Life after 4.0 Cont.

While I’m waiting for the Blizzcon stream to stop being bad, I’ll continue with discussing the changes bears received with 4.0.  The threat section is long.  I’m sorry. ;)

Rage Normalization

This is a change I’m not sure I like, but I don’t really hate it.  It’s a lot more noticeable in 5 mans and raids that I severely outgear.  Bears now get 16 rage per auto attack, and 32 rage per crit (+5 rage from talents) regardless of how much it hits for.  No more filling up a rage bar with a single auto attack crit, which is unfortunate.  Rage gain based on hits is calculated to your max HP and will calculate if an attack is dodged, misses, or is parried.  Not entirely positive how, but the reasoning for this is that you shouldn’t™ become rage starved when you’re tanking content you outgear.  Yeah.  Right.

Heroic ICC, I never run out of rage, even with spamming maul.  Anything below that in difficulty, even if I wear DPS gear, I just don’t seem to have the rage to do anything for a prolonged period of time.  It’s pretty rough.  Even with heroics, I have to be way more conservative with rage than I’ve ever had to be.  Swipe’s rage reduction will help in Cata, but it just doesn’t feel comfortable operating with limited resources.  It’s easily manageable by simply not hitting Maul unless I have excess rage, but most content now I just zone out and spam things until it dies.  Not the best way to do it, but, ya know… carried by gear. ;)

Threat and Threat Rotations

Threat changed almost drastically.  Yes please.  It was/is a very nice change from having a completely non-moving rotation.  With the addition of Berserk procs, it caused a priority system to occur.  I love this.  I absolutely do.  I now pay attention to what I’m doing as I’m tanking.

Pulverize needs some work.  Having Swipe do more threat than it is just plain silly.  While I do like the mechanic of it, it’s damage and threat needs to be raised a little bit.  Its soundfile needs help too.  Regardless, like I said, I enjoy its mechanic.  I enjoy the fact that there’s a penalty to using it(and maybe it IS best that it’s damage and threat is iffy, at best), and that working around that penalty is entirely possible through smarter usage and timing.

Berserk Procs and Lacerate.  H’oh boy.  Where to start here?  It makes for a more interesting rotation, but if you pay attention to the rotation and the proc timings for more than 30 seconds, you begin to notice a pattern and a fundamental flaw to this mechanic.  It tends to proc right after you start a GCD, making it nearly impossible react right away, like you are able to with Sword and Board (Warriors use GCD abilities to force a proc, rather than relying on a dot.  It’s much more controlled).

It’s rather frustrating hitting Pulverize and having Berserk proc at the same time, causing the biggest downtime Lacerate can have in a rotation.  You can either ignore the proc and put Lac back up (which is a threat loss) or you hit Mangle(yes) and have Lacerate down for 2 globals, with a new tick happening after 4 globals.  It’s fairly ugly and should be avoided… but RNG will screw you whenever it wants.

Now, I mentioned a way to work around with timing, at least initially.  I’ve found the best time, in regards to Lacerate ticks, to use Pulverize is the second GCD after a mangle.  So, Mangle > Something(1st GCD) > Pulverize(2nd GCD) > Lacerate(3rd GCD) >Mangle.  With this position in the rotation, Lacerate should tick after the Mangle, giving the potential for 2 Mangles in a row.  Of course, if the Pulverize buff is down, you’d want to use it on the 1st GCD to get it back up.  Doing it this way, however, will cause a Lacerate proc to happen when you’d be hitting Mangle anyway.

The whole thing is more than a little awkward.  Making Lacerate tick faster or slower most likely wouldn’t work to solve this.  If it ticked faster, you run the risk of having a chain of Berserk procs and then just doing nothing but keep Lac up 100% and spam mangle.  Slowing the ticks down *might* work, but it will obviously result in lower threat potential.

AoE threat, while completely do-able, is a pain.  Comparatively speaking, Bears have one of the stronger AoE attacks out of the 4 tanks.  Swipe hits hard.  The cooldown is completely fine because of this, and I’m used to it.  It’s just that we are missing our second AoE attack, which we get at 81.  It’s not the end of the world that we don’t have it, and I don’t mind.  It requires more attention and watching health bar cues and watching omen to see who’s creeping up.  Once Lacerate is spread around enough, you end up getting to tab-mangle between Swipes, which is pretty nice.  Thrash lessens the burden, but the method doesn’t change at 85.

All in all, Bear threat now requires much more attention.  I both like and dislike it.  I like it because I’m not falling asleep in my chair during raids.  I dislike it because I find myself paying more attention to my buffs and debuffs and procs than I do to the surroundings around me while tanking… and tanking what I tank… it can be pretty damn detrimental.

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10 Responses to Life after 4.0 Cont.

  1. Dreydon says:

    I’m in ur blog.

    Leavin comments.

  2. tbot says:

    Quote – “Not entirely positive how, but the reasoning for this is that you shouldn’t™ become rage starved when you’re tanking content you outgear”

    Sorry, haven’t figured out how to actually quote on here yet. The rage normalization is broken in 4.0 currently. But its not because of our white attack rage. They normalized both ends. Incoming dmg is also normalized (in the opposite direction) based on your maximum HP. Simply put, between the amount we dodge and the relative dmg to HP in heroics, its no surprise there is rage issues everywhere but icc.

    I 100% agree on the current beserk reset mechanic. Having dot ticks perfectly aligned with the GCD makes for a frustratingly impossible sitation. I’m in favor of a 2 second lacerate period with a lowered proc chance to balance. Or frankly, any period that isn’t a multiple of 1.5. Another potential option is to make beserk procs cause “Your next mangle to be free and have no CD” potentially with an ability to stack to 2?

  3. Mordun says:

    Yep, this pretty much sums up my feelings. Everything is functional, threat is good, but it’s just -annoying-. I get caught watching my bars now way more than I should have to, and I’m just kind of tired of having to use power auras to get the information I need at a glance (do I have 3 stacks of lacerate up? is mangle available? what’s the remaining duration on pulverize?). I find the UI to be my worst enemy in WoW these days.

    That said, I still get the job done, so /shrug. But the price of having to hit more buttons/react to more procs is lower situational awareness, and to me that’s the hidden cost that Bliz downplayed significantly in this patch, at least for tanks.

    • Reesi says:

      It’s even more silly when I’ve seen Ghost Crawler say this to paladin tanks in regards to the gaps in their rotations: “We want tanks to be able to look up from their bars to see what’s going on around them and not always staring at them.” Not verbatim, mind you; I can’t find the quote. It was some time during PTR testing.

      What do I find myself doing? Looking at my bars and my timers and planning my rotation out ahead of time in the event I get a proc… and is swipe off CD? what’s the time left on Pulverize? Do I HAVE 3 stacks of lacerate, or is that just my poorly made power aura that doesn’t have “only my debuffs” checked? (:P) What’s the time left on Demo? Oh man it’s big bad boss move time, Cooldown! I mean… A tank that’s sitting back and enjoying the scenery is either offtanking with a boring ass job, or isn’t doing what they need to be doing… but being bogged down by their threat rotation is asinine. There’s a thin line between functionality and flavor. Right now? Too much flavor.

  4. Satrion says:

    I disagree that the rotation is too much. When I was doing target dummy testing it was actually fun micro managing the CDs, procs, and timers. When you are doing a Patchwerk style fight, you have the time to watch your UI and eek out every last drop of TPS. I like the fact that even when you focus entirely on the rotation it is still interesting. When the fight is more involved, you won’t be perfect with the rotation but you should still be able to be close enough. If the pulverize buff drops for a couple seconds or you wait an extra gcd to use that berserk proc, you won’t instantly lose threat or not make an enrage timer. If you get a feel for the timing and find a way to keep track of your procs and you should be able to do enough to get the job done. It also gives a way for the great bears to separate from the good ones by how well you do manage your rotation while all hell breaks lose around you.

    I guess I like the fact that I can’t do a perfect rotation without paying attention to it because that means when I can pay attention to the rotation it is still fun. I definitly don’t want to go back to a rotation I could do from muscle memory while watching TV.

  5. Jey says:

    I think one nice thing about the rotation right now is that it is kinda difficult. Its not too hard that if you mess up you are screwed (like the old feral dps) and it is not so easy as to make it boring or just something you could basically write into a castsequence macro like the old one was. Right now there is a good margin of error that will help separate tanks a little more by being able to look at threat output as well as skill.

    Also the threat on the lacerate dot is so crappy that making it tick .5 seconds later is probably not even noticeable with our threat/sec numbers right now; however, as i said, i think the rotation is in a good place right now for having it not be so easy that anyone can do it near flawless and everyones threat/sec is the same.

  6. Khalar says:

    Liking the blog so far! Though your comment about the threat sectio being long… don’t think so. I came here from BBB’s place, and well… his posts are long, as I’m sure you’re aware.

  7. Pingback: 4.0.1 – Bearing With It | Binding Light

  8. JuggyBear says:

    Keep up the bear mechanics discussions. It seems like we are a work in progress ATM and I personally appreciate you taking the time to detail the current situation for bear tanks.
    As we all know change in life hits us all differently. I do like that I have more than 3 buttons to hit but the rage/AOE threat issue is frustrating for me.
    I suppose that’s the price we pay to have “interesting mechanics”. I suppose once we get out of Wrath and into cata end game things will sort out but that is still months away.
    Anyway great start on your blog and keep up the discussions!

  9. tangedyn says:

    Btw, rage from melee attacks isn’t doubled when it crits. So it’s 16+5 rage for a melee crit, not 32+5

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