Recently I had the opportunity to ask Edgy – best known for his Feral theorycrafting work – some questions about himself, Ferals in MoP, and theorycrafting in general. Contrary to most of our “Waffle Bites” pieces this interview is purely text based, so you’ll have to read it instead of listen to it. The questions were selected by both myself and Tinderhoof. I hope you enjoy what Edgy has to say!
Arielle: How long have you been playing WoW? What made you pick a Druid? Why did you pick Feral?
Edgy: I’ve been playing WoW since 2005. I initially started as a Hunter (named Tense) on Suramar. While primarily a PvE raider, I eventually got Rank 13 in the original PvP system. After seeing a fellow guild-mate play a non-healing Druid for the first time (everyone was Resto back then) I decided to make the switch. While raiding with my Hunter, I proceeded to get Rank 12 on Edgy as Feral. At the start of BC, I changed my main to Edgy and have been playing Feral ever since.
A: Is there anything unique to playing a Feral in a 10m group?
E: HotW+Tranq is a great cooldown for 10s (however I mostly play DoC) but it is not nearly as good as [a Rogue's] Smoke Bomb. I wish Innervate was stronger but I still give it out. I know my mouse-over 200K+ Healing Touch crits have prevented raid deaths on many occasions. I miss Bearcat but it was obviously broken. I enjoy being able to fill in as tank if our raid is missing one of our mains.
A: How do you feel about MoP so far?
E: Overall, I think MoP is a great expansion: some of the best raids to date; I love the new talent system; and Monks are a blast to play. In PvE Feral has never worked better. We have a fluid yet complex rotation with lots of little nuances and many ways to optimize and improve.
However, I really miss Bear form as Feral. It was almost completely gutted (no DPS, crippled toolkit) after the Feral/Guardian split. Additionally, I do not like the “formula” itemization that has existed since Cata (where primary stats are allocated directly from item level) since it makes upgrades feel stale and very marginal. I miss the “0 stamina, pure DPS rings” or gear like the old Primal Mooncloth stuff. I like it when an occasional item from the previous tier carries over to the next, it makes older raids more attractive.
A: What is your favourite encounter thus far in MoP?
E: I like Horridon. In general I prefer fights with lots of target types, with different [healthpools] and abilities that require full use of your skill set. At the start these fights require a lot of coordination, but eventually you become very efficient and ultimately over gear the encounter to where it becomes a scumbag competition. I much prefer this to single target DPS burns from day 1.
A: Do you think the rotation we have now (5.3) is an accident, or was it planned?
E: My guess is no one at Blizzard plays Feral in the current state at a high-level of play. DoC is very difficult to execute sufficiently without a “no-shift” Healing Touch macro and addon support (for tracking DoC charges.) That said, I think it’s great! And honestly, I wish we still had to maintain the Mangle debuff.
A: If there is one Feral mechanic you would like to change or remove, what is it and what would your change be?
E: All Druids should get DoC (maybe 15% instead of 25%) and NS baseline. The NS talent should be replaced by a heal that activates on shifting (old Disentanglement talent) and DoC should be replaced by another Hybrid-ish talent that works for all specs instead of just raiding Ferals.
A: How did you get into Theorycrafting?
E: I develop financial software for a living so I’m obsessed with algorithms, statistics, math, and data. Learning how the game works and understanding what’s happening behind the scenes makes me a better player.
A: What led you to build Catus? Can you tell us more about it?
E: One of the hardest parts about doing simulations is getting all the data correct. Sure, it’s easy to get your own stats right, just copy them from the paper doll, but what about gear you don’t own, or professions you don’t have, or races you don’t play?
Over the years, I’ve maintained some toy Mathematica code to help me figure out Feral stuff, like approximate stat weights or various damage equations, but the hardest part was always getting my character information in a usable form.
Eventually, I just decided enough is enough, and started making Catus.
Catus was written from scratch by me and is my first attempt at a Java GUI application. The ultimate goal is to be a one-stop-shop for anything Feral related. Currently, Catus a fully-functional Feral simulator, complete with in-game matching paperdoll, gear validation, reforging, regemming, and auditing. It can also emulate simc scripts.
I do all of my Feral analysis with Catus now, although only some of this functionality is exposed in the interface.
For example, here is 522 and 535 item level trinket-pair rankings for Feral:
And here are some recent screenshots of Catus:
You can find more information at the Fluid Druid in my Catus thread.
A: What is Zephyrus?
E: The Rune of Re-Origination trinket from ToT requires a specific reforging to maximize its effectiveness. At the Fluid Druid, we’ve been calling this “1:1:1″, where your Mastery, Haste, and Crit are as close as possible but Mastery is still higher than both Haste and Crit.
Zephyrus is a Catus derivative for Windwalker. It shares the same internals as Catus but allows Monks instead of Druids. With one click, you can import your character and reforge it optimally for the Rune of Re-Origination. Zephyrus will find the best possible arrangement for your reforges, gems, and enchants. It will then tell you what changes to make and give you Reforgerade instructions to reforge your gear in-game.
A: Anything you would like to add?
E: I applaud what you and Team Waffle are doing. Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.
If anyone has any questions, comments, bugs or w/e about Catus or Zephyrus, please post them in the Fluid Druid thread!