Bonus! T13 Set Details Released
You know Blizzard is overwhelmed when they decide to release 4.3 information in the wee hours of Sunday morning while many of us were eating pizza, getting drunk, and catching up on past episodes of True Blood. In the event that you were partying and didn’t have the opportunity to check your RSS or Twitter feed, here’s a quick recap.
- Feral, 2pc – While Berserk is active, Savage Defense absorbs are 100% larger, and your Blood in the Water talent now causes Ferocious Bite to refresh the duration of your Rip on targets with 60% or less health.
- Feral, 4pc – Frenzied Regeneration also affects all raid and party members, and your Stampede talent now grants two charges after using Feral Charge (Cat).
Ravage me again!
Let’s start with the bad news first—any sort of modifications to Stampede are situational at best and won’t provide cats with a sustained DPS increase. Why? Although certain encounters are designed with predictable add switching (Ragnaros) or events that require one to leave and re-enter melee range swiftly (Searing Seeds[i]), I suspect that, for most encounters, Ravage2 will be used once at the beginning of the fight and will then be forgotten.
I do realize, however, that I’m evaluating this bonus wearing T12-colored glasses. It’s entirely possible that T13 content will require an excess of melee target switching. By providing cats with two free[ii] ravages, perhaps Blizzard is trying to address the fact that cat burst damage is incredibly lackluster when target switching is involved. Unfortunately, we’ll need four pieces of gear to access this bonus and alleviate some of the burst damage concerns.
Taking a bite out of DPS disparity
The feral two-piece set bonus provides a far more significant sustained DPS boost. Blood in the Water currently functions as an execute—as soon as your target drops below 25 percent health, Ferocious Bite has a 100 percent chance to instantly refresh the duration of Rip on your target. The idea is that the bulk of one’s combo point generation can be solely dedicated to Ferocious Bite without having to use them to maintain Rip as well.
Now, with the T13 two-piece bonus, you can stop worrying (for the most part) about Rip once your target hits 60 percent, increasing the effectiveness of the two-point Blood in the Water talent by 240 percent. Before your little fluffy heads explode, please remember that the two-piece bonus won’t improve your DPS by 240 percent. Right now, two points in Blood in the Water accounts for approximately 1.66 percent[iii] of your DPS. Therefore, if the two-piece T13 bonus improves that by 240 percent, we’re probably looking at an approximate DPS increase of 2.324 percent.[iv]
Some bears are probably here by accident
Because I haven't been tanking since Wrath, I can't comment with any authority on the bear bonuses. I do, however, think that the two-piece bonus is marginal; when bears asked for another defensive cooldown, I don't think they were looking to switch Berserk from DPS to mitigation. The four-piece bonus, on the other hand, seems like a welcome addition to a bear's arsenal.
[i] Searing Seeds is cast by Majordomo Staghelm in Firelands.
[ii] Without the Stampede talent, Ravage requires one to be stealthed and behind the target.
[iii] Wondering where this number came from? It’s simple, even if you’re math challenged. Using Mew, establish a baseline DPS by plugging in your ideal build and the appropriate set bonuses, trinket procs, and raid buffs. You can even import your own character from the armory. Once you’ve established a baseline, record the number and then remove the two points from Blood in the Water. Recalculate. You can use the difference between your baseline and the second number to calculate the percentage of DPS for which Blood in the Water accounts. I found that this number hovers between 1.6% and 1.7%. It’s probably safe to say that the DPS increase from the two-piece bonus will be greater than 2% and less than 3%.
[iv] Give or take a few tenths of a percent.