Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Replenishment Classes in 3.1 and its PvP Impacts

When 3.1 lands, there will be 5 class/spec combinations that will be able to provide the Replenishment buff:
  • Retribution Paladin: Judgements of the Wise (Tier 7) 3 points
  • Shadow Priest: Vampiric Touch (Tier 9) 1 point
  • Survival Hunter: Hunting Party (Tier 10) 3 points (with a 3 point pre-talent)
  • Frost Mage: Enduring Winter (Tier 9) 3 points
  • Destruction Warlock: Improved Soul Leech (Tier 8) 2 points (with a 3 point pre-talent)

The interesting thing here is that not only are all the talents pretty far down the tree, but they're all on the right most tree of each class. Coincidence? Maaaaybe? Bueller?

In addition to that oh-so-helpful observation, of the five classes, two of them, the Paladin and the Priest, are hybrid classes. What does this mean? Well, hybrid classes have talent trees tailored to a specific role, so that if someone chooses to spec for a specific role, they are pigeonholed into a specific tree. In comparison, pure dps classes have 3 trees dedicated to the same thing: doing damage. As such, the Warlock, Hunter, and Mage may have to play a spec they don't particularly like or are competent with, just to provide the buff. For raiders, c'est la vie. If you want your raid spot, you'll spec how we want you to spec. For PvP'ers, if the game continues to slow down like it has been, your spec may put you at a severe disadvantage. More on that later.

Ok, so lets look at the Replenishment talents and pick each one apart.

Judgements of the Wise: Ret Pallies are notoriously mana dependent and often have tiny mana pools. 5-6k is normal and that's about half of what an Enhancement Shaman (the closest comparison) have. As such, to provide a means for sustained DPS, Judgements of the Wise was introduced to give Rets a means to restore their own mana pool through Judgements. Blizzard gave similar mechanics to Ferals and Enhancements as they are the other two melee mana users. From both a PvE and a PvP standpoint, Judgements will always be a part of a Ret's dps rotation as a means to maintain mana and to deal damage and as such, Replenishment will be present whenever a Ret Pally deals damage.

Vampiric Touch: Shadow Priests have 3 dots to keep up: Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch. This gives them sustained damage in both PvP and PvE. Casting Mindblast between VT applications, is a no-brainer as both abilities have cooldowns. Because of this, Replenishment will be in effect whenever a Shadow Priest deals damage.

Hunting Party: Survival Hunters crit quite a bit, but like all mana users, become limited when they run dry. Hunters get sad when they have to swap to Aspect of the Viper because it kills their dps. As such, Thrill of the Hunt is a pretty useful talent, returning mana on crits. This leads to Hunting Party, which increases agility in 3.1 by 3%, thus helping to increase the crit rate even further. It's not really a mandatory talent, per se, but there's no real harm in getting the additional agility. Thus, Replenishment will naturally be in effect when a Survival Hunter deals damage.

Frost Mage: A sizeable portion of Frost Mage damage comes from their pet and additional pet duration only helps dps in PvE. Getting that Shatter combo off in PvP and having a little bit more leeway to time it to get more effect out of it is always helpful. Also, since Frost Mages predominantly cast Frostbolt, Replenishment will naturally be in effect.

As you can see from the above 4 classes, 2 of them, if they choose to spec for DPS will naturally generate Replenishment just through their natural rotations. The other two, if they choose to spec a certain way, will also benefit from the talents associated with Replenishment.

Now, lets take a look at our last class.

Destruction Warlock: Destros are still Warlocks, last I checked, and as such, have an infinite mana pool from Life Tap. With a healer around, they also have an infinite health pool. So, the question is, why would a Destro Warlock spend 5 talent points to get a paltry amount of hp regen and mana regen when they have an infinite amount of both? This is incredibly bizzare, that of the 5 Replenishment giving talents, all but one actually increases dps in a quantifiable amount. True, one could say that the mana regen from Improved Soul Leech means that the Destro won't need to Life Tap as much, but, 2% mana return on a 30% proc rate? With a 20k mana pool, that's a 400 mana proc. I don't know. It doesn't sound that fantastic to me. If there are any Warlocks out there that could confirm for me, that'd be great.

PvP Impact: So, what's the impact on PvP? Well, Rets and SPriests are naturally going to benefit from Replenishment as the triggers are part of their natural rotations. Survival Hunters are ridiculous right now with triple CC (Wyvern, Scatter, Freezing) and retarded damage (LnL/Explosive) so having Replenishment with the most popular PvP spec is just gravy to keep up the DPS. With the nerf to Arcane's burst, more and more Mages are going back to Frost. I'm not entirely sure if they'll pick up Enduring Winter, but there's a good chance since they're already taking Water Elemental (assuming the talents stay linked). Mage mana is already pretty strong as it is with Drinking/Gem/Evocate.

Which brings us back to the poor Warlock, yet again. Destro is a pretty terrible spec right now for PvP as the two strong specs are Haunt/SL and Meta. It's expected that every Lock spec will have SL, so to get Replenishment and SL means giving up pretty much every decent Affliction talent. The strength of Locks is their ability to rotate fear while doing damage to multiple targets. No other class can do that and this is why Affliction is the favored spec for PvP. In addition, the benefit of covering up dots with Unstable Affliction means that dot effects will tick to full, giving Locks more time to either layer more dots and fears. It's a vicious cycle, indeed, but if relegated to straight casting, a la Destruction, Warlocks will suffer the same issues Mages deal with, but without their Kalgan-armor and anti Melee abilities.

Comp wise, even more top teams (read: RMP and any Surv Hunter comp) will have access to Replenishment, allowing for variations in gemming. Ret Cleave comps are still very strong as well. What does this all mean? Well, the lowly Lock comps (RLD/WLD) are going to be at a mana disadvantage unless they run something like Shadowplay or the old drain style comps (Hunter/Lock/Dru).

Blizzard, where's the parity?!


Gronyon said...


Me again :) and I'll have stupid questions again ^^.

First, nice article. Was happy for the Locks, but now I'm also wondering why they have the talent in the first place. The prereq grants life when dealing damage (yet proc based) so giving mana to his team will require "only" 2 talents.

My questions are :
- RMP ? name of a team ? I see "RMP teams" or "RMP comps" often. What make their team special ?
- What is a Ret Cleave team ?
- What is a melee train ?
- Frost mage Shatter combo ?
- RLD, WLD, Shadowplay ?
that will do lol :) thanks.

Chu said...

@ Gron

Sorry about the long delay in replying. Haven't been near a comp.

Here's some clarification on your questions:

RMP: Rogue Mage Priest - a Burst comp that uses the lockdown of the Rogue to setup Burst from the Mage, while having 3+ cc's that dont overlap (blind, sheep, fear, sap, stun)

Cleave: Cleave comps feature multiple melee. Ret Cleave means that there's a Retribution Paladin on the team. For example, back in TBC, a common comp was Warrior/RetPaladin/Resto Shaman.

Train: A train means multiple people all focusing 1 target. A melee train means youve got 2+ melee all focusing 1 target.

Frost mage Shatter combo is when they get a Freeze effect on the target and then fire off a Frost Bolt followed immediately by an Ice Lance. Both spells hit at the same time due to the different travel times on the spells, thus both having a chance to Shatter the target, dealing immense damage.

RLD is Rogue Lock Druid
WLD is Warrior Lock Druid
Shadowplay is SPriest, Warlock, Resto Shaman

Hope this helps!

Gronyon said...

lol, yes definitively it helps !

Thanks you very much !