So long, and thanks for all the fish (feasts)!01.19.10

Although this shouldn't really come as a shock to anyone who's noticed that there hasn't been an update here in months, Unbearably HoT is closed for business–for now. Back in October when I initially stopped posting, I had canceled my WoW subscription. I figured hey, it's been 3.5 years, I somehow landed a husband via raiding, my office workload tripled, I didn't have the energy to raid in the capacity I like to, and I ostensibly had no regrets moving on.

Except that really, I did. When you're involved in not only a game, but a community, for that long, it's very difficult to walk away from. I truly didn't expect the e-mails I received asking where I'd been, if I'd be updating my gear list, or when I'd start posting again. For that, thank-you. But ask any blogger out there, especially Kalon, who has also recently stepped off the feral stage, and they'll happily explain that you generally can't crank out a post in an hour and expect it to be any good. My process normally went a little like this:

  1. Come up with an idea and sit on it for a week.
  2. Finally write a few paragraphs to see whether or not anything interesting or helpful can come of it. (I really cannot begin to express how many things I've started writing about and eventually shelved, whether because my writing was terrible or because someone else posted about something similar; my flash drive is full of attempts such as these.)
  3. Research. Sometimes it's as simple as digging through blue posts and the latest WoW news. Sometimes, it means taking out a calculator. For what it's worth, I am absolutely terrible at even simple math, and any post that included such numbers received triple proofing.
  4. Proof.
  5. Fret over previous step, and send to someone else to read over (generally my husband or Phaelia).
  6. Create images, if the post needs any. This involves some quality time with the usually broken model viewer and Photoshop.
  7. Upload images, format post.
  8. Publish.

And, of course, this all takes time. With the economy such as it is, many of us are working twice as hard for the same amount of money. I've also been working on my own writing, in hopes of a future publication. I cannot currently justify expending the effort that you, my audience, deserves on any sort of a regular schedule. Will that change in the future when things slow down? More than likely! In the meantime, thanks for all the support, and don't let your fellow raiders convince you to use your offspec for any Restoration purposes.

If you have any questions or comments about this whole feral business (or hey, just me!), you can still shoot me an e-mail, track me down in game, or follow me on Twitter.

Posted in Blogwith 24 Comments →

Azerothian Idol: 3.3 Edition10.14.09

If you’ve been reading this site with any frequency, you probably know that I love to collect and examine the benefits of idols. Having an arsenal of these easy-to-acquire pieces allows the intrepid feral a measure of versatility that doesn’t require re-gemming or building a second armor set—although obviously, some are more useful than others. Previously, I provided the following table as a quick-and-dirty guide for what you should pick up:

Idol Effect (Cat Only)
Idol of the Ravenous Beast Increases the damage done by Shred by 203.
Idol of Worship Increases periodic damage done by Rip by 21 per combo point.
Idol of the Corruptor Your Mangle ability has a chance to grant 153 AGI for 12 seconds.
Idol of Mutilation Your Cat Form’s Mangle and Shred abilities have a chance to grant 200 AGI for 16 seconds.

Idol of Worship < ArP 230 < Idol of the Ravenous Beast
Idol of the Corruptor ← Manglebot? → Idol of the Ravenous Beast
Idol of the Ravenous Beast ←ArP > 230 and 25 EoT → Idol of Mutilation
See Above ← Bear → Idol of the Corruptor

Currently, I’d argue that the Idol of Mutilation is the premier go-to choice for DPSing ferals everywhere. The 200 AGI proc effect has a near 100 percent uptime and remains just as useful for Manglebots as it does ArP badasses. Yesterday, however, MMO-Champion spotlighted an as yet unnamed Druid T10 Feral idol:

The periodic damage from your Lacerate and Rake abilities grants 44 Agility for 15 sec. Stacks up to 5 times.

Now wait a second! Rake? As you might be aware, Rake is getting a little more attention in 3.3; namely, the T10 four-piece set bonus gives the Rake DoT effect a chance to crit (something that, I might add, was initially part of the Primal Gore talent and was subsequently removed as it proved to be overpowered). We still do not, however, have any way to extend the duration of the nine second DoT. What does this mean for the mystery idol?

With incredibly basic math, you can ascertain that five-stacks of the new idol’s effect will provide 220 AGI. While that looks better than the Idol of Mutilation’s 200 AGI, we need to consider the following:

  • The Rake DoT lasts for nine seconds after application and ticks every three seconds. This means that you can receive three stacks of the idol effect from one application of Rake (132 AGI).
  • If you’re already keeping a close watch on your debuffs, you’ll probably make sure that Rake never falls off the target. If so, you should easily be able to obtain the five stacks (220 AGI) and receive the 15 second buff.
  • If you can keep the proc effect at five stacks without having to start over after every 15 seconds (i.e. ensure that Rake never falls off the target), it’s incredibly useful. If, however, you need to re-stack to five every time, you might as well keep the Idol of Mutilation and receive a reliable 200 AGI with your Shreds or Mangles.
  • We also don’t know what the internal cooldown is on this particular idol and what sort of uptime we can expect. If it’s anything like the Idol of Mutilation (i.e. up almost all the time), it’s potentially 110% more useful.

For cats, then, the new idol is theoretically “better,” as long as we’re prioritizing Rake and the above conditions turn out to be favorable. If, however, you’re involved in a fight that requires a lot of movement or target switching, the Idol of Mutilation will likely end up being a more favorable option as it does not require obtaining five-stacks. What about bears? Remember that in my last discussion, we concluded the following:

%Dodge %Crit Armor Count
Idol of the Corruptor 3.7975518 2.18359152 363.93192
Idol of Mutilation 4.41964 0 0

Better than you thought, right? Fuck yes, kids. The Agility proc is enhanced by Blessing of Kings, Survival of the Fittest, and Mark of the Wild. With a near 100% uptime for every time you Mangle, you can gain nearly as much Dodge as the Idol of Mutilation boasts, in addition to threat and mitigation boosting stats. And, since the Idol of the Corruptor rolls in at the bargain price of 19 Emblems of Conquest, it’s a steal.

Will the new T10 idol replace the Idol of the Corruptor? In my opinion, absolutely. For many of the same reasons that the Idol of the Corruptor ended up a better option than the Idol of Mutilation (AGI = dodge, crit, armor, can be enhanced by raid buffs), this new idol rocks—assuming, of course, that you’re keeping Lacerate at five stacks. Let’s take a look:

%Dodge %Crit Armor Count
Idol of the Corruptor 3.7975518 2.18359152 363.93192
New Idol 4.964102 2.854368 475.728

It’s essentially a direct upgrade. Again, we will need to make sure to reevaluate this once we have more information, but for now, I’d keep this piece of shiny in your sights.

Posted in Bear, Cat, Feral, Guidewith 7 Comments →

Well, that was quicker than I expected.09.22.09

In a most fortuitous coincidence, Blizzard is releasing Patch 3.2.2 today just as AION boasts its first opening day. I’ll be the first to admit that this is happening earlier than I anticipated; naively, I assumed that because the supposed WoW anniversary is in November, we’d be seeing an Onyxia release about then. If previous PTR patch notes can be trusted, we can be squaring off with the Brood Mother this evening! But let’s be real—what can we ferals expect?

  • The amount of ArP gained per point has been reduced by 12%. Before you all explode and lament the skyrocketing prices of Delicate Cardinal Rubies, please take a look at the previous post: (Armor) Penetration: how hard will it be in 3.2.2? Although stacking ArP becomes a much more expensive endeavor, it’s entirely possible to pull off ridiculous DPS by reaching toward the hard-cap.
  • Predatory Strikes: This talent now also causes the Druid’s finishing moves to provide a 7/13/20% chance per combo point to make the next Nature spell with a cast time below 10 seconds instant cast. Potentially super cool for PVP, and situationally useful for PVE. For slightly more discussion, check out my post: Can’t wait until November? Hot 3.2.2 action here!
  • Infected Wounds: the debuff generated by this talent no longer stacks and instead causes the full effect with a single application. Again, we’re seeing more PVP utility here and limited PVE utility. This change isn’t actually increasing the effect of Infected Wounds, but rather gives you the full effect of two stacks in one application, bringing this talent more in line with the one-hit punch of Thunderclap.
  • Onyxia. Am I the only one who was sick to death of her in vanilla? Maybe not, but Kalon points out one good reason to check her out again.

I am currently flirting with AION, mostly because I can get away with being a retard in game right now, but I don’t really foresee it replacing WoW. If you’re interested, you can look me up as Sibilance (Asmodian side) on the Zikel server. Here, have a token Ascension screenshot:

That’s all for now. Are you looking forward to 3.2.2.?

Posted in Feral, Patch Noteswith 8 Comments →

(Armor) Penetration: How hard will it be in 3.2.2?09.16.09

For the past two weeks I’ve essentially been MIA as I finished up a series of massive projects at work and took a high-fiving trip to Chicago. During that time, of course, we’ve learned that in 3.2.2., the value of Armor Penetration will decrease to 110%, down from 125%. Has the so-called stat-of-the-gods fallen from its golden pedestal? Hardly. What we’re seeing is approximately a 12% nerf, if the old ArP hard cap was 1,230 and the new hard cap will be 1,399.57. Druids everywhere have bemoaned their long ride on the ever-changing stat train—from stacking STR to AGI to ArP and now to, what? Agility again? Sure, that’s probably the easy way out.

Me? I’m here to represent obsessive re-itemization. Lately I’ve seen “min/maxing” demonized, deplored as the paragon of all that’s not fun in WoW. A time waster. An exercise for elitists. A means to a picky, allegedly uninteresting and not-altogether useful end. Say it isn’t so! In a game where there’s little character progression beyond gear, tending to the fiddly-bits for even minor upgrades still feels to me like progress. Although there’s been much paw-wringing, it is still very possible to reach the Armor Penetration soft-cap if you’re a Druid with decent gear.

What’s decent gear? Without being too vague, most gear from Ulduar (iLevel 219) and upwards. Consider the following before proceeding:

  • What’s my critical strike chance, unbuffed, in Cat form? If you’re rocking over 50% critical strike chance, you’re definitely on the right path. Without enough critical strike, which feeds you combo points via 2/2 Primal Fury, your already complex rotation will fall apart.
  • How much Hit Rating do I have? When stacking AGI, you can gloss over a few misses here and there because you have combo points coming out of your ears. When using a heavy ArP armor set, the penalty for a miss is much higher. You can get by with approximately 245 (or greater.)
  • How much Expertise do I have? The Expertise soft-cap is 6.5%, which is equivalent to 213.135 Expertise Rating. Primal Precision automatically gives you 10 Expertise (81.975), which brings the aforementioned number down to 131.16. Although I place a much higher emphasis on Hit Rating rather than Expertise Rating (for DPS purposes), it’s still important.
  • Do these pants make me look fat? Yes, you’re a cow.

If you’ve ascertained that the previous numbers check out and you’re willing to do some work, read on. Have some basic math, too. In 3.2, 15.39529991 ArP Rating = 1% ArP. In 3.2.2, 13.99572719 ArP Rating = 1% ArP. Thus, to now reach an ArP soft-cap with trinkets, you need the following:

Grim Toll = 612 ArP Rating (~43.72%). To reach soft-cap, you need 787.57 ArP (~56.27%).

Mjolnir Runestone = 665 ArP Rating (~47.51%). To reach soft-cap, you need 734.57 ArP.
To reduce an enemy’s armor by 50%, you need approximately 700 ArP rating.

Let’s look at a relatively easy list of gear that you could acquire, right now, to get yourself on track for 3.2.2.

Option 1 – Includes easy weapon and two-piece T8 and T9.

Total AP

ArP

Total% Crit

Haste

Hit

Exp

Sockets

Slot

Source

Conqueror’s Nightsong Headguard

249.52424

50

2.7139008

0

0

0

2

Head

Ulduar 25 (Thorim), Vendor

Broach of the Wailing Night

158.92716

46

1.6093872

0

0

0

0

Neck

19 EoC

Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Shoulderpads of Conquest

215.33492

52

1.0509264

60

0

0

1

Shoulder

30 EoT

Drape of Icy Intent

178.11648

0

0.8303616

41

40

0

1

Back

Ulduar 25 (Hodir)

Armor/Vest of Shifting Shadows

280.33976

59

3.3129792

0

0

0

2

Chest

TotC (10) Normal, Twin Valkyrs

Death-warmed Belt

194.06308

0

2.1272336

0

40

0

2

Waist

LW

Conqueror’s Nightsong Handgrips

231.0922

43

1.102824

33

0

0

1

Hands

Ulduar 25 (Mimiron)

Armbands of the Wary Lookout

160.16988

39

0.7654896

0

40

0

0

Wrist

TotC (5) Heroic

Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Legguards of Conquest

252.68928

0

3.1093376

0

64

0

2

Leg

50 EoT

Treads of the Icewalker/Icewalker Treads

245.60676

69

2.6806192

0

0

0

1

Feet

TotC (25) Normal, Faction Champions

Dexterous Brightstone Ring

191.38832

50

0.9860544

50

0

0

0

Ring

35 EoT

Plainstalker Band/Signet

174.54852

39

0.7914384

0

38

0

1

Ring

TotC (10) Normal, Jaraxxus

Marrowstrike

2,339

57

2.46344

0

0

0

1

Weapon

TotC (5) Heroic

Total:

4,870.801

504

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

Total with Grim Toll:

4,870.801

1,116

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

305

0

14

Total with Mjolnir Runestone:

4,870.801

1,169

25.78799

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

Total with Banner of Victory:

4,870.801 + 1,008

588

23.54399

7.2956 % Haste

222

0

14

If you socket straight Fractured Cardinal Rubies and one Nightmare Tear, your total base ArP = 764. This places you squarely in the range of the ArP soft-cap, assuming you’re using either Grim Toll or the Mjolnir Runestone. Even without those two trinkets, you’re still reducing your target’s armor by ~54.58% (60.58%, if you have the Banner of Victory.) You’re also utilizing two-piece T8.5 and T9.232 and gear that can be entirely farmed from normal raids. Assuming the appropriate Cat talents, ~24% critical strike chance becomes 40% in Cat Form, and with the usual enchants, accidental socket bonuses (excluding profession bonuses) and various trinkets, you can expect to pick up another ~12% or so. This brings you to ~52% critical strike chance, unbuffed. Not bad, eh? This shit gets even easier if you have access to better gear. What happens if you have access to some of the best gear in the game?

Option 2 – ALL PENETRATION, NO WAITING! Includes Heroic Loot.

Total AP

ArP

Total% Crit

Haste

Hit

Exp

Sockets

Slot

Source

Hood/Mask of Lethal Intent

307.7184

74

1.556928

0

82

0

2

Head

75 EoT

Collar of Unending/Ceaseless Torment (Heroic)

189.2524

40

2.052208

0

0

0

1

Neck

TotC (10) Heroic, Northrend Beasts

Heroic Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Shoulderpads of Triumph

277.06792

68

1.3752864

76

0

0

1

Shoulders

1 Regalia

Cloak of the Silver Covenant/Cloak of Serrated Blades (Heroic)

199.0922

49

2.356824

0

0

0

1

Back

TotC (25) Heroic, Tribute

Vest/Armor of Shifting Shadows (Heroic)

311.85432

67

3.6807744

0

0

0

3

Chest

TotC (10) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Belt of the Merciless/Pitiless Killer (Heroic)

251.55336

0

1.2714912

76

68

0

2+1

Waist

TotC (25) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Armbands/Bracers of Dark Determination (Heroic)

172.06308

0

2.1492336

0

49

0

2

Wrists

TotC (25) Heroic, Anub’arak

Heroic Malfurion’s/Runetotem’s Legguards of Triumph

334.93684

0

4.0214928

0

86

0

2

Legs

1 Regalia

Icewalker Treads/Treads of the Icewalker (Heroic)

251.55336

68

1.2714912

0

76

0

2

Feet

TotC (25) Heroic, Faction Champions

Planestalker Signet/Band (Heroic)

206.57764

44

0.9990288

0

44

0

1

Ring

TotC (10) Heroic, Jaraxxus

Dexterous Brightstone Ring

191.38832

50

0.9860544

50

0

0

0

Ring

35 EoT

Lupine Longstaff/Twin’s Pact (Heroic)

3,540

94

1.7774928

102

0

0

2

Weapon

TotC (25) Heroic, Twin Valkyrs

Total:

6,233.058

554

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

405 (lol)

0

20

Total with Grim Toll:

6,233.058

1,166

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

489

0

20

Total with Mjolnir Runestone:

6,233.058

1,219

25.74231

12.0536% Haste

405

0

20

Total with Banner of Victory:

6,233.058 +1,008

638

23.49831

12.0536% Haste

405

0

20

If you notice, even with some incredibly ridiculous gear, your critical strike chance will end up approximately the same unbuffed. The obvious difference is that you can get over 2,000 more AP from the crazy-go-nuts gear, and 934 ArP through gear and gemming alone. Here, I’d recommend dropping Grim Toll (obviously—have you seen how much Hit Rating this set boasts?) and the Mjolnir Runestone in favor of the Banner of Victory (giving you 1,081 ArP) and some other shiny trinket (even a Greatness card!) At this point, you could also use an Elixir of Armor Piercing (45 ArP) and Hearty Rhino (40 ArP) to lower the gap between your gear and the ArP hard cap to 233.37 ArP. You’ll even notice that three pieces of gear don’t even have ArP. Theoretically, if you went fishing for pieces of semi-inferior gear with ArP, you could hit the hard cap without using any special foods or elixirs.

Or, you could choose to socket Delicate Cardinal Rubies in that gear set and run with Banner of Victory and either Grim Toll or the Mjolnir Runestone. You’d be working just below the ArP soft-cap, but you’d gain ~4.93% critical strike. Blessing of Kings brings this to ~5.42%. Which is the better option? If you plug all the appropriate numbers (and raid buffs) into Tossk’s Cat DPS Calculator for 3.2.2 for both of those scenarios (feel free to use the Cat DPS Gear Spreadsheet and try out some numbers yourself), you’ll notice that you get very similar DPS numbers, with ArP only slightly edging out AGI (by a couple hundred DPS or so). However, the closer you move to the ArP hard cap (i.e. if you took that 940 ArP and added Elixir of Armor Piercing and Hearty Rhino, bringing you to 1,166), the gap widens even more.

Ultimately, it comes down to playstyle, as Kalon recently discussed. But my take on ArP? I’m going to be milking it for as long as I can.

I realize that the tables are so big that they break in the browser window. If you’d like to download these tables, along with the rest of the article, click here.

Posted in Cat, Feral, Guidewith 10 Comments →

Everybody hop on the loot train!09.15.09

As promised, I’ve gone through the 3.2 DPS Gear Spreadsheet and updated it with all the new Coliseum items, including the crafted Leatherworking pieces. You’ll also find that some of the numbers look a little different than before—that’s because some of the stat values changed. Remember:

  • Please to brain. Although gear is first sorted by the number of sockets, the number of sockets do not necessarily guarantee the best piece of gear.
  • Armor Penetration is currently the best stat to stack at higher gear levels, so long as you have at least 50% Critical Strike chance and approximately 230 ArP. Generally speaking, your goal is to pick up ~600 ArP via gear and gemming and then pair that with Grim Toll, Mjolnir Runestone or the Banner of Victory.
  • Because ArP requires varying quantities to hit the soft-cap (based on what trinket you have, for example), the spreadsheet prioritizes AGI over ArP. ArP is still awesome, so make sure you’re paying attention to that column.
  • There may be errors. If you find any (or have another suggestion), please shoot me an e-mail via my Contact page so that I can fix the spreadsheet as soon as possible.

In the near future, I’ll also be providing four different gearing options (with and without tier gear and/or heroic loot) which prioritize ArP without sacrificing the rest of your stats. I’m holding this up until I can make a proper suggestion for 3.2.2. as well. For now, here are a number of other posts from around the blogosphere detailing different takes on ArP in 3.2.2. Please note that I am not of the “Fuck it, gem AGI” camp.

  • The Fluid Druid’s ArP FAQ Part 1 and 2. This has a very accurate depiction of how ArP performs at varying gear levels and is generally where I’m leaning.
  • Vallen’s “3.2.2. ArP Nerf & You.
  • Kalon’s “Cat’s 3.2. Coliseum Loot Ranking.” No, it’s not really about ArP, but it’s a similar loot ranking list. Relevant, I swear.

Posted in Cat, Feral, Guide, Weaponswith 8 Comments →

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