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?!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Preliminary Resto Druid 3.1 Changes (PvE and PvP)

I wish I could analyze everything about every class and every spec, but since I can't here are my thoughts about Resto Druids and the proposed changes that are coming in 3.1 that will affect them. I plan on doing a look at other class' changes and their effects on PvP Restos as well as a 'Bwuh?!' look at some of the more ludicrous changes sometime in the near future. There may be a Priest post as well, but I'm not entirely sure about that since I haven't focused on my Priest in a while.

I'll try to keep this updated as more notes come up, and you'll notice that non Resto impacting abilities will be listed in a smaller font. Keep in mind that this analysis is for both PvE AND PvP, so while you may never swap to Cat form in PvE, you can bet that PvP Restos are using Maim.

Here's the list:

  • Faerie Fire now decreases armor by 5% (Previously decreased armor by a set amount) This is a pretty minor change for both PvE and PvP. For PvE, your raid should have a non Resto Druid providing this debuff. Coming out of Tree form to FF is pretty mana intensive. For PvP, FF is usually used to either cover other debuffs to prevent them from being easily dispelled or to prevent Rogue/Druid restealthing. The armor reduction is pretty minor and won't likely be the reason a game is won.


  • Glyph of Rebirth - Players resurrected by Rebirth are returned to life with 100% health. (Old: Increases the amount of health on a character brought back to life via Rebirth by 100%) PvE: It's hard to conceive of someone using this as a Major Glyph and Rebirth'd players usually get bombed with heals the moment they come up anyways so I can't see this glyph becoming more popular. PvP: Rebirth isn't usable in the Arenas.
  • Glyph of Starfall - Reduces the cooldown of Starfall by 90 sec. (Old: Increases the duration of Starfall by 2 sec.)
  • Glyph of Berserk *new* - Increases the duration of Berserk by 5 sec.
  • Glyph of Wild Growth *new* - Wild Growth now affects up to 6 targets. PvE: Same as the Glyph of Circle of Healing. This will likely be a very popular Glyph, especially if raid healing becomes more strenuous in Ulduar. PvP: Great for when they implement 6v6 arenas (/sarcasm)
  • Glyph of Nourish *new* - Your Nourish heals an additional 6% for each of your heal of time effects present on the target. PvE: Stronger than the T7 4p set bonus, which if stacked, would give an additional 11%, leading to some really strong bomb heals. It's likely that the T8 set will have a different 4p set bonus from the T7, so this could see a lot more popularity over the Glyph of Regrowth, especially considering the Improved Regrowth/Nature's Bounty change below. PvP: I don't see this being a go-to glyph for PvP simply because there are others that increase our efficiency without exposing our Nature tree to lockout.
  • Glyph of Savage Roar *new* - Your Savage Roar ability grants an additional 6% bonus damage done
  • Glyph of Typhoon *new* - Reduces the cooldown of your Typhoon spell by 3 sec.
  • Glyph of Barkskin *new* - Reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 1 to 0% while Barkskin is active. PvE: Probably won't be used in PvE. PvP: Probably won't be used in PvP either. Restos typically pre-hot when they sense a swap coming over, so while it's unlikely that they'll be gibbed anyways, there's a good chance that this glyph won't be needed.
  • Owlkin Frenzy (Tier 8) now procs off physical melee and ranged attacks. (Previously was triggered by all attacks)


  • Savage Roar changed to increase physical damage done by 30%. (Previously increased attack power by 40%)
  • Maim now stuns the target instead of incapacitate. PvE: Probably never used by raiding Restos. PvP: Definitely a nerf. By making it a stun, it will likely share DR with other stuns, will allow Mages and Paladins to use abilities to get out of it and be affected by talents that reduce stun duration.
  • *New Spell* Savage Defense, 1 rank, level 40 - Each time you deal a melee critical strike, you gain Savage Defense, reducing the damage taken from the next physical attack that strikes you by 25% of your attack power. PvE: Probably will never be a factor. PvP: Also, won't be much of a factor as Resto AP is quite low, but if you happen to Maul in Bear form while you are tanking damage, it might show up.
  • Survival of the Fittest (Tier 6) now increases your armor contribution from cloth and leather items in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 11/22/33%. (Previously was 22/44/66%) PvE: Never seen a PvE Resto spec this far down the Feral tree. PvP: there are some successful hybrid Feral/Resto's out there and this would be a nerf for those who chose to play that spec.
  • Predatory Strikes (Tier 4) now includes Moonkin Form in its effect
  • *New Talent* Primal Gore, Tier 10, 1 point talent - Grants the periodic damage from your Rake Lacerate and Rip abilities the ability to critical hit. (Holy Shit! Ferals just got a huge buff in PvP!)


  • Abolish Poison now ticks every 3 secs. for 12 secs. (Previously ticked every 2 secs. for 8 secs.) PvE: I have kind of mixed thoughts about this as its nice to be able to pre-Abolish more people or have a greater window to heal when expecting alot of Poisons, but the longer delay allows the poison a better chance to apply its effect for a longer period of time. PvP: I'd classify this as a nerf as the myriad of poisons (Wound, Crippling, Mind Numbing, Wyvern) that you want to remove, you want gone right now and an extra second on the dispel is pretty huge. It is pretty nice that it will now last to the end of a CS > KS, but I have a feeling that Abolish/Cure macros will come back.
  • Replenish (Tier 9) renamed Revitalize. Sure.
  • Improved Regrowth (Tier 6) renamed Nature's Bounty. Increases the critical effect chance of your Regrowth and Nourish spells by 5/10/15/20/25%. (Previously increased just Regrowth crit by 10/20/30/40/50%) PvE: 50% crit was pretty overpowered as it was guaranteed to proc Nature's Grace. This change should allow Restos to value crit a little bit more to keep the Nature's Grace procs rolling in. Combined with the new Glyph of Nourish and the T7 4p set bonus, we could see some pretty scary huge Nourishes. PvP: Mixed. A 2 second cast for Regrowth was always really hard to cast, with juking, Nature's Focus, and pushback. However, there have been some teams that have allowed me to chain cast Regrowths (thus proccing Living Seed) on my teammates from behind a pillar, thus saving them. I expect that better teams won't let me do this. I also like to proc a crit Regrowth for Living Seed if I'm starting a match in ToL and waiting for a Rogue to start on me and as such, I'm pretty mixed about this.
  • Intensity (Tier 3) now allows 17/33/50% of mana regeneration to continue while casting. (Previously 10/20/30%) Blues have been talking about the nerf to the base mana regen and this is the change to regen while casting to keep the 'while casting' mana regen the same as it is now. There are a whole bunch of unknowns as to whether or not MP5 will be more valuable than Spirit/Intellect with the upcoming changes, but we'll see what the numbers are later.
  • Improved Mark of the Wild (Tier 1) now also increases all of your total attributes by 1/2%. Cool. Free stats.
  • *New Talent* Improved Barkskin, Tier 10, 2 point talent - Increases the damage reduction granted by your Barkskin Spell by 5/10%, and increases resistance to dispel mechanics by 30/60% while under the effects of Barkskin. PvE: Not applicable. PvP: This makes Barkskin very much like a self cast only mini Pain Suppression, except that it lasts longer and has a much shorter cooldown. I expect the damage reduction bonus to be additive to the existing Barkskin reduction of 20%. This should give us better survivability on swaps against offensive dispellers.
  • Tree of Life: You can now use Nature's Grasp and Thorns while within this form. Cool. I hate blowing mana to form swap back to ToL vs. melee trains.
  • Living Seed: This talent now accounts for your ineffective healing, rather than effective. There are two ways to interpret this wording. The first interpretation makes this change seem like a nerf, making the Seed value based off of the overhealing amount rather than actual heal amount. If this is truly the case, I'm sad because it encourages massive overhealing to get a decent sized Seed. Remember, its 30% of the (over)heal amount. The other interpretation is that this new version of the talent counts all healing, then its a massive buff, but sadly, I don't think that this is the case unless they missed the word 'just' between 'than' and 'effective'.

PS: Plague Strike got nerfed: No more HoT removal effect. Cry those tears, DK's and enjoy getting Cycloned now that we have a spare 12978391873974 GCD's to CC instead of reapplying our HoTs.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Play

Finally, I'm in non blue gear, and while Archaevon still won't drop any Deadly junk for me, my teams have started creeping up into the range where I could spend arena points to start buying the Deadly Glad stuff. I'll still wait for after Tuesday Vault runs before spending points. I can't help being a cheap Asian! I recently made the decision to go with the 4p Kodohide set bonus, instead of using 2p Kodohide and 2p Wyrmhide (Resto/Boomkin respectively), for the 2 seconds off the Swiftmend cooldown. Truly, it's a huge deal because Swiftmend is one of the only things that keeps me alive for a little longer vs Plague Strike and Blood Plague.

Screw you, Deathknights, and the demonic Hearthglen pony you rode in on.

Anyways... on to a more serious topic.

One of the interesting dynamics that I've seen in my years of PvPing across various games and MMO's are the various attitudes and approaches people take when stepping into the realm of competitive PvP. The reasons (and excuses) for why people don't want to seriously commit themselves to PvP are legion. Some people just abhor the thought of PvP (we call them Carebears), but for a good portion of the gaming community, the desire to PvP is there, but biggest barrier to actual participation is in their heads.

Now, some reasons are kooky-crazy and some are definitely reasonable, but before I continue, keep in mind that regardless of what you think of their reason, it's really your opinion vs. theirs. Got that? Good. Also remember that although someone has a reason and an opinion backing it, it doesn't mean that they're immune to being made fun of. Being made fun of just means that someone likes you enough to say something. (Keep telling yourself that)

So what have I seen while gaming? Well, I had this one friend in college who wouldn't play until he had memorized the entire Tekken move list and practiced until he was 'ready'. Of course, watching him get countered over and over while trying to mash out a 14 hit combo chain was even funnier. Another friend once spent his entire weekend practicing Super Smash Brothers only to get ganged up 3v1 style for a straight hour by 3 Donkey Kong's carrying him to his death on every map. We laughed in his face for wasting a weekend. Both friends had their reasons, no matter how twisted they were.

Bringing this to WoW, the most common reason to not PvP I've heard is "I don't have any gear." In some ways, I can understand that sentiment, but I do respectfully disagree, which will be explained in a little bit.

The important thing to reiterate here is that whatever reason is given, that reason is completely 100% legit, though some may be outlandish enough to illicit mockery. As far as I'm concerned, however, in interpreting all of the various reasons on why 'now isn't a good time', the distilled summary of it all is that it's all about the feel... and if someone doesn't feel right about it, there's a good chance they won't have a good time or even learn anything about the experience.

So, why do I disagree with the lack of gear reason? Because my opinion is that there's more to WoW PvP than just gear. I'd argue that gear really doesn't matter if you're just starting out because of a few key aspects of PvP that need to be developed if you want to eventually be successful, gear or no gear:
  1. Synergy. Every successful team out there (WoW or otherwise) has a well developed synergy. Their members understand their roles and strategies. Sadly, synergy doesn't drop from a raid boss, so spending time is really the only way to accomplish this.
  2. Strategy. Just like synergy, establishing and refining a set of strategies for each of your expected opponents is very important. While some teams have published their strategies as guides, actual execution of some of those strategies takes time. Spend your time getting that Blind/Sap/Fear combo off now when you're in the lower brackets!
  3. Dealing with the jitters. I always get nervous before my first match of the night, and I'm sure that it's the same for many first time PvPers. For some, even the thought of Arenas cause anxiety. Best way to get over those cold sweats and nervous tics? Play more games!
  4. Getting over that loser feeling. It sucks to lose, but you can also get over that loser feeling with more games played. You'll eventually learn that it's not that big of a deal to lose... presuming that you learn from the losses so you eventually stop losing.

All that being said, if you or a loved one has reservations about jumping into the Arena, that's fine. But if you do become a little bit more daring, make a team and jump in head first. You might find yourself learning things about the game that you didn't realize before.

Or you might find the bottom of the pool's shallow end.

Either way, you'll definitely learn something.