Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ding #7 Monk done (or just started), what's next?

  I got my Troll Monk to 90 the other day, and started grinding random BG's for honor to get the ilevel needed to do LFR. It's kinda fun playing Brewmaster in PvP, but I have no idea what I'm doing, really. I'm just getting the points to get back to tanking. It's probably about to become my second alt, since I haven't been playing my Rogue or DK lately.

  Overall, I'm very satisfied with Brewmaster. I'm probably only going to do LFR for a while, but if I get geared well enough in 5.4, I might run some normal or flex modes. Monk tanking is kind of similar to Pally tanking in two main aspects, I think. First, there's all the utility. So many raid tools, only so many keybinds. I would almost accuse Brewmaster of button bloat, except that I couldn't tell you what ability I'd drop or make baseline. Second, we both cap Hit and hard cap Expertise in order to generate and spend as much Holy Power/Chi as possible. More points, less damage taken. At least when I'm on a Monk, people are less likely to accuse me of "Gearing for DPS."

  I have not played Windwalker since the very early levels, so I'm going to have to start from scratch there. Fortunately, gearing for tanking and DPS is fairly similar. I just have to drop some Expertise.

  I tried Mistweaver for a while wile leveling in BC dungeons, and it's a nice healing method, very different from the others. I'm looking forward to trying Mistweaver out in raids as well.

  Oddly enough, I have not put together a transmog look for my Monk. I have been thinking of just using the red or purple versions of Riverblade Armor. It could be called a lazy transmog, but these are beautifully detailed, sleek, and practical looking sets. I would even say that MoP armor easily rivals BC armor in beauty, not just for the better graphics, but the better design.

  Leveling a Monk, in retrospect, was kind of fast compared to others, but not that much faster. For me, the bonus XP buff Monks get, Enlightenment, was more like a constant Rested buff. I tend to level in bursts, so I go through rested XP fast. I would probably benefit more from Inner Peace, if I played a Pandaren.

  After my level 74 Dwarf Warrior, I'll have Druid, Warlock, and Mage left to level. I've got mostly Dwarves so far, and one each of Human, Tauren, and Troll at 90. I've recently started leveling My female Tauren Druid, after making peace with that stereotypical combination (yes, I will also be an Herbalist). I can't play a female Troll. I just can't embrace the ugly. That leaves me with the options of going across the server on Proudmoore to roll Dwarf Mage and Warlock, choosing from the Horde races, or for Mage, rolling a Pandaren of either faction.

  For me, the race, class, and gender of a character kind of have to click into place. When I deleted my Druid and Warlock when transferring my Pally and stuff over to Proudmoore, I kind of regretted it a bit, but I wasn't going to spend that much on transfers. My female Tauren Druid felt right just after getting Glyph of Stars. Though I'm playing around in battlegrounds on my new Druid as Feral right now (it's fun), I'll probably go back to healing/ranged DPS soon. My male Blood Elf Warlock felt right from the start. Normally I'm averse to playing elves in WoW, but just this one guy is my guilty pleasure. I expect to level him third, after finishing my Warrior and leveling my Druid.

  What hasn't clicked for me is Mage. So, what to pick? First off, my goal for gender balance is achieved so far, with 5 males (Hunter, DK, Pally, Monk, Lock) and 5 females (Priest, Shammy, Rogue, Warrior, Druid). My Mage can be either gender. As for server balance, I have 6 Ally and 4 Horde. 2 tank classes are Ally, 3 Horde. 2 Healing classes are Ally, 3 Horde. 2 pure DPS classes are Ally, 1 Horde. 3 ranged DPS are Ally, 1 Horde. Yes, I'm over-analyzing it. It's fun sometimes. Anyway, my general impression is that I should roll as Horde on Proudmoore, especially considering that's where all my heirlooms are now.

  I won't play a female Troll, but a second Male troll is possible. Their casting animations are great. FRAWST SHAAAAAWK!!!! (Although the racial ability does kinda suck.) I won't play a Forsaken. It's just not happening, they're evil. I leveled a female Pandaren for a bank alt, and to experience the Pandaren starter zone. It was fun, but I'm not likely to level a Pandaren. Goblins and Orcs don't really interest me either, though the scarcity of Orc Mages could get me to reconsider. I'm not really motivated to roll another Blood Elf, but female Blood Elves also have good casting animations.

  I guess I'll roll a male Troll and play it a bit, then go back to my female Blood Elf,  and compare the two. I have time to figure it out.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Lazy Repost of My Own: Prot Pally Stats

I never get tired of talking about Prot Pally stats. I posted the following on one of my Guild's websites, so I'm reposting it here, primarily in the interest of eliciting feedback. If I'm wrong, please, tell me. So, on with the repost:

Prot Pally stat priorities seem to elicit many conflicting opinions, and there also seems to be much confusion over what different priorities are for.

  1. A Control/Haste priority aims to generate as much Holy Power as possible to reduce spike damage as much as possible.
  2. A Control/Mastery priority balances steady Holy generation with the passive damage reduction from Block.
  3. "Survival" or any other Avoidance heavy priority is wrong.

First off, I don't worry about the Big Hits when I tank, since class balance and encounter design typically coincide to allow every tank to handle Big Hits with various cool downs (especially Pallys!). So, the steady physical damage taken from boss and add melee is my primary concern. In light of this, I'll share my own stat priority and explain each one:

  • Hit 7.5%=Expertise 15%>Stamina>Haste>Mastery>Parry>Dodge

I cap Hit and hard cap Expertise. This guarantees steady Holy Power generation, and that Shield of the Righteous (SotR) lands, which is the main source of physical damage mitigation. I have been using Ask Mr. Robot to get me as close to the cap as possible, without going over too much. Note that sometimes Hit and/or Expertise are not perfectly capped, and a good argument for this can be found on a post from the Ask Mr. Robot blog. Note that where he says "Do you want to take your 50% chance, and add some damage to it?”, read it as "add some damage mitigation to it." I'm personally convinced by this argument for normal mode bosses, but now that I'm getting into heroics, I'm back to capping for sure. Every SotR counts.

I stack Stamina to the sky. There is a series of posts I'd like anyone who thinks I'm wrong to read before telling me I'm wrong: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.) If the math is too much, it can be skipped, just be sure to read the part at the bottom under Conclusions or Summary. I am open to different opinions, but I won't listen to the hand-waving away of facts. Anyway, I have so far been stacking Stamina because I want a maximum amount of survivability. The group I'm running with has great DPS, so I'm not going to quickly sacrifice survivability for more DPS. However, this is the one point I am most flexible on, and I'm going to review some logs before our next heroic Jin'Rok attempt to see if I can safely trade some health for DPS, i.e. if I never dipped below 20%, I'll drop about 10% health.

After Hit and Expertise caps, Haste is the best secondary stat for both DPS and for damage smoothing. What I mean by damage smoothing is reducing the amount of spikes in damage I take. Damage smoothing is what guides are referring to when they label a stat priority as "Control." Haste helps smooth damage primarily by by increasing the amount of Holy Power generated, thus increasing the up-time of SotR. There are four things to note here:
  1. Prioritizing Haste requires timing SotR well, and consistently executing the Holy Power generating rotation. Make too many mistakes, and much of the benefit of Haste is wasted.
  2. If Sacred Shield is kept up, and time on target melee swinging away is kept up, Haste passively boosts survivability very well by increasing the number of Sacred Shields, and increasing the number of Seal of Insight procs.
  3. The damage absorb from Sacred Shield and the healing from Seal of Insight deal with all incoming damage, not just physical. These abilities become especially advantageous when dealing with bleeds, diseases, poisons, ect.
  4. The damage mitigation from haste is the primary concern here, so think of the extra DPS as a nice bonus, comparable to a Disc Priest's Atonement.

Mastery has two active and one passive components:
  1. "Increases the damage reduction of your Shield of the Righteous by X%." SotR is your primary damage reduction, and it scales well with Mastery. Choosing between Mastery and Haste comes down to whether you want more SotR up-time, or a stronger SotR.
  2. "Adds X% to your Bastion of Glory." This is our only major health return other than Lay on Hands, and it also scales well with Mastery.
  3. "Increases your chance to block melee attacks by X%." This is the passive side of Mastery, as it just reduces damage taken overall without much, or any input from the Pally.
I have two Mastery on-use trinkets that I use on the beginning of taunt swaps, or on packs of adds, so I feel comfortable reforging for Haste over Mastery. Some tanks stack Mastery over Haste, which is fine, just know what your goals are. I'm also flexible on this point.

Parry and Dodge are less optimal for Prot Pallys in principle and in practice. By in principle, I mean that mitigation is better than avoidance, simply due to the unpredictability of avoidance. A bad string of un-avoided, unmitigated melee swings can and will kill a tank. Although avoidance does reduce total damage taken, it leaves that damage taken spikier. Spike damage is what kills tanks, not total damage. So, in practice, Hit, Expertise, Haste, and Mastery reduce spike damage much better than Parry or Dodge. This is the point I am much less flexible on, since I consider avoidance stacking to be a rejection of the Prot Pally play-style, or at best, lazy tanking. Did you read those posts?

Finally, Crit is useless for Prot for survivability. However, I take any gear that is a significant ilevel upgrade, even if it has Crit, as my Thunderforged shoulders do. The extra Stamina, Strength, and Armor going from 502 to 528 more than make up for the loss in secondary stats. This is an unusual circumstance, I think, since I'm relatively new to the team and I'm taking the upgrades where I can get them.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Getting Ahead of the Curve

  I'm taking a happy break from boring anyone who actually reads this. I'll continue proposing 4th specs later and get to what I really care about: Killing Lei Shen before 5.4. (Which I did, Thursday night.)

  The way this expansion is going, it seems to be analogous to clearing ToC in Wrath, or Firelands in Cata. It's not the end of the game, it's not the beginning, it's just that middle raid that breaks up the weak teams that couldn't clear the first raids until after nerfs and higher ilevel gear come out. As a casual player with a varied work scheduled, I happen to fall in with these teams at times. I don't like that. I'm no elitist, but I do want to play with people who don't give up easy, who accept criticism (or even better, self-evaluate), who are on time and ready with gems, enchants, a good reforge, who have looked up the fights and know what they should do, and who are willing to do something different if something's not working. I like players that are dedicated and have what I personally call scientific humility.

  Humility is too often, I think, defined in a self-effacing way. To say "No, I'm not that good" when in fact, you are deserving of whatever praise comes your way, that's false humility. Real humility must include honesty, so when someone compliments you, just thank them and move on. Also, when you think you know better, have courage and speak up. Humility is not remaining silent, it's offering solutions or other useful information in a dispassionate, matter-of-fact way, then letting raid leaders do with it what they will. The focus should be on the fight, it's mechanics, and how your team can meet them. Usually people define humility as "Put others needs before your own." I define it as "Face the facts with honesty. The truth is bigger than you."

  These two qualities, determination and real humility, are necessary qualities to a successful raid team. They need to be present in each raider, too. If a raid leader lacks humility, they restrict the raid from offering new solutions to problems. If a raid member lacks humility, they're prone to finger-pointing, may be resistant to criticism or different strategies for a fight, and may not come prepared, thinking they can wing it. If any raid member lacks determination, they hold the team back in many ways, especially on 10man, often in the form of low DPS or heals, or low performance mitigating damage as a tank.

  There are a few warning signs to a bad group that I've noticed. I think calling it quits for any of these reasons is justifiable:
  • The raid leader takes an unannounced hiatus, especially if they're a tank. Don't bother gearing up an alt to replace them, since they'll shortly return from hiatus and assume their old spot. Just find a team with a more committed raid leader.
  • A consistently under performing raid member (i.e. less than half the average dps of others) is a friend of the raid leader, and never improves no matter how much gear they get. Good performance comes first from skill, then gear. If you don't have skill, you cannot ever perform well.
  • The raid leader calls the night early after only a few wipes on a new boss. That's just being a quitter. Don't follow a quitter.
  • You consistently go 10+ minutes between each attempt on a new boss, without any productivity. You should not be taking time out of your day to be at a lazy raid leader's beck and call.
  • A lack of progression is blamed on Blizz or the WoW Devs, or the changes in MoP. This frequently coincides with "How much better it was in Classic/BC/Wrath." Call bullshit on people who are unwilling to stick with it and learn something new. I played Classic in 2006 and Wrath from 2010 up to now. Classic sucked. Walking everywhere sucked. Leveling by grinding mobs sucked. Simple rotations sucked. Talent trees sucked. Hybrids sucked. 40man felt epic sometimes, but it mostly sucked. Farming 5 hours to prepare for raiding for 8 hours sucked. Reagents for 2-10 minute buffs sucked. Ammo and Soul Shards sucked. Wrath sucked. Arpen and +defense sucked. Bloated talent trees sucked. Spamming AoE in frenzied heroic "Pull the whole instance" runs sucked. Reagents, Ammo and Soul Shards still sucked. The game has been consistently getting better and better, anyone who says otherwise is probably too lazy to keep up.
  • The healers stop healing you, specifically. (Not including when you intentionally wipe it up.) Use an addon like Deathnote that tracks the actions leading up to a death. If you receive nothing other than splash heals (e.g. Atonement, Echo of Light, ect.) for 10-15 seconds before dying, something's probably wrong. If you think healers have given up on you, start gathering data, and when you are confident with your data, either bring it up with a raid leader if you care to before quitting, or just quit. Don't expect healers to change their mind, though. Even if a raid leader corrects them, just face it, they've given up on you.
  • You get passed over on gear without discussion or a roll. Quit on the spot. No good can come from staying with people that don't value your participation enough to let you even roll on gear you can use. This is not rage-quitting. This is facing the fact that you aren't wanted. Don't stay, because you will get passed up again.
  • Horribly offensive speech and/or bullying. Personally, I draw the line at being called a faggot. That's a very generous line, I think, and crossing it is the mark of a total douchebag. To be precise, it doesn't offend me to just hear the word, but to be personally called it is unacceptable. To hear others called it, or to hear objects or situations called it, i.e. "Garalon is being a real faggot tonight" or "This shit is so gay", all this wears my patience thin very quickly. I will immediately quit if I am called a faggot. I will eventually quit if I hear the word too often and in particularly bad ways. Draw your own line, and announce it if you have to. If it's crossed, leave. If you keep pushing the line back just to avoid quitting, you're in for heartache.

  To counter balance all this negativity, I also propose some tense moments not to quit over:
  • When someone loses patience, yells, blames one or a few people for the last 5 wipes, or otherwise acts like an asshole for a moment. If it's just for a moment, fine. Take a deep breath and don't let it bother you. If it's not typical behavior, just a little outburst here and there, take it in stride.
  • When someone wipes the raid 3 times in a row due to the same mistake. It happens. Be patient. WoW has moved from lots of performance based fights (DPS/healing checks) to mostly gimmick fights (dance around a little, click the button, fly around a little, burn phase, run away! run back!) Sometimes it takes a few tries to learn.
  • Not horribly offensive speech and/or teasing. Teasing is often slightly offensive, so just be tough and hit back. It's a team building exercise of sorts. If you're really not cool with it, though, just say something. Good people will know to stop. Also important, I think, is that the difference between teasing and bullying is that we tease the people we love, but we bully the people we hate.
  • You get told to shut up on vent. I get told this all the time, because I love discussing minute details of all the things that interest me. I'll talk all night long if a raid leader doesn't tell me to shut up and pull. 

  These lists are by no means complete, just what I can think of off the top of my head. I'm open to criticism on any of these points, of course, or just differing opinions. I always strive for real humility.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fourth Spec for Hunters

  OK, so continuing on my last post, I'm going to put more meaningless ideas out there. Really, I don't expect for a minute that any class other than Druids will get a fourth spec, since there's no need to do so. Guardian and Feral were separated for balancing issues, not to add to the game. Giving fourth specs to other classes would add a lot of new balancing/debugging issues, and would use up development time and effort that could go towards the Dance Studio and ponies. We were promised ponies!

  Anyway, onward into the realm of imagination

Saturday, July 6, 2013

RE: Fourth Spec Blues, a Fourth Spec for Warriors

   This started as a comment replying to an article on WoW Insider, but expanded to my whole take on it. This is kind of fun.

  I tend to view the variety of tanking classes in terms of how they deal with incoming damage (especially the active mitigation component), not necessarily what weapons they equip, whether or not they can block, or what major cooldowns they have. My short summary with major mastery effects noted(m) is:
  • Warriors -  Increased block(m) or a universal absorb, a small self heal.
  • Paladins - A universal absorb, physical damage reduction(m), some self healing.
  • DK's - A physical damage absorb(m), a lot of self healing(m).
  • Druids - Increased dodge or major self healing, other self healing, high armor(m).
  • Monks - Increased parry and dodge, stagger(m) and purify, some self healing.

  Looking at it this way, I'd say we have 2 avoidance heavy tanks (Monks and Druids), 2 absorb tanks (Pallys and DK's), with Warriors having both an absorb and increased block. The new tank spec would have to be unique enough from each of them, while also bringing something new to the table. Let's go with the author's Blademaster (Blade), dual wielding.

  First off, I think mastery would have to be unique. Compensating for the lack of block with a different kind of block (blocking with two crossed weapons) based on mastery as the article suggests is, with all due respect to the author's greater Warrior background, inelegant when tied to mastery. It's too much of a block clone, bringing nothing really new to the table. I suggest instead having the crossed swords mechanic (which is totally cool, don't get me wrong) made a passive effect. Be in Defensive Stance, and the effect is always mitigating damage. As an aside, crossing swords is not an effective technique in real life.

  I think a more unique mastery effect would be better tied to two active mitigation abilities:

  First, an attack that casts a buff when it lands, boosting dodge/parry simultaneously. Lets call it Wind Blade (WB), and give it a 60 rage cost, as Prot Warriors active mitigation has. This would be like a combination of Monk's Shuffle and Druid's Savage Defense in principle. What's new is mastery having an effect on this type of active mitigation, as Paladins and DK's have on theirs.

  This leaves non-physical damage still unaccounted for, and I think this is a great place to incorporate self healing. All tanks self heal to some degree or another, but none so much as DK's do. I think there's room to share this concept.

  Perhaps mastery can buff a Blademaster's self healing using abilities already present in the Warrior toolkit, along with some new kind of self heal for 60 rage. Let's call it Burning Blade (BB). This would make Blade's active mitigation mirror Prot's. Where Prot has block (Shield Block) or absorb (Shield Barrier), Blade has dodge/parry (WB) or self healing (BB).

  Now before you say "Congratulations, you just invented a Druid with parry!" first consider what we could do with BB. Let's make it an attack that casts a buff when it lands, causing all damage done to be copied as a self heal, modified by a percentage that works out so that it doesn't overshadow WB in all circumstances. I think it would stack well with Berserker Rage.

  What we have then is a dual-wielding Warrior tank, with a flat amount of a different kind of block, one active mitigation that uses mastery, and a second active mitigation that uses mostly strength, mastery, hit, and expertise. Also useful to a certain degree would be haste and crit. Too many stats? Let's fix that.

  We can make 7.5% hit and expertise caps valuable by making so that both WB and BB must land to cast their respective buffs, while also making them unable to be parried. Hit and expertise would be boosting the amount BB heals for significantly. While haste and crit would also boost BB healing, they would likely not be as powerful contributors as mastery, if balanced correctly. What we then have is all strength plate being useful to Blade tanks, but with a probable stat priority of mastery>7.5% hit/exp>dodge/parry>crit/haste.

This really is fun. Next I'm going to talk about how Hunters should be able to tank.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Death Strike Mystery Solved

A couple weeks ago, I got into a somewhat heated discussion about the healing from Death Strike. No cries of "noob!" went out, though, we kept it civil. I maintained that, since patch 4.2 (it was actually 4.3), Death Strike has always healed and casted Blood Shield, whether or not it hits. The other player (another Death Knight tank, not a noob), maintained that it had to hit for the heal and shield to both proc. We went around in circles for a few minutes, discussing how to interpret the tooltip of Death Strike, whether it implied that it had to hit or not. He pointed out the new addition in MoP to the tooltip, "This attack cannot be parried." I maintained that this was a moot point, as Death Strike heals and cast Blood Shield based on damage taken, not damage done.

I've only done a few alt runs on this character, not even killing a boss twice on normal mode, much less completing the raids. My Paladin and Rogue are the ones getting it done, so my Death Knight has been very much an alt. I was not studied up completely on MoP changes to Blood Death Knights. We had both read the same tooltip, and come to very different conclusions, with significant stat-priority related concerns:

Presumption #1: If it does not heal when it does not hit, we must cap hit and expertise at 7.5% each for a significant boost to threat/DPS, but more importantly to boost survivability by ensuring every Death Strike heals and shields.

Presumption #2: If it always heals, even when missed or dodged, then we have the option to cap hit and expertise up to 7.5% for a significant boost to threat/DPS, and a boost to survivability via Scent of Blood, level 75 talents (Blood Tap, Runic Empowerment, or Runic Corruption), and by ensuring Outbreak does not miss, which would cause us to loose a Death Strike by using 2 runes to set up diseases. That last one is very minor, but still worth noting.

If Presumption #1 is true, capping hit and expertise is mandatory. My main in MoP so far has been my Paladin tank, and I'm not going to evangelize capping hit and hardcapping expertise on a Paladin in order to ensure Active Mitigation runs smoothly, only to then reject Active Mitigation on a Death Knight. That would be irrational and idiotic.

If Presumption #2 is true, then capping hit and expertise is optional. It's a strong option, since tank DPS matters, especially with high vengeance, and even more so with Riposte coming in 5.4. However, it is still optional. We can drop some threat/DPS for more mastery and/or avoidance, for an overall boost to survivability.

So far, I have been playing under Presumption #2, but still capping hit and expertise. This was because I was using a blue weapon for the longest time, so I really needed the threat. As soon as Bo-Ris dropped, though, this issue came up.

I did not admit defeat in that first argument, but the change to the tooltip was nagging at me. Self doubt sucks, but we should all have the humility to accept that we might be wrong. I decided to double check my sources.

Wowhead comments were silent about an MoP change.

Wowpedia was silent.

WowDB had one user comment that it always heals (anecdotal).

Icy-Veins says about hit/expertise: "A viable alternative is to prefer Hit and Expertise above Dodge and Parry. This is a small (practically negligible) survivability loss at the expense of a rather considerable (roughly 10%) increase in DPS, which can help if the DPS requirement of the encounter is very strict."

Elitist Jerks is contradictory in their Blood DK article:

Under Stat Priority, it states: "Note however that even if Death Strike should fail to land, you will still gain the shield and heal from it so if you just want to cap for Death Strike, you should reconsider (it still helps with Scent of Blood and smoother T5 [level 75 talents] procs though; you will never waste a GCD and lose RP if your Rune Strike fails to land for example)"

More specifically, under The Value of Accuracy Stats: "With Death Strike healing and shielding even if it fails to connect, accuracy stats do not offer as much for survival as they did before that change. In general, if you are gearing for accuracy you do it because you care about your DPS since the uncapped Vengeance makes actually landing your abilities much more important (the downside of Death Strike always shielding and healing us is that the Runes get consumed even if Death Strike fails to land and does 0 damage."

Under Timing Death Strikes, subsection The effect of avoidance and low/high damage periods on our timing,it implies a missed Death Strike results in no heal or shield: "Final notes: I strongly recommend gearing for accuracy because at times you will deliberately take as much damage as you comfortably can in your Death Strike window to get a big Blood Shield out of it. If you cannot guarantee that your next Death Strike will land, you will be in a very vulnerable situation and risk death."

Under the Class Specific section of What's New in 5.0?: "- Death Strike is back to it's pre-4.2 incarnation: If it misses or is avoided, you don't lose the Runes but neither do you get the heal/Blood Shield. In return though, Death Strike cannot be parried anymore so once you gear for the spell hit cap it will always land (that's 7.5% Hit and Expertise each)."

So which one is it? Time for ctrl+F "Death Strike" and into the comments.

"Death Strike is currently bugged and continues to give the shield on dodges and misses. Here is a lot i threw together proving it. You can see my shield is refreshed at the exact same time stamp as DS is dodged. World of Logs - Real Time Raid Analysis" - Reniat, 8/29/12 (patch 5.0.4)

"Can someone explain this to me: even when my deathstrike misses or is dodged, i still get a heal, but it is smaller than the heal i would get if the ability would land - about 60-70%. I can understand deathstrikes not healing if they miss, i can understand them healing even if the ability does miss, but what's this 60-70% heal then? Can anyone explain the actual current mechanics regarding death strike hit/miss/dodge?" - Khiandor 12/04/12 (patch 5.1)

"My testing confirms that missed/dodged Death Strikes don't interact with Scent of Blood (they neither consume the stacks nor benefit from them)". - Malacar 12/06/12 (patch 5.1)

Nothing further is stated relating to Death Strike missing and either healing or not healing.

As a note about Scent of Blood, the guide states under The effect of Scent of Blood stacks on our gameplay: "Simply put: It has none."

It seems to me that I was right. Death Strike always heals. Even if it heals less without Scent of Blood hitting, it will still heal greater based on damage incoming, and will cast/refresh Blood Shield. This bug may be fixed eventually, so I'll be paying attention for that possible change. In the meantime, I'll continue capping anyway, since tank DPS matters, but with the option of shifting to a higher mastery build.