Lok’tar ogar!

August 29, 2010 at 4:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Let’s get down to business
To defeat the Scourge
Did they send me Murlocs
When I asked for Horde?

You’re the saddest bunch I’ve ever met
But you can bet, before we’re through,
Mister, I’ll make a raider out of you…

What do you know, I think I found my voice. I never know how to begin a blog post, I’m no good at a preamble that leads into my topics, so let’s just jump right in. I can’t figure out how to say what I wanted to say, so I’ll just talk about what I want to say.

I believe that in raiding, I have become a better person. I don’t mean that raiding makes me a better person than you, I mean that it has made me better than I was before. It demands, at least of me, certain skills which I have had to develop and to leverage to achieve the success I have and to believe I can achieve the successes I will get later. Skills that translate absolutely outside the game. My accomplishments in WoW should be able to go onto my resume.

I play my classes well. Why? Because I put thought into them, and because I seek out education. I gather extra information, and bring it together. I use tools, be they spreadsheets, or forum discussions, or math, or guides. But I don’t just blindly consume this information: I read the discussions and watch the objective science (or, at least, math) behind a lot of it, and from there formulate my ideas of what I’m going to do. And then, with all that information, I think I execute it… fairly well.

I raid well. Why? I pay attention to my surroundings and can juggle multiple task-components while still thinking about what’s going on and keeping my mind on something like my rotation. This is a skill that has developed as I played the game – I started out oblivious, but then I learned not to stand in bad, and then to keep moving out of bad while still doing what needed to be done. Going from dps to star dps in heroics to a raider, then a raid tank, and now working on heroic healing, it has all made me more aware and able to collate, process, and act upon, more and more information. As I move into tanking and healing, I am developing a cooler head even as things go pear-shaped.

But at the same time, raiding is a group effort at-level. I cannot succeed alone, and other cannot succeed if I am slacking off or performing poorly, both from an individual-component standpoint and from a group membership standpoint. And speaking of group membership, let us not forget that WoW is a social game, one we play with other people.

In raiding, I have developed greater skills to work as a member of a unit, both in a set group set to a purpose, and also a unit that has members rotate in and out of a bigger set. A lot of people, I find in life and in raids, cannot do this. This isn’t just working together by doing it, but two things that transcend merely being in the same zone and slamming on the same boss. Functioning with team happens on two factors: in the gestalt operation of a truly well-oiled group, which has worked well together, where they come together to play at a higher level than normal, to draw out the best and truly ‘work as one raid”… but also to function, socially, with people who I don’t necessarily always like – we are still able to focus on our task and to get it done. Skills that, again, I didn’t have as much as I did before I started raiding.

And what is a raid, especially in a group? It is a commitment of time and of energy. Dedication. As an accomplished, reliable, and skill raider, I have demonstrated my ability to dedicate my resources to a group effort that is both bigger me and, sometimes, not entirely perfectly reflective of what I want – but I still do my best to help it accomplish its goals. I can even set aside time out of my life fairly regularly to make a committment and to contribute.

There are more skills or ways of thinking that I already had, and that in raiding the way I do become apparent.

I have to be adaptable. And I have been flexible, as how to play my classes has changed, as I’ve needed to adapt to new fights, or to changes in a current fight either built-in or due to something going wrong or different. If I wasn’t already, I would have had to develop it, and if I wasn’t or didn’t, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today.

I believe that being good enough to do something is not, usually, good enough. A sloppy kill is a bad kill, and it should be tightened up and cleaned up next time. A raid plan that eventually kills the boss but does so slower or at greater risk of failure or with artificially stricter fault tolerances is not a good plan. Even if we kill the boss and get loot. Even if I stay alive as a tank and hold agro. Even if bosses die to my arrows or players live via my heals, there is probably some way I could have done it better, made the raid go smoother. I actively look for ways to improve my performance above mere necessary thresholds of “good enough.” The ongoing process of this motivation is, surely, a factor that contributes largely to my skill now.

I have failed many times. I have failed personally. I have failed on the whole as part of a unit, even when it was nothing within my control or influence. It is frustrating, yes, but my response to these failures is not to get frustrated, or find something discouraging on its own. No: what I do is I believe that it is still something I can do. We can do. And so I ask: “why did we fail?” I seek those answers, and I use them to then answer the question, “how can we not fail next time?” When I fail, I learn why, and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When the group fails, I don’t try to blame or give up or get discouraged (until it seems a break must be taken, but it’s just a rest period, nto a surrender) – I try to figure out what to try differently (assuming it’s not bad RNG) so that next time it goes better. And better. And better. And then we will achieve victory. And then we will do it better. And better. And then we will achieve farm status.

Within WoW, I am a finely wrought sword. I have gone from a lump of newb ore to bars through the smelting proccess, and then come from the hammers and the temper of the forge, sharp and deadly and serving my purposes well. There has been fire and there has been blows, it has been forces from outside acting upon me and forces from within. Even outside of the game, what I have done and learned, I see how to generalize.

I leave this with two final notes: I believe these are all valuable tools. I said I would make a raider out of newbs, and this is part of how. I am not giving anyone a hand out. There are no handouts that will make you less a newb, only ones that will make you a newb with a high gear score. There ‘welfare epics’ and there is all the BoEs and crafteds you can buy and you know what? None of it teaches you not to stand in Defile or hug Spores or switch targets as the kill priority changes or how to deal with the grind of Progression. But this is a hand up: nothing I have done or do is really unique to me. Put my data together and figure out how to use it. Although this, I think, is wasted on many of my readers as most people who know about and follow this blog are as good or, even, better, than me.

Ultimately: there is one final component to being a good raider, that I keep taking to heart, and that I feel is, if not essential to a successful raid, or something proven by my personal ability as a player and raider, at least is vital to all of it: remember that everyone who plays WoW is a person. From my friends in my long list of guilds I’ve been in, to even the trade-trolls. Everyone I raid with, from the awesome people I meet in the random pug to the ninja looters, ninja loggers, jackasses, elitsits, and newbs both chill and angry, everyone is a person.

When I group with people, I don’t want my time wasted and my efforts to be put to naught, and as such, I also don’t want to waste their time and effort. When I raid, it’s anywhere from seven to twenty-four other people, and we’re all here to have fun. And to accomplish a shared goal. Part of dedicating myself to it is being mindful and dedicated to not fucking it up by being inconsiderate or stupid or wasting their time. When I show up, I bring it to win it, yes: but I also view the whole thing as a group of effort by people who depend, in part, on me, and do not want to let them down, or to make it an awful firestorm of anti-humanistic badness.

This game has made me a better person, and I rock at it because I am a good person.
This game has made me good friends outside of it, and beyond the context of playing a game.

Isn’t that cool?


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Warning: Educational Content!

February 17, 2010 at 5:58 am (Hunter) (, , , , )

I’ve seen a lot of disagreement on the Lady Deathwhisper fight over if it’s better for Hunters to use Viper Sting or Serpent Sting. I take the less intuitive path of Serpent Sting is better. This has been bugging me, and as we all know, I like being right, and I like maximal dps (as opposed to Predacon dps?) – so, I sat down and ran some tests.

First, no offense to anyone in the Viper camp, but I think a lot of the love for Viper on Deathwhisper is being people don’t quite fully examine the tooltip.

Viper Sting:

Stings the target, draining 4% mana over 8 sec (up to a maximum of 8% of the caster’s maximum mana), and energizing the Hunter equal to 300% of the amount drained. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on any one target.

I think most people look at the “4% mana” part and think, “awesome, with something like 10 million mana, that’s like 400,000 mana! That’s like a full minute of my dps in eight seconds! (Light knows I did at first!) What we miss is the second part of that: “up to a maximum of 8% of the caster’s maximum mana” (that’s you, the Hunter). Math, raid buffed, has slightly less than 16,200 mana. 8% of that is 1296… ow. Viper is 1% every two seconds for eight seconds, so each two second tick is 324 mana drained.

Plinking Serpent Sting on a target dummy with no buffs beyond Aspect of the Monkeyhawk shows that a normal tick of Serpent Sting does an average, for Math, of 494 damage. He still has his 2pT9, and about 60% (unbuffed) of those ticks of Serpent were crits, averaging 1139. Plus, being Survival (yes, there’s still some Survival hunters left), while Serpent Sting targets take 3% more damage from his other abilities, like Explosive Shot – extra dps that comes from using Serpent, lost during Viper.

While Viper Sting seems, on the surface, to be potentially good, simple math (hah) shows that for Math, going Viper is a dps loss.

This really isn’t a hard and fast rule, “never use viper on Lady Deathwhisper”, though. Really, I want to say it seems generally suboptimal, but you might be a special case – fortunately, it’s not hard to check, if you care about pulling out that last extra hundred-some-odd / hundreds-of dps on Phase 1 – calculate 1% of your mana, and see if it’s a bigger number than an average tick of your serpent sting.

Though there is a time to use Viper Sting on Lady Deathwhisper, and that’s when you run low on mana. Sure, it does less damage than normal, but getting 24% of your mana bar back in eight seconds on a 15 sec cooldown beats eight seconds in Viper by leaps and bounds, let alone the amount of time you’d need to spend in viper to get that much mana back.

I know I’m not some leading authority, but the theorycrafting here is easy enough to try this at home and see – just, don’t blame me if somehow something goes horribly wrong. I’m not responsible for horrible mutants, wipeitis, wandering dps syndrome, or any other fallout you might randomly find. The world is a buggy place!

Fair winds and good hunts. Stay owning, my friends.

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Is a Huntard who learns still a Huntard?

February 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Been thinking on what makes for a good player, from a 5man / raid perspective. Natural thinkiness (which sometimes, like when discussion my Theory of Optimal Combat Action, or TOCA, gets me more or less kicked out of guild chat! :O) + recent in-game stuff that highlights some points + I like lists (so why isn’t this one) = I’m working on a post. While it’s not done, yet, I’d like to highlight one important distinction.

ICC 10 Wednesday: it was a bit of a crap day/night for me, though I don’t remember why. It was also off to the fabled and apparently famous BoO start, wiping twice to Naxx trash by 14manning Anubbie – once to TRASH!, but hey, that’s lulz and unportentious. Though once we get to Icecrown Citadel?

Huntard: Ripping Deathbring Saurfang off the tank/s to come barreling towards you because you targetted the wrong thing to taunt, because SAURFANG IS NOT BLOOD BEAST. Twice. After the second time, and a just mid-raid yelling-at, I was feeling a bit shitty. Usually my huntard shenanigans are cheeky and fun. This was messy, and tragic. Which makes them … not shenanigans at all. Eeeevil shenanigans!

But you know what? We all make mistakes. Sometimes they’re stupid mistakes. I don’t care, you could be me, Amber, Pike, even The Great BRK, and you still can’t contain The Huntard. It’s one of those deals we sign. Warlocks agree to throw up a stone and throw down a cookie jar and then go splat because their purpose is served (<3 you, Cirisi!), Hunters try mightily but our containment barrels occasionally leak radioactive huntardation all over.

What is a big difference between a bad player (Huntard) and a Good One (ME!)?

I figured out what I did wrong, what caused this problem to happen, and figured out two ways to solve it (a possible alternation to overall raid strategy, or just taking a moment's breather). The second- or third-biggest trait I feel makes for good players is we see where we can improve, and fairly actively seek out ways to correct our problemgenic paradigms and to increase / refine our ability. We actively further our learning to play.

There's no five-point list there, no real way to do this, except to pay attention, think, and listen to what others who're as good as or better than you have to say, without just blindly following along. Actually, that kind of was a three-point list.

tl;dr: Math is a scrub who Distracting Shot'd Saurfang in the face, twice, and lived to tell about it because I LOVE FEIGN DEATH MU WA HA HA.

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A quickie flowchart.

January 14, 2010 at 5:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

A simple flowchart, but it’s a simple concept for gemming a survival hunter.

Your meta is the Relentless Earthsiege Diamond.

You use one Nightmare Tear to activate your meta (lovely!) and in the process, use its nature as a prismatic gem to activate the non-red part of your best socket bonus (+6 or higher agility, +12 ap, +X crit) (however, ignore it if it’s a three-gem requirement and two of them are non-red).

Everything else is straight +agility.

As such, should you ever want to know, as a survival hunter, how to gem your gear, you can refer to

DUN DUN DUN! *drumrollplz?*

Mathorvos' Awesome Survival Gear Gemming Flowchart!

Fair winds and good hunts, my friends. May your shots fly true.

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Flowchart Powers Go!

January 13, 2010 at 8:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

I was going to write a whole guide on Huntering. Gearing. Gemming. Rotationing. Well, okay, it kinda falls apart at that point, but still!

I made this flow chart of the typical Survival rotation, and while I was going to post it with the rest of the Hunter stuff in one LOLMASSIVE post, I’m just so excited over it that this needs to be posted NOW.

And so! I give you …

Mathorvos' Awesome Survival Flowchart!

As a side note: “Feign” is a word that looks weird when you just look at it. I think it’s up to something, but maybe that’s just a ruse.
Also, thanks or curses (thanks!) should be directed to Amber, who showed me Teh Power Of Teh Flowchartz.

… eta: oh god how did this get here I am not good with computers … okay, how do I make it a text link OR a thumbnail, ’cause OMG HUEG IMAGE … it crits just like wall of text!

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