Warlords of Draenor Mini-Analysis: Chain Heal and High Tide

I promise you only have to get to level 100 to take this Talent.

I promise you only have to get to level 100 to take this Talent.

In this [Editor's note: not-so-] mini-post, I’d like to explore changes that are being made to Chain Heal in Warlords, and then look closely at the Restoration Shaman level 100 Talent High Tide, specifically a particular aspect of the Talent that came to light via Twitter. (Seriously, if you want to keep up-to-date with WoW stuff, following Twitter is the best way. If you hate social media, or just don’t care for Twitter itself, there’s always Wowhead’s super awesome “Blue Tweet Tracker” to help you stay abreast of new developments.)

But first, a brief aside – based off Twitter chatter, I’m pretty sure Stoove of Icy Veins and the UNconstant blog is working on a full-blown statistical Chain Heal model that will eventually blow all of my very unsophisticated analysis out of the water – something that’ll account for varying damage patterns, varying raid positioning, raid health, and all sorts of goodies. And I’ve been having Haileaus over at The Shadowy Dancer (yes, a Rogue!, but a helpful one … who knew they existed?) work on something for me, as well, though with the limited parameters and naive assumptions I gave him, I very much doubt it’ll be as thorough as Stoove’s.

In no way do I intend to step on either of these bloggers’ toes with this analysis. (And you two, I apologise in advance if you feel that I have, but rest assured that I’ll be linking/updating/writing about your efforts when you have finished them, and will do everything I can, from my limited platform, to make sure you get the recognition you will most definitely deserve!)

I’ve had this topic on my mind ever since I chatted with Celestalon about it the night of the patch note release, and if I didn’t put it down on paper I was going to go frickin’ insane. My curiosity was piqued by Celestalon’s assertion about how High Tide would change our personal Chain Heal targeting algorithm:

Before I can really unpack what this means, I’m going to have to talk with you guys a bit about the way Chain Heal works now and how it is going to function in Warlords, what the High Tide Talent is going to do, and a little bit of statistics. Whee!

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Posted in Shaman, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged | 11 Comments

Warlords of Draenor Mini-Analysis: Mistweaver Edition

This is going to be a pretty short post as I don’t want to get into all the details of Mistweaver changes – just check the patch notes’ Monk section for the vast majority of the details that have been released so far — I just want to examine one particular aspect of Mistweaver that’s always fascinated me – the Renewing Mist spreading mechanics.

Just in case you need a refresher, right now things work like this:

  • Renewing Mist ticks every 2 seconds, with a duration of 18 seconds, under no Haste.
  • Haste reduces the tick interval, which also lowers the duration of the HoT, until a Haste breakpoint is reached; at the breakpoint, the spell gains another tick, which then extends the total duration a bit.
  • The total duration wavers around 18 seconds ± 1 second.
  • Each time ReM ticks, it can jump to another player. This can occur up to twice.
  • Fluctuations in tick interval and HoT duration can change the maximum number of ReMs you will see active at any one time, which causes variation in the number of Uplift targets you get with each Uplift cast.
  • The median number of ReM HoTs active on the raid at any one time is 6. However, this can fluctuate up to 8 right after casting a new ReM, at high Haste levels, but this lasts only a few seconds.
  • A Thunder Focus Tea-empowered Uplift resets the duration of all existing ReM HoTs, allowing you to briefly gain very wide raid coverage – up to 15 targets! – with ReM.

(If you’re interested in more, you can check out my previous post on this subject, but be warned that it was a novice attempt. The post is in error where it implies that ReM itself does less healing in between breakpoints than at breakpoints. However, all the stuff about Haste’s effects on Uplift targets is accurate!)

Now let’s move on to the Warlords-specific details and their implications for Mistweaver gameplay.

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Posted in Monk, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged | 1 Comment

Warlords of Draenor Mini-Analysis: Double Your HR, Double Your Fun

Pretty late in the evening for you Western Hemisphere types, Celestalon dropped a major bomb on Twitter about Restoration Shaman:

<< record scratch >> What?!

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Posted in Philosophy, Shaman, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged | 5 Comments

Warlords of Draenor Mini-Analyses: Healing Gameplay

Preliminary patch notes for Patch 6.0 (the Warlords of Draenor pre-patch) were recently released, and there is a lot of information contained therein. It’s a little overwhelming, and a little difficult to fully piece everything together. Healing is going to change significantly in Warlords, and from what I’ve read and what I’ve been discussing with other community members, I’m very excited about it.

It's a new dawn in healing, and I'm feeling fine <3

It’s a new dawn in healing, and I’m feeling fine <3

Rather than write one big omnibus post analysing everything in detail, or just regurgitating what’s already been written by the developers and many other community voices, I thought I would just present a few short vignettes on little details of the patch notes that have sparked my interest. I’ll be splitting these up into several posts, with plenty of links to related things I’ve written previously and to other peoples’ take on the matter, so you can read as much related information as you can handle :)

Remember, I’m not planning to cover every little nuance or detail here. And unfortunately, we can’t trust the data-mined information that’s available to us, since the patch is still in Alpha and tooltips and spell coefficients haven’t been reviewed for accuracy:

As such, there’s not a lot of real, informative analysis that I can do. So like my MoP in Review series, I’ll be falling back on a lot of opinion here. I’ll try to keep the panicked conjecture to a bare minimum – it doesn’t serve you guys, or the community as a whole, any benefit to Chicken Little things. I’ll revise my stance on that as necessary once Alpha progresses into Beta and we start seeing the results of focused testing. :)

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Posted in Discipline, Druid, Holy, Monk, Paladin, Priests, Shaman, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | Tagged | 8 Comments

Off-topic: Proving Grounds (Endless Baker)

Now that my guild has finished the tier and is down to 1- or 2-night clears of the raid, and since everyone ever has abandoned me for Diablo 3, I’ve had a lot more free, non-WoW time on my hands, and I’ve been recently spending it baking. This is off-topic so I’ll keep it short (though there’s a lot of pictures, so you’ll do a lot of scrolling), but I wanted to share with you a few of my recent baking exploits, because they were a lot of fun for me to work on, and they were rather challenging. Feel free to skip this post if you don’t want to see pictures of nerdy but delicious food ;)

Baking is Science for Hungry People!

(Yes, I just outed myself as a lover of Questionable Content :P)

I’m not sure where exactly I got the idea to do this. I think it was just a combination of rewatching How I Met Your Mother (Marshall’s pie chart of bars and bar chart of pies bit) and my desire to practice making pies that coalesced into a grand idea:

Pie Chart Pie: Totally worth it

Pie Chart Pie: Totally worth it

I will make a pie, that is itself a pie chart, of the most popular pie types!

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Posted in Off-Topic | 7 Comments

My Endless Journey: Proving Grounds

I know I am supposed to be writing my MoP in Review series right now – and for the past three weeks – but I kind of got caught up in a different healing project, and, well, it sounds like MoP’s going to be around for a while, so there’s no real rush, right?

dayani the proven proven proven proven proven proven healer

“Yeah; her title’s so big, she has trouble walking through doors”

Over the past two-and-a-bit weeks, I’ve been working very hard on Proving Grounds, with my goal being to achieve the “Proven Healer” title criteria on each healing spec. It was a goal I’d had since Proving Grounds were announced, but I never quite had the courage to try. Then, Watcher announced plans for a PG Silver requirement to queue for Heroic dungeons in Warlords of Draenor, and my immediate reaction was one of fear and dejection. But my rational, experimental mind overruled my emotions, and I decided that in order to determine just how onerous the Silver medal requirement would be, I’d better try Proving Grounds, and if I’m going to try Proving Grounds, why not try to attain my ultimate goal? And I really did it, finishing the last spec about 48 hours ago.

Table of Contents
Personal Prologue
Improving Grounds
NPC Behaviour
Gear and Consumables
Class Discussions
Holy Priest
Discipline Priest
PGs in Warlords

This post is going to be a bit of a meander through my experiences, more emotional than informational: PGs were not just an in-game diversion for me, but a deeply personal challenge; a battle against not just NPC AI and RNG, but also my own struggles with depression, low self-confidence, and biased self-perception. I can’t divorce these things from the overall experience, so I might as well talk about them. Being open about it has helped me before, and if any of my readers are unfortunate enough to suffer the same issues, I’d like to think that I can help.

I won’t be all fluff. I’ll cover some basic tips and tricks and talk about what I did for each spec – some in more detail than others. I’ll talk about class differences, and even speculate a little about Warlords Proving Grounds and what I’d like to see done differently.

Since – in typical Dayani fashion – this is going to be a long post, if all you care about is how I did things on your spec, you can jump straight to it with the links in the Table of Contents. And if you care about everything else I am going to ramble about, read on! :)

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Posted in Discipline, Druid, Guides, Holy, Mists of Pandaria, Monk, Paladin, Priests, Shaman | 35 Comments

MoP In Review, Part 2: Mana Matters

This opinion-laden post follows on from my previous MoP In Review topic, Healer Representation, and builds on themes I started to explore in the introduction. Go back and catch up there if you’d like :)

Remember when we had to do this?

Remember when we had to do this?

In the interests of full disclosure, I have to admit something. When I first started writing this series, I was of the opinion that mana regeneration in Mists was completely bananas – that despite the developers’ stated intentions and best efforts, they had created a scenario in which mana is unlimited, scaling way out of tune with player power and content, and that the overabundance of mana was the root cause of all my other issues in the game. I was ready to rail against just about every mana regen mechanic in the game, to vilify the legendary meta gem, and to burn Spirit at the stake.

And then I had the pleasure of talking about this topic to the inimitable Hamlet while he worked on this post, which is a far more elegant and insightful analysis of the mana regen issue in this expansion than I could possibly have ever made, and the conclusion he came to at the end shifted my perspective. (This is one of my favourite parts of the theorycrafting-slash-commentating process, incidentally, and why it is incredibly valuable that there is a commentator community and not just a bunch of individual voices. It’s great when we all agree, but there’s so much more value in disagreement and coming to understand why we each hold the positions we do. It’s always awesome when someone can change my mind with well-supported logic. But I’m getting off-topic!)

Anyway, as I was saying, after reading that post, I realised that it’s not that bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. We do have more mana than we should, we are less reliant on Spirit than we ought to be, and it has a definitive effect on the endgame. But I can no longer maintain that mana is the entire, or even the primary problem, and that meant I had to rethink exactly what I wanted to say about mana regen in this series; hence the delay. (Why, yes, this is just a long-winded apology! What else would you expect?)

Regardless, Hamlet’s post, and my own experiences and thoughts on mana regen, highlight issues that are relevant enough to us now that they are worth discussing while we are anticipating more Warlords information, so let’s get into it, starting out with a discussion of the evolution of mana regeneration mechanics from Vanilla to today.

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Posted in Cataclysm, Discipline, Druid, Dungeons, Holy, Mists of Pandaria, Monk, Paladin, Philosophy, Priests, Raids, Shaman, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | 12 Comments

MoP In Review, Part 1: Healer Representation

Expansion over. Except wait, we all need mounts.

Expansion over. Except wait, we all need mounts.

As this expansion comes to its denouement, with Heroic Garrosh vanquished and a long wait until Warlords of Draenor is released, I’d like to take some time to reflect. This has been the first expansion in which I have completed all of the content “pre-nerf”, as well as my first expansion with a serious progression guild – and the most I’ve ever raided in 25-player mode – so the whole experience has been exciting and new. I also have never thought quite so much about healing, especially in regards to the “big picture”, as I have in MoP! And since I like to write, I’m afraid I’ve ended up with a healer manifesto, of sorts, which I will share with you over the next few weeks.

Those of you who come here seeking math and data, well, there will be some of that, but most of what I’ll focus on in this series of posts is my opinion, and a lot of that is predicated on how I feel about the healing game. The posts will focus primarily on the 25-player raid-healing experience, since Warlords of Draenor is skewing towards larger raid groups with its flexible content and 20-player Mythic modes, but I will spend some time on 10-player issues as well. I’ll tell some stories, take a look back at the trials and tribulations of each healing class, talk a little about what worked and a lot about what didn’t, then take a look forward into the future – or past? – of the next expansion.

This is going to be a pretty huge undertaking! I’d like to consider a number of topics from the perspective of the entire healing milieu, laying down the groundwork and base assumptions behind my opinions, and spend a post on each healing spec really drilling in to their performance throughout MoP and my hopes for WoD. So this may sprawl out to a huge number of posts, but hey, I have a lot of thoughts :P

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Posted in Discipline, Druid, Holy, Mists of Pandaria, Monk, Paladin, Philosophy, Priests, Shaman, Tier 14, Tier 15, Tier 16, Warlords of Draenor | 29 Comments

Merry holy crap it’s almost 2014

Sorry all, no delicious data or analysis today. But there will be delicious!

It’s Christmas time again and I’ve been mostly in the kitchen the past few days baking up a veritable storm. I shared my treats with you all last year – well, as much as I could, being ridiculously far away from all of you – and I thought I ought to do it again this year. Forgive the photography, these are all links to pictures I took with my phone so I could post on Twitter. (If you don’t follow me on Twitter, of course, you are missing out on mostly pictures of homemade food and an adorable puppy.)

So, first, the cookies. So many cookies. I made butterscotch oatmeal again:

Butterscotch oatmeal cookies

And white- and dark-chocolate cherry cookies with almond (I replaced some of the flour in the recipe with almond meal, and added almond essence instead of vanilla):

Almond cherry cookies with white and dark chocolate chunks

And white chocolate chip, peanut-butter-filled-milk-chocolate chunk cookies:

White chocolate chip, peanut-butter-filled-milk-chocolate chunk cookies

And sugar cookies. This year I tried my hand at Royal icing and I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out. Each colour of icing has a different flavour – red is raspberry, green is peppermint, and white is coconut.

Sugar cookies! TyrannoSanta Rex, coconut Westies, Christmas trees

Beyond that I also made eggless chocolate cupcakes with a peppermint swirl buttercream frosting and adorable little candy cane curls:

Chocolate cupcakes with peppermint swirl frosting

A pumpkin pie, pretty much identical to the one I made last year, down to the gingersnap cookie crumb crust (far superior to pie crust – the cookies are seriously crunchy and add a lovely textural counterpoint to the smooth pumpkin custard):

Pumpkin pie in gingersnap cookie crust with maple whipped cream

A gingerbread loaf via Derevka of HowToPriest, served with a powdered sugar and cinnamon dusting and vanilla custard – I think I didn’t develop the glutens well enough here, but it was rich and gooey and delicious anyway!

Derevka's Gingerbread Loaf

And last, but oh, most definitely not least, the cheesecakes. It’s me, so of course there had to be cheesecakes. And with the cheesecakes comes a story.

My favourite family member is my maternal grandmother, who passed away 8 years ago. One memory that always resurfaces this time of year – well, there are many, of course, but one particular one, is of sitting in her lap, watching the Rankin-Bass Rudolph special, and sharing a box of delicious chocolate-covered cherry bon-bons, which were her favourite treat, and only available around Christmas time. It was special, because it was with her, and also, because she wouldn’t let anyone else touch her candies!

She of course – being the typical Italian grandmother – instilled in me a love of cooking and the philosophy that food is love. Sadly, I never got to cook for her, but I think she’d be proud of the things I try these days. And because I’m a sappy, sentimental mess around the holidays, I thought I’d try to honour her memory with cheesecakes styled like the bon-bons she loved so much. So, chocolate-covered-cherry cheesecakes! The vanilla cheesecake filling is much sweeter than the dark chocolate cheesecake shell, as was the case with the bon-bons, and I found Morello cherries instead of maraschino because, well, I like fruitier cherries better. Here’s the cross-section of a cooked ‘cake:

Cross-section of the choc-covered-cherry cheesecakes

And the final view, dripping with homemade brandied cherries (thickened with a bit of arrowroot so it doesn’t slide off the top!):

Brandied cherry sauce on chocolate-covered-cherry cheesecakes

Oh, and I also made white chocolate cheesecakes with passionfruit curd on top – I guess it’s, like, Australian or something. I just didn’t want to make lemon ones two years in a row and I ran out of ideas :P

White chocolate cheesecake with passionfruit curd topping

This has been a … well, a pretty good year all things considered. I hope you all can say the same. Perhaps in the new year I’ll be excited and passionate about healing again and will have something to say that isn’t “hey, look, food!” :D As always, thanks for reading – I appreciate it more than you might know – and I hope you all have a safe and awesome holiday season. <3

Posted in Off-Topic | 3 Comments

Blizzcon Whoahs

New Raiding Hierarchy
Level 100 Talents

So, BlizzCon happened, and thankfully – since I can’t be there myself this year – my Twitter is all a-flurry with speculation and excitement over what’s been announced. There’s Garrisons, item squishes, Level 90 at the touch of a button, new models, new organisational options for inventory … the list goes on. You can see a great deal of this information via Wowhead’s Blizzcon coverage.

I’m just going to highlight a few of the things that are healer-specific, but keep in mind there’s much, much more information to soak up at the above link and all over the web.

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Posted in Discipline, Druid, Holy, Monk, Paladin, Priests, Shaman, Theorycrafting, Warlords of Draenor | 10 Comments