Monday, February 21, 2011

Statictics, pontification

For my information and to satisfy my curiosity, I went and made a list of the spread of Cata gearing categories by the number of individual specs [and total classes in brackets] that use it.

For the sake of a certain type of balance, I'm counting individual specs of pure DPS classes separately, and Feral Druid tank/DPS count as two.

LCD counts the total number of specs subgroups, to account for gear with "universal" stats which can be used by either sub-group. ie: for Int classes, gear with only crit, haste or mastery; for Str classes, gear with only hit, expertise or mastery.

Primary eight armour-class slots:

Cloth Int+Hit = 7 [3] \LCD 9 [3]
Cloth Int+Spirit = 3 [1] /
Leather Agi = 5 [2]
Leather Int = 2 [1]
Mail Agi = 4 [2]
Mail Int = 2 [1]
Plate Str+DPS = 5 [3] \LCD 8 [3]
Plate Str+Avoid = 3 [3] /
Plate Int = 1 [1]

Misc slots, neck, cloak, rings, trinkets*:

Misc Int+Hit = 9 [5] \LCD 14 [6]
Misc Int+Spirit = 7 [4] /
Misc Agi = 9 [4]
Misc Str+DPS = 5 [3] \LCD 8 [3]
Misc Str+Avoid = 3 [3] /

*trinkets tend to subdivide again due to either having no specific primary stat [or similar stat such as attack or spell power] or specifically benefiting and/or proccing from melee/damage/healing abilities.

Weapons and relics completely redraw the lines and divide classes so many times to the extent that some categories ended up being grossly underrepresented [-cough- Warrior ranged slot] in current content.

Let me have a go and see where I get. I might actually skip the division for spirit/hit and avoidance/DPS this instance to avoid the list becoming too [moreso] long and convoluted. I should be noted that this extra subdivision exists for every type of Intellect weapon, and every type of Str weapon except for shield.

I'm also going to skip "non-optimal" weapon setups such as caster Shaman using staves, Rogues using ranged and Hunters using every weapon in the game.
Int Staff =11 [4] Mage, Warlock, Priest, Druid
Int Dagger =13 [5] Mage, Warlock, Priest, Druid, Shaman
Int Mace = 6 [4] Priest, Druid, Shaman, Paladin
Int Sword = 6 [2] Mage, Warlock, Paladin
Int Offhand =11 [4] Mage, Warlock, Priest, Druid
Int Shield = 3 [2] Shaman, Paladin
Int Wand = 9 [3] Mage, Warlock, Priest
Int Relic = 5 [3] Druid, Shaman, Paladin
Agi Staff/Polearm = 5 [2] Hunter, Druid
Agi Axe/Mace/Fist = 4 [2] Rogue, Shaman
Agi Dagger/Sword = 3 [1] Rogue
Agi Ranged = 3 [1] Hunter
Agi Thrown = 3 [1] Rogue
Agi Relic = 3 [2] Druid, Shaman
Str 2H = 5 [3] Warrior, Death Knight, Paladin
Str 1H = 5 [3] Warrior, Death Knight, Paladin
Str Shield = 2 [2] Warrior, Paladin
Str Ranged/Thrown = 3 [1] Warrior
Str Relic = 5 [2] Death Knight, Paladin

So looking back, I tend to think the data kind of speaks for itself.

But, what more ridiculous conclusions can we draw from the above? Firstly, there is too much Agi gear in the game. It's mostly the nub classes the use it anyway, pretty much all raiding Hunters and Rogues [and most other pure DPS classes] have long since switched to the vastly more useful hybrid plate classes.

Concordantly, there are too few plate drops. Everyone is a plate class now, so there need to be more plate drops to gear them all.

Anything that's not a plate drop needs to be intellect gear. All healers use intellect gear, so right there that's 30% of your raid at bare minimum that needs this stuff. The only pure dps classes left these days are Warlocks and Demonology Warlocks [and the occasional Mage who for some reason never let go of his main since vanilla -- it's a statistical truth that nobody has rolled a mage since BC was released] so by my calculations that's about 60% of your raid that needs intellect gear, and they can't get it by DEing that horrible rogue trinket that drops three times a week.

Also, why are there no Enhancement Shaman any more? Back in Icecrown I raided as Enhancement and got the best gear in the game without trying because I had no competition whatsoever [going back to what I've been saying all along] and was regularly ranked as World #1 on WoL whenever the other Enhancement shaman didn't raid that week, not to mention the fact that it's the only melee DPS class in the game that's actually interesting to play. Also, it got buffed up the wazoo in early Cata, and I thought everyone loved playing overpowered classes.

In conclusion, either everyone needs to roll Enhancement Shaman, or alternatively we can just turn all the Agi classes into Str Plate classes for the next expansion and solve the problem that way.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Setting a precedent

We have some new anti-exploitation rules coming for the dungeon finder. Some good stuff in there, but the thing that especially caught my eye was:

If queuing as a group with a tank or healer, and the tank or healer drops group (or is kicked) soon after joining, those that queued with them will also be removed from the dungeon.

Now this is interesting. Is this the first time that tanks and healers have officially received special treatment by the game?

I completely understand the rationale behind this rule; I've exploited both sides of this "queue with a tank class" trick at various times, and it is very clearly an exploit in my opinion.

But this new by-law creates a situation where a DPS player's place in the group can be, albeit temporarily, completely dependent on a tank or healer. The game assumes that if you queue as DPS and there is a tank in your group, you are the leech, being carried by the tank. I have a lot of trouble agreeing with a system that blatantly profiles players like this.

Now that we have this official "admission" that tanks and healers are more important, I'm very interested to see whether it goes any further. I for one would love to see a weighted system, where the rewards scale with the demand for that role at that time. I don't care what the incentive is-- gold, points, rep, critter pets [hah, now that's a good idea]-- more is needed to offset the vast imbalance in supply/demand. Clearly queue length alone isn't doing it, and the imbalance isn't going to go away on its own.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Easily amused

Irrelevent "everything can be expressed in WoW terms" thing that amused me.

For want of the rating, the dodge was lost. For want of a dodge, the tank was lost. For want of a tank, the attempt was lost. For want of an attempt, the lockout was lost. For want of a lockout, progression was lost. For want of progression, the raid group was lost. And all for want of the rating.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roll Need [you idiot]

Here's an anecdote. At the weekend I did a lot of pugging on my Holy Pally to gear him up. Chime! Stonecore. Groan... I never have high expectations of Stonecore pugs, but then I noticed the other four in the group had matching guild tags, and that those matching players had several epics each. For the win.

When halfway through the run I am presented with a roll window containing a BoE Epic world drop worth approximately fifteen thousand gold on my realm, of course I wait to see how the others in the group roll, as I've learned too many times that rolling Greed early in a pug is the best way to get your loot Ninjad. So I wait. Twenty seconds pass without a word or a roll. Two people roll Greed, so far so good. The rest of us wait... the timer ticks down -- like a game of chicken. With seconds to go, the Warrior rolls Need. NOT ON MY WATCH. Needed! And it's mine.

"Ninja!" the party cried, knowing full well I had only followed the precedent set the by the Warrior before me -- the warrior who was their guild-mate. In fact I'm the one who should be outraged when he tried to ninja it. I quietly celebrated and prepared for the boss pull.

So what lesson can we learn from these shenanigans? [yes I like that word] The answer is: roll Need. You idiot. Ninjas exist, and playing by some made-up moral honor code in the wild anonymity of a pug is going to get you exploited. When everybody Needs, everybody is treated fairly. It's like the Prisoner's Dilemma but without any penalty for mutual defection. So please, save yourself some impotent outrage and just Need.

Now the only thing I have to figure out is if I was the last to roll and they did all Greed whether I would have then done the same. I suppose it's an interesting point in itself that in all the pugs I've done I've not yet had to make that decision...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Enjoyment, burning out.

[I wrote this about a week ago, but for some reason didn't get around to posting it.]

The beginning of January saw me pretty burned out on WoW, having spent the previous month spamming levelling, professions, Heroics, archaeology as well as a healthy dedication to AH shenaningans. It was all terribly efficient, because that's just how I play, but of course that kind of play lead to the stage where I didn't even want to look at another Heroic, Archaeology hit some major DR for the hours spent doing it, and as more people maxed their profession skill the AH markets became increasingly crowded with competition and I suddenly found no motivation to spend any extra time re-undercutting after the third of fourth time I got 90% of my listings back in the mail.

So I stopped playing. Sometimes WoW seems like a very all-or-nothing game, you feel like you play WoW or other games. If you have any min-maxing tendancies you end up acutely conscious of the inefficiency in missing any daily activities, and it can be a hard thing for some people to let go of. I know this feeling well, which is why I promised myself never to "play" the game purely in the name of efficient progression whenever I realise I'm not enjoying it any more.

As a [suspiciously relevant] aside, I would like to highly recommend the downloadable title Super Meat Boy. I didn't much care for it at first, finding the character control too fiddly. But silly me for thinking keyboard controls would suffice -- I plugged in a quality digital gamepad and suddenly that game was like refined platforming gold. It's really hard to accurately describe the fun of that game without making a drug simile. I just makes my brain happy.

Another aside: fucking sigh at nobody else ever tanking. I love tanking, don't get me wrong, but it's frustrating that any time I want to heal, or heaven forbid DPS, I have to wait between ten and thirty minutes just to get into the game. I think we need some kind of weighted system to shorten the DPS queue for the people who have done well more than their share of carrying nubs. The prospect of 30 minute queues for Randoms was a major factor in my decision not to level my Warlock to 85 at this time, and it makes me very sad that my fellow players have created this situation.

But back on topic, almost immediately I can feel WoW sinking its hooks into me again, and suddenly there is no shortage of things I want to do in-game and so little time to do them all... my completionist Engineer finally has a chance to get those once-a-year Lunar Festival rocket schematics; I'm starting to enjoy Heroics on my Warrior again and have my sights set on a second piece of T11; and I got a taste of raiding on my Moonkin last night, which has motivated me to actually get some decent gear on him... which of course means I'll end up tanking a bunch of Heroics because I don't want to wait for the DPS queue.

If there's anything I regret, it's not investigating the Tol Barad craze back at the beginning, or better yet, when win trading was providing ridiculous levels of honour. And those welfare 359 trinkets are very tempting, assuming I don't get bored with the grind before I get them. =)