A demo warlock Warcraft Logs parse-reading

Get it? It’s a demonology warlock raid parse comparison but also an example warlock comparison using Warcraft Logs? It’s a demo warlock raid parse comparison!

Puns aside, I see Warcraft Logs introductions, and they usually show how to upload a log and then “hey, it makes pretty graphs and is a pretty powerful tool,” and then never goes any further. Perhaps it shows off the tools — look, you can make pins! and here are all the things you can do with pins! — but the guides I’ve seen that aren’t actual walkthroughs of a raid parse specifically meant to improve a specific person often just stop with the abilities of Warcraft Logs rather than what you should do with them.

Handing someone a full toolbox doesn’t automatically make them a skilled carpenter. The information sitting in the powerful & useful tool that is Warcraft Logs is still overwhelming to the casual raid parse reader, because they don’t know what to do with all of it.

However, I haven’t quite figured out how to generally write or make a guide that explains why to use a pin or a graph or a table or the replay to judge J Random General DPS Concept. Why? — It’s very specific per spec and per fight, even per attempt depending on what you’re doing, and even per question depending on what you want from it all. Trying to anticipate all the questions is just overwhelming by itself and hardly solves any of the overwhelming feeling.

The only part I’ve been able to figure out is that reading a parse is not so much about bringing a checklist of frequent problems to see if any apply to you. Reading a raid parse efficiently is more about bringing your knowledge about your spec, your class, and the specific encounter to the raid parse and critically applying that knowledge to the various results you have in the graph/table/chart/replay.

You have to already have questions or possible reasons why you didn’t do so great when you come to the parse, and the parse will help you answer those. The parse doesn’t magically conjure answers for you — you have to already be looking for them.

To start figuring out how to write a guide for reading a raid parse in order to better yourself, I recorded my own, where I compare myself as a demonology warlock to another demonology warlock who did better DPS on this one fight than I did.

First off — I’m sorry, I didn’t realize the resolution was that terrible until it was already uploaded & processed on Youtube. Which took multiple hours (because, well, it’s an hour-long video itself). And I didn’t feel like redoing it. Sorry. It’s probably actually because I recorded it at some low setting. It’s clearest to read in the smallest player, but I think it’s fine, since it’s mostly the graph shapes/animations that I’m focusing on, not the text.

My video is actually uncut as well as unscripted. I figure this is better so you can see me meander through all the different tabs, discovering new information and arriving at new conclusions organically rather than me telling you what to look for. I use myself as the worse warlock, so I’m only embarrassing myself in particular, not anyone else. And it’s also part of my after-raid homework to log-dive my own logs like this.

I was very, very tired when I recorded it — insomnia is never fun, and you’ll hear me yawn a couple times — so I actually make quite a few obvious knowledge mistakes. I usually catch myself, but there are others that are there that I now facepalm myself at. Sorry! When I’m writing articles, I am actually awake and actually remember things like Grimoire of Service is 2-minutes not 1-minute, and realize that the guy has higher DPS overall instead of just having a higher opener. The intent of the video is less to show off how bad I am at demonology and more that, hey, look, I’m imperfect at this spec and even I can get some ways I can improve out of a raid parse. (It’s also easier to show the differences between a not-great warlock and a good warlock than it is between a good warlock .and a slightly-worse warlock!)

This is not meant as a be-all end-all to Warcraft Logs guides. It doesn’t even cover everything there is to use — I don’t look at how tanks or healers could use the parse information, because, well, I’m not playing one right now. I’ve done a tank or healer parse comparison as part of being a veteran raider rank in my guild, in order to pinpoint why or how a guildmate needs to improve, but I don’t normally play a tank or healer, so I won’t pretend to know 100% how to read those parses. I can certainly open up a 101 guide to a guildmate’s class & spec & figure out the really obvious ways they are screwing up, but let me be clear, the only class I can possibly be an expert in is warlock, and even that I’m, well I’m good, but I’m not perfect.

This is meant as something to help get you started at reading a Warcraft Logs parse, especially if you play a warlock (or maybe even a DPS in general). So hopefully it helps you logdive on to figure out why you may or may not be doing things incorrectly and how you could do better.

A demo warlock Warcraft Logs parse-reading

Lessons from writing the warlock column

CFN-style (first draft) because why not.

So the long story short is Alternative Chat suggested Blizzard Watch do some “how to play your class/spec” class columns and I said “yeah ok but you’d do better to go to the Wowhead guides for that info than looking in a class column.”

I figured I was OK saying this as I’ve written several versions of a class guide. I’ve done it in a class column, I’ve done the Wowhead bullet-y style one, and I’ve done the official strategy guide one. I’ve learned since then that Wowhead/Icy Veins, or the longform bullet-y or entirely in-depth guide, is the way to go for most people.

Alt Chat’s argument for class columns was because they felt different. I’m assuming she speaks to the spirit of the class column, because the column writers typically play that class and their enthusiasm shows through their writing.

Yes…and no. Writing a class column is not so simple as stuffing information into 1500 correct words. And learning how to love your class of choice isn’t just about how to mechanically play it.

Class guides are massive

So back up the Twitter feed, I was talking with @Sveltekumquat about saving all your writing ideas and I linked a screenshot of my warlocks binder of Scrivener. Scrivener is the writing software I primarily use because I love it because it caters to my organizational needs without being a complete pain in the ass to maintain. So @Tikari joins in about how I have “inspiration from Arielle” in my trash, which has been there since I got to write the Wowhead boost 90 warlock guide (which became the 100 warlock guide when Warlords of Draenor launched).

So one of the rules guidelines about getting better at writing is to read everything. Read for pleasure, read for interest, read for being informed, but also read to see what both crap writing and brilliant writing look like.

So, I wanna write guides? I read guides. I read all the class guides, whether or not I have a toon capable of raiding or PvPing or whatever. When we came back to redo level 100 Wowhead guides, I had read all of the other class guides & their comments, because I wanted to see what information they included, how they organized the info, did they use full prose or did they stick to sentence fragments, did they use info for the average player or is this straight from BiS sims, what is this. I read Wowhead guides, I read non-Wowhead guides that were on Wowhead, I read Icy Veins, I read Icy Veins forum guides, I read blog guides. I read pet battle guides, I read SC2 guides, I read LoL guides, I read GW2 guides, I read textbooks, I read WikiHow guides, …

I won’t say I’ve read every guide there ever was, but I read guides so I can write guides. I am also the daughter of teachers (who are themselves the children of teachers) so I just have in my DNA I guess to explain things to people in such a way that said things are no longer intimidating and look actually possible if not enjoyable to do.

“Inspiration from Arielle” is a notes-y kind of text file where I have comments on Arielle’s TiB bear forum guide. Why? Because it’s one of my favorite guides when I look for elements of guide writing that I like. It’s neat, it’s clean, it’s compact as far as not rambling around like I tend to do, it’s informative, it’s in-depth, it’s…maaaaaaaaaan, I love this guide.

So from reading all this stuff, especially when I read different guides of the same stupid topic, I learn that there’s a lot of ways to organize things differently. One way isn’t correct all the time, and when it comes to online stuff at least, it generally depends on the format the guide comes in rather than what the guide is on.

When I first got to write the Wowhead warlock guide, it was the first time I’d write a whole class guide. I mean, I’d attempted to write parts of a guide on my own blog, but I never got around to finishing anything, so this was my first complete class guide.

I felt incredibly overwhelmed for a lot of the time I tried to write that guide. I felt like I wasn’t going to do a good job, that I was missing something, that I wasn’t going BiS enough, that I was going TOO BiS, that I wasn’t organizing it correctly, how can like Arielle & Theck & others do these things, the fuck, I’m so terrible. All those things down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t until I was doing the theorycrafting homework with Theck’s Theorycrafting 101 that I realized part of my feeling overwhelmed problem.

Most of the guides that I really admire for guide construction come from hybrid class writers. Which makes a little bit of a difference because they are usually covering a single spec whereas I was trying to cover three.

That’s one of the things that many hybrid mains miss about pure DPS classes, I feel. Pure DPS can’t really be competitive as just one spec. You have to learn all three, or at least two, and you need to be able to do both/all competently if not very well. There’s overlap because it’s the same class and therefore we get the united class feeling — though, less so for warlocks. The core abilities or cooldowns of a rogue may share across specs, but since warlocks have that weird thing of three completely separate resource systems, we actually have zero overlap except for Corruption (aff & demo) and pets.

But pure DPS are weird — we have different specs, but the same role. So you need to explain three different ways of executing the same role. Most people think this is “well, you press 222222222 and stuff dies and then you WIN how hard can it be?” Or the “well EVERYONE plays DPS, how hard can it be?”

OK, baseline DPS is not that hard. But good DPS, excellent DPS, DPS that inspires? That’s a little bit more ambiguous.

The three different ways is a lot easier to lay out & explain than the overarching concept of “here’s how to generally go about DPSing so you can figure out what spec works better when.” Tanks and healers get the hard-to-explain “meters are kinda crap for judging us” that’s pretty obvious, and generally pride themselves on having to know an encounter to get their job done rather than just pushing buttons in a specific order. DPS get the “I have to figure out which of my specs is better for this particular situation so I can figure out which of the three rotations I should be doing.”

So I’m trying to write a unified guide of three totally different specs, but put it in the space where one-spec guides go. Holy unrealistic expectations, Batman.

My Wowhead guide is about 3,000 words, give or take. Bullet/sentence fragment style, intended audience is fresh L100 alts.

My official Draenor Strategy Guide section was just under 10,000 words. Prose style with spell tables, intended audience is newbie players.

Arielle’s guide is about 6,000 words, prose/bullet style, I’m guessing intended for raiding bears, whether new or old.

Class columns are 1000 words minimum (to be justified by what you get paid for them) to 1500 words max.

Why 1500 words? Blizzard Watch Editor-in-Chief (& co-owner) Alex Ziebart actually explains this on the Blizzard Watch podcast Episode #1. Too long; didn’t listen? — It’s a general reading attention span thing. If you for some reason think this is a horseshit explanation for us to continue doing an old constraint, you can go look at what Medium’s been doing to analyze how posts get completely read & what makes a most viewed post.

YES the caveat is that this isn’t a direct correlation with the quality of the post, just how many views you get. But that’s not how business with ads works. You can’t take the writing out of the business of writing and judge it purely on the romanticized Great Writing vacuum. Paid writing is very much about the volume of people consuming your work as well as how good/useful your work actually is.

Which means this rant is probably going nowhere because it’s so goddamn long. Oh well.

Anyway.

The point I’m making is that BW class columns are hella limited spaces for full class guides, especially when read by players who are used to multipost forum guides or sites like Icy Veins. It took me 4 articles on WI (here’s one) to do a whole class guide — one post for each of the 3 specs & then 1 general “which spec do I play when” type. You’re asking a lot of the class columnist when you ask this and, let’s face it, you’re probably going to be disappointed anyway because it’s going to be short/brief/not the glorious in-depth solves-all-your-problems thing you were hoping it was going to be.

Series are dailies not weeklies

I like series of things. I like convoluted plot lines in TV shows and books so I can watch and read them over and over again to get new information each time. I like epic book series that have a million different things going on with a hundred different characters and have family trees and shit in the appendices in the back. I love complex media that take multiple times to absorb.

But I learned while writing Blood Pact that series only really work when they’re consumed in a timespace relative to the wordspace they take up.

For example, I expect A Song of Ice and Fire or the entire Lord of the Rings mythology of books to take several months to finish. It’s thousands of pages, it’s going to take a while, so I’m OK with that timespace because the wordspace is also relatively huge.

4 columns = 6000 words. That’s like, what?, come back here, Medium, ok here it is, average reading rate of an adult is 275 words per minute. So 6000 words is roughly 21 minutes of reading.

Except, it’s a weekly column, so it takes you about 43,200 minutes (30 days * 24 hours * 60 minutes) to finish those 21 minutes.

Don’t do that.

Because blogging posts end up being relatively short (to keep up with the short online attention span of reading articles), you have to have quicker posts in order to keep a series connected. Which is why you have news every hour or 1-2 class columns per day. It keeps you from going “hey, when’s the next part?” too much. We want a little bit of that so you’ll come when the next part releases, but too much and people get bored or angry or both.

I remember Alex emailing us once, because the class columnists were all doing one little series or another within their columns, and he was like “stop, it’s not really worth it.” And I remember, I was silently like “yeah but I’LL get it to work because MY EGO KNOWS BEST” and then …

It doesn’t work.

Don’t do a series within a weekly column, unless it’s a series of 2. A class how-to guide one per spec is about the only series that works and even that one means only 1/3 of the class is listening at any given time. (“Oh, this week is on destro, I don’t play destro, I don’t care *skip*.”)

You CAN, however, possibly do a once-in-a-bit series within a class column. There’s patch notes, for example, that occur every few months. Loot lists happen every few months. Which spec is currently performing best/worst. Of course, they coincide with content releases, so it’s not a planned series. But you can do these sort of occasional yet categorical column posts that everyone knows is coming and they won’t be mad when you deliver one of those that week.

So you can have a series of one-offs that you do every 4 columns or whatever. But you can’t do a part 1 of X posts series within a column.

Will I ever do warlock soloing guides for the old raids in Blood Pact? Yes, but not in a row. (I’m thinking maybe monthly, since it’ll take me 2-3 weeks to do each spec on my main or an alt — look, I have 2 warlocks, but one is geared and one is quest greens.)

Will I go over how to play a warlock in specific fights? Maybe, but not in a row, and really, I’d probably just do one column of here’s warlock tips on LFR for alts because by the time I figure out all the regular raiding tricks on my main, you probably have, too.

Will I do spec guides? Yeah, if it turns out we’re all doing [Spec] 101 articles across all the class columns and it’s a THING we’re doing. Definitely if it’s a special longer article that’s allowed, because, of course, no more AOL means more freedom. But that’s ultimately up to the editors. I’ll keep assuming 1500 is my max.

But that’s kind of what the column is for anyway — how to play? — so I’d rather go to my new model of taking a specific bite of a rotation or strategy and analyzing it further. I can build up over time what is essentially a wiki of how to warlock in general so my content both lasts & is useful.

The thing about the Wowhead guide is I have to update it every time we get a new raid tier or significant patch note change. While you can go back and edit blog posts, typically you don’t go back & change months-old posts. (They’re also rather useful left as is, because then you can see where the class went over time. Blog posts make their own historical record, it’s great.)

How to play a class is not the same as how to love a class

Alternative Chat spoke to the feeling of the columns. This is what everyone’s generally been saying since Blizzard Watch resurrected from the ashes of WoW Insider. That BW/WI was always different from MMO-C or Wowhead or Icy Veins or even from regular blogs, because it was a concentrated spot of soul even when delivering the hourly news.

That’s not wrong. In fact, I agree, and further, I want to continue that.

But that’s not the same conversation as choosing the right words to meet a wordcount.

Telling me to write a class guide in a column because the soul of the class columns is what brings people is like saying my skill at playing demonology in a raid scales with how awesome my transmogrification is. You can be awesome at playing demo and you can have an awesome transmog, but one does not necessitate the other.

Really, any monkey who can run Simulation Craft, or look at spell tooltips, or spend 15 minutes on a training dummy, or run things on the PTR, or …any monkey can tell you how to play a class.

Well, not every monkey can do the science/coding/math behind the class mechanics, just to be clear that I’m not dissing theorycrafting here. That stuff is complex when it comes to figuring out exactly which questions to ask & I /salute to those who do it.

But any monkey can go read the conclusions by theorycrafters and dress it up in a guide.

Not every monkey can inspire you or otherwise get you to love a class. That’s the part that comes from the heart, and that’s the part that has to happen over every article in a class column.

You can do it with one-offs — I did soul a lot of the time by doing my narratives. The Kanrethad one comes to mind. And I still catch flack for it; my narrative stuff always had one or two comments about how it felt like it was some personal diary or blog rather than something “worth” being in the column.

One of the things I experimented with was the narrative loot list. Sure, you can argue I’m not doing much — I’m basically finding all the Wowhead links for whatever’s in the Dungeon Journal loot list. I’m hardly even telling you which piece to pick up. Strictly content speaking, it’s a bit of a fluff piece that takes some tedious work to put together.

But the way I do it — that’s what people like about it. I crack puns with the loot, I diss mages with the loot models, I frame the specs against each other with whether a piece is crappy or not based on the stats. I sometimes use the loot in a brief mention of the boss’s strategy, like making the obvious joke on running away from something while linking some leg slot piece.

There’s a mini poem in my BRF one. Just you wait.

Why did I even try to do a prose-y loot list? Why not contribute some actual info about best-in-slot pieces? Because I got bored reading bulleted loot lists. I got bored writing them — it’s just copypasta central that puts me to sleep. I still have to copy loot links with my narratives, but it’s more fun to figure out which words I’m going to link instead of just the same, old, boring loot name.

I also wanted to experiment with writing in short bursts without losing much meaning. As you can probably tell by now, I am bad at writing briefly. Having to do an entire raid instance in one post means each boss only gets about maximum 75 words each to cover all of its loot.

14 bosses in Throne of Thunder + 2 world bosses: 1200 words. Actual post: 1243 words.

16 bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar: 1200 words. Actual post: 1110 words. (shorter?!!! Fuck yes!)

But the secret that everyone simultaneously knows and doesn’t know about writing is that when you have fun writing, the reader has fun reading. When it’s a chore, it shows, when it’s fun, it shows. I had the most fun when I was doing ludicrous things like “so, I need to write a boss strat for Kanrethad. But this fight is SO AWESOME how can I show this CAN I ROLEPLAY THIS why not.”

Do you like reading a pamphlet about a place or do you like going on a museum tour? I far prefer the museum tours with enthusiastic tour guides and I bet you do, too, so I’m not going to write about the most efficient way to solo Karazhan in the fastest time possible, I’m going to tell you to do silly non-technical things like look at the ceiling while clearing Opera trash in whichever spec you like playing.

(Seriously, look at the Opera house ceiling. It’s the best.)

I love my warlock when it’s the best class. I love my warlock when it’s the worst class. If you’re just here for the shinies and the numbers, that’s fine, whatever floats your boat, but my hope is that you continue reading Blood Pact for the fun and flavor and because I make a good read, not because I make some bookmarkable rotation lists once or twice an expansion.

 

Lessons from writing the warlock column

You found a warlock blog!

kara3

One that’s written by Poneria, aka Megan O’Neill. Grats?

You can’t kill me for loot, though — I’m friendly. Plus, the warlock columnist curse already tried and failed…twice.

I’ve got the usual About Me page, and you can read my resume of things I’ve written since I started blogging at Fel Concentration. Or you can skip straight to the blog below to read some more current(-ish?) writing.

If you’re looking for a general introductory warlock guide, I wrote Wowhead’s Warlock DPS Guide, which is updated for patch 6.0.3.

You found a warlock blog!

Draenor warlock guides from me

wodstratguide-credits

In March 2014, when the class columns ended at WoW Insider, I joked that it was my fault. I’d beaten the Warlock Columnist Curse twice over, and it was so mad it lost that it had to take all the class columns with it.

Dear Warlock Columnist Curse:

Look at all those WI alums. Long live class columns!

— Poneria

P.S. Magdalena & Chaithi are also awesome people anyway.

I had to double-check the email when it came in the summer from BradyGames — it couldn’t possibly be true that I’d be invited to contribute to a real, official, printed-on-paper book, right? But it was true — Anne had put my name into the pot and I got to work with her again! (Ken Schmidt is another other editor/writer on the project.)

It’s surreal for me to see my writing in the same context as the smell of a newly printed book, but there it is. That’s my writing there, all over the Warlock section. That’s mine. What? Wow, that still repeatedly blows my mind.

I’m keeping my copies for personal reasons, but a couple of the other section authors are holding giveaways for one of their copies:

  • US entries: Chase Hasbrouk aka Alaron @ The Fluid Druid
  • AUS/NZ entries: Matt Sampson aka Binkenstein @ TotemSpot
  • Sorry, EU! None that I know of

I think maybe Bink’s giveaway is over (it was limited to the end of BlizzCon), but Alaron’s is still going on for another day.

If you’re reading me here, you probably already know all of the information in the Warlock section. It’s a newbie’s guide — veteran players will know where to find more advanced DPS tricks online — but I’m still super proud of the work I did from July to the beginning of October.

Right after I sent in my final drafts, Wowhead approached me to update the warlock class DPS guide, so I did that, too. It’s got some typos in it as I still haven’t figured out how they copy my text into the tooltip generator, but I’m still working against burnout to clean some of it up.

Burnout? What burnout?

I’ve been guide-writing in some form or another since July, or 4 months straight. Moreover, other IRL aspects of my life have started demanding more. While I’d love to put out quality like WoW Insider or Wowhead can do, I simply don’t have as much time to spend on it as I once did. I got a promotion in my “day job,” so I basically did IRL work, came home, did guide work, slept, repeat. I didn’t have much recharge time for just me aside from mindless D3 slaughtering.

I’ve been quite burnt out on writing guides for the past couple of weeks, especially when it comes to a really broad audience — optimizing gear lists, for example. While I have organized a few gear list notes for myself, I haven’t gotten around to doing the typical column Ultimate Bookmarkable Gear List guide stuff because getting it all “correct” is super stressful for me. There is also a wide variety to gear in Draenor, at least to start with, and while that’s fun for the player playing through the game, it makes guide-writing that much more stressful, because it’s more to organize.

But that doesn’t mean I’m stopping guide-writing. I’m just taking a break, is all. I’ve earned one.

Knowing myself, I will probably have lists worked out as I level in Draenor — I’ve started my raid loot lists, already. I also figure that the people who would use a gear list right out of the starting gate have probably already found their roadmaps and therefore don’t need my guides anyway. So I’m not worried about it.

But if you’re going to take your time leveling and you like my writing, feel free to read what I have to list, whenever it is that I share it.

Draenor warlock guides from me

Welcome to 6.0 – Warlock Guides

You might know that I provided the information in Wowhead’s warlock class guide when the boosted 90 feature came out in March. Wowhead came back to me to update the guide for level 100 with some tips for the pre-expac patch.

It’s mostly the same tips, except we obviously don’t have the level 100 talents or some of the balance from Draenor Perks.  The core mechanics are still the same whether you’re level 90 or level 100.

While I’d been writing my own guide (that we’ll see…llllllaaaaterrrrr…) concurrently, the warlock community’s opinions on various things (Which L100 talent? What stat priority? Etc.) recently started to solidify, so I did my best to double-check my advice for the Wowhead guide. It’s possible I still have some slightly incorrect top-end things, as I had to write & commit-to-submit* some things before the other warlock guides were published.

*By “commit-to-submit” I mean I may not have submitted the whole piece yet, but there’s a point where you have to call a section “finished” even though it’s not quite done yet because you don’t have time to both finish it AND completely write another section.

So here it is!

But Pon, you got things WRONG! OK, so tell me nicely & I’ll correct them. If you tell me nastily, I’ll probably still verify & correct them, but you’re still an asshole.

It’s always cool to know where other resources are if you don’t like my windy, wordy ways. The warlock theorycrafting community appears to be split more or less across either the Icy Veins or MMO-Champion forums. The EJ warlock forums have been pretty dead since 5.2. I’m still looking around to see what places pop back into activity with the new expansion.

  • Gahhdo is the main SimC warlock dev (that I know of) and Icy Veins’ Zagam did the Icy Veins guides that have updated for 6.0.2 (aff/demo/destro)
  • Lockybalboa/Zagam/Liquidsteel did stickied affliction/demonology/destruction guides (respectively) on the IV Warlock forums
  • On MMO-C Warlock forums, we have Cabana with the affliction guide and Woz aka @NotsWarlock with the demonology guide. Brusalk is usually the destro go-to on MMO-C forums, but there isn’t a destro stickied guide as of writing.
  • My guide on Wowhead is all three specs in one, but is a more general & condensed version than the above detailed spec guides.

Do you want a transition guide?

What’s Next?

I plan on doing guides for each spec on the level 100 Silver Proving Grounds gating mechanic for random heroic dungeons. I want to do the PGs as faithfully to a new player who just hit level 100 as I can, so I haven’t been doing them as much on beta as I’d like to partially because of the premade PvP gear that the beta experience was assuming you had.

I also had problems finding blocks of time when the servers were also up to do it. But I digress.

I’m of the opinion that just because I am a pure DPS class doesn’t mean that the Proving Grounds can stop at one spec for completion. It’s one thing to spec to complete the hardest of the hard content (e.g. Mythic raid content), but to spec just to complete a simple gating mechanic seems stupid. So while I’ll probably blow through with destro (it’s easiest), I want to do PG guides for all the warlock specs, possibly up to Endless.

“But, Pon” — you say — “Silver is pretty easy! You don’t need a guide!”

True, if you’re the type of player who knows how to find a guide online outside of the game, you probably already have enough smarts in your head to figure out Silver waves without needing a guide.

I’ve never been great at doing bleeding-edge kind of guides where you learn the best of the best way to do things, so I’m going back to what I’m good at and what I enjoy — doing guides for newer warlocks who are stepping up in skill. I plan on doing PG guides per spec that show off what this wave level shows you about your toolkit as a [spec] warlock. For example, Endless as destruction really teaches you about Havoc use.

Another thing I want to do is going back through all the retro raids — again, as each spec with an eye for non-warlocks learning on an alt. This seems like a massive project, and I don’t really have a timeline for it. It’s a thing on the bucket list more than it’s a thing on the project list. One difference is that I plan to take not only my main (fer mounts, duh!) but my quest-greens/boost-90 warlock through to see what you can do with a fresh alt versus the completely decked-out main.

Finally, a lot of vocal followers liked my prose-style gear lists, so I figure I will do those again for fun. I’ll start with heroic dungeon loot & maybe crafted pieces, and then move on to raids/world bosses.

Welcome to 6.0 – Warlock Guides

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Healthstones

Self-healing is a weird and intricate balance for warlocks because we tend to use our health as a semi-resource bar often enough for healing to matter. There’s the obvious Life Tap that we’ve had for many years, but more recently, Mists of Pandaria brought abilities that cost health, like Unbound Will or Burning Rush.

I feel like this is a subject that the devs still don’t know how to balance correctly yet. The changes tend to swing from not enough to far too much/overpowered, as we know well enough with Drain Life’s evolution, or even with how Harvest Life evolved in MoP beta. We had the Life Tap fiasco in MoP beta where our self-healing was so nerfed so far such that we couldn’t recover from Life Tap, so we eventually either went OOM or dead. So we warlocks have this weird balance where we need enough self-healing to make up for the health-costing abilities, but not so much self-healing that we can basically ignore boss mechanics when we feel like it or an otherwise lack of outside healing.

The major change for Healthstones is that it’s going to be a 1-use per fight (down from 3-5 use) and that it’s tied to the same CD as a healing potion (in Warlords, Healing Tonic). Additionally, the amount a Healthstone heals for also got nerfed.

Better-Good Design

When the newest build came out, Zinnin () asked Celestalon if Healthstones needed to be nerfed further, because they were already below the potion’s heal. Celestalon replied that the Tonic-Healthstone relationship was supposed to be more like the 300-275 stat food relationship, where one is technically better but the other isn’t absolutely terrible.

The difference between 275 & 300 stat foods is 25 stat,. If you represent this in a ratio, 300:275, then we get 1.09:1. It was further of a minor difference because in Mists, 25 Intellect (e.g.) was almost nothing of a boost compared to what you’d get from a gem or an enchant.

Let’s see how healthstones & tonics compare.

Healthstones: Build 18738

I got to thinking about the influence of Versatility and Blood Pact’s healing increase component, so I asked around on Twitter for a body to eat a handful of cookies for me and Dayani (@healiocentric /Healiocentric blog ) volunteered. After doing some gear switches to play with Versatility a bit, with both of us eating cookies and sharing numbers in party chat, we figured out that the tooltip takes into account the Versatility the user has, but not the Blood Pact passive. The total heal takes into account both.

I’ve unfortunately lost all the exact numbers because I didn’t record our party chat until half of it was cut off by the chat log’s limit. But the important thing is that I can replicate them!

The flat Healthstone heal is 15%.  My maximum health will always be 289,740. (Unless I exchange some gear or drink a stamina flask, but warlocks always have the 10% raid buff due to the Blood Pact passive.)

Then you take into account your Versatility. On my premade orc in 660 PvP gear, I have 1.63% Versatility. 15*1.0163 = 15.2445%. The tooltip still says 15%.

Then we need to factor in how I’m a warlock who is at least level 80, which means I have the Blood Pact passive. Blood Pact is a complex passive in Warlords that has 3 parts, but the important part here is that line about “increases all healing you receive by 10%.”

So we take our 15.2445 and multiply it by 1.10, which gives us 16.76895% of max health, which is 48,586.35573 health. When I take a health dip (by using the equipment sets feature to go full nude then fully geared again in one click), then use a healthstone, I receive a heal for 48587. It’s off by 1, so I know from Theck’s lessons that there’s some rounding going on in there. But I don’t care enough about 1 health point to go find out where.

When I put raid buffs on with a cauldron in Shattrath, my theory holds.

Base heal (15%) * Versatility (1.0463) * Blood Pact healing passive (1.10) = 17.2% heal. I should get something around a 50020 heal and I got 50021.

Dayani’s cookie-eating corresponded — on a shaman, her Versatility affected her cookie heal. (Also A’dal’s pesky Shatt buff affected it!)

Healing Tonics 

At level 95, I’m still in my raid gear when I got copied over, which gives me a max health of 148,980 and some Versatility of 1.22% (because I’m human, so I get free Versatility). I also unglyphed Healthstone and didn’t have Grimoire of Sacrifice buffed when I logged in. I was buffed with Dark Intent, but that’s spellpower and multistrike, so who cares.

My crafted Healing Tonic says it restores 56,681 health. When I actually drank the Healing Tonic, it healed me for 62350.

That’s accurate, because 56681*1.10 (to account for Blood Pact) = 62349.1.

The tooltip for the Healing Point takes into account Versatility, as it turns out. The Wowhead tooltip scaled down to level 95 for Healing Tonic is 56000. 56000*1.0122 = 56683, which is close enough for government work. Same thing when you apply it to the level 100 version — 68000 — though the Versatility % tooltip must do some rounding. Eventually you do it the long way through rating and Dayani is amazing again with math and figuring out the rounding spot, and you get basically the correct answer where the 68000 Tonic heals a warlock for 68000*1.0163 = 69109 on the tooltip, but effectively 76019 when we include Blood Pact.

Comparison: Tonics & Stones

So here’s the deal. Give or take some rounding errors, Healthstones work like this:

% max health heal =15% max health * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact

And Tonics work like this:

# heal = 68000 * (1+Vers) * Blood Pact

Assuming a warlock standing around, you get Blood Pact; if you’re some other class or situation, you can get some other healing done/taken effect going on (like A’dal’s Swiggity Swattrath Buff).

It comes down to whether a 68k heal is better than 15% max health. If 68k was 15% of your maximum health, you’d have 453,333.3333 repeating health. So maybe when we get to the end of the expansion and you’re sitting at 453,334 health, your Healthstone will finally match Healing Tonic.

Right now, in 660 PvP gear, we have 289,740 max health (15% = 43461). Even if I use Shadow Bulwark off a voidwalker sacrifice, I can only get up to 376,662 health (15% = 56499.3).

68k right now is about 23.5% max health. That’s almost 1.5 times a Healthstone’s heal. That’s not a better-good competition, that’s a good-crap competition.

At 1.09, Healthstone heals 62385 health, or 21.5% max health.

At 1.10, Healthstone heals 61818 health, or 21% max.

At 1.15, Healthstone heals 59130 health, or 20% max.

At 1.20, Healthstone heals 56667 health, or 19.5% max.

At 1.25, Healthstone heals 54400 health, or 18.8% max.

If I take a look at the Shadow Bulwark situation, where I increased my maximum health without touching my Versatility, where I increased my healthstone’s heal without increasing the tonic’s heal — the tonic is still better, 68000 to 56499 being 1.20 ratio. You’re only going to get to a stamina-only increase like that through a temporary raid CD. Stamina flasks don’t even begin to compare to that (30% max health is in the realm of 85k; a stamina flask is 18k health).

I don’t feel like or think that’s balanced. 15% is way too low.

If 68k is the accepted base heal for a potion, the Healthstone should be brought back up to a 20% max health heal, to at least give a little choice. To go to the 1.09 ratio of the stat foods, Healthstone would have to be buffed from live realms to 21.5% max health.

Otherwise, if we’re tuning to Healthstone’s 15%, the Tonic needs to be nerfed to something like 48k to get to a ratio of 1.09. The compromise 1.20 ratio would be a 52k heal.

TL;DR

Buff Healthstones and/or nerf Healing Tonics.

Edit: Already Changed

I @’d my post to Celestalon, and he replied that Healthstone has already been changed in the next build to be a flat base heal of 50k instead of based on max health percent. So now both warlock formulas for Tonics and ‘Stones are: # heal = [68000 (Tonic) / 50000 (Healthstone)] * (1+Versatility) * Blood Pact.

I’d reasoned out a 1.20:1 ratio as fair, which left me at thinking buffing Healthstone to heal 52k. Not too shabby for speculation!

Warlords of Draenor Beta: Healthstones

TC101: Multistrike & Versatility

I’ll revisit how to calculate Intellect when I get around to analyzing Spellpower, but for now, I can do more of the simple things like rating conversions.

Multistrike and Versatility are the easiest of the five secondaries to discuss because they have a rather uncomplicated and passive effect on our damage done. Critical strike chance, haste, and mastery all have particular spec implications of what they do for damage, even if you don’t consider the specialization attunements.

Multistrike

Multistrike is pretty simple to figure out.

The full 660 PvP premade gear on the PvP level 100 character has 590 Multistrike rating in total. By removing pieces of gear and comparing the percents, I figured the appropriate rating conversion.

  • 590 = 8.94% –> 590/8.94 = 65.9955 rating
  • 513 = 7.77% –> 513/7.77 = 66.02 rating
  • 411 = 6.23% –> 411/6.23 = 65.97 rating

I guessed that the actual rating conversion is 66 rating = 1.00% Multistrike, that the percentage was determined by gear_total/conversion, and that the final percentage was rounded.

  • 590/66 = 8.939393…rounds to 8.94%
  • 513/66 = 7.77272727…rounds to 7.77%
  • 411/66 = 6.2272727…rounds to 6.23%

And I think I’m right.

When it comes to enhancements, there are static enchants, a weapon enchant proc, a food buff, a flask, and a raid buff. These all appear to be additive by rating or flat percentage.

Remember, my base gear had 590 = 8.94% Multistrike.

ms-enchant

Enchant Cloak – Breath of Multistrike

  • +200 MS
  • 590 + 200 = 790
  • 790/66 = 11.969696…

I had actually forgotten to test the static enchants, so that screenshot is on my undead warlock. The rest I was testing on the blood elf warlock. Racial pick doesn’t matter for Multistrike, anyway.

ms-flask

Draenor Multi-Strike Flask

  • Blizzard hasn’t copyedited how it wants to spell Multistrike, I guess.
  • +400 MS
  • 590 + 400 = 990
  • 990/66 = 15

ms-food

Food – Rylak Crepes

  • +125 MS
  • 590 + 125 = 715
  • 715/66 = 10.8333333…

ms-flask+food

Flask + Food

  • + 400 + 125 MS
  • 590 + 400 + 125 = 1115
  • 1115/66 = 16.89393939…

ms-flask+food+buff

Flask + Food + Buff

The buff is just a flat percent addition on top of whatever rating total you have.

  • 1115 rating + 5%
  • 1115/66 = 16.89393939…
  • 16.89% + 5% = 21.89%

ms-proc-buffed

Weapon enchant proc — Mark of the Frostwolf

Temporary enchants also just add rating. The weapon enchant proc gives 500 Multistrike for 6 seconds.

  • Started with flask, food, buff = total 21.89%, 1115 rating
  • 1115 + 500 = 1615
  • 1615/66 = 24.469
  • 24.47% + 5% = 29.47%

So, in summary, Multistrike chance = round(total_rating/66 + raid_buff_percent), where total_rating includes gear, enchants, flask, and food.

Versatility

Versatility has two effects to it: damage or healing done and damage taken. I started referring to these as DD/DT, so I’ll often write “V” numbers as x% / y%. The DT number is always half the DD number. Thus, depending on what you want out of Versatility, you can find it by:

  • %DD = round(total_rating/130)
  • %DT = round(total_rating/260)

If you add anything to the DD percentage, you can only add half to the DT percentage to get the correct number. It’s easier to make that mistake of blindly applying a whole percentage (like the raid buff) to the DT number, so I think it’s better to think of them as two different rating conversions, depending on which one you’re aiming for. This way, the raid buff adds 390 rating, instead of trying to remember to halve the percent.

Versatility is also a good (current) example of when tooltips are lying out their textual asses.

If you equip or unequip gear, the rating number changes as it should. If you enchant gear, the number changes.

But if you eat, flask, buff up, or switch to a human (with the racial affecting Versatility) the rating doesn’t move, despite showing an increase in percentages. So when I write “212” (#), I mean that the tooltip currently says it’s 212 rating, but I know it’s actually the (#) rating applying.

Base Versatility

If you take off all your gear on a non-human, you get 0 rating with 0% DD or DT. On a human, you get +100 Versatility rating as a passive racial, but the tooltip will say 0 rating. To find the conversion, we consulted some numbers.

  • Dwarf 660 premade: 212 = 1.63%/0.82%
    • 212/1.63 = 130.0613
  • Human 660 premade: “212” (312) = 2.40% / 1.20%
    • 312/2.40 = 130
  • Human premade, naked: “0” (100) = 0.77% / 0.38%
    • 100/0.77 = 129.870

I estimated that the rating was 130, so the DT rating would be 260. The percentages are obviously rounded at the end.

  • 212/130 = 1.6307
  • 212/260 = 0.8153
  • 312/130 = 2.4
  • 312/260 = 1.2
  • 100/130 = 0.7692
  • 100/260 = 0.3846

Gear changes

This is my undead warlock with the premade gear, but with some changes. She has Crit/Versatility boots on (+102 V) instead of Crit/Mastery boots, and I’ve enchanted her cloak with 200 Versatility.

vers-gear

  • 212 starting V + 102 (boots) + 200 (static enchant) = 514 rating
  • 514/130 = 3.95384% DD
  • 514/260 = 1.97692% DT

Flask + Food + Buffs — Additive

Same thing with flask and food that happens with gear, except the rating tooltip is bugged. The flask adds 400 rating while the food adds 125 rating.

The raid buff adds 3% Versatility, which adds 3% to the DD and 1.5% to the DT. Rating-wise, it’s as if you had added 390 rating.

  • +food = “212” (337) = 2.59% / 1.30%
  • +flask = “212” (612) = 4.71% / 2.35%
  • +buff = “212” (602) = 4.63% / 2.32%

Let’s do math:

  • 337/130 = 2.5923
  • 337/260 = 1.2961
  • 612/130 = 4.70769
  • 612/260 = 2.35384
  • 602/130 = 4.6307
  • 602/260 = 2.3153

Fully Buffed Human

If we get a fully buffed human, I expect:

  • 212 (premade gear) + 100 (human racial) + 125 (food) + 400 (flask) + 390 (raid buff) = 1227 rating
  • 1227/130 = 9.4384
  • 1227/260 = 4.7192

And what do we get? Remember, it’s “212” rating.

vers-buffed-human

Woot!

TC101: Multistrike & Versatility

TC101 Homework: Character Sheet Stat Calculations

We all see the finished guides and models from theorycrafters, but despite theorycrafters and guidewriters alike swearing they’re not actually gods who get everything right on the first try, we don’t really see the trial-and-error experiments or calculations behind theorycrafting.

I’ve done plenty of following along with theorycrafting over the years, but I’ve not actually tried to derive the equations myself until now.  Theck’s done some teaching; I figure now it’s time to show off some learning. This post will probably be full of mistakes, but that’s OK, because learning. I hope someone out there enjoys this sample of my theorycrafting “homework.”

  1. I do write out on my notes to myself like “let’s do X” “OK that didn’t work, why” “here’s why” when doing math/science things because I got used to doing that when explaining math to myself in school. Y’know, the whole “let X equal 5, let Y equal 6, *do funky equations*” stuff. So it’s not just my guidewriting slipping in — I really do write to myself like that!
  2. If I slip between singular and plural, that’s my bad — Theck’s using the first person plural because he’s walking us through it, and I was reading along with Theck while doing these calculations, but I typically write in first person singular, so um, yeah, confusion.

Determining Base Intellect

Pulling the base stats for warlocks, we get this:

Warlock
Strength 551
Agility 985
Intellect 1042
Stamina 890
Spirit 1155

And pulling the racial modifiers for warlock-able races, we get this:

Human Dwarf Gnome Worgen
Strength 0 5 -5 3
Agility 0 -4 2 2
Intellect 0 -1 3 -4
Stamina 0 1 0 0
Spirit 0 -1 0 -1

My blog theme can cut off the table, so I split it into Alliance (above) and Horde (below).

Orc Undead Troll Blood Elf Goblin
Strength 3 -1 1 -3 -3
Agility -3 -2 2 2 2
Intellect -3 -2 -4 3 3
Stamina 1 0 0 0 0
Spirit 2 5 1 -2 -2

While I have created a level 100 premade of every warlock race on the PvP beta server, I decided I’d go with troll. I normally play a human, but troll is the race that SimulationCraft uses (particularly the affliction warlock model).

Variables: (Sorry, I’m not a LaTeX wizard like Theck is)

  • B = class_base + race_base = 1042 + (-4) = 1038
  • G = 2378

Formulas:

  • CS_Base = B = 1038
  • CS_Bonus = G = 2378
  • CS_Total = B + G = 3416

Basic math, woot! We can do this!

base-int

…1089 + 2496 = 3585.

Um.

…OK.

I double-checked to make sure I was in no-selected spec. I switched to my human premade, and same thing — the numbers didn’t match.

The First Difference Between Warlocks and Paladins

Paladins can wear any of the 4 armor class items, even though they eventually prefer wearing plate. Warlocks, on the other hand, can only ever wear cloth. Paladins, like other higher armor class wearers, get a passive at level 50 that gives them 5% extra preferred primary stat if they stick to wearing all plate. Warlocks do not need this incentive to pick a particular type of gear, but to balance everything, we get a “congrats, you can only wear one thing!” 5% primary stat bonus at 50.

Another difference I noticed is that the theorycrafters I look to for learning theorycrafting — Theck, Arielle, Hamlet, etc. — are all players of hybrid classes. Theck’s first screenshot in the 101: Character Stats post where he’s determining the base stats clearly has his plate gear on — he just hasn’t chosen a specialization yet. The preferred primary stat for paladins can depend on spec — protection prefers Stamina, retribution prefers Strength, and holy prefers Intellect. So the passive doesn’t activate for paladins until you choose a spec.

Our problem above with the character sheet and Theck’s very first calculations example is that all warlocks like Intellect. That’s just how it is when you’re a pure DPS caster class. And the game knows this — that we only wear cloth and we only like Intellect. So it doesn’t need to take those considerations out when we’re not in a particular spec.

So let’s skip ahead to when Theck calculates that passive for paladins and see if it matches my numbers for warlock.

The Armor Skill Formerly Known as Nethermancy

Theck’s picking retribution; I’m picking affliction.

If I was right — that the base intellect really was supposed to be 1038 + 2378 from gear = 3416 total, what happens if we repeat Theck’s first error and just multiply by 1.05?

  • 3416 x 1.05 = 3586.8

The character sheet had displayed 3585 — which is close, much like Theck’s simple error is. So I’m probably right — the cloth armor bonus is already factored in for warlocks where it’s not for paladins. Let’s continue with the calculation.

  • CS_Base = floor( B x 1.05 ) = floor( 1038 x 1.05 ) = floor(1089.9) = 1089
  • CS_Bonus = floor( G x 1.05) = floor( 2378 x 1.05 ) = floor(2496.9) = 2496
  • CS_Total = CS_Base + CS_Bonus = 1089 + 2496 = 3585

Yay! The numbers match!

So, before we go to the next step, let’s reiterate all our variables:

  • AC_multiplier = 1.05
  • B = class_base + race_base = 1042 + (-4) = 1038
  • G = gear_stat = 2378

And all our formulas:

  • CS_Base = floor( B x match )
  • CS_Bonus = floor( G x match )
  • CS_Total = CS_Base + CS_Bonus

Buffed: 5% Intellect

I’m not a paladin, so I can’t buff myself with Kings, but I can stand in Shattrath with the beta cauldrons. I clicked a beta cauldron to get the raid buffs and clicked off everything except the 5% Strength, Agility, Intellect stats buff.

stats-buff-int

Like Theck’s ret paladin, the base for my affliction warlock hasn’t changed: it’s 1089.

If I apply the Kings buff like Theck has, where I multiply my total unbuffed Intellect by 1.05, I actually get a different comparative number than Theck does.

  • Theck multiplied his unbuffed 4023 Strength by 1.05 and got 4224.2, which would be correct according to his character sheet if he floored that.
  • I multiply 3585 Intellect by 1.05 to get 3764.25 — which still wouldn’t be the 3765 Intellect on my character sheet if I floored it!

OK. Well. Skipping ahead worked last time.

Theck’s all like “so the formula for the bonus is”:

  • CS_Bonus = G x match x multiplier + B x match x (multiplier – 1)

And I’m like, whoa whoa whoa, hold up, where’d you get that, Theck. So let’s try it out.

We got closest to the answer when multiplying the total unbuffed stat by 1.05. (We’re going to write this a little backwards so we can match Theck’s formula visually.)

  • CS_Total = multiplier x ([ G x match ] + [ B x match ])

Expand it out:

  • CS_Total = multiplier x G x match + multiplier x B x match

The problem is that it’s attributing all of that to the stat bonus, CS_Bonus. CS_Bonus = CS_Total – CS_Base. So subtract a CS_Base equivalent from each side.

  • CS_Total – CS_Base = multiplier x G x match + multiplier x B x match – B x match

We can clean this up a bit.

  • CS_Bonus = multiplier x G x match + (multiplier – 1) x B x match

Which looks like Theck’s. Cool beans. Math!

  • CS_Bonus = multiplier x G x match + (multiplier – 1) x B x match
  • CS_Bonus = 1.05 x 2378 x 1.05 + (1.05 – 1) x 1038  x 1.05
  • CS_Bonus = 2676.24
  • Character Sheet bonus = 2676

Theck got a one-off; we got what we’d get if we floored it.

We’ll still do it Theck’s way for the sake of learning.

  • G = 2378
  • B = 1038
  • match = 1.05
  • multiplier = 1.05

And, with the help of some spreadsheets to make the calculations easier, we get for the first batch of flooring:

  • F1 = 2675.295
  • F2 = 2675.495
  • F3 = 2676.195
  • F4 = 2675.745

We actually get F3 for our answer — which doesn’t match Theck’s ret spec strength problem, but it matches his prot spec stamina problem. We find out that none of these formulas work. So it’s not our math that’s the problem. Reading on, Theck has walked us through an entirely incorrect hypothesis for the purpose of learning. Yay learning!

Hypothesis, Take Two

So, we’re at “A Change of Approach” in Theck’s post, and I don’t feel like retyping out that set of six formulas in nonLaTeX text. So go look.

Let’s bring up the picture of our total intellect with a stats buff on to refresh the numbers.

stats-buff-int

Our variables: B = 1038, G = 2378, match = 1.05, multiplier = 1.05.

  • T1 = 3765.195
  • T2 = 3765.395
  • T3 = 3765.195
  • T4 = 3765.745
  • T5 = 3764.25
  • T6 = 3765.00

In contrast to Theck, the warlock numbers can only rule out 1 formula — T5, which hilariously enough is the SimC formula for MoP, according to Theck. Theck’s retribution paladin strength problem rules out T2, T3, T4, and T6, so he decides to test T1 & T5.

To entertain Theck’s thought process, I looked at how he demonstrates that T5 can be off by 1 in Warlords stats. Our B times the match — 1038 x 1.05 — gives us 1089.9, which is similar to Theck’s made-up example of 919 x 1.05 = 964.95. Both numbers are super close to the next integer, which gives the one-off difference between flooring and not flooring.

Our T1 = 3765.195 and our T5 is one-off at 3764.25, so we already know that the more correct formula is T1:

  • CS_Total = multiplier * ( floor( G *match) + B*match )

Theck cleans up the formulas:

  • C = floor(G*match) + B*match
  • CS_Base = floor(B*match)
  • CS_Total = floor(C*multiplier)
  • CS_Bonus = CS_Total – CS_Base

A Case of Stamina

Just out of curiosity, though, how would a warlock test the T formulas if she didn’t have Theck’s post? Remember, we only ruled out 1 of the 6 formulas with the warlock numbers. You can’t just sit there and guess with that.

I figured I’d go back to stamina, like Theck did.

Let’s start at the beginning. Remember that we’re trolls.

  • B = 890 + o = 890
  • G = 3250

stam-warlock

Theck still uses match = 1.05, because Stamina is what protection paladins get for their armor class match (retribution gets Strength). So he can use the same number for Stamina because it’s the same passive, just different spec & stats.

Warlocks can only get Intellect and thus can’t get a Stamina bonus through armor class, so our match can’t be 1.05. But we clearly have a modifier of some kind going on in our base stamina, because 979 definitely isn’t 890.

I hypothesize that it’s our Blood Pact passive. Let’s look at the tooltip (here’s the Wowhead double-check):

bpact

The 10% that goes with nearby party and raid members is the raid buff equivalent that warlocks bring. In Mists of Pandaria, our Dark Intent buff provides this along with the 10% spellpower buff, but in Warlords, Dark Intent is providing 10% spellpower with 5% Multistrike. Our old DI’s stamina portion is being rolled into our Blood Pact passive, which acts like an aura (like when a shaman provides mastery just by being a shaman). The other portion is our old Fel Armor passive.

This could go one of two ways. The base stamina could be counting both the Fel Armor portion and the raid buff portion together, since we will always have both parts simply for being warlocks. Or, the base stamina could just be counting the Fel Armor portion, and the raid buff is treated like a total stat modifier, much like the Kings/Mark of the Wild stats buff was treated.

Since I’ve already spent time on beta looking at warlock buffs, I have a strong feeling that it’s the latter case. If you click a beta cauldron in Shattrath, your scrolling combat text says “<Blood Pact> fades, <Stamina Buff>.” Similarly, if you click off the Stamina buff you get from the cauldron, you get text that says ” <Stamina Buff> fades, <Blood Pact>.” My stamina also does not change in either total, base, or bonus when I do these clicking on/off shenanigans. The buffs clearly share with & overwrite each other instead of stacking.

So let’s try this.

  • B = 890
  • G = 3250
  • Fel_Armor = 1.10
  • multiplier = 1.10

CS_Base = floor(B * Fel_Armor) = floor(890 * 1.10) = floor(979.00).  And what was our base tooltip again?

stam-warlock

Woot!

OK, time to test the multiplier effect. I don’t know if we have a high enough multiplier to prove the T functions like Theck did with the protection paladin, but we can try.

  • T1 = 5009.4
  • T2 = 5008.9
  • T3 = 5009.4
  • T4 = 5008.5
  • T5 = 5009.4
  • T6 = 5008

Ooof, not quite. For Stamina, T1, T3, and T5 could work. (They’re also all the same answer!) We already know that T5 doesn’t, since our Intellect didn’t work well with T5. So we’re down to T1 and T3.

The difference is whether you floor the G*match or whether you floor the B*match.

  • G*match = 3250*1.10 = 3575
  • B*match = 890*1.10 = 979

I think it has to do with how it’s a bit harder for me to get a non-integer number with the 1.10 multipliers. Both my B & G numbers are divisible by 10, so when you multiply them by 1.10, you’re going to get an integer again. So there’s no difference between flooring it or not flooring it.

We can’t change the B number, since it’s based on race and class, but we can change the G number, which is based on gear. I unequipped my helm (+331 stamina), which leaves me with 2919 stamina from gear.

  • B*match = 890*1.10 = 979
  • G*match = 2919*1.10 = 3210.9

This should be a good number to test, because it’s so close to the next integer that flooring G*match should make a difference versus not flooring.

  • T1 = 4607.9
  • T3 = 4608.69

Aaaand it does make a difference of, ding ding ding, one. Let’s check with the in-game tooltip when I have my helm removed:

stam-nohelm

Woot! T1 is confirmed to be the correct formula for warlocks, backing up Theck’s theory.

Until Next Time

While Theck goes on to deal with racial bonuses, food, and flasks, I think I’ll stop this “homework” post for now.

Besides, all of the racial cases he’s testing — tauren’s Endurance, draenei’s Heroic Presence, and pandaren’s Epicurean — are not applicable to warlocks because warlocks can’t be any of those races. I feel good enough reading through Theck’s post to broaden my knowledge of it, but I don’t think many (if any) of the warlock races have flat permanent bonuses like that until we get into secondary stats.

I suppose that’s my next “homework” — finding all the base values for all the warlock races as well as the warlock specs and branching out into theorycrafting the secondary stats. Then I can get into flasks and food, since most of the flasks and food in Warlords involve the secondaries, not Intellect.

I enjoyed my “homework,” so I hope you did, too, and maybe I’ll see you next time with more shemathigans.

TC101 Homework: Character Sheet Stat Calculations

On writing warlock news

I’m taking a break from raiding. I’m actually on a physical vacation, too — with my desktop, no less! yay driving — but I’m burnt out on wiping and attendance issues in Siege of Orgrimmar. I feel frustrated and annoyed to waste time when I could be having fun in D3 or SC2 or GW2 or even Archaeology in WoW or writing or any number of things that are not unfocused SoO raiding.

I’m actually enjoying the break so far. I’m having loads of exploratory fun in D3 with my full class set of softcore 70s, though I figure I will go back and try to get the full 70 set on hardcore again. If you see posts on D3, it’s because it’s what I’m playing and am interested in. I’m far from a theorycrafting expert in D3 (I’m not even one in WoW, c’mon, get real), so stuff might be wrong or suboptimal, but I don’t really care. It’s the exploration into how stuff works that’s the fun part for me.

Despite not raiding, I am keeping up a little with the various Warlords of Draenor news that trickles in. While I only summarize for Final Boss right now, the rest of the FBTV crew is definitely interested in WoD changes related to progression raiding, of course. I also keep an eye out for warlock information, because …I can’t really stop being a fan of warlock things.

yu'lon-proc

Know Your Lore: Warlocks

The past couple of days, Matthew Rossi at WoW Insider posted a two-parter Know Your Lore on warlocks. First part covers the history of warlocks while the second part names famous canon warlocks. While I’d love perhaps more in-depth on each warlock (would Nobbel have some?), it’s still cool to remember all the warlocks in the canon game out there.

Matt told me while the first part got posted that I’d see a familiar warlock on the front page soon. In fact, both of the parts have headers that were originally mine; it’s just the second one that is more recognizably my warlock. The first header with the demo-warlock makes sense — demonology and the dominance of demons is the flavor of warlock that most canon warlocks fit. As with the whole petless controversy we have from time to time in game mechanics, generally the demons and fel magic are essential to Azeroth’s universe definition of warlocks.

The second header…I don’t know. There are plenty of other warlocks he could have used — Gul’dan, for instance, even though Gul’dan has his own posts on himself and is just mentioned and linked to in this post. Archimonde or Kil’jaeden could be there. Cho’gall gets talked about. Heck, my spoilerific Kanrethad image with the name over his head could go there. But he went with my character face-on, and then suggests in the last paragraph successors to the Council of the Black Harvest. (I figure if he meant to have simply a player-character warlock, he wouldn’t have mentioned to me specifically about which one it was. The image has been used elsewhere before, anyway.)

The new warlock might be confused — why would Matt be suggesting player characters as replacements to an otherwise lore-based group? In fact, Kanrethad is the only completely fictional warlock. Jubeka, Zinnin, Shinafel (aka Shinafae), Ritssyn (or Nisstyr), and Zelfrax are (or were, at the time of green fire development) high-calibre warlock players. You could go as far to say that only player-character references should be considered for future Council members, to keep the tribute going.

But I don’t know that I’m actually worthy enough to sit canonified on the Council. I’m not amazing at DPS, I’m not a warlock theorycrafter, and I haven’t really contributed that much to the community at large, I feel. Matt argues that I get a spot because I lasted the longest in the Defense Against With the Dark Arts chair at WoW Insider. (Though, I want to mention that Cynwise’s old tweets are now @_cynwise. The old account is now placeholdered by an anonymous someone else, apparently.) When the class columns were finished back at the end of February, Matt was also kind enough to say that I “came in and owned Blood Pact.” So thanks, Matt, I feel honored now.

But did I really do anything? Did I offer worthy criticism or guides? Did I get new players interested in warlocks (or were they already interested and going to play anyway)? Did I represent warlocks well enough? I’m not sure about that. I still have some improvement to do as far as my writing guides or my critiquing content goes.

Cynwise wrote a book on warlocks that was pretty central and significant to the following expansion, for fuck’s sake.

All I did was refuse to shut up about warlocks at WoW Insider for two years. I learned a lot — about writing, about blogging, about news-style writing, about comments/views/audiences, etc. — but I don’t think that I inspired anything worth me being made into lore.

wholebodyshrinkagolemMy Significance

I wanted to do a “famous warlocks” in a downtime Blood Pact — perhaps, if I had still been writing, it would come out around now. I don’t mean the famous warlocks of lore like Matt did for KYL; I mean, I had in my ideas or drafts folder for a while to write about the warlock community, highlighting specific theorycrafters or streamers or top-end raiders. That’s why I was rather thrilled about the one time I covered Final Boss’s early warlock episode with Shinafae & Sparkuggz, before I’d join Final Boss. Amijade did something similar already with warlock bloggers, but I wanted to open up the resources into high-end play beyond, say, the Icy Veins thread.

After covering MoP beta with all the warlock changes, I’m fairly forever burnt out on patch note excitement. Everything can and will probably change by the end. The pressure to always be “right” about information combined with the constant 24/7 nature of web content resulted in a constant stress that I don’t like and that I ultimately found I don’t want to deal with. The Blood Pacts I remember hating to write were when new patch notes arrived but were mostly numerical changes; “X ability got nerfed by Y%” is so godawfully boring to compile. People demand it anyway, even if they have already read it through a dataminer. It’s a merit badge to check off doing. So I’m done with covering the absolute up-to-date patch notes.

The posts I remember loving to write were either critical thinking — like, remember the casting while moving post? Even if I got Auto Shot wrong, it was fun — or they were the narrative pieces. Straight loot lists are boring to me because we all know we’re going to either simulate our gear anyway or a theorycrafter will have posted a Best in Slot (BiS) list elsewhere already. Loot lists that involve the history or references of items or explore the various transmogs or pets you can loot? Those are interesting to me. Narratives are also fun for obvious reasons, and I like taking things like general guides and rewriting them as stories.

I like putting flavor into things, and I like reading things with flavor in them. So I’m steering myself back in that direction and going back into writing things for pleasure rather than because I “should” be writing it (guides, the pressing Issue of the Patch, BiS loot, etc.) or feeling like I otherwise artificially “have” to write it.

On […]

Cynwise might fit on the Council of the Black Harvest because he’s analyzed the ins and outs of warlocks, but he’s not a personal hero of mine because of warlockery. I’m a Cynwise fangirl (there, I said it) because of the same thing Psynister once said to him:

He said that I was a good, thoroughly competent Mage player, but it never seemed like quite the right class for me.

“It’s because you play Warlocks with style,” he said. “You’re a good Mage. You’re an awesome Warlock.”

It took me a while to absorb what he meant by that. What did he mean by style? Style is joie de vivre, style is letting the world know you’re having fun with what you’re doing. I had that on Cynwise.

There’s a certain freedom and honesty in Cynwise’s CBM writing that I craved & still crave a little. Specifically the “On [Topic]” posts he had. He didn’t spend time on some overarching structure with a clever title; it was just THIS TOPIC and then GO.

Blood Pact was necessarily restrictive in word count, but also, as time went on, I found it restrictive in content as well. I unfortunately tried too hard to please everyone all the time, and burnt myself out many times in the process. When I did indulge myself in a narrative or fun piece, I usually got the starkly split comments: either the piece was viewed as “useless” and “boring” because it wasn’t the latest Issue of the Patch, or I received a circle jerk positive comment that didn’t really give me anything to build on (what was good? I still don’t know). I wanted to feel accomplished and happy with my work, and it was almost always exclusively one or the other, not both.

I have a bookmark in my “Writing” folder called Titty Sprinkles, and I revisit it a lot for a reason. I have yet to take Cynwise off his writing pedestal yet (sorry!), but my inner CFN editor has been growing stronger. Perhaps not on a writing basis — I’m still as anxiously constipated as ever — but starting with the decision to take my first ever break from raiding, and extending outside of the game. I’m figuring out what my time is worth, and what I want to do with it, rather than what I feel like I, as a warlock writer, should be doing.

Screenshot3057

Possible Future Blog Topics

I’m playing D3 a lot right now. I still love it, and I love the solo player aspect of it. I like creating my own spreadsheets for how to crafting things (farm spreadsheets in WoW were fun, too!). I like playing builds that are fun to press buttons with, not necessarily to do the best damage. I play with Haunt/Spirit Barrage on my witch doctor (with a helpful horde of Zombie Dogs), and I’m working on seeing if I can build my way into a smite/ranged Crusader style. I find it hilarious to shoot at mobs from behind gates or across the way in Pandemonium despite being on a primarily melee-based class.

I’ve thought about doing a playthrough video of Starcraft II campaign, since I’ve just gotten into SC2. But I play more D3 right now than SC2, and trying to put meaningful commentary on it makes the SC2 playthrough feel like a merit badge to complete instead of something I actually enjoy doing. So that’s on the burner for now.

I am still subscribed to WoW, though I’ve barely logged in at all. I am still chasing the Scimitar of the Sirocco item (for transmog!) & Seeker of Knowledge title in Archaeology and I still enjoy soloing old raids from time to time. I thought about combining a writing challenge with raid soloing by writing a guide to the soloed instance/boss in the form of a narrative or roleplay. But that takes a lot of planning before I’m satisfied enough for publishing, so that won’t happen for a while.

Warlock news from the alpha will be flying around. I do mean to highlight those who are blogging, theorycrafting, streaming, or whatever else content creation is going on. I myself won’t be creating too much guide content on warlocks — I prefer to wait until it’s all settled and almost released. But as part of Final Boss and by extension Sentry Totem, I’m still going to be around a ton of community that will be producing content. Though some reach larger audiences than I ever will, I still like to pass the word on when I see something cool.

For example, I had a lot of fun trying to write up the enhancement shaman episode summary as the old ShamWOW commercial, so you should go read it to get a laugh for the day.

I will probably tag non-WoW content as what it is. There will likely be a Diablo III or D3 tag and/or category soon.

So, uh, yeah, that’s it. I’m going to start writing other things now.

On writing warlock news