6.2 Patch Notes Follow-up


It was pointed out to me, that my rant yesterday didn't include as much math as I normally would, so I thought I'd dig into the changes a bit deeper.  To do so, I'm going to use the same single target fight I looked at yesterday, since we've already done some of the work with it.

As was shown, we'd be looking at doing a total of 84 ticks of serpent sting under the new mechanic, as opposed to the 235 ticks on live.  But there are some other things that will curb that loss. Mainly, the mastery buff.

If I go through all of the shots that are affected by SV's mastery, I can fairly easily readjust how much damage would have been done with the increased mastery. (On a mostly separate topic, I often forget about how amazing the commutative and associative properties of multiplication are.  I mean, I'll even question whether they're still true or not, as though perhaps math has changed since the last spreadsheet I got.  Fortunately, they still work.  Thank the math gods).  The individual abilities would look like this:

Ability w/ 0 Mastery Old Mast New Mast
Serpent Sting 8295.7 10374.1 10768.95
Arcane Shot 13107.2 16391.2 17015.07
Black Arrow 8209.5 10266.3 10657.05
Explosive Shot 6164.4 7708.8 *6958.44

*Note that I also included the 15% nerf to Explosive Shot.

After looking at by how much each ability is affected, we can use the same percent to affect the totals, giving us a new total damage, and therefor a new DPS.  What we get for the log pictured above, is about a 3.8% increase in damage to Serpent Sting, Arcane Shot and Black Arrow, and a 10.8% nerf to Explosive Shot (the reason ES looks funny, is when blizzard says "15% less", they mean the damage done divided by 1.15, not the damage done multiplied by 1 minus .15).  It's worth mentioning, I suppose, that these numbers are particular to the individual hunter in these logs.  As many hunters will have different amounts of mastery, the increase in mastery's effectiveness will affect them differently.

The changes to total damage done by these abilities will then look like this:

Ability  Old  New
Serpent Sting 2440k 904k
Arcane Shot 1460k 1516k
Black Arrow 1030k 1069k
Explosive Shot 1710k 1544k

The total of 9.88 million damage has gone down to about 8.27 million, a total loss of 6,354 DPS, which is, for those not wanting to do the math in their heads, a 19.4% nerf overall.  

Of course, this doesn't mean we're getting a (almost) 20% nerf to our damage.  Our stat priorities will change, and our rotation will change, so that we can better utilize the new mechanics.  However, adjusting playstyle will no come anywhere close to making up for the huge nerf.  

As I mentioned yesterday, this is still very early in the testing process, hopefully Blizzard either didn't realize how huge the serpent sting change was, or even better, they have a plan for something even more awesome that they just haven't added yet, which will bring SV hunters back up to their rightful place as glorious Damage Dealers. 

6.2 and the Nerf Bat

Yesterday, we got our first look at datamining and PTR patchnotes for patch 6.2.  This included some fairly substantial changes for hunters, including the loss of Aspect of the Fox, and some minor tweaks for MM and BM (MM had Aimed Shot buffed, BM had its mastery buffed, as well as kill command).

Survival, on the other hand, saw some minor changes, and on huge nerf.  On the small adjustment side, we'll be seeing a nerf to explosive shot, with a buff to SV's Mastery.  Overall, that should end up being a buff to SV single target and multi-target DPS.  The other change, however, is much, much larger than it appears.

Serpent Sting no longer deals an initial "tick" of damage when the periodic effect is first applied.

That doesn't sound huge, but if you've been following the SV hunter mechanics this xpac, it's going to equate to a huge DPS nerf.

To explain why, it's important to understand why SV hunters are so madly in-love with the multistrike stat.  While yes, the actual multistrikes do more damage for us as it's our attunement stat, and we get a little bit more of the stat when it's on our gear.  However, those amount to a relatively small amount of DPS, compared to the primary purpose of Multistrike for SV hunters: when Arcane or Multishot multistrikes, it applies an additional tick of Serpent Sting damage.

Without an "initial tick" of serpent sting, the most ticks of serpent sting damage we'll ever be N*T/3 (where N is the number of targets, and T is the average time the targets are alive in seconds).  For an example, this is a friend of mine's combat log from heroic Gruul the other day.


As you see, he had 235 ticks of Serpent Sting, for a total of 2.44 million damage.  Had this same fight included the new 6.2 Serpent Sting mechanic, the most he could have done is the duration of the fight divided by 3 (that is, one tick every three seconds).  At four minutes and thirteen seconds, that would have been a maximum of 84 ticks of serpent sting (253/3), A little arithmetic tells us that he'd be missing out on 64.3% of that total Serpent Sting damage, so instead of doing 2.44 million damage, it would have only done 871K damage.

That's a loss of 6,197 dps total over the course of the fight.  In a fight where he had 39k dps, that's about a 16% nerf.  And, that's for a pure single target fight, where this nerf will affect us the least.

AoE Aftershocks

In AoE fights with fast spawning and dying adds, there will be little reason to even both with Mulstishot.  If adds will be alive for longer, it will still be worthwhile to multishot once, to see that everything has a serpent sting DoT on it, but after there, you won't be using multishot again for fifteen seconds, unless you're dealing with just insane numbers of adds.

Let's look back to my friend's log. I took his log from Operator Thogar run some basic arithmetic on, since that fight includes a good mix of AoE and Single Target.  For this fight, each of his Multi-Shots (which doesn't include the damage from serpent sting) averaged 2,567 damage per target (not including Crits or Multistrikes, which should effect both abilities similarly). His Arcane Shots, on the other hand, averaged 10,351 damage per hit (again, without crits or multistrikes).   That means, after applying your initial Multishot to apply Serpent Sting, you'll need to be facing more than four targets before there's any reason to use your AoE ability.  (It's worth noting here, that this isn't even including the additional damage we'll get from Arcane Shot due to the Mastery buff).

The moral of the story, is even Marksmanship will have stronger burst AoE than Survival in 6.2.

Make Sure Your Harness is Secure

Odd that just the day before this was all announced, we were on the Hunting Party Podcast, talking about how amazing it was that all three specs were so well balanced, and had such similar potential for DPS (at least in single target scenarios).  Should have known that would mean changes weren't far away.  I never would have guessed they were planning on buffing the already strongest spec we had, and nerfing our lowest performing spec.

As Bendak mentioned last night, it's time for another round on the hunter-balancing roller coaster.  I can't imagine that Blizzard would leave SV hunters so severely gimped, so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more patchnotes or PTR releases.   

I've heard several hunters mention that maybe blizzard didn't know that Survival's Multistrike was "double dipping".  If true, that would, for one, be pretty embarrassing, but would make the nerf more understandable, as they had announced before that they didn't want the mechanics working that way.  Still, even if it was a mistake/bug, it was the only thing keeping Survival competitive.

I'd assume we're about to find out they have more reasonable changes planned, or at least, I'm hopeful that that's the case.  Until then, I'm gonna go play some more Skyrim... :-)

Hunting Party Podcast Ep. 215



The hunting party podcast ran a bit short on hosts yesterday; so Alisaunder stepped up to help out, and RogerBrown of Method joined us.  I was a bit nervous to do the show without the folks who usually direct most of the conversation, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and the three of us actually ended up continuing in skype for a few hours after the show was over, discussing some pretty random topics: typical things like writing hunter guides and beer choices, and less typical things like European geography and ancient Greek mythology.

Next show will be on the 26th of April, at 1pm Central.  Hopefully we'll have the entire crew back.  

Stat Conversions & Ability Formulas

**Updated for patch 6.1.2**

Hunter Stat Conversions


Ratings

1 Agility = 1 Attack Power
110 Crit Rating = 1% Chance to Critically Strike
90 Haste Rating = 1% Increased Haste
66 Multistrike Rating = 1% Chance to  Multistrike
130 Versatility Rating =  1% Increased Damage
260 Versatility Rating = 1% Decreased Damage Taken

Weapon Damage Normalization:
WD + 2.8*RAP/3.5

Global Cooldown = 1 second


Focus Regen

Base Regen = 4 focus per second
Focus Regen per Second with X% Haste = 4*(1+X/100)

Cast-time
Cast-time with X% Haste = CT/(1+X/100)
Cast-time with Rapid Fire = CT/((1+X/100)*(1.4))
Cast-time with Ancient Hysteria = CT/((1+X/100)*(1.3))
Cast-time with RF & AH = CT/((1+X/100)*(1.4)*(1.3))
Cast-time with Focus Fire (5 stacks) = CT/((1+X/100)*(1.3))
Cast-time with FF and AH = CT/((1+X/100)*(1.3)*(1.3))

Mastery by Spec


MM-
Base Mastery = 5% Increased Damage, Crit Damage and Shot Range
176 Mastery Rating = +1% increased Damage, Crit Damage and Shot Range

SV-
Base Mastery = 8%
110 Mastery Rating = +1% Increased Elemental Damage

BM-
Base Mastery = 18%
~49 Mastery Rating = +1% Increased Pet Damage


Hunter Pet Stat Conversions at level 100 in Warlords of Draenor:


Pets Gain:

100% of hunter armor
60% of hunter AP
70% of hunter Stamina
100% of hunter Haste + 10% Attack Speed
100% of hunter Crit + 10% Crit
100% of hunter Multistrike
100% of hunter Versatility
125% of hunter focus regen


Survival

Beast Mastery

Marksmanship


*Note that stat priorities are not significantly tested to provide an accurate answer.  If you see a guide that has a different result than this, that's ok.  These represent the results I got, with my spreadsheet, and the gear levels I tested. 


Hunter Ability Formulas

AbilityFormulaPhys.SVMBMM
Aimed Shot4.83*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Arcane Shot1.25*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
AutoshotWD+AP/3.5X
Barrage.85*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Black Arrow5.06*AP (over 20 seconds)X
Chimera Shot6.599*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)
Cobra Shot.759*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Dire Beast.5714*APXX
EM: Incendiary.2645*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
EM: Poisoned.4232*APX
Explosive Shot1.9734*APX
Explosive Trap1.07525*APX
Focusing Shot1.5*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Glaive Toss4.15*APX
Kill Command1.672*APXX
Kill Shot7.935345*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Multi-Shot0.52*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
A Murder of Crows9.75*APXX
Powershot8.3835*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X
Serpent Sting2.816*APX
Steady Shot.8625*(WD+2.8*AP/3.5)X


Note that in game tooltips are not always changed when hotfixes are applied, so they will often show different amounts.  Because websites like wowhead and wowdb use the in-game client information to build their sites, they will also often show outdated information.   I'll be attempting to keep this list updated every time there is a hotfix, though if anyone sees one I missed, feel free to leave a note in the comments below, and I'll get them updated.

SVM and BMM stand for Beast Mastery Mastery, and Survival Mastery, and indicate which shots are affected while in the respective specs.  Abilities marked as Physical Damage will have their damage reduced by the target's armor.  

Raiding Efficiently: DoT Sniping and AoE

If you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly

On last weekend's Hunting Party Podcast, there were some really important points brought up by Solar and RogerBrown, so I wanted to see if I could flesh them out a bit here.  The basic gist of the discussion was in regards to how we handle AoE vs priority targets, and when it's appropriate to use AoE abilities.

This has, of course, been talked about many, many times before, but the part that I hadn't really thought about much is planning DoT efficiency around AoE targets.  I'll explain what I mean by that. Anyone who follows healers at all will have surely heard Resto Druids complain about people sniping heals. That is, the resto druid, who works with many HoT (heal over time) spells, will have a HoT ticking on a target, and then another classes, often a priest or pally, will heal up the target using a direct heal, cause the rest of the Resto Druid's HoT to all go into the "over-heal" category.  The issue being that, both healers have now wasted mana on a target that would have reached full health anyway.  This is the primary reason that a lot of resto druids, myself included (yes, I do in fact have an alt that isn't a hunter; just one) feel useless unless you're in an incredibly demanding, healing-intensive fight.

Something that seems kind of obvious, then, but I hadn't really spent much time thinking about, is that the same is true for damage dealers, to an extent.  I know a common reaction for myself, at least, is that a pack of adds will come out, and at least part of me wants to cast as many Multi-shots as possible, not because we need them to die really fast, but because I know if I don't get the damage from the adds, then someone else will.  That is to say, it's not so much a cooperative fight to kill the boss any more, but a competition among ourselves to see who can damage the adds first.

In a lot of fights, this really isn't going to matter at all, but in mythic progression, and heroic to some extent, this can be a considerable problem for a couple reasons.

Reason 1: Sniping DoTs

Just like the Resto Druid's HoTs I mentioned above, several DPS specs have AoE DoT effects which we essentially are wasting by spamming instant AoE/Cleave abilities.  SV hunters, of course, have a very obvious AoE DoT in Serpent Sting, so I'll use that as my primary example here.  

For the following numbers, I took an heroic geared (680 at the time of my righting this) SV hunter. The average tick (not including Multistrikes or Crits) of a serpent sting was be 5567.1, while the average crit was 10998.3.  Including MS, we get an average damage of 9073.4 per target.  Multi-shot, without the applied Serpent Sting tick, had a normal hit of about 2392.2, or a crit of 4736.1, bringing it's average, with multistrikes, to 3790.3 per cast per target.  

Our sample hunter here had 40% Multistrike without any procs.  I've already gone over several times how to calculate the expected value from extra serpent sting ticks based on MS percent, so I won't include an explanation here, but it should of course be included in our results. Our formula for calculating the expected damage of a multishot is:

 Multishot avg. dmg.*(1+MS%*.72)+(SS avg. dmg.*(1+MS%*.72))*2*MS%)*# of targets

In that formula, however, we're assuming you're going to use Multishot again before more ticks of serpent sting have had time to, well, tick. If instead, we only cast Multishot once, and let the Serpent Stings tick for fifteen seconds, we'll end up with at least an extra five ticks of Serpent Sting. And here's the important part: five extra ticks of Serpent Sting that don't cost us anything; don't cost us extra focus, and don't cost us GCDs, allowing us to do our full damage single target rotation to the priority target.  

So with the SS and MS numbers I used above, the difference between a Multishot with full ticks, and a Multishot where you hit Multishot again before it has a chance to tick again, our total damage done per cast looks like this:

Targetsfull ticksw/ one tick
2105573.3232986.12
3158359.9849479.18
4211146.6465972.24
5263933.382465.3
6316719.9698958.36
7369506.62115451.42
8422293.28131944.48

What this shows, is you need to spam Multishot 3.2 times (that's 128 focus) to do the same damage as hitting it once and letting the dots tick for the full duration.

If we take a fight like Beastlord Darmac, where 6 adds come out ever 20ish seconds (if I recall correctly), we could have the entire raid cleave/AoE them down.  As SV hunters we might have time to spam 3 or 4 Multishots, if using Thrill of the Hunt.  Or, we could have all of our Multi-dot specs apply a dot to them and then go back to the hitting the boss. For us as we saw above, one multi-shot with full ticks of serpent sting is going to do the same amount of damage to the beast pack as about 3.2 Multishots when spammed, but in addition, we're going to have the extra damage of continuing our single target rotation on Beastlord (or whatever pet he's mounted at the time).  

That's the crux of this issue: we're sniping each other's damage by bursting down the adds.  If we let the DoTs tick, they'll die before the next pack comes out, and we'll all do more damage to the boss. We're not spamming so the raid can down the boss faster, we're spamming to make sure we personally get to do the available damage.  

In the words of RogerBrown, raid leader of World First Blackrock Foundry guild Method, (paraphrasing) "just put a DoTs on them, return to DPSing the boss, and trust your Boomkins finish them off with Starfall".  

Reason 2: Negating the Benefits of Gear

Something I've heard brought up a lot in the past couple weeks is as Blizzard's raid design becomes more focused on "mechanics checks" rather than "dps checks", it becomes less and less possible to simply farm the bosses you've already killed until you can simply overpower the boss you're working on.  While I do see that as true, there are still several ways we can take advantage of better gear (other than just having higher DPS) while progressing through a raid. 

While it may be the case, that during your first week of progression on a particular boss, your tank might not have enough survivability, and you'll need to burst down adds as quickly as possible to ensure the tanks aren't taking too much damage.  As we progress through a raid, and start farming bosses for gear, our tanks are going to have a lot more passive and active damage mitigation and much more powerful cooldowns, but not only that, our healers will be able to heal through a much greater amount of damage.  My point is, it's going to be less and less important to get the adds down as quickly as possible, so you can spend more time focusing on the boss, which will of course allow you to beat the boss faster.  

If we continue to treat fights the same when we're still using mostly the previous teir's gear, as we do when we're using mostly the current tier's gear, we're negating the benefit of having that gear.  

The Ever-swinging Raiding Pendulum

Even as I write this, I'm somewhat worried about some of the possible consequences.  I'm sure we can all remember countless times where we've been in raids and constantly failed because people are tunneling on the boss, and ignoring the add that is wiping the raid.  Just to be clear, that is not at all what I'm suggesting we do here.  To clarify, let's look at an example from Blackrock Foundry. 

Operator Thogar

During Operator Thogar we get large packs of adds.  I have no idea how many off the top of my head, but tons of Iron Crackshots, and Iron Raiders, which often come out at the same time as a Flamemender or Man-of-arms.  During these packs of adds, anyone with even the slightest amount of raiding experience should be able to tell you that simply tunneling the boss is the wrong thing to do, and will very shortly result in wiping the raid.  However, it is equally wrong to just start spamming AoE on the largest pack of adds you can find.

Everyone during this fight should have a priority target at all times.  For the us hunters it may be the Gunnery Sarge, the Grom'kar Men-at-Arms, the Grom-kar Firemenders, or Thogar himself, at any given time during the fight.  Whatever the priority, we can apply the our AoE DoT efficiency.  That is, throw a quick DoT on everything, then single-target down the appropriate priority target.  There is almost never a time when simply spamming as many AoE abilities as possible is going to result in downing the boss faster.  

Exceptions to the Rule & Getting to the Point

As with anything, pretty much ever, there are nearly always some exceptions.  One might be, in Beastlord Darmac, as mentioned above, if you don't have enough multi-dotters to kill the pack before the next one comes out.  Another exception might be for those classes/specs who have abilities who serve in both AoE and Single-target fights, like Barrage for us Hunters.  

The point of this isn't to say don't use AoE abilities at all, of course.  And I'm not trying to discourage people from padding the meters once they have a boss on farm (that can be a fun meta-game in and of itself).  The point is simply, when working on a progression boss, to look for the most efficient way to kill it. If that means you don't get to do as much DPS, who cares??  Your DPS doesn't rank if you don't kill the boss anyway.  

The Liebster Game

Liebster Award
I've been chosen to play the Liebster Award game by the Grumpy Elf over at the Grumpy Elf's blog.  I can't say I really know what this is, but it's always nice to have a guideline for posts, rather than just think of them off the top of my head, so thanks, GE.

Rules:


    Write a blog post about the Liebster Award
    Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
    Display the award on your blog
    Answer the eleven questions that the blogger who nominated you gives you
    Give eleven random facts about yourself
    Nominate five blogs that you think deserve the award
    Create eleven questions for them to answer
    List the rules in your post
    Inform the bloggers that they’ve been nominated and provide them the link to your post

Blogs I Nominate:


JC Sway at Lolsurvival.
Darkbrew at the Brew Hall.
Bendak at Eyes of the Beast.
Kurn at Kurn's Corner.
Dayani at Healiocentric.

My Questions For Them:

1. What's the best (and/or your favorite) blog post you've ever written, and why?
2. If you could take any moment from your life, and relive it, what would it be?
3. What was your favorite tier in WoW?
4. Where would you, and where would your characters, like to grow old, once they're finished killing dragons?
5. What book are you reading right now (or the most recent book) and why did you like it?
6. If you could have any super hero power, what would it be?
7. If you could change any one thing in WoW, what would it be?
8. What was your favorite lore moment in WoW?
9. If you had to be stranded on a deserted island with on NPC from WoW, who would it be?
10. What other games do you like to play?
11. What's your inspiration for writing WoW blogs?

My Answered Questions:


1. What is your favorite expansion of warcraft and why do you think its your favorite?

This might be a really unpopular answer, but MoP was my favorite from a lore perspective.  I've never really been violent enough to really fit in with WoW, so I really liked where they went with Pandaria's make peace campaign.  With that said, I also really liked that we got to destroy Garrosh. There was a moment in one of the remade cataclysm zones, when garrosh called my queen a bitch, right to her face, with me standing their watching but somehow, magically unable to attack him... Well, since then I've been biding my time, finding a moment when I could strike out against Garrosh, and Pandaland gave me that opportunity. I suppose I also killed him several times during Cata, too, but only on my ally characters, so MoP gave me an opportunity to kick his ass with all my characters.  :-)

Anyhow, to everyone who thinks I'm crazy, I'd have to remind you that I barely played at all during classic wow, and didn't come back to the game until late Wrath, not even hitting max level until after the lich king was dead.  So I didn't really get to experience any of those xpacs in full.

2. What is your favorite fantasy book of all time? (fantasy, sci/fi, horror, they all fit)

Cat's Cradle, by Vonnegut, basically gave me enough hope to get through highschool, and then it helped me get through college.  It's still helping me get through life, a little happier, a little less alone.  I think I was in the 8th grade when my dad gave me the book, and since then I've re-read it at least once every year or two. The cover came off a few years ago, as I'd read it too many time (was a cheap paperback from the sixties, perhaps not meant to last this long).  I should probably get a new copy, soon. 

Dune, by Frank Herbert, was another huge one in my life.  I can't remember how old I was when I first read it; some point not too long after reading Cat's Cradle.  I was convinced that I was a mentat, and that at some point, my parents were going to let me know that they'd actually been secretly training me to be one all those years.  I suppose I can be honest with your here, I still kind of think that I'm a mentat. :-P   I kept reading the series all the way up to the point where (spoiler alert?) he turns into a sand worm.  It got kind of weird.  But that first book was amazing.

3. If you could make one change to warcraft what would be it?  

I don't know that there's any one change that would make a huge difference.  I think it's more likely that there are lots of small changes that need to happen.  I think, the thing that most discourages me about WoW isn't any aspect of the game, but the player base, so I'd make it that anything you write in trade chat gets emailed to your mother.  Or grandmother.  Maybe that's to vindictive of me, I mean, I imagine most of the trolls in game are doing what they do because they're lonely and depressed, so maybe that would be the best change to the game, if everyone who played it could somehow, magically no longer feel like they were alone.

4. Where would you have your character/(s) call home?

Grizzly Hills is my favorite spot in the game, and if I lived in Azeroth, that's where I'd be.  It's beautiful and has great music and great forests and mountains.  Plus it's really close to some of the more extreme landscapes.  As for my characters, they're not really good at calling any place 'home'. They all need to be out, exploring and saving people.   

As they age, my DK might like to settle down near half hill in pandaland.  He's had a really rough life; wrought much destruction.  And I could see him settling down on a farm for the simple life, one day, much like Thanos on his Mars Farm after realizing he'd intentionally given up the Infinity Gauntlet.

My hunters and my druid, however, would remain nomads in the wild.  Like Rexar, they may be called upon to fight from time to time, but their home isn't in a silly garrison or city, it's in the wilds. (I'm still very annoyed that I get a "well rested" buff by being in cities, when I'm obviously much better rested in the wild).

5. Have you ever met anyone in real life that you met online first?

Sure,  I have an OKCupid account, and have gone on a few dates from there.  And I've of course been to blizzcon, to meet many guild and hunter friends.  Even here in Chicago, as it's not the smallest of towns, I've met up with a couple of Warcraft Hunters Union members, when we found out we lived near eachother.  NBD

6. If you could add one race not currently in game at all to the game as a playable race, what would it be?

Hmmmm...  Not in the game at all is hard.  If I could choose any race, it would be Mok'nathal.  But not in the game is really hard to choose, as it's really opens up the possibilities.  I realize that humans are already in the game, but I would like for their to be a separate race of humans.  They'd be feral humans, living in anarchistic band society.  And they'd definitely be against the dastardly tyrant Varian Wrynn, which would lead them to siding with the horde, in a battle.  

And, since I'm the one making this up, they wouldn't be able to play any of the annoying classes. They could be druids, hunters, rogues, shaman, monks or warriors.  Shamanism and the druidic arts would be the only forms of magic they'd practice.  And definitely none of those holier-than-thou religious type priests or pallies.

7. What inspires you to write a post?

Well, in the practical sense, I generally write a post when I'm curious about something. A huge number of my posts started with me hearing something Solar said on his old podcast, or more recently on the hunting party podcast, and wanting to explore the idea, look into the math behind it. Basically me just seeing if I could prove or disprove it.  

In a more broad since, what inspires me to write in general is curiosity.  I think curiosity is the greatest of virtues.  Long before I started this blog, I was basically making the same posts just for myself, where I'd spend hours making spreadsheets and looking at various ways to model playing a hunter computationally. And I guess, me making this into a blog instead of just writing it completely for myself, is a hope that others will join me in curiosity.  I realize that I'm just writing about playing video games, but I hope that, even if just a little bit, I'm encouraging people to think critically; to not accept things people tell us, but look for reasoning.

8. What other types of games do you like?

I like good stories, so that's definitely something I look for in any game I play solo.  If it's not as good of a story as I would get from reading a book, then I'll probably go read a book instead.  Games like the Dragon Age series have definitely met that criteria.  Mass Effect, Witcher III, or on console, I really liked the Xmen Legends series and the actionRPG version of Prince of Persia that came out back in the early aughts.  Which brings me to my other love in gaming, which is puzzles.  I like to solve logic puzzles, so of course, portal and portal 2 are two of my favorite games of all time.

9. Do you snack while gaming, if so, on what?

I don't know if this is normal or not, but one of the reasons I'd rather get my stories in game form rather than TV/Movie form is it keeps my hands busy, which is my primary reason for snacking (that it gives me something to do with my hands).  However, I do tend to drink while gaming.  A lot.  By the end of a raid night, it is not uncommon for me to have my keyboard on my lap, as my desk becomes covered in beer bottles. :-P  

In fact, one of the reasons I'm such a strong proponent of Focusing Shot for hunters, is it gives you a couple seconds where you can take a drink.

10. If you were stranded on a desert island with three CDs and they were the only three you would ever have, which ones would you bring?  (no greatest hits or live, only standard release)

I do like listening to music, but only when I'm doing something else also (like cleaning, or driving, or playing a game), and there are no three CDs I'd want to, only, for the rest of my life.  Instead of bringing CDs and some sort of CD player, I'll bring a guitar, instead.

11. What is your favorite lore moment and how would you inject your main character into that story?

I don't know that I really have a favorite moment.  I recently enjoyed the cut scene where Thrall killed Garry.  But I was already there, and didn't really help, kind of just watched.  As I mentioned above, I'd liked to have really been there when Garry called Sylvanus a bitch, and then we would destroy Garry right then and there; my love would assume the role of warchief, and I'd serve beside her.

One of the nice things about WoW, is all the best lore moments you are there for.  So it's not like you're missing anything. Is it?

11 Random Facts about Me

  1. I grew up in the Ozarks; if you've ever seen that Jennifer Lawrence movie, Winter's Bone, yes, that's pretty much dead on accurate.  As with most little kids in the area, climbing trees was my favorite past-time.  And playing with legos.  
  2. I studied Logic when I was in college. 
  3. I lived in Beijing for a couple of years after college, but never made it to Zhangjiajie, which is still on my list of most important places I need to go before I die.
  4. I work for a not-for-profit organization that provides housing for homeless and low-income folk in chicago, as well as providing a lot of job training and other resources.  
  5. Doug Hofstadter's book Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, is probably the most important book in my life, as far as shaping how I think. 
  6. I'd consider living in a hobit house.  The indigenous people to the Ozark Plateau were nomadic gatherer-hunters and often lived in one of the many, many caves.  Due to the thick vegetation and rough landscape, they were able to remain in band society much longer than other north american indigenous people, who became more civilized nations/empires, like the near-by Cahokia, or later on, the Osage.  Also, Caves:  warmin in the winter, cool in the summer. 
  7. Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-philosophicus is a close second. Though I read it much later in life (well, you know, relatively later, for someone my age).
  8. Sometimes I get quite distraught that I wasn't alive roughly 10 - 15 thousand years ago, on this continent.  The ice sheet had just receded; mastodons and bison were everywhere.  We could hang out and play all day with nomadic gatherer-hunters, living in bands...  Sometimes I get quite distraught that there are no more mastodons.
  9. I teach a class on bicycle mechanics at a local community bike collective.  
  10. In school, I was classically trained in percussion.  I love learning new instruments, and would count among the instruments I can play at least proficiently:  tympani, marimba, vibraphone, most hand drums, the drum kit, guitar, banjo, piano and mandolin.  I'm currently working on learning to play the accordion (I can play a few songs so far, but I'm not amazing).   I love the accordion music coming out of the sort of folk/cajun/street music scenes in New Orleans right now (check out Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship, or Hurray For the Riff Raff).  I do not know how to play any woodwind or brass instruments. 
  11. Sometimes the mountains call to me.  Chicago's incredibly flat, and it takes hours to get out of the city, and even then, you're just in industrial farmland.  Sometimes I dream of being in the the Lizard Range in BC, or the Chugach in Alaska, or the Tibetan Plateau, or Southeast Asia / Thailand / Vietnam, or the Andes in Chile, or the Tetons in Wyoming / Montana, or the Southern Alps in New Zealand.  So many great mountains out there... 

Prepping for Blizzcon 2015


Blizzcon 2015 Housing
I recieved confirmation yesterday, and now officially have a house for Blizzcon!  It's just south of the convention center about a quarter of a mile, so I'm really exited about it.  The place looks ridiculously awesome; where most of the houses near there decorated with Mickey Mouse disney things, we've got a zebra print rug.  So I thought it'd be fun to put up some pictures here. 

Blizzcon 2015 moar housing
Nice view of Blizzcon 2015 housing