Friday, May 8, 2009

Mana regeneration and healing post 3.1

The great mana regeneration nerf of 3.1 was supposed to make mana conservation an issue again. I haven't really seen that though. The only changes I have made to my healing is weaving Nourish into the mix and letting my lifeblooms bloom and I finish Ulduar boss fights with 75% or more mana. Apparently, I am not the only one that has noticed it. Yesterday, Ghostcrawler said:

To be honest, despite all of the nerfs, mana regeneration still doesn't seem to be an issue for healers in Ulduar. You can often still afford to cast your largest heals and not care about overhealing because the risk of people dying feels like a far greater risk than running out of mana.

We're not sure that will lead to us making any additional nerfs at this time (and Replenishment would probably be the target if we needed to.) So far we're really happy with how the various fights in Ulduar feel. There are very intense moments (like Frozen Blows) but there are breaks as well (in between Mimiron phases for example). Many of the fights are dynamic -- you heal in one fashion at times (say MT healing) and then another fashion at other times (say raid healing during add moment or big AE spells). There aren't too many times where you're just spamming your spells every cooldown or GCD, and when it happens it's not necessarily for too long.

That said, we think we can still make healing more interesting. :)

Honestly, I think he is right. They can make healing more interesting. But isn't it stressful enough as it is? We are using every GCD available to us and people are still dying. Miss a taunt on Auriaya and your tank gets insta-gibbed, no matter how many HoTs he has ticking on him. Tympanic Tantrum ties my guts up in knots! And don't even get me started on Mimiron!

Another thing I have noticed in 3.1 is how much less significant HoTs have become. Or at least, that's how it feels to me. Our HoTs have always been overwritten to a certain extent, but they don't hardly tick any more. Things may be slightly different when we manage to get a 4-piece T8, I suppose and have that little extra buffer to play with.

Has anyone else noticed this, or am I imagining things?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hunters 101 - part IV: Haste and beyond

In previous installments, we've talked about threat, hit, crit and attack power as well as pointing to some threads on pet selection. Today we are going to look at Haste and how to fit all the information in the other sections together.


At its very basic, haste increases attack speed. However, as with most things, it is not nearly as simple as that. There are abilities and talents that increase your attaack speed by a certain percentage and haste rating, found on certain gear, which also increases attack speed.

Abilities like Auto Shot and Rapid Fire and talents such as Improved Aspect of the Hawk and Serpent's Swiftness provide an increase to the speed of your ranged attacks. The precentages provided by these abilities and talents are multiplicative, not additive. For example, a hunter using auto shot has a 15% increase in his ranged attack speed (115%). If he is using rapid fire and has proc'd 5/5 improved aspect of the hawk and has 5/5 in serpent's swiftness, his ranged attack speed is increased by 222.18% (115*140*115*120). This increase applies to the hunter's auto shot but does not modify casting times or the global cooldown at all.

Haste rating stacks additively with itself (i.e. if you have 35 haste rating on a helm, 65 on a weapon, 40 from a food buff and 35 from an elixir you have a total of 175 haste rating) and is then converted to a percentage that stacks multiplicatively with any other haste percentages as I described above. The important thing to remember here is that at level 80:

32.79 haste rating provides a 1% increase in attack speed.

Haste rating has a couple of advantages over flat haste percentages. Firstly, it modifies melee attack speed as well as casting speed by the same percentage, so the cast time on Steady Shot goes down and secondly and most importantly, it progressively decreases the global cooldown from the normal 1.5 seconds to a minimum of 1 second (you would need 1639 haste rating to reduce the global cooldown to 1 second. This is actually unachievable with currently available gear.)

So what does this mean to beastmaster hunters? Unfortunately, not much. While talents that improve haste are very nice and convenient (a full 30-45% of personal BM dps comes from auto shot) haste rating is the least important of all gear modifiers.

When choosing which gear to wear, a beastmaster hunter should look at the following stats in this order:

1. Hit Rating (up to 263 or 8%)

2. Attack Power considering that 2 AP is equivalent to 1 agility

3. Agility

4. Intellect

5.Critical Strike Rating

6. Stamina

7. Armor Penetration Rating and, lastly

8. Haste Rating

In the next installment, we'll be talking about specs, glyphs and shot rotations. Still to come: controlling your pet and more.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hunters 101 - part III: pet selection

This is more of an impromptu post. Pet selection is not something I planned on tackling this early in the series, but Jessica Klein over at WoW Insider made a brilliant, concise and accurate post regarding pet selection for raiding so I decided to link to it from here as a part of this series.

During her post she refers to a dps spreadsheet made by Shandara over at Elitist Jerks. I will be talking about how to use this spreadsheet and others like it at some point in the future. They are an a amazing tool to help maximize dps.

For now, though, enjoy Lyssana's excellent post on hunter pet selection.