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Archive for August, 2009

I’m working on a long guide talking about soloing content as a Druid. Basically, I’m trying to model each leg of the “holy trinity.” If we know our DPS and boss HP we can estimate boss TTL (time to live). If we know the bosses’ abilities and our mitigation/avoidance/resistance we can model DTPS (damage taken per second), and with calculating our HPS and max HP, model our TTL (time to live). If  our TTL > boss TTL, we win. Obviously, skill/RNG/lag/whatever will cause deviations from the math…but that’s okay, WoW’s still a game, not a spreadsheet. 🙂 This is not intended to be EJ-level stuff, BTW, this is just me having fun with math and trying to learn a little more about WoW mechanics in the process. In any event, here’s the start of the HPS section.

Assumptions:

  • 40000 hp (not unreasonable solo, with MOTW/stoneblood/food buff/stamina scroll/profession bonii (AND new LW kings drums…woot patch notes)
  • 40% crit
  • Unlimited rage (boss tanking)

Improved Leader of the Pack

Improved Leader of the Pack is your primary self-heal, and is critical for boss soloing.  It is affected by Nurturing Instinct, but only in cat form. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure it’s affected by Frenzied Regeneration when glyphed.

  • 60 attacks per minute capable of proccing ILOTP (20 Maul, 40 swipe/lacerate/mangle/FF…sadly, Lacerate bleed crits from Primal Gore do not proc ILOTP, but they do proc Savage Defense.)
  • ILOTP has 6s cooldown; procs on average every 7.5s or 8 attacks per minute. This is probably a bit conservative of an estimate (doesn’t account for haste, math’s a bit rounded) but it’s close enough.
  • Therefore, 40k hp = +1600 HP ILOTP tick * 8 = 12800 hp = 213 HPS. If you assume 1.33 ticks (on average) are buffed by glyphed FR and glyphed SI (see below), that increases to about 220 HPS.

Frenzied Regeneration/Survival Instincts

Frenzied Regeneration is your secondary self-heal, and is key to your tactics. Pretty much, for most bosses, if you can live long enough to Regen twice, you’ve probably won.  Normally, SI by itself is fairly useless when soloing. However, when combined with FR, it makes your FR tick for more (since it uses the new higher HP value for calculating healing done). Occasionally, for dps race type bosses, SI may be better used as a last-ditch spurt of extra time to kill the boss. I’ve calculated the healing done from all the abilities singly, in combination, and with the glyphs: see below.

Abilities Max HP Total Heal (HP3M) HPS
FR 40000 12000 67
FR (Glyphed) 40000 14400 80
FR + SI 52000 15600 87
FR + SI (SI Glyphed) 58000 17400 97
FR + SI (FR Glyphed) 52000 18720 104
FR + SI (Both Glyphed) 58000 20880 116

FR is affected by spell crit, and ILOTP is buffed by the FR glyph, so these numbers are a bit low.

Healing Spells

In theory, every boss should be easy- when you get low, just heal yourself, right? Sadly, there’s a couple big problems. First, your armor turns to tissue paper in caster form. Second, you have no healing talents, and no healing gear (unless you talent Nurturing Instincts). Third, you lose all your rage. No rage = no attacks = no Savage Defense (bad.)

With that in mind, many bosses have pauses where you can safely get a cast off and shift back to bear.  In general, if it’s a pause where you can stay still, Regrowth is your best bet, if it’s a moving pause, Rejuvenation. For a long pause, Tranquility is great.  For example, against Moroes, once you kill the adds, he’s quite easy if you shift out to drop a Regrowth every time he vanishes, which will nicely help counteract the bleed damage. 

Now, if it’s a boss who attacks with primarily magic attacks, then your armor’s useless anyway. In that case, healing spells + NI become a lot more vital.  I haven’t had a chance to try it, but I’d imagine you could macro a swap to a healing weapon to get extra spellpower, Regrowth+Rejuv, and go back to cat (which, if you have NI, buffs HOT’s by 20%).

Other Healing Stuff

Lifeward is a good situational enchant for trash, but doesn’t proc enough on a single target to be worth it on bosses. Blood Draining is good in theory, but the threshold to trigger it is too low for you to make optimum use of it with Frenzied Regeneration. I’d stick with the +agi from Mongoose. Likewise, it’s better to use Indestructible Potions for most fights, rather than health potions. Pot right before the pull then pot during fight gives you almost 4 minutes of extra armor.

Summary

Currently, though, we know that if we have glyphed SI and FR (and there’s not much other choice for bears, really) the boss must break 336 DPS (shown in Recount as DTPS) to overcome our healing ability. If the boss does 436 DPS, for example, then we have a -100 HPS delta, which means we have a TTL of 400 seconds, and must then kill the boss before that…and that’s where DPS stats come into play. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I break down mitigation statistics.

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What to do now?

Well, with Blizzcon wrapping up, what are your plans? I know the Old World revamp has me planning on doing a lot more old-world content; see if I can nab my Seeker and Loremaster titles, since I imagine those will change drastically. Anyone else have thoughts?

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Cherrypicking some things from the various panels to discuss…

Guild Improvements

  • 2o guild levels. Raiding/PVP/leveling/crafting/gaining rep/questing (basically anything) will add guild experience. Only top 20 earners count per day (so you can’t build a 1,000 member megaguild and ding 20 in a day)
  • Each guild level adds a guild talent point. Unlockable abilities in guild talent tree include lower/reduced reagent costs, increased gold drops, mass rez, mass summon. Guild talent tree will be respec’able (presumably by the GM)
  • Once guild dings 20, guild exp converted to guild points, which can be used as currency for guild items. Some things discussed: mounts, profession recipes, banners, cheap potions/reagents, heirloom items. All guild-items are linked to the guild and will be removed from a player if they leave the guild.
  • New guild  recruiting tool
  • Guild achievements (replaces some player achievements)
  • Can browse profession books of guildies
  • Guild news feed on Armory
  • Calendar can now be used to invite other guilds to raids
  • No guild hall. 😦

Like I said yesterday, I’m really blown away and pleased by this change. I think the guild experience is one of the better things I’ve experienced with WOW, and anything that reinforces that design is welcome. The dual design (everyone gets level 20 eventually, but only seriosu players get achievements) is definitely the way to go.

LFG Improvements (possibly implemented in 3.3)

  • Instances will be cross-server.
  • LFG leaders will receive some type of reward.

Wow! Not anticipating this one at all, but this fits perfectly with my current playstyle. Cross-server instances will help drastically with the early-morning groups I’ve been doing.  The whole “leaders get a reward” thing is cool in theory, but then you run into the “everyone wants to lead” problem…and most of those people won’t be great leaders. It’s nice to get some in-game appreciation though. 🙂

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Thanks to Lissanna with a very nice liveblog of the panel that I was following since work blocks MMOC for me </cry>

Mechanics Changes

  • MP5 removed. Regen now based off Spirit. Spirit removed from DPS caster gear.
  • Spellpower removed. Throughput now based off Intellect.
  • Attack power removed. Damage now scales based on Agility (leather/mail) or Strength (plate)
  • Defense removed. Crit immunity via talents.
  • Armor Penetration removed.
  • Haste now increases rate of energy/runes/rage/focus regen (Ret/Enh will be compensated somehow)
  • Block value removed; Block becomes a % mitigation stat.
  • Reforging added; crafters will be able to reallocate stat points on own and others gear, with limitations (can’t stack a stat)

Wow. Let that one sink in for a while.

Okay, I’m both excited and worried about this. This is obviously directed at a goal of 1 stat per concept. (STR= power, AGI= avoidance (and power for leather/mail), STA=health, INT= spellpower, SPI= regen.) While this makes things like gear balancing and such easier for the developers, it also reduces a lot of gearing complexity. I seem to remember a blue post from early in WOTLK that said that the devs used gear itemization as a balancing mechanism, and another that said choosing between AP, ArP, haste, crit, etc. was part of the fun/challenge of the game. They’ve obviously moved away from that. While I think the majority of the playerbase will appreciate the change, this really increases homogenization, and eliminates alternate gearing strategies. (For example, kitty druids now benefit most from +agi, but fully raidbuffed with the proper trinket, can benefit most from +ArPen.) Hopefully the complexity is restored with the mysterious  “mastery” system.  The reforging system is moderately interesting, but you know the best configuration will be quickly theorycrafted, and we’ll all end up there, so meh.

The haste change is welcome. That’s what haste is SUPPOSED to do, make you “faster.” Swing speed buffs aren’t really that noticeable; faster ability usage is. Thankfully, this should hopefully finally kill the idea of ability ‘rotations,’ and swing it over to priorities. Finally, I’m not in favor of the block change as currently stated. Block definitely needs reworking, as the flat damage reduction is terribly hard to balance. (As explained in much more detail by Kalon). Unfortuantely, with defense gone, block just sounds like a clone of armor at the moment.

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So, to kick off the Cataclysm discussion (I’ve been holding off until Blizz officially confirmed it, but MMO-Champion nailed it like usual), here’s a list of the discussion-worthy new features from the preview panel. Obviously, this isn’t a whole list, but I don’t think I need to explain that xpac = new monsters and raids. 🙂 All this is from wow.com’s liveblog…can’t exactly stream the panel from work.

Guild Levels

Guilds will now have a “guild level,” which is advanced by guild members performing different stuff. High-level guilds get access to perks, such as cheaper repairs/less durability loss and mass rezz. 

WIN. Sorry. I don’t usually devolve into Internet speak, but this has now become, IMHO, the biggest thing I’m looking forward to. While it won’t make much difference for high-end raid guilds (who will minmax it as another raiding buff, as always), this will really breathe life into more-casual guilds, and create more ties to prevent guildhopping. Looking forward to the details, but three questions spring to mind immediately.

1. How do you level the guild? If it’s a point/badge type system, which I expect, then any guild can eventually reach max level, it’ll just take time and persistence. If it’s an unlockable/achievement type system, then only skilled guilds will be able to max it. Either way, there will be conflict between  skilled guilds (who want guild achievements to demonstrate/differentiate their progress) and casual guilds (who don’t want to be shut out of perks).

2. What are the bonuses, and will they be required to raid? Hopefully, from what I’ve seen, Blizz is going down the convenience bonus path. I think this is vastly better then a character stat boost, which has to be then taken into account when balancing raids.

3. So, we have new phasing tech, and we have guild levels…WTB guild housing? I know, the topic’s been discussed to death, and I’m pretty sure we’ll never see player housing, but we’re so close to guild housing now. Tell you what Blizz; If customized guild housing isn’t possible, just make a single instanced “guild hall,”  (or non-instanced, if the phasing tech is usable) and let the guild levels be used to unlock a mailbox, repair NPC, bank access, etc. Stick one in SW and Org (or 1 in each main city if you get ambitious) and call it a day. I know you don’t want to put too much into a guild hall (don’t want to depopulate the main cities further…low levels like seeing high levels run around), but we really need some tangible rewards from this guild level thing.

Character Customization

Top level 85. No new talent tier, so just 5 more pts to invest in current trees. Talents depowered, new “mastery system” installed to do the +10% dmg bonuses and such. New progression path, Path of the Titans, leveled via new secondary skill, Archeology.

Well, we knew they’d have to get the spiraling gear levels under control at some point. I’d imagine that the gear reset will not be nearly as severe for the new expansion. The talent changes were unexpected, but this should (hopefully) make the trees much easier to balance, which frees up dev time. Can’t really say more until we see what the bonuses are. So far, I like the idea of the new progression path…reminds me quite a bit of EQ2’s AA system.

Azeroth Revamp

Flying available in Azeroth. Most zones reshaped/reworked to improve leveling experience.

This is a GREAT idea by Blizz, and it has all kinds of upside. Players like it–let’s face it, most players try to level as fast as possible to get out of Azeroth and into OL/Northrend, which is a shame. From Blizz’s perspective, though, they don’t have to use dev resources on a whole new continent, which makes things much easier. (Yes, they’ll probably have more TOTAL work to do, but much less initial design/prep.) This trick only works once, though…they won’t be able to get away with an “Outlands remodel.” 🙂

New Races: Worgen/Goblins

Not much to say that others haven’t already said. Worgen druids seem odd, but I’ll get used to it (druids are supposed to be friends to nature…does anyone see a werewolf as nature-friendly?).  Other than that, good all around.

Looking forward to what else drops from Blizzcon.

 

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Bell has a long post up about elitism at 4Haelz, which inspired this post.

First, /signed. Second, I understand completely where she’s coming from. As someone who has limited playtime, I like to maximize  what I can do in that time. Yesterday was good…two heroics in a bit under two hours (including a break while the daily popped). Day before; 1.5 hours in H Oculus, didn’t finish. Frustrating. Pretty much, here’s my standards:

  • Hardmode (not that I do them, due to time): Fully enchanted/gemmed/glyphed/flasked/foodbuffed (only the best), best gear possible, willingness to change out gearsets/talents for better raid buffs/composition, ability to stay out of fire 95% of the time, excellent skill at assigned role.
  • Prog raid: Fully enchanted/gemmed/glyphed/flasked/foodbuffed (second-tier enhancements okay), good gear, proper talents, ability to stay out of fire 90% of the time, good skill.
  • Farm raid: Mostly enchanted/gemmed/glyphed, reasonable talents, ability to stay out of fire 80% of the time, okay gear, okay skill.
  • Heroic: Don’t be bad, know that fire is not pretty.
  • All: Good attitude (or silence), ask questions if you don’t understand something, be reliable (random long afk’s are bad).

I don’t think those standards are elitist. Pretty much, if you don’t meet those standards, your raid will fail to complete the objective, which wastes everyone’s time and drains morale. The difficulty I’ve run into as a raidleader is telling people they don’t meet standards in a way that inspires them to get better, not quit.

On a related note, I also don’t really have a grudge against people who ask for overly high standards for PUG groups. (i.e. full Epic for Naxx, etc.). By doing so, you’re trading group formation time for a better chance that you’ll clear the instance, which is never a bad thing. I think it’s misguided (those groups usually never fill, and even when they do, half of them are either achievement fakers or people for whom gear != skill), but I’m not opposed.

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[Somewhat off-topic]

For those that don’t know, I work in military communications in the U.S. military. (Which is why I haven’t been posting recently; I’ve been working 12-14 hours/day for our major exercise.) This is a first, however; I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an article in Armed Forces Journal that references WoW. Check it out. (The WoW references are in the first few paragraphs, if you don’t want to read the whole thing.)

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