How to choose Gear without a lot of Math

blackboard-equationA huge amount of the final stage of Warcraft is progression at end game. You can do dailies, or RP to your hearts content, but most players are trying to get the even diminishing returns that comes with improving their gear.

Knowing what gear you should be aiming for is critical; which requires understanding of stats and a bit of math.

Percentages of Ratings, tweaks in dps stats, and all sorts of figures and interrelated numbers that make the small but noticeable difference. Some awesome bloggers, forums, and webpages publish “Best in Slot” or “new to 80s” gear lists. Others even tell you where to find the upgrades. This is golden advice and very often easy to follow.

However if you want to verify an item, dig for what more subtle upgrades you need next, or even just qualify that what you have is reasonable; you’ll need a personal-gear-advice-slave, or some skill with a gear website.

Q. But what if you want to do it yourself, but fear the math?

A. Well you can read on to find out how I do a series of simple steps to create lists of items that are desirable. Teach a man to fish….etc. However the best results are gained if you embrace a little theory, and start crunching.

Warning: This is a long article.

Continue reading

Combat Stats Reporting

I’ve been looking at WWS for how my runs are performing, and by golly its good to use a tool to keep you honest. It saves on guessing about your input to a run, is a measurable way to see performance, and can be used to make all sorts of sharp value judgments on players (grin).

I’ve been able to:

  • see which fights have buffs and debuffs which affect performance
  • how much splash damage is done, and of what type
  • healers can see over-heal, aoe heal, or if a 3rd healer in 10 mans is always needed
  • track deaths, and particularly see what affect they have to the rest of the team

The free version’s reports only stay active for a week or so on WWS; but that is plenty of time to check-up / flex your e-peen. Certainly a better way to discuss the run afterward than just using impressions/hunches from all the players.

By way of practical example I was debating the difference between having Expertise 5 and 6.25, for my Death Knight. I compared a recent run in H Naxx with a run a while ago and  I can say without question that the extra expertise is the thing keeping my DK competitive. The increase from 5 to 6.25 was a bump in dps; and I’m pretty sure that hitting the magic 6.5 number will be a good thing. Although getting the extra 0.25 will be a pain on other stats at the moment.

World of Logs does the same thing, in a more graphical way. Same upload process, slightly different quirks. Its worth checking out both and see which you prefer. Out of the two I think I’ll use WWS for a while longer, then switch to WOL for a solid few months. Both give you all basics.

Go grab, review, and use:  http://www.worldoflogs.com/ and http://wowwebstats.com/

Mount Change in 3.2 – excellent

Apparently Patch 3.2 will lower the cost, increase the speed, and lower the level requirement for mounts.

Linkage via WoW.com, and the WoW Forums.

That is great; bring it on. Especially the speed increase for normal flyers. Nothing but win for anyone leveling at the moment. I’m happy about this even though I purchased normal riding yesterday on an alt. Continue reading

Noth’n Suss

Nothing suspect about a level 1 warrior pinging all classes and such. His name seems to be gibberish. Nothing at all. What strikes me as odd is how (after how easy the interface is) this guy couldn’t even use a macro properly. Fail.

noth'n sussSo hard to get good help these days. I reported him just to be sure, and at least that keeps his spam from interfearing with Topper and Miller’s spam.

Patch 3.1.3 – nothing huge

Looks like patch 3.1.3 is going live, and there is nothing huge in this for my Death Knight or Priest. Linkage to the wow.com site; go read. If not, well then this is a preview of what I think anyway.

My highlights are:

  • Death Knights – Frost Presence: Armor bonus is now 60% down from 80%. = Crap, but not the end of the world. Were DK tanks that good that it needed a full 20% reduction? Pfffft*
  • Death Knight PvP Gauntlets: The chance to refresh a Frost Rune when casting Chains of Ice has been removed. When equipped, these gloves now generate 5 additional runic power whenever Chains of Ice is used. = No idea, although it won’t be the last nurf attained by DKs in the pvp. Too many other folks hate’em too much. Frigging forums are still full of qq about DK powers, but then that is a WoW forum solid content item. I bet I can still find a nurf warlocks post somewhere in that pit of human depravity. **
  • Hunters – Hunter’s Mark: The ranged attack power bonus from this ability has been increased from 300 to 500. = Nice! Those pesky guns’n’ammo types will like an extra 200 AP. ***
  • Mimiron  – The flight time of Rocket Strikes has been increased, and Rocket Strikes will try to prefer players at range. = fair enough, that was tough on the melee.
  • Mimiron – The Leviathan Mk II component of the V-07-TR-0N**** will become stunned during Phase 4 when the VX-001 component begins to cast the P3Wx2 Laser Barrage ability. = dunno, only ever seen Phase 4 twice, and it was a total mess. Oh the humanity, the corpses, the overtly graphical violence. can’t wait to see it again. :)
  • Mimiron – Proximity mines now deal less damage and have a lower duration. A small arming time has also been added so proximity mines will not immediately detonate on creation. = nice update, but not gong to change how bad they can be if the players don’t forward plan a path out. Its a must do, but I’ve seen plenty of melee pull this off with no issues.

* The noise of me snubbing my nose with my tongue out at the rest of the community who whine about Death Knights.

** But oh please, waste all the bandwidth on “who is the best {class} on the server” or “@{playername} the ninja” posts. That never gets old.

*** Another class gets an adjustment, and there is no bad language. Note please this is the way to handle this; or at least not mention it officially (like the Warrior buffs – grats guys).

**** I’d kill Arthas, the new King of Stormwind, and several hundred cute baby seals for my own suit of Voltron armour in WoW. Give me a hero class of Goblin Mech-o-War. /drool, and we can use the sounds from the ABC Warrior in the Judge Dread film.

Pug Lessons Not Learned (rant)

My plan over the weekend was to put a few levels on my alt Hunter, get a heap more badges and stone keeper shards, and do some instances on my Death Knight and my alt Priest. Simple enough plan, but I did not count on the Dread-Pug-o-Fail.

Friday evening was nice and slow

Friday night was ok, in one run with some guys from an old guild (/wave Exile on Nagrand folks) we were lamenting how easy the heroics are now. We did heroic Violet Hold quickly, easily, with no deaths. The mobs and bosses died so fast it was like doing it on normal.

One mate and I lamented the easy mode, and both agreed that the new 5 man coming better bring a huge increase in difficulty. It was pretty close to be an elitist prick moment, but when you can rofl-stomp an instance that fast, you do get cocky.

Then Sunday made me humble

Again I queued up for heroic Violet Hold. Pug group this time, but they seemed ready. Most folks had a nice blue and purple mix of gear, and nobody was stacking the wrong stats. It looked totally doable.

First pull was a bit of a mess, as a few of the team were not quite ready, even after saying “r” in chat. We go through the motions, no deaths; shitty performance by a few but we continued. Portals 2-4 were ok with a slightly smoother approach and cleaner result; but the kills were still taking ages, and my average geared Shadow Priest was doing way too well on the damage meter. Then it all went to shit.

  • Just before portal 5 the Boomkin announced that he was needed for a raid and instantly de-grouped. I was surprised as I would have thought his sub 700 dps would not be needed for much except maybe a one way trip through Wailing Caverns.
  • During the kill of portal 5 mobs one of the other toons was skinning the last kills. Hey buddy, kill stuff now, yes? He did not respond when I asked if he was done.
  • Then the druid-tree healer announces that his Mom wants the computer so he has to logout. Um, wait, what? You thought the h-Vh was going to take 15 minutes?

I was aghast, and just standing thinking “great, incoming boss with 2x missing dps and a healer who only had 15 minutes to begin with”. Pug runs shit me. Had I not spent the swear jar money, there would be more coins flying into it.

So I guess I’ve not learned my lesson about pugs yet. I still expect players to be considerate, on time, and communicate. Pug players it seems are still totally too casual and do not consider it inappropriate to waste other people’s time.

I will still try to approach Pugs with optimism, but I now use a mod that tracks the toons I’ve grouped with; and allows me to up and down rank them. This means that my optimism will eventually be tempered with a statistical body of knowledge on who is a total waste of oxygen.

If I meet Captain-Boom-Less, Mr-No-Heals-Mom, or AFK-w-Skinning I will know, and drop group immedietley.