Patch 5.0.4 Round-Up

With patch 5.0.4 arriving on live servers tomorrow, and many of the fundamentals of our class turning upside-down and inside-out, I’ve been getting a lot of questions. It seemed like a good idea to post a quick summary of up-to-date information relevant to 5.0.4.

How Do I Play?

I’m not going to go into great detail here, as much of it is accessible in Rhidach’s MoP guide (even though it’s focused on level 90). In short, your current gear will do you just fine, though you may want to re-do your reforging and gemming (see below). Rhidach’s guide covers glyphs and talents well enough that I won’t mention most of them. See the next section for details on the few that matter.

Your rotation is going to feel a little slower until you get the rhythm of it – once you train your brain out of hitting Crusader Strike every other GCD, it starts to feel very natural. We tank in a three-step now, CS-X-X. The rough outline of the rotation is:

CS-J-X- CS-X-J – CS-X-X-

X’s get filled with Avenger’s Shield, Consecration, and Holy Wrath in that order (and Sacred Shield for survivability, of course). Never prioritize Grand Crusader procs ahead of CS or J, it’s a net loss of both DPS and holy power generation (HPG).

Shield of the Righteous and WoG are off-GCD now, so you can slip them in during the GCD. If you have a warrior alt, this will feel familiar (Heroic Strike); if not, it might feel sort of awkward at first. But rest assured, you’ll get the hang of it. I mean, if a warrior can manage it…. 😉

You’ll generally bank up 5 Holy Power (yes 5, thanks to Boundless Conviction) and then use SotR to dump that HP. If you need the mitigation right now, cast it even if you haven’t banked 5. Don’t worry about timing your re-casts, if you cast SotR again while the buff is still active, it adds 3 seconds to the duration rather than overwriting it.

Don’t use up Bastion of Glory (BoG) stacks as soon as you have 5. WoG is still a very powerful reactive tool, and should be used that way. It’s perfectly fine to sit on 5 stacks of BoG for minutes at a time. The important thing is that they’re there when you really need that big WoG.

If you want a rotation-helper UI of sorts, take a look at the WeakAuras string for my beta UI. It was working this morning on beta, which is apparently the same build we’re getting tomorrow, so those strings should continue to work.

Talents and Glyphs

If you talent Sanctified Wrath, note that you should swap to a J>CS prioritization while Avenging Wrath is active to take advantage of the shorter cooldown on Judgment and maximize HPG (and thus SotR uptime). The rotation will look like


With X filled via the usual priority (AS>Cons>HW, fit SS in as desired).

My sims at L90 are showing Sanctified Wrath > Holy Avenger > Divine Purpose for DPS, but DP>HA>SW for average SotR uptime. That may yet change as I refine the models, and at any rate it’s not clear that the trends will be the same at level 85, but it’s a reasonably good guess.

In the L45 bracket, I think Sacred Shield is the hands-down winner. EF’s HoT is incredibly weak, and damage prevented is almost always better than damage healed.

As far as glyphs, Alabaster Shield is a no-brainer DPS increase. Harsh Words is the dark horse – at level 90, WoG+Harsh Words deals more damage than a single SotR, so in situations where you’re off-tanking you’ll see a meager DPS increase by using WoG offensively. I don’t recommend doing it while taking damage, as the increase is much smaller thanks to Alabaster Shield, but if you have the free glyph slot, consider Harsh Words.

Focused Shield is still going to be a single-target increase, but that’s no surprise. Final Wrath is a noticeable DPS increase during execute range. Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous is actually a pitiful DPS increase – barely 170 at level 90 – so feel free to use it for convenience, but don’t expect a large DPS benefit. Immediate truth is a DPS loss, as is Glyph of Word of Glory (compared to using SotR). Everything else is optional/utility.

Stat Weights

We derived the formulas that give us our stat weights in this post, and analyzed them more thoroughly in this post. The TLDR version is:

  • Dodge and parry give us the highest raw reduction in DTPS (highest TDR, or “Total Damage Reduction”)
  • Mastery, hit, expertise, and haste give less TDR, but also smooth our damage intake and increase our control
  • There’s a strong synergy between mastery, hit, expertise, and haste, which can significantly increase their value. Avoidance lacks this synergy.
  • Stat weights values vary sensitively with gear, but the general rule of thumb is that for maximum TDR, Dodge=Parry>Mastery>Hit>Exp>Haste.
  • For a more control-oriented gearing schema (which is what I plan on using), I’d prioritize Hit>Exp>Mastery/Dodge/Parry/Haste.

Also, don’t forget to balance your avoidance diminishing returns using the formula in this post:

${\rm charSheetParry} = {\rm baseParry} + \frac{C_p}{C_d}\left ( {\rm charSheetDodge} – {\rm baseDodge}\right )$

${\rm baseParry}$ and ${\rm baseDodge}$ are your character-sheet values with no gear on – ${\rm baseParry=3.67}$ and ${\rm baseDodge}=5.01$ for a human paladin. Plug in your character sheet dodge and see if the result is higher or lower than your character sheet parry. If it’s higher, reforge more dodge to parry; if it’s lower, reforge more parry to dodge.

Note for Warriors: We’ve just discovered that the L85 DR equations are acting funny for you in the build going live tomorrow. Your DR coefficients are different from the paladin ones (unfortunately for you, since they’re slightly worse). See this post for more information.

Buffs and Debuffs

Some time back, I looked at the MoP buffs/debuffs matrix and made some comments. Now that things have been finalized, I’ve updated my spreadsheet to reflect the changes. The new matrix is shown below, click on the image for a full-sized version. This may be useful to raid leaders who want to figure out how to cover all of their buff/debuff bases.

For a much more detailed breakdown that includes hunter pets and buff names, see this spreadsheet. They’ve done such a good job that I don’t see much point trying to compete with it. I’ve left mine in below for those that just want a quick-and-dirty visual.

Updated buff/debuff matrix

Everything Else

I can’t think of anything else I have specific comments on. However, feel free to ask any questions you can think of in the comments, and I’ll try and answer them. If they’re important enough, I’ll update the post to add them to this section.

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30 Responses to Patch 5.0.4 Round-Up

  1. Erik says:

    A good read with a good summary of current knowledge.
    A question regarding the 2 gearing philosophies
    for “mastery package” gearing: Will it be worth to sacrifice dodge and parry, (and maybe even some of the mastery) to gain haste for better HPG and SotR uptime?
    (can imagine ie 5% more uptime being better then 5% dmg reduction when its up).

    Do you think “mastery package” gearing can be viable with entry-raid level gear. or does it require to much “stat setup” before starting to be good. (thinking of last post with 15% haste, 7.5%hit, and 7.5% expertise, 20mastery. which is just reachable with the pvp gear (and hit/expertise/haste gems) @90 on beta.

    for avoidance gearing: will gearing for strength be better then parry (gems etc) due to AP->heal conversion? or is it to low gain to change for?

    PS. I know my questions might be more asked for 90 then prepatch, so if you find it wrongfully placed. you can ofc delete it to make the prepatch post clearer to read for ppl.

    • Theck says:

      I think it’s hard to evaluate “worth” at this point, because it’s a vague metric. Sacrificing dodge/parry for haste will be a net TDR loss, but give you smoother damage and more control. That trade is going to be a very touchy-feely one (i.e. personal preference) until we have a more quantitative idea of what sort of “smoothness” we get. I don’t think it’s that unlikely that haste/hit or haste/mastery gear could be desirable over dodge/parry gear though.

      I really can’t comment on raid viability because I haven’t seen the encounters yet. But the setups used in that last post should be reachable with ~T14 normal gear, I think.

      I think STR will be more attractive than parry, but not because of the healing. The AP->heal conversion is too small to be worth caring about given the new Vengeance implementation. However, every little bit of DPS helps, and I suspect the DPS benefit of STR will outweigh the small gap between STR and Parry defensively.

  2. Newsom says:

    Thanks for the round-up. Will be very useful once the patch hits!

    You forgot (or excluded) hunter pets in your buff/debuff matrix though! (See – non-BM hunters can actually bring lots of buffs)

    • Theck says:

      Yeah, I’m not up-to-date on which pets bring what. Your spreadsheet seems much more useful than mine though, so I think I’ll just link to it.

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  4. Kimina says:

    Not to be silly, but I’m not a smart man, but I know what tanking is…I can’t seem to wrap my head around your suggestion for reforging using the Hit/Expertise/Mastery/Dodge/Parry. Coming out of Cata most of my gear is Dodge/Mastery or Parry/Mastery. Using the above priorities am I basically reforge out of Dodge/Parry and into Hit/Expertise to achieve the suggested caps?

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  6. That spreadsheet at the bottom is really really useful – going to send my guildies this way!

  7. Ratayu says:

    So if I understand correctly Hit/Expertise Cap > Mastery > Avoidance So I reforged out of avoidance to reach hit/expertise(soft) cap. Now currently i stacked stam in cata just because I was still able to reach unhittable with gear. Should I now replace some stam gems with mastery?? Also what are your thoughts on when to use HotR and SS in the single target rotation… HotR > SS > SotR/WOG > CS > J > AS > Cons > Holy Wrath? Also where does my hammer throw now fall…feel like in my rotation I will never get to…does below 20% bring it to a higher priority?

    • Theck says:

      I’m still gemming primarily for stamina, because I think that’s stronger than most of the secondary stats. For 5.0.4, the avoidance conversion is still pretty generous, so I’m using (hit/exp to 7.5% each) > (mastery/dodge/parry) > Haste. Once we hit 90, the dodge/parry conversion ratio gets much worse, so at that point I’ll be dropping dodge/parry to last place in my stat priorities.

      As far as rotation, it should be pretty simple:
      CS > J > AS > Cons > HoW > HW

      Replace CS with HotR whenever you need to refresh Weakened Blows. If you want to slip SS in there, put it after AS. If you want more survivability, it would take precedence over Cons. If you want more DPS, I’d slip it behind Cons. If you put it behind HoW, you’ll have higher DPS during execute, but much lower uptime.

      Ex: CS > J > AS > Cons > SS > HoW > HW

      • Ratayu says:

        Will we want to gem to mastery to a certain point? At 90 once I reach hit/expertise cap is there a point at which its a waste to increase mastery so I can focus on stacking gems?

        • Theck says:

          I already have 22% mastery from gear without gemming for any, so I’m not all that concerned about stacking more. I think that above ~50% shield block mitigation, stamina is more attractive. That’s a personal (and very arbitrary) threshold though; if you prefer more mitigation, feel free to gem it. We’ll probably need a few green gems to activate the armor meta anyhow, so one or two mastery or mastery/stam gems might be unavoidable.

  8. Culhag says:

    RE: balancing dodge and parry

    Do you, by any chance, have any quick and dirty way to check the balance ? Something like, you must have Parry = x * Dodge (% or rating) ?

    If not, what are Cp and Cd in your formula ?
    (I found some values in the full post (235.5 and 65.631440) but since I have no idea what they are, I don’t know if they’re for lvl 90 or 85 or if it doesn’t matter)

  9. Nikachelle says:

    Rhia pointed me to your blog post when I was puzzling over rotations last night. Thanks for the breakdown (as usual) Theck. :)

  10. Swurvin says:

    So me and my tank friend looked at your spreadsheet and tho i normally take you word for it we decided to spend hours of in game time testing and we just couldnt after putting the numbers in get the same usefulness out of mastery ur seeing as far as sotr proc uptime…we put it into a spread sheet for our other pally tanks. not sure where we are going wrong but a full str>dodge=parry build is showing about a .95% advantage in effective damage reduction vs a hit/exp/mastery build on my pally with projections of that advantage increasing as I grab my last few BiS pieces. I’ll link it and you can have a look and see if I’m of the mark here

    • Swurvin says:

      So I found a mistake in our spreadsheet but my total damage reduction was already taking it under consideration. In the column showing the effect of the next 265 stats (which we have been using as a weighting) we originally overlooked the loss of effectiveness of mastery when adding parry/dodge/strength. However, im still getting
      Str > Dodge = Parry > Mastery > Hit to 7.5% = Exp to 15% > Haste

      • Theck says:

        Well, for starters, your spreadsheet is calculating diminishing returns on parry completely incorrectly. Strength and parry aren’t on independent DR equations, and you have the wrong DR coefficients for both.

        There are a variety of other errors scattered throughout. It looks like you’ve implemented haste incorrectly. You have base miss wrong (it’s 3%, not 5%), and you’re not accounting for boss avoidance mitigation, which eliminates all of our miss chance anyhow. You seem to be treating 7.5% hit or expertise as 7.5% damage reduction, which isn’t the case at all. You’re subtracting off block mitigation in a funny way as well.

        I’m not sure any useful conclusions can be drawn from that spreadsheet.

        That said, the TDR ordering of STR/Dodge/Parry>Mastery>Hit>Exp>Haste is generally correct for most cataclysm gear sets. My spreadsheet should substantiate that.

  11. Exlumine says:

    Hi there,
    I have a question regarding the debuff of HotR -> Weakened Blows.
    Do you think/know whether it’s intentional that CS doesn’t put WB on the target? I mean, HotR breaks every CC so it would be “reasonable” to have another ability to get the debuff on the mobs (AFAIK warriors kept there demo should).
    Any ideas?

    • Theck says:

      I’m sure it’s intentional. Warriors didn’t keep Demo Shout, in the sense that Demo Shout was changed to a Divine Protection clone. Warriors need to put up Weakened Blows via Thunderclap (which breaks CC), Druids have to do it via Thrash (which breaks CC), Monks do it with Keg Smash (breaks CC). DKs can put up a single-target version using Plague Strike, but they’re more likely to do so with Blood Boil (which breaks CC) because blood runes don’t cost them survivability.

      In general, the new paradigm seems to be that whether tanks apply the WB debuff requires a little decision-making. “Is it worth breaking CC to put this up?”

      • Exlumine says:

        OK thanks, I recognize my thoughts were a kind of “pala-dimensional” only… 😉

        Therefore I would assume–without having experience in the beta–that while leveling up to 90, in a group instance the missing 10%-debuff on a single mob won’t be a show stopper if the remainder mobs are cc-ed. And tanking a raid boss, there won’t probably be any cc-ed mobs you’d have to keep in mind. So, to answer your (rhetorical) question above: “No!”

        BTW the CD of Demo Shout (1min) seems really … short. Probably something you want to keep up as often as possible…

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  13. Doxa says:

    I’ve been experimenting with Divine Purpose and believe this is the go-to talent for that tier.

    It provides two useful benefits for survivability – more ShoR for increased flat damage reduction as well as more Bastions of Glory stacks for those reactive self-heals.

    While it may be a weaker threat/DPS choice I think it’s the best survivability choice of the three.

    • Swurvin says:

      Overall you are correct but the other 2 options are more cd like. So basically yeah if we are talking just normal damage then they would be DP>HA>SW. However say you pick SW then during AW you will have 30 sec of i think +44% heals and a 15% of health HoT. Also, if you went HA then during HA you would essentially have 100% uptime on SoTR and your WoG heal would get a 30% increase. If we still got that over heal absorb i would say that HA/SW might be even more viable as cd’s. but i would say that if its between HA and DP go with whichever fit your play style as it basically only a 2.5% decrease in TDR and it acts as a CD of sorts

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