Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Don't be Hasty: A look at Haste and Brew Generation in Legion (Thus Far)

Hey everybody! So as some of you guys know, I've been working on updating my old Brewmaster Calculations spreadsheet for Legion, which has inevitably gotten me to model out how brew generation works with the different easy to model talents (based on LeBlue's napkin math). So today, I figured it would be cool to go into a bit more detail about them and talk a bit about how the model currently works as far as the current version works in the tooltips in Alpha.

So as of right now, over a 10 minute fight at base regen if you include charges that you have at the start and your starting energy, if you play 100% perfectly you should be able to get 76.31 charges without a talent, 118.04 charges with Light Brewing, and 108.89 charges with Black Ox Brew. I'm not going to talk about Secret Ingredients in terms of this direct comparison because according to the latest script work of the lovely Xiaojin, it's even worse than no talent for brew generation. We'll be talking about this later. Keep in mind though that those numbers I just threw out there were ignoring the artifact bonuses and 4 set. I still need to factor those into the spreadsheet, but they suffice for now. One other little note is that over a 10 minute fight, you need 100 charges to permanently maintain ISB. So just bear that in mind.

Back at the beginning of the Alpha when all we had was essentially the class previews to go off of, it was speculated that haste would finally become a useful stat for us. There's been some relatively recent arguments that such is still the case. Well, part of why I thought this was a good time to talk about haste was that this... really isn't that accurate.

With an additional 1 energy per second... you get a grand total of 1.71 additional charges over a 10 minute fight with no talent and BoB. 2.67 with LB. Which is to say, any real significant improvement from haste would require thousands of haste rating. Keep in mind again that this isn't considering artifact traits... but still, that's very low, across 10 minutes.

This then begs the question "Well hey, so this is bad. Does it matter at all though?" and I would say yeah, it kinda does. Blizzard has put haste onto our artifact, so I would have to assume that this means they want haste to be useful for us. There's some natural scaling, it's just that because lots of haste is required for a small amount of energy regen, a good chunk of energy is required for one tiger palm, and several tiger palms are needed for one brew charge, the efficiency of haste to brew charges is severely diminished. But, let's do a quick experiment to see how changing the cooldown of the brews would improve haste's usefulness!

Just to keep things simple we're going to go with 10% haste, ignoring artifact and 4 piece, since that's the same thing as 11 er/s, our previous benchmark for haste benefit.

So using the formula CD = BaseCD/(1+(haste%/100)), we get X1 = 14/1.1 and X2 = 9/1.1 for no talent / BoB and LB respectively. X1 becomes 12.73 and X2 is 8.18.

To not bore you with the math, my spreadsheet essentially calculated that at 10% haste affecting cooldowns, sans any modifiers other than the talents, you get 9.22 additional stacks over 10 minutes with no talent, 14.34 with LB, and 9.47 with BoB. So yeah, having these CD's scale with haste actually really dramatically improves its usefulness.With current ratings values at 100, you still need a couple hundred in order to get a single additional charge per minute, but it's far better than the couple thousand it is without. Furthermore, you have to bear in mind that anything that improves the charge efficiency of tiger palm will also significantly buff haste's value to Brewmasters. So in reality, what is here is in fact a low estimate.

Edit: So I actually did do some math and modeling on this, find it here!

That's actually super great, overall, with some caveats. For one thing, and this is a bit of a potential worry that might not actually be one at all, valuing haste greatly might mean that the spec feels more frantic. Because we no longer have a filler ability, we can't just use that less in favor of more energy-spending abilities. A lot of our core abilities are now on short cooldowns, which means we need to be aware of those while still balancing energy. I do want to stress though that this is a potential worry that requires actually playing with the spec at varying haste levels to determine its reasonability.

The other problem (which segues into the next part of this post) is that prior to the recent patch which further reduced the CD on our brew charges, BoB was the superior choice for brew generation. Which made sense because it was an activatable ability. Mastering that, a more challenging ability, should give the player a higher payoff. As of the latest alpha build, that is no longer the case. The passive LB actually provides superior charge generation. Adding haste scaling widens that gap, as BoB barely scales at all, while LB's effectiveness is compounded by it.

This, combined with the results of Xiaojin's work for SI, makes me feel that the entire tier of talents needs to be reworked, even ignoring the exacerbation that haste scaling for CD's would provide. Balancing is all kinds of crazy... completely understandably, mind you. Blizzard was pretty clearly trying to get the base Brewmaster to look good before tackling talents, and if you don't change talents while you change core mechanics, you're inevitably going to get some unintended balancing snafus. But ultimately you have two passives... one which is extremely effective and one that is worse for brew generation than no talent at all, and one active that is good... but is too much work for relatively little payoff.

So what could be done about it? Well again I posit that haste affect the cooldown of our brews just so that there is actually a use for haste for once, but change SI so that instead of refreshing the CD on Keg Smash, you cause the next one to be free and proc extra brew. This means it doubly scales with haste, just as LB would. Maybe give KS a bit more damage, with a bit less CDR, so that SI becomes a stronger choice for higher damage. Secondly, keep LB more or less the way it is, perhaps ease up a little bit on the CDR, to keep it competitive but still the go-to for just raw brew throughput. Lastly, redesign BoB so that it maintains a higher skill-usage, but perhaps for a more specialized situation. Maybe have it so that for some number of seconds, PB doesn't use up brew charges. Give it a decent CD and it becomes a higher skill-use ability to help deal with larger hits. Or have it so that it instantly regenerates all charges, but then for 20 or so seconds after, PB doesn't have a charge cap, so it scales with haste a bit more. In either case, the changes suggested would give that tier three good choices depending on your situation: one for high brew throughput across a fight, one for extra damage, and one for better management of burst. Each has some tuning knobs so that you can ensure that they are fairly even, providing some defense but having their own advantages.

Thank you guys once again for reading! I'd like to once again point out that this is all discussion based on the current alpha build for Legion and thus could all easily become obsolete within the next couple weeks or months! As always, if you want to discuss anything you read here, feel free to post a comment below or tweet at me. Until next time!


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