This is a continuation of my Theorycraft 101 post that introduced trinket uptimes and RPPM. I’m going to assume here that you read that post. The main audience for this post is people trying to any theorycraft work, whether making a full-blown spreadsheet or simply doing a standalone calculation about some trinket. You should be able to find the equation you need here without needing to redo a lot of work.
A bit of terminology from last time:
- PPM is the proc’s built-in PPM constant.
- H is your haste factor (1 + your average haste %)
- D (used below) will be the duration of a buff
Our first basic conclusion was that if you ignore the possibility of proc overlaps, the uptime of a proc is:
We called this value (lambda) for any given trinket. It’s a good approximation of uptime as long as uptime is low (overlaps are unlikely), and it will also come into many later results. Conceptually, is the ratio of the buff’s duration to its mean proc time.
The next conclusion was that if you account for the possibility of overlaps, the uptime is:
Not exactly a comprehensive organized review, but just a series of reactions I had. Focusing more on gameplay than narrative elements, since the latter has been discussed everywhere and the former is where I have some specific criticisms I want to highlight.
First though, a few loose comments on story (since I want to remain spoiler-free for now). The best part is the plot structure and associated twists. The game does have its “would you kindly” moment for sure, and the most important part of a story that visibly about a running mystery like this is that the reveal is properly anticipated (but not too overtly) by what came before it. In this they succeeded. It is rather enjoyable, bordering on necessary, to replay at least the opening portion of the game immediately after seeing the ending. You’ll feel some disbelief at the sheer density of clues, foreshadowing, and double meanings to which you were completely oblivious the first time.
The other story/atmosphere points I want to touch on are really gameplay comments in disguise. Combat based on big, open set pieces was new to the Shock series, and a setting that still “alive” was also new. Regardless of what you think of these individually, their mixture causes some deep problems with suspension of disbelief. Doing FPS-y stuff like looting everything in sight and leaving piles of bodies everywhere and fighting pitched battles with squadrons of enemies does not jive with a living, breathing city that you’re trying to take seriously as an immersive environment. I know you do those things in every FPS, but most FPSs don’t take a city and its identity as their main character. In Bioshock you explored Rapture once it was dead, and learned very vividly what it was like when it was alive. Deviating from that setup did not bring much of anything new to the table, and only caused Infinite to slide more into familiar FPS tropes than its predecessor.
In the first two posts in the sequence, we started building a foundation of how to think about the task of healing, and conducted a basic survey of how all the various stats might impact your performance. As promised in the last post, this is going to be a whole piece focusing on how to make decisions concerning mana (and secondary resources if your class has them). It will also finally bring us back around to the issue that started me down this whole train of thought in Mists.
Everyone accepts what the purposes of Int, mastery, crit, and haste are: to do more healing. You can do more healing in a given amount of time, you can do more healing with a given amount of mana (haste doesn’t actually do this, but that’s not for this post), and ultimately you can keep more people alive over the course of an entire encounter. The first premise of this article is that Spirit is no different. If you’re using a stat, it must be for the purpose of doing more healing, and its value is determined by how much more you can do (usual disclaimer applies throughout–”more healing” doesn’t necessarily mean more meter healing, it means fulfulling your healing tasks more consistently). In order to be worth using, Spirit has to pull its weight by allowing you do more than you could do with an equal amount of crit or mastery. I want to stress how different this is from viewing it as an independent requirement of some kind, a sort of “you must be this tall to ride” minimum to survive any encounter, before you can worry about other stats. It’s a stat like any other, and if it doesn’t pay its dues in terms of added performance, you’re free to replace it with a stat that does.
So what does Spirit do for you? It lets you use your non-cooldown heals more frequently. I’ll only briefly recapitulate the basic dichotomy between cooldown and non-cooldown heals here; it’s appeared in every one of my MoP healing posts thus far. Remember from the previous post that well over half, possibly as much as 3/4 depending on class, of your total available mana is from sources other than Spirit. Even if you had 0 Spirit, you’d be just fine casting your core short-cooldown heals as much as you wanted (Wild Growth, Penance, Holy Shock, Renewing Mist, Riptide, etc.). These heals are cheap and powerful, and form a sort of healing “baseline” that’s mostly unchanged by added mana reserves beyond what you start with. The most important point is that if you find you’re coming up short to cast these at the end of a fight, it is not because of insufficient Spirit. You budgeted your mana poorly and spent too much on less-efficient no-cooldown heals earlier in the fight.
This a post I wrote on my guild forum to try to help people in my raid team do this quest: Trial of the Naaru: Mercy. (In 2007).
It’s not just me who thinks of Shattered Halls as the “original” Challenge Mode. It’s a comparison that comes up time and time again, to pretty much anyone who’s been WoW seriously for long enough to remember that zone (up to and including the designers who made Challenge Modes, who have cited Shattered Halls as an inspiration). My recollection is that a SH clear with the best time (saving all three prisoners) was distinctly harder than a Bronze at a typical Challenge Mode. It was probably more akin to Silver, when you take into account that mechanics were somewhat meaner back then, but the timing didn’t emphasize the “race” aspect as much; you mostly just wanted to clear without wiping.
Talking about this just now I remembered that, since I was the raid leader of a somewhat serious progression guild in those days, I had strategy posts on the guild forum about everything, including the Trial of Mercy (which was needed to attune to Tempest Keep until they did away with that in later patches). I thought people might find it interesting to see a description of what that zone contained. For now it’s a straight copy of the notes I made to try to get guild groups through the zone, no edits at all. When I have more time I might elaborate further (also, skimming my long strategy posts for each boss in original Naxxramas gave a burst of nostalgia; it might be interesting to make a post out of those somehow).
Without further ado:
Challenge Modes were by far the feature I was most looking forward to in MoP; it’s fair to say they’re primarily why I resubbed after my long break. A few weeks ago I finally had the time/opportunity to get a regular weekend group going, and we’re getting close to completing all of the gold times. This actually brings me to my first point about challenge modes–even after a few months delay on getting started, they’re still exactly the same content for me as they were for the people who did them in the first few weeks. Unlike raid content, I can start whenever I have time and not have missed out on doing it as it was when the expansion was fresh, before everyone outgeared it, etc. That’s pretty novel.
I’ve been putting video guides of zones I’ve finished so far here. I do think those should be helpful for anyone who’s trying to learn any specific instance. But I also wanted to make a post with general information on things you might want to know before making a challenge mode group.
This is primarily for people who are trying to get good at the zones to achieve a certain time (whether your time goal is gold or something lower). If you’re just looking to run a zone once for a daily, which is incidentally the fastest way to get VP, it doesn’t apply as much.
My last post was a trip back to the fundamentals of healing, and claimed to be the beginning of a series where we build from that to more detailed analysis of the various healing classes. There’s still a little ways to go before we’re ready (both in terms of my math work on healing classes, and in terms of laying the foundation in posts) for very detailed cross-class comparison or balance discussion. But let’s get a little less abstract than the first time around, and look at some stats. Along the way we’ll not only relate back to the principles of the previous post, but finally have some foundation to approach the throughput and regen questions of the earlier Int vs. Spirit post.
All heals scale linearly with spellpower–there’s a base heal amount and then a spellpower term with some coefficient particular to each heal. An interesting point in MoP is that for nearly all heals, the base amount is scaled to be roughly 11,000 times the coefficient. For example, Divine Light has a mean base heal of 16817 and a coefficient of 149%, a ratio of 11287. For the HoT portion of Lifebloom, the base heal of each tick is 9315/15 = 621, and the coefficient is 5.7%, for a ratio of 10894. I actually don’t know of any heals off the top of my head that don’t follow this, but there are probably a few.
The significance is that heals tend to scale in proportion with each other as your spellpower increases. With 11000 spellpower, they all do twice as much as they do with 0, and so on. Since for raiding purposes, your spellpower is affected by a 10% buff, the better rule of thumb is that the base heal is worth 10,000 spellpower. This is handy to keep in mind, as it gives you a concrete picture of what a spellpower increase means to you. If you had 20,000 spellpower when you started raiding and now you have 30,000, you can expect that all of your heals are healing for 1/3 more than what they were before (and that’s before mastery scaling and any other benefits you might have).
In my last post on healing, I outlined a rough mathematical argument to show how Spirit should not be valued as strongly as common wisdom indicated. The bulk of the criticisms centered on the fact that I was generalizing far too much about other classes without digging into their mechanics to the same extent I have with Druids. And while responding to this comprehensively would require a significant project of theorycrafting other classes more (which, as an aside, is still something I want to get into in MoP), I took something else away from that whole discussion. Which is that, theorycraft aside, there just isn’t much established foundation on the basic logic and philosophy of healer strategy. When talking about questions like regen and throughput, the math arguments tend to be sort of shallow because there isn’t even a mutual understanding of what we’re evaluating and how. So I’ll go as far as I can in this post, and continue to follow up as needed, about what should be going through our minds when we click the green boxes.
Healing Meters: 2 comments
I’m going to present two seemingly contradictory arguments here, each of which (hopefully) has no obvious flaws. Think about how you might reconcile them with each other while you read the rest of this piece, and going forward after that.
Here are a whole bunch of notes from playing through XCOM Ironman Classic (and preparing for Ironman Impossible) that may be helpful if you’re trying to do similar stuff in XCOM. I didn’t craft into a detailed guide, just typed up a list.
- Starting goal is to get your first round of satellites (up to 5) launched in month 1. To do this, you need to 1) abduction by 3/7 to get bonus Engineers, 2) start workshop by 3/7, 3) start 4 satellites by 3/11 by selling loot from your first UFO, 4) start an Uplink as soon as Workshop finishes, by 3/17. Then launch 4 satellites by 3/31.
- You can then either reinvest fully in satellites in month 2 (going up to 8), or put off the second round until month 3 to have money for Officer Training and some better gear in month 2.
- Getting the satellites up in month 2 takes some planning, since you now not only need the Workshop and Uplink, but an Access Lift and two Power Generators. The uplink and second generator have to be on level 2. Working backwards: need to start uplink by 4/16, second generator on 4/11, excavating for second generator on 4/6, access lift on 4/1, so first power generator in March to be done by 4/1. There’s some variation in all this based on which holes are pre-excavated and how much you care about adjacency bonuses, but point is, to make it all work, you have to sell more things in March to make a power generator in advance.
- Just to highlight one sticking point: in order to have 15 Engineers to start a Workshop on 4/6, you might need to get 1 from a Satellite bonus at the end of month 1. You’ll do so anyway if you cover Africa in month 1 as I recommend below.
- In month 3 you can get to 12 satellites (or at least 8) without much difficulty since you have money to do it and get your combat upgrades, but again, make sure you plan your digging/power needs in advance so you don’t miss the end of the month.
- Remember that selling early UFO Computers/Power is no big deal; you don’t need them for anything until Firestorms way down the line. For scrounging up more, most early corpses are fine to sell, just keep ~7 Floaters for dodge modules and 5 Thin Men for medkits later on. Try your best to avoid selling Alloys/Fragments/Elerium; they will the limiting factors on your later research.
Update: There is now a continuation of this post here, which gets into some more detail and trickier topics.
About a year ago I did a few posts in a series I called “Theorycraft 101″. The basic point is to have post outlining basic computations/formulas I use in making spreadsheets and like, so other people who do these things don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I think there’s often not a lot of communication across classes on these things, so I want to make non class-specific references for things that come up a lot.
For reference, here are the past ones:
Today’s Topic: Proc Uptime
Blizzard recently posted a description of a new system for procs, used for Windsong and presumably other similar new enchants. We’re going get to the details of the new Windsong at the end. For now, some short background.
[4/8/13: Six months later and I see this post getting quite a lot of attention on various forums. While I'm glad of that, I do want to make sure people finding their way to it just now also see the follow-up posts in the Healing Theory sequence. The first is here, and the third is particularly relevant to this discussion. Those posts are further developments of the ideas that first came to me while writing this one. While I still stand by the main ideas of this post, it was more of a reaction to certain discussions at the launch of the expansion, whereas the later sequence is meant to be a more general exploration of healing principles and conclusions. ~H]
When I recently made a post on EJ about how healers are, as they always do at the beginning of an expansion, overly obsessing about Spirit, the first reply I got explained it in the most simple and accurate way possible: “Fundamentally I’m pretty sure most healers are very, very bad theorycrafters. There’s always been a lot of magical thinking, faulty logic and poor contextual analysis.”
Based on my experiences theorycrafting and writing for a healing class for a few years now, I can’t deny that in any fashion. When I quoted it on twitter someone told me, “you don’t have to be a theorycrafter to be a good healer.” Well, that’s partially true. You don’t have to be an “active” theorycrafter to be good at any class. You don’t have to be the one making the spreadsheet–after all, there’s only one of him. But you have to have enough of an understanding of the numbers underlying the class to interpret what that person tells you and reflect it in your play. This is well-accepted for DPS, but for healing, people have difficulty thinking the same way. Just because your task varies more with context, you’re not going to be a good player by just going and doing whatever you feel like without regard to the same kinds of tools.
I’m just going to pick out one piece of it today, one that arises regularly at the beginning of each expansion. Everyone goes nuts for more mana regen. Picking Spirit items and gemming Spirit is one thing, but talk about using Spirit flasks and Spirit food is very common. In fact in most communities the common wisdom is that that makes more sense than using Int food/flasks. Now, for the spoiler version: that’s wrong. Use Int food and flasks. But you can read below for more on both the right and wrong thought processes here.