- What is it with Silvershard Mines?
- Lamentations of a Heroic Raider
- Single/AoE Hunter spec balance
- Tooooo sooooon, patch 5.2 is too soon, Ghostcrawler
- esoth.com gets an upgrade!
- Notes about the Speed of Light
- A mapping of glyphs from Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria (updated 2012/8/19)
- A mapping of talents from Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria (update - 2012/8/19)
- The Esoth Meadery
- The Dark Knight Rises [spoilers]
- Scientific and Pseudo-scientific Wonders
- Hunter level 75 talent testing
- Some recent beta testing
- Cracked and Panspermia
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk vs. Spirit Bond
- MoP hunter talent review (part 2)
- Mists vs Cataclysm Buffs/Debuffs
- Spine of Deathwing.
- One of the hardest fights this tier, but was it ever actual good or just overtuned in an obnoxious way?
- Mists of Pandaria talent preview and analysis
- A note on challenge/progression
- Initial post
- Getting things started
- What is it with Silvershard Mines?
- Lamentations of a Heroic Raider
- Single/AoE Hunter spec balance
- Tooooo sooooon, patch 5.2 is too soon, Ghostcrawler
- A mapping of glyphs from Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria (updated 2012/8/19)
- A mapping of talents from Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria (update - 2012/8/19)
- Hunter level 75 talent testing
- Some recent beta testing
- Aspect of the Iron Hawk vs. Spirit Bond
- MoP hunter talent review (part 2)
- Mists vs Cataclysm Buffs/Debuffs
- Spine of Deathwing.
- One of the hardest fights this tier, but was it ever actual good or just overtuned in an obnoxious way?
- Mists of Pandaria talent preview and analysis
- A note on challenge/progression
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Preserving (mostly) this quote from the Blizzard forums with grammatical/spelling errors in tact:
"can't we all agree that its the strive to be the best and or to be better is what Really keeps us playing this game? if it comes to be and i bust my ass and at the end of the day im not any better then the 8 year old that started playing yesterday, i will Stop playing this game! along with many other people"
The blue response:
"My primary goal when logging into World of Warcraft isn't to be the best. If by better, you mean acquiring more powerful items or higher character levels, I guess that's part of the drive."
To be perfectly blunt, someone who does not understand the thrill of challenge, earned success, and reward shouldn't be a spokesman for a game. Don't misunderstand me, I have no problem with someone who wants to play casually, see some of the content, and get a bit of gear along the way. But that person's playstyle should not be a factor in me seeking to excel beyond that. It should not be used as an argument against my desire to challenge and improve myself. It is a blight on their game that a blue poster would turn a legitimate concern about being appropriately challenged and rewarded into a question of the the legitimacy of being challenged.
Perhaps Zarhym doesn't see it this way and is instead focusing on a perceived elitism (which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing) where the original poster thinks he's better than everyone and Blizzard is just getting in his way of getting to lord it over those lesser people (casuals). This wouldn't be out of line with Zarhym's posting habits; he often comes as defensive in this regard. But if this is the case I think it's a myopic outlook and in this context he's neglecting the poster's second sentence - if you can call that grammatical atrocity a sentence. Even the item acquisition Zarhym mentions is a facet of progression - of the "strive to be the best and or to be better", but more importantly, if the only way you can better your character is by dedicating time and chance and not actually getting better you have failed at your game. You've made a Facebook quality time sink; something the gaming community would consider a mockery, a perversion of itself. You've made a child's board game where the only factor in outcome is chance.
World of Warcraft is not at that state. Not by a long shot and I seriously doubt it ever will be. Frankly I think this blue poster is just out of touch with the gaming community of this game. I am not even talking about the top 2% raiders but pretty much all max-level PVE players. His attitude reminds me of players I'm sure we've all met before who think raiding requires some impractical amount of time, where skill and the development of skill doesn't exist, and hey they could get that gear if they wanted to put in that kind of time but I've got a job and a girlfriend unlike you people. These people have been dismissed by the raiding community because they quite obviously don't know what they're talking about. Dismissed if not out right ridiculed, because it is insulting and absurd for someone who puts forth no effort to condescend to those who have the audacity to care about the game.
This fight sucks for the damage dealing role. There's no reason to sugar coat it; I'll be blunt and up front about it.
The first thing you'll notice is the lack of meaningful environment graphics. It takes place entirely on Deathwing's back with nothing but indistinct, swirly clouds as the surrounding (technically you can see the ocean below). We pass no landmarks or creatures along the way to the Maelstrom. The animation is robotic - his wings flap and head bob, but with the entire torso remaining static there is no sense of motion. It feels like we are on a stationary platform that has these odd appendages and apparently we're in a wind tunnel because swirly things go by? But every once in awhile the wind tunnel rotates to simulate a barrel roll?
All of the graphic and animation pet peeves are secondary concerns for me, though, at least as far as this post in concerned. Don't get me wrong, having an interesting environment is crucial in my memories of all of my favorite fights. But when we are talking about an encounter that we will attempt not just two or three times like some flashy five man, but 100+ times at a minimum, the graphics can enhance or detract from the experience but the core is the actual fight mechanics - the actual gameplay. I won't try to comment on how the fight feels for healers or tanks, but for DPS I think it fails considerably on this aspect.
Here's a quick rehash of how the fight works: You land on his back and there are four corruptions. Each time you kill a corruption a single Hideous Amalgamation will spawn from that hole and Corrupted Blood will also periodically spawn from that hole. A common strategy is to kill the first three Corruptions, force a barrel roll to throw those Hideous Amalgamations off, and then kill the fourth Corruption. Another Hideous Amalgamation will spawn as well as another Corruption somewhere (you can't get rid of all Corruptions - if you kill the last one, a new one will always reappear). When Corrupted Bloods are killed they form a pool over which the Hideous Amalgamation can be brought to soak them up and gain one stack. If the Hideous Amalgamation is killed when he has nine of these, he blows up and can knock a plate loose - which allows you to target and attack Burning Tendons. When killed, that plate flies off and it's basically a repeat of the last phase with more Corruptions and a slightly bigger area on which to move.
This is all the same as normal, except a few things are stressed a bit more. Burning Tendons are stressed a lot more. They have more health and less time attackable so it takes two times blowing up a Hideous Amalgamation to kill them. Six amalgamations, three Burning Tendons in total. This prolongs the fight which stresses healer mana, means the raid will have their max health reduced by up to 30% before the end, and means more Corrupted Blood will spawn until its just an absurd amount by the end of the fight. Almost all of this is a matter of control. The fiery grips from the Corruptions require pre-casted attacks to limit their raid damage. Corrupted Blood has to be killed intelligently. Killing Hideous Amalgamations more efficiently will end the fight faster so DPS is important here, but it's still mostly about control and just playing well overall. There is no magic time threshold in which you need to kill the Amalgamation. If it takes 10 seconds longer to get one down, it's probably not ideal, but it's probably not going to matter much either.
What does matter is that 18 second window during which you have to get that tendon down to 50% the first time and finish it off the second. It is incredibly important because if you have to do it three times you will end up with so much blood by the end of the fight that your tanks will be overwhelmed, and everyone loses 6% more health due to degradation. It has to die in two. With the rest of the fight being mostly about control, this means that 18 second window is pretty much the only important aspect of DPS on this fight and it is stressed for every single DPS in the raid equally.
Classes are not at all balanced for a theoretical 18 second window. Nor should they be; it is way too specific to one particular encounter and would require classes to be too similar overall. That means although class stacking is incredibly important here (less after the 5% nerf, but even still) it is a failure of the encounter design, not the class design. My hunter doesn't need the burst potential of an arcane mage going forward; I have other strengths that can hopefully be valuable. What my hunter needs is to not be expected to fill the exact same role that some other class would in a highly specialized scenario. That's really what the problem is; it's not that an 18 second burst is important, it's that it's important to every DPS and nothing else is nearly as important.
I think they could have done one or two things here and still made a short burst window important and interesting. First, make it so that it's not the only DPS requirement going on at the time (fiery grips still happen, but this is a minimal concern honestly) and so that you wouldn't want to have ALL of your best DPS on it. Maybe you want to have five on it, while the rest of the DPS are dealing with important concerns which they cannot afford to neglect to assist the Tendons team. So you take your five best players/classes for that role and assign them to it. Or maybe if you are really good and experienced at it you can drop down to only your four best people for that role, while the fifth can assist in other roles. The classes that simply aren't good at that role don't have to be; their expertise is useful on other aspects of the fight. This approach requires several moving parts. I think Lady Vashj phase 2 was a great example of doing this well. There were damage requirements but they were a bit more seamless in that the goal was to get your assigned targets down before the next one of that type came up, but you could afford to have a little bit of overlap if you handled it well. You had one or two people that could kite well in charge of the striders. You had people who were mobile and quick able to handle the elemental spawns. You had people who weren't that good at either but could take down the elites before that tank was overwhelmed. And you had all of those types working together for the tainted cores. You didn't have to be really good at one role to be beneficial, you had to be decent at one of three or four roles, and even then there was still the phase 3 concern. What a great encounter!
Even if you don't have all of those moving parts at the same time, you could still stress other strengths at different points in time. As I said, dealing with fiery grip and overall Hideous Amalgamation are important but they aren't really stressed in regards to damage. They are more about control and just about everyone can handle them well enough. If you had Hideous Amalgamations disintegrate after X seconds and this is really hard to reach, suddenly that 18s burst isn't the only thing anyone cares about anymore. Maybe there's a second phase where aoe is really important and a raid full of arcane mages wouldn't be able to handle it. Or some people have to hop on a floaty disc Kalecgos throws at you and go take care of something on the wing. There are a lot of possibilities.
Lumping all damage dealers into a single, amorphous role with the same duty (and only a single, highly stressed duty) but different strengths and weaknesses is poor design; and it is poor encounter design not poor class/spec design. I think we actually see this all over the place in Dragon Soul, it just happens to be stressed in the most obvious way possible on Spine of Deathwing.
I wrote about all of the hunter talents in MoP previously, but I wanted to take a bit closer look at these tier three talents again. First of all, here's a reminder of these two (Crouching Tiger is likely to suck so I'm excluding it):
Aspect of the Iron Hawk
Your Aspect of the Hawk now also reduces all direct damage taken by 15%
While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 5 seconds.
So what would these look like in a real situation? Healing versus mitigation is old hat to tanks and healers at this point, but it's fairly new for hunters to be concerned about. Let's plug in some sample numbers, where c is character health and d is damage per 5 seconds on you.
c = 175000
d = 25000
c*.02 = 3500
d*.15 = 3750
We can go ahead and find the balance where mitigation is equal to healing in terms of c and d.
With 175k health, incoming damage (mitigated by AotIH) would only have to be 23.3k damage every five seconds. That's pretty close to the example. It's also pretty small and easy to be handled by healers using limited AoE healing on everyone. I don't think they would even notice if you had your own healing or mitigation here and this is basically a best case scenario for Spirit Bond. It doesn't scale at all, unlike Aspect of the Iron Hawk. If you take a big 100k hit you'd mitigate 15k or about 21.4 seconds worth of Spirit Bond. AotIH is also proactive instead of reactive.
There are a couple other caveats to consider. AotIH says it only mitigates direct damage, so on a fight like Ultraxion that is only aoe it would presumably be worthless. Spirit Bond also heals your pet, so if you encounter a fight where the pet is not getting help from healers but is still taking damage, this could be useful. We haven't actually encountered anything like that in Cataclysm though. The only fights I can think of from this expansion where pet health was even an issue are 1) Maloriak, mostly because of the blue debuff and 2) Corrupting Parasite spawns on heroic Madness. But Spirit Bond isn't even good enough to be the solution in either of those cases (Cower works great for the latter, fyi - or simply repositioning your pet!).
AotIH is likely to be better in most situations because it scales and because preventing damage is better than healing it when those numbers are close. For the cases in which Spirit Bond does more, it's going to be because you have almost no incoming damage that can be affected by AotIH. In these cases, Spirit Bond will be either not needed or a drop in the bucket. Am I missing something?
The latest build puts Spirit Bond at 3% every 2 seconds and AotIH is a flat 15% reduction. So if we keep five second blocks, c*.075=d*.15, damage needs to be half of our total health pool every 5 seconds for AotIH to be more valuable at steady rates. Again, this doesn't say anything about the importance of big spiky hits in a pool of little damage, where AotIH is much better. Looks like they're in a good place now though.
We're going to need either a prot warrior or a blood dk for maps with flags. Hopefully we can get Shira or Omegal interested, otherwise our next best choice is probably Oxey as feral. Not having an actual tank spec for this (you can switch specs before the bg starts, in the starting area) would cripple us on these maps though.
Try to memorize each map so you know what call outs like WW or LM mean in context. A lot of these games are going to be about swapping resources (players) to another location quickly, so you don't really have time to fidget with your map open trying to figure out how to get from A to B.
Battle for Gilneas
We'll probably have a team go to Waterworks (WW), with a smaller team starting at Lighthouse (LH) and a couple rovers in between. It will be important for people to stay at their designated nodes except for these rovers and except for any coordinated change. We are not likely to ever get a 3 cap, though having a rogue/druid stealth cap a node might be viable. With only three nodes, this map, even more than AB, is going to be about quick and coordinated node locations. A lot of times we are going to have nodes get attacked and the defenders there aren't so much trying to win the fight as they are trying to hold on until backup arrives. If it's 2 of us on LH with 5 attackers don't try to actually kill any of them and don't just run away either. Stay alive as long as possible while AOEing the flag to prevent a cap. Preventing a cap is your only goal until help arrives. They're going to be doing the same thing to us when we try to take over a node, so knockbacks, deathgrip, stuns, are useful. Might want a tank spec on one node for this reason as well - a tank and healer could hold off one node for a long time while dps is effective elsewhere. When fighting at each node, someone needs to call out the current kill target so that they can be burst down while we get CC on other targets. Not using CC isn't an option. Have mouseover macros for ranged interrupts/CC/etc.
I don't really have any appreciable experience with the 10m version of this. 10 people and 5 nodes means each one is only going to have 3 or 4 team members on it, so lots of small fights. Blacksmith is always a good node to take because it's a pretty good launching point for other nodes. Same flag rules as Gilneas apply here - you have to channel to capture a flag so one or two people staying alive to aoe the flag can hold off a larger group until reinforcements come (or simply delay their cap while other teammates take a different resource).
Warsong Gulch / Twin Peaks
These are both going to play about the same except for some differences in flag return paths. We'll probably want to either intercept them as we cross mid at the start with a healer/tank pair grabbing the flag, or everyone get the flag and meet their team on the way back. If we plan for the latter we have to be prepared to change that if the other team tries to spearhead us. If they engage, people are going to get peeled and picked off one at a time with no support - yelling at people for fighting in mid after they are peeled is for dumb fucks in random bgs.
When attacking the EFC, good CC and good burst are going to be important. CC mostly on the healers - healing in pvp this expansion is out of control so actually being able to kill healers when you've got maybe 2 or 3 coordinating in chat is probably going to be either impossible or simply take up way too much time. At some point we might want to call for CC on healers and burst down the EFC. Chain various stuns/CC to keep them out of commission as long as possible. Also keep in mind that the FCs will have a stacking debuff overtime that causes them to be susceptible to more damage, so if the timer on this is almost up we might want to wait a bit before going all out on the FC with cooldowns.
Eye of the Storm
Not sure how this is going to play on 10 man either. Obviously we are going to want to control either two towers and mid (flag) or three towers, so probably going to be groups of 3 or 4 again like on AB. The main difference between this and Gilneas/AB is that the flags turn here based on number of people nearby, not preventing a channel. That means 1) be close enough to register for this body count and 2) aoe'ing a flag is not an option, nor is being able to withstand a flag cap with a smaller group. It won't turn as fast for them if you are outnumbered but still there though. Also stealth capping doesn't exactly work here either.
The main thing we learned was the importance of having the zone map open. We need to know on demand the status of all resource nodes and the location of the EFC (and our own FC).
Other things to work on:
- The importance of sticking to the called out target. We had too many people trying to catch some other person off guard or thinking they are more helpful on another target. Too often we ended up with only two people targeting the burn target and couldn't make any progress. Need to find out if this is viable for our multi dot classes - my thought is that we still don't want to do that because it breaks CC or limits CC potential. It also reduces the damage you are doing on the target we are trying to burn down. Especially in flag maps it's not about killing all of their players - you could win a game with only three kills total. And btw:
- CC - we need a lot more work/practice here. People that are new to pvp just need to get more practice using the CC they have available. Bella saw first hand what coordinated CC should be like (she saw a bit more since we only had two healers to soak up CC).
- Need to get a better strat for AB and EotS. I'm not completely sure how we should be playing these yet.
- We have a lot of room to improve on gear. This is relatively easy to take care of as it's just a time investment in randoms for a lot of people.
- Our comp isn't ideal - we were just going with what we had. But we would get a lot more out of having three healers and a second tank-capable player.
I'm having a lot of fun doing this and I realize a lot of people are new to pvp - which is perfectly fine, I don't have unreasonable expectations. But I do want to take this seriously and I think the type of players in our guild are the type to take it seriously. We just have our work cut out for us :)
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I made a spreadsheet of all of the Mists of Pandaria and Cataclysm buffs and debuffs comparing the two. It's a bit wide, so if you don't like how the image renders take a look at the Google spreadsheet directly: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgYeJP_V8EicdEhmV3hueGxjbTZEellWSDR3ZE9yR1E&output=html
This is missing a couple pvp related debuffs as well as things like heroism/bloodlust. Also, it should be noted that the hunter class is a bit off at the moment because I included all of the pet buffs/debuffs (within reason) for Cataclysm but not for Mists. We have no idea which the pets will bring although Blizzard did specifically say that they want hunter pets, especially BM, to fill in some gaps.
I haven't seen anything specifically referencing it, but it looks like replenishment is gone, as is mana pool boosts like Arcane Int, and mana regeneration like Blessing of Might. There is no mention of +3% damage boosts like Ferocious Inspiration. The str/agi buffs like strength of earth totem are also gone, probably in favor of making the AP buff more important.
Some things of note:
- Tanks all bring physical damage reduction and melee attack speed is gone. This makes tanks all about the same for buffs/debuffs which is what Blizzard stated they wanted to do.
- Physical vulnerability is brought by all plate (strength) DPS. At the very least you need one STR DPS in your raid or all of your AGI DPS will suffer a bit.
- Spell haste is brought by all hybrid casters - it was before, but now it's exclusive to them. You can't stack mages/warlocks alone.
- Monks have hardly any buffs or debuffs to bring. This seems incomplete at first, but priests are in the same boat.
- Healers as a whole don't bring many buffs. Buffs are much more DPS focused. Resto druids are the only ones bringing a debuff, and I think this is mostly a relic. It's probably not a big deal for them to actually remove it because for most instances they can't be relied upon to keep it up in combat.
Also, be sure to check out Theck's post on the topic. We started making as spreadsheet for this independently and came out with some different takes!
I took a much earlier look at the talents here. There have since been a lot of changes and I think it has mostly been for the better. I'm only going to cover new and modified abilities here.
Tier 1 (level 15)
When you Disengage, you also activate a web trap which encases all targets within 8 yards in sticky webs, preventing movement for 3 seconds.
This is the replacement for Evasiveness which had likely fatal flaws as I mentioned in my last post. This is a much more interesting talent that looks pretty good for PvP (might have DR issues with other snares). I would guess it likely won't be very useful in PvE because kiting simply hasn't been a theme in years.
Tier 2 (level 30)
20 focus. 1.5min CD. You fire a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 5 yards of the landing arrow for 10 seconds. If targets move 5 yards from the arrow they are stunned for 5 seconds and will be immune to the effects of Binding Shot for 10 seconds.
Moved from tier 6 and now completely a control ability with no damage. This is basically ring of frost except that it is a circle instead of a donut. The only problem with it is whether it's going to be worth giving up silencing shot in PvP.
Tier 3 (level 45)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera
Reduces the cooldown of Disengage by 10 seconds and the cooldown of Deterrence by 60 seconds.
Instead of proccing a reduction in the cooldowns every time you are hit by a melee or spell ability it's now just a flat reduction. I'd be interested to see if this ever results in a damage increase in raids with the Glyph of Mirrored Blades (reflects spells). Aside from that, while not exactly a weak talent, the others just look much stronger.
Aspect of the Iron Hawk
The Hunter takes on the aspects of an iron hawk, increasing ranged attack power by 10% and reducing all damage taken by 15%. Only one Aspect can be active at a time.
They dropped the wording about direct attacks! I haven't been able to test whether this really does apply to all damage, or whether it did before and this is just a tooltip correction. 15% reduction in all damage is pretty damn amazing and I suspect they might have to nerf it. It's also now a new Aspect instead of improving Hawk. The only difference this really makes is that enemies can tell you have it based on your buffs.
While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 3% of total health every 2 seconds.
3% every 2, up from 2% every 5. This puts it in line with similar class abilities making it pretty damn good. Still, it's going to be hard to beat Aspect of the Iron Hawk.
Tier 4 (level 60)
30 second cooldown. Instantly restores 50 focus to you and your pet
Currently (cata) for BM it's a 2m cooldown and just rather pathetic. A 30s CD gives us a lot more control over focus bursts (especially multi shot) and recovering from a situation where we may deplete focus quickly (target switching?). It will take some math to see how balanced it is compared to the other two abilities, but honestly, I suspect Blizzard will have them balanced close enough that none of these is going to pull ahead in that respect (I could be wrong, will have to still do the math). Thrill of the Hunt is easy for the beginner since it has no on-use cooldown and weak for the expert who can manage his focus enough to capitalize on Fervor.
Tier 5 (level 75)
This entire tier is completely revamped, now providing damage abilities instead of control.
A Murder of Crows
Summons a flock of crows to attack your target over the next 30 seconds. If used on a target below 20% health, the cooldown will be reset. 60 focus. 1 min CD
That's a hefty focus cost so it might work best if you also have Fervor in your build. It's up 50% of the time before execution range and 100% of the time during execution range, so Readiness isn't going to be that valuable for it anyway. Dealing with this visual for half of a fight could turn out to be annoying for the whole raid - I don't like it having such a big uptime for that reason alone.
Summons a powerful wild beast to assist you in combat for 12 seconds. Each time the beast deals damage you will gain 2 focus. 30s CD
Semi-burst damage with some focus generation. If the attack speed is the same as regular pets it's 2s base and closer to around 1.25s with scaling. So you would generate somewhere around 12-18 focus over the course of 12 seconds. I don't think this is enough to have much impact; if they are going for a balance between pet damage and focus generation they need to lower pet damage and increase focus generation to make that happen. Frankly I would find it interesting if they either let it just do damage or just generate focus if they want to go that route. If focus regen were its primary benefit, BM would almost certainly rather pick something else though.
Your pet rapidly charges from target to target, attacking 9 times over 4 seconds, dealing its normal attack damage to each target. 2min CD
It's Killing Spree for pets! Actually I guess Lynx Rush came first since it was in Zul'Aman as a boss ability before rogues got KS in Wrath. So... stack this with Bestial Wrath and profit?
Tier 6 (level 90)
20 focus. 15 sec CD. You hurl two glaives toward a target, each dealing 1 damage to each enemy struck and reducing movement speed by 30% for 3 sec. The primary target will take 4 times as much damage from each strike. The glaives will return back to you, damaging and snaring targets again as they return.
We now have an associated focus cost and CD, and the movement has been lowered from 50% to 30%. Also, the original wording read as if it was a cone based attack whereas it is now target based. I'm really interested to see what kind of damage this will actually do and if it will be a part of our rotation on single target (the AoE benefit is slight - main target takes four times as much damage and with a 20 focus cost multi shot will probably be preferable at some amount of targets anyway).
40 focus. 3 second cast. 1min CD. You wind up a powerful shot, which deals 100% weapon damage to the target and 25% weapon damage to all enemies in between you and the target. Enemies hit by Powershot are also knocked back.
The range mechanic is gone! There are some hefty restrictions on the power of this "powershot" - 40 focus, 3 second cast time, and a 1 minute CD. The worst from a mechanic perspective is the 3 second cast time; even if haste brought it closer to 2 seconds that is a long time to wind up a knockback. Those costs would also weaken its damage potential. It's a weak typhoon.
40 focus. 30 second CD. Rapidly fire a spray of shots forward for 3 seconds, dealing a total of 288% weapon damage to the target and an average of 72% weapon damage to each other nearby target.
If these numbers are balanced, you are basically trading in the utility of Powershot for extra damage (I'm assuming this is channeled?). I thought they didn't want to do that. All three of these abilities are basically a modified multi shot where you choose between applying a snare, applying a knockback, or doing more damage. I think Powershot's costs look too high (I don't have a 90 in beta to actually test this out unfortunately) and Barrage is just too obvious of a choice for PvE except for a handful of specific use cases for the other two.
I brought up the topic of this Cracked article and in particular the entry for Crick, about panspermia. What I object to is the idea that panspermia itself is a crazy concept that belongs in the realm of science fiction, which I thought the author was effectively arguing. Especially in the context of most modern physics (relatively and quantum physics) seemingly flying in the face of common sense and nevertheless being true. The universe doesn't care about our human prejudices. I don't know the details of Crick's beliefs here; as presented in this article that sounds like the case, though there's some obvious bias. Regardless, Cracked here is more concerned about making the whole subject look crazy for comedic effect than an actual understanding.w
Here's the Neil deGrasse Tyson quote I wanted to share about panspermia:
From discoveries of Martian meteorites on Earth, we can conclue that about 1,000 tons of rock from Mars rain down on Earth each year. Perhaps the same amount of debris reaches Earth from the Moon. Thus we did not have to go to the Moon to retrieve Moon rocks. A few dozen of them have come to us on Earth, although they are not of our choosing, and we had not yet learned this fact during the Apollo program.
If Mars ever harbored life - most likely billions of years ago when liquid water flowed freely on the Martian surface - then unsuspecting bacteria, stowed away in the nooks and crannies (especially in the crannies) of the rock ejected from Mars, could have traveled to Earth for free. We already know that some varieties of bacteria can survive long periods of hibernation, as well as high doses of the solar ionizing radiation to which they would be exposed en route to Earth. The existence of space-borne bacteria is neither a crazy idea nor pure science fiction. The concept even has an important-sounding name: panspermia.
(taken from page 196 of Origins)
One final thing I want to note is that a debate about panspermia being a worth a consideration for scientific study should not be mistaken as arguing that there is evidence to support it happening on Earth. As far as I'm aware, there is none, at least not yet.
I've been rereading Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark in which he advocates for science as a tool against pseudo-science and charlatanry. Ok, that's a fairly big theme in a lot of his works and among most scientists and science educators. This one is specifically about debunking bogus claims like astrology, the Loch Ness, monster, ghosts, etc in general through a systematic process we call science. People are attracted to these things for sake of wonder or marvel; a sort of grandiose religious experience they get from believing these mystical things to be true. The irony, that Sagan and others like Neil deGrasse Tyson often mention, is that while the evidence for the above is so weak or outright dismissive, the actual universe (that is, evidence backed by repeated tests, performed by multiple people, identifying and removing bias, etc) has a lot of examples of things that are much more fascinating and mind blowing. And it's in almost every field of science: the structure of DNA, properties of bacteriophages, big bang theory, black holes, quasars, the relation between mass and energy, plate tectonics as a grand theory used as a basis for both earthquakes and volcanoes, the lifetime of the Earth. There are also plenty of topics where we are clearly missing some key piece (although you don't use pseudo-science to try to fill it), like the incompatibility of general relativity and quantum theory, if that kind of mystery is your thing.
But I think they miss something when they talk about people who gobble up tabloids about aliens or stories about demons, and yet deny concepts for which there is plenty of data, as silly or a coverup. The real stuff is obviously harder to fully grok since it can be incredibly complex and require some advanced math skills to understand. But more than that, I think there's a big psychological component that has more to do with identity and power. Science is mostly open, but this very openness might make it feel like a privileged social structure to those with a poor science education. They feel turned off to learning real things because it's hard and people are going to know more than them anyway. So here's some bogus conspiracy theory about crop circles that offers secret information, that lets them feel like a part of some special club while giving them a sense of wonder about the universe. It gives them identity as a member of a privileged class of knowledge wielders.
Of course, it's all completely false, and the idea of science merely being a privileged social structure to be undermined by the common man is ludicrous. The obvious, practical solution here is better science education that continues to let everyone share in its "arcane" knowledge (which Tyson and Sagan work on frequently). But I do wonder, if we can put aside the ethics for the sake of argument, if you could sort of trick some of these people who are highly susceptible to pseudo-science into embracing actual science by framing it differently for them. For instance, a sort of layman's version of DNA and evolution marketed under the title "Secrets of Life Revealed" or something.
I expect to see fully automated and intercommunicating cars in my lifetime. Cars that not only can navigate a sea of bad drivers but eventually be full of only robotic cars that can orchestrate a complex choreography for the most efficient traffic patterns. Or at least, I wouldn't be surprised to see this since a lot of progress towards a goal like this has been made already. Not only could a computer respond to sensory perceptions better than a human (your car does this to some extent already), it could let several cars behave more like a train and avoid leaving large spaces between individual cars that we have to leave due to our (correctly acknowledged) lack of information about the other drivers and our own reaction times. This post isn't really about the technology behind this and how it could improve efficiency though, but rather the political and emotional responses I worry would inevitably take place.
There would likely still be accidents because the algorithms would need to be continually improved and there may be some things that just aren't controllable or realized. Sometimes there will be isolated reports of horrendous accidents that everyone at the water cooler agrees could not have happened without this new automated system. People are scared because of a perceived lack of control and long to go back to the state where they had it. This system is not perfect so perhaps it should be dropped to go back to the drawing board.
This is what I fear happening (and expect, but hopefully it's a minority) but it's a fallacious argument because it ignores the alternative. First, let's assume that the system is not objectively worse than what we currently have (if the number of accidents increased by this system would be a pretty obvious decision that the proposed algorithms and sensors were not good enough and we should drop this). Even if you had a relative drop in accidents of 80% you could still have cases where the algorithm wasn't quite right or did not or could not account for something and there is an accident. Still, an 80% reduction is a <biden>big fucking deal</biden>. The person in the previous paragraph who is scared to have a lack of control is correct that he doesn't fully control his environment, but how much control did he actually have before? How much control did he have over the drunk or tired or bad driver, his own poor driving skills, or any events in which limited human perception and reaction were inferior to that of a computer? If this system generated a handful of ghastly accidents cannot we sympathize with the victims while still realizing that it is statistically better than many handfuls of ghastly accidents caused by other means?
I think you'd also have claims that a lot of the problems this would solve (although not the traffic efficiency) could already be handled if people did the right thing™. You can try to cut down on drunk driving by instituting a number of programs, penalties, and education to address the concerns. These may be philosophically valid arguments, but there is still a problem of efficacy. This automated system would cut down on drunk driving related incidents alone tremendously. Personally, if it means a loved one doesn't die I don't care if it's because the actor simply did not drive drunk or because the actor was drunk but the car was driving for him. Is it really that bad that the issue would be improved by technology rather than a morally righteous social justice?
A system of fully automated and choreographed cars doesn't need to be perfect and 100% safe to be the appropriate solution - it needs to be better than that alternatives. (And yes, this can be used as an allegory for many things).
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I've seen this movie twice now (and I never go out to the theaters). I enjoyed it for the sake of hanging out with friends and a cheap action thrill, but I have some complaints I wanted to write down.
The first thing that sticks out to me is that this really fits the mold of a typical James Bond movie. He sleeps with the good girl who turns out to be bad, and ultimately gets the bad girl who is redeemed. These are the only two important female characters in the movie. To be fair, they are important to the plot outside of their romantic involvement, but this seems like a token representation. By default, every character is male unless explicitly needed to be female.
There are other Bond themes - lots of gadgets and cool vehicles. Hell, Fox is basically Q. Wayne is a socially adept playboy. I don't mean to rip on the Bond films so much as highlight how I think Nolan made a comic book story accessible and highly popular by using the Batman framework to make a Bond film. It doesn't divert from basic action films of the 60s and onward except for tech. Batman's costume is made to look the least eccentric it can be while still being recognizably Batman. I don't think it would be too hard to turn this movie into a Bond film or any generic action film.
I am glad they addressed the horrifying anti-terrorism aspects of the Dent Act. In The Dark Knight, Batman's extrajudicial enforcement is obvious but I'm happy to let this slide on account of him being a super hero. But when you get away from one super human taking the law into his own hands and start making it a general policy (giving the police force "teeth") there's a problem. They didn't go into very deeply though, and most of the consequences were not examined except for a brief look at Gorden. James Gordon has plenty of redeemable qualities, but he is also in the business of withholding important information from the public and promoting a police state. What is the strength of a society that limits information for the sake of the status quo? Blake/Robin is probably the only character in the movie without serious character flaws, or maybe Fox. Alfred's character bothers me - his whole life is devoted to serve some rich kid born into money.
A lot of politically left ideas are strawman-ed or misrepresented. When Bain takes over the city and mayhem breaks out, Catwoman's friend asks that is this not what you always wanted when you said a storm is coming? Catwoman had previously said a storm was coming when noting a serious wealth discrepancy within Gotham. Gotham is very conservative and more concerned about maintaining the status quo than addressing any of the real problems that develop out of its hardline policies. After all - they're really just baseless, greedy claims shown for what they are when Bain gives power to the common folk who, in their ignorance, threaten an entire city with destruction. Also Patrick Leahy is in the fucking movie, ew.
The handling of the nuclear bomb might have been the most obnoxious part of the movie. They designed a reactor without serious safety precautions in terms of weaponizing it? Who are these nuclear physicists that are so short-sighted after decades of the Cold War? We're not even talking about stealing enriched uranium from the facility. The entire power plant has a core that not only functions outside of the plant, it is completely weaponized. And it only took this one physicist a short while to be able to do this? I don't buy it. There are real and valid concerns with nuclear power that are best handled with a sophisticated, deep analysis. Instead, the writer exploits a kind of Frankenstein-ian fear and ignorance on the part of the audience who merely reacts to nuclear as a boogie word. I would let it slide if it weren't for the fact that nuclear energy is an actual, important topic outside of comic book land and this movie might have some influence on the public.
And then we have Batman detonating the bomb a little over 6 miles away from the city. Where's the tidal wave that causes mass flooding and death in Gotham? The 2011 Japanese tsunami was just last year - surely even a non-scientist would be expected to remember this and consider the effects of detonating such a device right over the surface of the bay. Gotham may not go down in nuclear flames, but the devastation is going to be immense.
Also, think of the nation-wide counter-reaction to this. 9/11 was nothing compared to the threat of a nuclear bomb in (effectively) NYC. Are we really to believe that Gotham isn't going to ramp up its ascendance to a police state after this, especially considering how little it took the city to adopt the Dent Act over a much smaller threat.
There have been a few changes from the old (early beta) which I have attempted to cover here. For a full list of MoP hunter specialization abilities, go here: http://mop.wowhead.com/spells=-12.3
Cataclysm Beast Master talents (mapped to Mists of Pandaria)
- Improved Kill Command - Kill Command is a BM only specialization, so there's no need for a talent that will boost its damage for BM. They can just change the base damage/scaling.
- One with Nature - Gone. Aspect of the Hawk is a lot stronger in general though, having been changed from a flat AP boost to 10% AP increase
- Bestial Discipline - Gone. Was pet focus regen.
- Pathfinding - Now a major glyph (see glyph mapping post)
- Spirit Bond - Now a level 45 talent for any spec. Sort of. It's actually in two pieces, one of which is that talent and the other is the Glyph of Animal Bond (again, see glyph mapping post)
- Frenzy --> Frenzy BM specialization. Lasts 30 seconds up from 10. Each stack is 8% instead of 6%. NOTE: this talent has changed frequently in beta.
- Improved Mend Pet - Now a major glyph Glyph of Mend Pet (again, see glyph mapping post)
- Cobra Strikes --> Cobra Strikes BM specialization. No change.
- Fervor - Now a level 60 talent (that tier has a focus regen theme) for any spec, with a 30 second CD. It seems to change every iteration, but as of this post it is off the GCD. It also restores 50 focus over 10 seconds so you can adjust your rotation around a 30 second window of burst focus and focus regen. All pets now have the old Wild Hunt pet talent inherently, although it's a simpler double damage at double focus cost. There's never any reason to try to force the double cost; it's just there to help prevent focus capping your pet. That won't likely happen often anyway - pets rarely get above 50 focus without Fervor anyway.
- Focus Fire --> Focus Fire BM specialization. Restores 10 focus to the pet, up from 4. Increases ranged haste by 6% per stack, up from 3%. NOTE: This has been adjusted a lot lately in beta, so it's hardly static.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera - Now a level 45 talent, slightly reworked. Instead of gradually reducing the CD from procs it has a flat CD reduction)
- Bestial Wrath --> Bestial Wrath BM specialization
- Ferocious Inspiration - Gone, as are all 3% damage buffs
- Kindred Spirits --> Kindred Spirits BM specialization, increases focus pool by 20, up from 10.
- Beast Within --> Beast Within BM specialization.
- Invigoration --> Invigoration BM specialization. Restores 20 focus, up from 6 and more importantly this is every pet attack, not just crits. Looks like BM is going to be swimming in focus.
- Beast Mastery --> Exotic Beast BM specialization. This really isn't a direct correlation. This lets you tame exotic pets, but pet talents are gone so there's obviously no benefit there. However, it does have the benefits of the old Longevity talent.
New BM specialization
- Beast Cleave - cleave for the pet, bringing needed AoE for the BM spec.
Cataclysm Marksmanship talents (mapped to Mists of Pandaria)
- Sic 'Em! - Gone
- Improved Steady Shot - renamed Steady Focus
- Careful Aim --> Careful Aim MM specialization
- Silencing Shot - Now a level 30 talent for any spec.
- Concussive Barrage --> Concussive Barrage MM specialization
- Piercing Shots --> Piercing Shots MM specialization
- Bombardment --> Bombardment MM specialization
- Trueshot Aura --> Trueshot Aura This is now a baseline specialization for all hunters.
- Termination - Gone
- Resistance is Futile - Gone
- Rapid Recuperation --> Rapid Recuperation MM specialization (Rapid Killing component removed)
- Master Marksman --> Master Marksman MM specialization
- Readiness - All hunters have this now! Works with everything except for Stampede
- Posthaste - Now a level 15 talent for any spec. Buffed!
- Marked for Death - Now a major glyph: Glyph of Marked for Death (see glyph mapping post)
Cataclysm Survival talents (mapped to Mists of Pandaria)
- Hunter vs Wild - Gone
- Pathing - Gone
- Improved Serpent Sting --> Improved Serpent Sting includes the Toxicology component too.
- Survival Tactics - Gone
- Trap Mastery --> Trap Mastery SV specialization
- Entrapment --> Entrapment SV specialization
- Point of No Escape - Now a major glyph: Glyph of No Escape (see glyph mapping post)
- Thrill of the Hunt - Now a level 60 talent for any spec although it behaves very differently. Lets you cast two arcane shots for free. This isn't as powerful as you might think, since arcane shot has a very low focus cost already - time is a more limiting resource here.
- Counterattack - Gone, finally.
- Lock and Load --> Lock and Load SV specialization. Bakes in T.N.T.
- Resourcefulness - Gone
- Mirrored Blades - Now a major glyph: Glyph of Mirrored Blades (see glyph mapping post)
- T.N.T. - baked into Lock and Load
- Toxicology - baked in to Improved Serpent Sting
- Wyvern Sting - Now a level 30 talent for any spec
- Noxious Stings - Gone. This means putting up serpent sting is way less important.
- Hunting Party - Gone.
- Black Arrow --> Black Arrow SV specialization. Now ticks 10 times over 20 seconds (every 2 seconds) to balance out the proc rate compared to explosive trap.
New SV specialization
- Viper Venom - Gives 3 focus for every serpent sting tick. Kind of a replacement for Toxicology or Noxious Stings.
See the full list of glyphs here: http://mop.wowhead.com/spells=-13.3
Cataclysm Prime Glyphs
They wanted to do away with prime glyphs so these are all effectively removed. The ones that remain are merely a new glyph with the same name, that has some kind of utility instead of straight up damage increase.
- Glyph of Chimera Shot -> Glyph of Chimera Shot major glyph, changed from -1s CD to +5% healing
- Glyph of Rapid Fire -> removed
- Glyph of Kill Shot -> removed. Kill Shot works this way by default now.
- Glyph of Aimed Shot -> removed
- Glyph of Arcane Shot -> removed
- Glyph of the Dazzled Prey -> removed
- Glyph of Serpent Sting -> removed
- Glyph of Steady Shot -> removed
- Glyph of Kill Command -> removed
- Glyph of Explosive Shot -> removed
Cataclysm Major Glyphs:
- Glyph of Deterrence -> Glyph of Deterrence instead of lowering CD, it increases the amount of damage (from dots) it negates while it is up.
- Glyph of Misdirection -> Glyph of Misdirection no change
- Glyph of Master's Call -> Glyph of Master's Call no change
- Glyph of Snake Trap -> Glyph of Snake Trap no change
- Glyph of Bestial Wrath -> removed
- Glyph of Wyvern Sting -> removed. I don't think there are any glyphs for the new talents, just spec or baseline abilities.
- Glyph of Trap Launcher -> removed. On beta, Trap Launcher is a toggle-able ability that represents a state instead of a charge - that is, all traps will be launched until turned off.
- Glyph of Ice Trap -> Glyph of Ice Trap no change
- Glyph of Silencing Shot -> removed
- Glyph of Freezing Trap -> Glyph of Freezing Trap no change
- Glyph of Mending -> Glyph of Mending no change (well, it has a new icon)
- Glyph of Concussive Shot -> removed
- Glyph of Disengage -> Glyph of Disengage instead of lowering CD, it increases travel distance
- Glyph of Immolation Trap - removed, immo trap no longer exists
- Glyph of Scatter Shot -> Glyph of Scatter Shot no change. Do not confuse this with the new glyph (mentioned below) named Glyph of Scattering!
- Glyph of Raptor Strike -> removed, raptor strike no longer exists
Former talents changed into glyphs for MoP
- Pathfinding --> Glyph of Pathfinding same effect
- Point of No Escape --> Glyph of No Escape same effect
- Spirit Bond --> Glyph of Animal Bond there are really two things here. The passive HoT is stronger and is a level 45 talent. The increased healing on you and your pet went into this glyph
- Mirrored Blades --> Glyph of Mirrored Blades same effect
- Improved Mend Pet --> Glyph of Mend Pet same effect
- Marked for Death --> Glyph of Marked for Death same effect, also applies to BM/SV spells
NEW major glyphs
- Glyph of Endless Wrath - pet cannot be brought below 1 health during BW
- Glyph of Icy Solace - freezing trap removes all dots so it won't break right away (similar to poly glyph)
- Glyph of Explosive Trap - knockback when triggered
- Glyph of Tranquilizing Shot - removes focus cost, but adds 10s CD
- Glyph of Camouflage - reduced speed by 50%, but can move while stealthed!
- Glyph of Scattering - removes all DoT effects on the target
- Glyph of Distracting Shot - redirects the target to your pet.
- Glyph of Black Ice - 50% movement speed through your own trap.
NEW minor glyphs
It doesn't look like they changed any existing ones; they just added new ones.
- Glyph of the Cheetah - no daze effect if hit, just puts aspects on a lockout
- Glyph of Tame Beast - reduced cast time
- Glyph of Aspects - visual effect when switching aspects. Causes non-combat size pets to appear (for instead, a cat for cheetah)
- Glyph of Fireworks - adds an ability that launches a firework
- Glyph of Aspect of the Beast - adds a new aspect that makes you untrackable. The melee damage increase is no longer applicable.
- Glyph of Direction - makes your misdirection target appear larger
- Glyph of Marking - turns your hunter's mark into a bullseye
- Glyph of Fetch - adds an ability that lets your pet loot corpses for you
- Glyph of Stampede - instead of summoning your stable, you summon copies of your current pet. This never appeared to be working correctly in beta so it's not clear if this matters for performance.
I wanted to share this quote from Sean Carroll's The Particle at the End of the Universe because it's a handy way of understanding why nothing can travel faster than the speed of light (as opposed to arbitrary speed "barriers" like the speed of sound, which are really difficult engineering milestones only). The first two paragraphs are mostly to give a bit of context to what he is talking about.
When the Bevatron created antiprotons, it wasn't because there were antiprotons hidden in the protons and atomic nuclei they were working with. Rather, the collisions brought new particles into existence. In the language of quantum field theory, the waves representing the original particles set up new vibrations in the antiproton field, which we detect as particles.
In order for that to happen, the crucial ingredient is that we have enough energy. The insight that makes particle physics possible is Einstein's famous equation, E=mc^2, which tells us that mass is actually a form of energy. In particular, the mass of an object is the minimum energy that object can have; when something is just sitting perfectly still, minding its own business, the amount of energy it possesses is equal to its mass times the speed of light squared. The speed of light is a big number, 186,000 miles per second, but its role here is just to convert units of measurement from mass to energy. Particle physicists like to use units where speed is measured in light-years per year; in that case c is equal to one, and mass and energy become truly interchangeable, E=m.
What about when an object is moving? Sometimes discussions of relativity like to talk as if the mass increases when a particle approaches the speed of light, but that's a little misleading. It's better to think of the mass of an object as fixed once and for all, while the energy increases as it goes faster and faster. The mass is the energy that the thing would have if it was not moving, which by definition doesn't change even if happens to be moving. Indeed, energy grows without limit as you get closer and closer to the speed of light. That's one way of understanding why the speed of light is an absolute limit to how fast things can go - it would take an infinite amount of energy for a massive body to move that fast. (Massless particles, in contrast, always move at exactly the speed of light.) When a particle accelerator pushes protons to higher and higher energies, they are coming closer and closer to the speed of light, never quite getting there.
Chapter 4, p56-57
His primary goal here is not to explain the speed of light, but to give some background for what you are doing in a particle accelerator. You can create energy from mass and more importantly (for his interests here) you can create mass from energy, or heavy particles from lighter particles that have a ton of energy (traveling very fast). Since you have that constant of c^2, you can get a lot of energy from a tiny amount of mass, but it takes a ton of energy to create mass. So you might take relatively smaller particles and accelerate them close to the speed of light (you can't reach it without an infinite amount of energy) in a particle accelerator, and smash them together to get heavier particles.
Anyway, even though it wasn't his direct intent, I thought he gave one of the clearer explanations for why the reason the speed of light is uniquely a cosmic speed limit. To be honest, I'm not sure it even makes sense to consider the speed of light as a speed itself; it's more like it's part of the definition of time itself. The massless particles (like photons) all travel at the speed of light, with massive particles (that is, they have mass) being slower than that relative to their total energy. If you thought about a collection of cars you would have one that is fastest but really its speed is somewhat arbitrary. To suggest one of them is the fastest and it is impossible to go faster sounds like human hubris in the realm of automotive engineering. But light isn't merely the fastest of a set of speeds - it is like it is speed/time itself. If you did manage to have an infinite amount of energy somehow, you'd basically be stopped in time. And moving faster than the speed of light is equivalent to moving backward in time (that's not just my interpretation here, a lot of physicists have explicitly stated this).
I am running this site on Amazon's ec2 service, which has been a fun little project in itself. The service is fantastic as it lets me do anything I need to on my virtual server, which in this case included installing Plone/Zope, Apache, a handful of C binaries I needed to get those working, and various eggs like PIL for my Zope buildout. In bygone days you'd maybe be allocated some physical space on a server that had PHP installed, but installing anything else was out of the question unless you paid significantly more to work on your own machine or something. I work with Plone and really wanted to run my own website with it where I could not only create content, but write code tailored to specific things I wanted to do (like the CD stuff and WoW armory data here). At one time I had made a site and served it from an old Dell running XP, but that's really stupid and awful! Elastic cloud computing to the rescue; and Amazon does it very well.
Anyway, I started this site running it on t1.micro, the smallest instance size Amazon offers. It was too small, really. Page serving would grind to a crawl or sometimes just flat out fail to load. I have some minimal caching set up, but this isn't a matter of inefficiency on page serving, this was something on the server taking way longer to do some task than it had any right too. I finally got around to running the Linux command top to see if some process was eating up all of the memory or something. The top process in that list was "python" (that's Zope/Plone in this case) but the mem usage was at 30%. That's high, but should be fine. But, it was also using 99.8% of the CPU. Whoops.
Amazon lists their instance types in terms of CPU, memory, etc., with the CPU being measured in EC2 compute units. It doesn't really say what micro offers in their list, just that it can spike up to 2 in short bursts. That's not really what I want for this site - Plone/Zope is going to use a decently high minimum threshold for running, and I'm not expecting to have short bursts of significantly higher computation power needed. I don't actually know how many units t1.micro runs on by default, but m1.small has 1 compute unit, so I'm guessing it's smaller than that (not to mention less memory). So I've decided to try out m1.small and see how that works out.
I was dreading this a little because it took some work to set up the environment when I originally put this site together, and while I can figure it out again, I don't really remember how I did it all! I remember having to install several things with yum that I couldn't believe didn't already exist, various means of troubleshooting at each step, etc. Doable, but some work. I started looking up how I should do this, figuring I would have to buy a new instance type, then move everything over, and try to make it all work again. I found a stack exchange post that talked about how to create a snapshot which I could use to load onto my new instance. That's not so bad, but I'd have to figure out how to do that still - the Amazon service seemed to offer a lot of types of data backup and whatnot. Then I realized you can just select the instance type (m1.small) you want from the EC2 control panel if you stop your instance first. Oh. So this daunting task turned out to be the following steps:
- stop the instance
- select the new instance type from a dropdown
- start the instance
Actually, it was slightly more than that. The upgraded instance gave it a new IP address so I did have to change that with my registrar service and wait for the DNS to upgrade. I also had to restart Apache, for which I have very little but needed configuration for this site, and I swear to god I always forget how to do this every time my instance restarts. The basic command I was expecting (a simple one line, pulled from a doc page that I had visited before) wasn't working. I started looking to see if I had another install of Apache somewhere else, or if I needed to update the config file, before making the smart choice of actually looking up the error message I was getting. Oh, I need to run it with sudo. >.<
This was my second go at making mead - first turned out well, but I think the quality improved a lot this time. I made a few changes and also upped the batch size from 1 gallon to 5 gallon. I am using a slightly modified version of Joe's Ancient Orange. Making mead is fairly simple, at least compared to beer, and I already had the appropriate equipment from homebrewing beer. The primary fermentable in mead is honey - this is the sugar source that the yeast will convert into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Almost all of the CO2 is allowed to escape the glass carboy through a sanitized air lock in this recipe, but you can find carbonated mead. When I make beer, most of the CO2 escapes in the same way, but is added back in during the bottling process by adding a bit of simple syrup for the yeast. This normally takes a couple weeks (or you could skip the yeast in this process and just inject CO2 if you're kegging). Perhaps I'll try adding carbonation to my mead next time.
Anyway, so basically all we have is some honey water with spices and fruits (used mostly for flavor, not fermentation - although it will ferment a bit). I dissolved a whopping 18 lbs of honey into warm water. FYI, 18 lbs of honey is expensive. This was poured into the carboy with more water added to top it off to 5 gallons. I have a degasser that hooks up to an electric drill to make sure the solution is mostly even throughout the carboy. I added 5 sliced oranges, about 2 cups of raisins, 6 cinnamon sticks, and 6 cloves. Joe's recipe calls for bread yeast but I really don't care about emulating the ancients - I just want good mead. So I used a champagne yeast (and a bit of yeast nutrient) to make it a little more dry and a lot clearer than what bread yeast would do. Original gravity was on target at 1.100 (will need this later to calculate ABV).
Three months later the oranges sank to the bottom and it was time to bottle. The smaller circles are actually the raisins covered in a yeast sediment. There is also a lot of sediment on the bottom and some crusted near the top of the carboy - perfectly normal. I decided to just bottle these in regular "beer" bottles so I could distribute to people in smaller batches, so you see I'm in the process of drying them out. The most common concern in making any alcohol is sanitation. You want everything the liquid will come in contact with to be subjected to a sanitizing solution so that the only biological process going on is what your yeast is doing. The yeast will tend to overpower any wild yeast or bacteria that might get into the container, but it will produce off flavors. So we sanitize everything - the carboy, the plastic tubes, the pump, the bottling bucket, the bottles, the caps, the bottle drying rack, etc. The second most common concern is the attraction of wild beasts that enter the environment looking for an ethanol fix.
Fortunately that creature appeared to only have one leg and was easily vanquished. Anyway, there is a lot of stuff floating around this carboy that I would rather not get into the bottles so I siphon it to a bottling bucket first. The mead still ends up a bit cloudy (which is fine) and the occasional piece of orange pulp is probably going to seep in (also fine) but for the most part it is free of debris.
Pretty poor quality cell phone pic, but you can see I snuck a glass while moving to the bottling tank. No matter what you make it will always look darker in your carboy where it is all together and less light ultimately passes through. You can see it was kind of a dark orange in the carboy but ended up pouring more of a straw yellow. The stuff floating on top are raisins which have bloated up to become grape shaped again (and coated in yeasty gook).
Before anyone asks, I have not tried eating any of the fruit that is left over. If it were merely honey wine infused fruit I'm sure it would be delicious, but this is actually fermented fruit that is dusted with a yeast sediment which would give it a nutty flavor and probably a very odd texture.
The only part left now is putting it into bottles and capping them - a long, annoying process that isn't particularly interesting to see in picture form. Also the final gravity was about 1.020 so this mead is about 10.5% ABV, a bit on the low side for wine strength but definitely wine strength (the last beer I made was also this percent, which is somewhat on the high side for beer - and one of the reasons the style is called a barley wine). I ended up with about 40 bottles, so about 880 fluid ounces. That's ~26024 mL, or about 34 wine bottles worth of mead. I brew for the enjoyment of the process (the hobby) and the satisfaction of enjoying my own creation (I guess the yeast had a pretty big role to), but I did recoup a lot of the ~$100 investment in ingredients in a sense. Almost all of that cost was honey, although cinnamon sticks are pretty damn expensive too.
Almost all of these are going to be encounter specific, but I wanted to hash out my initial thoughts on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the talents as they look now. For the most part I am only concerned with PvE.
Tier 1 (level 15)
Your movement speed is increased by 60% for 4 seconds after you use disengage.
This is basically half of the current Marksmanship talent of the same name. It's not exactly over powered but I used this extensively when movement over a large area was needed in PvE content and its absence when I switched to mostly Survival for Dragon Soul was noticeable.
Increases your chance to dodge attacks and resist spells by 100% for 3 seconds when you use Disengage.
For PvE this mostly depends on what kind of spells can be resisted. If it works on everything this could be a great cooldown for negating damage that comes from a single big hit - like Hour of Twilight. The movement component is more than a bit awkward and would require some really precise timing and skill if you need to be in a certain position while soaking that damage, such as Twilight Onslaught or Zon'ozz orbs. The dodge component is unlikely to see much use in PvE or honestly even in PvP. Three seconds is a very short time and if you are subject to melee attacks much in three seconds after Disengage your use of that ability has pretty much already failed.
When you disengage you are instantly healed for 15% of your total health.
This looks fantastic for PvP, especially in situations where outside healing is limited, such as random battlegrounds. For PvE it is very encounter specific and will have to be balanced with required damage output. I can't think of any situations in Dragon Soul where this ability would be worth taking over Posthaste or Evasiveness.
Tier 2 (level 30)
A shot that silences the target and interrupts spellcasting for 3 seconds.
This tier basically lets you pick which CC ability you like best from the current spec specific abilities. This one will depend on how the strengths of other class's interrupts balance out. Traditionally we haven't been a very strong interrupter since the cooldown was fairly long and the lock out short for us compared to most classes. We were more of a backup or one who could interrupt a damaging but non-crucial cast at literally no cost to us (Lady Deathwhisper sticks out in my mind). This may change with the CD of other class interrupts going up, especially if it would cost resources for those classes while ours is focus-free and off the GCD. One more consideration here - travel time. On really, really small windows this may be an issue. Lastly, traditionally in PvE this has mostly only mattered for the interrupt mechanic but the actual silencing aspect may be important in the future.
A stinging shot that puts the target to sleep for 30 seconds. Any damage will cancel the effect. When the target wakes up, the Sting causes 2829 Nature damage over 5 seconds. Only one Sting per Hunter can be active on the target at a time.
This ability was great for BC heroics but pretty much worthless for PvE content since then. It does have potential depending on the encounter though. This potential is in its instant (minus travel time) application which could be beneficial in instantly nabbing a spawn that needs to be CC'd and can't be prepared for ahead of time via a trap. Reasons for this could be to an unknown spawn location or its superior accuracy (in most cases). The damage component is weak and mostly irrelevant.
Command your pet to intimidate the target, causing a high amount of threat and stunning the target for 3 seconds. Lasts 15 seconds.
If you are wondering about the 3 second/15 second thing, it most likely puts a buff on your pet that causes it to stun the target when it's in range. If you hit this and your pet doesn't have anything to stun in 15 seconds, it will expire. The stun itself will last for 3 seconds. I like stuns because in the best case you can interrupt crucial mechanics, but even if you have no "good" use for the interrupt it can still be used to mitigate a bit of damage with no penalty. If there is no good reason to use Silencing or Wyvern I will probably default to this.
Tier 3 (level 45)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimera
When you are hit by a melee attack, the cooldown of your Disengage is instantly reduced by 4 seconds. Whenever you are hit by a ranged attack or spell, the cooldown of your Deterrence is instantly reduced by 8 seconds. These effects have a 2 second cooldown.
This is the existing Beast Master "PvP" talent. There might be rare cases where this pushes the effective cooldown of Deterrence low enough to reach some threshold for soaking but for the most part the other two look better for PvE.
Aspect of the Iron Hawk
Your Aspect of the Hawk now also reduces all direct damage taken by 15%
Passive damage reduction is a big deal. I am curious how much will count as direct damage, but it should still be useful even if it means we don't mitigate anything from BIG RAIDWIDE NUKE. If it does, it's really powerful.
While your pet is active, you and your pet will regenerate 2% of total health every 5 seconds.
"Free" health but honestly, this is pretty weak. It would take just over 4 minutes to fill up your health pool from this alone so obviously it doesn't come anyway close to countering any reasonable amount of damage in take. You'd see the most out of this in situations where you are consistently taking damage and staying below full health, but even then it would only compete with Aspect of the Iron Hawk if the latter didn't apply because it wasn't direct damage.
Tier 4 (level 60)
Instantly restores 50 Focus to you and your pet.
This ability isn't as strong as you might think. For one thing, assuming it stays the same as the current ability, it's on the GCD. For another, focus isn't our only limiting resource - time and cooldowns are as well. This ability isn't going to let you get off more kill commands, chimera shots, or explosive shots. It will let you get off more arcane shots, aimed shots, or (again) arcane shots. It's not even that ideal for setting up a burst phase either, because the GCD means you have to use it before hand or you are wasting too much time, and for that you could also just cobra/steady shot for it.
When activated, this ability immediately finishes the cooldown on all Hunter abilities.
This is infinitely better as stated. In Wrath you could use Readiness to reset Bestial Wrath until they nerfed it (in late Naxx I think?) so we might see some stipulations to that effect. At the very least it reduces the cooldown of Rapid Fire to its cooldown of 3 minutes. It could also mean we get to do double kill command, explosive shot, chimera shot, black arrow (different targets?). Not to mention the utility possibilities with traps, feign death, disengage, deterrence, etc.
Thrill of the Hunt
You have a 15% chance when you fire a shot that costs Focus to instantly regain 100% of the Focus cost of the shot.
This is pretty much going to come down to whether or not this maths out ahead of Readiness and whether burst is needed on a given encounter. It is worth noting that this will have a diminished effect for any playstyle that requires pooling a high amount of focus (like SV without 4pcT12 or 2pcT13) since the procs could be wasted on focus cap. Also I think that this has to pretty much be flat out better than Readiness if you can take full advantage of it because otherwise the ability to control Readiness would favor that ability if the two had theoretically equal DPS boosting power.
Tier 5 (level 75)
Your Freezing Trap no longer has a cooldown, but only one target can be affected by it at a time.
The idea here is that you can retrap a target that gets loose or switch the target you want to trap. And obviously this depends on what kind of targets need to be trapped in the first place, if anything. It would be interesting if this could force a LnL proc every time or if that would have an internal trap-effected (yes I mean effected, not affected!) cooldown. In all likelihood that won't be a factor or it will be patched out if people discover it can be exploited.
Increases the movement speed reduction of your Ice Trap by an additional 10%, and when you move through your Ice Trap you gain 50% movement speed for 4 seconds.
This looks great for circular kiting. This is likely to be my default choice if for no other reason than trying to take advantage of that 50% movement ability.
Place a nature trap laced with a special toxin that will transmorph the next enemy into a beast, reducing their movement speed by 60% and causing them to be unable to use any of their normal abilities for up to 1 minute. Trap will exist for 1 minute.
It's Hex in trap form! Limited PvE usage but wow, this is a lot of CC potential for PvP. Freezing Trap, Wyvern Sting, and Transmorph Trap in one build?
Tier 6 (level 90)
You hurl two glaives in front of you 30 yards, dealing 1.X damage to all enemies and reducing their movement speed by 50%. The Glaives will return back to you, also dealing damage and snaring targets they hit. If Glaive Toss hits at least 2 enemies in both directions, the cooldown is reset.
If the damage component is worth it this would very cool as part of an AoE rotation. It is entirely possible that the damage component is token only, in which case this is still a great tool for kiting multiple mobs at once - especially if you aren't Marksmanship with the now built in Concussive Barrage and its multi shot effect.
You wind up a powerful shot, dealing 1.X damage to all targets in front of ou within 20 yards (width). The damage done is increased on targets further away. 15-30 yards: Double damage, stunned one second. 30-50 yards: Triple damage, stunned two seconds.
This looks like the idea is to prevent multiple targets from fleeing (around a pillar or otherwise) and it sounds interesting in that respect. Despite the wording's suggestion of a "wind up" time no cast time is given. If it has one, it could drastically effect this. What I am concerned about is if the damage component will turn out to make it worthwhile for that alone, on single target or otherwise. Specifically, the range mechanic. Any range factor that requires or encourages only one class to be standing in a location that no one else has a reason to is bad. If it were an issue for multiple classes and you designed a strat around it, great. But when only one class has interest in being special in a very obnoxious way it's either going to lead to resentment for having to adjust a strat around that one class, or its going to lead to that class being suboptimal by trying to be like other classes in a way they cannot (just run in for bonestorm!!!). I think the removal of our minimum range in MoP is great for this reason - they needed to either do that or give a minimum range to more classes. The other issue with ranged mechanics is that the game just isn't very good at telling you your distance from targets. You need an addon to tell you this and even then it's just spitting out a text representation. The environment isn't true 3D; your eyes can not judge the distance using parallax. Both of these were a problem with the original Sniper Training in WotLK and it was abandoned for that reason. Again, this concerns will only be an issue here if the damage is significant enough that you want to take advantage of it most of the time instead of just "when the target is trying to get away and almost out of range" for which it seems to be intended.
You fire a magical projectile, tethering the enemy and any other enemies within 10 yards to the landing arrow. Increases all damage they receive from you by 15%. If they move 15 yards from the arrow they are stunned for 10 seconds (5 seconds PvP).
This one I like. It's basically a ground targeted Vendetta with stun potential. No duration nor cooldown is given but I imagine it has to have one right? You can't just give +15% damage that is dependent only on the target not moving around too much and expect that to compete with the other two talents this tier.
For the most part, these talents seem pretty dull. Blizzard did mention hunters in particular as being in early stages of development here compared to other classes which isn't surprising - a lot of these are existing talents they might have just tossed in as placeholders. We don't even have >85 skills in the talent build, spec specific or otherwise, yet. So that's when a look at this stuff is really going to matter, but hey, it's fun taking a look now.
This post is mostly to test out some functionality. But what future blog posts should we have?
- American politics vs hardcore/casual raiding culture
- Hunter stuff
- Raiding in general
- Dragon Soul thoughts
I spent a bit of time in beta testing out one of the more interesting talent choices: the pet-themed, level 75, damage cooldown talents. Our choices are A Murder of Crows, Dire Beast, and Lynx Rush. To start off, let's do a quick review of what these talents do.
A Murder of Crows
A bunch of crows come out and attack over a period of 30 seconds. It looks like each individual crow has a 20 second duration, with the crows gradually spawning for the first 10 seconds, all crows out for the middle 10 seconds, and the crows gradually leaving for the last 10 seconds. When I live logged it to World of Logs there were 97 attacks - for the level of accuracy we need for this blog post lets just assume ~100 attacks. They aren't merely visual - they are target-able creatures and will appear as unique actors in logs. The crows also have their own threat tables, so if you feign death to drop aggro they will act as a sort of pseudo-Army of the Dead, keeping your target engaged in picking off crows one at a time. It also has some interesting pvp implications, since it's a particularly annoying DoT to keep enemies in combat. I haven't tested for any line of sight requirements (pillar humping arena pvpers) or whether they despawn if the hunter dies.
This summons a beast to come and attack for you, dealing damage and giving you 5 focus per hit. It looks like the beasts are zone dependent, with each zone I tested having about three different possibilities. I think the idea is that you are calling on a random beast from the vicinity to come fight for you, because you have that kind of command over wildlife as a powerful hunter. Anyway, each beast is mechanically the same, doing 6 attacks for a total of 30 focus. An individual attack was more powerful than my pet's melee swings.
This is basically killing spree. The pet attacks 9 times over 4 seconds. If there are multiple targets it will vary which it attacks, but still only do 9. The attack, although equal to melee swings, will show up in logs as a separate ability (Lynx Rush) and I was able to verify that basic attacks (Claw/Bite/Smack) and melee swings were still happening at the time. This is also the only one of these talents that directly affects your existing pet, rather than summoning a new one (or one hundred).
- Pet haste: 114%
- Pet attack speed: 1.93
- Pet AP: 19590
- Pet Damage: 8759-8760
- My AP: 19590
- Target: level 85 Training Dummy (I ignored the Lynx Rush attacks on other targets. It will do less damage to higher levels due to armor)
And what everything was hitting for, for a BM and non-BM spec:
- crow (BM): 1853.5
- crow (SV): 1853.5
- beast (BM): 9833
- beast (SV): 9833
- lynx (BM): 6937
- lynx (SV): 5731
- melee (BM): 6937
- melee (SV): 5731
So for A Murder of Crows and Dire Beast, the BM mastery has no effect. Lynx Rush, on the other hand, is indeed doing the same as the pet's melee damage. This has some stacking potential with Rabid and Bestial Wrath. More importantly, Lynx Rush is the only one that scales with AP - the crows and the beast did the same amount of damage when I varied the amount of AP in my gear. This may make it sound like Lynx Rush is going to be the superior option since it scales - but at least with my current beta gear (which admittedly is level 89 and not at a level that will be reasonable for raid entry) it has a long way to go.
These numbers are meant as a relative comparison. I am making the assumption that crit, dodge, miss, and glancing blows will effect each ability equally and so they will stay relatively as powerful. This may not be a fair comparison if more testing shows them responding to these mechanics differently.
- Crow (any spec): 1853.5*100/60 = 3089 DPS (double this during execute range)
- Beast (any spec): 9833*6/30 = 1967 DPS (plus 30 focus over 15 seconds whose DPS contribution is not as easy to calculate)
- Lynx (BM): 6937*9/90 = 694 DPS
- Lynx (SV): 5731*9/90 = 573 DPS
Yeah, Lynx Rush looks like shit even though it scales with AP. That 90 second CD is pretty brutal. We do have to test with BW and Rabid still. Remember that Rabid got reworked so that it increases pet AP by 50% for 20 seconds every 2 minutes (every 84 seconds for BM).
- Lynx w/ Rabid (BM): 9276*9/90 = 973 DPS
- Lynx w/ Rabid + BW (BM): 1167 DPS
So it's still not there yet. It will be interesting to see how these abilities progress through the rest of beta. I have no idea if these have been reviewed for tuning at all yet. We should look out for any AP scaling for crow and beast, CD changes for all three (I think Lynx Rush was already buffed to reach 90; it was originally 120 seconds), and base damage for crow and beast at level 90.
Lynx Rush does have one other saving grace: it is by far the most "bursty" of the three. A Murder of Crows and Dire Beast both have 50% uptime, doing damage gradually over 30 and 15 second windows respectively. LR does all of its work in 4 seconds, which might be powerful for some situations like pvp or burst requirements that are short duration (Icehowl's self stun) and/or occur periodically with that period being just a bit above 90 seconds (Burning Tendons on Spine).
It's an old debate but given current events, it feels worth a reexamination. Bashiok mentioned that the next patch is in two weeks on twitter: https://twitter.com/Bashiok/status/301013346717663232 and as usual it prompts the debate as to whether this is too soon, too late, or the right time, and what implications the release date holds. First, the notion that this patch has been out for 5 months is more than a bit disingenuous. The raids were staggered, with heroic Terrace of the Endless Spring not actually open until November 20th. So the newest content will have been out for a bit under three months, and many guilds weren't ready for it right off the bat anyway.
What of the guilds still working on heroic content? My own guild is making good progress on Sha of Fear, and although it will be close, we are likely to have it down before the patch. But we're also hovering around the US 50 25m rank. It's perfectly reasonable to assume that there are a great many guilds a bit behind us that still have content they can complete if given a bit more time. Why rob them of this triumph? That really is the crux of my concern; that releasing new content too soon will rob them of a sense of accomplishment that is currently at their finger tips. I've been there before in several guilds - sometimes we did seem to hit a brick wall that would require a change in guild philosophy to overcome (Heroic Lich King) but it takes a bit longer for this to seem the case. For me, and I have to assume several others, raiding really isn't about getting newer and better gear. Those are trophies. Trophies that I do value, but they are symbols of overcoming a challenge. That's the real meat of progression. If I didn't win a piece of loot, I still have the superior reward that is the satisfaction of completing a challenge. Conversely, a trophy for something trivial or that I feel I did not deserve would be nearly infinitely inferior. So the problem here is that you do not need to complete tier 14 heroics to access the easier tier 15 heroics, and in fact tier 15 normal gear is higher quality than tier 14 heroic.
It should go without saying that the way WoW progression works is that older tiers get outdated and thus less meaningful. The older tiers give inferior trophies and the content gives less satisfaction upon completion because our gear makes it trivial to complete (and the inferior trophies you get from completion reinforce this). While true that the content is still there, the psychological satisfaction from completing it is transient, and so failing to acknowledge this does a disservice. If you are merely interested in collecting new trophies none of this matters. But if you are like me in this regard, a new tier that does not require completion of previous content signals the death of previous challenges, or at the least a dilution. If you didn't complete it in time, you won't get an opportunity to do so again, without it feeling rather hollow. If you are still in the process of forging a road down tier 14 heroics, you suddenly find that someone has forked the road a mile back and paved an easier path in a new direction. You might go back to the old road you set out to clear originally, but surely it feels a bit in vain by this point.
Obviously the game must move on at some point, and neither catering to the high end nor the lowest common denominator seems practical. Does Blizzard look at number of guilds that kill an end boss? Overall progression stagnation? And surely the current tier should be considered for the amount of content that is to be digested - tier 14 simply has a lot more to do than Dragon Soul (which lasted a year). I worry that they release new content as soon as its ready, and the previous paragraph should explain why I think this is a problem. It is not additive to the content that came before it, it is a replacement.
There are a couple possible changes I would like to see to address these concerns, while still making new content accessible to a broader audience. One, make new normal mode gear equal (or perhaps slightly inferior to) the previous tier's heroic gear. This would make it so that doing the current heroic tier has long term benefits. A plausible downside to this is that this would mean there is less of a gear gap to overcome in the new tier, so content that a guild can clear without BiS gear will fall over quicker, and shorten the lifetime of the raid. Or perhaps bottle neck progression on the last boss. Two, doing normal t15 could require normal t14 cleared (I think it already does?) and heroic t15 could require heroic t15 being cleared. The guild that is in the middle of progression when t15 hits will still have a tangible reason to go back to t14, and a guild that only wants to do normal modes can just do the new normal mode. In effect, heroic and normal would have parallel but fully separate progression paths.
The other problem with releasing content too quickly, which I haven't really hinted on yet, is that Blizzard has a tendency to front load releases, to the detriment of later tiers. Tier 11 had a lot of content and Firelands came out to replace it fairly quickly. Firelands lasted probably the perfect amount of time, but then we got Dragon Soul which lasted a year. In retrospect, if we could have kept tier 11 alive a bit longer and delayed Firelands and Dragon Soul, I think the raid pacing would have felt better. This was actually an improvement over Wrath of the Lich King. Ulduar, one of the best raid zones ever made, with a large quantity of content, was followed in about four months by Trial of the Crusade - which lasted a bit longer despite having less content (and unfortunately ended up supplanting Ulduar, rather than supplementing it). Icecrown Citadel lasted for a year, with only Ruby Sanctum making a show to tide us over before Cataclysm! Perhaps the project release manager could use a class in kerning. In any case, it's reasonable to worry that the quick release of content now will be followed by a long delay later, resulting in less time on the shelf for the fresh content and more time for the stale content.
The purpose of this analysis is to determine an appropriate talent strategy for Heroic Sha of Fear, in which there are a variable number of adds (initially none, then proceeding to spawn in incremental sets, up to 8). The goal is to get a general representation of of the strengths of each spec in degrees relative to other specs. My method was to use my spreadsheet in current gear to get these numbers although I admit that the AoE portion is a bit more crude. It really only models an "all out" DPS strategy in which you do as much AoE as possible. This doesn't work well for BM which has a loss of return after getting Beast Cleave at 100% uptime. I'm not too concerned about this because it's really a reflection of just how bad BM aoe is - you'd really want to execute a single target rotation except you occasionally use a multi-shot instead arcane shot. If AoE is expected at all, BM just won't cut it - you're better off trying to balance somewhere along the line of SV-aoe to BM-single, while SV-single to BM-aoe would be a line that runs perpendicular to it, so to speak.
|barrage, dire beast||114,821||135,362||165,346||195,330||225,314||255,298|
|glaive toss, dire beast||116,611||132,277||163,262||192,246||221,231||250,216|
|barrage, dire beast||125,860||78,136||113,425||128,687||143,948||159,210|
|glaive toss, dire beast||129,479||77,427||11,713||126,012||140,310||154,731|
|Murder of Crows||280,888||9,363||4,681||280,888|
I have been working on writing down my thoughts on this latest tier of raiding, but one tangential thought probably deserves its own post. One of the things I like about any video game and look back upon fondly is reaching a new part of the world that was previously closed to me but, through accomplishment, I am now able to see. It might be an entirely new zone or it might just a new room in a sprawling castle. Or it might be seeing what that princess at the end of the castle looks like. It's not so much about the artistic value of the area itself and it isn't about playing the game in that part (yet). Rather, previously my world view within the context of this game was smaller. Now it's bigger, and it's because I beat a challenge to make it so.
I still appreciate the sense of wonder I get as this happens and WoW raiding is no exception. But for a heroic raider, I think the effect is much smaller (and normal mode raiders too, now that LFR is out). Normal modes are completed relatively quickly, and while it was cool to see Elegon's room for the first time and whatnot, it wasn't really that meaningful because it wasn't very hard to reach that point. By the time we started facing something that we could NOT complete relatively quickly (heroic modes), the visual effect of an emerging world had already been exhausted.
As I was writing the aforementioned tier 14 recap post, I noticed that most of what I was recalling were the specific details of the encounters and their mechanics and whether I thought that was good or fun or whatever. While this is important it is also a bit unfair to the designers because there is only so much more they can offer once those encounters have become disassociated with the lore and feel of the place. Would we be examining the intricate details of the raid mechanics and their requirements under such an intense microscope if that were not the only thing that made heroic separate from normal?
Back in BC the heroics were just the only 'mode' of the raid (and I was much worse, so 'normal mode' for me meant I was in SSC instead of BT) but I loved how I saw so much more of each place as I downed a new boss. Killing Supremus didn't just mean we got loot, it meant we could actually go inside the temple and see Akama and all of the other wings. Sometimes it was cool just to take a look at a boss even if we were really going to work on another boss soon. And by the time you beat the council you could see Illidan at the top of that temple. The graphics weren't really that impressive - it was the same as you could see flying around outside raid - but man did that mean so much.
Perhaps this is simply a loss of innocence as I become a better raider. There's a reason I chose "lamentations" over "complaints" for the title. But I did come across an interesting interview here with one quote I want to point out. He's talking about the introduction of 10 and 25 Naxrammas 2.0, but keep in mind that in this original iteration 10 man was the normal mode and 25 was heroic. Jokes about 10s and 25s aside, this is a commentary about normal and heroic, not 10 and 25 raiding.
The only caveat for me is that I feel that the highest-tier zone at a given time should start off as a 25-man-only experience and then have the 10-man version unlocked once the zone is defeated on a server, or once a given amount of time passes, whichever comes first. To use a contemporary example, I think it would have cheapened the overall experience of Sunwell-25 if while we'd been wiping for hours on M'uru we were going in on weekends and steamrolling through K'J in the 10-man version in a couple of hours. It would have diminished the sense of exploration and achievement at clearing the zone. I do feel that 10-man-only players should get to experience the same lore and ultimately see the same content, but I don't think that the easier alternative should be available right away. It'll just get cleared right away by overgeared high-end raiders anyway, and kind of like using a cheat code to skip through a regular video game, I think that it would diminish the experience for all involved.
Needless to say, I think his sentiments are spot on. Unfortunately it didn't happen this way and normal modes actually come out EARLIER than heroics. LFR does come out a little later, but it's the same thing here - LFR diminishes the experience of the normal mode raider in the same way normal does to heroics. I'm sure some wouldn't agree with this and want to have their normal modes (or LFR) right away, but personally I would very much be interested in seeing the hardest difficulty first with the lesser difficulties still offering access to everyone, but later. And if you want to see content a little faster, maybe you can try for harder challenges? Regardless, this is all academic as there's no way it would happen after the precedents set for the last three expansions.
I've done a lot of random battlegrounds, both for honor points and for achievement points. In fact, when I first starting seriously going after some achievements, one of my first forays into it was Alterac Valley. That taught me that going after achievements required 1) a decent plan to make sure it would happen and 2) the willingness to do multiple attempts to get it right. A lot of them are RNG, but you have to be ready for the opportunity when it comes.
Anyway, I got fairly good at random pvp by the end of it. It's a completely different beast from high end arena, but among the unwashed masses I could affect the outcome of the game a lot of times. Surely I am at the mercy of the rest of my team and theirs, but from one what you can expect, I think my track record shows I am either getting ridiculously lucky, or a common factor in performing above average.
AB: 370/492 (75%)
Twin Peaks: 193/272 (71%)
WSG: 398/569 (70%)
Strand: 291/429 (68%)
Gilneas: 246/366 (67%)
EotS: 260/392 (66%)
Kotmogu: 102/158 (65%)
AV: 199/316 (63%)
IoC: 157/248 (63%)
Silvershard Mines: 71/144 (49%)
Except for Silvershard Mines - what the fuck. Especially lately, my win/loss ratio has been atrocious as I go for 100 wins. For the most part, this generally suits my elitist attitude that the bigger percentage of the team I represent (the smaller the format), the more my performance is going to affect the outcome. And through experience and good play this should generally be a positive contribution.
Ok, I know, I'm not being entirely fair. My win ratio is well above 50% in all but SM, which is more than anyone could expect if things were balanced. But they aren't balanced, and for good reason. Don't get me wrong, I think classes are fairly balanced, especially in BGs, if you consider all BGs combined. But player skill is not balanced, and games are not tiered, so it is a reasonable assumption that the better players have more of an impact. For those of you who wish to see me humbled, which I assume is literally everyone but maybe Serrinne - don't worry, I get that all of the time in arena and rateds, if I'm lucky enough to even do them. Rated's are no where near the same skill composition as randoms though.
All of which is to say, what is it with Silvershard Mines? It could be any number of things, or a combination of several. 1) Alliance sucks at SM. 2) I suck, and just got lucky in those other BGs. 2) I'm ok, but those other ones favor Alliance. 3) SM favors Horde (this is objective fact on Lava, but it's debatable how much that ultimately matters). 4) I suck at SM, and aren't as good at effecting a positive outcome. 5) The nature of SM makes it so that individual contributions are less meaningful than other BGs of its size. 6) Statistical anomaly. 7) A combination of a bunch of random and complicated shit that is really difficult to isolate and pin down.
To be honest, I'm inclined to believe that last one mostly. But I'm trying to finish up this 100 win achievement and it's really frustrating to have a noticeably lower win/loss ratio compared to other BGs. I'd be curious if this is unique to me or something others are seeing.
I made my first batch of all grain beer this weekend - a hefeweizen. For those of you that aren't home brewers, home brewing is normally divided into two methods: extract and all-grain. Some of the process is similar, but the former involves less work and less equipment. And less fun. Any recipe is going to have a high amount of some kind of basic grains (barley, and maybe some adjunct grains), followed by smaller amounts of specialty malt grains. These are added to help accent your beer with certain colors (the color always comes from the type of malted grains used and has nothing to do alcohol content) and flavors. In extract brewing, you will take your small amount of specialty grains, mill them, and soak them in very hot water like a kind of barley tea. Then you will add either liquid or dry malt extract and boil it. The extract, as you can probably guess, is a concentrated form of sugars (maltose) derived from malted barley. The extract brewer will basically work with this concentrated wort up through the boil and then add water later. With all grain brewing, you have no extract, so you are working with big quantities and no concentrated form of anything, so you need some special equipment and processes. Oh by the way, brewing is filled with a ton of fun German terms like "wort". Pronounced like "word", wort is the liquid proto-beer you are working with before you add yeast and allow it to become beer.
My dad and I have been brewing extract beers for about a year and a half, both individually and together. He was able to come over for part of the brew day to witness me get all of the equipment to make all-grain before him! You'll notice that we are set up outside. Have you ever tried to heat up 6 gallons of water to a boil? I hadn't. I think the most I've worked with anything in the kitchen is maybe 2 and a half gallons. Anyway, it takes a long time, and my electric stove is not going to cut it. Not to mention I have no idea what the weight limit on its ceramic surface is, but 6 gallons of water is pretty damn heavy too. This means we are using a propane burner and that means we are outside because we have chosen not to die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
It's basically a rule that you have to drink home brew while making home brew, we've got a couple glasses of Scotch ale I bottled in march. The carbonation ended up too little for what I want, but I do think the color turned out nice. I have two of the big, 30qt pots on the left. Both have a thermometer and spigot with ball valve installed. Having the work-in-progress liquids drained through custom plumbing from one step to the next is so much more satisfying than pouring one pot into another pot! It also lets us filter out some things.
On the right here is our mash/lauter tun. More German terms. In homebrewing, the mash tun and the lauter tun are really the same thing, so it's always called a mash/lauter tun. This is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid cooler with the plastic spigot replaced with a stainless steel spigot/ball valve and a false bottom on the inside. This is all of the grain we are going to be using, plus rice hulls which are used as a natural filter).
Anything that touches our beer after the boil needs to be sanitized, and it helps having this bucket of sanitized water around to just keep things clean in general. We don't want our beer contaminated with wild yeast or bacteria.
I suppose I should mention what we are brewing - a traditional hefeweizen. Hefe means yeast and weizen means wheat. I bet you can guess what language. All beer has yeast as part of the process - it eats the sugars from the malted grains and converts it into ethanol and carbon dioxide - but in this context it means that it is not filtered out of the beer. Leaving the yeast unfiltered is actually typical in homebrew, and really only necessary if you want to have super clear beer or avoid a second fermentation while transporting the beer across the world in warm environments. A weizen (sans hefe) doesn't necessarily mean the yeast is filtered out to my knowledge either, as the naming convention is rather lax. Sometimes it will be called a weiß or weiss beer (ß is a German character representing a double 's'. It is not a B, idiot) which means "white" beer (still brewed with wheat). Similarly, in Belgium a common beer style (revived by Hoegaarden) is witbier, or Belgian white, which is normally spiced with coriander seeds and orange peel. "Wheat" is emphasized because the default cereal grain used to make beer is barley. Here I am using something like 5 pounds of wheat malt and 4.5 pounds of pilsner malt. Malting is an enzymatic process involving wet grain being dried, smoked, or roasted in a specific fashion. So pilsner malt here is one particular process that yields the flavor and color we want. Malted barley is really cheap (less than $2 a pound even when not buying in bulk) and I don't know of any home brewers that malt their own.
This is the false bottom inside the MLT. The grains will rest on top of this and then we'll fill it with water. When we're ready to drain, this is how we "lauter", which means to separate our wort from the spent grain.
The MLT is filled with the milled grains. The little apparatus on the top is really used for a type of sparging (I'll get to that later) that I'm not really using here, but it's not hurting anything. This is the start of our mash!
The mash tun is filled with liquid from our hot liquor tank. Liquor in this context just means water - we are adding 160F water to achieve a mash at 152F (some heat lost to the grains and cooler). At this temperature plastic tubing doesn't cut it, so we use silicone tubing. I should also note that ideally you would have a three tiered system here, so everything can flow from one stage to the next through gravity. Hot liquor tank -> mash/lauter tun -> boil pot. We had some concerns about putting the propane burner on top of that work table so we opted for manually moving some things, but I think it would have been fine.
The MLT will keep the grains at the desired temperature for an hour with virtually no heat loss. Very good insulation. This is a single-infusion mash - some brewers will gradually raise the heat at certain points in order to extract more sugar from the grains. This is a bit more complicated and really just allows you to get more efficiency out of less grains. As I mentioned, grains are cheap, so I would just as soon use more grains and do a single-infusion.
After an hour it will be time to transfer the sweet wort to the boil pot, and then sparge. Sparging involves adding more hot water to the grains to basically rinse more sugars off of them. We are doing batch sparging, which involves draining the mash, adding more water and letting sit for about 10 minutes, and then draining again. Fly sparging is also sometimes used, where water is added from the hot liquor tank at the same rate that it is being drained from your MLT. At a certain point, you stop adding water and let it all drain out. We reached our goal of just a bit over 5.5 gallons of sweet wort going into the brew pot.
There are four basic ingredients to any beer - water, grain (barley), yeast, and hops. Hops are by far the newest addition to the tradition of beer as we know it. They are a cone shaped plant added in dried leaf or pellet form (it really doesn't matter) to help preservation, and add bitterness, aroma, and flavor. They contain alpha acids which determine how bitter they are, and each variety has its own flavor and aroma characteristics. We are using Tettnang which is a type of Noble hop, meaning it has low alpha acid and thus low bitterness. You can add hops at any point during a typical 60 minute boil, but the general rule is that you put a certain amount of hops in for a full boil for bitterness, add your flavor hops with about 15 minutes left, and add your aroma hops for the last 5 minutes. You will get the most aroma if you add hops after the beer has been cooled and put in the fermenter or secondary - this is called dry hopping and is common in IPAs and other styles. For this hefeweizen we are just adding our one ounce of Tettnang for the full boil and that's it - German styles normally don't have too much going on with the hops. The hop blocker will prevent the hop solids and any bits of grain from transferring to our fermenter.
The mash is done, so its drained and the sparge water added to the MLT.
Adding the sparge water. It's basically a barley meal or barley tea at this point. It is interesting to think about the history of beer, and the types of gruel and proto-beers that came before it. It happened very early in the history of civilization - not too long after the dawn of civilization as dated by the farming of cereal grains. One theory is that malting could have been discovered by early farmer leaving harvested grain out in the rain and salvaging it by drying it. Obviously this early human wouldn't know anything about enzymes or the Maillard reaction, but they would know that it tasted better after this process. Wild yeast would sometimes cause their leftover gruel to ferment. Again, they surely didn't realize that a microscopic organism was responsible, but at some point they must have noticed that leaving it out would cause it to ferment. These early beers would probably be fairly low in alcohol and used more for sustenance than fun - the yeast would help fight off dangerous bacteria also trying to eat the sugars, leaving it safer to drink than stagnant water. Sometimes they would opt for a solid form, where the ground grains would be combined with water to make a dough, and then left in the open to be contaminated by wild yeast before baking. The yeast would produce carbon dioxide which would cause the product to puff up and the ethanol would be burned away when baking, leaving leavened bread. By the way, the tradition of European monks brewing beer is a long one, not just in Belgium where it's most famous. During Lent it was typical for the monks to fast but drink strong beers they had brewed for this purpose. They were basically drinking liquid bread, those cheaters.
Hey another finger pic. So, 6 gallons of sweet wort takes a long time to get to a boil. We add the hops (which makes it wort, instead of sweet wort), and a small amount of Irish moss, and let it go for an hour. After this boil it is chilled by means of a wort chiller - copper tubing which has cold water flow from a faucet travel through its coils and emerge a bit warmer, having extracted some of the heat. This is the most basic form of liquid cooling like you might have for air conditioning or refrigeration. We need to get it to about 80F before transferring it to a glass carboy and pitching our yeast.
This is one day after, and you can see it has been fermenting vigorously, producing a foamy krausen on top. We have to let carbon dioxide escape so the pressure doesn't build up until it explodes. It travels through the blow out tube and into a small pot filled with sanitized water. If you are wild yeast or bacteria on the outside, trying to get into the carboy, you'd have to pass through the sanitized water to get in - you wouldn't make it. The carbon dioxide has no problem getting out though, leaving us with an effective membrane. In a week or so I'll rack to secondary. The liquid will be pumped to another carboy, leaving behind the trub - the yeast sediment and any coagulated proteins. It will age in there for a couple weeks and then I'll bottle it, adding in priming sugar so that the yeast creates more carbon dioxide to replace what was lost. Hopefully it turns out well!