Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 19, 2010

The Future of Pet Scaling


Well we were wondering what happened to the pet scaling we had so looked forward to in 3.3, and now we know its still on the board, but it looks like we’re going to have a bit longer than we had hoped.

While it seems like we’re probably going to have to wait until Cataclysm to see our pet scaling, there are some good things to take from this brief statement. First is the news that pets in the current build are scaling with 100% of hunter stats. That means that in the current Cataclysm build, pets are scaling with Agility, Defense, Dodge, Parry, and even block is we so choose. The agility scaling (hopefully) will provide a great new source of dodge scaling, and this will open up a whole new realm of possibility when it comes customizing our pets for enchants, gems, and off-pieces like rings, amulets, trinkets and cloaks. It may make talents like Improved Aspect of the Monkey and Deflection options for a more avoidance oriented build.

The second piece of good news is that the door isn’t entirely closed on seeing this before the next expansion. While personally I’m not expecting this to ready for the next patch, there’s always hope.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 9, 2010

The Return of the Spreadsheet

The stars have aligned once again. With the (supposedly) final major patch of this expansion on live servers, the mechanics that are out now are likely here to stay for some time. Add to that the recent unraveling of threat formulas for Growl and Thunderstomp and the relative stability of my personal schedule, and its time for me to revisit my badly neglected Hunter Tanking edition of the famed Shandara Hunter DPS spreadsheet. This new version will be based off the latest Shandara’s spreadsheet and will have all its features plus accurate threat, health, avoidance, and damage mitigation information. The spreadsheet will feature the pet tanking information in a more modular form in the spreadsheet instead of being integrated throughout to make it easier to keep updated.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 6, 2010

Oh Thunderstomp, so simple.

After the length of time required to gather data points for my Growl calculations, I was dreading my testing for Thunderstomp today. However I was in for a pleasant surprise as the simplicity of the formula became clear right away.

Threat = Damage x 2.5

Yep, that’s all there is to it. You have to love simplicity.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 5, 2010

Huh… that’s… odd.

WARNING: The following post contains data, math, and all around nerdery. Anyone who doesn’t not wish to be exposed to long winded mathematical rambling, click here.

Now then, the chart you’re looking at is the results from my initial Dr. Boom Growl testing, with the hunter’s RAP on the x-axis and the threat per Growl on the y-axis. At first it follows a pattern we’ve come to know and expect, a base value that’s used below a certain RAP value. With RAP values of 2189, 2592, 2911, 2994, and 3010, testing showed Threat values of 1548, 1560, 1551, 1550, and 1550 respectively, very strongly pointing to a base Growl value between 1550 (the median) and 1552 (the mean). Then, also as expected, after reaching the RAP threshold, somewhere between 3010 and 3029, a modifier kicks in increasing the amount of threat generated by Growl for each additional point of RAP.

What’s the disconnect then? The game is using the wrong formula to calculate Growl. It should be multiplying the RAP in excess of the threshold by some value, then adding that to the base threat. Using the data, the formula for threat with a RAP above 3020 SHOULD be

Threat = 1550 + (RAP – 3020)(1.425)
or simplified to
Threat = 1.425 x RAP – 2829.

Instead it appears that the formula used in game for RAP above the threshold is assuming the wrong base threat. The true formula being used is

Threat = 1258 + (RAP-3020)(1.425)
or simplified to
Threat = 1.425 x RAP – 3121

So what should we take from all this? First from a practical stand point, don’t have a RAP of 3020 to 3300. A RAP in this range would result in less threat from Growl than if you had a RAP of 3020 or less. If you have a RAP in this range, use it as an opportunity to switch out some AP for more stamina. Secondly, either we’re getting more more threat below the RAP threshold than we should, or 300-350 less above it than we should. I’ve created on thread on the official WoW bug forums which can be found here. Feel free to head on over and bump it to make sure we get this thing fixed.

Note: All numbers presented here are estimations with a certain margin of error and no number in this post should be used as a hard rule, just a general guideline.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 4, 2010

Dr. Boom, You Glorious B@stard.

Nordh’s recent word of his pet tanking addon work in progress got me thinking about properly calculating pet threat again. Trying to gather accurate threat data has been a nightmare for myself and others. For a brief moment we had a glimpse of hope with the release of training dummies, but unfortunately they don’t track threat.

So today, after half a year of staring me in the face, it finally occurred to me “Why not test threat the same way that we hunters tested our DPS for all of The Burning Crusade?” So off to Netherstorm I fly, to revisit every hunter’s favorite punching bag.

I’m still in the process of collecting data and napkin math, but hopefully I’ll be back soon with a working model for Growl, shortly followed by a another formula for the Thunderstomp threat.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 3, 2010

Pet Feat: Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron – Heroic (MT)

Doug submitted these feats just before Christmas on our forums, so this post is a little late from the holiday season. I’ll be lumping these two together since the description is somewhat short, but half the number of posts doesn’t by any means suggest these feats are any less impressive.

Who: Dnysopheus of Nagrand
Pet: George (80 Turtle)

I managed to get these two down today with Apple Dumpling Gang! (Apologies to Kura if you did them before on heroic)

We had some interrupts on the final boss of H FoS, but he seems to cast randomly so it is a bit of a crapshoot, not sure if the gorilla helped. One thing that I did do was tell my Jilea to focus heals on the dps, since the pet is not taking an awful lot of damage here, I could manage without any heals for almost a minute with a turtle, and only slightly less with the Gorilla. This leaves the healer free to deal with the Phantom Blasts if they are not successfully interrupted, so she was raid healing more than anything else on this encounter.

Most of the trash pulls in FoS were much easier the second time round although we did wipe once due a to an overpull just before the boss (we got all three of the nasty wraiths).

Then we decided to carry on to H PoS, replacing Ephaena the hunter with Devinia the huntress. There was nothing specifically hard here, but a lot of technical trickiness.

We wiped on the first boss because I didn’t realise you couldn’t clear the trash around him first and got into a bad position which resulted in Jilea being blasted out of LoS for 30secs or so.

Then we wiped on Ick, first due to him targeting Jilea right off and her not getting out of the way fast enough and then a semi-wipe with only me left to deliver the final Kill Shot, this time due to a one shot poison cloud on Jil (we got him down due to some sharp off-healing from the druid).

Then we wiped on the trash up to the gauntlet, twice. The trick is to use a turtle and try to cc at least one of the mobs. At first I tried a whole whack of cc, but getting the priest healer to shackle one of the undead turned out to be a bad idea because when the shackle broke almost immediately it went right for her.

Eventually a bog standard Volley pull did the trick, I got some cc on the two casters for the second pair of groups by placing Volley right at the front of the soldiers and having George on passive, that way they run through the Volley to get to the pet and you can send him in at leisure far enough away from the casters to get in a cc.

The gauntlet was fairly easy, but pathing was dodgy every now and again. The final boss here was quite easy, nothing much different from most bosses, we didn’t even manage to avoid all of the special effects.

So in summary PoS was actually much easier than the heavy weather we made of it, but it does take a little care and attention. There are plenty of ways to wipe the group and we pretty found all of them, but if you manage avoid them there is nothing much to it from a purely tanking perspective. Very exciting though.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | December 23, 2009

Tis the season…

You may have noticed that i’ve already fallen off my announced schedule for this week. After a change in our families holiday plans it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to tank the new 5-mans myself in order to write thorough walk throughs, so I decided to spread Kurasu’s posts out across the week. In the meantime I might as well share my new addition.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | December 22, 2009

Pet Feat: Pit of Saron (MT)

Continuing the series, Pit of Saron.

Who: Kurasu of Emerald Dreams (EU)
Pet: Panzer (80 turtle)

Details:
On to The Pit. Here, the trash is very reasonable. Focus on tanking the big ones, while your group AOEs the small non-elite skeletons. There are also single large skeletons which, though they hit quite hard for trash, are fairly innocuous (IMO). The ones to fear are the large groups of ghouls. For me, what I did here was to send Panzer and MD a Volley onto them. It didn’t keep them locked to Panzer *perfectly*, but if people were attacking the wrong target, by the time they pulled it off Panzer, they could kite and kill it on their own.

The first boss, Forgemaster Garfrost, is easy. Or rather, I should say *simple*. Your pet’s AOE resistance means that you don’t need to run it away from the boss at all. It can stay in and tank. You will need to kill him quickly enough that his aura doesn’t stack high, but it’s not as difficult (at least in our group) as it seems. Any and all frost resistance on your pet is a huge help here. On Normal, I didn’t need any to tank him (the pet was hurting near the end but not terrible) but if you’re daring Heroic, I highly suggest bringing some along; it would probably be a big help. Remember to get out of LoS when he’s about to discharge his frost attacks. The pet can handle it (at least Panzer did; I suppose if he has a *lot* of stacks you’ll want to retreat) but the players may not be so lucky.

The biggest thing to worry about with Ick and Krick is actually the trash. There are three ghoulish entities that walk around him, and at any time they can come wandering through the area. Always pull and kill these before the boss for your own safety!

Tanking Ick is a matter of keeping the tanking CD rolling, or having a good amount of nature res. Aura can help with this, if you can hold your own threat well enough. This is one area where your pet *can* stand in fire, to to speak (Panzer did and managed to survive), but this is a painful prospect. Besides, if a slime puddle is dropped near enough to hit your pet, it is probably interfering with your melee’s attacking, and thus the enemy should be moved (as simple as a /petpassive and walk a couple steps). Krick will occasionally use a series of Arcane Novas around the ground. For me, I found these weren’t unreasonably painful for the pet, so I only moved him if they were close enough to cause problems for DPS. Otherwise Panzer just ate them and let the healer handle the damage. There are enough of these that moving is an option, but it is annoying. Beware of the occasional ‘focus’ that will be called. Now and again, Ick will begin to pursue one member of the party with extra damage and lowered speed. At this time, he can’t be taunted, so simlpy have them kite until the order wears off.

There are a series of enemies leading up the hill to the tunnel. This is where I found it most difficult to tank. There were simlpy too many of them! AOE is very tempting here, but be careful as the pet can’t handle holding threat, and these large groups can cause a good amount of damage if they run free. This is another of those ‘Be ready with CC’ moments.

Further along this path is a snow-covered tunnel. In here (in addition to ice plummeting from above) there are two types of enemies: large elite skeletons (around 83k health) and much smaller, non-elites (around 12k). For me, I had the pet tank those larger skeletons, while the rest of the party handled the AOE on the littler guys. They’re essentially normal mobs (thouhg quite a few of them) so any class with AOE can take them apart fairly quickly, leaving the scary ones for you to tank.

The final boss, at first glance, looks to be pretty terrifying. However, it is not the drake you will be fighting, but instead the one mounted on top of it. Now, this boss hits *hard*. However, you’ll want to be prepared to time your cooldowns, as using Cower at the wrong moment can easily get you killed. As mentioned above, Scourgelord can inflict a lot of damage with his ‘Unholy Power’ ability, particularly since it comes very quickly after an attack called ‘Forceful Smash’. I suggest that you use Cower ASAP, and then not use your next one until *after* he has used Unholy Power and you have kited him. Make sure your DPS knows that you are kiting; they’ll want to be holding damage while you’re doing this so as not to jump too far ahead on the DPS meter.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | December 20, 2009

Pet Feat: Forge of Souls (MT)

The first a multiple part series of pet feats and walk-through posts on the new Icecrown 5-man dungeons. Check in this week as I’ll be (hopefully) posting one part per day. And remember when submitting your feats, screenshots.


Who: Kurasu of Emerald Dreams (EU)
Pet: Panzer (80 turtle)

Details:
First off, most of the trash in the first dungeon is either groups of two (large skeletons; tank and spank and no problem at all other than hard hits) or four (several humanoids/undead people and a spook). Shackle works well on most of them, and should be used liberally in the multi-group pulls. The only trash that really (and I mean *REALLY*) worried me here were some rather large phantoms. These look a great deal like third stage Black Knight, and attack similarly, including party-wide waves of damage. One of these even managed to kill off a good amount of the party, and it was only due to the healer and Panzer’s CDs that we managed to survive. Sweat-inducing, let me tell you!

The first boss here is a wizard called Bronjahm. Unsure of what he could do, I just put Panzer on him with a nice big threat burst and crossed my fingers. Turns out that for a hunter pet tank, that’s about all you need to do. His melee isn’t too painful, and his special ability is negligible, as the pet hasn’t got mana to drain off. The players need to watch for his abilities, of course. He will summon (or rather, corrupt) a small add from one of the party members now and then, which must be killed or he will absorb it for 120,000 health. Needless to say, that can make this fight take a very long time! In addition, when he is down in health, he will teleport himself to the center of the room (if not there already) and start lashing out with a number of souls. The annoying thing here is that to avoid damage from them, you need to get close. And as a hunter, if you get close enough, you are just a smidge outside your ‘minimum range’. So it’s very easy to get yourself stuck here unable to attack. Be careful! In addition, prepare to use Bestial Wrath, as he will occasionally throw fear to ‘chase’ people into that swirl of spirits.

The second boss, Devourer of Souls, is painful and complicated to fight for the people, but not too terrible to actually *tank*. At least, as long as you are careful. Have someone who can interrupt if possible, to stop ‘Phantom Blast’ from being cast whenever possible. In addition, be prepared: now and again, the giant beast will randomly target a person and plummet down on top of them. This does not dump aggro; while the person will need to move out frmo beneath (to avoid damage from the Well beneath it), its threat is kept and it will generally wander back to the tank, unless your DPS have been overworking themselves. The main thing to worry about as a tank is to beware of Wailing Souls. Recall your pet and make sure it is not in front of the boss at this point. the damage this ‘wail’ can throw is deadly, and ticks every 0.4 seconds. Think ‘Mimiron p3wx2 and you’ve got a good idea of what this does. Aside from that, the ‘Unleah Souls’ is something to worry about for your players, but they seem to target PCs over pets; I don’t recall Panzer getting hit by any of them (although the party certainly did!)

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | December 7, 2009

Recess is over.

There’s been a lack of writing on my part for the last couple weeks because I started a new job just a day or two after making my last post, but things have finally settled down enough for me to have some free time again. Even better is since I’m working again, I was able to reactivate my WoW account which I had canceled for the last month while I searched for a new job. Best of all is it all came just in time to play patch 3.3 when it comes out tomorrow.

My question to you good readers is have you ever suspended your account since you began playing and why? Also when the servers come back up tomorrow, what’s the first thing you plan on doing?

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