Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hunter-Lovin’ and It Feels So Good

“Dear BRK, just moments ago I finished a heroic Mechanar run with my new guild and promptly received this strange ‘pst’ from the tanking warrior of the group:

‘You my friend, are the best damn hunter I’ve seen in a LONG time.’

“Elation and a rapid flush of the skin soon brought me to my senses as whatever sort of self-gratification and personal feelings of awesomeness were replaced by the big caveat that it was not in fact my own skills and mannerisms as a hunter that this particular tank seemed to praise, but those instilled from a certain BRK.

“Massive-sustained DPS, quickly executed and fore-thoughtfully timed traps (read those damn mobs on the bridge to the last boss), passing on an o-so-needed Primal Nether (I want my ebon netherscale set!) in the end to help the grateful holy paladin, offering to tip the tank … and many more hunterisms were displayed in an ode to the dashing [BRK].

“I’ve not been a part of the WoW community for too long, but for my time spent I’ve enjoyed reading your witty, thought-provoking, and honest-to-God helpful blogs. They’ve helped me tremendously and I just figured you could use some stoking of the “Id”. Grimboch”

As most of our guildies will tell you, our psyche is very strong. Warped, deranged, and fantastically out-of-control, but strong. Publishing this letter isn’t about us, but you.

How in the bloody, bleepin’ BRK-universe did Not Screwing Up And Just Being Nice become the mark of being A Good Hunter? Isn’t that just a screaming, horrific shame?

Don’t get us wrong; we’re thrilled that Grimboch got accolades and felt great and his party inflicted destruction upon those who deserved it. We love to hear he tempered his loot-cravings for the benefit of someone else, and tipped that hard-working tank. But you know what comment we REALLY want to hear some tanks and healers start to say?

“Dude. There’s been a real improvement in the vast number of hunters I’ve partied with and you’re no exception. Good job, thank you.”

Are you doing your part to make our dream come true?


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Whoa Whoa Whoa!

Have you seen this? Wow. We could get lost in it for a long time.

We still want the real screenshots/url to someone who meets our gear-requirements for a special project, but Warcrafter is a place we’re going to spend a lot of time. We’ve even put them in our WoW Research Sites sidebar.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

We’re Looking For Someone…

Are you a hunter? Good!

Are you level-70? Good!

Are you in pre-Kara gear? Good!

Do you have a Valanos Longbow or equivalent? Good!

Do you have a Sonic Spear, Hellforged Halberd, or Blackened Spear? Good!

Do you have the following enchants:

  • Melee 2h Weapon: +35 Agi or Savagery
  • Ranged Weapon: +10 or +12 Damage
  • Helm: Glyph of Ferocity
  • Shoulder: Honored Aldor/Scryer inscription
  • Cloak: +12 Agi
  • Chest: +6 All Stats
  • Bracers: +24 RAP
  • Gloves: +26 RAP or +7 Agi (+15 Agi is good, too)
  • Leggings: Cobrascale or Clefthide armor kit
  • Boots: +12 Agi

You do? Good! We want your armory profile! A link to it, you know what we mean.

Do you have Kara or better gear? Badge of Justice of PvP gear? Mostly quests greenies? No thank you.

Do you have engineering or leatherworking gear? Stuff from the Auction House? That’s fine.

Standard talent builds only, please, and you must be willing to have your armory profile published on this blog.

Are you out there?

Edit: Folks we’re quite serious about the requirements. ALL the enchants, NO Kara or greater or PvP gear, standard 41/20/0, 0/41/20, 0/20/41, or 0/31/30 raiding spec. After the first 15 35 comments, we’re still looking.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Our First Reader-Question

Dear BRK, FYI it doesn’t appear that your banner works under Firefox 2.0.0.11 running on my Macbook, but the WOWHead popups are working fine. Gary”

Folks, if something doesn’t show up, looks kaboozled, is misplaced, or just blatently pathetic, it’s probably our fault. We are learning as we go and sometimes nuke important things.

Yes, we thought we copied the banner to a new theme we were playing with, but we actually moved it. For a small time, this theme was bannerless. However, the BRK Code Elves sprang into action and copied the banner back.

Speaking of the banner, do you like the outline we got around it? (Seriously you don’t need to answer that.) That’s the type of detail we love to get right.

We have a “title” now!

We did not before because it printed that text right in our banner. Somebody complained that we didn’t have a title, and we can’t have that! So we nuked some stuff in the header.php file and POOF! much better. We have a title and our banner isn’t muddled.

We realize that for many of you this is pathetic, 1st-grade stuff that you could have your dog perform. Please bear with us as we celebrate our minor achievements. Thank you.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Welcome!

Let’s get this party started! We’re nowhere near done and there’s going to be loads of changes to come.But this is our new home, for better or for worse.Let’s hope for the better, shall we?

Edit: First problem solved, comment moderation turned off. OK folks, there’s a boatload of stuff we’re going to mess up, switch wrong, delete, and just plain f-up. Please, no rioting.

Edit 2: Some “BRK Is Moving” FAQs:

We are not sticking with this theme; it is temporary. Don’t diss the colors, we don’t like them either.

The old site will remain up until such time as we feel confident… about everything.We have one bachelors degree in Computer Science, but that does NOT mean we have a clue what we’re doing.

All the links-sections will be recreated, but it’ll take some doin’. Patience, younglings.

The forums, or should we say “forum”, is there because we can have it. No work will be done on it until the blog is just right.

We did get the banner up - that was the #1 Critical Item - and the WoWhead popups work. Also, we caused neither the atmosphere to catch fire, the Alps to rise, nor Los Angeles to sink into the Pacific. And Mrs BRK didn’t fillet us for the $80 we spent on hosting. We’re really proud of all that.



Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Je parle francais un peu



Mais pas beaucoup.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Loot and Hovercat

Image: Daniel Howell

Now that’s a wicked-cool helm. The Demon Stalker Greathelm is finally ours. We slapped on a Relentless Earthstorm Diamond, a Glinting Noble Topaz, and the Glyph of Ferocity. We’re pleased as punch!


Image: Daniel Howell

Ah, 360DPS on tooltip, you are finally ours. /sigh with satisfaction
And did you know that there is a new cat-pet? It’s a variation of the Wintersaber Pridewatchers known as The Hovercat! Here’s a picture of ours in action:

Image: Daniel Howell

Now that’s a pathing problem. Sheesh.



Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lrn2Rite and Bad Wishes Won’t Come True

“Dear BRK, the WoW hunter board is discussing how to fix the mana usage problems that many hunters (especially MM/SV) have. Do you as a BM hunter have any mana problems and how do you deal with them? Sedenya and Yinkiz”

First off, notice these things about this email:
  1. Short and to the point.
  2. Good capitialization, punctuation, lack of l33tspeak, etc. It’s not a legal document; your use of parenthesis, brackets, and bracers aren’t at issue. but if u rite 2 us lik this dont axpect a response, kk?
  3. It’s not one the same questions we get everyday, (the addon is RatingBuster!)
Granted, it’s hard to avoid #3 if you don’t know what questions we get every day, but #1 and #2 should be something you should strive for in almost all your communications, especially when you’re attempting to elicit a worthwhile response.

And that’s a lesson from your Uncle BRK.

Now then, about this rubbish concerning MM/SV mana issues…

What does a Mage do? Stand at range and DPS.

What does a Shadow Priest do? Stand at range and DPS.

What does a Boomkin do? Stand at range and DPS..

What does an Elemental Shaman do? Stand at range and DPS.

What does a Warlock do? Stand at range and DPS, (and play with their minion, or kick dirt on it, whatever.)

What does a Marksman Hunter do? Stand at range and DPS AND use his pet in melee combat.

Hmm.

We’ll say it again. Hmm.

Hunters, regardless of talent spec, have an flexibility in their attacking style that the other classes just can’t match. Can those others do more damage or more DPS? Sure. But do they have a two-pronged attack capability? Not really, no.

(Tell ya something, we have never understood why any hunter would complain about how powerful warlocks or any other caster classes are. Hunters should destroy these people by the truckload. Go ask Renoobed/Mabd or Shifttusk how they feel about going one-on-one with a squishy. We think they’ll back us up on this.)

So what does Blizz do with the Hunter talent trees?

They make one of them mana-inefficient but blazingly burst-deadly at range.

They make one of them more dependent upon their melee-attacking pet and thus more difficult to fight if the enemy ignores one of the two-pronged assaults.

They make one of them less deadly from range, but if played properly, a ridiculously difficult target to kill.

There are positives and negatives in every class and talent spec:

With MM, the positive is that this is most massive burst-damage capable spec, bar none, end of story. The negative is that this massive burst-damage is massively mana-inefficient.

With SV, the positive is that, played properly - we feel we have to say this over and over because SV-playstyle is greatly different than MM/BM - can be one of the most elusive and tricky targets anybody has ever tried to kill. The negative is that the ranged and pet-melee DPS suffers without a lot of people to pick up a buff from Expose Weakness and it’s harder to get the gear necessary to make the spec shine.

With BM, the positive is that we can produce massive quantities of sustained, ranged DPS and bring a terrifyingly destructive pet into battle, simultaneously. The negative is that our burst-damage is heavily constricted and keeping one’s pet alive become much more critical than the other specs.

How mana-efficient are we as a BM hunter? Let’s take the Bear-Boss in Zul’Aman as an example of our mana-efficiency. Our guild can take him down in approximately 5-7 minutes. We haven’t timed it exactly, but we can complete the 20-minute timer pretty easily, so 5-7 minute estimate should be satisfactory.

We go full-out on this boss. We power through Rapid Fire and trinkets and drums and Beastial Wrath and keep a solid Auto/Steady/KC sequence going, and we break 900DPS consistently. With Aspect of the Hawk active, without totems or a shadow priest, we need to pop three Fel Mana potions throughout the course of the fight to keep our mana above zero at the time the boss dies.

But if you give us a totem or a shadow priest, we can leave the Fel Manas in the bank; we won’t need them.

What does a MM hunter have to do in terms of mana-regeneration in order to achieve similar results? Well, we have no direct experience with this spec in this fight, but we can assume that their mana-consumption is going to be tremendous if they want to try to keep up that degree of DPS.

But does that mean that the MM/SV specs are broken because of their mana-inefficiency?

We don’t think so. That’s the cost of doing business, the price one must pay to go down those trees. If you want to be a MM hunter, you’re going to be mana-inefficient, period, end of story. If you want to be a ranged DPS class and not have mana-issues, perhaps you should put away your pet and roll an Elemental Shammy.

It’s like complaining that your motorcycle doesn’t seat four comfortably. Or your 3/4-ton pickup truck doesn’t get 100mpg. Or that if you eat 1000 cookies a day, you’re going to gain weight.

Follks, learning to work with and around your spec’s limitations is what makes playing this game so hard and so rewarding.

“Dear Blizzard-Claus, this Christmas, please make my class and spec not have any negatives or drawbacks. Thanks, Hunterboy and Petmeister”

Can you guess what B-C is going to do with this letter?

/crumple

/roundfile




Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Just Don’t Tell Her We Sent You

Go wish a good friend of ours Happy Birthday.

/cast [target = reader] scoot



Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Oh, How Sweet It Is

Aetherial Circle is a Serpentshrine Cavern raiding guild. D@MN but that sounds good.
No hunter loot, just Velvet Boots of the Guardian, Boots of Effortless Striking, and Brigin’s new toy, the Mallet of the Tides. Stop over at his blog and say Congratulations, why doncha.



Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dear Jan’alai, Go *bleep* Yourself

Zul’Aman. Our raid’s number one goal was to defeat the Bear-boss under 20 minutes. Done, and done. The bear-boss dropped the Bladeangel’s Moneybelt, so Doomilias was a happy camper. Then the freed prisoner dropped the Life-Step Belt, (thanks Fio). You all know we want Trollbane and Tuskbreaker, right? Right. Oh well, maybe next time.

We felt really good about ourselves and decided to just take the next bosses easy and not push it.

Eagle-boss down, first try. Lynx-boss down, first try.

Dragonhawk-boss. Let us tell ya about Dragonhawk-boss. We had him. Three times. We handled the eggs and the spawns beautifully. We were talking about the loot that might drop. He was at 20% and getting demolished.

Without warning, our holy pally got one-shotted. From what, we still don’t know. Tank followed immediately after and it’s wipe-city, population us.

“Why’d you die?”

“I HAVE NO G’D@MN IDEA!”

Or the priest died. Or the tank got one-shotted. Just horrible, terrible, beat-our-wife godawful luck. We loathe this boss. With a hatred that burns with the heat of a-thousand suns. Next time, we’re doing Bear-boss and then we’re going straight for Dragonhawk-boss, and he’s going to get a great big, tall, frosty glass of Shutup Juice.

So sayeth BRK, so let it be done.

Also, WoWWebStats has been updated to include proper parsing for the Zul’Aman bosses. We’ll post our report as soon as we can.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What’s This "Ignore Armor" Stuff

So we got our War-Feathered Loop and immediately the BRK Email and Christmas-Catalog Black Hole was overflowing with questions about how the Ignore Armor feature affects DPS. As usual, the answer is:

It depends.

To start with, the formulas that govern damage mitigation are not linear; they are partially based upon your target’s level. If your enemy is between the levels 1-59, their armor-mitigation is calculated with this formula:

%Reduction = ( Armor / ( ( Armor + 400 ) + ( 85 * Enemy_Level ) ) ) * 100

And if your enemy is 60-73 - remember that heroic bosses are assumed to be level 72 and raid bosses are assumed to be level 73 for mathematical purposes - the damage-mitigation formula is this:

%Reduction = ( Armor / ( ( Armor - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * Enemy_Level ) ) ) * 100

Now then, let’s pretend you’re fighting a level-70 BRK and he has 6142 armor. How much physical damage is he mitigating?

%Reduction = ( Armor / ( ( Armor - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * Enemy_Level ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 6142 / ( ( 6142 - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * 70 ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 6142 / ( -16025.5 + 32725 ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 6142 / 16699.5 ) * 100

%Reduction = 0.3678 * 100 = 36.78% and if you check our armory profile and the armor tooltip, you’ll see that these figures match.


Image: Daniel Howell


Now you buy your new belt with the “ignores 70 of your opponent’s armor” capability. How does this affect BRK? When you attack him, it reduces his armor by 70 and thus decreases how much physical damage he mitigates.

%Reduction = ( ( Armor - 70 ) / ( ( ( Armor - 70 ) - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * Enemy_Level ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( ( 6142 - 70 ) / ( ( ( 6142 - 70 ) - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * 70 ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 6072 / ( -16095.5 + 32725 ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 6072 / 16629.5 ) * 100

%Reduction = 0.3651 * 100 = 36.51%

You’ve just reduced the amount of physical damage mitigated by armor from 36.78% to 36.51%. Congratulations!

Now let’s switch your target to Aetherial Circle’s main druid tank, Kelektra.


Image: Daniel Howell


Fully raid buffed, she has 27,801 armor and mitigates 72.48% of all physical damage. What does your little belt do against her?

%Reduction = ( ( Armor - 70 ) / ( ( ( Armor - 70 ) - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * Enemy_Level ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( ( 27,801 - 70 ) / ( ( 27,801 - 70 ) - 22167.5 ) + ( 467.5 * 70 ) ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 27731 / ( 27731 - 22167.5 + 32725 ) ) * 100

%Reduction = ( 27731 / 38288.5 ) * 100

%Reduction = 0.7243 * 100 = 72.43%

You have now decreased the amount of physical damage Kel mitigates from 72.48% to 72.43%… Congratulations? Kinda.

How much DPS does Ignore Armor provide? As you can see, it completely depends upon the armor and level of the mob you’re fighting.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

We Totally Don’t Speak Spanish!



What’s he saying, what’s he SAYING!!!


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Showdown at the BRK Corral

So you’ve wanted to know, which is better: The Skyguard Silver Cross or the Crystalforged Trinket. Well don’t think that BRK hasn’t been listening or doesn’t care. We just got back from Dr. Boom and doing a little testing.

We did two tests, one with the Silver Cross equipped and one with the Crystalforged. For both runs, we cleared the area, cleared all our buffs except Aspect of the Hawk, put 100 bullets in our ammo pouch, turned on the CLSaver combatlog, did not use Hunter’s Mark - refreshing it could interfere with out test - and let the Auto Shots flow.

Here’s our setup and stats for the Silver Cross run:


Image: Daniel Howell


And here’s our Crystalforged setup:


Image: Daniel Howell

WoWWebStats does an amazing job as always. For the Silver Cross run, we didn’t do anything but allow Auto Shot and IAotH to proc. The Silver Cross has no “use”; it’s a static trinket.

So here’s the report for the Silver Cross:


Image: Daniel Howell


The Crystalforged trinket does have a “use”, so for this run, we popped the trinket immediatly at the start of the run and then whenever its cooldown was up. In the 100 shot-test, we were able to crank it up three times and that is shown in the Buffs & Debuffs section of the WWS report as Valor.

And the report for the Crystalforged Trinket:


Image: Daniel Howell


Would you like to easily compare the two reports? We can do that by taking screenshots of both and combining them in another screenshot, like this:


Image: Daniel Howell


What can we learn from the analysis?

1. We expected the Silver Cross to give 1% more crit and the testing bears that out.

2. We expected the Crystalforged to give more damage per shot and that also occurs.

3. The extra mitigation during the Crystalforged run decreased the DPS and total damage, but not by so much as to cause a massive concern.

4. Total damage difference is 120, easily within the expected margin of error.

5. The total time was exactly the same, 2 minutes and 58 seconds, for both runs. That’s pretty cool!

6. This test did not take pet damage into account. The extra 1% crit from the Silver Cross would mean one more Kill Command and 50 more Focus, which would be two more Claws.

7. The extra damage-per-shot from the Crystalforged is advertised at +7, but our testing shows it only as +3, (447 with the Silver Cross and 450 with the Crystalforged).

8. Our testing is incomplete. This is a single test of only 100 shots. Multiple tests should be run for more accuracy.

Our recommendations:

If you’re a BM hunter, go for the Silver Cross. The extra crit gives more Kill Commands and more Focus for your pet.

If you’re a SV hunter, you’re an agility/crit hoarder already and are cradling your Silver Cross with both hands.

If you’re a MM hunter, you have a hard choice. Your crit percentage is not any higher than a BM hunter but your damage-per-shot and damage-per-crit is much higher. That extra damage-per-shot and haste from the Crystalforged may outperform the Silver Cross for you, especially if you have a pet specifically designed to hold aggro and tank, not DPS.

We hope you enjoyed this little experiment and maybe even inspired you to try a test of your own.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.

Gankbang Drops By, We Restate Our Concern

So when we expressed our disappointment with WuWJutsu over their methodology, the super-cool fella who runs Gankbang stopped by to drop some knowledge on us. We appreciate the networking lesson very much, thank you kind sir, but there seems to be a little confusion over our complaint.

We totally appreciate the problems with extracting vast quantities of data when the servers that contain that data are heavily taxed. Totally. You have no idea. Remember where we work and what we do?

Our concern is not with the frequency that these cool sites are able to gather armory data and update their data.

Our concern is with the methodology WoWJustu uses, targeting specific servers and guilds much more frequently than others. We disagree with this philosophy vehemently.

It is stated in their FAQs that they do this. Now of course it’s his site, he can do what he wants with it. It’s free to use, we don’t pay a penny to access it, and if we don’t like it, we don’t have to use it, right? Right.

So we won’t. Neither will we advertise it, promote it, nor mention how awesome it is. And it is awesome, of that there is no contention.

If you want to design, build, and publish a WoW-tool, that’s wicked-cool. If you want to tailor it for the few super-high-end raiding guilds, more power to you. But if you don’t discriminate against 95% of the WoW-population, you’ll probably have more happy visitors, don’t you think?

Are we going to check WoWJutsu to see Nihilum’s progression? Nah. We can just go to their site and see for ourselves. What do we suspect the vast majority of the 9 million WoW players want to see?

“Dear WoWJutsu, how is our little #18,984 guild progressing on our server?”

How to do this? Here’s our recommendation:

Don’t update your published data every day. Make a specific day to publish all the data you collect all week. Do it on Tuesdays when the servers are down and nobody can play. Collect data all week, publish your new stats on Tuesday, have forums where people can chat-slam as they pass their dreaded horde/alliance rival guild, and then charge your advertisers more to advertise on Tuesday. Happier visitors, a stable data-publishing schedule, and mo money.

During the rest of the week, publish opinion pieces on how guild progression works. Tell us about the technical side of the website, how the data collection process works, give the coder-geeks something to read, give the rest of us intro lessons on how all this magic comes together.

Everybody understands that nothing of this magnitude, where the data is in a constant state of flux, can be 100% accurate in a non-real-time analysis scenario. Give us the best you can and we’ll be stoked.

Just don’t label us as second-class citizens. We think that’s rude.


Disclaimer: This content was originally posted by Daniel Howell (BigRedKitty) on bigredkitty.net. It is posted here for historical and archival purposes only.