Saturday, January 2, 2010

One prediction for WoW in 2010

I got my second piece of T10 Friday and had an opportunity to run as Ret in several dungeons all day yesterday. It took me all of about 3 seconds to say to myself "now there is a set bonus that will be getting nerfed". While I'm completely happy to be on the receiving end of almost unrelenting Divine Storms right now, I'm having a hard time believing that won't be nerfed at some point.
Your melee attacks have a 40% chance to reset the cool down on your Divine Storm ability.
Doesn't seem like much does it? It's only a 40% chance. Except it procs off Divine Storm, and can lead to 3-4 Divine Storms in a row. I was already doing 10-11k on packs of mobs in ICC-25 with 4 pieces of 226 gear still equipped, so I am anxious to see just how much more this new unfettered Divine Storm will give me on Tuesday night. I did however do 9k on the first boss in H-HoL. Heroic you say? Well considering I normally do 6k on that boss I'd say that is some pretty convincing anecdotal evidence right there. And it wasn't the only boss I saw a 2k or more uptick in my DPS either. I'll also throw out my testing on the test Dummy.
10 mins: 4315 dps w/4-piece T9 bonus
10 mins: 4750 dps w/2-piece T10
It's difficult to model the differences considering I'm using 2-piece T9 and 2-piece T10 on the second 10-min run, and I also wasn't using Consecration on the second run, whereas I was on the first run because I can quickly run myself out of mana with all the proc'ed Divine Storms. So lets just say there is a 400-500 dps difference on single targets from my 4-piece T9 set to my 2-piece T10 set. By any calculation that is a pretty nice uptick on a boss, but those boss fights that also include adds like the twins in TOC, or Lady Deathwhisper in ICC, that uptick is multiplicative and gives Paladins a huge advantage over several other classes. Lets compare the other DPS classes set bonuses.
Death Knight: Your Obliterate and Scourge Strike abilities deal 10% increased damage, and your Heart Strike ability deals 7% increased damage.
Druid (Balance): When you gain Clearcasting from your Omen of Clarity talent, you deal 15% additional Nature and Arcane damage for 6 sec.
Druid (Feral): Your Swipe (Bear) and Lacerate abilities deal 20% additional damage and the cost of your Rip ability is reduced by 10 energy.
Hunter: Your Auto Shots have a 5% chance to cause you and your pet to deal 15% additional damage for 10 sec.
Mage: Your Hot Streak, Missile Barrage, and Brain Freeze talents also grant you 12% haste for 5 sec when the effect of the talent is consumed.
Priest: The critical strike chance of your Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, and Vampiric Touch spells is increased by 5%.
Rogue: Your Tricks of the Trade ability now grants you 15 energy instead of costing energy.
Shaman (Ehance): When you activate your Shamanistic Rage ability you also deal 12% additional damage for 15 sec.
Shaman (Elemental): Your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning spells reduce the remaining cooldown on your Elemental Mastery talent by 2 sec.
Warlock: The critical strike chance of your Shadowbolt, Incinerate, Soulfire, and Corruption spells is increased by 5%.
Warrior: When your Deep Wounds ability deals damage you have a 3% chance to gain 16% attack power for 10 sec.

The Death Knight set bonus is definitely up there in the clouds. I'm not sure the buff to Scourgestrike quite makes up for the nerfing Scourgestrike just took last patch, but the 7% buff to Blood Strike is certainly very nice. On fights like Anub or Twins in TOC and Deathwhisper in ICC that will be a very, very nice uptick. Even on single target mobs a 7% increase with hysteria and rune weapon out will be huge. Compared to the Paladin set bonus I'd probably say this is about equal.

I'm ambivalent about the Druid set bonuses. The dmg increase during clear casting certainly doesn't make up for what I'm seeing from the Paladin and DK bonuses and I raid as Boomkin. I would have thought something buffing Eclipse slightly would have been in the cards, or at the very least increasing the damage bonus from 6 seconds to something like 10 or 15 seconds. And the reduction of Rip by 10 energy is so so as well. Not impressed with that what so ever. All in all I'd have to say I'm seeing nothing here that reaches the lofty levels of DK or Paladin set bonuses yet.

The Hunter bonus on the other hand is a very nice buff. Hunters already have extremely high DPS and a significant portion of their DPS comes from auto-shot. Looking at our very well geared Hunters in our raid, I see auto-shot accounts for fully 24.1% of the dps for one, and 28.3% for the other. And both are in the 6-7k range on non-gimmick fights, and upwards of 9-11k on gimmick fights. According to RAWR, updating to two pieces of T10 (which he does not yet have) would be about a 150 dps increase alone, though it doesn't speculate on how much increase one could see from the 2-piece proc. 5% of his typical auto-shots on bosses would be 95. His average hit is 2551 and his crits average 4551.6 dmg, so we can assume that of 330 to 862 additional dmg for 15 seconds. That's a pretty healthy buff in my mind. All in all I think this set bonus ranks up there at the top.

The mage set bonus strikes me as middling. I understand that haste could add quite a bit to a Mages DPS, however I'm curious how much this additional haste would lead to mana issues. Its something I'm going to have to ask the Mages in my raid about before I can speculate on it, so consider this one a bye for now.

Priest bonus granting an additional 5% crit chance is interesting but looking at the last log for our lone Shadow Priest, it doesn't look like a 5% additional crit chance would actually be all that much. As she is fairly well geared I'm inclined to believe this is more of a mediocre bonus than anything else.

As I have been playing my Rogue quite a bit recently, this set bonus is very intriguing. Granting 15 energy after every ToTT usage is a very nice burst of energy, while at the same time increasing DPS from ToTT itself. I'm inclined to say this is actually a fairly nice buff, though perhaps not top of the heap nice. Lets call this one a B+.

In as far as Shaman set bonuses go, Enhancement definitely got the better end of the stick as far as I can tell. A 12% increase to damage for 15 seconds every time you use Shamanistic Rage, which is on a 1-min cool down, meaning this can be up fully a quarter of the time. If that isn't a terrific buff to DPS I don't know what is. On the other hand the Elemental set bonus knocks a whopping two seconds off a three minute cool down. WHOA, knock me over with a burst of air there, why don't ya Blizzard? Solid D- for Elemental, but solid A for Enhance.

Warlock set bonus giving an extra 5% crit chance to certain destruction and corruption spells? What Warlock wouldn't like that? Especially raiding Destruction Locks that are all the cookie cutter Incinerate build. That 5% crit chance bonus is icing on an already good looking cake so I'd consider this set bonus to be at the tier two level of set bonuses we've discusses thus far.

And last, but certainly not least, are the Warriors who really are getting a set bonus that could become very, very, over powered. Deep wounds is inflicted after every crit, dealing damage over time to the target. The 2-piece bonus gives the Warrior a 3% chance after every tick to increase their AP by 16% for 10 seconds. As PVE Warriors are crit happy to begin with, Deep Wounds is usually up on the target most of the time. While a 3% chance seems fairly low on the outset, the sheer number of dot ticks means this is going to be going off at least 1-3 times a minute. As it scales with your attack power, the bonus they see will only get better as the Warrior works through ICC.

I have my own opinions on which set bonuses are better than others, but I'll leave it to you to decide for yourself which you think are the best. As far as I can tell, Paladin and Hunter set bonuses are the top of the heap, with the others staggering below those. But only one set bonus will lead to tremendously huge damage totals in instances, and that is the Paladin bonus. The sure number of mob pack pulls before bosses will drive the Ret Paladins to the top of the charts if they aren't there already and that is simply going to get the QQ training moving on another nerf. Expect it now, so that when it happens you won't be taken completely by surprise.