4.01 has arrived and boy was Tuesday a confusing night.
My original hope was that my 4.01 kitty primer would give fellow kitties enough advance warning to have a better idea of what to expect and also a heads up on what to stock up on for materials. While it served its purpose (it definitely helped me as my reference cheat sheet), it was also lacking and did not answer a lot of outstanding questions. So, I’ve decided to write a followup article that will address what I felt was the most difficult part of 4.01 Kitty Play which is understanding what to reforge and what to gem. One important thing to note is that my analysis is done based on trial and error and has no math involvement. If I wanted to do math I’d go back to school.
For some basic knowledge on reforging/gemming, you can refer back to my original 4.01 Kitty Primer – What You Need to Know post.
*Update 10/21/10: Changed some recommendations to reflect new testing
The changes we have seen in 4.01 are actually a lot more significant that people realize. Yes the rotation is still somewhat the same, yes our abilities are still the same. But the way we approach configuring our gear has completely changed and is a lot more complicated than it was in 3.3.5. In the past all you really needed to know is gem to arp cap, hit cap then address expertise if possible. Pretty simple and self explanatory. Today in 4.01 that is completely different. Reforging adds a completely new level of complexity and choice which is fantastic in that you can custom cater your gear as required but it also makes it a lot harder to optimize your gear.
The benefit of reforging is that you no longer are restricted by gem slot colours. You can reforge to any secondary stat that is not on the item. This gives greater flexibility in terms of what items you choose as your “BIS” and also what gems you use and gemming for socket bonuses.
First, decide what secondary stat you wish to reforge. Remember the secondary stats you can reforge are Critical Strike Rating, Dodge Rating, Expertise Rating, Haste Rating, Hit Rating, Mastery Rating, Parry Rating, Spirit. Of these stats, on kitty gear we have Crit/Expertise/Hasted & Hit available for reforging. Naturally we have no interest in reforging Hit or Expertise since we are trying to cap these stats so really our choices are limited to Crit, Haste or Mastery.
So which stat should we reforge and reforge to? At this time, Mastery is the primary reforge stat of choice. Recall that Mastery is currently only available through reforging (will be available from gemming/gear come Cata). In an ideal world I would like to think that reforging would allow for one to add Hit/Expertise to push to the cap but at lv 80 it seems that the value of Mastery is so high its better to just push maximum Mastery. In terms of what secondary stat to reforge, the answer is whichever provides the greater yield of Mastery that is not Hit or Expertise (aka Crit or Haste).
Red, Blue and Yellow slots, lets review each one.
Blue slots previously were previously gemmed with 1 Nightmare Tear followed by Arp gems. Recall that this was used to fulfill the requirement of 1 Blue gem in our Meta Gem (Relentless Earthseige Diamond). The Blue gem requirement can now be addressed by +20 Hit which has now been converted to Blue so we no longer have a need for a Nightmare’s Tear.
Red slots previously were gemmed with Armor Penetration gems, our bread and butter. With that now gone we have 2 viable options in Agility and Expertise. Personally I went with Expertise gems to (or close to cap) followed by Agility, more on this later.
Yellow slots previously were somewhat up in the air in terms of what ppl gemmed. +20 haste, +20 hit, +10hit/+10exp hell even +20 arp and ignore socket bonuses if you weren’t at cap. Today, these slots should be filled with +10agil and +10 haste or +10agil and +10 crit to maximize your Agility as much as possible. The choice of crit or haste depends on how close you are to the Crit Cap.
In regards to slot bonuses, as a general rule of thumb I gemmed for socket bonuses as long as the bonus was greater than +4 agility.
Below are a bunch of damage breakdowns that I pulled together over the past few days (pre buff and post buff). Along with different combination’s of reforging/gemming. All tests were performed on the Heroic Training Dummy and for a total of 4 minutes. You will probably notice oddities like extra mangles and rakes but I’m human and I’m still getting used to 4.01 Kitty Play so keep that in mind. Whats more important to look at is the damage breakdowns.
Scenario A (Pre Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Haste, Gem Agility(R), Hit (B), Agil/Haste(Y))
This was my original thought pre 4.01 as to how we should be reforging/gemming. Reforge the necessary hit/exp then all remaining available reforging into Haste. Clearly I was mistaken, my crit went into the shitter and it just wasn’t a pretty sight. I quickly learned from this experiment that Haste was not the stat to reforge to.
Scenario B (Pre Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Mastery, Gem Agility(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))
Next experience was to continue reforging hit/exp but take all remaining available reforging into Mastery. Very quickly and very clearly you can see the clear benefit of pushing Mastery which instantly upped my bleed damage significantly and increased my overall dps significantly. For a comparison point of view, I was rocking base mastery (0 Mastery Rating) in Scenario A and 13.21 Mastery (239 Mastery Rating) in Scenario B.
Scenario C (Post Buff, Reforge Hit/Exp/Mastery, Gem Agility(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))
This is the first test I did on Thursday after the buffs made to the base coefficients. I made no changes to my reforging/gemming and kept it the same for comparison pov. As you can see, the jump in dps is pretty significant. Instantly about 3k from doing essentially the same thing.
Scenario D (Post Buff, Reforge Hit/Mastery, Gem Exp & Agility (R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))
Finally this is my last test, which was to push Mastery even higher by dropping some Agility and gemming for Expertise instead. Recall that the only way to obtain Mastery right now is through reforging so to take up reforging slots for Expertise is not wise or valuable. So through this I’ve pushed my Mastery up to 17.89 (454 Mastery Rating). While there isn’t a significant increase recall that it’s just a small increase in Mastery so we should only be expecting a small increase.
Scenario E (Post Buff, Reforge Mastery, Gem Agil(R), Hit(B), Agil/Haste(Y))
This test was done much later than the other tests and personally I dont like this one at all. Mainly because for this test I essentially ignored game mechanics to boost my Mastery/Agility as high as possible. This yielded a Mastery of 21.11 (601 Mastery Rating) What do I mean by ignoring game mechanics? I mean I didn’t gem for expertise and only gemmed hit in Blue slots meaning I was well below both caps allowing for misses and dodges. I don’t like missing so much as it throws off your rhythm but as you can see from the results below, clearly the output dps is significantly higher.
So to summarize, as of 10/21/10 this is my approach:
- Gem Hit in any blue slots/prismatic slots.
- Reforge your highest secondary stat (that is Crit or Haste) on all items into Mastery
- Gem Agility in any red slots, items with double yellow sockets, or if the socket bonus is below 4 Agility
- Gem Agility/Haste or Agility/Crit in all remaining yellow slots
As always, these are just my experiments, if you’ve found other results that differ from mine, please feel free to share as we all try and figure out what is the best way to maximize Kitty Play.
Up next on my 4.01 Kitty Primer? Changes to DPS Mechanics and how to adjust. Stay Tuned!