Posts tagged “Theorycrafting

Back in business? Maybe

megaera25

Sorry for the … uh what shall we call this. I don’t want want to say this blog is dead, though it rather was for a while. When your warlock blog becomes a series of writing rants or posts about how your guild is recruiting, it might fit the bill of mostly dead. It’s not all-dead, because there’s only one thing you can do with all-dead.

Speaking of recruiting, my guild is 5/12 N on 25-man as of last night. We finished off T14 as 4/16 25H. We’re a bit full at the moment, though being full never lasts for long. At this point I think we’re looking for an awesome mage or warlock to fill it out. We’re trying to add a third night to our 25man schedule, so being able to raid at least 2 of 3 nights — Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday — is something you need to be able to do. Preferably a Sunday night since that’s the added day and our raiders are already used to showing up for W & Th.

I should update our kill pictures and other things on my guild page, but I have other things I’m doing. Have a screenshot.

megaera25

Back to the blog.

Writing Blood Pact basically just meant that everything I wanted to talk about warlock-wise went there. For one, it’s paid over there and not over here, but for two, I also felt a little guilty if I wanted to take a topic over here, even if I thought it was too long/big to discuss over there. I just kept telling myself that it was writing practice, to work on my tendency to filling space with needless words.

But, writing for Blood Pact is highly public, and since I am The Warlock Columnist with all the capital letters of importance, any misstep I make is blown out of (or just into bigger) proportion instead of what happens when a random blogger missteps in her own corner of the internet. There’s not much room to learn, unless I try to do it with the creative side instead of with the actual facts.

Also, hi, I’ve been the warlock columnist at WoW Insider for a year now and I haven’t died yet. Go me. Insert joke about knocking on a tree druid without somehow sounding perverse.

Moving on, I’m trying to learn from my lessons there. I’m going to explore doing fun projects or topics, researching before I write this time, and then trying to not sound/read like a school paper summary on the topic. But to support that, I need space to muse and go in the wrong directions of the maze despite all the hate the internet gives you when you dare to do something suboptimally. Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Well, OK, you can read textbooks all you want and do experiments by yourself, but I think you get more out of learning when you do it with someone else, conversing about it.

Doing my own little projects is a thing I having really done since high school. Oddly enough, my depression and anxiety issues really started get in my way around then, too. Maybe coincidence — I’m sure I haven’t been taking care of myself as well as I should now that I’m on my own and have no parents to schedule things for me. But I have found myself less angry and less agitated in general when I create outside of pure research writing, which is what most of Blood Pact and boss guides for the guild have been. When I creatively write, whether fiction or poetry, or when I draw or when I try to organize gear or strategies or transmogs together, then I seem to find my inner peace more often.

So I’m going to go in that direction and hope it takes me closer to my mountain. I feel like I don’t know where my mountain is. Some days I’m surrounded by trees, so it’s a nice view, but I can’t see my mountain. Sometimes, much like last week and rather most of 2013 so far, those trees are thorns and I’m all out of swords.

So here’s to CFN and  some theorycrafting pursuits that are hopefully not as incorrect or misled as I think they probably will be. (Maybe some toon roleplay? Maybe.) FC is going to stop trying to be fancy pants warlock who is always perfect and just go back to being my personal space, where often warlock things will happen.


My Gearsheet

Inspired by the Blueberry Totem post about how much BS is in “BiS lists.”  I agree, so I’m going to show you my own Excel spreadsheet of items for my own PvE gearset.  It’s not really a BiS list; in my view, it’s more of a source list than anything.  I encourage you to make your own; I’m just showing you mine (& possibly how I make mine).

I double-checked with people (via Twitter) whether uploading my own Excel sheet would be useful or not.  General consensus was people will use it just to tweak their own sets, so it’s meh if not useful.  I then commented the crap out of my Excel sheet, so putting a minimal FAQ (by worksheet) here.

If you have questions or comments, just comment on this post. More-tag time.


To Beta or Not To Beta

…actually, I think, Gazimoff already did this title.

Nope! SCORE!

Anyway, World of Raids is looking for some bloggers to take some beta keys and I was tempted.

(Well, actually, I ended up posting anyway, but I’m still not sure of myself.)

I think it was temptation.  I thought “Ooooh!” because they specifically mentioned DKs, Druids, and Warlocks, and I’m at least one of those three.  But then I thought about why I wanted the key. Just to experience new content now rather than later?  Or to actually test the material?  I think I would test anyway, and I try my best to give constructive feedback when it’s wanted, but I’m not sure of myself.

Audience

For one, I’m a small blog.  That is, I hit 50 views on a good day.  (I haven’t gotten any beta scams in my email box, either.)  It’s okay, for the most part, I’m writing more for me than for large swathes of trolls (and gnomes and draenei and…) to give me attention.  So it’s not like me making a post about warlock mechanics in beta build XYZ is going to make much of a bang.  Most likely warlocks are already following the beta-goers posting in the Warlocks’ Den or reading Jagoex in Blood Pact on WoW.com.

Jagoex is really good, too.

Then there’s Nibuca, whom I once dubbed the Queen of Affliction.  She updated the affliction warlock part of Raider101.  I’d write a good long draft on some 3.3 cool thing, she’d post, and I’d see that her post was both better and clearer (more succinct?) than mine ever was.

So my being in the beta would only go so far if I can’t bring the beta to the community through my blog.

Specs

Don’t know much about pyrology,

Don’t know much demonology,

Don’t know much about Molten Core,

Don’t know what a Conflagrate‘s for.

But I do know that I love you,

And I know that if you love me, too,

What a shadowy world this would be.


Now I don’t claim to be some wiz Eee Jay,

But I’m tryyyying to be.

So maybe by being an Eee Jay beta

I can win your key for me.

That is how the song goes, right?

Theorycrafting & Class Guides

I’m not EJ-technical.  I try to understand the mechanics behind my spells.  I even practice it on a dummy for hours.  But the EJ how-to’s are a) stuck in BC, and b) written for people who already understand the mechanics.

In a word, they’re useless.

I’ve wanted to write a How To Be a Good Warlock series for a while.  I’ve been told in-game I’m a “good warlock.”  Whether that means I do uber DPS (prolly not) or that I simply take my healers into consideration and don’t Life Tap myself to death, I still consider myself pretty knowledgeable about affliction warlockery.  I want to share it.

But.

It’s late Wrath.  I got into the blogging game late, too. I do more lurking in forums than I do posting, mainly because I don’t feel as knowledgeable as those who were there since Vanilla.  Not to mention there are so many points of view I could be talking on, it’s hard to write a non textwall without generalizing and having it read wrong.  I feel like all I want to say has already been said before and I’d get laughed at for reiterating something so basic.  Even with all the PUG horror stories out there.

In Cataclysm, everything’s being changed.  I’m in the starting gates right now.  I haven’t been out on the practice track, but I’m ready for the race.

I Love To Tinker

When my dad and I played Baldur’s Gate or Myst or Might & Magic, we’d first do it blind.  Maybe we used paper and pencil to write down the puzzle codes in-game or whatever, but we wouldn’t use any walkthroughs or maps or guides that didn’t come in the box.  We’d beat the game au naturale first, and then we’d go back and God-mode the heck out of it.

I’ve been leveling my alts without heirlooms.  I find it more fun that way, having to actually struggle against appropriate-level quests and actually using quest rewards that are actually better than what I’m wearing.  I love making my own talent spec while leveling, never looking at a talenting or glyphing guide until I’m cap level.  I like reading the quest text and exploring my way there instead of immediately Wowheading it for the coordinates.

I actually like making the trip back to the quest giver instead of having a turn-in in-the-field.  *cough*  Makes for strategic hearthstone setting.

I like exploring.

I think I have the right mindset for beta testing.

But I’m not quite confident enough to say I would be great for it, to add to the beta forums or the community well.

I feel like a minnow.


Cata’ stats a’changing

Eyonix has posted information about the stat changes in Cataclysm on the forums.  I’m excited because it means totally revamping most or all of the theorycrafting formulae, so I finally get to see first-hand how these numbers and stat weights come about as we all try to do it again.  I plan to spend somemore lurkage on Elitist Jerks to figure out how exactly the pros will figure this out.

However, I’m pretty sure most players don’t care about the math and really wish it would go away.  That’s why they’re changing the stats, right?  Math or no math, it’s going to affect how you play in Cataclysm versus how you play now in Wrath.  So let’s go through these notes as fellow affliction warlocks.  I’ve also included some of the blue posts further down the thread that I think are relevant points.

What you’ll see on gear

Stamina – Because of the way we will be assigning Strength, Agility, and Intellect, non-plate wearers will end up with more Stamina than before. Health pools will be much closer between plate-wearers and other classes.

More stamina means less dying to stupid mechanics like fall damage.  Does anyone else remember having a health minimum (with Fortitude included) in order to do Malygos as a cloth-wearer because of the Vortex and its subsequent fall damage?  Or, as everyone was just beginning to hit 80 and do the heroics, being the only clothy in an all-plate group (pally healers!) and being told to stay in on Loken’s Nova?  More importantly, more stamina means more mana via life tap, and less chance to life tap yourself to death.

Spirit – Come Cataclysm, this stat should only be found on healing gear. Non-healing casters will have other systems in place to regenerate mana, and we are designing special solutions for Elemental shaman and Balance druids who often share gear with healers (more on this below). Raid buffs that currently boost Spirit (such as Blessing of Kings) will only boost the primary stats of Stamina, Strength, Agility, and Intellect. We are also likely changing the five-second rule and other quirks of the current regen system.

Any warlock worth their salt isn’t going to care really about the mp5 you get from Spirit.  Why?  Because we life tap.  And what about life tap? Oh, it has a glyph.  That scales with…spirit.  Like Fel Armor.

Yes, but what about warlocks, who get a bonus to SP based on Spirit when they have the armor buff up? Will that spell and buff be reworked as well?

Eyonix: It seems so. I would remind players who are focusing on individual talents and abilities to remember that we’re going to be doing a major redesign on all talent trees. So fear not, these changes are meant to work in conjunction with the design of each class come Cataclysm.

But Blizz has us warlocks covered. I figured they would change the spirit scaling to something like intellect scaling, since intellect will be reigning over spellpower.  But Eyonix goes further and reminds us that the talents will be majorly redone, so Life Tap and Fel Armor may not be what we currently know them as. Currently for affliction warlocks, Fel Armor is not affected through talents, and Life Tap’s only effect is whether you get 0/10/20% more mana return.

Will reforging become available when the stat changes come into effect?  Or will my gear with spirit on it become trash until it does?

Eyonix: Your gear won’t have spirit on it as a mage when Cataclysm hits.

So they *better* redo Fel Armor and Glyph of Life Tap.  Otherwise those will be worthless.

Intellect – Intellect will now grant Spell Power (more on this below). Intellect will also provide less mana than it currently does.

So we want lots of +int. Unfortunately, this means we will have to love mages for their buff.  Ewwwww, mages.  :)  Even though we have Fel Intelligence via the felhound, Arcane Intellect is more powerful.  I suspect that a lot of the enchants will be converted into the equivalent intellect, since there are a lot of spellpower enchants and few intellect ones.

Haste is changing its meaning for melee classes, but it will stay the same for us.

Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.

What makes affliction cool and unique? DoTs.  Curses.  Drains.  Self-buffing debuffs like Haunt, Shadow Embrace.  Fluid double conversion of health and mana.  I feel like the concept is still too nebulous to ponder about, so I’ll talk about it more when Blizz talks about it more.

Armor – The way Armor mitigates damage is not changing, but the Armor stat has been rebalanced to mirror changes to the armor curve in Cataclysm. As a result, bonus Armor will go down slightly overall. We are also changing the mitigation difference among armor types so that plate doesn’t offer so much more protection than mail, leather, and cloth.

Have I mentioned that I hated an all-plate group telling me to stay in on Loken’s Nova?  But, as most healing blogs have already pointed out, this just means not having to prioritize raid-healing cloth-wearers over plate-wearers.

I don’t care about resilience because I don’t PvP as a warlock.

Hit will stay the same in meaning.
Crit will stay the same in meaning.

Stats being removed from items

Spell Power – Spell Power is another stat that you’ll no longer see present on most items. Instead, as mentioned above, Intellect will grant Spell Power. One exception is that caster weapons will still have Spell Power. This allows us to make weapons proportionately more powerful for casters in the same way they are for melee classes.

I’m a little confused.  Why not just put a crapton of intellect on the weapon?  How does a stat you’re removing from gear make it easier to scale it better than the one you’re going to be using?

Stats you’ll never see again…ever

We never really cared about mp5 anyway.

Spell Ranks – Spell ranks will cease to exist. All spells will have one rank and will scale appropriately with level. The levels at which you can learn certain spells are being changed in order to fill in some of the gaps, and we will be introducing some new spells to learn along the way as well.

So, finally, all those jackasses who won’t turn off their Rankwatch, citing you should just leave the dungeon/battleground now to go train one flipping rank…Rankwatch will be dead.  However, using lower ranks is useful sometimes. I’m talking about Life Tap Rank 1 (~600 health to mana).  I don’t Life Tap Rank 8 (3.3k health to mana) when the fight starts, because I just want the glyph buff.  I also use it sometimes when I just need the glyph buff to reset but the raid is/I am taking a lot of damage, because I like to not piss off my healers by making the damage worse.

So uh, sorry healers, whenever spell ranks go away.  You might hate warlocks.  Again.  Also, it was pointed out later on about things like mage food utilize different ranks.

How will this work with summon food and water? These items have level limits. How will a mage be able to create the lower level items with ranks gone?

Ghostcrawler: There won’t be a way or need to cast the lower level spells. If you’re just worried about losing the flavor of croissants vs. strudel, we’re keeping that. At some point you’ll just start making the better breads.

Ghostcrawler, I think you’re missing the point of the question.  Like say you’re in SM:Armory, you’re level 35, so you can use Healthstone (lvl 34 min), no big deal.  But the healer is level 33.  Oops.  But with this new system, you can’t create a Lesser Healthstone (lvl 22 min).  Is it just going to scale depending on who is eating it, à la heirloom gear?  Or will level 34s get the same food as level 85s?

Weapon Skill – This stat will be removed from the game completely. Classes will start with all the weapon skills they need to know and will not need to improve them.

So Master or Arms and Did Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich? will become Feats of Strength?  Future warlocks won’t have excuses to go banish an elemental into a punching bag?  Awwww, come on… Way to go, Blizz, taking the cap-level toon’s only legit reason to run Stockades in the nude.  Now we’ll just have to be silly. :P

What else you should know, stats-wise

Combat ratings – All ratings will be much harder to “cap out” at maximum gear levels. Ratings will be steeper in Cataclysm, and creatures in later tiers of content will be harder to hit or crit, similar to how level-83 mobs are harder to hit or crit than level-80 mobs.

Ratings will be steeper?  So I won’t still be hit-capped in my tier-10-esque gear when I raid at 85?  I’ll need MORE? Good GAWD, Blizz, how much more could I possibly need?  On the serious side of things, this means you need more crit rating and haste rating to cap those respective combat traits.  I figure healers will be freaking out more about the haste conversion rate.  But, I for one will be having fun seeing what popping my haste trinket and/or a haste potion during Heroism will reduce me to.

Reforging – While these changes will go a long way to making a wider variety of stats more attractive, we understand that sometimes you simply don’t want more Hit Rating on your gear or you’d rather have more Haste than more Crit. In Cataclysm, we are going to give players a way to replace stats on gear as part of the existing profession system. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll be able to convert one stat to 50% of another stat. While some conversions (like converting Stamina to Strength) won’t be permitted, the goal is to let you customize your gear more.

So…that umpteen +hit you have?  Convert it to haste. Or crit. Of course, the question isn’t really how much your Pawn scale is going to freak out every time you replace a slot, it’s whether you can only convert all or none of a stat to 50% of another.  This will come up when you need X +hit to be capped, but your only gear choices are X – 13 +hit or X + 17 +hit.  So you’re still going to be either gemming/enchanting for hit or being overcapped with a useless stat. Bwuh.  But the Haste to Crit or Crit to Haste will be nice.  I think they’ll limit it to the “green” stats, though. Otherwise we’d have casters with very little health but ungodly amounts of intellect/spellpower.

Gems – We are changing the gem colors of a few stats as a result of these adjustments. For example, Hit is likely to be blue instead of yellow. We’ll have more details on this in the future.

Currently, warlocks favor reddish sockets, because spellpower is a red gem stat.  If they convert spellpower into the equivalent intellect, well…you have red gems with intellect and…yellow gems with intellect.   BWUH?  So yeah, the colors are going to change. If intellect stays yellow, then warlocks will favor yellow, green, and orange gems.  If intellect switches to red, in order to replace spellpower, then our gem choice will hardly change, with the exception of spirited gems like Purified Dreadstone, since spirit will be gone and useless.

Changes to existing gear

If you are a DPS caster, expect to see:

    • A lot more Stamina.
    • All of your Spell Power converted to Intellect and Stamina.
    • No Spirit. You won’t miss Spirit, though, because you won’t need it for DPS or mana regen.

No surprise, given the rundown of stat changes.  Though, it mentions stamina, not only intellect, as being a spellpower holder. Given this information, stamina might be the new spirit for warlocks (spellpower modifier for things like Fel Armor).  You know, kind of like for cats, strength gives +2 attack power and agility gives you +1 attack power.  So there might be a similar intellect/stamina conversion for spellpower. Which means all that food and all those gems that have +stam at the end?  Ohhhhhh yeahhhhh.  Om nom spellpower.

If you are a healer, expect to see:

    • …Spirit instead of MP5. You’ll probably be happy with Spirit, though, because mana regen is going to matter more than it does currently. Healing paladins and shaman will benefit more from Spirit than they do currently.

If you are a Balance druid or Elemental shaman:

    • Your gear will have Spirit on it. It won’t have Hit on it.You will have a talent that converts Spirit to Hit.
    • We will adjust talents accordingly so that you want about as much Spirit as, say, a warlock wants Hit.
    • Hit on rings and other such gear will still benefit you.

So, the leather-wearing boomkin or mail-wearing elly won’t be snitching any cloth caster gear from you, because they will want totally different stats, which won’t be on your armor type. However, class-indifferent items like rings and neck pieces will still have stats they want, so we will still be competing will all casters on those slots.

Is there any way that we poor poor clothy dps casters can get some kind of assurance that we won’t have to compete with boomkins/ele shamans for our cloth gear once they hit their spirit/hit gear cap?

Ghostcrawler: There is a small Mastery bonus for wearing “your” gear. So a Balance druid who takes cloth will be essentially giving up free stats. Sometimes that may be worth it to them (just as sometimes it’s worth it for a Resto druid to take that piece of +hit gear), but often times it won’t be worth it especially if it’s an upgrade for you.

Healers won’t want +hit, and we won’t want their important spirit, but there may be some crossover anyway, especially with reforging coming into play. So we will both want the same piece of gear, but likely for different reforging reasons.

In summary

No more spellpower; instead, tons of intellect will be wanted.  We will have a lot more stamina, and possibly spellpower from said stamina.  The hit cap will go up again.  We will still love haste, probably, and crit too.  Spirit and mp5 will be gone, and mana regen will be implemented in talents.  But warlocks life tap anyway.  But our talents are being majorly redone, so Life Tap may change completely.

Mastery is focused on playing with your class and spec’s unique coolness, so I expect something along the lines of conversion of stats into damage or interesting curses or buffs to DoTs or more things that happen when we drain.  We also can’t forget the revamp of soul shards, and how they will play into buffing our spells during combat.

There are a few concerns regarding the disappearance of spell ranks, but this is more for convenience than an actual issue.

We get to celebrate sharing only cloth gear with other clothies, though with reforging stats, we might still have crossover items.  So same old, same old.

In summary, not much change on the clear horizon, lots of change on the fuzz horizon.  But I don’t yet see any major QQ points.

Fellow warlocks, your thoughts on the stats changes in Cataclysm?


Theorycrafting Spree/Rage

Theorycrafting post.  Because Nibuca said so.  The reason I started theorycrafting was because I like puzzles and it’s one big fucking puzzle.  Fucking is an accurate term because it fucks with your mind.  Honestly, just trying to read Elitist Jerks makes my head hurt.

The resistance mechanics thread, for example.  They just go straight into graphs and mathy shit.  Meanwhile, every time I see the word resistance, my brain shouts, “resistance of WHAT, goddamnit.  SPECIFIC PLEASE,” but no…apparently using words r 4 n00bz.  It would be amazing if every EJ thread explained stuff like Dwarf Priest did.

NUMBERS MEAN SHIT WITHOUT CONTEXT.  WTF, EJ.  I mean, they do go into theorycrafting theory (meta-meta-gaming?), but most of those articles are stuck in Burning Crusade.  So I end up using some combination of WowWiki, EJ, and my own warlock with a training dummy.  Because I’m paranoid and anal that articles without obvious dates may be out of date, so I have to test it myself.

Anyhoo.

My main goal is trying to figure out how people come up with gear stat weights, because every once in a while I have two pieces of equal ilvl gear (i.e., tier vs. non-tier) and I can’t quite tell which piece is more awesomer by just looking at it.  Also running something through Rawr comes up with a different answer than LootRank which is different from in-game Pawn.  WTF which one is it?  Since I’m paranoid and anal about scores without knowing how you get that score, I wanted to see how they get to such numbers like Pawn.

There’s a crapton of sites that rank your loot.  And lots of stat weights. Like, everywhere.  But there’s apparently no article whatsoever on HOW to get those numbers.

Pissed Poneria is pissed.

I mean, yeah, you can do the whole “oh, you make it equal to dps, like this much spellpower makes this much dps, and this much haste makes this much dps.”  It’s still a number…without how you got to that…

-.- wtb explanations of equations…PWITEE PLZ.

Sooooooooo…I’m starting from the basics.  Like spell power coefficients. I used to think spell power coeffs where WHOA complex.  They are CAKE.  Well, the direct damage and damage over time spells, anyway.  EJ & WowWiki differ on how to do channeled/leech spells, and the #s didn’t match up with a patch 3.2 Drain Soul ANYWAY, so I can’t do DS, because I don’t know what the flip it is.  I could use a dummy, yes, but the heroic boss dummy has a metric fucktonne of health, for a good reason, and it was at 95.4% last I tried. X(

And then I was thinking about how much spellpower affects your dps, just on maybe a simple spell like Shadow Bolt.  Which was cool, because, assuming it’s just me & no buffs, it’s just the talent multiplier * (avg base damage + spell_coeff*spellpower).

And then I thought…damage per second…do you count a direct damage spell like SB as all that damage in one second?  How does Recount do it?  Well, Recount takes your total damage and your total time and does a simple division.  It’s how AoE skews Recount.  When does time start? When you enter combat.  Okay, if you cast a SB before your DoT rotation (the favored optimal rotation), then yeah, the second the SB hits the target, you are in combat, and you deal all that damage.  But the normal use of your SB, time is already ticking when you start your CAST.

And then there’s the travel time of the bolt.  (Haunt also has a travel time.)

So that’s what…your cast time, plus…something.  I tested it out on my lock: max range with the dummy, it took about 2 “one thousands” to hit the dummy.  Decent-ish range is 1s worth of travel time.  So the longest time it would take is your cast time + 2s.  I use the longest time because the longest time creates the lower limit of dps (because dps = damage / time).  So…math…

dps = dmg / time

time = cast time + 2s

dmg = talents * (base + spell_coeff*spellpower)

dps_SB = (897.9 + 1.04726*sp) / (cast + 2)

But your haste affects your cast time.  So if you have more haste, then your cast time is less, which makes the sp more oomph.

And my mind just got blown at how your haste affects your spellpower importance.  It might be obvious or even just wrong reasoning (but explanations are WELCOME!), but my mind exploded and I had to stop there.

Mind being blown -> o_O face.

But I thought some more about haste and rotations.  I figured haste’s importance is you do your “debuff” rotation (aka, get all the debuffs up), and then more haste just means more SBs you can fit in, right?  But then I went to go test it.  You don’t just go: LTr1 > Haunt > UA >Corr > CoA > SB > SBxn > Haunt > UA > CoA > SBxn > Haunt, etc.

You do something more like: LTr1 > Haunt > UA > Corr > CoA > SB > SB > Haunt > SB > UA > SB > SB > Haunt > SB > LT > CoA > SB > UA…you weave in SBs with your DoTs and Life Tapping.  So it’s more complicated than just more SBs.

Bwuh.  My brain hurts.  Will try again later.


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