Swordguard Embroidery leaves retribution in stitches

After writing my article for the week over at WoW Insider, a piece on profession and racial perks in Mists of Pandaria, I submitted it to the editors, read it several times over myself, and only later realized (after an astute commenter pointed it out to me) that I had neglected to include tailoring in my list. So, during a rather lengthy seminar this afternoon I decided to do some quick math on the profession perk from tailoring, Swordguard Embroidery.

According to the tooltip, Swordguard Embroidery (SE) has a proc for 4000 AP for 15 seconds, with a probable ICD of 55 seconds (it has been reported that the Cata version of SE has an ICD of 55 seconds, so I’m making a bit of an assumption here). If we fudge the 55 seconds out to 60 seconds, given that SE isn’t guaranteed to proc immediately after the ICD is up, we see that SE has a 25% uptime, which translates to a “flat” 1000 AP buff.

We can back-calculate the attack power to see how much strength it’s pretending to be:

Givens: 5% extra strength from Plate Specialization, 5% extra strength from Blessing of Kings, and the fact that 2 AP = 1 strength.

1000 = 1.05*1.05*2*x

Where x is the amount of strength.

Solving this shows that the equivalent strength gain is 453.5.

Now, embroideries replace any cloak enchant, which for our purposes is going to be Superior Critical Strike. Given what stat weights we’ve seen thus far (strength = 2.87, crit = 2.25), so let’s convert our equivalent strength gain and this crit enchant into raw numbers:

Strength from SE: 453.5 * 2.87 = 1301.55

Crit from enchant: 180 * 2.25 = 405

Subtracting the two results, we get a difference of 896.55. If we convert this back into strength as such:

2.87*x = 896.55

We find that x = 312.39 strength.

If, for sake of argument, the effect procs immediately after 55 seconds, the result changes to 353.63 strength. Naturally, the point at which SE procs after the ICD has elapsed is a bit hit-or-miss, but one conclusion that can be drawn is that this profession’s perk will be more valuable to those with rapid attacks (rogues, ferals) than those of us with a slightly slower swing.

Also, if we find that Simc’s stat weights aren’t accurate and strength ends up being worth more than current sims are giving it credit for, then the DPS contribution of SE will increase.

Retribution in Mists of Pandaria: Exo a go go

I have already detailed a few observations of mine about retribution in the Mists of Pandaria beta over in my column at WoW Insider, so if you haven’t read that article yet I would definitely recommend it, and not just because I think it’s one of the more humorous posts I’ve probably written there. Today I just wanted to expand on those thoughts and rattle off a few others that I did not already cover.

Comparing Cataclysm‘s Exorcism to the proposed Mists model, it becomes fairly clear that the Mists version is quite superior. Having Exo as an instant cast from the baseline rather than through a proc means it becomes a de facto filler spell, if not one of our higher priority abilities. Having viable filler spells to prevent the formation of gaping holes that seriously derail the flow of the rotation is good; you won’t find me on the side of the fence arguing for fewer DPS buttons to push.

The recent reduction of Exo’s cooldown from 20 seconds to 15 is also a nice improvement. This change reduces the impact of The Art of War, making our damage less erratic and more consistent overall. Again, I approve.

What still troubles me about Exo in Mists is how hard it hits. Sure, the spell is just as powerful on live servers and leads to even more randomness than in the beta, but I’m not necessarily saying that our current Exo is just peachy either. Huge damage swings are what makes our spec inconsistent and, in my opinion, frustrating at times.

Think about the last time you had five or more Divine Purpose procs in a row. Remember the glee, the childish laughter coming from deep within your soul when you watched your DPS skyrocket with each successive supercharged Templar’s Verdict?

Now think back to those much more frequent occasions when you don’t get a single proc for what seems like minutes at a time. Barring any exciting encounter-related maneuvers, I am willing to bet that you were bored out of your skull. Not only that, but you saw your place on the damage meter gradually slip lower and lower.

I don’t know about you, but seeing myself lower than four or more people on Skada or Recount makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong and motivates me to figure out a solution that brings my damage back up. Getting a chain of non-procs and watching my DPS suffer as a result successfully throws up a red flag in the “You’re doing it wrong!” department, but there is no tangible solution that will satisfy the desire to do better. It’s down to the luck of the roll, and if you happen to lose that roll there is nothing you can do about it.

I am convinced that this playstyle, a high DPS potential spec with highly randomized output, leads many players to get frustrated and quit playing their character. For how mind-numbingly easy the retribution FCFS system was in Wrath, one thing it did well was provide a consistent playstyle for the person behind the screen. The addition of the two-piece T10 set bonus, the randomly proccing Divine Storm cooldown reset, was nice for those of us that got a bit bored with the rotation, but sometimes I grow concerned that Blizzard took the feedback about that set bonus and ran away with it in Cataclysm.

So having such high damage on a random proc can be a bad thing – large attack deltas, inconsistent DPS, and random burst damage are not only possible but probable. Hopefully the cooldown reduction on Exo helps alleviate some of these symptoms. When all is said and done, we’re talking about Blizzard here — if they don’t get it right the first time, they will at least try to remedy it before the end of the expansion.

Blizzcon 2011, Cell Phone Picture Edition

Since pictures tell a thousand words, here’s enough pictures to make up for the month that I’ve missed from blogging!

(The pictures might be in reverse order… I really don’t like Photobucket.)

 

Still Alive

Oh, what a great game.

For those wondering, yes I am still alive. I’ve been concentrating on a few things recently, among which is writing for WoW Insider as their new ret columnist! I’m pretty excited about this opportunity, and I hope those of you who enjoy this blog will enjoy those columns just as much.

Censure Hotfix

The damage dealt by Censure from Seal of Truth has been increased by 40%.

A nice, small buff to our single-target damage. It’s a drop in the pond, to be sure, but they’re heading in the right direction, especially in this line:

We’re also considering shifting some of the damage from Hammer of Wrath into other attacks. While that may not necessarily cure some of the current concerns about proc reliance, it should help smooth out damage a bit.

So many times, yes. We need more consistent fillers, more even damage between cooldowns, and I honestly hardly use HoW anymore.

Firelands Nerfs

For those that may have missed them, there is a comprehensive list of the nerfs at MMO-Champion here. Unfortunately I was on standby the first night the nerfs went live, but boy howdy did I see them firsthand when we went in on Wednesday to work on Rag. I had literally not seen phase 3 before that night, knew almost nothing about Living Meteors or Blazing Heat, but we strolled in to his keep, killed trash, and one-shot him. Granted, we had put three weeks of progression on him prior to that night, but man.

I really think they did too much, too soon. However, I don’t want to be too much of a catastrophist, foretelling the end of WoW because Blizzard is killing the endgame… but I’ll keep my giant cardboard sign close, just in case.

Paladin Tier 13

A lot of the paladins I’ve talked to aren’t too thrilled about this tier, but… I like it. The recolors should be interesting to see, and remember: you can always hide your helm. Though why you would want to, I’m not sure; facewings should be pretty epic.

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Majordomo Staghelm

This is the sixth of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!

Okay, since it took us a while to find out how to deal with the trash, and since any and all trash “strats” were forum posts where people were mocked for wiping to it, I’m going to give you a Majordomo Staghelm Trash strat right now:

Kill the humanoids first. Watch out for the leaping cats; they’ll stun you. You can dispel this stun, though if you use Mass Dispel it will dispel it from the cats as well. After the humanoids are down, burn down the cats. They will target who they are going to leap before they actually leap, so it’s possible to give warning to their targets to get out of the way. Also, you may need to use Bloodlust/Heroism to make it through the massive raid damage; we did.

Abilities

Majordomo Staghelm has three forms: Scorpion, Cat, and Caster.

Scorpion Phase

When the raid is stacked together, Staghelm will shift into his Scorpion Form. While he’s in this form, he will cast Flame Scythe, which will proc a stack of Adrenaline, meaning he will scythe faster and faster as the phase progresses.

Cat Phase

When the raid is spread out, Mr. Former Arch Druid will shift into his Cat Form. Much like Flame Scythe, Domo will cast Leaping Flames on a ranged raid member and jump to them, which will also proc a stack of Adrenaline and spawn a pulsing fire puddle where he lands. When he leaps, a Spirit of the Flame will spawn in his place.

Caster Phase

Every third shapeshift, Staghelm will swap out to his caster form to do a special ability. During his first such phase, Domo will cast Searing Seeds on the raid, all of which have random durations and explode when they have run their course. His second caster shift will see Burning Orbs spawn.

Also, every time Majordomo switches forms (caster doesn’t count for this) he gains a stack of Fury, increasing his damage done with Flame Scythe and Leaping Flames, presenting a soft enrage.

Strategy

Scorpion Phases

We pulled Domo while stacked, so he started in a scorpion phase. You should note that this is your main DPS phase, so it’s very important to pop your cooldowns and go to town on him. One crucial bit of information – there is a “sweet spot” near the front of the scorpion that technically counts as being behind him, and yet you are still able to share cleave damage from Flame Scythe. Visually, it should be somewhere around the area in the screenshot below, right near the blue square:

Of course, you should find this area for yourself each time in one of two ways.

  1. Have your resident rogue inch farther and farther away from the stack until their Backstab icon lights up. Both of our rogues were Combat but this still worked for them.
  2. Have your feral druid do the same, except with Shred in place of Backstab.

The tank shouldn’t be moving the boss at all, so you can safely sit in this spot and DPS without worrying about parries.

Your healers will be sweating bullets during this phase, and those with raid cooldowns will be coordinating and doing their thing. Save your glyphed Divine Protection for when the stacks start piling up and your healers start falling behind; Flame Scythe is Fire damage, after all.

As I said, these are your main burn phases. We took our first scorpion phase to 12, chaining raid cooldowns like Divine Guardian, Aura Mastery, Power Word: Barrier, Anti-Magic Zone, Tranquility, and Rallying Cry. We only took subsequent scorpion phases to 6 or so because of the stacking Fury buff.

Cat Phases

These segments are more about bursting down adds than anything. Domo will be leaping faster and faster as the phase progresses, resulting in adds spawning more often. This means that, depending on your rDPS, you might get about 3 or 4 leaps where you’re still hitting Domo for a few seconds before adds become your entire world. We usually took these phases to 6 or 7 because they serve no other purpose than to let healers regen a little mana.

Caster Phases

For Searing Seeds, here is a neat trick that a guildmate of mine clued me into doing. Since we know Staghelm will change forms when people stack, you can anticipate a shift as people are piling into melee range. Therefore, if you pop Divine Shield just as everyone is collapsing, you will be immune to the Searing Seeds debuff and not even get it! This way, you won’t have to run out to drop it, meaning you won’t have to leave the raid with one less person to soak Flame Scythes for a short period of time, and you can DPS for that much longer. Win, win.

For Burning Orbs, there isn’t much you can do unless one of them is spawned near melee. Hand of Sacrifice an orb tanker in need, but generally stay out of their way and let them do their job. Remember, the orbs generally spawn at range, so if you’re out soaking some orb damage you’re not DPSing the boss, meaning you’re just prolonging the fight. Of course, if there is a dire need for a quick replacement, glyphed DP lets us be a temporary hero.

Otherwise the rest of the fight is rinse and repeat. Our sequence went like so:

Scorpion (12) > Cat (6) > Caster > Scorpion (6) > Cat (6) > Caster > Scorpion (5) > Cat (1) > Dead

Good luck!

Fireworks or Flares?

A string of big announcements have rocked the WoW-verse in the past few days. Let’s recap a few of them:

Tanking and Threat

  • Threat woes will soon be a thing of the past, with threat modifiers being changed from 300% to 500% for all tanking specs, implemented via hotfix. Also, Vengeance scaling will be changed in a future patch to make it more consistent and reliable.
  • Blizzard wants to see a change in tanking playstyle towards a more active role in mitigation, to something more like the current Blood death knight model.

Patch 4.2 Hotfixes

  • Multiple bosses in Firelands have had their damage reduced on normal difficulties.
  • Meanwhile, a few bosses in Firelands have had their mechanics changed to be less random.

Patch 4.3

  • “Transmogrification” will allow players to change the appearance of their armor.
  • The Deathwing raid we’ve all been waiting for will be released.
  • Three brand-new heroics will be introduced, with the possibility of one of them being a Caverns of Time instance.
  • “Void Storage” will be some sort of large, maybe intra-realm (maybe even inter-realm) bank.

Tack on the cryptic quote from Zarhym about their impending plans for cross-realm raids, and you have a half of a Blizzcon’s worth of announcements in the span of a couple of days, two months before Blizzcon itself.

What’s going on over at Blizzard HQ? Is it coincidence that all of this news is spilling at the same time? Are the blues in panic-mode after their 600K subscriber hit in Q1? Or are they trying to prime the hype machine to compete with SWTOR’s targeted Q4 release?

As players, we can only muse at what is happening in Irvine, and whether these sweeping changes are cause for celebration or concern.

Guest Post: Just Say The Word

Hi there. I’m Pliers, the new ret paladin in town. Antigen’s been kind enough to offer me a chance to guest post. I’m working on a longer post that’ll go into how I came to be a ret paladin and the steps I took in deciding to pick up a real spec (I should say, the only spec), but put that on hold while I wrote this post about our utility.

In Antigen’s last post, Meloree and I had a good conversation in the comments about looking past the damage meter, and how there’s more to us than meets the eye. If you have a few minutes, I really recommend checking out the comments in that post.

To sum it up, we spoke about two different approaches to playing a ret paladin: pure DPS and support. The first group focuses on being the best DPS you can be, maximizing personal performance and squeezing out as much damage as possible. The second group is willing to sacrifice personal performance if it may help out the raid. Antigen considers himself to be in the former group, while I am working to train myself to be in the latter. Neither is strictly better than the other; both come with advantages and disadvantages, and you should look at your personal raiding situation before deciding which is for you.

Today, I’m going to talk about Word of Glory. Paladins have more ways to help out the raid than any other class, and even though it was sizably nerfed when 4.1 gave it a cooldown, this often overlooked ability deserves the spotlight. I will use Baleroc as an example of where, how, and why we should be eager to WoG, rather than reluctant or unwilling.

To start, here’s a link to the spec used, which has 1 point in Eye for an Eye, and no Repentence, to allow for 2/2 Selfless Healer.

Here’s one of my WoL reports, for a heroic Baleroc attempt from Tuesday. In this instance, Baleroc has 196 million health, and enrages after 6 minutes.

Before I get into the meat of my post, you might notice that I cast precisely 0 WoGs. I got off to a bit of a rough start, and made sure to do what was needed of me before I worried about saving others. While it is a shameful example of not meeting ret’s potential, it does make for a good control for the rest of what I have to say.

First, the obvious. WoG is a heal that requires Holy Power to use, scaling linearly. Without Selfless Healer, a regular WoG will land for around 20k from a ret paladin, with roughly a 30% crit rate. It’s not a regular part of our rotation, since it takes the place of Templar’s Verdict, our highest source of damage. TV accounts for roughly 25% of our damage, once you include HoL procs. Looking through my WoL report, in 5.25 minutes, I did 38 TVs, or one TV every 8.3 seconds. To make things simple on myself, scaling it to a 5 minute fight would have 35 TVs.

Say I noticed people occasionally dying, and decide to keep an eye on the raid frames to toss out the occasional heal when someone was dipping low. Let’s examine what would happen if I were to use WoG once per minute on average. I lose 5 TVs from using their Holy Power on WoG, plus 1 DP proc that I wouldn’t have gotten due to losing those TVs. So, that’s 6 lost TVs out of 35, and TV is 25% of our damage.

(6/35)*.25= 4.3% damage lost.

Mitigating this loss, I’d gain some damage from Selfless Healer: 4% damage per Holy Power, for 10 seconds, once per minute.

(10s/60s)*(.04*3) = 2%.

4.3%-2%= 2.3% net loss.

That is a 500-550 DPS loss. Looking at it slightly differently, I would have done roughly 165k less damage total. That number doesn’t hit me as hard as “500+ DPS”, but regardless, it’s a noticeable loss for a ret pally and will show at the end of the fight. However, it comes out to less than 0.1% of the total damage the raid needs to deal. That means I would lengthen the fight by 1/3rd of a second.

In the meantime, you fired off 5 heals on low health targets. Your healing done from the 5 WoGs will be the 20k baseline, times 1.5 for Selfless Healer, times 1.3 for your crit rate. In return for your 165k damage sacrifice, you will have done 20k*(1.5)(1.3) = 195k healing, and had 5 separate opportunities to save someone who may otherwise have died, while sparing healers mana and potentially cooldowns.

Check out a second spec variation here. I’ve given up 1 point from both Blazing Light and Eye for an Eye, and picked up 2/2 Last Word, giving my WoGs an extra 60% crit on people under 35%, which covers just about every WoG you’d be tossing out. On that attempt, Exorcism came out to 8% of my damage. The top parse for all ret paladins has 10% damage for Exorcism, so I’ll use that. A high estimate for Eye for an Eye on that fight puts it at .5% of the total. Losing 1 point from Blazing Light will put my Exorcisms at 110% damage instead of 120%, going from 8% to 7.3%. Combined, I have lost another 1.2% damage, on top of the 2.3% from using WoG, putting me roughly 800 DPS lower than where I started for a total loss of 240,000 damage. I’ve now lengthened the fight by just slightly over half a second. This is equivalent of a single raider stopping DPS completely for about 12 seconds. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

On the other hand, WoG has increased dramatically in potency. Making the same calculation as above, only with 60% more crit, your WoGs will be landing for an average of 57k, totaling 285k healing. To put that in perspective, 57k is over 40% of the typical raider’s health bar.

Let’s assume the following:

Someone dies. Fortunately, the raid has a battle res up to spare. Miraculously, the raid’s debuff rotation hasn’t changed, and no one else is dead or debuffed as a result, so the raid as a whole can continue as if nothing happened. It takes 3 seconds for a druid to decide to Battle res, target the person, and start their 2 second cast. The res goes off and is instantly accepted. The druid buffs MotW and immediately continues DPSing, while two other people toss out their buffs, and, in a stroke of luck, all other combat buffs are automatically applied by other classes in the course of their DPSing, instantly. The person who died didn’t need mana, didn’t clip their cooldowns, has no ramp-up time, and only loses 1.5 seconds moving back into position before starting to DPS again.

In this ridiculous extreme, the druid lost 2 seconds of DPS ressing and 1.5 seconds buffing, two other people lost a global each, and the person who died is out of commission for 5.5 seconds, putting us back at, yes, 12 seconds, the same amount of time you effectively cost the raid by changing your spec and firing out WoGs.

There’s no guarantee you would have saved someone, but you’re only using it in situations where people are most likely to die without help. Battle resses are a commodity, and there will be significantly more time lost in getting the person up and back in the fight. The cost is cheap. Shit will hit the fan if people die. You could very well be the difference between a kill and a wipe, and if nothing else, you can pat yourself on the back knowing that wipe was in spite of you doing your absolute best.

Mostly, what I’m hoping to do here is outline an alternative method of play that de-emphasizes our position on a meter. Just because we’re not #1 on stateofdps.com doesn’t change that we’re the best class in the game. I focused on Word of Glory and Baleroc for this post, but we have a ton of other tools that will help on just about every fight which aren’t part of our standard dps rotation. Using them at the right times can and will turn the tide of a fight. In the end, what matters is getting the boss down, and I know that when a boss finally bites the dust, there’s no better feeling than knowing I made a difference.

As always, play intelligently. Don’t wait around with 3 Holy Power, or start topping off people who aren’t in danger. Stay alive, stay focused, and push the limits of your DPS potential. Just remember to keep your eyes open for opportunities to show what sets you apart from the pack. The only reason Recount doesn’t have a tab for “Awesome” is because there’s already a tab on Blizzard’s raid frames that says how many paladins are in the raid. Work to make your teammates jealous when you whip out another tool from our utility belt, not just our dashing good looks and fabulous hair.

Side note: Mouseover macros are awesome. Using heals, Hands, and taunts without having to swap targets (and losing autoswings in the process) is something everyone should be taking advantage of.

#showtooltip
/cast [target=mouseover,help] Word of Glory

This macro will attempt to WoG whatever you have your cursor over, and if that fails, saves the holy power so you can use it on TV. I have this bound to my mouse button 4 for super easy use (you cannot use mouse buttons for mouseover macros in general, but I went into my mouse settings and remapped my mouse button 4 key to work around that issue).

Is Ret Fun?

I’ve spent far too much time on the official Paladin forums lately, responding to some threads, reading a few others, and I’ve picked up on an attitude that seems to permeate each Ret post:

“Our rotation is too hard / not fun at all, GG BLIZZ! Change it back to the way it was in Wrath!”

Do we really want this?

Wrath of the Lich King

Here’s a quick screenshot of my UI during some heroic Sindragosa work:

What did we have to manage at this time? Well, the Power Aura shining brightly there is for Art of War, which at the time allowed you to cast Exorcism or Flash of Light instantly. Otherwise, there was our one cooldown, Avenging Wrath, to worry about.  If you notice, I was specced into Aura Mastery at the time… oh God, the nostalgia is critting me!

So basically, during Wrath, we had one proc to watch for, one cooldown to use, and seven attacks to keep on cooldown in a priority order.

Oh right, two-piece T10 turned Divine Storm into an interesting proc as well, that proc being “When you see DS light up before it’s technically off cooldown, MASH THE SHIT OUT OF IT!”

Cataclysm

And to counter my Sindy screenshot, here’s a Shannox one:

So what do we have to keep an eye on now? Art of War is still on our list of “procs to watch,” but now we also have Divine Purpose to look for. We have to keep Inquisition up for as close to the entire duration of the fight as we can, intelligently refreshing while not to sacrificing too much DPS. We need to juggle both Avenging Wrath and Zealotry, though it is recommended to macro them together nowadays (I started doing this a couple weeks ago; I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!) We also have Bananaman (Guardian of Ancient Kings) to pop every five minutes.

Of course we got a whole new resource system to keep track of and utilize effectively, and after a few patches we finally got our AoE DPS groove back.

If you add it all up, that’s two procs, three cooldowns, one buff to maintain, a second resource mechanic to manage, and seven attacks.

What is Fun, Really?

Okay, you’re probably thinking, Ret has certainly gotten more complicated than before, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily more fun.

I completely agree. “Fun” is a subjective term, of course, but I don’t think it’s completely disjoined from “complication.”

Look at Blizzard’s raid encounters over the past couple expansions. For someone who started on a paladin during Wrath-era Naxx, Patchwerk was a pretty boring fight to me. It was a great fight to measure e-peens and chart DPS on, but the fight itself was extremely blah.

Fast forward to Firelands, and the closest analog you will find to Patchwerk is Baleroc. Sure, he stands in one spot the whole time; sure, there isn’t any AoE damage or fire to avoid, but his Shards of Torment, healing buff stacking, tank swaps, and level of coordination necessary far surpass that required for Patchwerk.

In essence, Blizzard has made fights more busy, more complicated, in the hopes that the player-base would find them engaging and, hey, fun. I think we can all agree that killing bosses week after week that just stood there and said “Oh, I’m going to kill you in the name of my master!” and did absolutely nothing else would be quite boring.

This design philosophy extends directly to player classes, Ret specifically.

Is the spec harder to play? Definitely.

Is it less fun? That depends:

If you happen to believe that folding laundry, counting change, and watching water pour out of a faucet are the most amazingly fun activities in the world, then maybe the spec isn’t for you.

However, if you’re the type of person that enjoys learning from his or her mistakes, finds satisfaction through honest effort and hard work, and just generally likes to use that spongy organ we call a “brain,” then I think you’ll fit right in.

Let’s Not Be So Hasty

There seems to be a lot of hub and a lot of bub about Haste lately and how it pertains to our stat weights. Exemplar on the EJ Ret forums has apparently done some work and came to a few bold conclusions:

Having corrected autoattacks, Censure, and tweaked SoC this is what I am presently getting:

Mastery ~= Haste > Crit

I’ve tried various setups both in my present gear (4 T11), along with T12 and Heroic T12, with the same results.

Any severe imbalance in stats causes the ratio to shift. You want about 20% more Mastery than Haste (1.2:1 Mastery/Haste). Too much more than that and Haste becomes superior. The rate changes so slowly, though, that you could be as far as 1.4:1 before you would even get a few DPS variance. Thus it should be pretty safe to just reforge for Mastery without worry that you’re going too far.

Crit is a reasonably close third. In most reasonable gear/reforge setups their values are about 1.25 (M/H) to 1.1 (C).

In general if you swap Haste and Crit from our old reforging desires, you get what you want. Hit/Exp cap, then reforge Mastery. If an item already has Mastery, change some Crit to Haste.

To use myself as an example, my current Mastery:Haste ratio is 2.506:1 (1784:712). If I were to take his advice and change my Crit reforges to Haste, let’s say I would gain about 350 Haste rating without sacrificing Hit, Expertise, or Mastery (my own quick napkin calcs are around this number, if a bit lower), bumping the ratio up to 1.680:1. I can see as we get more T12 gear, this ratio will drop a bit to Exemplar’s predicted range.

Okay, we can get there. But how did Haste end up above Crit? Exemplar has more explanations:

  • Correcting Censure increased the value of Haste, but being informed (and verifying) that it crits for 200% (not 150% as other spells) helped temporarily restore Crit’s balance.
  • Correcting Autoattack then greatly increased the value of Haste. Haste obviously produces more Autoattacks (and seal/SoC Procs!), but this also impacts generation of Exo procs. This can ripple in a minor fashion to Mastery as Exo could proc DivPurp and produce a new TV.
  • More Haste should increase everything equally (more attacks = more crits, more CS/TV = more HoL damage), but due to talents it appears to increase Mastery more than Crit. More Haste means shorter CS. Shorter CS means more HoL damage and more HP, therefore more TV for yet more HoL damage.

I’m not too sure what he’s talking about with the whole “correcting Censure” business. I know that the crit damage of Censure got bumped up to 200%, but perhaps Censure just wasn’t modelling correctly in his spreadsheet. Personally I don’t use his sheet, though now that Redcape is retired I may have to.

More SoT/SoC damage is a given, but I think Exemplar is overstating the production of AoW procs and subsequent Divine Purpose procs. Yes, I know he said “minor”, but let me show you how minor it really is.

This is a simple table translating Haste rating into weapon speed, using the following equation:

Weapon Speed = Base Weapon Speed / (Haste1 x Haste2 x Haste3… x HasteN)

In this equation, you have to calculate each Haste effect separately (Haste1, Haste2, etc.). For the purposes of this very general discussion, I am not including our raid buffs (5% from Mind Quickening/Wrath of Air Totem, 9% from Judgements of the Pure)

Why do we need weapon speed, you may ask? Because it is used to calculate your number of autoattacks:

So, over the course of a five minute fight (300 sec.), with a 3.6 weapon speed and no Haste, you would get 83.3 (repeating, of course) autoattacks. For those that may have missed it, that calculation is just a simple,

300 / 3.6 = 83.33

The other two columns aren’t so clear, so let me go over those.

Art of War, as the talent states, is a 20% chance on autoattacks to generate a free Exo. Therefore, it makes the most sense to model this as “procs on 20% of autoattacks.” Obviously, the longer the fight duration, the closer to 20% you’ll actually come, but for right now this is the best way to model it.

In case you were wondering, I also did 10-minute and 15-minute fight duration tables:

As for the “DP from AoW” column, this is where things get a bit wonky. Divine Purpose states that each attack listed (of which Exo is one of them) has a 15% chance on cast to proc DP, which is essentially a free TV. Now, if you’ve had enough time to Ret it up in raids recently, then you know that DP is a weird proc and it often likes to proc itself, so these numbers admittedly might be a little low. But let’s play it safe and not assume it’s going to proc seven additional DPs in a row, shall we?

Anyway, this all means that any additional AoW procs you get from more Haste each have a 15% chance to proc DP.

Taking all of this data, I can plot both the number of AoW procs and the number of DP-AoW procs against Haste Rating and see how it scales:


It’s just lovely when you get trendlines that have an R² value of 1.

Anyway, I’m sure this looks like just a bunch of numbers to a lot of people, so let me summarize these graphs for you:

Click to embiggen.

What this table is saying is that, in order to go from X procs to X+1 procs, you need the specified amount of Haste Rating to do it. Most fights these days are between 5 and 10 minutes, so to get just one more Exo you need between 769 and 385 additional Haste Rating.

Clearly, fight length is a limiting factor. The longer the fight, the bigger role Haste is going to play. Of particular hilarity is the amount of Haste Rating need to get just one more DP proc from an AoW proc; that’s what happens when you have a low percent chance to proc something on a spell with another low percent chance.

I think Exemplar wrapped things up nicely here (emphasis added):

After slight cleanup I am still finding Hit > Expertise >>> Mastery > Haste >> Crit (quantity of greater than sign used to show relative superiority). Reforge to Hit/Exp cap. Then reforge Mastery. If an unforged item has Crit/Mastery, then reforge Crit->Haste. I understand and appreciate this is controversial and still under discussion. At this time the OP has not been altered from the previously believed Mastery > Crit > Haste.

I do not see a way to (dis)prove this definitively via testing or logs. RNG for DivPurp, AoW, and Crits, as well as Fight Length, optimum usage of CDs, just one more or less raid buff produces too much variance. Theory is only as good as our tools and we’ll keep working on them.

Of course, as I stated before, Seal damage is only going to go up in a linear fashion with more Haste, I’m not disputing that. What I am disputing, though, is the impact of Haste on Art of War and Divine Purpose. It definitely has an impact, but I feel that it’s not the ‘new stat to stack’ that everyone seems to believe it is.

Stacking Haste is essentially buffing the Random Number Generator. Sure, it may provide good results 15% of the time, but we can’t and shouldn’t base our gear choices around random chance.

Firelands Quick ‘n Dirty: Alysrazor

This is the fifth of seven guides for Firelands bosses, designed specifically for melee DPS. Some of this can be used for other roles, but I figure that most of my readership should be either part-time or full-time Rets, so here’s content designed specifically for you!

Alysrazor has one of the coolest initial pull animations I’ve seen. The only one that tops it is Sapphiron in Naxx, really.

Abilities

The Alysrazor encounter consists of three repeating phases.

Phase 1 – Get Busy Flying or Get Busy Interrupting

After the pull, Alys will fly across the field, dropping Molten Feathers and cleaving. Don’t eat the cleave, JUST TRUST ME ON THIS.

Clicking on three feathers will give you Wings of Flame, allowing you to fly and DPS Alysrazor.

Flying

In the air, there are a few mechanics you need to pay attention to. Alys will occasionally create a ring called Blazing Power. Fly through these to stay aloft. When you gain 25 stacks of Blazing Power, you’ll get Alysra’s Razor. Finally, Alys will create some Incendiary Clouds up there; avoid these, they hurt.

Not Flying

On the ground, Blazing Talon Initiates will spawn that need to be dealt with. These have two casts; Brushfire which is uninterruptable but can easily be avoided (the fire patch spawns where the initiate is facing, and moves about slowly), and Fieroblast which MUST be interrupted.

Additionally, Molten Eggs will drop and out of them will hatch Voracious Hatchlings. Do not be near these when they spawn, and as always don’t be in front of it.

Furthermore, Plump Lava Worms will spawn during this phase and cast Lava Spew in a rotating field of fire.

Phase 2 – Tornado Ninja Training

Alys will fly in a tight circle and spawn a Fiery Vortex. From this, Fiery Tornadoes will fan out and start flying in opposing circular patterns around the center. If you get too far out, you’ll get hit with Harsh Winds. Also, Blazing Power rings still appear during this phase, this time on the ground.

Thanks to @Shathus on Twitter, here is a short animation displaying the tornadoes’ path.

Phase 3 – Burn, Burn, Burn

The tornadoes will disappear, and Alys will gain Burnout and crash to the ground. At the very start of this phase, she will have 0 Molten Power. She will, however, gain Spark, and two Blazing Talon Clawshapers will channel Ignition, which also increases her Molten Power regen.

When she reaches 50 Molten Power, Alys will gain Ignited and hover in the air. She will pulse Blazing Buffet every second and will periodically cast Blazing Claw on her tank. When she reaches 100 Molten Power, she will cast Full Power.

Phase 1

Due to Incendiary Clouds and the fact that Alys is constantly moving through the air, we found it more beneficial to send only ranged up and keep melee on the ground for interrupting and add-killing (note that one feather will allow the individual to cast while moving).

As Alys makes her initial sweep across the field, she remains hittable thanks to a massive hitbox, so get some quick DPS on her before she gets out of your reach! Just… stay behind her.

Make sure to interrupt Fieroblast and move out of the way of Brushfire. In between add spawns (they will fly down in fire-bird form, shapeshifting when they reach the ground) make sure to hit the hatchling to help your tank out; that hatchling needs to be dead before phase 2.

Phase 2

Hopefully all of your adds are dead at the start of this phase (druids and hatchlings alike). This phase is very, very simple and involves nothing more than surviving. I uploaded a video to Youtube featuring the easiest way I found to dodge tornadoes:

As you can see, it’s really simple. As you can also see, my guildmates are dropping like flies to them. It makes me sad.

Phase 3

Tornadoes will die and Alys will fall, so just run in and start popping CDs. Your tanks should be picking up the Clawshapers, leaving the DPS and healers to stack up and burn.

When Alys picks herself up and ignites, the pulsing AoE needs to be healed through, which is why stacking up behind the boss is a great idea. Go ahead and pop Holy Radiance during this, even though it won’t do much in the grand scheme of things. It makes me feel better about myself and my lack of raid cooldowns… damn you, warriors!

This three-phase cycle repeats until you have a kill. Good luck!