HealerCalcs

I’ve included in various Warlords alpha posts the spreadsheet that I’ve been making to help with healer theorycraft.  It’s far enough along now that I put it on its own page (link under the site banner as well), along with a detailed description, so other people can take a closer look.  Let me know what you think!

Gaming Questionnaire

Jasyla has been doing a bunch of blogging about non-WoW games lately, and recently posted this questionnaire to get people talking about games.  I’ll take a little break from work and Warlords today to muse on my favorite games and talk about some of my background with them.

When did you start playing video games?
What is the first game you remember playing?

The first game I remember playing is Space Invaders on an old Texas Instruments-made computer.  So that’s technically when I started playing games, but what’s probably more meaningful is the Sega Master System I got soon after, which I started playing regularly.  The first game I played a lot on it was Missile Defense 3-D, a lightgun-based Missile Command remake which was in 3D.  As you probably wouldn’t expect for a console made in 1985, the SMS had a 3D feature that worked rather well (the glasses plugged into the zillionconsole and synchronized with alternating frames on the display).  So that was pretty cool.

Just to throw it out there, the SMS game I got into the most was Zillion, a pretty great 2-D combat/exploration game that was somewhat like Metroid.  I’ve gone back and beaten it later.

PC or Console?
XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

I’ve always played games on both and don’t have strong feelings; in recent years it’s been mostly PC just because of WoW.  I haven’t bought recent-generation consoles because not I’m sure I’d play them enough, given how I don’t get to play games as much as I’d like.  I also have a strong tendency to play a small number of games a huge amount rather than play a bunch of different games, so consoles feel hard to justify.  This might be a bad decision if it cuts me off from finding console exclusives that would sweep me away.  That said, the games that did so came to PC anyway (XCOM: Enemy UnknownDark Souls).  Dark Souls is a notable example because it was PS3 exclusive, but became so famous that the clamor for a PC release caused a company with no PC experience to just release it anyway.

There’s no general answer to what console I would buy; it’s whatever one had an exclusive that gave me a desire to play which I couldn’t get out of my head.  Nintendo is probably the most likely, since I’ve always loved their games (their first-party ones in particular) and for the most part you can’t play them on PC.  If Zelda ever went back to its roots, there’s probably no way I could resist.

Oh wait, Zelda did go back to its roots with A Link Between Worlds, which was for 3DS, a system I have.  So there you go.

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First Spell Tuning, continued

My previous two posts: suggestions for healer spell tuning from the last build, and comments on the changes that were visible in patch notes.

As noted in that comments post, the patch notes didn’t show the changes to coefficients or similar “numbers” changes, so we had to wait for today’s build and corresponding spell data (scroll down) to see the full picture.  Here are notes on those changes.  This will be abbreviated since it’s late for me; hopefully within a few days I’ll be looking in a detail on what I think further changes should look like.  If you haven’t read the last two posts I linked above, they’re probably good for context.  I might leave out some changes that I don’t have comments on off the top of my head.

Druid

Wild Growth heal and cost decreased by 15%.  Tricky spell to place correctly, but this is basically what I was thinking was needed so far. The burst throughput is not quite so huge, but the efficiency is unchanged.  Overall I’d like to see the mana cost come down slightly more–I think the HPM could be a bit higher, especially when thinking about how WG suffered more than most heals in the great de-smartening of heals. It is a HoT and will overheal quite a bit when targeted randomly.

That reminds me, I’d been meaning to try to make an argument, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet, that WG should go back to being (gasp) smart.  It might sound weird, but I think it makes sense for this spell more than most others.

Swiftmend mana cost reduced by 40%.  This helps a lot, and in particular, helps ameliorate any doubts I may have had about asking for SotF to be nerfed.  SM is finally an attractive cast without the help of talents, and making use of SotF is less expensive, making it easier to reasonably tune.  Will have to think about how to evaluate Rampant Growth now.

Noted in last post, Incarnation didn’t really change even though the mechanics changed.  Will have to give new SotF a little time to understand how its new tuning looks, but Incarnation is probably still too good.  There were some little changes to FoN in the build, but nothing to put in the same ballpark as SotF or Incarn.

Slight decrease to Healing Touch and increase to HotW.  Minor numbers tweaks to balance spells/talents, nothing exciting.

Summary: they agreed with a lot of my changes.  They didn’t make Rejuv slightly more efficient, but I was doubting that one anyway.  They can probably use it as a fine-tuning for Druid efficiency later on if needed.

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First Spell Tuning Followup

Today’s patch notes showed the first signs of healer tuning fixes, so I’m going to make a quick post with my reactions (rather than dumping them onto twitter as I read).  Also, since my last post was meant to be a list of concise, actionable healer tuning items, it seems good to follow up now that there’s a round of changes.  However, I’m guessing we’ve only seen part of the changes, namely the changes that appear in patch notes, which usually doesn’t include bare coefficient or cost changes.  So I think we’ll only have the complete picture of this first tuning pass once there’s another around of spell data.  At that point, I might try making another list of changes after we see what things are like in the new build.

  • Soul of the Forest (Restoration) when casting Swiftmend, the Druid gains Soul of the Forest. Soul of the Forest reduces the cast time of the next Healing Touch by 50%, or increases the healing of the next Regrowth, or Rejuvenation, or Wild Growth by 100%, or increases the healing of the next Wild Growth by 50%.

Exactly what I suggested, so good.  I’m not totally sure about the right ultimate tuning of WG yet–in the post I said that the healing cost should both come down a little.  I’ll stick with that for now, with maybe the addition that the HPM could come up slightly in the process.

  • Incarnation: Tree of Life no longer enhances Lifebloom. Instead, it also enhances Rejuvenation, increasing its healing by 50%, and reducing its cost by 50%.

That’s pretty interesting.  Oddly, it has a small effect on Tree, since a 150% half-cost Rejuv is very similar to a Lifebloom overall (probably nicer due to having more even healing).  Tree is a still around as strong as it was; it’s just a little cleaner mechanically (works with things like Germination and Rampant Growth now, as well as Genesis).

Tree and SotF are still very strong.  It’s possible they’ll buff FoN by a huge amount and be done with it.  That would mean that even after tuning the class, the choice of L60 talent will be a very big component of performance.

That also reminds me, I do think Genesis needs a buff and I forgot to include it last time.

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Healer Spell Tuning–Current Suggestions

I want to get into discussion of healer spell tuning, and there’s no reason to be blocked by how long it takes me to write up long-form blog posts with lots of explanation.  Instead I’m going to post a whole bunch of conclusions–i.e. what spells I think should go up or down, and see how they jive with what others expect.  That way they’re at least here to start discussion, and I can elaborate more as needed.  So tell me if any entries seem out of place, if you want to know why I think they need a buff or nerf, or just post your own comments on what spells should be numerically stronger or weaker and why.

I haven’t looked at every spell and talent in detail, but I’ve looked at a great majority of them.  I’m leaving out obvious bugs.

In general, factors I’m thinking about include:

  • HPM/HPCT metrics.  Whether a spell comports with the usual overarching tradeoff off efficiency vs. burstiness.  No strict formula.
  • How a spell fares against other options of that class. Does it need to be weaker or stronger to result in an internally balanced toolkit for the class.
  • Relatedly, whether a spell is solely responsible for too large of a component of the class’s performance.
  • How a spell fares against similar spells of other classes.  Spells in the same “category” don’t have to be strictly balanced across healers, but big outliers are a red flag.
  • How a talent fares against other talents in its row (even if the power level of the talent isn’t otherwise an issue for balance purposes).

This is generally based on theory and not on reported experience from raid tests.

Some helpful references might be my recent posts on healing theorycraft, as well as my big spreadsheet, current version found here (user-friendliness is making progress, but not ready to be published as a stand-alone tool).

Without further ado:

Druid

Significantly Nerf:

Slightly Nerf:

Slightly Buff:

Significantly Buff:

Druids have the potential for very strong throughput, but also have expensive spells.  This is a good foundation for a skill-intensive class, but it still might need to be flattened out just a little.  I don’t want to draw conclusions on overall strength until the huge throughput of SotF+WG or and huge efficiency of Incarnation are reined in.

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Two choppers, both alike in dignity / In fair Azeroth, where we lay our scene

By piecing together the quest pages dropped from engineering mobs for [The Snows of Northrend], the following story came to light of two choppers forced into separation by the fateful needs of a show…

<The remaining fragments are written in invisible ink on Light Parchment. They require a secret gnomish decoder to read.>

Preamble – Page 1

Two choppers, both alike in dignity,

In fair Azeroth, where we lay our scene,

From pre-Cataclysm break to Pandaria mutiny,

Where faction feuds makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal biceps of these two empires

A pair of star-cross’d bikes take their life;

Whose misadventured show overthrows

Do with their separation bury their parents’ strife.

The fearful passage of their drama-fueled love,

And the continuance of their leaders’ rage,

Which, but their item’s end, nought could remove,

Is now the twitter status of our stage;

The which if you with patient wallets attend,

What TV shall miss, our blog shall strive to mend.

Chapter I – Page 9

HORDE BIKE

O, her metalwork teach the torches to burn bright!

It seems her gears hang upon the cheek of night

Like a rich jewel in a Warrior’s spear,

Beauty too rich for use, for Azeroth too dear!

So shows a raider trooping with LFR crows,

As yonder lady o’er her fellow mounts shows.

The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand,

And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.

Did my heart love till now? forswear it, sight!

For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

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