You may remember from my scattered and annoyed comments that I was not satisfied with the data I was getting last week testing Growl on the Public Test Realm. My method of testing was indeed faulty and was causing me to gather inconsistent and unreliable data, which was driving me nuts.
But now I seem to have settled on a method of Growl testing that works much better, and I wanted to share it with you. (You know, just in case you have a sudden urge to investigate pet threat or something.)
Here’s my new method:
- Put your pet on Passive and tell it to Stay.
- Cast Eyes of the Beast to control your pet.
- Run your pet up to your target and manually Growl once (or more, depending on your test).
- Cancel Eyes of the Beast. Your pet will Stay by the target, keeping your target busy and getting hit.
- After your pet has taken some damage, cast Mend Pet. Be very careful not to heal your pet completely or overheal, since that doesn’t count towards threat and will make your numbers too complicated to record.
- Keep healing your pet with Mend Pet until the target turns to attack you.
- Record the total amount of healing you had done just before you pulled aggro, as well as the additional amount you did that caused you to pull aggro.
Instead of recording the healing numbers themselves, I actually set myself up a little table in Excel with the heal-per-tick for each level of Mend Pet — all of which are on my hotbar for testing purposes right now. As I test, I write down how many ticks of each level of Mend Pet went off without pulling aggro, and then how much the final tick did that did pull aggro. This gives me a min and max range of healing to pull aggro.
For example, in one trial with Growl (Rank 8) on my level 70 cat, I cast Mend Pet (Rank 5) and let it tick 5 times (for 1000 healing), then Mend Pet (Rank 4) and let it tick 5 times (for another 700 healing), and then Mend Pet (Rank 1). The first tick of Mend Pet 1 was fine, but the second pulled aggro. So somewhere between 1725 and 1750 healing, I pulled aggro.
You can use this range as a flat comparison between trials (for instance, to look for Growl scaling as you raise your RAP), or you can plug in the ‘known’ values for parts of the equation and get an actual number for each Growl. If you want actual threat numbers, remember that each point healed counts as only half a point of threat and that you need to overcome more than 100% of threat to pull aggro — 110% if you are in melee range and 130% if you are further away than that.
In other words, take your healing range, divide the min and max values by 2, and then divide them again by either 1.1 or 1.3 depending — and you’ll end up with a range for the threat caused by Growl. For most of my tests, the average of the min and max threat ended up as almost exactly 664, which is the base threat of Growl (Rank 8) and indeed the number I expected for a low-RAP trial.
Getting the base numbers you expect is a good sign when you are trying out a new testing method. *grin*
If you saw the method I was using before, you’ll note that I have eliminated the Freeze Trap (since I don’t want to deal with any threat that might cause) and the Distracting Shots (since apparently they scale with RAP). Using healing instead of damage theoretically means that I can keep my pet alive as long as I need to in each trial — although in fact since I want to finish the trial using Mend Pet (Rank 1) if possible in order to narrow down the range of threat as fr as possible, I can’t actually keep the pet alive indefinitely. The damage eventually adds up. But it’s easy enough to run a couple of calibration trials, dropping down to a smaller final Mend Pet each time for more accuracy.
Oh! One more important warning: The cleansing effect of Improved Mend Pet seems to cause threat as well. I respec’d to avoid that talent when I ran these tests today.
Now that I have a method I am happy with, I intend to investigate the between-rank scaling of Growl as well as keeping an eye on PTR scaling changes. Not a lot of research has been done with lower levels of Growl so perhaps I’ll find something interesting.
Incidentally, I am now completely convinced that Growl still scales with pet AP (and not hunter RAP directly) on the PTR. In one trial I boosted my RAP to 1935 (but carefully kept my pet’s AP at 711) and saw no scaling; in another trial I left my RAP at 1682 but boosted my pet’s AP with TSA to 799 — and Growl doubled its threat.
But perhaps the next PTR build will bring the change.