge. Increasing your dodge% by 1% does not just reduce the amount of damage you take by 1%. Because your chance of receiving damage has been reduced from 80% to 79%, your average damage reduced by the 1% dodge is .80/.79 = 1.266%. It gets even better when you have 50% dodge, where 1% dodge reduces your damage received by .50/.49 = 2.040%, and at 99% dodge, an additional 1% dodge will reduce your damage received by .01/.00 = infinity because that is where we become completely invulnerable.

Blizzard has the tendency to fix stats that gets better the more you have of it (recently ArPen was removed partly for this reason, and Magic Resistance has been changed too), and so Diminishing Returns was introduced to Dodge in the form of (for a level 85 druid):

$Latex formula$

Where d’ is our Dodge chance after Diminishing Return is applied, and d is the Dodge chance (from Agility and Dodge Rating) before Diminishing Return is applied.

This isn’t the full picture though. Not all source of Dodge% has Diminishing Returns applied to them. In particular the ones that are exempted from Diminishing Return are:

• 4% Dodge from Feral Swiftness
• 6% Dodge from Natural Reaction
• 4.951% Base Dodge for druids
• Base Agility for our race/class (varies by race) which is not very significant

If you are familiar with the Armor Damage Reduction table and know that the so called “Diminishing Returns” on armor is a myth, then you should recognize that the Dodge Diminishing Return formula also applies the same concept to control average damage reduction from growing out of control. However, because of the presence of Dodge sources that are exempted from Diminishing Returns, the effect of the Diminishing Returns are not as severe as for Armor.

It is in fact still possible to hit 100% avoidance – all we need is to have enough d so that d’ + 4% + 6% + 4.951% = 96.2% (94.2% for Night Elves) and with 4.4% (6.4% for Night Elves) chance for a boss to miss and 0.6% boss dodge suppression, this will make us completely unhittable. We can get there with around 25.5k Agility + 25.5k Dodge Rating, probably unreachable even with gear available at the end of Cataclysm, but this is our actual dodge cap.

In any case, we should not worry about the Diminishing Return effects on Dodge (and Parry for our plate wearing colleagues) at all. Dodge will continue to be a good stat and not lose its value as we acquire more of it.

### Kill Videos and a New Author

December 21, 2010

Still very busy with Drow.  I’ve taken to frapsing as often as possible.  (I’m rendering our Cho’gall kill as I type this)  I’m also very, very open to music suggestions.  I have a limited selection and I’d hate to continue using the same style again and again.  The videos should be added to the Visual Vault shortly.  Currently have Al’Akir on 10, Twin Drakes on 25, and Cho’gall.  Have Chimaeron and Conclave to go still.

I’ve also added a second author to the Inc Bear, so you will occasionally see posts from Tangedyn.  He has been working with Yawning and Toskk on the Mew project (cat DPS calculator), as well as double-checking and contributing Fasc’s Bear Spreadsheet and Toskk’s Bear Model.  He’s also helped me keep my tanking guide current and accurate, and for that I can’t thank him enough.

I’m still really sorry for the lack of content to these posts.  I do have a good one lined up, I just need the time to write it.  Plus I wanted to give a brief introduction to Tangedyn before you saw a post from him and became confused. :)

And if you haven’t listened, Teamwafflecast.com has its first podcast up.  Go listen! (I am bad at speaking.  So, so bad.)

### Appearances, Announcements, and Aaaaagh!

December 17, 2010

First, the Aaaaagh! part.

My, oh my, was I just surprised, both pleasantly and unpleasantly… my poor bank, to find out that I have exceeded my bandwidth limit for the month.  I honestly was not expecting that to happen (Stop linking me! —okay, not really… keep doin it.).  Guys made me fork out more money to extend the bandwidth limitations.  Why would you do this to me?!

In addition… it’s a good thing they have my card on file and that I memorized my security code… because I don’t recall where my card is, exactly.  Oh it’s somewhere…. I hope.  :/

As for the Appearances?  Yeah, hi.  I’m here.  I’m alive.  Cataclysm didn’t swallow me up (okay, it kind of did).  I’ve been unbelievably busy since launch night.  Between leveling, heroics, rep grinds, professions, work, raid research, raiding, alts…. yeah.  The blog took a back burner.  I’ll have a real post up shortly, this is just something quick that I told myself I’d do a few days ago.

And, the Announcement…

Those of you following me on Twitter should already know.  For those of you that aren’t, tonight will be the first recording of the Team Waffle Podcast.  Myself and fellow bloggers, Lissanna and Death Kitty (Arielle) will be shootin the shit.  It’s a podcast for druids, made by druids.  Still being developed.  Still needs a style.  We’re recording, but not doing a live show because of how new it is and how oblivious we are to the inner-workings of podcasts.  We’re hopefully going to have it up the 18th, so we’ll see.  I’m pretty excited. :)

That’s it for now, and I’m sorry for the lack of content.

Edit 1:  I found my credit card, thank god.

### See You on the Other Side

December 7, 2010

40 minutes to go.  I am not going sleep.  Yaaaaaay me.

If any of you are not tied up with your own leveling shenanigans, I will be streaming the full deal from start to finish.

As always, the stream is visible in the visual vault, as well as http://www.xfire.com/live_video/reesilol

Happy killing!

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