Friday, December 21, 2007

Cast Times

What is a cast time?

Cast time is the time needed to cast a spell before it takes effect. Essentially, it is time that you "spend" devoted entirely and utterly to whatever ability it is that you are using.
Let's take, for example, fireball. It comes with a base cast time of 3.5 seconds. This means that you "spend" 3.5 seconds standing there, doing absolutely nothing except fireball. If you want to do something, like run so you don't die, you have to stop the fireball. You have to stop casting, which means you wasted time, and move, which spends more time on moving, thus taking away from time that could be better spent casting a spell, and therefore being useful.
Every time you are forced to move, and do nothing, that is time spent where you are useless.

Having instant cast abilities/spells counteracts this, by letting you do stuff while moving.

Let's look at this from a PvE point of view first off. We're going to deal with a fire mage for this.

Big Angry Boss Mob is engaged. Every 20 seconds, he hits every ranged DPS with a ground-targeted spell. Therefore, every 20 seconds, the ranged DPS needs to move, or get killed. At each of these intervals, our mage will be moving for 3 seconds to escape painful death.
Let's say it takes 5 minutes to kill Big Angry Boss Mob.

If our fire mage was allowed to do non-stop DPS for that entire time, our mage would put out 1449 DPS, giving us a total damage dealt of ~434700.

But now let's consider the movement thing. We have the first 20 seconds unfettered, but after that we need to move. After the first 20, we're going to be moving for 3 seconds, and only able to cast for 17 of those seconds.

This gives us 4 minutes 40 seconds of interrupted casting. Working out to 14 cycles of movement, this means that we are not casting for 42 seconds.

Before, we had 5 solid minutes of DPS time. Now, we don't. Now, we have 4 minutes and 18 seconds of DPS time.
In this amount of time, we only deal out ~373800, working out to be 1246 DPS.

So you see what happened? Our damage and DPS gets slammed because we have to move, therefore spending time moving rather than hurting. We lost just over sixty thousand damage because we were moving.

This is one of the things that is considered a "challenge" feature of raiding. Many, in fact most, raid/instance bosses require us mages to move. Everything from Prince in Karazhan to Mother Whatserface in Black Temple. Tier 5 is the worst, with every single boss requiring movement of some sort.

And that hurts mages a lot. Let's go with the classic mage versus warlock.
When a movement is required, a mage runs. He is spending this time moving, and not on doing damage. His time budget is totally used up by movement. A warlock, comparitively, is still fairly gimped DPS wise, but actually has useful (and not mana-intensive) DoTs/abilities that can be used.
Thus, the warlock can refresh corruption (or whatever), while moving. Thus, only part of their time budget is used by movement, and part is used by damage. Put bluntly, classes that can still deal damage while moving (rogues are an excellent example, as long as they stay in melee range) severely outclass those who cannot. Like mages.

So. Raid bosses force us to move, which makes the encounter harder. This reduces our damage output, which makes the encounter harder.

Genius? Or just arbitrary difficulty generated because thats just how the mechanics work?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

To Dual Wield, or Carry a Big Stick (part I)

It's an argument that plagues pretty much all casters.

"Which is better? Staff or the MH/OH?"

And the answer is almost always vastly different, depending on who you ask.

Some will say the staff, because it has better stats.

Some will say the MH/OH, because it has better stats.

Make sense yet? I thought not.

Obviously, we need to dig deeper.

Ok, so the staff options is very self explanatory. Its a 2H weapon, it comes with stats. There ya go. Take, for example, this little puppy here.

[Gladiator's Mage Stick]

Plenty of purty stats. Nice stamina, a goodly amount of spell damage, and so on.

Now let's compare it to an equal level MH/OH combo:

[Gladiator's Mage Pointy]
[Gladiator's Book Thingy]

Oooh, purty darn purty too. So let's compare the raw stats, shall we?

The staff will have 3 more stamina and intellect than the MH/OH combination. This is what I refer to as "raw stats". The staff has more of them. The staff also has 21 Spell Hit, and 33 spell crit, which the MH/OH are missing entirely. I call these stats "caster stats"
The MH/OH combination has 10 more resilience than the staff, and has 16 more spell damage than the staff.

From this, we establish our base-line principle. Staffs have higher "raw stats", where as the MH/OH combinations have more "caster stats", by which I almost always mean more spell damage.

Continuing here, the weapon loot you get from PvP differ a lot from the stats you gain from PvE equivalents. The relationship between their stats are, quite simply, different.

The relation in PvP weapons are always the same like this. The staff always has slightly more Stamina and Intellect, has more spell hit/crit, and less resilience and spell damage.
Oddly enough, I would recommend getting the staff as a PvE weapon, considering the spell hit/crit stats are very nice for PvE, but very close to useless in PvP. The MH/OH combo really is not lacking in stamina/intellect (falling no more than 3 points short at its hugest gap), so you will not be missing out on any "PvP" stats by getting it. Extra resilience, and extra spell damage.
If you're going with PvP weapons, hit up the staff for PvE, and the MH/OH for actual PvP.

This is terribly short, because my interent hates me.

Part II tomorrow!

Monday, December 17, 2007

AFK Players

This is a list of known, and repeat, AFK players that I have encountered in my battlegroup.
(This encompasses Horde side only, as I cannot take seriously the members of the Alliance past a threat that must be terminated)
The following players should be reported on sight, for they are assholes.

Warcrak, Level 70 Blood Elf Warlock - Manïfest Destïny, Scilla

Derrid, Level 70 Tauren Warrior - Veritas Invictus, Archimonde

Fätty, Level 70 Tauren Druid - Apathy, Andorhal (Something really fishy about this one. Has almost the full set of Gladiator's gear, but the rest of his gear are random stupid greens. AND he has NO PROFESSIONS. I smell an e-bay)
**UPDATE** He was active in Warsong Gulch. Even ran the flag. Did not, however, deny being afk in EotS.

(Will be updated every time new and annoying AFKers are found)

(Updated as of December 28th)

So You Want Some Mage Bikkits

Have I talked about this before? I don't know if I have, but here goes.


Ok, seriously. All you people in Arathi Basin, Eye, whatever, who ask for mage biscuits, and get alarmed and outraged when none appear, you guys need to know some things.

One. You are not entitled to this stuff. When you say in Alterac Valley /bg "wtf no mage table?", guaranteed I will never, ever summon a table for the rest of the night. You piss me off. What makes you think you deserve to have mage biscuits? What gives you the sense of entitlement that I would spend hundreds of gold to be able to get this spell, and give them away to some fucktard like you I've never met, and probably will never see again? Just shut up and buy your own damn food and water.

Two. What makes you think mage food/water/bikkits are free? Do you have any idea of the amount of gold we sink into this convenience? First off, buying the second highest food/water ranked spells costs us 5 gold apiece. Thats 10 gold just to get the prerequisite to being able to buy the food and water books.
Care to take a guess at how much these books cost?
Lemme check my Auctioneer addon, an brilliant, incredibly handy tool that no self-respecting mage, or any WoW player for that matter, should go without (spikes the camera).
The top ranked food book costs, on average: 180.9g (B.O.), 120.1g (starting bid)
The top ranked water book costs, on average: 226.5g (B.O.), 143.2g (starting bid)
So let's see. 10 gold to get the prerequisite to the books, bare minimum of about 300 gold to purchase said books. Combine that with the spell costing 9g to even purchase, and about 16 silver (or more, depending on reputation) PER SPELL, thats a ton of cash.
So... explain this to me. Why would I spend well over 300 gold to give you free food? Just attempt to explain this to me.

"Cause you'd be helping a temmate".

Yeah. STFU and petition Blizz to allow friendly fire.

And don't try and pull soe bullshit about it being free to cast because of the "Free spell" thing before battlegrouns. I still put down 2 of the dusts for every summon. Which is still 16 silver.

"Oooh, 16 silver, thats so much /sarcasm"

No, its not a lot of money. But why on earth would I spend ANYTHING on you?

So, yes. I have a problem with people asking for biscuits in battlegrounds. I spent a lot of money to get to the point where food/water are never a concern for me or my raid group.
I did not spend a lot of money so that some random scrub I meat from Andorhal can have some free food.

And to those people who /w me "Hey can I have some food?"
Don't get outraged when I say "Sure 3g a stack"
Remember. I paid gold so you can have the privelage of asking me for food. It will never, EVER be free.
Unless its downranked. In that case, its so bloody easy I'll give you 5 stacks for free.

For those who are wondering, I paid 120 gold for the food book, and 135 gold for the water book. Not bad, considering.