Sunday, August 30, 2009

Warsong HPM & Observations

Ta-da, time to calculate HPM for Warsong Gulch. Nothing to compare to as yet, since the EotS stuff was for the holiday weekend.

My numbers for WSG from the 10-game sample came out 4-6 which is again a close approximation to my battlegroup's statistics (47/53). Two very interesting observations came out of these ten games. One was that in nine out of ten games, the first flag cap won, which seems to bear out popular wisdom post-time-limiting this battleground. The other interesting thing is that 4 of these 10 matches were decided by the time expiry conditions, which indicates that Blizzard's plan to shorten the BG is actually backfiring. People's tendency to hunker down and turtle (and turtle well) may result in a cap on maximum time, but the *average time* has increased. Before there was a time limit, the average WSG was 17.56 minutes, but with my ten games here sampled the average is 18.6, a full minute longer. I mean I guess it's nice to not have epic hour-long WSG matches anymore, but those were a lot fewer and farther between than people seem to think -- understandably really, given the psychological impact of being locked in a brutal close game for an hour -- since the pre-limiting average time was more or less on par with the other BGs and this was a possible overreaction by Blizzard.

You'll notice some similarity b/c I'm cut-and-pasting and replacing numbers ;-), but he numbers here in straight honor for a non-holiday WSG, came out as:

Losing Honor per Minute (HPM) : 22.73
Winning HPM : 47.8

So as a formula here to apply on your own battlegroup, you could look in your statistics pane on the achievement and come up with

Total WSG HPM (F) = (X/Y)*(47.8) + ((Y-X)/Y)*(22.73)

X = "number of WSG wins" and
Y = "Number of WSG games played"

On my server, x = 28 and Y = 59, X/Y = 0.47 like I mentioned above, so that comes out to be

Total WSG HPM = (0.47)*(47.8) + (0.53)*(22.73) = 34.62


To calculate the Mark Turn-in honor,

Average Marks WSG (W) = (X/Y)*3 + ((Y-X)/Y)

In my case,

Average Marks WSG = 3 * 0.47 + 0.53 = 1.95 (b/c we lose very slightly more than we win on my battlegroup).

Every turn-in of marks is going to net you 1489 honor at level 80. Every BG you do is netting you some percentage of that honor, to wit:

Average Turn-in HPM for WSG = (1489*W) / (6*S)

where S = average time of a match. On my battlegroup it's 18.6 minutes, and I suspect you could probably use that as a non-variable b/c it's probably close to the same across all battlegroups unless your W/L percentage is dramatically different from 50/50 for whatever reason.

Again using my battlegroup:

Turn-in HPM (T) = (1489*1.95) / (6*18.6) = 26.01.


So the total you're getting here is going to be the turn-in HPM plus the HPM you got just for fighting there :

Total HPM = T + F

For me:

Total HPM = 26.01 + 34.62 = 60.63.

The TL;DR version:

The winning coefficient for WSG is 47.8 HPM, and the losing coefficient is 22.73. This should be standard across all battlegroups, by which I mean that if I transferred to a different battlegroup I would have a similar result. Other classes / roles may have varying numbers (rogues for example tend to have easily double my HKs in a BG), so the importance of these numbers are in comparatives rather than absolutes. In other words...YMMV. But I've got the formulas here you can plug in your battlegroup stats to and at least get comparative numbers once I have the other ones up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Grouping Up (or, "The Hangar Blitz, Revisited")

So it seems I may not honor cap myself after all, given my recent preoccupation with a) trying to bear-tank, b) levelling a horde alt to 20, and c) frantically dispensing arena advice to several guildies and pseudo-arena partners about what they should be doing with their week off (short answer: spend arena points if you have them. Otherwise DON'T BUY *ANYTHING*).

I have to admit I have not played the new BG as much as I thought I would, despite how fun I find it. Part of that's just lackadaisicalness...others, my desperate pursuit of the EotS meta-achievement which keeps driving me back into the maelstrom. But on both of my two most-recent forays into(onto?) the Isle I ran into an unpleasant retread of Cynwise's Hangar Blitz -- only now, we're calling for Everyone to the Docks and We Will Win Fer SURE. I would venture to guess this is the product of small minds who, after an initial euphoric rush of success with the HB, suddenly started running into the wall once the chaos settled down and people realised how to block it. Hence they now move to a different zerg target, while maintaining the same mentality that caused the problem in the first place. It seems to me that the 3 middle nodes all give you a way into the keep, and to zerg one is to lose the other two, putting you at a serious keep disadvantage. The only thing I ever found viable about the Alterac Blitz was that it was basically a race and if the other team went for it as well then it it was a fairly even run for both sides at who could kill the general first. In IoC that is not the case, and if you "zerg" one then you're allowing the other team to "zerg" the other two and it is no longer a Fair race with even chances to win it. That's applicable to any of those three middle nodes.

But I think the problem with the strategy goes deeper than that, and crosses several battlegrounds, with the notable exception of the two battlegrounds where grouping everyone together makes a halfway amount of sense. Deep down, people just don't like to be alone. There's a mentality about group-running everywhere that sacrifices space for mass. And that's a serious problem in places like AB & EotS -- which depend totally on space control -- and a lesser but still dangerous problem in AV/Isle where you need a mix of a strong strike team and control of strategic points.

In WSG and Strand, it makes sense to group up. Splitting the tanks in SotA will lead to defeat a lot more often than grouping them at the beginning. If you exclude complicated twink-WSG strategies that involve 3-4 different groups around the field, I find that the best success comes in grouping everyone on O at the beginning, and then killing the enemy FC on your way back across the field. And yet, paradoxically, it's in these two BGs that you most often find people scattering -- solo or two-man attacks on the EFC after he's made it back to their side of the map, or random, sputtering tank assaults on different gates without waiting for another tank to come up in support from a farther-behind spawn point.

I have a suspicion that the group mentality may stem from BC where there were no (or next to no) BG healers and so grouping up was your only way to increase your survivability. Nowadays, though that's not so much of a problem, people are still locked in their no-healers-I-must-rely-on-myself mindset. The solution to this I think is the same one that would solve almost all BG PvP problems:


I tend to take the lead on this because I am myself a healer but if nobody steps up then try to do it yourself. Phaelia over at resto4life had a post many moons ago about her brief foray into PvP and how it helped her in PvE. Borrowing a note from that most esteemed tree, I might suggest in reverse that there's an aspect of PvE that helps in PvP and that is

Make Healing Assignments

Do a quick scroll through your raid-mates in a battleground. Determine who is a healer. Politely whisper them and ask where they are planning on going. Wherever that is, go the other way. In EotS when they tell me they are going to MT, I go to DR, to make sure that there is going to be some healing everywhere instead of a boom/bust cycle where we're all clumped up everywhere.

Instill Confidence by Being Visible

Make sure the healing is visible and commented upon in /bg so that people know there are healers. And I mean that on both sides of the coin -- if you're DPS and some healer just kept you up for several minutes while the two of you fought off 7 people trying to take your node, comment on that in /bg. If you're a healer and some dps stopped what they were doing to come peel all the tree-haters off of you, make that comment in /bg as well, with subtle allusions to how much that helps the team. Ie, "Thanks for that; I heal everyone so much better when I don't have to be scrambling to protect myself."

Will it change attitudes over night? Probably not. But making sure that everyone knows there are healers present and working in a BG will in the long run, hopefully give people back some of that confidence which is so evidently lacking in persons who won't attack a node unless 2/3 of the team goes with them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Well there's an unpleasant surprise --

I thought we were still going to get another two weeks out of this season and it seems like this got kind of dropped out of the blue. Does anyone else remember "first week of September"? Or am I just hallucinating that?

Anyway I had been pushing my honor to buy some stuff for the end-of-season ratings push but now I question the wisdom. Clearly the wiser course would be to just save the honor for s7 but I'm only 20k away from cap and those 1000 arena points are getting converted to honor since I have the 5-set. My machiavellian plan is to save 5 of those arena commendations for next season but then what? Should I buy-and-use five? or just let the 500-points or so die away? I don't know what happens at cap but I would venture to guess that going into a BG would net me no honor, thus screwing up my stats. Or would it just give me the listing of honor I *would've* received but then not actually do it? Until I resolve this question I'm leery of getting too close to the cap :-\.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stats & Titles

First of all, RATED BGS AND PVP TITLES. WOOHOO! I always thought it was a bit corny and elitist that those who got titles in vanilla wow could rub it in our faces without us every having a chance to get them. As long as they're still competitive to get (and not, as someone said in the comments section, "ghostcrawler wants everyone to experience everything so all titles will be super easy") I'm delighted with this change. I'm a little sketchy too over how they're describing the rated BGs but Blizzard generally gets their feet solidly on the ground before they release things so I remain faithful that despite my initial skepticism it will probably be good when it sees release.

Anyway on to my favorite love, calculating stats for BGs. I was just getting my list started when 3.2 came along and messed everything up, stats-wise, for 3/5 of the battlegrounds, necessitating a wipe and restart. My first question I wondered was, it's holiday weekend. Am I better off zerging the holiday BG, which won't get any marks turn-ins, or rotating around like I usually do for the turn-in? After I asked this question, I realised that if I zerged the holiday BG every weekend then every 6th weekend I'd have a massive amount of turn-ins anyway, assuming I was willing to play the long-ball, and then I'd get the best of both worlds. So I reduced my question to, what kind of honor are you looking at, assuming you play intelligently enough to eventually be able to do turnins?

I am here collating the Holiday Weekend for Eye of the Storm, which was this past weekend. I sampled 10 games, which went 5-5 and I guess that's a reasonable approximation based on the server. Each game lasted an average of 14.4 minutes, which is interesting b/c according to my BC spreadsheet (where it was still 2000 points to win) the games lasted 16.45 minutes which means that cutting the points to 75% of their original did not have a similar effect on the game time. I mean yes, some shortening is occurring but it's more like 88% of the time. An interesting side note, anyway.

The numbers here in straight honor, on the holiday weekend, came out as:

Losing Honor per Minute (HPM) : 33.68
Winning HPM : 59.04

So as a formula here to apply on your own battlegroup, you could look in your statistics pane on the achievement and come up with

Total H.EotS HPM (F) = (X/Y)*(59.04) + ((Y-X)/Y)*(33.68)

X = "number of EotS wins" and
Y = "Number of EotS games played"

On my server, x = 61 and Y = 125, X/Y = so that comes out to be

Total H.EotS HPM = (0.49)*(59.04) + (0.51)*(33.68) = 55.41


That's your baseline for the holiday. But you do, as I mentioned earlier, also get marks. How many marks you get should probably be close to 2 on average, since you get 3 for a win and 1 for a loss and most BGs I've found split 50-50 despite people's skewed perceptions (including my own). If you wanted to be nitty gritty about it, you would use something like

Average Marks EotS (W) = (X/Y)*3 + ((Y-X)/Y)

In my case,

Average Marks EotS = 3 * 0.49 + 0.51 = 1.98 (b/c we lose very slightly more than we win on my battlegroup).

Every turn-in of marks is going to net you 1489 honor at level 80. Every BG you do is netting you some percentage of that honor, to wit:

Average Turn-in HPM for EotS = (1489*W) / (6*S)

where S = average time of a match. On my battlegroup it is 14.4 minutes, and I suspect you could probably use that as a non-variable b/c it's probably close to the same across all battlegroups unless your W/L percentage is dramatically different from 50/50 for whatever reason.

Again using my battlegroup:

Turn-in HPM (T) = (1489*1.98) / (6*14.4) = 34.05.


So the total you're getting here on the holiday weekend is going to be the turn-in HPM plus the HPM you got just for fighting there :

Total HPM = T + F

For me:

Total HPM = 34.05 + 55.41 = 89.46.


Someday, it is my dearest wish to take all my data and code a mod for it that will pull the data out of your stats pane and calculate it for you in a pretty in-game window. In the meantime...I'll be doing this for other BGs as well, so stay tuned :-).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Not To Get Healed

Excuse, rant/request following.

Had a lovely time losing Strand just now and thought I would share this snippet of conversation:

FYI, this is how you do not get healed in a battleground.

1) You do not have a personal special attention healer dedicated to your every little owie. I'm not even sure we would want that b/c then there's only like...7 dps in a sota battle. I can't watch everything and everyone, and, it's a bg? Everyone's getting hurt? And I'm in the middle of it with people usually trying to pound on me too. I have to save me before I can save you ya know?

2) Also, real pro to insult me and then quickly put me on ignore so I can't respond to you. He was a boomkin too which upsets me on behalf of the whole class. Mind you he topped the damage charts so I'm sure he knows what he's doing dps wise but...dude. I'm doing what I can and I'm sorry that that didn't make you immortal and keep you from dying that time.

And in case you were wondering:

I was second and not by a large margin on heals...I am not a slacker. You are not a healer. Show some appreciation and remember back in burning crusade when you frequently didn't even have ONE healer in a should be happy you had three this time and leave it at that.


Monday, August 10, 2009

*Be* the team

So...there was a patch last week. And you're probably thinking that I'm going to talk about it at length. But you'd be wrong, because I know that if you're the type of person who hunts down blogs to reead about your class, then you've probably already had your fill of talk about 3.2 and are getting kind of sick of it. I know I am. So, I'll mention briefly in passing:

1) Resilience. I covered this already in a previous post but I haven't noticed a huge difference in battlegrounds. Arena I'm sure I'll see something but as my arena partner insists on not waiting for me and instead running with his idiot pally friend and going 7-12, well, I can't comment on that as yet.

2) LB had it's final bloom nerfed by something like 20%. This I noticed but not as much as I would have thought. Yes, it's less effective as an anti-rogue tool (crap, stunlocked! oh wait, LB keeps ticking and when it blooms it will save me!) but I usually let it bloom for the mana return more than the health anyway.

3) New BG. Very fun, a nice artful mix of several different BGs that takes the best of many worlds. I still prefer EotS but only barely. Also, boo to the 1600 nerf on time for eots / are way too short now. If you blow the opening your chances of recovery are much less than they used to be. I was in an eots this morning where we started shorthanded and even though we made a comeback late, there just wasn't enough time to finish the job and ended up losing for no reason we could control.

4) I didn't post last week and for this I apologise if anyone got knocked out of rhythm. Though I'm sure they won't be judging from the number of comments at this point (0).


Today's topic is about how to make a team. How many of you have seen the following advertisement in trade chat "LF3m [insert instance] -- need tank/healer" and mocked them in your head ("so a guy and his death knight buddy got together...")? Did that contribute to you rolling a healer? Let's face it : we're half the team, the tank is the other half, and the DPS is like the extra people that tag along but don't really know how to take care of themselves. Well it's better in a battleground : now instead of being half the team, you ARE the team, b/c nobody takes tanks into BGs.

There's a synergy in pvp between heals/dps which is similar to heals/tank in pve -- if you keep them alive, they will keep you alive. I'm sure we can agree that's more balanced than a pve situation which says "we keep them alive, and they...kill the boss so we don't run out of mana by having an epic forty-five minute heigan fight with just the tank and my occasional pathetic starfire for dps". Not that I'm saying that's ever happened to me. No sir! In PvP people will kill you, they will thirst for your sap, they will join in hate clubs whose sole purpose is to make your life a living hell. Fortunately, unlike our squishy priest friends, we have barkskin, natural perfection, and the improved armor in ToL form, which means we can effectively be the "tank" that everyone's pounding on while your DPS buddies pewpew on said hate club, at least for a good fifteen seconds which is a lot longer than it sounds like in the hectic environment of a battleground. Those 15s can be key in holding on to a node, or capping one, or allowing time for reinforcements to get to you (or to rez at a node you're defending).

So, you accept your role as a punching bag. What else do tanks do? They usually get given lead and marks and all that other important stuff. Guess you get to be leader too. But since you took the initiative to roll a healer in the first place, I hope that taking initiative is something that comes reasonably natural to you. And that's my main point here : you have to be willing to take charge of a battleground, especially b/c you carry the "i can stop you from dying" ace that almost everyone will subconsciously follow. Which do you think gets better results:

Choice A: "Everyone rush FRR!"
Choice B: "I will heal an attack on FRR" / "I heal; Give me some dps backup and we can take FRR"

If you're still thinking about it, let me tell you the answer is unqualifiably B. Battlegrounds are not safe places. People die violent deaths, and they do so with a fair amount of frequency. I'm a healer and I die every 3-4 minutes on average, think what a tough time our dps compadres go through. If you give them the illusion of a safe haven, most players will jump at the chance to extend that mediocre life span.

There is a widespread belief that people check their intelligence at the door when they go into BGs, which is why there are so many idiot n00bs all the time. With the possible exception of non-pvpers trying Isle of Conquest just b/c it's new content, it's important to realise that this is not generally true. People check their *caring* at the door. People who go into battlegrounds are not stupid, they are LAZY. They do not want to come up with a plan. If you come up with a plan *for* them, they will by and large try to follow it, at least at first.

A secondary point to this : if you can get a premade together, it is not difficult to dominate a battleground. 5-7 people is more than enough for the 15-man ones, and I would venture to say that as low as 4 could make a significant impact in WSG. The reason for this is that you have NON-LAZY people in a BG filled with mostly lazy people and that cannot compete with people who have a plan. I have absolute confidence that I could win an Alterac Valley match if I could get four dps to follow me in a U-turn around the field of strife to recap defensive bunkers while everyone else mindlessly rushed drek. I was in my first attempt at a premade on my new server yesterday, and it fell apart b/c the leader couldn't get 30 people interested and wasn't willing to run with the 10 we had, which would have been more than sufficient to cause a serious impact on any BG we had attempted.

So when you go into a battleground, realise that your role is not just to keep people alive. It is implicit both because of that ability, and b/c of the psychological advantages you can employ, that you need to be willing to take a leadership role.