Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cataclysm Engineer

My first attempt at looking at Engineering was not all I had hoped it to be. As the comments from my last post showed, my methodology was… well lets just say it was “questionable”. I thought this might be the case, which is why I was questioning it so much at the end of the last post.

Scaling Issue

I did want to take exception to one point that came up in several of the excellent comments I received. That point was that the Tazik Shocker does not scale and therefore will be best in the first tier of Cataclysm and worse in future tiers.
I will disagree with the premise that the Glove enchant does not scale at least for Survival Hunters. I direct your attention to the Survival Mastery Bonus. Mastery: “Essence of the Viper”: elemental damage increased by 8%. Each point of Mastery increases elemental damage by an additional 1%
The gloves do Nature Damage which I believe is covered by the Elemental damage portion of the Mastery. So as the Survival Hunter gets more Mastery, the Gloves hit harder. That is, by definition, they scale.

Another Experiment

While Level 85 may well understood right now, Level 80 is. I employed the noted Hunter simulation site, femaledwarf.com. I loaded my current character and buffed him with Kings, Might, and Horn of Winter. My theoretical DPS was 7495.
I then made the following changes. I switched Skinning to Engineering, and enabled ‘Use Saronite Bombs’. There was no option to change the Glove enchant to the Hand Mounted Pyro Launcher. Then I reran my DPS. The new DPS was 7482.
The next test I did was change from Engineering to Blacksmithing and added the extra gem slot to my Bracer and Gloves, and put a  +20 AGI gem in each new slot. Now the DPS was 7556. That’s about a 75 DPS increase over the Engineering sim, and about 60 more than my current setup.
These are simulation numbers and I don’t think we can draw any definitive conclusions from these tests. But what we do see is at most about a 1% difference in DPS between best case (Blacksmithing) and worst case (Engineering).
I think what is key to keep in mind, is that my goal was never to show that Engineering was better than a ‘regular’ profession. That was unintended side effect of my first test. I drew a faulty conclusion, and my readers helped me to see that.
My goal in doing this research was to discover that Engineering was not a negligent choice. By negligent I mean careless, inattentive, neglectful, or willfully blind. I’m willing to take a small DPS hit to be an Engineer, but I’m not willing to take a significant one. I don’t consider 1% to be significant. My DPS will vary fight to fight by much more than 1% based on the dynamics of the fight and by how well I’m hitting an optimum rotation.

Cataclysm Engineering

I think we can agree that Engineering requires some theoretical DPS loss over other Professions. While it is difficult to quantify the exact DPS loss at this time, I think we can agree it is there. To a certain extent, I think I would agree with the premise that it has to be there. Don't look at it from merely the viewpoint of an Engineer. Look at it from the side of the Jewelcrafter, Blacksmith, Enchanter, etc. If Engineering got the same +80 STAT that they get, and then all the cool extras as well, how could that be 'fair and balanced' to them. But as it stands right now, it's going to be questionable choice for physical DPS (Hunters, Rogues, Ferals, Enhance Shamans, and Warriors)
I believe that there is a very quick and easy fix to bring Engineering up to a where it will not be considered a 'sub-optimal' Profession by high end PVE raiding guilds. The Glove Enchants right now are Armor 12 seconds every minute, or Intellect 12 seconds every minute or Nature Damage (once every two minutes), or get more mana from mana pots or more health from health pots. Let's ignore the Potions for a moment. The real issue here is the DPS enchant. Casters and Tanks are covered well, but Physical DPS is left a little wanting. If they simply changed the Nature Damage enchant to a AGI/STR or even AP 12 second every minute I think most would see Engineering as a more viable choice.
Count the Cost
So we, as Engineers, pay a price for the pets, mounts, and cool toys and gadgets. The question then becomes what do we get for this DPS loss. Now allow me to insert the standard blah, blah, Beta, blah, blah, can change blah, blah, blah stuff. I'm using cata.wowhead (Wowhead's Cataclysm Database), so any errors or omissions, I'm blaming them. ;-)
Pre-Cataclysm items still relevant in Cataclysm
  • Rocket Boots
  • Parachute Cloak
  • Repair Bots
  • Portable Mailbox
  • Jumper Cables (Out of Combat, Rez, sometimes works)
  • Teleporters (dubious)
  • Non Combat Pets
  • Profession Flying Mount (Alchemy and Tailoring also get Flying Mounts)
Cataclysm
  • BoE:
    • Hit Rating Scope (Not only Hunters, but Rogues and Warriors might also find this desirable)
    • Ranged Haste Rating Scope (probably only desirable by Hunters)
    • an AP Proc scope (again maybe interesting to Tanks/Rogues as well as Hunters),
    • a 36 slot Fishing Bag (I'm not sure who would buy this)
  • Engineer Only
    • An expensive interrupt (it uses a reagent which is made from ore you could have otherwise sold)
    • Ability to open locked doors and chests
    • non Combat Pets (Enchanting also gets Non Combat pets)
    • A Combat Pet
    • Loot from Range (take THAT melee!)
    • iLevel 333 Blue Gun/Bow
    • iLevel 346 Blue Gun
    • Item that makes Fish Feasts
    • Fishing Lures
  • Belt Enchants:
    • A combat Pet (separate from the first one)
    • a big absorb shield
    • Stealth
  • Gloves Enchants (stack with normal enchants)
    • Armor 12 seconds every minute,
    • Intellect 12 seconds every minute
    • Nature Damage (once every two minutes)
    • get more mana from mana pots
    • more health from health pots
  • iLevel 359 Epic Helm with Meta and two 'engineer only' sockets to be filled with engineer only gems. Engineer only gems only come in 'secondary stats' like hit, crit, mastery, etc.
  • iLevel 346 Epic Gun (or Bow I can't tell)
At this point, I think the only thing that would stop me from rolling an Engineer at this point is if my Raid Leader (coincidentally also an Engineer) told me I couldn't get a raid spot with a Mining/Engineering combo. Since I'm quite certain that won't happen (Devolve just isn't that kind of guild), I'm pretty happy about my 'sub-optimal' choice.

History Lesson

I have a rather strange history with Engineering. I dropped Engineering about a week after 3.1 hit and I had been working on leveling up Mining on Honorshammer. This was the second time I’d dropped the profession.
When I leveled Honorshammer during Vanilla WoW, Engineering was fantastic. It provided my Paladin with the one thing he truly lacked, a ranged pull. None of this Avenger’s Shield at Level 10, or Exorcism or a huge range on Judgment. As a Paladin in those days, you got very familiar with how to body pull. Judgment was 8 freaking yards.
Once I hit the level cap at 60, I found less and less uses for Engineering. When Burning Crusade announced the new profession of Jewel crafting, my GM at the time put out a call for people who would be willing to switch. Frustrated with how little I was actually using the profession, I agreed to switch to Jewel crafting.
Then during Burning Crusade, the Developers massively buffed Engineering to provide Helms that were on par with the Tier 5 helms. At the time, I was still in late to mid Tier 4 content, with little prospect of being able to do Tier 5 anytime soon. They also brought out a way cool Flying Mount. So I dropped Mining and picked Engineering back up.
Then Wrath came. The motorcycle mount which was very cool, was also very expensive, and Honors could still have/use one even though he had dropped the profession. The goggles were not nearly as good as they had been in Burning Crusade. Mote Farming was much less lucrative as well. Then an instance that should have been a treasure trove of new schematics (Ulduar) rendered zero, zip, nada.
So frustrated once again with Engineering, I dropped it. 
The plan at the time was to learn it on my Hunter, but that never materialized. Now it will.
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