August 30, 2010

Looks like we’re not as dead as I thought

Posted in Guild things, News, Tales from PUGland, Tattered Legends at 12:03 pm by Aduial of WrA

So for whatever reason, people in PUGs really seem to like Ithraen and I. I mentioned before about at least one person we met in a PUG who changed servers to play with us, there was the priest who rerolled a rogue last post, and then of course there’s Eric over at Out of Range who had transferred his main after playing with us on his paladin (although he was already here on his paladin and a guildy over in SnM, we hadn’t really talked a whole lot before doing our first dungeon, so I’m counting him here). And despite not really, you know, seeing our appeal as being that great, it happens surprisingly often (at least to me). Tattered Legends also has a new priest (or, okay, 2 and a druid) who’s been as active as the rest of us since rerolling, which in and of itself is surprising… We have a DK who was a warlock we met who rerolled that hasn’t signed on in a couple months, which is what I usually expect of people who reroll; they still have mains aside from us who get priority, and, in time, they just… forget to login to WrA at all.

We’d met her while doing randoms on his druid and my mage (who are now actually in their thirties, though a wee bit stalled there), and we of course ended up doing several runs together. Most of them (actually, all of them, now that I think about it) were Scarlet Monastery Graveyard. We learned sort of the hard way that the last room respawns… fairly quickly. We’d requeued at one point and I’d teleported out while they stayed in, and they ended up in combat… So I ported back in and started running, keeping blink on CD, and then I reached the actual graveyard. The mobs we’d killed with the group were back. So I’m soloing the ones I have to in an attempt to get to them, and then… they die. “Yeah, you’re not going to make it back inside, Ruvi.” That was the last time I ported out before they did.

Anyway, this was a couple days ago, and after we were done dungeoning she rolled up a new little priest on our realm. She was actually trying to level her to catch up to us, got to 6 before she started dragging through levels. While she was leveling and we were all talking, Ith and I had switched toons; he to his priest, I to Mani to check on auctions and do all that jazz. All of a sudden over guildchat there’s a bunch of random letters and along the lines of, “I should have known better than that.” This was from the mini-priest… followed by Veive getting Duel-licious. This of course piqued my interest so I ran out to where they were, and we all ended up taking turns dueling and just basically hanging around. I think my favorite part of that was still, “Here. Let me heal you. *Holy Shocks, wins the duel, instant FoLs them back to full.*” But maybe I’m just easily amused.

The three of us were out there for at least an hour I think, I didn’t really keep time, and were joined later by Nosher (Esgal’s real life friend who he got into WoW a bit late, so we haven’t run much with him but he’s been a regular member in TL for a long time now) who hung out for a while, too.

Well, by about mid-point yesterday our mini-priest, Peeps, had met the whole active TL crew (all 5 of us) and we’d all gotten along great, so she ended up deciding to just transfer her higher priest over. So now we actually have about 5 people in the same level range (that isn’t 80!) for once in a long time, though until 40 we lack a tank (Ith decided to go DPS until then). And since Ith and I seem to have the most time to play, with Peeps coming in second there, it’s been interesting trying to sort of keep our levels together; Eric’s got his healing druid at 33, there’s Peeps (who’s Shadow) and I at 31, Ith at 30, and Esgal’s sort-of-Shadow, sort-of-Disc priest trailing in at something like 28 or 29.

I actually have very little faith Ith and I (and probably Peeps, too) won’t end up outleveling the other two.. or at least Esgal. But here’s hoping we’ll be able to stay together at least until 60, because Esgal’s really been wanting to underman UBRS at level again (we’d done it a long time ago and had a blast, so I think he’s hoping it’ll be as much fun doing it again on different toons). Though I’m still looking forward to trying it on our 80s with me healing 2 warlock tanks through it (which we almost did night before last but didn’t really have the time for it).

Oh, and since I’ve already gone just about everywhere with this post (sorry!), there’s been a few small changes in site layout, if anyone’s noticed. There was an RSS/subscribe module at the top of the right column that I ended up removing, and I added in a couple RSS feeds at the bottom, the first with my US characters’ activity and the second with my EU character’s. I don’t know if those will actually stay, but at the time I thought they could be a neat addition… On second thought it may just be an odd thing to have there, so I’ll see how it works out (and any feedback on the changes would be loved!).

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August 23, 2010

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland, The Player Behind the Toon at 8:33 pm by Aduial of WrA

Gah, okay, one day I really will learn to stop making drafts and just post. Eventually. This is the culmination of around two days’ kicking my own rear into gear, so hopefully this will be the last time I go off the radar for a while (at least unexpectedly).

Since my last post I have been playing solely on US servers again, and my baby warrior and her priesty partner are now in their forties, which is good… except that we’re in Maraudon’s Pristine Waters range so the dungeon finder tool keeps dropping us in there, and for whatever reason it just seems like the levels wouldn’t come anymore. So after a bit of a, err, masochistic trial on my part we decided to give those two a break to let them get some rested XP stacked up while we play new toons. Well, sort of new.

I’ve had a low level mage for a while now, and despite normally wanting to fill either a tanking or healing role I actually, so far… enjoy him. He’d originally been part of a group of four: Esgal had rerolled a paladin, Ithraen rerolled rogue, as did Kyrem, and I’d rerolled the mage, and we’d planned to get through the starting areas on our own then level the four together. Well… that didn’t work, and I was pretty much the only one to continue leveling (I also seemed to be the faster leveler of the group, for whatever reason). He was level fourteen when I shelfed him, originally to let the others catch up, though they all stayed around level 10 at most.

So a few nights ago, after some complications, I ended up wanting to play by myself and just sort of… let off steam, I guess. I actually don’t really enjoy my eighties anymore, so I didn’t consider them options, so I looked down my character list. I’d completely forgotten about the little cowgirl I’d rolled on another realm for this purpose… and ended up choosing Uruvion, my mage. His professions are herbalism and inscription, and is actually the only toon I have on WrA (at least on this account) that has those, so I was leveling them a bit, ended up going out to a spot in Eversong and farming Bloodthistle for a couple hours while killing any of the mobs I aggro’d. Before long I ended up hitting level 15, and decided, what the heck, I want to dungeon on this guy.

So I went to Silvermoon, made sure my bags were empty of any excess, got myself all buffed up, made sure I had enough food and water conjured, sat beside the trainer, and dropped myself into LFD.

And there I sat. For over two hours. Needing only a tank.

This of course came as a bit of a shock to me. I’d heard DPS queues were bad, sure… but I was used to chaining instances on a tank/healer combo, and actually any of my pairs with Ithraen usually have a tank, or at least a healer, so I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I had to wait this long. Well, except that one time on my alli-pally where we waited just shy of three hours for a DPS, but I’d been lucky to get a talkative group and we had fun nonetheless.

I also couldn’t help but remember all the times on Cele that we’d get an instant queue, only for it to time out because one of the DPS didn’t respond. It had aggravated me a touch so I didn’t want to do that on Ruvi, much less did I want to have to sit through a long queue again because I missed it popping… So I didn’t even dare get too far from my computer.

During this time, as I think most people would end up, my perspective changed. A lot. And it continued changing throughout the night.

A little after two hours (rebuffing every thirty minutes on the dot, too), it finally popped, and in I went. Trying my best to be a good little mage, I offered food or water, which no one wanted, and off we went. And I’m casting, and then the mob’s dead. And I notice the tank is… a 21 paladin. Which, I guess, makes sense, since paladins don’t even get consecrate until level 20, so I didn’t think much of it all things considered. At least we had a tank. I also didn’t get much practice on how to play a mage.

End of the run, everyone drops, I plunk back in, and a half hour wait was so much more tolerable. Second group, different paladin ‘tank,’ this one level 15 (so didn’t even have a taunt), and a level 16 retadin who ended up tanking more often than not. Well, aside from the massive groups I’d end up tanking because I can’t stand to see healers be hit, and I seemed to be the only one capable of holding aggro on more than one mob. Even when I was just wanding.

I ended up getting that same ‘tank’ the rest of the night, for several runs, even when we didn’t queue together (though hey, at that point I was thinking any tank was better than none, so we did end up queuing as a group quite often). That night I also watched the morals I had as a tank slowly disappear. Towards the end we had a steady group, aside from revolving door healers.

There was the paladin tank who couldn’t, but darned if he didn’t try (and I do respect his trying). There was the shaman who was average, though didn’t seem to speak English as a first language, but took the time to get quests to share with us. Then there was the warrior, who would charge in before the tank, heck, often times before we were done with the last group, never bothered to thunderclap so he just ended up usually making things harder (but the poor tank did his best regardless to take aggro back, bless him), who needed on just about anything that dropped. Unfortunately even the tank ended up needing seemingly randomly after a while.

Had I been on my tank, I wouldn’t have stood for that, of course. As I said, as a tank I have morals. Ninjas are bad. DPS should wait for the tank to pull. People who purposefully pull just to be a dick gets to tank what they pull, usually without heals. But on my mage? Hey, we had a tank! Things are dieing, I’m getting experience, and I’m not needing any of the things dropping, so why worry? I ended up not caring. At first when I pulled aggro on accident, I’d apologize. By the end of the night when there was an AOE pull, I’d start it off just to make sure I had aggro and the healer didn’t. If I pulled from the tank, oh well.

The next time I played Cele, the morals were back… for the most part. I did find I was a lot more lenient than I usually was. I found myself not caring when others pulled for me, for example, unless it ended up almost wiping us (or actually wiping us), but then I’d just say something about it in a joking manner. I didn’t actually tell the DPS not to. The spine I’d worked long and hard to develop as a tank was suddenly very, very flexible, and I was more stressed than normal.

I wish I’d thought to ask then how the runs were going for the DPS. I couldn’t tell if there was any more or less stress on Veive, well, aside from a couple total asshats we ended up getting. I’d been tolerant to them, too–after all, who knows how long they’d been stuck in the queue? That kind of queue could make a lot of people feel like being jerks. The last run we did before temporarily shelving those two, though, we ended up with a particularly bad one who made me wonder if perhaps having a, er, flexible spine is a bad thing.

We were in Mara, purple crystals, which was on the low side for Veive and I, so it wasn’t terribly difficult. Things were going well for a while, perhaps about half the dungeon. The warlock was Rain of Fire’ing, and Veive made an off-hand comment, “Man.. Raid of Fire looks so lame now…” The warlock shoots something back that seemed to be joking, Veive jokes back, the warlock goes off. He apparently had not been joking. He’s saying Veive was dissing the class, he’s immature for doing so, that he’s… well, many expletives I shan’t repeat here. Now, knowing Veive, it hadn’t been meant as anything like that, and I say so. I also mention that I doubt he’s dissing a class that he has played all the way to 80 and loved. I’m thinking he either meant compared to some Shadow spells (since he’d recently dual-specced Shadow), or perhaps just because the novelty wore off from the first time he Rain of Fired.

But no, the warlock would have none of it, and kept berating Veive. And Veive, being who he is, delighted in such and kept, well, poking the warlock. Veive, well, he likes to poke idiots, to paraphrase him, it’s almost like picking at scabs for him, I suppose, and normally I would’ve let him without paying much attention, but this warlock reminded me a bit too much of someone I used to know, so it was getting to me, and a couple pulls later I halt the group and manage to talk them both into stopping. And so we continue, without further incident, until the last boss. We down him, and then… as if the warlock had typed it already in preparation… came one last, long paragraph of cursing Veive, berating him, generally being a prick, and he dropped. Veive apologizes that the other DPS (who had been mostly silent) had to put up with that, and they actually sort of cheered that the warlock was gone, and tell Veive he wasn’t a problem at all, just that the warlock was.

Silent runs aren’t uncommon, and I know I’m not the first to comment on that. Veive and I are used to being the only ones talking in party, with the others either ignoring us or just choosing not to talk themselves. Would those two DPS have stayed silent if not for the warlock? I don’t know, but I didn’t think much of their silence at the time until the end, when they, well, weren’t silent anymore. Before my experience with Ruvi, I probably would’ve kicked the warlock when things started getting out of hand instead of just trying to get them to chill out so we could finish the run. And it seemed the other DPS would’ve rather I had… So perhaps, for all the griping about tanks doing this or that… Perhaps, just perhaps, it is necessary for a better environment afterall.

As for dipping my toes into the solo-DPS gig, I’m done with that for a while. Uruvion will no longer be one of my solo toons; I’ll be leveling him while Cele gets some rested XP, and Ithraen’s rolled a little cow druid who’ll be my pocket tank while Veive gets some rested XP. Well, he’ll be my pocket tank after he gets himself to 20, at least, since he doesn’t want to tank before then (and I went ahead and got Ruvi to 20 to be even with him when we start).

Now, to just stop procrastinating where my EU account is concerned and stop worrying about how long I’ve been offline and just get my butt back on…

Edit: Of course, in my dallying, I’ve ended up running out of time on my EU account. /facepalm.

April 23, 2010

DnD is like TnT, always bad in the wrong hands

Posted in Tales from PUGland, Theorycraft and Numbers, Uncategorized at 7:25 pm by Aduial of WrA

Just a heads up, this post does contain a lot of ‘hyperlinks that don’t go anywhere’ as The Guy commented when he first saw this, due to me experimenting with alt-text, to preserve space as well as use less parentheses and breaks for (hopefully) more fluid reading. Alt-text is a different color than my normal links so that they can be more easily distinguished; you should be able to read the post just fine while ignoring the alt-text and still understand what I’m trying to say, however the words when hovered over will have some bit of information in them that could prove useful or, err, well, informative, such as actually naming my characters pre-emptively or others (with permission of course) to prevent confusion later on, or what an acronym stands for, or such. However it seems to take a bit longer for some browsers to register you are hovering over alt-text and display it (such as Firefox, apparently) than others, so it may take some patience before they’ll work sometimes.

So it turns out I don’t actually have too much to write about when PUGs are going fairly well, not abnormally too good or bad. Or at least, not enough that can be turned into a coherent post, despite efforts. However thankfully (or unfortunately), ended up with a PUG last night that just happened to be blogging material (or so I think), and can probably serve to touch on some of the topics I was wanting to touch on prior but couldn’t quite get organized enough to do so. And if you’re wanting a different view on what happened in the group, The Guy (who’s ended up with his own blog over at We Must Line our Anuses with Razors) has written up a post about it as well but has taken a far different approach to it, and includes some things I left out (beyond a whole different point of view, it includes the aftermath and the attack of level one alts). Plus he’s a better writer and so his would probably be better for a laugh than mine would.

So lately The Guy’s been wanting to level his druid to 80 in a hurry as well as play his warrior he just recently got faction-changed over to Horde, and I had a death knight just barely out of the starting area I’d rolled with a friend who ended up not playing hers and subsequently deleted, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on said death knight leveling with his warrior, so that I can be his pocket-tank for his druid, and just heal things with his warrior on my paladin once he could queue for Northrend dungeons. Pre-warrior-change I’d been tanking UK over and over on my paladin for his druid, and, well, there’s only so many times I can go through the same. freakin’. thing. before I start getting burnt out, and since my paladin is the toon I’ll be raiding on… Well, that wasn’t a good thing, so I had to stop. Thus, the plan with our warrior/death knight pair, so that we can switch off and have more options, and thus (hopefully, at least…) not get so burnt. Or at least, so I don’t get so burnt out on my toons. But anyway, we don’t stick to this religiously, and last night he was just kind of sitting around on his druid and I on my death knight, both of us wanting to level but not really wanting to do our normal options/options that were available to us… And then across our custom chat we’d used for our officers back in the day, Tree-Friend’s wanting to relearn how to tank, and was wanting me to heal him on my paladin and The Guy to DPS on Ithraen (his, errr, retribution? Paladin. Poor toon’s been every tree in the book, at this point, though…). Well, that didn’t quite work for The Guy since he was wanting to level his druid, and I was a bit too out of it at the time to feel up to healing safely (plus I’m kind of shoddy at healing most druids, anyway, they take damage differently than what I’m good at healing on her). Tree-Friend kind of grumbles and says he’ll ask the guild, since he hadn’t tanked in a long while and he was fairly crap at melee-anything, and thus (understandably) didn’t want to throw himself at the mercy of LFD.

Perhaps unsurprisingly since it was a raid night, most of the guildies were apparently occupied (and with our poor main progression tank having been hacked earlier that day and left with naught but a tuxedo, to boot), and he came back over the chat (since my DK is in my bank guild for now, as well as The Guy’s warrior) relaying the news, and that it looked like he’d have to go in solo afterall. But then I had an idea, since 80s can random into any regular Northrend dungeon, that would solve both his and The Guy’s issues: The Guy could heal on his tree, Tree-Friend tank regulars since he was wanting practice rather than heroics specifically, and I could DPS on my hunter. The idea went over swell, added to by the fact that on Aduial I could pull over 3k DPS easily, and help direct threat, whether by pulling off any over-eager DPS and Misdirecting to Tree-Friend, or just Misdirecting him and letting lose a quick AOE to help him build up some really quick threat on all the targets (yes, we kind of assumed he’d be a pretty bad tank, at least until he got back into the swing of things).

While Tree-Friend and I are switching to the agreed upon toons, Ith asks the guild if anyone wants to come, and we get a bite; one of the awesome death knights (well, awesomely fun person, about average playing-wise)  who we’ve ran with several times before, usually for extended periods of time, was willing to tag along, so we form the group and drop ourselves into LFD. At this point there’s three 80s and Ith’s druid at 72, so we end up getting plunked into Nexus with a warlock who didn’t notice until a few pulls in that there were even any 80s with a humorous comment about no wonder why his DPS was low. Things go swimmingly and I barely have to help Tree-Friend with aggro at all, and the lock splits after we finish the instance, and we drop ourselves into LFD again and get yet another warlock, though surprisingly this one was from our realm as well! However none of us noticed until the last boss-fight of the instance. After the instance this one sticks around, however our death knight friend has to go, so we queue up once again assuming there wouldn’t be any issues, and get dropped into another Nexus, which is where the core of the tale lies. In short: We assumed wrong.

The replacement for our death knight friend was yet another death knight, this one unsurprisingly not 80. We zone in and things start off with him commenting about how he didn’t think the dungeon would pop before his dinner was done, and proceeds to worry more about dinner than the dungeon he chose at the time to go into (which at that point we didn’t sweat since we could likely 3-man the dungeon without issue). He auto-followed Ith’s druid up until after the first boss (would be the second boss on heroic, the mage lady who splits) from what I could tell, since I was still paying a hefty amount of attention to Omen and making sure Tree-Friend wasn’t having any trouble, and the auto-following was brought to my attention by Ith asking us to wait and that the death knight had stopped following during the slinging portion of the boss fight. Death knight comes back and we get on with it though he keeps pretty much dragging his feet throughout until we get to the nature zone, at which point he apparently has noticed that the tank at least is 80 and seems to assume that means he can do whatever he wants.

We inform him that the tank is there for a reason, for practice and to relearn, that no he can’t go nuts, and he seems to shrug it off with comments of he has Frost Presence, and Icebound Fortitude, and Death Pact, and so supposedly wouldn’t die if he pulled anyway. Well, unfortunately, he proved that point because he insisted on pulling an out of the way mob (one of the large trees) for a quest, even though we told him there were still enough trees and that he would get all his quest items… And we let him tank it, without the three of us interfering. (He did get the last of his quest items off the next large tree, with one more that we had to kill on our way out, so his pulling was completely unnecessary.) At this point I’m not sure what is going through this guy’s mind, because I don’t hear him switch presences back, and I notice him start dropping Death and Decay where I hadn’t heard or seen it before.

A bit of an aside as to why I mention hearing: I play mostly by sound. I am legally blind in my right eye and my eyesight in my left isn’t perfect, either, due to a dog bite I’d received in said eye back in high school. I can still see but it isn’t the biggest part of my playstyle; I’ve learned what just about every spell sounds like, most procs that have sound, etc. to make up for this, and have been known to successfully play as both DPS and tank by sound alone. A death knight changing their presence has a very distinct sound, as does Death and Decay, the latter of which I have learned from experience to be very alert for if the tank is not a death knight. Obviously, in this case, the tank was not a death knight.

The first pull where he drops Death and Decay, I sort of ignore it, since I’ve partied with people before who just mis-clicked or such and dropped it on accident… Two pulls later, after two more DnDs and vigorous watching of Omen on my part, I comment, saying simply that, he would have less aggro and more DPS if he switched out DnD in favor of Blood Boil. We continue as he proceeds to tell me in a very condescending manner that he has a death knight with a gearscore of 5500, that I have no idea what I’m talking about, that talented it is better DPS, etc etc. At this point, The Guy has us stop, and we proceed to vote-kick him, and 4-man the last pull and the boss.

Now, here’s the part where The Guy’s and my reasons vary considerably. The Guy didn’t like the death knight being a prick; I don’t appreciate being told that I’m wrong for saying a tanking ability is for a tank, and not for DPSing. Funnily enough, he said the talent Subversion in the Unholy tree was what increased the DPS of Death and Decay to make it better than any other AOE for him. Subversion is not only in the Blood tree, it is as follows:

Subversion Rank 3
Increases the critical strike chance of Blood Strike, Scourge Strike, Heart Strike and Obliterate by 9%, and reduces threat generated while in Blood or Unholy Presence by 25%.

Okay, so perhaps that makes it viable in the sense that it doesn’t rip aggro from the actual tank, it still does nothing to increase the damage done by DnD.. Or the fact that he didn’t even have that talent (neither does he have the glyph that actually does increase DnD’s damage).

As I had commented post-kick, you can buff the damage or something of a lot of tank spells, anyway… but they are still tank abilities, and not to be used for DPS, especially if they have built-in high threat. Afterall, a DPS is meant to have high damage, not high threat, that is the tank’s job, and the DPS’s job to stay under theirs.

If you hadn’t noticed, yes, this is a sore spot for me. One of my pet peeves, if you will. And now if you will bear with me, I will get into why.

Math Time

For starters, on Death and Decay:

Death and Decay Rank 4
1 Blood 1 Unholy 1 Frost 30 yd range
Instant 30 sec cooldown
Corrupts the ground targeted by the Death Knight, causing 62 Shadow damage every sec that targets remain in the area for 10 sec.  This ability produces a high amount of threat.

Now, that is, at 80, 620 damage (unmodified by attack power), for 3 runes. Keep that in mind since, no matter your tree, one of your main abilities (Death Strike for Blood, Obliterate for Frost, Scourge Strike for Unholy) requires 2 runes. Now, at 620 damage for 3 runes, that equals roughly 206.7 damage per rune.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at Blood Boil:

Blood Boil Rank 4

1 Blood
Instant

Boils the blood of all enemies within 10 yards, dealing 180 to 220 Shadow damage.  Deals additional damage to targets infected with Blood Plague or Frost Fever.

Right off the bat, Blood Boil has the potential to be more damage, with up to 220 damage, and an average of 200 damage, for 1 rune. If you have at least one disease on the target, that number goes up:

From Tankspot:

With no diseases on the target:
Base damage is 180-220 (average 200)
Attack power coefficient is 0.060 (up from 0.04 pre-3.1)

With one or more diseases on the target (2nd or 3rd do not add more damage)
Base damage is 275-315 (a flat increase of 95)
Attack power coefficient is 0.095 (an additional 0.035 * AP)

So now you have up to 315 damage, with an average of 295 damage, for a single rune. Obviously, 295 damage is more per rune than 207 damage.

Taking a look at Attack Power coefficients, in other words how well the abilities scale with the death knight’s Attack Power, also from Tankspot:

Blood Boil _________  0.060 no diseases / 0.095 with diseases
Death and Decay ____  0.0475

Blood boil scales with the death knight’s attack power 126% better without diseases than Death and Decay does, and 200% better with diseases than Death and Decay.

For an example, to make these numbers a little more real and possibly make more sense… Let’s say Random DK is DPSing a pull of three mobs, and has 2000 Attack Power.

If he were to drop Death and Decay, he will use 3 runes to do so, gain 2 runes’ worth of Runic Power, and get 715 damage per mob over 10 seconds, so about 215 damage per second and 238 damage per rune.

If Random DK instead were to use Blood Boil without any diseases on the targets, he will use 1 rune, gain 1 rune’s worth of Runic Power, and get 300340 damage per mob immediately, so 9001020 damage per second and per rune.

If Random DK were to use Blood Boil with at least one disease on each target, he will use 1 rune, gain 1 rune’s worth of Runic Power, and get 465505 damage per mob immediately, so 13951515 damage per second and per rune.

Even if Random DK had the glyph that increases DnD’s damage by 20%, that only brings DnD up to 839 damage per mob over 10 seconds, therefore about 252 damage per second, and 280 damage per rune.

If Random DK has Bloody Strikes 3/3, then using Blood Boil without diseases is 354406 damage per mob, and 10621218 damage per second/per rune.

If Random DK has Bloody Strikes 3/3, then using Blood Boil with at least one disease on each target is 548600 damage per mob, and 16441800 damage per second/per rune.

So on top of the fact that Blood Boil is obviously better for multiple (read: more than two) targets, from a purely damaging standpoint, there’s the threat to consider.  According to Tankspot, Blood Boil’s threat is its damage, modified by presence, while Death and Decay’s threat is its damage times 1.9 then modified by presence. So whatever DPS (damage per second) you are producing with Death and Decay, you are producing almost twice as much TPS (threat per second) before modifying it according to presence, whereas Blood Boil is only your DPS then modified.

Death and Decay is a tanking skill only. If you are using it and you are a DPS death knight, it would be better overall if you used Blood Boil and went on with your rotation instead. Not only will you get more DPS from Blood Boil, you will be producing less threat. Bottom line: If it says the ability causes high threat, and you are not a tank, you should not use it.

*Note: All of the above math, aside from what was quoted and/or attributed elsewhere, was done by hand (well, with a calculator’s help) by me, and I am only human and wrote this during a round of insomnia. There may be mistakes. If you spot any, or if I left anything out, please feel free to comment/let me know.

After some consideration and discussion with Ithraen, I will likely be pulling the math part above out into another post at some point in time, and make it much more thorough, with some more talents that were brought to my attention as well as some other things. I will link them both to each other when that is done.

March 27, 2010

Where’d all the bad tanks go?

Posted in Tales from PUGland at 3:01 pm by Aduial of WrA

So I’ve been leveling (I keep having to retype that.. Am I the only one who always tries to spell it “levelling?”) my healadin again, which means I’ve been doing some dungeons, though I’m questing more than I have in a long time, as well.. And despite the normally long wait for a tank, most of them have actually been… decent. Or at least getting there.

There’s been a couple who’ve either had problems with aggro or healability, but they’re decidedly the minority in my latest experiences over the past few days. Honestly, aside from the DK who spent the first couple trash pulls in Gundrak with me scrambling just to keep him alive because he forgot to switch out of his DPS spec (things went much smoother after he did switch) and the warrior who I guess thought healers used rage too? because he certainly didn’t want to wait for my mana, my biggest complaint has actually been.. tanks that are too healable.

There was one tank in particular, yesterday, who didn’t have the best threat on trash, but it was bearable (and did get better on bosses).. Who I barely had to heal at all. I spent most of that run tagging along behind the tauren with the shield from portal to portal flailing away at the dragonkin with my wimpy little Blessed Hammer of Grace with Blessing of Might(!) on, because Blessing of Wisdom was just wasting pixels on my buff bar, stopping every few minutes to toss him a heal or deal with some of the raid damage from the casters’ AOEs. There was another run of the Violet Hold with a different tank and we actually got Xevozz.. you know, that annoying git you have to kite across the balcony-thing to keep him away from his balls of doom else bad things happen?.. I actually got to flail at him with my hammer as well, and we didn’t even get him all the way across the balcony before he keeled over in a mere 50 seconds. These weren’t even heroics where everyone just bumrushes everything and wins anyway.

Even the DPS seem to be better, though I usually notice tanks more on my healer. It’s been a real surprise, and surprisingly a pleasure, to plunk my little healer down into the LFD tool and wait for it to drop her into some random far-off dungeon lately. There’s even been a couple people wanting tips on how to improve, and accepting them graciously.

I have to wonder, why the change? The last time I did dungeons on Mani, mostly the same dungeons even, few were like what’s been the norm the past few days. I know it’s not universal–a couple guildies have had some bad heroics, and some have had some pretty ugly runs at lower levels.. So I can’t even pinpoint why, but I love it. Maybe I’m just lucky, but either way hopefully a lot of these people keep the attitudes they have now even once they’re 80 and heroics become lolroll… And maybe it’ll rub off, and dungeons overall will become a more pleasant experience.

One can hope, right?

March 5, 2010

Four > Five

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland tagged , , , at 8:52 am by Aduial of WrA

Logically, it should be easier to do something with 5 people than with 4, right? Gevlon made a post recently touching on people having a negative worth in groups. Now, I never thought I’d end up linking to one of his posts, and I don’t always agree with him but some of his insights into the economy are worthwhile if not amusing reads for me, but this one got me thinking beyond that.. Possibly because part of me wants to agree with him.

I’m not sure it’s so much a negative worth as being.. detrimental, to the group, for one reason or another, though I’m not sure if there’s a difference in that or if I’m just playing semantics. I’m fairly confident almost anyone who’s done enough PUGs, either before or since the LFD tool (that I still want to call new even though it’s not anymore), can testify that there just are those people that runs go better 4-manning without them than 5-manning with.

When I started reading his post, I couldn’t help but recall one of my more semi-recent runs. A couple weeks back I ended up rolling a new paladin on a different realm because my guy had rolled there with some of his friends and he wanted me to join him; I agreed before realizing I had 30 levels to catch up to him, and he was still leveling at his same pace of 3-5 levels a day. This led to me using the LFD tool almost religiously for run after run in an attempt to gain quick levels (and it is a bit quicker than questing for the most part, since I ended up being a tank.. again). So I’m in Uldaman, with a decent enough hunter who’d stuck with me from the previous random, a druid healer, another hunter, and a retribution paladin. Now, this is before I have Spiritual Attunement or really any of the mana-getting talents for tanks, so I’ve been going OOM, so I do have to stop and drink. An OOM paladin tank is not a tank, since we kind of can’t. The new hunter, Hunter B, pulls while both the healer and I are drinking… I ask him to stop pulling, and he does for a few pulls. He needs on the shaft when it drops, and when we get to the box with the medallion, Hunter A takes it thinking Hunter B could still get it for the shaft, only to discover, no, there’s only one.. We try to get them to trade, the medallion isn’t tradeable, only the staff is, and Hunter A keeps trying to get Hunter B to trade the staff… 20 minutes later, we can finally move on. The ret pally is urging us to hurry because he has to go or something, so we pull, few pulls later I stop to drink… Hunter B starts pulling again. At this point, I initiate a vote kick, which fails, and the paladin asks who did that. I just kind of roll my eyes and sigh (afterall, if a vote kick is deserved, does it matter who initiates it?), ask Hunter B to stop pulling again, and carry on.. For about 5 minutes, where I sit gazing over the edge of my drink in abject horror as this cat rushes one of the bosses, only for Hunter B to start shooting arrows over my shoulders a moment later. I lurch into combat and we beat the boss, thankfully, but that was the last straw. I’ve been sending my poor little tank into pack after pack of mobs for about four or five hours now, and I didn’t need this kind of stress that could easily be avoided. I tell the party, very plainly, that I am about to initiate another vote kick; if the hunter doesn’t go, I’m dropping. This time it passes, and I queue us up for another 5th, and the healer asks if we really need one.. We decide we don’t, and start to 4-man it. Second pull in, the paladin remarks, it really is easier without Hunter B. And he was right.

We finished that run with four people in less time than it’d took us to do less with five, even through a 10-minute break for the ret pally. We didn’t do anything noticeably different ourselves. In fact, the only noticeable difference was there was no hunter deciding to pull mobs to the drinking party members. Yet there was a noticeable difference in how much more smoothly the run went, how much quicker we somehow killed the mobs without someone trying to hinder us. Now, that hunter was obviously detrimental to our progress, comparing with and without him. But was he of negative worth?

Semantics aside, I do see a difference between “detrimental to the group” and “of negative worth,” though perhaps it is only in this context and in response to Gevlon’s post. Either way, the group would do better 4-manning without the person than 5-manning with, though for me, I suppose, “detrimental” is temporary. For that one run, they are a hindrance, for whatever reason. Perhaps they are too stoned or drunk to play right, perhaps they got randomed into an instance that takes several times longer than they have to play and they’re in too much of a hurry, perhaps there’s a language barrier that can be overcome in the future or under different circumstances but is a hindrance for that run. People “of negative worth” isn’t temporary in my mind; they wouldn’t get better under other circumstances. They would be just as harmful to the group if they were sober and clean as they would if they weren’t, no amount of language barriers or lack thereof would improve their skills, no amount of time; people who are of “negative worth” in the game bring no benefit in any context except more dollars in Blizzard’s pocket.

February 1, 2010

The Price of Entertainment

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland, The Player Behind the Toon tagged , , at 12:55 am by Aduial of WrA

How much really is entertainment worth? Enjoyment, the same? Worth more, worth less?

So many things are available for different prices these days it’s harder to nail down. The same movie that costs $7 to see in theaters one time can cost $9 to own from a store, perhaps as little as $0.99 if bought online. But to watch at home there’s varying prices for TVs, VCRs or DVD players, Blurays now too, computers, the electricity to keep it all running, at the least… And even in the end, you can only watch so many $0.99 movies a month, and the rest adds up to a higher end cost. The same can be said about $7 in theater, there’s the price of transportation and gas, as well. So even something as simple as that has so many variations in price..

So how does this pertain to WoW? Any time I’m on the forums when there’s a problem, there are so many cries of people threatening to withdraw their $15 a month because they lose so many hours of game time due to X problem. This is ignoring the fact that Blizzard usually pays them back, if they look at their credits, after the problem is resolved. Are they entitled to do this? Of course, it’s their $15 a month, and they don’t pay for downtime aside from Tuesdays… but how much are they really paying for, then?

That $15 a month comes out to around 2 cents an hour. Going to see a 3-hour movie in the theater at $7 to get in, without buying any drinks or food comes out to around $2.33 an hour. People still go to theaters and see movies without as many complaints as Blizzard forums get, or even in-game since I’ve seen it there. Yeah, I get people are entitled to spend their money how they wish and complain or not as they see fit, but is it really worth it? With every hour they’re asleep or away from WoW at all, they’re losing money, but not as much as they could be. As it is, they’d only need to play WoW 6.4-hours a month to get their $15 worth if it was worth the same as going to see a movie.

A good chunk of people can find the time to play for 6.4-hours a month. If not and they withdraw their subscription, that really isn’t a loss since they’re not putting the strain on the servers from playing to begin with. So for people who play more than that, should there really be a problem?

And what about the extras Blizzard provides? The in-game pets, transfers, faction changes, etc. I’ve met a lot of people who scoff at spending the extra money on stuff like this, but a lot of times, isn’t it worth the price? If you spend about 4-hours enjoying your new in-game pet at the price of a movie, it’s paid for. 10.7-hours and the transfer is paid for. If they enhance your enjoyment of the game for those periods of time, why not?

I was on my healadin yesterday and my guy was on his DK tank, and we decided to random after he’d just gotten the cobalt set and wanted to tank again. We lucked into a group with a Shadow Priest from our sister-realm who was absolutely amazing, pulling over 2k DPS at level 73 at times, as well as bubbling the tank when things were getting dicey to give me time to heal him back to full. We hit it off the bat, even my guy liked him which is rare, and he ended up staying around for 3 groups, with long waits in between not due to the queue, but due to talking and just having fun in between.

Turns out he’d been thinking of a transfer over to our realm, and would’ve had he had the money, but had spent a bit too much spoiling his girl recently so was short the money until he got paid. We’d already spent 3-4 hours with the guy and liked him as previously mentioned, so I ended up talking with him in whispers over possibly paying for his transfer. I had enough extra and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve paid for something for someone else when I think they’ve provided me enough entertainment/enjoyment to warrant the cost, and about an hour later Wyrmrest Accord had a new level 74 Shadow Priest.

So why is stuff like that so odd? Yes, it’s all a game–but if you spend enough time in it, isn’t it worth paying what it’s worth? I’ve spent a lot on others in this game and it always seems to take people by surprise, but why? Not that long ago paying what things were worth wasn’t that uncommon. When I spend almost all of my WoW-time with one person for 2 months, who manages to get me to enjoy tanking again, why not pay for an expansion or two so they can keep up? Why not pay for their game time? When someone makes you laugh a lot when talking with them and they really want Lil KT for Christmas, why not get it for them?

January 30, 2010

Tales from PUGland

Posted in Tales from PUGland tagged , , , , at 1:06 am by Aduial of WrA

I have to wonder what the heck people are thinking when they hit that little button to accept to go into a dungeon with (usually) 4 other random strangers they may or may not ever meet again. I’m usually lucky and it’s only three strangers, since I queue up with my guy, but even then, two players a group does not make. Unless he’s on his tank I usually groan or whimper, depending on how our last groups have gone, and have the fleeting urge to run away from my computer instead of tapping the button.

Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, and find myself wanting to go into another dungeon quickly in hopes of getting another good group… Other times, and I’m sure anyone who’s used the new LFD system can understand, I want to stay far far away from dungeons for the rest of the night, at the least.

Is this true for every role, or just those rather dependent on having a capable tank? I’ll admit, since I retired my tank before the new system, I haven’t experienced what it’s like on her. On my hunter it’s usually a little less stress than on any of my healers, unless I have a bad healer to boot; if I have a good healer I can offtank a mob (or three) and survive fairly easily, but if the healer’s bad I’m going to die and I know it the moment I see the mob giving me a funny look.

Then there seems to be people who deign to make the group hard on everyone no matter how good it would otherwise be. Case in point? My level 40 druid healer and my guy’s level 40 warrior tank. We can’t random since it drops us into Mara which has mobs he can’t even hit yet–we tried and barely made it through after a long, hard, DPS-dropping-frequently run. So I’d went in and selected every dungeon below Mara we could queue for, and it drops us in SM Cath. Easy enough, right? ..Right?

We get dropped in with a warlock and a feral druid whose levels I can’t remember, and a level 45 hunter. Everything’s going fairly well, I’m just having to drop Rejuv on the tank every 2-3 pulls because he’s barely taking damage. The group’s been fairly friendly, not silent like a lot of the 80 runs seem to be, so I make an offhand comment about how I’m barely having to heal because he just won’t take damage. The druid and the warlock seem to have a chuckle at this, but for whatever reason the hunter, I suppose takes umbrage? Starts saying I need to heal… I say I am, when it’s needed. I don’t know if this hunter didn’t speak English or what, because we actually stop and try to explain this to her, all four of the rest of us. She keeps saying to “hael” (typo intended.)  Finally this hunter seems to understand and we go along for a few pulls, everything’s peachy. Then one pull, the hunter stands off to the side, waits until the tank’s got 6-8 mobs on him, I’m throwing out a HoT, the other DPS are doing their job… The hunter runs off to another group, stands in the middle, shoots two more mobs that didn’t pull from her running in, pet’s on another.

I’m sitting here, watching that, and the tank says, “Let her die, I’ll pick them up after.” So the four of us finish with our group, the hunter’s tanking a good 6 mobs herself (that she pulled, keep that in mind)… We’re standing here watching… Then the druid shifts out of cat form and tosses a HoT, saying how we’re horrible for letting the DPS die.

… What?

The hunter didn’t have to go pull another group and shoot more to make it a larger pull just because I’m not willing to waste my mana to keep HoTs up on everyone when they’re not needed. The tank and I knew what to do when the hunter dropped, I would’ve rezzed, we would’ve (hopefully) continued on without another incident. But now we have to support the hunter’s stupid act because if we don’t, the good DPS are going to die, because the hunter can’t tank all those mobs now that they’re attempting to DPS and heal.

Another case, Utgarde Keep, I’m on my 70 healadin and my guy’s on his 70 warlock. We’d randomed in, surprisingly with a rogue and hunter also from our realm, and an off-realm tank. Run’s going decent enough until we get to the dragon room, he has to be told to face the dragons away… He does after, okay… Then he bubbles. Himself. Sure, maybe he was taking more damage than he was quite used to since I’m having to heal everyone else that’s getting damage as well, but that’s a call for LoH, not a bubble. We make it through without anyone dieing, even though everyone else is now tanking, and I ask… “Did you just bubble?” Just to make sure, or maybe to give him a chance to BS, since at that point the most telling sign was the Forbearance debuff which now even Lay on Hands gives when used on oneself. Lo and behold… He admits he bubbled, and that he knows it drops aggro. Says he’s too high to click right.

… Okay. It’s just trash, hopefully he won’t be as bad on the boss. Right? Wrong. We wipe, horribly. We run back, try again, this time I get iceblocked off the bat, and he drops again like a sack of potatoes, while the warlock and hunter continue trying to offtank and me healing frantically before we wipe again. Vote kick the tank, wait a while for another… Get a DK.

Now, I will say that despite there being an overabundance of Death Knights, I do find good ones (and they exist) fun to heal. I know when and how they drop, how fast.. I can time my heals perfectly, it’s just the right amount between sitting there waiting for something to do and healing my arse off trying to keep everyone alive. This tank comes in, we’re excited, there’s idle small-talk as he makes his way, including a comment about how we don’t have to worry because his main’s the best tank on his server. So I’m thinking it’s going to be the kind of healing I’m used to, without any more problems. I was so, so horribly wrong.

This new guy takes 50% of his health… per hit. Per hit! Somehow I keep him alive for a bit, while healing everyone else as needed, bubbling myself out of the icetombs to keep on top of him.. But it’s not enough, and we wipe. And again after that. But we finally get him down, despite blaming me for the failures, and we pull a few trash… only for him to die. By this time, I’ve been talking with my guy per usual with each run, but also the rogue who’d whispered me, who had apparently been talking with the hunter whom he knew prior. I’ve been too busy watching the little green bars to notice: The DK hasn’t been using any of his skills, the DK’s gear is mostly 10 levels below him, the DK’s gear is DPS gear not tank gear in the least (even for a DK). We try for 20 minutes to kick this DK before we give up on doing that, and someone asks him to drop because we kicked the last tank and now can’t kick him.

For two hours, we battle with this DK about this. This DK flat out says he will stay to force us to drop, as well as other insults, that he has been learning from the best DK on the server and that it is in no way his fault, that we all fail, etc. Perhaps we should have dropped and regrouped seeing as the rest of us were from the same server, but we didn’t. We stood our ground, eventually he does see fit to leave, but after thoroughly insulting every one he could, defending that DPS gear is tank gear, and all around trying to make us miserable enough to drop first.

The next tank we got was wonderful and actually did her job (also: yay, warriors!), but unfortunately as she had just gotten to Northrend her gear was not quite up to snuff and we didn’t finish afterall, but we got farther with that one undergeared tank in less than an hour (all but starting from scratch since we ended up with respawns) than we did with two tanks in several.

Why would anyone go into an instance high? Why would they go in with these kind of mindsets, why would they want to make others suffer so they don’t get a debuff, why would they purposely make things more stressful than they have to be?

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