Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Random Thoughts

- I was almost tempted to not write a random thoughts today.

- There is a nice conversation going on in my last post about role difficultly and I wanted to write another one with my stance on it to continue it.

- But that will wait for tomorrow.

- Or will it?

- I will give something for people to chew on a little in the random thoughts however.

- Looking at random dungeons only, and remember they have the 15% buff for many.

- All these questions are meant to be "In a good group".

- It is "In a good group" because in a bad group it makes tanking and healing harder artificially.

- How many tanks have you seen that can not tank them?

- None.

- How many healers have you seen that can not heal them?

- None.

- How many damage dealers have you seen do over 40K?

- Extremely few.

- Over 30K?

- Not many.

- If DPS is so easy how come most can not meet the low mark for "good" dealing damage in a random with the 15% buff of 30K?

- Think about that one for a while.

- I can tell you the number of randoms I have had where everyone was over 30K and it was not a guild group.

- None.

- I can't be 100% sure but I am willing to bet you I have never had a non guild random with everyone over 25K either.

- I have had a few where everyone was over 18K, and those runs were usually a dream.

- But 18K now is doing less than 50% of your potential for most players.

- It is like joining a pug for DS now.

- You will see maybe one person over 18K.

- Sad really, when we walked into DS the week it came out our lowest DPS was 18K.

- Blame the stat inflation for that one.  It made the divide between good and bad more noticeable.

- It also changed the divide.  For good DPS you would figure anyone doing at least 25% of their maximum potential was considered good.

- Not any more.

- Now even good DPS looks bad.

- The difference between someone doing 40K and 30K is a lot more noticeable than someone doing 5K and someone doing 3750.

- It is the same percentage wise, it just stands out more the larger the numbers get.

- It seems that good DPS will be around 120K in mists.

- That means that 90K will be that lower, but still good, number using that 25% margin.

- We went from 1250 difference, to 10K difference, to 30K difference, and while they are all the same percentage wise it makes the lower one look worse and worse and worse.

- Do you want to know why that is?

- With the 5000 / 3750 they could design fights around needing 4K DPS requirements.

- It would create a decent challenge for those better DPS on the lower end of the scale and not be a total push over for those on the higher end of the scale.

- With the last example, 120,000 / 90,000 they can not design fights for 95,000 to give the lower end of the better DPS a decent challenge because it would make the fight a total push over for the higher end.

- This means that 90K is no longer good DPS, whereas the 3750 was previously.

- And that is all with people within 25% of each other.

- And that is only the top 5% of players doing those numbers.

- Most do not do 25% of their maximum potential.

- Now the "good" DPS is within 8% of each other, it is no longer 25% because of the huge stat inflation making them design things for the higher end of the good DPS spectrum.

- I think I went on enough with this, it should be a post of its own.

- But it goes to show you that the item squish was needed now, and the designers were too lazy to do it.

- It would, in their own words, be too much work and we do not think it is necessary now.

- It was necessary in cataclysm so how the hell is it not necessary in mists when it will become worse?

- I would like to see a level squish as well.

- 90 looks scary to someone from the outside looking in.

- Even if we know it is super fast, to them it looks like a long road.

- It can scare away new players.

- A level squish to max level 40 would be nice.

- That way they can make leveling take longer again, but it would still be fast, just not as many levels to get so it would seem longer.

- It is all about perspectives.

- If it takes you twice as long to go from 20 to 21 it seems longer.

- Even if that same thing was 20 to 22 1/2 previously.

- A level squish is needed as well as an item level squish.

- It would bring us back to the 5000 / 3750 example where it was easier to design for and both the top and low end of the "good" DPS would be considered good.

- Compared to the 120K / 90K example where the low end of the "good" DPS looks horrible now.

- I'd be willing to bet that is something people never considered when they argued for or against the item level squish.

- The fact that things would need to be designed closer to the top end of good effectively making the bottom end of good become part of what people call bad.

- At least tanking works on percentages, they are not hurt as much as damage dealers are.

- A tanks avoidance is a percentage.  No mater how good or bad the player is, if they have 60% avoidance they have 60% avoidance.

- So if the tank is 25% less skilled than the better tank, they will still be able to do the content effectively.  Even unnoticed that they are 25% less skilled.

- At least they are getting active mitigation to give them something to need to be skilled about.  Maybe.

- Not so with the damage dealers, 25% less damage means the difference between a wipe and a win.

- 25% less damage means more pressure on the healers and making their job harder.

- 25% less damage means the fight lasts longer and the healer can run out of mana or the tank can run out of cooldowns.

- So that 25% less DPS, the difference that used to be between 5K and 3750, is now HUGE.

- How did the designers not notice the effect that their design would have?

- Effectively making a large portion of the good damage dealers now bad damage dealers.

- And making it so those that were less but learning, like 3500, 3000, impossible to carry any more because what used to be "close enough that we can make up for it" is now, "how can you be that horrible".

- And because of that, they will never get the chance to get better because you can not carry any one under the 25% threshold.

- Even people at the bottom of the 25% good threshold can not be carried any more, and they used to be the good ones.

- And people wonder why I keep saying DPS is the hardest role in the game.

- There is just too much pressure on them to be perfect, because the fights are designed around the top end of good now instead of the bottom end of good because if they designed them around the bottom end of good it would make all the fights way too easy for those on the top end, even if the top end is only 5% of the players, or less.

- Oh crap.  My random thoughts seem to be on one thing.

- Guess that comes from not playing and only having the comments here to inspire my thoughts.

- You know what I am looking forward to more than mists?

- More than the expansion after?

- More than anything else?

- The item level squish.

- It has gotten out of control and blizzard needs to hire someone that can understand numbers and show them this.

- It would not be hard.

- They teach this type of basic mathematics in what, 3rd grade?

- Blizzard, go hire yourself a 3rd grader so they can show you the error of your ways.

- Mists is going to show all those people out there that have not noticed it yet, the value and extreme rarity of good damage dealers.

- Lets face it, how many people do you know that can do 40K or better without any heroic gear?

- Got 4 people in my guild, myself being one, and I have seen two others, that is it.

- That is where the mark is now.  40K it the top of good DPS and 30K is the bottom of good DPS.

- But 30K compared to 40K looks like crap right?

- It does, but it is within 25%, and that still means it is good, even if the game tells us it isn't any more.

- And lets face it, there are not many in the game that can even do 30K, so who are we kidding, 30K is pretty awesome.

- Go look at world of logs and see how many of those guilds would BEG for their players to do 30K.

- And that is the low end of good, and it really isn't all that good any more.

- And people beg for it.

- Yeah, DPS is easy, so easy that almost no one can do it right.

- Guess I don't need to do that post tomorrow, my thoughts for the day touched on most of it.

- Have a nice day.


  1. I see what you're saying and for the most part I agree with you. However:

    - Reworking level 1-60 for Cata made it a split expansion, the development on the redo is arguably what led to lack of content and the troubles at endgame.

    - Rebalancing the stats for an item squish and even more reworking the level requirements for a level squish would take a huge amount of development time. They'd have to change the numbers on every single item/spell in the game.

    - They'd have to do the whole game 1-90 as people need to feel more powerful as they level up so they couldn't just go back to level 60 and change it from then onward, it would need to be a proper curve.

    - Soloing is a huge mini game that many people (including myself) enjoy a great deal. So say that they did adjust the numbers, but not completely to save time, then things that we can solo now would become impossible. Now I know that the content isn't supposed to be soloed but it can be, people enjoy doing that, and blizz really should have learnt by now not to take things away from players.

    - You threw out some numbers there. 30k, 40k etc. and saying that 30k is crap. I'd argue it's a matter of perspective. For the very best players, or people that want to be the very best, then they'll find whoever the best player of their class is, see what they can do and try and match it. I think for the rest of us we more have a competition within the group. Therefore the numbers matter a little less as we're comparing against each other, not against a mythical awesome player.

    - I understand what you mean about the balancing issues for the difference in numbers. As a group of the very best players will put out a lot more dps than a group of average players. However, I think this is less about the numbers and more to do with the expectations and approach towards the different modes. The best players should be able to blow through normal as normal should be balanced with the average player in mind. By average I mean someone that does their best and works hard at getting better (like you and me). Those best players should get their challenge from heroic modes, or given now that heroic modes are more accessible, tuned perhaps for the best average players. The top 1% or whatever should have a challenge mode raid where they have to beat heroic mode on a clock, so their extra dps would matter there.

    - If there's that big a split between the best of the best, the average good player, and then you're average pugger. Even if they do a item/level squish then they'll still be that difference. Everything is relative to each other so even if the numbers are smaller it'll still add up to be the same. Hence why I think looking at the approach to the different modes and how they tune them would fix it more effectively.

    So anyway to sum up if they did an item/level squish they'd have to do everything. If they did that then it would take a lot of development time. This could cause problems for the fifth expansion. However, they do have to do it sometime as the numbers will get silly. It's all a matter of perspective.

    1. - I know what you mean about soloing. I really love that part of the game and would lose it with a squish like that. So yes, I understand that it would hurt me and things I like to do. Doesn't change the fact I believe it needs to be done however as much as I would dislike it.

      - Same goes for people needing to feel progression. This can't keep up, it will just keep widening the gap between good and not so good.

      - 30K is good. I did not say it is crap. The difference is. It is 25% off the maximum potential for most and while that 25% is a very reasonable number, looking at it from the standpoint of 10K less makes it look like crap.

      - There is that big of a difference already. I am the "average" player. I am not great by any means what so ever and I do 35K-40K. Which is near my maximum potential but is still leaps and bounds behind the better players and still leaps and bounds over other "average players". The problem is with stats. The bigger they are the larger the gap looks. If someone did 10% less than me, which is still pretty damn close, back when I was doing 5K they were doing 4500. Doesn't look like anything right? Now if I do 40K and they do 36K they look like they are slacking, but they aren't. They are doing just fine. The larger the numbers get the bigger the gap seems.

      - The "average player" in all 397 gear should be able to pull 30K on a stand still fight no problem. Most can't. Not because they are doing badly so to speak, but because the percentages make even one small mistake out to be a 2K DPS mistakes instead of a 200 DPS mistake.

      - As for time to do it. They should take that time and still give us a full expansion. They called the old world remodel part of cataclysm. It should not have been. They did that because they wanted to. There was no reason to change the old world and there is no reason we should have had to get a half assed expansion because of it. They can make an expansion and make adjustments at the same time. Their problem is, they want to charge us for the adjustments when they shouldn't. That is why it was an issue with cataclysm.

  2. Would things be better if Blizzard outlawed Recount and the other DPS combat logs? The only metric left would be did we win and how many died doing it?

    I am not advocating it, just merely asking the question.

    1. It might be better but it might also be harder to figure out who is not up to snuff if you fail. Forget might. It will be harder to find the failing point without recount or some sort of measuring stick.

      Example. One run I was in recently we had me, a disc priest 390 item level doing 26K HPS. We had a resto shaman, 395 item level doing 22K HPS and a holy paladin 398 item level doing 9K HPS.

      Without recount we might kick the me, the priest, or the resto shaman because we were lacking on heals for heroic because everyone knows that holy paladins rock. With recount we know we need to replace the holy paladin with someone that can do more than 9K HPS.

      So as bad as recount is, and I agree people look to much at the numbers and not enough at the story behind them, but it is needed.

  3. First, your criteria for healers/tanks and DPS is a bit different. What you're asking of DPS is more than just "can DPS 1/3 of the heroic".

    Second, while I don't quite get how is 25% not equal to 25%. ("The difference between someone doing 40K and 30K is a lot more noticeable than someone doing 5K and someone doing 3750.") I understand the argument for 120k/90k as that rolls through an order of magnitude but if it's increased to 160k/120k, it's the same 25% again, isn't it? If an encounter takes 60s with 5k DPS, it takes 80s with 3750. If it takes 60s with 120k, it still takes 80s with 90k. The computer is not going to get confused because suddenly you only do 5-digits instead of 6.

    1. What I am saying is two things there.

      1) What people see stands out more with bigger numbers. Seeing someone doing 1250 more does not look as huge as seeing someone do 30K more. People respond to numbers. Seeing that number makes people think someone is bad when they are doing the same percentage wise.

      2) You are wrong with your example of the fight. In theory, you are correct. In action you are not. With the 5000 / 3750 they designed fights to need 4000, for example. So both could do it, the latter with a little extra effort. With the 120K / 90K example they do not design it for just above the lower, they design it for just below the top. So you need 105K DPS to do it in a reasonable time. Effectively that makes it so the lower end can no longer do the fight, even stepping it up some. That is why the 25% is a lot larger than it seems.

    2. I don't agree, I would say it's based more on the number of digits difference and first digit, i. e. 120/90 seems more than 4k/3k which seems more than 160k/120k despite all of them being 25%. Consider the Bata price example Rauxis mentioned, that's a similar fallacy.

      Another question is, why do you think they'll make the requirement 105k instead of 96k that would match the requirement you said had been during the 5k/3750 days (4k). Or is it based on your experience with MoP beta on 90th level?

    3. I don't think they will make the requirements higher, I know they will make the requirements higher. If they code it for the lower it makes the content way too easy for those at the higher level. They want both to experience some challenge even if minimal so they will code it closer to the high end than they do the low end.

      If they design for the low end things become way to easy. Look at DS with the 30% buff, the low end of doing decently, it is way to easy. They will never start at that level. They will start at a higher level. So it will be closer to the 120K and if anything it will get nerfed to the 90K level.

      Things are designed to get nerfed now. So they are not really nerfs, it is all part of the design.

  4. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    Why would an item squish need to consider the whole of the game? Numbers proceed in a rational increase from levels 1-58/60, jump in TBC content (58 to 68/70) but not horrendously, and then begin to soar in Wrath (68-78/80), followed by stratospheric increases in Cataclysm (78/80 to 85) and now in MoP (85+), the numeric increases evidently begin to achieve orbital flight numbers.

    Depending on the baseline of increasing to be the first 60 levels, a progression (and retooling) from TBC onward would seem to be the only content that needs to be adjusted. Even that might be reduced to simply retooling Wrath onward to a simple linear progression of numbers as opposed to the current jump in stat numbers that occurred in Wrath, Cata, and MoP. That amount of number adjustment is far less to deal with than the total of the game.

    I am not enough of a number cruncher to offer the specifics of what type of increases should be occurring but I am enough of a gamer to know that the current trajectory of the stat numbers are rapidly approaching a silly point. Once we start seeing numbers reduced to "mega" damage, I doubt that the game will have much left to offer me, and others perhaps as well.

    1. It would make sense to just lower the expansions after they are gone I guess. It does not need to be the whole game but the way I am looking at it is that if they are going to do it they might as well do the whole kit and caboodle.

  5. Random is random. I need to do that some day!


    1. My random was a little lacking in the random department today. You think?

  6. on topic:

    you are correct the perceived gap is far larger nowadays - the reason IMHO is the decimal point. Similar to the preceived cost of 0.99 $ is far less then 1.00$ than the 1cent difference.

    Blizz can not do a level squish for marketing reasons. Interestingly enough, no other MMO similar to WoW tried todo without levels as a measure of power. I guess the reason is marketing as well.

    With my new main which I'm leveling for MoP I have seen quite a few bad healers. For leveling instances until Cata it DID NOT MATTER how bad they were. Together with 2 decent DPS (a rogue and a hunter) we 3 man'd most of Shadowlab!.

    what WoW needs far more than an item squish (make greens/blues linear, and squish all epics to greens of the next level) are some training instances ACCORDING TO SPEC with a guide giving you a basic layout to teach you a minimum rotation, an idea how to stack your heals and a basic tanking intro. Only upon successfull completion you are allowed into LFD/LFR.

    continuing on a previous discussion and train of thought:

    in LFD/LFR there is no metric to measure performance of Tank or Healer. Without such a metric your argument "DPS is harder, because they have to push more and more for better numbers" is IMHO a bit flawed. The tanks who really care will strive for "taking less damage" or "grabbing adds faster" .. only you can not measure it they way DPS does.

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    1. I can't agree more. The game needs more in game teaching, but how to do that is the biggest question.

      I think the reason we see so many bad players is not because they are bad straight out, it is because they were never taught in game to be better.

      It is a sad design choice that you can not do well at the game unless you look outside of the game. In my opinion of course. Being I blog and you are here reading it, it shows we both looked outside the game. As such, we have the capability to getting better. To someone that does not look outside the game how can they ever get better?

      That is part of the reason why I say DPS is harder. There is a number you can hang on it. That makes it harder. At the end of a successful fight they look at if the tank kept aggro and the healers kept everyone alive yet they look at a number for the damage dealers. Yes, the good players look at the tanking and healing stuff as well, but the larger margin of players don't and would not ever know how to. As such, as long as there is a number hanging over the heads of damage dealers that they are judged on it will always remain the hardest role to play because with numbers, no matter how big it is, you can always make it bigger.

    2. I agree with the first paragraph. The game needs more in-game teaching - actually I would say all MMOGs do as I can't recall any that does. (Swim or drown doesn't count as teaching in my book.)

    3. They use the swim or drown teaching technique. You either go to outside resources to learn or you do badly. Simple as that. They do not even attempt to teach people in game.

  7. I've never tanked or healed, so dps appears easier to me. I just accept that I'm not one of those top players. I play an under-represented spec (BM) but I still raid heroic DS and pull sufficient DPS for our raid group to progress. (We almost got H spine on Saturday; just need to keep everybody alive during the 3rd tendon).

    Tanking seems scary to me so I haven't really tried it on my blood dk. As others mentioned, there's no training in the game. I've read how it's supposed to be done but it's not the same as actual experience and I don't want to torture pugs in cata heroics when I screw up.

    Anyway, I got reminded today of how poorly a lot of players dps. I tried SV today for the first time; spent 5 minutes on the dummies and decided to run a HoT. I did 40% of the overall damage in the group doing like 38K (ilvl is 402). The tank was 2nd highest dps doing 22K since he was also well geared. Regardless, we had no problems. I didn't really notice it until I looked at recount at the end and was somewhat flabbergasted...

    Leveling as dps (no matter which way you do it really) is very poor training for raiding since you don't use half of your abilities. Hit some buttons, mob dies, loot, repeat... They never learn the full rotation because nothing lives that long, nor do they learn to use their utility abilities since they're never needed. If you're going to tank or heal, you get no training while questing and really need to level with dungeons and even then, I'm not sure how much training that provides beyond the basic concepts.

    WoW is such a complex game with so many classes, specs, talents, abilities, glyphs, etc... that if it wasn't for the theorycrafters out there figuring everything out, we'd be pretty screwed. Mists is simplifying things is some respects but complicating it in others so I don't really see the complexity going down as a whole. Blizz may be lowering the bar with certain content but Heroic raids are still hard as hell, imho.

    I don't know... guess just random thoughts from me as well without any clear message...

    1. Tanking and healing are very scary to get into. The skill level for both is very front loaded. While a damage dealer can learn slowly and get better over time a tank or healer needs to do well right away.

      That is why people commonly think tanking and healing is easier, because it is hard to start.

      DPS is end loaded with difficulty, to pull out as much as you can. People seem to forget that.

      And like you said, the reason DPS is easy for you is because you do it all the time. Anything is easy once you know how to do it correctly. That is another thing people seem to forget. Good DPS say how easy it is and seem to forget they did not just start and instantly do super numbers, it took time.

  8. *chuckle*

    I'm back to MY main qualm about WoW - LFD and the move away from a social game. In vanilla you had a chance to stumble across someone willing and able to teach.
    Today there is less chance, and - as most people in dungeons you will never see again - no incentive to teach.
    It does not really help that nowadays most rotations are more complex btw...

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    1. I am someone that is always willing to help someone that asks for it. I have at least a small amount of knowledge about every class and spec and can give someone the basics that can get them started toward getting better.

      With that said... I agree 100%.

      I do not teach in LFR. I would not teach in LFR. There are just way to many people there, way to many griefers, way to many go, go, go people, way to many people to take the time out to give a basic explanation to help someone out that is having issue.

      In the LFD I always will take the time to teach someone. It is a small group and easier to ask for 5 minutes to explain and rarely will anyone complain if you take a few minutes to do so.

      The biggest problem is if someone is having trouble, even if they are asking for help, most people seem so quick to kick and not willing to help.

      I'm glad to say I have been able to help my fair share of people in the LFD and even had one occasion where a few months after I helped a rogue he made a character on my server to send me a mail and thank me. He said that the little bit I told him made him seem immediate differences and he finally felt as if he could do good which inspired him to take my advice and look at the rogue thread at elitist jerks and that he was now in a heroic guild and just downed heroic DW and was top DPS.

      He was horrible, beyond horrible. Just goes to show you, 5 minutes can make a huge difference. Most groups would have just kicked him.

      But like I said, in LFR, I just let it go. There is no time to teach people with such a large group. Another reason there should be a 10 man LFR. It gives more chance for one on one conversation.

  9. Does anybody know how much impact network bandwidth, graphics card, CPU, computer memory actually makes to DPS figures. Are we actually comparing apples with oranges?

    During certain boss fights in a LFR my computer completely lags out(Warlord Zon'ozz and Yor'sahj the Unsleeping). I get 20-25 FPS in Stormwind.

    1. I wrote a post about it a while go, I will try to find it. I tested it with my hunter and my DPS was HUGELY impacted by it. As much as a 40% DPS difference based on a 1 second delay.

      Those were actual numbers. I did 5 minute tests on dummies. 40%, it was amazing, I knew there would be a difference, but was not aware it was that big until I saw it with my own eyes.