Combat Log inconsistencies

Ok, it looks like 4.0 and the change to the GCD checks have added some more special effects in the combat log.... you can now have an AURA_APPLIED for Rake which occurs before the SPELL_DAMAGE of the Rake which actually applied the aura.  This messes up my processing, as I always relied on SPELL_DAMAGE to perform error checking on aura refreshes, but since now it can arrive late, it ends up checking a refresh against the aura which was just applied.... so it will always report that the aura was refreshed too early.  Look:
  • 10/18 22:52:16.843  SPELL_CAST_SUCCESS,.....
  • 10/18 22:52:17.171  SPELL_AURA_APPLIED,.....
  • 10/18 22:52:17.343  SPELL_DAMAGE,.....
This is incredibly annoying, because it means that I have to add a separate event for the aura application/refresh (as I do for Rip), which will often end up superposed with Rake's initial damage.
What is weird is that in the combatlog I'm using for debugging this only happens on some bosses and not on others.  From the same log:

  • 10/18 22:17:16.031  SPELL_CAST_SUCCESS,.....
  • 10/18 22:17:16.265  SPELL_DAMAGE,.....
  • 10/18 22:17:16.265  SPELL_AURA_APPLIED,.....
This is the behaviour I'm used to having.  I'll have to code some weird workaround for this crap......


RWF and 4.0

I'm advancing (slowly) towards the next release.

Apart from changes to all the skill IDs and other simple matters, there are a few things which are still a problem:
- I've not yet clearly understood how the Rip refresh from FB gets in the logs. Shred refreshes are clearly indicated together with the shred damage, but the FB ones no. I'll have to do some more controlled testing to see what's going on instead of relying on raid logs, which are messy.
- The impact of haste in energy regen is a not easy to manage, since this means taking into account all procs/buffs/debuffs which affect haste. For the moment I'll go for "fixed haste", but finally add the resyincing of energy performed by CAST_FAIL "Not enough energy".

I'm also trying to turn my small piechart widget into something which plays well inside a QLayout, but I'm having problems undestanding how the widget space requirements are communicated to the layout manager. I'll have to do some more learning and testing.

Not sure when I'll be able to finalize the thing, but at the same time it's not like DPS is critical right now. As for the "rotation", the sharp drop in crit going from 80 to 85 will change it quite hard. Practicing DoT refreshes will still be valuable, but Rip/FB/SR use will change radically.


ICC 10 Full Drood (11/12, 8hm)

Ok, here is the promised report..... it's a bit late, as it was done before patch 4.0.  Whatever.

Apparently it's a tradition on our server, a "full-drood raid" is done at the end of every raid tier, abusing the fact that druids are the only class which can fill all the possible raid slots.  I've never found myself in one of the old raids (I remember something about one in Ulduar, but I was already tagged for the week).  In any case, on a saturday evening we ventured into ICC10 as a full druid raid group (with some unhappyness from the various guild's raid leaders which found themselves with a lot of unavailable druids for the current tag).

Standard composition: 2 tanks, 3 healers (one with moonkin spec), 5 DPS (3+2, I was one of the cats).

Now, even if the druids can fill the roles, it doesn't mean they are optimized to fill the role..... in particular there are some glaring holes in the abilities which are around.  For example, a lot of missing buffs: some of them can be replaced with drums/scrolls, but things like resistance auras are not that easily replaced.  It also means no MD/Tricks (= hard time for the tanks to keep aggro).  More serious: it means no slowing effects and NO DISPEL DISEASE.  This last one can be troublesome.....

The idea was "one long eveining, as much HM bosses as possible, but we want to get to Arthas".  So we started with Marrowgar, which was unsurprisingly one-shotted in HM.  We were not that sure about Deathwhisper HM, but it went well and we one-shotted it as well.  After all the only real trouble are the curse (we can dispel) and the mind control (cyclone says hello).  Gunship battle was a joke as usual.

The we got to Saurfang and things turned to be a bit harder.  In particular add management.... full druid means we have no slowing effects, unless someone goes around hitting them with Infected Wounds our stunning them with bash.  They both are hard and/or dangerous to place, since in HM there's the -80% movement speed debuff, so we kept losing people to the adds.  One mistake and we had one ranged dead.... The solution was for us cats to start spamming Roots on the adds as soon as it was safe (= not in melee range of anything).  Sure, Roots breaks fast, but it turns out that if you frantically press the "cast Roots" button, the mob is almost unable to move, as it's re-rooted as soon as the damage frees it.  Add to this some ferals (ahem ahem) taking aggro and dying and in a few tries we had it down.  4/4 HM!

Next step: Blood Wing.  No trouble, I think we did one wipe on Princes due to the Keleseth tank getting gibbed, but the two fights don't have any mechanics that a druid can't handle.  6/6 HM.

Next: Plague Wing.  We get Festergut down fast (one or two wipes due to some mess at range, I think), then on to Rotface.  As it turns out, Rotface without dispel disease is not the same thing as the Rotface Achievement....  The disease does a lot of damage and places a healing debuff, so we ended up losing people.  Now, with 10 battle-rez in the group this is not too much of an issue, but you end up with blobs all over and while the fight started always well, it always ended bad.  After a few tries and a wipe at 1%, we decided to pass it in normal mode, not to waste too much time.  Normal mode was a joke, of course.   Putricide: we forgot to switch HM on and with the fight running and the few Rotface wipes still in our thoughts, we decided to pass it in normal mode, having no trouble whatsoever.  9/7 HM.

Finally Frost Wing.  HM Valithria posed more problem that it should have, healing was taking too long and we were overrun by adds a few times.  Still, we kept going and after a few tries we managed it.  Sindragosa HM was too much.  Too much damage?  Not really.  Too much DPS taking aggro and having her breath on the raid?  Nope.  It was just too late in the night (after 1am), we had been raiding since the end of the afternoon, and mistakes started to pile up.  And when the mistake is that one tomb "disappears" 1 second before the last blast takes place, that's "BOOM half-raid-dead"-time. After a few tries we gave up and wanting to do some tries on Arthas we downed her in normal mode. 11/8 HM.

Arthas turned out to be a problem bigger than expected.  Apart from being almost 2am, with everyone tired, Arthas without dispel disease is an Hard Mode by itself.  We decided not to spread the plague to the adds, to avoid the risk of having it kill the add tank, which would result in an instant wipe.  We cannot set-up a ton of tanks for the adds, otherwise we end up with no DPS on the boss.  We tried some gimmicks (like potions), but there's no realiable way to deal with the plague except death+battle rez.  We managed to reach the transition once, but it was somewhat unplanned, so we ended up with three Horrors (and no easy way to stun or dis-enrage them), being forced to AoE them down since we didn't have the plague to kill them reliably.

Unfortunately we were unable to find another everning when everyone was available, so we stopped after these few tries.  The conclusion is that it's probably doable, with some luck in phase 1.  Of corse now, with the 30 min CD on battle rez some tricks will be a lot less easy to do (BTW worst idea ever, since it won't stop people from waiting, they should have just made it "once per combat" end of story).

Obligatory screen of the last boss we managed:


Brace for nerf....

Ok, after some playing around with the Mew cat simulator, I've decided how to change my stuff and did some testing.  I'm sitting at 11k self-buffed on the dummy.  My guess is that it won't last... it's almost +4k compared pre-patch.

I went with a very unorignal spec, some 0/33/3 thing, skipping nothing fundamental and using a single point in Stampede (to help a bit when doing target switches), whatever DPS increase it can provide on a raid boss is a complete joke, definitely not worth the points.

Damage distribution is nice: I went the "reforge to as much mastery as possible", gem to hit/exp cap then agi + agi/haste.  The last is the wrong choice, agi/crit is better.  Number-wise, even hit/exp cap is an error as full agi anywere beats anything, but I like the comfort of being able to chain-click without being constantly forced to make sure that my hits have landed.

Stat weights for cats have become very simple now: agi rules.  Mastery rules almost as much as agi.  Str is good, but who cares about that.  Crit is better than haste since 50-60% of the damage is DoTs, and haste does nothing for them.  Hit/Expertise are for comfort, since the big damage source is DoTs, they are irrelevant.

Cycle-wise: synching TF and Rip/Rake is a pain in the ass, so I suggest that you ignore it, UNLESS the occasion props up.  If an extra "random shred" allows you to put up both dots with the +15% TF bonus, definitely do it, but going out of your way to synch them will be a big headache for a little gain (and maybe even loss, depending on the scenario).  I think that synching TF with trinket procs/tricks/berserk (which does not cancel it anymore) is more reliable and effective.

The other thing is dot-clipping.  If before it was anathema, now in 4.0 it's recommended behaviour:  you should refresh the dot between the last two ticks: this has the effect of extending it without making you lose any tick.  Unfortunately, the addon I use, EventHorizon Continued has some issues with the correct tracking of Rip refreshes, making it hard to correctly refresh it at the end.

At the same time, it looks like everyone is holding his breath, waiting for Cataclysm.  When I go raiding, I feel people are more around to do/test something than really focus on progression.  And seeing how much better things are getting and will become with Cataclysm..... I agree.

Ok, next time a short report of our 11/12 ICC full-druid which we had just before the patch.


Stop DPS

My cat just died after some months of (incurable) illness. I'll definitely miss his lessons on the correct use of FB....

Together with the continued Cataclysm changes, it's also the reason I was not very active in RWF developement lately.


Cataclysm: DPS still low

I've not yet started any serious thinking about cat DPS in 4.x.  On beta I'm at 5.4k (on dummy, MotW, not using berserk in the rotation), which is a sick joke considering that I can do 7+k dps on live being 5 levels and 50 ilvls lower.  For me, this means that a lot of work must still go into feral.  I'll wait and see.

I hope that we don't end up with the "refresh Rip during TF only" which seems to be the current trend.  I find interesting to manage DoT uptimes, and this just takes it out of the picture.

BTW napkin math shows that in the current scenario synching TF and rip is a loss:  Rip lasts 16+6 = 22 secs, TF has a CD of 27s with the glyph.

If you synch you end up with 11 rip ticks every 27 seconds.  If you assume that your rip ticks do D damage and you have 30% crit your total damage every 27 seconds is: D * 11 * 1.3 * 1.15 = 16.445 * D.

If you don't sync and keep 100% uptime you end up with 13.5 rip ticks every 27 seconds: D * 13.5 * 1.3 = 17.55 * D.  So a constant Rip is better then a TF-synched Rip.  Of course it costs you CP to refresh, so it'll be a matter of seeing if you have something better to do with those CP.

I'm continuing developement of RWF, with a big twist: since 4.0 will be going live soon, I'm killing WotLK compatibility and the next version (0.2.0) will be 4.0-compatible only.  Since there's not much theorycrafting around I'm removing most of the "error" indicators until the situation settles (I'll keep the "melee without SR" and "Rip/FB not at 5CP", mostly).  One big change is energy regen being haste-linked: this means that unless I have the haste rating + all haste proc info, energy regen wil be incorrect.

I'm taking advantage of the time to also clean up the code a bit.  After cat Cataclysm compatibility I want to add tanking, which means tank health tracking, which is a mess. But I already wrote it once, I should be able to survive a rewrite :)