Friday, August 13, 2010

Bear Max TPS rotation Now and in the future


With all of the changes coming down the pipeline in regards to cataclysm, and my last post about Bear AoE tanking, I thought it'd be a good idea to lay down what I use as my Bear tanking rotation currently, and hopefully within the next couple of months we'll be able to confidently say, Bear tanking (in terms of what abilities you are hitting) has changed to at least be a little more interesting.

So currently on live here's a detailed run-down of a max threat Bear rotation, it assumes you have the rage (of course you do), you are main tanking, and you have respectable amounts of hit/expertise and you have 0/0 points in Improved Mangle.

Normally you want to start with a Faerie Fire (Feral) or a mangle.

Once you are at five stacks of lacerate your rotation changes slightly, but then is the same until the boss dies or your lacerate stack falls off for whatever reason.

It should look like this from the pull until the boss dies:

[Pre-five stack of Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>L>FFF>Mangle>L>S

[Lacerate is stacked to five] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>L>Repeat

The only thing I did not include above is Demoralizing Roar and Maul. Demoralizing Roar because it extends the above rotation by a couple of iterations and is pretty much redundant. So just be sure (if someone else isn't already putting up an attack power debuff) to replace one of your swipes (not lacerate) with Demoralizing Roar. Maul should be queued up all the time via macro or if you are like me, old school key bind.

The rotation above (again as long as you don't have Improved Mangle) never changes and it's restricted by GCDs. You'll quickly start to notice that after your second Swipe or Lacerate if you are refreshing, FFF will have just come off the GCD the same time it's cooldown is up. And once you FFF, Mangle will come off cooldown the same time it's off the GCD. A simplified way of looking at the rotation is, you have two GCDs to do whatever you want between using FFF and Mangle on cooldown.

One other small thing to mention with the Bear rotation. If you are having trouble keeping Lacerate from falling off, change the "Lacerate is stacked to 5" rotation above just a little bit. Instead of waiting until the last second to Lacerate, Lacerate on the first GCD and then Swipe on the second. You'll end up overwriting Lacerate a bit earlier and it won't get the last tick, but it will keep you from having it drop off and stacking it back up.

[Cautious about Lacerate] FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>S>S>FFF>Mangle>L>S>Repeat

This is all drastically changing in Cataclysm.
  1. Maul is no longer "On next attack", so it's going to have to be incorporated when it makes the most sense, which is possibly high rage, when you know the rage wouldn't be put to use doing something more important.
  2. Lacerate stacks can be "eaten" by Pulverize, which will increase threat, but at the same time require lacerate to be applied more often.
  3. Swipe is getting at least a 6 second cooldown.
  4. Thrash makes it's debut, may be used in conjunction with Swipe for AoE tanking as well as rotated in to the single target rotation.
  5. Faerie Fire Feral no longer has a cooldown, now stacks, and (I believe) costs rage.
With all of the changes, it's hard to tell exactly what a rotation is going to look like so I'm not going to bother guessing; however, it's definitely going to be interesting seeing how all of these changes mold the new Bear rotation!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changing everthing we've ever known of Bear AoE tanking one tooltip at a time..

Sooo, six second cooldown on Swipe. Why do I feel like this has happened before? What is it...something is like clawing at the back of my brain saying, "Remember when this happened and like everyone was formulating their 'sky is falling' theories?"

Ah hah! Sunwell! AoE healing spells changed in a very similar fashion.. Here is pretty much the way people felt about it when it was announced (first link on google when I typed in "when did circle of healing get a cooldown"

Let me quote the first post just incase you are being lazy and don't want to clicky.
Bunnypuncher says:
Circle of healing is very great for fights that introduce continuous raid-wide AOE damage.

Circle of healing is good for healing the entire raid granted they are close enough to each other to warrant AOE heals.

How is introducing a 6 second cooldown on the spell going to solve the issue of priests only using one ability? All this will do is make the continuous raid wide AOE damage impossible to heal. It will not affect other fights where constant AOE damage is not being taken.

Think of it this way. If I am healing 5 people taking constant damage (like on Bloodboil), circle of healing is immensely powerful. But as soon as that damage stops, it's virtually useless, and I should focus on other heals. Adding a cooldown to CoH will just make Bloodboil unnecessarily harder while not affecting the off-period where there is no AOE damage. We generally don't spam COH 3-4 times in a row when that AOE damage is not coming at us, so why make those fights THAT much harder.

Of course this is all assuming you keep fights like Bloodboil, Malacrass, Void Reaver etc. in WOTLK. But if you are doing away with the nasty raid wide AOES, then why bother making the change at all?

My two cents.
This is exactly what's brewing for this swipe change. Poor feral druids all around the world are stretching their paws out and slowly waking up to see this bomb dropped!

I'm not worried though. Nope not even one bit!

I actually almost welcome this change. Currently on live if you are a bear and you are assigned to tank some type of group you have but one option: Spam swipe and maul on everything and don't even think about using a GCD to demoralizing roar or mangle for that matter.

What this change does is essentially free us up. Blizzard's going to make sure we can AoE tank well enough that we don't go back to pre-360 degree 3 mobs only swipe days. So it's pointless to get all worked up about that. I really think they are making a determined effort to do two things.
  1. Not everything is going to be about AoE tanking, they really want CC back and I say bring it on.
  2. Bears are really boring, especially AoE tanking, and they want to change that
Possibly look for something closer to: Toss a thrash out, followed by a swipe, get demoralizing roar up and look to brush up your tab targeting skills.

Right now on Beta

Swipe is really weak. I think it's hitting for about a quarter of what it does on live for me..maybe a bit more than that. I don't know if that's intended or if it's just scaling poorly due to the lack of talents existing anymore to boost it's damage. Regardless, the bear scene is changing quite a bit as is all of the classes/specs.

I hate to admit that I haven't really been ON the beta that much recently. Between raiding and logging into live to do a couple of things before raid, I don't have much WoW time to actually hop on the beta and tinker around. I'm going to really make an effort to get in there and tank an instance or two and then I can gauge a bit better how things are and possibly where things are going.