WoW sub stats published – Unsurprisingly Downward

I know reading about World of Warcraft subscriptions is more click bait and flame war material, but I can’t help be interested. The stats show a clear downward trend in subscriptions, and I find that obvious.

Without new content the player base leaves, and it has been a long time since new content has been put into the game. Further the community has been told that it will be a while to go before the Warlords updates, which acts as a negative incentive to keep subscribed during the quiet time. Wrath was the game’s peak, but The Burning Crusade added a huge amount of players to the game.

Graph of subscriber numbers, via MMO Champion

Graph of subscriber numbers, via MMO Champion

At 6.8 million accounts the game is back to subscriber numbers from the Original release. Warlords will be the 5th expansion for WoW, and any gamer or marketer will know that holding interest over ten years and 4 previous expansions is difficult. Continue reading

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Team Robot WoW Sim is interesting

A useful dps tool, for those who hate to theorycraft with a calculator

A useful dps tool, for those who hate to theorycraft with a calculator

Quick post to say go check out the web based dps app called Team Robot WoW Simulator. Easy to use, and quick to config, and if you dig through the rotation and buff settings it might show you how it considers an optimised setup to be configured.

Its neat.

What I found particularly useful is the part in the rotation setup where you can alter the latency on your connection. The default is 150ms, which is ungodly fast to an Australian. I run around 450-600 most times, and can have upward of 800 sometimes.

I used this to test the affect of a highly latent connection on what the maximum dps scores are. As you’d expect the more latency the lower your dps, but what I found really odd was that once I was over 500-600ms latency, the dps really starts to drop a little more.

So figure that the latency is increasing the delay beween actions, and this in turn makes the response on abilities worse. What I didn’t expect was that after about 700ms it seemed that Unholy presence would actually be slightly better than Blood presence for dps. What the hell?

I don’t quite get if this is a quirk in the tool, a real game affect, or just some strange attribute that pops up. You’d think this would have to do with the affect on the global cool down, but not sure that it would work. Anyone heard of this before?

Tank Tool – Need more Threat Per Sec?

mortigen-tank80How do you evaluate a Tank’s performance in raids? How do you know what abilities are generating threat for you by fight, or if you should prioritise one type of hit/strike more than another? I know I could read and take the words of the forums as gospel, but that is operating on hearsay rather than proof. And when tanking I think knowing something is working is better than assuming it is working.

A stats tracker for Threat Per Second (tps) is damn mandatory for tanking, and a god send for me.

Post raid analysis is where I do most of my planning for upgrades and shifts in style. I know I’m arriving late in the process in terms of Tank review resources, and this might be common knowledge amongst the Masters and Slayers*, but hey a little education can go a long way. When I last tried my hand at Tanking in tBC I had the time and tolerance of guild-folks to work out what was a good approach was, which powers were mandatory, and what tanking style to use. Back in the day I was a Paladin tank, so many of the AoE abilities were so strong that real threat generation was only a big limitation when the dps were well geared and unloaded straight away, or the fights changed dynamics quickly mid-fight.

Now that my Death Knight is tanking more, I am almost at a loss for which abilities and what style to use. Charge like a Warrior or Bear? LOS + Consecrate like a Pally?

DK feels similar to a Paladin, except that the AoE grab abilities are using the same resources as the strikes, which means having a sixth sense on what runes are up when really helps. I love the fact that Death Knights can rush in, have a great AoE tool in DnD, and can grab mobs from many yards away to get them back in control. So to justify my tanking, I went looking for a TPS tool. And by golly I found something good:

http://rehfeld.us/wow/tps/ by Bagelbite

What makes this tool really damn swanky is that it parses data from WWS and creates a simple html report. You can see what abilities are doing what percentage, and what overall TPS you’re achieving.

How to:

  1. Generate a WWS report as normal. Get it hosted like you always do.
  2. In WWS click through to the fight, or full report you want to inspect.
  3. Select the tank you wish to review threat for, so that the abilities they used are listed instead of the default raid report.
  4. Copy the URL and paste it into the TPS generator
  5. All done! Read, consume, argue, rant, etc.

A basic bitch I had with WWS is that it does not show generated threat, but then its free so you can only complain a short while before its tired and pointless (kind of like develop it myelf or shut-up). With the combination of this tool along with Wow Web Stats the threat analysis is pretty solid.

The Tankspot folks and resources rock, especially Bagelbite who created it. Here is a sample pic:

threat-report-sampleNow onward to tanking some runs, to reduce the noob quotient. If WWS would pay / gift Bagelbite and add his report into the tabs of WWS, that would be just peachy.

What else do folks use for TPS and Tank performance? What else is out there?

* off-topic: In an effort to change what M&S means from what Gevlon had popularised.

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/