Thursday, May 14, 2009

Problem With Fish Feasts and Flasks

The arrival of the Great Feast and Fish Feast in Wrath of the Lich King freed up much of the burden upon guild chefs and eased many a headache of raid leaders attempting to ensure every person is food-buffed. Flasks have been around for a long time, providing a monetarily advantageous way to buff yourself for a raid without needing too many elixirs or having to renew them each time you died. However, these methods are not always the best choice, and actively work against min-maxing characters.

Fish Feasts are an easy catch-all. With attack power, stamina and spellpower, everyone in the raid has something to gain from eating Fish Feast. But that does not mean it's what they should be eating. Food that increases hit, crit or haste may be more appropriate, or strength food may give an edge over straight attack power. Expertise food, or perhaps mp5, could also be utilized. But this becomes largely up to the individual, and if they do not have (or do not wish to spare) the funds, or do not want to min-max, it's possible to lose that boost.

There was once a great multitude of Flask choices, but with the introduction of Spellpower and no base stat booster flask, the choices have dwindled down to four: attack power, health, spell power, and mp5. Much like the Feast, they're convenient and homogenized so every class and spec has a generic flask they can choke down and pewpew with.

But with two elixirs giving more of a varied boost, they allow for greater min-maxing of your character. If you need hit, or crit, or perhaps a little bit of a larger mana pool, or some health and expertise, nothing works quite as well as dual elixirs. But it is expensive, needing refreshers after each death as opposed to after a certain time limit. As well, doubling up elixirs may provide with a more even benefit, but they do not provide as much in a single category as a flask, with less spellpower or attack power.

Overall, it is a little up in the air. This is not to devalue the Flask or the Feast. They are intensely helpful, and should always be utilized. But knowing what other choices you have, and that the flask or feast could possibly not be the best (or a good) choice, is valuable information. When your raid wipes at 2% on Deconstructor because he hit enrage, that little bit extra could have made the difference.


Kayeri said...

It is an interesting conundrum... the flask has the advantage of staying with you through death, whereas pots and elixirs must be re-taken if you die. I carry a selection of both, honestly. If it's content we know well and are unlikely to die on, I'll mix up a preferred elixir combo tailored to my needs. On Ulduar nights, which may or may not be wipe-fests. :) I go for the Flask. And I do carry my own food selection AND fish feasts to assist everyone in the raid...

and in conclusion.. yes, I farm a lot... :)

Macbook said...

Flasks win for me every time, primarily because I stack spell power, but the persisting through death is very nice as well.

And the only reason I use the Fish Feast food buff is because its always provided for me, I think my cooking is at level 60 ^^


Anonymous said...

Well its also a lot about guild rules. I agree that for min/maxing in theoryspace, elixirs tend to be better, and fish feasts are only optimal for certain specs. I think guilds really need to enforce a policy. Whats the point if one raider uses 2 elixirs every wipe, while 6 others refuse to use a flask? This happens a lot when your guild doesnt have enforced policies.

However, the differences are minor, and your example - of wiping at 2% - is theoretical. Its never possible to prove that different food would have made a difference. Having said that, for the best guilds, gold is no object and they'll use elixirs every wipe. But their successes are dependent upon much more than that.

Bell said...

@Kayeri - I agree it's good to have a selection of both, though the min-maxing of elixirs being more affordable on content you know actually sort of defeats the purpose, as they are more useful during that new content where min-maxing is incredibly important.

Mac - yep, sometimes flasking is the best choice, and sometimes not. All depends on what's going on.

Anonymous - I agree, it's not fair or easy to enforce. However, last night I -was- involved in a 2% Deconstructor wipe. The only way my group was able to down Deconstructor (and this one was right before the enrage hit) was by being so flawless as to get two achievements for no repairs and no deaths due to gravity bomb (though we did not get the light bomb one). Many members of the raid did min-max for that last attempt. Though you cannot prove that's what made the difference, it is very likely a factor, and never one that should be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Yeah thats cool, i didnt mean to deny your actual experiences. Still, as an aside and off subject, I'd have to say that there's something more fundamentally wrong with your raiders if you're that close to the (nerfed) enrage timer. Unless you're all very undergeared. The fight is now tuned a lot less harshly, and is easy to complete within the enrage timer with no ulduar gear, even with deaths and people who do not use flasks & food buffs (dont mean to pour scorn but cmon! your raid needs an asskickin)

Bell said...

Heh, well, it was a first time for a lot, or the majority, of the people in the raid, we had a bunch of d/c's, and no shaman for heroism. Almost every dps was over 3 or 4k.

Keredria said...

I totally agree! I always put out the fish feast for our raids, but I have been known to whisper individual guildies asking what the heck they are doing eating my fish when I clearly know that they would benefit more from another fish buff.

Kayeri said...

Yep, sadly, economics plays a part in my choices, too, though. I do farm for myself, my husband the pally tank, and each of us just added a new 80 to our guild rosters, me a rogue and him a hunter now that I will also be farming for. It's a lot of work and time is limited, so I do sometimes have to make a choice about how much can I afford to lose for a perfect combination rather than a good one?

And I will mix up with my flasks and foods, too, to provide different combinations.. It's not always perfect, but they get the job done.

Lissanna said...

I spent about 300 gold buying herbs on the AH for my lower level alchemist to make flasks for about 2 weeks worth of raiding. I couldn't imagine having to spend more than that to get enough elixirs to survive through that many wipes. I usually keep elixirs around for when there isn't a full hour left and I know we're not likely to die many times (ie. when I don't want to waste a flask).

I think for druids that either the mana/5 or spell power flask (depending on if you are having mana problems) is enough that I don't really feel the need to spend more.

In terms of food, I like the spell power food well enough as a healer. Gooo fishies!

Naissa said...

You know...I always wondered about that myself. And one person whined at my priest once because they dropped a feast and I was sitting away from the feast and eating my own food.

I much prefer to use my own food to using the feasts, but it's not always an option for me.

Rensaelys said...

As a very active end-game raider, I can see the problem between flasking and using elixirs. Some things to take into account.. I think few builds specifically require something other than more health, more spellpower or more attack power. I, as a resto Druid, use mp5 flasks unless we're about to kill General Vezax (at which point I switch to a spellpower flask). For farmable content, then yes, elixirs are better in some ways and I always bring my own food (I use mp5 food; mp5 isn't provided by fish feasts).

Then again, I honestly wonder if elixirs will make such a large difference in terms of raiding. I don't think the use of elixirs is going to make the difference between a 2% enraged Decon and a dead Decon. The irony comes from the fact that for progression content.. It just makes far more sense to flask.

With Blizzard changing the way dungeon content works now, you'll find even more flasks being used simply because raids that are more serious about clearing content are going to be working on hard-modes and it just isn't truly feasible (not realistic at least in my opinion) to be using elixirs over flasks for such content.

On the other hand, I totally get what you're saying. If you're not hit-capped, as a DPSer you're just dead wrong. And if an elixir is going to give you an extra bit of crit as a fire mage, go for it. But, on the whole, I think flasks are quite nice in the way that they presently work. Fish feasts are great as long as you only need to worry about spellpower, or attack power, etc. Otherwise, I bring my own food.

Yitz said...

Let's not forget that if you *do* require your raiders to be elixir-buffed, they're going to be a lot more careful about deaths. People whine about repair bills, but you still see DPSers not moving out of AoE quickly enough so they could get off that one last cast/strike. Maybe if the penalty weren't just repairs, but buying 2 new elixirs, they'd think twice. :-)

There's something to be said for the psychological effect of getting the group to really focus. On the other hand, in some situations the flask is just going to be better than any 2 elixirs, so in reality it would not make a very good rule to enforce. But interesting in theory, no?

Cerril said...

With limited exception (warriors, I think), flasks and feasts provide the best DPS options out there assuming well accounted for gear (hit capped, etc), which is what I think was being aimed for.

For healers, however, stats can be tweaked a little more delicately, and there's no stat where 'more' always equals 'best' as with DPS, so there's an argument for elixirs with non-DPS classes. At the same time, with both tanks and healers there's an effectiveness cap once the tanks never die pre-enrage and the healers are never out of mana. So there's always justification for a DPS to flask and food up, there's occasionally an argument that a healer or tank doesn't need to.