Combat Ratings – Preemptive Theorycraft
September 9, 2010 11 Comments
Yes, I know it’s early to try and do something like this, but it’s a subject on the minds of many: how will we gear at the level cap? The basics will undoubtedly remain the same; hit cap will be essential, expertise will be middleoftheroad (assuming we actually have empty GCDs), and it’s a safe assumption that strength will always be a strong stat. But beyond that? With the introduction of mastery, the heavy reworking of haste, and the removal of armor penetration, it’s pretty obvious things will be quite different.
Although I obviously won’t try and give stat weights yet (and probably won’t until beta is officially over), I can try and provide some insight into the relative value of the three important secondary stats – mastery, haste, crit and ultimately that’s all that matters when trying to decide between them. That is to say, it doesn’t matter if a point of mastery provides X dps. It doesn’t matter if you can even calculate what X is. All that matters is if the same amount of haste or crit provides more than that… and that’s something we can speculate into as is (although, to be very clear, it can certainly change).
Since I’m going to be working with percents as opposed to specifics, just to make sure everyone is clear on how each stat functions:
 Mastery Rating

 X point of Mastery Rating = 1 Mastery = 2.5% increased Frost/Disease damage. The easiest stat to calculate its value, and the equation of which can be rewritten as: ((Percent of total damage that is Frost/Disease) * 0.025)/X = % dps increase per point of rating. For the curious, that “X” value is currently 180 at level 85 on the beta, but that seems incredibly low and I believe is just a placeholder, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

 Haste Rating

 Y point of Haste Rating = 1% Haste = 1% dps increase. Did I say mastery was the easiest? I suppose I lied. With haste affecting, quite literally, all of our damage – white, diseases, pets, runes (and thus runic power) – it’s rather straightforward. Yeah, technically it won’t be a perfect translation due to the interaction of stuff like ERW, but it will be very, very close – more than accurate enough for this rough theorycrafting. For the curious, that “Y” value is currently 128 at level 85 on the beta, but once again, that seems way too low and I wouldn’t put much stock in it staying as is.

 Crit Rating

 Z points of Crit Rating = 1% Crit = …? In some odd twist of fate, crit is unarguably now the hardest stat to quantify with ease. People like to think it’s nothing more than ((Percent of total damage that is capable of critting) * % Crit)/Z = %dps increase per point, but it’s not nearly so simple. KM causes issues for Frost, while Unholy has Viscous Strikes complicating the equation, on top of the crit modifier from the meta gem (which might seem simple enough… until you remember that it won’t affect our ghoul, which throws a wrench into things). The equation for Frost is a pain, but if you ignore KM, can be left at ((Total crittable damage) * 1)/Z = %dps. For Unholy, it’s something like ((Percent of total damage coming from SS) * 1.3 + (Remaining damage) * 1))/Z = %dps. Even then, neither of those are near perfect, but they’re accurate enough for our purposes. For the curious, Z is currently 180 at level 85 on beta, but as I’ve said twice now, it’s likely not a permanent value.

With that all said and done, how can one compare the three ratings to one another?
First off, let’s ignore those X, Y, and Z numbers for now. The values currently on beta are almost assuredly placeholders, and besides, this is more delving into what those numbers need to be relative to one another in order to keep the stats equal. If the ratio between any two ends up being higher or lower (by more than a neglible amount), then you’ll be able to quickly know which stat is superior to another, and thus how to initially gear yourself in the expansion. Stat weights will come long before you need to contemplate best in slot, and before that point in time simply knowing the order of the stats (such > such > such) is all you need to properly gear yourself.
Secondly, we’re going to have to make some assumptions. Specifically, for Mastery: How much of Frost’s damage is, well, frost? How much of Unholy’s damage is diseases? For Crit: How much of Frost’s damage is affected by crit rating? How much of Unholy’s damage is SS?
Based on Kahorie’s Simulator, simple math, beta testing, and good old common sense, one can get some rough estimates: 25% for frost damage, 20% for disease, 85% crittable damage for Frost, 25% for SS. To be sure, number balancing hasn’t been done yet on the PTR, and thus these are all very liable to change, but they’re the best ideas we can get at the moment, and it’s unlikely they’re actually going to shift much in terms of percent (although certainly in absolute value) unless our rotation/playstyle were to heavily change (which would blow up many current ideas/theories/etc, so what can you do!).
Going back to the stats:
 [Frost] Mastery Rating = 0.25 * 0.025 = 0.625% dps increase per Mastery.
 [Unholy] Mastery Rating = 0.20 * 0.025 = 0.500% dps increase per Mastery.
 [Both] Haste Rating = 1.000% dps increase per Haste.
 [Frost] Crit Rating = 0.85 * 1 = 0.850% dps increase per Crit.
 [Unholy] Crit Rating = 0.23 * 1.3 + 0.77 * 1 = 1.069% dps increase per Crit.
So what conclusions can we draw from that?
 Haste is 60% stronger than Mastery for Frost, and 100% stronger for Unholy.
 Crit is 35% stronger than Mastery for Frost, and 114% stronger for Unholy.
 Haste and Crit are about equal in value.
There’s nothing wrong with those discrepancies… assuming that the difference in rating per point of the actual stat is equal (i.e, it’s fine if 1% Haste is twice as strong as 1 Mastery, as long as 1% haste costs twice as much rating). Time will tell, I suppose, and that’s as much as we can conclude at the present.
For fun, remember those X, Y, Z values I stated were currently in place on beta? 180 rating for 1 mastery, 128 rating for 1% haste, and 180 rating for 1% crit. Based on those, one point of haste rating is almost three times as good as one point of mastery rating.
Yeah, something has to change somewhere, and drastically at that!
(If this post seemed a bit scatterbrained, then what can you do. All nighter = mind functioning oddly!
Don’t be shocked if I edit this when I wake up so it’s a bit more legible!)
“Based on Kahorie’s Simulator, simple math, beta testing, and good old common sense, one can get some rough estimates: 25% for frost damage, 20% for disease, 85% crittable damage for Frost, 25% for SS. ”
I think thats the key aspect of your post. The Frost mastery (while passive and a bit boring) is active and easy to adjust up or down.
The Unholy mastery is different. The Unholy mastery could really present a hairy situation for blizzard down the road. Unholy DPS tests on beta show that our diseases are 1011% of overall damage and BP ticks for an average of 1300 (im ignoring FF because its bugged). If our dps is expected to be 2025kish at level 85 in dungeon gear and our diseases are supposed to be 2025% of our damage…youve suddenly got some monster diseases. Were talking disease ticks of 800010000.
I see 2 potential problems with this.
1.) Diseases are unique from other AoE spells because they are so important to single target damage. Due to this, aoe damage via Pestilence for Unholy could become really monstrous. Thus, balancing Unholy aoe damage while maintaining single target damage could be difficult.
2.) If the Unholy talent that boosts Pestilence doesnt boost it to 100%, that will promote Unholy DKs spamming single rune attacks on aoe trash pulls to obtain full diseases.
Blizzard might be perfectly fine with #2, which renders my argument mute. But somehow I wouldnt be surprised if Unholy sees a mastery change. The Unholy mastery just seems too potent in aoe situations and potentially too problematic.
Sorry, I meant to say: “The Frost mastery (while passive and a bit boring) applies to active abilities and easy to adjust up or down.”
So…to make it all relevant, what’s the average amounts of haste/crit/mastery rating are you seeing on gear right now in beta? Cause I know they said they were cutting back a lot on haste and crit, but mastery seems to be on everything, and in plentiful numbers.
Maybe this is by design and also gives Bliz some breathing room when they started putting in Cata patches and higher tier content?
Haste’s value plummets the moment you’re GCD capped, right?
Since haste affects time inbetween disease ticks and rune refresh rate it may decrease in value, but probably not by much. Blizz really has two choices: Make haste hard to come by, or decrease haste’s value relative to Crit and mastery.
Yes, of course, although it’s still quite potent (see: present), especially for Unholy since the spell GCD aspect helps balance it out some
Not sure if something’s off with my DK or what, but as unholy, I’m only getting roughly 1415% of my personal dps from diseases. That doesn’t even include the ghoul, which currently does roughly 30% of my total dps (with claw macroed so he doesn’t let energy pool).
So for me at least, mastery is far worse than you’re estimating, diseases currently being only about 10.5% of my total dps.
As I said, I don’t know what this discrepancy is due to, but if mastery for unholy is as bad as my personal experience has indicated, I’ll be avoiding it like the plague.
Do Frost DKs really only sim in at 25% frost dmg? Seems much lower than I would have expected; I would have guessed around 40%. My char on Beta is doing 60% of her dmg as frost (but that is with a 2h, which grants more FS, and she already has quite a bit of mastery).
Oh well. Still waiting on talent tree changes, glyph updates, and final number tweaking.
I’m starting to think mastery is an unbalanceable stat, for all practical purposes. After redoing combat mechanics to let your other combat ratings affects as much as they possibly can, they go and make a stat that SPECIFICALLY targets only a portion of your damage. It’s going to leave those said abilities in a weird space, how do you balance these abilities? What worries me is that, let’s take frost for example, if mastery only affects 25% of your total damage, it means for mastery to equal haste, it has to affect those abilities 4 TIMES as much as the equivalent stat weight for haste/STR/whatever would. 5 TIMES for unholy, and unholy’s mastery scales with aoe. Any dk worth their salt right now is thinking about a “mastery set” for aoe encounters. Anyway, back to the frost example, how do you balance say frost strike? Around some arbitrary mastery rating number? What happens when some guy goes out of his way to stack mastery to kingdom come and goes way above that number? Massive frost strikes, (relative to the norm), that’s what. It would have to make them hit monstrous, to make up for the 75% of your other rotational abilities it doesn’t affect. Ahhhh but that’s the problem. With such emphasis on particular abilities, it could very well shake the rotation apart. At what mastery point does icy touch+ plague surpass obliterate due to extra runic power for frost strike? Unholy’s problems are far worse, seeing how it not only affects a low portion of your damage, but a passive one, and an AOE scaling one.
Where you rate expertise?
If we remain GCD capped as we are now, the expertise softcap will be as mandatory as the hit one.